Welocalize manages a variety of localization and translation programs for global brands that produce large volumes of technical documentation, including online help, user guides, admin guides, operating manuals and data sheets.
The Technology Solutions team at Welocalize is heavily involved in the evaluation and onboarding of machine translation (MT) for new localization programs. Technical documentation is one of our favorite content types to work with when we are customizing MT engines for our clients. Here is why:
#1: Source Authoring
Technical documentation is frequently authored by technical writers, who are trained to write with clarity, simplicity and consistency. Additionally, they often use authoring tools that help avoid difficult constructions; long sentences, passive voice, ambiguous words or phrases and gerunds (-ing forms). As a result, the source text is simple and easy to read and is processed well by the MT system.
#2: Terminology Management
Terminology management is an important part of the localization process for technical documentation to ensure consistent and correct translation of key terms and hardware, and software references to the product. Any glossaries established as part of the terminology process are an extra bonus during MT engine training, since they can be used to customize the engines further and directly enforce the translations of specific terms and phrases.
#3: Style Expectations
Technical documentation is not usually designed for cover-to-cover consumption and rarely requires a stylistically polished translation. Consistency, correct terminology and technical accuracy are the top priorities. In comparison, higher stylistic standards are expected for a marketing brochure, which is designed to sell a product or for an e-learning course that is required to be read word-for-word, cover-to-cover. The result is technical documentation requires lower post-editing efforts, compared with content types such as marketing brochures that require a high level of stylistic polishing.
These three characteristics make technical documentation a perfect match for MT and post-edited MT. The carefully authored source content and the availability of extensive glossaries increase the quality of the MT output while the simple style requirements allow the post-editors to reuse more of the MT output.
The end result is that the translators post-edit less, which means a reduction in client costs and an increase in productivity—and a higher return on investment for MT.
Click here for more information on Welocalize MT-driven solutions.
Based in Boston, Elaine O’Curran is an MT Program Manager on Welocalize Technology Solutions team.