Your Guide to Realistic Translation Turnaround Times

October 19, 2018by Françoise Henderson0
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As a Global Content Partner, we often help our clients with a variety of translation and localization services. In doing so, one question always tends to rear its head: “What is your turnaround time?”

It’s fair question to ask, especially when a client has been burned in past — all it takes is one translation company to miss a deadline and then pile on the excuses for a client to err on the side of caution from then on out. The thing is, there are a lot more factors at play than one might realize, especially if you haven’t worked with each other before.

With this in mind, this blog post should help you manage expectations when it comes to translation turnaround times from a localization services provider.

Communication and transparency are non-negotiable

While unexpected issues may arise that delay or prolong a given translation job, you should never be left in the dark. Leaving a client hanging when an agreed-upon deadline as passed is never acceptable, no matter what. Even if a delay is inevitable, your service provider should notify you as soon as this becomes likely — and always well in advance of the deadline.

In our experience, clients are very understandable when a problem arises, and a solution needs to be found. As long as you’re fully transparent and it’s clear that you’re working with them and not against them.

Turnaround times generally improve over time

The first time you work with a localization service provider, the initially provided turnaround time is a lot harder to accurately predict. This is because time needs to be factored in to find suitable linguists, who can then be used for future translation projects. It’s also important to have a comprehensive style guide to inform and guide the translation process; however, this can take time to develop if you don’t have one readily available.

A glossary of key terms and their equivalent translations plays a key role in any translation process. This will inevitably be a work in progress, with new terms being added as the need arises, but its initial compilation phase can be an unpredictably lengthy and exhaustive process. That being said, once the glossary is up and running, the entire translation process will speed up.

Another key factor to remember is that the translation memory needs time to build up. This will progressively reduce the time needed to translate, as well as improve consistency across translations as previously approved translations can be reused.

How to get the most from a Global Content Partner

The best way to ensure a clear turnaround time without any surprises is to give your provider as much notice as possible ahead of the translation job. This is because great translators need to be booked well in advance; while they might have space for small projects at short notice, larger projects need significantly more time and planning.

Source content usually takes some time to create, so it’s important to let your Global Content Partner know about your translation requirements. This will allow them to plan and allocate resources appropriately. If there is a genuine rush — we know these things can happen — a trusted Global Content Partner will bend over backwards to make it happen; and if not, at least suggest a viable alternative.

If you’re interested in building a relationship with a Global Content Partner that you can trust to deliver, get in touch with a member of the Rubric team today.

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Françoise Henderson

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