Published on March 12, 2014
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ Case study Savings of 83% thanks to CAT tools...
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ The challenge Tradas makes strategic use of computer-aided translation tools (CAT) so that it is able to offer its customers the best possible management of their multilingual content. This report presents a detailed case study showing what makes CAT tools interesting - and context matching functionality in particular – and the gains they represented in terms of turnaround times and costs of production for multilingual material for one of our customers, a multinational manufacturer of industrial machinery. The context Computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) are software programs that make it possible to rationalize your translation projects in a secure and effective way, in terms of not only the linguistic and financial aspects but also the timing. They have kept in step with technological capabilities and with the needs of the users. However, it is always important to make a clear distinction between CAT and machine translation (MT), which is done using software such as Google Translate or Babylon; MT suggests translations based on banks of predefined words and phrases, generally producing a rather literal and extremely rough translation. Computer-aided (or computer-assisted) translation, however, is all about the input from a human being, who is doing the translation work with the help of specialist computer software. It makes the task easier thanks to features allowing the linguistic content to be handled using text segments that have previously been translated and/or reference material that can be imported into the system to provide the linguistic context for creating appropriate and extremely accurate output. Translation memories The documents are processed through these tools in order to simplify the translation process and make it more watertight, using terminological content that has been translated
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ consistently earlier. Or to put it another way, the content of a document is broken down into syntactical elements called ‘segments’ that are translated and then saved as source/target pairs in a database known as a ‘translation memory’. This is then available for new translations, which helps to optimize the translation process. Context matches The tool detects similarities between the segments in the document and the ones stored in the translation memories. Whenever a new segment is found, the tool suggests a number of translations that the translator could use, depending on the type of match. Depending on how similar the segments are, different types of ‘matches’ can be generated: exact matches, which are referred to as ‘100% matches’, and those that are less precisely matched, known as ‘fuzzy matches’ or ‘fuzzies’. However, there is also a type of match for which the degree of certainty is in some ways even better than for an isolated 100% match. These are known as ‘context matches’. The system does more than merely analysing the correspondence between the segment and the translation memory content: it can also look at the match levels for the segments before and after the segment in question, so that it is also taking account of the surrounding context. ***As well as 100% matches, internal repetitions, fuzzy matches and context matches, there is also another type of match known as a ‘perfect match’. This type of match is used for texts that have only been slightly amended. The CAT takes account of a previously translated bilingual text, comparing the new source document that is to be translated against the bilingual original. The context is also analysed in this case, but then with respect to the previous version instead of checking it against the translation memory. *** The opportunity CAT tool performance is improving as time progresses, going further and further in terms of the matches that it is able to recognize, particularly since Studio 2009 was released (software supplied by SDL Trados, the market leader). The tools analyse the context in which the translatable segments appear, looking for similarities in the translation memories so that
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ they can then suggest texts to be inserted automatically. This method offers translation quality that is unprecedented. Having said that, however, applying this technique does require translation memories that are up-to-date and accurate: results may otherwise be disappointing in terms of quality. Having the contents of the translation memories validated by the customer beforehand is therefore essential, even if this may demand quite an effort if the volumes involved are large. This is why we collect customer feedback after every translation project to update the reference materials. We have therefore made a case study of how these features are changing and how they can be used. We pay a great deal of attention to adherence to our procedures and we rigorously monitor the quality of the work we deliver. Moreover, in addition to the considerations listed above, we are well aware that the concept of profitability is a strategic aspect that everyone wants to optimize. The impacts in terms of cost reduction and throughput times are exactly why it made sense for our client to use this technology in the production of multilingual manuals. The constraints associated with the implementation of this functionality had to be offset by genuine benefits in order to make the whole approach viable. Justification In addition to the opportunities inherent in reducing production times and the costs for multilingual management of their documentation, there were two further elements that came to justify the benefits of this way of working: • manuals for different machines often had several chapters that were similar • the number of languages to be handled: 25 We translate a certain number of manuals a month into various European languages. That is one item that will help justify such an operation. In effect, given the number of languages, any optimization achieved in one language will be multiplied up that number of times, which means a substantial benefit. The second justification is in terms of the content of their documentation. The chapters of the manuals exhibit some significant similarities. The advantage in this case can be found in the reduction in the numbers of errors and in creating a translation ‘production line’. In particular, this makes it possible to guarantee perfect consistency in the terminology across all their manuals and indeed the documentation in general.
