Three Reasons Why Technical Documentation is a Perfect Match for MT

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.

Increase Your Global Reach with Multilingual User Generated Content

Capturing the moment with a smartphoneWelocalize specializes in multilingual digital marketing content, including the translation of user generated content (UGC) to help global brands engage with wider international audiences. Recently, MultiLingual Magazine published the Welocalize whitepaper, Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach.

Read the entire white paper for expert insights into UGC, the benefits of multilingual UGC and some popular methods on how to culturally adapt and localize UGC, as featured in the December 2016 issue of MultiLingual Magazine.

Here are a few key excerpts from the whitepaper or click here to download the entire whitepaper: Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach.

User generated content (UGC) is a rapidly emerging content type used by content marketers to influence buyers and global customer experience. This type of network generated content gives many organizations the chance to promote brands and share product knowledge on a global scale, reaping significant rewards in terms of brand awareness and increased equity.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) is any form of content or media such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and other forms created by users online, often made available via online websites or through social media platforms. UGC is often created by someone with an interest in the brand, product or service and is unpaid for their shared content. Whatever you choose to call it (network generated, online content or social media), the role of UGC in global content strategies is on the rise.

Why Translate and Localize UGC?

Social Media Listening: Do you monitor what other people are saying about your company and products online? Social media listening is a key tool for global marketing and product development. Good reviews of a product or brand is a huge benefit and asset. Allowing other potential consumers in wider international markets to see the excellent reviews written by other consumers, will reinforce a brand’s association with positive feeling. When reviews and opinions are good, this increases brand equity and, ultimately, sales. The same applies for negative reviews. If someone is saying something bad about your product or service, then you want to know about it.

Expand Global Reach: If UGC is available in multiple languages, it means people all over the world can read it and engage. UGC is a very simple and cost-effective way to project brands to a wider audience, targeting emerging markets, yet is limited to the source language if you don’t translate it. Good localization and cultural adaptation of UGC enables more consumers to interact with each other in local markets, creating an exponential effect of more positive publicity in new, target markets.

Methods to Culturally Adapt and Localize User Generated Content: There are a number of localization approaches that can be applied to take full advantage of UGC. It must take into consideration the volume of content, production speed of content and intended use of UGC as a marketing asset. For UGC, language automation technology is best suited to process high volumes of content that require translation to expected and appropriate levels of quality.

Copy Writing and Cultural Adaptation: There are various forms of UGC developed by and for brands. This type of content is often created or posted in English or a single language source. Not all content created “relates” to a local target audience when translated. This type of content requires adaptation, or what we refer to as transcreation. One option is to use native speakers to write new content. Another is to utilize a multilingual marketing service provider, like Adapt Worldwide, to adapt the content to ensure it meets the brand and customer experience for the target audience.

Human Translation: Using professionally trained translators and linguists to translate UGC can be pricey. Human translation is best utilized for high impact UGC, such as comments on a CEO blog or high profile product reviews. Lower-cost translators or even crowdsourcing can deliver high volumes of translation at a lower quality. However, consider the potential impact of publishing poor quality content about your brand.

Raw Machine Translation (MT): Using trained MT engines to provide raw translated output is suitable for massive volumes of UGC and can be published automatically providing the MT output meets the minimum scoring, based on a defined scoring system. For high volume UGC like social media posts, content translation expectations are fairly low. Customers understand that original reviews are authored quickly. As long as the “jist” is accurate and not offensive, then companies who produce massive amounts of UGC can benefit from using ongoing MT engines that can be customized to recognize and understand industry terminology and typical jargon. UGC such as social media can often contain many spelling and grammatical errors and programs can be put in place to “fix” source content, prior to MT. This increases the overall quality of the MT output.

MT with Post-Editing: UGC such as product and customer reviews, can be post-edited once it has gone through an MT engine. Post-editors add great value, processing more MT output compared with pure human translation at a lower cost. Post-editing can range from a simple plausibility check to prevent serious or offensive misrepresentation through to full post-edit to bring the content up to human translation quality levels. Post-editors do not have to be fully qualified translators or linguistic copywriters. They can be native speakers with good knowledge and interest of the industry and product range.

Welocalize User Generated Solutions

Global brands trust Welocalize with their multilingual user generated content and digital marketing initiatives. Our experts collaborate with global brands to identify the best approach and methods to generate, translate and localize UGC. Welocalize offers a range of solutions, working closely with Welocalize Language Automation Tools and Adapt Worldwide, a Welocalize Multilingual Digital Marketing Agency, to support global marketing initiatives and UGC activities.

DOWNLOAD ENTIRE WELOCALIZE WHITEPAPER: Multilingual User Generated Content Increases Your Global Reach