Here’s the good news: Whether you want to keep all of your translations in-house or follow a hybrid model, there is a way for you to stay in control while saving time, quality, and costs.
We chatted with Barbara Stivan, a global marketing expert with 13 years of experience, to get her best tips on setting up an effective pipeline for translating marketing assets into multiple languages.
Read on to find out how she reduced her translation turnaround time from two weeks to just 30 minutes using Redokun at two different companies.
Plus with our dedicated templates bundle, you'll be able to kickstart your own process right away. Download now to upgrade your multilingual approach.
- Biggest issues with managing translations at scale
- Why you need to establish an in-house translation pipeline
- Example of how an efficient internal pipeline can make you go from chaos to control
- Seven steps to setting up an efficient internal translation workflow
- Take the next step to streamlining your in-house translation workflow
The biggest issues with managing translations at scale
Picture this: Your company is expanding abroad. Great!
But then you get the task of coordinating translations of sales and marketing materials into 20+ different markets and languages.
Without a clear translation process in place, you spend hours of your day sending emails and manually updating Excel spreadsheets.
You turn to agencies, but the deliverables are often error-prone and expensive, requiring additional time for corrections.
It takes weeks to get a single document translated.
And if you're feeling overwhelmed by these challenges, you're certainly not alone.
She tells us the biggest issues she faced were:
- Maintaining timelines. How can you align content creation with tight schedules, especially for product launches?
- Producing high-quality content. How can you ensure translations resonate appropriately with the audience? How do you maintain accuracy and consistency throughout?
- Managing workflows. What are the essential steps from initiating a translation to releasing it to the market?
- Assigning clear roles. Who handles what? And when?
Now, with these challenges highlighted, let’s dive into how an internal translation pipeline can help.
Why you need to establish an in-house translation pipeline
First things first: What do we mean by “internal translation pipeline,” exactly?
An internal translation pipeline is the systematic, in-house workflow your business employs to manage translations. It streamlines all the steps, from assigning the translation and receiving the deliverable to proofreading, quality assurance, and final publication.
An efficient pipeline should foster collaboration across internal and external teams, making sure everyone stays on the same page.
So, why establish one?
- It gives you more visibility and control. With clear oversight, you can ensure that the content remains of high quality across languages.
- It's more cost-efficient. Over time, in-house translations can lead to savings, especially when scaled.
- You reduce the turnaround time. There's less waiting on external agencies to give you an expensive deliverable. You stay in control of your budget and time.
- You can improve your process and outputs on demand. Direct feedback loops allow for quick iterations and ongoing enhancement.
With a clear internal system in place, you can leverage all available resources optimally for consistent, quality results—all while maintaining visibility over the entire process.
Does that mean you shouldn’t outsource translations at all?
No. Outsourcing to translation agencies or freelancers has its advantages, particularly when you’re dealing with less common languages. After all, only 13% of professional translators work in-house, compared to an overwhelming 75% who stay self-employed.
But here’s the crux: with a clear internal pipeline, even those on your team who aren't translators can easily contribute to translations without it taking away from their other tasks.
And having your in-house team handle translations comes with invaluable benefits. It’s not just because they are already deeply familiar with your industry and know the company's objectives. More than that, it’s because they have a vested interest in the success of the content.
Barbara tells us:
In the end, setting up an efficient in-house translation pipeline allows you to maintain oversight and control over the entire process—whether you outsource translations, handle them internally, or both.
Example of how an efficient internal pipeline helps you go from chaos to control
Ultimately, it’s not just about who translates, but also how the translations are managed, accessed, and incorporated into your business operations.
For example, say you want to ensure accuracy and consistency in terminology across your translation projects.
That means you’ll need a way to give your translators access to your past approved translations. But how do you do that without going on constant deep dives into old email threads or folders? There's a limit to how often you can use Ctrl+F before it becomes tedious.
It’s also difficult for translators to keep switching between tabs to cross-reference old translations with the new content.
As your team—be they external or internal—work on the content, TM automatically suggests relevant translations from your previously approved work. This eliminates the need to translate identical content more than once.
By implementing tools like translation memory in your localization efforts, you can set up a solid internal workflow for optimizing quality and time.
Want to make use of past translations from vendors or another tool? Learn how to import your translation memories into Redokun here.
