Martin Eichler

13. June 2023

Why does a translation agency need an IT department?

We love taking on new challenges and using new technology. Especially when our clients can benefit from it too. Thanks to our team of programmers, we've managed to develop our own translation automation tool that minimises client effort and allows e-commerce translations to flow more smoothly and quickly.

The potential to simplify executive management for e-commerce translations

Over time, well-established e-shops will be tempted by the opportunity to export their business from the domestic market abroad. Translating e-shop content with thousands of items, hidden texts, URLs, or metadata requires careful organisation and delegation to ensure nothing gets forgotten. Coordination is even more difficult for texts in several source languages. “It wasn’t easy to translate texts for 5 countries, mainly due to time and organisation,” writes Slavomíra Kollárová, CEO of Inspio, in an article about the company’s simultaneous expansion into 5 countries. Furthermore, in order for the meaning of a text in a foreign language to be indistinguishable from the original, translators need to know the context.

Before we jump into an e-commerce translation, it’s necessary to prepare a price offer. And for that, the translation agency needs the source text in an editable format. This process is repeated as more content is added to the website. As a logical step, it’s necessary to sync up the website with translation tools in order to avoid tedious manual copying, which otherwise will prolong the whole process and make it difficult to keep track of whether the source texts have been completed or not.

Some website content management platforms have developed plugins that can work with CAT tools. They allow them to be synced up, making it easier to work with a text, but it can only be used for part of the website. And unfortunately, most of them are not e-shops.

Sleek technological advancement allows us to relieve e-shop owners

We were unwilling to accept the fact that the current method is complicated and will stay that way. We consider it a constant challenge to improve translation project management and move more towards greater automation. That’s why we started thinking about how we could help e-shop owners simplify the translation process and reduce the number of copies and clicks.

Director of the IT Department, Peter Nádaský, came up with a great idea: “I played with the idea of a simple API connection for translations a long time ago — it’s essentially a solution that can automatically outsource and download texts. I consider the main motivation behind this to be the period when we were working intensively on website translation,” he says, explaining the beginnings of this automated translation solution.

“For websites that used WordPress, we wanted to use the CAT tool Memsource, which had all the features we needed. All we had to do was deploy it for the client's website. Integration with an internal translation management system seemed just as easy. In reality, we came across a stumbling block: implementation between the client, the CAT tool, and the internal system was very challenging, and this solution couldn't be used with other CAT tools simultaneously. Therefore, we decided to develop a system that could work with any CAT tool for any provider (translator, agency) and that the client could implement very quickly.”

And so a client portal (HUB) was created to automate the outsourcing and submission of translations.

It all came together like clockwork

Although developing the portal was certainly no technical cakewalk, after extensive testing, the programmers managed to find a solution that could live up to client expectations in terms of reliability. Connecting to the HUB eliminates the need for a lot of manual work both on the e-shop side and at the translation agency.

We managed to downsize what was originally an inefficient translation automation solution into 5 steps:

  1. . The client implements a prepared library into their website code and connects it to the HUB.
  2. They send texts they want translating through the HUB, which then travels to the Memsource CAT tool.
  3. Memsource recognises the texts by client ID and creates a new project that has a translation memory, glossary, and translators assigned to it. It allows for easy orientation, even when translating multilingual versions at once.
  4. Translators will be notified of the new texts ready for translation and can get to work.
  5. When the texts have been proofed or corrected, the project manager will mark them as finished and the client system will automatically download the texts and save them exactly where they belong on the website.

The client can continuously monitor the status of the documents while the project manager, in turn, can check the progress and resolve any issues with the client or translators.

Initial implementation is offset by a number of benefits

At the start of the cooperation, the client portal will require a one-off investment of your time to connect everything, but once that’s over, the next few phases will save entire days of work.

Easy connection to the client’s website

To make implementation easier, we compiled a library that the client can download and integrate into their system. It’s currently only available for PHP, but we’re already working on extensions for other programming languages.

Automatic text sending

Whenever a new text is added to the website, the system will automatically send it to us and notify the translators of the new task. E-shop owners have the option to add comments to the texts for the translator to see. For instance, they can insert links to their products so that the translator can get a better idea of the context after viewing images from the links.

After processing the translation, it’s saved back onto the page where it belongs and the client is notified that the translation is complete. Of course, we’ve also thought about control mechanisms that prevent an unfinished text from being sent.

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Testing for a sharp connection

A great help for clients is the ability to test out the connection on a test server. They can fine-tune their system very quickly without any issues and completely free of charge. We’ll also provide the necessary API documentation to e-shops that want to implement it on their own.

Process stability and reliability

For large volumes of text in an online environment, it’s necessary to prepare for potential technical difficulties (e.g. connection outages, temporary unavailability of the CAT tool). Auxiliary applications that keep you up to date and respond to new tasks (such as the import/export of text) will ensure continuity of the translation process. If an error or outage occurs, these apps allow the task to be repeated without losing any data.

We believe that by investing in the development of useful tools, we can strengthen our cooperation with our clients, who in turn can enjoy added value in the form of time and cost savings on translations. And we at Translata get great enjoyment out of finding new ways to work more efficiently and to set the bar higher for translation services.

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.