Why is the Testing Phase so Important?

We should better start this post by explaining why companies usually skip the testing phase. To put it simple, our first reply would be simply to save money.

However, after talking to clients we have noticed that it is usually due to ignorance of the testing phase.

The testing phase is an important phase in order to consider a localization project as finished.

Testing is done both in software and websites, and briefly explained, it consists in the comparison of the source and target software/website to make sure that the layout and functionality are the same.

During the testing phase, no translation errors should appear. However, even if the text has been reviewed before compiling the software or building the website, it is during the testing phase when translators can really see the text in context, so some adjustments may still be made to the translation.

Also, when changing from one language to another, the text can expand or can collapse, and this will also affect the layout of the software/website. Clients do not always send us their string limits, so it is not until the testing phase when we can see if the translation actually fits in the space provided.

In the example below you can see typical errors that you can find in a website testing.

Source Website

Source

Target Website. We asked the web developer to enter some errors on purpose. In a web testing project, the comments in red are the ones the translator would enter in the testing bug report.

Testing errors 2

In some cases, clients decide to do the testing phase themselves. However, we advise you not to do that. Just a pair of reasons to support this statement:

  1. In the case of string shortening, a translator knows some kind of ‘default’ string abbreviations that can be used to shorten a string without affecting the meaning. People who are not in the Localization industry tend to shorten strings without any compassion for grammar or spelling to a level that is totally illegible for the target reader.
  2. Translation companies save all translations in a translation memory, which enables them to reuse the translated content to keep consistency between different versions of the same product. If the testing phase is done on the client side, the translation company will not have access to the most updated files. In the event of spelling mistakes or terminology changes, if the translation files have not been updated with such changes after the testing period, the same errors will appear in subsequent versions of the product, which will lead to extra time and costs.

Unless you have your own localization department, where you use the same translation tools as your language service provider, we advise you to leave the testing phase in their hands, so that you can receive a final translated product and make sure everything will be ready to be reused in the future.

I hope this post helped you to learn more about the testing phase. If you need further information, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Meet our Team (V). Femke Jepkema, Project Manager

In this interview, we are going to learn more about one of our PMs in the Dutch branch, Femke Jepkema.

Femke JepkemaWhat is your origin, Femke?

I was born in a city in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. We moved to a small village where I spent most of my youth. After Middle School, I moved to Groningen to study at the University.

What did you study?

I first studied English Language and Culture. After finishing that, I did the follow-up study for becoming an English teacher – the Pre-Higher Education Teaching Certificate in English.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen be coincidence?

I always wanted to be a translator. I applied at Jensen Localization for the function of translator, but there was no vacancy at that time. There was a vacancy for PM though, so I applied for that instead and got the job. It has been great working as a PM.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

I have been working for Jensen Localization for 4 years now.

Did you start working for Jensen Localization right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I first worked as a teacher for 1 year after getting my teacher certificate. After that, I started working at Jensen Localization.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

The pros are:

  • Variety of different tasks and challenges
  • Problem solving is involved (which I like a lot)
  • Working with people

The cons are:

  • Contact with people (clients and translators) are only by mail and only sometimes by phone (so there is contact but you always have to guess what someone looks like, how they are in person, etc.).
  • Sometimes the job is a bit stressful, as it sometimes gets really busy and you have a lot of projects to schedule and find resources for.

What tasks do you usually do?

  • Downloading/saving the files that we receive from clients for projects
  • Finding suitable and available translators/reviewers for the projects
  • Scheduling the projects in our calendar
  • Receiving deliveries for the day and preparing those to deliver to the clients
  • Communication with clients and translators about projects (scheduling, problem solving, etc.)

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I enjoy watching movies (you should see my DVD collection… it’s huge), playing computer games, reading, and drawing/painting.

How many languages do you know?

I know English and Dutch (reading and writing), German a bit (reading and writing), Frisian (only reading), and I am learning to read Danish, Norwegian and Swedish more and more each day (I cannot actually read and understand it fully, but I do recognize and learn new words each day because of my job).

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

Making sure that the client gets the best possible quality.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

Get to know the translation tools yourself, as this will help you with problem solving whenever clients, translators, or you yourself run into problems. Also keep your schedule and mailbox orderly, as you need to have a clear overview for yourself of when you have deliveries, and of what still needs to be done, followed up, started, etc.

Being a PM, how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

It depends on what kind of projects you manage and how they have been divided amongst all PMs. If you have your own set of accounts and projects, you do not have to have extensive contact with the other PMs. You of course contact them for advice and help, or just for fun, but it is not essential to be in elaborate communication with them. If you share accounts with another PM, you communicate more about who will take care of what.

You always have contact with the IT department and financial department for questions related to those areas.

Do you communicate with the staff from other departments at Jensen Localization?

Yes, we communicate via Skype when we have questions or just want to talk, and sometimes we call when it’s more urgent.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace Jensen Localization services?

