Case study: Massive software strings translation into Finnish

One of our larger projects of 2020 was undertaking localization of well-known auditing and accounting software into Finnish. The project consisted of many layers and presented a unique set of challenges that we would like to tell you about.

THE TASK

Our task was to completely localize a large-scale auditing and accounting software. The project took place in three stages – translation of e-mail notifications, translation of UI and translation of documentation.

SCOPE AND TURNAROUND TIME

The overall volume of the project was approximately 850,000 words and we had a timeline of four months to do it.

PLANNING

While not as time-pressed, the project needed to be planned out very thoroughly as any issues down the road in such a high-volume project, could spell massive delays if not identified early. A team of 5 translators and 3 editors with proven experience in software and UI translation was formed in order to meet the deadline. Communication channels were established to maintain consistency between teams.

EXECUTION

SDL Studio was chosen for this project, due to the high variety of tags found in the e-mail and UI strings. Experience shows that SDL Studio is very good at distinguishing the tags and making sure the verification process goes smoothly. The project was split into 8 batches with staggered deliveries and three translators having to work on two batches. The reviews were done as soon as batches were translated, ensuring the stages did not fall behind.

CHALLENGES, SOLUTIONS AND LESSONS

This project very well indicated that a language itself can provide to be the biggest challenge. Since the source text relied on placeholder tags quite heavily, it affected the Finnish translation. Finnish is very context-based language and does not follow English sentence structure at all. Therefore, for example, tags indicating possession did not work in the target language. As a result, QA tools turned up a large number of false positives when it came to tag issues, so our review team had to be on their toes to make sure there were no actual issues. It required a lot of end-work with clean files to make sure no functionality was lost when the files were imported back in the system.

Another cause of false positives was the glossary terms, that when used in a sentence have their ending changed based on the rest of the sentence. Again, our reviewers did not rely on the QA on much but rather than a multi-stage review to make sure we did not let anything slip through the cracks.

Working with a number of translators on the same project usually means consistency challenges. For the first batches we explored the terminology and made sure our translators were on the same page when it came to the correct terms by creating a term base and uploading it to the following batches as soon as it was finalized.

Looking at all the challenges for this project, it is very clear that the reviewers carried quite a heavy workload to make sure the false positives from the QA were properly filtered and analyzed, as well as making sure the terminology hits were reviewed and updated accordingly. 

THE RESULT

Once again, we learned that proper planning and team selection is the key to jobs like these. In addition, the immense work by our reviewers made sure that not only the linguistic aspects were taken care of, but also that the technical aspects remained functional. The client was very satisfied and, as a result, we have been awarded the translation of the same strings into Norwegian for 2021.