QA Distiller is a great quality control tool I came across when I was working on the Marketing project I already mentioned in an article about XML in Localisation.
Developed and distributed by Yagamata Europe, this tool has a lot to offer to client-side engineers, multilingual vendors and freelancers alike. In fact I was even using it to enforce proper and consistent use of Terminology in source marketing content, before sending for localisation.
With the impending release of version 7 at the end of this month, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to talk about it on Loc Loc. The purpose of QA Distiller is to batch process quality checks on bilingual files. Essentially, it performs similar tasks to the QA Checker in Trados‘s TagEditor, but with some major differences.
Multiple file processing: QA Distiller allows you to run a highly customizable list of checks on batches of files. There is no need to open of each individual TTX file, or run the QA Checker successively on each one. Just select the files to process, the settings to apply and run the tool to output a comprehensive report for your follow-up. This is a great way to control and enforce consistency across entire handoffs or projects. Translation quality, Terminology consistency etc. are simultaneously audited across all the files selected.
Multi-lingual processing: better yet, this can also be done across all languages at once, which is particularly powerful for controlling Do Not Translate instructions have been adhered to, for example.
Interactive reporting: the report output is another great selling point. It rates and classifies errors and lets you update it as you review and fix or discard candidate errors. It can be exported to a variety of formats where source, target and error details are summarised and categorised. This is very helpful to communicate with vendors on queries, as well as measure the quality od deliveries. Finally, the report has hyperlinks not only to the file, but to the actual segment where the potential error was detected. This makes the implementation of fixes really quick and easy. No more peeling your eyes out to find typos or endless finger-cramping Ctr+F session. If there is an error, QA Distiller will get you right there!
Software stability: my experience (version 6 in Windows XP) has shown very solid performance and compatibility, and certainly far less crashes than SDL’s QA Checker.
Some rare shortcomings
One of the limitations I found in the current version was that the Translation Consistency check did not work when running QA Distiller across several languages. Instead of reading the language code of each file and filtering the comparison, it reported the fact that translations differed from one language to the next. Not particularly helpful.
Secondly, although the pricing structure offers good choice, the full version seems a bit steep at €1000, especially since it also requires Trados to function on TTX files.
Additionnal Technical Information
QA Distiller supports all languages, and a variety of file formats: TRADOStag documents (TTX), FrameMaker RTF (STF), Translation Memory eXchange (TMX).
Terminology can be checked against proprietary-format dictionnaries (DICT) or the industry-standard Term Base eXchange (TBX).
The upcoming version 7 introduces:
- Tag and ID-aware terminology checks
- New Wrench icon funcitonnalities: batch correction of multiple quotation mark and number formatting
- Fine-grained ignore option for improved noise filtering
- Tag and case-independent consistency check
- Full support for Georgian, Malay (Rumi and Jawi), Serbian (Latin and Cyrillic)
The little green man also told me that there are plans to add support for the many different XLIFF flavours like SDL XLIFF, MemoQ XLIFF, WorldServer XLIFF by the first quarter of next year.
For more details, check the cool demo at http://www.qa-distiller.com/movie/