Why are translation projects actually projects? The reason translations are seen as and carried out as projects has to do with the fact that the factors of cost, schedule, quality and risks are established at a conscious level, monitored and controlled. Translations are performed within the scope of a translation project because the controlled environment that a project offers ensures that translations are carried out punctually, at the lowest cost possible and at the highest level of quality without having to make any compromises, no matter how many languages are involved, how much text, or what type of text is translated.
One aspect often gets forgotten, even in the case of the largest of projects. That has to do with preparing a project before it actually begins. With respect to translation, quite often, there is often a lack of time involved and the translation process has to start and be carried out as quickly as possible. This gives light to even more of a reason to ensure that proper project preparation takes place. A project that is well prepared always has a better chance of success than a project that is initiated at the seat of one’s pants without any thought at all.
Here is the secret: In order to ensure that project preparation is carried out as quickly as possible, in order to not jeopardize even the tightest of schedules, the project preparation process itself must be planned and routine project preparation measures must always be carried out. This may include analysing the document using a meta program for terminology, analysing the content and format of the text at hand in order to assign an appropriate translator with sufficient skill to be able to perform the translation. This may include devising partial delivery plans to ensure a continuous level of quality and ensure that the project is delivered on time, even in the face of problems that may arise. One of the main things that must be done at the time of project initiation as a preparatory measure entails communicating with the customer and collecting information on their exact requirements and expectations.
This has two functions, the most evident of which is ensuring that the customer receives exactly what they want and require. There is, however, a second function. The customer, as the person who inevitably pays for the project, is the single most important stakeholder in the project. Seeing that the customer is the person providing payment, they are considered the driving force within the scope of any project. Therefore, making the customer happy is paramount. Collecting requirements and expectations at the beginning of the project in additional to an overall high level of communication with the customer throughout the course of a project ensures that the customer feels as if they were part of the project. Their involvement at the beginning of the project itself starting right at the time a quote is issued, especially with regard to involving them in the quality process itself, ensures that the entire language project will have a high success rate, no matter what type of project it is.
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