Integration Between Tools: Make It Work

integration

Within the localization industry, there is a wide range of technology solutions. For instance, some computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are specifically designed to translate mobile applications, while others work perfectly for website localization or software development. They also vary in complexity, size or usability. Quality assurance (QA) checks as well as terminology and project management features are also factors that change among translation tools.

Operating in a business with such diverse opportunities implies that sometimes we have to work in very different tools, with their pros and cons. For example, a client may require vendors to use a certain software application, say, a web-based editor, that may not be that handy if the hired Language Service Provider needs to coordinate simultaneously the work of several linguists. When this happens, the management team can obtain better results both in terms of quality and time by exporting files, termbases and translation memories, and then work in a more suitable CAT tool. This is what we call integration between tools.

Reasons and Benefits

Working across tools is possible thanks to XLIFF files, which are a kind of XML-based format. They are compatible with any localization software, thus they can be exported and imported between different applications.

There are multiple reasons for using a different CAT tool than the one originally provided. However, this decision is only convenient in some specific scenarios, and must be always done with clients’ approval. For instance, some web-based editors only allow one linguist to log in at a time. In that case, exporting the files and using a desktop application may be a better option if the project managers (PMs) need to put together a large team of vendors. Desktop versions allow the management team to properly divide the amount of work and assign it neatly. Having total control over document batches and assignments also results in reducing production time. PMs can establish a schedule with partial deliveries, so translators and editors can work simultaneously.

QA Power

QA tools

However, the salient advantage of exchanging files within tools is the possibility of using different quality assurance (QA) utilities. In the market, there are many options of specialized software for automation of QA, such as Xbench or Verifika. CAT tools also include different types of quality control features, so it may be helpful to run checks in more than one software. Both specialized software and integrated functionalities spot and resolve errors in bilingual files, detecting formatting, consistency, terminology, grammar and spelling errors, and numeric and tag mismatches. Linguists can correct them manually or use the auto-correction feature these resources offer.

When to Integrate?

To tackle a project across tools is possible under certain conditions. First and foremost, working in a different software must be the best option for that particular case. The decision must be quality-driven and the result of a risk management approach. This is, after considering the original tool and the possibilities it offers, the management team decides that they will export the file and work with it in another software, because they will benefit incomparably from its features. Second, this workflow is only possible when web-platforms or applications allow importing/exporting using standardized files, such as XLIFF files. IT managers first test with small files whether the process runs correctly, and only in that case the workflow moves forward with the entire project.

Quality and value

Integrating files and tools is one of the ways in which project and quality assurance managers can add value during the translation process. They bring their experience, teamwork and analytical insight to assess which options can offer more quality and accuracy to the localization workflows they manage.

The Biggest Translation Mistake You Can Make

Communication is key. This is a somewhat trite statement, but is almost always a true one. While there are many translation mistakes that can be made, some of the biggest mistakes relate to improper communication with clients. Luckily, these mistakes are also some of the easiest to avoid. To ensure quality during the translation process, and in the final product, achieving accuracy and properly capturing the intended effect of the text are of the utmost importance. Consider taking these steps to avoid the biggest translation mistake you can make: miscommunication.

Don’t Rely on Translation Memory

Translation memories (TMs) store text that was previously translated in a database format. The text can include specific words or longer fragments of text such as sentences and paragraphs. Clients occasionally provide their TMs to the translator which can be helpful. However, it’s worth noting that a translator should not prioritize a TM as a resource over a glossary or style guide. This is because TMs can contain mistakes, whereas glossaries list already approved terminology that the client themselves has vetted. A glossary can help clear up any confusion a translator encounters regarding word choice. However, if a translator doesn’t agree with a translation or believes it to be incorrect, speaking with the client about the issue and coming to an agreement about how best to move forward is a wise course of action. 

Discuss the Details

A strong attention to detail is a valuable skill to have in any field of work, but especially so in the translation industry. In translation projects, there may be areas of text that are ambiguous or even incorrect. If a translator is unsure about certain aspects of text they are translating or if they are using the ideal word choice, it can be worthwhile to discuss those details with the client. Trickier aspects of translation such as acronyms or areas of text that require transcreation are worth making note of so that everybody is on the same page. 

