When Technical Documents Translation in Chinese Becomes Easy, Fast, and Cheap
Sophie Ao, Author
08 March 2019
Do you have a ton of technical documents that need translation in Chinese?
Did you know that a good translation project management can keep your costs down while maintaining a consistent, high-quality standard?
Well, let me share with you one of our experiences with a mature buyer of translation service in the mechanical engineering industry. Here’s how we helped our client achieve the goal, increased productivity, and overcame translation hurdles during the process.
If you ever missed some of the blog posts I’ve written on how we helped clients save thousands of dollars from a rush translation of legal documents to day to day mechanical engineering translation projects, I encourage you to read more if you’re thinking to work with us.
Our client approached us through our website, which seemed to have a bad experience with their current Chinese translation service provider. Their provider delivered slipping translation quality when compared with day one submissions. Miscommunication. Repeated mistakes. In a word, pain!
After brief communication via website chat and NDA signing with them to keep everything confidential, the client sent over lots of documents. They included three technical handbooks that need translation from English to Simplified Chinese and a translation memory that has been maintained by their current provider, hopefully as a reference.
The client specifically required that we must use a professional Chinese translator who should be very familiar with mechanical engineering.
** We cannot disclose the name of clients, due to NDA that we signed to keep their identity confidential **
Free test translation: try it before you order
To form a better idea of quality expectations of the client, we offered two levels of free test translation, by class A translator with 16 years of technical translation experience and the other one, a class B translator with five years of experience. Both are familiar with mechanical engineering field.
The client liked the work of the class A translator because it required less editing efforts from her side. But she had a limited budget.
As we carefully go through the documents she sent over, we concluded that they have a similar structure and the same content in bits and parts. We call these internal repetitions.
Moreover, the client mentioned that they have older versions of similar product lines, too.
Alignment: take advantage of reference
Per our suggestion, the client provided us some previously done and approved translations (heavily edited by her side) along with their original English documents as our references.
With the documents, we can start turning something sitting on the drive into something valuable: by aligning original contents with translation, and we can easily create a translation memory that can spot every sentence that has been translated before and REUSE it for the new translation.
As we do not charge 100% matches, that means the client doesn’t have to pay for the same translation ever again.
The client also provided us a translation memory file obtained from the other provider, but not sure if it can serve as a reference. It contained some translation memory, which has not reflected the heavy editing yet. Also, it’s not in a standard translation memory format, which needs some rendering. Our project engineer managed to convert it into a workable file to help in the analysis.
Budget saver: see the power of translation memory
The total word count of the three documents is 48,681. However, with our efforts on building translation memory, the workload decreased to 21,117.7 words only, according to our analysis.
Which means we are well within her budget and she can have class A translator on board.
Wait a second. Why are there decimals in the calculation? You might ask.
Because unlike many translation companies charge you for full work scope, we weigh 0.1 for each internally repeated words or 0.3 to 1 for different values of matches when comparing the new documents with existing translation memory.
Maintain translation memory
During the translation process, we found inconsistencies and even conflicting terms within their original translation memory. It seemed that their provider carelessly managed it. With the client’s consent, we fixed the issues.
After the client’s feedback session, we modified all places that client mentioned, reran QA check to ensure full implementation of changes. Then we updated the translation memory with the most up-to-date translation that has been approved by the client.
We completed the translation within ten working days, including translation done by class A translator, top to bottom proofreading, QA checking to catch and get rid of any inconsistency issue.
The client was happy to receive good quality translations back within the deadline and her budget.
She became one of our repeat clients, sending us frequent translation requests, for we make the best use of tools to help us stick with high standards without cost increase. On the contrary, we are decreasing translation costs in the long run.
Do you want to decrease your translation spending, too?
If you have technical documents that need translation in Chinese, let us know, and we’ll give you a quote in 24 hours on a working day or in 48 hours on weekends.
We have seen good clients and bad ones as well. As we are constrained by resources, we will only serve those deserve our attention and time. We will only focus on clients who are already decided which projects to prioritize and understand the importance of translation and localization efforts.
Sophie is the founder and CEO of AZ-Loc Language Service Inc., a Wuhan-based translation agency that provides professional Chinese translation, localization, design, and multimedia production (video translation, subtitling, voice-overs and dubbing services). She has been in the language industry for more than 16 years and knows her stuff pretty well. She excels at taking the initiative to get things done without compromising customers’ requirements. Sophie loves to collaborate with like-minded people who share the same passion and commitment at work. Well versed with overseas and Chinese markets and a self-confessed polyglot who speaks Mandarin, English, Japanese, Hungarian, and French, she founded AZ-Loc in 2011 to make a big difference in greater China where you rarely find professional language services.