An Effortless Translation Workflow for a Major Japanese Agency

Case study featured image Honyaku Center | Phrase

Honyaku Center was established in 1986 as a translation company specialized in medical translation. Since its founding, it has steadily expanded to offer translation in the fields of industry, patents, and finance; today, it is known AAA the largest translation company in Japan. With a vision to connect companies to the world as a “language concierge,” Honyaku Center supports a variety of companies in expanding their businesses globally through language services.


Eliminating inefficiencies and meeting specialized needs

Before introducing Phrase TMS, Honyaku Center used a variety of computer-assisted translation tools from other companies. While these tools offered extensive feature sets, they tended to be over engineered and difficult to use. Choosing the correct software for any given project was also difficult and required in-depth knowledge of each tool’s features. As a result, the company’s users were unable to make the most of them. This problem was especially significant for external users, such as freelance translators registered with Honyaku Center.

Inefficient project management was another source of frustration for the company. Most communication and file exchanges took place through emails, which made it difficult for project managers to track progress and react to situations that could lead to missed deadlines. It also meant that files had to be manually passed from one team member to another as needed, potentially delaying a project (e.g., if someone attached the wrong file to an email).

Lastly, Honyaku Center has some specialized needs that not all solutions can meet. Due to the nature of the company’s projects and working environment, information security is essential. Files and folders are named in Japanese, which can lead to text encoding issues, and some projects contain very large files that won’t open correctly in all software.


Phrase TMS—the fully featured, all-round solution

Phrase TMS was a leading candidate when Honyaku Center began to consider other solutions to solve its problems. Ultimately, the company chose Phrase TMS because it’s versatile, easy to use, and fully featured. Honyaku Center also appreciated that Phrase TMS was cloud-based at a time when most translation management software was not.

As its users began working with Phrase TMS, they discovered other reasons that made Phrase TMS the best tool for them.

High versatility

Phrase TMS supports file formats that are common in enterprise environments, like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also has a balanced feature set, including a document analysis function (a must-have for project managers), functions for managing translation memories and glossaries, and the ability to add comments while translating.

Intuitive interface

Because project managers must manage multiple projects at any given time, an intuitive, easy-to-use interface is important to them. Phrase TMS was an ideal tool in this regard. The same goes for translators, too: As soon as they open Phrase TMS, translators have access to a workspace with all the features they need at their fingertips.

Extensive support

When Honyaku Center first began using Phrase TMS, their users encountered some problems with Japanese folder names and very large files. Phrase TMS’s helpful engineers worked with the company to resolve these issues.

No compromise on security

Before, Honyaku Center’s users found it most convenient to exchange projects using email attachments since external translators and proofreaders can access these easily. However, the overall workflow is more efficient if project data is stored in the cloud, with no time wasted when translators hand projects off to proofreaders. Honyaku Center had some reservations about the security of a cloud-based solution, but the company discovered that controlling access to projects and data and tracking the status of each team member is actually more secure in the cloud than over email. This helped the company be more confident in its decision to use Phrase TMS.

We chose Phrase because it is easy to use and has the features we need. In addition to how good the Phrase software is, the company’s extensive support was also a key factor in our decision. Streamlining our operations by introducing Phrase has enabled us to achieve significant cost reductions.

Nana Tajima

General Manager, Quality Management Division


Translation and project management in one streamlined workflow

Introducing Phrase TMS enabled Honyaku Center to streamline its operations overall. At first, it used Phrase TMS for about 5% of its total workload. The number of in-house and external users grew, and today, the majority of the company’s projects are handled with Phrase TMS.

Based on its experience with Phrase TMS, the company also sees the importance of translation management systems growing throughout the translation industry, thanks to features that streamline translation work and project management alike. Here are a few of Honyaku Center’s favorite Phrase TMS features:

Streamlined workflow

Because Phrase TMS is cloud-based, Honyaku Center’s project managers can track progress on projects in real time instead of requesting (and waiting for) updates from team members. This way, they can identify and handle potential delays and other issues before they impact the company’s clients. Having a cloud-based solution also makes transitions between project phases faster and smoother, since there’s no need for team members to email files to each other every step of the way.

Quality assurance and terminology consistency checks

Consistency is key in industrial translation. Phrase TMS has a quality assurance (QA) function in its editor that compares source and target segments in order to detect a variety of errors. Missing and inconsistent translations; mismatched numbers, spaces, and tags; misspellings; and inconsistencies with termbases are highlighted to help translators correct them efficiently.

At Honyaku Center, project managers usually configure Phrase TMS’s QA features individually. Their users appreciate the granularity of the QA settings, as well as the ability to prevent translators from marking segments completed before resolving QA warnings. Phrase TMS’s QA feature helps the company maintain quality and consistency in its translations.

Leveraging existing assets

Storing and leveraging past language assets is essential to streamlining the translation process and improving translation quality. Phrase TMS not only makes it easy to search and browse past projects—it also adds them to a translation memory in real time. This means that no time is wasted during the translation process, enabling Honyaku Center to meet its customers’ demands for short turnaround times.

Safe and convenient machine translation

Remarkable progress has been made in machine translation, and Honyaku Center recognizes that using machine translation (MT) effectively is critical to streamlining work, reducing costs, and stabilizing quality. Phrase TMS was one of the first platforms to support machine translation, and it currently supports integration with more than 30 machine translation engines.

Honyaku Center was particularly impressed by Phrase’s Quality Performance Score (QPS) feature, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to select the best machine translation engine for a given project. It also ranks the quality of machine translations on a four-level scale, helping users incorporate MT into projects safely and conveniently.

The future

About 10 years have passed since Honyaku Center first introduced Phrase TMS, and the company intends to continue using it in the future. Honyaku Center especially appreciates Phrase TMS’s support system that reflects users’ opinions and feedback, its QA functions for ensuring translation quality, and its foresight in actively introducing advanced technologies like MT and AI. In its eyes, Phrase TMS has a deep understanding of the translation business, and it continually develops products that are one step ahead of its competitors.

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