The Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks
02/08/2022

How to Find the Right Voice-Over Narrator for Audiobooks

Anyone who likes to hit the treadmill or who frequently gets stuck in bumper to bumper traffic is probably familiar with the ease and convenience of audiobooks. Listening to books is a great way to squeeze in a little recreation time while folding laundry or wrapping up mindless work tasks. 

It’s easy to see why audiobooks have grown so much in popularity in recent years. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, audiobook sales rose by 28.8% and in 2016, 24% of Americans listened to at least one audiobook, which was an increase from the 22% of people who reported doing so in 2015. 

With so much interest in audiobooks growing over the years, this leaves a lot of room for authors and publishing houses to benefit from this trend. Almost any book has the potential to become an audiobook, but for it to be effective, it has to be done well. There’s a lot more to making a good audiobook than just reading it out loud. The voice-over narrator in particular plays a key role in the success of an audiobook. 

Skills Audiobook Narrators Need

The bulk of the audiobook experience for the reader centers around the narrator, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced narrator who is up to the task. These are some of the skills you should look for when hiring an audiobook narrator. 

  • Acting ability. A good narrator doesn’t simply read text, they act it out. When someone narrates an audiobook, they need to embody different characters and be able to authentically relay their stories. Having a background in acting can make accomplishing this task much easier. 
  • Voice abilities. To differentiate between characters, the narrator will need to alter their voice, to make it clear which character is speaking. They may even need to adapt accents or speak in different dialects. While no listener expects one narrator to completely change their voice for each character, they won’t be able to follow the story if the narrator doesn’t use a variety of voices. 
  • Stamina. Narration is a tiring task and one that requires stamina and a decent amount of breath control. Recording days can be long and tiring, so you’ll want to work with a narrator who is experienced working on these types of projects and who knows what to expect during a day of recording. 
  • Research. A narrator who is also a good researcher will be most effective at their job. The whole process will go a lot smoother if the narrator does some leg work and reviews the text in advance to confirm they know how to pronounce all the words. That way, they won’t stumble through the narration any time a new name or place they haven’t heard of before comes up in the text. 

How to Find the Right Narrator

To find the right narrator for an audio project, it’s important to compare work samples of any narrators you’re considering for the job. Here’s a few things you should pay attention to when reviewing those audio samples. 

  • Their voice. This seems like a no-brainer, but the narrator has to have the right voice for the project. No matter how good they are at their job, sometimes they may sound too young or too old for a role. They may have a flair for the dramatic or pronounce words in a specific way that doesn’t work for the tone of the book. Pay close attention to their voice to get a gauge if they can help your specific text come to life.
  • Their speed. How fast do they speak? Do they speak too fast for anyone to understand? Or too slow to keep the audience’s attention?
  • Their equipment and surroundings. If your narrator will be recording the audiobook using their own equipment in their own recording space, make sure you pay close attention to background sounds, echos, and other factors that can be influenced by their location or technology. 

Every book (or audiobook) is unique, which is why it’s only logical to be in doubt about what narrator to choose. If you’re about to embark on a project like this one, feel free to reach out to the Terra team and get advice and suggestions for your specific project. The last thing you want is for a great story to fall flat because the narrator wasn’t the right fit!

19/07/2022

The Role of Technology in the Translation Industry

Technology has impacted all areas of our lives greatly and the translation industry is no exception. In the past, translators did their work using paper and pen, typewriters, and dictionaries. As you can imagine, without the aid of technology, the translation process took a lot of time to complete. Fortunately, much has changed since the rise of the computer and the internet—word processor, access to many more digital resources (dictionaries, glossaries, corpus), reduced research time (no need to go to the library and flip through big books), faster communication with clients and between peers, and access to the best talent in the world make translation work easier and more effective.

Let’s take a closer look at how technology has impacted the translation industry. 

How Technology Has Impacted the Translation Industry

The advancement of computer technology and the internet created a wide range of tools and convenience for every industry, but the translation industry specifically started its road of exponential growth when technology stepped in. As technology expanded, so did our access to other corners of the world. Given the amount of content that needed to be translated to reach other markets and audiences, technology also needed to provide enhanced productivity, communication, and quality assurance tools.

