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Written by Steven Bussey
on March 02, 2022

Accurate and culturally appropriate localization demands skill in both the source and target languages and knowledge of the client industry. Professionals can easily maintain their focus on all these aspects when working on short pieces for a short period. But what happens when you have to deal with large-scale content production created by departments spread throughout the world?

To help ensure consistent high-quality translation over sustained periods, Andovar promotes the following 10 key assets and technologies.

 
Table of Contents 

  1. Talent Recruiting
  2. Client Brief
  3. Style Guide
  4. Reference Materials
  5. Termbase
  6. Translation Memory
  7. Translation Management System
  8. Quality Assurance
  9. Computer-Aided Translation Tools
  10. Workflow

 

1. Talent Recruiting

The secret to successful localization begins with the professionals that we hire. We look at several factors when recruiting our team members, including the following:

  • Native fluency in the target language. Such high skill makes for translations that are accurate, culturally sensitive, dialect-appropriate, and relevant to the target customers. For the best results, we prefer professionals who hail from the province or state of your audience.
  • Near-native fluency in the source language for maximum comprehension of your project specifics.
  • Expertise in the client industry for correct and consistent translations of technical terms and ideas unique to your business.

Only about 5 percent of the translators that we look at have the needed proficiencies to work with our clients. However, before they work on your projects, they must go through rigorous onboarding to learn the techniques and tools that we use. We also teach them how to maintain the customer service that puts your needs first.

Over 15 years of effort have created a translation team of over 10,000 professionals who handle over 200 language pairs in a range of specialist industries. Backing our headquarters in Singapore are offices in Thailand, India, Colombia, Hungary, and the US. We can handle your localization projects from almost every corner of the globe.


2. Client Brief

Before we look at your source and translate one word, we sit down with you to create a client brief. This project plan solidifies your expectations with the following specs:

  • Goals. Why do you have this project? Answering that question helps to define almost everything else for the plan. Do you want to inform, educate, entertain, sell a product or service, or encourage visits to a website? Localizing a video for entertainment might require different slang for different dialects. Translating a business proposal for information would demand more formal language devoid of colloquial terms.
  • Audience. Who is your target audience? Their age, gender, education, family situation, and work background? Where do they live and what is their language proficiency? An audience of English-speakers in the USA uses words like “sweater,” “lift,” and “apartment,” and wants measurements in feet and miles. In England, the terms become “jumper,” “lift,” and “flat” with measurements in meters and kilometers.
  • Schedule. With the goals and the audience defined, we can now determine a schedule based on when you want it and the productivity of our translations. We want to create realistic deadlines and due dates that take all factors into discount and minimize delay. The use of the assets and technologies described later helps to increase efficiency and reduce effort.
  • Budget. If we had all the time and money and the world, we could produce the perfect project. However, real-world budgets often come from balancing time, money, and quality. Which is the priority? Are you willing to spend more for shorter deadlines and better quality? Or do you prefer to spend less for a longer timeline and less-than-perfect results?


3. Style Guide

A style guide defines the look and feel of a project. It can include descriptions for the following:

  • Spelling conventions, such as “favour” vs “favor.”
  • Units of measurement, such as centimeters vs inches.
  • Acceptable tone, such as the formal “could have” or informal “could’ve.”
  • Acceptable slang, colloquialisms, and dialect-specific words, such “ain’t” or “gonna.”
  • Client-specific uses, such as “hard disk” vs “HDD.”
  • Words that shouldn’t be translated, such as “agent provocateur,” “Cosa Nostra,” or “ad hoc.”
  • Formatting, such as whether to use commas before the word “and” in a list.
  • Hyphenation, such as “push-up” vs “pushup.”

While style guides normally confine themselves to translated writing, they can also cover the speech, such as how to pronounce certain words, and images, such as what colors to use in specific situations.

A style guide ensures consistency across the entire project and helps present a coherent message from your brand. This document is critical when several translators are working on different components, such as help text, marketing brochures, and multimedia presentations.


