Siebel Global Deployment Guide > Localizing Global Deployments >

About Working with Translators

This topic discusses issues in choosing and training translators, and managing localization schedules in coordination with your translators.

Choosing Translators

Consider the following questions when choosing translators to work with:

Will you use in-house translators or translation vendors?

The former may seem cheaper in the short-term, but since bilingual workers often have other responsibilities and perform translations in addition to their main functions, the results may not be as good or as sustained as hiring an outside vendor.

Another factor to consider is that just because an employee is from the country you are localizing for, it does not necessarily mean that they have the knowledge to translate your terminology correctly into the current professional vocabulary for your industry in the target locale.

If you do choose an insider for this job, make sure that he or she reads the trade publications in your field published in their native country at minimum.

There are a host of translation vendors to choose from, many of whom specialize in software internationalization, localization, or globalization, depending on your needs. (For a selection of specialists, refer to the Localization Industry Standards Association at

How do you choose the right vendor?

While cost is one factor to consider, to judge whether the cost quoted is good value or not depends on the services you think you need and on what other vendors may offer for a similar cost. Find out from each vendor what their charges entail and compare each vendor's offering based on the value of the service to you as well as on cost.

For example, some vendors bundle the cost of project management into a quote, while others break out this cost. Some will charge extra for defect fixes, while some will not.

Do you require that your translators work on site or can they work remotely?

Most translation vendors use skilled specialists expert in translation for particular industries, who may be located in other U.S. states or even other countries, as opposed to in-house translators. Be prepared, whenever possible, to ship your translators flat files containing the localizable text strings and to clearly identify which strings should be translated.

Sometimes it may be most effective to work closely with qualified translators at your site. Doing so may be appropriate when the product is being localized very rapidly. Having translators on site allows defect-fixing to occur quickly. It may also be appropriate when the product requires engineers to input localized text, as when there is no separate localization utility. Having translators on site to work together with the engineers will be highly advantageous, but is generally more expensive.

Training Translators

Even the most seasoned translators need training from you to learn about the products they are going to be localizing. Such training can include:

  • Preparing a translator information kit that includes marketing brochures, MRDs, design documents, statements of direction, white papers, or other information that explains the nature of your company's business. Provide the translators with a context for their translation work.
  • How to use the application for which they are translating text strings or documentation, and the purposes the application serves.
  • How to report product defects during localization testing—for example, truncated, localized labels in the user interface.
  • How to safely enter translation strings in files that your engineers send to the translators, such as by using email or FTP, and that the translators send back in a similar manner.

Localization Schedules

Agree to a Statement of Work or timeline (schedule) for the translation project early on. Understand what is involved on the translator's part, such as time needed for translation review either by vendor reviewers or by subject matter and language experts within your field offices. Developing a timeline helps all parties ensure that the timeline is realistic.

Consider whether your reviewers in the field consider their review of the translation a high priority when scheduling the timeline for their participation. Make sure you have their manager's commitment for participating in the review.

If your software development project incurs delays, do not expect the translators to shorten the time you have agreed to for their efforts unless you are willing to accept lower quality. Good translations take time and no machine can take the place of a human being in this regard.

Siebel Global Deployment Guide Copyright © 2007, Oracle. All rights reserved.