Translation projects can come in a wide variety of types, genres and sizes, but nonetheless they must always be equally correct and coherent. While we all pretty much can assume the former, quality from any professional translator, the latter can get tricky when a project reaches a certain size.
For perfect coherence in a translation project, the ideal option is to have one translator do the whole job on his/her own. That, however, can prove to be quite impossible when we are talking about millions of words, especially with a tight deadline. The client can be tolerant and understanding to a point, but a whole project of these dimensions done by one person can take ages, and sometimes that is not possible. The solution, in these cases, is to divide the workload among several translators.
Sure, that sounds logical enough. But then again, let us think about translation for a minute. If we give one single sentence to ten different linguists, the results we obtain after they have translated it can very easily be ten slightly (or sometimes, very) different translated statements. And whereas perhaps none of them is actually wrong, that means that if those ten linguists work on one single project divided in ten parts, each part would differ significantly from the others. The result could be a translation where the divided parts are clearly noticeable, and in the worst case scenario, confusing to the reader. And that, folks, is simply unacceptable.
How to solve this? Word data banks, shared glossaries and thesauri are powerful tools that can help with these issues, but at the end of the day, the only method that could guarantee success is proper communication between the translators involved in the project. That means regular contact, availability, the will to help others, and a dash of humility in order to admit that sometimes we are not the ones in the right.
A hard-to-find combination? Maybe so, but not for inwhatlanguage. We have pointed out many times that we have an awesome working team, and today we give you further proof of this. In one of our latest projects that involves four Spanish translators, one of them, Farid Mazari, came up the brilliant idea of starting a private forum just to discuss matters related to the project: deadlines, doubts, and above all, terminology!
“It is a luxury to be able to collaborate with other translators in joint projects, especially when we are talking about a job that must be undertaken by many people, with its added technical and linguistic difficulties,” Mazari says. “In my personal experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that we have to coordinate our efforts and optimize the knowledge exchange flow, since sometimes deadlines are aggressively tight.”
Mazari suggests other translators to consider private forums with restricted access when they face this kind of projects. “Forums allow us to answer questions about words, unify criteria and other style issues,” he assures.
And, I gotta say, as one of those four translators in the project who actively participates in the forum he created, I completely agree. It has helped me enormously, and it has made this whole project special and fun – which is a nice perk!