How to create a smooth translation process in your company?

26. April 2023

Although artificial intelligence and, in connection with this, various translation applications have made a big leap forward, the role of humans in the translation process is still important – a well-thought-out and reliable translation process will most likely save you both time and money. Smart translation management also ensures better quality of translations. We will share tips on how to implement the company’s communication process and, among other things, well-functioning translation workflows. Effective communication in cooperation with a smooth translation management ensures that your services and products reach as many customers as possible even further from home.

Decide on the purpose of translation and quality requirements

Start by collecting information. Find out how the translation service has been ordered in your organisation so far, what is being translated and why. The first step in creating a well-functioning process is to set goals for purchasing the translation service and requirements for the quality of the translation texts ordered – into which languages you want to translate, what types of content need to be translated, and define the target groups of the translation. It is also important to set timelines and budgets for ordering translation services.

Choose the workflow you like

Once the groundwork has been done, i.e. you have set the goals and requirements for the translation service, it is time to select the translation workflows. Let us talk more about the three main translation workflows: pure machine translation, human translation, and the combination of the two previous ones. 

  • Pure machine translation is fast and cost-effective, but the quality of the translation is unpredictable and uneven in this case. 
  • Human translation is a traditional way of translation, the quality of which is still the highest, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. 
  • The combination of both, i.e. machine translation post-editing, in which a translation specialist checks the output of a machine translation and edits it, if necessary, is probably the most cost-effective way of translating. You can find more information about machine translation post-editing in our blog post on this topic. 

Of course, you can introduce several different translation workflows, such as human translation for translating marketing texts and contracts (translation + editing + proofreading), machine translation post-editing for translating technical texts, and only machine translation for minor texts that need to be understood.

Choose the right translation service provider for you

Once you have decided which translation workflows you would like to use, it is time to think about getting the job done, meaning it is time to start choosing a translation service provider. There are many options to choose from – a freelance translator, a translation agency or an online translation application. 

  • A freelance translator is generally the most affordable option, but they may lack the necessary resources for work and may not always be free for you. 
  • It is generally possible to purchase the widest range of services from a translation agency, including project management services, quality control and post-editing services, but depending on the volume of services, the translation agency is also generally the most expensive choice. 
  • Online translation applications offer the client a quick and inexpensive solution, but the problem here is that the client does not know what workflows the web application is using and what security measures are in place.

To get the best service, we recommend using a translation agency that has the skills and capabilities to build the translation process in cooperation with you and according to your needs. The translation agency’s specialists will be able to assess the relevance of the goals and requirements set in the first step and help you decide whether the translation workflows you choose are the best for your texts. Translation agencies are also able to offer a competitive price by applying different translation technologies (from translation management and translation to machine translation).

Create a style guide and term base

High quality always starts with good guides, so does the quality of translation. To check and ensure the quality of translations, we recommend that you create style guides and term bases. It takes time and dedication to create them, but a comprehensive style guide and the term bases ensure that later translations are accurate, consistent, and meet your expectations. Here you can contact a translation agency or a freelance language expert whose previous experience in creating style guides and term bases will make the process faster and smoother for you.

Implement quality control measures

Quality control should be implemented to control and measure the quality of translations. Quality control can be organised in-house, but this service can also be outsourced. For example, one partner translates and the other performs random quality checks on the work done. It is definitely worth purchasing quality control software, or requiring a translation partner to work with it. The two most widely used quality control software are Xbench and Verifika (including the QA tools inside the translation tool).

Consistency and accuracy between translations can be maintained by the use of translation assistance software. This software stores all translations in the translation memory, which makes it easy to maintain unity between all translated texts. The range of translation assistance software is wide, some of the most popular examples are Phrase, Trados Studio, and memoQ. Fortunately, editing texts, using translation assistance software, and collecting translation memory are part of the daily work of translators and translation agencies, and they can also guide and help you in this regard.

Give feedback

This is the hardest part of the translation process. Unfortunately, guides and rules alone are not enough, it is very important that you also set up a feedback loop with your translation partner. This means giving regular feedback on the quality of translations, dealing with problems or concerns, and discussing how to improve the process. Regular communication ensures that the translation process is constantly evolving and that the translations meet your expectations and requirements.

Every start is hard. But if by now you have come to the conclusion that the current form of cooperation with a translation partner is not working or you do not have an overview of your translation costs and translation process, we strongly recommend a restart. Consciously planning the translation process will relieve you of the problems of the future, ordering the service will be smooth, your translation partner will be up to date with your needs, and you will be able to calmly engage in growing your business and reaching new markets. Of course, creating a well-functioning translation process requires time and cooperation with open cards, but if you are willing to contribute to it, the results are worth it.

If you would like advice on setting up your company’s translation process, please get in touch. Together we will come to the solution that suits you best!

Rutt Mäeots

Rutt Mäeots

senior project manager