Translation as a business process has changed a lot, keeping in step with the transformations in global business. Different content types have entered the scene, so they have different ways of producing and consuming content. The very purposes for enterprises to create and translate content are also not the same as it was perhaps a decade ago.
However, one thing has remained the same: the expectation of quality. Our clients have invested a lot in the content assets they have built and expect translation to do justice to their efforts. And, we fully agree.
In this post, we discuss how translation has changed and what we do to keep delivering quality.
Evolving content types and service offerings
Medical, legal, technical, and IT used to be some of the traditional content types that would come up for translation. Nowadays, companies use content primarily for their marketing efforts, creating and curating a certain image and connecting with their customers. As a result, social media, marketing content, user interface text, and many video content need to be translated.
At Braahmam, we identify linguists based on many criteria, one of them being their expertise in a domain or content type. So, when a certain kind of content comes up for translation, we can easily assign it to the most suitable linguist.
Clients are also increasingly looking for complete localization solutions, including search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, subtitling, voice-over, marketing and social media content, collection and labelling of multilingual data to train artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and so on. We have accordingly added to our portfolio over the years to meet these demands.
Changing tech solutions
Machine translation (MT), automated transcription, and internationalization services are part of the turnkey localization package. Braahmam provides these solutions through partnerships with leading service providers such as Mediawen and Prudle Labs.
Mediawen, based in Paris, is our partner for cloud-based media localization. It offers a powerful translation portal for video and audio files. All you have to do is upload your media files, and then they can be transcribed and subtitled either by qualified and experienced professionals or through automation.
Automated transcription and the machine translation of the transcripts into subtitles speed up localization drastically and save money. It’s a critical improvement over human transcription and translation, as the volume of multimedia files typically created today is huge. Video is part of every company’s marketing efforts. In addition, video is also used to train staff and educate customers about products.
Prudle Labs is an internationalization solution provider. It readies your website and mobile app for localization in any language and any locale. Through internationalization, you can make sure that everything displays as it should on your website or app. Locale-specific customizations such as the right formats for address, date, time, currency, and numbers are displayed. Forms do not break or become unwieldy, menu items and graphics are placed according to the language orientation, fonts don’t display as junk characters, and so on.
New source <> target language directions
English used to be the most common source language. While that is still true for the most part, it is quickly changing, and our source language can pretty much come from anywhere. We also notice that requests for translation into African and Asian languages are on the rise.
The sheer number of languages that we translate into has also been rising. These changes are indicative of the changing demographics of the world’s online population.
The increasing speed of localization
With changes in the content types and an increase in the number of languages, the velocity of localization has transformed. Sometimes the speed is as important, if not more important, than translation quality.
It’s not that speed competes with quality. But quality is not absolute, and we work with many grades of quality in the localization world. But speed is a non-negotiable most of the time.
With development cycles going agile rather than the previous waterfall approach, localization has had to follow suit. As a result, content is being constantly created and needs to be continuously translated. This changes entire workflows and the supporting tech infrastructure.
In response, we use tools that can be plugged into your content management systems (CMS). They pull fresh content into the translation management system (TMS), channel it to the right linguist, get it translated, and then push the content to the appropriate locale website. If machine translation (MT) is being used, the tool will feed the fresh content to the MT engine and push it to the locale website. The MT output can be published or edited by linguists, depending on the content type and quality expectations.
In agile localization quality is dynamic and is continuously built and improved on. However, workflows and systems need to be aligned to deliver speed. Close integration between the client and the language services provider (LSP) is critical to the success of the project.
Investment in linguist selection and training
We have long recognized that we can only meet clients’ demands effectively when we have the right resources. And linguists form the backbone of our resources. Hence, we take linguist selection and training very seriously.
We have diversified our translator pool in response to the changing translation directions and increased languages. As a result, we now work with native language translators from many regions across the world. Of course, this has not been easy to build. It has taken a lot of networking skills and relationship-building with the translators.
We regularly train our translators in the use of computer-aided translation (CAT) so that they can stay updated. Furthermore, we constantly give them constructive feedback on their work. It helps them improve on their quality. In addition, we build translator profiles that include information on their subject matter expertise.
Once we select the most appropriate linguist for a client, we onboard the linguist with client-specific and project-specific training. The linguist gets to know the different products of the client, brand voice, and quality expectations. Wherever possible, we put the lead linguist in direct contact with their counterpart on the client-side.
The project manager, the linguist, and the client collaborate closely throughout the duration of the project. Regular reviews are scheduled where everyone sits down and hashes out any recurring issues.
Working with the client on quality feedback
Our work over the years with several clients over a range of industries has helped us learn that quality is as the client defines it. But we do need clarity on this definition and have to come to a mutual agreement. That can only happen if the client gives us specific feedback rather than something based on subjective opinions.
While some clients are veteran localizers, others are only now stepping into global markets and need hand-holding with the localization process. In all fairness, it’s not the client’s job to understand how the localization industry works. So, we work with such clients to help them give us structured, detailed, and objective feedback based on the agreed quality standards.
We prioritize creating glossaries and style guides at the start of a project, as these are the building blocks of quality. These documents ensure that quality does not walk out of the door with every linguist that leaves the company for long-term projects. In addition, we make sure that these documents are maintained as living documents, updating them as we go.
While these are some of the main changes that have impacted the localization process, we expect more to come. Voice and video trends will grow stronger. More languages and more content in those languages will go multilingual. Linguists will work with machines to deliver faster, better. The LSP will (or already has) transform(ed) into a partner and will be at the center of all your international marketing efforts.
We are ready for all of this. We look forward to learning and grow with you.
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