Friday, July 29, 2016

Manage your very first translation project like a pro: Where to begin?

If you are new in a company and are suddenly assigned with also handling translations in your role as product manager, office manager, marketing manager, documentation manager, etc., or you are simply the type whom everyone turn to for help when they are stuck, this blog is a must-read.

Manage translation like a pro.
Source: AdobeStock.com

The material to be translated is not so important. You could end up having to find someone to translate a data sheet, a press release of a new product, brochure or even a web site. Based on our experience, it's not that uncommon that companies have no workflow or protocol in place when it comes to the occasional need for translation, especially for new languages or exotic ones. Imagine having to find someone to translate your company’s English company intro into Maltese or Hebrew…
It is a fact that all translated content published by a company speaks to potential customers in new international markets and therefore should be considered as “weapons” to gain new ground. And because of this it's quite surprising how often companies lack a conceptual approach to their documentation and translation management. Often this area involves unwritten know-how that leaves the company with the person who has been used to handle these tasks. 

If you are the lucky one assigned to manage, say, translation of an annual product catalog, and you have never managed any translation project before, here are some important tips how to deal with it like a pro:

1. Search for translation resources. You could save a lot of effort.
2. Map the suppliers thoroughly. The difference is night and day.
3. Document your company's language management.
4. Establish a translation management workflow in your company.

Let's break it down a bit more, point by point.

Search for translation resources.
Source: AdobeStock.com

1. Make a search for translation resources. If none are available, create them for the future.

'Translation resources' doesn't refer to the actual document you need to translate. But what’s important is that when translating content that is similar or basically an update of something already translated (e.g. a catalog in this case), there is a good chance some or even a lot of the volume has already been translated and saved in the form of a translation memory, preferably together with a glossary – most likely at your previous translation supplier. So you don't need to translate that again.
Translation resources and the knowledge of them are important and make up a valuable resource:

  • If you have no translation resources at all, you will pay the full price for translation. This is a cost issue. And here's the deal: Having access to already pre-translated content reduces both the translation cost and delivery time.
    Creating and preparing translation resources for future savings on translation expenses is a common service included in the price of translation by professional agencies that work with special translation tools and software.
  • If you have translation resources in your hand, your company has most likely already cooperated with a language service provider (LSP) at some point in the past. Try to find out the details of this cooperation, and if you gain positive feedback, you have a hot candidate for translation supplier.
    More importantly, if you do not have the resources, but know an agency has built them, your company is the legal owner of the resources, and you can request if from your agency any time.

And here we get to the next point  mapping and choosing a translation supplier  explained in our next blog --->


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