Still Copy-Pasting? Say Hello to Translation Connectors!

Localization and marketing departments are all too familiar with the pains of a manual translation process. Translations need to be ready on time for product launches in multiple markets. Often, it’s not just one type of content that needs to be translated: it could be marketing content or product information and those are two very broad categories by themselves. It goes without saying that there are also multiple stakeholders in translation within a single company: from legal to product to marketing to customer support.

A content-flood situation is typical in large companies, as is the requirement to tame the flood and channel it into many tributaries. If you’re the person in the midst of it all, trying to manage the flood, translation process manually, stop. You’re needlessly making life difficult for yourself. But before we go into how you can simplify the process, let’s examine what “manual” translation project management really looks like.

Manual is anything that’s done via emails, spreadsheets, or file transfers. Manual is anything that requires you to leave the comfort of your beloved content management system (CMS) and log in to a different platform, or even worse, install a desktop software for translation. Manual is anything that requires you to learn the ways of an entirely new translation software or set up new workflows that don’t align with your existing ones. In short, manual is painful and, as you will learn from this post, obsolete and unnecessary.

So, There’s an Easier Way?

You bet and it comes in the form of a translation connector or plugin. This is how it works:

  1. Install.
  2. Configure.
  3. Get back to producing great content.

“Wait, what happened to the translation?” you ask. Translation will go on in the background, according to your chosen methods, through the workflow of your specifications, and get inserted back into your many, multilingual websites.

After you work with translation connectors, you will never go back to copy-pasting your content for translation. Here’s why.

It’s the Future of Translation Management, Nothing Less

The realities of global marketing today are too complex for any marketer to think about managing content without automation. Translation plugins offered by Smartling are quickly finding a place for themselves in the marketing technology stack for three important reasons:

1. Interface continuity. The connector integrates natively into CMSes, SaaS applications, or e-commerce and marketing platforms that you may be using. As a user of these systems, you know them intimately. This is where you spend a lot of time to get your work done. Understandably, you don’t want that to change.

The ability to manage translation right within the system you know is critical, and that’s exactly what a connector provides. You don’t need to learn anything new. You don’t need a single click outside of your CMS. (See picture below.) All you do is keep calm and continue to work within your already-established systems.

2. Deep integration. You choose a particular CMS for any number of things that you like about it. Connectors use the underlying functionality of these systems to give you the same flexibility to translate website or app content. For example, the Adobe CQ translation plugin puts translated content back into your Adobe CQ workflow. No disruption to your work whatsoever.

And, remember we talked about multiple translation stakeholders in your company? With connectors, all of those stakeholders can summon up translations as they need, and it still won’t be chaotic.

Why? Because connectors aren’t just a set of interfaces: their deep integration into the platform allows you to fully control what’s going on with translations, which pages you want to translate, where the translated content should go, and set many other preferences.

At Smartling, we work with subject matter experts who know the content management systems and e-commerce platforms inside out. This knowledge helps us build robust translation modules for those systems and make it as convenient for users as possible.

3. Centralized translation. Speed and quality are improved and money saved when you centralize translation. Here’s how:

  • Speed: With translation plugins, you can bulk-authorize content for translation. You can also configure it to detect new content automatically and line it up for translation. This saves a lot of time, as enterprises are constantly producing content and need it translated.
  • Quality: The plugin channels content to a translation platform, which offers various tools like translation memory, style guides, and glossaries that contribute to quality. Then there is the customizable translation workflow which allows you to add as many (or as few) people as you wish to the process like translators, editors, and reviewers. If your project requires that the translated content be edited, proofread, and then go through two rounds of in-country reviews, you can design the workflow to accommodate just that. In-context translation also significantly adds to speed and quality, as translators can see exactly where the translated content would fit in on a website. This helps in removing any ambiguity a term may suggest. It also helps in faster and easier reviews.
  • Cost: When you save time, it goes without saying that you save money, too. Quality improvements also help in cutting out any additional work and time that would be required to correct translation errors and re-launch products. You also save money on future translations by re-using content from translation memory.

And, a Little Back Story

Smartling already provides many connectors – for Adobe Experience ManagerDrupal, Code Repositories, Hybris, Magento, Sitecore, and WordPress – and many more such as the Demandware translation plugin are on the way. These connectors are all different and similar. They’re different in the sense that they try to be as close to the system we’re integrating with as possible. So, as the systems themselves are different, so are the connectors.

At the same time, they’re all trying to achieve the same thing: simplicity in translation. You want to be able to take content, specify the language to translate it to, and then just push a button and wait for translations to come in. This is a universal requirement for connectors.

As you can guess, building translation connectors is challenging. But it’s nothing compared to the fact that developers need to stay on top of all the updates to the various systems and make sure that the connectors are in sync with these updates. It is for this reason that not every localization software maker takes on the task of developing multiple connectors. Not only does it take considerable developer resources, but also the investment to support continuous development. Smartling has both.

Our connectors have another advantage: We’re very transparent and the set of APIs that we have allows us to not only integrate with other systems, but also the other way around. That is, we make it easier for other systems to integrate with Smartling as well.

Connectors are really the future of the translation process, as they are in line with the spirit of the Internet – where everything is interconnected. And, that is the whole point of the Internet, isn’t it?

About Jack Welde

Jack is a technology early-adopter, serial entrepreneur, software patent-holder, product evangelist and combat-decorated Air Force pilot. Before starting Smartling, he served as SVP Product at eMusic and COO/CTO at SheSpeaks and RunTime Technologies. He also co-founded Trio Development, a software company that created the first Personal Information Manager, which was sold to Apple in the mid ’90s. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also studied linguistics and interned with Professor William Labov, and a MBA from Cameron University in Germany. Jack was named one of Fast Company’s “Who’s Next” in 2011, and was named a 2013 NYC Venture Mentor by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.