After having set off on various tangents about terminology lifecycle management that caters to a truly niche but savvy audience, let’s keep it lean and tight today with a case study about how a unified localization pipeline:
- Reduced validation overhead
- Ensured consistency between cross-dependent translations running in parallel
- Facilitated collaboration
- Resulted in quicker turnaround times and 15% growth in the translation output
- Streamlined maintenance processes and thus reduced individual project costs
- Cleared up roles and responsibilities
We have been the localization partner of a security software company from the early stages of their business development. The client has been broadening their portfolio by acquisitions and innovation and has grown into a significant player in the sector. Their quick growth has cast a shadow as well: development and localization processes diverged and the proliferation of solutions and legacy content produced suboptimal workflows and redundancies. In 2011, we set out to collaborate on unifying the localization pipeline, and streamlined production and processes. The immediate results were improved translation output, better consistency between cross-dependent translations running in parallel, and flexible version control.
By 2011 we started to see that the diverse legacy processes were not flexible enough to accommodate the substantial increase in volumes and new content types without manual tweaking. To remedy the shortcomings of the workflows that served well before, a new framework had to be established.
- The translation supply chain was more or less the same for all content types, but tasks were prone to colliding, especially in cases of cross-dependent parallel projects, resulting in scope creep and overlapping project states.
- Validation was assigned to various external reviewers and often took 1-2 months, which caused discrepancies between the validated text and the content translated in the interim.
- The localization tool the client introduced for preparing content failed to offer enough depth. The lack of support for right-to-left languages, limited interoperability options, and inconsistent handling of context data were some of the kinks and quirks, but only surfaced during live projects.
- As a legacy from our cooperation in the beginning, terminology and translation memories were maintained on both sides. As the volume grew, this approach gave rise to inconsistencies, extra QA time, and required manual cross-checking.
To retain efficiency, avoid scope creep, and achieve better control of the flow of work, we worked together with the customer to:
- Lay down specifications and prerequisites for all tasks
- Clearly identify project management paths and pause points
- Streamline maintenance and content lifecycle management
We both realized that the backbone of the new framework would be an integrated repository of approved and contextualized translations. By rebuilding the translation memories and assigning meta-data, we achieved a more efficient and transparent workflow, which ensured cross-product consistency and created a reliable backend for validation.
The maintenance structure we introduced also laid the groundwork to unifying the localization chain. It was crucial to achieve cross-product consistency that enabled the customer to speak with one voice, and we set pause points in the localization workflow that helped identify dependencies. Because potential issues were prevented from emerging early on, the process ran on rails, which not only reduced the project management overhead and backtracking, but also rendered the process more transparent.
All projects were server-based with all resources available to all parties involved, including translators, editors, project managers, language engineers and, importantly, validators. While the new framework paved the path to streamlined management, the online collaborative workflow ensured that validation did not induce version issues or redundancies. Because of the global repository that took context into consideration, reviews committed at any time affected translations globally without a need for manual updates.
The completely overhauled processes reduced management and engineering time, which yielded lower project costs and turnaround times on the short term. We closely monitored efficiency and quality, and saw that the new framework was flexible and comprehensive enough to accommodate tasks that transpired after its introduction. In retrospect, starting anew jump-started the localization process and was a major asset to maintaining high quality output, affecting costs favourably.