Five Annoying Questions Avoided With Translation Workflow Automation


There may be no such thing as a stupid question, but there are certainly some that drain our patience faster than others.

Ignoring these irritating inquiries altogether is impractical at best and irresponsible at worst when overseeing a collaborative process like localization. There are simply too many moving parts and too many opportunities for misunderstanding.

Yet if you leave your door open to everyone at all times, you’ll soon find yourself struggling to push any productive work out.

In order to find the right balance between receptive and effective, more localization managers are designing automated translation workflows that solve questions before they’re ever asked.

“Is the spreadsheet ready to share?”

Some localization managers spend more time in spreadsheets than the average accountant. After recruiting web developers to help them isolate translatable content from its surrounding software code, they might spend weeks manually copying and pasting text strings into the appropriate tabs and cells.

Automated translation workflows are mercifully making this exercise obsolete. Modern translation management systems can now independently detect source content updates and instantly pull text toward translators via proprietary connectors, custom APIs, or proxy solutions.

After overseeing the initial implementation of these automated content connections, most developers will never field a translation support request again. And as for localization managers, all they need to do from there is decide which content to assign and translate first.

“Did you get my email?”

Managing spreadsheets is the biggest time thief in traditional translation workflows, but sharing and discussing those files via email has always been a close second.

It takes two messages to carry a spreadsheet back and forth from localization manager to translator. Next, you’ll need another pair for the roundtrip flight from localization manager to editor. And then there’s the final couplet connecting localization manager to reviewer.

That’s six emails, at a minimum, that need to be written, received, and acted upon. But the minimum and the average are often miles apart.

Many localization managers will end up inviting additional (internal and/or external) reviewers into their workflow when validating the quality of high-priority content. The dissenting opinions and clarifying questions raised by these contributors only add to the email tally, and reminders may be required for anyone exhibiting poor inbox hygiene.

Shifting these crucial conversations onto a cloud-based translation management platform offers several significant advantages.

Automated alerts can be programmed into each workflow step, notifying the next contributor in line as soon as content needs their attention. Additionally, any obstacles encountered along the way can be flagged in a shared space and resolved in a collaborative manner.

This arrangement removes localization managers from the role of middleman and encourages teammates to work directly with one another in an environment that’s conducive to real-time communication. Assignments become clear, people become accountable, and actions become immediate.

“What were you trying to say?”

When translators only see source text isolated inside a spreadsheet cell, it’s not always easy to determine the intended meaning behind those words. There might be a dozen possible translations that could be applied to a single verb depending on contextual variables like location, function, tone, or design.

The more context you can give to translators, then, the more frequently you can expect accurate translations. But supplying comprehensive context is still a struggle for most localization managers.

Many are still working without any translation technology at all, manually creating context in the form of spreadsheet annotations. This approach scales poorly, however, once the word count creeps into the tens of thousands. As a result, notes tend to be provided for a select portion of content on a prioritized basis.

Others teams work with translation technology that only creates a snapshot of the source content for reviewers to reference. While this visual feedback certainly does help clarify confusion and resolve errors faster, it does not prevent those mistakes from being made in the first place.

The automated answer lies in the same technologies you can use to eliminate spreadsheets from the equation. Connectors, APIs, and translation proxy solutions capture and present the full visual context for the source content they carry — assuming they’re tied into a capable translation management system.

That gives every translator, editor, and reviewer – on every string – the clarity they need to eliminate ambiguity and make smarter decisions sooner.

“When will we finally see the translations?”

Not every translation stakeholder wants (or needs) an intimate perspective of the production process. Some colleagues only care about localized content once it’s ready to inspire audiences and create results.

That doesn’t necessarily stop them from hounding localization managers for updates, however, especially as deadlines draw near.

A dedicated translation management platform — and the data it can create — forms the foundation of a solution that suits all sides. Instead of settling for vague projections of translation progress, software-savvy localization managers can now gather objective reports and set predictive benchmarks.

As a result, you can effectively automate workplace harmony by sharing a few cleverly designed dashboards with the right people. Instead of chasing localization managers for speculative updates, business stakeholders can quietly monitor the numbers they need without becoming a disruption.

“When will you have time to upload the content?”

The translation process doesn’t end when reviewers provide their approval. Someone still has to publish those words within the platform they were originally found.

This obvious requirement can actually be a time-consuming task depending on your technical setup. For localization managers who have kept “copy and paste” in their vocabulary, publication is still dependent on developer availability. Localized content won’t go live until their next scheduled website or app release date.

Translation management software breaks this final dependency by empowering localization managers with some technical might of their own. The connectors, APIs, and translation proxy solutions forging automated connections between content repositories and translation interfaces reduce publication to a button click. Or, for especially timely turnarounds, translation workflows can be customized to automatically push localized content into production as soon as it receives a reviewer’s stamp of approval.