Considering the dynamics of industrial translation, one of the most essential things is free and clear flow of information within the teams, the uncluttered communication and a positive human connection between the people who actually perform the linguistic services.
Educated and Flexible Linguists
Translators, proofreaders and editors are as essential to localization as actors are to the movies.
It is their words, their linguistic perception, knowledge and style that the clients and the customers are finally seeing. It goes without saying that these people must be chosen on the basis of theirs linguistic proficiency and university degrees, but it is worth noting that the gap between the academic approach to language and the industrial demands is sometimes as wide as the gap between the standardized language and the vernacular.
This, however, by no chance means that either should be ignored.
Linguists assigned on localization projects should be fully aware of the living and ever-changing nature of language as a phenomenon, as well as the differences between the standardized form and the spoken language and willing to take a creative and active approach to translation with regard both to its content, intent and the medium on the one hand and the academic standards on the other.
Somewhat exaggerated, but not entirely untrue – the best translators are those who know the rules well enough to know when and how they can and should be bent.
Localization projects frequently require services of a wide range of non-linguist experts, from medical professionals, software developers and engineers to graphic editors and designers. These people are hired on the basis of their experience and knowledge and they don’t need to know much about the translation industry, let alone the linguistic subtleties.
However, they should be made fully aware of why they are approached in the first place – to share their industrial or scientific knowledge and help the translators render both professionally and linguistically impeccable product, to the benefit not only of LSPs and their clients, but of the particular industrial or scientific field and the society as well.
Trustworthy Project Managers
To use the movie metaphor once again, project managers are somewhere between casting producers and directors.
It is them who organize the projects and choose particular individuals for each task, it is their responsibility to deliver the quality approved goods within the given timeframe, and, ultimately, they are responsible for the project failure or success. In addition to all these responsibilities, LPMs (Localization Project Managers) must be the people all the parties involved trust and like.
For this reason, LPMs should be the linguists themselves who understand the translation process, its flow and its possible pitfalls and have at least a clear idea of the very nature of the other experts’ professions.
Simply put, these people must have an academic background and, equally important, a working experience at all levels of localization process.
Communication is, quite naturally, in the very essence of the entire language industry. It is all about communicating meanings between the different languages and cultures, exchanging information between linguistic / expert teams and clients. In other words, it is all about the people and the interaction between them.
There is no simple way of finding the people with the required skills, experiences and human qualities who will be able to work as a team from day one, but keeping an honest and open approach, friendly attitude and allowing enough autonomy to each team member to show his or her creativity, knowledge and ideas may surely help.