More often than not, translations are needed as quickly as possible and agencies don’t have much lead time. Any number of factors can affect how long it will take to deliver a translation, including the length and complexity of the text and the availability of the translators and reviewers.
But you as the client can also play your part in meeting deadlines, saving money and improving the end product. This post gives you some top tips for how you can optimize your translation workflows.
Provide clear instructions and all the information required
The more information you give your translation partner at the start of the project, the fewer questions they’ll have to ask and the quicker the translators (and subsequently the reviewers) can begin working on your texts.
You should always provide the following information:
1. What needs to be translated
2. Which language(s) is the translation going into?
- If the language has regional variants, it’s important to specify which one you need (e.g. French for France or French for Canada).
3. When do you need the translation back, and why?
- For example, is there a release date for the product which means the translation must be delivered by then?
- Or is the date you’ve given merely a rough indication of when you’d like the translation back?
4. What formatting requirements are there?
- Does the translation agency need to deliver the translation so that it’s immediately ready for printing, or will DTP etc. be done in-house? This is often the case for marketing brochures.
- Is the translation purely in order to understand the content, e.g. if it’s an invitation to tender, meaning that no special formatting is required?
5. Is there specific terminology or a particular style or tone that needs to be used?
6. Is there any other information that might be important for your translation partner to know?
Only send the final version of your text
Take your time and make sure you’re happy with your documents before sending them to your translation partner. New versions of texts can be incorporated into the translation process, but it takes time (and therefore costs money) to import them into the CAT tool, run the analysis and update the project for the translators or reviewers. It can lead to confusion, and it’s guaranteed to slow down the translation process.
“Book” translators in advance
Your translation agency will be very appreciative if you tell them that you’ll soon be sending a big translation project, rather than springing it on them without warning. They can then plan ahead and schedule the necessary resources, including the translators and reviewers, to ensure everything’s in place to deliver the translation quickly when it arrives.
Allow enough time for the translation
High-quality translations can’t be done in a hurry, so make sure you allow enough time for the translation process. Experienced translators can translate between 2,000 and 2,500 words a day, but more time may be required depending on their availability and the complexity of the text. And remember to factor in the time it will take to prepare the texts, review the translation and export the finished files.
At MEINRAD we always try to give our translators and reviewers enough time, so they can work without having to worry about tight deadlines. Not only will this give you even more accurate translations and a better overall service, it will also help maintain positive and productive relationships between everyone involved. Sometimes, however, urgent translations are unavoidable. In these cases, our translators and reviewers are prepared to work to tight deadlines and deliver your projects as quickly as possible.
Use a translation memory system
A translation memory is a database that saves all your translations and makes them available as a resource for future translations. In short: once a sentence has been translated, it never needs to be translated again. This doesn’t just give you better, more consistent translations – it also simplifies and speeds up work for translators and reviewers. If you’d like to find out how using a translation memory system can save you lots of time and money, plus other ways it can benefit your business, we explain how they work here.
Don’t be shy about asking questions!
Whatever your question, whether it’s about a specific project or about optimizing the translation process for your documents more generally, we’re here to help. Clients frequently want to know about potential issues when using different file formats, introducing and using translation memory systems, maintaining term bases and much more, and MEINRAD is on hand to answer these questions and offer all the support they need. So don’t be shy: if there’s anything you’re unsure about, or if you just want to find out more about us and how we work, then get in touch!
Main image: © Maksim Kabakou/Adobe Stock