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Catching up with our insane digital age, translation is no longer a mere one-shot task that aims at conducting a literal word-for-word conversion of a body text into a different language. The translation is now a multi-step process that involves highly technical functions that can not be only handled by traditional and technology-illiterate linguists. As a result, the need for expert localization engineers to partake in the entire translation process is palpably urgent.

Localization engineering basically refers to a set of cutting-edge tools run by a devious team of technical engineers with the aim of scoring a standard of excellence and flawlessness. In fact, localization engineering is neither a stand-alone service nor a separate phase of the localization process; it is rather an indispensable function that is inherent in every step along the way.

The team roles of localization engineers range from pre-translation tasks, including resource file compilation, format conversions, content analysis, and translation memory leverage to advanced responsibilities, such as time coding automation in subtitling and voiceover, cosmetic, linguistic and functional testing in software localization, and quality assurance. Succinctly put, localization engineers are the ones who incept the translation project and the ones who wrap it all up.

What do they actually do?

Although localization engineering is sometimes perceived as synonymous to software localization, it is, otherwise, an integral part of many other translation and localization branches. Classified by service, the following is a glimpse into how language service providers make use of this technical department, bringing together a team of skillful engineers and a suite of advanced tools.

 

  • Software Localization:

 

The typical role of localization engineering comes up with software localization services. A team of localization engineers with an extensive background in software development jumps in and does what it takes to adapt software platforms to the target language and locale. The localization engineering team roles include but not limited to:

  • Planning and estimation of the task’s timeframe.
  • Programming in different languages and codes.
  • Extraction of plain text.
  • Parsing and compilation.
  • User interface (UI) and user experience (UX). 
  • Cosmetic testing and hard coding.
  • Fixing any bugs and repairing any broken functionalities like the truncated or mistranslated strings and the duplicated or non-working hotkeys.
  • Detection and reporting of any other defects.

 

  • Desktop Publishing Services (DTP)/Typesetting

 

Providing adequate desktop translation services (DTP) requires an impeccable application of localization engineering practices. The department plays the technical part, which sometimes exceeds the translation part in terms of duration and significance. In the beginning, localization engineers juggle a number of initial and preparatory tasks to render the text ready for translation. This includes:

  • Formatting and file cleaning, cross-platform document conversions (i.e. PDF to MS Word – PDF to InDesign – Illustrator to InDesign…etc.)
  • Primary content analysis to assess the word count and the required translation management tools.
  • Catering the text to the computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools) before passing it on to the translation department.
  • Replacing the original text with the translated one after the translation is done.
  • Working closely with the DTP specialists during the post file processing and quality check phases.

 

  • Voiceover & Subtitling

 

Establishing their presence among the trending localization services, voiceover and subtitling are now provided by a broad array of language vendors. These services include some specialized technicalities that can only be tackled by localization engineers. The localization engineering experts’ mission is:

  • Automating the time coding process to embed the audio track in the video harmoniously or facilitate the transcription synchronization
  • When the audio and video files are both ready in a VO project, the localization support builds an automated timing synchronization system to ensure the consistency and coherence of the final output
  • As for subtitling, the engineers insert timestamps at specific intervals to display the target language subtitles or closed captions (CC) into the video according to the time codes.

What skillset do they have?

The localization engineers are technical experts who are well-versed in the localization technicalities and software development know-how. Their areas of expertise usually include 

  • Hands-on experience in the installation and configuration of multilingual operating systems (OS) and software platforms.
  • Using reliable tools such as InstallShield, WISE, and InstallerMaker. 
  • Familiar with a variety of development environments such as Microsoft Visual Studio, Java and Linux and programming languages like C, C++, C-sharp, .NET, Java, HTML, XML, JSP, PHP, and Perl. 
  • Fully aware of internationalization, Unicode, and multibyte character issues in software development
  • Having acquired a detailed understanding of database systems, scripting languages, and software graphical user interface development (GUI).

Why Localization Engineering?

You might be still doubtful of or unable to fully grasp the added value of localization engineering, and thus not sure of its worth! Here is a fact: translation projects that employed localization engineering technicalities and automation have outweighed their traditional peers by far. 

Below are three cogent reasons why localization engineering is a distinguishing service that can work wonders!

Faster Turnaround: With its state-of-the-art automation capabilities, localization engineering helps maximize the speed and minimize the timeframe at which projects get fully and properly done. Less time means less money; localization engineering makes for cost-efficient solutions.

More Convenience: Localization engineers are also cognizant of the social and sociological context of the target locale, thus employing their tools to enable further adaptation in the translation and localization projects.

Higher Quality: The use of machine- and computer-assisted techniques in the quality assurance process reduces the possibility of errors and ensures a high level of accuracy and flawlessness.

Why Contentech?

Having known the reasons why you should partner with a translation agency that has a specialized localization engineering department, you must be in search of a proficient and technical-oriented service provider. Providing its technical translation services since 1994 across the Middle East and Africa, Contentech is an ISO 17100 certified company that features a group of tech geeks with endless capabilities who are ready to handle your localization projects. We apply the best practices and most advanced techniques to introduce the best-in-class localization engineering functionalities.

Take your business to the next level

If you’re ready to seize the opportunities available in the Middle East and Africa for your business now, we can meet your translation and localization needs. Get in contact to find out how and learn more.