Which documents and data impact your business growth worldwide? The zettabytes of information including marketing brochures, technical specifications, instructions, training material, reports, bulletins, maintenance manuals, etc. strongly affect your company's international image.
Many of those include their multilingual versions. Properly handled translation helps project a positive image of your company worldwide, and make a great first impression of your product on a new market.
Handling numerous documents and their multilingual versions may seem like a lot of manual file management.
It doesn’t have to be like that, though.
When working with our international clients we've seen it on multiple occasions that, with the use of properly implemented integrations between documentation authoring tools and translation systems, the process can be very easy to manage. Are you ready to incorporate this solution to your international project?
Let’s start by explaining some basic concepts that need to be taken into account when choosing from the available options.
Internationalization is a concept based on making sure that the document design is free of localization obstacles (explained below). It focuses on encoding, the use of variables, writing direction, etc.
Lack of properly designed content can become a blocker with regard to document translation. Internationalization is not limited to content and formatting, it also concerns the use of graphics, visuals, and symbols. With regard to graphics, it is crucial to use localized devices e.g.: A car with the steering wheel on the right side, for UK market.
Remember that some symbols may be incomprehensible in some languages, or even inappropriate. For example, a cross. The same goes for colors.
Localization changes the attributes of a content or concept into local character. Properly localized documentation gives the impression that it has been written by a local native speaker, an expert in the subject matter.
From the linguistic perspective, localization process is very often based on translation and revision workflow, which takes into account:
• Converting units of measure or currencies to local requirements;
• Using appropriate local formats for dates, addresses, or phone numbers;
• Taking into consideration local regulations and legal requirements;
• Using appropriate punctuation and writing direction.
Further localization steps include:
• Translation review and linguistic testing;
• Adapting graphics and visuals to target markets;
• Adapting formatting, layout, and design in general, to properly display translated content.
Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools were created for a faster and more efficient localization process. Without going too deeply into the topic, there are two main features that allow for an easy translation process, with the help of translation technology.
• Dividing the text into logical chunks, called segments, and allowing space for their translation. As a result, CAt tool turns the original content into an easily reversible segmented bilingual table;
• Storing all the source text together with its translations in one central database, called a Translation Memory (TM), and allowing reuse of the whole translation, or a part of it.
Along with the TM, you can also benefit from built-in, or connectable glossary management modules, often referred to as termbase.
Integrations strive to allow a fully automated process of sending files for translation, without involving email attachments or cloud drives.
Integration of your platform with a translation management system boosts efficient handling of language updates, and eliminates manual steps, to increase productivity and quality by streamlining quality checks. This results in reduced TTM and localization costs, due to easily implemented translation workflows.
Now that the basics are covered, it's time to review three of the most popular documentation authoring tools, and their integrations with translation systems.
In order to streamline content production and delivery, technical writers all over the world use MadCap Flare as a solution. Authoring and publishing are boosted through its advanced functionalities. It helps to create and manage product documentation, distribution, and versioning. It also helps technical writers to limit DTP (Desktop Publishing) time.
The internationalization process can take place directly in MadCap Flare, while authoring. It can also be performed later on by the localization company. With regard to localization, two scenarios are available. MadCap Lingo is a translation tool integrated with MadCap Flare. It offers the following features:
• Creation of multilingual projects;
• Localization into left-to-right, as well as right-to-left languages;
• Translation memory and glossary;
It is, however, not the most advanced or most flexible CAT tool. The Lingo translation package contains all the files for translation. The XML-based files created by Flare projects are also accessible through translation software. Both methods are easy and convenient for both parties.
Thanks to integration with Lingo, it is possible to avoid the manual file transfer outside of the Flare project. It prevents file corruption, with regard to formatting or content. While opening the project in Lingo, the translator can immediately see all the content that requires translation, for example, variables, snippets, or topics.
Index markers and concept markers that need localization are also visible to the linguist. The integration is intelligent, but does not include localization project management.
If this is something that you would like to implement into your project instead of managing the freelancers, translation queries, and translation resources by yourself, use the Flare – Lingo integration as a connector. Madcap Lingo creates bilingual files accessible by most third-party translation software, so your trusted localization company can easily take over from there.
Translation memory and termbases included in MadCap Lingo project can be shared with the localization team and updated after the project. It doesn't matter if the translation was conducted in Lingo, or any other translation tool, like memoQ, SDL Studio, Memsource, or any other. The TM can be easily modified into the .tmx file format.
Adobe InDesign is the most widely used tool for layout, page for print, and digital media. You can easily create digital magazines and interactive online documents.
InDesign can help you create e-b containing slideshows and animations. The content created in the software can easily be localized. The files converted from .indd to .idml are fully compatible files for documentation localization.
However, you can accelerate the process with the help of translation management connectors, available in Adobe Exchange. There are at least four integrations with translation tools available on Adobe Creative Cloud. There are also extensions that make translating the Adobe InDesign files easier. It helps to export the selection or text layers, and reimport them after the localization process.
The most interesting possibility would probably be integration with Redokun's translation platform. Redokun is a third-party translation tool designed for Adobe InDesign file translation. It is possible to work on files within the integrated Web Editor. One can also use bilingual .xliff exchange files. The integration allows:
• Localization team collaboration,
• Project tracking and workflow management,
• Version control.
Integration makes it a lot easier for the files to be managed. No cloud drives are involved for exchanging huge .zip files anymore.
There are also alternatives, as more and more localization companies and translation technology providers develop their own solutions that improve multilingual document creation.
Working in an integrated environment is not only convenient for the document owners. The localization companies benefit from it as well. It is good for both sides to limit the time needed for file exchange and tracking versions.
Dell EMC’s Enterprise Content Division was acquired by OpenText in 2017. Documentum, LEAP and InfoArchive are now part of OpenText Enterprise Content Management (ECM).
This integrated group of solutions uses the essential content management capabilities of the Documentum Content Server to manage content, versions, and relationships among documents and translations.
It leverages the infrastructure of the content repository and integrates it with a translation company. It is possible to create and maintain multiple translations of content in a Documentum repository.
It is also possible to leverage relationships – with Documentum’s built-in option for identifying the translations of specific documents for publication.
By implementing the integration, you can achieve:
• Seamless file flow and versioning,
• An overview of your localization processes,
• A central repository for multilingual content.
No matter what your documentation authoring tool is, you can always talk to your localization company and explore possible options for the connection. The last option available that is worth mentioning is all the types of integrations connecting cloud drives and translation tools. For example:
• Google Drive,
• One Drive,
• SharePoint Online.
Many of the online data storage solutions already allow integrations with most localization software. It may not be the ideal connection, but this can inevitably limit the effort put forth to manually manage the file flow.
Related content: A Lack of Translation Integration With Your System: Trouble Alert
No matter which solution you choose, be sure to get your documentation ready for localization. The most important aspects are internationalization, and a clear vision of what to translate, and into what languages.
Poorly localized documentation may be a blocker for your global expansion. The lack of translated manuals may prevent you from launching your product in a new market. The decision to grow global is the first step to worldwide success.