I just completed a 3-week-long translation project that consisted of one 700-page long source file (63,000 words plus screen shots). In the process, I learned a few lessons on how to handle such mega-projects more efficiently. Here are my 12 steps for working on such projects:
- Read the text in its entirety (on screen to save trees) and note important/recurring terms in an Excel spreadsheet or Word table
- Research the terms you noted above and fill in the spreadsheet/table. This is your own glossary.
- Divide the source file into smaller files. When doing so, make both the table of contents and the index separate files.
- Import the glossary spreadsheet into your translation memory software and translate the table of contents and index. Add all terms in these two files to your glossary.
- Translate your first source file, revising your glossary terms, if necessary, and adding any new terms you encounter.
- Edit that translation before going on to the other files. This way you will have a solid basis for recurring text in the other files.
- Translate the other files, one by one. If you change your mind on a term, add it to a list of changes to make to previous files.
- After translating all files, edit the translations one by one. Make the term changes you noted above while you are editing.
- Now convert each of the translated files back to MS Word (or whichever format is used for the deliverable).
- Check that the formatting isn't too egregiously off in the Word documents and nothing is garbled.
- Combine the Word documents back into one large file, checking for missing/duplicate text at the points where the files are joined.
- Send the completed translation off. You may need to use a service, such as You SendIt or Dropbox, to transfer the file back to the client, if it's too large for e-mail.
One more thing I learned from this project: electrical engineering is actually quite interesting. Maybe I'll pick up an "Electrical Engineering 101" book one of these days ...