Translation Projects and Challenges

Posted on: 13.03.2019 14:52:05

Translation Projects and Challenging Conditions


In this article, I would like to share some examples related to the challenges that need the incorporation of creative solutions to the translation and/or localization projects. 



In the past, we had papers and faxes. Today, digital formats and online platforms are with us. 


We have received the MS Office files to translate. Compatibility with leading CAT Tools can be hard in some cases. Challenge (1) possibility of receiving more or less corrupted .docx, .xlsx, .ppts files or a single file made up of thousands of pages or a package made up of hundreds of small files.


We have received the files produced by Digital Art Software for translation such as InDesign, QuarkXPress, FrameMaker and PageMaker. Challenge (2)  because of text extensions in the target languages, reasonably requires additional DTP works. 


We have received the AudoCat files to translate. Challenge (3)  other than DFX, AudoCat file formats are not well supported by CAT Tools. 


We have received the database files to translate. Challenge (4)  XML files need special care in engineering a unique “configuration file” to adapt to the CAT tools so that target file can be imported without error.


We have received the PDF files to translate. Very frequently, only PDF version is provided as a source document. Challenge (5) PDF documents may have complicated graphics, tables etc. which needs to be properly reflected to the target. Only conversion experts can handle the PDF files of this kind. Some pages must be created manually.



CAT Tools have become integral part of translation industry. In the first place, Trados software (the first popular CAT Tool) introduced to the market with a lot of manual settings and bizarre interface. It used to be scary for many translators. Today, modern CAT Tools automated the basic Settings and developed user-friendly interfaces.

Challenge (6): translators still need to master translating in an editing environment of a bit abstract nature. Because, translator will see text as segment-by-segment format inserted with weird tags. For this reason, original source file needs to be monitored as translation progresses for example to identify whether any segment is for heading or description. Translators also need to understand the tags to apply them properly to the target language. Mostly due to setting errors or partial file corruptions, the risk of poor segmentation (dividing sentences) or poor tagging (too many tags) could make it difficult to translate too. 



Not long ego, online editing environments (Google documents) have been introduced to the market. In the first place, they looked like just a try. Today, we understand that online documents and online editing environments are more important than it was originally envisaged.  Challenge (7): it brings the question of security: “who is the owner of the online editing platform”? Also, fast and consistent internet connection is now crucial for translators.



Today, science and technology have significantly diversified. Each expertise is also divided into branches. We have a lot of technical documents to translate in various formats.  Challenge (8): technicality may be significantly heightened in such a way that only true experts could grasp and translate them into their mother tongue. For example, a technical manual written solely for the engineers who will supervise the installations of any sophisticated machinery to industrial robot manufacturing factory. Industry-specific glossaries and reference materials play a significant role. Importantly, it is critical to identify, book and assign the right technical translators and implement comprehensive quality processes.



We are living in an age of speed. We have huge volumes and tight deadlines to translate.  Challenge (9):  the project manager must end-to-end supervise the team. Because workflow is running fast and output of one will be an input of the other, all setbacks must be analyzed and fixed on time to deliver quality guaranteed translations.



I do not claim that my examples herein cover all of the challenging conditions, but they might give you an idea how important it might be to work with a well-established translation company integrating creative solutions to the translation projects.

Author: Volkan Güvenç 

General Coordinator 

 at Alafranga Language Solutions



Leave A Comment