How do you stay on top of your translation efforts to maintain content quality and achieve your global business goals? The answer lies on the surface: you need reliable system for translation project management.
In this article, you'll learn all the know-how for building an efficient translation project management strategy. It will help your team ace translation projects of any complexity and deliver excellent content to your international audiences.
- What is translation project management?
- Benefits of effective translation project management for managers and marketers
- How to plan and manage a successful translation project: The six best practices
What is translation project management?
Translation project management means overseeing the key tasks involved in translating content, including:
- Project planning
- Budget control
- Resource allocation (human resources and tools)
- Team management
- Quality control
The goal of translation project management is to ensure translation accuracy, timely delivery, and customer satisfaction.
Think about it this way. Managing a translation project is like being the conductor of an orchestra.
You make sure that all the musicians (translators, editors, proofreaders, etc.) are playing the right notes at the right time. The end result is a performance (translation) that's harmonious and pleasing to the audience (target markets).
In other words, efficient management is the foundation of a successful translation project no matter its scale or complexity.
Benefits of effective translation project management for B2B/B2C managers and marketers
Effective translation project management is the best way to ensure that your marketing team rolls out a successful campaign in a new local market. You need your content to resonate with your foreign-speaking target audience to help your brand build trust and credibility with new customers.
Translation project management allows you to achieve exactly that. To be more specific, a streamlined translation process improves your translation efforts across the key project factors:
Secure consistently high translation accuracy
Languages are complex and nuanced. Translating idioms, cultural references, and metaphors can be challenging.
That's why any translation effort requires a deep understanding of both the source and the target language. Minor inaccuracies and mistakes can add up to produce a low-quality translation of your content.
Professional project management is key if you want all of your translations to be accurate and culturally appropriate.
- A well-thought-out project strategy allows you to choose and leverage the best translation tools to produce large volumes of properly translated content in multiple languages.
- Plus, a good project manager knows how to set up a solid QA procedure for translated texts.
It will help you hit the right sweet spots with your international customers and avoid costly mistakes that can lead to reputational damage.
Ensure effective and swift project communication for a better workflow
The reality of modern workflows is that we rely on remote teams all the time. It can make project collaboration more difficult because you need to remotely coordinate the efforts of multiple specialists and track their progress. Sometimes, project managers have to stay on top of 20-25 employees within one translation project.
As you can imagine (or maybe have already experienced), it can get really messy if you don't adopt an efficient project management approach.
- By optimizing translation project management, you can instantly improve team coordination. No matter how many professionals work on your translations and where they are, you'll know everyone is doing their bit to deliver the best results.
- By providing a clear project plan and translation workflow, a translation project manager makes sure that team members can communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings. It means a smoother translation process from A to Z, even for in-house, hybrid, and remote team efforts.
Master budget control and avoid added translation costs
Translation projects can get really expensive. You should keep in mind the costs of hiring translation vendors, purchasing project and translation software, and much more. Besides, added translation costs can spring up at any stage of the translation project and throw you off track.
Even subtle details, like the format of the files for translation, can make a huge difference money-wise. Some translators even charge three times the value of the word for translating PPTs because of the sheer amount of time it takes to click and go through numerous dialog boxes.
- Having a detailed project plan and knowing how to apply the team effort to the translation process is crucial for budget control. You can better estimate the costs associated with translation and even predict the risks of hidden translation costs.
This is the best way to equip your marketing team with tools and solutions to avoid extra marketing spending. So, effective management is crucial if you're under pressure to keep the project within a tight budget.
Read about how the global company WhizCut cut translation costs by 80% and set up a future-proof workflow with translation project management software here.
Allocate project resources the smart way
Managing a translation project means using the right resources to complete the project on time and within the budget. But if you're approaching your translation without a strategy, how will you know what resources you need?
You risk making costly mistakes, such as assigning just one translator to a text that requires at least two people to complete it within the set timeframe. By the end of the project, you'll have one exhausted translator who's more likely to have made mistakes because their workload was too large.
- With a reliable strategy at hand, a project manager can allocate the right number of translators and other experts for a project based on the size and complexity of the content. They also know what tools to use to assist every team member in their job.
- Managing the project also helps your marketing team identify any problems early on. It means that you can deal with them quickly and avoid diverting too much time and effort to solve bigger problems later in the game.
Avoid late translation delivery
Deadlines can be something your translation project team dreads — that is, if you don't manage the efforts right.
