No More “Translating in the Dark”

I remember the first time I was asked to translate a website. The client copied and pasted the text into an email and sent it to me. To get a better idea of what the translated pages would look like, I printed out screenshots on paper and then cut out the translations, holding them up against the original versions to see if things would line up properly. This wasn’t an uncommon practice. I knew other translators who did this too.

Imagine! Resorting to printed paper to translate digital content. It seemed to be the only way to ensure I could get a clear visual idea of what the translated pages would look like. Without that technique, I felt that I was translating in the dark.

Amazingly, many translators today still translate in the dark without having any idea what the eventual translated webpage will look like. Agencies nowadays send translators files that they can import into translation software tools instead of just copying and pasting text. That’s a slight improvement, I guess.

However, the visibility problem remains the same for most translation providers. As a translator, simply working with words in isolation isn’t that efficient, nor can you guarantee the best possible quality.

That’s why I’m excited about our new partner program, which enables any translation provider to easily translate websites, mobile apps, and other types of digital content simply by signing up as a referral partner.

This announcement from Smartling represents a game-changer for the industry and a disruption to the status quo.

In the past, the only companies that could take on website translation projects fell into two main categories: 1) Companies that were willing to allocate lots of human hours to very manual processes for translating websites, and 2) service providers with proxy technologies that were not vendor-agnostic, and were disconnected from translation management systems.

Let’s face it. Manual website translation processes are time-consuming and cannot scale or keep pace with translation buyers’ needs. So, that first category of translation provider is quickly seeing its human-centric methods becoming obsolete.

And, as for the second category, a website translation technology is of very limited use if you can’t manage other types of projects using the same underlying system. Without that key ingredient, it isn’t just translators who are left in the dark, but the clients who find themselves trapped in a black box.

As a vendor-agnostic technology company, Smartling has been working with translation providers since our company’s inception, both by sending them work, and by helping them respond to their customers’ needs for technology.

Now, we’re expanding the program, to enable more translation providers to participate in the fast-growing universe of opportunities to translate digital content using Smartling.

Translation buyers have always enjoyed the flexibility of working with their favorite translation providers using Smartling technology.

Now, translation providers will not only be able to say “Yes!” to website or mobile app translation projects – they can do so knowing that a simple, efficient, and high-quality experience is possible for both them and their clients.

Or as we like to think of it, stepping into the light.

Read more about our new partner program here.

About Nataly Kelly

Nataly brings nearly two decades of translation industry experience to Smartling, most recently as Chief Research Officer at industry research firm Common Sense Advisory. Previously, she held positions at AT&T Language Line and NetworkOmni (acquired by Language Line), where she oversaw product development. A veteran translator and certified court interpreter for Spanish, she has formally studied seven languages, and is currently learning Irish. A former Fulbright scholar in sociolinguistics, Nataly lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. When she isn’t working, you’ll usually find her translating Ecuadorian poetry, writing books, and exploring the world (36 countries and counting!).