Most projects are “urgent”. Sometimes this is entirely justified, as in the case of an imminent trade fair, client presentation, website launch, or contract signing. By contrast, some deadlines are entirely unjustified, often because they have been randomly set by an unrealistic boss, or because we’ve left it till the last minute. Either way, urgency is bad for any type of project, not least translation and documentation. Rushing to get something finished increases the probability of stress, errors, and, most importantly, less-than-optimal results.
Generally speaking, the earlier in the documentation process you think about translation, the better. Typically, people think about translation only when the source language is complete and finalised. At this point, we have probably thrown away the possibility of saving considerable amounts of time and money.
This is particularly applicable in projects with non-standard formatting requirements – basically, anything other than Office applications, such as HTML and other web formats, QuarkXpress, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, etc.