Workflow Battles Part 3

  • Posted by Vesela Bodurova
  • On December 16, 2016
  • 0 Comments

How many times will you review a document before it is finalized?

In search of the silver bullet for productivity? Unfortunately, such a thing does not exist, but there are other ways to improve workflow. Here is a quick fix: cut out the unnecessary work. Reviewing a document together with internal and external parties is not rocket science. Yet for many enterprises it is the phase of content production where a lot of time is lost. And it is happening as we speak.

In our previous blog post, we talked about the reasons for content chaos and the number of people involved in reviewing one document simultaneously. Here comes the next relevant question: how many times will you review a document before it is finalized?

Proposal management is a good example to start with. A client receives an offer from a supplier, let’s say an agency. At first glance, the client recognizes that they are using an outdated template with the old logo of the agency – whatever. The most annoying part comes when the client needs to re-name pretty much everything in the proposal. How come? Because of organisational changes due to recent merger, all products, words and phrases have been changed.

This has already been communicated to all suppliers but let’s admit it – who on earth is reading all briefings! So, as an outcome, the agency offered a proposal for products the client doesn’t have. Never mind! The client makes the necessary changes, renames the MS Word file and sends it back to the agency via email. The whole procedure repeats several times a day until an agreement is reached. So, in this case, the review process is lengthy and error-prone. And it is, surely, a patience test for both sides.

Let’s take another example – the average middle-sized enterprise that operates globally. In most cases, the need to review a document a gazillion times is due to miscommunication, lack of terminology management and the need to correct never-ending content discrepancies. Exactly in that order. Yes, it is a labyrinth and there is not an easy way out of it.

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While miscommunication can be associated with external factors and can be subjective at times, lack of terminology management is an inside job. We come back again to our favorite topic – terminology management. Or in other words – language consistency – critical for translation. So, you do not have to correct the same mistakes all the time and thus endlessly prolong the review process.

In her blog post Terminology is (still) just like Laundry , Val Swisher talks about the importance of maintaining your terminology:

“Of course, having a process in place for keeping your terminology fresh is helpful. Just like you separate your whites and colors, you want to make sure you organize your terms before you toss them into the mix. It’s also good to define a process so that content creators can suggest new terms and changes to existing terms. If you define the process in advance, updating your database or word list on schedule will be easier for everyone.”

The enterprise terminology management should not be underestimated, especially when it comes to translation. How does enforcing terminology management affect the duration of the review process? Some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Faster to market. Approving a term beforehand means less questions from translators and a shorter way to the audience.
  • Faster validation cycles. It is easier for reviewers to validate translations thanks to controlled terminology. Less translation inconsistencies means speedier language translation process and no need to correct the same mistakes all the time.

Sounds good, right?

The adoption part is when things get complicated.

Acrolinx published a terminology management report based on interviews with a variety of companies as well as a proprietary survey of more than 200 content professionals. According to it, by far the biggest challenge facing most companies in terms of managing their words and phrases is ensuring that everyone uses them appropriately.

“Considering that nearly two-thirds (64.6 percent) of companies either don’t check their content to ensure that it contains the right words and phrases, or rely on editors who don’t always catch everything, that’s no surprise.

Many teams rely on informal processes and basic tools to manage their words and phrases. As a result, governance is a common challenge. Although companies are increasingly recognizing that their words and phrases are an important pillar of an effective content strategy and already have the basics in place, many struggle to adopt a more sophisticated, efficient, and holistic approach. This is often due to a lack of interdepartmental collaboration combined with insufficient resources and technological solutions.”

Speaking about technological solutions, the environment where content creation takes place is of vital importance. It can make or break the review process.

That’s why you need a joint collaboration tool. Thus when the client changes words and phrases, the agency will immediately see the updates and work with the new terminology. And that all happens in one unified environment. So, no time would be wasted with unnecessary reviewing like in our proposal management example.

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What counts, in the end, is finding the solution that would be embraced by all team members, so it does not feel like it is imposed from above. One thing is sure: the time to improve your workflow is now!

 

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