Delivering Quality Translations at Speed

If you have followed the growth of Straker over the last 18 months you will know that our original mission (and still our main focus) was on using technology to improve human efficiency and therefore have an amplified impact on the cost of translations (more coming on our progress in improving translator efficiency soon), however one of the key learnings we got early on was that having an ability to rapidly deliver translations was a vital client requirement. (check out our case studies area for examples if projects and completion times. Our best so far is a 32,000 word tender document translated from spanish to english in 13 hours)…. 

So about 12 months ago we turned our attention to what within our existing technology platform could we build upon to meet the goal of being the “Worlds Fastest Translation Company”. As it turns out there are some real benefits to having your whole translation platform in the cloud and centralising translators into the one environment. Lets go through a few of these:

 Real Time Completion Rates

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Translators are working in an online environment (our Transl8 platform is a cloud based solution). As a result our project team get real time updates every time our translators save a new segment of text. Knowing exactly how fast the translators are going, how many segments they have completed and their estimated completion time gives the project team a vital window into how the project is going and whether they need to bring more translators into a job (or shift content around to other translators – see point 2 below).

Shifting Segments Between Translators

The dev team actually built this ability as a a result of a particularly demanding project and we didn’t really think it was that valuable but now we use it all the time.  

By seeing in realtime how individual translators are going the project team can easily select and assign batches of words between translators to ensure the fastest translators are kept with content in front of them optimizing the speed to completion. Its a simple select and assign job for the project team.

Translator Data

Everyone talks about the emerging field of “Big Data” – well I would make the claim we have more data on translators than any other translation company anywhere. Jobs completed, average words per hour (by content type), timezones, average quality score, rework % if you can think about it we track it. This data gives us a critical ability to match the right translators with the right content. Every job we do builds on this databank – continually improving our understanding of how translators work and what we can do to drive gradual improvements in speed and quality. You can’t collect this information unless your have the translators working in a centralised platform and in reality no one else in the world does!

 Managing Quality

Tone, style and context are all vital parts to delivering a good quality translation. I wont go into detail on how we ensure a high quality outcome for clients but from the perspective of managing multiple translators on a document there are some critical elements we have inside our workbench that ensures the translation reads consistently. Having multiple translators working on the same job has a few unique challenges

Standardising Terms: In almost every industry there are acronyms, terms and phrases that are unique or need to be consistently translated. Like most translation companies we have the ability to build a glossary before a project starts and highlight those terms for translators). However we found that translators often came across terms when doing the translation and wanted to ensure they are correctly translated. Again the dev team stepped up to the plate and now translators can “on the fly” add new terms to glossaries that get updated in realtime.
Collaboration: Translation is actually a fairly isolating job. Most translators work from home independently with little engagement with other translators. We kept getting asked about the ability to have translators working on the same project collaborate in realtime. We have been trailing an online communication platform embedded inside the workbench that allows every translator working on the same project to collaborate in realtime, checking terms, phrases and brainstorming the best approach to particularly tricky terms – its been a huge success and we believe will be a vital driver to really getting high quality outputs on cross collaboration projects.
Review Workflows: if the client wants a review by a second translator we can build workflows that automatically push each segment once completed by one translator into the review translators job profile ensuring translation and review can be done simultaneously – again meaning the review doesn’t have to wait for the whole document to be finished to complete the review

Standardising Terms: In almost every industry there are acronyms, terms and phrases that are unique or need to be consistently translated. Like most translation companies we have the ability to build a glossary before a project starts and highlight those terms for translators). However we found that translators often came across terms when doing the translation and wanted to ensure they are correctly translated. Again the dev team stepped up to the plate and now translators can “on the fly” add new terms to glossaries that get updated in realtime.

Collaboration:
Translation is actually a fairly isolating job. Most translators work from home independently with little engagement with other translators. We kept getting asked about the ability to have translators working on the same project collaborate in realtime. We have been trailing an online communication platform embedded inside the workbench that allows every translator working on the same project to collaborate in realtime, checking terms, phrases and brainstorming the best approach to particularly tricky terms – its been a huge success and we believe will be a vital driver to really getting high quality outputs on cross collaboration projects.

Review Workflows:

if the client wants a review by a second translator we can build workflows that automatically push each segment once completed by one translator into the review translators job profile ensuring translation and review can be done simultaneously – again meaning the review doesn’t have to wait for the whole document to be finished to complete the review.Hopefully that gives you an understanding of why we can deliver quality translations faster than anyone else.

One last thing – if your doing projects in the next few weeks you will see further improvements in our delivery times a brand new workbench is in Beta testing at the moment and we have been able to incorporate some vital insights from a wide group of translators and early indications are showing some further improvements in our key metrics around speed to deliver, quality and words/hr translated.