If you have ever used the services of a translation company, your experience has probably been limited to handing over the source text and then receiving the translated text (the target text) after a certain amount of time. But if you’re curious to find out what the journey of a document is from the beginning to the end and what the many interactions and behind-the-scenes activities needed are, you’ll find this article on project coordination in a translation company interesting.
Coordinating translation projects: receiving the request
The project starts when we receive a request from the client. To set a price, we first need to see and analyse the document; we cannot know otherwise. Ideally, we should receive the text directly in Word format so that we can edit it without difficulty. If it happens to be delivered to us in PDF or any other hard-to-edit format or even a format we cannot edit at all, we must first convert the document.
Coordination of translation projects: evaluation of the request
Once we have the text in editable format, we move on to the next step, assessing its length according to character count.
In our experience, we have come across translation companies that estimate the number of pages at source without checking the length of the resulting text. We have also met a few clients who insisted on receiving a fixed price from the beginning.
While we are always happy to accommodate all our clients’ requests, we still need to warn them when necessary. One of the risky situations we try to avoid is setting a fixed rate without an assessment. This entails potential losses for both the client and the translation company; only at the end can one tell which party benefits from the actual number of characters.
It goes without saying why we don’t practice this system, and we always try to maintain as fair a relationship as possible with our customers.
Coordination of translation projects: the offer
After the initial assessment, we send the offer to the client. Once it is approved, we start working. From here, proper project coordination becomes essential. Here’s why:
Coordination of translation projects: the work process
The workload is divided
Large jobs are divided between several translators. We always make sure that their style and vocabulary are similar. As we have said in previous articles, we avoid loading translators with more than 50 pages per week. By doing so, we ensure that the work can be delivered on time and that the translation does not contain mistakes made in haste or parts that have not been given enough attention.
Some translators want to take on a larger workload, in which case we send them the work, and they decide for themselves what part of the text they want to take on. However, this system is only reserved for very serious translators who have always delivered on time, regardless of the volume.
Phased delivery is another delivery system where translators have to meet a series of successive deadlines for different parts of the text. This way of working allows early pasting of the translated text into the final format, but the translators’ reliability must also match this system, as the pace must be constant and sustained; in other words, texts are not left to the last minute.
Finally, the translated text is set into format, and the proofreading begins. This is a complex stage, which we will cover in a separate article. Until then, we hope you enjoyed learning about how projects are handled in a translation company and how experience has led us to employ the best working methods.