Request Client Feedback

Asking for client feedback is a strong communication tool that can help the translator learn more about the client’s expectations. It also allows for an opportunity to learn from mistakes made. This feedback is particularly important after taking a translation test. Even if you’ve passed a translation test, you can learn from asking about what you did right. Ask the client questions about what areas of the test they liked or if there are any terms or phrases they would like to be different moving forward. Keep an open mind and learn from their feedback to make your next project even more successful.

Ask The Right Questions

One of the best steps a translator can take to avoid the mistake of miscommunication, is to ask questions. Before, during, and upon finishing a project, it is of the utmost importance to ask the right questions. One area of the work worth clarifying is knowing what a client needs in order to provide an accurate translation. In some cases this may include providing certain context, references, visuals, or guidelines. In other cases, you may need to know if you should prioritize TMs over a glossary, or if you should reference previous published translations.

Never take anything for granted. Throughout the translation process, asking questions can help avoid mistakes and ensure quality. Communicating openly with the client to avoid making unnecessary mistakes will result in a better experience for both parties.

Boosting Employee Retention and Engagement by Translating HR Materials into Spanish

As the US workforce evolves, employers need to evolve with it. Hispanics are the fastest-growing US-born segment of the US population and as of 2018, hispanic workers accounted for 17.5% of the US labor force. Because of this growth, and the fact that researchers have discovered that businesses that prioritize diversity can benefit financially, it is important to adapt on the job resources for Spanish speakers. 

Millennial Values are Key to Employee Retention & Engagement

While having a high employee retention rate and a staff that is engaged in their work is always important, it is especially important now that millennials are the bulk of the workforce. Like all generations, millennials have their own unique set of values (although it is expected Gen Z will follow in their footsteps). To help employees feel a strong sense of personal engagement, and lower turnover risk, it’s important to understand what millennial employees value.

For millennials, it is important to feel valued and as if they have opportunities to connect with their managers or superiors in a way that feels personal to their career and benefits their progress in the workplace. They’re looking for more than just an annual review in terms of feedback and guidance. Millennials are also team players and they want to advance the welfare of their entire team, as well as their own welfare at work.

This millennial generation wants to feel like they belong and are a part of a group that shares their interests, values, and goals. Employers can take advantage of these desires by finding ways to cultivate a sense of community for their employees. One way to foster a sense of respect for employee values and create a feeling of belonging is by speaking their language and providing proper safety and HR materials for employees.

Why the Translation of Company Communications is Beneficial

As the hispanic workforce grows, it is becoming increasingly important to provide HR materials, as well as any safety training or manuals, in Spanish. As most of these materials only require a one-time translation (they can be used any time new hires join the organization), this is not a huge endeavor and is worth the benefits of employee satisfaction. Previous translations can be used as a base if updates are needed down the road, which makes the continued translation of these materials very sustainable. 

There are many other benefits associated with translating these materials. The proper distribution and understanding of both HR and safety materials are imperative for avoiding dangerous accidents or costly lawsuits. On an equally important note, they can help create a culturally inclusive work environment. Businesses need to ensure that their Spanish-speaking personnel understand their company’s policies, procedures, forms, and internal communications clearly in order to have productive, happy, and safe employees.

Other Solutions For Boosting Employee Engagement & Loyalty

Alongside the translation of HR materials and safety materials into Spanish, there are other steps employers can take to make all of their employees, including any hispanic employees, feel respected and valued.

  • Developing benefit designs that account for the extended family make-up of many Hispanic millennials
  • Implementing effective diversity training programs
  • Creating diversity councils
  • Establishing top-down diversity targets for recruitment and retention

The translation of important work materials into Spanish is imperative for building a diverse and engaged team of employees. Providing accessible training and support to Hispanic employees is an investment that is bound to make returns when it comes to employee performance, contentment, and retention.

The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

The workflows Language Services Providers manage include more than the translation or edition of a source text. A certain project may need other professional services to ensure a finished and high-quality deliverable. These tasks can be voice-over, subtitling, video editing or graphic design, among others.

