Translation Automation Within the Multilingual Content Ecosystem


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Article ImageAutomation is on the minds of many people and not just those in manufacturing. It has been suggested that automation will have a profound impact on many industries in the coming years, including healthcare, finance, and transportation. Typically, the conversation turns to job loss, which is certainly a weighty subject. But there are advantages to automation that are worth remembering. Automation takes routine, repetitive tasks (i.e., drudgery) and eliminates the human from the equation. Arguably, this frees the human for more creative, strategic, and hopefully satisfying endeavors.

While many of us don’t fully understand the computer science behind automation technology, we do understand the impact of automation on the industries we work in. In the world of content, automation is having an effect on things such as image, speech, and text processing—and even the creation of written content. In the translation and localization sector, we’re seeing automation driven by AI (such as neural machine translation) and by old-fashioned human ingenuity. Automation is used as a competitive advantage by translation companies since in most cases, it results in cost-savings and time-savings for their clients.

While the computational linguists work on the cutting edge, creating multilingual chatbots and perfecting speech synthesis, many more practitioners keep themselves busy with the comparatively humdrum challenge of process automation. The multilingual content delivery cycle—and specifically the translation processes within it—are ripe for automation owing to the plethora of repetitive tasks. Just ask any localization project manager about extracting, preparing, and transferring files, and she’ll tell you how appreciated automation is in this arena.

For those handling multilingual content, the translation round-trip is an important factor in managing it. The process has several steps and crosses several platforms—it can be complex, but it is ultimately repetitive, making it a candidate for automation. There are a number of commercial solutions that address translation process automation within the multilingual content ecosystem. One approach is to use a customized portal developed by your translation agency; all-in-one platforms from monolithic enterprises are another option, and custom-developed connectors (APIs) between CMSs and translation management systems (TMSs) are another. All these approaches require commitment to a particular vendor or tech stack. They’re not easily adapted if translation vendors change or if vendors change their technologies. And all of them require a great deal of resources in terms of IT, development, time, and budget. Ask a translation vendor, and he or she will tell you it can feel like an API jungle out there.

Many translation service providers are tired of reinventing the wheel every time they need to integrate their systems with a new client’s technologies; they are looking not to proprietary solutions, but to open standards as a solution. My organization, the Globalization and Localization Association, advocates for such a standardized approach.

Motivated by the efficiencies of interoperability and the time-savings and cost-savings of reusable assets, a community-driven, open source initiative to advance API standards for multilingual content delivery is underway. So far, the work has centered on the drudgery that our previously mentioned localization project manager would love to jettison from her workload. Use cases, business metadata central to a translation project, and extraction best practices have all been cataloged and defined, and a RESTful API prototype has been drafted. The goal is to streamline the translation round-trip, saving time and money, while avoiding headaches. This allows localization project managers and content managers to focus on what’s important: reaching international audiences and delighting users and customers no matter their language or culture.

So why use a standardized approach? For content owners and managers, it allows freedom of choice for tools and vendors, reduces the investments required in R&D and integration efforts, and breaks down content silos within organizations. And while this article has addressed the integrations between CMS and TMS, the standardized approach provides interoperability guidelines for all industry actors collaborating in all types of workflows.

The need for this type of automation is clear. With its implementation, all stakeholders in the multilingual content ecosystem stand to benefit in a variety of ways. As an association, we’d like to see those benefits extend to all parties involved and include interoperability, openness, choice, and flexibility.


Related Articles

The assumption that organizations would buy a single-vendor DXP based on the number of parts within said solution is at odds with what our analysts and consultants were seeing across companies of all sizes and industry sectors. We decided that it was time for voice-of-the-buyer, fact-based insight that would separate DXP myths from reality.
Marketers have done well by pairing technological advancements with the best AI tools—such as personalization based on browsing history. This trend should continue with the new era of global chatbots. When companies move toward marketing by chat, they need to use this channel wisely or risk damaging their customer relationships. As technology advances, user expectations rise.
Digital experience (DX) covers a lot of territory—so much so that discussions about DX technology often result in a consensus that collapses as projects surface incompatible expectations. Customer experience had a similar problem, getting way out of hand with expectations of omnichannel, including brick-and-mortar stores. If you've been around enterprise software for a while, you'll be familiar with software category labels outgrowing their britches and acting like they can do anything, if you'll forgive the anthropomorphizing.
As news about data breaches inundated the public in 2017, WhiteHat Security saw a chance to capitalize on it and build a reputation as a trusted source for security-related topics as people searched for answers. The company decided to create a Knowledge Center to help confused information seekers find the answers they needed, but it had to have help making sure its strategy was sound.
From high-level insights to in-depth analytics, data transforms globalizing and digitizing organizations. In this respect, data visualization paves the way to the globalization of digital products at machine speed.
According to a worldwide survey from Google and Statista, video consumption is popular, ranging from a consumer consumption high of 95% in Saudi Arabia to a low of 54% in South Africa. In the U.S., 85% of internet users say they watch online video. That popularity has spurred the use of video not only for information and entertainment, but also for marketing.