Many challenges can be faced when you start the journey of translation project management. Even small-sized translation projects come with challenges like, tight budgets, language and cultural barriers, and remote team coordination. However, to stay on top of things, ensure providing the highest translation quality and achieve your business goals, you need to have an efficient and reliable translation project management system that will help you overcome any challenges that arise during the project and at the same time stay within your budget.
In this article, we will dive deeply into project management best practices and how to plan and manage a translation project for a successful outcome.
What is translation project management?
Translation project management involves overseeing the execution of translation projects, ensuring that they run smoothly and efficiently, and are completed within the timeframe pre-defined. This typically includes translation project managers whose role is to ensure that every stage of a given project goes as planned using a specialized set of translation project management tools to maximize the efficiency of translation processes. The best practices of translation project management may include:
- Project Planning
- Budget Control
- Resource Allocation (Human Resources and Tools)
- Team Management
- Quality Control
In the next section, we will dive deeply into each practice and how it will contribute significantly to efficient project management, and ultimately the success of the project.
Setting a project plan is one of the best management practices for a translation project. This plan should detail how different aspects of the project will be handled, including information, such as languages involved, files to be translated, steps in the project, project timeline, participants’ roles and responsibilities, and other relevant information. The project plan should fit your company’s needs and the client’s needs as well, and its complexity can vary from project to project, but it will probably include at least some of the following information:
· Roles and responsibilities: Define the roles of each one involved in the project; the project manager in charge of the project, translators, editors, proofreaders, and the DTP specialists in charge of the visual output of the project files.
· Scope: Determine what materials will be translated, the languages involved, what deliverables will be needed, and a timeline.
· Tasks: Detail the tasks that will be performed, with an estimate of the time required to complete each task. These tasks include translation, reviewing, quality assurance, proofreading, and DTP work.
· Risks: Identify anything that could negatively impact the outcome of the project.
Translation projects can get expensive. You should keep in mind the costs of hiring translation vendors, purchasing project and translation software, and much more. Besides, some professional translators and linguists may cost you twice and even three times more than others in the market depending on the field of the project. For example, medical translation projects need to be done by experienced translators who possess huge medical knowledge, and sufficient experience as the translation of medical documents is a bit complex. On the level of DTP, some projects need much work in terms of formatting, images, and designing before getting published. All these can make a huge difference money-wise.
So, having a detailed project plan and knowing how to apply it to the translation process is crucial for budget control and will help you avoid extra expenses. So, effective management is crucial to stay within your budget throughout the whole project until delivering it to the client.
Resource Allocation (Human Resources and Tools)
Determining the resources needed for the translation project in terms of translators and linguistic teams, engineers, DTP experts, tools, and so on is an important factor in the management process. Using the right resources will help to complete the project on time and within the budget as if you don’t know what resources you need, you risk making costly mistakes. For example, assigning just one linguist or translator to a translation project that requires at least two or three people to complete it within the set timeframe will affect the quality of the translation, even if the translator assigned is highly experienced and possesses subject-matter expertise because their workload was too large. With a reliable strategy at hand, a project manager can allocate the right number of translators for a project based on the size, complexity of the content, and nature of the task.
The same also applies to translation CAT tools, as determining the right translation tool for the project will help expedite the translation process and help the team translate accurately and consistently while still committing to even the tightest deadlines.
Having strong communication skills and the ability to maintain a cohesive dialogue among team members is the key to effective and successful team management. By providing a clear project plan and translation workflow, a translation project manager makes sure that team members can communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings. This means a smoother translation process from A to Z, even for in-house, hybrid, and remote team efforts. Clearing to the whole team the project milestones and steps included and communicating the client-specific instructions will also contribute greatly to the success of the project. Before starting the project, a kick-off meeting can be held with the whole team to discuss all the project aspects, answer all the team concerns and questions, and allow the subject-matter experts to share their insights on the process. Another meeting can also be held with the client, where the project manager clarifies how the project objectives will be achieved and confirm the project deliverables and the deadline. Through these steps of clear communication, you will ensure a smoother project management experience.
Managing the quality control phase is an important element in the management process. Once the project is completely translated, your interference as a project manager comes again to choose the subject-matter experts who will run a final quality control process where the translated content is reviewed and proofread to ensure quality and, for some projects, tested on sample audiences. your end product should be content that feels naturally appealing to your target audience in the new locale, and this requires paying attention to details during the quality assurance stage.
One of the best practices to enhance your quality control strategy is by using built-in Translation Memories (TM) in the computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool used for the project. TM acts as a digital database that stores every translation completed before. Then, these stored translations can be used by your translation team in new documents, and they can automatically apply translation suggestions to identical or similar segments in the ongoing translation project. This allows your translators, reviewers, and proofreaders to achieve consistent translations effortlessly.
During the quality control stage, the specialist team should pay attention to aspects of the translated content as:
- Grammar and spelling
- Cultural Relevance and Appropriateness
- Subject matter accuracy
- Consistent terminology use
When the above four aspects are fully checked, you can rest assured that your localized content is ready to face the public.
Planning properly and setting a strong management system for the project is the key to its success. Assembling an appropriate team, managing the communication internally and with the client, developing a translation budget, and assessing the source materials to be translated are important considerations before beginning the project. The cost of translation work is usually calculated based on the source word count. Translation rates can be highly variable, depending on factors such as language combination, the complexity of the material, and the number of participants in the project. A review of the source text can eliminate issues that might be problematic during translation, and help to determine what formats and CAT tools will be used to translate. All these aspects are considered the best practices that can contribute greatly to successful translation project management.
Ultimately, LatinoBridge is a one-stop shop for your translation needs, that provides industry-leading linguistic solutions for Latin American languages; Latin American Spanish, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Argentine Spanish, and Aymara. Eliminate language and cultural barriers, expand your reach globally, and build customer trust with LatinoBridge translation services and its strong project management system.