Specifically, when translating textual materials (like flyers, books, handbooks, posters, brochures, and so on), desktop publishing (DTP) is a crucial part of the workflow. In the localization industry, the DTP service mainly implies formatting a translated document using page layout software. Specialists recreate the original format, taking into account typesetting and layout, graphics, images, etc.

However, DTP specialists can also work before the translation begins, preparing documents so they are suitable for import into CAT tools. Hence, DTP is a process that can take place before or/and after translation.

Editable documents

Textual materials can be files stored in many different editable formats. The most common and accessible in the industry are Word documents and InDesign documents (IDML). These can be imported into CAT tools, which has many advantages in a translation workflow. Namely because they provide features that help with consistency and accuracy, like translation memories, termbases and quality assurance settings.

If the documents have non-editable images or graphics with text (maps, charts, diagrams), DTP specialists can extract it. Once it’s translated, they insert the text in the graphics retaining the original format.

Scanned documents

DTP specialists can also process and prepare scanned documents and photographs of textual materials that need translation. As stated before, it is always better to have as input for translation an editable text, since with it, the management and linguistic team can process it using a CAT tool.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that can distinguish printed or handwritten text characters in digital images or scanned paper documents. This way, it’s possible to get an editable version of the text, suitable for edition, formatting, searching and data processing. So, by using OCR software, DTP specialists can provide the translation team with editable documents from non-editable source texts.

However, to get an editable input document is not always possible. Some scanned documents have several pages with unintelligible handwriting or bad quality resolution, so OCR software doesn’t come with good results. In these cases, translators must work from them directly.

Extract of a scanned document processed with OCR

The final eye

DTP is not the final step of a project involving it. After the DTP specialist has worked on the files, a linguist (it can be part of the project or someone specialized in the task) must proofread the material. This last editor will review the formatted document in order to ensure the target text is accurately embedded in the original layout. He or she will also check that DTP specialists inserted no involuntary mistakes during their work process. Furthermore, they search for omissions, bad line breaks, spacing errors, spelling and punctuation errors, and text aspect.

How to Choose the Best Translator for your Project

Many industries and businesses across the world use translators every day to break down borders and expand their reach. If you find that you too need to hire a translator for a project, there are a few considerations you’ll want to take first. Keep reading for our expert breakdown on how to choose the best translator for your project. By prioritizing these qualities and strategies, you’ll find yourself the perfect translator in no time. 

Choose the Right Native Speaker

native-speaker-traslator

What do we mean by choosing the right native speaker? Well, it’s important that the translator you work with is a native speaker specifically in the language you are translating into. As they have an organic understanding of the language they are translating for, their translations will sound more natural. It is possible for translators to achieve fluency in languages that aren’t their native tongue, but you’ll generally find that native speakers do the best work. 

It is worth noting though, that if the language you’re working in varies between countries (such as how Spanish in Mexico differs from Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries), you’ll want to not only use a native speaker, but a translator that has country specific expertise. 

Typically when you translate from non-native language to native language, you are more likely to have accurate text as it’s easier for translators to understand ideas that are written in a foreign language and in turn express that meaning in their native language.

Training and Experience is a Must

translator-degree

To start, your translator should have a translation degree or certification. Although there are plenty of translators without formal translation degrees who can do a good job, choosing to work with a professional who has formal training and job experience is your safest option. You can expect them to do a better job and have industry expertise that can help you avoid mistakes, such as knowing if your translation needs to be certified or not. 

Similar to how you want to work with a native speaker, you’ll want to work with a translator who specializes in your specific topic, such as medical translation or video game localization. Doing so will mean that the translator is aware of complex industry terms and knows the best way to tackle your project. 

Make Sure They Have a Large Tool Kit 

translator-tools-laptop

Translation software offers many benefits such as saving time and minimizing mistakes. Your translator should be familiar with using a variety of software localization or translation tools. While it would be ideal if they have experience with your tools of choice, it is not necessary if they already have a general familiarity with these types of tools and are willing to learn to use a new platform.

