How Translation Management Tools Work

Translation management tools take what was once a manual and dispersed process, and automate it while significantly reducing costs and improving your customer experience.

Do you wonder how translation management tools work? Long ago, Cicero noted: “If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.” Fast-forward two thousand years, and we can see that a lot has changed, but a lot still remains the same. Businesses travel through great lengths to persuade their prospects to become customers, and their customers to become return customers. What better way to persuade someone than speaking their own language? Almost everyone who works in software companies will agree that speed is king. For instance, Facebook deploys code two times a day as part of their “ship early and ship twice as often” rule. The shortening of time-to-market with new products, features, or improvements can only be achieved by deploying code faster and more often. This raises an interesting question for companies that conduct business on a global scale: How to align localization to go hand in hand with automation and continuous integration? The benefits of content localization are numerous. But despite the constant advances in technology, many language translation processes come with a lot of challenges. One of the main problems behind i18n (internationalization) is that many of them are done manually and with a high level of fragmentation. Various documents and whole websites are translated by people who work at different locations and usually send translations in Word documents while the progress is tracked in spreadsheets. Even worse, developers often spend a great deal of time manually translating software strings and software documentation. Spending developers’ time on localization can put a significant amount of pressure on product managers and they’re striving to deliver new releases on time. On the other hand, keeping track of manually performed localization projects can result in even the best of i18n managers being lost in translation.

The Way Translation Management Tools Function

Moving from local to global business environment sounds like a dream come true for most business owners. But, it’s not all milk and honey out there. Translating your content into other languages might seem a low priority, but when you are struck with the fact that a mere 26% of all Internet users speak English, content localization quickly becomes a top priority. This is where a translation management tool comes to play. Translation management tools take what was once a manual and disperse process, and automates it while significantly reducing costs and improving your customer experience. It completely eliminates repetitive tasks and improves the efficiency of your team while giving you better control over the whole project. By incorporating project management features, a translation management tool is able to fully manage the content flow through the complete localization process: from translation and linguistic data sharing to workflow automation. By automating all the simple tasks inside a translation process, TMS maximizes your global content and completely automates what were once repetitive and manual processes. They serve as a centralized point from which you can keep track, manage, or even collaborate, on localization processes from the moment of inputting the text to the finished translation. Translation management tools can be even integrated with machine-based translation software and enterprise content management systems. Since translation project can become very complex and include team members from different countries, TMS has a number of features that can help them feel like they are working next to each other. Some of these features are: Workflow Automation It´s all about speed. And time. Basically, the faster you finish something, you are left with more time to invest in something else. Just like Slack redefined team-based communication, a translation management tool can automate your content localization. Translation management tools can also work as your content management system and share content across your group of translators so it can be quickly translated and shared with them. This is why Phrase is capable of editing XLIFF content for translation agencies. Additionally, with Phrase you can quickly collect and submit your API strings for translation, saving you up to 60% in process time. Translation Memory Keeping previously translated phrases in a so-called translation memory can be very useful, especially when working in an environment with high translation volumes. The translation memory will remember the translations that were used in your projects and will suggest matching results while translating content. This will additionally speed up the translation process and improve consistency across texts and your projects. Configuring the translation memory with Phrase is pretty easy. Simply select on which projects you wish to use account-wide translation memory:

  1. Select “Account”
  2. Select “Translation Memory”
  3. Finally, select the projects you want to use in the account-wide translation memory.

If you do not have any project that shares a translation memory, each one of them will rely on its own. To further ease up your work, Phrase doesn’t require you to update the translation memory – it´s done automatically with every new translation. Reporting and Analytics Everything in business is measured and analyzed. How much money has been spent? How much content has been translated? Who are the top translators? When analyzed and reported in the right way, these and similar questions can significantly ease up decision making and resource allocation. A good translation management tool will help collect valuable data and transform it into real, meaningful information. The above features are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the features and capabilities of a great translation management tool. And if there´s something in which the available solutions differ, it´s the number and quality of their features. If you’ve just started to explore a translation management tool, we would suggest that you go ahead and read our blog post on 7 Things Every Translation Management Software Should Have.

Why Spreadsheets Don’t Work for Software Localization

You might ask yourself: Why should I go through the trouble of switching from my good old spreadsheets? After all, they have been tools of the trade for years now. For starters, spreadsheets are a static way of dealing with a dynamic process. Localization projects are constantly changing and evolving. They spread over multiple parties and include both historical and contextual information. This requires constant back-and-forth communication between all involved parties which can be difficult (even impossible on large scale projects) to achieve with spreadsheets because of their somewhat static nature. While spreadsheets can work well for small-scale localization projects, things can spiral out of control quickly when they are used on larger projects. Think about it for a second. It can be easy to make a mistake in a process where you must constantly monitor, update, and modify a spreadsheet. Now multiply that chance with a number of people working on the project and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a disaster. It takes only one translator to send a wrong version to lose days, or even weeks, of work. With spreadsheets, people who are doing the translation are basically manual workers as they have to manually identify and extract content that needs to be translated. The process starts with copying content from its source to a spreadsheet and then spreading it across to translators. Once they are done with their work, they send their work in the form of a text document or another spreadsheet that must be once again copied and pasted into the original spreadsheet. Since translators can vary in terms of quality, it can happen very easily that a string ends up untranslated or pasted into a wrong cell. Going back to find and fix these errors can be hard and time-consuming. On the other hand, if they are left undetected, they can cause issues to your end-users or just leave you looking unprofessional. Because of the above, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to calculate the real cost of your localization process. Additionally, measuring ROI is another thing that can be difficult to measure, especially because the quality of the translated content can vary significantly. This is why the translation industry joined forces with technology to simplify and improve the whole localization process by removing the outdated spreadsheets and replacing them with automated platforms. In addition to saving you time and money, TMS helps companies to improve the translation quality by reducing errors and providing them with an automated workflow. Additionally, i18n managers can easily manage and keep track of their translators and further speed up the process by using a variety of tools that most translation management tools have. Phrase is an intuitive and feature-packed translation management tool used by product teams who want to implement a seamless localization workflow and developers who want to focus on programming instead of spending time on translation. With Phrase, you can completely automate and accelerate your i18n processes. Phrase allows you to translate language files in minutes, giving you an easy way to reach your audience globally and with high-quality.