ULG's Language Services Blog

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Translations

Translation is essential for today’s global businesses. It allows multilingual teams to work together, makes it possible to communicate rules and operating procedures to employees around the world, and enables businesses to communicate with an international audience.

But the translation process doesn’t always go smoothly, and the resulting problems can negatively impact businesses and consumers alike. That said,  most of these problems are solvable. Here’s our take on how to solve the biggest problems with translations.


How to Solve THE biggest problems with Translations: communication and project management


Translation projects often involve stakeholders from around the world. Differing time zones, differing communication styles and differing cultural expectations can all combine to create roadblocks to completing the project efficiently.

A centralized project management approach is often the best way to solve this particular problem. There are a lot of moving parts in any large-scale translation project, and having one team to manage them makes it easier to strike a balance. When you work with a language services provider who specializes in project management, efficiency improves. There are fewer opportunities for misunderstandings and communication breakdowns. Plus, your organization gains a host of other benefits as well.


how to solve the biggest problems with translations: cost


As international operations grow, translation projects begin to compete for resources. . . and in most organizations, those resources are limited.

But how do you control translation costs without sacrificing quality? The solution to this particular translation problem is two-fold: improved translation processes and better project management.

By using the most up-to-date translation processes, including translation memories and customized machine translation, when appropriate, organizations can save on translation costs and maintain quality. Meanwhile, an improved, centralized project management process can reduce redundancies and maximize efficiency to further reduce costs.


how to solve the biggest problems with translations: volume and scale

There’s no doubt about it – the 21st century is a “content-rich” environment. This can create challenges when it comes to translation. For example, consider the ocean of user-generated content created daily, both public and private. There are social media posts, text messages, emails . . . and the list goes on. All of this content may need to be translated, for one reason or another. Cross-border eDiscovery, for example, often involves staggering amounts of text.

So, how do you scale translation to take on these intimidatingly large projects? Machine translation is often the answer. While it may not be 100% accurate, it's very good at translating large volumes of content quickly. Important content can then be translated by hand or improved by human post-editing.

The use of translation memory is another best practice for “scaling up” translation projects. Translation memory gives human linguists a “head start” on a project by automatically translating words and phrases that have been translated before.


how to solve the biggest problems with translations: quality

Translation quality is another issue. Depending on the circumstance, translation errors have a variety of potentially negative consequences. These can range from comparatively minor, like bad press, to major consequences like compliance issues that result in hefty fines.

Here again, an effective project management process can improve quality by improving the quality scoring process and review procedures. Using translation memory and an approved glossary and style guide will also help to improve consistency and quality over time. The appropriate use of customized machine translation can also help in this regard.

However, when it comes to quality, improved processes and technology can only do so much. You also need a team of skilled linguists on tap - native speakers who are fluent in both languages and have the subject matter expertise and experience to translate specialized terms when required.

At United Language Group we offer the best of both worlds: custom machine translation solutions, expert qualified linguists and an award-winning project management process that can help save your organization time and money.