Effective communication is vital for the success of any business, as over the years, numerous companies have expanded to other regions of the world. Venturing into new territories has transformed into an increase in customer base and revenue. Therefore, astute software publishers have strategically adopted objectives that are focused on ways that will help them reap the full benefits of expansion while minimizing their liabilities. One of these objectives is partnering with professional localization companies.
The Human Element in Software Localization
In this technological age, it is not surprising that modern technology has been adapted to aid in breaking down language barriers. Big technology companies have taken advantage of the many technological platforms and software available to facilitate the localization translation process. In February 2016, Microsoft launched the Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT) 4.0. The release marks a product redesign that allows developers of varied projects to incorporate localization translation workflows into their environment. By integrating machine translation to the workflow, developers can now generate “functional” software in multiple languages with the push of a button!
But the developers of the MAT platform realized that machine translation is not a solution for “usable” software. They therefore wisely enabled the import and export of all user interface strings needing translation into XLIFF 2.0 files– the file format commonly used by the market centered on professional language services. The platform has made the process of extracting strings for translation from a Graphical User Interface (GUI) software app easier for processing in traditional computer aided translation tools, like commercial Translation Memory and Translation Management Systems.
Limitations of Machine Translation
Machine translation tools can help to derive meaning, but when it comes to dealing with short strings, like in the case of GUI strings, translations are often erroneous. They are usually made out of context and are marred with grammatical errors. In some cases, even professional translators have a hard time understanding the correct intended meaning of the strings. In numerous instances, they have to conduct research on the software manuals and contact various professionals or the developers with queries on aspects that are uncertain, in a bid to ensure that the right meaning is portrayed in the target language.
Professional Localization Companies are Essential
The growing popularity of platforms such as MAT 4.0, and Globalization Pipeline which was launched by IBM’s platform, Bluemix as a service, indicates that the demand for translation is high. The new platforms will have a significant impact on localization and will help many companies achieve simultaneous releases of the wares internationally. However, one should not confuse enabling technologies that facilitate the professional translation process, with what to expect from a machine translation. Software localization translation still needs professional human translators managed by localization companies to ensure that it is done correctly.
Recommended Localization Process with the Multilingual App Toolkit (MAT) 4
- Export XLIFF
- Pseudo-translate to ensure complete and accurate export
- Create industry and software glossaries
- Experienced subject matter expert translators translate the exported strings in a Translation Memory tool leveraging glossaries and previously performed translations
- Secondary translator edits the translation, particularly when multiple translators are involved
- Import the translated XLIFF back into the development environment and build the software
- Perform run-time quality assurance in each target language to ensure that all translations are in context.
Gino Dino, states “the built-in machine translation function can be useful to mock-up the software in multilingual state, but even with MAT 4.0, developers still have to send the software and screenshots for the translators to look at the screens and dialogs. They will also have to perform testing after the actual translation is done.” This process shows that machine translation is not adequate when used independently and supports the fact that professional software localization companies are immensely important and needed in the translation industry.
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