How does your law firm get translations done? If you do some or all of it in-house, you may run your own translation team; rely on the language skills of lawyers, knowledge managers and other colleagues; or use a combination of the two.
Given the ever-present need to work as efficiently as possible in order to meet delivery deadlines, we’ve seen a number of ways in which law firms try to speed up their in-house translation process. Here are a few of the things they’ve learned along the way:
Be wary of manually reusing content
Translators may look to reuse content from previous translations by copying and pasting chunks of text. It’s an exceedingly common practice — but one that’s fraught with danger. Just as with drafting precedents, starting with existing documents risks missing subtle differences between cases — and horror stories abound of the consequences of these errors (including houses being sold to the wrong person). The end result: most of the time saved reusing content could well be spent fixing errors (either those caught internally or spotted by your client).
Many hands make light work?
Another option is to split a document into sections for several colleagues to work on concurrently. This may be faster and may reduce the chance of errors when compared to reusing old documents, but it raises concerns around consistency between different translators. It also means great care must be taken when the translated document is stitched back together at the end of the process.
Free tools come with a cost
It may be tempting to turn to free online translation tools like Google Translate to make the work go faster, especially for small jobs like birth certificates or even tweets. But law firms are generally against the idea — and understandably so. For starters, free tools aren’t designed to translate complex legal terminology, or to render legal concepts from one jurisdiction to another — so there’s no guarantee of quality or accuracy. Reviewing and amending the translated output could therefore take more time than doing the work from scratch. Besides that, using such tools could put confidential or valuable information at risk.
The right technology is a lifesaver
One reason many law firms struggle to get translations done quickly, accurately and consistently is that they’re doing the work using standard office productivity apps. But as these apps aren’t designed with translators’ needs in mind, they don’t include the features needed to make translation an efficient process.
That’s why you’ll find that firms who are translating in-house successfully are often using computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.
CAT tools are designed to help translators work faster and smarter. Using technology developed specifically to support translation work, it can:
- Raise quality and consistency, and accelerate handling of repetitive content, with translation memories and terminology databases that simplify reuse of previously approved content
- Increase translators’ productivity with features to increase the speed of translation while safeguarding against mistakes
- Turn lengthy documents round faster by making it easy for several people to collaborate on the same translation
Balance speed, quality and cost
At the end of it all, the translation challenge comes down to three variables: cost, quality, and speed. Just as with the outsourcing model, translating in-house brings unique challenges to maintaining the balance between these three variables.
CAT tools can help law firms tip the scales in their favor, by giving them a way to improve speed without compromising on quality.
Ready to find out more?
To find out more about how CAT technology can help your firm produce accurate, consistent translations more efficiently in-house, visit our website.