Localization, Localisation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Computer-assisted 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 »

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?

 

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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 »

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

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