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Jack of all trades and master of all?

Jack of all trades and master of all?


This is a spontaneous second-serving related to our latest post "Resource editing in Transit NXT", about using Transit NXT as a localization tool. The post prompted a discussion in a Translation Memory Group in XING (in German) about why one would use a translation memory as a localization tool when there are environments specifically designed for the task. Ralph Benz, Information Specialist at STAR Language Technology, contributed to the discussion with a convincing summary of the main points that speak in favour of using your TMS as your localization tool. The following is a rehashed extract of his contribution.

It's about the language

Compared to normal translations, localization is a bigger linguistic challenge: short, context-free and sometimes opaque strings, length restrictions, semantic correlations, etc. This is where TMS can score if/when/because they offer more linguistic support than localisation tools which focus more on the technical aspect (of localization).

Sharing is caring

To use the same system for the translation of software, documentation, training material, website etc. enables you to maximize the leverage of the linguistic assets (translation memory and terminology) and improves the quality of all translations. Loss of time and quality that might occur when you have to exchange or export/import data between different systems, may thus be avoided. A TMS is the better common system, because a TMS is better at localizing software than a software localization tool at translating documents.

Umpteen software formats

Software localization might not only mean RC, EXE or DLL files but also XML and HTML documents, raw text files or strings in Excel tables - all from the same client. Again, it makes sense to use the same system for all formats, so as to better share the resources and achieve higher consistency.

Translator- and vendor-friendlier

It is easier to learn additional localization features of a TMS than to learn a completely new tool. Especially when it comes to exotic language combinations and challenging subject fields, good and reliable translators are often working to capacity. Their willingness to acquire yet another tool, become acquainted with and get to grips with it is often low. If you use your TMS for localization tasks, you as a vendor can draw on your approved translators, those who know the subject field, the terminology and the peculiarities of your client. Feel free to comment on this and let us know what you think.

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