Integrating translators in a localization workflow

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Integrating translators in a localization workflow is an important and essential step that needs careful considerations for both platform services (such as LingoHub), as well as project administrators. Every professional involved in localization of a software project should on the one hand be familiar with all the steps of the project, and on the other hand know what role he or she himself fulfills in the project as well as which parts the other professionals involved are assuming. Integrating translators in a localization workflow therefore means most and foremost providing an overview of how the project will be approached, and who will interface with the project and other collaborators at which point during the process. As banal as this may sound, this has as much to do with briefing and communication as it has with agile project management.

At LingoHub, we have made it our mission to smoothen the localization process to the utmost. As an example, one recent tweak to our workflow has been to actively distinguish between what a translator can do working on a project, compared to a reviewer (the former cannot edit translations anymore after they have been reviewed). A very interesting illustration I found is the one you can see below used for example by the UX team at MediaWiki.org. While it differs from general workflows or the one we champion, it shows the importance of what I described in the first paragraph: the illustration provides a great overview of the general project and is part of a holistic concept of how individual collaborators are to be involved in the process.

We will roll out some more features soon, along with extensive documentation of our platform, and one of the guiding principles for much of our upcoming work will be that of providing a big picture to everyone involved in localizing a project on LingoHub. We look forward to your thoughts on this. Find a few more aspects after the illustration.

localization user workflow diagramHere are a few more important aspects of integrating translators in a localization workflow:

  • are all translators properly briefed about the nature of the product?
  • are all translators instructed in the project (timespan, scope, deadlines, collaborators...)?
  • are all translators schooled in the localization tool?
  • are all translators familiar with the details of the project (branding, USP, goals, target audience, context) and has a style guide or common communications guideline been agreed upon)? As an example: a product is to be marketed to children in country A but to teenagers in country B.
  • are all translators being introduced to who will perform the review after them, and do they know their contact in case there are questions about the first set of texts?
  • is a proper degree of context available to all translators working on the localization?

Can you think of more? I am looking forward to your comments.