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Written by Martin Joly
on June 17, 2020

There is often an extensive range of systems and processes that your Language Service Provider (LSP) will employ when localizing at scale for an international target market. Modern technology has evolved dramatically in a short span of time to offer customized solutions for localization projects of all types, with a number of these specialized translation automation technologies being among the many tools that LSPs use for optimizing translation accuracy and overall efficiency in both automated and partially automated processes.

Below we have compiled a comprehensive introduction to a range of localization automation technologies currently in play in the translation and localization industry. These sophisticated tools enable LSPs to navigate complex and meticulous translations while maintaining the subtle nuances of the source language with greater accuracy and efficiency, facilitating the broader applications of localization strategies and techniques.

 

Benefits of using automation technologies to aid in localization

Localization project owners can make significant savings in both production time and costs, as well as vast improvements in quality, when effectively utilizing modern automation equipment that has been specifically created to optimize these processes as understood through identified best practices.

The work of translation for localization involves unique and complex processes. Translation automation technologies help streamline these processes to ensure greater accuracy in translation, culturalization and regulatory compliance. In addition, they help project owners with preliminary internationalization work in preparation for localization and facilitate the vast range of organizational tasks involved in localization project planning, testing, management and communication.

In fact, it's fair to say that it is really automation technology, in combination with other technological innovations, that make it possible to achieve the exceptional level of localization efficiency provided today by a top-quality LSP.

Generally, these technological aids fall into the following three categories. We'll focus here on the third type of localization technology — automated translation tools.

  1. Application Program Interface (API) - A type of computing interface that facilitates interactions between users and a particular software.
  2. Translation Connectors - Digital platforms that allow the fast sending and retrieval of documents and translated content both quickly and securely.
  3. Automated Translation Tools - Programs specifically tailored to optimize the quality and speed of translations through intelligent processes and implementation.

 

Today's best translation automation technologies

Today's state-of-the-art localization technologies are now utilized by most professional localization providers who are committed to maximizing translation accuracy, production quality and sense of authenticity while keeping costs low. Some technologies have become familiar standards for professional translation and testing, with most LSPs able to inform clients about the breadth of technologies they employ.

There has been exceptional progress in software development and many new and exciting cutting-edge localization technologies are anticipated to become widely used in the near future. These technologies offer a great deal of potential for advancements in the field and are anticipated to become integral to localization processes in the not too distant future after more research and testing has been conducted.

 

Technologies currently used in localization

Among the innovative technologies frequently used in managing language translation today are programs like XTM, Memsource, WordBee and memoQ. There is also a whole range of translation technology integrations that are selected based on the digital environment chosen for the localization project.

Some of today's localization technologies feature either full or partial automation of translation, project management, quality testing, and other processes commonly employed by global LSPs include:

 

Comprehensive

Translation

Management

(CTM)

 
A Comprehensive Translation Management (CTM) platform is designed to facilitate the management of all stages of manual and machine translation.
These platforms integrate everything from pricing to invoicing, and all facets of customer management. State-of-the-art CTM software, such as Wordbee, automates much of the localization workflow, covering eCommerce websites, video games, mobile apps, MarCom and other project types.
Maximizing the use of CTMs can streamline content management processes, increasing efficiency, improving overall translation and localization quality, and reducing time-to-market and overall process costs.

Computer-Aided

Translation

(CAT) Tools

 
Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools enhance the productivity and consistency of translation agencies. They usually include several component technologies in a single integrated workbench, such as document editors, terminology managementtranslation memory and QA. The latest tools enable synchronized collaboration with multiple translators and teams, context and facilitate the use of all major machine translation engines such as Google, AWS and DeepL.
These tools have evolved along with computing and networking industries, first as stand-alone software to be used on a single computer, then client-server tools to be used on a company network, and most recently to cloud-based tools delivered via the internet.

Content

Lifecycle

Management

Platforms

 
Content lifecycle management systems, are software platforms designed for managing media assets from early conceptualization all the way through to the final stages of localization and beyond, accomplished through the publication of localized media content.
These are designed to help project managers automate many common processes throughout the entire lifecycle of a project, including content asset management and any accompanying promotional content. Development and distribution management includes scheduling, rights management, budget boundaries, regulatory compliance, progress indicators and a complete content supply chain tracker through to roll out.
These types of platforms are typically designed to integrate with broadcast management and other media operations.

