Case Study: Successful Legal Translation Project
September 14, 2022
- Service: Translation, Editing & Proofreading
- Language pair: Chinese to English
- Subject matter: Legal
- Volume: 75,000 words
- Turnaround time: One week
A client was seeking translation services from Chinese to English for documents to be used in a litigation proceeding in the US. The project, which contained 75,000 words in total, came in multiple files, and there was just one week to complete the translation.
One of the biggest challenges of the project is the amount of time we were given to complete the job. The turnaround time of this large-volume translation assignment was a short window of one week, particularly considering that it involved a number of legal documents to be used in a US court case which inevitably contains terminologies and requires specialised knowledge of the US laws.
While multiple linguists were needed in order to get the job done within the time limit, it gave rise to another challenge of ensuring the consistency across different parts of the file or between different files as legal translation is all about accuracy and precision. Organising such a large project team for the job complicated the work of the project management team who had to coordinate with different translators, in addition to managing the entire translation workflow.
Believing that an hour of planning can save 10 hours of doing, we recognise the importance of planning ahead before starting. The project management team, upon receiving the files from the client, analysed the source texts and categorised relevant files into several bundles to be distributed to different translators, such as grouping those concerning the same matter or with similar contents together, which could ensure consistency since they were to be done by the same translator. The team then created a style guide which specified how certain words or phrases should be presented throughout the translation, for example whether all the characters or only the first letter of surnames should be capitalised. This is a vital step to save time amending inconsistencies in the editing and proofreading stages.
After setting up, the files were assigned to the translators who were well acquainted with the US legal system and had experience in legal translation so as to guarantee properly nuanced translations. Considering the tight schedule, the translation team consisted of linguists from different time zones, which was a strategy to make best use of the 24 hours of each day. As one linguist concluded the day, another’s day began. Along with the translation work, glossary lists were built by linguists and were handed over to the editor after the translation was done for style and consistency check. To ensure high quality and alignment with local situations in the US, an editor who was born and raised in US was assigned to polish the work.
We were able to successfully manage the translation team comprising linguists from various time zones and deliver quality translation within a short span of one week. The client was glad to receive translations back in such a short period of time with high quality.