Work Less to Produce More
We're not kidding ... but it might not mean what you think.
We work less because we've organized our work in accordance with very precise procedures and we've automated all repetitive manual operations.
We produce more because we have more time to check quality and improve our service. We spend less time on administrative overhead and more time with our customers and translators.
Translator Selection and Training
We invest heavily in the continuous search for great translators. Each year we receive more than 6,000 translator applications and each one is put through our Selection Management process. Our online database now contains 15,685 screened native-language translation professionals - all of whom are readily available for translations.
Due to our good standing in the translation community more than 500 translators register online with us each month. Our Selection Management team uses custom, web-based software to sort and rank these applications based on the translators' qualifications and our own internal needs. At first pass, more than 60% of these applications are excluded due to some deficiency in skills. For example, non-native language translators are excluded immediately. We investigate the remaining applicants, checking their references, confirming their degrees, checking their ability to use CAT tools, testing their level of responsiveness by email and phone, and arranging a telephone interview with a native speaker in their language to confirm their language proficiency. During this process, another 30% are rejected as unsuitable. The remaining applicants are then given a difficult translation test in the language combinations for which they are applying. The translation is checked and scored by another native-language translator in seven categories: grammar, spelling, consistency, readability, terminology, translation errors and ability to adhere to format. Translators who pass this rigid test are then accepted into our translator pool and made available for future translations. Only 30 to 50 of the original 500 applicants are accepted each month.
We continue to check the quality of our translators even after they have been accepted: one out of every three jobs is scored by another native-language translator in the seven categories shown above. Translators who fall beneath the expected quality level are taken off active service.
Every translation job is managed by a Project Manager working in our main office in Hong Kong . The Project Manager is ultimately responsible for the customer's satisfaction with each translation request. He or she is the primary point of contact between JWC and the customer and, as such, is responsible for the timeliness and quality of all documents to be translated or edited within a project. Specific duties of the Project Manager are:
- Quality assurance
- Project planning and scheduling
- Selection of translators or editors
- Assignment of tasks
- Preparation of translation memories, terminology and reference material
- Management of terminology to ensure consistency
- Communications with customer
- Time management to ensure that all deadlines are met
- Delivery of translation on, or before, the deadline
- Incorporating customer feedback into future projects
For each job, the PMs use our proprietary Project Management system which scans the Human Resources database to create a list of the most appropriate translators for the job. The translators are presented in order or preference based on a complex algorithm including the Quality and Professionalism scores for that translator, the number of times that translator has worked for us, the number of times that translator has translated for the current customer, and other points in the translators' profiles.
The Project Management system ensures the timeliness of translations as it allows our project managers to quickly identify where extra attention is needed so they can focus on what is important and not lose time in administrative details.
Our performance goal is that the translation itself accounts for 90% of the turnaround time for each job - the customer waits only 10% longer than if they had translated it themselves. This is unparalleled in the world of translations, as can be seen from any online quote at any other internet-based translation service. We have spent time and money to ensure that our customers get as fast a turnaround as possible.
Translators Get Started
Once the PM chooses a translator, the job is put in "automatic" mode where the Project Management system automatically contacts the translators by SMS and email, sending a description of the job and an online Purchase Order. The translator accepts the job online by clicking on the "accept" button in the Purchase Order, and then downloads the files via a secure web link to the zipped files to be translated. Once translated, the files are uploaded again using the Purchase Order link, and the job is moved to the Revision phase. If the translator does not accept the job, the system chooses the second translator in the list, and so on. If a translator is not found in a certain preset time, the Project Manager takes manual control of the search. On average, jobs are being translated in about half an hour after the order is placed. Although all of this happens automatically, the Project Manager is constantly kept up-to-date of every change via color-coded indicators on the Project Manager's workbench panel - if there are problems, the PM intervenes immediately.
Order Tracking System
Our most popular online tool is our Order Tracking System. Using a username and password, you can view online a complete history of all orders you have ever placed, including the language combination, the order and delivery date, the word-count and the price, to name a few fields. You can sort columns and filter based on dates, languages, project names, etc. Furthermore, you can click on each translation job and view the invoice for that job. This has proven to be extremely useful for our customers' project managers and finance departments.
Delivery of Translated Documents
The translators upload their translations as ZIP files to our secure FTP site using a form inside the online Purchase Order we send them. Our mail server and FTP server (completely managed by us to ensure confidentiality and availability) are equipped with anti-virus software with weekly updates. Anti-virus scanning is important: more than 15% of the Word documents we receive from customers and translators contain Word macro viruses.
Our Quality Plan revolves around three points:
- guaranteeing the quality of every translation,
- improving the quality of future translations based on translator evaluations, and
- modification of company's underlying processes based on quality assessments.
To guarantee translation quality, every "publication quality" translation is evaluated and revised by a second native-language translator who looks for misinterpretations, terminology errors, grammar, spelling, consistency, readability, sentence structure and format.
Besides improving each translation, these revisions help us with our second quality goal - improved quality of future translations. Each evaluation results in a numerical Quality score for the original translator in which the translator's work is rated in seven categories named above. This numerical score is fed back into the translator's profile within the Human Resources system for future ranking. Similarly, both the original translator and the reviewer are given a numerical Professionalism scores by the Project Manager for the each job. These scores are also entered into the Human Resources system, and used to rank translators for the next job.
These scores are critical to our long-term quality development because they are used by the Project Management system when it determines a list of translators for each job. Translators who have received high scores are more likely to be chosen and further evaluated. Those with low scores, however, appear lower in the list and will be chosen less frequently. Over time, given the large volume of translation we do, the system separates the high-quality translators from the low-quality translators, and the latter are gradually phased out of the system.
This process is enhanced by a constant influx of new CVs, roughly 500 new applications each month (of which less than 10% are accepted).
Our third quality goal, modification of company processes based on quality assessments, is a long-term process overseen by our Management Team We use incremental measurements of quality and customer feedback to determine where our processes need bolstering, then map out the short-term six-month process roadmap and the long-term five-year strategic roadmap. Based on these roadmaps, changes are made to the organization of the company, to the processes by which the company does business, and to the software tools that underlie these processes. These roadmaps are updated every six months.
The Project Managers handle delivery of translated documents to the customers in any format, either by email, upload or, when required, by snail mail. The Project Managers also handle the updating of project status, customer invoicing and all types of customer assistance, generally acting as the link between the customers and Translated for the entire production and post-production phases.