4. Reference Materials

Reference materials can ease the workload while ensuring higher quality, especially when the project involves a big effort, such as a 400-page operations manual or a full-length movie. Such materials consist of anything that translators can look at to verify that their efforts are correct. Common examples include the following:

  • Style guides.
  • Dictionaries, thesauruses, and other dictionaries in both the source and target languages to clarify the basic meanings of words.
  • Glossaries of terms that you’ve used for your materials. Such terms can include product names, and trademarks. These word collections can come from your technical writers, marketing department, or software development team. If your terms have already been translated into the target language, they become more useful.
  • Previous translations of similar materials. If you’ve produced documents or other media in the target language, they give our translators an excellent idea of how you would prefer to approach localization.
  • Source files and screenshots. The translators that we assign to software projects are technical specialists who can understand such files.

These references can prove useful when we develop a termbase and translation memory for your project.


5. Termbase

A termbase is a collection of words and phrases, with information on how to use them. It may be part of a style guide or stand alone. It may consist of a simple list of terms, but for localization, may include the following categories:

  • Term in the source and target languages.
  • Definition in the source language.
  • Examples of use in the source and target languages.
  • Grammatical information, such as part of speech or conjugation.
  • Subject domain, such as whether the term is used in engineering or medicine.
  • Metadata such as who updated the term and links to its use in previous projects.

The actual categories can be limitless and vary by project. Termbases can be monolingual, especially when starting out, but should evolve into being bilingual with one source and target language, or multilingual, with numerous target languages.

Among their many benefits, a termbase helps with consistency and readability, preventing readers from being confused because different target translations are used for the same source word. It reduces work from copy editors, which saves money and time. It also improves productivity because translators aren’t hunting through multiple sources for the correct terms.

To provide a linguistic foundation, we create a termbase before the actual translation begins. This allows sufficient time for consensus among the translators, subject matter experts, editors, reviewers, and clients. As the project proceeds, we can update the termbase as needed.


6. Translation Memory

Translation memory (TM) is similar to a termbase in having a term in the source and target languages. However, it consists only of such aligned pairs, which are called segments, which were translated previously.

  • When the technology discovers a matching segment in a project, it uses the aligned pair automatically.
  • If the segment is only partially similar, the technology identifies it as a fuzzy match. Depending on the degree of fuzziness, a human translator may need to step in to either approve the match or clarify it with a new translation.
TM offers the following benefits:
  • Reduces unneeded typing while ensuring consistency for texts that are repeated. While many localization projects are unique, some have many repeated segments, such technical manuals, software help files, and game text.
  • Increases consistency because the same translation is used over and over again. Users know exactly what the translations mean.
  • Produces quicker turnaround times with instant translations, which eases the manual work.


7. Translation Management System

A Translation Management System (TMS), also known as Translation Project Management System, is software that helps handle translation projects, especially when dealing with large volumes of work.

  • On the administrative side, it manages workflow by automating processes and organizing documents. It also produces an overview of the work that’s been done, the cost of the effort so far, and how these figures compare with earlier estimates. It eliminates separate reporting applications, such as spreadsheets and email notices.
  • On the technical side, it streamlines translations by integrating the termbase to ensure consistency and translation memory and machine translation software to automate the localization of segments. It can also include an Application Program Interface (API) and CMS connectors to enable integration with a range of web and content repositories.

Relying on a TMS offers several advantages.

  • Versatility. A TMS integrates applications that are commonly used in a company, such as Adobe Experience Manager, GitHub, Google Drive, Sketch, and Zen Desk. It also works with all types of projects: documentation, marketing content, applications & software, e-commerce websites, games, video, and audio.
  • Scalability. It easily scales to higher volumes easier by eliminating much of the manual labor involved in translation. It can quickly accommodate an increasing number of language pairs. Human involvement remains the same because much of the process is automated.
  • Streamlined Collaboration. A big localization project often involves teams working in various locations and on smaller pieces. The TMS acts as a central location where team members can share documents, updates, questions, and notifications. Everyone gets full project transparency.
  • Evolution. Translation management systems are continually evolving to improve localization. Artificial intelligence (AI) and neural machine translation (NMT) are just some current advances.


