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The Wild Wild Web: How Web 2.0 Changes the Way We Work


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Web 2.0 vs. your business model

How Web 2.0 Changes the Way We WorkMcElroy has modified its translation/review/client review process considerably as the type of material being translated continues to evolve from traditional documentation that is routed through a linear channel, to ongoing updates of data that require instant communication between many parties to achieve translation of content.

Along with the type of material being translated changing, client expectations have also changed. Increasingly, clients who author and review their content want to be integrated into the process, which has “webified” the way we collaborate on projects.

For these translators, project managers and clients who are migrating away from strictly email and phone interaction, the McElroy team is evolving and adapting to collaborating within online workspaces, like Wikis for instance.

Wiki as a project management tool for translation and localization

A Wiki is an invaluable tool for any localization endeavor, since you can easily and in many cases securely communicate with users all over the world using a browser interface. Generally a Wiki can be set up to use the least bandwidth necessary, particularly for internal communication, which makes it an excellent tool when traveling or for users in locales that don’t support broadband.

Along with McElroy’s project tracking system and other tools, we use a Wiki for project management, planning and collaborative documentation. Using a Wiki is a quick way for users in different locales and of varying levels of technical expertise to effectively communicate, ascertain project status and get the latest updates to living documents.

A CMS/workflow system for Web 2.0

Isn’t machine translation good enough?

The perfect translation, would, of course, be 100% accurate, instant and free. Though instant and free or relatively cheap, machine translation tools demonstrate at best 50% accuracy.

McElroy recently reviewed several software companies that offer automatic translation of your blog or website into a dozen different languages. Developers of the software take advantage of Google’s Translator API, which automatically translates websites. The machine-translated site is then indexed in a language-coded directory to assist the website owner with increasing “multilingual search engine traffic.”

Communicating with your international customers this way would be like flipping a coin every time you spoke to them. Heads, they understand your product/marketing information the way it was intended to be understood, tails, they read gibberish, or worse, take offense and use a competitor. For instance, “A Couple Of Killer Internet Marketing Techniques” gets translated as “A pair of the techniques of the commercialization of the Internet of the assassin” when taken into Spanish. Unless your target audience is interested in how Spanish-speaking assassins are commercializing the Internet, any search engine traffic generated from such nonsense will be irrelevant to your business.

(For giggles:

Korean - 2 murderer Internet selling and buying techniques

Italian - One brace of the techniques of sale of the Internet of the assassin

German - A pair of the murderer Internet marketing techniques)

Content Management Systems (CMS)/human translation workflow models of the past involved a lengthy, linear “round trip” process of entire blocks of content into the desired languages each time updates were made, in order to ensure accuracy across all languages. Over time, the cost and labor-intensity of this process causes many of the desired languages to fall completely out-of-sync with the most recent updates to content, rendering product information that is inaccurate or downright false, sometimes resulting in expensive legal action taken against the corporate creator of the content. As content authoring becomes more fragmented and prolific, especially in the world of Web 2.0, new tools and models are required to ensure that these problems do not occur.

Since many corporate departments do not have the luxury of completely scrapping legacy, high-dollar CMS solutions (that are not optimal for Web 2.0 content authoring/localization) in favor of new ones, Leepfrog’s and McElroy Translation’s CMS/Translation workflow solutions, combine to readily offer a lightweight and nimble alternative that can even reside as a layer between the legacy CMS and what your visitor sees in the web browser.

Pagewizard

Pagewizard is a CMS our partner Leepfrog built recently with McElroy’s input to reflect the evolving needs of clients on the web. Web visitors who arrive at sites served up by the Pagewizard CMS will see a truly localized version of the site based upon their language preferences, rather than an English website with a few multilingual page add-ons.

McElroy’s client Emerson Processes wanted its content authors, (English) content reviewers, translation team, and in-country reviewers to all play well together under a unified content management/translation structure. Emerson’s content authoring/translation process requirements are scattered, both in the sense of the physical location of the authors/translators/users of content, as well as the particular amount of content that the corporate office needed authored/translated for a particular location at a particular time. If all players were not operating under one unified structure, the end result would be a website full of stale content, and endless confusion throughout the ongoing process of content authoring/translation would reign.

Emerson Processes sources translation to McElroy and web architecture/CMS to Leepfrog. Emerson Processes, McElroy and Leepfrog are working together to accomplish a goal that satisfies all of the above criteria.

As a result, McElroy and Leepfrog were able to create a CMS/TM system that was lightweight and versatile for use by mid-sized companies. The PageWizard CMS is versatile enough to sit on top of legacy “heavy” CMS’s that some companies have invested too much in to part with. Its nimbleness also makes it a perfect CMS solution for Web 2.0-type business models, where user-authored content is generated constantly and updated frequently.

The PageWizard CMS can help manage content translation, either through a language service provider or leveraging in-house translators. As content is changed in the primary language, the PageWizard groups together sets of changes and dispatches them to the translators.

PageWizard coordinates directly with ELJOTS®, McElroy’s project tracking system, allowing for much lower per-word translation costs than providing translations manually. PageWizard tracks changes while the primary content is being translated, and can control the size of the batches to minimize the per-word cost of translation.

PageWizard can handle urgent changes – such as updating incorrect published information – in a different way than standard changes. Different pages may be flagged for different sets of target languages, providing flexibility within a budget. PageWizard will automatically re-use shared content, such as site navigation.

The net effect of the PageWizard and translation services team is to present an accurate, up-to-date version of a site’s content in the most preferred language of the website visitor, with little additional effort on the part of the content authors or the site’s editors.

Some of the features of PageWizard include:

  • scattered translation workflow— multilingual content is efficiently maintained and updated after initial push
  • re-use of shared translated content
  • flexible presentation, based on availability of translated content
  • language-specific templates, or parts of templates
  • potential to instantly remove inaccurate content to avoid legal issues
  • automatic handling of non-translated changes
  • leveraging of translation memory
  • word count driving workflow
  • language batching
  • minimization of per-word translation costs
  • limiting content sent to only what is to be translated
  • avoidance of difficult scripts that “break” translation tools
  • ability to self-publish each web page at end of translation process

Conclusion

Clients’ evolving needs have changed the landscape for integrating how language service provider teams and their clients collaborate with each other. These changing needs have influenced how our team and workflow system have adapted to meet the challenge—as well as how McElroy continues to explore and develop new ways for translation project teams to collaborate online.

Leepfrog's CEO Lee Brintle and McElroy's Project Manager Rainy Day contributed to the contents of this article













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