Industry Standards and Beyond: Translation Methods and Tools

May 7, 2019

Translation Methods and Tools-1

In previous translation-industry-themed blog posts (one and two), we covered the standard qualifications for providers and translator vetting in the industry. This time we want to dive into the methods and tools of professional translation and localization providers, so that you know your provider is translating your projects efficiently, consistently, and cost-effectively.

What the Pros Use: Methods and Tools

Professional translation and localization agencies use Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools to increase quality, consistency, and efficiency. These tools include glossaries and style guides provided by the client or created by the provider, which help to decrease turnaround times and keep the translations consistent and accurate. This is not automated or machine translation, like Google Translate or similar online translation engines, but software specifically designed to support professional translators.

The software breaks each input sentence of an uploaded document into segments. With the help of CAT tools, translators review any automatic insertions that are found in the terminology databases, and then find segments that need to be translated or revised.

What about Translation Memory?

Most translation software includes translation memory: a database of stored words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs the provider has previously translated for you and can reference for future projects. It scans new projects for previously translated phrases and sentences for translators to analyze and compare. This also helps to ensure standardized translations for each client, and prevents source text from being translated multiple times.

Some agencies create customized Translation Memory for an entire health system or organization. Ask if the agencies can use the Translation Memory across several facilities, further reducing client costs. It would also be valuable to ask the provider if your organization will own the Translation Memory, and if you can import it and send it to another provider if you change. This could help keep translation continuity for your documents should you need to switch.

Red Flags:

- The translation agency says they do not use CAT tools, so the translations they provide cannot be used in the future to save time or money, or that they rely exclusively on machine translation.

- The translation agency is not willing to create a Translation Memory database for use across an organization, for additional client cost savings.

 Learn More with Our New Translation Industry Whitepaper

Would you like to hear more about the translation industry and any red flags you should watch out for? Check out our Voiance RFP Guide:

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Topics: multilingual support, Multiculturalism, Translator qualifications, Translator vetting, Translator methods

Written by Regina Wetzel

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in how language works and translation services.