CHAPTER 2 - PROFESSIONALISM
STEPS OF THE TRANSLATION PROCESS
A translation commission process may vary by case or client, or even by the translator’s personal working habits. Typically, however, it contains the steps outlined below. It should be noted that an invoice must account for all of the time spent on each step of the commission, so remember to take note of the stages that take place both before and after the actual act of translation. Costs are incurred even before a commission is accepted due to time invested in negotiations.
The translation service process may look something like the following:
1. A client contacts you and inquires about translation services. You ask for additional information and, upon response, draft an offer. You may also wish to request a deadline extension.
2. You negotiate with the client on the price, tools, mode of delivery, and other terms until a consensus is reached.
3. You agree on the details of the commission with the client. This is usually done via e-mail or phone, but make sure you have the terms and conditions of the commission in writing, either as an e-mail message, an order acknowledgement, or a contract.
4. The client’s PDF file is protected, and you cannot access the source text or convert it into an editable format. Eventually, the client sends you a new file, and you can begin translating. You should make sure that the files you have are correct and functional and arrange them into client-specific and commission-specific folders, making it easy to find them as needed.
5. You make the first version of the translation, i.e. the draft. There are quite a few terms that need to be sorted out and you will wrestle with them next. It takes time, but eventually you figure out almost all the difficult parts. However, you want to check something with the client: “I happened to notice that the term X is translated into Finnish as either Y or Z. Based on the context, I think that in this case it is Z. Please let me know if you disagree.”
6. You continue working with the translation, streamlining expressions and adding the missing terms. Then you struggle with one of the tables for a while. Since the client hasn’t responded to your email yet, you wait for a while, but don’t hear back from them.
7. Eventually you have to send the text to the language reviser or proofreader with whom you have scheduled an appointment in advance to go through your text.
8. Now you have a moment to do something else.
9. When the language reviser or proofreader sends the text back, you quickly start working on the changes. Most of them are fine, but you have to discuss a couple of ambiguous segments. Once they have been cleared, too, it’s time to read through the text one more time, update the translation memory if needed, save the file in the right format, check the layout and double spaces, as well as run the text through a spell-checker once more. After this the translation is ready to be sent to the client.
10. When you send the text, you remind the client about your question: “Dear A, I previously inquired about the term X, and I decided to go with the translation Z, but please let me know if you disagree. I have attached the translation to this message; please confirm that you have received it. Thank you in advance!”
11. The client replies quickly that they have received the translation and apologizes for not being able to respond to your question about the term. As a matter of fact, translation Y is used in a glossary, which the client asks you to replace in the translation. In addition, the client asks about another section, requesting that you check the translation once more.
12. You immediately reply to the client that you have received their message and you tell them that you will shortly get back to them about the changes. You replace the term and make sure it doesn’t come up anywhere else in the translation. If it does, you replace those instances as well. In addition, you write a short explanation to the client of why the other section is translated the way it is.
13. You send the updated file to the client, and again ask the client to confirm that they have received it. You also thank the client for your good work together.
14. The client is satisfied with your explanation and replies that they have received the file. They also thank you for good work together and wish you a nice rest of the week.
15. Next you start writing the invoice. To do this you need the client’s information, the commission information and the client’s reference number, and so on. You type it in and send the invoice electronically, and then you wait for the payment.
16. If the payment arrives on time, everything’s all right, and you can be happy with a successful project. If the payment is delayed, you need to send the client a polite message, inquiring if there’s something wrong, since you haven’t received payment. The client replies quickly and apologizes for not having time to approve the invoice before travelling abroad. They promise to do it as soon as possible and that’s what they do. The payment arrives in your bank account, and you don’t have to think about it anymore.
17. At the end of the month you deal with the accounts. You check that the client’s materials and the order confirmation and other information can be found in your files later if needed. Doing so ensures that cooperation continues smoothly in the future as well.