Carpenters abide by the guiding principle “measure twice, cut once” to limit construction mistakes and wasted material. Accuracy is equally as important in manufacturing as any errors in measurements, figures and descriptions might result in an ineffective product or even consumer danger.
Consider the safety risk posed by a medical device manufacturer that uses inconsistent units of measure, or the potential impact that misunderstood instructions on the assembly line could pose for an automaker.
The potential for error rises when manufacturers translate content into new languages for international markets. Some businesses struggle to find a balance between their aggressive, high-volume production schedule and the exacting, deliberate pace often required of an effective localization project.
That can result in a Catch-22–do you take time to translate content and risk delaying your international rollout, or do you rush the localization project and hope that inaccurate measurements or unclear instructions don’t slip through the edit process?
Ultimately, manufacturers don’t have to sacrifice content accuracy to meet aggressive deadlines. In fact, by following several localization best practices, manufacturers can implement a well-paced translation project that ensures important engineering, product or instructional content is accurately localized for international markets. Here’s how.
Seek a Specialized Translation Team
Manufacturers need confidence in their translator of choice. General linguists might know how to perform word-for-word translations, but the absence of technical context or familiarity can result in imprecise measurements or awkward instructions.
Translators with specialized technical experience are able to ensure a high quality of accuracy at speed, leaning on their familiarity with the industry to provide nuance without slowing down for clarification. Using the same translator consistently ensures a faster ramp-up, because you don’t have to re-educate a new linguist for each project.
Bringing in an engineer to support the translator also provides a valuable additional resource who can clarify key terms and measures if needed. And relying on a separate editor offers the opportunity for routine, quality spot-checks.
Break Big Projects into Smaller Pieces
Some manufacturing localization projects involve hefty technical or instructional documents, comprising hundreds of thousands of words. Localizing a document of that size could easily result in error-riddled content that will need to be painstakingly reviewed and corrected.
Instead of translating everything at once, break these large projects into smaller ones to ensure faster turnaround times and better accuracy.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT) technology, such as Translation Memory (TM) software, can also speed the localization process by allowing project managers to automatically build a database of frequently used industry terms. Referencing this database throughout the localization process can help translators minimize redundant work and get through large content projects faster.
Implement Quality Checks from the Start
The most effective localization projects don’t wait until the very end to check for quality—doing so can result in costly delays if the content requires heavy editing or re-work.
Reviewing and correcting localized content as it is actively being translated and making it a collaborative effort, offers a significant time and cost-savings opportunity. Instead of seeking clarification after the fact, an editor can verify terminology and measurements directly with translators or technical engineers as they continue to produce new, accurate content.
A TM tool can also help by allowing translators to run queries on important measurements or terminology during the localization process. By referring back to important terms stored in the TM’s glossary, translators can apply context to decide on the judgement calls that can crop up during localization.
Speed and Quality Without Compromise
Effective localization project management enables both speed and accuracy by establishing the structure and processes needed to ensure deliver quality content on deadline. With an effective game plan in hand, manufacturers can rely on a mix of automation, careful review and an expert localization team to achieve international growth goals.
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