Localization, Localisation

Practical and concise answers to common questions in G11N, I18N and L10N

Posts Tagged ‘Translation’

Wordfast Pro 3.1: Solid Contender

Posted by Nick Peris on April 16, 2013

The Wordfast Editor

Wordfast 3.1.5

The translators network ProZ.com recently published an article about the use of CAT tools in the industry. It was based on a survey they ran within their community and which received over 3,000 responses.

Apart from the perennial dominance of Trados which about 75% use in some shape or form, 3 facts caught my attention.

First, the translators’ preference: while 43% said Trados is the CAT tool they use the most, only 36% cited it as their favourite tool. Compared to this Wordfast, second in line in this survey, showed the same proportion of primary users and supporters. memoQ seems even more popular with substantially more people citing it as their favourite than actually use it as their primary tool.

The second point was the real deciding factor in the choice of CAT tool: the main driver, listed by over 45% of respondents was customer requirements, with market research second at about 36%. Pricing was at the bottom of the list.

It seems fair to conclude already that translators often use the CAT tool they have to, rather than the CAT tool they choose to. There are several reasons for this:

  • Translators usually work with handoffs or translation kits which have been prepared for them by their clients. When they don’t start from the raw source documents, they have a more limited choice in the translation technology.
  • They also quite commonly download packages from Translation Management Systems, and are tied into the CAT tools supported by the workflow.
  • Finally in some cases they are forced by business requirements to the technology of the LSP they are affiliated to.

The third and last point I took away from reading the ProZ.com post was that Wordfast and memoQ are the most common CAT tools after Trados. We have talked about Trados many times in these pages, and have covered memoQ on several occasions as well. However Wordfast which is also in the Top 3 of our own never-ending Poll in the right sidebar, was never yet covered on Localization, Localisation.

This article will begin to remedy that.

EditionsWordfast 3

There are 4 separate versions in the Wordfast offering:

  1. Wordfast Anywhere: a web-based CAT tools with Translation Memory, Glossary and Machine Translation functionality. It is available free-of-charge for translators.
  2. Wordfast Classic: a well-established, Microsoft Word-based translation tool. For readers more familiar with Trados, this is the equivalent to using Workbench in Word instead of translating in TagEditor.
  3. Wordfast Server: an enterprise Translation Memory server compatible with the other 3 Wordfast applications.
  4. Wordfast Pro: the professional, full-featured CAT tool, flagship of the Wordfast family. One of its main attributes is the extensive platform compatibility: it supports Mac OS and Linux as well as the Windows.

Wordfast Pro is the application I will talk about in the rest of this post.

Wordfast Install Wizard - Component Selection

Installation

The latest version of Wordfast Pro (3.1.5 at the time of writing) is available for download from their website. The trial version has no feature limitation other than a 500 Translation Units cap in the TM.

The installation itself is very fast and requires minimal user input. There is one screen in the wizard which lets you select optional components like the Aligner or PDF Support and choose the Hunspell spell checker languages to install. Wordfast can also use the Microsoft Office spell checker dictionaries if they are installed.

On my Windows system, the whole installation process took about 2 minutes.

Getting started

Once that’s done, you can immediately get started with your first translation by following these steps:

  1. Create a Project (File – Create Project…)
  2. Set the source and target language (only 1 language pair per Project)Wordfast Preferences - Create TM
  3. Click OK
  4. The Preferences dialog opens
  5. Under General – Translation Memory – TM List
  6. Click Create TM
  7. Enter a location, file name, language pair and click OK
  8. To add a Glossary, go to General – Terminology – Glossary List
  9. Click Create Glossary
  10. Enter a location, file name, language pair and click OK
  11. In the Active column of the TM and Glossary lists, select the TM or TM’s to use. The language pair of the TM and Glossary must match those of the Project.
  12. If you have multiple Active TM’s and/or Glossary set the order of priority in the corresponding Priority tableWordfast Preferences - Glossary Language Match
  13. When ready, click OK to close the Preferences dialog. You can access and edit these options and others (see details later in this article) at any point by clicking Edit – Preferences
  14. Open the document to translate by pressing CTRL + O and browsing to its location.
  15. The document is immediately converted to a bilingual format (.txml) and displayed in a familiar segmented, 2-columns table

You are now ready to start translating. Type your translations in the target column for each of the segments. If your TM already contains matches, the best way to proceed is to use the Translate until Fuzzy button (CTRL + Alt + F) to move from segment to segment.

Wordfast - Translate Until Fuzzy

With the translation completed, save your Project (CTRL + S) and generate your translated file (CTRL + ALT + S).

To add your translations to the primary TM, select Commit all segments to TM (CTRL + ALT + END) from the Translation Memory menu.

Advanced Options

Wordfast offers a wide choice of features to enhance translators productivity and improve translation quality and consistency.

Wordfast - Filtered Preferences

Most of these options can be accessed by clicking one of the icons in the Tool bar and can be configured from the Preferences dialog (Edit > Preferences). This dialog box and some of its views have a very practical filter text box which lets you hide any feature setting you are not currently interested in.

For example, to see the quality control settings, simply type Transcheck in the type filter text field and press Enter. All other Preferences will be hidden from view and you will be able to access the Transcheck options without having browse to them (see Screencap).

Some of the most useful UI options available are the configurable keyboard shortcuts found under General > Keys. The optional software Automatic updates are also a neat, non-intrusive way of making those available.

But the real powerful stuff can be found in the Translation folder of the Preferences:

  1. Auto-propagation copies your new translation to any duplicates within the project. This can be fine-tuned to apply only to certain segment types.
  2. Auto-suggest, not to be confused with the previous feature, works much like predictive text in mobile phones. Some like to use it, some don’t. Of course it can be switched on or off.
  3. Filters list all supported file types. File filters can be duplicated to contain variations of their settings. This works fine, but the way to add support for new file types is not as easy as in other systems.

    Wordfast - Auto-propagation

    Auto-propagation settings

  4. Machine Translation is one of the highlights. Wordfast can be connected to an existing Google Translate account, Microsoft Translate account, to Worldlingo or to all at once. MT can then be used to provide suggestions when no TM match is found.
  5. Terminology supports sequencing, blacklists and even automatic fuzzy term recognition. The supported Glossary formats are Tab-delimited (.txt) and TBX.
  6. Transcheck is Wordfast’s automatic quality control tool. It comes with an array of options shown in the screencap above.
  7. Translation Memories also has a vast amount of settings relating to Sequencing Priority, Penalties, TM Update behaviors etc. By default Wordfast does not pre-populate fuzzy matches, but it can be configured to by editing the minimum threshold. Wordfast TM’s can be exported to a simple txt format or to TMX.
Wordfast - Auto-suggest
Auto-suggest settings

Overall the features available and the amount of flexibility in their configuration is on par with the most modern CAT tools around. The only significant limitation in my opinion is the lack of real-time preview. In order to preview your work  you will need to generate the translated file (CTRL + ALT + S) and open it in its native application. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you’ve been using a CAT tool which does have real-time preview you won’t want to give it up.

A Different Perspective

Apart from the TXML Editor we’ve been looking at until now, Wordfast a different has view called the PM perspective.

This can be opened by clicking the PM perspective icon below the File menu, and gives access to a number of batch activities useful for pre and post-production.

  • Analyze can be used to calculate the leveraging of file sets against Translation Memories and output reports.
  • Clean-up generates target files, updates TMs, passes on Attributes and reports on the results.
  • Pseudotranslation is a good pre-production tool used to test the  content exposed to translation before a project goes to translation.
  • Split/merge divides big projects into smaller, more manageable pieces according to the number of Translation Units or words found in TXMLs.
  • Bilingual export lets you export and reimport the bilingual file into a Word document (with optional track changes), so linguistic review can be performed by Subject Matter Experts in MS Word and automatically incorporated back into the TXML by the language team.
  • Show/Hide 100% lets the pre-production team exclude 100% matches from the handoff.
  • Transcheck creates QA reports based on the same options available in the TXML Editor.
  • Swap Source/Target does just that.

The user interface here is easy to get used but maybe a bit outdated. The shortcuts to Preferences in each screen are a good idea and the Bilingual Export sounds very practical.

Wordfast - PM perspective

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Surveys, Wordfast | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

WorldServer v. SDL TMS

Posted by Nick Peris on March 20, 2012

Designing Workflows in WorldServerSDL recently made a statement via the SDL Users Group on LinkedIn updating and clarifying their strategy for their 2 competing Workflow Management applications, WorldServer and TMS.

Paul Harrap (Enterprise Localization Consultant at SDL) said: “We’ve obviously got several products that fit the same broad product niche in the enterprise TMS space (…) and need to focus on one for future Sales and Marketing to avoid a confusing message to the marketplace. That is World Server.” more

Tim Lee (Director of Product Management at SDL) added: “(…) As the person responsible for product management of SDL TMS and SDL WorldServer, please let me start by confirming that SDL continues to be committed to both TMS and WorldServer with dedicated teams and roadmaps for each product respectively.more

The overall message is that WorldServer is now the flagship product, but support and development will continue for both products until at least 2013. This may be seen as a change in direction compared to what was originally stated when SDL acquired Idiom in 2008, and the priority seemed to be given to TMS. However, SDL commits to a Service Pack 3 for TMS 2011 and at least one new major release, tentatively called SDL TMS 2013.

Giving priority to WorldServer is in my opinion the correct choice, but this still seems like a non-fully committed announcement, and we could easily see another adjustment by 2013 or later. Having first hand experience using and managing both applications, I want to take this opportunity to share with you what I think are the main strengths and weaknesses of each system, and why my personal preference goes to WorldServer.Designing Workflows in TMS

Designing Workflows

WorldServer is the clear winner in this category. It has a very intuitive, flexible and powerful graphic workflow designer. TMS really only offers lists of entries to pick from, and I find the Workflow/Configuration distinction inefficient.

WorldServer workflows can go back and forth, but also loop and go through parallel Steps. It can skip Steps, or offer multiple transitions in and out of every Step. The transitions are represented as radio buttons when a user completes the Step. In TMS, one can only Submit a Task to the next Stage or Reject it back to the previous one.

You can also add your own custom Human Steps and Automatic Actions (through Java script imports) to WorldServer’s catalog (more about customisations in the next section). Even the Task History shown within projects is much clearer, with a graphic representation of the full workflow, with current Step visually highlighted, as well as a list of past Steps with owners, time stamps and global comments included.

Customising FunctionalitiesCustomisations in WorldServer

This is another of WorldServer’s core strengths, thanks to the immense flexibility of its design. Custom automation can be created using the SDK and is relatively easy to add. Even easier are the “LSP pages”: jsp files dropped into the WorldServer installation folder structure let you add custom dashboards for project overview or even some batch processing (e.g. push all languages within a Project Group from a given Workflow Step through a predetermined transition)

User permissions in WorldServer can seem confusing at first, but once the Administrator gets familiar with them, the possibilities are limitless. Each users’ privileges are defined through a set of parameters. All of these are fully customisable, meaning that you can not only adjust their settings but also create entirely new categories.

  • User Types define the general rights: project view or edit access, TM and TD read or write access, possibility to edit offline, import export etc.
  • Workflow Roles: define who is assigned specific Steps in a Workflow, in conjunction with the Locales. This may be set for specific users or entire Workgroups.
  • Workgroups list users of all types, locales and roles assigned to a Program, Customer or Project Type
  • Project Types are presets used during project creation to automate the linking to TMs, TDs, Filter groups, Workgroups, Cost Models etc.
  • Clients determine access to the Transport Portal for project submission or quote requests by third-party users.

All this potential for customisation can mean time-consuming setup. Thankfully by exporting and importing WorldServer Objects settings can easily be copied from a test to a production environment. Items can be backed up for recovery or roll-back, either in batches (e.g. all settings for a certain customer) or individually. For instance, you could export a whole workflow as an xml file, rename it and reimport it to quickly create a variant of it.

Filters are also much better in WorldServer than TMS. While in TMS Filters are SDLX-based and only some can be customised,  in WorldServer they can be imported from a number of CAT tools (Trados ini, xsd, dtd, raw xml). All Filters can be edited from the WorldServer UI, they can be teamed up in Filter Groups and linked to Project types. WorldServer Projects use the out-of-the-box filters unless the Project Type is linked to a custom filter for the given File Type.

But WorldServer filters are not perfect in every way: I have experienced problems with certain rtf files, json files, even xlsx (in relation to repetitions) in WorldServer 2009. Still few tools can filter xml and resx files as precisely as WorldServer: the content of one tag can be set to be exposed to translation or not depending on the value of another tag’s attribute. There are even desktop CAT tools which can’t do that!

User Interface FeaturesDesigning Workflows in TMS

Here TMS has a few unique features that its users would probably miss if they migrated to WorldServer. For example, Project Managers can impersonate other users to check the content of their Inbox, or even submit Tasks on their behalf if they were unable to do so themselves. This is much faster than logging as those users every time. TMS also lets translators upload multiple deliveries within the same zip file. The version control is smart enough that you do not need to open the project for which you are submitting a delivery. Another interesting out-of-the-box feature of TMS is the QA Check which can be set to run automatically to prevent submission to the next Stage if for example there are untranslated segments or Terminology inconsistencies. The QA Check can be overridden by users if needed, but it is a useful automation.

Overall though, I find the .NET Framework-based UI is a lot more rigid and prone to screen freezes than WorldServer’s Browser-based UI. The latter is more friendly and requires less training and user support because it mostly works like any website. That said, it is also one of the downfalls of WorldServer: the browser support is not always keeping up, particularly with Firefox. Since browsers are often set to auto-update, this is a problem. Browser-specific issues can be difficult to troubleshoot. Getting a hotfix from SDL for them has proved impossible.

For linguists working online WorldServer’s Browser Workbench has an edge over the outdated TMS Translation interface. Again it benefits from being browser-based which makes it more intuitive and versatile. User support is much lighter with WorldServer than TMS.

CAT Tools Compatibility and Offline EditingTM Searches and Maintenance in TMS

Things are a little more complicated when it comes to working offline, which is the most common scenario. Both tools have removed support for TTX (i.e. Trados 2007) in their 2011 releases. This is part of the push for linguists to migrate to Trados Studio. TMS relies on ITD’s for work in SDLX which is also very outdated. Both tools support downloads for Trados Studio. Up until WorldServer 2009, the “free” tool Desktop Workbench was available and quite full-featured. In WorldServer 2011, it is only compatible with projects using legacy (i.e. Idiom) file Filters and not the new Studio File Types, which require Trados Studio. Even worse, Desktop Workbench is about to reach end-of-life. In short, whichever Workflow system you are using, SDL are actively pushing for linguists to use a version of Trados Studio, whether it is the full desktop tool, Studio Online for TMS or Studio Express for WorldServer 2011. None of these are free.

Translation Memory and Terminology ManagementTM Searches and Maintenance in WorldServer

This is an area where I’ve always had concerns about TMS.

WorldServer still benefits from a more CAT Tool-agnostic approach dating from the IDIOM era. It can be used as a full-fledged Translation Memories and Terminology Repository and Portal. Through User Types and Workgroups, access to the Tools tab can be precisely managed. Users can view selected individual or Groups of Linguistic Assets, and the Administrator can easily turn Editing, Exporting, Importing, Purging, on and off for either Linguistic asset types. Term-based workflows can even be created so the Terminology approval process can be managed exactly like any other WorldServer Project.

For offline work, TMS relies on scheduled TM exports. These are usually weekly occurrences; exports are made available through a dedicated page in TMS, which unfortunately is quite difficult to search through when there are several pages of TMs. I observed and heard of several cases where the export stopped working, often after a Service Pack upgrade, so not only is this impractical it is also unreliable. By opposition WorldServer has none of these issues and all the solutions: any user with the right permissions can export and import a TM or TM Group at any time. TMX exports can also be scheduled to process automatically, as often as every 15 minutes if you so wish. I’ve only seen this process fail once, and I must admit it was my own fault…TM Sequencing in TMS

TM sequencing can be setup in both systems. TMS is the only one to allow the updating of multiple TMs. But WorldServer has a more sophisticated leveraging algorithm, cycling through all the TMs in the Groups for each fuzzy band, including ICE (in-context) Matches and reverse leveraging.

IT and infrastructure

TMS earns a few more points here: for example LDAP support makes User ID Management more flexible. It also appears less complicated to install because WorldServer has so many separate components.TM Sequencing in WorldServer

However WorldServer is immensely more scalable. The database architecture is well thought-out and individual components can be separated into clusters, which has advantages for troubleshooting and reliability.

Posted in CAT Tools Comparison, SDL WorldServer, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

memoQ roadshow – Dublin 2012

Posted by Nick Peris on January 30, 2012

Kilgray Translation TechnologiesKilgray Translation Technologies started 2012 with their first visit to Ireland. The Localisation community here gathered in respectable numbers to greet the makers of memoQ at the Hilton Hotel, Dublin 2, Ireland on Jan. 25.

Peter Reynolds, Executive Director, spoke about the history and vision for Kilgray as a company. István Lengyel, COO, presented memoQ and lead an inspiring audience-driven workshop in the afternoon.

There were also two case studies by Martin Beuster from con[text] and Jonathan Young of PopCap Games.

Who are Kilgray?

Kilgray Translation Technologies was founded and is still owned by three passionate Localisation professionals. From 2004 to 2007, they concentrated mainly on developing the technology. Thanks to financial support by local grants, they were able to treat memoQ almost as a pet project while they were readying themselves for battle on the international markets. To some extent this initial dedication to the product remains what attracts a lot of their customers and justifies their Support and Developers’ enviable reputation.

In the next 2 to 3 years, they started developing a more purposeful business strategy. They increased brand awareness, first in Germany, then throughout Europe and beyond. Since 2010, they have established a strong customer base, whose feedback is one of the main influences on their technological and strategic directions.