Be Realistic with Your Deadlines

translation-deadline

If you want your translator to do the best job possible, don’t expect them to meet unrealistic deadlines. If you don’t give them ample time to research, review important references, or make room for questions to help bring clarity, then their work will suffer. If a translator offers an unreasonably quick turnaround, you may want to get a second opinion on how long the project should take. It is best to choose a translator who is honest about how much time your project will take to execute properly. 

Terra Receives Focus on the Future Award for Its Employee-Centric Culture

Terra Translations was established as a family business over 25 years ago and is currently operated by second generation CEO, Marina Ilari.  Over the course of the company’s history, leadership has always been aligned to make employees the number one priority.  Like many new businesses, the first few hires were friends and family. “This created a very special atmosphere within our team that we have been able to maintain as the years passed and the number of employees grew.  Our company culture is based on ‘family first’ values that are extended to every member of our team,” said Ms. Ilari. 

Terra Translations is the proud recipient of the Focus on the Future Award in the True Colors category for maintaining an employee-centric focus by managing the health and well-being of their workforce. 

Terra works diligently to ensure that everyone feels that their voice is being heard and valued. It is a culture of quality.  This focus on quality is not only applied to the work the company does in the field of linguistics, but as well as the quality of relationships with employees, clients, and community.  Supporting employees’ whole being serves as the basis of a strategic, financial, and successful human capital strategy. This has resulted in employee loyalty and an extremely high retention rate.  Especially during these unprecedented times of uncertainty, Terra encourages companies more than ever to embrace their most precious assets: their people. 

However, this commitment to a strong culture and people-first attitude has not always been easy. Maintaining a strong family culture within the company presented many challenges as the company grew, especially considering employees work remotely. The Terra team is spread across four different countries and even prior to the current global pandemic, every employee worked from a home office; the team only meets in person sporadically for audits, trainings, and an annual event. This unique work environment creates flexibility for employees to work from anywhere in the world, and for Terra, the company can hire the best possible talent without being limited to a geographical radius.

As many companies were forced to adopt a work from home environment beginning in March 2020, members of the Terra team are often asked how the company has been able to maintain a family-friendly culture while expanding the team and working virtually.  “It takes a lot of hard work and determination from company leadership. Our values of quality, care, loyalty, and a deep commitment to family and community are present in every decision we make. Leadership in our company are thought of as ambassadors of our values and make a constant effort to listen and value each employee, promote this culture for new hires, and constantly share the history and vision of the family business,” said Ms. Ilari.  Decisions to safeguard the culture of Terra are not easy and, in some cases, can potentially impact profitability. However, time has shown that when a company can support and value employees and community with a broader focus than just profits, the company continues to grow stronger and more profitable.

What is Quality in the Translation Industry?

Quality. One little word that can mean so much. We strive for quality in every area of our lives. From award winning entertainment to organic food ingredients, who doesn’t prefer things to be top notch? We’re first taught how to produce quality work in school. Receiving a good grade on a paper or exam is a pretty clear indicator of a job well done. After school though, things can get a bit murky. 

Once we enter the workforce, the expectations of what quality work means can vary greatly. In the translation industry, quality work is the key to not only keeping clients happy but to producing effectively translated texts. 

Quality in the Final Translation

Accuracy is of course an important component of creating a quality translation, but accuracy alone does not guarantee quality. The translator must ensure that the final text properly reflects the meaning of the source text, has the same intended effect, and accomplishes all project parameters. 

During the translation process, there are three types of errors worth keeping an extra sharp eye on. Errors of meaning which encompass using incorrect terms or forgetting to add or remove a word. Spelling and grammar errors can add unnecessary confusion. And last but not least, errors of compliance that may relate to a brand’s specific style guide or language fluency.

Another important aspect of a quality translation is whether or not the text meets cultural standards as well as linguistic ones. A literal translation can literally get lost in translation if the translator does not account for cultural differences such as pop culture references, humor, politics, and values. 

