Martin Eichler

4. October 2022

Localisation engineering is key to optimal savings in time and costs for clients

Unique technical and analytical skills make localisation engineers key members of a translation agency team. Their work pays dividends in the agency's increased efficiency, as well as the quality of outputs, cost and time savings for clients.

What is localisation engineering?

Imagine sending the files you need translated to an agency. Most files – even Word – contain untranslatable or difficult-to-translate text.

At which point, localisation engineering enters a project.

They prepare files for efficient translation – both for the client and translator. So a localisation engineer gets to work even before a project manager kick-starts a project. Without files being engineered first, the translator could have trouble with their processing. Localisation engineering impacts various project phases – significantly increasing quality and lowering costs.

An example of localisation engineering’s added value

Original text for translation
At first glance, the expressions are repeated. The CAT tool cannot identify a pattern to account for duplicates, so each row is unique.

text-before-edit-2 Source text before editing

Total word count = 4,991
Number of weighted words (after deducting repetitions) = 4,978.4

Text for translation after editing by localisation engineer

We can boost the CAT tool’s performance.

  1. We sort text in the column A>Z.
  2. We identify product groups that share repeats and use the Text to Columns function to divide the row into two columns. In the first column, we remove duplicates and translate the text in this way.
  3. We translate the original text divided into two columns in the CAT tool using the client’s translation memory, which detects duplicates.
  4. Then we get two completely translated columns, which we connect using a simple formula.
text-after-edit-2 Source text after editing

Total word count = 2,657
Number of weighted words (after deducting repetitions) = 2,206.4

Editing result

In just 30 minutes, we saved the client 50% of the cost and the translator at least a day of work.

The localisation engineer brings diverse skills to the translation team

Know-how enables the localisation engineer to connect translation and technology. Such engineer knows IT, and has detailed insights into translation technologies, project management, and process analysis. The various areas intersect, and the work involves all project participants – programmers, translators, sales team, and project/localisation managers.

Read more: Why does a translation agency need an IT department?

High technical level is key for a detailed overview of translation, localisation, and content management tools. Analytical thinking is then applied to link these tools’ functionality to boost translation project efficiency. Localisation engineers have frequently mastered multiple programming languages.

Experienced localisation engineers are team players, detail-oriented, precise, and appreciate that each market has bespoke requirements. They can dive deep into a problem and seek solutions to make quality translation easier and more efficient.

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What’s a localisation engineer’s typical day?

A detailed analysis of various file types and planning steps to translate as quickly and low-cost as possible, as well as other tasks.

Planning CAT tools’ most efficient use

Localisation engineers stay on top of industry news and technical information, as well as the latest translation concepts. They benefit from designing ways to maximally automate translation projects. For example, by linking translation tools with client systems for smooth document flow and error reduction.

Read more: CAT tools can relieve the burden of typing translations

Managing translation memories

Each client has an assigned ID, under which completed translations, terminology databases, and translation memories are stored as segments. From time to time, the translation memory requires “cleaning” by the localisation engineer. The memory stores numerous segments: sentences or paragraphs for redistribution and pairing, or the connection or removal of duplicate segments, etc.

Read more: Translation technologies: a comprehensive guide

Taking responsibility for machine translation outputs

In machine translation, he/she identifies recurring errors. For example, a formal error when a product name is erroneously translated. Analyses the effectiveness of machine translation and provides feedback.

And post-machine translation, he/she evaluates whether this has really eased the translator’s job. He/she can also detect that part of a text is/isn’t suitable for post-editing. So the text is divided with the recommendation to implement traditional translation instead of machine translation, as the case may be.

Contributing to quality assurance processes

As part of quality assurance (QA), the localisation engineer works to improve the methods that check the text during and after translation. For example, we use a custom-made checklist – involving software and four employees – to detect the maximum number of errors.

Every CAT tool translation is checked for quality by software either integrated into the CAT tool or independent. It continually alerts a translator to formal errors, such as:

The translation is then checked. After the translator, the text is read by a proofreader/editor and internal QA to detect and red flag any deviations in meaning.

Localisation engineering optimises efficiency

Localisation engineering matters because it impacts almost all translation processes and clients directly.

Localisation engineers enable translators to fully focus on their work, project managers are freed from numerous repetitive manual tasks, and clients get translations faster – at high quality and lower price.

I'm convinced everyone needs their own mission and goal in life. My mission is to connect people. With TMS, CMS, CAT tools, and CRM. Translation technology is my forte and I will be happy to guide you through it.