CAT tools were the first big revolution in the translation field and absolutely changed how translators worked thanks to the implementation of translation memory, term bases, and QA checks. While at the beginning CAT tools were deemed to be a threat to human translators, it soon became clear how much they had to offer. Linguists became more efficient and productive, and found in them ways to reduce human errors. Now it seems inconceivable to work without them.

Machine Translation (MT) can be considered the next big revolution. This technological solution was created to help meet that vast demand for fast translation services at a cheaper cost. While the quality standard with MT can be questionable and there’s a lot of room for improvement, there’s no denying that to some extent and in some fields the use of MT can prove to be invaluable.

As demand for translation services grew, other technological tools came to the rescue in order to keep track of everything. Translation Management Systems in particular provide a wide variety of solutions to common translation struggles. This tool organizes all kinds of translation and localization workflows. Some of the benefits of a Translation Management System include: 

  • 24/7 access
  • Automation of workflows
  • Assignments by AI
  • Centralized linguistic assets
  • Easy collaboration
  • Progress tracking
  • Simple integration
  • Built-in accountability
  • Scalability
  • Deadline management
  • Improved translation quality
  • Transparent ROI

The Takeaway 

Technology has its faults—there’s no doubt about that—but in the translation industry it has been an enabler for progress. As long as all parties involved in the process understand that technology has its limitations, it can be used to do more, better, and faster work. In a world where access to information in a language everybody understands has become critical, having technology on our side is an enormous help.

Should you hire a freelance translator or translation company?
09/02/2022

Should You Hire a Freelance Translator or a Translation Company?

If you find yourself needing a translator, you may be wondering if you should work with a freelance translator or a translation company. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, because both options have some really amazing benefits for you to consider. That being said, there are reasons why one option may be better for you than the other. Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to work with freelancers or a translation company so you can make the right call for your business. 

Working with Freelancers

Freelance translators can be very helpful and valuable when translation services are required. If you need the translation of a very technical or specialized subject matter, it makes sense to go to the expert. Chances are, there’s a great freelancer out there who can fit your language, culture, and industry needs, no matter how niche they are. 

Freelancers are known for putting in a lot of effort to keep their clients happy and don’t shy away from hard work. For example, if you need a certified translation of a legal document, when you work with a freelance translator who specializes in legal documents, they will work very closely with you to make sure the documents that require translation (birth certificates, marriage certificates, academic certificates, etc.) are not an obstacle towards getting a scholarship or your dream job abroad.

Despite the many benefits of working with a freelance translator, sometimes you might need more than they can provide. You may have a project on your hands that is on the more complex side and that requires many steps that would be better handled by a translation company

Here are some examples of when a workload may be too much for a single freelancer to handle. A brochure may require a DTP step at the end. Marketing campaign materials could require a back translation performed by a different linguist. If the materials are for publication, then you probably need a translation, editing, and proofreading workflow (aka the TEP process). It may also be the case that you need materials translated into several languages. 

All of these are examples of tasks that require the expertise of several different professionals. In other words, a project may require a dedicated team that can help you complete it from start to finish. The last thing you want to do is have to hire and manage multiple freelancers who will work separate from each other. A translation company will fill your project management needs and make sure the work is cohesive throughout the project. 

Working with Translation Companies

As previously noted, translation companies are experts at managing large translation projects. They can handle the whole project management process from start to finish. From the first scope analysis, to establishing the right workflow, to creating timelines, to selecting the right team of linguists, to making sure everything gets done in time.

Translation companies also employ in-house teams which ensures staff availability even when there’s a high volume project. These teams are dedicated to you and will be there for you long term. You won’t need to worry about inconsistency or new translators not knowing the specific needs or requirements of your projects.

Because of the organized processes translation companies have in place to ensure quality (such as ISO, which is a top industry standard) and the professionals they work with, they can achieve the highest quality for their customers.

Which is Right For You

We can’t make this call for you, your translation solution totally depends on your company’s needs and the specific requirements of the project. Choose carefully to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you’re happy with the end product!