Kilgray’s portfoliomemoQ 5.0 User Interface

memoQ

memoQ 5.0 added version tracking (for source update management), change tracking, Term extraction (built on MT technology, customisable), Cascading filters , and some Source content connectors (file management tools, CMS etc.)

More recently added:

  • terminal server support
  • regex based text filter
  • Asia online MT integration (chosen for being less industry-specific than Google’s MT)
  • pseudo-translation

qTerm

qTerm is a dedicated Terminology Management System which can be seamlessly integrated with memoQ or used in conjunction with other CAT tools. TBX compatible, it offers a Portal and quality control.

memoQ WebTrans

WebTrans is a browser-based version of memoQ which allows Translators to use it without having to install it. Released only with memoQ 5.0, it offers full functionality including the exact same User Interface, keyboard shortcuts, Concordance tool etc. as the desktop version of memoQ.

TM repository

TM repository is a CAT tool-independent, SQL-based appplication which offers a solution to many of the common problems linked with hosting and managing ever-growing amounts of Linguistic Assets.

Where to now?

memoQ is currently undergoing a springtime clean-up. Kilgray call it refactoring, which essentially means they are going through all the various pieces of code that were added over the years, and looking for ways to streamline and increase its efficiency without actually changing any of the existing functionality. This is apparently necessary to allow memoQ to meet the demands of customers with much bigger project size, although memoQ has been proven to work fine with multimillion words projects.

This reaffirms Kilgray’s dedication to the quality of their flagship product, and their ambition to ensure it fulfills its potential in terms of stability, performance and integration.

the memoQ server demo

Content-connected projects

Content connection is used to monitor a location (FTP, Subversion, CMS etc.).  Armed with the required Content Connector License, the Project Manager or Engineer can program memoQ and automate certain Project creation behavior when new source files are detected.

Key Project Settings:

  1. Push connection is supported but if the Service Provider or CMS doesn’t, a Pull connection can be used
  2. LiveDocs let you work from unaligned single language documents in addition to regular TM’s. It also enables Live alignment (more details below).
  3. All versions of the source are automatically saved to allow Roll-back and Diff analysis. Any new version is automatically pushed to a running Project
  4. Target files are automatically generated on completion of the translation.

    Screenshot 1: memoQ Create View - Status tab

    Screenshot 1: memoQ Create View - Status tab

LiveDocs

LiveDocs are a type of Reference, which can be used to create a corpus of material from aligned or unaligned documents.

The advantage of LiveDocs over TM is they make leveraging easier to control and generate no Maintenance cost. There is no overhead for Global TM changes when for example a Term is changed. All work is done on the content that will actually be used.

By opposition, the advantage of TMs is that they are lighter on resources because little or no formatting is stored.

The File Filter supports: Java Properties, RESX, Office 2007 and before, OpenOffice and SDLXLIFF (except Status information), InDesign INX, Star Transit, WorldServer XLZ packages etc.

File preview is available for doc, Excel, PPT, html and xml (with or without XSLT).

Here is how to create a Project using LiveDocs:

  1. Create Project
  2. Tick Record Version History for Translation Documents (may slow down on bigger projects)
  3. Add files
  4. Previews get created
  5. Tick Use context
  6. Setup Termbase (if on a server it can be moderated: all users suggest, Terminologists approve)
  7. Create new LiveDocs corpus (i.e. file location)
  8. Add Alignment pair

The Audience-driven Project creation demo

The last time I attended a conference on Translation Technology I was asked if I had any suggestion to improve the way they are run. I suggested less marketing slides and more interactive demo. The workshop ran by István Lengyel that afternoon delivered just that!

  1. Create a new project
  2. Click Add Document as (to edit Import settings)
  3. Select a Filter for relevant File Type (Excel filter can exclude text-based on cell ranges, but not colour)
  4. Context matches (101%) are based on segment before and after, as well as context ID for structured files
  5. Filter configurations can be saved for re-use, including a set of 2 cascading filters
  6. Run QA is found in the Operations menu
  7. Run Regex Tagger is in the Format menu
  8. Use Create View to:
    1. Glue/Split file
    2. Extract Repetitions (Advanced – Minimum frequency = 1, untick Keep Duplicates to create a Repetitions file for Translation)
    3. Filter certain rows depending on their content
    4. Once created, Views can be used exactly like actual documents (see screenshot 1)

The icons in the memoQ UI help identify segments which have been populated using Search and Replace (red dot in a Search icon), or  Auto-Propagated (green down arrow). These criteria can also be used to filter the segments displayed.

Projects can be linked to a forum for participants to interact using IM through the memoQ interface). Email notifications are also available and the Online Project Management module has complete audit trail, to the point of tracking who reassigned users.

Bilingual filesScreenshot 2: memoQ RTF for Review

Bilingual files can be exported from memoQ in the following formats:

  • .mbd binary (for memoQ only)
  • XLIFF offer wider compatibility. Although they are bigger in size, a compressed version is available
  • Trados doc files
  • Multicolumns RTFs can be used by reviewers to work offline. There comments can be added to the project on re-import.

Workflows

There are 5 types in memoQ:

  1. Package based (offline)
  2. Bilingual document
  3. Online Project 1 (requires memoQ server) with server document
  4. Online Project 2 (requires memoQ server) with desktop document
  5. Online Project 3 (requires memoQ server) with web-based interface (translators can either work online or offline)

Related Links:

  • Check out Kilgray on VIMEO:

http://vimeo.com/search/videos/search:kilgray/st/d7dca8eb

  • Kilgray Articles on Localization, Localisation:

memoQ 5.0: Mr. Q Brings Change Management to the Localisation Continuum

Kilgray TM repository: a New Home for Translation Memories

Posted in Kilgray | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Value of Professional Linguistic Review

Posted by Nick Peris on December 19, 2011

Basic Translation and Review Workflow

All Translators I know are consummate professionals, who take great pride in the quality of their work. They are well-used to using various sources of reference material to ensure they meet the expectations of their customers, and they systematically proof read their work before delivery. Most of them use CAT tools, which allow them to maximise consistency and partly automate quality control.

Translation agencies and Language Service Providers all offer what is known as TEP, Translating, Editing and Proofreading, as their most basic level of service. TEP provides a systematic Quality Assurance process, often involving several linguists with various levels of seniority.

And yet independent linguistic review services are one of the most dynamic sectors in our industry. This article explains why it is so successful and what you should take into consideration if you are ready to take this particular plunge.

Scalability

I am not always a strong supporter of outsourcing, but in the case of linguistic review there are compelling arguments in its favour.

Let’s first ask ourselves, who typically are the in-house reviewers? Two of the most common categories are linguists on one hand, and in-country Marketing and Brand staff on the other. It can be difficult for a company which purchases translation services to keep dedicated linguists in full-time employment. Product releases are often seasonal, or at least vary in pace from one month to the next, and the associated translation requirements follow the development cycles. By opposition, it may be difficult for in-country staff who are not linguists to commit to Localisation schedules. Review is a secondary task for them and they cannot drop everything else when review activity peaks. Moreover, they are unlikely to have the tools and skills a professional linguist employs.

A third-party linguistic review partner can provide the best of both worlds:

Translation, Linguistic and SME Review Workflow

  • in-country linguists who will become familiar with your international and local brand identity,
  • dedicated resources who can develop expertise based on your existing content
  • flexible workload to meet your peaks in translation activity
  • staff working on multiple accounts so they are easily redeployed when you do not need them full-time.

Sectors like the Life Science or the heavy vehicle industries also even require SME’s (Subject Matter Expert) as an alternative or even additional Review step to ensure your translations are not only of the highest quality in linguistic terms, but technically and legally accurate.

Error categorisation

Professional review services use customisable error categorisation. Often based on the LISA model, they are used to classify errors and better decide corrective and preventative actions.

Here are a few examples of categories and possible actions:

  • Terminology
    • Ensure Glossaries are used
    • Review the Terminology maintenance process (new Terms should be proposed continuously, approved periodically)
    • Root out the use of local copies by providing a Portal
    • Use a tool to automate Terminology checks
  • Style
    • Ensure Style guides are used
    • Review Style guides periodically (once or twice a year)
    • Root out the use of local copies by providing a Portal
    • Put in place a system to advertise Style guide updates
  • Consistency
    • Provide access to Global TMs for Concordance search
    • Provide a searchable linguistic query management tool (please see section on Query Management below)
    • Encourage communications between linguists during the translation process
  • Accuracy
    • Agree on a linguistic references
    • Improve translators proofreading process
    • Use tools to automate grammar or spell checks

Error Ratings

Measuring quality requires clearly defined and pre-agreed criteria, independence of the rator and historic data analysis so judgments can be made according to trends and not just levels.

Like for categorisation, error rating is often based on industry standard classifications like the LISA QA Model. The reviewer inputs the rating for each error found. This is mostly reported using QA report spread sheets but can also be fully integrated in Workflow technology such as WorldServer or SDL TMS. Each rating is associated with a number of points which is often deducted from a starting score of 100%.

A score can then be calculated for a project, job or sample. A Pass/Fail rate can even be decided in advance, with the Fails prompting for different levels of corrective actions, especially if they are repeated.

Reviewer Implemention WorkflowCorrective actions

Implementation may be the responsibility of the Translator or the Reviewer. Letting the Translators implement the changes, ensures they are aware of every change recommended by the Reviewer. On another hand, allowing the Reviewer to implement their own changes speeds up the overall process because the translation does not have to “change hands” again before it is delivered.

Whatever the choice is, a solid arbitration process must be in place. Translators must have an opportunity to discuss the Reviewer’s recommendations but it is advisable to set in advance the number of times this feedback loop is allowed to happen on a particular project, or the schedule will be affected by excessive discussions.

In the case of repeated concerns with one language or one set of Translators an escalation of the corrective actions may be needed. This may take the shape of closer collaboration between Translators and Reviewers, detailed training and improvement plans. Change in personnel or similar sanctions can occur as a last resort.

The proactive approach

Reviewers can bring a great amount of value to a translation process by taking part during the translation process rather than only afterwards. Think of it a prevention instead of cure.

Query Management

An efficient Query process promotes communication between Reviewers and Translators, and enables the Translators to consult with the Reviewer during the translation process. The aim is to avoid their having to make decisions which may or may not be approved during Review. The challenge in setting this up is that the Reviewer’s work becomes more difficult to measure and price. However, the use of a Query database should allow linguists to research previously answered Queries and compensate Reviewers based on the number of Queries answered.Integrated Query Management and Sampling Workflow

A slightly different process needs to be setup for Source Queries. Answering those questions about the source text, may be an area where your in-country Brand and Marketing staff as well as content creators and other stakeholders remain involved with the Translation supply chain. Ideally this should happen through the same Query database as Linguistic Queries.

Linguistic Asset Management

Reviewers may also be the ideal people to have the responsibility for maintaining Linguistic Assets such as Glossaries, Translation Memories or Style guides.

While Translators are the first linguists to get exposed to new content, the Reviewers should have a more global overview of your content, particularly if you use more than one LSP. A suggestion process is required for Translators to request new Terminology, Global changes in legacy translations or standardisation through Style guide updates. But the Reviewers are likely to be the only ones who can coordinate feedback from multiple sources. Professional Reviewers are experienced Translators and they often double-up as Terminologists.

For this to be succesful, it is essential to have a central repository where all involved can access the latest version of each piece of reference material at any time. This can be a Translation Management System or a separate repository like SharePoint, eRoom etc. It should prevent the use of local copies as much as possible, and an email notification system can be used to advertise updates at least for the more stable elements like the Style guides.

The update process may also need to be scheduled with clear cut-off and update publication dates if failure to comply results in errors  measurable during Review.

Cost effectiveness

Reviewers are usually experienced Translators and the hourly cost of a Reviewer can be substantially higher than that of a Translator.

This is easily offset by the value they bring if the process is setup correctly, even if you don’t move from a setup where review was done by in-house staff.

Professional review will lower the volume and therefore cost of error fixing. It will increase the quality and consistency of your content, and reenforce in-country brand integrity.

In more mature translation chains, the ratings are sometimes used to target languages where full review is required versus those where sampling might be enough because quality has been observed to be consistently high. In such cases, the make-up of the Reviewers role should transition to less review work and more production support activity through Query and Asset Management.

Posted in Linguistic Review, Quality Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Rookie Story: Where to Start with Localisation Management?

Posted by Nick Peris on October 11, 2011

Congratulations! You aced that interview a few weeks ago, and this morning you strolled into the office with a spring in your step! You had the HR induction and were introduced to your new colleagues. Now you’re logging onto the network, the company handbook reassuringly lying on the corner of your desk, or saved on your desktop.

Time to get started! The Company hired you to bring under control this thing almost mysteriously referred to as “Translations”. Your objectives are simple: reduce cost and improve quality. You are their first ever Localisation Manager, and you know the keys to your success will be the   standardisation and centralisation of all Localisation activities.

So what do you need to consider from a technical and organisational point of view?Flags, Nations, People

Getting to Know your Internal Customers

If there have been Translations in your Organisation, there are existing processes and linguistic assets you should be able to build on. You need to quickly learn about them by focussing on:

  1. Who are your allies? Each Department, Local Office etc. probably has at least one “Translation person”. Find out who they are and what they have been doing. Determine whether they will remain involved once you’ve established the new structure, or if they expect to be relieved of Localisation duties. All going well, you may be able to enroll some of them in an inter-departmental Localisation team, even if it’s only a virtual team.
  2. What is the inventory of current processes? Meet the current owners and document everything. No need for anything fancy since you are going to change these processes, but you need to have it all down so that when the inventory is finished you have an accurate and complete picture.
  3. What are the points common to all? Which of those processes work well and which don’t? The successful ones will be the building blocks for your future world.
  4. What are the specificities of each one? Which are worth keeping? Can they be used by other parts of the Organisation? Do they need to remain specific? Your new processes will need to achieve a balance between harmonisation and flexibility.
  5. Do any of those existing processes use technology such as CAT Tools, Content Management Systems, Translation Management Systems? If so should they be upscaled and shared across the Organization?
  6. Do any maintain linguistic assets like Glossaries, Style guides, Translation Memories or even just bilingual files which could be used to create TM’s?

Understanding your product lines

You need to understand what you are going to localise thoroughly before you can develop the processes. The question to answer are:

  1. What types of content: marketing, commercial website, Software, Help systems, self-service technical content, user-driven content like blogs etc. all those use very different registers, vocabulary, address etc. Moreover the choices made will differ again from one language to the next. Some content types require high volumes at low cost, such as Support content or product specifications. Some require high quality and creativity like Copywriting and Transcreation and you may even choose not to use TM’s for some of those. Some will be specific to parts of your Organisation while other will be global material. You will need to ensure a consistent Corporate identity across all these, in all languages.
  2. What are the fields: automotive, medical, IT require linguists with different backgrounds and specialisation. Make sure you know all the areas of expertise to cover during Translation and Review. For some you might to add Subject Matter Expert (SME) review to the more common step of Linguistic Review. Review changes will need to be implemented, communicated to Translators, fed into the TM’s, but the process will need to let SME’s take part in the process without having to learn CAT Tools.
  3. From a technical point of view you will also need to work with the content creators to determine the type of files you will receive from them and those they expect to receive back.
  4. Start a war on spread sheets as soon as possible. You probably won’t win it but the more you root out, the better. Teach your customers to understand how parsing rules protect their code by exposing only Localisable content during translation. Promote Localisation awareness during Development and Content creation. Document best practices such as avoiding hard-coded strings, providing enough space in the UI to accommodate the fact that some translations will be up to 30% longer than source text, at least if that is English.
  5. Your aim should be:
    • to receive files that can go straight to Translation with minimum pre-processing
    • to deliver files that your customers can drop into their build or repository for immediate use.
  6. No one should be doing any copy-paste engineering, manual renaming or file conversion.

Designing your Workflows

This can start with a pen and paper, a white board or whatever helps you think quicker, but it should end with a flowchart or set of flowcharts describing the process you’re setting up.

  1. Collaborate with your internal customers. You need to agree a signoff process, and avoid multiple source updates during or after the Translation process.
  2. Enumerate all the stages required and determine the following:
    • How many workflows do you need to describe all scenarios? Try to find the right balance: fewer workflows ensures efficiency, but too few workflows will lead participants to implement their own sub-processes to achieve their goals and you will lose control and visibility.
    • What stages do you need? The most common are:
      1. Pre-processing
      2. Translation
      3. Linguistic Review
      4. Post-Processing
      5. Visual QA
  3. Who are the owners of each step? Are they internal or external (i.e. colleagues or service providers)? How will you monitor progress and status? How will you pay?
  4. Is there a feedback loop and approval attached to certain steps? Will they prevent the workflow from advancing if certain criteria are not adhered to? Is there a limit to the number of iteration for certain loops?
  5. What automation can be put in place to remove human errors, bottle necks and “middle men” handling transactions.

Choosing your Vendors

Once you’ve determined which of your workflow steps need to be outsourced, you will need to select your providers. Linguistic vendors will likely be your most important choice.

Translation

In-house translators are a luxury rarely afforded. When choosing Translation vendors, first decide between Freelancers and Language Service Providers (LSP). Managing a pool of Translators is a job in itself, so most will hire the services of an LSP which will also be able to provide relief in terms of Project Management, Technology changes, Staff fluctuations depending on activity or holiday periods etc.. Having more than one LSP can be good strategic choice: it gives you more flexibility with scheduling and pricing. You can specialise your vendors according to content, region or strength. A certain amount of overlap is necessary for you to be able to compare their performance and benefit from a bit of healthy competition.

Linguistic review

Whichever setup you have for Translation, you will need linguistic review in order to ensure the integrity of the message is kept in the target languages. You will also need to ensure consistency between Translators or Agencies, check Terminology, maintain TM’s and Style guides.

