How to Translate: Planning a Translation Project

Translation Project


When you start moving into more territories, one problem  needs to be resolved immediately: communication.

Communication needs to be addressed by correctly translating your chosen message(s), to ensure you’re speaking to your demographics in their native tongue – something  the majority of consumers find more important than the price.

There is a dividing line when it comes to translation clients. Some businesses believe a translation is as quick and easy as typing their texts into a free online translation tool; others imagine the translation process will be too complicated for them to understand, and just ignore their international potential.

Planning a translation project is neither of the above. It’s not as simple as typing your content into a translation tool and receiving instant results, nor is it too complicated to address – especially if you choose an experienced supplier to be at your side.

Planning a translation project requires a skilled, experienced team of experts to ensure your company wins wherever it ventures.

It’s always worth approaching a professional Language Service Provider ( LSP) to discuss the options available to you.  A good LSP will ask the right questions to ensure they supply exactly what your company wants and/or needs to achieve its objectives.

By talking through your goals, expectations and problems in an organised way, you’ll be able to find solutions that are tailored to your individual needs. Translation projects do have cross-overs, but every company and project has its own unique requirements.

Let’s look at an example:  if you’re seeking to expand into the Japanese market, you need to consider the localisation aspects if you want to communicate the culture of that demographic. You need to be reverential, referential and relevant.

Japanese websites are designed in a very different way to their Western counterparts. They have an entirely novel style, and the user experiences (UX) work differently too. Although all this may sound expensive, redesigning an entire website isn’t  always necessary, but it’s an option worth considering before you go further, and localisation to individual cultures is an interesting part of this. The small details involved in localisation can be pivotal,  and are worth discussing with your LSP to ensure they achieve the final product you require.

Something else you might consider is producing a draft document to ‘scope’ out what the project requires.  By drafting a scoping document, everything you want is labelled which makes planning the best course of action easier.  Once you have a clear list of objectives to follow, a professional LSP can give you a more accurate quotation and – better still – a higher quality translation service. By discussing this document with a qualified Account Manager, you can ask questions that will ensure everything is clear and included in a single reference list.

More importantly, during this discussion, you can map out the other factors that are keys to a successful translation project, like timeframes.  By having an honest discussion with your LSP in advance,  you can manage your expectations realistically. A first class translator typically processes in the region of 2,000 words a day – using the industry average. Consequently, if you need 10,000 words translated, it would take the average translator five working days to finish.

However, if you have tighter deadlines, significantly more content to be translated or any other types of restriction, this potential bottleneck can be worked around and overcome. A common method to speed up the process is to use more than one linguist to translate a document. The main problem in using this approach is that the tone of the final document may be inconsistent, because language is subjective, and translators have different approaches.  One way you can circumvent this is to pay for a secondary proofreading by an independent linguist, who ensures there is only one tone, and one voice.

Price isn’t always the best indicator of quality when it comes to a translation. If one quotation is significantly lower than another, you should start by asking why the price is lower. Despite leaps and bounds in the technologies used in the translation industry, it still relies on people who only translate  1,500 – 2,000 words a day on average. When you’re comparing the prices they quote, you need to check whether these  reflect the cost of work by skilled, experienced and qualified linguists, or whether the agency are just skimping on quality to increase their own profit margins. Mistranslations and low quality translation can cause irreparable damage to your business – which is why we never recommend using online translation tools or unqualified linguists, who frequently generate embarrassing mistranslations.

What you really need when you’re planning a translation project is a dialogue. You need to discuss what you want/need,  and to be told how the translation agency is going to achieve your goals efficiently. By communicating and engaging with a dedicated Account Manager, the final product you are actually seeking becomes clearer and, therefore, easier to achieve.

A truly professional translation agency will be more than happy to talk about a potential project in detail, regardless of its size. Qualified Accounts Managers know what they are doing, and will be able to talk you through the process step-by-step, and be ready to change it accordingly to suit your requirements.

So, now you know a bit more about how  professionals handle translation projects, why not find out what Text ‘n More can offer you?


You may also like

We love to talk!