Localisation - just what is it?

Language is a cultural asset. When translating a software application from English into French, for instance, technology, design, graphics and user-friendliness also come into play. We therefore use the term “localisation” to describe services above and beyond simple translation and all aspects of the adaptation of a particular medium to the new market.

What is a translation memory system?

TM technology is used for localisation by all professional service providers. As the text is translated, a database of saved translations (a translation memory) is created, which makes updating documents during subsequent revisions fast and economical. Translation memories can be created during ongoing translation as well as by “segmenting” (aligning) previously translated documents.

Gemino also takes care of managing, maintaining and archiving your project-specific translation memories for you.

How do translators work with a translation memory system?

Prior to the start of translation, the text to be translated is segmented into four categories by means of which processing time and costs can be precisely estimated.

  1. The segment is 100% identical to a previously translated segment. The translator checks whether the suggested translation fits in the new context and, if it does, confirms the suggestion from the translation memory.

  2. Segments appear repeatedly in the text to be translated. Only the first instance is translated. The rest are handled as above in Point 1.

  3. A segment in the text to be translated partially matches a segment from the translation memory. The translator sees the percentage of the match and has access to information from the translation memory regarding the terminology used. He translates the segment based on this information and the segment is automatically saved to the translation memory.

  4. No similar segments are found in the translation memory. The translator must translate the segment as new text but still has access to the terminology contained in the translation memory.

What are the advantages of translation memory systems?

Sentences that are repeated can be recognised and automatically inserted in the next translation. In this way, texts can already be processed efficiently and extremely consistently during the initial translation. If applied properly, this can mean significant savings of time and money.

Optimisation of consistency: Terminology and style of the translated texts are more consistent, as the translator can use the database as a reference and import glossaries into the translation memory system.

Acceleration of the translation process: The time and expense of translating repetitive texts and updates is reduced significantly.

Cost savings: Translation of previously translated text and repetitions is billed at a fraction of the word price.

Cost transparency: The source language is used as the basis for quotations, which has a positive effect on translation costs, as the translated text is generally longer than the source text.

What are the limitations of translation memory systems?

Even for 100% identical sentences or passages, the translation in the memory cannot simply be accepted without verification. The selfsame sentence in the source language may need to be translated in completely different ways in the target language, depending on the context. For this reason, identical sentences must also be confirmed by the translator.

I wish to have my software/website/documentation translated or localised. What do I do?

Contact us. Our consultants and project managers are specially trained in linguistics and have considerable experience in project management. We tailor our advice to your situation and propose the most effective solution for your needs.

Why should I choose Gemino to handle my translation?

On the one hand, Gemino has the know-how and resources of nearly 20 years’ experience in this field; on the other hand, we offer the attentiveness and flexibility that only a medium-size company can provide to each and every client.

How do I send the text I need translated to Gemino?

By post or electronic data exchange. Gemino can work with nearly all common file formats. This means that in most cases we work directly with the original files. As the client, you can therefore take advantage of many benefits: You do not need to convert the files or extract the text before sending them. This saves time and reduces the risk of transmission errors. And Gemino guarantees the technical integrity and formatting of the original files you send for translation.

How long will it take to translate my text or localise my project?

Naturally, we can only give you an exact assessment after we receive the files. The following figures will give you a general idea: An experienced translator can translate between 250 and 300 words per hour, depending on the type of text. This equates to an average of 2,200 words per day, or approximately 8 A4 pages. If necessary, the processing time can be shortened by having multiple translators work on a project simultaneously via a network, up to rush translations delivered the same day or the next working day.

What does it cost to have my texts translated?

Naturally, we can only give you an exact assessment after we receive the files. The actual translation (which in most cases represents the largest share of the cost of a localisation project) is generally calculated by the number of words in the source text. Depending on the type of text, file format and language combination, this price may range from EUR 0.12 to 0.25 per word.

Isn’t there translation software I can use to have my text translated for less?

Various products for automated translation are currently available on the market. The quality of the translation, however, is heavily dependent on the complexity of the source text. An extensive and expensive revision by a “human” translator is unavoidable in virtually all cases.

Gemino also revises machine translations.

What exactly is machine translation?

