This post is part of the Five Phases of the Translation Workflow series.




The translation workflow consists of five distinct phases:

This post covers the workflow during translation. This is not the workflow used by your Language Services Provider (LSP). They have their own workflow. This is the workflow that you are involved in.

During translation, you need to consider the interaction that takes place between your company and your LSP. Most of the interaction that happens during translation falls into one of two categories:

  • Asking for and receiving clarification on source content
  • Reviewing the translations

Clarifying Source Content

Before you send anything to your LSP, make sure that you know how you are going to handle questions from the translators. Someone at your company will need to answer each question.

In my experience, the best person to have available to answer a translator’s question is the writer of the original source content. For reasons that I have never understood, this communication is rarely established. In all of the years that I was a writer and then a manager of writers, I cannot recall a single instance where I was asked by the translation and localization team for clarification. I never really thought about it. Translation was not in my silo.

If you do not establish the line of communication for clarifying the source content, then you are leaving the translator to make his or her best guess. Not a good idea.

Reviewing Translations

You also need people to review the translations. There is likely no one at your company with the title, “Translation Reviewer.” Therefore, you will need to enlist the help of people who have other jobs.

The best practice for translation review is to have an in-country reviewer (ICR) for each language/location that you use. As with all communication, setting expectations for the role of an ICR is paramount to the success of your project. Remember, these people almost always have full-time jobs that have nothing to do with reviewing translation.

If you do not have an ICR for each language, then you need to have someone who speaks both the source language and the translation fluently. Preferably someone who is a native speaker of the language used for the translation. The same expectation rules apply. The more you plan, the better off you’ll be.

One thing I would definitely caution against is not reviewing each language. I have customers that actually do not have any reviewers for certain languages. This is a terrible idea. I’m sure you can list the reasons why.

 Food for Thought

Here are some of the questions you should think about:

  • What type of communication occurs during the translation process? phone? email? instant messenger?
  • Who is responsible for answering questions that come in from the translator?
  • How are those questions handled?
  • Does every language have an ICR? Do you have a list of those people? Have they been informed?
  • On average, how many iterations can you expect between the translator and the ICR?
  • Do your ICRs like cookies? (So you can thank them profusely for their help.)

The next post discusses the workflow for receiving translated files from your LSP.


For more information about global content strategy, see my book Global Content Strategy: A Primer, available in a bundle of eBook formats (PDF, Kindle, ePub) from XML Press and in print or Kindle from Amazon.

Val Swisher
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