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Don’t Buy Translation Technology Without the Translators

At the beginning and end of the day, a tool is just a tool. Without someone to operate that tool, it just sits there. Until someone comes along who actually knows how to use the fishing pole or the dental drill or the CMS, it’s a fairly useless item.

When it comes to translation technology, the tools matter. But the linguists are the ones who actually use the tech to bring color to your localization picture. Why not put your translation needs in the capable arms of a complete localization ecosystem—where translators are already integrated into a translation management system?

Anticipate Your Entire Localization Ecosystem

It’s easy to be dazzled by sexy tech. But, unfortunately, it’s just as easy to forget about some of the most important participants of your localization strategy: the linguists. So, as you’re shopping around for translation management systems, be just as interested in the interdependent ecosystem wherein your content, your tech, your translators, editors, reviewers, and requesters can all play well together.

In fact, your best-case scenario is to have translators who already know how to function in the ecosystem in question. They’ve bought into the best practices, they know how to make use of the particular tools at hand, and they’re accepting the responsibilities of being an integral part of your LocOps team.

What Makes Localization Technology Fall Flat?

If you were to simply prioritize your tech solutions and let the translators be an afterthought, you may find that you’ve been set back considerably, trying to build your way up to ground zero just to get started with your global momentum.

  • If a translator isn’t trained in standardized expectations →
  • If a translator is not held accountable for getting things done on a certain timeline →
  • If a translator is not held accountable for updating the translation memory and for suggesting terminology →
  • If a translator is not looped into a centralized source of truth →
  • If a translator is not encouraged to communicate with teammates and they don’t have opportunities to ask questions in a group →
  • If a translator is not earning a pay rate that rewards them for their talents and efforts →

→ How can you expect them to succeed—or your translation tech, for that matter?

Too often, companies seek out translation technology and get preoccupied with integrations and flashy features. They sign onto some big promises, but then at the end of the transaction, they’re faced with tools that they’re not quite ready to use. And they’re back to square one without the humanpower they need to actually run their localization machine.

What Makes Good Translation Technology Great?

It’s best to be working with translators who are already woven into a living ecosystem—and who are ready to be held accountable to the transparent best practices and to the team responsibilities. The best LSP has translators (and everyone else) integrated into a workflow that controls for quality. It allows you to log in and actually see what’s going on, who’s doing the work, and how much back and forth is happening among translators, editors, and reviewers. The system supports linguists proactively, and your automated workflow management is actually good for something because it progresses reliably and with improved quality.

What really makes good translation technology great is everyone working together to use the tools to the fullest. For localization especially, you need to keep your tools sharp. So, you need to have the right tools in the first place, you need to have the right people to operate those tools, and you all need to be committed to maintaining them.

At this crucial juncture where you’re trying to choose your translation and localization technology, don’t neglect the human pieces to the puzzle. The best-case scenario is that any outsourced localization help ends up being a lasting partnership. After all, it’s not just about understanding the tech and how to use it; it’s also about understanding your product, your brand, your target markets and consumers. Not only will linguists be able to adapt your content more successfully when they know your business well, but they will also likely be able to teach you even more about your global markets than you may be able to glean on your own.

It might be your very best route to start by thinking about the partnerships. When you find an expert language service provider that you can trust to oversee your projects, chances are good that the technology they bring to the table is exactly what you need. The best technology is made even better when it’s integrated into a robust ecosystem with every stakeholder playing a clear and accountable role.

Bureau Works has been a reliable localization partner for enterprises taking their products and services around the world. Ours is a unique platform that runs on human and tech power alike for optimized workflow and quality. You can contact our team to find out the next steps for your company.

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