localization

3 Best Practices for Better Translation Result

Author: Susie Wynn, Lead Product Consultant at Author-it
First Published by Interpro - Translation Solutions

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One of the greatest benefits of using a translation memory system (TMS) is reuse; translate your content once into multiple languages and then leverage that asset for other projects later. If you’re already using a TMS, you know that these tools offer sophisticated functionality: you set the parameters to factor context into the word matching, program custom segmentation, conduct quality checks on the translation, etc., and the TMS does the work.

As effective as TMS tools are, their performance relies heavily on what happens with the content before it gets to translation, primarily in the content creation stage. Authoring practices and content creation methods have an enormous impact on localization success: affecting quality, time, and/or cost.

Not surprisingly, many companies struggle with these common localization pain points: slow turnaround times, quality problems in translated content, and the high cost of the entire process. You can greatly mitigate these issues by optimizing content at the authoring stage. We’ve all heard the adage, “garbage in, garbage out,” but the opposite is also true: improve the source content and you improve localization.

By following just a few best practices during the authoring process, you begin to see how achieving quality in the source content produces better results in translation. At the top of the list are: following a glossary of approved terminology; applying style guide rules; and adopting a content management system (CMS) to manage your content.

1. STANDARDIZE YOUR TERMS
Writers can increase consistency if they use a glossary of approved terminology in their content, especially if there are multiple teams — some of whom are nonnative English speakers. Poor writing is often the result  of multiple and inconsistent language structures, vocabulary, and syntax. For example, should we “begin,” “start,” or “commence” an activity? Should your published content exist on a “website,” a “web site” or a “web page?” Do you prefer internet to be spelled “Internet?” “Email” or the antiquated “e mail?”  

Many hands contributing to the content bring the risk of unnecessary variation. Having lots of options makes colorful prose in fiction novels, but in the business of localization, consistency is preferable. Using a glossary of preferred terms ensures that your writers reach this consistency. 

The bottom line is that word choice plays heavily in the success of the eventual translation. If the goal in localization is to optimize word matching with the TMS, then variation quickly erodes the 100% matches residing in the company’s translation memory databases. Remember that 100% matches in translation produce a faster turnaround time, considerably lower costs, and improved overall quality through consistency.

2. ENFORCE STYLE RULES
Applying style guide rules during the authoring stage also improves the quality of both source content and the corresponding translation. To illustrate the power of a style guide, consider this common phrase: 

Please call the System Admin if more information is required.

Using this example, let’s apply a few basic style guide rules. 
• Condition precedes action
• Remove passive voice
• Remove unnecessary words
• Apply approved terminology  

When we apply these rules, along with the glossary of terms, we end up with a sentence that looks more like this:

For more information, contact your system administrator.

For one Fortune 500 company, a content audit found that this simple phrase appeared in 98 different variations in their content. This meant that each time they translated their content, this string of words fell short of a 100% match in their TMS — adding time and cost to the localization cycle.


3. MANAGE YOUR SOURCE CONTENT
Driving quality into the content creation process brings us to the third recommended best practice, using a content management system (CMS) to store and manage your content. Similar to a TMS, a CMS stores content for future use: write once and reuse everywhere. Because you’re going to write the content only once and reuse it repeatedly, use your glossary and style guide to optimize content the first time. 

However, not all CMS tools are created equally. While they all store reusable content and maintain the ability to publish to various output formats, some store content at a granular level: component content management systems (CCMS). For example, consider the system administrator sentence above. With a CCMS, you’re able to store this sentence as a reusable unit on its own — separate from the section or module in which it appears. This approach provides a much more flexible system, which yields significantly higher reuse rates than a standard CMS.

When you combine the power of a CCMS with a TMS, you get the best of both worlds in the area of recycled content: authoring reuse and translation reuse. Add the glossary and style guide tools into content creation and the quality of both the source and target languages improves. Employing all three of these methods leads to sending fewer words to translation and achieving a higher quality result — all with faster turnaround times and lower overall cost.
 

Translation, Localization, Internationalization and Transcreation

 Depending on their nationality these women may be playing a game known by very different names.

Depending on their nationality these women may be playing a game known by very different names.

What are they and how are they different?  

Our resident localization expert, Susie Winn, explains what each term means, using the international language of football. If you've got indepth localization issues you're trying to solve, you can contact Susie and our localization team by using the Request Consultation button above. 

Translation – the process of changing words and text from one language into another
Example of translation: 

  • UK English — A Swedish company makes football uniforms for women's teams. 
  • Swedish — Ett svenskt företag tillverkar fotboll uniformer för damlag. 

But translation is just the start of customizing content. 

Localization – the adaptation of a product or service to meet the needs of a particular language, culture or desired population's "look-and-feel".

Example of text localization: 

  • Swedish — Ett svenskt företag tillverkar fotboll uniformer för damlag. 
  • US English — A Swedish company makes soccer uniforms for women's teams. 

