Document Translations FAQ

Covering Software Localization Too!

Document Translation FAQ

Why should we engage your firm for translation or localization services?

The reason you should engage GlobalVision as your translation and localization services vendor is because you simply will not find a more qualified vendor with respect to process, service, skills, or technical savvy. Our combination of these qualities in a company who seeks only your satisfaction will in the final analysis yield the very best results at the lowest possible cost. Yet, the only way to convey this message without appearing as hype is to invite you to try us to experience the GlobalVision difference for yourselves.

What other services/products besides translations does your company offer?

GlobalVision is focused on translation and localization. Besides this, we offer ancillary services related to our delivery of document translations, like transcreation,  layout typesetting and professional desktop publishing, Localization engineering services, Quality Assurance, graphic manipulation, printing, video subtitling and voice over, transcription, consecutive interpretation,  and project management.

What industry sectors do you support?

GlobalVision specializes in working with all industries such as software, hardware, telecom, medical & life sciences, power & energy, insurancemanufacturing, and engineering. Given the nature of our work, we also support these industries with their business, websitemarketing, legal, financial, e-learning, human-resource and other commercial translations.

What languages does you firm support?

We support all commercial world languages, and routinely translate English to and from: French, Italian, German, Spanish (all), Portuguese (both), Dutch, Hungarian, Austrian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Thai, Korean, Chinese (both), Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, TurkishMalay and Vietnamese.

What languages are your “specialty”?

Generally speaking we do all the above languages on a routine basis, but if we had to identify those that we do on a daily basis they would be: French, Italian, German, Spanish (all), Portuguese (both), Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Chinese (both), Japanese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Malay and Turkish.

Describe your firms experience in using a Glossary of Terms for a given language e.g. a Spanish glossary of banking terms?

We recommend and support the use of glossaries. We find it is advisable to standardize across departments and companies on a fixed set of terms related to your industry. This is why we have included a multilingual terminological database in our on-line Translation Memory System (TMS). With the terminology assets module, we can import, manage, search, export and serve your translation assets online. Our TMS is free of charge to all our clients that are in good standing. All you need to use it is a web browser and an internet connection.

Where are your translation resources located?

We mainly use professionals residing in their country of origin who have completed satisfactorily a college degree in translation and/or who have been vetted through our rigorous qualification standards for reliability and production. Their mother tongue must be the target language, and they must demonstrate their ability to translate within their chosen field of expertise qualified by numerous large prior engagements or through having successfully completed a related degree of study in that field.

What systems and tools does your firm employ?

We are skilled in all the following translator tools: Wordbee, SDL/TRADOS, Catalyst and many others. We have engineers on staff who are skilled in all Windows platforms, Mac, LINUX, UNIX, and development languages. We support all popular word processing formats, as well as all the Adobe products including Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, FrameMaker and QuarkXPress on the PC and Apple platforms.

Furthermore, we have deployed our Translation Management System to permit you to initiate, track and monitor progress on your projects throughout the entire project duration. Since the TMS is internally used to process all the tasks associated with your project, you get the latest status of your projects, quotes and invoices 24/7 by simply logging into the system.

How many translators do you have on staff, contracted, and available via an extended network?

We rely regularly on 500 approved translators with a pool of over 4000 translators in our translator database. All our document translations are handled by contractors that specialize in the field of expertise and languages required. This gives us the ability to allocate each and every project to the most qualified team of translators, as opposed to available internal resources.

What credentials and/or licenses do you require of your translators?

As mentioned above, there is a very strict vetting process we put each translator we contract with through. It consists of gathering a potential translator’s qualifications, submitting these for review and verification, obtaining references, and a rigorous vetting process to determine if their qualifications are genuine. Once we are satisfied that they are a qualified professional translator, we begin our own testing process consisting of a series of test materials in their language of expertise which become successively more difficult and more specialized to their field. Theses tests consist of material already translated and accepted by prior projects so we are very familiar with what is acceptable and what is not. Once these have been completed with a qualified level of acceptability, we transition them to a trial-evaluation period where they are employed, but not in our standard production work-flow. Gradually, after demonstrating their ability to translate correctly, accurately and according to the appropriate style, they are accepted into our pool of regular translators.

Describe your quality assurance processes

First off, we are ISO 9001 certified. Delivering only the highest quality in both translation accuracy and workflow process is our primary goal. Naturally the first level of quality assurance lies with the translators themselves. They are “Subject Matter Experts” (SMEs) uniquely qualified in a specific field of expertise, either by education, job experience, or other qualification which enables them to translate correctly the specific subject matter of your field into their mother-tongue. Next, every translation is verified through an independent review by a secondary translator having the same qualifications as the first as to expertise, etc. The final quality check comes when we have completed both translation and review. At this stage, we pass bi-lingual files to your own internal reviewers to determine if there may be edits to the work. After addressing edits that review has suggested, we next deliver your project to the desktop-publishing or layout team. It is particularly convenient to be able to provide translated documents in identical layout format as your source documents. At this point you may request at no charge a certificate of accuracy.

When accuracy becomes a legal issue, we can also offer an added service called “back-translation”. This is a process of further validating the accuracy of the translation by passing it off to yet another translator skilled at translating from the target language back into the source language without the benefit of seeing the original source, i.e., a blind procedure. The source document is then aligned with the back-translated source and delivered to you in a side-by-side format for your comparison.

We realize that translation quality is often looked at subjectively. This is why we always provide a one cycle of changes at no additional cost when feedback is provided on any translations that we perform (this does not apply to changes to the source documents). When necessary, we are also willing to change the translation teams till the client is fully satisfied with the quality and style of our work.

