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How we solve a 500.000-word translation at our agency

ianuarie 30, 2023

traducere de 500.000 de cuvinte

There are about 500 model cars in the image above. Give or take 100. If you’d count every car as a word, you’d need 1000 more sets like this one as, a collector, to get to 500.000, the number of words in our translation today. Although not a daily occurrence, we do get mammoth translations quite often, with hundreds of thousands of words. This one is from the auto industry, hence our choice of “visuals”.

First and foremost, Plunet! If you’re confused, Plunet is where the magic happens when it comes to translations: we’ve got databases with clients and partners, translators who get assigned tasks from our project managers, monitoring tools, translation overview, you name it.

Through Plunet, we are able to manage thousands of clients who request translations from all topics, from auto to medical and from energy to IT. From Romanian to English or French to the most exotic languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and so on. From 5 to half a million words, and sometimes beyond that.

It seems like translations just happen if you peek in from the outside. In reality, the entire process of translating 500.000 words is simply fabulous. It’s like an adventure, a marathon with its ups and downs, wins and losses. How do you translate 500.000 words at a time?

Step 1: The Precious Client

Luckily for us and our 1000+ clients, most of our translations are not half a million words long. That would go South really quickly! How do we get our clients? Most of them come through our Sales department, as clients are approached and informed about our services. We also get clients through Google, LinkedIn, or social media, as well as past clients who come back for more.

One of our secrets is that we our focus is never on our offer but on the idea of solutions (hence our name). We are not translators but a full-house agency for everything related to language services. Once the client comes up with the brief of their project, we will assign the task to the right department. This is where the actual work starts when creating a bond between our client and the agency.

Step 2: The Project Manager

Time is the most valuable asset in our agency. This is why there’s a 15-minute response time for any new request for our services. We manage to self-impose this time limit standard with 95% of our new requests. Once we know what the client needs, it becomes easier to give them more details about our future collaboration. The project manager is the one responsible for that.

With a 500.000-word translation, you do need a small army of translators in order to succeed with the task, who have to take style, time, revisions, editing and other aspects into account. As soon as the new client meets their project manager, the two sides can then talk about the more important aspects of the project. They will get a price and time quotation from the very start.

Step 3: The Price and Time

So, when is my translation ready? This is the question all clients expect an answer to, and fast! In the discussions phase, which is done with the project manager, we let the client know about the steps our agency will go through before delivery day: finding the translators, task management, monitoring, editing, proofreading, and delivery. For a 500.000-word translation, computers are very helpful!

Our agency works with specialized software that uses databases from previous translations we did for the same client. These allow us to use the same tone for a new translation. At the same time, we work with more translators at once, which makes everything faster but without letting loose on quality. Once we clarify everything, the translation really begins.

While the translation is cooking, the documents the client sends in are safely stored on our own servers for complete confidentiality.

Step 4: The Hunt for Translators

From this moment on, the project managers start working their magic. They reevaluate the document again, and then using Plunet they look for the right translators for the job. We’ve got over 2000 translators in our database, most of them natives, as well as linguists who are able to translate into and from Romanian to any language in the world. We meticulously choose who we work with not just because we want #happyclients but also because it benefits us too. Translators keep in touch with their project managers on a regular basis, updating them on the work they’ve been assigned. When translating 500.000, time management and revisions are of utmost importance.

Step 5: The Neverending Proofreading

Once the translation is ready, we verify everything again before moving forward. There is no need for the client to intervene at this time, as the editing and proofreading happen within the agency, or with the native or non-native translator, as per request. Together with the translators, proofreaders and the rest of the team, the project manager will double-check everything.

Step 6: The Anxious Delivery

The delivery is not the final step of the translation. We know that most of the time it is after delivery that the real work begins because the most important aspect of any great translation lies in the feedback from the client. Their feedback get to the agency within hours or even days after our first delivery. The moment we get feedback, things can go one of two ways. The first option is when the feedback is 100% positive and therefore the translation process is complete.

Step 7: The Not-So-Great Feedback

The second option is when the feedback is not 100% great. This is when the project manager verifies what went wrong and starts sorting out the issues the client pointed out in their notes. Only after implementing the revisions coming from the client, we are safe to say the translation has reached its ending point. When the client is 101% satisfied with the result, that is when the process is done, and we can move on to the next project.

Bonus: How to get cheaper (and faster) translations

After the translation is accepted by the client, they can also request a new one or wait until they need help again. We always keep our clients close through the project manager as well as social media, newsletters, useful (we hope!) articles and other means of communication. Thanks to a bunch of CAT Tools, we can optimize the costs of future translations for the clients we’ve worked with so far. This means that, as time goes by, the more translations we get from a client the better we will be able to do in terms of prices and delivery time.

In the case of a 500.000-word translation, besides CAT Tools, project managers and their team of translators, editors and proofreaders, the most important part of our process is dedication. We stand by it in in regards to all of our translations, simply because we love what we do, be it a 5 or 500.000-word job.

The dedication that we put in is always at the max.

-click here for the Romanian version of this article-