Finding the right software translation service is hard. The biggest players in the game have bulletproof marketing strategies that make each one seem even better than the last. Every per-word rate might seem lower than the one before it. And every service claims to use the best localization technologies currently available on the market.
There’s actually quite a range of capabilities presented by software translation services across all pricing bands. Most are using tech like computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, translation memories (TMs), and style guides. But those basic tools are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the technology you need to build a truly continuous localization engine.
The best software translation services take these tools above and beyond, reaching new heights in efficiency, quality, and transparency. To determine which companies are worth your attention, dig deep into how they’re using the following five tools.
5 Tools Offered By Top Software Translation Services
Cutting-Edge Integration Technology
Some software translation services still require you to manually export your own repositories—or to send .xml files back and forth via email as in the prehistoric era. The localization industry is rapidly moving on to bigger and better things. API integration is the new norm, and we’ve developed even better ways to make integration smoother and faster.
While some software translation services let you integrate each CMS through a plugin-esque function or an API key, an even more flexible option allows your engineers to write their own routines using a high-powered command line interface (CLI). This tech creates bespoke integrations that are entirely unique to your needs. With this tool in hand, you can expect to have complete autonomy over which pieces of content you send and when you send them.
Better Translation Memory Applications
Any software translation service worth using relies on translation memory technology. What really matters is how they’re using it, how they’re charging you for it, and how they let you apply it.
For example, let’s say you’re running a test build for your software. When you partner with a company that offers a robust TM module backed by a powerful CLI, you’d be able to source your translations directly from the TM and supplement with machine translation to fill in the gaps for an almost-immediate turnaround and a depth of insight to inform your localization and development at any point along the way.
Localization services with integrity don’t charge for a downloaded TM because it’s yours. They also don’t charge for translating phrases that are 100% matches generated by these memories. Choose to partner with a service that uses the TM as an invaluable tool—and not just as another way to nickel and dime their clients.
Multimedia Localization Capabilities
Multimedia is the future of localization. Whether you’re localizing an elearning suite or a set of marketing videos, you should be prepared to invest more time and money into this part of the process. Simply localizing each new build of your software is relatively straightforward compared with multimedia localization. The best services offer in-line tools for multimedia content that make translation, engineering, and implementation much easier. Look for partners that let you handle all of your content—code repositories, marketing materials, and video scripts—all in one place. Ask as many questions as you can think of about how any complex materials will flow, end-to-end, through a company’s localization system. Ultimately, you need a solution that is ready to scale with your product indefinitely.
Advanced Translator Assignments
When it comes to the actual nuts and bolts of translation, you should expect a lot of obscurity from big box-LSPs. Most major translation companies won’t let you know who’s actually doing the translations for your project. Some can’t; they’ve contracted the work out to multiple third-party providers, keeping everyone in the dark and putting six degrees of separation between you and the people crafting the Korean or Arabic versions of your software.
A truly reliable software translation service knows exactly who they’ve hired to do your translation work. In fact, they’ve likely chosen these individuals based on their demonstrated skill in the subject matter and language pairs of your specific project. The most cutting-edge services assign linguists automatically through AI, so you get the best translators working on your strings immediately—sidestepping the common practice of trial and error with whoever is available to do the translation.
Transparent Communication Tools
Communication pathways aren’t necessarily “high-tech” when it comes to localization software. But considering the current state of the industry, we view the possibilities as somewhat groundbreaking. Most localization companies don’t offer direct client-translator communication. They don’t allow clients and reviewers to comment on the same threads for the same projects. They plan to keep you entirely in the dark until they present a finished deliverable—which may certainly have errors that are then impossible to trace back.
You know a localization partner is ahead of the game when they give you direct contact with your translators. They’ll also have built-in quality assurance modules that make the entire localization process more transparent.
Make the Right Choice
Now, you know how to recognize which software translation services actually live up to their hype. But going global involves much more than just getting your UI to display in another language. The translation company you hire needs to fill even bigger shoes. You need an experienced partner who can act as a long-standing member of your globalization team, supporting your efforts in internationalization, market research, advertising, and future growth.
The bottom line: choose a software translation service that you can trust. While you’re sharing your product around the globe, you’ll feel even more confident when you have the tech to keep up with your projections and a team back home supporting your every move.
At Bureau Works, we’re passionate about offering a high-tech localization platform and managed back-end services that make localization faster and easier for each of our clients.Let us partner with your marketing and development teams to bring your software to life in other locales. Contact our team today.
Written by Luciana Passos
Luciana is Bureau Work’s COO. She is known as a gap bridger and a heart follower.