M&E Journal: Managing the Quality Assurance Process
Quality assurance (QA) is a critical aspect of the media industry, as it ensures that content is error-free and meets the expectations of the client and the target audience.
Television networks and streamers will not allow a show to air without the pass grade of a quality control (QC) report and there are plenty of factors that could cause a video or audio asset to be rejected.
Similarly, localization providers need to QC their localized assets before delivery to their clients, ensuring translation accuracy, consistency and compliance with relevant specifications and style guides.
The aim is to achieve the highest possible quality.
Linguistic quality assurance (LQA) is considered the key to success in any localization workflow. It was originally a laborious and often very technical process handled manually by internal staff at media localizers.
It is no surprise that automation in professional sub- title editing software began with LQA. OOONA’s toolkit includes many inbuilt checks that allow media localizers to easily identify and fix a host of errors. Examples are timing issues, empty subtitles, character limit and reading speed violations, text formatting, alignment and positioning issues and punctuation errors.
These and many more are part of a long list of checks media localization providers typically run as a final step before delivering a file.
Such automated checks significantly reduce the time and effort involved in the QC of subtitle and caption files, ensuring errors are identified and fixed easily and quickly. Moving forward, OOONA is now working on providing automated checks via API integrations as well.
One of the biggest challenges in high-scale localization workflows is to maintain consistency and accuracy across multiple language streams and platforms where the content is delivered.
OOONA offers project managers and users the ability to simply set the specifications of file assets at the onset of a project and define a set of auto- mated checks as a custom preset.
Relevant errors are then flagged as a file gets created before it even gets to the LQA team.
Project managers are also provided with a bird’s eye view of multiple language streams for a given project on their timeline, so they can easily and quickly run comparisons, check for consistency across files, and query and fix errors before content is released.
As files get passed back and forth between different staff members and teams, it is important to be able to easily see the changes that have been performed during QC or that a client has requested.
Tracking such changes is possible in the OOONA Review Tool with its intuitive color-coding interface.
Where subtitle or caption files are already available for a given video, one of the most frequent operations performed by production teams is a sync check of the file against the video to ensure that the subtitles or captions play smoothly.
A three-point or five-point check has been customary in media localization. As files get redelivered in different formats, for different platforms or to different video versions, such workflows account for a large volume of files undergoing a QC step.
To help providers streamline and automate such QC workflows OOONA developed a dedicated tool called SynCheck.
This solution is favored by broadcasters as well.
With SynCheck, one can drop any number of videos and subtitle files in a folder and the tool will automatically check subtitle files against videos of corresponding file names.
Manual matching is also possible when the file names do not bear enough similarity for the system to match them automatically.
The tool will then check if a given subtitle file is in the appropriate language and in sync with the corresponding video by automatically examining a configurable number of checkpoints. If a file is failed, it is tagged with an error flag and users get the option to open the file in OOONA’s Create Tool to fix the errors identified.
Taking this a step further, OOONA facilitates QA workflows by providing broadcasters and language service providers alike with an intuitive management system to keep track of all their QA work.
Originally designed for HOT Telecommunications, Israel’s largest cable TV and internet service provider, OOONA QA is now available to all enterprise clients.
The OOONA QA tool manages the quality assurance process of any type of asset, be it video, audio, subtitle file or other; all descriptive fields in the tool are customizable, typical to the OOONA philosophy.
The content for QA can be populated manually or via the simple import of an Excel file.
After logging a piece of content for QC, a ticket can be raised including the issue type, source, and description, as well as notes on its severity and other data fields to clarify and pinpoint the exact location and origin of the error or problem.
Intuitive controls are provided for communication between teams that need to work on fixing the errors flagged until the asset passes QC and is approved on the system.
The team that fixes the error also logs its cause for future reference.
“To support our operations, we need to QC hundreds of files on a daily basis,” said Aviran Barlev, content operations director at HOT Tele-communications. “We were looking to replace our current labor-intensive and time-consuming workflows with a streamlined QA solution. OOONA quickly reacted to our request, providing a high-end scalable QA platform that perfectly fit our needs. We have now rolled out the OOONA QA system across all channels.”
At OOONA, we firmly believe that project management and quality assurance are the two areas that make a difference in language operations. We expect to continue tackling both by providing more solutions enabling our customers to address any challenge they face.
Our ecosystem provides a powerful advantage to any media company looking to improve their QA process and deliver high-quality media content to their end clients and audience.
* By Alex Yoffe, Product Manager, OOONA *