Four Ways to Avoid In-country Review Headaches

By United Language Group

The lifecycle of a translation project has many moving parts – translation, proofreading, editing and localization – that need to be accounted for.

And even after all these phases are completed and the final document appears to be client-ready, there is still one last step remaining.

Enter in-country review.

As the final stage of a translation project, the client often has a small group of internal employees conduct an In-country Review (ICR) of the document to ensure it is in line with the organization’s standards, style, and voice. Ideally, these reviewers also live in (or have extensive experience with) the region where the translated materials will be shared, providing both knowledge of the company and the target audience.

However, if conducted incorrectly or without proper instruction, ICR can increase cost, hassle, and turnaround times. Here are four tips and tricks to help you avoid ICR bottlenecks.

1 . Have in-country reviewers involved at the outset

Although the bulk of ICR happens at the end of the project, getting involved early on can reduce corrections later. In-country reviewers should be participating in the translation before the project begins to provide company-specific information that the Language Solutions Partner (LSP) might not be aware of. For example, an international architecture firm might have a specific way of describing the design approach behind a new skyscraper that even a translator could not exactly replicate without additional insight. In country reviewers can also provide examples of previously translated content, the organization’s style and branding guide (if one exists), and short briefs detailing knowledge that would not be otherwise available to the LSP.

2 . Choose reviewers who are subject-matter experts in the target language

It might be tempting to assign any in-country native speaker to conduct the review. But when topics are highly specialized, using subject-matter experts helps to reduce the possibility of error. For example, a technical manual should be reviewed by someone with extensive knowledge of the product, while a contract should be reviewed by someone on the legal team.

3 . Give clear instructions to in-country reviewers on who will be conducting the final review

Although ICR is important, the LSP is responsible for completing the project. In-country reviewers are more like an extra set of eyes from within the company to ensure the document will resonate with its target audience. Notably, in-country reviewers should not be redoing the translator’s work — whether that is translating, proofreading, or rewriting entirely. To avoid miscommunication (or shifting too much responsibility onto the in-country reviewers), LSPs should provide clear expectations for what is required in the final step of the review phase.

These instructions might include:

  • What type of feedback to give: In an ideal scenario, the LSP completed the translation with minimum-to-no final edits needed. The in-country reviewers should understand what they are looking for (proper product description, company voice, etc.).
  • Deadlines: When does the review need to be completed? Are there multiple rounds of edits needed?
  • Priority status based on workload: In-country reviewers usually have other roles in the company (marketing, product development, or legal support, for example). The LSP and client should work together to determine the priority of the ICR as it relates to other ongoing projects, and assign the review to employees who have the bandwidth to do their due diligence.

4 . Create an easy feedback process for reviewers

What if there are three in-country reviewers, and one provides feedback through email, another through Google Docs, and the third through comments on a PDF? Make it easy by creating a standardized process for giving feedback.

LSPs usually work with a translation management system to house all documents and communication between translators and clients; this project portal can be used as part of the ICR. A standardized process ensures that Word documents with tracked changes don’t get lost, or that some edits from an email chain aren’t missed.

ICR is ultimately a dialogue between the LSP and other client representatives. Clients should choose an LSP and ICR team they can trust while also maintaining the clear, effective communication needed to complete the project.

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