Case Study: Term-base Translation for an HSE Company
Translation of series of employee trainings and workshops, as well as presentations and other supplementary materials, by an autonomous team of linguists; both translation and revision steps performed without any ongoing control and intervention of a project manager. The customer specializes in the development of effective change management processes for other companies and implementation thereof.
Brief project description
• Service: Term-base translation (TEP + update), Translation + Revision + QC (TEP)
• Specialization: Administrative/Business/HSE (LEAN, 5S, sustainability, health and safety, production efficiency, risk assessment and management, loss and waste reduction, organizational culture)
• Language pair: EN–UKR
• Wordcount: 175,000 words
• Chronology: 1.5 months
• Team: 10 translators, 1 reviser, 1 QC manager
Aspect performed a test task, which made it possible to win a tender among 6 other language service providers. The total word count of the job was 175,000 words; the project lasted for 1.5 months.
The project was set up due to the client’s product launch for Ukrainian-speaking users, i.e. the Ukrainian translation for this project line was performed for the first time, meaning lack of relevant reference materials. However, a high-quality translation together with strict following of the domain-specific terminology was a must. Another challenge was that the responsible project manager was going on scheduled vacations, which entailed additional difficulties. There were not many factors that could affect the result, but they were quite significant.
• The term-base provided for reference was in Russian. And after having been checked by a bilingual (Ukrainian and Russian) linguist it proved to contain certain terms which could be doubtfully used in Ukrainian translation.
• Project manager’s partial absence during the project implementation created some difficulties in communication, quality control, and files exchange between the linguists.
Why we succeeded
We managed to complete the project successfully in such conditions due to the careful workflow planning and project preparation, which included the following steps:
1. Preparation. Although the test translation had been filed back in January, and the project itself was launched only in April, we still had about a week to prepare. Meanwhile, project manager gathered all technical information and launched the process of the dedicated professional team selection, while reviser got to prepare the project style guide for the translators and provided them with some background information to help them get a full insight into the nature of the subject matter.
2. CAT-tools. We decided to work in memoQ (+ QC in Verifika, as it supports seamless .mqxclif files export and import), because the client could provide their own memoQ server for us. Working in memoQ had several advantages.
Firstly, you can assign three steps to the linguists, who can either deliver the files to the next step if they are fine or return to the previous step if not. It’s very convenient, providing for a number of files with different deadlines.
Secondly, all the linguists could work in memoQ simultaneously, while reviser could keep control over the translators’ progress. In addition, reviser and QC manager were able to edit the term-base according to the context.
Thirdly, this CAT-tool supports “subvendor mode”, i.e. we were able to create our own users on the client’s server. So, thank to that it was also easy for reviser to track the quality of each translator’s work. Also the translators were instructed to use the TM entries approved by the reviser and QC’s initials to maintain consistency.
Moreover, the communication took place in a specially designated application, where the translators could address questions and concerns to both reviser and QC manager.
3. Workflow schedule. To deliver completed files from one step to the other and to avoid delays, a detailed schedule was created and shared among the linguists working on the project. It contained the information as follows: file names, word count, and deadlines for every linguist at each step by files. The deadlines were not as tough between every step, and there was some time margin left, so should reviser needed more time she could deliver a file later to the QC step without compromising its final deadline.
4. LQA approach. To eliminate the risks of improper translation quality and achieve the best quality, reviser had to perform so-called “spot-checks”. Spot-check is a kind of LQA, but unlike traditional LQA, when a reviser checks 500–1,000 words sorting out the errors by their categories and severity, during spot-check a reviser can encompass a larger part of the translation (e.g. up to 2,500–3,000 words per hour), and provide a translator with a detailed feedback on major terminology and accuracy errors, as well as repetitive errors and formatting issues. On receiving such feedback the translators had to implement necessary changes globally, which helped to shorten the reviser’s time and avoid the same repetitive mistakes.
5. PM back-up. In case of unforeseen situations, a back-up project manager was appointed for the period of absence of the responsible one. But thanks to the preliminary preparation of the project, everything was done without any intervention.
As a result, this project was completed successfully. The client received their final product of a very high quality, as well as the relevant term base, which is still used for the client’s projects. The client keeps coming back to order our company’s services, with requests a few times bigger than the initial 175,000 word project. What helped us succeed are competent planning, regular quality checks, and effective use of CAT-tools.