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Term of the Week: In-country Review

What is it?

A step in the content workflow, after translation and prior to publishing, where the content is reviewed by a person who is intimately familiar with the target audience – usually a person who lives and works for the client in the target market and often a person who is not a translator, for example, a member of the marketing team.

Why is it important?

The ICR finds final issues and is often the final approval before publishing. It can be a bottleneck in the localization process. Particularly in regulated industries, it is critical to have a local market expert review translated, localized, and transcreated content for correctness, quality, and appropriateness.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

An important step in global content management, in-country reviews often provide final sign-off for translation quality. A good relationship among in-country reviewers, translators, and linguistic leads helps to speed the process, generate trust, and improve content quality. A trained reviewer knows what to look for, knows what should (and should not) be changed or reported as an error, and is the best person to help with terminology.

ICR can be a process bottleneck:

  • Reviewers have other responsibilities and little time for ICR work.
  • Reviews are subjective, and everyone has their own opinion.

Check that reviewers:

  • Know what content to expect, when it will arrive, and what the deadlines are.
  • Are trained on what to flag (misused terminology, non-brand voice) and what to ignore (I would have said it differently).
  • Are involved in terminology identification and review.
  • Are available and willing to participate.

You also need a backup plan in case a reviewer is unresponsive or becomes unavailable.

An ICR is a good health check of the end-to-end content process. If there are very few ICR issues, the content workflow might be perfect, or the reviewers might be overwhelmed. If reviewers flag many basic issues, such as typos, the translation and QA steps must be revised to prevent these issues from reaching ICR. If reviewers complain about translation quality but cannot pinpoint exact issues, and you are certain that the translation is good, then the problem may be more fundamental: the source content may be inappropriate for the target market, no matter how perfectly it is translated[Txabarriaga 2008][Freij 2010][Smartling 2014].


About Alison Toon

Photo of Alison Toon

Alison Toon helps global enterprises to enable worldwide business by managing complex content, translation, and globalization strategies and by consulting on operations, business processes, and technologies. She helps the diverse and complex enterprise to speak with one voice, regardless of language: to think local, while acting global. And in her spare time, she photographs rock stars, writes children's books, researches family history, and manages one or two blogs.

Term: In-Country Review



Twitter: @alisontoon



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