Translation projects can take longer than expected, especially if the text is technical or requires special knowledge in a specific field. And think about all the added time that goes into coordinating project communication, sourcing translation files, and fixing translated document layouts.
And let's face it: you'll often be under pressure to meet tight deadlines for a translation project even if it's a challenging one. It increases translators' workload and can spike the risk of errors.
- A well-built workflow helps you ensure everybody can deliver their outcomes on time and secure the timely launch of your international campaign. No more missed deadlines.
How to plan and manage a successful translation project: Six best practices
Now you know how good translation project management can contribute to the success of your global marketing efforts. Every aspect is at play when you're shaping the project and building the translation workflow.
Below, we've gathered six best practices to help you maximize the efficiency of your translation projects.
1. Define the project scope and requirements
This is a step you simply can't skip. Setting clear project objectives and carefully reviewing the project requirements will help you build an effective strategy to carry out translations.
Make sure you've established the project scope and essential project performance indicators:
- Brief your translation team on the key aspects of the project, such as the source language, target language(s), content type, word count, and level of complexity.
- Identify key deliverables. How many translation files should you generate? What formats will you work with? Clearly identify the expected tangible project results for those team members doing the translation job.
- Preview performance evaluation criteria. Define the KPIs you'll use to evaluate your team's performance.
- Set the project budget and timeline. Once you know the translation project scope and stakeholders' expectations, establish how long it will take and how much it will cost.
Pro-tip: If you struggle with creating a realistic timeline for your translation or localization project, try breaking down the project into smaller tasks. Divide the project into smaller tasks and estimate the time and resources required for each task. It's an effective way to build a precise project timeline the whole translation team can follow.
This initial project stage requires constant communication with the stakeholders. Involve them in the discussion and planning process. Making sure everyone is on the same page is crucial for a smooth translation process, strong team communication, and timely project completion.
2. Choose the translation project managers and outline project responsibilities
With a project scope and requirements in mind, you can now build a team of professionals to carry out the project successfully.
If you prefer to outsource your translations to a translation agency, bear in mind that you might have limited control over the translation/localization process. When picking a translation agency to work with, discuss the level of involvement you can have in the project in advance. Also, find out how the chosen translation vendor will report to you on the project progress.
If you don't hand off the project to a third party, start out by assigning a dedicated project manager (or several, depending on the scope of your project). This person will carry the biggest number of responsibilities, including:
- Planning and managing the entire project
- Facilitating internal and external project communications
- Developing and implementing workflow
- Managing project documentation, etc.
You can easily handle these steps on your own with translation project management software like Redokun. You can use Redokun to assign roles, communicate with your team, coordinate translation tasks, and store all your documents in one place.
Here are two screenshots of how you can view the progress of your projects on Redokun:
3. Find the best people for your translation team
Depending on the scale of your translation or localization project, you might need to work with a number of translators to deal with several languages.
Apart from a project manager, translation projects usually require translators, editors, proofreaders, and subject matter experts. Your team members are the heart of the whole translation effort, so choose every teammate wisely.
Find our guide on the best places to find language professionals here.
You could hire a freelance translator or an expert from a translation agency — the choice is yours. The most important thing is to make sure you're hiring an experienced, well-trained translator that ticks the boxes below:
- They are a native speaker of the source or target language and/or have excellent proficiency in both.
- They are skilled in your field or even a similar field.
- They have all the necessary qualifications and good references.
- They are familiar (or willing to familiarize themselves) with your quality control practices.
Once you’ve assembled the team, assign tasks to every team member. Responsibilities and requirements should be concrete and have clear KPIs. This way, you'll ensure every professional knows exactly what to do and contribute to the translation project.
4. Choose translation management software to streamline the process
Many marketing teams still rely on manual processes to coordinate translation projects across several different channels because of a hybrid workflow. If this is your case too, implementing the right translation management software will become a real game changer for your global marketing efforts.
For example, if you have ever spent weeks copy-pasting translated text back into PDF files or manually handling Excel sheets, you’ll be happy to know there is a simple solution that lets you recreate translated files with just the touch of a button.
A translation management system (TMS) is a type of software you can use to automate, coordinate, and optimize your translation processes from content creation, through translation, to publication.
During the translation project, your team can use a TMS like Redokun to:
- Automate manual tasks that otherwise eat up a lot of time. No more copy-pasting text from page to page or looking for the right translation version among dozens of documents.