In-House-Translators-vs.-Freelance-Translators
01/12/2021

Pros & Cons: In-House Translators vs. Freelance Translators

Whether you crave the stability of a nine to five or like to hit the road and let the world be your office, you may find working as a linguist or translator suits your needs. While some benefit more strongly from being in-house or working as a freelancer, there are some pretty solid pros for translators considering either option. Of course, there are a few downsides we’ll cover too, but let’s try to keep things positive!

In-House Translators

Working as an in-house translator is probably a bit easier to picture for most as many have held full-time in-house positions before. 

Pros

  • Fixed income. One of the main perks of working in-house is the income stability it provides. You know exactly how much money you’re going to earn each year and have consistent paychecks coming in. You’ll also qualify for unemployment in the event you do lose your job, which can be trickier for freelancers to obtain. 
  • Benefits. In-house employees typically have access to benefits that freelancers don’t such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation, and more. 
  • Convenience. When you work in-house, there is no need to worry about the logistics of running a freelance business. There are other employees that will handle things like accounting, marketing, and looking for new clients.
  • Teamwork. You can rely on a team of peers to help you complete big projects. There’s no need to wear all the hats, which freelancers often have to do. When you need to take time off, ideally there will be someone there to cover your workload. And if you need help with a tricky project, you should have teammates you can lean on. You can learn from each other and grow together. 
  • Professional development. Typically in-house employees receive valuable training from those who are further along in their careers. Many companies invest in employee professional development on an ongoing basis. The company may offer to send you to conferences, to pay for educational resources, and to train you in new skillsets.

Cons

  • Less flexibility. Some in-house employees may have to work in a specific office each day at an agreed upon schedule. Not to mention, there are dress codes and other office rules to worry about. That being said, while most in-house translators used to work in a company office, nowadays it’s very common for them to work from home.
  • Cap on earnings. While working in-house provides stability, in many ways you have less control over your earnings. Freelancers have lows, but they can also have major highs. 
  • Less autonomy. When in-house, you typically have to do as you’re told. You may have little control over what types of projects you work on and might have to follow company protocols.

Freelance Translators

If you haven’t worked as a freelancer before, it can be hard to picture what that career path looks like. There are some major benefits of freelancing worth considering, but there are also some downsides that not everyone is ready to handle. 

Pros

  • Ultimate flexibility. Want to work by the seaside today and in a mountain cabin tomorrow? No problem. Are you a night owl who does your best work when everyone else is asleep? Good for you. Don’t like a client or aren’t interested in certain types of projects? Send them packing. As a freelancer you’ll be able to decide when and where you work, who you work with, and what your vacation schedule looks like. 
  • You’re the boss. Freelancing is essentially running a very small business of one. You’re a business owner, even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside, which means you get to do things your way. 
  • Earning potential. Freelancers get a bad rap as being “underemployed” at times, but many freelancers can tell you that when you’re retaining the whole profit from a project (and your company isn’t taking a cut) that your income can soar. You get to set your rates and can choose to only take on projects that work for your budget. 

Cons

  • Stability not guaranteed. Working as a freelancer provides a lot of excitement and the wins can feel really big since they’re all your own, but a stable income is not guaranteed. This can be challenging for people on a tight budget or who have a family to support. 
  • No benefits. You’ll have to purchase your own benefits and accept that there is no such things as a paid vacation anymore. It’s important to remember to aim to make more than you would in-house in order to pay for benefits yourself. 
  • Loneliness. Working as a freelancer can be lonely at times. If no one else in your household works from home or if you live alone, you may find you have a lot of solitude on your hands. The lack of teamwork can also feel very isolating. 
  • Out of pocket expenses. Office supplies, computers, and professional development will all have to come out of your pocket which can sting a bit.

The Takeaway

There is no “better” option here. Both in-house and freelance translators have some major perks to look forward to. At Terra, we employ in-house linguists as well as collaborate with freelancers. So whatever your preferences are, we can work together. The key is to find which is the best fit for your goals, personality, and lifestyle!

