Large translation projects are always a desirable target for profit reasons. However, with them always come inevitable difficulties, which must not be forgotten and which must be solved before the project enters the translation stage.
The translation agency should be realistic about the deadline for the delivery of the document. There are several points to consider when determining the completion date.
· Type of document: is it a technical manual that requires a specific kind of vocabulary, or is it a text on a more general topic?
· Language nuances: is knowledge of the dialect required?
· Available number of translators: How many translators need to be involved in the project? Will all specialists be available for translation during the entire period of the order? Is it possible to find a replacement if necessary?
· Method of delivery of the finished order: should the translation be submitted in paper form or can it be sent by e-mail? This is reflected in the total time from receipt of the original to the delivery of the finished translation.
· Need for special software: are there diagrams or other elements in the document that require special software to process?
Once the above issues have been resolved, the project manager should establish a translation schedule, i.e. determine how many words (or characters) need to be translated per day to meet the deadline. It is important to analyze the list of translators available for the project in terms of the speed of their work (whether it correlates with the given time period for translation) and the skills they have (whether their experience is suitable for fulfilling the order). Translators familiar with this topic will do their part much faster than those who come across this type of text for the first time. It is worth starting a project with a group of 5-6 translators, but you should always have 1-2 specialists in stock in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Before starting the translation, it is necessary to clarify with the customer which terms in the original should be paid special attention to, as well as to determine the terms in relation to which it is necessary to maintain uniformity throughout the document in the translation. List them (glossary) and send them to all translators.
If the order is a very long manual with many chapters, it is worth setting a due date for each chapter. Tell the customer that it will be much more convenient to send in several chapters, rather than a complete document at once. In addition, the client will then be able to review the first translated chapters to ensure that the translators are adhering to the desired style and language. Then, if necessary, it will be possible to make corrections in the first couples, correcting the work at the beginning.
Chapters similar to each other or united by the same topic should be given to the same translator for translation. Thus, as the project progresses, the specialist will become more and more familiar with the subject, and the translation speed will increase.
When translators submit parts of a finished document before sending them to the client, it is very important to thoroughly check the work. It is necessary to keep in touch with each translator, making sure that everyone keeps up with each other and meets the established requirements.
Try to make a plan for the week and then follow up on it meticulously to keep the project moving forward as expected. In case of any unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances delaying the delivery of the translation, immediately inform the client about it.
Communication between all participants in the process is the key to success in translating large projects. If the project manager keeps both the client and each member of the translation team up to date, he can easily prevent possible discrepancies between the client’s expectation and the actual result of the work.
What other tips could you share regarding organizing a large-scale translation?