Translation Workflow

What is a Workflow?

A workflow is a sequence of steps or tasks, through which content passes and is translated from Authorization to Published. Workflows are instrumental to the speed and quality in which your content is translated.

When you create a Project, a default workflow will automatically be created, with steps as seen in the image below:


Standard Default Workflow

Workflows can have as many steps as you require. At a minimum, once content is authorized and processed for translation, there must be one translation step before content is published. Fewer steps can result in quicker turnaround time for translations, however many steps can increase the translation quality.

Consideration must also be given to how your content is translated - human or machine translation.

Human translation

Human translation is the preferred method for most content types, as we rely on human translators to make conscious decisions based on their experience and understanding of our brand. There is also more flexibility in choosing a specific person to translate specific content for a specific language. Typically, human translation is completed in  the CAT Tool, using a Translation workflow.

Alternatively, transcreation is another form of human translation particularly useful for content of high-value, and intending to gain your brand exposure. It encompasses a sometimes lengthy process, which adapts the meaning, intent, style and tone of the content, rather than the actual words. Transcreations are completed in  the Transcreation Tool, using a Transcreation workflow.

Machine Translation

Machine translation offers a rapid solution to translating content at speed. The performance of machine translation has advanced rapidly in the last number of years. You can train MT engines to translate any content type in your preferred style and tone. This is known as neural machine translation. This training takes time and continuous testing to get right.

If you have an MT engine, you can integrate that with Smartling using your MT provider's credentials.

Machine translation is completed in the CAT Tool, the same way as human translation.

Your workflow can be configured to combine the best of both worlds. Building a multistep machine translation workflow, which keeps a human in the loop in a review or edit step, might be the best option for the translation of some of your content.

Consult your Customer Success Manager on which options are best for you and your content.

Workflow Types: Account-level vs Project-level Workflows

Workflows can be created for individual projects or for the entire account, making them available for all projects under that account.

Account-level workflows are the recommended option as they are never affected by any project-level modifications you make, such as adding or removing an Agency or Translation Resource, or modifying idle string rules. Ultimately, building workflows on an account-level reduces additional steps required when modifying your account. Only an Account Owner will see the option to create account-level or project-level workflows.

Project-level workflows are preferred, if you want to restrict access to Project Managers, as they cannot create or make changes to account-level workflows.

Default Workflows

Each project has a default workflow. This is the workflow that was created when the Project was created. A standard default workflow contains just one step - Translation. Once a Job is authorized for translation, content moves to the Translation step, where it is accessed and translated by linguists. Once translations are complete, linguists submit the translations to the next step, which is the final Published step. This workflow can be edited by adding and configuring steps at any time from the workflow configuration page.

By default, each language in the Project will be translated in the default workflow. Languages should often be handled uniquely, depending on your business needs. Therefore, it is recommended to review the default workflow, amend it as required for your languages, and if a separate workflow is required for certain languages, go ahead and create that workflow for the language. Don't forget to configure each language’s default workflow from the language configuration page (gear icon > Project Settings > Languages > click the Default Workflow name and choose from all available workflows from the dropdown).

Languages must be set to a workflow, in order for a workflow to be available for a language. Languages are set when creating and when editing a workflow.

A default workflow is not the only workflow a language can be translated in. When Requesting Translation, on step 2, you can choose what workflow a language will be translated. By default, it is always initially set to the default workflow.

Assigning Resources

It is important to remember that workflows alone do not translate your content - linguists do. Workflows are just the stages of your translation process. Always ensure that the right resources are assigned to each task in your workflow.

The Translation step is configured to be provided by a human or machine. If human is selected as the provider, ensure the correct Translation Resource user(s) are assigned to that step. If machine translation is selected as the provider, ensure the correct MT Profile is configured to that step.

The remaining step types (Edit, Review, and Post-Machine Revision) should all have the appropriate human Translation Resource users assigned.


Additional Documentation on Workflows

  1. Learn how to create a workflow
  2. Learn how to configure workflow steps and mange people on a workflow
  3. Learn about Smartling's Dynamic Workflows
  4. Learn about Smartling's Idle String Rule
  5. Learn about copy source to target workflows
  6. Learn about the Processing step

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