Translation Review Week going strong. This is the fourth and final entry. So far, we’ve talked about the what’s, the how’s, and the who’s of translation review. Today’s topic is tools and technology, with a focus on how the various gizmos and documents at your disposal can help secure the successful execution of your translation review cycle.
First, we would like to talk about the various reference documents that you should provide to your translators and reviewers in order to guarantee their common alignment with your organization’s products, branding, messaging, and overall communication style.
At a minimum, you should work with your language service provider to prepare the following documents/knowledge base material that will go a long way toward establishing an effective, stress-free translation review process:
- Language-specific translation style guides
- Approved multilingual glossaries
- Source documents
- Approved Translation Memory
- Relevant product knowledge/specifications
- Relevant target market/audience information
Translation Style Guides
Just as your source-content authors are provided with corporate style guides to enforce the consistency and continuity of your documentation, it’s a widely recognized best practice in the localization industry to produce language-specific localization/translation style guides that facilitate the very same consistency in and across your various target languages.
In general, your translation style guides should include (at least) the following language-specific guidelines:
- Punctuation standards
- Spelling standards
- Formatting standards
- Cultural/target market numerical and monetary adaptations
- Tone and style specifications
- Approved terminological preferences
- Common linguistic mistakes that should be avoided
- Any other company/product-specific branding information
Armed with your organization’s preferred linguistic conventions, translators can process content in a manner more consistent with your overall branding and messaging. Additionally, if your reviewers are also briefed with the translation style guide, they too can perform more focused reviews that are sensitive to the translation needs of your company—and, more importantly, that are detached from the reviewer’s own personal stylistic preferences. In this manner, your translators and reviewers alike will be aligned with the same linguistic objectives before a project begins.
It’s best to work with your preferred localization vendor to produce translation style guides before translation begins on a given project. It’s also not a bad idea to make more focused, product-oriented style guides depending on the type of project.
Approved Glossaries or Termbases
In spite of being one of the most important factors that determine the consistency and accuracy of source content and translated material alike, terminology management is a largely overlooked best practice among translation buyers.
The fact of the matter is that there are many different functional groups within a single organization that all contribute to the written forms of communication accompanying a product. Without a terminology management strategy in place before product development begins, odds are that your hardware and software engineering, tech pubs, regulatory, legal, quality systems, training, and marketing teams will use different terminological variations of the same concept throughout all of their written material. Terminological inconsistency, though not intentional, has a detrimental effect on the usability of your product, its regulatory compliance, its safety, and also on the integrity of your brand as a whole.
And these risks are only a direct result of inconsistency in your source documents. Keep in mind that translation without a glossary will exponentially exacerbate the occurrence of terminological variables in your product documentation, which means that the cost to minimize your exposure to inconsistency-related risks after the fact will also exponentially increase by the number of languages into which you’re translating.
By developing and distributing a translation glossary before translation begins, however, you can ensure that your translators are only using pre-approved key terms in their work, thereby nullifying risks born of inconsistency. As an additional best practice, by giving the same glossary to your translation reviewers, you can once again fortify their alignment with the accepted norms of communication within your organization. By providing a mechanism by which your translators and reviewers alike can have a thorough understanding of how to use and translate key terms in your corporate lexicon, you will effectively avoid variables that might otherwise muddy up your entire linguistic QA process.
To better understand the importance of terminology management in the localization process, check out these 10 Good Reasons to Manage Your Terminology. After that, you should consider learning more about the systems available to help streamline your terminology management process and how to choose the right one for your organization.
The Magical World of Language Technology
When executing a localization project, aptly applied language technology serves many purposes. Namely, technology helps your localization vendor to increase productivity, speed up delivery, ensure traceability, and provide a method of leveraging legacy knowledge and content. For the purposes of translation review, there are a variety of technical solutions that can help you to secure these same benefits.
Most notably, performing web-based review via an online portal can deliver the following benefits to your company:
- Web-based review streamlines collaboration. As previously noted, the translation review process requires input from translators, reviewers, project managers, and other stakeholders both inside and outside of your organization. With a web-based translation review platform, all documents and comments are stored in a centralized database, enabling quick project delegation and traceable handoffs.
- Web-based review does not require file transfers. Because all documents are stored in a centralized database, you never have to deal with transferring huge files via FTP or e-mail. Project stakeholders can access the files they need right within their internet browser without having to worry about format or file size—and they can do so remotely, at any time, and from anywhere in the world.
- Web-based review enables you to track changes. It’s not uncommon for reviewers to submit feedback through non-traceable channels: sent via e-mail, fax, written by hand, or even discussed over the phone. It’s almost impossible to tell what changes were made, not to mention when they were made and by whom. With web-based review, you can track changes to the letter and capture all feedback for future leverage.
- Web-based review helps you stay organized. Localizationproject managers juggle multiple versions of files for multiple projects in multiple languages with multiple translators and reviewers. Without a method to keep track of who is doing what with which file, it’s very easy for mistakes to occur. With web-based review, project managers can tell at a glance who is handling a given document, what stage of the review process it’s in, and they can also ensure that all project stakeholders are only working with the most recent version of the document.
- Web-based review keeps your intellectual property secure. With a highly granular permissions structure, a web-based translation review platform will enable you to control who has access to which document. You can also control the degree to which user can interact with a given document. This helps minimize the risk of your intellectual property getting into the wrong hands, and ensures that your product documentation isn’t left willy-nilly on some reviewer’s desk.
In just a few weeks’ time, CSOFT will officially announce the release of the localization industry’s first web-based, collaborative document review and annotation platform, ReviewIT. This revolutionary system is 100% visual, 100% traceable, and comes with a powerful suite of features directly available in your internet browser. If you’re interested in learning about how ReviewIT can help streamline your translation review process, click here for more information.
Welcome to Review Nirvana
After defining what you want, developing a review structure with guidelines that ensure you actually get what you want, and after putting the right tools in the hands of the right people, you’ll find that the translation review process isn’t nearly as difficult to manage as you thought it was.
And remember, if you ever need help, your friendly neighborhood LSP is always just an e-mail or phone call away.
Are you a translator, LSP, or translation buyer?
Great! Thanks for reading. At CSOFT, we’re always interested in hearing what our peers have to say. Translation Review Week is all about improving the review process for all parties involved in localization. So if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or disagreements about what you just read, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you want to learn more about translation review, or if you just want to stay in the loop, make sure to visit csoftintl.com!