BLEND’s LocFromHome Talk: API-driven Translation Workflows
BLEND’s top execs, Daniel Gray and Daniel Itliaander collaborated to deliver an inspiring lecture to their colleagues on the value of integrating API-based localization workflows. They presented at the most recent LocFromHome conference, an online space for localization experts to meet, exchange ideas and learn.
The meeting place for localization experts
The latest installation of LocfromHome, hosted by Smartcat, was truly exceptional, with 39 speakers and 4,000 attendees from 106 countries. The conference is an inspired way for our community to grow together. The latest event in February 2021 featured some of the best professionals in the industry speaking on important topics, as well as opportunities for those in the industry to meet, mingle, and ask questions. View the presentation here.
What is an API?
Daniel Gray, CRO at OneHourTranslation, and Daniel Itliaander, VP of Operations, explained how an API-driven translation workflow can upgrade the service a supplier can offer clients, while also allowing vendors to transform the way they operate. These new workflows can jumpstart a vendor’s ability to address the new needs in our industry as it grows.
APIs, they explained, are simply the code that allows different applications to communicate with each other. Using this technology, we create a workflow that directly integrates with our clients’ applications for automated interactions. An API-enabled workflow allows for a velocity and scale that were previously impossible. In their view, this type of workflow allows for the evolution of our industry into translation as a utility.
Itliaander, who joined OneHourTranslation after working in the fintech industry, explains that the idea is to make the process as frictionless as possible for the client. Paying online is an easy one-step action for the consumer, but it is made possible by multiple behind-the-scenes interactions between systems. To incorporate this idea into the localization industry, we begin by evaluating what we do and how we do it – and then figure out where an API integration will make the entire process as easy as possible for the customer. In order to get this right, we create a workflow and then continue to tweak it when we see areas in need of attention. We have now achieved the ability to complete a greater volume of work, with fewer human hands involved. This also means fewer managers, fewer emails – and everything else that goes with it. Reducing the amount of work, we also have achieved better quality results.
Here is an example of a workflow that we use:
Transitioning to an end-to-end localization platform
Using APIs, OneHourTranslation has been able to achieve higher output than we ever have in the past. The API-fuelled workflow has assisted us in changing our focus as a company and has allowed us to begin to serve enterprises and provide managed services. We are proud of the advanced services we can offer our clients, as we are able to support them with their own global growth and evolution and make them feel good about investing in localization as a smart decision in an online translation world that is increasingly global.
Adopting an identical quality ruler
Daniel Gray, CRO of OneHourTranslation, is a long time veteran of the translation and localization industry. He explained that one of the most important elements in making an automated system work is to make sure that both the vendor and customer are on the same page with regards to quality metrics. “The most important thing is to normalize the ruler,” he says. “We set parameters together with the company, measuring several different guidelines – like tonality, readability, and more. This way we are measuring the same thing and it is clear to both when a translation is working and where the difficulties lie. We only deliver when the quality is rated 4 or above – and because we have normalized the ruler with the client in advance, we know that that is a universally accepted quality grade. The most gratifying thing is that it has enabled us to move from subjective to objective quality.”
“The most important thing is to normalize the ruler. We set parameters together with the company, measuring several different guidelines – like tonality, readability, and more.”
-Daniel Gray, BLEND’s CRO
Custom-made localization solutions
Each client has unique requirements and different quality goals. We structure our API use per customer, based on their needs. We are able to create custom solutions for each customer once we understand their specific goals. We don’t use an identical set of APIs for all of our customers, as not all have the same quality requirements.
Looking to the future
Just as APIs drive frictionless interactions in other industries, they have the ability to assist us in transforming the way localization vendors serve clients.
In a world increasingly in need of powerful localization services that can handle the vast amounts of content that must be internationalized and localized, an API-fuelled workflow can make all the difference.