Multilingual Solutions Meet Multilingual QA Managers
09/06/2021

Global Needs, Multilingual Solutions: Meet Multilingual QA Managers

Due to the fact that some language service providers offer integral solutions for globalized markets or products, they sometimes tackle projects that don’t involve a unique language pair, but rather multiple combinations. To assist in these endeavors, there are specialized reviewers that know how to perform quality checks in multilingual projects: the Multilingual Quality Assurance Managers (QAMs). Like any other QAMs, Multilingual QAMs review the material and manage resources and instructions, but for projects with more than one language pair—three, ten, fifteen or more! This doesn’t mean they master all the potential languages a project may involve. Multilingual QAMs rather use their linguistic knowledge from the languages they do speak to comprehend glossaries or instructions for other combinations. In addition, they use Quality Assurance (QA) automation tools in their favor.

We talked to two of our most experienced Multilingual QAMs at Terra to offer expert insight on this challenging task.

The Three Functions

Both Verónica Ríos (Senior Multilingual QAM) and José Antonio Buzón Carbajo (Multilingual QAM) agree that the position has three main functions. On the one hand, they perform the final quality checks before delivery. They use QA features in CAT tools or specific software to do so. “We have the capability of searching for severe errors or incompliances with client’s instructions or glossaries in any language,” José explained. Stylistic or preferential changes are not under their scope, since that’s what native editors review.

On the other hand, their second function is to make all the client’s preferences, style guides and instructions easily accessible to vendors. As Verónica said, “We manage and update all the resources and instructions regularly, because our job is both corrective and preventive. We try to define guidelines for issues that we know may pose challenges among vendors. By doing so, we try to avoid mistakes or incompliances before they happen.” Because of this, Multilingual QAMs need to be very rigorous and organized to correctly classify and update the materials and instructions for every language pair.

Lastly, QAMs manage feedback. They receive and analyze clients’ evaluations, and try to translate them into clear instructions for the teams. However, they also provide feedback to vendors. “At this point, building a solid communicational approach is key for us,” José added. As he explained, it’s the basis to provide constructive feedback to receptive linguists, who likewise help QAMs when they have questions about text in their native languages.

QAM Starter Pack

QAM in general and Multilingual QAM in particular rely on specific IT resources, such as CAT tools’ features or QA software. These are mandatory tools that ensure quality by avoiding or detecting evitable errors that the human eye may fail to catch. “We as QAMs take full advantage of the resources memoQ offer,” Verónica explained. Term bases, translation memories, QA rules, auto-translation rules, non-translatable lists, all allow integrating important guidelines into CAT tools, and that reduces the margin of error or incompliance.

Moreover, José and Verónica recommend collaborative online resources to share information, like Google Spreadsheets. If supervised, updated and organized, they allow sharing in real-time valuable information with vendors around the globe. They can be helpful for many uses, like Q&A sheets, instructions or feedback.

Curiosity and Imagination

Regarding the skills needed for Multilingual QAMs, Verónica thinks that experienced editors “have a trained eye to know what to correct and what to prevent,” she explained. Furthermore, being enthusiastic about QA automation and organized with time management and resources are, for her, mandatory assets.

Apart from that, as José sees it, a Multilingual QAM must be creative and willing to find new solutions to the projects’ needs. “Too much imagination is never enough in this role,” he concluded. Any challenge is a new opportunity to search for ways to boost a team’s capabilities, always with QA tools as allies.

Native Translators vs Non-Native Translators
20/01/2021

Native Translators vs Non-Native Translators

While both native translators and non-native translators have valuable skill sets, native translators often have the upper hand on non-native translators thanks to their organic understanding of the target language and culture. A native translator translates source text into their mother tongue. They have extensive knowledge of a secondary language from which they translate into their first language. A non-native translator is one that translates from their mother language into a secondary language, which they have extensive knowledge of.

Keep reading to learn about the key differences between working with native translators and non-native translators. 

Writing Skills 

While reading the source copy, a native translator will be able to infer the meaning easily enough and will know when they need to do research to complete their understanding of the text. If you flip the table though and expect them to translate content from their native language to a secondary language, this is where they may fall behind a native translator of the target language. 

For example, if a German translator is translating Russian text (their secondary language) into German (their first language), they can understand the text easily enough because of their extensive knowledge of the second language and can do more research as necessary. If, in turn, they needed to translate text from German to Russian, their job would become a lot more difficult. They could fall behind a translator who is Russian and a native translator of the target language.

