When it comes to deciding how your content should get translated in the Smartling platform, you have full flexibility.
You can use a translation vendor of your choice or machine translation. Both options can be combined with proofreading steps to check and revise the translations.
This flexibility is made possible thanks to translation workflows.
Not all content types require the same level of attention.
For example, a quick and cost-efficient machine translation may be sufficient for internal communications, whereas legal documents or highly visible brand content typically require careful human translation with additional proofreading.
This is why in Smartling, you can choose your preferred translation option for each content type and language by configuring multiple workflows.
A workflow is a combination of fully customizable steps that your translations needs to pass through in order to be considered "completed". You can choose how your content should be translated and configure additional steps for proofreading.
All steps take place directly in Smartling. Everyone who is involved in the translation workflow works together under one roof for full visibility and transparency.
You can choose your preferred workflow for each new translation request, and even select a different workflow for each language. To minimize the effort needed to manage your day-to-day translation activities, we allow you to set up a default workflow for each language and content type.
Let's take a closer look at your options for the Translation step: human translation and machine translation.
Human translation: Translation agencies and linguists
When opting for human translation, most organizations rely on translation agencies and professional translators to achieve high quality translations.
These synonyms are often used to refer to companies offering translation services: translation agency, Language Services Provider (LSP) or translation vendor.
Each translation agency typically has one or two Project Managers (also called Agency Owners) who interact directly with you to discuss topics like turnaround times, invoicing or your translation preferences.
Agency Owners distribute your translation requests to a team of professional translators who are usually spread across the globe. Professional translators are also referred to as linguists. Their user role in Smartling is called Translation Resource.
As a one-stop shop solution for all of your translation needs, you can simply avail of our Smartling Language Services offering. The Smartling Language Services team is Smartling's in-house translation agency who offers high-quality professional translation services. Of course, the Smartling Language Services team and all of our translators work directly in the Smartling platform.
If, on the other hand, you have already worked with a different translation agency or with freelance translators in the past and wish to continue using their services, we make it easy to bring them on board. Any translation vendor of your choice can work on your translation requests directly in the Smartling platform, without any additional software fee for them or for you.
Machine translation (MT)
To optimize the translation cost and speed, you may want to get some of your content translated by a machine translation engine.
Machine translation has come a long way since its beginnings. Rather than just piecing together some random words, modern neural machine translation intelligently adapts to grammatical structures and allows for a more accurate and natural sounding translation of entire sentences.
However, not all machine translation providers produce equal results for all language pairs and content types.
To achieve the best possible MT results, Smartling integrates with several different machine translation engines and even offers an intelligent routing service (called Smartling Auto Select), which automatically picks the best MT provider for your content.
Commonly used workflows
A workflow can be fully customized, even beyond just the Translation step. It is possible to add one or multiple steps to proofread, evaluate and review the translations.
Here are some commonly used options:
Professional human translation and editing
Most translation agencies include an "Editing" step in their translation offering.
This means that - as soon as a first linguist has translated your content - a second linguist proofreads the translations to make sure that they contain no mistakes and sound native to your target market.
A two-step workflow including professional translation and editing is a great choice for most content types.
Review and sign-off by your internal team
For critical legal documents or highly visible brand content, you may want to include an additional step that allows your internal team to sign off on the translations.
Members of your organization who are native speakers of your target languages can be set up as internal reviewers in Smartling to approve, amend or reject the translations delivered by your translation vendor.
Machine translation only
Machine translation is, of course, the most low-cost and quick translation solution. However, it is difficult to maintain your unique brand voice and the translations don't always sound idiomatic and native to your audience.
Machine translation on its own is ideal for testing purposes or for translating low-visibility content with a short shelf life that only requires a rough translation to convey the general meaning.
Machine translation with Post-Editing
Smartling even supports the combination of machine translation with proofreading by a human linguist.
Combined with a human editing step (usually referred to as MTPE, or Machine Translation Post-Editing), machine translation can produce good results for content that is not highly creative but requires a literal, straightforward translation.
You can learn more about these workflow options, as well as their advantages and disadvantages here.
Configuring workflows in Smartling
In Smartling, you can create as many translation workflows as needed and fully customize them to fit your needs. All of the above options - and many more - can easily be configured.
Sometimes, more complex workflows are required to route your content through the right steps during the translation process. Based on your exact requirements, these "dynamic workflows" can send your content automatically through the right steps and to the right people.
For example, a dynamic workflow can be created to route all legal documents to a professional translation agency and an internal reviewer from the Legal team, while the remaining content can use machine translation with a post-editing step.
All steps take place directly in Smartling and everyone who is involved in the translation workflow works together under one roof for full visibility and transparency.