According to the dictionary, translating is “to change (speech or writing) from one language into another”, but it implies much more than merely rewriting a text into a different language. Before the final document is delivered to the client, it has passed through a whole array of stages that shape the translation process.
Due to the vast number of variables, many facts have to be taken into account when facing a translation project. Not only are linguistic aspects, such as the following ones important:
- Number of target languages that are required (if we are managing a multiple or single language project) as well as type of language combinations (in case of a rare or unusual language combination).
- Text field and technicality of language (legal, medical, technical, software, etc.).
- Volume of words to be translated; maybe it’s a long manual or a short list of functions. Oddly short translations present more complexity due to the lack of context.
But also the technical issues such as file format (document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, audio, video…) are key factors. Normally a document is delivered in the same format, unless otherwise specified. And sometimes these are not editable files or totally compatible with CAT tools. In these occasions the documents need to get into the engineering process both before and after the translation is made.
In other words, the nature of the project determines the path to be taken. But some features are inherent to project management:
- Understanding the needs and requirements of the client; key elements are clearly defined before the translation project is launch.
- Planning the steps to be followed as well as realistic timeframes.
- Assigning the appropriate team and resources; a specialized team of professionals that comprises a translator, editor, proofreader, engineering and DTP. Sometimes certain documentation or glossaries are provided as reference.
- Foreseeing any potential difficulties both, technical and linguistic.
- Coordinating resources, human and otherwise, in order to carry out the overall project plan.
- Assuring effective communication with clients and team members, as well as workflow.
- Solving any possible inconveniences that can arise during the process; as new requirements added by the client.
- Meeting project goals and deadlines according to schedule.
Taking into account the complexity of all aspects comprising the translation process, good project management for medical translations and technical translations can make the difference in completing a project on time, on budget and with high quality results.