The Translation Centre trains students on translation workflow management

Managing translation workflows is becoming an increasingly complex task. To such an extent that the universities teaching translation, such as those participating in the European Master’s in Translation (EMT) system, are teaching their students how to manage workflows from A to Z. The Translation Centre (CdT) has collaborated with the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium to share best practices in this field with the students.

In the framework of this collaboration, a group of Postgraduate, Master’s and BA students following the course on specialised translation at KU Leuven had the opportunity to work on real-life translation requests handled by the Centre.

The complexity of the projects in terms of format of the files to be translated, language combinations, deadlines and tools to be used made it an interesting business case for the university. Under the guidance of the Centre’s Translation Support Workflow Administrator and the university’s professor in charge of the postgraduate course, students were asked to organise the jobs among themselves and get them done by the requested deadlines.

Students were split into several groups, and each person was responsible for one or more roles in the workflow: project managers, translators and revisers.

On the basis of the source material provided by the Centre, the project managers split the jobs according to the resources available at their end, prepared projects with the aid of various CAT tools, used machine translation and made sure to post-edit their work.

The project preparation was a huge challenge. Students had to consider the format of the files to be translated, the specific instructions given by the Centre and the deadlines to be respected. During this phase, the Centre was systematically consulted as if it were dealing with a real language service provider and provided answers accordingly.

Students provided translations from English into Dutch, German, Greek, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian and Turkish, and also from Russian into English.

In all cases, the texts to be translated were in specialised domains such as “job specialised skills and competences”, “railway” and “banking”.

Once the translations had been delivered to the Centre, the project management and translations were evaluated by the Centre’s staff.

This exercise proved to be very inspirational for both parties. The Centre could appreciate the specialised skills of students who had not yet entered the real world of work, while the students had the opportunity to become familiar with real-life requests and have first-hand experience of the challenges of the world of translation.