A well-managed client review process can add value to the translation quality process. Here are a few tips on how to effectively manage client review.
Select the right internal reviewer
This sounds like a reasonable first step, but it’s often overlooked. As the internal reviewer can have a direct impact on the translation quality, it is important to select the right person in the company for the job. The internal reviewer should not only be a native speaker of the language into which you are translating but also someone who is an employee of the company with direct knowledge of the company’s operations in the target market and the approving authority on translation work. Internal review should also be reconsidered as an ongoing task.
- Define the purpose of internal review
What’s the role of the internal reviewer? This can differ per organization. Does the internal reviewer get to review all documents? Does the reviewer have any say over the content of the source language? Does the internal reviewer set the tone of the translation or just verify whether the terminology used is consistent with what may already be out there? What are the time commitments needed for this job and do they align with the expectations of the job requirements of the internal reviewer? Without clear responsibilities and accountability defined as part of the overall job of the internal reviewer, it is likely that your projects will get delayed.
Internal review is for many organizations the only step in the process where they feel they have control over the translation quality process. However, we’ve seen many times where internal review gets cumbersome, inconsistent and confusing because there is not a qualified internal reviewer available. When internal reviewers get burdened with proofing work from professional language service providers, the purpose defies the means. In that case, if trust is something of an issue, the internal review should qualify the language service provider based on initial work and perhaps reviewed at intervals. The point is that the purpose should always be discussed ahead of time and the proper guidelines need to be set in order to make the internal review process as effective as possible.
- Build a relationship with the team
Effective internal reviewers are those that actively participate in team discussions. Therefore, we always encourage written correspondence between the reviewer and the translation team for ongoing work. By introducing the internal reviewer to the translation team, the reviewer has the opportunity to get to know the translation team’s qualifications and address any concerns early on. This emphasizes that the role of the internal reviewer is not to be a third translator on the team, but rather the company expert who can provide insight on the company culture (style), terminology and company specific information that otherwise would not be attainable. Written commentary allows for documentation of any issues, decisions, and reasoning behind changes made. We always advocate for written commentary as opposed to oral dialogue to maintain a knowledgebase that can be accessed in the future when a question arises.
- Build your assets
Leverage your time with the internal reviewer by getting them involved early on in the process. Build a glossary of terms from the materials and have the internal reviewer provide the preferred terminology in the target language. We leverage our Translation Memory technology to get glossaries together in English for our clients that we can send to the internal reviewer. These in turn are used in our software for consistency.
- Have your reviewer read the source materials first
Before you start translating your materials, have your internal reviewer read through the source materials for approval. Many of the translation changes can be avoided by correcting mistakes in the source language and having the reviewer approve the source so as to avoid translation revisions based on changes to the source. When translation changes are discovered during the internal review process, that source text has already gone through source text review and approval (often legal, brand compliance, etc), preparation for translation, translation, editing and proof by the translation team, preparation for internal review, internal review and client linguistic review by the translation team. That’s 7 steps away from initial approval of the source text (read about critical path in translation workflow here). We always advocate for translating source materials that are final, and often the role of the internal reviewer is overlooked. Having source materials approved and discussed by the country experts can save you a lot of headache down the road.
Internal Review should always be discussed up front in order to make sure that the right internal reviewer is chosen for the job with the right purpose and the right means available before it can become an effective and valuable step in the process.
If internal review is merely a step in the process to validate the work of a Language Service Provider, one should set limits to the review and a goal when this trust has been met. If organizations are serious about quality control and continuous improvement, we also offer the J2450 Metric developed by the industry to measure and quantify the translation quality as assessed by the internal reviewer.