A native translator will be less likely to make grammar mistakes or overly complicate their grammar use in their native language. Proper sentence flow comes so much more naturally in your native tongue, which is what you’ll want the reader to experience. In addition, native translators can create more complex written content and will have more opportunities to use the best possible word choices. It’s important to note that some non-native linguists have years of experience gained from living many years in another country using the second language and can have a proficient use of the second language. 

Cultural Knowledge

Knowledge of culture plays an important role in both translation and transcreation. Especially when it comes to forms of content that rely heavily on cultural references such as entertainment subtitles or marketing campaigns. When conveying or adapting cultural elements in translation, once again, native translators have an advantage as they can cater to the target audience with their organic knowledge. References relating to politics, movies, current events, and common jokes are all useful cultural aspects available to native speakers. This is especially true when it comes to dialect choices.

Because a language can have various dialects often associated with physical locations, a native translator will usually be aware of relevant dialect choices that a fluent, but non-native translator won’t be privy to. A simple example of how dialect can vary is seen in the United States where the use of English is modified by region. For example, Midwestern residents refer to “soda” as “pop”, whereas someone on the West or East Coast would never call a soda a pop. A literal translation while technically correct may not be as accurately expressive as a non-literal translation by someone with regional expertise.

Creative Potential

For both translation and transcreation, creativity is often necessary to do the job most effectively. A native translator can often assist with translating humor and cultural references that would fall flat if translated literally. Marketing materials are a prime example of where creativity can shine. When trying to sell a product to a new culture, a native translator will be more aware of what could potentially offend that culture, what they will find funny, or what they will relate to. Not to mention language devices like rhyming, idioms, and alliteration will be much more attainable by a native translator, leaving the native translator with more creative opportunities. 
At Terra Translation, our translators are native speakers of the target language. We follow the standards, set by ISO 17100 in which we have certification. This standard, for translation services requirements, states that translation work should be completed by a professional translator translating source text into their native language.

06/10/2020

How to Choose the Best Translator for your Project

Many industries and businesses across the world use translators every day to break down borders and expand their reach. If you find that you too need to hire a translator for a project, there are a few considerations you’ll want to take first. Keep reading for our expert breakdown on how to choose the best translator for your project. By prioritizing these qualities and strategies, you’ll find yourself the perfect translator in no time. 

Choose the Right Native Speaker

What do we mean by choosing the right native speaker? Well, it’s important that the translator you work with is a native speaker specifically in the language you are translating into. As they have an organic understanding of the language they are translating for, their translations will sound more natural. It is possible for translators to achieve fluency in languages that aren’t their native tongue, but you’ll generally find that native speakers do the best work. 

It is worth nothing, though, that if the language you’re working in varies between countries (such as how Spanish in Mexico differs from Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries), you’ll want to not only use a native speaker, but a translator that has country specific expertise. 

Typically when you translate from non-native language to native language, you are more likely to have accurate text as it’s easier for translators to understand ideas that are written in a foreign language and in turn express that meaning in their native language.

Training and Experience is a Must

To start, your translator should have a translation degree or certification. Although there are plenty of translators without formal translation degrees who can do a good job, choosing to work with a professional who has formal training and job experience is your safest option. You can expect them to do a better job and have industry expertise that can help you avoid mistakes, such as knowing if your translation needs to be certified or not. 

Similar to how you want to work with a native speaker, you’ll want to work with a translator who specializes in your specific topic, such as medical translation or video game localization. Doing so will mean that the translator is aware of complex industry terms and knows the best way to tackle your project. 

Make Sure They Have a Large Tool Kit 

Translation software offers many benefits such as saving time and minimizing mistakes. Your translator should be familiar with using a variety of software localization or translation tools. While it would be ideal if they have experience with your tools of choice, it is not necessary if they already have a general familiarity with these types of tools and are willing to learn to use a new platform.

Be Realistic with Your Deadlines

If you want your translator to do the best job possible, don’t expect them to meet unrealistic deadlines. If you don’t give them ample time to research, review important references, or make room for questions to help bring clarity, then their work will suffer. If a translator offers an unreasonably quick turnaround, you may want to get a second opinion on how long the project should take. It is best to choose a translator who is honest about how much time your project will take to execute properly.

