RE: Updating foreign language translations

Subject: RE: Updating foreign language translations
From: Andrew Becraft <AndrewB -at- ACCINT -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, Linda Hughes <lhughes -at- novametrix -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 10:34:59 -0500

Peter is absolutely correct, Linda.

If your company is updating content on a regular basis, your *only*
cost-effective option is to choose a localization vendor that uses
translation memory tools. The revision control features of applications
such as MS Word and Framemaker are limited at best, and produce often
inaccurate and unreliable results. Currently, the industry standard in TM
formats is Trados -- a German/Irish company that develops tools such as
Translator's Workbench (their translation interface), S-Tagger (an
application for processing Framemaker and other DTP formats files through
TM), and WinAlign (a tool used to convert existing translations into TM that
you can leverage into your new documentation).

Even if you've already launched your localization project, it's not too late
to take the translation memory road. As I mentioned above, you can use
WinAlign to pair your existing English and translated content, and export
that to a format you can use to leverage into any new content. However,
aligning can be cost-prohibitive in the short run, and if you haven't
started translation yet you should immediately look into having your vendor
use a TM tool. If your current vendor does not use and is not able to start
using translation memory, you may want to seriously think about switching to
another localization company.

One drawback of TM tools is that you will have a semi-fixed production/file
management cost associated with your projects every time you have an update,
mainly because of the way TM tools apply translated segments to the source
language files. This means that you or your vendor will have to verify the
layout of your files every time there is a change, no matter how small, if
you want to keep your TM databases up to date. Write me if you'd like some
suggestions on keeping your production costs down while keeping your content
in line with the English. (Just so you know, I'm not currently affiliated
with any localization company -- including Trados -- and have no business
interest in convincing you to use TM.)

As Peter said, check out http:/ for a list of companies that
use their tools.


Andrew Becraft
Technical Writer
(formerly Publishing Team Lead at International

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Ring, PRC [mailto:prc -at- prc -dot- dk]
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 7:14 AM
Cc: Linda Hughes
Subject: Re: Updating foreign language translations

Linda Hughes asked:


> However, six months to a year down the road, comes
> the new revision of the software. New features, altered features, improved
> algorithms, etc. Now we need to update the manuals not only in English,
> in 10 other languages. There are new sections, new paragraphs, new
> sentences, sometimes only a few words in a sentence need to be altered.
> Has anyone out there found an efficient and cost-effective way to handle
> incremental updates? We are using two different translation services (with
> translation memory databases), with mixed results. If anyone has developed
> formal procedure, I'd love to see it. Recommendations for translation
> services are welcome also (third-party only please, I am not soliciting
> spam).

The answer to your question is to use translators using a "Translation
Memory System", e.g. Trados, which I use. Here the translators only
needs to translate the changed texts + spend a little time on checking
the rest and calculate the number of characters/words/lines actually
translated. The translation can be made with a personal dictionary for
your preferred professional terms, controlled by you or by the

For further information, see e.g. the Trados website at

Neither I nor my company (PRC) are related to Trados except as a user
of their products.

If you are interested, I can do the translation into Danish.

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals.
prc -at- prc -dot- dk
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography, list
of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers:
- special software for technical writers:

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