Marketing and Local Sales Offices often get involved with that. However using internal staff removes them from their core tasks, unless you are lucky to have dedicated Reviewers. More than likely in-country colleagues will find it difficult to keep up with the volume and fluctuations of the Review work and ultimately will prove an unreliable resource. The solution is to hire the services of professional Reviewers. Many LSPs provide such services.  Some ask their competing providers to review each other, but that often results in counter productive arguments. A third-party dedicated review vendor will be the best to enforce consistency, accurately measure quality, maintain linguistic assets, and even manage translator queries on your behalf.

Selecting Technology

Translation Memory technology is a must. Which one you go for may be determined or influenced by existing internal processes, particularly if there are linguistic assets (TM’s and Glossaries) in proprietary formats. Your vendors may also have a preferred technology or even propose to use their own. If you go down that road, make sure you own the linguistic assets. The file format is another choice that needs to be made carefully from the start. Open source formats may save you from being locked into one technology. However technology vendors often develop better functionalities for their proprietary formats. It can be a trade-off between productivity and compatibility.

The good news is that conversion between formats is almost always possible. This means migration between technologies is possible, but avoid including conversion as a routine part of the process. Even if it’s automated, having to routinely output TM in several formats for example, will introduce inefficiencies and increased user support requirements.

Translation Management Systems have become so common, some think they are on the way out. You will at the very least, need a Portal to support file transactions, and share your linguistic assets with all the participants in your supply chain. Emails, preferably automatic notifications, should be used to support the transactions, but they should be avoided when it comes to file swapping. FTP is a common option, easy to set up, learn and cheap to run, but it can soon turn into a mess and gives you zero Project Management visibility. In order to achieve efficient status monitoring, resource pooling and any type of automation, you should consider a Translation Management System.

Whether you go for the big guns like WorldServer or SDL TMS, or for something more agile like XTRF TMS, you will reduce the amount of bottle necks in your process: handoffs will go straight from one participant to the next. The Project Managers will still have visibility, but no one will have to wait on them to pass on the handoff before they get started. TM’s will be updated in real-time and new content will become re-usable immediately.

A few things to look out for in your selection:

  1. Less click = shorter kickoff time. Setting up Projects in a TMS is an investment. It is always going to be longer then dumping files on an FTP and emailing people to go get them if you look at an isolated Project. As soon as you start looking at a stream of Projects TMS makes complete sense. Still, a TMS’s worst enemy is how many clicks it needs to get going.
  2. Scalability: you need the ability to start small and deploy further, without worrying about licenses or bandwidth.
  3. Workflow designer: demand a visual interface, easy to customise which can be edited without having to hire the services of the technology provider. Don’t settle for anything that will leave out at the mercy of the landlord.
  4. Hosting: weigh your options carefully here again. In-house is good if you have the infrastructure and IT staff. But letting the Technology provider host the product may a more reliable option. This is their business after all, maybe you don’t need to reinvent the wheel on that one.
  5. User support: the cost and responsiveness of the Support service is essential. No matter how skillful you and your team are, once you deploy a TMS to dozens of individual linguists there will be a non-negligeable demand for training and support. Make sure this is provided for before it happens.

Once you’ve made all these decisions, you will be in good shape to start building and efficient Localisation process. Last but not least, don’t forget to decide whether to spell Localisation with an “s” or a “z”, and then stick to it! :-)

 

Related articles:

Crowdsourcing in Localisation: Next Step or Major Faux Pas?
Globalization – The importance of thinking globally
SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner
Which comes first, Globalization or Internationalization?
Who’s responsible for Localization in your organization?

 

Posted in Beginner's Guide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

SDL Trados Studio 2011 Preview: Can It Convince Trados 2007 Faithfuls?

Posted by Nick Peris on September 20, 2011

SDL have been drumming up interest for SDL Trados Studio 2011 through the summer. Eventhough the successor to SDL Trados Studio 2009 is announced to release at the end of September, I must admit that I have been slower to turn my attention to it than I was with Studio 2009.

This is in part due to my current occupation which brings me to spend more time using Translation Management Systems than CAT tools. But it is also because SDL Trados Studio 2009 was such an exciting breakthrough: the idea of fully integrating SDLX, Trados and Synergy was a major shift. The technology behind the new Studio file formats (.sdlxliff bilingual files, .sdltm Translation Memories, and .sdltb Term database) was also quite promising. Lastly, the productivity improvements were many thanks to the entirely new xml-based TM engine, which allows multiple TMs look-ups, AutoPropagation™, AutoSuggest™, QuickPlace™, Real-Time Preview etc.

Reading through those posts about SDL Trados Studio 2009 reminds me how attractive it seemed. But there was also a distinct possibility that this substantial innovation would not necessarily cause a mass migration of Trados 2007 users. Budgets were tight due to the worldwide recession. The prospect of migrating entire Localisation production chains seemed like an unnecessary overhead. Users would have to be re-trained, Enterprise and LSP proprietary automation redesigned in order to work with those new file formats. Above all, SDL Trados 2007 was delivering perfectly acceptable services.

Sure enough, two years later, empirical evidence suggests Trados 2007 is alive and well. It is apparent in my daily interaction with Localisation professional around the World. All Trados users are aware of Studio by now, but I’d venture to say all of them still have Trados 2007 installed, and that it probably even remains their SDL tool of choice. Assuming the hits on Localization, Localisation have any statistical value, it is a telling sign that SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner continues to be the most frequently visited post in these pages, 2.5 years after being posted. But then perhaps that’s my own fault, for not making a beginner’s guide to Studio 2009…

So let’s now turn to the future and look at SDL Trados Studio 2011’s prospects. New comers to the CAT tools market will inevitably consider Trados as one of their options; which new features it offers does not matter much. As for existing Studio 2009 users, I doubt any amount of innovation can make them upgrade if they haven’t already a budget or subscription plan which allows for systematic upgrades. The real measure of the impact of Studio 2011 will be whether it can convince the remaining Trados 2007 users.

What does SDL Trados Studio 2011 bring to the table to meet the needs of this demographic?

Some New Features

All the great advances made with Studio 2009 are of course still available, although some of them have matured. The main highlights in terms of novelty are the return of Perfect Match and the focus on productivity during review cycles.

Perfect match 2.0

Perfect Match makes a return to Trados: it existed in Trados 2007 but was absent in Studio until now. It now co-exists with Context Match, and together with Terminology and Sub-Segment leveraging make up the concept of Total Leveraging.

The differences between Perfect and Context Matches are:

  • Perfect Match can run on a batch of files (right-click a bilingual file to pre-translate and select Batch Tasks > Perfect Match) and is good for Project rather than document updates.
  • SDLXLIFF, TTX and ITD are all supported.
  • Context Match runs on successive versions of the same file, file names have to match.
  • They are marked as PM and CM respectively in the resulting bilingual files. Both segment types are locked.

Track changes

Studio 2011 uses a change tracking technology which is fully compatible with Microsoft Word. Thanks to the SDL XLIFF Converter, an SDL Open Exchange add-on now included in Studio, changes and comments made in Trados can be viewed, accepted etc. in Microsoft Word and vice versa.

This makes it easy to collaborate with users who do not have Studio during the review process. Whether they are linguists using other CAT tools or Subject Matter Experts not familiar with any CAT tool, they will all be able to input their feedback using Word.

The versions of Word officially supported are 2007 and 2010; 2003 should work but this is unconfirmed for now. Track Changes can be turned on or off for different parts of the process such as Translation, Review or Signoff under Options > Tools.

Display FiltersSDL Trados Studio 2011 Display Filters

In Trados Studio, segments can be filtered to show only those relevant to the current task. The filters in this list are another way Studio 2011 helps productivity during review, with new options such as Segments with Comments or Segments with Track Changes. These filters can also be applied during export using the SDL XLIFF Converter.

Improved Spell Checkers

Trados Studio 2011 brings the Microsoft Spell Checker back. Hunspell is still available but users can now configure which checker to use for each language. This is to resolve issues present in the Studio 2009 Spell Checkers which were not fully accurate for certain languages, notably Scandinavian ones.

SDL Trados Studio 2011 QA Checker 3QA Checker 3.0

QA Checker 3’s claim to fame is the interactive dialog box which makes reviewing and implementing reported issues a much clearer process. It is reportedly also a first step in longer term plans of adding grammar checks.

Enhanced File Filters

Studio 2011 includes new filters for:

  • OpenOffice, Libre Office, StarOffice and IBM Lotus Symphony.
  • INX and Java properties.
  • improved FrameMaker MIF support.
  • bilingual Word files which can now be edited directly.

Other novelties to discover in Trados Studio 2011 include pseudo-translation, for testing parsing rules and settings before the launch of new Project Types. Character, rather than just wordcount is now also available.

An Evolving Image

Lighter Ownership Experience

First impressions tend to last, and the installation and activation process are a big part of how a new application is experienced by users. In Studio 2011 the installation is made simpler. One single installer enables compatibility with Trados 2007 file formats (.ttx, .itd, TM upgrades and alignment tasks). With TTXit!, freely available on SDL Open Exchange, users should no longer need a copy of Trados 2007 in addition to Studio.

Because the user interface and technology in Studio 2011 are so similar to Studio 2009, no big learning curve is required. Any time and effort invested in learning to use Studio will just give users a head start in being proficient at the new version.

SDL Trados Studio 2011 MultiTerm WidgetStarting a project itself is a simpler process, with only 3 files needed (source, bilingual and TM), and no associated folder structure in the background.

The standalone License Manager has been replaced. Activation is now fully integrated into Studio, and borrowing licenses are supported.

Finally, the SDL Multiterm Widget is being pushed into the limelight. This taskbar tool lets you browse Terminology from external applications like Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint etc. at the touch of a button. It also provides a handy shortcut to searches in Google or Wikipedia and is now included in Trados Studio.

Expanding the Trados Community

Technology webinars have been an SDL strength for a long time now. Call it free education or a carbon-conscious alternative to business trips, they are an efficient way for any technology vendor to showcase their goods.

There are other ways SDL share information about Trados like the Studio 2011 Series on the SDL Blog, or the SDL Trados Youtube channel. SDL are certainly not the only language technology provider to use new media but I think it’s fair to mention their consistent effort to meet their user community and ensure information is widely available.

SDL OpenExchange is also used to promote this spirit of community with Developers (look out for prize competitions!) and has produced a number commercial as well as free Apps which efficiently respond to very specific needs.

The connectivity with SDL’s Enterprise applications is also kept up to date. Studio 2011 can connect to WorldServer or TMS Translation Memories for Concordance just like it would with local TMs. An Express Edition of Studio 2011 will be released for users who need Studio only for WorldServer projects.

Posted in News, SDL Trados Studio 2011 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Offline TM Update Process for SDL TMS

Posted by Nick Peris on July 19, 2011

SDLX Dashboard

While this is as efficient as one could expect, there are cases where “manual” updates of the online TMs must be performed. A Terminology change may have to be implemented globally into legacy TUs. A linguist may be asked to perform an offline clean-up of an overgrown or aging TM, and the resulting file may have to be imported back into the online TM. Audits may be conducted on live content and also require manual edits of the online TMs, etc.

In most cases, these edits will need to be performed by accessing the remote TMs using SDLX rather than SDL TMS 2007.  This is because SDL TMS doesn’t let linguists directly edit TMs, as I previously explained. The present post describes the step-by-step process to update TMs hosted on an SDL TMS 2007 server, using SDLX 2007. It can be used by linguists such as Translators, Reviewers or Language Leads or by Engineers depending on who in the process is in charge of implementing manual edits such as global updates or imports.Adding the SDLX Server Object

Prerequisites:

  1. SDLX 2007 Professional: no access to remote TM Servers is possible for SDLX Light or Freelancer users.
  2. TM Editing rights have to be granted to the users by the SDL TMS Administrator

Process:Opening a TM located on an SDLX Server

  1. Got to Start – All Programs – SDL International – SDL Trados 2007 – SDLX and start SDLX
  2. In the SDLX Dashboard, click Maintain
  3. In SDL Maintain, go to Tools – Options – Advanced – Object Management, click SDLX server and OK. Click OK again to close the SDL Maintain options dialog (this step is only required the first time you connect to an SDLX server)
  4. In SDL Maintain, click TM – Open – SDLX ServerSelecting the SDLX Server
  5. In the Select SDLX Server dialog, click Add and enter your SDL TMS server connection details
  6. Once the connection is established, open the Translation Memories drop down menu and select the TM to edit. Click OK twice to validate your choice and close all dialog boxes.
  7. Once the TM is loaded:
    1. Perform Text Searches by pressing F7 and edit as required (this is faster than using Find)
    2. Or import into the TM by clicking TM- Import
    3. Save and Close the TM when completedAdd SLDX server

Posted in SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

SDL Studio Online 2011: the New Face of TMS

Posted by Nick Peris on July 12, 2011

Hot on the heels of SDL TMS 2011 which was recently reviewed here, SDL Technologies released SDL Studio Online 2011.

In a nutshell, SDL Studio Online 2011 is an optional add-on exclusive to SDL TMS 2011. It is distributed as part of the SDL TMS  2011 Service Pack 1 and upgrades the SDL TMS Translator Interface. While SDL TMS 2011 introduced a new Carbon Theme, its Translator Interface was in fact still a slim version of SDLX 2007. SDL Studio Online 2011 replaces it with an SDL Trados Studio inspired successor.

From a linguist’s point a view this is an important leap forward. Together with the performance improvements promised with the original release of SDL TMS 2011, this could significantly increase the proportion of linguists working online. Translators, and sometimes even Reviewers, have tended to choose to download SDL TMS packages rather than working online. This somewhat defeats the purpose of having an online translation environment with real-time TM and Terminology updates capabilities. Yet it has remained a popular choice mainly for two reasons:

  1. Combined server and user-side performance issues: this should already improve with an upgrade to the original SDL TMS 2011.
  2. Translation Interface too basic compared to desktop CAT tools: this is what this optional SDL TMS 2011 SP1 add-on proposes to address

SDL Studio Online in SDL TMS 2011Studio Online provides a number of tangible improvements over the standard Translation Interface:

  • Improved performance for linguists working online with the more modern interface featuring:
    • Segment-level lookup
    • Concordance lookup
    • Flexible tag display and editing
    • Find and replace functionality across the entire task
    • Integral spell checking with Inline and batch spell checking, multilingual dictionary and correction and user-specific dictionaries.
  • Reduced need for training and support for the growing number of linguists unfamiliar with SDLX
  • Reduced file management overhead thanks to a more attractive online environment
  • Increased proportion of linguists connecting to online linguistic assets rather than working from periodic downloads
  • Licensing and upgrade management owned by the client
  • Support for Microsoft input method editors (IMEs) for typing East Asian characters on non-matching language versions of Office.

Requirements and setup information

Studio Online is a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. It requires Microsoft Silverlight 4 and the latest available Service Pack for Windows. Its upgrade or installation process is guided in Studio Online.

Other requirements are Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, 7.0, or 8.0 and Mozilla Firefox 3.5 or 3.6.

Enabling SDL Studio OnlineStudio Online Licenses have to be purchased in addition to the SDL TMS licenses for a specific number of concurrent users. Once installed and licensed, each user may choose to configure SDL Studio Online as their default editor in SDL TMS by going to Home – My Details – User Preferences and checking the option Use SDL Studio Online (see screenshot). This remains optional, so not all users have to make this choice. Task download for offline work also remains available in any case.

One limitation to note is that SDL Studio Online 2011 does not integrate with the QA Models. If you have made use of the online rating function added since SDL TMS 2007 SP4, you will have to make a choice between that and the new online interface. My inclination would be towards allowing the Translators to use Studio Online to make it more acceptable for them to stay online throughout the translation process. On another hand, Reviewers could continue using the old interface so that they use the QA Model, and so that you save on Studio Online licenses.

Posted in News, SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Kilgray TM repository: a New Home for Translation Memories

Posted by Nick Peris on July 5, 2011

Kilgray TM repositoryAs Kilgray Technologies made memoQ 5.0 Release Candidate available for download right on queue last week, there is another piece of Kilgray news I’d like to share with you.

The lesser-known but aptly named TM repository was launched recently by the makers of memoQ and offers an interesting and fresh approach to Translation Memory server products. This application apparently pre-dates memoQ but wasn’t launched commercially until this year. Since then, Kilgray have been gathering early adopters feedback, which they are planning to include in a version 2 sometime next year.

TM repository is made-up of 3 components: the database, the business logic and the web-based interface. It is built on SQL technology and comes in 2 editions depending on the number of users required.TM repository Importing Sessions

The idea behind any TM server product is to provide a central location where all users in a supply chain can access the same and latest version of Translation Memories. Different Localisation Managers have different TM Strategies which are often dependent on the CAT tools or even the version of the CAT Tools in use by the Assets owner and their LSPs. Important choices have to be made in terms of Maintenance, most of which have to do with how best to archive TMs for re-use. Working from project-specific TMs only gives smaller leveraging power and little version control ability.  Yet it is sometimes the chosen path, simply because it seems more manageable. On another hand building and maintaining Master TMs containing all segments ever translated, or even chunks of them organised by Product lines, Business Units etc. requires a sustained management effort. For instance, when there are terminology updates a linguist should implement global changes by batch editing Translation Units. They may spend time fixing old Translation Units (TUs) which will never be used again. It may also be difficult to find linguists with the skills to directly edit the TMs for all languages. More often than not, Master TMs which are not integrated with a Translation Management System will contain errors, deprecated terms, duplicate TUs with alternative translations etc. and require clean-up. The Project TMs-only route will always underperform in terms of ability to re-use existing translations and ensure consistency, but the Assets owner are still left to evaluate for themselves which option is the best for them.TM repository Maintenance Sessions

TM repository is a solution to a lot of these common problems:

    • It enables the Assets owner to create a single Online TM Database containing all TUs, for all projects, and all language pairs.
    • The flexible descriptive fields (metadata) allow the TU’s to be tagged precisely.TM repository Queries 2
    • This metadata can then be used in Queries for smart filtering during Maintenance or Export
    • TMX Imports let users add to the database from virtually any system
    • TMX Exports  permit the extraction of Project TMs, which can be reimported after use and update
    • Exports can be customised for the CAT tool in use through customisable Mapping. Query results (i.e. Project TMs) will contain metadata compatible with the target translation tool.TM repository Queries
    • Refined Maintenance is enabled through features such as Search and Replace of text or metadata, or the use of deprecation settings by which older TUs can be hidden from search results.