If a problem arises in a translation project, please describe your firm’s resolution process

Your dedicated project managers handle all project hand-offs. They are highly experienced and deeply committed to delivering only the most accurate document translations possible. They implement the most effective procedures to guarantee the highest quality deliverables possible to your company. We always guarantee your complete satisfaction with every project we deliver. Should there ever arise a source of concern, your dedicated project or account manager will initiate a fully compliant ISO 9001 non-compliance process that will lead to determining the best remediation process till your complete satisfaction.

Are your processes documented, and can they be customized per our requirements?

Our processes are documented and also programmed in a flexible workflow TMS portal. One of the critical points of distinction with GlobalVision is our flexibility of process. We are the appropriate size to be able to implement those procedures that fit best with your company. Our goal is partnership with you to help you achieve your goals not cause hurdles to them. We will be glad to demonstrate to you the ease-of-use and flexibility of our workflow/task solution.

We are considering moving away from localized/region specific translations toward global translations. Describe how you can assist us by ensuring globalism

Every project requirement is slightly different. If you need to have a specific country dialect, we can supply that, but if you would rather avoid dialects, we can achieve that by requesting that the translation team we build for you is designed along those lines. One of the ways we can insure this is by cross-matching the translator and reviewer, meaning in the case of Spanish, that the translator is Latin American and the reviewer might be European. The goal of cross matching these two, and asking them to specifically create an international flavor of Spanish to create a product relatively neutral in tone across all dialects. Of course, we will always work in concert with your internal resources to insure their agreement and cooperation.

Are you willing to accept liability for an error made by your firm?

Yes, we have in place an Errors and Omissions policy up to one million dollars.

How do I come up with a translation budget?

Translation costs vary with language, text type, percentage of repeat in text, file format, engineering efforts involved, graphics to be translated or captured, as well as many other factors. By using the equation below, you can come up with an approximate cost.

1) Calculate the total number of words in your website, documents, application’s graphical user interface (GUI), online help, manuals, and/or all other files that require translation.

2) Divide that number by four, then multiply it by the number of languages to localize into, and you will have the total dollar budget for translation.

   Budget for translation= (Total number of words x number of languages) / 4

Note: It is often not easy to derive an accurate word count. Markup, tags, and code in files should not be counted. This is why it is always safer to get our staff involved in deriving the word count.

What if this is an update of already existing document translations?

Updates costs typically vary with the percentage of change in the documents, help, and GUI. Translation memory tools ease the update and leveraging of old translations, so significant savings can be expected. However, file preparation, leveraging of previous translation, desktop publishing or QA will need to be done on all files, regardless of the percentage of change. This is why 25% of initial project costs are incurred with major updates. On average, a product changes about 10-15% from one release to another. It is therefore a good practice to budget approximately 35-40% of the initial project cost when updates are involved.

   Budget for translation update = .4 * (Total number of words x number of languages) / 4

Note: This equation applies only to updating products previously translated into the target language. If you are updating in some languages while also adding new languages, the first equation applies for the new languages. Also, if translation memory is not readily available, it will have to be created from old translations. In this case, all old source and corresponding target files need to be available electronically. An alignment process will occur, which may add to the project costs. Lastly, you may find it difficult to estimate the percentage of change in documents. GlobalVision International uses special analysis tools to derive precise numbers that represent the actual effort involved.

How much time will the translation effort take?

A translator can typically translate 2,000 words per day or 10,000 words per week. In case of a very large project, to find the number of weeks needed to translate a large set of documents or a full product, divide the total number of words to translate by the number of translators you can allocate to the project, times 10,000. This will give you the number of weeks needed to translate a project. Add 2.5 to this number: half a week for file preparation, one week to finalize the editing, and another to finalize the layout and QA on the files. You then have the total number of weeks needed to localize a project.

   Project duration in weeks = [Total number of words / (10,000 x # of translators)] + 2.5 weeks

Keep in mind that editing and layout can happen at the same time as translation, so one additional week for editing is not the entire editing time, but only the time by which editing lags translation. The same applies for layout and QA, since it lags editing. For every three translators, you will need one editor and one layout engineer.

Note: We do not recommend using an infinite number of translators to expedite the project. The fewer translators you use, the more consistent the style and the quality will be. Use your best judgment, or ask us for advice. Also note that if you require a QA or in-country proof of the translation, you will need to account extra time for that.

What order should I translate the files in?

Translate glossaries or reference material first. In the case of a software application, always plan on the GUI files being translated very early. This is the best way to ensure consistency between the GUI, Help, and the manuals. Also, this will give your beta testers the time needed to QA the localized application before its release.

If any documents are to be printed, work on them next. This will buy your printer enough time to print them before you release your product.

Next, work on electronic files such as your website or online help. If you are falling behind schedule, electronic files can always be released later either online or added to a service pack update that your users can download off your servers. If you ship software, it often takes weeks for your product to be delivered to international end-users, and even longer for them to find the time to open the box and install it. By this time, localized online help could be ready for download and install. Cloud-based apps can also be updated at any time after the initial release to contain the full set of localized documentation or help.

   Correct order of files localized = GUI -> Manuals -> Help

Note: If you single-source docs and help, always start by translating the source. Then, automatically generate all the target formats.

Disclaimer: These are first-order equations that can be used to get approximate figures when planning for localization. Although they are good approximations, they will only “get the ball on the green,” so don’t expect a hole-in-one! Always have us confirm the numbers before you commit to a purchase order.

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