Quality in the Process

While quality is subjective, there are certain procedures and processes designed to help linguists produce quality translations. For example, per ISO 17100, it’s required that at least two linguists work on the translation. One translates and the second reviews the translation. For certain projects, it can be beneficial to work with three linguists so that there is a final proofreader ensuring quality. These procedures help keep translation teams on the path to quality. Terra Translations is certified in ISO 17100 which provides the framework for our team to certify quality management procedures.

Similarly, following respected professional standards, like ISO 9001:2015, is helpful for ensuring translation quality. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) develops standards for a variety of projects and translation companies can follow their set standards in order to enact a quality control method. The ISO standards are typically updated every five years, which helps certified firms continue to produce high quality work.

Terminology-Management-What-is-It-and-Why-Its-Needed

Terminology Management: What is It & Why It’s Needed

Let’s talk about communication. See what we did there? All jokes aside, communicating is one of the most important things we do in our daily lives. On a bigger scale, proper communication is especially vital to organizations who deal with the public in one format or another. Nowadays, organizations can operate in a multitude of different linguistic communities. Each of which can require the use of different languages. Achieving the highest quality communication in a variety of languages demands professional translation services. Top tier translation professionals often utilize a proactive approach that includes terminology management in order to ensure effective communication.

What is Terminology Management?

When it comes to translation, terminology management can guarantee the usage of correct terms in all materials and communications that come from an organization. Terminology should be consistent across all areas of a company, such as in product development and distribution. 

In order to successfully manage terminology, one must collect the terms that are of specific interest to an organization. For example, a medical device manufacturer may utilize highly-specific medical terms. An engineering firm would need to master the translation of terms relating to materials and mechanical processes. Once the translation team collects the appropriate terms, a vital part of terminology management surrounds documenting the terms properly. In other words, identifying definitions, usage guidelines, product associations, and parts of speech. Terminology management can also guide both writers and translators towards using consistent language.

What is a Termbase?

An important part of terminology management is having a robust termbase. A termbase is a database where terminology is normally managed and published. Termbases can contain words and expressions that have specialized meaning. For example, these terms can be technical, scientific, market-specific, or political. The terms can also be ones that are prominent in any customer-facing materials. Such as slogans, names of products, features, programs, parts, and packaging.

Termbases are commonly used within CAT tools, which can come in handy during the translation process as it allows translators to review just one document while working. During the translation process, the software can identify and highlight any terms that are already in the termbase. The translator can then review the suggested translation that appears in the termbase.

By utilizing a centralized termbase, writers and translators can work towards ensuring appropriate use of language throughout the organization. When working without a termbase, you risk editors having to work through language problems with only their personal knowledge as a guide. This can lead to missing inconsistencies and issues with text. 

Termbase management combines terminology work and database administrative tasks that support the systematic collection, description, processing, presentation, and distribution of information about the terms and linguistic units used throughout an organization. Parts of speech, grammar, context, usage notes, and definitions of terms can find a home in the termbase.

What are the Benefits of Terminology Management? 

Translators and writers clearly benefit from the usage of terminology management. These guides allow them to work quicker and increase accuracy. Those benefits can reach every area of an organization. Proper terminology management can help improve productivity, profitability, customer relations, and the public perceptions of a brand. Not to mention, you can potentially increase safety and lessen opportunities for confusion amongst your customer base. Consistency can also help improve an organization’s professional reputation. Which is why it’s important to treat managing terminology as an ongoing project. As language and the needs of the organization evolves, it’s important that terminology management improves as well.

The Impact of the Hispanic Population on the US Workforce

As of 2018, hispanic workers make up 17.5% of the US labor force and that number is only expected to rise in coming years. As the US workforce becomes more and more diverse, it’s important that employers adapt. Embracing diverse employees, and their needs, can be greatly beneficial. Research has found that businesses that prioritize diversity more than other companies can see larger financial returns. 

Hispanics are the fastest-growing U.S.-born segment of the population. From 2014 to 2060, a 115% growth in the US Hispanic population was expected, meaning there is an increasingly greater need for employers to celebrate diversity. 