But, of course, that’s only part of it. Let's delve into the steps to construct an effective in-house translation pipeline, spanning from content creation to its final publication.
Seven steps to setting up an efficient in-house translation workflow
1. Identify the bottlenecks in your current process
Barbara makes a clear point:
Start by mapping out your current workflow. Where do things get stuck? Which parts take the longest? A translation workflow checklist can help you see each step and spot the problems.
Using our checklist, you can go through your process step-by-step and figure out where things might be going wrong or slowing down.
📥 Download our Internal Translation Workflow Checklist here to get a clearer picture.
2. Find available resources for your translation team
Once you’ve pinpointed your workflow, you can begin assembling your team. Whether you’re hiring new talent or tapping into multilingual skills already present in your organization, ensure you have a mix of translators, reviewers, and project managers.
Having clearly defined roles is essential. Each team member should know their responsibilities inside and out.
Depending on the needs of your business, you may want to hire or assign the following roles:
- Translators handle the initial conversion of content.
- Reviewers ensure accuracy and context, comparing translations to the original.
- Project Managers oversee the workflow, ensuring timelines are met and quality is maintained.
- Language Leads are responsible for overseeing and ensuring the quality and consistency of translations for a specific language.
Do you need to look for new talent? Check out your list of 40+ places to find translators here.
3. Speed up repetitive tasks with automation
Handling manual translations often results in inefficiencies and errors due to repetitive tasks. By implementing automation in your internal workflow, you can streamline the process to save time and reduce easily avoidable mistakes.
According to Barbara, automation does not just have tangible benefits; it also brings psychological ease by easing the burden of approaching a major task.
In the marketing space, this sentiment is shared by many. A 2022 report from Zapier found that almost half (48.8%) of marketers experience less burnout at work thanks to automation.
That’s precisely one of the aspects Barbara values about Redokun. When you upload a file, the Web Editor organizes the text segments for translation automatically. Plus, it offers page previews from InDesign and PowerPoint files, ensuring that translators have all the context they need during translations.
Automation in Redokun also helps with other repetitive tasks, such as:
- Preparing the files for translation. Copy-pasting from InDesign into Excel sheets gets tedious. Once you upload a file, Redokun automatically extracts the text meant for translation and offers contextual previews.
- Assigning tasks. Managing translations often involves sending numerous emails or navigating through complex spreadsheets to find the right person for the job. With Redokun, can delegate tasks to translators across multiple languages with a few clicks.
- Recreating the translated documents in the new languages. Once your translators have finished working on a document, you can download an automatically formatted document—helping you keep the design consistent across different language versions without any extra work.
- Chasing people for updates. A centralized dashboard provides a total view of translation statuses across all languages, offering increased control and visibility. With automated notifications, Redokun also ensures your team members stay updated on pending tasks.
📹 For a detailed view into how you an establish an efficient internal translation pipeline with automation in Redokun, check out our 15-minute on-demand demo video.
4. Optimize your communication channels
In global companies, translation teams are typically dispersed across countries, emphasizing the importance of clear communication.
Like Barbara says:
If your company uses tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, it’s helpful to have a dedicated channel to streamline project communication in one place.
For questions and comments related to specific translation projects, you can use Redokun’s collaborative translation tools to facilitate communication between team members.
After assigning a translation task to your team member in Redokun, you can provide brief instructions at the top of the Web Editor. In return, your translators can add comments or questions on specific translation segments.
In terms of essential communication points, Barbara says:
When writing a translation brief for your translators, make sure to include enough information to guide their work. Here's a suggested format to ensure they have all the necessary details for the task. Copy-paste and fill in your own info as needed!
Translation brief template
- The purpose of the document: Promoting our enterprise software solutions to French-speaking prospects.
- Intended tone: Professional and informative.
- Target audience: C-level executives and IT managers in mid-to-large scale companies.
- Deadline: By end-of-business on September 30.
You may also want to provide links to any relevant glossaries or style guides for your language pairs. If you don’t have these prepared already, check out our templates in the next section!
5. Set quality standards with glossaries and style guides
To ensure a unified voice in multiple languages, incorporating glossaries and style guides are a game-changer.
By having a style guide, you can preserve the unique tone and approach of your content across locales. A glossary, on the other hand, is a trusted reference for specific business and industry terminologies, ensuring a consistent translation.
Here's a helpful tip: you can streamline this further.
