The answer is, it shouldn’t.
Whether managing multilingual content is your main job or one of many other jobs you do, translation management should be one of easier jobs. It is like any other job – if you set it up properly, it will become one of your easiest responsibilities. Consider the following seven steps to prepare for a successful relationship and a much easier and simpler process for translation management.
- Find the Right Partner: This is the first step for a successful long-term plan. Find a partner who is willing to invest in learning about your needs, plans, setup, process, content types, and technology. A good partner will be willing to customize their systems and processes to align with your short and long-term plans.
- Use a Platform: The time of emailing documents has gone! Sending and receiving documents by email doesn’t work anymore because of documents’ sizes that are not supported by mail servers, formats that may be blocked by firewalls and antiviruses, the cost of growing mailbox sizes, potential loss of emails, change in personnel, and most importantly, the difficulty to track different projects with different languages through email messages.
Managing projects’ workflows is another reason to use a translation management system/platform. Each project can follow a different workflow based on the tasks required, types of content, users involved, and technology used.
A translation memory is an integral part of the platform. This is the only way to maintain your tone of voice, ensuring consistency, recycling your own content, and saving time and money.
- Agree on Rates and Budgets: A good partner will agree with you on fixed rates per languages and services, and provide customized proposals as needed. When a good technological platform is used, it not only stores the agreed upon rates in the system, but also gives you the ability to track your spend, as well as specify budgets and allocate projects to different cost centers as needed.
Translation Management Platforms are also equipped with reporting capabilities that help you take ownership of your content and spend, as well as learn who is doing what/when.
- Consolidate Linguistic Assets: Yes, your multilingual content is considered an asset, and you own it. Every word the partner translates for you is part of your “Linguistic Assets”. While you own the assets, the partner has to host and maintain them for you in the platform.
The language partner will include the linguistic assets in every project, so that linguists have access to approved translations and terminology in real-time during the translation and editing processes.
- Collaborate with Stakeholders: Success is a collaborative effort between you, your team, the translation partner, the linguists, and other layout or technical specialists involved in each project. Linguists may need guidance on some concepts, so they may have questions that need to be answered by your internal subject matter experts.
During the onboarding process, bring all your rules, assets, and knowledge to the team to be able to create a streamlined process with clear roles and responsibilities.
This is another area the platform has to be able to support, which allows different team members to collaborate based on their roles in each project.
- Agree on Projects’ Types and Instructions: Different departments may create different types of content; sales, marketing, technical documentation, legal, human resources, training, compliance…etc., and accordingly each one of these types will require a different way to translate/localize. In this case, consider working with your partner on developing instructions for each project/content type, as well as creating some style guides that are derived from your branding guidelines and tone of voice. Instructions should also be available to team members as part of the project page in the platform.
- Agree on Timelines: Once projects and content types are defined, the final step is to agree on specific timelines for each project type/size. You can categorize the projects into categories based on the languages, size, and format, and then agree on duration for each project category.
If you have a content development plan, share it with your partner so they can align their resources accordingly and better prepare for your project.
The majority of the steps mentioned above should all be performed during the relationship setup and onboarding between you and your new partner. It is a collaborative effort between yourself, your team, and your language solutions partner. Once you have these steps completed, it’s best to revisit them once or twice a year, as needed.
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