Process makes perfect: how to deliver quality translations for your clients

Posted: 11 Sep 2023

Life in an agency is fast paced. Whether it’s the creative, elearning or even the translation industry, we share the same goal – delivering high-quality work for our clients.

Project management is key in agency life. It’s how you meet deadlines, keep clients happy and ensure each project runs smoothly. That’s why it plays such an essential part in delivering translations.

Have you ever tried to make jelly without a mould? That’s a bit like translation projects without process and management. Messy, chaotic and out of control.

Without thorough and thoughtful management, multilingual projects snowball. As you open the 100th version of a document, or receive negative client feedback, you may find yourself feeling frustrated as time (and costs) increase. A good process will save you from these common pitfalls. That’s why we’re sticklers for project management, so much so that we have the ISO credentials to prove it. 

Six benefits of a strong translation process that you (and your clients) need:

1. Communication with reviewers is managed more efficiently

With a well-defined process and clearly defined roles, everything runs more smoothly with less hassle. At Comtec, we’re happy to be as hands-on with reviewers as you need. Whether that is working directly with the client, or providing you with the tools and processes needed and assisting you along the way.

2. Trust in the process and therefore the quality of the translation is higher

With your client witnessing a smooth, well-managed process, they will be much more confident of the end result. This also reflects well on you and how you’re seen to handle a very complex project.

3. Your client feels reassured by your process

Like you, it’s likely your client will not be a linguist and so they need reassurance that all changes and feedback are being incorporated. With clear communication and effective systems, they’ll be reassured that any changes are being captured and actioned.

4. Your reputation of being easy to work with is upheld

If managed poorly, translation has the potential to damage your reputation. By working with a process-driven translation partner, with a positive attitude, you can be confident they can act on your behalf. Keeping clients happy and your reputation intact.

5. The result is more engaging, therefore ROI is higher

Ultimately you want to ensure that the end result you deliver resonates in all regions. A great translation takes into account cultural nuances, whilst staying true to the intent of your original content. Localisation provides the balance between staying true to the source, whilst appealing to regional audiences. If you’re looking to take your brand global, then our expert guide is packed full of practical tips and advice to help you streamline your translation process and make your marketing work hard in every language.

6. Your team can focus on core client work

A big one. Translations have the potential to use up a lot of time, especially if things start getting out of control. Without a good partner on board, you and your team are likely to pick up that additional work. This takes you away from the work that you enjoy doing and where you add the most value for your client.

How we do it:

Every stage of our process is documented and has been improved over and over again. This means that we know where the risk points are and we have managed them out. Nothing is left to chance and when errors do occur there are checks and balances in place to make sure they get picked up before going to the end client.

To ensure the highest quality output, and minimal headaches for everyone involved, we’ve developed a thorough process. We’re not going to give away all our secrets, but here are some of the key actions we take when managing translations.

Before translations

Style guides and global ‘rules’ are agreed upfront

We support agencies to develop a style guide with their client for all the languages needed. Doing this helps to manage the entire project and set everyone up on the right foot. We’ll help to develop this guide to provide a central reference point for style, key terms, tone of voice and use of colloquialisms or humour. By agreeing and documenting this upfront, many inconsistencies or confusion can be avoided later.

Support in creating source content with translation in mind

We advise agencies on how to write content that is ready for translations. This not only means following the style guide, but establishing file types and processes. Without this step, you may end up with non-editable pictures, diagrams or charts for example.

During translations

Guidance for the local reviewers is provided so they are clear on their role

Reviewers are usually members of your client’s organisation that are based in-country, who will look over the translations. They can be a great resource as they have both regional and company insight. However, it’s important to brief them thoroughly. This avoids reviewers including their personal opinion and disparity between reviews and regions. Most reviewers are keen to provide their expertise. By having clarity on what feedback is required, alongside the style guide, you’ll get the right feedback that’s easy to incorporate.

Common platforms are used to share updates on project progress

By using digital tools not only can feedback be received more easily, but updates and progress can be tracked more frequently. This provides a high degree of transparency and increases trust in the process being used. Without it, you, the agency, might yourself be passing feedback and changes from translation partner to client and back again. This is a waste of your time and frustrating for the client.

Reviewing translations

Digital tools are used to manage feedback

We’ve created online review tools for clients to log-in and provide their feedback online. With these tools, sharing and managing multiple inputs is much simpler and all remains in one place.

The tools are easy to use and make editing content, adding comments, providing feedback as straightforward as possible. We then review the feedback in detail to ensure everything is fully incorporated into the translations.

Being able to deliver translated projects can be the key to global work and clients, but that strategy will only pay dividends if it’s delivered well.

As an agency, you shouldn’t need to worry about the details of the translation process. All you need to know is that the process and the finished project will represent you and your company in the best light. That’s where a translation partner, who focuses on process management, can help.

Check out our webcast all about engaging local markets in the translation process and find out what steps you should take to end up with the best possible result.

We love sharing our knowledge and expertise on this, and many other language, culture, translation, and localisation-related subjects. Please do get in touch, our friendly team is always very happy to help.

Call us on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email