What are translation integrations, a.k.a. connectors? Why should you ask your translation company to connect your system with their translation software?
Or, why should you agree when a translation agency asks you to integrate your platform with their system? Why should you insist on introducing integrations into the localization workflow?
During our work with multiple international clients, we've seen how integrating our translation management software with our clients' systems makes the whole localization process more beneficial for them, streamlining the process and allowing them to meet their time-to-market fast and easy.
Baing on our experience with translation integrations, this article will list the reasons why you should ask your translation company to connect with your system and say yes if they ask you for the same thing.
If you are here reading this article, you are probably:
No matter what the reason, it is always a good time to talk about translation integrations. This article will guide you, step by step, from the basics to the moment you realize that integrating your platform with translation system is essential in an efficient localization process.
Localization is the process of introducing your product-related content to a local market. This concept is closely connected to translation.
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There are a few steps included in the localization project, for example, internationalization. This concept is based on preparing the source content for localization. Internationalization often takes place during product or content creation. For example, using Unicode in programming, or avoiding cultural references in marketing texts are aspects of internationalization.
Other steps of localization process are more linguistic in nature. Examples of such are translation and revision. Both steps are carried out by professional linguists who are native speakers of the target language.
Related content: A Guide to Understanding Translation and Localization Terminology
Translation professionals working at a translation agency need to be proficient users of what is referred to as CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools. CAT tools are translation software that help linguists produce translation, but it does not translate on its own. The main features of translation software are listed below.
In order for the localization company to start translating content, it is important to have a well-prepared source text to work on.
Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation
The content is often shared through all sorts of content storing services or collaboration platforms like: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint. In most cases, translation providers download content assigned by their client.
There are workflows that include sending files as an email attachment. We have also seen assignments where the text for translation is copied in the body of the email. This is how it can be done, but this is not how it has to be done. That's one of the reasons for integrations to be introduced into the localization project.
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You may work on your website in WordPress, create documentation in MadCap, work on a project in GitHub or use Alfresco or Magento in your organization. All of the above-mentioned solutions can easily be linked to translation tools.
Translation connectors enable faster global growth. They also simply make localization process much easier.
Integrations allow the fully automated process of distributing and collecting content for translation. In WordPress, for example, you start by filtering and selecting the content for translation.
Next, you need to assign it to the translation agency. From this point on, your only job is to wait for the content to turn into Chinese, French, Spanish, or any other language you wish.
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The last step is to publish the translated content by means of a few clicks, relax, and monitor your ROI.
Everything is linked to a particular project and - yes, this is the keyword here - automated.
There are at least a few good reasons for translation companies to use this solution.
One of them is time. You are not the only person that is pushing for the fastest possible turnaround time for content translation. It is also beneficial for the translation provider to close and invoice the project as soon as possible.
The faster the content leaves the CAT tool and successfully lands on your website, the better it is for both parties. The automated workflow also saves project management time, which is a nice bonus when there is a personnel shortage.
This is, however, not the only reason why integrations are the hype word in the localization business these days.
When the data doesn't have to leave your system in the form of an email attachment (remember those good-ole never-ending back-and-forth loops?), it is much easier to monitor content flow. You know exactly which content was selected for translation.
There is no risk of assigning outdated documentation, applications, or web versions. The content is returned directly to the source system (CMS, for example). Updates don't require renaming the files. You may simply select just the updated content and assign it for translation.
Time for a real-life example.
There once was a localization project manager who received a phone call from an unhappy local product's distributor (to whom the project manager delivered the project earlier). It was an English - Italian project.
The distributor called to share their feedback on translation he received. Not only was the feedback terrible, but the reported errors were simply puzzling. After a quick investigation, it turned out that the marketing manager, on the client's side, introduced some changes to the translated text. This person didn't even speak Italian.
The updates were never confirmed with the translation provider. This situation was very delicate, but serious. It could have been avoided, though. The content could have been exchanged through integration.
Files can be corrupted, unless they never leave the original environment. Integrated systems allow content flow without the necessity of file exchange. That client lost a lot of time on something that could have been easily avoided.
The ability to immediately test the translated content in its original context is yet another advantage of integrations. Real-time visibility is inevitably a feature worth mentioning, especially with regard to software localization. Separating the translatable content from the code, and moving the data directly to the translation software, reduces the time needed for project preparation.
Related content: 15 Software Localization Myths
Decisions made on the basis of the actual data are worth the additional time spent on refining the localization process.
Programming files often require preparation before being imported to CAT tools. They also need post processing after being exported, following translation. The files sent for translation often undergo complex conversion in order to be properly handled by CAT tools.
Translation teams often lack the preview option. Therefore, the only way to test the final product is by exporting the files. Afterwards, the files need to undergo the post-processing stage and be uploaded back to their native environment. It all takes time.
Integrations allow content flow without file preparation, before and after translation. It helps verify that the translated content is properly placed, for instance, in dialog boxes.
Easily tracking the cost of localization is crucial for making further decisions. System integrations enable you to monitor the costs of assignments. It also shows exactly which parts of your content were translated into what languages.
For example, if your new product's landing page has an Italian or Chinese version, you can decide which other languages need to be included in the list of available languages on your website.
You may want to decide if the same fragments should be accessible in Spanish or Japanese. Transparent dashboards display language codes next to the assigned fragments of your content.
Thanks to this option, you can easily monitor the localization progress and base your decisions on that. Linking the content repository directly to the translation software boosts the efficient handling of language updates. It also eliminates all manual steps, which leads to increased productivity.
This enables the translation team to reuse already-translated content for consistency, faster order processing, and profitability. Modern translation tools can easily calculate the translation effort needed to translate content. This can't be done without access to the TM.
Integrated systems use the data from both sides. The connection works not only as a content migrating tool, but also allows fast project estimation. It provides transparency, with regard to predicting the translation cost.
Related content: 7 Tips to Avoid Wasting Your Translation Budget
Translation speed is the big factor that reduces time-to-market. You can work on your product translation in parallel with the development cycle, by integrating systems. Translation teams should no longer be strangers at the receiving end of your emails. They should be included in the product lifecycle from the very beginning.
It can start with the design, which takes internationalization into account. Then you move forward with terminology and the Translation Style Guide. The Translation Style Guide is a collection of linguistic guidelines and recommendations. This does not mean there is a grammar manual provided.
The Translation Style Guide defines what writing style should be used, and prescribes preferred resources, like a dictionary. It also specifies which system of units should be used: Metric or imperial. Terminology, on the other hand, is a list of terms coming from source content.
The idea behind starting the translation by working on terminology, is that it helps to analyze the meaning of a term in the source language, and find the best equivalent in the target language. It is crucial with regard to pioneering solutions and innovations.
Integrations between a client and a translation agency can inevitably streamline the localization process. These steps should be taken before the translation stage begins. Integrations between the systems allow smooth workflow and centralization of all the localization efforts.
The processes that are in place on the client’s side should be carefully evaluated and connected in a manner that builds a valuable network. The more efficient the process, the more time saved, and more money earned.
Find a localization partner that will guide you through the whole process, and link your tools directly to their Translation Management System. It may be the existing integration, API, or a custom-built solution.
There are so many options, and none of them involve manual, chaotic content flow and management. There are plenty of translation companies out there who will be totally open with you about all these matters. So, next time to talk to a translation agency and translation integration comes up, say yes!