As a Project Manager you will be coordinating multiple projects – each project will have a minimum of two outside vendors (translator and editor) with the possibility of many more.
Your vendors will usually work off-site as independent freelance vendors who have agreed to work with your agency on an independent basis. Your agency in turn has agreed to work with the vendor and has ensured that they have completed the appropriate tax forms, signed the Confidentiality Agreement, submitted their resume, references and details of their past experience and in some cases have taken an evaluation test. The Purchase Order you issue to the vendor will act as the agreement for the job.
Keep in mind that your vendors will likely have entered into similar agreements with other agencies so you will be competing for their time.
Vendors you will be working with in a translation project
Translators will have the task to take the written text that your client provides and rewrite it in their native language, staying as faithful to the source text, source format and provided reference as possible. The translators you hire should be native speakers of the target language with subject area knowledge and they should have translation experience.
Editors will have the task of polishing the translation and making the language flow as smoothly as possible. They should also be responsible for confirming that the translation is complete and for verifying consistency of terms and adherence to any supplied reference or glossaries. The editors you hire should be native speakers with subject area knowledge and they should have translation experience.
Proofreaders focus on the details. They need to ensure that all text is faithfully reproduced. Though their knowledge of the target language can help verify the quality of the translation – or alert you to problems, proofreaders must be reminded that they are not to re-translate the text. If there are problems, the Project Manager should be told and the PM is responsible for contacting the translator and editor and developing the recovery plan. Ideally proofreading will be done by internal staff working closely with the PM.
Typesetters will be responsible for laying out the approved translation into the client-supplied source layout file. They will need to have the appropriate software application and good knowledge of typesetting in foreign languages. Remember language conventions vary! The Project Manager must be responsible for supplying them with the final source file and the translated file for typesetting. As clients can update files in the middle of the process and since the translation process involves multiple people, but sure to keep a close eye on the versions and always send the correct versions to the typesetter. If changes occur during the Desktop Publishing phase, be sure to communicate any changes to the typesetter and discuss it with them to make sure all instructions are clear.
Skills to look for when contracting translators and editors:
- Native speakers
- Subject area experience
- Experience with Translation Memory software (Trados, Wordfast, etc)
- Up-to-date on technology
- They should be willing to do basic research as necessary for a project (projects requiring extensive research should have the research phase included in the work flow both for scheduling and cost)
- They should ask questions when needed and should point out problems in the source text when they find them
- They should produce accurate and complete translations, while adhering to their deadlines
- They should deliver on time and alert you to any potential delays as soon as they are aware of them