No. So far, the machine translation is still at a stage where it is not of good quality. There will have to be a lot of changes for it to ever reach good quality, but still, it can never be as good as a human translation of course. A machine can never detect certain nuances or differences in meaning. As translating is very fun and a source of income for many, I hope machines will never replace it of course.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

I prefer working on projects that have extensive translation tools and instructions. I particularly like the aspect of solving problems with tools, and as I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I enjoy reading extensive instructions and checking if they have been followed.

This is Femke Jepkema, the one who will always win at Trivial Pursuit if the questions are related to cinema! In our next interview, we will meet one of the guys at Jensen Localization. Yes, there are boys in our team, too :).

Matching Technology and Client Needs

Clients that do not have a translation department but who actually do translations are little by little getting used to all tasks and procedures involved in a translation project.

In many cases, these translations are actually done by native speakers. Some of them may even have done translation studies, but they decided to pursue another path in their career and ended up working as secretaries, content writers, marketing creators or assistants of people playing these roles.

But they end up doing translations. However, they do not have a system to compile and reuse these translations, and every time they have to translate similar texts they have to spend lots of time searching on files here and there.

As translators, we know that this has an easy solution: a Translation Memory.

However, these companies do not have that many documents to translate that justify investing in a translation memory system that costs thousands of Euros, and do not care about the many project management features these tools include. They do not want to pay a translator because they want to do this job themselves. They just want a repository for their translations.

Jensen Localization, after talking to several companies that are experiencing this need, has developed a Controlled TM+MT Environment for small companies (currently the interface is only in Spanish).

Machine Translation at Jensen Localization

What does this mean? Simply put, this means that a client will be able to translate a file using Machine Translation first. Our MT environment is domain-specific, meaning that it only includes texts that are of the client domain, so that the terminology used is the one used by the client, and no texts of the tourism or medical industries are under the same repository, for example.

The platform includes an online post-editing interface, in which the client can implement the needed changes, and save them for later use. With that first translation, that has been reviewed and approved by the client, the system creates a Translation Memory, which is exclusive for this client. Next time the client uploads a file to translate, the system will first reuse the content from the Translation Memory, and what is left will be translated using Machine Translation. Again, it will be the client’s turn to fix the translation to suit his/her needs.

This system, available since September, is available for any type of industry, but we have started by developing a specific environment for companies in the Real Estate business. Our Spanish office is located in one of the most multilingual areas of Spain, Costa del Sol, which is also a place where the Real Estate business has been an economy driver during many years. Despite the crisis, there are still people acquiring properties, and there are many foreign residents living most of the time in Spain, living with Spanish people.

This system enables communication between residents, landlords, lawyers, property administrators, which will lead to more business and better integration of foreign residents.

This Controlled MT+TM system has the following advantages:

  • Translation of Office 2007 and Office 2014 files
  • Use of domain-specific terminology provided by the client
  • Post-Editing interface
  • Confidentiality
  • Continuous improvement
  • Monthly fee

The quality of the translations will depend on the client needs and perishability of the translation. Although at Jensen Localization we will always recommend a full 100 % human translation, provided by professional translators and with exhaustive QA checks before delivering, it is a fact that the market is changing and some clients do not need a perfect quality.

This is why we are adapting our procedures and technology to meet client needs. Are you a lawyer, Real Estate or property administrator working with foreign clients and doing translations in-house? Are you interested in developing such a system for your business domain? Contact us to learn more about our Controlled MT+TM system.

Meet our Team (IV). Jenny Bos, Translator

In this interview, we go back to our office in The Netherlands to learn more about one of our in-house translators, Jenny Bos.

Jenny BosWhat did you study to become?

I studied English Language and Culture in Groningen, and specifically English linguistics, at the University of Groningen.

How many languages do you know and what languages do you translate from and to?

I know about five languages (some more than others), but I mainly translate from English into Dutch. The standard rule for translating is to translate into your own native language, since that is the language you’re most fluent in, and I guess English source texts are most frequently offered for translation, at least for us at Jensen Localization. 

What tasks do you usually do?

I mainly translate texts, but I also review and edit translations done by others. Besides that, I do some related tasks such as translation memory editing or text formatting.

How different is it working as an in-house translator as oppose to freelance translators?

As in in-house translator I do not get to ‘choose’ which kinds of jobs I do, I basically have to take on all the jobs that the project managers offer me. Perhaps a freelance translator has a little more influence on which projects they like and want to accept, and which they would rather not do. But on the other hand I get to do more major projects that have highest priority, since the project managers maybe know better what my specific qualities are. And they know where to find me in case I did a bad job on a translation. :)

What are the pros and cons about working in the translation industry?

What I personally find a pro is that we get to know about new products first. For example, I have been working on the Dutch translation for a smartphone (I cannot mention the brand name due to confidentiality reasons) for a couple of years now, and I am very exited I get to learn about new features of that device as one of the first people in the world. A big con for me would be that people may not always understand the importance of a good translation, and they may not understand why I do this work, or why I even like it. Also, I do worry about the new trend of using more machine translations, replacing the work done by actual translators. I am not sure machine translations result in the same quality as manual translations, and it feels like people do not appreciate the work translators do and its importance.

