The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020 - 22

FEATURE

BY ITZARIS WEYMAN
our knowledge on this basic and crucial
step in the translation process.

WHY SHOULD WE PREPARE
DOCUMENTS FOR TRANSLATION?
If the document prepper doesn't
understand something, chances are
the rest of the team won't either. While
translators, editors, and proofreaders
are expected to perform some research,
certain information about client
requirements or preferences can only be
provided by the client or LSP. Translation
team members need this information to
perform their tasks correctly.
To achieve this, the prepper can identify
questions or concerns upfront and
address potential problems ahead of time.
If delivered in a timely manner, complete
and accurate information about a project
might help avoid costly mistakes.

If the person preparing the
document doesn't understand
something, chances are the rest
of the team won't either.

Preparing Documents for Translation
Here is a reminder of the importance of preparing a document before
translation as part of a standardized quality assurance workflow, including a
step-by-step review of the process.

T

ranslation technology such as
computer-assisted translation
tools and machine translation
has dramatically changed current
productivity, budget, and quality
expectations. Under increased pressure
to shorten turnaround times and reduce
costs, freelance translators working
with direct clients and language services
providers (LSPs) are sometimes tempted
to rush jobs into production. As a former
production director and a full-time
translation editor and consultant for
over 30 years, I continue to believe in
the importance of standardized quality
22

The ATA Chronicle | September/October 2020

assurance workflows to ensure that the
client's requirements are satisfied.
The first phase in a quality assurance
workflow is to prepare the project for
translation (or "prepping" as we used
to call it at the LSP where I worked).
During this step, project specifications
are defined, written down, and
communicated to all team members
so they can perform the assigned
task successfully.
Given the high degree of complexity of
some translation projects today, it's even
more critical not to skip the "prepping"
phase. The following is meant to refresh

WHO SHOULD PREPARE A DOCUMENT
FOR TRANSLATION?
When preparing a document for
translation, neither the direct client
nor tech savvy staff at an LSP can
substitute for an experienced language
professional. Direct clients know their
own company and industry better
than the translation provider, but they
are not linguists. Tech savvy staff can
navigate through the most complex
translation technology software, but
many are also not linguists.
A good document prepper must:
■	

Have a clear understanding of the
client's needs and the specifications
agreed upon between the client
and translator or the LSP's sales/
marketing team.

■	

Be able to examine the document
from the perspective of each team
member in order to write clear
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The ATA Chronicle - September/October 2020

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