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Reducing Translation Costs Part 2 of 3: Authoring in XML

Authoring in XML is a way to structure content using rules without having to do any formatting. It’s often used in cases where there’s a lot of reusable content, such as in technical documentation. Although there are costs associated with converting content into XML, if you translate a lot of content, or you’re planning to start translating content, it can be very cost-effective because you send the content to translation once and then reuse it wherever you need to. To learn more about authoring in XML, make sure to read the first blog post in this series on XML.

The two main components of a translation services quote where you can reduce the costs by authoring in XML are the desktop publishing (DTP) charges and per word charges. In this blog post, we’ll explain how authoring in XML can reduce translation costs and provide some examples so you can see the cost savings.

#1 Desktop Publishing Charges Are Eliminated

The biggest cost savings are found in the desktop publishing (DTP) portion of the translation quote. DTP involves formatting the content, tables, etc. to match the source language document. With an authoring program like Microsoft Word or Adobe FrameMaker, you have to format the document after the content is translated because languages can either be shorter or longer than English so the formatting has to be adjusted. This can be a time-consuming task, but it must be done in order to have the document look right. With XML, you don’t have any formatting to do because the style sheet automatically applies the styles per the rules that you’ve set up. There’s no need to tweak any of the formatting, and therefore, there are no DTP charges.

Not having DTP charges is a huge translation cost savings. Let’s look at an example of a 100-page instruction manual with DTP (a rate of $2/page) and without DTP:

 

  Type of authoring  DTP  # of pages  Total cost
  Word / FrameMaker

$200.00  

100  

$200.00  

  XML

$0.00  

0  

$0.00  

So that’s a savings of $200 per manual. If you have translate the manual into the 23 European languages, then you’d have:

Word / FrameMaker cost: $200.00 X 23 = $4,600

XML cost: $0

Savings = $4600

#2 More Opportunities for a Reduction in Per Word Charges

A key benefit to authoring in XML is that you write once, translate once and reuse content multiple times, so you get a big bang for your buck. First, let’s look at the types of per word charges in a typical quote:

  1. New – a word segment doesn’t match any segments or it may match a segment at less than 50% in the translation memory (TM), which is a database of previously-translated content. This is the most expensive per word charge.
  2. Fuzzy Matching – a previously translated segment partially matches another segment in the TM. Let’s say that we previously translated the segment “Our product requires a 9-volt battery.” Now we have to translate a new, but very similar segment such as “Our product requires two 9-volt batteries.” In this case, the TM will recognize the segment as a fuzzy match, since the translator would only have to translate “two” and “batteries,” and the TM system provides the rest. In this case, the translation company will pass on the savings to the customer. Learn more about the benefits of fuzzy matching in your TM.
  3. Repetitions/100% match – a word segment exactly matches another word segment in the TM. For example, you previously translated “Our product requires a 9-volt battery” and this exact segment is present in the new job. There is still a charge for this because the translator needs to review the sentences to make sure they are in the right context, thus ensuring that the quality remains high. This is the cheapest type of per word cost.
  4. Context match – if a sentence is exactly identical to the previous sentence and also the sentence after, the sentence will actually be blocked for translation, resulting in no charge.

Now, when you initially send content to translation, your content will most likely have many new and fuzzy match charges, and possibly some repetition charges, depending on what content you have in the TM.

When you author in XML using a topic-based system, the writer pulls content exactly to create a document, resulting in context matches (which have no charge). When you author in a non-XML system, there are more chances for the writer to recreate similar content or tweak existing content, resulting in more repetitions, fuzzy matches or new charges. Authoring in XML saves on translation costs as well as writing time.

Conclusion

As you can see, the DTP charges are a big part of the total translation cost and they can be avoided when you author correctly in XML per the rules that are established. The per word charges may also be reduced because there’s no opportunity to recreate or change existing content. Our final blog post will describe a specific example of how a company reduced translation costs by switching to authoring in XML.

At Net-Translators, we help our customers find solutions to reduce their translation costs wherever possible without compromising on the quality of the translations. Therefore, we work with the most professional, experienced translators in the industry in order to produce the highest-quality translations. We look for ways to reduce costs by using advanced technologies and not by finding cheaper translators.

As a technical translation company, we’re here to help you with your technical translation needs. For additional information or to request a complimentary quote, please contact our nearest office.

 

Shmuel Duan

For many years I was on the clients’ side, gaining years of experience in the world of software development. Back then localization wasn’t always on my mind…
Here at Net-Translators, as the Director of Technology, I discovered the world of localization and found out that this is one of the most interesting phases in the life of a product! With the knowledge of developing software and websites I’m eager to find ways to improve the process and support our clients worldwide by better understanding their needs, making their process smoother, more efficient and finding the best ways to deliver. Being our clients’ partners, I see the added value in helping them, even before we start the localization process, advising them which tools/systems to work with, the best practices and how to make their product “localization friendly”.
Together with a great team that loves the challenge our clients bring, we enjoy the process of finding the best solutions for each one, tracking emerging technologies and trends, industry standards, and searching for better ways to localize it.
In this blog I’ll share tips and tricks on how to do it better!
Stay tuned ;-)

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