Navigating the Translation Process Obstacle Course

I’m a big fan of obstacle course challenges and have competed in multiple Spartan races in the past few years.

In a typical obstacle course you have to run, walk, climb, crawl and roll your way through various physical and mental challenges along the way.

While not as physically demanding, a translation process is very much like an obstacle course.

Navigating through it can be mentally draining and costly depending on the size of your project. Each step in the translation process is an obstacle that must be completed.

Whether you are completely new to language translation or have experience in working with language service companies, learning about the translation process obstacles steps is the key to success.

Navigating the Translation Process Obstacle Course

Here is what you can do to successfully navigate the translation process obstacle course.

Which One to Choose

Choosing an obstacle course to run in is no different than choosing a language service company to work with on your translation projects.

They all appear to be selling the same thing. Now you must determine which one is right for you.

If quality is important to you, be cautious of low cost providers.

One thing I like about the Spartan Race is that you never know the about the types of obstacles, until you’re actually racing the course. While this level of unpredictability is exciting for running through rugged terrain, it could be a bit unsettling when you have important documents that need to be translated.

When choosing a language service company, you’d probably want a predictable translation process, where quality can be measured.

Make sure the company you choose can describe its translation process to you, so you can determine how it will fit within your overall communication strategy.

Prepare to Navigate

Unless you’re an exceptional athlete (I’m not), running an obstacle course without any training or preparation is a terrible idea.

In the most recent race I participated in, more than half of all competitors didn’t finish the course. Even though I finished, my overall time wasn’t as good as I’d hoped to achieve.

The good news is that you don’t have to be athletic to prepare your documents for translation. Make sure you gather all native files for the documents you need translated, have an idea of how quickly you want them translated and into what languages.

Your language service company will help you scope out the project.

Execute to Perfection

On a 5K obstacle course you’re looking at conquering 10 to 15 obstacles that will test your physical & mental toughness. This is something you can do alone, or with a team.

Having a solid team to run with makes things a lot easier as you help each other push through the obstacles. Take a look at this awesome team at K International that just completed the Swanbourne Endeavour in the U.K.

Your translation project also needs a great team to make sure it’s executed to your specifications. It all starts out with the project manager (PM).

If your translation company didn’t assign you a dedicated PM, make sure you ask for one as he/she will be the team leader. The PM will work to coordinate translators, editors, proofreaders, terminologists, desktop publishing professionals and other key personnel assigned to your project.

Each step of the translation process is as unique as a race obstacle. It requires a calculated approach to complete by a team member and do so in a timely manner.

You should be able to sit back and have the confidence that your team will deliver the project on time, within budget and according to your specifications.

Get to the Finish

There’s no better feeling on race day than crossing the finish line. Once you finish the obstacle course, no matter how long it takes, you have sense of achievement and relief.

You may also be rewarded with a beer in the end and have something to look forward to in your next race.

Your translation project should also be completed with the same type of dedication, so you can trust your assigned PM and the translation team with more work.

Remember, it’s the people involved that make the translation process go smoothly. You always want the best people on your team.

2 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    I found your comparison of doing a Spartan race to choosing a translation company to be very clever. Being a PM I find that my days at work feel very much like an obstacle course sometimes. Very good read!


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