We sometimes run across projects which have timelines that are so tight it is amazing that we finish them on time. Let alone get them done correctly. There are several things to consider before shortening a translation timeline.
First, are you willing to sacrifice a little quality to get it done fast? While this seems simple enough, it can come back to haunt you later on. If you have to rush a project through to meet a specific deadline be prepared to lose a little bit of quality.
When we recommend 1,500-2,000 words per day for a normal translation time line it is to give the translators enough time to not only translate the document, but do research and proof before sending it back to us. If you cut the time line it can (and sometimes does) lead to mistakes by the translators.
Second, how much quality are you willing to sacrifice to get it done fast? Again, simple question, but it has a complex answer.
- Are you willing to forgo an editor? A second set of eyes always helps to improve the overall quality of the work.
- Are you willing to split it up between several translators? This removes any hope of consistency in the translation. If you are rushing to get a project done and the only way to do that is by splitting it up, there isn’t going to be time for someone to go back through the entire document to make everything consistent.
- Are you going to have to give up the Linguistic Proofing stage? The chance to go back over the final formatted document gives a translator the opportunity to see all of the text in context.
Finally, be realistic in your goals for translation. Anyone can translate 3,000-4,000 words in a day. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time to do all of the QA steps such as spell check and proofing if you have sent it to the translator in the morning and need it back by 5:00 p.m. The timeline shrinks worse if you are sending it to an agency.
Carefully consider the type of project that you need back. If you are presenting this to a client or end user, it is probably not best to rush through the translation steps in order to get it out the door. By planning ahead for your translation needs it allows enough time for the professional translator or agency to keep the translation consistent and quality high.