Posted in Kilgray, News, TM repository | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SDL TMS 2011: Inner Peace

Posted by Nick Peris on June 28, 2011

The pace of release of Enterprise Technology such as Workflow and Translation Management Systems is usually slower than that of end-user applications such as CAT tools.

The reasons for this are easy to understand:

First, the priority for Enterprise Applications is stability, not cutting-edge User Experience. Users, and especially customers, require proven and sturdy environments capable of consistently handling massive traffic. This cannot be compromised in favour of the latest UI bells and whistles, not even the newest linguistic asset formats or features.

Secondly, the licensing and pricing model for these applications is such that customers have to monitor their ROI more carefully. Purchasing decisions would not be influenced with yearly or even bi-yearly releases of brand new product lines. The expectation is that these Applications provide a permanent Solution which can be used for several years to come. For that reason, Support contracts tend to include free Patches and even Service Pack upgrades which take care of the more pressing updates.

Last but not least, the efforts required in deploying these server-based technologies are again prohibitive of frequent upgrades. There are  infrastructure implications like matching SQL server versions or multiple server roll-out workload. The technology also needs to co-exist with a number of desktop applications in use in the supply chain.

From reading the SDL TMS 2011 Release Notes, I think the differences with its predecessor, SDL TMS 2007, are very much inline with these requirements. It seems to deliver relevant compatibility updates as well as promising improvements in usability and performance. If the announced increased reliability delivers, then I think one of the key to its success over SDL TMS 2007, will be whether it succeeds at making linguists more willing to work online, or whether they will continue to prefer to use it for File Transfer only and perform the actual linguistic work in their desktop CAT tools.   SDL TMS 2011 Carbon Theme

Compatibiliy

This is the first major release of SDL TMS since the acquisition of Idiom by SDL back in 2008. Together with the recent release of SDL Worlserver 2011, this confirms that in the short to medium term at least, these two Workflow systems will continue to coexist.

The SDL TMS offering features updated compatibility both in terms of CAT tools and infrastructure:

  • CAT: SDL Trados Studio 2009 SP3, SDL MultiTerm 2009 SP3/SP4, SDL Passolo 2011 (incl. word counts accurracy, new dedicated Workflows) and SDL Trisoft
  • Infrastructure: LDAP enhancements, Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 support

SDL TMS can be upgraded to version 2011, though only from SDL TMS 2007 SP4 or later. SP4 would have to be installed first, before upgrading from any older version.

One piece of good news is that no data migration is required when upgrading, and all Post-SP4 hotfixes are included in the Upgrader. Microsoft .NET Framework 4 is recommended. 

Usability and Performance

The User Interface has reportedly been made more responsive in several areas: Translation Interface, Job Authorisation, Configuration edits and more. The UI has been updated with a new colour theme, but apart from that the navigation appears to be unchanged.SDL TMS 2011 Go to Dialog We will investigate in an upcoming article how this may be changed by the addition of SDL Studio Online. SDL Studio Online is an optional web-based version of SDL Trados Studio 2011, exclusive to SDL TMS 2011 SP1.

The Search feature has also been improved with increased speed for the main Search (results are now limited to 2,000 matches) and a new “Go to” feature lets users directly open specific Jobs or Tasks if they know the ID.

SDL Trados Studio can now access SDL TMS directly for TM Concordance and updates. This is achieved through an SDL Open Exchange plug-in. Once installed, users simply need to login using the SDL TMS Server Name, Username and Password, much like previously in SDLX’s SDL Maintain.

Unfortunately, Tageditor’s TTX files can’t be downloaded from SDL TMS 2011.  SDL recommend downloading Packages, which contain the ITD files for translation in either SDLX 2007 or SDL Trados Studio 2009. Eventhough SDLX is considered a part of SDL Trados 2007, this makes using Tageditor and Workbench more difficult and more-or-less means support for Trados 2007 in SDL TMS has been dropped.

Terminology imports have been enabled through a new functionality similar to the TM import added with SDL TMS 2007 SP4. This works using SDL MultiTerm .xml import files and a matching database definition. Passolo Terminology (sequences and TB updates) is also supported.

Here are a few other bug fixes and new features which caught my attention:

  • Users can reset their own passwords, which should improve the quality of life of many Workflow managers
  • Issues with the second and further pages of the Translation Interface have been fixed (comments, segment history and MultiTerm matches now work)
  • TM attributes can be edited from the Edit TM page
  • Ampersand(&) and quotes(‘) in ITD names are allowed
  • Job-level Project TM availability can be displayed in the Inbox
  • PowerPoint SmartArt is supported

Reliability

SDL claim that over 200 reported issues have been resolved, including a number reported by users through ideas.sdl.com.

Improvements in file format support and exception handling should limit the number of failed Jobs and Tasks.

Importantly, progress seems to have been made with Translation Memories exports. A new incremental method, saves having to use server resources to repeatedly perform full exports. This Incremental TM Export option, which is unchecked by default after installation, functions as follows:

  • Only segments added or modified since the last export are exported.
  • They are added to the latest corresponding TMX export file.
  • All TMX export files can be downloaded at once.
  • Note: segments deleted from the TM are not removed from the export. A full export (by temporarilly unchecking the Incremental Export box) is required to reflect any deletion

Posted in News, SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

memoQ 5.0: Mr. Q Brings Change Management to the Localisation Continuum

Posted by Nick Peris on June 21, 2011

 
Mr.Q presents: memoQ 5.0!Kilgray Translation Technologies introduced memoQ 5.0 to the World last week by means of a twin event. Gábor Ugray, Head of Development, hosted a webinar from the Kilgray HQ in Budapest for the online enthusiasts, while István Lengyel, COO, demo’ed it live from the Localization World 2011 conference in Barcelona.

MemoQ 5.0 will be available as a public Release Candidate on June, 30 2011 and should reach Final Release within a few weeks of that.

The Release Candidate version can be installed side by side with memoQ 4.5 and various upgrade paths will be available to current memoQ users.

Following the strong focus on Project Management in memoQ 4, the philosophy behind memoQ 5.0 is Change Management. Changes in source files are better managed through X-translate, while segment changes are tracked through a sophisticated versioning system. Illustrated examples of this and other new features are detailed below.

memoQ 5.0 Version Tracking

X-translate

The implementation of Major/Minor version control is powerful because of the simplicity with which it responds to a real need. A Translator is working on a file, receives an update to the source file, thanks to memoQ 5.0’s Major versioning feature, he or she can immediately generate an updated version of their bilingual file and continue translating.

There is no need to leverage, which would require a more labor intensive process of pre-translating again from Translation Memories. One can simply go straight from a partially translated copy of version 1.0 to a partically translated copy of version2.0.

The screencaps below show how to xTranslate a single file from the previous Major version of the file, then how the  xTranslated segments are marked and finally how to save a snapshot of the resulting file.

xTranslate1xTranslate2xTranslate3

It is also possible to export a 2-column file for comparison of 2 Major versions:

Export 2 columns to HTMLSide by side compare

Change Tracking

Change tracking enables segment level access to previous versions. The following images show how to enable custom track changes from the Translation menu, how the changes are highlighted in a document, and a further 2 options for translators and reviewers to see changes made to a file since they last edited it.

Track ChangesTrack Changes Against BaseTrack Changes (Reviewers)Track Changes (Translators)

Terminology in memoQ 5.0

Terminology extraction

MemoQ 5.0 will allow a substantial amount of Terminology work without requiring the use of a dedicated application such as qTerm. Users will be able to extract candidate terms from a Project:

Extracting Candidate TermsTerm Extraction Progress

Stop Words

The use of Stop Words list will ensure easy noise reduction by preventing words such as “and”, “the”, or any other short listed by the user, from appearing as Candidate Terms:

Creating and Editing Stop Word Lists

Reviewing Candidate Terms

Candidate Terms can then be reviewed in context and possibly against an existing Termbase:

 Term Extraction ResultMerging Candidate TermsAccepted TermsDropped Terms

Lexicon

The Lexicon option will let you work with a Terms list without having to go through the full process of creating a Termbase. It is meant as an easy-to-use, immediately rewarding tool to manage Terminology within a Project. This should encourage Linguists to run quick Term extractions before starting a job, especially in cases where a Termbase is not available as part of the Handoff, in order to efficiently get a general overview of the Terms contained in a set of source files.

MemoQ 5.0’s Terminology feature does not support the TBX format, however Kilgray’s fully-fledged terminology tool qTerm, does.

memoQ 5.0 and nested file formats

Another very effective idea implemented in memoQ 5.0 is the support for file formats containing code belonging to other file formats. An obvious application is the case where the handoff is a spread sheet containing strings copied from an xml or a software file. But there are other common cases such as XML files containing HTML code.

The requirement here is to parse files twice so that all codes are recognised as such and so that the linguist can concentrate on translating with full confidence that all tagging is managed by the CAT tool. Here are 2 examples:

Cascading Filters

      1. Cascading Filters for a spread sheet contain HTML: 
        HTML code in XLS - ExcelHTML code in XLS - memoQ 5.0Reimport As to Apply Second FilterAdding a Cascading HTML FilterDocument Import SettingsSaving Filter Configuration for Re UseFully Parsed File
      2. Cascading Filters with Regex Tagger for a spread sheet containing UI strings: Run Regex Tagger to re-Parse XLS FileRegular Expression PatternsAdding Patterns to Configuration

Source Content connectors

Finally, memoQ 5.0 will also in time be able to connect to repositories where content is dynamically added. It is designed with CMS integration in mind, however the CMS connectors will only be released later this summer, like the web-based editor webTranslate.

Posted in Kilgray, memoQ, News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Alchemy Catalyst 9.0: A Practical and Visual Guide

Posted by Nick Peris on November 15, 2010

I recently had the welcome surprise of finding an invite to a Catalyst webinar in my Inbox. It was with great anticipation and a touch of nostalgia for my Localisation Engineering days, that I clicked on the link and joined the meeting to discover what Alchemy had been up to.

I soon realised that a practical user’s guide would be the best way to cover this on Localization, Localisation. The Alchemy Software Development website already lists What’s New in this release so rather than analysing the differences between Catalyst 8, for which we did a complete Launch coverage and Catalyst 9, I’ve put together a step by step tour based on the demo.

This article can be used by Localisation Engineers and Translators alike to preview the Catalyst 9 interface using the 30 or so screen shots included (see after the slideshow for full screen versions), and also to read through some recommended processes and tips, adding to my past article on the Leverage and Update Experts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Creating a Project

The User Interface remains the flexible and now very familiar .net window, with its various docked panels and tabs. It’s also a stable interface which will cause little or no navigation headache to even the most novice user.

The first operation when getting started with Catalyst is to create a Project file, or TTK file. This is easily done by using the File – New menu and following the basic steps.

You will notice in the screen shots that the example used includes varied sample files such as compiled help (.chm) not requiring any source or project files, and wpf executable.Locked strings

Preparing a Project

After the creation of the TTK, source files can be inserted either using the Insert Menu item or a context menu in the Navigator tab. Folder structures can also easily be used.

Once the files have been inserted into the TTK, it is time to prepare it for leveraging.Translator Tool Bar Context Menu and Keyword Lock This operation of consists mostly of locking non-translatable strings and sub strings. It can be tedious on a brand new Project but the work done can be completely leveraged to the various language TTKs as well as any future versions of the project.

The lock keywords functionality has been improved in Catalyst 9: the txt file which the project’s keywords list is now automatically generated in the background as soon as the user locks a keyword.Catalyst 9 UI Batch Keywords Locking

Once a keywords list has been created, it can in turn be used to automatically lock the listed keywords in the remainder of the project.

Another thing to note is that Maximum String Length can now be set on a batch of strings at once.

Leveraging previously translated content

Apart from Leveraging from the TTKs of previous projects, Catalyst supports leveraging from a variety of Translation Memory formats:Keywords List

  • Translation Industry Open Standard (*.tmx)
  • SDL Trados 2007 (*.tmw)
  • Wordfast Pro (*.txml)
  • Tab-delimited (*.txt)
  • Alchemy Translation Memory (*.tm)
  • Alchemy Catalyst (*.ttk)
  • Alchemy Publisher (*.ppf)

Alchemy Translation Memory is a new proprietary format used to create Master TMs from completed TTK projects. This format allows to store Catalyst-specific context information such as the context (Dialog box ID, Menu Item etc.), which can later improve the quality of leveraging by providing Perfect match. In Catalyst terms, a Perfect Match is a 100% match located in the same Dialog, Menu etc).TM Compatibility List

Alchemy Publisher, Wordfast Pro, Trados 2007 or the nonproprietary TMS are also present provide compatibility with other TM format Catalyst might have to coexist with.

Noticeably, Trados Studio 2009 TMs (.sdltm) still do not appear to be supported.

Batch processing

The process recommended by Alchemy is to create an English to English Master TTK and then to automate its duplication and pre translation for each target language in the Project.

This is an area where Catalyst 9.0 does seem to bring a good bit of novelty:Create Job Expert

  • With Catalyst 7, engineers had to manually duplicate TTKs.
  • Catalyst 8 was a bit more helpful and created Project folders for target languages and project resources.
  • In Catalyst 9.0 however, the Job file and Scheduler take care of a lot of the repetitive tasks associated with preparing a new Project.

The Create Job Expert lets you use the Master TTK as a template to create project folder structure and corresponding target language TTKs.

Meanwhile, such tasks can also be added to the Scheduler. This new queuing system allows the user to start working on the next project while it processes queued tasks in the background.Create Job Expert Batch Leverage

Automation

The Command line automation has been improved since Catalyst 8 to include Analysis. The complete Catalyst localisation process can now be automated.

Catalyst 9.0 Developer Edition also includes the Comm API which lets advanced users script TTK operations all the way down to string level, and output automation reports  in txt or xml format.

Ensuring Quality and Consistency

In addition to Translation Memories, Catalyst 9 also supports several Glossary formats:

  • Text files, used in Catalyst since the beginning (.txt)
  • Terminology Exchange Open Standard (.tbx)
  • Translation Memory Exchange can also be used for Terminology (*.tmx)
  • SDL MultiTerm and MultiTerm ServerCatalyst 9 inline Validation

Validation still takes two forms: the Expert can be run to perform global check, and inline validation can also be switched as a non-intrusive real-time quality control. If a potential error is found, a flag will be raised through the bottom pane, but Translators will not be interrupted. They can simply go back to the issue by clicking on the notification once they are ready to attend to it.

The Thumbnail view seems to be a great tool for engineers regressing bug. It gives a preview of all dialogs in a TTK and lets you click the one which matches for example the screen shot in a QA report and brings you automatically to the location of this dialog in the ttk file.Catalyst 9 Thumbnails

Translating in Catalyst

The Concordance search and Translator toolbar do not appear to have been changed. Both were introduced with Catalyst 8 where there was strong focus on improving the user experience from the Translator’s point of view, and they seem to have delivered.

The new Re-cycle button is a result of the same ambition. New translations can be propagated to entire project by using the current project as an inline TM in the background. Layouts are not recycled but fuzzies are supported.

Clean up Expert

Finally the Clean up Expert has also receive some improvements. Like for all Experts, it is recommended to close the Project file before running it, and then select the file(s) to process from the Expert’s General tab.

Clean up now creates a postproject.tm Translation Memory and generate supplied assemblies for .net.

Conclusion

in my opinion, this new generation of Catalyst still offers a great solution for visual localisation. Although the differences with Catalyst 8 may not may not make a bullet proof case for immediate upgrade, the 25% discount currently on offer does represent decent value.

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Catalyst, News, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cheap Translation Tech: Who does What…and for How Much?

Posted by Nick Peris on August 24, 2010

Rolling out old tools

Recession-buster CAT tool prices? Low-cost TM Tech? Scrappage scheme on Translation tools older than 2 years?

Subscription-based software rental or money-mental discount on SaaS?

No, the marketing slogans in the Translation Software industry haven’t been quite that exuberant. Yet the cash flow worries experienced by all the Translation Technology providers, have generated a certain amount of creativity especially when it comes to pricing. So if you’re on the market for a new CAT Tool, you should probably ask yourself: “Where is the best value for my discount?”

Clichés about the dark days we live in abound (including in this article…), and it is clear that no one would part lightly with hard-earned cash to buy a Translation Memory technology license. The truth is one can get such technology for as little as €0 and about as much as one has to spend. This may always have been the case, but what I think has changed is that market leaders can no longer rely on reputation, exposure and existing market penetration to comfortably roll-out the next generation of expensive technology.

Differentiating by offering compelling technological advances is no longer a bullet-proof strategy either. There are plenty of talented tool developers around who are ready to offer imaginative solutions for a modest fee. Features such as mobile phone-like predictive text will not prompt anyone to spend thousands, or even hundreds of Euro.

In fact, mainstream TM technology with all its bells and whistles is facing a problem similar to that of the automobile industry: the multitude of options and gadgets inflating the price of applications with constant update and patch requirements has left the market wide open for a good value yet sturdy alternative.

Though it is not a complete answer, a low-cost market for TM tech is developing as a consequence. Freelancers, Agencies and Corporations alike are no longer willing to spend on expensive licenses to buy software which will be outdated within a year or two. So offers started appearing where the license itself has an expiry date. Pay for a year and then decide what to do: renew, upgrade or move on.

