14 Jun/18

First the Process, Then the System – Translation Management Made Easy

Christian Weih, member of the Management Board at Across Systems GmbH
Christian Weih, Member of the Management Board at Across Systems GmbH
Picture: Across

Cost-saving and automated management of translation processes and projects is becoming increasingly important. Why? Challenges include shorter times to market, the increasing number of target languages, more complex document and system structures and large numbers of people involved in processes. Therefore, not every translation project should be seen as an individual case, but the processes as a whole should be considered – with upstream and downstream processes and points of interaction. But where do you start when it comes to taking stock of the situation and where are the pitfalls? Christian Weih*, member of the Management Board at Across Systems GmbH, gives some insight into the possibilities offered by the automation of translation-related processes.

Integrating ‘external’ processes into the internal workflow

The ISO 17100 standard for translation processes sets out common requirements for various interest groups in the translation industry with the aim of guaranteeing basic conditions for a certain expected level of quality. In the case of a registration, but especially in the case of certification, such external processes need to be implemented in the company’s own workflow. However, many companies cannot classify these industry-specific requirements and work ‘based on’ or ‘according to’ the standard. Before considering which platform solution is most appropriate, you need to create clear internal processes.

The business processes of translation services slow down the data process. How is a language service purchased? What is the price per word? What volume is needed? Would a framework agreement make sense? What role does quality play? All these questions need to be answered before you choose your translation management software. After all, the process is more important than the system.

Communication is the bedrock of a streamlined translation process

The ultimate goal is to help customers and give them the expertise to allow discussion on equal terms. Partnership-based communication is absolutely essential in providing customers with precious added value to suit them. Once the first hurdle of creating internal processes and implementing external processes has been successfully overcome, the matter of automating the translation and data process can be addressed. Tasks are completed more efficiently and manual work steps are eliminated. The translation management software is configured to reflect the processes.

Maximum information – fully automatic, secure and always available

The dashboard in a translation platform such as Across Language Server not only gives you an overview of projects, ongoing tasks and the number of words translated, but you can also access other tools for editing in a system at any time. What is special about it is that a proprietary Across-own document format protects translation jobs against improper use. Unlike conventional XLIFF files, which can be opened by any user with simple word processing software such as Word or Notepad, the Across format offers process barriers that restrict reading or editing rights to selected individuals, thus ensuring data protection according to the GDPR. This helps to thwart illegal online file-sharing exchanges for translations.

CAT tool, terminology system and translation memory all in one

All process components work in one system with compatible elements. Benefits include transparency and real-time capability. Whether it is using an external translation company, an agency or a freelance translator, the client maintains data ownership at all times. Corporate language can be used consistently, while translation memories speed up the translation process and defined project rules provide clear results. In addition, a complete system for translation management helps to create a compliant source text, implement clean processes and synchronises only data that are really needed, thereby reducing the amount of data.

Trend towards machine translation: intelligent interfaces for individual processes

Everyone is talking about the trend towards machine translation, which has now reached a level that makes it a useful supplement, but it does not completely replace human translation. There are documents that are more suitable for machine translation (e.g. very large amounts of data) and those that require very high quality and should therefore be edited by a human translator (e.g. contracts). Across Language Server also provides links to various translation engines, including DeepL. The translation industry and its job profiles are changing. Translators are becoming post-editors, while members of national translators’ associations are competing with compatriots who have emigrated and are entering the business abroad due to their multi-lingualism. One thing is certain: the market must respond.

It’s your turn – automate your language and translation projects!

Translation management systems help to maintain control in fully automated processes and to provide technical security. Would you like a customised solution for your internal processes or some profound insight into how a translation management system works? You can find out more with a free online demo from Across Systems.

Now, you can look forward to the next article on data protection and data security. Find out more about terminology databases here. Click here to read about what the future of human translation might look like.

*Christian Weih studied English literature and culture at the University of Mannheim. As a member of the Management Board at Across Systems, he plays a significant role in company and product development. He also advises clients on language technologies, translation workflows and integrated solutions, such as machine translation.