Machine translation, or MT, is the automatic translation of a text into a target language with the help of a computer program. In contrast to machine translation, there is also computer aided translation (CAT), in which a human translator is merely supported by a translation memory tool but makes the decisions regarding the translation of the text. Machine translation, however, operates to a great extent without human intervention. There are various technological approaches used in the way this software functions. Depending on the program’s approach, the source text can be conveyed into the target text word for word according to predetermined grammatical rules or through statistical analysis. This results in a translation that subsequently can be edited in a scalable way. In most cases, pure machine translation without human optimization is not adequate and requires post-editing by a translator or linguist.

How advanced is the development of machine translation systems?

A major advantage of using modern MT technology is the significant increase in efficiency. This can result in varying degrees of savings in the areas of time and expense. Texts that are well structured and technically uniform often achieve better results than those containing irony, humor, dialects, youth jargon or similar elements. The efficiency is largely determined by quality and quantity of the source texts, the target group, the purpose of the translation and the content. In order to achieve the best results, the MT system has to be trained – that is, it must be “fed” specific information regarding these factors. This training is necessary for every language combination, every text type and every subject area, and it varies according to the approach used by the MT system. Whether or not, and to what extent, it is necessary for a translator or linguist to post-edit the text depends on the purpose of the text. The time and expense of post-editing can be reduced through training the MT system by inputting meaningful information.

Does Gemino have a minimum charge or require a minimum number of words for translation?

Gemino undertakes translation projects of essentially any size. In order to cover the costs we incur even for smaller translations, we have a minimum charge of between EUR 35 and 45, depending on the language.

One of my employees speaks German. Is it more cost-effective for me if I have her translate the texts first and then contract Gemino to check and correct the translation?

In most cases, we advise against it. On the one hand, there are serious differences in the quality of a translation done by a “layman” and one prepared by a trained, experienced technical translator. On the other hand, the revision of a less-than-optimal translation is considerably more expensive in terms of time and money than the translation itself. In many cases, moreover, the revision cannot achieve the level of quality which can be expected from a translation prepared by professionals right from the start.

What important factors influence the quality of a translation?

In addition to sufficient suitable reference material and a glossary – to be prepared prior to the start of translation – of commonly used specialised terminology in the industry, the translator’s qualifications play a significant role. Gemino works exclusively with experienced technical translators who specialise in their respective areas. Without exception, our translators are native speakers of the language into which they translate and live in countries where the target language is spoken.

Additionally, we apply DIN EN ISO 17100 in our quality assurance process. For instance, this translation-specific standard prescribes what is known as the “four-eyes” principle: It is not sufficient for the translator to proofread a text she has translated herself; rather, the next step always involves an additional technical translator revising the text.

What role does the quality of the source text play in the translation?

In short, the better the quality of the source text, the lower the overall costs for the translation can be kept. Thus, quality plays a major role. If certain guidelines are observed during the preparation of the source text, the anticipated translation costs can be lowered – in particular those which arise when technical editors or copywriters have to consider the most suitable way to style the translation. Such guidelines include clarity, consistent terminology, and the avoidance of cultural- or country-specific wording, as well as the avoidance of text in graphics. These points all fall under the heading of ‘internationalisation’. Unintelligible, inconsistent texts that are riddled with regionalisms increase the amount of effort the translator requires and limit the reusability of the translation.

Still, we understand that texts cannot always be created under ideal circumstances, which is why Gemino offers pre-editing of source texts in preparation for the actual translation process. The cost for the one-time optimisation of a particular source text can often pay off quite quickly, like in cases where a text will be translated into 20 languages. A more consistent, clearer, ‘internationalised’ source text generally increases the text’s reusability through translation memory technology, while also reducing the amount of research translators have to carry out and the time needed for corrections.

What do localisation engineers do?

A localisation engineer is a computer scientist with additional training who is responsible for the technical aspects of translations using translation memory tools. He supervises and monitors the conversion and back-conversion of files as well as their integrity after the translation is complete. He also creates translation memories from previously translated files. A localisation engineer is also responsible for carrying out a functional test of the localised version of the software. This ensures that the product continues to function properly after the translation is complete and that the translated content displays correctly when the software is running.

What is desktop publishing?

Desktop publishing refers to the typesetting and layout of text using a computer. In the context of localisation, it means recreating the layout of the original document after the translation is complete. Because of varying text lengths in different languages, the layout of the original document and diverse graphics and images may need to be adjusted after the translation is complete. Not only must line breaks and page breaks generally be reset and localised graphics and images imported, but tables of contents and indices must also be recreated, generated and formatted.