Proper translation management from the start

SUCCESSFUL PREPARATION OF TRANSLATION PROJECTS

Some time ago I received a complaint. A customer called me and said:

Mr. Faust, you did this translation for us. Let me start by saying that I know that our text wasn’t very well written. It had a few errors, and we had some internal disagreements about some terms. But the translation that you delivered is not good.”

My objection was obvious. But upon reflection it became clear to me that the shoe does, in fact, fit. As a language service provider, it is my job do support my customers so that the translation process ends with a product that satisfies the customer’s requirements. Passing the buck does not solve the problem because the contacts in the companies that handle marketing, product development, sales, etc., will naturally not have the linguistic expertise and sensitivity required for translation management.

Groundwork

Reviewing the requirements for the translation project is an essential step, because these requirements determine the result. True to the motto:

Botch in, botch out.

With a standardized workflow we can ensure the quality of the result even before the actual translation starts:

  • Reviewing the source text (quality, accuracy, comprehensibility, …)
  • Reviewing reference material
  • Adjusting the baseline checklist
  • Determining a competent contact at the customer
  • Transferring, extracting, pre-translating terminology
  • Determining query management
  • Specifying the ICR loop
  • Creating a style guide 

Not all of the items listed above are used in every project, but a checklist will ensure that nothing is left out if it might be relevant for a specific project.

Project management

If the project managers have clarified these requirements, then problems with a severe effect on the result will generally not occur during a translation project.

Project managers, of course, support every project throughout its execution, and they stay in contact with translators and the customer’s contacts, if necessary.

All results and experiences from the translation project are captured and updated at project closing: baseline, memories, terminology, references, and queries. Difficulties and questions that may arise are recorded, as are measures that were taken and any best practices learned from the project. All of this is then shared with all the participants (the project manager, translator, terminologist, proofreader, editor, ICR).

This approach results in a continuous optimization, which, over the medium term, means shorter delivery times, lower costs, higher quality for the customer!

Thank you very much!

By the way, I’m still thankful to my customer mentioned above. Nobody likes complaints. But complaints can provide an impulse for decisive changes.

I hope that I can count on your continued support!

Most humbly

Christian Faust

P.S.: The industry-specific terms that I used above are explained in another article on our blog.

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