A Guide to Translation Project Management

Published on December 20th, 2022

Post-its on a white board

Translating a single document from one language to another simply requires the right translator. Yet most translation projects involve multiple documents and they may also include multiple languages, subjects, topics, specialist industries, media types and a range of other factors.

Any translation project that involves ongoing or large volumes of content requires careful management to ensure that targets are hit and that the necessary resources are always available. In this article, we run through a step-by-step guide to translation project management and why it’s so important.

What is translation project management?

Translation project management oversees the planning and execution of translation processes throughout each stage of a project or projects. This typically includes a translation project manager (or transcreation and voiceover manager and similar) who is in charge of ensuring that every stage of a given project goes as planned using a specialist set of translation project management tools to maximise the efficiency of translation processes.

  • Translation project manager: Ensures each stage of the project achieves its objectives on time, manages resources and liaises with the client.
  • Translation project management tools: A set of tools designed to maximise translation project efficiency, starting with a translation management system (TMS) for example, that can bring project tools, content and other resources into one unified place.

Any good language service provider will provide translation project management as a dedicated service to help businesses get the best results from every piece of content they need translated. This is one of the top benefits of hiring a language service agency over freelance translators, who rely on you to manage the project yourself.

For some projects, translation alone isn’t enough to adapt content for local markets. For example, website translation requires a specific approach to website structure and coding. At the same time, visual content needs adapting for each target audience and it also requires thought on how a given content strategy will be able to address the unique needs of each audience.

In this case, a localisation strategy might be needed, which can work to optimise content for translation and may also take the target audience’s cultural background into consideration alongside other unique target audience factors when and if required.

What are the benefits of translation & localisation project management?

Whether your translation project requires a localisation strategy or not, the benefits of translation project management are the same:

  • You have a dedicated translation project manager to support you at every stage
  • Language experts can advise you throughout the project
  • Language agencies have all of the tools required to manage your project
  • Language agencies can handle large and complex projects
  • You hit every deadline throughout your project
  • You get consistent results every time
  • Your project manager ensures your goals are met at every stage of the project
  • Your project manager keeps you in the loop every step of the way

When dealing with large volumes of content or specialist or technical content (think: websites, software, medical documentation, legal documents, life sciences documents and research reports, financial reports etc.), translation project management would be of an invaluable benefit and the only way to achieve high quality results.

The key aspects of translation project management

Now that we’ve clarified the role and importance of translation project management, let’s take a quick look at the main steps it usually involves:

  1. Planning: producing a detailed, provisional plan for every stage of a project for review and approval.
  2. Project prep: Everything is put in place to manage a project, including selected translators, any other language professionals required and the tools needed throughout the delivery of the project.
  3. Implementation: Translation project management tools and any other technologies needed for projects (such as translation memory, terminology management, etc.) are set up and ready for use.
  4. Resource prep: Content resources are prepped for translation – for example, videos transcribed for subtitle translation or software code localised for translation.
  5. Translation: A multi-step process of translating, reviewing and (in most cases) editing content for each target language for approval.
  6. Quality control: Once translated content is approved, it runs through a final quality control process where it is analysed to ensure quality and, for some projects, tested on sample audiences.
  7. Project assessment: The final stage is to analyse the project, ensure all of the objectives were met and identify any opportunities to improve future results.

As you can see from the list above, the first steps in translation project management involve planning and preparation. The translation stage itself doesn’t come until step five of this process, although it normally involves the majority of work and input.

The planning and preparation stages of translation project management ensure that the translation stage runs as smoothly as possible.

Do you need help managing your next translation project?

By working with a language agency that provides translation project management, you can ensure that your goals are achieved on every project. Translation project management is key for the planning stage, sourcing of the right language experts for your specific language needs and for making sure everything proceeds as it should throughout the duration of your project.

If you need help with your translation projects, get in touch with us by completing the form on our contact page to discuss strategy and your projects’ needs.

Posted on: December 20th, 2022