Elevate your linguistic review by building trust between reviewers and translators

March 30, 2020

The linguistic review is a critical step in the global content creation process. It’s at this point that subject matter experts and marketing staff can ensure that translated content is accurate, on-message, and relevant for the target region.

Reviewing translations largely follows the same principles as any other content review process: ensure that there is a well-defined process, clear expectations, and up-to-date reference material. However, to achieve the shortest review cycles and the highest quality localized content, you need to go beyond these standard steps.

The key to successful linguistic review is to build effective communications between your translators and reviewers. If you’ve ever been involved in a content review cycle, you already know how easy it is for different perspectives to lead to frustrations, misunderstandings, and delays. But by creating a regular feedback loop and encouraging communication and knowledge sharing, you can establish global content creation as a shared endeavor – driving faster reviews and better translations without additional costs.

The fundamentals

The first step towards improving your linguistic review is to ensure that you have a strong foundation to build on. These are the core elements of a strong review cycle that will underpin a successful cultural shift:

  • Well-defined process – Each stage in the review should be planned out, with a clear schedule and a precise brief. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of repeated revisions, so it’s important to set and enforce a strict deadline for each phase.
  • Keep reviewer numbers down – Too many cooks spoil the broth. The more reviewers there are, the more conflicting opinions there will be, and the longer things will take. We find that it’s best to appoint just a single reviewer to each translation, or at the very least, limit reviewers to just a small number of preselected, relevant individuals. When multiple reviewers are involved, establish a clear hierarchy to ensure that someone has final say, and consolidate edits into one document before returning them to translators.
  • Use bilingual review files – Bilingual review files enable translators to track changes and easily see the edits made during review. Additionally, this ensures that no one has to coordinate numerous changes that have been made in different formats.
  • The purpose of the review – The primary role of the reviewer should be to provide input on product and market-specific areas. While feedback on terminology is often valuable, it is not the reviewer’s job to rewrite the content.

Building trust

A mature global content creation process is a cycle of continuous improvement. Translators should be able to learn from subject matter experts, and constructive criticism should prevent mistakes from being repeated. But all too often, this is not the case. Instead, reviewers and translators work in isolation from one another. Review can become a painful process if the reviewers and translators fail to understand each other’s perspectives and the value each brings

Establishing a collaborative relationship between reviewers and translators is the best way to avoid these issues, and it can lead to considerable efficiency and quality gains. While building this kind of relationship can be a lengthy process, there are some practical steps you can take to start moving in the right direction.

  • Product training – Set up calls or in-person meetings for translators to do product training with in-market experts. Product knowledge will help translators deliver better content, and the training process will build trust with reviewers.
  • Collaborate on glossaries and style guides – These resources are invaluable for both translators and reviewers in ensuring that translations are accurate and on-brand. By working together to create and update the documents, both parties can agree standards up-front.
  • Feedback loop – Establish a pattern of regular communication between reviewers and translators. For example, with an initial call at the start of a project followed by ongoing email updates.
  • Transparency over changes – Ensure that translators can see the edits that reviewers have made. This will enable them to learn and improve for future translations, and update translation memory systems.
  • Analysis of changes – To achieve the greatest improvements from one translation to the next, it’s crucial to fully understand the nature of reviewer edits. We recommend using a third-party translator alongside back translation to identify and break down the purpose of each change.

Monitor performance

Once these measures are in place, it’s important to keep track of whether they are working.  This might mean analyzing the number of review changes that are made to each translation and seeing whether it goes down over time; or assessing the success of content via clickthrough rate or other metrics. It can also be valuable to survey reviewers and translators to find out how they feel about the process. Approach each market separately and identify what is working well, and what needs to change.

The end-goal

The translator-reviewer relationship won’t develop overnight, but it will pay dividends in the long term. Reviewers that have confidence in their translators know they don’t have to check every word – they can take an overview of the content, saving time that can be better spent on their other responsibilities.

As a global content partner, when we have the complete trust of our clients, we’re able to take a significant amount of work off their shoulders. For example, with some of our long-standing clients, we manage the entire review process for them. We share content directly with the reviewers, and we facilitate an ongoing discussion between the reviewers and our translators. This approach ensures there are no gaps in the feedback loop, and that the process is fully transparent to everyone involved.

To learn more about how to enhance your global content strategy, and how partnering with Rubric can benefit your business, check out our Amazon #1 Best Seller book, Global Content Quest.

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