The difference between translation and localization:  
The word "fotboll" in Swedish translates to "football" in English. But in this case, the word is localized for the American market (or locale). 

Internationalization – the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures. 

Examples of internationalization: 
A website contains the marketing phrase, "Our jerseys will blow you away!"  
In a literal translation, the expression "blow you away" frightened some potential customers who believed the apparel actually contained explosives. The text didn't transfer well across languages, resulting in costly errors and linguistic rework. The company decides to eliminate all idiomatic expressions so the translation process is easier and less error-prone. 

Transcreation – the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. The phrase has historically been used by advertising and marketing professionals looking to transfer the meaning of a message into a new language without losing intended meaning. 

Example of Transcreation: 

  • Original Swedish text: These uniforms are so amazing that everybody on the field will feel like a winner. They're the top! 
  • US English version: These uniforms are so amazing that your team will win every time. They're the best! 

 

For help with your next localization project - use the Request Consultation button above. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Inside Scoop on the Best Content Strategy, Part 3: Content Strategy with Author-it

Welcome back to our series on content strategy.

In part one, we learned what a component content strategy is. In part two we discussed the risks and benefits for creating a strategy. Now, I will share the best practices on implementing your component content strategy with Author-it.

In order to capture the authentic thought leadership behind these practices, I spoke to our very own expert, Tom Erber, Director, Content Strategy at Author-it. Tom’s expertise began when he managed a team using Author-it at HP. He designed a content strategy that resulted in over 80% reuse! Now, he is sharing that knowledge by designing and implementing component content strategies for some of the largest companies around the world. The following paragraphs summarize my discussions with Tom.

 

What is Author-it’s secret ingredient?

As we know from past blogs and our white paper on Why Components components are core to Author-it. These chunks of information are critical because they liberate writers from the symbolic chains of documents.

However, the challenge with changing from a document-based paradigm to that of components is in how you manage, hundreds, thousands or even millions of components that make up your documentation. The secret is the relational database that manages all of the relationships between components, allowing writers to quickly find and reuse existing content.

In one case study, an organization was challenged to produce a 100-document project with 50,000 words and translated into 7 different languages. The chart below shows that by utilizing a relational component strategy, the company was able to reduce the costly authoring processes by 81%.


Additionally, compared to traditional authoring processes, relational content strategies can provide organizations with an 80% improvement in content quality and consistency with a 28% improvement in time to market execution.


To mimic these results, consider the following best practices:


Best Practices with Author-it

Component Integrity

Maintaining the integrity of information is important. Whether the content is restricted for legal or regulatory purposes, or perfectly written, reviewed and translated, you probably don’t want people to tamper with the content after it has been released. If you are using an unprotected folder structure that allows a variety of people to access it, you could be jeopardizing your work.

Author-it’s folder structure enables user & group security through Folder Action Permissions. Folder Action Permissions determine which actions a user can take with the components in a particular folder. For example, all users may be able to create content in a particular folder, but only certain users can edit, and only the creator can delete a component. Security can also be ensured with the workflow functionality in Author-it called “release states”. For example, in the “Draft” release state, you can set it up so that all users can edit, but once in the “Released” state, the information is locked. Ultimately, this helps ensure the security and integrity of your information for compliance, consistency and future reuse.


Workflow

Consider the process for most organizations of authoring, reviewing and publishing: the initial inputs are from many authors, the review team is usually made up of different subject matter experts (SMEs), and the published output has to accommodate a variety of audiences. With all the variations and new inputs throughout the content’s lifecycle, even highly organized workflows can present opportunities for mistakes and bottlenecks.

However, working in Author-it allows workflows to be monitored and managed throughout the entire process. Authors are able to assign specific SME reviewers to specific components, thus controlling who is able to edit and review the content.  Now, the product team is able to reuse a component that the SME helped collaborate on, ensuring accuracy and consistency. This process can reduce the SME’s time by 50% and increase the quality and consistency by 100% because there is a single source for each component.


Relational Reuse

Remember, Author-it’s secret ingredient is the relational database. This is the key to achieving 70-90% reuse.

Because components are managed in a relational database you are able to quickly find and reuse components when you are creating new documents. Simply insert the already written component into your document and move on to the next section. Even better, Author-it Xtend is a patented feature within Author-it that intelligently suggests similar or identical components as you are writing. So instead of searching the database for a component, the component comes to you. It’s easy to see how this greatly saves time, maintains consistent messaging and ensures compliance.


Conclusion

At the conclusion of this three part blog series, you can look back and understand how important a content strategy is. With Author-it, a content strategy can be effectively established and managed throughout the entire company. From components, to your finished published outputs, it is a solution with the world’s content problem in mind.

Check out our website to learn how you can work with us to start designing your Author-it Component Content Strategy today!