Being a translator, do you tend to notice translations and mistakes when you don’t work?

Definitely. I like going to the cinema to watch a movie (which in The Netherlands have subtitles), and I do notice incorrect translations straight away. I kind of hate myself for this, since it means I cannot just sit and enjoy a film without getting distracted by mistakes or ‘awkward’ translations. The same really goes for reading a book. Once I have noticed it has been translated too literally or too awkwardly I find it difficult to keep reading.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

As I mentioned I really like going to the movies, and I watch a lot of television series (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc.) or listen to music. I also like riding my bicycle or going for a run, just to be outside and enjoy the fresh air.

What advice would you give new translators just out of school?

I would mostly advise them to try to get lots of experience translating within the actual business. I did take some translation classes in university, but I found working in a translation company is quite different. I do not as much spend days or even weeks on end just translating one book or text, as we did in class, but rather do many different types of translations each day. On one day I may work on multiple different subjects, ranging from marketing to a technical manual for a medical device to a legal text, etc.

Would you like to become a project manager? What would the pros and cons be?

I actually started my career in the translation business working as a project manager for about two years. But I found it was not really my cup of tea, and I much more enjoy doing the actual translating. I really like getting my head around a difficult text and trying to solve the puzzle of finding a nice, fluent translation, much more so than juggling with emails from clients and translators.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

I do not think machine translations will ever replace the work done by translators and I think a human translator/reviewer will always be needed. I think machine translations may be good for generic texts where you have many similar, repetitive sentences, but for example for marketing texts you will always need a manual translation for a more custom tailored translation. And I’d like to think a manual translation will still always result in the best quality.

If you couldn’t become a translator, what would you have wanted to become?

I always wanted to be a meteorologist actually, working on weather data or even studying subjects such as global warming. But then I chose to study English instead, because I was afraid the physics and mathematics would be too hard.

 What types of translations do you prefer working with?

I like the really challenging texts best of all. I did a rather challenging text on dental implants a while back, for instance, and that needed a lot of investigation on the different procedures involved in creating the implants. I was a lot of work and it got really frustrating at times, but it was also really fun to do. Besides that, I also like projects where I am involved in the entire process, starting off working on a new product and then updating and fine-tuning the translations all the way to the end. I have been working for a while now on the translations for smartphones software, and that was especially fun since I got to really start from scratch rather than updating an existing translation.

What kind of translation do you like to work with the least?

As an in-house translator we also get to do small updates of a few words on an existing translation. So for example a product manual has already been translated before, but now that product has a new feature and we just need to add two or three sentences to that manual. And doing reviews is not really much fun.

What is the funniest/craziest translation you have ever worked with?

The most fun translation for me was that of a game where you have to shoot zombies. Since of course we had to really get to know the product to be able to get the highest quality translation, we had to play that game a lot. :)

Keep reading our blog to stay updated about our staff, the translation and localization industry and other language related subjects.

Missed the good clients because of language?

You just arrived from your idyllic holidays. You enjoyed great weather, fantastic food and visited interesting cultural spots.

However, there is a bitter taste in what seemed to be a perfect holiday. You had serious trouble finding out what the chef’s speciality was, how to find the best beach in town, and not to mention how hard it was to make you understood in the bank when you wanted to see why your credit card was not allowing you to withdraw cash. As in the film, you were just Lost in Translation.

Hello in different languages

Globalization has also democratised communication issues. In all countries, and in all businesses, not only in the tourism industry, there is an increasing need for enabling communication between people from different countries. Although tools such as Google Translate can be helpful as an emergency tool used for general purposes, it is definitely not an option for those who want to get and retain good clients.

We know that quite well at Jensen Localization. Despite the crisis scenario still predominant in Europe, we have experienced an increase in the demand of translations from many different industries, not only the tourist or the localization industries, which are some of our main fields of work. We have also received new requests from energy companies and from companies in the Real Estate business, mainly in Spain, as there are many foreign companies investing in this industry or just people that want to buy a second residence in Spain, especially in the Costa del Sol and other coastal zones.

If you are a global company, your clients may have trouble to know what you can do for them if the information is not provided in their language.

Translation and interpreting services are one of the most powerful marketing tools for a global company. When you provide your clients with the information they need in their language, they will have a faster access to your products and services, there will be less complaints due to missing or wrong information and it will be easier for them to refer your company to their family and friends. Interpreters are cultural mediators, they do not only help you to know what you need to say, but also how you need to act in front of the person you are talking to. Many negotiations have not been successful due to communication issues.

Therefore, next time you think about how you are approaching your clients in foreign countries, remember how you felt on your last holidays. If you want to make sure they know what you can do for them, contact us.