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Coach – a translation tool designed with and for translators

We’re delighted that there has been a lot of press coverage of our new Coach technology lately! But many articles don’t mention that Coach is a translation tool that has been designed specifically with translators in mind.

While the software will make translation faster, more efficient and better quality, it will also help translators to progress their careers and earn more per hour. This is possible because it automates many traditionally time-consuming parts of the process, allowing linguists to focus on what they do best – the actual translation. And Lingo24 cuts its project management time, reducing its own overheads.

Coach is designed to provide a route into the industry for younger, recently-qualified linguists.  The name comes from its function as a “learning management” tool, coaching translators and helping them improve their skills. They have the chance to work on increasingly difficult tasks, with more experienced translators reviewing the work to ensure quality.

At the same time, specialist knowledge is valued and rewarded.  The most experienced translators, with in-depth industry knowledge, will be assigned the most complex tasks, earning considerably more per hour than they currently do.

Coach is still at a relatively early stage, and we’re continuing to develop it and add new features – with the help of feedback from translators who are already using it.  But we’ve tried to answer a few commonly asked questions here.

 

Won’t assigning tasks to trainees result in lower quality?

The beauty of Coach is it allows translators of different levels to work together on projects. Trainee translators will initially be assigned very simple tasks, but can progress as they gain experience. The idea is to provide a route into the industry and address the current skills shortage. Most agencies (including Lingo24) currently demand three to five years’ experience, meaning it’s very hard for young graduates to get started.

Of course, they won’t be given full responsibility for translation projects (just as none of us wants to get on a plane with a trainee pilot in charge!) But they can gradually build their skills, with fully-qualified translators reviewing and editing their work.

If clients are paying less, then won’t translators get paid less too?

Coach is intended to create a “win-win-win” situation. The translation tool automates much of the project management, enabling Lingo24 and translators to work more efficiently. It also automates many routine tasks, includes the latest translation memory technology, and makes it quicker and easier to review texts.

We’ve consulted with translators at every stage in its development, and used their feedback to improve the software. For most projects, it considerably cuts the amount of time required – meaning translators are able to earn more per hour than current industry rates.

Will Coach cut translation quality?

No, but it will allow clients to ask for – and receive – a guaranteed quality level. The idea that “one size fits all” hasn’t been true in the translation industry for a long time. Readers expect a different level of quality from a translated press release or novel than they do from a social media post. Some clients might simply want to understand a foreign colleague’s email. While accuracy is vital in a technical manual or pharmaceutical leaflet, style and fluency are much less important.

Common Sense Advisory estimates that only a tiny fraction of what could be translated currently is being translated. Allowing clients to choose from a range of quality levels will mean they can they can translate much more than they currently doing, while still maintaining a high quality standard where required.

Machine translation does play a role in translating certain kinds of content, but in most cases it  requires post-editing by an experienced translator. Our Director of Machine Translation, Professor Andy Way, has written about why machines will never replace humans. As the global translation market continues to grow, the role for professional, qualified translators will grow at the same time.

Can you really split up translation jobs and achieve consistent output?

Lingo24 has been experimenting with lots of different ways of delivering the levels of quality our clients need. We’ve found that this approach can work in some instances, and we’ll continue to develop this and indeed other workflows before introducing them to customers. From our point of view, as long as our way of working creates value for our customers and our linguists, we’ll continue to innovate. We’re open to lots of other suggestions too – after all Coach is a platform on which we can build more workflows and tasks.
If you’re interested in becoming a Lingo24 translator, then find out more about working with us.

Christian Arno, Founder and President, Lingo24

Christian Arno is Founder and President of Lingo24. He started the company in 2001 after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in languages. He has won numerous awards including HSBC Business Thinking and International Trade Awards (2010), and TAUS Excellence Award (2012) for innovative technology. He contributes to leading industry publications and has been featured on the BBC, in the Financial Times and other media around the world.

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