One of our regular clients enlists Velior’s help for an urgent translation assigned on Friday evening and expected before Saturday noon.
This client is a Moscow-based company providing software and services in the area of content delivery to mobile devices. They have been buying translations of user manuals, website news, and marketing brochures from us since 2008.
This time, the client wanted to translate a chapter (4,000 words) recently added to a user manual for one of their products. Having assigned the translation on Friday evening, the client was anxious to receive this Russian to English translation before noon on Saturday. Their office was to close until the following Wednesday due to a national holiday, and the client wanted to send the new chapter to their partner in another country before going on holiday. Although Velior is normally not comfortable with rush translation jobs, we understood the urgency and agreed to help the client.
4,000 words to translate normally means one or two days of work for the translator alone. Throw in project preparation, editing, DTP, and post-DTP proofreading, and you will likely need a total of four or five days to complete the project. In this case, however, we did not have the luxury of a long deadline, meaning our main challenge was finding a way to reduce turnaround time without compromising quality.
Another challenge was assembling a dependable team. A tight deadline means that everyone on the team must be strongly committed to doing their share of work on time and without fail. Assembling such a team of highly-motivated individuals on short notice is not easy.
Whereas an average RU-EN translator needs about two days to translate 4,000 words, we managed to reduce the time to six hours by using the translation memory (TM) technology. Because Velior had translated this user manual in 2008, all previous translations were available in our TM. By leveraging this TM, the actual number of new words in the newly added chapter dropped to to 2,000, while the rest were mainly 100% and fuzzy matches. If we had not had an established process to analyze files against the TM before discussing the deadline, or had not had the TM to begin with, we would not have been able to accept this urgent project.
Pulling off such a project with freelance linguists is close to impossible, since merely contacting freelancers to find out whether they are available takes too much time. Relying on a team of in-house employees was our best option, making communication within the team almost instantaneous. We were also more certain that our in-house employees would meet their internal deadlines than we would have been with freelancers.
The client provided the file for translation in ODT format (Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice)—not very common in a business environment—but we are comfortable handling it. Our project manager started by preparing this file for translation. The preparation included fixing issues such as double spaces, inconsistent fonts, or inconsistent header styles, and thus helped eliminate formatting problems that could have slowed down the translator and the editor.
Translation started within one hour after the client’s confirmation of the job. It was important to complete it on Friday so that editing, DTP, and post-DTP proofreading could commence on Saturday morning. The translation memory we had from the previous translation done for this client was crucial. Not only did the TM make the extremely tight deadline doable, but it also resulted in hefty savings for the client, thanks to 100% and fuzzy matches. The TM was also essential to ensuring consistency between the already translated parts of the user manual and this newly added chapter: the translator was able to access existing translations easily. As a result, after the client had inserted the newly translated chapter into the manual, it fit with the rest of the text perfectly.
On Saturday morning, the editor revised the translation, focusing on issues such as omissions, inaccurate translations, and style. He also checked the translation against the glossary of terms we maintain for this client. Finally, he used an automated quality assurance program to check the translation against common errors, including missing numbers, inconsistencies, and spelling errors.
Our DTP specialist then finalized the translation, making sure it was free from formatting issues often caused by contraction or expansion of the translated text compared to the source text. This did not take long, because he had already brushed up the formatting in the original before translation.
The last step was post-DTP proofreading. The proofreader checked the translation for two types of error: formatting and linguistic issues. She fixed everything she could directly in the ODT file herself and referred everything else to the DTP specialist.
The completed translation was then delivered to the client right on time—less than 24 hours after assignment.
The client derived four main benefits from working with Velior:
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Client: Name available upon request
Task: Rush overnight translation
Solution: Buying translation from Russian into English from Velior
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