//Translation review can make or break you. Take your pick

You’re not tossing translation over the fence, are you? The translation review process, that is. If there is a time to trust your translation partner, it is during the in country linguistic review process. Let’s see how that works.

You have been tasked with the delightful responsibility of handling corporate content in all languages that your company works with. Oh, and you have been given a shoestring budget to work with. And of course, there is also another little hurdle: you don’t have enough time! “Who has the time for all the many project iterations and for the focus  that managing the translation process requires?” you ask. Whatever you do, don’t throw translations over the fence… Instead, collaborate. The In Country Reviewer (ICR) is the most important part of the translation process, and I will tell you why. If you collaborate with the translation team your Language Services Provider (LSP) assigned to you, you will shine among your peers and to those whom you report to.

This is a two-pronged conversation, Collaboration and Continuity. Let’s emphasize collaboration first. One thing at which you are better than anyone outside your organization is knowing your company’s vernacular. And within your organization’s sphere, someone knows more about your internal vernacular than anyone else, maybe even you. It might be one of your resellers, even a sales agent the one who knows how you use your technical language better than the best translation team in the world would.

Get involved up front when selecting the translation partner that will provide the glossary creation and the stylistic aspects of your translations. If you set up a very good review process up front, it will set you free later as you go forward in your relationship with your LSP. Let your LSP project manager help you with this. But he/she will need your total support. After that, the ride will be smooth all the way. If you don’t, it will surely cost you time and money; not to mention, most probably, your reputation.

The LSP project manager assigned to your translation project will ask you to provide an In Country Reviewer (ICR) to collaborate with his team in order to produce the “best in class” results for your translated content. Now, your ICR will generally be doing this for free. We empathize with you. It is hard to ask someone to do this as a “favor”. So you will need to sweeten it up for him/her to be willing to take on this task of reviewing a translation project above and beyond his/her current responsibilities (in my opinion ICR’s deserve a halo!, so make sure to appreciate them).

Your LSP project manager will provide you with a customized glossary of terms that only your ICR can verify and sign off on. Choose an ICR that will dictate the style and the vernacular he/she deems most appropriate to convey the closest meaning to the source content before the translation starts. Let the ICR follow the lead of the translation team. They are the experts you got precisely for this purpose. Your LSP selects the best native teams to craft your multilingual content. Trust them.

Give your LSP project manager direct access to your ICR. Let no one in your company interfere with that bond. The more the translators understand the stylistic preferences and vernacular of your company, the more successful all projects will be and the less involvement will be required of you. Your ICR is the most important person in the translation process. Encourage strong collaboration between the ICR and the LSP project manager to make sure you are getting the best results.

The LSP project manager might have explained the importance of an ICR participation in building the style guides and glossaries that are needed to translate your materials; however, the job does not stop there. The LSP project manager must secure an ICR and establish a close relationship with him/her; if none is available through the established channels, the LSP project manager will take it a step further and solicit your personal help in finding one. That’s how important this process is.

Most clients think they do not have anyone that can review projects. This is not an option you can afford. Think this through. Who is the end user of the translated content? Certainly there is someone you can find that can fill this role. In the end, someone always has to provide the needed feedback. More translation projects are derailed in this part of the process than in any other because this step is ignored and passed off as “just do it”, or “can we just skip it this time?”. Most translation projects already have extremely tight deadlines. So do yourself a favor; find time to get someone who can help you take this step correctly the first time.

Once the ICR is identified, the LSP project manager will monitor translation tests done by three different linguists. The ICR will select the two styles he likes best out of those three. Your LSP project manager will then form a team of translators who will remain together indefinitely. The LSP project manager’s responsibility is to explain that if you change the ICR during the translation process, you must notify him/her immediately. Not informing the LSP translation team of such changes can and often does have detrimental effects on the project. In our experience more than 95% of projects go south at this juncture. The reason? No two reviewers think alike. Every style is as unique as the person who sets it.

There is more fun on the way, but let’s stop right here. In the meantime I hope you got the picture…. Follow the translation review process guidelines the LSP project manager recommends and stick to them. That is, after all, the essence of any good review.