Localization in the vast majority of cases eventually ends up with a human translator translating text.

However, in order to reduce cost, increase quality and reduce time to market, high-tech computer based solutions have been designed and implemented to help the human translator, the leading translation technology being Computer-Assisted Translation (Computer-Aided Translation) tools (CAT). In recent years there has also been a surge toward efficient Machine Translation solutions based on affordable computing power and storage. Many significant changes to the three keys areas of cost, quality and time-to-market are surely yet to come with the proliferation of decentralized cloud computing solutions, translation data sharing, crowd-sourcing…

Who is selecting the translation technology?

Apart from the largest buyers of localization, other buyers expect their Language Service Partner (LSP) to implement the most up-to-date and best  translation technology applicable to their needs. Without the need to invest themselves in translation technology and tools,

savings are substantial. Not only in software licensing costs but also staffing, training, competency and responsibility over the tools and service performance.

This is why at WhP we master these translation technologies, and own a wide variety of them. We recommend and implement best practices and tools based on our customer’s business objectives, taking into account many factors:

  • Content type
  • Actor location and process role
  • Forecasted evolution
  • Main target (cost, quality, time to market, flexibility, scalability)

WhP takes great care to factor-in the translator’s perspective when choosing tools, aspects such as cost, usage and long-term availability are considered and we’re highly committed to localization standards (XLIFF, TMX, TBX, XML…). These considerations allow interoperability, flexibility, portability which are key to managing translation technology on behalf of our clients.

Translation Technologies:

Here we list a few of the most common translation technology tools, the list is far from being exhaustive as there are plenty of others of great valuable.

  • Desktop CAT Tools:

CAT tools are the most common computer-assisted translation translation technology we find in the translation industry, they include features such as translation memory, terminology management and input filtering for common file formats, please refer to “CAT TOOLS”.

Common commercial computer-assisted translation technology include: SDL Trados, Kilgray MemoQ, Across, Déjà vu, Star Transit, Wordfast Pro/Classic…

OpenSource and free to use solutions include: OmegaT, Pootle, Virtaal, Weblate, Anaphraseus, Esperantilo…

  • Server CAT Tools:

Often referred to as GMS solutions (Globalization Management Systems) . These web-based server CAT solutions include centralized translation memories and terminology management as well as workflows and team collaboration features.

Translation technology in this field include SDL TMS, Across Language Server, Kilgray MemoQ Server, SDL Idiom, GlobalSight…

  • Machine Translation:

Machine Translation (MT) technology has evolved enormously in recent years from offering primarily rules based engines to newer and more efficient statistical engines or even a combination of both!

Rules based machine translation (RBMT) engines are the classic form of MT, first developed in the 1970s and based on linguistic information; dictionaries and grammar processors forming semantic, morphological and syntactic rules to transform one language to another.

More recent statistical MT engines have proliferated due to cost-effective and powerful computing and the abundance of quality bilingual translation memories created by CAT tools. Statistical phrase and/or syntactic-based machine translation models are created by analyzing previously translated source and target language segments from existing translation memories. Through analysis of the previously translated segments using complex probability distribution models and word alignments, the MT engine is capable of compiling a set of rules to be able to translate in a similar manner to the corpus used for the training.

Machine translation technology is often applied to translating highly dynamic content (FAQs, Blogs, user portals,…) , gisting (mails, web sites…) or for productivity increases when associated with Human Post Editing.

In the latter, MT engines are usually integrated with CAT tool to interactively offer translation propositions to the human translator.

Quality Statistical Machine Translation is applicable when models are conceived with pertinent and linguistically accurate bilingual data – often the domain of LSPs who store and maintain the Translation Memories on behalf of their clients.

Here is a selection of MT solutions: Google Translate, Bing Translator, Asia Online, AppTek, Moses, SDL Language Weaver, Systran, Duolingo, KantanMT. Click here to learn more about Machine Translation tools in WhP.

  • Software Localization Resource Editors:

Software localization presents some specific challenges especially related to UI localization, fields resizing, mnemonics/keyboard shortcuts… Software Localization Resource Editors have been designed to help deal with these specific issues as well is implement translation memory and glossary management. They provide filters to handle all major native formats related to the principal software development frameworks, include translation in pseudo WYSIWYG mode as well as offering resizing features for UI elements such as dialog boxes, labels, fields, dropdown/combo boxes, buttons etc.. Embedded features such as auto-propagation of like terms, glossary importation, previous in-context translation leveraging based on ID and resource plus QA tools to check for hotkey duplication, clipped text and objects, spell-checking etc… make the use of a software localization resource editor essential in providing quality translation for software.

Here is a selection of Software Localization Resource Editors: Catalyst, RC-Wintrans, SDL Passolo, Sizulizer…

  • Translation plug-ins in Content management systems:

Many content management systems ( CMS) and especially the most popular Open Source ones ( WordPress, Drupal…) have designed their translation plug-ins which allow creation of language variants of internal assets and their translation. Although this translation technology is the easiest way to translate a small volume of content, these plug–ins do not offer the power of advanced CAT tools and for large projects an export/import mechanism with external efficient localization process shall be preferred.

  • Quality Analysis tools:

These tools are often embedded within the translation technology or can also be dedicated stand alone versions to perform more or less automated checks on translated content:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Terminology compliance
  • Some style guide compliance
  • Ad’hoc sanity checks