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Agile Translation: A Quick Guide

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This article will provide you with a quick guide on Agile Translation. We will first explain the process and then discuss the advantages and challenges organizations face when implementing the method. After that, we will share some of the best practices to overcome challenges. 

But before we do that, first let's discuss why it is important for organizations to opt for Agile translation. 

When organizations tend to create an online presence for their business, for some,translating their websites and other digital content from one language to the target language is not an immediate course of action. Hence, they put localizations on hold until further action. 

When companies initiate Localization later, it destroys their development process by demanding too much manual work, leading to inconsistent quality, high costs, and missed delivery dates. Consequently, companies decide not to translate their website and other documents, a lost opportunity. 

Is there a solution to resolve this issue? 

Yes, there is!  

Here comes Agile Translation.  

So let's begin by discussing the concept of Agile Translation and how it can resolve localization issues. 

Table of Content

What Is Agile Translation?

'Agile translation' is a process in which the digital content is translated continuously and in smaller batches. Agile Localization is a set method to integrate translation and Localization into an agile development process.

Translations aren't only done once and then handed over after the development process. They are instead being translated as the product is being created. This means that when new versions are released, teams of translators or localization experts work to localize the changes occurring in the product. 

Agile development is an efficient method since it is ongoing. Smaller amounts of content are filtered through the system continuously and do not require massive updates over time. It is a continuous process that has no set time frame or end.

This means a reduction of the ongoing time and expenditures, as well as a reduction in the oversight and the steps required to keep the program. It also ensures that the information in the system is updated.

However, that doesn't mean that agile translation doesn't have shortcomings. Since the process continues to evolve, It's challenging to build an accountability system that can trace errors to the root of their reasons.

A mistake in one programming language could be transmitted to all the application components, changing the slightest issue into a huge disaster. The code may be broken and fail to display exactly as it should, destroying the experience for the user.

To avoid such issues, developers must pay extra attention when preparing their code to incorporate trust and transparency into the localization process.

The Advantages of Agile Translation

Agile translation offers many advantages to companies that want to develop and translate their website or software simultaneously. 

Let us discuss some advantages;

• Higher Efficiency Rate

When an agile translation is used correctly, the process is more efficient with no bottlenecks or resistance. Any program updates are spotted, and any new or modified strings are sent automatically to translators.

The translators will work on the strings and then push the changes to the source code without requiring prior knowledge about the development process for your product. This lets your developers focus on the creation of the product rather than stressing about translations.

Agile translation can also help save resources, be it cash or time since it bridges the gap between the process of Localization and development.

• Simple Accessibility

One of the biggest benefits of continuous translation is the simplicity of use for the software developer, managers of projects, and translators.

Prior to flexible localization, programmers would email translators strings in various formats (for example .xml file for Android applications, .strings files for iOS applications, .csv files, etc. ).

Translators had to learn various technologies to ensure they could use all of these formats of files. Utilizing a continuous localization platform has removed the problem.

It lets you import any of your preferred file formats into the forum or even have it automatically done by utilizing integrations. Additionally, translators can perform the work directly via the platform's user-friendly online dashboard.

• Adaptability

No matter if you're a significant firm with a translation department or a developer that employs translators from independent sources, localization tools effortlessly adapt to your needs and offer a vast universe of possibilities for translation.

Localization platforms also provide an option of crowdsourcing your translations. They can even give accessibility to official translators that allow you to collaborate with experts and begin work on the project as soon as possible.

However, that doesn't mean that agile translation doesn't have shortcomings. Since the process continues to evolve, It's challenging to build an accountability system that can trace errors to the root of their reasons. 

A mistake in one programming language could be transmitted to all the application components, changing a minor issue into a huge disaster. The code may be broken and fail to display exactly as it should, destroying the experience for the user.

To avoid such issues, developers must pay extra attention when preparing their code to incorporate trust and transparency into the localization process.

Disadvantages of Agile Translation

Let's discuss some of the disadvantages or challenges that organizations might face when opting for agile Localization;

• A lot of Effort Is Required

Agile Localization requires a lot of effort and work. Before one can even attempt to initiate the agile translation process, a team of expert translators with specialized knowledge of software development is required. Moreover, many changes are made during the process, which needs proper coordination between the translator and developers.

If they cannot communicate with each other, it might disrupt the whole project. Hence, much effort, adequate commitment, and coordination are required to achieve efficiency in Agile Translation. 

• Cannot Succeed Without Short-Term Planning

The agile translation model allows for more flexibility with shorter sprints. While it has advantages, however, you must make your sprints well-planned.

You can use the Translation Management System to get professional translations if you do not have enough localization staff to handle shorter sprints.

It is possible to have your product translated into any of the languages that are popular using MarsTranslation at a cost as low as $0.05 for each word.

• Quality Is Often Compromised

Being in a fast-paced, rapid workflow can lead the focus to be on speed and not quality. For instance, using machine translation tools such as DeepL or Google Translate can impact the quality of your translations.

In some cases, the trade-off is acceptable, particularly as the translations are easily corrected with continuous Localization in contrast to waterfall localization, where everything has to be in perfect order before the release.

Now, let's look at some of the best practices for agile translation that can help you tackle these nimble localization issues.

Best Practices For Agile Translation

Following are the best practices that can be applied for agile translation;

• Work With An Internationalization-Centric Mindset

Agile translation does have one drawback -- developers only focus on the code and pay no attention to internationalization, which is a crucial process needed for Localization.

That's why it's essential for developers to always work with an internationalization-centric mindset. They must be aware of how vital it is always to be sure to modify the code to be ready to be localized.

• Giving Specific Guidelines For Translators

To avoid inconsistencies in translations, Continuous localization platforms provide the option of a glossary. This allows for consistent translations across different projects by offering definitions.

The glossary you have created can include names of services and products, specific brand slogans, abbreviations, acronyms, and much more. This will ensure brand consistency and speedier translation by giving particular guidelines for your translators.

• Conduct Tests for Localization and Linguistics

It is essential to conduct localization tests for linguistics after your translations are completed. Linguistic testing ensures that the translations are accurate, complete, and free of spelling or grammar errors.

Testing for Localization ensures that the content conforms to local customs and UI standards. These agile processes help you identify and correct any code or translation issues and prepare them for publication.

It is also recommended to conduct tests on your group of people who are part of your target audience. They could provide essential insights you might not have known or had access to.

Concluding Remarks

Ultimately, we can conclude that Agile translation is one of the best methodologies to translate your website and software. 

However, this process has challenges, but if one follows a proper mechanism, it can be very profitable for your business expansion. 

This article mentioned that one needs to get access to a team of professional translators that can work with the development team. The coordination will allow the completion of tasks in a more efficient way. Though it is challenging, many localization platforms can perform it successfully. 

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