Three Ways Translation Management Software Boosts Productivity

Well-chosen software tools will help your translation teams and increase their productivity in three crucial ways. Good translation management software provides human translators with context in an at-a-glance view of how the translation is to be used. It also stores translation memory so users know how previous translators interpreted similar content. Thirdly, it supports collaboration by allowing teams and project managers to share relevant information quickly and smoothly.

In Translation, Context Is Everything

Words don’t always carry the same connotation in English as they do in a target language. And the nuance of these words can vary even further from this language to another. A famous episode in the annals of business translation mistakes underlines this point.

As discussed by Chad Brooks in Business News Daily, a US automaker once tried to pitch the quality of its auto body construction to Belgian customers. Unfortunately, the word chosen to translate “body” had a more specific connotation: “corpse.”

A translator would have caught this particular undertone, but even the best translator can’t work in a vacuum. Suppose the translation task involves describing computer features. Is the description aimed at everyday users or software developers? This is a question of context, and the answer could make a big difference. In this way, translation management software can help your human translators see, at a glance, the context of the text they’re working with.

Sometimes, Good Memory Is Good Enough

Context isn’t the only way to ensure translation stays out of this message vacuum. Unless this project is unrelated to anything your company has done before, it’s likely previous translation teams have worked with related text in the past. Perhaps you’re updating a product description or a user’s guide. In many cases, individual phrases or even entire sections of the document can go unchanged, allowing your translators to reuse the previous version instead of reinventing the wheel.

Even if a translation is better off modified, easy access to previous versions is important. As noted by, a key element in a great user experience is consistency. This also applies to updated versions of a given document. An established customer, for example, may very well remember the older version of a user manual. If the new version has different phrasing for similar ideas, the new translation may be just as helpful but leave the customer confused or concerned. Something has changed, and the customer can’t quite put a finger on it.

Translation memory will help ensure that an updated document is changed only where it needs to be changed, while retaining the comfort level that comes with familiarity.

Helping Everyone Stay on the Same Page

Lastly, a translation management system is an effective tool for collaboration. Tasks involving language typically bring together people not only from different departments, like marketing, product development, and IT, but also from different cultures and countries. In other words, internal communication is just as crucial as your message to customers.

All of these contributors need to stay in touch with one another in a well-structured manner that helps them to focus on the translation challenges at hand. Ultimately, because effective collaboration saves time and money, it could also mean the difference between failure and success. Translation is a human skill, but good translation management software gives human productivity a powerful boost.

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About Rick Robinson

Rick is a "near-native" Californian with a background in computer linguistics. He writes about technology and the technology industry, as well as a personal blog about space travel and related subjects. His first novel, CATHERINE OF LYONESSE, was recently published by Random House UK.