Golden Rule #10

You should create Translation Teams

Up-to-date translation management relies on teamwork. The current business environment dictates tight turnaround, yet still demands the highest quality. Additionally, clients require more languages than before, with volumes constantly increasing.

Teamwork is the answer to this modern-day dilemma.

So, what’s needed?

Goldene Regel 10

"What do our clients need"?

Translation managers must ensure consistent availability of translators who are familiar with, and/or experts in the respective specialization, as well as have an intimate understanding of the company’s requirements.

This applies to reviewers, editors, and anybody else involved in the translation project.

The most reliable approach is to assemble a team of specifically-allocated translators. The number of people in the team should be informed by the volume of translations usually ordered by a given client.

When needed, the team can be called on to assist with high translation volumes in the various areas of expertise and should be able to sufficiently cover any absent colleagues at any given time. This approach will ensure that the client is never left in the lurch.

The minimum team size should be three translators so that if one person is unavailable, the two-step translation-and-revision workflow (as per the translation standard ISO 17100) is ensured. This applies to all areas of expertise and all language pairs.

At this point, the stringent demands placed on translation managers, in terms of compiling and managing the required pool of linguistic experts, become evident.


In-house or out-source?

Bundling translation management within an internal translation department is an approach that is often considered. This can certainly make sense for companies of a certain size. In-house employees naturally understand the company’s products and processes better than out-sourced translators. Mercedes-Benz, Hewlett-Packard, and the ECB have their own translation departments. Others, like AUDI, outsource their translation departments to an external company (which still, de facto, belongs to the company).

Very few companies, however, reach the size required so that internal translation departments actually become cost-effective. In contrast to freelance translators, employees are “only” available 40 hours a week, and they are not available during holidays, nor in times of illness. More sizeable translation projects (especially if multiple languages are required) can usually not be executed within tight turnaround times.

On the other hand, it makes loads of sense to appoint one central contact person within a company on the client-side. The appointed contact person should be responsible for processing all translation requirements, including coordination and communication with the translation agency on the one side, as well as dealing with the responsible persons in their own company, on the other side.

The client-side contact person is the one who then coordinates all translation requirements with their allocated project manager at the translation agency, who is intimately familiar with the client’s requirements. The project manager coordinates the team of linguists accordingly, including everyone who is integrated into the project.

And there’s more…

High-Tech for Success

A chat application integrated into the system ensures speedy responses. Queries are also handled and efficiently managed by the project manager, who bundles the queries and then clarifies the issues with the client-side contact person. It leaves the client free to focus on core tasks by significantly reducing disruptions.

“You should be cognizant of the translation quality you require. If the translation quality could possibly impact product sales or services, your career, or your personal plans, you should think carefully about whether it’s worth the risk. Don’t forget that price and quality are always interconnected. Your chances of procuring high-quality services at a low cost are practically non-existent. Always pay attention to rates when assessing the professionalism of the translation agency.”

Volodymyr Kukarenko, CEO of Protemos

Another fact you need to keep in mind is that teams do not work in a vacuum. They work together, using translation memories, term bases, and reference material, taking any queries into account.

  • Translation units are stored in translation memories (one for each language pair) in order to be re-used as is, or in a modified format. This often has a positive impact on the time-saving, cost-saving, and quality factors.
  • The terminology used should be standardized within the company. Consistency and corporate identity are maintained by utilizing, supplementing, and maintaining consistent terminology.
  • The reference material provided by the client is essential for informing the various translation teams, including anybody else involved in the workflow (for example, test readers in the target country).
  • Query management ensures that any questions and ambiguities are clarified quickly and transparently. This applies specifically to technical issues, linguistic inaccuracies, and errors. Any omissions in the source material must also be clarified. All questions, responses and solutions must be traceable.

“Project management can be time-consuming for both managers and linguists. Manual processes such as invoicing and paperwork that eat up valuable time can be automated. When lights-out systems handle these tasks without the need for human intervention, they free up translators, interpreters, and reviewers to focus on their tasks.”

Donald A. DePalma, Arle Lommel – Augmented Translation Powers up Language Services – CSA, 2017

All resources must be available to all team members within a given project. Not only is accessibility important, but ensuring that all resources are up-to-date at all times is as important. Fortunately, we have a solution that makes sure that all data is updated in real-time and passed on to everyone.

Important: All feedback and changes must immediately be recorded in the TMs and TBs and the entire team needs to be informed. Given the complexity, it becomes clear that e-mail is no longer suitable for such multi-layered communication requirements.

Collaborative Workflow

A collaborative workflow, which is made possible by cutting-edge software architecture and cloud computing, removes the rigid boundaries of task segregation. Team members can work on the same project in real-time, either on split tasks, or they can start their own tasks on specific sections of a project, while other sections are still being worked on. This shortens the project duration significantly.

“The lack of interconnectedness is not simply the price you pay for working with multiple translators and different tools. In fact, the problem never really concerned the lack of, or maturity of, standards, but rather an insufficiently competent body to organize services and monitor compliance.”

TAUS – The Translation Industry in 2022, Amsterdam 2017

A Paradigm Shift

A paradigm shift has taken place in translation management. This shift makes it possible for all the linguists to work on content at the same time (in real-time), and simultaneously also have access to all the resources, which are continuously updated as the work progresses (updating is also done in real-time).

“An agile workflow means that the manual transfer of files becomes unnecessary… The TM is centralized, which means that all translators working on the same project benefit from their colleagues’ feedback in real-time. This collaboration also takes place within the tool. The finished project is then transferred back to the company via the application programming interface…

Companies already using agile workflows are experiencing the future of translation right now: they have met the enhanced translator. This is a hybridized person-and-machine translation approach. It expands business opportunities and creates unprecedented levels of productivity.”

Spence Green – Agile, augmented and adaptive, in: Multilingual January 2018

Isolated solutions, inconsistent versions, missing terminology and memory updates, communication gaps, as well as constant repetition of the same errors… all of this is now a thing of the past!

Golden Rule #10 “You should create Translation Teams” means that contemporary translation management is based on teamwork. Dedicated teams of allocated linguists guarantee that all requirements can be confidently and consistently met. Utilizing the most up-to-date translation environment available offers decisive advantages for ensuring deadline delivery, quality, and efficiency.

Would you like to discover more about the innovative translation management process that makes DIE ÜBERSETZUNGSAGENTUR one of the leading language service providers?

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Christian Faust


Christian is a state-certified expert translator and has been working as a freelancer in the translation industry for over 30 years.

His clients include well-known companies in commerce and industry, all of whom rely on his expertise and experience.

His passion is to leverage innovation in the translation industry and create valuable services that benefit his clients. He did exactly this when he developed LoLa, MAeX® ️ & CO.

He particularly relishes hearing the words: “We always do it that way!” in consultations. 😅

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