How to Handle Rush Translation Projects
It’s not realistic to expect that a translator can do their very best work when they’re put under pressure, and by this we mean the pressure of time constraints.
It’s not realistic to expect that a translator can do their very best work when they’re put under pressure, and by this we mean the pressure of time constraints. However, translators do work in an industry whereby often the deadlines can be very tight. So how can a translator ensure that their output as good as it can possibly be when one of their major clients call with a rush job?
- Perhaps the first thing to acknowledge is that there’s a big difference between an impossible deadline and a rush deadline, and every translators’ interpretation of this will be different. Whatever your distinction is between a rush translation and an impossible translation, you need to be very clear with your client when what they’re asking is impossible. You have the right to refuse work if the client is expecting too much, and of course, once you convey this to the client there’s every reason to believe that they’ll understand your explanation and extend the deadline.
- Be very clear with your client that rushed translation work is not going to be your best quality work. Perhaps you could use the terms ‘for informational use’ or ‘draft quality’ when describing the finished quality of work that’s rushed. It’s very important that the client understands that publication-ready translation work demands several rounds of proofing and a reasonable deadline.
- Get rid of all distractions. You’re on a rush job, so the last thing you need is other distractions. These will come by way of your personal email, your home phone, and your feed reader. It’s a simple matter of disabling these distractions until you’ve completed the rush job. If you work from home and you have a family, ask them to give you space and privacy in order to complete this work. If you’re going to do this rush job, then you need to do it to the best of your ability.
- Before commencing the translation, have a quick look at the document. There’s nothing more annoying than working hard in the first couple of hours, only to find out that the last few pages of the document are a translation of the first few pages, or that there’s already an existing translation of what you were rushing to translate.
- You’ll still need to do some sort of quality assurance on your translation. Because time is of the essence, at the very minimum you can check for spelling errors and ensure that the document is complete. For example, make sure that there are the correct number of subheadings under each heading and you have the correct number of bullet points on the list.
Probably every translator out there has been asked at some time to do a rush job and there’s no doubt that this kind of work can be very stressful. In addition, you don’t get to produce the high-quality translations that you’re used to producing. However, if you can prove that you’re able to work under stressful conditions, like time constraints, it’s highly likely that you’ll be asked to do rush jobs in the future, and also that the work you do under pressure will improve in quality as time goes by.