An Insider’s Guide to the Role of Editor
18/02/2020

An Insider’s Guide to the Role of an Editor

Accuracy is a vital pillar for our business. At Terra, we achieve the highest accuracy on projects through a critical review process and workflow that includes the role of the Editor. The Editor is imperative in achieving quality deliverables. After the translator has finished their assignment, editing is the next step in the process. Editors are first to revise the translation and the second team member to work with the source text. They compare the target language content against the original to ensure meaning and context are not lost. In addition to this key responsibility, editors must also review and answer queries from translators and Quality Assurance Managers (QAM), evaluate and score quality, and provide constructive feedback to the translator.

A Typical Day in the Role of an Editor

A day likely begins with the Editor checking on new assignments or urgent queries that need to be answered. This typically dictates the pace for the rest of the workday. After deadlines and priorities are sorted, the Editor will dive into an edition. When an edition is completed, the Editor will pass along the project to the next team member in the workflow, the QAM. At Terra, no two days are the same in the role of an Editor. Projects vary in length, difficulty and subject matter because each project requires a different set of linguistic and communication skills.

Why is the Editor Important?

The Editor’s role is valuable because he or she improves the overall quality of the translation with a focus on vocabulary, grammar, semantics, style and punctuation. They review the entire translation comparing it to the source to ensure the original content is rendered accurately in the target language. The Editor also makes certain the target text reads naturally and fluently as if it were not a translation. When large projects are split among multiple translators, the Editor is responsible for keeping consistency across the project that includes terminology and style. Additionally, the Editor certifies that the work complies with the client’s requirements and guidelines.

“The value added to the translation process by the Editor is accuracy, consistency, coherence, compliance and quality,” explained Alejandro Kochol, Editor for Terra. “The translation is polished and the quality of the deliverable is enhanced by the Editor.”

An Editor’s Core Skills

The top skills of an experienced Editor include dynamic linguistic prowess, source and target language knowledge, cultural and subject knowledge, attention to detail, flexibility, adaptability, ability to research and multitask, advanced knowledge of computer and CAT tool software, and excellent communication. 

Discernment is another crucial skill for the Editor. A large component of an Editor’s role is the ability to leave out personal preferences. The Editor should avoid imposing their own style and over-correct the translation. This can pose a challenge because it’s tempting to make changes due to personal choices. If the style used by the translator is appropriate in every aspect, the Editor should recognize this and respect it. 

Common Misconceptions of the Editor

A common misconception is that editing and proofreading are the same tasks. This is not the case. Editing involves improving a translation by comparing the source and target text. Proofreading involves revising the translation alone. The source text is used only as a reference if it is absolutely necessary.

A Love for Language

Most editors have a true passion for linguistics. They also appreciate that every day brings a new set of challenges and they find joy in creating solutions. There is a great power in words and a proficient Editor is meticulous in the use of every word in order to improve the quality of the translation. 

“I love working with texts and languages,” said Alejandro. “I enjoy meticulously examining every part of the translation to adjust errors and ensure nothing is missing. Being an Editor allows me to use my talents to improve the entire translation process.”

An Insider’s Guide to the Role of a Quality Assurance Manager
18/12/2019

An Insider’s Guide to the Role of a Quality Assurance Manager

The key to any successful translation project is quality. Assuring the highest quality work is what sets Terra Translations apart from other language service providers. With quality as a cornerstone of our workflow, we designed a process that supports error-free deliverables. One of the essential steps in this flow is led by the Quality Assurance Manager (QAM). 

The Role of a Quality Assurance Manager

After the translation and editing process, the Project Manager (PM) assigns the translated project to the QAM for a final review. The primary role of the QAM is to check the accuracy of the edition. 

“I ensure that the text reads naturally and smoothly in the target language,” explained Celeste Moreno, QAM for Terra. “The reader shouldn’t notice that the text is a translation.” 

Accuracy includes grammar and style. The QAM may also compare the edition to the original text to ensure the sentiment and meaning remains intact. It’s important that the translator properly conveys the tone and register of the original text to the target market.

“We’re the last step of the quality control chain,” Celeste said. “So it’s a great responsibility.” 

In addition to this process, the QAM will use the quality assurance features offered by Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. The technology is leveraged by the QAM to catch mistakes and achieve consistency. The audit of the software provides another layer of quality assurance.

