Off topic (but related): Localisation project management

Subject: Off topic (but related): Localisation project management
From: Laurence Gandolphe <lgandolphe -at- SEVENIX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 14:56:53 +0100

I have numerous questions regarding the management of localization projects.
I would really appreciate any help in that field. Please help me by answering just one or all questions.
 
My company is developing a software for which I wrote the software strings and the online help. We want to have the sotware localized in other languages. I will have to manage the localization project.
 
The software strings (dialogs, menus and actual strings) are in a *.rc file.
How must I proceed? Should I send the *.rc file, leaving it to the localizer to extract the translatable items? Is that directly and easily feasable with tools such as Corel Catalyst or Red? Do they guarantee the code's integrity? Should I demand that such or such a tool be used, or can I leave it up to the localizer? Which tool do you recommend?
 
The online help is HTML help and comes in a *.chm compiled file.
It is made up of about 120 HTML files, images, a *.hhp files (project), a *.hhc file (TOC) and a *.hhk file (index). Should I send the *.chm file so that the localizer sees what it looks like compiled, and send all the files that make it up as well? Should I demand that the help be delivered to me recompiled and ready for use? How does this generally go? 
 
What tool can I use to count rapidly and automatically the number of translatable words in the software (*.rc) and in the HTML help (*.chm)?
How can I evaluate my budget (word count, redundancies?). What is the normal and acceptable price per word? How is the related work usually billed (i.e. compiling, file handling, etc.)?
The software and the help are both already available in French and English. Which language should I send for localization? I figure English would be the best choice since that is the usual "computer language", and the most common localized language in that field. Do you confirm?
 
Given that our software is supposed to evolve, I must start thinking about future updates of the software strings and the online help. Should I demand the use of translation memory tools such as Trados, and require that the translation memory be delivered with the localized files? Is this billable (and how expensive, say, per word, knowing that it can save the localizer a considerable amount of time as well)?
 
Finally: how can I find the perfect localizer? Localization must be done in the target country (that is a requirement in our company). I personnally want at least one person for the actual translation and a different person for the editing work, for safety.
Should I work with free-lance translators? How can I be sure that the person is qualified enough (knowing that nobody in my company can speak the target languages)?
Should I contact big agencies like Lionbridge or Berlitz in my home country and leave it up to them to find the qualified persons in the target country? Or should I find agencies directly in the target country?
I suppose that the more go-betweens I contact, the more it will cost. Can you confirm?
 
Timingwise: how much time should the full localization (translation, editing, compiling, verification, etc.) of, say, 50,000 words, take?
 
I am aware that these are numerous questions, and that answering them will take time.
But any input will be highly valuable to me. I must admit I don't exactly know where to start and how to proceed.
 
Thank you so much for your help, ideas, comments, experience...
___
 
Laurence Gandolphe
Technical Writer
 


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