The concept of software rental was set to run further of course: complete with the advances in software hosting, Cloud-computing, where the users connect to the application over the internet and does not need to install or setup anything on their own machine, it became SaaS: Software-as-a-Service. This is a trend much bigger than the Translation software industry alone, which offers many advantages such as seemless updates and crucially regular cash-flow for the provider. It also requires an important shift in the mentalities where ownership of the tool isn’t transferred to the Translator, while the ownership of the translation produced with it must remain with them.

All this put together means that we may have reached a fork in the road after which licensing models will be transformed: but which way will they go?

    Starter Edition, Translation Workspace, MemoQ, Deja Vu, Across, Wordfast

  • the unglamorous route of feature-reduced time-limited ownership
  • or the controversial path of rental, or Software-as-a-Service.

Both options at this point show serious limitations. The reaction of Professional Translators could be described as luke-warm at best. On one hand entry-level traditional licenses are too limiting to users who already own a fully-fledged copy of a previous version. On the other software rental has not yet earned the trust of the user-base, concerned with intellectual property questions and confusing price structures.

The table on the right-hand side (click to expand) highlights the strengths and weaknesses of some of these subscription-based low-cost CAT tools:

One thing I hope is sure: the days of paying hundreds of Euro for entry-level licenses are over in our industry, and that has to be a good thing.

If you are due an upgrade, it is most likely that there are good deals to be had on your favorite software provider’s site. If you are looking to invest in your first entry-level CAT tool however, spend some time analyzing your needs against what is on offer. Entry prices may be low, but the value and limitations varies widely from one tool to the next.

Posted in CAT Tools Comparison | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SDL TMS 2007 SP4: Some Comments from SDL

Posted by Nick Peris on June 2, 2010

SDL TMS

Here are some interesting comments from Paul Harrap, Product Manager for TMS at SDL, in reply to my article on SDL TMS 2007 SP4. I’ve also included my own response afterwards.

“(…) I’m very pleased to see we’re getting some coverage in the blogosphere. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to write us up and your positive feedback on the product generally and our new SP4 specifically.

I accept that there’s still some work to do in the product with relation to TM maintenance. As your article accurately reflects, the contents of TMs are updated in TMS in very specific places in the workflow- typically after one or two cycles of review – and what content goes into which TM can be carefully controlled. This is very much by design. We see Translation Memory as the crown-jewel of the linguistic assets of the enterprise customer and so contents are tightly regulated by TMS.

However, we have to acknowledge that bad content can creep into TMs over time – there might be an error in review, or some customers might not review translations quite as thoroughly as others. The changes we made in SP4 to allow the import of files directly into TMs is a response to this requirement. The enterprise can now add/replace contents of a TM directly, without reference to a specific translation job or workflow, as an administrator-level function. This can allow people to quickly and painlessly correct known-bad TUs.

We’re considering including the ability to search through, browse and directly edit the TUs in the TMS browser environment in a future release. While I accept that this is a lacking feature, I wouldn’t concur that we should be putting such power in the hands of the vendor or the freelancer. Seeing the TM as a hugely valuable asset for the enterprise, I expect this is the sort of feature and capability that most enterprises would want to keep in-house.

On the integration with SDL MultiTerm, I very much see a distinction at the moment where TMS is a consumer of Terminology and MultiTerm is the owner of it. Over time we will see much tighter integrations between the SDL products, so the lines between TMS and MultiTerm will very much start to blur, and we have plans to introduce workflow capabilities for term lifecycle management.

On the issue of uploads and downloads and working offline, I think a lot of people would very much agree with you. The single largest corporate user of SDL TMS is… SDL! We have dozens of translation offices around the globe, all of whom deal with the upload and download of files to and from TMS servers based in our hosting centre in London on a daily basis. What tends to drive people offline is the featureset available in the desktop tools. SDL Trados Studio, and its predecessors SDL Trados TagEditor and SDLX, are very powerful productivity tools for the translator. Replicating these features in an online translation environment is a monumental task and it’s  something we are investigating.”

First of all, I would like to thank Paul for this input. Since the ramp up of Trados Studio over a year ago, SDL have made a sustained effort to listen to their user base. The TMS section proves here that they are keeping with this policy.

On the topic of TM Maintenance, which is very close to my heart, I think the business model Paul is presenting is either slightly outdated or, more likely, is missing on a part of their customer base.

From my experience, the outsourcing model has developed so much during this recession that at least in some cases, big enterprises (i.e. the TMS customers) no longer employ Translation Memory management experts. These positions are filled by technicians employed by the LSPs.

Another point is that while TMS customers use Review routinely, they also cannot afford to review all the content they output. Most of the big players have either implemented or are looking into models which allow them to reduce their review cost for languages where the quality is considered stable. This means that TMs may be updated in TMS with contents which hasn’t been reviewed, and consequently that linguists must regularly inspect the TMs and fix any inconsistencies in legacy TUs to prevent reoccurring errors.

I maintain that this task must be assigned to a linguist, and the best placed to do so is a senior Reviewer. Not all of these are in-house, by far.

Posted in SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SDL TMS 2007 Service Pack 4: Love and Hate

Posted by Nick Peris on June 1, 2010

SDL TMS 2007 - Localisation workflow

I always find it challenging to get a fair idea of what Enterprise tools can do before making a purchase decision. There is so much involved in setting them up that even if a trial version is available, the efforts required to perform meaningful testing are prohibitive.

Many such applications do not come ready out-of-the-box and require extensive customisation before they can be tailored to fit a specific business model.

This is why many purchase decisions are executive decisions, based on ROI reports and presentations showing what the software does. A demo might be setup for you on a dedicated server by the sales person, and you’ll be left thinking “hum…surely it’s not that simple”. This is also why 10 times out of 10, these pieces of software come with a Support package which lets you install regular and much needed updates and bug fixes.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

If you have the opportunity, go knock on a few door and try to find a company nearby which uses the software in a production environment. Contact them, ask to visit, get an independent demo. From my experience (not based on TMS that time) most people will be more than happy to tell you how much effort it took to setup, how many features still don’t work, but also how much their productivity has really increased and perhaps even how many of their employees have done a thesis on the subject! Bottom line: get real-life advice!

SDL TMS, or Translation Management System, is one such behemoth application. Trying to find independent information about TMS on the web is a challenge. In fact, even finding official information can prove frustrating. As for Special Interest Groups… those I found were for customers-only. It seems it’s buy first, we’ll talk later.

So what’s the big deal exactly? Well I’ve been working with TMS 2007 for about a year now and I have a few things to report: some good, some not so good.

What it does well

Let’s start with positive thoughts.

TMS is a workflow tool, designed to connect a customer directly to it localisation vendors and all their armies of sub vendors. It handles big volumes and short turnarounds really well, and is reasonably good at supporting your Translation Memory and Terminology Management needs. It also offers the reporting facilities necessary for all members of your localisation ecosystem to invoice each other, and you.

TMS automates part of the role of the middle men, and is ideal for localisation consumers with a constant stream of translation, especially if they come in the shape of numerous small projects.

Multiple alternative workflows can be set up, depending on vendor selection, TMs to leverage against, TMs to update, need for Linguistic Review etc. Once the correct workflow is selected at the job creation stage, you can be sure it will go through all the steps required. There is little or no human error possible, at least not in scheduling and assigning tasks to the right participant.

TM updates are handled automatically, literally seconds after the last human input in the workflow.

Where it lacks

So are all the vendors really gathering orderly around the assembly line and localising thereafter like a happy family?

Not exactly. There are a few snags.

My main grief is around TM Maintenance or the lack of it. Because TMS automatically updates the Translation Memories at whatever stage of your workflow you told it to, manual editing of the TMs has been neglected. A user can perform a Concordance search, but it is impossible to edit the Translation Units found. One cannot use TMS to fix inherited inconsistencies or any error found in legacy TUs.

This makes implementing Global changes a very untidy task: one needs to connect to the TM Server (hosted by SDL in most cases) using SDLX 2007 Professional. This, to me is total non-sense and here is why:

  1. increasingly, the business model in Localisation is outsourcing.
  2. once localisation is outsourced to agencies, these subcontract Single Language Vendors, who themselves might only be sub-contracting to freelancers.
  3. less and less Localisation consumers employ in-house linguists.
  4. their remaining in-country staff is Sales and Marketing, and has much more pressing matters to attend than editing TMs.

Now which version are these freelancers more likely to have? SDLX 2007 Professional (€2,995) or SDLX 2007 Freelance (€760)? I think you probably guessed it. SDL’s licensing model prevents linguists from maintaining TMs in TMS and seemingly forces corporations which bought TMS to support their outsourcing setup, to fix TMs in-house!

There are some workarounds to this, but for a piece of software of this caliber, I think this is a pretty shocking limitation.

The integration with MultiTerm has similar issues: only some of the functionality are available through TMS, the rest including editing Term entries has to be done using MultiTerm Online or Desktop.

Performance issues also tend to drive a lot of linguists offline! Depending on their setup, a lot of them find it more efficient to download jobs, translate offline in SDLX and upload the finished work back into TMS. While there is technically no difference in the end result, this is a disappointing interruption of the workflow.

Service Pack 4: An End to the Suffering?

Squeezing under the gate at the last second, like Bruce Willis in a classic movie, TMS 2007 Service Pack 4 sneaks in before the long-awaited SDL TMS 2010 and comes to the rescue.

With TMS 2010 now possibly slipping into 2011, it is a welcomed addition particularly due to the improvements it brings. Here are the most significant end-user facing features:

Browser support: IE 8 support added (IE 6 removed in future)

TM import: ITD, zipped ITDs, MDB (SDLX TMs). This is a partial solution to the lack of TM Maintenance feature I’ve talked about in this article.

Continued lack of support for TMX is attributed to the fact that this open-source format has too many proprietary specifications.

Reporting formats added: CSV, Excel 2007, PDF, RTF, Word 2007.

Branding and Fonts are customisable (by Professional Services).

TMS 2010 is expected to have end-user customisable reports.

Segment level QA Model for Reviewer grading

QA Models

This all-new feature in SP4 is crucial if your workflow includes Linguistic Review. All changes made by the Reviewers are now recorded, and the Reviewers can tag them using customisable Error Rating and Categories.

  1. Error Ratings and Categories: support for LISA model, SAE J2450, TMS classic out-of-the-box.
  2. User-specific models can be created. Number of points deducted can also be specified in the QA Model.
  3. Records can be retained at segment (for feedback to translators) or project level
  4. Scoring methods: absolute or percentage
  5. To apply a QA Model: add it to a Configuration (i.e workflow), and it will be available to Reviewers working on jobs passed through this config.
  6. Reviewer usage: click Star at segment level to open the QA model window and enter Category and Rating.Pass/Fail status does not prevent reviewer from submitting or rejecting a job.

Posted in News, SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Transcreation: Translation with Super-Powers!

Posted by Nick Peris on December 1, 2009

Transcreation is another concept which could easily be mistaken for a buzz word. In reality, it refers to vast areas of translation which have for ever been adapting content rather than simply translating it.
Like “Localisation” itself however, it seems to have been appropriated and reinvented by the Information Technology industry (2). So what do we mean by it and do methodologies really differ enough to warrant the use of this term?

Origins of the Concept

If you’ve grown up in an environment where English wasn’t the first language, chances are you have been exposed to transcreated content from a very young age. It may have been through entertainment, television, or advertising; most likely all of the above.

I never knew, nor did it matter to me, that Musclor was not He-Man’s real name. A more famous example of very liberal marketing translation is the story behind the Mitsubishi Pajero’s alternative name in Spanish-speaking countries. I’m also pretty sure that Smurf is not a literal schtroumpfation for Schtroumpf. Spider-Man: India seems a successful example of a multi-national company truly embracing a local culture.

This phenomenon does not only relate to the “Americanisation” of western-culture or even to the intense globalization of this century. Research (3) has shown that forms of Transcreation have been used in Indian poetry and religious writing, where form and content have always been adapted to some of the many cultures and languages of India.

There, is the key to Transcreation in my opinion: recognising the need to become part of a local culture rather than simply communicate in its language.
While translators always aim to reach out to their audience, the software industry often bounds them to the demands of technical content. Transcreation in its modern sense signals the releasing of these bounds, and gives the explicit brief to stray from the source message in favour a better way to communicate the same idea to the target audience.

Videogames Localisation

The term Transcreation is often attributed to Carmen Mangiron and Minako O’Hagan (1). They were among the first to use it in the context of IT, more precisely of the gaming industry.

They recognised the fact that with most games developed in Japan or the U.S., yet targeting truly global markets, there was an inherent need to free translators from the source text in order better connect to local gamers everywhere. In fact even some of the functionalities of games are sometimes adapted to the local culture: the amount of violence, explicit language etc. is not only changed to meet age ratings, but in cases to actually comply with the cultural and legal requirements of different regions of the world.

Countries such as Germany have laws which regulate video game content and manufacturers are faced with the choice of adapting their games or not being commercialised.

Advertising, Copywriting and SEO

The localisation of advertising, or copywriting is an area where the idea of Transcreation is also very apt.
While in a lot of cases translators are not copywriters themselves, they are given instructions to be creative with their work. Rather than just delivering the meaning in a grammatically correct manner, they have the task to also deliver in a form which creates the same reaction in the potential customer.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) copywriting and translation are a further extension of this, where the translator even has to select the words in a very strategic manner. SEO is of course more than just selecting keywords, but even this part of optimisation has to be translated in ways which achieve the best search engine rankings in the target languages, not the source.

Measuring Quality

But is all this really that progressive an idea? Aren’t all translators always trying to come up with the best possible translation anyway?

Things get complicated when you try to measure or monitor the quality of translations where the translators have been asked to stray from the source in order to convey a marketing campaign’s message in the best possible way.

This becomes a highly subjective exercise where chiefly, the client is right.

Here comes the next hurdle: localisation clients rarely have marketing staff in all the countries they market to. So vendors have to come up with processes which ensure that the product delivered meets those sometimes subjective requirements. This in my mind can only be achieved through a durable relationship between the clients and their translators/reviewers. Processes must transcend the limitations of the outsourcing model and recreate the fuzzy feeling of enlightened ownership once only common to the now endangered species of the in-house translator.

Such is the challenge of Transcreation: creative translation requires creative quality management.

References:

(1) Game Localisation: Unleashing Imagination with ‘Restricted’ Translation
Carmen Mangiron and Minako O’Hagan, Dublin City University, Ireland

(2) On the Translation of Video Games
Miguel Bernal Merino, Roehampton University, London

(3) Elena Di Giovanni “Translations, Transcreations and Transrepresentations of India in the Italian Media” (2008), in Klaus Kaindl and Riitta Oittinen (eds), The Verbal, the Visual, the Translator, special issue of META, 53: l. Les Presses de l’Université de Montreal, pp. 26-43.

Many thanks to Carmen for the tips.

Posted in Globalization, Transcreation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

QA Distiller 7: Sanity Checks on Steroids

Posted by Nick Peris on November 17, 2009

QA Distiller is a great quality control tool I came across when I was working on the Marketing project I already mentioned in an article about XML in Localisation.
Developed and distributed by Yagamata Europe, this tool has a lot to offer to client-side engineers, multilingual vendors and freelancers alike. In fact I was even using it to enforce proper and consistent use of Terminology in source marketing content, before sending for localisation.

With the impending release of version 7 at the end of this month, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to talk about it on Loc Loc. The purpose of QA Distiller is to batch process quality checks on bilingual files. Essentially, it performs similar tasks to the QA Checker in Trados‘s TagEditor, but with some major differences.

The benefits

Multiple file processing: QA Distiller allows you to run a highly customizable list of checks on batches of files. There is no need to open of each individual TTX file, or run the QA Checker successively on each one. Just select the files to process, the settings to apply and run the tool to output a comprehensive report for your follow-up. This is a great way to control and enforce consistency across entire handoffs or projects. Translation quality, Terminology consistency etc. are simultaneously audited across all the files selected.

Multi-lingual processing: better yet, this can also be done across all languages at once, which is particularly powerful for controlling Do Not Translate instructions have been adhered to, for example.

Interactive reporting: the report output is another great selling point. It rates and classifies errors and lets you update it as you review and fix or discard candidate errors. It can be exported to a variety of formats where source, target and error details are summarised and categorised. This is very helpful to communicate with vendors on queries, as well as measure the quality od deliveries. Finally, the report has hyperlinks not only to the file, but to the actual segment where the potential error was detected. This makes the implementation of fixes really quick and easy. No more peeling your eyes out to find typos or endless finger-cramping Ctr+F session. If there is an error, QA Distiller will get you right there!

Software stability: my experience (version 6 in Windows XP) has shown very solid performance and compatibility, and certainly far less crashes than SDL’s QA Checker.

Some rare shortcomings


One of the limitations I found in the current version was that the Translation Consistency check did not work when running QA Distiller across several languages. Instead of reading the language code of each file and filtering the comparison, it reported the fact that translations differed from one language to the next. Not particularly helpful.

Secondly, although the pricing structure offers good choice, the full version seems a bit steep at €1000, especially since it also requires Trados to function on TTX files.

Additionnal Technical Information

QA Distiller supports all languages, and a variety of file formats: TRADOStag documents (TTX), FrameMaker RTF (STF), Translation Memory eXchange (TMX).
Terminology can be checked against proprietary-format dictionnaries (DICT) or the industry-standard Term Base eXchange (TBX).

The upcoming version 7 introduces:

  • Tag and ID-aware terminology checks
  • New Wrench icon funcitonnalities: batch correction of multiple quotation mark and number formatting
  • Fine-grained ignore option for improved noise filtering
  • Tag and case-independent consistency check
  • Full support for Georgian, Malay (Rumi and Jawi), Serbian (Latin and Cyrillic)

The little green man also told me that there are plans to add support for the many different XLIFF flavours like SDL XLIFF, MemoQ XLIFF, WorldServer XLIFF by the first quarter of next year.

