A few years ago I had the chance to help organise and manage the translation of the Goldman Sachs’ very popular online course 10,000 Women available on Coursera. For who has never heard of it, this course is still available and, as mentioned on the Coursera's platform, it is aimed at providing a practical business education, while strengthening the attendants' business knowledge, skills and plans for growth. It was originally designed for women business owners in emerging economies, but anyone can enrol and attend it. So, the topic was very interesting to me and having always been in some sort of language or linguistic environment, I found that working with people from the Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds, who didn’t necessarily know much about translation quality and processes, proved to be a positively challenging but also very interesting opportunity. This is why I have decided to share my experience in a couple of articles that describe how to proceed when you have to include translation in an existing project because maybe you too don't know where to start 😎. So, watch out for part 2 of this process.
To start with, I should clarify that the e-learning course we worked on had already been launched online, so it was a case of adding the translation/localisation step into something that had not initially been optimised for translation at all. This is a very important aspect to focus on, not only because the files for translation included all sorts of directions that needed to be filtered out, but the text and video content for translation was not all in one place. This file preparation step created a lot of work for who was in charge of managing the content and, even if you are not interested in having your material translated just yet, this is maybe something to keep in mind when organising your folders 🤓.
After this long introduction, I would also like to mention that the team had already selected the languages they wanted the course to be translated into, so I can’t really share what that process looked like. Anyway, let’s crack on with this lengthy but effective process!
Gather ALL the files that need translating and get a word count
No matter if you work in a big or small company, you will need to have a meeting with or contact all the people that worked on the course or project you want to translate and decide what actually needs translating – nobody wants to go back to the translation agency and ask for additions to their projects to then end up spending more than expected!
The content you may want to consider is:
Once you have all this, you should be able to get a word count, however it is only possible if your files are in user-friendly format that will allow you to have a rough idea of how many words you need translated. This will also ensure you have some sort of ballpark figure you can compare with what the agency you choose will include in their quote.
These are the first steps to start getting your content ready: it’s already quite a long process that in some companies may take days or even weeks!
In the second part of this guide we’ll explore how to actually choose a translator or translation agency and assign the work to them, ensuring quality and clear procedures are followed, so watch out for that!