How to meet deadlines for translation projects
Translation services are, perhaps, one of the most flourishing industries with a truly huge demand and turnover. If you had a chance to look up freelance translation jobs, you probably have noticed that lots of people find themselves in need of translation right here right now. At the same time, with great reward comes a great responsibility and quite a long path for the translator to walk to get it. Or an extremely short one. Yes, deadlines are some of the most problematic areas faced not only by translators, full-time and freelance, alike but also many other freelancers like writers and journalists. How to deal with these buggers then? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Lifelines and deadlines
To many specialists, deadlines (sort of ironically) follow them in their lives. The contemporary world dictates its rules and one of them is to do everything faster than others in order to gain more and grow faster and more sufficiently. While many freelance translators seem to handle this, it’s not uncommon yet to see even in the top translation companies reviews that people mostly complain about deadlines in particular. So, why are time constraints such a big deal?
There are numerous reasons for that but one of the most common explanations is that lots of deadlines are actually quite too short, and there are very few specialists who work on a single project at a time only. Another reason is that many translators overlook their workflow and space organization. Some may distract too much while others will neglect using digital tools to accelerate their processes. So, in case you’re wondering how to make your time more efficient for work, here are a few basic tips that will set you on track.
- Discuss the deadline with your customer. All deadlines must always be realistic, regardless of how soon the client needs the work done and what they think about your skills. It’s impossible to translate 10 pages within 3-4 hours and if the customer doesn’t realize that make sure to explain it well to them. Whenever you see or accept a project that you feel you just won’t handle within the amount of time given, try to negotiate the situation first. If the customer, however, insists on the set deadline, just turn the project down and find the one you are able to complete by the deadline.
- Always read your instructions as carefully as possible. It is important to not only read your instructions well but to be able to understand the most essential parts of the work as well as if anything is missing from the specifications. Figuring that out as early as possible is one of the keys to the successful completion of the project before the deadline. This skill is extremely valuable today, yet acquiring it comes only with time and experience.
- Take breaks. Just sitting there for a few hours straight and typing like crazy doesn’t do any good for either your health or productivity. So, switching between physical and mental activity is a must for anyone involved in any of those. You don’t have to step up and do exercises or jog around your home, but you can just stand up for a while, walk back and forth, or come outside to take a deep breath of fresh air, reboot yourself, and get back to work with another energy boost.
- Divide your work into parts. Five documents that are two pages long each will definitely feel much easier to accomplish than a bulk of work that’s 10 pages long. As you read the instructions and the original document you need to translate, divide it into logical parts that will be easily processed and translated separately. This will take probably 5 minutes in total but will be able to save hours in perspective.
- Use all the tools wisely. Neglecting software that can be handy for you is one thing. Not using the apps and computer programs that you have at your disposal properly is a totally different story. As you use your equipment, make sure you have all the needed hotkeys set and used by you properly and systematically. Don’t be afraid of using templates to make a much faster start. Finally, use translation tools of different kinds, such as digital vocabularies, machine translation, and translation memories. All of them will be more than handy, especially when it comes to working as fast as possible and producing the greatest possible result.
Dead or alive
Deadlines are really a serious issue that cannot actually kill you, but they are certainly able to make you feel dead and empty inside after the work is done. So, working systematically and with the right approach is not just a good idea, but also a must for any translator who respects their labor and occupation. Using your capabilities and tools wisely is the only way to get the work done well and on time. After all, we’re all humans, so we all need some time to work and some time to rest. The only catch is to divide the time between these two processes as efficiently as possible.
Story by Michael Carr. There’s probably no such thing in the world as something that Carr couldn’t research and discuss for hours. With his limitless enthusiasm, Mike grasps everything that comes in his way and polishes it carefully with thorough research until he knows literally everything about the thing. This talent helped him a lot in achieving his current status of an extremely productive author and educator who is well respected by many.