Technology Reducing Costs and Times
By Marcos Chiquetto
In 2015, our translation agency received a call from Khomp, a Brazilian company that creates and exports products for telecommunication, Internet of Things and smart devices (khomp.com.br). They were seeking a solution for translating their marketing materials and technical manuals from Portuguese to English and Spanish. The solution had to offer high level of technical quality and competitive cost.
Regarding quality there wouldn’t be any problem, since our translators are very experienced. However, the cost represented a much more difficult problem. At that time, the company created its manuals in the MediaWiki platform, which is a good tool for writing and formatting documents. However, they used an inefficient process for translation, exporting the Portuguese text from the PDF format to DOCX (see our article about PDF), performing the translation in DOCX, and then reinserting the translated text into MediaWiki. The process involved a great deal of cutting and pasting, increasing costs, wasting time and opening the door to human error that could only be detected through meticulous revision.
To lower costs and guarantee consistency, the solution we came up with involved the use our translation memory tool, SDL Studio (see our article on translation memory). Nevertheless, the main problem was the inefficiency of the process as a whole.
Based on other desktop publishing platforms, I was convinced that MediaWiki would be able to export documents to a standard exchange format such as XML. I suggested to the technical people at Khomp that they investigate the tool to search for this functionality.
A few days later, Bingo! Khomp let me know that MediaWiki could indeed export/import XML files. So, I asked them to send me a few XML files exported from the tool and their respective PDFs. I made a careful analysis of the XML commands used and prepared a customized configuration for SDL Studio to make it possible to perform a direct translation of the files. With this, all Khomp needed to do to translate a manual was to export the XML file, send it to us, receive an XML file in return with the translation, load it into MediaWiki, and generate a PDF. All this paying only for the translation of the new text, since the translation memory would pick up and use anything that had already been translated.
The bottom line: the time frame for a translation was reduced from weeks to just days, there were no more cut-and-paste errors to correct, and the overall cost went down considerably.
From 2015 until today, we have performed five hundred translation projects for Khomp, including pre-sale materials, website content, and, of course, manuals.
This is one of the projects that I am most proud of and that has given me the most satisfaction. The solution was only possible because we have a high expertise in translation memory and because the Khomp team was extremely competent as well.
For a company like mine, I couldn’t have asked for more.
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Marcos Chiquetto is an engineer, Physics teacher, translator, and writer. He is the director of LatinLanguages, a Brazilian translation agency specialized in providing multilingual companies with translation into Portuguese and Spanish.