Besides the costs associated with translating content, there is a second important topic that is usually not far behind the monetary aspect – the translation turnaround time.
While some projects are not urgent and can, therefore, take their sweet time, the reality is that translations are often needed yesterday. In times like these, clients are often demanding somewhat unrealistic deadlines, while LSPs try to push back in a constant struggle of doable vs. recommendable.
What are realistic deadlines for translation turnaround time, then? We are here to cover this question in more detail and to point out some of the main factors.
#1. The size of a translation project
The translation turnaround time depends on the size of a project. How innovative, some of you might sarcastically comment. Well, yes and no, as this is tricky terrain for one simple reason – the number of words in a file or on a website is not the number of words to be translated.
Let’s take a very simple example, an e-commerce website. E-commerce websites can easily contain millions of words. The problem (or benefit)? More than 90% are repetitions, such as headers, footers, buttons, sizes, and colors of products.
This, in turn, means that instead of 2.000.000 words, the client might actually have only 100.000 words for translation. A Translation Management System can make all the difference here, as it can analyze the content and help the project manager allocate the words for translation to the translators with the right expertise. This brings us to the second point on this list.
#2. Type of content
Depending on the type of content to be translated, you need translators with relevant experience to have decent translation turnaround time. When it comes to larger translation projects it is also not unusual to have larger teams working together (like three translators and two reviewers). To make this process work you need a large pool of translators and a Translation Management System that can support such complex projects.
At Text United, we like to include one more person in most of our projects: an In-Country Reviewer. This is usually someone working for or with the client in the target market, who has access to the project while it is being translated, and who can assess any changes which need to be made from day one (like company-specific terminology).
#3. Lack of references and context
Translating a product catalog is one thing, but translating it in a .xml file, without any input from the client in terms of product descriptions or terms to be used, is quite another. Often, clients will say that translators should have the necessary experience to translate the given type of content.
While this is true, there is a difference between producing an OK translation, and a version of the product catalog truly localized for the target market, using the company-specific terminology. There are worse examples, such as translating the user interface of a very specific type of machine, or a complete website, out of context. All these problems can be resolved by some very simple initial steps.
First, provide all the references you can, either in the form of previously translated content, materials you have in the source language. Such content can be used to either prepare translation memories (further lowering the cost, as an additional benefit), or reference screenshots for tricky parts, which simply require additional pointers to get the translation right.
Secondly, share any terminology you have, or can easily prepare. This can be the top 20 terms you need the translator to stick to or a full terminology list that you prepared with your partners in the target countries. In most translation projects, the terminology is the make-or-break factor.
#4. Lack of In-Country Reviewer
We very often propose to make use of the benefit listed in #2 – the In-Country Review. However, some clients view it as placing an additional and unnecessary burden on their own employees and prolonging translation turnaround time.
The thing is, any content translated into another language, except perhaps for everyday e-mails, will be reviewed in one way or the other. No-one will publish a translated website without reviewing it. No-one will ship a machine with the UI localized into another language without having it reviewed either internally or by the client making the purchase.
We have only moved the review into the translation process, removing the need to review translations once they are delivered. Why? Well, to speed up the turnaround time for everyone involved!
If a partner operating in the target market can spot changes at the very beginning of the translation process, this means that they will not have to review the whole translation once it is delivered. They will not have to prepare reviews and feedback, send it to superiors, translators, and agencies, and then wait for changes to be implemented, before reviewing everything again.
You can effectively speed up your translation turnaround time
The main thing encompassing all the points listed above is a proper Translation Management System coupled with a large pool of translators used to working on different types of content. Luckily, we can provide you with both!
We translate websites, e-commerce sites, and web apps in context, meaning that translators and reviewers can actually work online, looking at the content they are translating. We enable users to include screenshots and reference files to projects, helping translators work more efficiently. We enable clients to view translations in real-time, helping them shorten review cycles. We have over 5.000 experienced translators for most language combinations.
Do you want a realistic estimate for your translation project? Reach out to us, and we can talk about the factors influencing your particular project. As always, there are no strings attached!