They say the first step is always the hardest. When working with a new translation agency, there are bound to be lots of questions that will take time to resolve. But no matter how long it takes, it’s worth doing – both the client and the agency will benefit in the long run. So how does MEINRAD support new clients, and what role do its Senior Project Managers play?
Whatever your situation – whether you need texts for customers in another country for the first time, or you’re looking for an agency to either work alongside your in-house translation department or handle all your translations – at MEINRAD we guarantee one thing: however many questions you ask us, we’ll have at least as many questions for you. This post will explain why.
“I need a translation”
The MEINRAD team hears this more often than anything else. But what many potential clients don’t know is that language service providers like us offer so much more than simply translation. In the 21st century, the translation process has moved on from sending Word files to translators: it encompasses everything from creating and formatting source texts to finetuning the layout of the finished file, including various steps that often go unnoticed by clients but which ultimately help them save a lot of money. That’s where MEINRAD is in its element, offering individual support for our clients and establishing workflows that make their life easier.
Senior Project Managers: the first contacts as the partnership begins
When a new client contacts MEINRAD, a Senior Project Manager is the first person to give them the support and guidance they need early on. Our Senior Project Managers have many years of experience in handling various file formats and client needs, so they have both the required expertise and the right instinct for what will work best. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that meets the different needs of all our clients. As well as the translations themselves, each client needs a workflow that’s right for them – so after the initial contact, we usually speak to the client at length in person or over the phone. Our Senior Project Managers need to know the answers to various questions, such as:
- Which files and software does the client use?
- Which language pairs are required?
- Which file formats are involved – are they simple Word documents or complex MadCap Flare files?
- Does the client need the files back in the same format?
- Are there existing translations, or perhaps even translation memories?
- Should the CAT grid be adapted so that (for example) higher matches from the translation memory aren’t charged at the full rate?
- Is the client interested in working together to create and maintain term bases?
- Does the client have its own in-house translation department or other staff who would prefer to carry out the reviews? Would they like to be integrated into our systems?
- Would machine translation in combination with full post-editing be feasible?
- Are there processes that could be optimized or automated, helping the client to save money?
- Is there a style guide? (They can be very helpful when translating marketing texts in particular)
- Would the client like desktop publishing as well?
- Are there areas where the client would benefit from training conducted by MEINRAD?
- Are there any other ways we can help the client establish and optimize in-house workflows related to translation?
As you can see, apart from all needing a translation, clients’ requirements can vary enormously. Our Senior Project Managers are responsible for establishing exactly what those requirements are and for creating an all-round package that ensures they’re met. And that doesn’t end once the partnership is up and running: they’re always on hand to answer questions and identify areas where the translation workflows can be made (even) better.
Existing translation memories – one way to save money
One of the key questions in the list above is whether the client already has translations in the desired target languages. This can include texts produced by other translation agencies or their own in-house translators.
Even better is if the client already has translation memories (TMs), as this will usually help them save money – if texts have already been translated, they don’t need to pay for them to be translated again. For instance, if only a few sentences in a 500-page instruction manual have been changed, the potential savings are enormous. But that can depend on the quality of the translations in the TM, so MEINRAD will carefully check whether they’re useful or not.
But it’s not just the money-saving potential that makes it a good idea to continue using the same TMs: they help ensure that the terminology and style used in previous translations is also used in future translations. So clients avoid inconsistent texts that confuse readers and look unprofessional.
Another benefit is that existing translations can be used to create term bases (electronic glossaries) if the client doesn’t yet have them. These make the translators’ work easier and are another way to guarantee that specialist terminology will be used correctly and consistently. We’re happy to create and maintain term bases on our clients’ behalf, but it can be even more beneficial for clients if they work with us – after all, they know their terminology better than anyone else.
All-round tech support at MEINRAD
Terminology management, software databases and IT systems can cause various problems, so if a client has a specific issue they may well need support from one of our translation technology experts. One issue we often deal with is complex file types used to develop and translate websites, which can make life very difficult for everyone involved, so even before the first project begins there’s a lot to think about and prepare.
How the first translation project with MEINRAD will go
Once everything’s been discussed and agreed, we’re good to go. MEINRAD will keep a particularly close eye on the first few projects in order to identify and resolve potential issues, such as graphics that contain text or software strings where character limits might cause problems when translated into other languages. Challenges like these don’t usually come up in single-page Word documents, but they’re common when working with lengthy instruction manuals created in authoring systems like MadCap Flare. And something else to bear in mind is that the translators are likely to have lots of questions early on, so that they can be sure they’ve understood and translated everything correctly.
One contact person for all your translations
Once the first few translation projects have been delivered successfully and the workflows have been established, gradually the Senior Project Manager will begin to hand over responsibility to another of our Project Managers. This Project Manager will have been involved from the start, so they’ll already know what the client needs. All MEINRAD clients are looked after by the same team of Project Managers, so that our in-house knowledge of the client is retained and the client always knows who they’re talking to. That means if one Project Manager is on holiday, the client will already know the Project Manager covering for them and doesn’t have to worry that their project won’t run as smoothly as normal.
How a long-term partnership with a translation agency can benefit you
Even once it no longer makes sense to call a client “new”, MEINRAD doesn’t ease off. The Senior Project Manager will remain in the background after they’ve “handed over” primary responsibility to the other Project Managers, working alongside them to identify any areas where the client could benefit from even more streamlined workflows. The longer the partnership goes on, the more the client benefits: core translators become more familiar with their texts so produce even better translations, and over time the client pays less for translations as the translation memory grows. Take a look at this graph:
In short: the longer the partnership goes on, the better clients, Project Managers and translators know each other and the more effectively they can communicate and work with each other.
And what does that mean for you?
If you’re now wondering how you could benefit from our personalized solutions, contact us today and we’ll take a look at how we might work together and how our partnership could help take your business to the next level.
Main image: © MEINRAD