"I’m sorry, we can’t meet your requested deadline. We don’t want to assign too many translators to this project – this will cause inconsistencies in the translation."
Ensuring consistency across software functions, marketing content or separate chapters in an operating manual is vital. The same terms should be used throughout, and a similar style or ‘voice’ should apply in texts of a particular type. If inconsistencies are introduced in a translation, these can confuse the end user – even something as simple as alternating between the terms ‘device’, ‘unit’ and ‘tool’ can give an unprofessional impression, and in the worst case, result in misunderstandings. When only one translator is working on a project, it’s easy to achieve consistency. If several translators are working together, it’s more difficult – but not impossible, particularly with the translation tools available today! The following steps are designed to ensure a professional, consistent translation every time:
- Assign an experienced lead linguist for each target language. This person is responsible for coordinating terminology, queries and overall revision of the translations.
- Select a team of translators with the prerequisite qualifications and experience. It helps if they have worked together on projects previously, as is the case for most translators in the SimulTrans network.
- Provide all translators with a comprehensive glossary of terms for the project. If none is provided by the client, the lead linguist can extract and translate a list of terms using one of the many excellent automated tools available. This list must then be filtered manually by the lead linguist. The final glossary is shared with all translators, usually via a Translation Management System, and updated during the project if necessary.
- Use a cloud-based system to allow collaboration. All translators should be provided with shared real-time access to linguistic assets: the translation memory, glossaries, the query database and style guides if available. SimulTrans currently uses a Translation Management System for this purpose, either Across or WorldServer, depending on the particular project requirements. This technology allows translators to refer to each other’s work (using the concordancing tool) and very importantly, to compile information from queries submitted by all team members for all target languages.
- Define a schedule for revision. The lead linguist works together with the project manager to agree a staggered schedule, so that all work submitted by translators is checked by a second pair of eyes. It is the lead linguist’s job to ensure that the overall translation is accurate and coherent, making stylistic changes where necessary. Spell-checks are part of the standard process.
- Use QA tools to check for consistency. Finally, the lead linguist carries out QA checks using an automated tool such as Xbench or QA distiller to ensure that all segments (phrases or sentences) are translated in the same way and that translators have adhered to the glossary. Any necessary changes are implemented and feedback is shared with all translators – in preparation for the next project.