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ Rolling out the process Preliminary test of the functionality Caution was in order, so it had to be done step by step. In this case, the test focused on two of the twenty-five languages that were to be handled. Using the context matching techniques explained above, it is possible to literally lock segments in place. For this work, you are then in a “machine translation” type configuration, in which the segments can be suggested by the translation software and where the translator only has to post-edit the automated output document. This means that the translator does not have to be involved in the translation of that specific segment. And that is precisely the advantage of this technique: it lets you reduce the numbers of words, phrases and segments to be translated, thereby cutting down on the time needed for translating them. It is a solution that is only acceptable once the software is capable of generating translations that are good enough every time. This is why we started a pilot phase project for the two Western European languages that were most important for the customer and which do not present too many major issues (such as declensions, for instance), namely Dutch and French. Updating segments And now the constraints. This technique requires translation memories to be used that are consistently kept updated with the client’s terminology, without which we would not be able to benefit from the expected improvements, with the counter-productive consequences that this would entail. As we have already been working for this customer for twenty years, we knew that the memories did contain outdated and obsolete segments. Part of their linguistic material was no longer being utilized because it was about machines that were obsolete and were therefore no longer referred to in their technical literature. Updating the translation memories was greatly facilitated thanks to excellent CAT tools management. Clearly, the creation of translation memories is based on a classification that is specific to the client and which has to be properly documented. This is what allowed us to update their translation memories, only retaining the appropriate documentation and terminology and applying filters to improve the accuracy of their terminology searches.
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ Finally, we conducted a test on the new material that was to be translated in order to validate the context matches before locking them and to ensure the expected level of quality. The tests were concluded successfully, marking the end of the preparatory technical phase of the operation. During the pilot phase, all translation requests were handled in parallel, using the old memories and the new ones. The results obtained were then compared by measuring performance criteria that had been selected to help decide whether or not this technique should be used once the pilot phase was complete. Conclusion The other twenty-three languages then went through the same procedure. Although the results obtained were not identical for all languages, they were still enough to demonstrate clearly that using this technical procedure gave genuine benefits. For translation of a similar manual to those translated before, the gains that the context matching functionality yielded were over 38%. Here are the figures: Translation Costs (Euros) Savings Without CAT 10,418.46 0% Using CAT without Context Matching 2,948.60 72% Using CAT and Context Matching 1,821.00 83% This is a superb result, achieved without compromising the quality of the translations. This case shows nicely how important it is to use computer-assisted translation tools strategically, following the technological advances in order to make the most of the opportunities they offer, while nevertheless quantifying the risks associated with them.
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ This let us rationalize our client’s translation projects in a secure and effective way, in terms of not only the linguistic and financial aspects but also the timing. The table below shows the delivery deadlines according to the use of CAT tools or not. Volume (avg: 250 words/p.) Lead time Normal Lead time CAT tools 50 pages 6 working days 5 working days 200 pages 23 working days 19 working days 500 pages 58 working days 49 working days 1000 pages 116 working days 99 working days Standard time without using CAT tools The average capacity for a translator varies from 2500 to 3000 words per working day once the translation process is triggered. Lead time using CAT tools Translation tools speed up the translation process (daily capacity of 3000 to 4000 words) following the degree of repetitive match types. The operation as a whole was able to strengthen a relationship that had already been in place for over twenty years. Analysing and updating our expertise in computer-assisted translation tools is a key part of our efforts to provide customized services and to optimize the management of multilingual content.
Tradas Language Solutions +32 (0)2 346 71 17 www.tradas.com Tradas SA © 2014. All rights reserved. Visit us at www.tradas.com_ Thanks for reading! Special thanks to Veerle, Elyas and Gauthier for their contribution to the writing and reviewing of this case study. For more information about Tradas and its team, contact Krista Suys, Customer Service Director. +32 (0)2 340 94 50 email@example.com
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