- Translate multiple file formats in one tool. Depending on the content you translate (marketing materials, legal documents, manuals, etc.) you may work with different file formats. A quality TMS can handle diverse document types, including InDesign, PowerPoint, Word, and more, maintaining their design elements while you translate the text.
- Retain layouts and style automatically: Make all your translations retain the same format as the original, instead of manually copying and pasting text back into the DTP interface.
- Store and organize all your translation files in the cloud. Keep all of your translation files in one secure digital location and customize access settings.
- Collaborate with your in-house and remote team members in one place. A good TMS is also a full-scale collaboration space where you can keep in touch with both internal or external team members. No need to keep your project communication on another software or online platform.
- Use machine translation for greater translation speed and quality. Get access to advanced computer-assisted translation tools to speed up your process while boosting content quality. On Redokun, you can leverage Google Translate and DeepL to get accurate translation suggestions, choose the best suggestion for different segments of text, and even pre-translate whole documents.
The list goes on and on. Some translation management systems also have extra non-essential features to enrich your translation workflow even more. If you're a first-time TMS user and don't know how to choose the best software for your project needs, check out our detailed guide on the best translation management tools available on the market.
Pro-tip: Make sure the TMS of your choice is suitable even for those team members who have never used translation software before. Otherwise, you risk spending too much time onboarding your team and navigating the new tool. With this potential challenge in mind, Redokun has built an intuitive, beginner-friendly TMS you can start using right away, no professional training required.
5. Establish a quality control protocol
Be prepared to run several rounds of proofreading, editing, and reviewing your translations. Your end product should be content that feels naturally appealing to your target audience in the new locale, and this requires immaculate attention to detail during the QA stage. This process should involve the whole team, including translators and SME professionals.
To ensure a convenient and productive quality control process, choose translation management software that allows your team members in different roles to work on translation files simultaneously. For this exact purpose, Redokun offers real-time collaborative editing of translations. If any doubt, your team members can simply leave comments to flag certain translation segments they need help with.
When conducting quality control, pay special attention to aspects of the translated content as:
- Grammar and spelling.
- Cultural relevance and appropriateness.
- Subject matter accuracy.
- Consistent terminology use.
When your QA team has checked all the boxes above, you can rest assured that you've left no stone unturned in the review process. Now your translated content is ready to face the public.
Sometimes, you might need to update content in the source language, which can start a chain reaction of having to edit multiple translations, too. Even a small change in an original file can then disrupt your project schedule.
With Redokun’s revision feature, you can simply upload the latest document version to the online editor. It will automatically identify and highlight the new text segments requiring your translator's attention. This saves your team a ton of time and effort while keeping their existing translation progress intact.
6. Use Translation Memory for consistent translations within and across projects
One of the best ways to enhance your quality control protocol is by using Translation Memories (TM). This tool allows your translators to achieve consistent translations effortlessly.
In short, TM is a digital database that stores every translation you’ve completed before. You can then reuse past translations in new documents, and automatically apply translation suggestions to identical or similar segments in your ongoing translation project.
Most translation management systems have a built-in Translation Memory tool. On Redokun, you can even use TM to run the pre-translate feature, where you can instantly fill out all the segments in a new document that match past translations with accurate suggestions. Even before your team gets to work on them.
The major benefit of translation memories is that the more you use it, the more efficient it gets. As you continuously add translated content to your unique TM database, the tool provides more matches for new translation projects.
In other words, the more you leverage TM, the less your translators need to work on. The tool will take care of most text segments without you having to lift a finger.
When you upload a file to Redokun for translation, you can use pre-translation to automatically fill out segments where the source text is identical from your previous projects.
Your translators can also get suggestions while they translate for segments where the source text is either identical or similar.
Pro-tip: Invest in building a style guide and translation glossary for your translation projects. It's the ultimate reference point for your linguists, translators, editors, and other team members they can always turn to when in doubt about translation accuracy.
Effective translation project management is a must if you're a business looking to succeed in new markets.
It ensures clear communication and accurate translations, while maintaining brand consistency and saving your team time and resources. By streamlining your translation process and using the right technology, you will ultimately improve customer satisfaction, boost profits, and take your business to the next level.
Try using Redokun to optimize translation management for projects of any scale. Start your 14-day free trial today to enjoy a faster, more efficient translation workflow.
Till next time,