In-context editing

Context IS key, and in-context editing is certainly the safest way of securing user-friendly translation or localization of websites, games or software. So it is only afterwards you can be 100% sure that harmony is achieved between the particular translation or localization and the context in which the translation or localization is placed. The best alternative to this, however, is to initially provide as much context as possible along with the source text, which is something we always encourage our clients to do.

In this article, we will give a description of what in-context editing is, followed by a summary of the pitfalls you will avoid and the advantages you can gain.

What is in-context editing?

Wikipedia refers to a website called webcitation when they explain in-context editing as "the process of improving a machine-generated translation with a minimum of manual labour". This description is nowhere near the practice we have of in-context editing at All-In Translations. It is also an interesting observation that the description in this reference is different from the one which Wikipedia uses. In December 30, 2013 webcitation used this description: "Edit: to prepare a text for publication by correcting errors and ensuring clarity and accuracy".

The definition of in-context editing is nowhere to be found on the page referred to by Wikipedia, but the current definition of 'editing' is pretty much an identical description of our in-context editing, although we would need to add a few steps in the workflow description to paint the complete picture.

The in-context editing workflow

This is what happens when you order translation or localization including in-context from All-In Translations:

  1. The client sends the source text to sales@allintranslations.com and informs us which languages the text should be translated into. The designated project manager analyses the text and provides a word count, price and turnaround time, along with a survey about the stylistic preferences of the client. This is optional, but recommended, and it only needs to be filled in once as long as the stylistic preferences do not differ from project to project.
  2. The project is prepared by our project managers and distributed to the translators best fit for the task. The translation is sent back to the project manager.
  3. The client uploads the translation to its full context. The full context can be a website, a game or some sort of software etc. Once the translation uploaded, they inform the project manager and the project manager prepares the project for in-context editing.
  4. The translators proofread their translation in its full context and make edits when needed. Any changes are sent as a separate document, unless the client allows our translators to edit directly in their back-office.

Pitfalls avoided, advantages gained

The above workflow is the one we recommend the strongest. This is why:

Any formatting errors will be easily spotted. It is not always easy to upload a text to, for example, a website when you lack in understanding the alphabet used, and mistakes can easily occur. These mistakes would not necessarily be spotted when proofreading is done only in the text document.

Any misunderstandings of terms will be corrected. As you know, words can have different meanings depending on the context, but once the translators see the full context, they will always understand what a term was meant to convey. An example: When one of your contacts on Skype has a birthday you get a notification. The notification will say, for example, “Gus Hansen turned 45”, but in the Norwegian version of Skype, the translation of “has turned” is translated as “has turned around”, as in “has turned around 180 degrees”. If the translator had had access to the full context, this very awkward mistake would never have occurred.

By seeing a website, game or a software etc. in its full context, the translator will get a better feel for the communicative intention in its entirety. This will enable him/her to produce a translation or localization with excellent flow and in full harmony with the desired tone and style.

Websites, games and software etc. have many functionalities where the user follows certain steps or procedures. The translation or localization of steps or procedures can often be a challenge, especially without enough context. When we in-context edit, we go through all the functionalities of the website, game or software etc. step by step in its full context, so that any misunderstandings or inconsistencies can be hatched out. Good examples of this are the gameplay on a slot machine or the process of requesting a cash-out from a betting site.

For a simple website where good context was given initially and the uploading process has gone smoothly, the in-context editing process can be very straightforward and get finalized in a matter of minutes.