Process optimization is a goal for every company, as streamlining processes frees up money and time for core business operations.
Process optimization also applies to translation management. In this blog post, we explain the benefits of integration, and the options that are available to implement it.
What does integration mean in translation management?
In an international business environment, the efficient management of translations plays a key role. A product launch that takes place in multiple countries or a simultaneously initiated multilingual marketing campaign requires that all of the necessary material is available in all the target countries at the time of the launch. This also applies to all other documents. They need to be easily available, and preferably with minimum effort.
Let’s see what the translation process is like when the project is handled by email.
Usually, the email-based translation process includes eight or nine separate steps, based on the situation at hand. All of them require action from either the client or the translation supplier. It is quite possible that before sending a translation request or a request for quotation, internal processes have also taken place at the client’s end.
So, the translation process may begin days or even weeks before the translator receives the text to be translated.
If the need for translations is frequent and continuous, optimizing the process makes a lot of sense. This is why connectors have been developed to automate the translation process as much as possible.
The idea behind integration is to get the company’s intended translation material sent to the translation service provider and returned with as little effort as possible. For example, the translation of a webpage into multiple languages can be implemented so that after the original webpage is finalized, the material is automatically forwarded for translation. When the translations are finished, they will be returned to the original system, and a new language version of the webpage is created automatically.
The purpose of integration is to minimize the amount of manual work and maximize automation so that employees can focus on the company’s core business.
What are the benefits of integration via a connector?
Process automation helps companies in several ways. As mentioned above, integration decreases the amount of manual work. In concrete terms, this means that the material to be translated does not need to be separately downloaded into a file and forwarded by email.
Downloading files and sending them by email may seem to require only a small amount of time, but if this routine is repeated frequently on a weekly basis or even daily, it becomes a considerable burden. It also should not be forgotten that the translated materials need to be uploaded back into the system.
For instance, a technical writer or a marketing content author would undoubtedly rather focus on improving the original content than spend a large part of their working time on dealing with translations.
Automation reduces the likelihood of human error. Was all the material that needed translation included in the email? Has the latest version of the document been translated? The automation included in a connector solution ensures that all the material for which translation is needed gets translated, and any updates to the documents are taken into account.
Using a connector also helps to speed up the time to market. The time saved with automation can be allocated to other activities promoting the product’s entry to market and sale. This does not only concern new products. It also applies to new markets.
Adding a new target language to an existing connector is easy. And after it has been added, translations into the new language are as effortless as the previous ones. Using a connector also facilitates expansion into new markets.
The benefits of a connector also include data security. The content to be translated is transmitted securely between the company’s content management system and the translation management system. Using a connector ensures that business-critical material cannot end up in the hands of third parties.
The benefits of integration in a nutshell
- It frees up resources from manual work
- With a lower amount of manual work, there is less chance of human error
- It facilitates expansion into new markets
- It improves data security, because the material to be translated is only transmitted between the content management system and the translation management system
Which connector options are available for implementing integration?
The manufacturing industry, like other sectors, uses a large variety of content management systems. It is not uncommon to develop fully customized systems to serve the company’s specific needs, combining ERP, content management and product information systems.
With a large number of variables at play, it is clear that a single system can't work for everyone. Integrated solutions can be roughly divided into three categories: off-the-shelf solutions, “hot folder” solutions and custom solutions.
An off-the-shelf connector means that an existing integration that can be quickly implemented has been developed for use between the content management system (CMS) and translation management system (TMS).
Depending on the CMS, implementing the connector can be as simple as downloading a CMS extension that establishes a connection between the CMS and the TMS. In some cases, the connector is embedded in the CMS and is visible as one of the system’s functions.
The main principle is that the deployment and use of the connector is made simple. The produced content can be sent for translation directly from the CMS through a couple of mouse-clicks. The finished translation is returned automatically to the CMS, with no separate action required. Depending on the system, the user may also receive a notification when the translation is finished.
With Acolad, an off-the-shelf connector can be deployed for several content management systems, such as Akeneo, Adobe Experience Manager, Episerver and SAP Hybris.
Off-the-shelf connectors are at their best when the content is published, for instance, as simple webpages. The ideal operating environment for off-the-shelf connectors is an unmodified CMS.