For more details, check the cool demo at http://www.qa-distiller.com/movie/‏

Posted in QA Distiller, Quality Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

SDL Trados Studio 2009: The Compatibility Questions

Posted by Nick Peris on July 21, 2009

SDL Trados Studio 2009: the Compatibility QuestionsOne by one, SDL continue to address obstacles to our upgrade decisions. Earlier today, one of their webinars tackled the critical topic of Compatibility in Translation Supply Chain. A recording will be available at www.sdl.com, but here is a quick summary for our convenience.

Alignment

This feature is not included in the recent release of SDL Trados Studio 2009. It is planned as an upcoming update, but until then SDL Trados WinAlign or SDL Align from the Trados 2007 Suite must be installed to perform alignment work.
Once the alignment performed in Trados 2007, export to Translator’s Workbench TXT, and import into a Workbench or SDL Maintain TM respectively.
That TM can then be upgraded to a Trados Studio 2009 TM (.sdltm). The export can also be imported directly into an sdltm but with implications regarding TM settings (see section below).

Translation Memories

Upgrading old TMs

Old TMs and bilingual files can be upgraded (File and Server-based supported).
TMX can be imported directly into sdltm, but if imported into tmw or mdb first, the TM settings can be imported into the sdltm.
3rd party TMX may not support this path fully, as they may contain settings specific to the CAT tool used to create them.
The Upgrade Translation Memories wizard in Trados Studio 2009 can batch process various TM formats for various language pairs simultaneously. A Custom option lets you rename the TM output files if required. Segmentation rules can also be imported. Translation Units can be filtered out by field (e.g. you can choose not to include TU’s tagged as “Not approved”).
You can also choose to output as many as TMs as you input, or merge same language pairs independently of their TM formats.

Publishing new TMs to Trados 2007 users

Export to TMX ensures vendors and colleagues who are using Trados 2007 can use your TMs. But this removes support for features like Context Match because information on previous segment, style…is only carried in sdltm.

Creating new TMs from old bilingual files

Importing ttx or itd directly into sdltm (batch) allows Context information to be added (this process however will not carry over any TM setting). It’s a case of either or.

Termbase compatibility

MultiTerm 2007 Termbase can be opened directly and automatically upgraded by MultiTerm Desktop 2009 (it’s one-time operation obviously).
Termbase from earlier versions of MultiTerm have to be converted into xml first, using SDL MultiTerm Convert, before they’re imported into a MultiTerm Desktop 2009 Termbase (.sdltb). Selecting
Catalog-Export allows to export using the Default Export Definition, to export to xml (which can be used by a user with MultiTermT2007)

Bilingual files

TTX and ITD can be opened directly. They will be converted to sdlxliff (e.g. filename.doc.ttx.sdlxliff)
At the end of project they can be saved back to TTX or ITD using
Save Target As. Use select
Original
TRADOStag Document to save as ttx (requires SDL Trados 2007 Suite).

Tag settings files

SDLX and Trados settings files can be upgraded. To do so go to
Tools-Options-File Types- select file type and click Copy to duplicate the default settings file in Trados Studio 2009. Browse to save location and move your new settings file up and down the list to set its priority against the original one. Import the legacy settings

into the new File type setting you created.

TMS and MTO

Compatibility with SDL TMS will be implemented, as soon as integration is available. The date is unconfirmed and SDL advise to stick to SDL Trados 2007 Suite TM, Bilingual and TermBase formats for the time being.

Compatibility with MultiTerm Online will only occur with the upcoming release of MultiTerm Server 2009.

Posted in Beginner's Guide, SDL Trados, SDL Trados Studio 2009 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Crowdsourcing in Localisation: Next Step or Major Faux Pas?

Posted by Nick Peris on June 23, 2009

Crowdsourcing: Together Everyone Achives More

As the Information Technology industry continues to evolve, so does the Localisation industry. Often in reaction to the former, the evolution of the latter is always the response to a specific need, supported by either advances in technology, processes or both.

Crowdsourcing, far from being only a buzz word, is a tangible trend born of the so-called Web 2.0 era. It has shown signs of spilling over into Localisation for some time and the first stages of this process have been somewhat less than successful. While user-generated content, web-based applications and social networking products/websites are flourishing, crowdsourcing seems to consistently yield controversy.

So what makes Web 2.0 hip and Crowdsourcing, especially in Localisation, decidedly uncool? It is partly the age-old debate on whether the internet should be used for mercantile purposes. But it is also the very nature of Localisation and our struggle to get recognized as an integral part of Product Development Life Cycle. We are despite our best efforts, still seen as an unfortunate cost which gets in the way of Product to market efforts.

Some definitions

Web 2.0 was once an empty buzz word for whatever comes next. “C’est tout simplement l’internet d’aujourd’hui (…) celui que vous et moi utilisons tous les jours. ” said a member of French parliament early this year (2009!), only weeks before he was expected to become State Secretary for the Digital Economy! Also used and abused as a fresh marketing slogan, Web 2.0 seems to have now gained respectability as a description of the combination of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and user-generated content. Importantly, ideas reminiscent of the Open Internet ethos and a stronger sense of community also feature in most definitions of Web 2.0.

Crowdsourcing describes the act of outsourcing a task to an undefined, generally large group of people. It also carries the idea of by-passing the professionals in favor of a strength-in-number effort.

Localisation 2.0 is a newer concept yet, partly championed by one specific LSP, which attempts to describe current trends in Localisation tools and processes, designed to respond to the exponential rate at which localisable content is generated in the Web 2.0 paradigm.

Wikipedia: a success story

The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit was created to “distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language”. Launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, it has 265 localised editions with a total of other 13 million articles.

The recipe is simple: Wiki is a non-profit, non ad-supported site, where users can publish their own articles and add or correct existing ones. Articles often differ from one language to the next so Wikipedia is a true example of an internationalised rather than just translated website. For example, the article about Wikipedia contains a statistics table by language in its French version which does not appear in the English version.

The model of Wikipedia creates a community with a feeling of shared-ownership and allows it to get the most out of its user-base without ever appearing to be exploiting anyone. This flavor of user-generated content, of which Wikipedia is only one example, should probably not be called crowdsourcing at all, although I put it to you that it may be the only viable way to use a “crowd” as a resource: for its own interest!

Online Translators: the first signs of trouble

Most everyone uses an online dictionary. Everyone who uses a bilingual online dictionary thinks they’re great. Once you double-check your results, and are familiar enough with the languages to navigate your way through synonyms, grammatical rules etc, they do the job. From that point of view, they are no different from their paper ancestors. Just a little more… portable.

But already a line was crossed with online translators: they created the illusion that linguistic skills are no longer required. They created the possibility for non-linguists to type a sentence in their source language and output a “translation”. While this may well be useful to a qualified translator as a reference, it should not ever be used to replace a translator.

An esteemed colleague of mine, well versed with internet searches and other smart ways to get what he wants, recently contacted me to translate “Plastical Surgery at Home” into French (I never asked why and never will…). By simple curiosity, I typed it into an online translator and received the suggestion “Plastical Chirurgie à l’Accueil”. This not only differed greatly from the translation I was about to suggest, it also gave me a good example of why it just doesn’t work. Because of a small error in the source text, the online translator reverted to guessing a word by word translation and used “Accueil” which is an IT translation for “Home”. The suggested target translation really means that someone is offering to surgically alter your appearance behind the receptionist’s desk. Not very inviting

Every time I ask someone “Which Translation Memory system do you use?” and they reply “Google Translate” or “Bablefish” etc. it gives me the shivers!

Facebook: crossing the Rubicon

Facebook has been the center of one or two controversies of late, and its localisation strategy could easily have become one. Whether it was taken out of focus by other issues such as facebook’s Terms of Use changes or whether it was a smart and creative move, remains debatable.

Facebook is available in 63 languages which is considerably more than their main competitor MySpace. Upcoming languages are expected to be Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, Urdu, Yiddish and Divehi. It seems clear that the collaborative and benevolent effort behind this did allow faster localisation and opened it up to an array of languages which most likely would not have been deemed economically viable to localise the traditional way. And this is an important point: one of the challenges in localising Web 2.0 is keeping up with exponentially increasing content creation rate and the growing expectation for localised products. With the number of languages spoken in the world estimated in the thousands, how could anyone pretend to have a Global strategy and only localise their product into FIGS or even L17?

The methodology employed by facebook also seems to hold some ground. A web-based application (facebook Translations) is provided, and a staged plan is rolled out beginning with Glossary Translation, continuing with Strings Translation and including post-release Error Reporting and New Features Translation. Community votes decide between alternative translations and consistency checks are run. This doesn’t sound all that un-professional.

But the fact remains: having asked their users to translate the facebook UI for free, facebook are now deriving new users and therefore new advertising revenue through work which was donated not to them but to the facebook community.

LinkedIn: crossing the line

Attempting to emulate projects such as facebook, it would seem LinkedIn have manage to create a pretty big stir before they even got started. By all accounts’ it appears that a survey was circulated to LinkedIn members who are translators, and offended most of them by the wording of their enquiries regarding alternate compensation for translation work.

The survey has now been closed but some results have been published by Nico Posner project manager responsible for LinkedIn’s internationalization efforts. The fact and the matter is that thousands of responses came through, and only a minority selected the category Other, which was the only outlet for translators who considered the only suitable compensation was direct remuneration.

So what does that tell us? The professional translators community is not amused, and this survey is not a PR stunt LinkedIn will be looking to duplicate. However even through the controversy, and the claims of bias in the way questions were asked, there is still a substantial interest for collaborative and benevolent efforts in the linguistic community. The question now is how to liberate this potential in an ethically acceptable fashion?

Google Translate Toolkit

The Google Translator Toolkit is a new-comer (actually still at beta stage). A free and web-based translation application, which uses Machine Translation and includes TM (.tmx) and Terminology (.csv) management tools. In their own words, it is an attempt to bring human touch back into Machine Translation.

So does it work? This tool appears to bring the facebook model one step further in the right direction: it is not designed to help translate Google for free. It is designed to help amateur and professional translators alike to collaborate, share resources, and use a TM and Terminology enabled tool for free.

While it is not comparable to any powerful native CAT tools, it does offer a viable solution: the TM sharing potential is huge, the built-in collaborative tools are the right idea, and the limited file format compatibility remains functional (extract to TMX, create Terminology Databases without expansive tools etc.).

Google Translation ToolkitBut there is always a catch: in this case, the fact that Machine Translation remains Machine Translation. The screencap included here shows the raw output from English into French of one of our articles. It wouldn’t take long to a French translator to recognize the tortured prose which time and time again comes out of such systems. If quality rather than quantity is a concern in a translation job, and if the content to translate is in any way wordy, I find it hard to believe that a translator would do a better work righting such blurb than they would translating in a TM + Terminology enviroment!

As a parting note, I will not provide any pearl of wisdom. First because the wheels are still in motion and we’ll only fully understand what is happening to the Localisation industry once it has happened. Second, because I would like to end by inviting you to translate this article in a language of your choice, email it to LocalizationLocalisation@gmail.com and include an SAE if you would like to receive a limited edition Localization, Localisation pen.
Pen

Posted in Crowdsourcing, Globalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Globalization – The importance of thinking globally

Posted by Patrick Wheeler on May 21, 2009

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon…

In essence, Globalization (Internationalization in MS speak) is your Kung Fu. Bear with me, I have a point here, either that or this is a thinly veiled attempt on my part to get you to read further. :)

Globalization represents more than just an all-embracing term used simply to describe the sub-processes of Internationalization and Localization, it is in fact both an ethos and strategy that describes how your organization needs to position and prepare every facet part of its being.

Those familiar with Chinese martial arts or who have spent too much time watching Kung Fu movies will understand the fundamental difference between the Tiger fighting style and the Dragon fighting style. The Tiger style relies on sheer strength and the memorization of moves, whereas the dragon style is based on the principal of a deeper understanding of movement. It’s about anticipating more than simply acting upon and reacting to events.

Staying on the fortune cookie philosophy theme, if you adopt the Tiger approach to Globalization you may make all the right moves, correctly identify your target global markets, prepare and push forward with Internationalization of your product with vigour and determination, and skilfully and swiftly execute product localization, but even this is not sufficient if you want to ensure your business is ready to go global and prepared for the effects of going global.

You need to adopt the dragon Style. In addition to the above actions, you should seek a deeper understanding of the impact that these actions will have on your business and anticipate this reaction. After all, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Once you have decided to go global with your software offerings, you will have to consider how this decision will subsequently impact all areas of your business such as Programme/Project Management, Development & QA, Sales & Marketing, Legal, Accounting, Distribution, Support, etc.

Thinking out loud – So who does what?

Product Management: will need to coordinate with all groups to ensure that localized releases are part of any global product roadmap and are approved by and communicated to all stakeholders.

All global product release schedules need to recognize that the Development and QA teams will have to work in “harmony” with Localization Engineering and QA, and therefore core Development and QA time and resources will have to be allocated to addressing I18n, Customizability and Localizability issues.

Failure to factor these tasks into any global project scope will mean that a simship will be impossible, Developers and QA alike will be frustrated by having to potentially allocate additional time to deal with unplanned for I18N defects, Localization will be stalled until defects effecting Localizability and Customizability are addressed, and regional sales channels will suffer from late availability of localized product.

Development & QA: As mentioned above, these core groups, usually charged with domestic software releases, will now need to work in-synch with their Localization counterparts; the frequency and format of handoffs to the Localization team need to be agreed, I18N exit criteria will need to be established  for design and development phases, pseudo-localized software builds will need to be created for I18n testing, code freeze dates will need to be agreed to allow for the extra volume of i18n defects that will be logged during I18n/L10n testing, the workflow and management of i18N defects through the core defect tracking system will need to be established, and core Development and QA resources will need to be allocated to resolving and regressing i18N, Localizability, and Customizability defects.

The Localization team will mainly be focussed on addressing L10n issues, so the majority of I18n and Localizability issues will need to be resolved by the core Development team.

Even prior to Internationalization, it is essential that those at senior levels within an organisation understand the impact of going global on their core Development and QA teams.

As highlighted in my first post, assuming that the creation of localized software releases is the sole responsibility of a single Localization team is imprudent and unrealistic. Globalization means a significant investment in core Development and QA time and resources and cannot happen in isolation of these groups or without their involvement.

Sales and Marketing: Sales and Marketing teams responsible for the target regions need to be made aware of strategic plans regarding localized releases. Often these groups will be the ones who identified the business case/requirement for a localized software release.

Regional Sales and Marketing teams will have an insight into the features that are important to their markets and any customer issues with in-market localized product that need addressing as a matter of priority for subsequent releases. They will also be able to advise on any region specific customization of software features that will be required. These customizations will need to be considered during design and development under the heading of “Customizability”. Furthermore, it is important for Programme Management to work closely with these teams when formulating the localised product roadmap, ensuring they are involved in any beta program review of the software and they have sign-off as part of the localized product review process. This may all seem fairly obvious and simply requires clear lines of communication, but I have often witnessed a certain disconnect between regional offices and global Programme Management.

The following excerpt from Beyond Borders – Web Globalization Strategies by John Yunker (2003) is a good example of how poor communication and planning within an organization can ensure a rather embarrassing false start on the journey to global domination;

“The marketing director of a professional society wanted to expand the subscriber base in other countries. The society already had many international members, but because none of the publications had been translated, members needed as least a moderate grasp of English to reap the benefits of joining. So the marketing director decided to translate the society’s membership form into Chinese, in the hopes that it would make joining the society much easier for Chinese speakers and increase membership.

Within a few weeks, the society received its first completed Chinese form by fax, the membership directory, unaware of what the marketing director had been up to, looked at this form, filled out in Chinese, and said, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?” The membership director didn’t understand Chinese. No one of her staff understood Chinese. Even if someone on her staff did understand Chinese, their membership database didn’t accept Chinese characters.

So this person in China completed the membership form and subscribed to a couple of publications and the organization could do nothing about it. The professional society didn’t even know what publications were selected because the publication names were translated to Chinese – and they had no English template to compare it against. It may seem obvious that you shouldn’t create marketing materials in a language your company can’t support, yet companies that jump into global markets too fast frequently repeat this scenario.” (Yunker, 2003, p.82).

Branding and cultural customization are also important considerations that also require input from regional Sales and Marketing groups. Some may favour regional branding and cultural customization over global branding with a universally consistent user-experience. This allows regional Sales and Marketing the flexibility to better connect with their target audience. It is all too easy to alienate your customers if they get the impression that your organization’s software products, website, support etc were not developed with their region in mind. However, others would argue that allowing such distinct and unique branding combined with a high level of customization on a region-by-region basis, simply serves to dilute global brand power, resulting in a confusing and inconsistent user-experience. Additionally, by allowing diverse and inconsistent localized content per region, the global management of this content can be troublesome and costly.

The whole area of cultural customization is vast and there is a lot of information as well as misinformation offered on this topic, and it can be hard to discern urban legend from truth. On the theme of colour and cultural significance of colour in the global marketplace, one publication I read recently would lead you to believe that red cars are illegal in Brazil and Ecuador because of the perception that they cause more accidents. This is in fact absolute bunkum. So approach cultural customization with caution and seek the guidance of local contacts.

Legal: There are a variety of laws governing software being sold in different regions of the world, many of these laws pertain to language and support for the official languages in these regions; such as the Toubon law in France, GB18030 certification for China, and the charter of the French Language in Quebec (Bill 101).

For translation of End-User License Agreements (EULAs) and software warranties, your organization will require the services of legal translators and a review of the EULAs by your in-country operations centres/partners to ensure compliance with local legislation.

Legal regulation on the sale of software worldwide is unlikely to become any more lenient. To the contrary, with proposals such as the EU’s two year guarantee for software (games), which would allow users who are unhappy with “buggy” software to return their purchase, the situation will only become more complex. This is another reason why a well thought-out Globalization strategy combined with a strong focus on I18n is of paramount importance.