Redokun's glossary feature allows you to define key terms and their correct translations. Once these terms are set, the system automatically highlights the word and reminds translators of the correct translation as they work in Web Editor.
This creates a solid foundation for any translator, be it someone from your own team or an external vendor, ensuring high-quality standards from the get-go.
With a central guide in place—and an easy way to access it—every piece of content that flows through the translation pipeline will be clear and accurate.
📥 It’s template time!
- Style Guide Template
- Glossary Template (Tip: You can upload this glossary directly to Redokun!)
6. Leverage machine translation to reduce overwhelm in your team
With large documents, the challenge isn't just the translation itself, but the daunting prospect of starting from scratch—especially if your team members have other things to do. The sheer volume can lead to longer turnaround times and even hesitation in initiating the process.
With built-in machine translation engines like Google Translate and DeepL in Redokun, you can pre-translate entire documents to trim down the intimidating bulk of the task.
Your team members can remain in the zone, focusing on refining the machine's output to match the company's tone and brand voice.
⭐ Learn more about machine translation in Redokun here.
7. Gather continuous feedback and iterate
Establishing an efficient in-house workflow is an ongoing effort. Here are some tips you can implement to make sure you're always on the right track:
- Set up monthly check-ins. Meet with your team once a month (or more!) Discuss any issues they've encountered and brainstorm solutions together.
- Do quarterly feedback surveys. Send out surveys to content consumers, both internal and external. This helps gauge the effectiveness and clarity of translations. Questions can be simple, like "Was the content easy to understand?" or "Were there any confusing sections?"
- Conduct a bi-annual strategy review. Twice a year, review the gathered feedback in a strategic session. Identify patterns, recurrent issues, and areas for improvement. Adjust the translation process, tools, or guidelines based on these findings.
- Iterate and implement. Act on the feedback and insights. This could mean refining your glossaries, revising style guides, or even introducing new tools or technologies.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure that translations remain effective, clear, and aligned with company objectives. Regular check-ins, feedback collection, and actionable refinement steps are crucial to keeping your internal pipeline optimized for success.
Addressing the elephant in the room: how to get buy in from stakeholders?
Gaining support from key decision-makers is often the most challenging step when introducing a new process or tool.
Here's a closer look at her strategy and the steps she took to champion Redokun to her superiors.
- Define the problem clearly. Before seeking a solution, she took the time to articulate the issues faced in the translation process. Understanding and communicating the problem is paramount to getting buy-in.
- Research and understand the solution. She spent significant time understanding the platform deeply, believing in its potential benefits before introducing it to others.
- Lean on a shared vision. By involving team members early on and fostering shared vision, she ensured that she wasn’t the sole advocate for the change. This collective approach not only expedited the adoption process but also led to more collaborative problem-solving.
- Educate through demonstrations. Barbara emphasized the value of a comprehensive presentation to onboard everyone – from team members to branch units. Demonstrations help in clarifying the product’s utility and ease potential reservations about adopting a new tool.
Results from using Redokun to build an internal translation process
After getting the go-ahead to implement the new internal workflow, Barbara highlighted several key benefits.
1. Reduced translation turnaround time down to 30 minutes
By streamlining her organization's internal translation process with Redokun, Barbara and her team were able to drastically reduce the time it takes to complete a document translation. What used to take two weeks now takes just 30 minutes.
2. Improved translation quality
With better processes in place and real-time visual feedback, mistakes became less frequent. This increased the reliability of the output and improved confidence in the results.
3. Improved work experience
The clearer workflow not only made tasks more straightforward but also lessened workplace frustrations. This contributed to a more positive work environment for the team.
As Barbara learned: when tasks are clearer and more enjoyable, productivity naturally soars.
Take the next step to streamlining your in-house translation workflow
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read all about the transformative power of a streamlined internal translation workflow.
The strategies, the nuances, the potential results – it's all exciting on paper.
But how does one translate (pun intended) this knowledge into actionable change in the real world?
This is where our monthly live webinar comes in.
Just once a month, our co-founder, Stefano, hosts a live session where you can:
- hear all about practical insights and actionable strategies for developing an efficient internal workflow;
- ask any questions you want;
- get personal advice on adapting best practices to your unique context.
With the right tools and knowledge, efficiency and quality in translation can go hand in hand. So don't let another month go by without getting the support you deserve.