Meet our Team (VII). Isabel Guijarro, Project Manager

In this interview, we want to introduce you to Isabel Guijarro, one of our Project Managers in Spain, who got experience in other localization companies before joining our team.

IsabelWhat is your origin?

I am from a small village in Málaga, La Cala del Moral

What did you study?

I studied a “Degree in Translation and Interpretation ” at University of Malaga. I also did the first year of PhD in Malaga and then I moved to Madrid and studied a MBA in Software Localization in University of Paris, in Madrid.

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

Since very early during my studies I decided that I would prefer to coordinate better than to translate.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

Almost 5 years

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

I had other jobs. I worked in videogames localization in Dublin and then in Madrid for several years. Always in the videogames industry.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

For me, the pros are that you are daily in touch with many people, from all over the world, and that you can change of task every now and then. It is challenging to manage many projects at the same time and remember every detail from all of them. Specially at the beginning, it is a challenging job.

The cons can be exactly the same things when things are not doing good J. It is not easy to be in the middle of a Chinese PM and a Norwegian translator, for example. They both have their own way of working and you need to match both. Being in the middle of different cultures (and adding my own) is challenging.

What tasks do you usually do?

I receive requests from clients, cast resources (based on their experience, price and availability), organize schedules, tools and procedures for each project and control the process.  

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

I like reading, writing, watching movies, practising sports, hiking, but most of all, being outdoors and travelling.

How many languages do you know?

I have studied English, French and Italian but I don’t practice French and Italian and I am not fluent anymore. I am now studying French again.

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

I think that the most important is to make them feel that you have everything under control and they can trust your work.

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

I am not good in advices J

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

It is very important to work as a team and constantly communicate with all members of the company since we wouldn’t be able to do our work without the support of each single department.

Do you communicate with the staff from the other JL departments?

We always try to be as communicative as possible, but it is true that we are not always perfectly communicated. We are all immerse in our routines and sometimes we don’t find the time to communicate with others.

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

Yes, I even think that, in a long future, machines will replace all kind of person’s jobs.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

Multilingual big projects with many people involved and requiring a lot of planning and attention. Challenging projects.

We hope you keep coping with challenges at Jensen Localization, Isabel! In our next interview, you will feel we are repeating an interview, but you will meet a person we are sure you have not met before. Keep tuned!

The Neverending Story of Word Counts

 Do you remember Michael Ende’s book, The Neverending Story? Or, like me, do you remember more the them song by Limahl’s?

Whenever I have to make a quotation for a client and I ask them for the source files, I enter in the fantasy world of word counts, which is full of  fantastic creatures that can make your word count as big as Falkor, the luckdragon, if not prepared correctly.

Our last adventure in the fantasy world of word counts took place quite recently.

We got a quotation request for translation of a website, and we asked the client for the source files. The client exported the website into individual xml files, and we analyzed them to get a word count. We used Trados Studio for that, and we got a word count that was a very nice starting point, but which we knew that was not real: more than 60,000 words.

The file was not prepared correctly for translation, so we had to prepare it ourselves. We needed to create a configuration file that Trados would use to know what is translatable and what is not. If you are a translator, follow these steps to learn how to do it. If you are a client, just skip to the end of the article, and you will be happy to know what the word count will be after all these steps.

When you create the Project in Trados Studio, you will reach a point where you have to select the files to translate. Before doing that, go to the File Types option:

File types

When you click on File Types, you will see a list of all file types supported by Trados Studio. However, as I mentioned, we want to create our own file type, based on the files we are going to translate.

Just click on New and select the desired type. In our example, we are going to select XML.

Select Type

Follow the instructions of the wizard and select if you want to create an XML file based on default settings or based on settings from an existing settings file. In our example, we are going to select the second option, and we will browse to select one of the translation files:

Create File Type

The Parser Rules dialog box will now appear. Here is where we need to select what is translatable and what is not. Just go through the list of rules and double click on each of them in order to select the status from Translatable to Not Translatable.

Parser Rules

Once you are done, your file type will appear in the list of files types.

Project File Type Settings

And when you add the files to translate to the project, they will all appear under the file type you created.

New Project

By doing this, when you analyze the files, your word count will be much real, as it will only take into account those strings that need translation.

In our example, we moved from a word count of more than 60,000 words to around 19,000 words. It is a big difference in our income, but if we had not done it, the client would have not accepted our quotation or he might have paid much too much.

Also, translating segments full of xml code that is not to be touched can be really annoying, so the translators will end up spending more time than expected.

However, even if we have sorted out this problem and managed to provide clients with an accurate word count that matches with what they need to translate, we still need to face another issue: how can we convince clients that they should send the full source files for quotation? Have you managed to get them? Tell us your strategies in the comments!

Related articles:

Why do repetitions have to be included in a text to translate?

  • Don’t touch my source files!
  • When the file to translate is sent “as is”
  • The Localization Project. Part 3: Creating the Source

Meet our team (VI). Ferdinand Sloof, Accountant

In this post, we decided to leave the Translation department for a while and talk to Ferdinand Sloof, the person in charge of the administration. His job is crucial for the day-to-day operations of the company, and it’s a complex task, since he is in charge of the administration of both the Dutch and the Spanish branches.

What is your origin?

I was born in a small village in the province of Utrecht, Kamerik (Holland)

What did you study?

Industrial Economics

Why did you decide to move to Spain?

Ever since I was a teenager and had the opportunity to travel, I just knew that I would live abroad some day. Holland is a lovely country, but the climate makes you live indoors most time of the year, unlike here in Andalucía. That blue sky over her is a gift, and allows me to enjoy life more than I did back in Holland.

What are your main tasks?

Bookkeeping and invoicing. It may sound boring to most of you, but with our business partners located all over the world, I regard my job as quite satisfactory and interesting.   

What are the pros and cons of your job?

Really can´t think of any particular pros and cons. For example, arguing with the Spanish Tax Authorities is not something I enjoy a lot, but it is part of the job I guess.

Working with authorities in both countries, do you see many differences between each of them?

Social Security and Hacienda are two different entities in Spain, in Holland they are united in one entity. Apart from that, there is not much difference, also due to the overall European regulations.

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

Cycling with my daughter, gardening, hiking, camping, classic vehicles, motorcycle racing.

What do you think are the most difficult challenges Jensen Localization will face in the next years?

Business is extremely tough these days, the profit margins are minimized. We will have to be very alert to new developments in our industry, renewing our skills, keep on working very hard and try to be better than our competitors in the market.

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.

Related posts:

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 :).