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If and when you can get someone to respond to you, ask them for feedback
on the file format you are providing. I've found people will sit on docs
for months and never bother to e-mail back to let me know they don't
know how to use the Comments feature in Acrobat. Or don't know how to
download Acrobat Reader. Or the file is too big for them to work on
remotely when they're on the road (I break it into smaller files). If
necessary--I hate to do this but I will--I'll convert an entire manual
to rtf and let the reviewer work in Word. Whatever it takes. But you
won't know unless they tell you, and they won't tell you unless you ask.
From: Hughes, Linda
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:57 AM
To: 'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'
Subject: Re: Translation Reviewers
If you can answer that question, I'll send you a hundred bucks. Make
that a thousand. No, seriously.
OK, more seriously: I've been a TW/translation coordinator for 8 years.
I do this stuff many times in a year and have still never found the
perfect solution. But-->I do have a few suggestions.
1. Get a hammer. Meaning, use the upper management of your company to
hammer the unresponsive reviewers into completing their job. It often
means having your boss call their boss. This is especially effective if
your can somehow get the sales division involved. As soon as you say,
"We can't sell this product until X person finished the review." No
sales, no money, delays mean loss of market share. That will definitely
2. Have the translation house quote on a paid reviewer process as a
backup. If you know beforehand what that will cost, it gives you
options. I can tell my boss: "Someone's been sitting on this manual for
2 months and I'm getting the runaround. I can solve the problem with
$2,200, if you'll sign the purchase order right now." Your translation
house will typically charge a one-time search fee for finding a
qualified reviewer in a particular language; you will review a number of
suitable resumes and choose one. Depending on your corporate structure,
the overseas division might even be willing to absorb the review cost in
order to get the job done. Again, best to have the cost information
3. Set a drop-dead date. Depending on what industry you are in, and the
regulatory implications, you can tell the reviewers: you have 30 days to
do this review. Your silence after that point will be construed as
acceptance and the document will be published as-is. If anyone
squawks--and they will, even if they're the person who never got the
review done in the first place--it's helpful to remind them that docs
aren't carved in stone. If it's possible, accept their review edits
after the doc is published, and promise to roll the changes into the
next revision. I file work tickets with myself.
You mentioned not wanting to upset the reviewer. This is a valid
concern, but only up to a point. I'd say 6 months is way past that
point. The only solution I've found is upper management participation,
and networking with other employees overseas. For example, I might
e-mail a salesperson in Europe. I know they know the company structure
over there better than I do, and what our arrangements might be with a
particular distributor. Often it happens that the same people yelling
for the incomplete docs are the ones sitting on them! A few names get
mentioned, a few more calls are made. Call it a padded hammer.
Hope that helps,
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