When clients request for translations, one of the first things they ask is the translation turnaround time. They want to know when the translation company can complete the work or how long it will take before they can receive the translation. Some translation providers state a specific period while others may not.
However, what clients should understand is that it is not always easy to determine the exact time to complete the work. The speed of delivery of the project depends on several factors.
Humans do the translation work, and as a result, there are a few factors that can interrupt the delivery of the work at the right time. It takes time for human translators to create an accurate translation. The tools, quality and the technicality and complexity of the source text are some of the factors that affect translation turnaround time.
What affects translation turnaround time?
Every translation project requires accuracy and high quality. It has to be a mirror image of the original. The translator should include the nuances and technicalities of the target language.
Realistically, every piece of translation work has its level of complexity. Some documents are straightforward and easy to translate. Some projects, on the other hand, may be difficult and too complex by nature. This is especially true with medical translations, legal translations and technical translations that involve unique terminology. These types of translation projects should not be rushed due to the complexity of the text. They might even require transcription depending on the target language.
Some documents require standard translation, which is almost a word-for-word substitution from the source language into the target language. This type of translation work is easy to produce and depending on the number of words, has the fastest translation turnaround time.
Technical documents, such as a technical manual, manufacturing information or a user guide or manual, require a translator who is a subject matter expert. A subject matter expert, in this case, is a translator who has a background in the technical field. The translator should have the right training to be a technical translator. He or she could have worked in the technical field for several years before deciding to become a technical translator.
It is essential for the client to understand the difference between standard translation and specialized translation, as this also affects the translation turnaround time. The technical language used in the document might be challenging to translate into the target language. It may require the translator to choose every word carefully and decide which is the most appropriate term to use. Accuracy is vital to translation, but it is also critical for the target users of the translation to fully understand the document.
Quality of the source text
Translation turnaround time is likewise affected by the quality of the text used in the source document. If the source document is written by a professional, it is easier for the translator to produce the translation faster.
The complexity of the translation
The speed of the translation process is dependent as well on the complexity of the source text. Some clients just sent the document to be translated to the translation company or the translator without background information, instructions and references. This lengthens the translation time, as the translator might have to require answers from the client. Some clients meticulously add terminology, guidelines and detailed information that help the translator to have a very clear idea of the expected result of the project. While some clients accept phone calls and provide answers to the questions during the phone conversations, some clients prefer that the questions be sent by email and the response sent through email as well, which takes time.
The source and target languages
The primary objective of document translation is to facilitate communication and understanding. It is essential that the translated document’s target users pick up the message immediately. However, some languages make translation more difficult. Examples are Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese. These languages lack equivalents from the English source.
Their character sets are not similar as well. These factors also affect the translation speed. In some cases, the target languages may have several meanings, slowing down the translation process because the translator has to choose the right equivalent to express the intended purpose of the source text.
Use of translation tools
While professional translation companies provide human language services, they also use computer-assisted tools (CAT) to ensure accuracy. There have been many mistranslations that affected companies’ reputations and sales and marketing performance. In translation, the slightest mistake can lead to years and large amounts of money to rectify. In medical translation, it can mean risks to patients’ lives.
To avoid inaccuracy in translation and to reduce the translation cost, translation companies use translation memory tools. Translation memory stores documents and the terminologies used in the translation. During repeat orders, these terminologies and sentences can be reused, and ensure accuracy and consistency. It helps eliminate the time spent on typing the same words and sentence segments repeatedly. Using a memory tool removes the occurrence of redundancies in the document. Clients should ask the translation company if their translators use CAT.
Another process that affects translation turnaround time is content formatting. When rendering translation, the translator has to format the document to ensure that it is the mirror image of the original. While some languages require the same format, some languages consume smaller or larger spaces. Some of them are written in different directions, either up and down or from right to left such as Arabic. The intricacies and complexities of the target languages contribute to the speed of completion of the translation order.
For things to work out fine and for you to receive your translation on time, it is essential to give the language service provider enough time to work on the project. If your source document requires special formatting, such as posters, banners, brochures or forms, the help of a desktop publisher is needed to ensure that the translation is of high quality. The design and the target languages should be considered for translations to come out perfect.
How to avoid delays in translation turnaround times
In a service company, meeting service delivery deadlines is essential. Many clients requiring translation often want their projects to be done in the quickest time possible. Clients have to understand that translation is a lengthy process that involves the expertise of four or five persons.
- The project manager assigns the translator who best fits the project. The translator reviews the document, determines what details need clarification, checks if there is a need for specific terminology and does research to prepare for the translation. Once the translation is done, it goes to an editor, then back to the translator if there are changes. The edited document goes to the proofreader who checks the document for all types of errors, to ensure that it fits the client’s requirements, the requirements of the target language and the subject matter. If it needs specific formatting, a desktop publisher is called to help.
- One of the first things the translation client should do is to have a meeting with the chosen translation service provider to discuss the requirements and the expectations they have.
- Depending on the complexity, length and target languages, the client and the translation company should have a professional plan. Determine the documents that need translation, the target languages, deadlines and costs. It is vital that the client is clear about what they need and choose the documents for translation, as this will lessen the amount of time the translator has to look over the document and formulate all the questions to ask from you.
- Understand the file formats you need to submit to the translation company. The files should be editable to eliminate the time in reformatting them. Reformatting documents is done by another person, which adds to the translation timetable and to the overall translation cost. Any other accompanying materials, including multimedia, can also delay the completion of the project.
- Discuss your requirements with the project manager assigned to you so you can map out what to submit, the other materials (cassette recordings, audio CDs and DVD) files you need that may require longer translation work.
Having a definite idea and purpose as to why and when you require translation helps you and the translation company to plan a work process that is beneficial to you and the translator assigned to you.
We provide fast translation turnaround time
Our in-house systems, the range of experience, expertise, discipline and adherence to company standards make Day Translations, Inc. a translation company that is known for translation accuracy and fast translation turnaround time. We only work with native-speaking translators who are located in-country. This means that they are very knowledgeable about their language and culture with their nuances and technicalities. They are subject matter experts to ensure the highest quality of translation output. We accept rush translation jobs if you are pressed for time for a small fee.
Our translators are fully trained and regularly update their skills and knowledge through seminars, conferences and continuing education. You can rely on Day Translations to deliver any type of translation work you require in more than 100 languages. Getting in touch with us is easy. We are open 24/7, so you only need to send us an email at Contact us or give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 whenever you need professional help with your translation requirements..
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