How To Manage A Translation Project

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Written by: Thanh Trâm + Thùy Linh

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS | TRANSLATION PROJECT

As globalization spreads, projects become more complicated and translation work frequently has multiple facets, necessitating the expertise of a multidisciplinary team. Project management for translations becomes essential as a result.

In today’s digital age, managing a translation project can be made easier with the use of online tools. You can easily control every aspect of your translation project and make sure it consistently lives up to your standards.

Managing a translation project is not just about quality and speed, but also about meeting deadlines, quality assurance, and being able to manage the translator if something goes wrong.

One of the most important things is to make sure that you know your role in this process, because if you don’t know what your role should be, then you might find yourself unable to fulfill it well. 

You need to understand where the responsibility lies here: your supervisor or client – so you can react accordingly. If a few days are left before the deadline but everything seems fine with the content, then it’s not worth stressing out too much at this stage.

Just go ahead and correct some typos and spelling mistakes that should have been missed in the first place.

In this article, we will discuss the best ways to manage your translation projects so that you can be sure the end result is exactly what you’re looking for.

What Is a Translation Project?

A translation project is a set of activities conducted to translate documents from one language into another. Those documents can include anything from a small website to an entire company’s marketing materials. 

The translation project starts from the moment customers place the order to the moment the final translation is delivered to customers.

There are many different types of translation projects, each with its own unique requirements. Some projects require high-quality translations within a short amount of time, while others need to be completed in multiple languages.

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How Do I Manage a Translation Project?

Managing a translation project can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the process.

The first thing you should do is determine what type of project it is. If it’s a small one, you may be able to manage the process yourself.

If it’s large or requires multiple languages, though, consider hiring a translation agency.

These agencies have teams of professional translators who can help you complete your project quickly and accurately.

How To Manage A Translation Project

Managing a translation project is a complex task, but with a careful and diligent effort, one can be successful if they follow these  principles while preparing to manage a translation project:

1. Receive Request

The first step in managing a translation project is to receive the request.

If you’re working with a translation agency, they will often provide you with a template that outlines their requirements for the project. You can use this to learn about their system for managing projects and what information they need from you.

If it’s a large project and/or requires multiple languages, it may be helpful for both sides if you share your own process as well, so that everyone knows what to expect from each other.

The objective of this stage is to move the customer as rapidly as possible from the state where they have a requirement for translation to one where they have a firm quote and a commitment from the LSP regarding a deadline.

2. Analyze Customer Requests

This is the stage where you’re making sure that you’ve understood the customer’s request and can accurately translate it.

You may need to ask follow-up questions to get more information or clarification on anything that’s unclear.

This step is crucial, because if you don’t understand what they want, then how can they be sure that you will deliver? 

You should also check that the request is not too large to translate in a reasonable amount of time. If it is, then you may need to break it down into smaller tasks and quote for each one separately. 

This will save you both time and money later on.

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3. Create a Project Brief

A translation brief, which is created even before the translation process starts, offers priceless information about the goals and expectations of the customer. It acts as a manual and a point of reference for the upcoming project.

Translation briefs are typically concise and to the point, which could lead some people to undervalue their significance.

Once you have a clear understanding of the request, it’s time to create a project brief. A project brief is an overview of what needs translating and why.

 It should include information about any specific terminology or technical terms that may be used in the translation. 

This is also the time to let your client know if there are any specific formatting or layout requirements, such as file names or heading styles.

 You can use this document to keep them informed throughout the project and ensure that they have everything they need to make changes when necessary.

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4. Find Translators With Suitable Skills

This is one of the most important parts of your job. With more than 6,000 languages spoken all over the world, it can be a challenge to find a suitable translator with the right expertise, you need to find a translator with the right skills and experience to do the job well.

If you don’t know any translators, then ask around and see if anyone can recommend someone they trust. You can also search online for translators who specialize in your field. 

If you’re not sure what kind of translator to look for, ask your client or someone else in the industry what they think would work best. 

You might even want to hire two different translators so that they can review each other’s work and make sure there are no mistakes. Some people with translation projects consider the three options outlined below.

  • Translation Companies: These are the most common options for small businesses. You can find a company that specializes in translation services, or you can use an established translation agency. 

The advantage of using a translation company is that they will have many translators on their staff and will be able to handle all aspects of your project quickly and efficiently.

The disadvantage is that they often charge by the word, which means it’s more expensive than other options.


  • Freelance Experts: Freelance translators are individuals who specialize in translation, working independently. They can be found on websites like Upwork and Freelancer, or through personal connections. 

The advantage of using a freelance translator is that they will charge by the hour rather than by the word, which means your project will be less expensive. 

The disadvantage is that you won’t have any guarantee about the quality of their work—they may not have experience with your industry or subject matter.


  • Hiring in-house Talent: You can hire a full-time employee to translate your content.

This is advantageous because you will have a guarantee of quality and consistency. It is the most reliable method of ensuring quality and accuracy.

But it is also expensive; you’ll need to pay for the person’s salary as well as their translation skills and their time, in addition to the cost of hiring and training them.

 

The objective is to locate translators who can complete the task quickly and accurately. Today’s projects have very strict timelines, so as a TPM, you want to finish this stage as soon as you can. 

Furthermore, it would be good if the translators had a track record of pleasing clients as well as the necessary skills.

5. Perform Translation

Once you’ve found a translator, it’s time to get started on the translation. You might want to use Google Translate or another online translator first so that you know what you need to be translated before giving it to your translator.

Understanding the subtleties, traditions, and regional, cultural, and linguistic variations between two languages is essential for successful language translation, which is an artistic endeavor.

It necessitates the capacity to faithfully reproduce the expression and meaning of the original language. The accuracy, appropriateness, and quality demanded of professional translations cannot be consistently produced by machine translation.

Your translator should be able to review the document and provide you with an estimate of how long it will take them.

Once you’ve agreed on a price and timeline, it’s time to get started. Your translator should provide you with an initial draft of the translation so that you can review it before making any changes.

You might want to work with them in person or over email, depending on their availability. Once you’re both happy with the final draft, it will be ready for publication!

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6. Proofread and Edit

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Once you have the translation, it’s time to proofread and edit it yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, then hire a proofreader to do so instead. This will ensure that your translated document is accurate and free of errors.

7. Review The Work

Once you’ve proofread the document, it’s time to review it yourself. This will ensure that your translation is accurate and free of errors. 

When translating, accuracy and precision are typically expected and necessary. Even little mistakes can give the impression that your work is careless or amateurish. Be ready to go through multiple rounds of reviews and edits with linguists, SMEs, and translators. 

Include this in your project timeline and plan. A number of concerns, some potentially significant, can arise from misinterpretation, uncontrolled facts, copyright problems, and others.

You can do this by reading over the text or by running a spell checker on it if possible.

The checking of translations by a native speaker, who can identify mistakes caused by the translator’s incorrect perception of the material, is one of the final processes to be included.

8. Deliver Before Deadline

Once you’re happy with the final draft of your translation, it’s time to deliver it to your client. You can do this in person or by email, depending on their preference. If they have specific instructions for how they want to receive their translations, then follow those guidelines carefully as they may affect deadlines too!

Conclusion

A successful translation project can present challenges due to its complexity, but with careful and diligent effort, one can be successful.

You can have a successful translation project if you carefully implement the tips we have considered in this article; after receiving a  request, analyze it and create a brief, then find a translator,  consider hiring a freelance translator, a full-time in-house translator, or a translation agency – perform the translation, and after proofreading, review it. 

There you go, your translation project is ready for delivery.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help with your translation projects, then get in touch today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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