Planning and Managing Translation Projects
The following lessons are learned from working on the CMMI-SVC Arabic Translation project, and are recommended to be taken in consideration while working on translation projects of similar nature:
Estimation of the translation effort should be done based on actual assignments to be used as measured basis of estimation. Despite that the team has committed to the estimated durations as discussed in the project kick-off meeting, it turned out that we over estimated our dedication and availability, or under estimated the work to be done. The root cause of this is that the team members are not used to translation work frequently, and it was the first time for them to work on a full translation project; which made them also experience slow typing speed in the Arabic language and lack of language skills. Such an exercise upfront would also help in properly selecting qualified team members.
Since the project team consisted of subject matter experts, who are professional engineers, not translators, we all used the common office software tools (e.g. MS Word), not any translation specific tools. This resulted in some problems in portability of the delivered files and consistency of formatting, because of use of different version of the software, which are not fully backward compatible for the Arabic text. At the end, complete reformatting of some of the delivered work was necessary during the final consolidation of the translated document.