It can sometimes take a lot of time and effort to adapt to working with a new client – particularly on complex projects for a mature client with established and strict procedures that need to be followed – but good coordination, patience and understanding of the client’s requirements ultimately yields positive results.
Having agreed on the terms of cooperation with one of our clients, we entered into the adaptation phase.
Building the Team
We assembled the linguists whose qualifications and experience were best suited to the client’s demands. Many of them had previously been tested on similar materials, and, in addition to reaching out to the new translators for this specific project, the linguists we had already been working with were also included.
We received the client’ feedback and evaluation after the initial translation deliveries.
The client evaluates translations on the basis of only a small text sample and the criteria for evaluation are based on the following parameters: transfer of meaning, use of reference materials and specific terminology, spelling and grammar, style and register, clarity of expression, and layout and formatting.
In addition to the remarks regarding the areas that will require particular attention in the future, the client can sometimes provide comments on the quality of the translation, further clarifying whether the translation is suited for its particular audience and whether there were any minor error that do not affect the readability of the translated content, but which should nonetheless be taken into account. On the basis of the client’s initial assessment we selected the best linguists for this project and excluded those who do not meet the requirements.
In other words, we modified the project team in accordance with the client’s feedback to meet the required quality standards. We built a specific team for this type of translation and for this particular client.
Adapting the Workflow
The standard translation process includes translation, bilingual revision and Quality Assurance check of the revised translation. Having taken into account the feedback received after every delivery, we recognized the need to introduce changes to our standard workflow. We moved away from the bilingual revision and opted for monolingual review due to the fact the client pays great attention to the target language readability. Translated material must be faithful to the original content, but it also has to sound natural in the target language and to be easily understandable to the target audiences. This is why we felt that monolingual review would work better for this particular project.
Furthermore, with each new project the team received detailed instructions and terminology from the client that must be followed. However, it is also important to identify the type of text correctly and its target audience, as these factors will determine how much the translator can move away from the wording of the source material. These factors were not a primary concern for the client in the initial stages, but we came to realize that, in addition to the language norms, a correct identification the target audience will lead to more positive evaluations and greater translation quality. The client did not put particular emphasis on this factor very early on, but they clarified this through a series of educational webinars and workshops for freelance translators.
Adapting the Technology
On the basis of the feedback, we developed and adapted specific technology workflow, while the CAT tool was specified by the client. The client sends Trados XLIFF files with relevant translation memories, after which Trados project packages are created and sent to the translators.
In addition to the existing translation memories which were available for some of projects, the client also provides the official translation memory that the translators can use. They can also use publicly available memories provided by certain official bodies.
After delivering the reviewed versions of the translations, the client does a final check. This is why there is no main translation memory which includes all the translations since the version produced by the translation team is not necessarily the final official version of the text.
In addition to the translation memories, we have also created a feedback glossary which is regularly updated and is automatically imported into the Quality Assurance tool to avoid mistakes which affect the final quality.
We also created a special profile in a Quality Assurance software to detect “forbidden terms” that had been added to the feedback glossary and which are then excluded by the Quality Assurance team. In cases when certain forbidden terms can be used in a particular context, the potential errors detected by the software are sent to the reviewer to be checked and corrected if necessary.
In conclusion, we identified areas for improvement based on client feedback in order to ensure the quality of our translations and we accordingly applied new processes and specially adapted language tools. Our efforts resulted in more positive evaluation and comments for the deliveries and ultimately a more satisfied client.