The main strength of off-the-shelf connectors is that their deployment is quick and easy. No changes to the system’s code are required.
Integration via Hotfolder
A hot folder solution can be used when an off-the-shelf connector is unavailable, and a custom connector is too heavy for the needs.
In a hot folder solution, the content to be translated is uploaded to a cloud service like SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, Secure FTP or Google Drive. The service can be programmed to automatically forward new content to the translation service provider. After the translation has been finished, the translated content is returned to the cloud service, where the client can retrieve it.
However, a hot folder solution is not the highest possible level of automation. The content requiring translation must be extracted from the content management system before it can be forwarded for translation. This type of solution still streamlines the actual translation process considerably.
In practice, the translation process can flow as follows: The author of the original content uploads a file to a hot folder, which can be a Dropbox folder on the Desktop, for example. The content is automatically transmitted to the translation management system, from where it is forwarded to a translator specializing in the subject. After the translator has finished their work, the content is returned to the hot folder, where the client can retrieve it and check that the tone of voice and terminology used in the text match the company’s other communications. Depending on the CMS, uploading to and download from the hotfolder can be automated through a script.
As the name indicates, this solution is visible to the end user as folders. If a company operates in ten different languages, for example, these ten languages can be defined as separate subfolders in the hot folder. Ordering translations can be implemented, for instance, so that the content is uploaded to the folders of the languages for which a translation is needed.
A hot folder solution is ideal in cases where translations are needed occasionally, and the content update frequency is not high. The advantage of the solution is that it is easily scalable to a large user base.
Although the level of automation is not the highest possible, the hot folder solution eliminates the need to send materials for translation by email. On the other hand, it enables the translations to be easily validated either by the person placing the translation order or a person in the target country.
The idea behind a custom connector is to leverage the full potential of automation. A custom connector is also a good option when an off-the-shelf connector can’t cover all the client’s translation needs. If, for instance, the client’s personal validation is needed during the translation process, this can be accomplished with a custom connector. If a separate view where the user can view translation orders in the content management system is required, this can also be implemented through customization.
The basic concept is the same as that of an off-the-shelf connector, i.e. the goal is to minimize the amount of manual work and maximize automation. In practice, the process can be automated to the extent that the next human to touch the content after the author of the original content will be the translator, from whom it will be returned in the end.
Customizing the translation process also enables the inclusion of workflow selection in the process. One workflow could be machine translation. This is just an example of the possibilities available, as we do not recommend raw machine translation for external communication. By adding post-editing of machine translation to the process, an end result that is suitable for publishing can be achieved.
Custom solutions are made possible by an Application Programming Interface (API). Through the API, the content management system and translation management system can be made to communicate with each other.
An API is used in cases in which an off-the-shelf connector does not meet all the needs. It is also required when the content management or product information system cannot by default communicate with the translation management system. That is, there is no existing connector between the systems. The need may also appear in cases where the content management system has been heavily customized for the company’s specific needs.
As with all customization, creating a custom connector requires time and commitment. However, a custom solution will pay off once the processes have been streamlined, and the amount of automation has increased.
A custom connector is at its best when content translation is needed frequently and continuously. For the manufacturing industry, this can mean updating documentation, manuals or marketing materials, for example.
If there are more than ten language pairs for translation, an off-the-shelf or custom connector offers the best tools for automating the translation process. Automation provides considerable cost savings after the amount of manual work has been decreased as much as possible.
When using a custom solution, the client can also utilize the API to create the connector. Of course, this requires that the company has the necessary competence for API programming. Acolad will be happy to assist with the development of a connector if a translation client is willing to start creating a connector between their product information or content management system and Acolad’s translation management system
Saving time and money with integration
Adding automation to the translation process frees up resources to be used where they are needed most. Even a simple connection will eliminate manual work stages from the translation process. By increasing automation, the translation process can be made more fluid, and the number of manual steps can be minimized. The parties handling the content can then focus on their core duties. At the same time, productivity can be increased, and entry into new markets can be made easier by a streamlined translation process.
Does your company need to technical documentation and other content into multiple languages? Would you like to stop sending translation orders by email? Contact us – our experts will help you choose the solution that best meets your needs.