Translation risk management and ABC Translations

Defining translation risk management at ABC

The law of increasing standardization and the law of interference, states that the tendency to standardize and the tendency to channel interference are both risk aversion strategies employed by translators. Accordingly, there are two general ways of dealing with risks in the acts of translation: either to say what seems to be normal or safe, which is standardization, or to say what someone else can be responsible for, which is interference.

At ABC Translations we recognize that translators usually tend to avert or transfer risks, unless there is a reward for doing otherwise. If translators are going to be rewarded (financially, symbolically or socially) for taking risks, then they are likely to take risks, rather than transfer them. In a vast number of cases, however, the translators’ activity is not subject to any reward structure that can justify a risk-taking disposition. We can name the following risks as the risks involved in translation action: credibility risk which concerns the relations between translators, their clients and end-users, uncertainty risk which has to do with translator’s uncertainty when making translational decisions and finally communicative risk which concerns those risks related to interpreting and using texts. To elaborate on risk mitigation in translators’ decisions which as they state we can limn situations where the translator accepts one kind of risk but attempts in some way to protect against the possible negative consequences of that risk by incurring a second risk, without actually removing the initial risk. From this perspective we are mainly concerned with risks in the actual act of translation, rather than the risks involved in the translation industry.

Historically ABC Translations classifies the localization project management cycle into six phases, namely the statement of work (SOW) formulation phase, the project approval phase, the project initiation phase, the project execution phase, the project control phase and finally, the project closure phase. He further shows how risk management can be incorporated into the cycle. Risk management planning takes place during the project initiation phase and is kept active during the other phases of the localization project cycle. Risk management in localization projects includes risk identification, qualitative risk analysis, risk response planning and risk monitoring and control. Risk identification involves determining which uncertainties, assumptions or constraints may have an effect on a localization project. We can further define qualitative risk analysis as the act of categorizing the risks, assigning a probability and impact to each risk, and finally, prioritizes all risks. The other task in risk management, like risk response planning, employs a number of different techniques to reduce risk on localization projects and, finally, risk monitoring and control involves monitoring the other tasks in risk management.

We can also classify the risks in translation practice and translation industry into five major risks, namely market risks, financial risks, project risks, production process risks, and product risks. Market risks are loosely defined as risks in the market which can positively or negatively affect translation practice and the industry itself. Market fluctuations and competition by rivals are named as two examples of market risks. Financial risks are risks which can affect the profitability of translation activity or translation companies in a positive or negative way. For example, the current ups and downs in foreign exchange rates which may cause freelance translators and translation companies to revise the foreign currencies they accept either to benefit from what may appear to them as opportunity or prevent loss.

Another type of risk involved in translation practice and translation industry is project risk. Project risk refers to the risks each new project brings with it which can affect the profitability of the translation activity, the company, the production process and the final product of translation activity in a positive or negative way. Project risks can include risks regarding the clients’ reliability, or the software needed for the project as well as the risks related to the deadline of the project. Production process risks further have been defined as risks which role players constantly face during the process of translation and product risks as the risks which can positively or negatively affect the success of the final product of the translation process

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