In the past, companies used to get by with translating into just a couple of languages or none at all. Today, a boom in content along with global expansion has pushed many businesses to translate content into an average of 28 languages. Think for a moment about what this means in terms of translation project management, if you had to manage projects for all of these languages via spreadsheets and email.If you shuddered, fear not. Language translation software makes translation easier, faster, and more affordable. But before we go into how that happens, we need to make an important clarification.
Language Translation Software Doesn’t Equate to Google Translate
In popular perception, translation technology begins and ends with Google Translate, Bing Translator, or other free, online machine translation (MT) engines. In actual fact, translation software, which also includes computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools in industry parlance, has been around for decades and encompasses such technologies as translation memory, termbases, glossaries and style guides. These tools do not replace professional translators, unlike what MT promises to do, but actually aids their work and thus contributes to better translations.
If you find it confusing to differentiate between the different types of localization software, just remember one thing: beware of any mention of “free translation.” That’s most likely a free MT engine, which produces the worst quality of all available translation options.
Features of the Best Translation Software
If you are looking for a solution for corporate translation needs, rather than looking for software that translates for free, look for a translation platform that does the following:
- Makes translation easier. Marketers often consider translation to be a headache because of the huge project management load it entails. But it doesn’t have to be so. Cloud-based localization software provides you with many tools and features that make it a much easier process. For instance, the Smartling dashboard arms you with complete visibility on what’s happening with your translation projects at any given point without having to refer to additional documents or call up someone. Centralized project management minimizes email back and forth and you don’t have to keep track of a dozen different files in as many languages. The tool also lets you customize the workflow according to your company’s requirements, so that if it’s two rounds of in-country review you require before translation to go live, you can enable it. The translation software gives you the flexibility to work with any translation company of your choice. If you want some part of the translation to be done in-house, you can enable that option in your custom workflows panel. Or, if you want some part of the content to not be translated, such as a brand name or product name, you can easily flag it.
- Makes translation faster. Translators work faster when they can see the context of the words and sentences in the source content. This is especially important in website translation. If the translator can see that the translated word is taking up more space than the original and is making the page formatting go awry, then she can try to use words with fewer characters. Also, words can have different meanings and their particular use in a sentence can be understood only when the context is clear. Thus in-context view leads to fewer errors and faster translation. Another, very important feature adds to speed: translation memory. This is basically a tool that stores all past translations so that they can be used again in the future to save time. It also ensures that there is consistency with your translated content.
- Makes translation cheaper. Translators often charge by the word. If you have large amounts of previously translated content and you’re using translation memory, chances are that your future translation projects will cost you very little because you’ll be able to use content from the memory. As translation speed also increases with the use of technology, it makes it much more affordable than if you had to manage the entire process manually.
Today, businesses don’t dream of getting into translation without first implementing language translation software. It makes your life easier and enables you to translate more content in a fast and economical way.