Developers’ Guide to Agile Translation
Agile translation is a continuous process where translated content is simultaneously updated and pushed live as the original content changes.

Agile translation is a method of localization that integrates into the overall development process. When companies build their digital content, they typically target a single market first, which leaves preparation for future markets as an afterthought. However, with business globalization becoming an increasingly prominent aspect of operations, agile development strategies are more critical than ever. It allows you to build a program that grows exponentially.

While agile translation allows you to pivot quickly, other methods of software development are predefined and have rigid steps. By breaking a project down into smaller components and enabling collaboration, agile translation allows developers to build better code that’s shipped more rapidly and frequently.

Understanding Agile Translation as a Concept

Agile translation is a continuous process where translated content is simultaneously updated and pushed live as the original content changes. It’s an alternative to the traditional waterfall method, where the software project breaks down into a series of sequential steps and progress flows from one phase into another—hence the name “waterfall.”

Agile development is a more elegant approach since the process is continuous. A change triggers updates across all languages which go live immediately. Smaller batches of content filter through the system at all times, rather than requiring massive updates during a set period; it’s a never-ending solution with no defined beginning or end. This results in a minimization of ongoing time and labor investments, with less oversight and steps needed to maintain the program. It also ensures that all content within the system is up-to-date and accurate.

That’s not to say that agile translation is without flaws. Given that the process is continually ongoing, it’s hard to build in accountability to track mistakes to their root causes. An error in a single language could filter into all parts of the program, transforming a small problem into a massive catastrophe. The code can break and not display as expected, ruining the end-user experience. To avoid these problems, developers need to take extra care during the preparation stage to build transparency and accountability into the agile localization process.

Tools and Processes to Guide Agile Localization

An agile translation project’s foundation is based on strong preparation. The right tools and processes will provide fluidity that can carry you through multiple language projects quickly and accurately. Since Bureau Works was designed to be a holistic solution to translation, many of our processes and tools serve as examples of what developers need to effectively manage agile translation.

  • Clear parameters: Preparation is vital to the process. At Bureau Works, once we set up the program and understand the structured files, we build regular expressions and create predictable treatment for variables and the code. This simpler process alleviates any repetitive stress originally caused by undefined variables and code.
  • Consistent translation memory use: Using translation memory (TM) as part of the overall development process ensures that you don’t lose previously completed jobs or work when updates are performed. You can alter the code as much as you want without risking the integrity of the underlying TM.
  • Simple job triggers: Agile development requires speed. Submitting purchase orders for translation work slows down the process. At Bureau Works, developers can quickly assign a human translator to a job with the click of a button. This feature ensures that work starts immediately, and eliminates stalled processes from approvals and job reviews.
  • Project segmentation: Instead of treating jobs as one massive project, Bureau Works allows managers to pull completed pieces of the project and push them live. When you’re working on a gigantic translation project with multiple languages, chances are that some will be complete before others. Through our platform, you can push projects live in segments to support your agile workflow.
  • A strong command-line interface: A reliable command-line interface (CLI) is your best tool for managing an agile process. API call bundling creates greater flexibility in content development. Through this, you can pull a file you just built with a single command, push it through machine translation, connect it directly to your product, and even adapt it to both continuous localization and a more structured process.
  • Transparent costs: All translation jobs entered into the Bureau Works system trigger an up-front invoice. This clearly outlines costs associated with each job. Developers and managers can choose to set specific parameters to allow for the auto-approval of tasks within a specific budget. Translations keep flowing when the cost is nominal, and the manager can proactively seek out approval for more substantial jobs.

Agile translation is an elegant option, in theory. However, it’s essential that ample structure is built in to prevent errors that can occur as strings move through the system without oversight. With a platform that incorporates tools developers need to assess code rapidly, it’s much easier to roll out an effective agile localization strategy.

Bureau Works provides an intuitive platform and robust CLI for use in agile translation projects. To learn more about our platform’s features, contact our team.

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