A modern take on working with translations

Zbyněk Zelenka

Zbyněk Zelenka

21. 12. 2010

Article updated on 14 January 2019

Working with translations the modern way has one fundamental advantage for companies – lower costs. If you are looking for a way to make managing translations at your company more efficient, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself.

 

What does “working with translations the modern way” mean?

Firstly, what are the advantages of using modern technology when working with translations?  Let's imagine, for the purpose of this article, that your company is growing and expanding into other countries. This will not only lead to the increase of company documents but also an increase in the cost of the overall translation of these documents.

The absence of a translation memory will make it impossible to consistently translate terminology  in all your company’s documents. This could mean more mistakes and higher costs in the long run as these mistakes tend to multiply with every subsequent language combination.

The reason for this is logical, whenever a manual or any other document undergoes any changes or updates, every sentence of the document receives a new translation even if it has already been translated. In the age of modern translation technologies, this system is an unnecessary drain of your time and resources and can be avoided.

By exploring different options on how to streamline your company’s translation procedures, you can significantly reduce the costs and delivery times while minimizing the number of errors. Here is a good example of how we worked with EMCO to reduce their translation costs by 125,000 Euros.

How are translations adapted to modern technology?

The first aspect to address is the compatibility of your documents when processing them using modern translation tools. This simply means that it should be saved in a suitable formats and created or updated to support a glossary of terms. We would be happy to explain the difference and advise you on how to go about changing these formats.

Before moving forward, you should be aware that crucial changes in your processes can probably only be carried out by the management of your company or your department. An inefficiently established translation process should undergo various modifications and will not be improved by simply changing your external translation provider. These providers, whether individuals or agencies, should be able to advise you on the best possible options available to make the entire process more efficient and significantly contribute to the implementation of a solution, but they would not be able to introduce a completely new system on their own.

For this reason, the managers of your company or department should consider the following questions:

  1. What do we have to do when using modern translation tools to work with translations (CAT – computer- assisted translation)?
  2. Will it be worthwhile using tools for creating documents and quickly modifying texts in all pre-determined places (authoring tools)?
  3. What is translation management, and should we introduce it?
  4. What tools are available for creating a TM – translation memory?
  5. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to use MT – machine translation?
  6. How do we ensure a top quality translation (QA – quality assurance)?
  7. Is it appropriate to introduce a comprehensive content management (CM) system for our company’s growing documentation? Or is a simpler solution enough?
  8. What savings and improvements will come from the above tools and solutions?

All the options mentioned above have been available for years, so why doesn’t every company use them to reduce costs and improve their translation processes?

We have found the following to be the most common reasons:

  • The company management is not convinced of the return on investment into new translation processes.
  • Content management systems are extensive and relatively complicated, which can discourage companies from implementing a new system. It is not mandatory to integrate an entire system all at once, this can be done gradually.
  • Consultancy from translation service providers is not always a given and the company’s or department’s management has no idea what options are available today.
  • The company management sees the introduction of modern language solutions as unimportant. Employees who order translations are aware of the importance of efficiently established processes but do not have the authority to introduce them.
  • Cross-departmental communication is not established efficiently. As a result, it’s not uncommon for various kinds of documents, such as website pages, promotional materials, user manuals, instructions for use, technical documentation or contracts to be created and updated by various departments with little mutual communication. Documents are then translated in different styles, contain non-uniform terminology and are stored in different formats.
  • If departments do not communicate effectively, less effort is made to agree on who will be responsible for communicating with the translation service provider, e.g. a document management department. Companies also often lack centralized and systematic document management.
  • Companies may overlook the fact that high-quality management of all documentation, including high-quality translations, helps to build a professional corporate image (this is a significant advantage for businesses, as it brings a good reputation and higher profits).

The first step towards a more efficient translation process is by analyzing your current situation.  After almost 30 years of providing translation services to corporate clients, we have gained extensive knowledge on how to assess various options to offer solutions for your company that will contribute to savings and simpler translation management.

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