“One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.”
― Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
This brilliant book reminded me recently of the dire need for this simple device when working with clients. Especially when we consider the task complexity in biomedical translation. Often, the client and I are sitting in different time zones, even with an ocean between us. Getting all the right information at the outset is essential to meeting deadlines and delivering the final product. When you start a translation inquiry, here are some things we'll cover in the initial contact before you receive a cost and delivery estimate (and, yes, I have this physical checklist on my desk).
- Source-to-target language direction (from what into what)?
- Target audience (regulatory authorities, patients)?
- Level of service (a first draft translation for starting an internal review process or front-to-end publishing support)?
- Existing established terminology?
- Existing house style guide?
- Is the document static or undergoing revisions?
- Original and deliverable file formats?
- Access to subject matter expert if questions arise?
- Certification and/or notarized signature required?
- Your deadline for delivery?
- Your timezone and full contact info (e-mail and phone number)?