- This schedule has been created using Microsoft Excel®.
- The productivity averages for each task (Metrics column) are based on values generally used by translation companies for measuring the time needed for the translation process of technical documents.
- To make it easier, the corresponding MS Excel file is available for download.
1. Calculation of the number of working days needed
- Assuming that the title "SCHEDULE RELATED TO THE PROJECT Mch35TR4" is inserted in cell A1, the result appearing in cell F7, in the Number of days needed column, corresponds to the formula "=D7/B7".
- You can then copy this formula into the other cells of column F (or simply drag down the handle appearing in the bottom right corner of cell F7 when selecting the later).
- We assumed 8 hours of work per day, and 5 days of work per week.
- Since DTP ("Desktop Publishing") productivity is usually measured per hour, the result obtained using the formula above should be divided by 8. The result appearing in cell F10 therefore corresponds to the formula "=D10/B10/8".
- You can use half-days in your final schedule, but in this particular case, we chose to plan only whole days of work. By rounding up the number of days, we can provide safety margins within the schedule. Column G shows the final number of working days .
2. Allocation in accordance with available resources
- The next step is to determine the number of human resources that can be assigned to each task, in order to reduce the time needed to complete the project. The decisions made will be based on several factors (such as delivery constraints from the client), but at the end, the most important will be to remain "logical". Indeed, most of the time, choosing too many translators, for example, will cause inconsistency problems throughout the translated text. Considering the size of this project, we could hire between 2 and 7 translators. Calculations in our proposal are based on a team of 4 translators.
- Moreover, in order to guarantee consistency as much as possible within the final target text, the best approach is to limit the number of people involved in the revision and linguistic QA tasks.
- The result appearing in cell D16 in the Planned turnaround time in days column corresponds to the formula "=A16/B16". You can then copy this formula into the 3 other cells of this column.
3. Analysis of any possible task overlapping
- In order to reduce the total duration of the project and to allow people involved in revision and linguistic QA tasks to send their feedback as soon as possible to the rest of the linguistic team, some tasks may overlap. For example, the revision work can start even if the whole translation is not finished yet. Indeed, instead of starting on the 14th day of the project, revisers could start on the 8th day to gain time (D8).
(The revision could obviously start any other day - the key point is to make sure that the amount of translated words sent to the revisers is enough to keep them busy. Indeed, a reviser can process far more words per day than a translator. It might then be rather difficult in this specific case to send enough translated words to the revisers from the first day in the evening.)
- The linguistic QA can also be launched while the revision stage is still running (D12).
4. Additional tasks
- Your schedule can also include all tasks related to the completion of the final files, such as the initial file preparation (in this case Adobe FrameMaker® files), the quality assurance stage linked to the target layout (DTP QA) or even the last linguistic check of the final files by a reviser (LSO or "Linguistic Sign-Off").
- Moreover, adding extra tasks in your schedule such as "Delivery = 1 day" will raise your safety margin. Additional half-days added here and there also mean you will have more time overall.
5. Adjustment to possible start dates
- We have thus come up with a schedule of 31 days of work.
- Do not forget to take the week-ends into account. You will need a total time of one month and a half to deliver this job following our proposal.
6. Graphic representation
- The graphic representation gives you a clear overview of the schedule.
- If the client requires the final files earlier, you could probably adapt the overlapping of some tasks. For instance, for such an amount of pages, the DTP work could be divided according to sections or chapters. This stage could therefore begin as soon as the linguistic QA of the first chapters or sections is completed.
- Moreover, you could also plan to start the revision and the linguistic QA stages earlier than in our first solution.
- In some cases, when the timing is really tight, LSO and DTP QA could be carried out in parallel. The person in charge of inserting the corrections in the DTPed files will therefore take into account both types of corrections.
- In the second possible planning displayed, time-saving for the whole project corresponds to about one week and a half. This leaves less time to solve possible issues but in order to keep your safety net, you can still decide to slightly increase the number of translators. However, whenever possible, for any project similar to this one, I would advise to hire 7 translators maximum.
- Depending on the day you actually start, do not forget that you may have to take into account potential holidays.
You can come up with a lot of different proposals for this project schedule. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Detailed explanations, as well as more examples on quotations, schedules and other topics linked to the management of translation projects are also available in the book "How to manage your translation projects".