Selecting, maintaining and managing the appropriate network of external partners is key to any company delivering Multilingual Translation Projects. With teams based all over the world (freelance linguists live in the country of their native language, the language they translate into), the Vendor Management process is particularly important, both as a support to internal teams and as a valuable asset for our customers: this is the root of the Translation Projects we ultimately deliver and a guarantee that the best QCD (Quality-Cost-Deadlines) balance is reached.

The Vendor Management selection process consists of three major steps involving several actions. The overall process may take weeks to accomplish, depending on availabilities, needs, and the rarity of a language. Furthermore, the whole process is tightly linked to the permanent PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Quality Assurance cycle, the fourth step in this lengthy process.

  • Step 1: Pre-Selection phase

This step consists in proactively analyzing the need for new linguists to cover all internal Translation Projects, making the necessary contacts by getting back to unsolicited applications or searching professional databases and collecting initial information about potential candidates. All this leads to the building of a pre-selection database, used as our internal multilingual resource pool.

  • Step 2: Selection phase

This starts by shortlisting translators who represent a strategic interest for us (specific domain of expertise, specific language pairs, competitive prices…) and meet our primary selection criteria to work on our Translation Projects (languages, technical skills, experience, tools and prices). References and administrative data (personal details, rates and domains of expertise) are checked, a Confidentiality and Service Level Agreement are signed, after which translators are invited to take our standard translation selection test.

The selection test is performed in conditions close to an actual Translation Project. It also allows for a basic check of the computer and localization « literacy » (mastering CAT tools), and the capacity to act as a team player (following provided instructions). Generally 1 in 3 tests are rated with a Pass. Results are shared with translators, be it a Pass or a Fail.

  • Step 3: Post-Selection phase

Successful candidates with associated language pairs and domains of expertise are announced to Project Managers for real assignments. After the first few projects, deliveries are analyzed with the same level of expectation as the initial test. The trial period spans over five relevant Translation Projects and the « approved status » will be conferred only upon successful completion of this phase.

For specific customer accounts with complex content, a second selection test is required to ensure that style and technical skills are appropriate. Training on customer content and processes may be involved at this point. And similarly, deliveries are monitored closely.

This post-selection phase allows the assessment of the working relationship in addition to on-going quality of delivered work.

  • Step 4: On-going evaluation of fully approved translators

Once translators have gained the « approved status », they are subject to continuous assessment on Translation Projects they worked on. All along the working relationship with our vendors, no matter how long they have been in activity and the history they have with us, evaluations of their work are performed regularly.

In addition to continuous assessments, poor results on any translation consistency checks performed after each Translation Project by WhP or poor linguistic quality feedback from customers triggers an exceptional evaluation.

Data collected from the vendor performance tracking and evaluation process are kept in the same database as information gathered during the vendor selection process. Statistic processing of this data allows constant monitoring of the translators performance.