10 Translation Process Steps to Automate Before Using Machine Translation

Automating translation processAs translation consumers look for ways to reduce translation costs, the quality conscious is turning to a professional translation company offering automation in the process without removing the human element that is the most essential to the success of the project–the translator!

Here are 10 ways a translation company can eliminate costs by using automation without jeopardizing quality.

1. Quote: Automating the quote requires automating file prep. This requires the ability to correctly parse files, regardless of formats to identify the needed data. The most important variable to correctly quantify is the word count to translate. This is not a simple undertaking, but solid parsers and smart analytical tools can take a big bite out of quoting costs.

2. An accurate and efficient word count requires a translation company to have a strong fuzzy match engine to compare what has been translated to the new documents. Automating accurate word count generation will expedite quotes. Look for a translation company that offers an excellent fuzzy match engine, not one that simply applies the basic Levenshtein method. Read:

3. Translation assets need to be easily maintained. These are the translation memories, terminology databases, style guides and knowledge bases. Automating the maintenance process will save much time in project management. Hiring a translation company that offers a free online portal to store, manage and retrieve translation memories and terminology databases will go a long way towards reducing costs. Read GlobalVision International Announces gvAccess.com.

4. Once files are prepped, the correct translator–not just any translator–needs to be selected. This requires a method to track the ability and experience of each translator and match her up to incoming requests and requirements. Languages, subject expertise, experience level, availability, capacity and price are all important parameters to consider before choosing the appropriate translator. It is not enough to have a community of 10,000 translators, like most translation companies claim! Decisions need to rely on assigned attributes to each translator to facilitate the selection of the appropriate resource for each task and each project. Read: Are the little details important?

5. Translators will always have queries about the source of the text or terminology to use. An environment prone to facilitate this process should be in place at the translation company so that all engaged translators have access to this knowledge base once created. The lack of an efficient two way communication process between the client and the translators will result in a poor end-quality, as it will be based on translators’ assumptions. Also, ad-hoc methods in communicating requirements and clarifications are error prone and inefficient. GlobalVision was the first to develop an online collaboration system to deal with translator queries using wiki technology. Read GlobalVision Releases gvCollab- Preview at STC’s 55th Annual Conference.

6. Translations should be proof-read or previewed by the client before acceptance. The proof needs to be handled in a user friendly environment not requiring TM tools or specially coded text to be operated by the proofreader, as he is often not a translator, but an end user of the product. Read: 10 Steps You Can’t Ignore During In-Country Linguistic Proof and Optimize Your In-Country Linguistic Proof.

7. Feedback needs to be collected by the translation company from translators, reviewers and clients to keep the rating of all resources up-to-date. This can be done by automating survey requests and facilitating online feedback specific to each task and project. Automating feedback collection will ensure the continuous improvement of all resources applied to your projects.

8. Desktop publishing (DTP) tasks are minimized by parsing the native file formats of the authoring tools used to produce the source without disturbing formatting tags. Manual intervention is needed to ensure professional output of the target files, so desktop publishing services will continue to be needed when professional manuals or marketing collateral are to be produced. The trends toward the use of DITA and XML for authoring will continue to minimize DTP tasks and manual intervention. Read 2008 and Beyond.

9. Notification: All projects involving multiple resources and stakeholders require a strong workflow and notification system to inform the next resource in line when it is time for her to provide her input. Automating the creation of the workflow will permit the automation of the notification to streamline the process and cut down slack time. A notification and an alert system will therefore minimize the translation company’s role in needing to babysit the process constantly to perform notification tasks.

10. Translators need to be paid. At times, 50 or more individuals are working on a project and each requires a separate payment. Automating payment and invoicing by the translation company will save time and potentially will reduce minimum fees. Integrating with accounting software, PayPal, and credit card payments are great facilitators of minimizing administrative overhead.

If interested in learning more about the localization process, check out Localization Process and Methodology.

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