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Project Setup Checklist

The following generic checklist is applicable to virtually all translation projects. Many of our clients found that by using the following checklist, they were able to shorten timelines and save thousands of dollars. We hope that you find the following information valuable in executing your next project. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. We welcome the opportunity to assist you in all your localization needs.

Project Objectives

  • Define the overall goal or objective of the project. What is the final product going to resemble? It is very hard to hit a bull's eye if you do not have a target.
  • Determine the target languages and the particular dialects. Great variations in vocabulary occur between the individual dialects.
  • Determine the target audience's demographics. What type of audience will be reading the translations? Youth, technical, maternal? Income level: lower, middle or upper? Without considering the audience, an improper translation could result.
  • Determine the translation styles. Again, if you can pinpoint the style of the translation or tone of the material to be translated, it will save you time and money as your project reaches its audience. You could be looking for literary styles, marketing styles, official or even legal styles. Each of these requires a specific translator that is qualified for the subject matter. Choosing the wrong translator could result in a message that is poorly conveyed to the target audience.

Project Budget Requirements

  • Determine the overall budget of the project.
  • Consult with your translation agency on possible savings opportunities for your project.
  • Determine override allowances.

Project Inventory

  • Create a Master File List or inventory of all the files to be translated in your project. Remove or identify any files not to be translated. With modern translation tools the thoroughness of the translators is exceptional and if you do not specify translatable versus non-translatable content it may result in thousands of dollars in extra costs. We have seen project costs and timelines double due to a single set of files included in a project that should have been removed.
  • Separate and classify files in your inventory by type. This will help you organize and prioritize which files are completed first. This will also allow you to set the project flow and optimize your resources allocated to the project.

Source Files

  • Organize all files in which there is a source file. For instance, image files may have been created using one of today's valuable tools (Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, etc.) and then outputing a file (JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, etc) for utilization in your final product. Without the original source files you would have to re-create the original source of the file(s). Providing these original source files can save substantial amounts of money and time.
  • Place a content freeze on the source files for the duration of the entire project (all updates to the files for localization should be done prior to its initiation). With modern translation tools it is very simple and cost effective to return to an updated document and translate the new material. It is very difficult however, to translate consistently changing materials. Be sure to "freeze" the content in your source files for the duration of the project or at least treat updated materials as a separate project.

Image Files

  • Identify and inventory all image files that are going to require translation. Many web sites use graphics for navigation and page elements. These images will sometimes require translations and preparing for this in the beginning of the project will save time.
  • Gather all the source files for the image output. Many graphics for web sites and published documents contain graphics that use a master graphics file as its template. Often these files are Photoshop or Fireworks files.
  • Organize and prepare the original source files as stated above.

Previous Assets

Your company may have completed translation projects in the past. Many of these prior translations can assist you in your current project. These materials may consist of:

  • Translation samples
  • Previous translations
  • Previous translators
  • Translation memory
  • Graphic files
  • Other miscellaneous collateral

Review Requirements

  • If you are having your materials reviewed by an internal or outside (third) party, it is important to identify them at the beginning of the project. Contact them and discuss your expectations and the requirements that will be given to them.
  • Consult and educate your internal reviewers on their role in the project and the expected objectives of the project.
  • Request adequate time commitments from your internal reviewers. Having a deadline missed because of internal reviewers not on the same priority schedule happens frequently. Make sure your internal reviewers understand their responsibilities.
  • Translation is very subjective in nature. Be sure to explain to your internal reviewers the demographics, styles, and targets of the translations that you are expecting.

Define Timelines

  • Develop an estimated timeline for the project including milestones and goals. Basic guidelines are as follows:

    • Translation: 1250-1500 words per day
    • Proofreading: 4000-5000 words per day
    • Editing: 4500-6000 words per day
    • Image production:
      • Easy graphics: 8-10 per hour
      • Moderate graphics: 5-8 per hour
      • Difficult graphics: 2-5 per hour
    • Review period: 4000-6000 words per day
    • Final revisions: 4000-6000 words per day
  • Consult with professional translation agencies on how to conform timelines to exterior schedules.

Project Management

  • Define the key decision maker for your project.
  • Define the role of the project manager for the project and the expected reports and returns for the life of the project.
  • Define contact intervals and reporting mechanisms between all participants involved with the project including:
    • Translators
    • Editors
    • Proofreaders
    • Graphic artists
    • Third party reviewers
    • Project managers
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