The cost of a document translation project depends on three things: the language pair (some are more expensive than others), the size of the document (usually based on the word count), and the level of specialization required by the translator (subject matter experts are more expensive). A website or software translation project, on the other hand, requires consideration of all these plus a fourth issue: the structure and implementation choices of the website or software application itself.
Localization engineering is the task of planning and executing a workflow for exporting, translating, and re-integrating content and meta-data for a website or software application.
Or, in simpler terms, we need to take it apart, translate everything that needs translating, and put it back together again, in a way that facilitates updates.
How is localization engineering for website translation estimated?
The initial estimate of localization engineering costs is based on analysis of the content and the platform of your website. Some content management systems are more translation-friendly than others, and certain themes and plug-ins can cause complications as well. We’ll also assess the potential value of a proxy service. The target language will impact costs – for example, we need to accommodate text expansion and be able to accommodate right-to-left languages and cultural preferences. We’ll also want to know whether the site will incorporate an e-commerce platform or other functionalities necessary for your business.
Who estimates the cost of localization engineering?
The estimate is developed by a team with strong IT experience – Myriam Siftar was trained in computer science at a French engineering school and went on to earn her MBA in the US. She founded MTM LinguaSoft after a 15-year career as an information technology consultant. Ken Farrall has more than 10 years’ experience in international web content delivery and worked as a team leader, full-stack developer and consultant for Chinese Internet companies. The team predicts where problems will pop up and knows how to proactively prevent or resolve them. When comparing estimates from different vendors, be suspicious of estimates that appear significantly lower than the others – the risk with these is that they haven’t fully assessed the project and may incur additional charges and delays. Worse, budget limitations might tempt them to cut corners and deliver a sub-par outcome for you.
When does localization engineering commence?
After the estimate is accepted, a conference call with the MTM LinguaSoft project manager, client’s website developer, and client point of contact will finalize the road map and timeline for the project, or what we call the “localization kit.” We will work with your developer to make necessary adjustments to prepare the site for localization, then coordinate delivery of content to the project manager for translation. We will deploy a “pseudo-translation” process at this point to predict expansion and ensure we have all the translatable text. In pseudo-translation, the exported text is used to generate a “fake” translation which is then imported back into the site. This serves as a test run of the translation workflow. If problems were suspected, this is where they are revealed, and corrective strategies (such as writing scripts to extract phrases embedded in code) can be defined and planned for.
What activities does localization engineering include?
As mentioned earlier, every website translation project is unique. Localization engineering tasks include:
- validating and extracting content to be translated;
- piloting multilingual capability including creating language selections;
- integrating the translation workflow with the existing authoring workflow;
- ensuring that all the appropriate coding changes are made so that the content will show up properly on all browsers;
- ensuring that all relevant content is translated, including metadata, alt texts, text phrases embedded in code, etc.;
- adjusting content and graphics to handle text expansion and maintain proper design /look-and-feel for the foreign languages;
- planning for future updates.
How can I reduce my localization engineering costs?
The cost of localization engineering depends on the complexity of your website and the implementation choices previously made. The best way to reduce your localization engineering costs is to build your website with localization in mind – that is, to create a translation-friendly website even if you don’t have immediate plans to translate it. Our quick guide titled “Designing Translation-Ready Websites” can help you. Also, if you are planning an update or overhaul of your site, and you will be translating it eventually, choose a web developer who has experience working with translation partners. We can recommend some partners with whom we’ve worked successfully. Finally, make sure that your localization team has the linguistic know-how and the digital savvy to deliver a multilingual site that your audience will love.