If the subject matter itself was not enough to cause sleepless nights, the job of translating annual reports is complicated by one other fact of life: The texts arrive in waves. Parts of the management reports will turn up early. But the figures-packed sections like the balance sheet, the income statement and the notes to the financial statement will frequently turn up just before the print deadline. For this reason, the process that extends from the initial contact to the finished annual report should be well-organized. “The biggest problem we face is the lack of time we have to do the translations,” Schulz said. “If the annual report is supposed to be released in March, we should ideally have everything translated and edited by mid-February.” Faced with such tight deadlines, translators must be brought on board at an early stage. “During the peak period of January to March, five account managers and 15 highly specialized translators and editors will be involved solely with the job of translating and editing annual reports.” The account managers will coordinate the multi-step process in the background, and the customers will always have a central contact partner to whom they can turn throughout the process.
For Jessica Schulz and her colleague Robert Röder, another account manager for financial communications at Leinhäuser, time is the toughest challenge they face. Röder says: “Ideally, we will start planning the translation of an annual report six months before its release date. We will hear from many customers as early as August.” With this information in hand, the account managers begin the job of assembling their teams, estimating timeframes and coordinating schedules with customers. This leaves room for joint discussions about which text or step should be eventually given a higher priority to prevent bottlenecks from developing down the road. This will also create the time needed to ensure the total accuracy of the translation.