How to structure and streamline the in-country proof
Imagine the following: First, you are tasked to organize people in different countries, operating in different time zones, with different cultures and languages, not reporting to you, to participate in what will be a very laborious task. Second, these people are committed to doing other jobs that take up all their work time. Third, it is very likely that you cannot offer them incremental pay! Those who have been involved in coordinating in-country proof of a translation or a localization project understand how difficult the process can be.
Attending to the above is a major undertaking for even the most experienced project manager. Are you overwhelmed already?
This is why some in our industry argue that an in-country proof is not needed after the translation of a product is completed. We can’t disagree more.
The case for in-country linguistic proof
Look at the graph on the right and think of r as the source text. The target, or translated text, is y. G is the translator and K is the in-country proofreader.
K will have to proofread the translations of G and offer constructive (negative) feedback to the translator to help meet the required quality.
The translation management system is H. It is a dynamic system. For it to be stable, it will require to properly handle input from G and K- the translator and in-country proofreader.
Also, to ensure a stable system, collaboration among the different influencers in the system will be needed. The more efficient and optimal the collaboration efforts are, the more stable the system will be.
10 steps you can’t ignore
Having proven that the in-country proof is crucial, here are 10 important steps to follow to turn this challenge into a successful endeavor.
Ignore any of these steps and you are likely to suffer the consequences during or after the project’s completion.
Streamline the process
To facilitate the linguistic proof process, it is preferable to have multiple linguistic proof methodologies available to you to help meet each client’s specific needs. Here are three main options:
Note that a thorough linguistic proof is always a laborious process which if not planned correctly, may cause serious delays to the project. Your goal should be to eventually turn your translators, or translation vendor, into your final proofreaders, after gaining experience on your end-users’ specific requirements and after following a rigid process that leverages the latest advances in translation management which keep the translators closely connected with the in-country product experts.
In order to reach this goal, think about integrating in your process the following enabling technologies that will help shift the burden of proof from the in-country proofreader to the translator:
As you build a translation memory, active feedback from qualified proofreaders will make it a better resource to rely upon, eventually eliminating the need for a comprehensive linguistic in-country proof. The translators would understand your special style, terminology and preferences for producing your documents. Style guides will be beefed up and consistently followed. Stakeholders will also continue to use the translation memory, the terminology database and the query database to ensure accuracy not only within your division’s projects and products, but throughout the entire organization. Overall, your corporate international communications, brand and image will significantly improve.
The ideal world
While performing in-country linguistic proof may be a necessary step, the goal is to streamline the process and minimize the amount of work to be done while delivering the expected high quality products to your international users.
What is the lesson to take here? Despite of what others may tell you, don’t let translators translate in vacuum. Translation is not a task that you can throw over the wall to others in a process that excludes in-country input and guidance. If you do that, the translation quality will sooner or later diverge from your requirements and your end-users will someday give up on using your localized product.
Therefore, quality translation requires a collaborative translation management system. One that permits information sharing, that improves terminology understanding, that tracks schedules and tasks, that facilitates the feedback process, and that truly allows a two-way dialog, between the translators and product experts, to improve product quality and usability.
Next time you are told to forego your in-country proof, ask your localization or translation vendor to consider using a robust translation management system, or better yet, hire someone that does!
Nabil Freij is the author of Enabling Globalization and the president, founder, and owner of GlobalVision International, Inc. (www.globalvis.com), a Localization and Translation specialist. He is trilingual and holds an MSEE from Brown University and an MBA from Bryant University. Freij’s blog can be read at: http://blog.globalvis.com.
Published - June 2012
ClientSide News Magazine - www.clientsidenews.com
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