In Smartling, the segmentation of your content into smaller units helps optimize the translation process.
When you send files or webpages for translation in Smartling, they automatically get broken down into smaller translation units called strings.
A Word file with 3 paragraphs is broken down into 3 separate strings for translation in Smartling.
This Word file is split up into 3 strings in Smartling - one for each paragraph:
This way of splitting up the content into smaller translatable units makes the translation process easier and more efficient for the translators. They can enter and save a translation for each individual string instead of having to work on a large block of text all at once.
The exact way in which your file or webpage gets broken down into strings depends on the file format which is being used.
Generally speaking, a string corresponds to:
- a paragraph on a webpage or in a business file
- the text associated with a key or a node in a resource file
- a cell in a spreadsheet.
The process of breaking down your content into translatable strings is called parsing.
For some file formats, this parsing process can be customized further by using special instructions called "directives". You can find more information about the parsing process for the various supported file formats here.
String search and actions
In Smartling, strings are the most basic content unit that can be searched, translated and taken action on.
When you send some new content for translation, you can see exactly how it gets "parsed" and broken down into strings. This makes it easy to check if everything is in order before you proceed to kick off a new translation request.
Of course, strings can also be searched for at a later stage. The most comprehensive string search is available in the top navigation bar of your Smartling dashboard.
Here, you can find all strings that are available for translation or have already been translated in your Smartling account. A wide range of search functionalities and filters make it easy to find the exact content and translations that you are looking for.
Once you have located the relevant strings, you can take several different actions - either on individual strings or in bulk, on a larger selection of strings.
These string actions allow you to manage the translation process on a very granular level - from updating individual translations to providing contextual information for the translators or excluding certain strings from translation.
Similarly, you can view a comprehensive history for each string, which provides full transparency and allows you to keep track of any actions that were taken on a string.
How strings help optimize the translation process
Breaking up the content into strings makes it easier to re-use previous translations, by applying potential matches from your Translation Memory.
If a similar - or even identical - string was translated in the past and is stored in your Translation Memory, the previous translation can be inserted and reused.
For optimal Translation Memory usage, larger strings with more than one sentence are broken down further within the translation interface, into segments.
Let's look at an example of a Word file containing three paragraphs.
The second paragraph consists of two sentences.
In Smartling, a separate string is created for each paragraph.
The paragraph with two sentences is broken down further, into two segments:
For better visual representation in the translation interface, each string has a number and white or grey color shading. In the above example, string no. 2, which is highlighted in grey, consists of two segments which are both part of the same string.
Strings which contain more than one segment are often referred to as multi-segment strings.
To allow for a correct and natural translation, the various segments in a string can be merged during the translation process, so they can be translated as a single unit if the target language needs to follow a different structure.
If there is an existing translation for a segment available in your Translation Memory, the translators can simply reuse it to work more productively.
Offering suggestions from your Translation Memory not only on a string level, but also on a more granular segment level, ensures that your existing body of translations can be reused more efficiently.
This breakdown of strings into smaller segments only impacts the Translation Memory suggestions for the translators. It is not possible to take any other action on a segment level. Therefore, segments are only visible in the CAT Tool, which is our translation interface.