With poor I18n, your localized software will inevitably contain more functional and cosmetic defects than the source release, and that could be a real headache when faced with a future where customers are within their rights to simply ask for their money back on the basis of these defects and are not compelled to wait for a hotfix as may currently be the case under the terms of existing EULAs.

Accounting: Your accounting team must be ready to provide pricing in the local currencies of the regions your software is to be sold into. Accordingly, they will also need to be ready to accept payment in these currencies. Ensure you have a clear understanding of how royalties and revenues from localized software sales are distributed throughout your organization.

Distribution: You will of course need to consider your distribution channels, competition, and how you will physically deploy your localized software to your customers. For hosted solutions, automatic updates etc; existing data centres serving your domestic customers may not offer sufficient connectivity/speed to customers in other regions.

Support: Before you have localized software in-market, your organization will need to be ready to support these target markets. It is an all too common mistake to simply expect that this will somehow take care of itself and that existing support channels for domestic product will be sufficient. This is yet another way to disaffect the customers in new markets you’ve worked so hard beguile with your digital wares.

You need to consider the mechanisms for localized support; knowledge base, email, phone etc. What level of support will your in-country operations centres/partners can offer, if any? How are support issues with localized software escalated? Do your call centre representatives have the necessary language skills and knowledge of the localized software to handle calls/emails from all the regions you sell your software in? Do you have a Content Management System (CMS) behind your existing website/knowledge-base? Does the functionality of this CMS lend itself to the management of global content in multiple languages?

Once the knowledge-base route has been exhausted, there is a common preconception that it is a good idea to heard customers to email support, like cows being shoved into a cattle crush, as opposed to presenting them with the option of phone support. This is based on the logic that email support is far more cost-effective than phone support. Whilst it makes sense to encourage customers to avail of email support over phone support, I do not believe it is a good idea to completely eliminate phone support as an option.

Many organizations prefer to remove any reference to phone support from their site. For me, this represents a false economy, whilst you may be saving on call centre costs, you will probably be losing customers, and any chance of repeat business. This is particularly flawed strategy in new markets where you are fighting for market-share.

I have yet to experience an email support system where I have received a (useful) answer “within 24 hours” as promised. Besides, 24 hours may be a long wait depending on the nature of the issue. Even if there is a customer cost associated with phone support, it is better to offer this as an option as opposed to lose customers who may prefer to simply return your software (see “Legal” above) and align themselves with your competitors rather than wait for a delayed response from support.

What happened to Localization??

You may have noticed that I have made no mention of the Localization team/departments specific responsibilities in terms of Globalization. This is a deliberate omission. I will address aspects of Localization in various future posts (after all, the URL for this blog puts me under some pressure to do so!). For now, however, it is more beneficial to recognize that in the grand scheme of Globalization, Localization is actually one of the simplest components. Granted, as “Localization” experts, we are in fact required to be “Globalization” experts and provide guidance in relation to Globalization strategies, but if all other areas of your business are ready to go global, then Localization should be the least of your worries.

Once again, failure to take a holistic approach to Globalization will result in Localization being a tedious, costly, and protracted affair. Localized product quality will suffer and inevitably your organization’s performance in the target region will be poor. Additionally you will have filled the lives of your Localization team with a degree of despair! So for the sake of good Karma, get the fundamentals right and Localization will be a walk in the park.

The above are just some of the areas for consideration when formulating your Globalization strategy. One could certainly write a book on the topic and a number have been written on the topic. Globalization is the broadest and most subjective area when it comes to looking at G11n, I18N, and L10n and is therefore open to the most debate.

What color/colour is the sky in your world?

The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis (roughly) states that through the medium of language, different cultures attempt to define their reality and enforce a structure on the world as they view it. This results in certain perspectives that are unique to particular cultures; this is why Localization and Globalization extend beyond simple translation.

This probably also goes some way to explaining why a Chinese friend and work colleague of mine finds a particular Rice Krispies Squares TV commercial so amusing, whilst I simple perceive it to be mind numbingly boring. Or maybe I just don’t get it! Whatever the case may be, to be truly successful in a particular regional market, your organization will not alone have to speak the language of that region, but also understand the predominant cultural perspectives distinct to that region.

The important thing is to have a carefully considered Globalization strategy that would make Lex Luthor seem nonchalant in his scheming, and to execute the plan in a decisive and coherent manner throughout the organization and without procrastination. Understanding that Globalization is the responsibility of your entire organization and must permeate through every level is a good first step.

This is particularly important in the current economic climate. Whilst many organizations are running home for shelter and scaling back on their global operations, this presents opportunities for other organizations to get traction in emerging markets if their Globalization strategy is sound. It may be a long term investment, but if your competition is busy running for cover, these recessionary times could represent an opportunity to gain market share in valuable new markets. As Warren Buffett said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” In other words, advance when your competition is retreating from global markets.

In conclusion, you could of course try the Tiger approach and see what happens, but as another icon of our times (Homer Simpson) once said, “Trying Is the First Step towards Failure”. :) So instead I urge you to think like the Dragon and have a deeper appreciation of how Globalization will impact your own organization and how your organization as a whole will need to evolve to meet these challenges.

Posted in Globalization, Internationalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

SDL @ Guinness: Trados Studio 2009 Q&A

Posted by Nick Peris on May 15, 2009

SDL Trados Studio 2009

The SDL Roadshow was in Dublin yesterday.

The “cream” of Ireland’s Localisation community was treated to a big day of product demos and slideshows at the home of the black stuff: the Guinness Storehouse.

As I made my way through Guinness town under a refreshing morning drizzle, I wondered for a minute how the pungent aromas of the early brewing activity would agree with the power breakfast I had had not so long ago.

This was soon to be forgotten however, thanks to a flying start to the proceedings provided by SDL’s Internal Training Manager, Tracey Byrne. Her performance was followed by a few other SDL presentations, as well as a case study on TMS by LSP partner VistaTEC. By the time we reached the Gravity Bar (it must have been 17:59) for some last minute networking opportunities, I think it’s safe to say we were all satisfied by a great event and a fine venue.

There was a lot of information provided throughout the course of the day and I will be releasing separate articles on SDL Passolo 2009 and SDL MultiTerm 2009 soon. What follows below is more directly related to SDL Trados Studio 2009, and what is new or adds to my Preview article. I’m presenting it in a Q&A structure which I hope will be practical to anyone looking for information on specific features, and an easy read for anyone wishing to go through it all. Sláinte!

What is the release date for SDL Trados Suite 2009?

The development cycle has reached Release Candidate stage and SDL are working towards an end of June release target.

Have the development team taken user feedback into account?

Yes, 80 ideas for Trados and 16 for MultiTerm are a reflection of user suggestions on ideas.sdltrados.com

Are TagEditor and Workbench gone?

Yes, Trados Studio combines aspects of SDLX and Trados into a fully integrated User Interface. Even MultiTerm, which still installs separately even though it is bundled with Trados Studio, now offers full functionality from within the Studio UI. SDLX, Workbench and TagEditor simply do not exist anymore.

What are the system requirements?

Here’s what SDL Marketing are saying on the subject of System Requirements:

“SDL Trados Studio supports Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista. As minimum requirements, we recommend a Pentium IV-based computer with 1 GB RAM and a screen resolution of 1280×1024. For optimum performance, we recommend 2 GB RAM and a more recent Pentium or compatible processor with a higher screen resolution.”

Please note that this is still subject to change until closer to the launch in June.

What is RevleX™?

It is a new XML-based TM engine. SDL Trados Studio 2009 uses new file formats for bilingual files (.sdlxliff), translation memories (.sdltm) and termbases (.sdltb). It brings together a slew of new features such as Context Matches, AutoPropagation, AutoSuggest™, Multiple TM support etc.

How does AutoSuggest work?

AutoSuggest is an inline predictive text-like feature which provides suggestion from TM, Termbase or dictionaries as you type. Suggestions appear in a context menu, with an icon clearly indicating whether they come from the TM or Termbase etc.The user can customize the maximum number of entries offered. Suggestions start appearing from the first letter typed and keep updating until you select one or finish typing the word.

Can you turn AutoSuggest off?

I’ve also heard this question about Alchemy Catalyst 8.0‘s ezType™. Perhaps from the same person?. The answer is Yes (in both cases), but developers have spent brain cells trying to make these features work in a non-intrusive yet efficient manner so you should probably give it a fair go!

Are Multi-lingual XML files supported?

Bilingual xliff will be supported but there seems to be a question mark on multi-lingual, and SDL said they’d follow-up with me once it’s clarified.

What are the improvements to format filters?

Main progress has been with PDF, XML, FrameMaker and inDesign.

How does the Upgrade TM functionality work?

Trados Studio will convert your old TM into the new format. In the current implementation this requires for the version used to create these TMs to also be present on the same machine. The alternative is to extract the TM on the machine that has the old version and import the content back into a Trados 2009 TM. I was also told that this may yet change and they may be able to include the components of the old version required for TM conversion in Studio 2009. Watch this space!

How is navigating big files in Trados Studio ‘s Editor improved compared to TagEditor or even Trados-aided Word?

The left panel in UI lists the headers and lets you click them to jump to a particular area in the document.

How does the Editor’s Real-Time preview work?

You need to manually generate the preview once. It uses a built-in stylesheet to simulate the end-result. This does not work on DTP file formats.

Can I lock segments in the Editor?

Yes. Context Matches (CM) are locked by default, but the PM can also manually lock other segments.

How is XLIFF supported?

Standard XLIFF are directly supported. The new default format for Trados bilingual files is .sdlxliff which is a proprietary format developed from XLIFF with additional functionality relating to RevleX™

How does QuickPlace work?

To apply formatting, highlight the word or group of words in the target segment, press CTRL + comma. Choose the required formatting from the inline dropdown list. If there is more than one to apply in a segment, QuickPlace will try to guess which is most likely required and offer it at the top of the list. Alternatively you can also hold CTRL, highlight the formatted text in the source segment, and then highlight the text to be formatted in the target segment. Similar applies to Placeables such as figures, measurements etc.

Is there Real-Time verification in the Editor?

Yes. If an error is detected, an icon will appear in the notification area between the source and target segments. The error message can be viewed in the tooltip of this icon or in a dedicated message panel. In case of False positive, simply remove the warning.

Does Trados Studio 2009 support TTX files?

Yes for editing, no for creating.

Is cross-files AutoPropagate available?

No, not in the first release. But there is a workaround: Merge all project files into one.  Cross-file repetitions are also taken into account when creating a package if the “Recompute” option is selected.

Does the Merge feature support all file types?

Yes files of different formats can be merged together. Once merged they can still be viewed and worked on relatively independently.

What is new with Term recognition?

The Editor allows direct access to full MultiTerm functionality. Terms can be cross-reference by ID so if a term is edited, any other term previously linking to it for definition remains linked.

What is the workflow in a scenario where not all participant to a project have upgraded to Trados Studio 2009?

If the Project Manager has upgraded the translators, reviewers etc will have to upgrade in order to use the TMs, to open the bilingual files or use the Termbase. The Project Manager will be able to work with Trados 2007 files (creates a .ttx.sdlxliff) but not create them.

The only alternative is to provide TMX translation memories and not to pre-translate the deliverables.

Can the PM upload project packages through FTP using the Project panel in Trados Studio?

No. Project packages can only be email through Outlook. This is however optional, and FTP can always be done manually once Trados Studio has created said packages.

Can you import customer details?

Yes but only from Outlook.

Can multiple TMs be used in a project?

Yes multiple TMs and Termbases are supported. A priority order between TMs can be set and there is also an option to “Always use the best match”.

What’s new with fuzzy matches?

The fuzzy band values and their number are now fully customizable.

What reference material can be included into a package?

Package can contain global TM settings, Termbases, AutoSuggest dictionaries etc.

Does Perfect Match still exist?

No, it is replaced with Context Match (CM) but may be added back in a later release.

What does Create Package do?

  • creates a folder structure
  • creates a package per target language if the option is selected
  • lets the user define tasks for individual packages
  • recomputes wordcount or analysis for cross-file repetitions.

Are files locked for updates while packages are out for translation?

No. It would be a good suggestion for ideas.sdltrados.com, to mirror a functionality in SDL Passolo 2009.

What is the LSP partner program?

52 Language Service Providers have entered various levels of partnership with SDL. The objective is to create value for translation buyers, help LSP’s become experts at translation technology, and promote training and support.

When will training for Trados Studio 2009 be available?

Training for SDL Passolo 2009 is available now. Courses (including upgrade courses) for Trados Studio 2009 will be available at launch. There will be a split between a Translators and a PM path. There will also be a separate SDL MultiTerm 2009 course.

When will certification exams for Trados Studio 2009 be available?

End of September 2009.

Which training and certification path will be on offer?

For Translators:

  • Getting Started
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • MultiTerm

For Project Managers:

  • SDL Trados Studio 2009 for Project Managers
  • SDL MultiTerm 2009 for Project Managers

Posted in SDL Trados, SDL Trados Studio 2009 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Alchemy Catalyst 8.0: Official Launch

Posted by Nick Peris on May 4, 2009

Alchemy Catalyst 8.0

On Friday, May 1st 2009, Alchemy Software Development officially launched a new iteration of their visual localisation tool and flag-ship product: Catalyst 8.0.

The event was held in Dublin (Ireland)’s Alexander Hotel, minutes away from Alchemy’s HQ. On offer were a feature highlights demo by Director of Engineering and Chief Architect Enda McDonnell, an informal meet-the-developers opportunity and client case studies by representatives of Citrix, Creative and Symantec.

This article reports and comments on some of what was said and shown.

A Total Visual Localization™ solution

Created mostly as a software localisation tool, Catalyst has now clearly outgrown this limiting description. The trademark visual editing capabilities now cover most aspects of localised content publishing:

  • Help
  • Web sites
  • Software applications

Reaching out to translators

But Catalyst is sometimes still seen as an engineer’s tool. Alchemy are aware of this and have been listening to feedback from professional translators. The result is a translating environment which undeniably seems more linguist-friendly. There is a convergence with the interactive translation environment in Trados, which is only a part of a general strategy to increase translators productivity by lowering the time needed to get accustomed to various tools.The New Translator Toolbar

  • Translator tool bar:
    • live validation: flagged with non-intrusive warning symbols
    • keywords: locking and validation for in-segment non translatables
    • internal tag management
    • multiple matches displayed
  • Switch to the industry-standard terminology exchange format (TBX)
  • Supplementary Glossary for translators to populate their own reference material
  • Unlimited number of TM’s and web-based Machine Translation (MT) service ensure there is always a match

Changes to ezParse

In order to keep up with the long-served ambition of providing support for the latest file formats, changes have been made to Catalyst’s parsing tool.

  • WPF (baml): full compatibility including visual editing of WPF forms and parsing out of.NET 3.0 objectsA WPF Form in Catalyst 8.0
  • Conditional XML: can now set the value of an element (or one of its attributes) to be localisable only if the value of another of its attributes indicates it should be treated as such (similar to functionality added to the settings file in Trados 2007).
    Conditional XML
  • Multilingual XML: supported by reading the source segment in one element but storing the translation entered into another. While this is a very up-to-date feature, there seems to be some limitations in term of process. The translators will only deal with one language pair, so post-translation engineering will involve leveraging from multiple partially translated TTK’s back into the “Master” TTK before a fully multilingual file can be extracted. This should however be made easier by the updates made to Experts such as Leverage.Multilingual XML

Updates to the ExpertsThe Leverage/Update Expert

  • Programmable API’s (Com and Event) are provided to encourage client-developed automation. This was a strong theme across both the Alchemy presentation and most of the guest speakers’. It has been a feature of Catalyst for some time but is now emerging as the area where Catalyst gets ahead of the CAT pack.
  • Multiple TTK’s, multiple languages and multiple TM’s to leverage from, all at once: this sounds like great news and is the feature I personally look forward to the most.
  • Target folders can be set and original TTK’s preserved (necessary to achieve previous point).
  • Leverage algorithm improved to search for 100% match in all TM’s provided before searching for fuzzy matches.

Cutting-edge Technology Thumbnails

  • Improved navigation: thumbnails for Forms, Dialogs, WPF, HTML, graphics…are the latest addition to the visual features.
  • Improved validation: live and programmable (API). Catalyst 8.0 comes with an updated list of validation tests and also offers the ability to create your own: custom .NET objects can be called by Catalyst during Validation but also file insertion, extraction etc.
  • Underlying technology upgrades make Catalyst future-ready: compiler upgraded to Visual Studio 8 which is relevant both to Windows 7 compatibility and a future 64-bit Catalyst)

Screen caps courtesy of Alchemy

Posted in Catalyst, News, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

SDL Trados Studio 2009: Preview

Posted by Nick Peris on April 22, 2009

Start ViewHave you, like me, been slow to adopt Synergy? Do you maybe find it a little cumbersome or incomplete? Would you rather just open Workbench and TagEditor and get on with it? Or perhaps do you (or your clients) still find it easier to use Trados in conjunction with Microsoft Words?

Well, this may be about to change!

Earlier today, SDL conducted one of their very informative Webex meetings to announce a new version of Trados: SDL Trados Studio 2009. The release is due in June 2009, although “Trados 2009″ is still in the last stages of development, so some of the features might yet change slightly.

The 1-hour short webinar comprised of 2 parts: a features highlight and a rapid but enlightening desktop-sharing software demo. Here is what I thought was worth bringing up to your attention: 
 

Feature highlights

Integration

This is actually quiet attractive and the reason why I brought up Synergy above. SDL seem to have come up with a truly integrated environment for editing, reviewing, terminology management, project management and all the aspects of Trados related work. No need to open a TM in Workbench, load a TermBase, open a TTX in TagEditor, a document in Word, or turn the coffee machine on.