The Changing US Workforce

As the Hispanic population grows in the US, it’s easy to see how the Hispanic presence in the workforce will grow. This shift will be even more palpable once the Baby Boomer generation phases into retirement. In 2016, one out of every four Americans under the age of 18 was Hispanic, with 66,000 Hispanics turning 18 every month. This means that the Hispanic youth will be quickly replacing less diverse workers from the Baby Boomer generation as they retire. 

With more than 83 million people born between 1982 and 2000, the millennial generation is much more diverse than past generations. Around one-quarter of all millennials are Hispanic and the number of Hispanic millennials, and the projected rapid growth for the overall Hispanic demographic, are expected to be catalysts for significant changes to the U.S. workforce. 

Embracing Diversity at Work

The US working world will continue to evolve, there is no doubt about that. Employers have to capitalize on the value their workforce can provide and they can do so by providing proper resources to their employees. Embracing and encouraging diversity is beneficial to all parties and is necessary to effectively compete in a global marketplace. A movement for change in 2020 has changed America for the better, especially when it comes to promoting fair hiring practices and diversity in the workplace. There are ample diverse workers available for hire with unemployment rates so high, so now is a prime opportunity for companies to commit to hiring a more diverse workforce. 

Hispanics workers can help address expected workforce skill shortages if they have the proper tools and support to make these achievements a reality. Compared to other millennials, Hispanic millennials are more likely to search for a workplace that makes them feel comfortable and where they see a long future. To begin the process of prioritizing diversity and ensuring that all employees feel respected and supported, businesses can adopt diversity and inclusion programs. These programs can help foster loyalty, which is a trait millennials tend to lean towards if they feel valued.

If organizations make the effort now to have a more diverse workforce, the future will look very promising for them, as they will attract and retain workers that are loyal, eager to learn, and who are able to evolve as technology and trends evolve.

CEO Marina Ilari joins the Advisory Board of Enterprising Women

CEO Marina Ilari joins the Advisory Board of Enterprising Women

Terra Translations is thrilled to announce that our CEO Marina Ilari has joined the Advisory Board of Enterprising Women. Every year, Enterprising Women hosts the Enterprising Women of the Year awards and Marina was one of the award winners in 2020. The gala was originally planned to take place in March, but was rightfully postponed because of the pandemic. Gala or no gala, we couldn’t be prouder of our fearless leader!

What is Enterprising Women?

Enterprising Women Magazine is a national and global magazine for female entrepreneurs. The Enterprising Women Advisory Board is made up of a group of professionals who aim to give back to the women business owners’ community. Board members provide leadership and inspiration to female entrepreneurs worldwide. 

Membership is granted to top women business owners and corporate representatives from around the world, “Being invited to be a board member is an honor that I do not take for granted. I am so grateful to be among the company of such accomplished women in business,” Marina said. 

What the Role Entails

The board members of this great organization provide advice to the magazine’s staff regarding their specific areas of expertise. They help tailor the publication to meet the unique needs of the entrepreneurial women that read it. Alongside providing input to the editorial staff, board members have the opportunity to publish articles in Enterprising Women magazine. 

Board members also participate in the annual Advisory Board meeting, which is typically held the day of the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards Gala. Before COVID-19, the board also gathered informally at professional events targeted to women entrepreneurs.

Alongside providing the editorial team with feedback on what topics and issues the magazine should cover, Enterprising Women staff also count on the board members to recommend outstanding women entrepreneurs for profiles in the magazine, as well as events and conferences worth writing about. Marina is especially looking forward to using her position to support female led businesses, “Terra is a female led business and we know first hand how invaluable women are in the translation industry and in many other industries. I am most excited about using my position to support talented and hard working women in business,” she noted. 

A History of Community Involvement

Marina consistently prioritizes community involvement, and alongside her role on the advisory board of Enterprising Women, she actively participates in other initiatives aimed to support women, such as Women in Localization. Terra, as a company, is certified by the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a women-owned business and by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a women-owned small business. 

Marina feels a core value at Terra is to support fellow women-led businesses. “I’ve been so fortunate to work with some incredible women who have acted as mentors and teachers. I want to pay their generosity forward. After all, when women get together to support each other, there is nothing we can’t achieve,” Marina explained.