Not enough translation work for a full-time team member, yet too much for the team to handle alongside their day jobs? Then it’s time to outsource your translations to a language service provider (LSP) or independent translator. Assuming you’ve already selected the right partner for the job, how can you make sure the collaboration is a success? Here are a few of my own tips based on my experience from both sides of the table.
Open up communication channels
Whether you use email, Slack or another communication channel with your team day-to-day, be sure to invite your translator or LSP to the relevant groups or channels early in the process so that there are no barriers to communication with other members of the team. Being part of the conversation gives translators more context to the materials they will need to translate, and helps them to understand the decisions that have been made along the way. It also gives them the opportunity to flag any potential localisation issues early.
If you’re having a project kick-off call or meeting, invite your translator! Human interaction with the rest of the team is one of the best ways to integrate external stakeholders into your project team. Any future communication over email will be significantly smoother and more collaborative if team members have met in person or via video conference beforehand.
Use technology to manage your workflow
These days, there are dozens of localisation platforms that offer translation memory software combined with project and content management tools and git flow (programming) integrations. It’s a good idea to do your research and work out what’s best for your team depending on the products and services you offer, the size of your team and your existing technology. You can also revert to good old Google Docs and Spreadsheets, so long as you have a defined etiquette and established workflow that the whole team is on board with.
Provide as much context and background material as possible
Content is king, and context is key! If you have previously-translated materials or any other documents you think could be of use to anyone joining the team, ensure you share these with your translator or LSP. They stand a much better chance of producing high quality work if they can make informed translation decisions based on the subject matter.
Work together on consistent terminology and phrasing
Following on from the point above, if you have previously translated documents or files, you can work together with your LSP or translator to start creating a translation memory (TM) and terminology database for your company, product or service. This will allow you to ensure that the same or similar sentences are translated consistently across documents or files, and that you have an agreed set of terms that you use to describe your product or service. This is crucial for defining and maintaining your brand voice and ensuring frictionless communication with customers.
Give feedback early and often
Finally, once you’ve run the process for a while, take time to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t, so that the whole team (including remote team members) can continue to optimise their workflow and output. I always ask for feedback on my work. How else can we grow and improve? I’m also never afraid to provide constructive feedback – at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner – if I think it will help my clients improve their position in local markets and, in turn, provide more value to their customers.
If you want to find out how I can help with your localisation projects from German or French into English, please feel free to get in touch and we can talk through your specific requirements!