The Process

Easy World of Translation

If you have never heard of the translation project management, then you probably think that working on a translation is a little bit easier than it really is. This opinion can be justified. Let's take a small simple text that a professional, who is fluent in two languages, has a university degree and 10 years of experience in the translation field, translates from one language to another. How hard can that be? It is for sure as easy as pie. But, what if the task is a little bit more complicated, for example, you need to translate your breakthrough article about new invention in genetics? Simply translating word by word without understanding the subject just won't work because it also requires background knowledge and the ability to express ideas in both languages. It is evident that translators cannot be professionals in every single field in addition to their translation skills. This is exactly why some freelance translators choose their niche: some specialize in business or economic translations, others are really good at marketing or advertising translations, yet others prefer to translate books. There are freelancers that are really good at medical or legal translations who might not have a clue about how to translate a technical user manual. Sometimes it may be hard to find a bilingual specialist in a certain field who can convey information in another language exactly as it is in the original text. Or you might end up finding somebody who has at least experience in translating this language pair and hope for the best. Professionals in translation use a different approach.

Organized world of translation

Serious translations or, in other words, translation projects, require multi-level planning. Thus, a translator working alone should become a terminologist, a language engineer, evaluator, technical writer, proof-reader and many more in one. Nobody claims it's impossible, but it certainly requires lots of knowledge, time and effort. If a translator has the task of translating a whole book, there is possibility that the process will take a very long time. For a faster turnaround, the solution would be to create and a team of professionals who work together, help each other and have their own specific tasks, with one person responsible for monitoring the team work. This would accelerate both the quality and the speed of the translation.

The translation project management usually includes the following steps:

  • first contact with a client
  • preparation of a quote based on the volume, level of difficulty and turnaround time
  • accepting a new project
  • creating a project plan
  • starting the project by distributing parts of the project to translators based on their particular strengths
  • monitoring the work (performing various check points of work)
  • resolution of any issues that arise during translation
  • ensuring communication between the client and translators, asking and answering appropriate questions
  • ensuring seamless desktop publishing if required by the project
  • performing in-house quality assurance, checking all files for consistency
  • returning the perfect translation to the client
  • conducting review after client revision and performing all changes if necessary

It is important to organize the workflow the way where everything is well-planned ahead and structured. In other words, translation project manager is responsible for coordination, teamwork organization, follow-up on the due dates and providing communication between a team of translators and the client.

For successful translation project completion, it is crucial that all these stages be carefully performed and monitored by the translation project manager. If the project is not well organized, a lot of things could go wrong and lead to serious consequences. There should must be a way to keep track of every single assignment being translated, proof-read or marked as done. When organized correctly, translation project management greatly increases quality and the speed of the translation.