Lesson four: How to Deal With Resistance to the Advanced Features of a TMS?

Modern Translation Management Systems (TMS) offer a lot of advanced functionality. Workflow automation is a very good example.

The idea is to eliminate the frequently repeated, time-consuming and therefore boring tasks of a Project Manager. It is quite common in a translation agency that many customers have series of similar projects.

Eliminate the frequently repeated, time-consuming
and therefore boring tasks of a Project Manager

Let’s imagine a long-term customer is interested in the translation of hundreds of texts delivered in batches 2-3 times a week, all year round. As the subject and language combinations are identical, a fixed rate is agreed with the customer and the providers. Of course, the entire process is also identical, eg. initial DTP formatting of the source text, in-house conversion of the source text into a CAT-tool file with updated TM, translation, proofreading/revision and final in-house DTP of the target text.

The optimal solution would be to build a team of providers to handle such projects.

Of course, all the following “logistical” steps are necessary and inevitable:

1.

Getting the new source text from the customer

2.

CAT-tool analysis of the source text to define the total volume

3.

Calculation of the budget based on the fixed rate already agreed with the customer

4.

Email to the customer to confirm the terms and conditions of delivery

5.

Phone/email contact with the DTP expert already assigned to offer him/her the new project

6.

Dispatch of the source text along with the Purchase Order for the DTP expert based on the previously agreed rate and calculated volume

7.

Conversion of the source file into a CAT-tool file with updated Translation Memory

8.

Phone/email contact with the translator to offer him/her the new project

9.

Dispatch of the source text along with the Purchase Order to the a translator based on the previously agreed rate and calculated volume

10.

Acceptance of the translated file

11.

Phone/email contact with the proofreader/reviser already assigned to offer him/her the new project

12.

Dispatch of the source text along with the Purchase Order to the proofreader/reviser based on the previously agreed rate and calculated volume

13.

Acceptance of the revised file

14.

In-house final DTP of the target file

15.

In-house final Quality Assurance review

16.

Delivery of the target text to the customer

To make the situation even more complicated, let’s assume that it is a multi-language project and the customer needs the source text to be translated into 10 different languages. We have to handle ca. 150 steps as above, and repeat them all 10-15 times a month. It makes for hundreds of hours for a Project Manager. Most probably one single PM is not able to manage such a project alone. And this significantly increases the internal cost of project management.

 

The best solution is to arrange an automated workflow:

  • Define the names of all providers involved (let’s assume: 2 pre-DTP, 10 translators,
    10 proofreaders/revisers, 1 final-DTP, 1 QA), and agree with them to participate in such a long-term project

  • Arrange the sequence of repeated actions (the 16 steps as above)

  • Arrange the alarms to be triggered in case of an extraordinary situation
    that might stop the automatic performance of the steps

In the case of a long-term project as described above, the gains in time, internal cost and accuracy of Project Management are clearly visible. The implementation of an automatic workflow in a good TMS will take less than 1-2 hours and the savings are great. One single PM can easily monitor several such automated workflows, reducing the internal costs significantly.

The implementation of an automatic workflow in a good TMS
will take less than 1-2 hours and the savings are great.

If the project is much simpler, strong resistance from Project Managers is normally observed. They tend to keep the traditional (“manual”) mode of operation and try to convince the boss that no automation is necessary.

A good solution is to include the usage of automatic workflows as an incentive element of a bonus system for Project Managers.

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Jurek Nedoma
Jurek Nedoma has worked in the language industry for over 25 years. He is the founder and former manager of LIDOLANG Specialist Translations, which in 2015 was ranked the 16th translation company in the CEE Region (CSA Report 2015). In the period 2013-2015 Jurek was Treasurer of the European Language Industry Association (ELIA).

Jurek Nedoma is also co-founder of the professional TMS software development firm XTRF Management System.

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