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Best practice: managing the translation cycle

Perhaps what happened was that the industry finally caught up with the potential of the new tools. Perhaps the expansion of the global economy into previously under-exploited markets led to a change in perception of the importance of translation. Or perhaps this model was imported from another industry which faces similar challenges. Whatever the root causes, the fact is that in recent years the translation process has become much more streamlined and efficient.

Having realised that the operational model sketched in our previous post was bad business for both customers and translators, pioneering Language Service Providers (LSPs) began to move forward with a new approach to the translation cycle. This new approach aims to cut out the intermediary stages and integrate the entire cycle into one smooth, continuous workflow, optimising every step of the process.

Fundamental to the reformulated translation cycle is a close working relationship between the customer and the LSP. The project manager will be in close contact with the LSP, and will provide them with a draft version of the document to be translated. At this stage, effectively, the customer can relax and wait for the finished product to appear in their inbox!

As we have discussed in relation to Translation Memory (TM), computer-assisted translation (CAT) software makes it possible to work on a translation before the document to be translated has been finalised. Because it happens all the time: the thing is ready to go, the marketing department has signed off on it, the LSP is waiting, and the manager who needs to give the go-ahead is away all week at a conference.

Thanks to TM, this is no longer a problem. Now, the customer’s project manager can simply send the draft (which is unlikely to change too much anyway) to the LSP, who then goes to work on it. When the manager finally gets back from Zurich and makes changes to the document, the translator simply has to put the latest version into the TM and accommodate the few changes made.

This means that the time-to-market of the document is reduced. In the case of a company which wants to release the same product in different language zones simultaneously, even a minimal hold-up can be overwhelmingly expensive; this way to approach translation reduces the chance of a delay as much as is feasibly possible.

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