Oil & Gas Company Saves Time and Effort by Outsourcing Translations

KazMunaiGaz, a large oil & gas market player, leveraged outsourcing to get high-quality translations in short amount of time.

About the end client

National Company KazMunaiGaz is a vertically integrated oil & gas company including over 45 businesses that provide full-cycle services in areas such as exploration, production, refining, transportation, and sales of hydrocarbons. Employing over 35,000 people, KazMunaiGaz works to develop the appropriate industry oil & gas infrastructure in the Republic of Kazakhstan, while also providing a range of airline transportation and telecom services.

Project background

KazMunaiGaz is a leading oil & gas market player worldwide. The company is certified to ISO standards, with shares traded on the London Stock Exchange. Its ever-increasing presence across global markets requires regular translation of documents, such as contracts or reports, for partners or investors. To communicate with its prospects, investors, and vendors effectively, the company needs to speak their language. To this end, KazMunaiGaz maintains an in-house translation department, and relies on external vendors whenever this department is overbooked. In 2006, KazMunaiGaz enlisted the help of Velior for such translation services.

Project details

KazMunaiGaz provided two documents for translation. One was the Corporate Regulations, explaining the company’s mission, stakeholders’ rights and duties, stock and dividends, the Board, and financial reporting. The company wanted to provide this document to its foreign partners, such as investors. The second document was an agreement between KazMunaiGaz and a financial consultant. This document needed translation from English into Russian so that KazMunaiGaz could evaluate the agreement. The texts for translation came as Microsoft Word files.

With difficult text and two language combinations, this project was quite a challenge. Our knowledge and established process helped us tackle it confidently, and we met the customer’s expectations in terms of quality.

Ekaterina Ilyushina
Project Manager, Velior

Project challenges

Legal text

Any legal translation is a challenge, and this certainly held true in this project. The texts were quite difficult to understand for a non-native speaker of the source language, let alone to translate into another language. Word-for-word translation does not work in such cases, because long legal sentences sound too vague when translated literally. For example, English legal documents usually list several synonyms of “damage”: loss, costs, expenses, charges, etc. An example would be: “The Consultant shall indemnify and hold the Company harmless from and against any and all claims, losses, costs, liabilities, damages, and expenses of every kind and character.” In contrast, Russian documents typically list just “damage”e.g., “The Consultant shall indemnify the Company from any damages.” As a result, legal translations require major adjustments to the structure of the target text before it feels completely natural.

Low formatting quality

The Regulations document in Microsoft Word format was poorly formatted. The authors made first line indents with spaces or tabulators and also used spaces to align the text manually, instead of using automatic alignment or columns. This added to the project complexity.

Solutions

Legal text

Because Velior has an in-house Russian translator specializing in legal translations and also capable of translating in both directions, tackling this challenge was easy. By translating texts such as license agreements, purchase contracts, and non-disclosure agreements into Russian on a regular basis, he has gained extensive experience with English legal phrases and terminology. This experience makes him an excellent Russian to English translator, too.

Low formatting quality

Since the formatting problems could have a negative impact on the translator’s efficiency, the project manager had a DTP specialist fix the formatting in the original file before translation began. Both files were then converted into a CAT (computer-aided translation) tool format, where all formatting is represented by tags, relieving the translation team of all formatting-related tasks. When a CAT tool creates translated files, it retains all original formatting.

Project completion

In addition to the project manager and the translator, Velior’s team also included an editor, a DTP specialist, and a proofreader. The project manager started by creating a schedule and assembling the team. The DTP specialist prepared the files for translation by fixing the formatting issues and converting the files into a CAT tool format. Then, the translator translated both files, and the editor revised the translation for mistranslations, inaccuracy, and other error types. She used an automated quality assurance tool to check for common errors, as well as checking the translation against the glossary created during the project. She also evaluated the translation from an end user’s point of view, making sure it was crystal clear. The DTP specialist checked the formatting of the translated files to ensure that target text expansion or contraction did not have a negative impact on the layout. The final step was proofreading.

Using the CAT tool helped our team produce a better translation by helping them focus on the main task, without being distracted by the formatting challenges. The built-in terminology management and QA functions also have a positive effect on consistency. The convenience and increased linguists’ performance made possible by CAT tools contribute to higher translation quality.

Summary

KazMunaiGaz derived two main benefits from working with Velior:

  1. Availability of the in-house linguist specializing in legal translations and capable of delivering excellent translation both into Russian and English. The ability to buy the translations in both combinations from a single vendor meant increased convenience for the client as well as better translation consistency.
  2. Velior was able to line up a large, competent team that delivered the quality KazMunaiGaz expected.

Other advantages

Velior also improved formatting of one of the original documents, making sure its translation looked professional.

Velior’s extensive experience made it painless for KazMunaiGaz to receive the expected result. The client did not need to provide any explanations or supervise the process.

 

Category: Legal translation

Country: Kazakhstan

Industry: Oil & gas

Customer: National Company KazMunaiGaz

Task: Translate legal documents from Russian into English and from English into Russian (14,000 words)

Solution: Buying translation from Velior

Advantages:

  • High translation quality
  • Knowledge of difficult subject area