There are tools specific to the language services industry (surprised to hear that’s a thing?) that enable a smooth localization process with a high level of quality. Categories that localization tools fall into include:
- Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools
- Machine translation (MT) engines
- Translation management systems (TMS)
- Terminology management tools
- Localization automation tools
The proprietary versions of these tools can be quite expensive. A single license for SDL Trados Studio (the leading CAT tool) can cost thousands of euros, and even then it is only useful for one individual and the customizations are limited (and psst, they cost more, too). Open source projects looking to localize into many languages and streamline their localization processes will want to look at open source tools to save money and get the flexibility they need with customization. I’ve compiled this high-level survey of many of the open source localization tool projects out there to help you decide what to use.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools
Machine translation (MT) engines
MT engines automate the transfer of text from one language to another. MT is broken up into three primary methodologies: rules-based, statistical, and neural (which is the new player). The most widespread MT methodology is statistical, which (in very brief terms) draws conclusions about the interconnectedness of a pair of languages by running statistical analyses over annotated bilingual corpus data using n-gram models. When a new source language phrase is introduced to the engine for translation, it looks within its analyzed corpus data to find statistically relevant equivalents, which it produces in the target language. MT can be useful as a productivity aid to translators, changing their primary task from translating a source text to a target text to post-editing the MT engine’s target language output. I don’t recommend using raw MT output in localizations, but if your community is trained in the art of post-editing, MT can be a useful tool to help them make large volumes of contributions.
Tools to check out:
Translation management systems (TMS)
Terminology management tools
Localization automation tools
Why open source is key
Localization is most powerful and effective when done in the open. These tools should give you and your communities the power to localize your projects into as many languages as humanly possible.
Want to learn more? Check out these additional resources:
Originally published on OPENSOURCE.COM