How do you know your localization software is good enough?
Most language service providers market themselves as having the best and latest technology. They all claim to be “the best localization solution on the market,” “the leading translation management platform,” or “the top provider of localization automation.” Marketing is marketing, you might say. Nobody takes those messages seriously.
The truth is, after using these big-box LSPs for a year, product managers realize their translation technology isn’t actually cutting edge. They’ve missed out on major functionality and crucial tools that would make the localization process easier, faster, and cheaper.
Thankfully, there’s something better on the horizon.
If you’re looking for a surefire way to gauge the technological prowess of a localization provider, consider how they’re utilizing the top features in the industry. Here’s what progress actually looks like:
6 Features of the Latest Translation Technology
1. Multi-Tenant Requesting
Back in the not-so-golden days of yore, all translation requests were made and processed via email. Project managers spent countless hours tracking down emails between vendors, translators, and reviewers and documenting all of this correspondence in complex spreadsheets. Some LSPs still require clients to submit project requests in this fashion, but the rest of us have moved on to smarter strategies.
With the latest translation technology, you can channel all project requests and track them all in a single dashboard, in real time. Whether that’s a digital system-to-system request or an intern sending over a contract from the legal department, every single project goes through one centralized location and into the right workflow.
2. Automated and Continuous Localization
Most tech-savvy translation providers are using API integration to connect clients’ content management systems with their translation software. This is a great first step in automating your localization workflow—but only if your API integrations actually work. Plenty of translation companies advertise that their software can integrate with any CMS and try to link every software a client is using to their central platform. But this scattershot approach often leads to integrations that don’t function as they should.
Nobody needs hundreds of half-baked API integrations. You just need the ability to customize and prioritize the connections that are most critical.
The best localization companies take API integration a step further by offering fully customized CLI options. With this cutting-edge tool, your engineers can dive into the back end to design and schedule their own routines. Customized integrations and workflows put your company 100% in control of the continuous localization process.
3. Integrated Asset Management
When you hire a localization service, you should expect their software to have integrated systems for managing terminology. Term bases and glossaries form the core of every good translation project, and they should be used to help translators successfully implement branded and industry vocabulary. Style guides should also be built into the software so that everyone working on your content can translate in a similar voice and create a fully consistent brand experience for your international markets.
Translation memories (TMs), in particular, are another tool that should be included with any translation service. Any software you pay for should be actively collecting translated phrases for reference to save your translators time and save your company money. Keep in mind that trustworthy localization providers maintain fully ethical pricing when it comes to TMs. They won’t charge you for a 100% match, and they’ll let you download your TM for free, no questions asked.
4. AI-Automated Translator Assignments
Getting the right translator on the right project can become a difficult task. Most LSPs put project managers in charge of assignments, and these managers are free to choose whichever translators they see fit. Favoritism is commonplace. The latest translation technology uses AI to break that cycle. Automation is data driven for the sake of your content quality.
When translator assignments are automated, the software is in charge of putting the right translator with the right project. Going even further, a good AI tool has the ability to pair the right translator with the right reviewer, content type, client, and budget. Optimizing each of these five variables maximizes efficiency and quality.
When it comes to automation, it’s not just about the final product; it’s about the people. AI technology gives us the opportunity to transform the role of localization project managers into something far more valuable and fulfilling. By taking care of the busy work, this tool can liberate human beings to do more and contribute more to their organizations.
5. Data-Driven Quality
How does your current localization provider measure translation quality? If they’re not using a data-driven approach, you might want to consider partnering with a company that’s situated at the forefront of this technology. Advanced localization software has the ability to track revision requests and approval rates for every translator, every project and every client. By turning those numbers into a quality assurance score, you can see exactly how well your translators are doing and how the quality of your content has improved over time.
Data doesn’t just improve translation quality; it also improves accountability across the entire localization ecosystem. Translation quality no longer depends on the subjective opinion of in-market reviewers. Instead, you’ll receive a set of clear data points that can help inform high-level decisions about localization strategy, terminology management, and content creation. Better yet, if the data reveal low-quality translations, you’ll be empowered to jump ship and find better translators or vendors who can actually perform.
6. Support for Media QA
Finally, the latest translation technology provides a vast array of tools and support services tailored specifically to multimedia content. For example, the best localization services offer easy access to video editing and graphic design services embedded directly within the platform and the existing workflow. You don’t have to waste time importing and exporting files to different vendors. Whether you’re working on PDF files, banner ads, or videos for your elearning suite, you can have everything translated in one location.
Going one step further, the best tools also make it much easier to complete QA and get approval on multimedia assets after they’ve been translated. There aren’t many tools out there that will allow you to instantaneously alert every marketing manager in each of your international markets that it’s time to view assets and give feedback. Seek out a localization platform that’s set up to do so. When you’ve got all stakeholders giving feedback and approval in the same platform, multimedia localization becomes much simpler.
Making the Big Switch
If your current localization provider isn’t offering the latest translation technology, it might be time to test the waters and see what other options are available to you. The localization industry is full of vendors. All of them are eager to add you to their list of “thousands of global brands” that use their service, but not all are worthy of your business.
You deserve to work with a localization company whose technology can actually keep up with their marketing claims.
When requesting a quote from a new company, ask about the features they’re most proud of. Learn how they’re using data to improve quality. By asking the right questions, you can make sure whichever partner you switch to can blow your previous service out of the water.
At Bureau Works, we’re serious about innovating in the localization technology space. We’ve also built a reputation for radical transparency—a feature that tends to be absent from the rest of the industry. Looking for the latest translation technology? We challenge you to see if the claims we make about our localization platform can actually hold water. Contact our team, and put us to the test.
Written by Aaron Schliem
Aaron is the chief marketing officer for Bureau Works. He also loves to tickle the ivories and is a wiz at designing cocktails.