When your translation activities encompass multiple languages and a broad range of users, things can easily get chaotic—particularly when everyone is working in isolation. Translations are inconsistent, no one knows who is doing what, and graceful troubleshooting is next to impossible. However, you can bring people, technology, and expert strategy together in a single collaborative translation platform to benefit all users and avert errors and problems.
A Collaborative Translation Platform Benefits All Stakeholders
Not only does a collaborative environment make the work easier for everyone involved, but it also produces better translations. How? you ask.
1. A collaborative translation platform brings people together and helps them feel engaged.
Translation work can be isolating, especially when a linguist is working on one small piece without knowledge of the broader project context. Often, they are never even connected with the finished product. We would argue that without that critical context, they don’t have all of the necessary tools to create the very best translation. After all, real localization isn’t just about the conversion of words; it’s about tailoring a unique product to a specific local market.
In contrast, a collaborative translation platform breaks down barriers and allows team members to communicate and work together efficiently. The best kind of translation management platform centralizes workflows, communication, and resources. And across the board, this kind of platform is transparent. Not only is the left hand aware of what the right hand is up to, but they are also working together to evolve the product and the brand. A transparent workspace empowers collaborators to also be transparent and accountable. All activities are tracked, and that data is available should you ever need to identify problems or areas for improvement.
2. A centralized platform facilitates a single source of truth.
If people are going to collaborate, there has to be a single repository for:
- the valuable lessons already learned
- the terms you’ve identified as ideal translations in local markets
- the terms that should never be translated so as not to compromise your brand identity
- preferred style guidelines
- and all approved translations; these might easily be used again without actually needing to re-translate if a similar string appears in the future
This body of knowledge will grow and evolve as users regularly reference and update these resources. It is the very best path to consistency in localization for any number of languages. And it is absolutely critical for ongoing updates to your product in various markets. There has to be a single, clearly designated source of truth at all times, or else collaborators may have to second-guess themselves, time will be wasted on unnecessary back and forth, and your product and your brand reputation may even be at risk of real damage. A centralized collaborative translation platform can fix so many problems before they ever arise.
3. Humans and machines work together.
Automation is a major boon for businesses looking to localize without completely derailing their existing workflows and product development. To a large extent, an automated localization platform eliminates the need to manage much of anything—even such a complicated ecosystem of projects and collaborators. Forget all of that back and forth, the file versioning and transferring, uploads, downloads, and spreadsheets. And in the midst of such an automated environment, you will actually feel closer to your collaborators as you share tools and easy communication all in one place. A collaborative translation platform breaks down the common walls between you and your vendors and translators.
When an autopilot algorithm can identify a positive translator match for your project on the spot, that means you can start communicating sooner about the details, and they can get started adapting your content. In the background, machine translation has already filled in the gaps in your localized updates for the time being. Once translations have been approved, integrations automatically update your product for the most seamless global presence possible. All the while, your centralized platform is carefully tracking all activities, spending, translation revisions and approvals. That data is always available for analysis as you troubleshoot and improve your localization ecosystem. Because localization is such a complex, high-stakes endeavor, you depend on a sophisticated mix of manual and automated efforts.
Enlightened Localization Means Working Together
Bringing a wide range of knowledgeable collaborators together could be a mess or it could be your ticket to success—depending on how you manage it. When you have a centralized system in place, individuals can request and launch projects in different ways to support all levels of users inside your organization. The necessary tools are accessible. Automation is in place wherever possible. And you have a clear window into everything that’s going on.
Most language service providers (LSPs) operate on the black-box paradigm: you see the input and the output but not the process. This approach disempowers the collaborators and leaves you feeling at the mercy of your vendor. When something does go wrong or the translations aren’t up to snuff, you have little recourse.
But now that you know the possibilities of a collaborative translation platform, you have no reason to choose the options in the shadows. It’s time to shine a light on your future with a revisionist localization approach.
Bureau Works has developed a new generation localization platform that maximizes transparency and encourages enlightened teamwork. Our collaborative translation platform supports quality management and end-to-end localization automation. Contact our team to find out how you can take your content—and your team—around the world.
Written by Luciana Passos
Luciana is Bureau Work’s COO. She is known as a gap bridger and a heart follower.
August 1, 2019