Boosting Translation Work Efficiency Without Sacrificing Quality
Toyota Technical Development Corporation (TTDC) is a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation that has worked in translation for over 30 years and receives over 1,500 orders per year. It provides translation services centered around patents, technical materials, and multilingual documents to over 215 corporate clients in more than 35 supported languages including English, German, and Chinese.
Handling large projects with tight deadlines
The technical knowledge and experience TTDC has acquired in automotive technologies over many years as a member of the Toyota Group has given the company a highly developed understanding of a wide range of technical terms and field-specific usages from many different industries. These assets let it provide clients with high-quality translations that faithfully reflect the aims and context of the original.
But the translation industry has recently been seeing a growing number of high-volume, tight-deadline projects that call for rapid delivery of large word counts for many language pairs. Even providers with as many highly capable translators as TTDC have been finding these projects challenging for their human resources and capacity, resulting in project turnaround times that are starting to fall short of client demands.
By analyzing what was needed for faster turnaround, TTDC was able to uncover the obstacles that needed to be overcome—optimizing the workflow to handle large-volume projects, increasing the efficiency of the translation work itself, and creating mechanisms that can use limited capacities to maximum advantage.
Phrase TMS and machine translation
Seeing the need for systems able to maximize capacities, TTDC worked on overcoming the obstacles it was facing to boost translation efficiency. It decided to adopt Phrase TMS in 2020, initially for patent translations.
The company has adopted the Phrase translation management system and the Phrase Language AI machine translation solution.
Phrase TMS has improved the work efficiency of some projects by over 20% in just three months. Company-wide translation memory management has also helped improve translation quality and make expertise acquisition more efficient, while setting workflow steps has made it possible to automate project management.
Greater work efficiency
Phrase TMS has let TTDC boost the work efficiency of some projects by over 20% in just 3 months. The 3 benefits below have helped the company achieve superior efficiency.
Using translation memories, acquiring data assets
The company rapidly started making use of the Phrase TMS translation memory function used to create databases of past translations. The use of translation memories and machine translation were major contributors to the 20% efficiency gain the company achieved in three months.
Translation memories let translators reuse previously translated data so that capacity can be concentrated on just the areas requiring new translation. Translation memories also help ensure that wording remains consistent within a single document or among multiple documents.
Managing translation memories on a companywide basis instead of by individual translators was a key benefit for TTDC. The use of Phrase TMS to create a mechanism for acquiring translation memory data as assets has helped improve translation quality and enable efficient expertise sharing.
Combining term bases and quality assurance
Standardizing terminology is a critical requirement when translating patents and other technical documents. Besides impeding document clarity, inconsistent terminology can also impact patent rights and lead to equipment operation errors or other serious problems.
Translation terminology has traditionally been provided as a separate glossary requiring another file to be opened and then checked repeatedly as the work progresses—an inefficient process that creates the risk of missed terms.
Phrase TMS’s term base function enables specific terms to be registered beforehand. TTDC uses it to enable centralized management of client-specified terms and other technical terminology. It enables efficient standardization of translation terminology.
Phrase TMS also has a quality assurance function that enables mechanized error detection. It can be combined with the term base function to automatically check whether the right terminology has been used in a translation. As well as checking for inconsistent terminology, the quality assurance function can also ensure there are no spelling, numerical or other careless errors. It makes manual check processes more efficient while reducing errors.
Prohibited terms can be registered in term bases, and usage examples and other supplementary information can be saved in databases to make information-sharing among workers easier and work more convenient.
Automating project administration by setting workflow steps
Finding ways of managing projects efficiently to handle large-volume projects with tight deadlines was another issue facing TTDC.
To tackle it, TTDC has created a mechanism that lets translation work progress automatically by using the Phrase TMS project management functions to set the optimum workflow steps for each project. This mechanism has made project handling easier for project managers while making it much easier for coordinators to interact with workers, and for workers to interact with other workers.
Setting workflow steps enables workflows such as the following to be set in Phrase TMS:
- Translation work done by the translator
- Proofreading work done by the proofreader
- Returning the proofread copy to the translator for revision or verification
- Final checking done by the project manager
These steps can be set in advance to have Phrase TMS automatically send each worker an email notifying them that work has been assigned. For example, when the translation work of Step 1 above has been completed by the translator in Phrase TMS, an email is automatically sent to the proofreader of Step 2 to notify them to start work. When all the translation work is finished, a job completion notification is sent to the project manager.
These features eliminate the need for emails sent manually by a worker or project manager after every project step. They save time and effort, minimizing the time lag between work steps. Interactions among workers when proofreading or revising documents can also take place on the Phrase TMS editor, making communication more efficient.
Creating this mechanism has significantly improved the project administration work efficiency of coordinators handling large numbers of projects. The Phrase TMS project administration screen also makes it easy to check the progress and schedule up until delivery.
Phrase TMS has provided 3 primary benefits enabling TTDC to rapidly boost work efficiency while maintaining or improving translation quality: (1) Using translation memories and acquiring data assets, (2) combining term bases and quality assurance, and (3) automating project administration.
TTDC has set itself the mission of providing clients with a next-generation development environment underpinned by its work in intellectual property and measurement control. The company is committed to providing translation services incorporating quality created in close alliance with its clients and fine-tuned to their needs. TTDC is rising to the challenge of further adapting to a new era by adopting Phrase TMS and other innovative mechanisms.