Setting Your Translation Partner Up for Success

Translation Project Manager shaking hands with a clientWhen you’ve finally found the perfect language service provider (LSP) to work with you on your organization’s foreign language translation needs, the next step is how to go about setting your translation partner up for success. If you take the time to develop a plan and institute some fundamental processes, you will be well on your way to establishing a successful and long-term relationship.

Perhaps you’ve worked with translators and translation companies before and have been met with disappointing results. Translations delivered late, cost overruns, and concerns with quality. Translation is as much of an art as it is a science, and it can be difficult to achieve that perfect “groove” with your translation provider. However, there are a few steps you can take to help make the process smoother and more effective:

1. Allow as much time as possible.

It’s Friday afternoon at 4:50, and you’re staring down the clock when a translation request lands on your desk that’s due the following Tuesday. While you may be inclined to let it wait until Monday morning, those two extra days to complete the translation make all the difference when it comes to your translation provider being able to give you the highest possible quality translation.

By waiting until Monday, your translation provider will be rushing to complete translation, editing, and proofreading within 24 hours, and this creates more risk for making mistakes (translators are human, after all!). Not to mention, you will likely need to pay more for the translation by waiting until Monday to send the request.

2. Provide a style guide and glossary.

Every industry and business have specific terminology and internal jargon. You may also have particular stylistic preferences when it comes to the translation of proper names, format for dates, etc. Unfortunately, while translators are pretty smart and are experts in a variety of technical fields, they are not mind-readers and may not be familiar with your organization’s “inside” terminology and preferences.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to provide a simple translation glossary and style guide that explains acronyms and other key terminology. You can even provide previously translated documents or access to someone within your organization that speaks the source and target languages and can answer any questions the translator may have. This will help them to provide the translation that best meets your expectations.

3. Give them a heads-up!

If you know that you’ll be receiving a box full of documents to translate in a week, and those translations will need to be completely quickly, it’s a good idea to contact your translation partner to let them know. By doing so, they can start to assemble a team to work on the impending project and even start doing some preliminary research, glossary building, etc. Again, doing so will help ensure that you will receive the highest quality translations despite the short turnaround time and large volume.

4. Provide feedback.

Let’s say you have an internal reviewer that is proficient in the source and target languages, and they review the translation and make a few minor changes related to stylistic and terminology preferences. While those changes may seem minor, weren’t corrections of “errors,” and don’t seem worth relaying back to your translation partner, please take the time to do so!

Feedback, positive or otherwise, is a translator’s lifeblood. Additionally, it allows your translation provider to note those stylistic and terminology preferences in their glossary and style guide for future use.

Additionally, if you have been using Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) and Translation Memory (TM) tools for your translation projects, it is vital that any changes that you make to the translation are updated accordingly in the TM database. So, when it comes to feedback, don’t be shy!

In conclusion, when it comes to establishing a fruitful relationship, it is important that you are setting your translation partner up for success. By following the above key tips, you will help them to provide you with the best translation services possible.