Translation Workflow

If you have worked with translation agencies in the past few years, or if you follow trends in translation, you’ll be familiar with the phrase “translation workflow.” Almost every large translation agency has a page on its website dedicated to mapping the life cycle of a document “from initial linguistic analysis to final DTP.” Often the actual act of translating is only mentioned in passing, one step out of a dozen or so—for instance, “Step 6: Translation completed and returned to project manager.”

Missing from most agency workflow pages is the acknowledgment that translators have their own multistep process and that, even in the best of circumstances, they must make quite a few independent decisions. (Does a translator exist who has never been told, “Use your best judgment”?)

This lack of detail about the act of translation itself prompted me to create my own translation workflow—I wanted to show my direct clients and agency clients alike the time and effort I invest in their projects. At first I was satisfied with charting my “ideal workflow” in a blog post: But then I wondered—as I often wonder about the complicated processes illustrated on agency websites—was this just an ideal or could I identify each step in my workflow as I was translating?

. . .

Read or download the whole article at PG-Workflow_20140921_FNL-PIX.

This article originally appeared in Translation Journal and can be accessed (without the figures) at

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