One of the most common questions we get from clients and prospective employees alike is about our translators and their role in the localization process. We are always happy to answer but thought it could be a good idea to present the main points in a handy article we can then use as a point of reference.
The main thing to remember here is that although the language specialists work on a key phase of the localization process, there is much to do before they can start. You could say that a workday of a language specialist depends on the Project Manager’s rapport with the client, which directly translates into an actionable schedule.
It’s Studio Gambit’s Project Manager (PM for short) who primarily deals with the client and who plans resource allocation. Such a PM then assigns people and language resources or sends a request for assistance to Language Resources Management (LRM). From that moment it’s the LRM’s business to delegate and conquer by matching translation, software localization and interpreting with appropriate in-house or (carefully selected!) freelance language specialists, be it translators or interpreters.
All linguistic tasks and workflows are managed by Studio Gambit’s proprietary system aptly called the Fanatic, which is chock full of handy resources for language specialists and PMs. These include a resource allocation system, a pool of project-specific instructions, an Issue Tracker, descriptions of ISO procedures, and training materials, just to name a few. Fanatic can even integrate with client IT systems when the situation calls for it.
As much as Studio Gambit loves to work with a team of battle-hardened translators and interpreters, we are always on our toes when it comes to new talents! Sometimes a spot opens also for a new in-house member. However, a lot must happen before a new in-house translator can get to work for Studio Gambit regardless of their experience in the profession. Firstly, such a specialist must be thoroughly trained in the company systems and processes. This includes working with Studio Gambit’s CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tool, SG Tiger 2, Fanatic, Issue Tracker and other tools which help streamline workflows and make translation and localization that much more consistent across specialists.
Let’s take a look at a typical project for a language specialist, whom we’re going to call Lucy.
1. Project Acceptance
Our specialist has to accept the project request received from the PM, otherwise no work can be assigned.
2. Project Instructions
Lucy needs to familiarize herself with PM’s instructions for the project before even attempting to begin. If we’ve worked with that client before, Lucy could also have the access to style guides, dictionaries, term bases, reference pages and websites, reviewer notes on previous projects and Quality Assurance and Control tools and rules. She can also ask the Language Lead questions using the Issue Tracker.
3. Project Execution
Finally, Lucy can sit down and do what needs to be done, be it translation, revision, proofreading, language quality review, or terminology management.
Any language work is done with CAT tools where appropriate. These tools enhance the quality of Lucy’s output, as they improve the cohesion of texts, both internal, and external – with other texts for the same client or field. This is done by using the same client glossaries and translation memories across different projects and by including Quality Assurance / Quality Control measures in the CAT tool’s library.
Studio Gambit’s language specialists work with majority of the most popular CAT-tools, such as SDL Trados Studio, Memsource, XTM, Smartling, Across, MemoQ, GlobalLink and more. We even have our own, proprietary cloud multiuser translation platform, SG Tiger 2, which makes all this work so much more unified from a translator’s point of view.
One of the clever things about CAT tools are their keyboard shortcuts, which allow Lucy work with lightning speed while maintaining high quality. CAT-tools also allow Lucy to preserve the advanced formatting of translated materials, as she knows where and how to place the appropriate formatting markers.
If Lucy is post-editing Machine Translation today, she works even faster – but still mindful of the quality. We understand that Machine Translation process can seem a little baffling and have written an explanatory article, available here.
For now, let’s say that Machine Translation is performed using MT engines, which are selected carefully and “trained” with appropriate Studio Gambit’s or client’s bilingual corpuses.
Lucy can work quickly, secure in her knowledge that the Project Manager has chosen the best MT engines for the work, be it external, paid ones or the proprietary ones, in any field.
3.2. Terminology and linguistic quality of the texts
Typically, Lucy does her best to translate the source text into the target language in such a way, to make it seem it was written in the target language to begin with. This needs to be done while preserving the meaning of the source, which is why it is so important for Lucy to have the linguistic knowledge and sensitivity, coupled with the ability to efficiently research language online. You could say Lucy’s work hinges on constant search for meaning and the ways to express it.
In addition, the translated texts must include the appropriate terminology, carefully selected to fit the needs of the client, the topic of the text and, of course, its target audience. Lucy makes sure to use CAT-integrated dictionaries and any online resources. She is well-versed in testing the correctness of her output by searching through webpages in the target language. It’s difficult work and therefore Lucy often consults her choices with other language specialists on the project and with the project’s Language Lead, whose job is to make sure all specialists use the same solutions and that each issue is only escalated once. Lucy asks relevant questions using the Issue Tracker and can be certain she’ll receive a satisfactory answer, after all the Language Lead has the ability to contact the client as the last resort.
4. Self-evaluation and Quality Control
This is on every translator’s ‘to-do’ list. Lucy certainly wants no egg on her face and thus she goes over her work to catch any irregularities, linguistic and formatting mistakes, and the like. She is assisted by her CAT-tool in the first instance and often checks her work using external resources such as ApSIC Xbench, Verifika or our proprietary solution, SG Tools.
She knows her way around these tools and can adjust their settings to each project, as applying customised lists of phrases to a document and thus seeing if proper terminology was used – and improper, excluded.
5. Order Delivery
Always on time! When all work is done, Lucy sends the fruits of her labour in accordance with PM’s earlier instructions and deadlines. She can now rest and wait for the Quality Control report compiled by another translation professional as a second pass – to learn from her mistakes.
Then, onto the next project!