In the English language, there are several terms that people seem to think are interchangeable because they sound similar. “Quality control” and “quality assurance” are two of them.
However, these two terms do not exactly mean the same thing and you’ll want both in order to ensure a professional translation.
Check out what each phrase means so you can see the main differences between them.
What Is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance, which is also called QA, attempts to prevent defects when it comes to a particular process. Essentially, QA makes sure that the right techniques are used to create deliverables, so it focuses on processes more than the end result.
For example, in the language translation field, the quality assurance team would make sure all translators are consistently using the agreed upon translation technique. This improves the chance of achieving high-quality translations.
In this way, quality assurance is focused on preventing mistakes during the process, which makes it proactive rather than reactive. Once quality assurance has been completed and the process is going well, quality control comes into play.
What Is Quality Control?
The point of quality control, which is also known as QC, is to find any flaws that may be present in the finished product. At that point, they can’t be prevented, but they can be fixed.
Unlike quality assurance, quality control ignores the techniques that resulted in the product, focusing instead on the end result. This is why it is often called a corrective tool.
For instance, quality control within the translation industry means checking for accuracy and fixing any translation errors that are detected. The translation process is not scrutinized at that point, but the resulting translation is. Back translation is one major example of quality control.
Comparing Quality Control and Quality Assurance
Clearly, both are important, regardless of the industry. We need quality assurance to perfect the production process, and we need quality control to improve the final product.
Of course, when you exercise quality assurance, you make quality control much easier. This is because when a process runs smoothly, the results are often reflective of that.
At the same time, a team that originally neglected to implement quality assurance may soon discover why QA is so important after its product or service fails QC. Poor results are often indicative of a poor process, so the quality control phase can certainly bring about changes in the way a product is made.
Although quality assurance and quality control do not have the exact same meanings in the English language, they are closely related, and each has its own benefits, especially during the translation process.