Technical translation process

This is the technical translation process from receiving an initial job request to getting, managing and completing and invoicing technical translation orders.

technical translation process

The technical translation process with Trello

The idea is to describe the technical translation process itself. I have an organized management system to deal with orders and opportunities.

Technical Translation process
Process stepCheckInformation needed
Opportunity confirmedCustomer PO number
Create card in Task managerNumber of wordsClient companyAgency nameJob typeEstimate number
Set up Trados projectSource document
Set up project in accessNumber of wordsClient companyAgency nameDomainJob typeEstimate number
Translate (do the work)
Proof readstandardize termsterms database project
Check with antidote
Read back text with text to speechOptionalMicrosoft Word
Generate target documents
Deliver target to customer
Update WPH rate in Trello and AccessTrello Card and Access project number

Process to respect deadlines

I have developed this order management process over time to ‘productionise’ production. The objective is to have a repeatable process, not reinvent the wheel for every order.

My objective is also to demonstrate to my customers that I manage orders and give them confidence that I will keep to deadlines on allocating a job.

This makes work more achievable and helps me predict delivery deadlines more reliably.

planned translation tasks on calendar

The job request

An order will come in via email from established customers and is sent automatically to my Trello inbox.

Implementing the GTD idea of an inbox in Trello:

implementing the GTD idea of an inbox in Trello

I move the order task from the inbox into the production board:

I add additional data to the Trello card: customer name, number of words, price, task type (translation, proofing, transcription) and PO number when confirmed.

Once the job confirmed, I create an estimate in QuickBooks.

And enter the estimate number back into a custom field on the Trello card.

These fields are available by installing the ‘custom fields’ Trello power-up:

Technical translation process dataflows

These are the data flow associated with the Technical translation process with Trello

  1. Email comes into Trello
  2. Job request confirmed
  3. Estimate raised in Quickbooks
  4. Estimate number copied to Trello
  5. Terms project opened in Access
  6. Project id copied to Trello card
The dataflows for the technical translation process from incoming email through Trello, Quickbooks and Access

The dataflows for the technical translation process from incoming email through Trello, Quickbooks and Access

Data available on the Trello card

Centralizing this data on the Trello card makes following up much easier.

The number of words + task type (translation, proofing, transcription) + due date enable you to determine if the job is feasible.

Once the order is complete, Quickbooks is the basis for payment (estimate converts to invoice, invoice sent to customers). The estimate is ready for invoicing, it already includes the PO number.

You still need to track on time payment in Quickbooks using ageing.

Doing the translation

I use Trados Studio Freelance 2021 with Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Translation process from a confirmed opportunity to proofreading and returning target documents

I do my translations in Trados, which decomposes documents into 2 columns, source and target. Once all segments are complete, I check the spelling and grammar with Antidote.

I read back a target document with text to speech, to get a feeling for whether it sounds right, then correct it.

Using Trados

Trados can accept almost any file format (see complete file list). Once imported, the document displays as two columns, source and target.

You complete the target segment then export the translated target document with the original document formatting.

You might use automated translation tools to ‘go faster’. Having done quite a bit of MTPE, machine translation is of mixed quality.┬áSo I always edit and double check machine-translated text.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

I use Dragon to facilitate entering target text, saves keyboard time (and RSI), is quicker.

Terms database

While working, I use a terms database which I built in Microsoft Access.

translation database project terms

This helps me store terms for future reference, but also to standardize terms within a project. It is a handy way of exporting terms for customer review during or at the end of the project.

Also, keeping vocabulary categorised makes it possible to take on repeat work from the same end customer and maintain standard vocabulary without having to re-research the domain.

The database also helps me to generate statistics on the volume of translation, revision and transcription words done based on recent projects.

words translated 2018 to 2019

Proofreading (Antidote)

I double-check my work and validate all segments. Then I use Antidote grammar checker, by clicking on Corrector in the Trados add-in menu.

use antidote grammer checker in translation

Antidote checks can be more or less in- depth. The basic check is just looking for spelling mistakes.

The advanced check is about phraseology, the way sentences are structured, whether they use repetition, too many prepositions, active or passive tenses, etc.

Technical, audiovisual, artistic, literary, legal all have different types of checking. You don’t use Antidote that much in a scientific text, but in literary or tourism texts you do.

Text to Speech checking

I use the Text to Speech Trados plugin tool from SDL, which is a very useful way to double-check translated text to make sure it ‘sounds right’.

Technical translation process is complete

Once I complete the job, I move the Trello card over to the ‘done to invoice’ column in Trello.

I promote to status ‘invoice’ and send the invoice to the customer according to their invoicing policy (on completion, end of the month …).