Leaving Manual Translation Behind

Case study featured image Huawei | Phrase

Known to consumers worldwide primarily for its smartphones, readers might be surprised to learn that Huawei was founded all the way back in 1987. Today, Huawei’s offerings include devices like smartphones, tablets, and wireless routers, as well as enterprise-grade networking hardware and services. The Huawei Mobile Services are provided by Aspiegel SE, a wholly-owned Huawei subsidiary.

Stats & facts

Huawei EU by the numbers

translation memory leverage
reduction in turnaround times


Modernizing an outdated workflow

The approach that Aspiegel SE and Huawei Europe first took to localization resembled many other companies’ initial strategies: Everything was translated by hand in Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. Unsurprisingly, the company soon realized that this time-consuming process wouldn’t scale well as it continued expanding to new markets. To address the issue, Sergio Llorens González, who manages Huawei’s Multilingual Center in Dublin, and his counterpart in Warsaw, Lena Hasiuk, began looking for a translation management system (TMS) that could meet the company’s needs.

Besides doing away with the need to translate files manually in Word and Excel, Aspiegel and Huawei Europe wanted a flexible TMS, capable of accommodating various workflows. For instance, while teams of several translators and reviewers handle the translations for high-volume languages, some other languages are handled entirely by a single translator. The content to be translated includes both legal copy and marketing copy, and requirements for the structure of output files can vary from one project to the next.

Unlike many tech companies, Aspiegel and Huawei Europe also handle all localization work in-house, instead of outsourcing it to an agency. Because of this, Sergio and Lena set off to find a TMS to which their existing localization staff could transition quickly and easily, with features suitable for internal use.


Phrase TMS—rich in features, quick to learn

After comparing and attending live demo sessions of other TMS solutions, they settled on Phrase TMS. They discovered that Phrase TMS had all the features they were looking for and then some; for example, while their old approach to localization didn’t involve machine translation (MT), it has begun using MT since switching to Phrase TMS.

Remarkably, Aspiegel and Huawei Europe were able to transition from its manual localization process to Phrase TMS in under a month, despite the pressure of ongoing projects. Pausing to train localization staff on how to use Phrase TMS wasn’t an option, but that didn’t matter—everyone was able to learn the software as they worked, including users who had never used a CAT tool before.

Starting to use Phrase TMS was like switching from riding a bicycle to driving a car.
We were able to reduce our turnaround time for translations by 80%.

Sergio Llorens González

Localization Manager


Leveraging machine translation for faster turnaround times

Since it left manual translation behind in favor of Phrase TMS, Aspiegel and Huawei Europe have drastically improved the efficiency of their localization process. The most astonishing improvement the company noticed was in translations of terms and conditions: Today, their localization staff are able to leverage translation memory matches for about 80% of the text in these documents, with a corresponding 80% reduction in turnaround times.

By nature, marketing copy isn’t as recyclable as legal copy, so the company has begun using machine translation to improve efficiency in this area. The company’s translators and reviewers find it helpful to have machine-translated text available as a reference, and using MT has improved the efficiency of their workflow for marketing translations by about 30%. To minimize the number of unhelpful machine translations that translators must discard, Aspiegel and Huawei Europe have also increased the MT quality threshold in Phrase TMS.

As Aspiegel and Huawei Europe have expanded, so has its localization team, which has grown from about 20 translators to 50. Lena Hasiuk and Sergio Llorens González, who initially selected Phrase TMS from among other TMSs, have since been joined by Anna Gawrońska, a business operations specialist who now leads the company’s localization efforts. Gawrońska is particularly impressed by Phrase TMS’s support team, which she describes as a “big highlight” of working with Phrase TMS. “They are very quick and provide answers with multiple options,” she explains. “It seems we are not only working with a support team, but with people who actually use Phrase TMS.”

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