After the QAM reviews and finalizes the project, he or she sends it to the Account Manager (AM) for client delivery. The QAM will also send feedback to the translator and the editor. This step is valuable because, through this, the linguists have an opportunity to improve. Constructive feedback will enhance the overall quality of the team.

A Quality Assurance Manager’s Core Skills

Similar to a PM or AM, a QAM’s day is highly deadline-driven. The QAM must ensure that all assignments are reviewed and returned within the allotted timeline. This requires an individual both organized and self-motivated to remain on track. Another pivotal skill is attention to detail. Because some errors can be as minor as format consistency, the QAM must be precise and thorough when reviewing the edition as well as the original brief. There could be special instructions in the brief that were overlooked and need to be addressed. Lastly, an asset a QAM can hold is confidence. There are many moving parts to any translation process. Projects can quickly present unforeseen challenges and easily trigger stress. A proficient QAM will remain calm under pressure and tackle their work with certainty and focus. 

Why is a Quality Assurance Manager Essential?

The additional oversight the QAM provides is fundamental and should be a requirement for every translation project. Even one poorly translated word can affect the entire meaning of content. This, in turn, affects the credibility of what needs to be conveyed and audiences will never connect with the translation. Quality assurance is at the core of an impactful and meaningful translation project. 

“If a company doesn’t have a Quality Assurance Manager, an editor, or someone who reviews a translation, it could be a recipe for disaster,” said Celeste, “You always need an extra set of eyes on a translation.”

31/10/2019

The Role & Value of a Lead Linguist in a Translation Team

There is no denying that reaching high quality translation goals is a team effort. Project managers, translators, editors, and proofreaders all come together to help a translation project succeed. But sometimes there can be too many cooks in the kitchen. When it comes to large-volume projects with many teammates, or when a client has recurring translation needs, it can be wise to employ a lead linguist. 

Having a lead linguist ensures consistency and can bring peace of mind to both the client and the translation team. Both parties can be confident there is someone who has the big picture top of mind. And that someone is available to support them in every way. Let’s take a look at what a lead linguist does and how they can help a translation team succeed. 

How They Can Help a Translation Team

The translation, editing, and proofreading process (better known in the translation industry as TEP) is a process top-tier translation companies utilize. It can ensure accuracy and convey the proper meaning sourced from an original language. TEP can also keep projects and workflows moving along in a productive and effective manner. During TEP, there can be multiple translators, editors and proofreaders working on the same project. When a team is this large, it can be necessary to have a lead linguist on the team. 

A lead linguist can benefit a translation team and client in many ways. One such way is by effectively driving and communicating evolving customer requirements. As well as priorities that unify the style, tone, terminology and quality across the language team. In the translation industry, consistency and unity are key. 

What a Lead Linguist Does

A lead linguist wears many hats, but is primarily in charge of overseeing an entire translation project. They will be a team’s go-to person when a translator has a linguistic question. If a question has a clear answer or was resolved in the past, the lead linguist can ideally provide an answer or a solution quickly. They can save the team time and allow them to keep moving forward towards meeting their deadline. 

Tricky questions that don’t have clear answers and require clarification from a client will fall to the lead linguist to handle. They will communicate with the client and then pass along the resolution to their team. The lead linguist is in charge of terminology management. They are responsible for updating the glossaries and style guides in accordance with the client’s preferences. They also take into account any feedback or clarifications received from the client.  

Qualities That Deliver Results

Translation projects will see less setbacks and clients will receive the best results when a lead linguist is part of the team. These are some of the qualities lead linguists usually have:

  • Vast experience in localization
  • A meticulous attention to detail
  • An extensive knowledge of CAT tools
  • Very good coordination and organizational skills
  • Project management skills
  • The ability to manage time well and meet deadlines
  • Strong empathy for their teammates and clients
  • A drive to be proactive and solve problems
  • A commitment and passion for language
  • The ability to drive consistent high quality work amongst their team

The Takeaway

A lead linguist establishes and maintains strong and collaborative working relationships with a client’s language counterparts. They are also able to provide mentorship and leadership to the translation team. Both the clients and translation team can benefit greatly from having a lead linguist on their team.