8. Quality Assurance

Through constant monitoring and evaluation of results, quality assurance (QA) ensures that the finished project meets or exceeds your expectations. At Andovar, we rely on Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) to measure quality. MQM considers the following dimensions, which change to match your project.

  • Fluency determines whether the source and target texts are understandable. The font used for the target may incorrectly drop the ligatures of Arabic, making the text incomprehensible.
  • Accuracy looks at whether the target accurately reflects the source. The target may incorrectly add words that are nowhere in the source.
  • Design ensures that the source and text have correct formats and pleasing layouts. The spacing between lines may be too narrow to show the diacritical marks of Vietnamese.
  • Terminology determines whether the correct translation is used based on the subject and specifications that describe the project. The word “dog” would translate to German as Hund for a pet brochure or Schnarre for a music article about drums.
  • Style checks that the tone of the source and target match the subject and audience, such as when an informal style does not match a serious business presentation?
  • Locale Conventions examine whether the source and its translation follow the conventions of their intended locations, such as the use of miles and kilometers to measure distance.
  • Verity determines if the source and target are factually correct, such as when a marketing brochure incorrectly describes a feature that does not exist in a vacuum cleaner.
  • Internationalization finds issues in the source that may cause problems during localization, such as when US postal codes do not follow the Zip+Four format.
To supplement our human efforts, Andovar depends on an automated system called ContentQuo. This technology minimizes manual effort, provides instant insight, and offers more feedback to team members.



9. Computer-Aided Translation Tools

Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools are applications that help translators localize faster, more accurately, and more consistently. The different pieces of software integrate from the cloud to encourage a single environment that team members across borders can share.

Standard CAT tools include termbases, translation memories, translation management systems, QA systems, and the following:

  • Search engines locate words or phrases and their contexts in the translation memory, termbases, glossaries, and other reference materials.
  • Spell checkers catch and correct errors in spelling. But they may also reveal issues with grammar and style.
  • Conversions transfer between source and target file formats, such as TMX, TBX, or XLIFF.
  • Alignment matchers discover matches between the source and target, which then go into the translation memory.
  • Interactive machine translators instantly translate between the source and target. The professional can either accept or reject the result.
  • Word processors or editing software allow for easier writing and editing while incorporating many of the previously described tools.


10. Workflow

These assets and technologies come together into a multi-step workflow customized to your needs. Here is one example from Memsource.

  1. Prepare assets. The team makes text, audio, video, and other components suitable for translation. This step can include designing the look and feel of the product, leaving extra space in the user interface for longer foreign text, and extracting all translatable text from code into separate files.
  2. Set up the localization environment. The project leader sets up the localization tools, such as the Translation Management System, termbase, and translation memory.
  3. Localize content. With the help of the previously described assets and technologies, professional translators convert the words and sentences from the source language to the target language.
  4. Revise content. Subject-matter experts look at the content to ensure technical accuracy and cultural relevance. Editors correct errors in spelling, grammar, and tone. Translators implement any changes.
  5. Deploy localization. Developers and other technical professionals ensure that the localized content complies with product requirements. They may, for example, import the localized files back into the code and test for compatibility.
  6. Monitor through QA. During deployment, testers subject the localized content to QA to ensure that everything is working correctly. After you launch the product or service to its intended audience, customer service and other professionals monitor what the audience thinks of the localization. They may assess the number of views for multimedia files, downloads for PDFs, or visitors to internationalized web pages. Further localization may be needed to improve the translation quality.

About Andovar

We are a global media-focused content localization services provider. We have built our brand on customizing solutions for complex localization projects that have facilitated seamless global growth for our clients. 

Our expanding multi-cultural team currently includes localization project management experts, technical experts, and over 10,000 professional translators. We have helped eCommerce companies, games developers, software and technology companies and enterprise companies in various other industries deliver ideally localized content of all types throughout their global markets.  

Our international headquarters is located in Singapore, and we offer production and sales at our locations in China, Thailand, India, Hungary, the U.S., and Colombia.  

Call Andovar Pte Ltd., Singapore at +65 3159-3958, or contact us online, if you have questions about translation technologies or want to see how we can help you with your next localization projects


Contact Andovar



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