Old-time translators have fond memories of sitting behind their typewriters, dictionaries spread out on the desk, creating a beautiful translation for a client. Those same translators embrace the growth of technology in the industry and how working with technology has evolved localization so more content can be translated efficiently.
Technology touches every aspect of the localization process, from the moment original content is prepared for translation to the moment translated content is returned. Some of the key technology developments include:
Global content management
To help create, manage and publish your content you will need a suitable Content Management System (CMS). A suitable product will support the creation and management of content in multiple languages. There is a broad range of considerations here – from double-byte character support (can the system display pictographic characters, like Japanese?) to encoding concerns (UTF-8 is necessary) to the ability for the content system to keep multiple pages in multiple languages correctly interconnected. With the right CMS – the creation and management of multilingual content will be dramatically easier and more efficient.
Translation memory (TM)
In the spirit of not reinventing the wheel, translation memory gives translators a head start with a translation by using past translations that are retained in databases. Translators, who often specialize in expert fields, use TM to retain often used words and phrases and to reach for them for each new translation, quickening the pace each time.
Machine translation (MT)
Often referred to as either rules-based or statistical, machine translation uses technology to provide a complete translation of content. MT-produced translations are often used for very large projects involving millions of words, and, as such, they have made more content accessible to a wider audience worldwide. Machine translation is often used to narrow the number of words that then are translated by an expert translator who specializes in a particular field.
Project management/workflow technologies
Often referred to as Translation Management Systems (TMS), these technologies streamline the entire translation process, making it move much faster. They include simple processes for submitting original content to a language vendor, ways to shepherd the work through the translation, editing and testing phases smoothly and without delay, and methods for preparing translated work for final presentation back to the original content holder.
Vendor management technologies
Often converging with project management and workflow technologies, vendor management tools make it easier to qualify translators, assign work and pay vendors.
With a broad array of technologies now available to help with translation – each providing an elegant “island of efficiency”, it is becoming more common to connect these various solutions together in seamless, end-to-end networks. Once integrated, the “content translation lifecycle” can approach near total automation - providing tremendous scalability, reliability and security. Connectivity platform products are now available to connect all types of disparate systems together, most typically a CMS to a TMS or an MT Server, automating the flow and routing of content between the various systems.