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You’re a project manager, project leader, department manager, management assistant, etc., and you need to have texts translated for your company

The stakes of the mission are high. In order to avoid mistakes, here are the steps to follow to best manage translation projects. And because your time is precious, we enclosed some tips to save it! Free of charge!

Learn the steps of a translation project

To best manage translations, it is important to understand the methodology used by professional translation agencies. Here are the 3 steps:

1. Pre-production:

Understand the request and analyze the requirements (quality of the files, number of words to translate, deadlines…) in order to give to the final customer a detailed quote, with a precise production planning.

2. Production:

Once the quote is signed, the project can be launched. After having set up the most suitable team with the translation project manager, it is time to create a “project kit” that includes the constraints related to the project, the translation resources and the tools that the team will have at its disposal: glossary, translation memory, computer-aided translation software, detailed brief, etc.

A translation project manager continuously monitors the assignment and acts as a link between the client and the translators for any questions that may arise.

Once the translation is done, the file goes through the following steps: proofreading, check of the layout and sometimes, final proofreading on the final file if the document will be printed (press proof document).

3. Post production:

Once delivered to the end customer, the project is saved and archived (server, in the cloud) in order to remain accessible to the customer for a specified period of time.

As you might have understood, for a professional translation agency, there is the question of translation but also that of managing translation projects! Learn more about the steps followed by translation agencies to deliver the best translations.

How to prepare the translation project

On the client side, it is important to prepare the project properly to ensure that the translated documents will be in line with your expectations.

1. Prepare your source file

  • Only send the agency the final version of your texts. Are your texts finalized or will they be modified soon? If so, wait until you have the final version in hand.
  • Check that the source text is clear and error-free. This is the best way to be sure that the translators will have a good understanding of it.

2. Give a detailed brief

  • Be precise when you indicate the target language. If you want a French-English translation, is it American English or British English that you need?
  • Mention the field covered by your source content: marketing texts, scientific texts, legal texts…
  • Explain how this translated text will be used. This context will help translators to choose the right terminology and the right style.
  • Specify the date on which you wish to receive your translated files. Be aware that to have the best quality, a certain number of hours are necessary to implement the steps previously described.
  • Describe your specific constraints:
    • a dedicated glossary to use,
    • some SEO optimization,
    • a minimum/maximum number of characters allowed….
  • What is the file format of your source? Word, Excel, Html, Indesign, QuarkXpress, *.xml, *.po? And in what format should the final translation be delivered?

How to save time and optimize costs

Your texts to translate are in several separate files, or even in files of different formats? If you can, put all your texts together in a single file, ideally in the simplest format (Word or Excel).

Indeed, processing 1000 words on a single Word file is faster for the translation agency than processing 2 Word files of 200 words, 1 PDF file of 350, and 2 Excel files of 450 words. This will make the translation faster and cheaper for you!

To make your files faster to process, remove all visuals that do not require translation (and which are not vital to understand the context), if possible. 

Remain vigilant

Here is our advice before entrusting your translation projects to language service providers:

  • Is the translation provider serious and really professional?
  • Does the agency have in-house translators or only external resources?
  • Are the steps of the project’s implementation described in the translation process?
  • If your project is quite large (at least 5,000 words), has the service provider offered to use “translation memories” to save on repetitions and ensure consistency?
  • If your text is specialized (medical translation, scientific translation, legal or sworn translation, financial translation, etc.), does the translation agency have translators specialized in your field? This is essential to ensure a perfect understanding and excellent transcription.
  • What is the agency’s privacy policy?

Learn more about how to choose the right translation agency.