Content

Management

Systems

(CMS)

 
A Content Management System (CMS) platform enables editing, adding, removing and publishing content on a website, all via an interface in a web browser. A CMS with partially-automated translation capabilities allows the integration of text translation options that do not adversely impact overall localization quality. Various components of a comprehensive CMS normally include process management, text translation automation, and either QA spot checking or possibly even full-scope localization quality testing.
Some professional CMS systems go beyond basic content management processes to include customer data analytics and automated marketing functionality in order to deliver personalized content to customers across multiple channel.
Popular CMSs and content collaboration platforms with which Andovar integrates include Sitecore, Sharepoint, WordPress, Episerver, Adobe Experience Manager Drupal and Kentico.

Digital Asset

Management

(DAM)

 
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a digital platform that allows owners, and approved individuals, to remotely access and perform operations on a variety of digital files. It is designed to serve as a central base for storing, organizing, sharing, tracking, archiving and otherwise managing digital files from any device. DAM software facilitates workflows for processing creative content.
Some DAM platforms allow role assignments by administrators to enable or limit access to specified files, with routine syncs and auto-backups run periodically for enhanced asset security.

Digital

Experience

Platforms

(DXP)

 
Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) offer tools for performing a vast range of tasks for digital marketing and eCommerce applications, enabling the creation of highly appealing and engaging digital experiences for on-premises and cloud users.
These can provide enhanced experiences on both eCommerce websites and mobile apps, offering creative tools for delivering engaging interactive digital features for visitors throughout their site exploration, which stands as an important supplementary capability for world-class localization.

Machine

Translation

(MT)

 
Machine Translation (MT) is the use of intelligent software to translate text or speech from one language to another.
Though many unreliable MT programs are freely available online (such as Google Translate), it is fair to say that the overall quality of these programs has evolved greatly to become an essential tool in modern localization processes. In combination with qualified human translators and editors, professional MT software is being used throughout the industry to interpret localized content and assess the need for language modifications.
MT is commonly used in localization quality spot checking. Localization experts generally recommend QA spot checks as a supplementary testing method provided by LSPs as a preliminary process separate from the final full-scope quality testing that is standard across the industry.
Some popular MT tools for QA testing include Verifika, Xbench and ServiceNow, among others, as well as CAT tools with built-in localization QA functionality.

Neural

Machine

Translation

(NMT)

 
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is a form of machine translation that uses an artificial neural network to predict word sequences and generate translated sentences modeled after set extrapolations.
NMT technology is evolving into an increasingly valuable aid in localization applications that are becoming more complex with each new generation of digital technology innovations. They enable increasingly sophisticated localization results for media creations in need of distribution for broader international target audiences.
Although NMT is currently only in use at top global LSPs, this highly advanced translation technology can be expected to play a larger role in future as it naturally becomes more accessible.

QA Testing

and Checking

Automation

Software

 
Quality Assurance (QA) testing is the process of ensuring translations are at the highest possible quality by checking for errors or reviewing the language for possible improvements.
Before undertaking important full-scope QA processes, localization project leaders advise using optional QA spot checks for an added layer of quality assurance. Some popular software tools for localization QA include Xbench, Verifika and ServiceNow.
MT software is very helpful in certain localization QA testing as well as for assessments that can help inspire concepts for content localization enhancements, both for ideal interpretations and greater authenticity.

String

Extraction

and Resource

Generation

Engine

(SERGE)

 
SERGE (String Extraction and Resource Generation Engine) is a paradigm shift in managing once very cumbersome manual steps in high-end translation for localization. SERGE software helps set up a seamless and continuous localization process. Amazingly, it has made time-intensive, error-prone manual text string processes a problem of the past.
Text file conversions, exports and transfers, reverse conversions, tracking modifications, version control management, and other actions in handling valuable digital assets can all be automated processes conducted in SERGE.
The SERGE system extracts source content then stages it in a queue for translation work. It then reintegrates the translated text string into its original position in the text file. SERGE syncs with virtually any external CAT tool, making it one of the core technologies for most of today's advanced LSPs. 

