As digital content is created in greater volumes and for more diverse audiences, translation requirements have increased in parallel. In response to growing demand for faster turnarounds, more robust service portfolios, and consistently high quality levels, the language-services industry continues to improve upon existing technologies—and to develop new ones.
How do you benefit? Through increased automation and advanced capabilities that speed time-to-market, reduce costs, and ensure language quality.
Below are some of the more prominent translation technologies used by language service providers (LSP), freelance translators, translation agencies, in-house (enterprise) localization teams, and LSP customers.
Depending on scope, your translator and the extended provider team will use many of these platforms to automate and streamline your localization project. And as a customer, you’ll likely engage in the process through a translation management portal.
Note: The following overviews describe some of the industry’s most advanced translation technologies. Specific features and functionalities will vary by vendor.
Translation management portals
Translation management portals are secure, web-based customer gateways that provide project visibility and interaction through a series of productivity-enhancing modules. They also offer real-time project status and communication while enabling a range of translation services including:
- Online project submissions, requests, and approvals—with automated quoting and activity notifications—to reduce administration time and increase the ease of ordering services
- Collaborative, high-context online review capability to access, complete, and report on in-country review tasks
- Real-time reporting for project status monitoring, financial tracking, and linguistic data collection
- Configurable widgets for convenient, global snapshot views of project status, assigned tasks, KPIs, and more
- Content management system (CMS) integration through web services to automate file import and export
- Secure, 24×7 access to linguistic assets, services, project information, and content
- Team collaboration tools for information sharing
A translation management portal provides capabilities that enable customers to efficiently manage the outsourcing of their translation programs—from submission, to tracking, validation, and performance monitoring.
CMS integration technologies
When it comes to website translation, integration technologies connect directly to your CMS (or your web CMS (WCMS)—or digital asset management (DAM) system) and enable you to select and easily transfer web content to your LSP for translation. Integration technologies can take the place of translation management portals for content transfers.
These technologies are typically configured in one of two ways—plug-in-based or middleware-brokered. Plug-in-based solutions reside as extensions within your CMS, whereas middleware-brokered versions live outside your CMS—yet interact with your content in a variety of ways. These technologies:
- Let users automate the selection, transfer, retrieval, and monitoring of content for localization from within a multilingual web CMS
- Enable in-context layout and asset reviews for you and in-country staff via a staging server
- Facilitate the creation of efficient, multilingual web presences
- Help you streamline workflows and boost efficiencies
Simply select content for translation and send it from the integration software’s unique UI—which automatically transfers it to your LSP’s translation management system. Then, once it’s been localized and reviewed, your translated content is transferred from your LSP’s system to its proper location in your multilingual WCMS. From there it can be pushed live to a production server to be accessed by site visitors via their chosen channel—and in their preferred language.
Translation proxy technologies
Translation proxy technologies are cloud based and enable LSPs to easily create and manage globally consistent websites in any language. The proxy server sits between your main website and global audiences. When site visitors request pages in other languages, traffic from your localized sites is routed through the translation proxy. All target-language translations are hosted on these proxy sites—while your source language content remains on your main site. These technologies:
- “Scrape,” or “crawl,” your main website (much like a search engine), and ingest strings of text and XML/HTML page code
- Queue strings for localization in the LSP’s TMS
- Cache files with the corresponding localized versions replacing the original page source text
- Repeat the process periodically to update local sites when edits are made to the main site
- Facilitate a hands-off, automated website localization process
Traffic from your local site is routed through the translation proxy, which is essentially a software layer that sits between your global visitors’ sites and your main or “source” language site. As visitors browse your multilingual proxied sites, page requests are routed back to the source site. Source-language content is then seamlessly replaced by previously translated target-language content as it passes back through the proxy.
Translation management systems
A translation management system (TMS) automates workflows, production tasks, and project management to reduce turnaround times and the risk of human error. Often cloud-based, these systems simplify resource allocation, file handling, and project-planning processes. TMSs also help translation professionals:
- Enforce process compliance with pre-defined workflows and templates
- Track and measure KPIs—automatically
- Assign tasks to translators and other producers with automated notifications to avoid delays
- Match workflows to projects and sequentially route tasks to the correct team members
- Enable CMS connectivity via API integration for automated file transfer
- Automate other tasks by integrating with translation productivity platforms and translation memory (TM) technology
A translation management system is the backend of a customer portal or integration technology. Once files for translation are received, it automates the translation workflow to and from a translator.
Translation productivity platforms
A TM is a database that stores and updates your source- and target-language words and sentences (or text strings)—automatically and in real time. A valuable cost-saving tool, this linguistic asset enables translated text to be reused throughout your project, thus avoiding repetitive translations.
These platforms usually feature high-performance environments that are easy to adopt, administer, and use. These platforms boost efficiencies for LSPs, freelance translators, and enterprises by providing:
- An online centralized, secure storage and sharing location for TMs and other linguistic assets
- Real-time TM matching for reduced translation costs and increased quality and consistency
- Online access to the latest TMs and glossaries
- File analysis against target-language TMs for reporting, project scoping, and quoting
- Instant collaboration with distributed teams of linguists
- Support of industry standards such as TMX and XLIFF for assets portability
- Software-as-a-service (SaaS) benefits such as application outsourcing, continuous updates, and rigorous service-level agreements (SLAs)
A translation productivity platform provides the infrastructure for efficient, high-quality content translation.
Linguistic QA tools
Linguistic QA tools provide computer-assisted quality control throughout the localization workflow to improve translation quality and efficiency. These tools are sometimes rules-based and can be tailored to the specifics of a project, client or a domain.
They increase translation quality by checking for compliance with project requirements. Checks can be highly customized according to specific project, customer, and domain requirements. These tools also:
- Ensure consistent terminology use—and consistency between translations of the same source segment
- Confirm accuracy of key details such as product names, URLs, e-mail addresses, numbers, dates, do-not-translate entries, etc.
- Guard against punctuation errors, spacing issues, duplicate words, character corruption, etc.
- Identify untranslated segments
- Check spelling with generic and customized dictionaries
From client file submission portals to back-end tools used directly by translators, these technologies help to streamline each step in the website localization process. And they reduce complexity, cost, turnaround times, and rework—which eases the headache of managing a large, complex website localization project.
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