How to Create a Better Translation Workflow for Your Business

by Shu Ni Lim Shu Ni Lim 7 minutes to read

Translating content for global consumers is rewarding but exhausting. If this statement somewhat resonates with you and your team, then there might be underlying issues with your current translation workflow.

Content marketing and localization teams have become more efficient with the help of a software tool known as a translation management system. However, you may find that not everyone is on board with the idea of modernizing and automating their translation processes.

And it’s usually built on the misconception that the manual translation workflow can produce higher quality output at a lower cost. In this article, I’ll explain why the manual method isn’t sustainable and offer suggestions on how to improve your translation workflow for global success.

Outline

What are the issues with the manual translation workflow?

The translation workflow consists of more than just translating the text.

In content marketing, translation never occurs in isolation – not when one has to follow brand guidelines and industry-specific terminologies to ensure that the language used stays consistent.

As such, there are generally five stages in a translation workflow, as captured here:

five stages of translation workflow

Improving your translation workflow means reducing the manual operations throughout all five phases. Otherwise, your managers, translators, and reviewers may struggle to communicate important project details with one another and implement them quickly, which often results in a slower time to market.

Here are the five main issues with using a manual translation workflow.

1. It’s time-consuming.

While managing your content and projects using spreadsheets is extremely satisfying when everything falls into place, you’ll find that most of your time is spent on:

  • copy-pasting large amounts of information onto spreadsheets
  • organizing said spreadsheets according to specific projects and languages
  • searching for information from said spreadsheets

These tasks are done so that your translators have a relevant set of materials and references that provide context for their current translation job, as well as the next one.

Keeping a record of these materials doesn’t require the most “brainpower,” but it certainly demands the most time when done manually. Time that could otherwise be spent on the actual translation stage.

2. It’s difficult to track the progress of projects.

Each translation project usually branches out into smaller teams that are responsible for different language pairs. As such, managers are faced with the strenuous task of coordinating and following up with the people and the communication platforms used to run a project.

If the solution here is yet another spreadsheet, you’ll have an entire workflow powered solely by spreadsheets – and that could be a huge waste of time.

3. It’s not conducive for collaboration.

In a manual workflow, communication typically takes place over multiple email threads that are created and handled by a manager.

Moving from one stage of translation to another could mean starting another email thread and forwarding all relevant details to the next person.

Thus, managers may find it difficult to move a project along, especially when external translators or agencies are part of the equation. At the same time, the team members may not immediately know who they should report to or approach if they have questions.

4. It gets expensive.

When miscommunication occurs or a project slows down due to repetitive manual processes, you start losing time and money.

Moreover, since the manual translation workflow makes it difficult to refer to past work in new projects, your translators may clock in more hours to translate new content because they have to start from scratch.

If the new document contains repetitive text, which wasn’t automatically stored for ease of reference, you’ll essentially be paying for the same segments to be translated again.

5. It’s not scalable to future needs.

If a workflow is tedious to implement now, it will fall apart when your content demands grow. You would have more people to integrate into your workflow, and subsequently more briefs and spreadsheets to prepare.

However, without automation tools, you would have even less time to implement each stage of the translation process.

Now that we’ve covered a laundry list of issues with the translation workflow, let’s address the more important question…

How can I improve my business translation workflow?

The most effective solution is to get a translation management system (TMS) like Redokun. This is a type of software that consolidates various tools, resources, and communications in one place so the entire translation process feels more seamless and coherent.

If you’re not familiar with TMS, then this strategy to improve your translation workflow has three parts:

  1. First, list down all the roles in your translation workflow, such as project manager, translator, editor, developer, etc.
  2. Then, identify all the content types and formats that you will be translating for international audiences, such as documents, websites, subtitles, etc.
  3. Finally, choose a suitable translation management system based on the requirements you’ve set in the first two steps.

Inside look into the Redokun translation workflow

So how would a TMS-supported translation workflow be like? While the specific features you can enjoy vary according the TMS you choose, the main advantage is always resource optimization – whether that’s time, money, or energy.

To illustrate, here are all the ways your team can benefit from the Redokun translation workflow.

1. Quickly set up new projects and track their progress in one place

With Redokun, all your projects and the language pairs that fall under them are gathered in one virtual space. Your managers can organize them into folders as they see fit, and add new languages and people to each project as needed.

2. Start translating once the content is uploaded to Redokun

Starting a new project is as simple as uploading your files to Redokun and inviting the team members to translate on the platform by entering their emails.

Redokun supports a wide range of file formats like InDesign, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and HTML. This way, you won’t have to manually divide the content into neat segments on a spreadsheet to avoid file compatibility issues when you pass the content to your translators.

Here are some guides about translating Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.

3. Manage hybrid workflows with ease

Need to introduce new roles to a particular project, like an editor, a proofreader, or even a partner? You can also do that with Redokun where the invite function isn’t just limited to inviting translators.

Any collaborator you invite to the platform will only have access to the specific documents you assign them to. This adds a layer of data security whenever there’s a third party involved in the translation.

4. Use computer-assisted translation tools for greater quality and consistency

TMS also benefits your translators by providing a conducive translation workspace where they have computer-assisted translation (CAT- tools) at their disposal, feeding them crucial translation resources as they’re working.

One of these CAT tools is the built-in machine translation engines, namely Google Translate and DeepL. They can offer helpful suggestions when a translator is stuck at a difficult segment.

redokun translation editor

In fact, with tools like this, you can also pre-translate a document entirely so your efforts would be more on post-editing rather than translating from square one.

5. Automatically save all approved translations for future use

Every completed and approved translation is an important asset – so Redokun saves them all into a built-in database known as translation memories.

Your translators can easily access these assets, which appear as suggestions while they’re translating a new document on Redokun. No need to ask around or look for them yourself in the archives.

redokun translation memory

That way, you can actually spend less money on translations. Even in cases where the software can’t find a 100% match from past work, anything less than a perfect match can still help your translators make more informed decisions.

Learn more about how translation memory software works here.

6. Implement document revisions throughout a project without causing confusion

Redokun simplifies the process of informing your translators whenever your source content is updated – even if their translation work has already commenced.

Simply upload the latest version of your document to Redokun, and your team members will be able to see which segments have changed and need to be worked on in the translation editor.

7. Push your translated content to market at a faster pace

At the post-translation stage, you’ll spend little to no time preparing the translated document for publication. Redokun can automatically replicate the styles and formatting of your original file in the translated version.

Hence, if you’re working on documents where form is crucial, such as brochures, your designers will only need to review the translated copy instead of putting it together themselves.

Conclusion

To summarize, you can create a more efficient translation workflow by adopting a translation management system like Redokun. Your team will be able to experience greater productivity in:

  • Communicating important project details with one another
  • Translating content faster and more accurately using built-in resources (latest translation statistics show a 60% increase in productivity when using translation software)

If you'd like to try using a TMS with your team, try Redokun for free today!

And as usual, thank you for reading!

Shu Ni Lim
Shu Ni Lim

Shu Ni has worked as a marketing executive for various global consumer electronics brands before shifting her focus to content writing.

Now at Redokun, Shu Ni hopes to create meaningful content for multilingual needs by utilizing her expertise in linguistics and graphic design.

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