Finding Translation Workflow Management Software That Works

Workflow is one of the biggest challenges of localization. Getting tasks in front of the right people without overmanaging and wasting time is harder than you might expect, especially as your localization projects grow.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min
Table of Contents

Workflow is one of the biggest challenges of localization. Getting tasks in front of the right people without overmanaging and wasting time is harder than you might expect, especially as your localization projects grow. Various time zones, competing demands on your translators, and basic human error get in the way of efficiency.These complications would be plenty, but they’re compounded by the fact that there is more than one stream flowing through your localization engine at any given time: there’s the translatable content flowing in, the editorial back-and-forth, the in-market review, the translated content flowing out, and the flow of supportive assets in and around all of it. Finding the right translation workflow management software can make localization project management possible—even easy.

Translation Workflow Management Software Can Solve a Range of Critical Issues

Good translation workflow management software accomplishes more than just the shuffle from point A to point B. The more pain points you can address with one system, the better. Let’s look at the broader picture of workflow management software:

Pain point: Resource drain

This mainly concerns moving work around. Here is a typical segment of one file’s journey toward localization:

  1. find the right version of the file in the right format
  2. convert and prepare the file if necessary
  3. send the file to the translator, vendor, editor, or stakeholder
  4. establish expectations of due dates and instructions
  5. wait for confirmation of receipt, any problem-solving, and return
  6. route the file to the next person on the way to a fully localized project

There is always a chance that the waiting, troubleshooting, bottlenecks, and more waiting will turn into serious delays.

Solution: Automated management platform

The truth is that administration is a thing of the past for many companies actively running localization projects. When automation can handle the fundamentals and your various experts can focus on their specialized tasks to actually move your content and your brand forward, you are poised with an efficient system, ready to approach global growth.Much of your workflow can be reduced to a few commands in an automated system. In this way, work moves faster since nothing ever waits overnight in someone’s inbox. Many parts of localization shouldn’t depend on human intervention just to get moving. But to develop your own automated system would be an extreme undertaking, even if you have the know-how. You’re better off leaning on a localization service provider (LSP) that has already developed translation workflow management software, tested it, debugged it, and fine-tuned it for the demands of the industry.

Pain point: Translation missing the mark

When a translation misses the mark, there may be a lot more on the line than comprehension issues. Maybe the translator wasn’t ideal for the project, or maybe they lacked the tools for success. It could be that quality assurance measures were inadequate.

Solution: Translator matching and asset management

Of course, it’s a major boon for translators when workflow is streamlined and reliable. Otherwise, translators are also bound to wait for bottlenecks. But advanced workflow management can go a few steps further to support collaborators in the translation stream. An automated system can match up projects with the most appropriate linguists based on tags associated with their past successes, as well as their quality scores and on-time delivery. With this tool in place for successful matching, you don’t expend resources on less-than-ideal teams from the start.Not only that, a platform can serve as home to the assets that linguists need to adapt your content for local markets and to stay true to your brand and product goals. Within a single source of truth on your platform, translation memories, term bases, style guides and all the other points of reference prepare your translators for success. And if they still have questions beyond this knowledge base, they have a link to the other linguists involved in the project and to you through the platform for constructive discussions.

Pain point: Inefficient in-country review

It may be just another stop along the localization workflow, but in-country review can present sticky problems. The person handling in-country review (ICR) may not work directly for your organization, so they’re not necessarily looped into your timelines and wider goals directly. They may have completely different roles and responsibilities otherwise, and this added work might get hung up on lack of time and procrastination. These reviewers are also the collaborators who are most likely to do the work offline and then send their feedback to you in odd formats.

Solution: An automated interface to loop in reviewers

An automated system allows your in-country reviewers to access files by clicking on a link in an automatically generated email. It is easy to do, and the file is presented to them, ready to read online. This gets the ball rolling, and often that is enough to keep an ICR on track. Integrating these collaborators firmly into the system gives them a sense of ownership, and you make it easy to do things your way right away. And chances are very good that this interaction on the platform also saves them a lot of time, hassle, and questions. So, it’s a win-win.

Pain point: Real-time monitoring

Even with a robust and seamless system, things can go wrong. Whatever happens, you need to be able to identify the problem in the system. For a lot of translation and localization workflows, collaborators, assets, and processes are scattered, and it’s impossible to monitor progress. This is especially true when working with multiple vendors that are unwilling to give you a transparent view of their operations.

Solution: Radical transparency on a granular level

Tracking for quality management is a process that an automated platform can do better than you can. Integrated monitoring can give you a granular view of projects, so you can watch the progress of individual files through the system and review all related activities. This gives you the chance to observe workflows from a processual point of view, gather data on performance, and identify areas of improvement in the workflow itself. Being able to drill into the data gives you complete confidence in the long-term health of your workflow and the content coming from it.

Partner with a Localization Expert to Elevate Your Workflow

Translation workflow management software can make your job easier, and it can significantly raise the potential of your product. By partnering with an expert in localization projects, big and small, you can step into a localization automation platform that has evolved through real industry experience. Ideally, it is customizable for your workflow; but ideally, it is already flexible and doesn’t call for any reinvention to get your translation projects up and running. The value of transparency and end-to-end integration cannot be overestimated when what’s at stake is the global future of your product.

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Gabriel Fairman
Founder and CEO of Bureau Works, Gabriel Fairman is the father of three and a technologist at heart. Raised in a family that spoke three languages and having picked up another three over the course of his life, he has always been fascinated with the role language plays in identity and the creation of meaning. Gabriel loves to cook, play the guitar, tennis, soccer, and ski. As far as work goes, he enjoys being at the forefront of innovation and mobilizing people and teams together toward a mission. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Gabriel was honored with the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award at LocWorld Silicon Valley.
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