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Forum of Excellence

Translation can be a fairly solitary occupation. Sitting alone at home in front of a computer, perhaps working late into the night, absorbed in the text. Communication is mainly by email, perhaps enlivened by an occasional Skype call.

But on larger multi-language projects, there can often be multitude of people working on the same job. A translator and proofreader for each language, as well as a project manager or two. That can add up to 20 people or more. All working towards the same goal, but perhaps unaware of all the others involved, unaware of the pool of untapped knowledge at their disposal.

Word Connection wished to change that, to make translation feel more like a team effort. So we created a secure forum area on our website, where job-specific forums are created for larger, multi-language projects. Here, all involved in a translation project are able to ask questions, offer suggestions, post comments, point out errors in the source, and much more. So, instead of each translator being an island, everyone has access to much more information. And the same information!

Perhaps an example will illuminate: Imagine on a 10-language job that one of the translators, say the French one, who has particularly good knowledge of the topic, finds a well-hidden error in the source text and corrects it in her translation. In the pre-forum days of old, the other translators and proofreaders might never have found out about that source error, which would then have been carried over to their language variants. Or the French proofreader might even have changed the “correction” back to its incorrect form! Not only has the error multiplied itself, but there is now also inconsistency between the various language versions.

But with our forum, the translator instead posts her concern for everyone to see. The project manager can then check this with the client (who is usually delighted to have been told about this error in their source text!) and confirm it in the forum. This is seen by all those involved in the project and they integrate the correction into their language version. The result: correct and uniform information across all languages.

And the same goes for terminology queries, the meaning of abbreviations, inconsistencies in the source text, suggestions for the translation of clever but awkward claims or headlines, etc.

We also welcome clients themselves taking part in the forums. This way the client gets to see the kinds of issues translators have with their source texts and the client can often directly answer any queries, thus saving a considerable amount of time.

With the creation of the forum, Word Connection has made translation a far more collaborative effort and has been able to leverage all that shared knowledge and expertise to its fullest. This has resulted in more engaged translators, higher quality, more accurate and more uniform translations, and happier clients! Can’t argue with that.

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