Time is Money
It’s a cliché but especially true in the translation business. In the perfect world, translation effort deserves as much time if not longer as the source language content creation. If the marketing team spents 2 months designing an English website, wouldn’t it be fair to ask for the same time to translate it into 20 other languages?
The reality is more demanding. Most companies did not build localization as part of the content creation process, but rather the last step before going live. So instead of having 2 months’ time to translate, you only have 2 weeks.
That’s why translators complain a lot. Translation has never been a science but more of an art. While you can find individual word’s translation in dictionary, how to assemble them to orchestrate a beautiful final work takes much brain work.
But if you wait 2 months, all your PR releases will be too old to be relevant when the localized site is live. Copycats may have been arising in local markets. The important industry tradeshow is already over.
So you are left with no choice but to press your translators, which easily result in mediocre work.
There’s hope. Try these next time you see a new translation project on the horizon:
Talk to your internal content creators. How long do they think the content will be ready? Can they work in batches?
Start picking and evaluating vendors right away. Ask for a budgetary quote. Prepare a small sample to test their ability to handle subject matter content.
Set up priorities. Which components can wait longer, which ones need to be done right away?
Fight for more time for your translators. Agile translation management is possible when you are in capable hands. Ask if your vendor is willing to handle small batches. Then put together a timeline with them. Whenever necessary, fight internally for more time, otherwise you may be punished unfairly for a mediocre results.
Consider experience and technology. Not many vendors have both the experience and technology to have tens if not hundreds of translators work simultaneously to speed things up. Lotus is one of those unicorns.
Go back and adjust. Even with all the preparation and planning, you may still find “surprises” along the way. Build up a period of time for rework just in case.
Consider internal reviewer help, or not. Internal reviewers may provide important references to your localization partner. It’s also possible that they will extend your timeline indefinitely due to their busy schedule, or propose unnecessary changes to confuse the translators. Make a decision based on your actual situation. Lotus can lend a hand too.
Lotus translation believes in adapting to the market demand. We understand your organization has a unique requirement, we listen, we adapt, and we get things done. Share your expectations with us!