Developing Translations

Explaining what the Translations team does has always been a challenge. We seem to be Avature’s Chandler Bing team: no one really knows exactly what it is we do, and most of those who do, have no clue how we go about doing it.

Once upon a time, someone from Project Management told me “what I love about Translations is that you are developers but you aren’t” which I find to be spot on. Yes, we work with words, yet we do so immersed in a super techie environment; yes, we merge things (the aforementioned “words”) to our main branches, yet we are not developers; and yes, we are responsible for all translations and yet we do not actually translate anything – almost.

So, what is it that we do?

We could say that we work as an in-house translation agency, accountable for all translated texts. These texts range from code strings to training manuals, our Help section, website and events content, documentation on all of our solutions, RFPs, and everything in between. So with this in mind, we can say Translations is a team that works for other Avature teams, because although it is true that we always have an “end reader/customer” in mind, our main client is ourselves. I have just gone full inception mode right there, haven’t I?

Well, it gets even more “inceptiony.” You see, we work with so many other pieces of the Avature universe that in order to deliver to ourselves we work with ourselves. If I lost you, do not fear, it will all make sense as we get into why we do this for a moment:

In a world where English use is in decline, as half of its population speaks a different language, our goal as a team is to make it possible for Avature to get to as many of those people as possible. We want to be able to offer them a product that is ready to be implemented, that makes sense to them not just because it’s in their language, but also because it resonates with their culture, mental models, and specific purpose. Achieving this makes choosing Avature much more appealing and offers a smoother and easier user experience. And by doing all this, we in turn expand our potential customer base.

So we have this challenging and strategic task. How do we do it?

It’s all about a huge, unique, and seamless coordination and collaboration between very different teams. We work with every development team to make sure our code is designed to guarantee the same quality for all 30 languages we translate Avature to: avoiding split phrases, making sure the UI expands where appropriate, creating tests and tools that will make our processes smoother. With our graphic designers to boost our marketing content by translating both documentation and site images. We reach out to Sales and engage in talks with them about what markets we are interested in as well as on linguistic tendencies and industry jargon, to Sales Engineering to mine their records and find out who asked about each language and make sure we know our prospects interests in terms of internationalization and localization, to Data and IT to get reports and learn what the map of our users per language looks like. We turn to Account Management to help us open channels of communication with our current clients and proactively seek out feedback, invaluable for us to raise the bar on quality. We work with Legal and Finance to ensure we get our contracts and invoicing straight when bringing new translators aboard.

Some other time someone else told me that the members of Translations seem to know everyone at Avature. This also turns out to be quite spot on, because, yes, we are a team but we’re particularly in-tune with the rest of the company. The way teams function at Avature is such that you’re never too far away from everyone else. Individual teams are all part of a singular structure, regardless of where they are in the world. At Translations, though, keeping everyone connected is what we do. We interact with other teams as we aim to allow users from every corner of the planet to interact with Avature.