Translation

Management

Systems

(TMS)

 
TMS software automates translation steps in localization that would otherwise require manual management. It handles all non-essential work within the process that can be easily completed by automated systems and without the need for human input, leaving the translation work as the sole focus for translators.
Digital translation management software can be used for file conversions and reversing conversions, exporting and transferring files for translation, automatic recording of modifications organized on the system's version control platform, and other critical localization processes.
Translation management components allow key localization sub-processes to be executed as efficiently and accurately and more cost-effectively as they can be performed manually, without appreciable sacrifices of overall process quality.
The ideal TMS readily syncs with CAT tools that are most commonly used by LSPs. There are numerous TMS systems available.

Web Content

Management

System

 
A web content management system is a piece of software dedicated specifically to organizing web content. It allows editing of web pages, collaboration and administration for users who are not necessarily knowledgeable about these processes or coding language.
Some management systems are open-source and free to all users (such as TYPO3). This software in particular has its own localization system and facilitates publishing in over 50 languages. Other critical automated features typically include auto-updates, backups and file extensions.
Popular Web CMSs with which Andovar integrates include Sitecore, WordPress, Episerver, Adobe Experience Manager Drupal and Kentico.

Website

Marketing

Automation

Technologies

 
These are software tools designed to assist in the releasing of projects to international markets.
Some digital marketing program management platforms include Drupal, AEM, Sitecore as well as some easily accessible open source systems. Marketo is frequently used for marketing email programs and JIRA is an example of popular marketing process management software.

Website

User Support

Automation

Technologies

 
Automation is commonly used in today's leading helpdesk platforms to enable efficiencies in volume-user traffic management. Through the implication of widgets, sequences and redirects, today's ultra-modern customer support centers can automatically process vast volumes of service functions and user data at speed.
Support automation software includes helpdesk service request tickets, support services user identifications, open help request tracking and escalation of tickets, as necessary.
ZenDesk is one example of a very popular helpdesk platform technology. The system provides user support for localized video game users, for example, as well as for consumers of other forms of localized media content.

WordPress

Translation

Plugins

 
Website translation can be facilitated by WordPress plugins such as WPML, which are basics for enhancing websites created in WordPress. Plugins can be used to build websites of all kinds, from eCommerce sites to blogs and beyond.
WordPress plugins permit any site developer to code into them. Code entered for WordPress plugins is transmitted to your web browser via processing through your server.



Looking to the future of localization technology

The requirements for automation and other technologies in the localization industry are vast and stringent. Digital equipment and tools must perform at levels that meet the scope and density of complex details and production quality standards for a top-tier LSP serving the needs of global enterprises.

Through a combination of tools and processes, LSPs are achieving precision in language translations and in authentically delivering regional and local dialects in localized video, audio, text and visual content. Localization project management, QA testing and the myriad of detailed peripheral activities that are too numerous to list here, are virtually all either directly or indirectly facilitated by the industry's digital and other automation technologies.

It is anticipated that in the near future, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies with AI enhancements will become significant technologies in top-quality content localization. Both AR and VR may lead to even finer degrees of precision in translation, facilitating new perspectives and contributions during the localization process, and further elevating the overall localization project outcomes. At this time however, there are still obstacles to the substantial application of these two evolving technologies.

For today, arguably, it is text translation automation, process management automation and quality testing automation, along with certain other advanced digital tools of the trade, that are realizing the greatest improvements in professional localization, and that are helping LSPs meet the highest expectations of modern media consumers in international markets.

 

About Andovar

We provide the latest in localization services to enterprise clients across various industries, including web development, eCommerce, video game development, MarCom, television, eLearning and others. Andovar's localization experts provide customized solutions for complex localization projects to enable smooth and successful global expansion and success. Translation automation technologies, in their various forms and functions, are fundamental in the work we do in localizing content at scale into more than 80 languages for our clients.

Our international team of more than 3,000 world-class translators and over 100 localization engineers and project managers worldwide are available at our headquarters in Singapore and our international offices in India, Thailand, Hungary, China, the United States and Columbia, as well as at our new engineering and training facility in Mumbai, India.

Please feel free to contact Andovar anytime to discuss your company's unique localization needs. We look forward to hearing about your vision for your project and sharing our input for successful localization, helping you expand your international market base.

 

Contact Andovar

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