Productivity

  • New TM engine: the xml-based RevleX™. Among other things, it revives contextual match by liberating it from comparing old and new TTX files. Context Match works live, within any new document, and between files within a project.
  • AutoPropagation™ immediately translates repeated strings within a document once you have translated the first occurrence.
  • AutoPropagate

  • Searches can easily be run on both source and target segments.
  • Multiple TMs lookup is available.
  • AutoSuggest™: predictive text which leverages phrases rather than only segments from your TM as you type.
  • AutoSuggest

  • Real-Time Preview: check final look as you translate, without navigating to a different tab. This seems very good news for those translators who find Trados tends to disconnect sentences from the whole document and lead translated documents to become a collection of sentences rather than a wholesome piece of work.
  • QuickPlace™: improves text formatting, tags, placeables, variables management by providing it in-line.
  • DTP application support has been updated and PDF can now be edited directly.

Open platform

  • New XLIFF-based default format for bilingual files (.sdlxliff). Yes, this does mean the end of TTX files!
  • Improved TMX and TBX support.
  • Easy access to API for 3rd party applications.
  • Customisable User Interface (UI).

 

Software Demo

As I mentioned before, SDL Trados Studio 2009 builds on Synergy. The interface has the now familiar Visual Studio .net feel which we’ve seen in Synergy as well as other CAT tools.

From the point of view of a Trados user, as in a Workbench + TagEditor user, the integrated aspect really becomes more prominent and inevitable, but in a good way!

Tab views

Task History
As expected in a Visual Studio.net application, a number of tabs are available at the bottom left of the UI. Some are familiar, some not:

Project Status

  • Start: provides the general overview.
  • Projects: has new project status and Task History panels.
  • Files: navigation pane has My Tasks and Sent Tasks folders to promote standardised filing.
  • Reports: segment status.
  • Editor: contains the entire interactive translation environment (more in the dedicated section below).
  • TMs: preview, maintenance, update string, search from within the Trados Studio UI.

Editor

Editor

  • A document can be opened from the main UI by simply clicking Open Document. But there is also a Windows Explorer context menu shortcut, which seems very efficient compared to opening Workbench, then TagEditor like you would most likely do with your current version of Trados.
  • The Editor panel now has TM + Bilingual file+ TermBase + Previews all open at once.
  • Source and target segments appear in a very clear and tag-free left-right panel view. This immediately seemed much more welcoming than TagEditor.
  • Context Matches are flagged with a CM icon – not dependant on having a matching old ttx, also works live within new documents.
  • Formatting can still be copied from source to target.
  • Placeable and terms are offered in context (drop down like predictive text). No need to use arrow icons at the top of the UI (keyboard shortcuts still work).
  • AutoPropagate seamlessly pre-translates further occurrences of strings you have just translated. They are marked as Unconfirmed 100% (orange instead of green).
  • Term detected amd added

  • Full terminology functionality is also integrated, including adding to termbase.
  • A Review mode allows to filter by match type (e.g. display only Unconfirmed 100% matches within a document for batch review and sign off).
  • Editor can edit PDFs (but deliverable output isn’t PDF).

Project view (for PMs)

  • Project templates can be saved with a high level of customisation.
  • QA Checker is now in version 3.0.
  • TM options can be edited from here.
  • Dictionaries for AutoSuggest can be added.
  • Tasks can be assigned to users during project creation. This information is then included when packages (i.e. translation kits) are created.
  • Files can be merged, which creates a single .sdlxliff file out of potentially several file types.
  • Merged Files

  • Batch processing: TM tasks are processed simultaneously (analysis, pre-translate etc.)
  • Project package contents:
    Create Project Package

    • Can include Main (or Master) TM.
    • Can include an existing Project TM in a main package or create separate Project TMs if multiple packages (.sdlppx) are distributed.
    • Can link-up with Outlook to send automatically populated Handoffs emails.
    • Email Handoff

  • TMs view:
    • Can search through source and target.
    • Can upgrade existing TM.
  • Requires all participant to be using Studio 2009

Posted in News, SDL Trados, SDL Trados Studio 2009 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner

Posted by Nick Peris on April 14, 2009

This is a quick practical guide which was used when setting up the team of in-house translators I mentioned in my earlier post about Using Trados in Knowledge Base translation.

Everything in here is fairly low-level and is really designed to help someone get started immediately with their first translation, reviewing or bug fixing job in Trados.

SDL Trados 2007 consists of 3 modules

  1. Workbench is used to access the Translation Memory (TM), a database of existing translated sentences.
  2. TagEditor is the editing tool, where the translation is done.
  3. MultiTerm is an add-on (installed) which may be running in the background. It checks the segment currently being translated for English words or groups of words which may have a pre-approved translation.

Getting started

  1. Copy the TTX files (or English source files if TTX weren’t provided) and TM (5 files per language) to a folder on your local hard disk.
  2. Open the TM in Trados Workbench: double-click the file with extension .tmw or open Workbench and browse to it from the File-Open menu.
  3. Open the TTX (or source file) in Trados TagEditor: open TagEditor and browse to it from the File-Open menu or double-click the file if it’s already associated with TagEditor.
  4. Place your cursor in the English segment of the Translation Unit (TU) you want to translate.
  5. Click Open/Get Open/Get in the TagEditor tool bar.
  6. Edit the target segment of the TU (i.e. translate the part highlighted in yellow).
  7. Click Set/Close Set/Close to save your changes to this TU into both the TM and TTX.
  8. Save and close the TTX once it is fully translated.
  9. Start at point 3. above with the next TTX or source file.

Working with placeables

Most Placeables are tags contained within segments. Here is how Trados can help the translator with placeables:

  1. Open/Get Open/Get a TU.
  2. In Workbench, Placeables are underlined in blue (2 in the example below):Placeable in Workbench
  3. In TagEditor, put your cursor where the Placeable needs to be inserted into the target (yellow) area:Cursor
  4. Click Get Current Placeable Get Current Placeable.
  5. If there is more than one, use the Get Previous Placeable Get Previous Placeable and Get Next Placeable Get Next Placeable buttons as required.

Working with terms

If MultiTerm is running in the background, Trados is able to detect Terms listed in a dictionary and suggest their approved translation. Here is how to use this feature:

  1. Open/Get Open/Get a TU.
  2. In Workbench, Terms are over-lined in red (2 in this example):Term in Workbench
  3. In TagEditor, put your cursor where the Term needs to be inserted:Cursor
  4. Click Get Current Term Get Current Term.
  5. If there is more than one, use the Get Previous Term Get Previous Term and Get Next Term Get Next Term as required.

Tip: for more information on the Current Term, double-click the book icon beside the Term on the right Term Windowhand-side of Workbench. This will open a MultiTerm window where you can see more details about the Term (e.g. definition, product category etc. depending on how the TermBase was set), and browse the TermBase for other Terms.

Other useful buttons

  • Open Open: opens the TU in TagEditor without searching for a match in the TM.
  • Get Translation Get Translation: downloads a translation from the TM into the TU opened in TagEditor.
  • Restore Source Restore Source: removes the target segment (i.e. translation) from the opened TU.
  • Copy Source Copy Source: copies the source segment (i.e. English) into the target segment of the opened TU.
  • Set/Close next Open/Get Set/Close next Open/Get: uploads the translation from the current TU to the TM, closes the TU, opens the next TU and downloads any matching translation for the TM.
  • Translate to fuzzy Translate to fuzzy: translates all sentences in an English file opened in Tageditor, until it comes across a sentence with match less than 100% against the opened TM.
  • Close Close: closes a TU, saving changes made to the TTX, but without uploading the new translation to the TM.
  • Concordance Concordance: searches for an English word selected in a TTX, throughout all the sentences in the opened TM.

Troubleshooting tips

Open/Get button is grayed out

Using the Open/Get button in TagEditor requires a TM loaded in Workbench. Here is what to do if it’s grayed out: Greyed out Open/Get

  1. Ensure only one instance of Workbench is open.
  2. Ensure it has a TM open.
  3. If so, click the Connect to Workbench button in TagEditor: Connect to Workbench.
  4. If the issue is still not solved, close TagEditor, and re-open it.

TM won’t open in Workbench

Translation Memories are made up of 5 files per language and can only be opened one at a time. Here are the main errors that can occur when opening a TM:

  • Couldn’t obtain database lock: you are probably trying to re-open a TM in a second instance of Workbench.
    Solution:

    1. ensure only one instance of Workbench is open
    2. Go to its File menu
    3. Choose Open
    4. Browse to the TM you were trying to open.
    5. If this doesn’t resolve the issue the TM may be corrupted.
  • The system cannot find the file specified: one of the 5 files is missing.
    Solution: ensure the .iix and .tmw files are present in the location where you copied the TM.
  • Matrix Error: (null), data file: one of the 5 files is missing.
    Solution: ensure the .mdf and .mtf files are present in the same location as the .tmw you are opening.
  • Database corrupt! Run export, create and new TM and reimport: one of the 5 files could also be missing.
    Solution: ensure the .mwf file is present in the same location as the .tmw you are opening.
  • While no valid license file is used or no dongle is connected, this application runs in demo mode: no available license
    Solution: ensure your Trados license is activated.

Posted in Beginner's Guide, SDL Trados, SDL Trados 2007 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

XML in Localisation: What can it really do for us?

Posted by Nick Peris on April 8, 2009

Have you ever wondered how xml could possibly be relevant to our needs? Localising xml files is pretty much straight forward. But what of using XML to localise? From English XML to Localised RTF, HTML, PDF ... and XML

As localisation professionals we’ve all known about XML for quite some time now. We understand that as a Markup Language, it is closely related to HTML. We also know that it is Extensible, meaning that the tags and structure are user-specific. This gives us the picture of a very powerful and flexible language.

But I’m sure we also all have come across an xml-based document (a “.xml file”), which we have launched in our favorite browser, only to be treated to a pretty unattractive page of…XML code!

So what can that powerful and yet somewhat undefinable animal really do for us?

This article shows a practical example of xml technology applied to a specific localisation process. In doing so, it also illustrates some of the advantages of having a dedicated Localisation Team or Department, rather than allowing various departments in an organisation to manage their own localisation. In this case, a simple handover of responsibilities from a Marketing team to a Localisation team generated a major leap forward in process, efficiency and quality control. Here is how:

Original setup

In this organisation, the process for creating and localising marketing and web content was the following:

  • 1 master document – the product sheet – was created for each new product released.
  • The product sheet was localised into 13 languages.
  • Relevant  sections were pasted individually into the website for each language.
  • Relevant sections were also pasted individually into a printable version which was converted to PDF again for each language.
  • The localised doc files were also circulated.

There were 2 major issues with this:

  1. Copying and pasting made the process extremely time consuming and error prone.
  2. No translation memory system was used, making leveraging impossible and quality control of the localised content solely reliant on proof readers.

Solution implemented

The Localisation team was handed over the responsibility of localising this content mainly to free-up Marketing resources. Rather than simply taking over, they identified opportunities for improvement and initiated an R&D effort in xml Single Source Publishing. The goal now was to automate as much of the process as possible, and free-up time within the agreed standard turnaround for systematic quality control.

The new process ended up as follows:

  • Product sheet created in xml by the authors, using the free WYSIWYG XML authoring tool Altova Authentic®.
  • The xml schema was designed to be compatible with the web content management system used to create localised product pages.
  • A Trados ini file was created to parse out all non-localisable content in the xml code.
  • XSL Transformation and Apache FOP were used to automatically generate all localised XML, HTML, RTF and PDF copies after post-translation processing in Trados.
  • A VB Developer created a tool to manage all Altova StyleVision®-based automation from one single UI.

Result

  • Upload of complete xml product sheets to the website for each language rather than copying and pasting independent fields (unfortunately batch upload was not permitted by the web content management system).
  • Internet team saved 75% on the time required for localised product webpages to go live.
  • Other content types were all published simultaneously.
  • Use of Translation Memories and pro-active Terminology Management cut cost and increased consistency.
  • Thorough Quality Checks were also processed in batch using QA Distiller™ which helped catch multiple terminology and value errors before publication.

The key to the success of this new setup, apart from choosing to use XML, was the ability to revise the process from beginning to end. Because the Localisation team were allowed to have a say in the authoring process, efficiencies were generated on the whole span of the Marketing and Web content creation and XML Single Source Publishing was successfully implemented.

Posted in XSLT and FOP | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Alchemy Catalyst Experts: Leverage vs. Update

Posted by Nick Peris on March 30, 2009

Leverage and Update Expert buttons

When I started using Catalyst, I felt Leverage Expert was more of a batch tool and Update Expert was only for small updates.

A little bit more planning taught me how this apparently simple choice can increase efficiency. According to Alchemy, Leverage allows to maximise the reuse of existing translations, while Update is used to replace a small number of files, using Leverage in the background. The choice of course depends on the type of handoff you are dealing with:

  • is it a new project or an update?
  • are there many files to update within each TTK?
  • are these files Win 32 executables?
  • are the changes functional or do they impact a lot of localisable strings?

Let’s look into typical workflows to see how they best respond to our needs.

Leverage Expert

  • Create a TTK.
  • Import all the localisable source files.
  • Duplicate it to the number of target languages.
  • Rename them using language codes.
  • Set each file’s target language.
  • Leverage from all the relevant repositories of previous translations.
  • Update the status of every string in the TTK to Signoff or For Review as required.

Update Expert

  • Copy previous version of each localised TTK.
  • Update name by incrementing version number (e.g. from__.ttk to__.ttk).
  • Update the application file(s) which have been changed in each localised TTK.
  • Use Leverage Expert if required to reuse translations from sources other than the previous TTK.
  • Update the status of the strings marked for review only.

When working with several target languages, each TTK containing a number of files, with regular updates, and if you keep you string status tidy, I think Update Expert turns out to be more efficient in the majority of cases. I would estimate that if less than 10% of the files in a TTK need to be updated there is a lot to gain in ensuring that every string which was signed off in the previous version does not have to be signed off, or even reviewed, again. It is much easier to differentiate which have been updated when using the Update Expert.

To be specific, by favouring the Update Expert you will save on:

  • Importing application files into the English TTK.
  • Setting target language in TTK and each application file.
  • Signing off untouched strings.

The icing on the cake would be, if anyone from Alchemy is reading me, to add 1 or more TM Source to the leveraging that goes on in the background when running Update Expert:

Update Expert with TM Source (mockup)

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Catalyst, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SDL Trados 2007: License Server Setup

Posted by Nick Peris on March 27, 2009

Using Technical Support Advisors (TSAs) to produce Knowledge Base content is a logical choice: they are in-house native speakers with unbeatable product knowledge, who can produce source and localised articles at minimal additional cost if they can work around their other duties.

What can be overlooked in such a seemingly efficient setup is Translation Memories (TMs). This case shows an example of such a setup being integrated with Trados TM technology.

Original setup

  • English articles were produced at a sustained pace by a team of dedicated technical writers.
  • TSAs were involved with their review and the creation of some English articles.
  • Translation would be undertaken by native speakers in TSA, when time allowed.
  • Percentage of translated articles was low and loosing ground.
  • Lack of version tracking meant English articles may be updated several times before translation work started.
  • Reusing existing translations and updating existing articles was tedious, and sometimes led to the re-translation of entire sections or documents.
  • There was no terminology control and references to UI terms (e.g. OS or software strings, firmware messages etc.) were entirely ad hoc.

Solution implemented

  • The corporation setup a Trados Network License Server as part of the Trados 2007 update.
  • Thanks to the different time zones involved, a sufficient number of Trados licenses was available to equip the Technical Support translators.
  • Initial training and a reference manual was provided.
  • A Termbase was loaded into Workbench to provide integrated reference across content types.
  • Some Winalign work was also done to start populating the Knowledge Base Master TMs before Trados-based translations even started.
  • An engineer was assigned to run TagEditor Verifiers and QA Distiller checks on the new translated content to help increase overall quality.

Result

  • The gap between the English and localised Knowledge Base narrowed, especially for the most viewed cases.
  • The quality and consistency of the articles increased.
  • The pace of translation increased.
  • The setup was used beyond its original scope, supporting updates to the parent corporation website.
  • Substantial cost was saved and projects delivered which would not have received cost approval necessary for outsourcing.

One of the things which made this project a big success was its negligible cost. The investment was null since the whole setup was based on better utilising existing resources. In such a scenario, the cost of a full-blown Global CMS system would have been impossible to justify..

Posted in SDL Trados, SDL Trados 2007 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SDL Trados 2007: Translation Memory Strategies

Posted by Nick Peris on March 27, 2009

What is the best way to organise and maintain Translation Memories?

I currently maintain TMs using 2 features of Trados (the Attributes and Master/Project TM dichotomy) and Alchemy’s Trados component.

Master TMs

  • single and exhaustive repository for each field and language pair (e.g. EN-FR Medical).
  • used to analyse all new projects and generate Project TMs.
  • content of Project TMs are only added to it when full project cycle has ended (including review, QA etc.).
  • because of their exhaustive nature, Master TMs tend to grow rapidely and would not be practical for inclusion into a translation kits.
  • even when outsourcing all or most of the localisation process, these should always be held by the client as they are a valuable asset which they own, regardless of whether they are outsourcing TM Management.

Project TMs

  • specific to a project or project stage (i.e. successive handoffs of a same project often have their own Project TMs).
  • used to pre-translate the handoff (i.e. generate the TTX files to send to the vendor).
  • passed on to translation vendors for analysis and use during interactive translation.
  • used during post-translation engineering (bugs are fixed in Workbench + TagEditor + MultiTerm interactive translation environment by the localisation engineer).

Software TMs

  • single and exhaustive repository for each field and language pair, generated bi-yearly from Catalyst TTKs.
  • added to Master TM of their field and/or used as Concordance reference during translation of help, documentation, knowledge base articles etc.
  • also used as leverage source for software through Catalyst.

Use of attributes

  • every time a new project is analysed, custom attributes are added and set (e.g. Vendor=AAA, Project=XXX, Field=FFF).
  • can be used to filter searches and analyses.
  • also useful to track back on errors or arbitrate between duplications.

Posted in SDL Trados, SDL Trados 2007 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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