What is translation productivity?

Translation productivity is a term used to measure efficiency throughout the localization process. While it is most often used in relation to translators, the term can be used to assess the productivity of every stakeholder involved, including translators, reviewers, content requesters, subject-matter experts (SMEs), product managers and terminologists.

A stakeholder’s output is highly influenced by their localization processes; the more efficient the process, the quicker a translation project can be completed. However, it can be difficult to devise efficient processes and maintain a high level of productivity without the right translation tools in place. For maximum efficiency, specialized tools should be used that have been designed specifically to handle the tasks at hand.

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More about translation productivity

Higher levels of translation productivity result in:

  • Faster project turnaround times
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased revenue and profitability
  • Better work-life balance

Many things can affect productivity, from where you are working to what tools you are using. Distractions, no matter how big or small, can impact output – understanding what they are and how they can be minimized are key to success. Key things to consider are:
  • Where have you based yourself? Are you more efficient at home or in the office?
  • Is your work environment set up in the right way? Are you using the right equipment?
  • Are you using the right software and tools to get the job done efficiently and to a high standard? Do you know how to use these tools? Can you customize them to suit your working style?
  • Have you set yourself goals to measure your output? Can you capture data to monitor your productivity?
  • Are you managing your time effectively? Are you taking enough breaks to recharge?
With these points addressed, you can devise an effective translation process and hopefully increase your translation productivity.

Every role within the localization process calls for a different measurement of productivity – as their responsibilities differ it’s impossible to compare them on the same scales. A translator’s productivity, for example, is often measured by the number of words they can translate per day. A project manager, however, cannot be measured in the same way as they do not translate; instead, they are likely to be measured based on project turnaround time or cost savings.

As well as identifying appropriate productivity metrics for each role, it’s also important to ensure data collection systems are in place to effectively report findings. This data can then be used to help identify process improvements and track employee performance.

A tool can be classed as specialized when it has been designed specifically for a certain persona, incorporating all the features and functionality required to do their job. Examples of specialized tools in the localization industry include:

With specialized tools you can:
  • Improve localization processes: With features and functionality designed specifically for your needs, processes will be easy to set and control. With everyone working in the same way, consistency will improve, and output quality can be maintained.
  • Eliminate time-consuming manual tasks: Minimize administrative tasks and automate steps to give stakeholders time back to focus on what matters most.
  • Reduce time to market: Efficient processes lead to increased project turnaround times and decreased translation costs, ultimately improving customer satisfaction.
  • Track employee performance: Easily monitor employee productivity based on pre-determined metrics. Data can be used to identify process improvements and facilitate employee progression.