Query generation is an inherent part of the translation and localization process. The nature of source content varies not just based on subject matter or context, but also on linguistic quality. On the other side of the equation, linguists responsible for the target language have varying degrees of fluency, including linguistic and cultural aspects of the source, and knowledge of the subject matter.
Chances are, your company is losing money on the query management process, whether you are aware of it or not. Furthermore, there is an extra layer of quality assurance that customers are missing out on: valuable insights from translators about the source content. Without efficient query management, this value gets lost in the process, instead of being appreciated.
Let us look at the most common ways language services providers are wandering endlessly in the query management maze, and how an app like Kaleidoscope’s Smartquery can completely turn things around:
Case 1: A project manager looks at an Excel spreadsheet, now several months old, holding 25 tabs, one for each target language in a large project. Each tab has over 100 rows, six columns and as many as 300 words in some cells. To manage queries, the project manager spends a great deal of time managing emails, placing questions from linguists and answers from clients across tabs, repeating the process 25 times. And that is just one project.
“Smartquery has significantly reduced our workload and the number of e-mails exchanged. For translators, it is significantly easier to submit queries on an ad hoc basis than to collect them in a list. This means the translation process does not come to a stand-still.” — Nina Schwender, Technical Translator, SEW-EURODRIVE
Case 2: On the other side of the world, an IT manager has to share the company’s bug tracking system with developers, project managers, and linguists to track queries. If this is your company’s case, you probably resigned yourself to making such a costly process a part of your regular business expenses.
Case 3: On the last end of this conundrum, a customer receives a query from a project manager via email, and after reading it, thinks with frustration “I am sure I have answered this before.” But in the flood of emails there is no easy way to dig out the answer. Begrudgingly, the customer asks his subject matter experts again, potentially receiving a different answer each time. Nothing is tracked, no valuable customer insights are stored, and the result is frustration all around.
In any of these scenarios, if you were to objectively measure the relationship between time, financial investment, and value realized, you would probably come up with losses. Just in project management (handling spreadsheets or extracting comments from a CAT tool) or IT management (handling licenses and technical support), the costs could be very high.
Query Management Automation Gets Smart
Losses could turn into savings and gains in efficiency, productivity, quality, compliance, and employee satisfaction with Smartquery. This complete and mature query management app has been expertly developed by and for language services. It is a natural fit for providers and enterprise translation operations alike.
The “smart” in Smartquery is built into every aspect of its functionality. It starts with an intuitive cloud-based platform, configurable workflow, and web-like interface that can be integrated with other programs, including TMSs and other systems like terminology and CAT tools. No spreadsheet or bug tracking can do that.
And, for companies that prefer to run Smartquery as a standalone app, it is available out of the box, ready to serve specific needs.
This system easily allows onboarding multiple users with different access levels. Whether your team has ten or one hundred users, project managers, linguists, authors, clients, and subject matter experts can take advantage of an affordable, centralized query management app with minimal third party intervention.
One key benefit of access rights management inside Smartquery is that it prevents the project manager from becoming an envelope handler without threatening loss of confidentiality. Entire teams across language pairs can securely collaborate inside Smartquery and answer each other’s questions.
This level of visibility works across language pairs, projects, and teams. So, for example, if a linguist missed a problem in their language pair that a colleague in another language pair identified, they are alerted to the issue and can take appropriate action. Likewise, if a completely new team begins working on the next iteration of the same content, they will benefit from the knowledge stored in Smartquery.
As part of this critical collaboration, communications happen inside the application, not via email, saving time and preserving valuable qualitative and linguistic data that can be tracked down to a translation segment level. Users also instantly know if a query has been answered or if it is still pending.
Lastly, compliance for quality certifications and regulated content is ensured, as all queries and interactions are properly documented and automatically stored.
Spread Satisfaction, not Sheets…
When the query management process is off their plate, project managers free their time to take on more projects and learn new skills. Chances are job satisfaction will be higher, as administrative tasks like those mentioned above can be a real drag. Linguists and clients will also be glad to be writing, reading, and retrieving fewer emails related to projects.
In the same manner, when a company stops using an expensive bug tracking system for this process, savings could be immediate. As a bonus, knowledge about accounts and clients acquired through queries will stop getting lost in the maze of closed bugs. It’s time to move to truly smart query management.
About Klaus Fleischmann
Having begun his translation and interpreting studies at the University of Vienna, he holds an MA in Conference Interpreting from Monterey, California, and a MAS in Technical Communication Krems, Austria. In 1996, he founded Austria-based Kaleidoscope, a company implementing content, translation, and terminology management processes for internationally active companies. In addition, Kaleidoscope develops online collaboration software for terminology workflow, translator query management, in-country review, quality evaluation, process automation etc., making the translation quality process comprehensible and strategically manageable. In 2007, he became CEO of Austria´s leading LSP, eurocom Translation Services GmbH.
Taking Your Content Global – with Kaleidoscope your product will speak every language! The combination of decades of expertise, our software solutions developed in-house, and select software from market-leading technology partners has been making this a reality since 1996. Coupled with the full-service approach from eurocom, Austria’s largest and most innovative translation agency, Kaleidoscope offers a unique and unrivaled synergy of language and technology.