“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
You’ve no doubt heard that saying before, but when it comes to language services, it’s a recipe for disaster. Savvy businesses know the value of outsourcing complex tasks that are outside their core competencies. In most cases, language services like translation and localisation are best handled by a team of experts. These projects are complicated. Doing them right gobbles precious time and resources.
Meanwhile, taking shortcuts often leads to costly errors. (We’re looking at you, Google Translate!)
However, if you outsource to a language services provider, you don’t have to worry about any of it. Instead, meet your new best friend: your project manager. LSP project managers work with a team of freelance translators to make sure that your localisation projects are successful. Here’s how they do it.
Translation Projects Started Right
The project manager’s work begins long before a single word is translated. It’s their job to review the project requirements and create a project timeline. They also prepare clear, easy-to-follow instructions for the other professionals who will be working on the project, and they get all the relevant files ready to send off.
A good translation project manager knows the ins and outs of your industry (or is willing to learn), so they can offer you relevant advice and the best possible service. We often talk and research about the customer’s customer as it’s important to understand the context in the world of translation.
There’s a reason we advise against buttonholing a bilingual employee or friend and asking them to translate something important. Not everyone who can speak two languages can be a good translator. Translation requires native-level proficiency in the target language, fluency in the source language, and training in the art of translation. Plus, some projects require additional knowledge and experience. For example, industry-specific terms are often puzzling to laypeople.
A project manager can source freelance translators for all desired target languages, ensuring that they have the experience and qualifications necessary for the job.
Single Point of Contact
Translation and localisation projects are a team effort, and often, that team is large and scattered over many different time zones. There are freelance translators, editors and proofreaders. Depending on the type of project, other professionals may need to be involved, too. For example, you may need graphic design help to ensure the final product looks just as good in the target language as it did in the original. For audio content, you’ll need multilingual voiceover artists to read the translated script.
Project managers act as a liaison between clients, freelancers, and all of the other professionals involved in the project. They coordinate everything, from the initial translation to the proofreading to the quality control process.
In most cases, this is not a simple matter of substituting one word for another. Languages vary when it comes to word order, grammar, and vocabulary. The translator’s job is to understand the source text and reproduce it in the target language, coming as close as possible to the original in meaning, style and tone. For marketing and advertising, transcreation is often the best option. The original text may need to be recreated from the ground up to take cultural variations into account so that the result has the same impact on the target audience that it did in the original language.
If the translators have questions or need clarification, they’ll come to the project manager for help.
Review, Proofreading and Editing
A project manager’s job doesn’t stop after the initial translation. Even the best translators make mistakes, so quality control is essential. The project manager will coordinate the editing and proofreading process. If an in-house review is necessary, they’ll coordinate that with your team members, too.
Glossaries and Translation Memories
With so many people working on different aspects of the project, you’d think it would be difficult to keep a consistent style for translated content. No worries, your project manager can build and maintain a style guide and a glossary to keep freelance translators on track. Project managers are also responsible for maintaining translation memories so that you never have to pay twice to translate the same words or phrases.
Once every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed, the project manager delivers the complete project to the client for approval and feedback. If you’ve chosen an LSP with a great project management team, you can expect your experience to keep getting better the longer you work together.
At K International, we have a fantastic team of project managers with the skills and industry experience to make your next project a success. Put them together with our international team of qualified, vetted linguists, and you have a winning combination. Want to learn more? Take a look at our language services and contact us with your next project. We’d love to hear from you!