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Translation and localisation

Machine translation for translation and localisation

Machine translation is a key technology in professional translation and localisation workflows.


Translation software, like translation management systems (TMS) and computer-aided translation tools (CAT), integrate machine translation APIs, directly or via plugins.


The translation software fills in the machine translation for the human translator to post-edit. The machine translation can be inserted in whole files at once or one segment at a time. Some engines that translate segment-by-segment can learn from post-editions and adapt the machine translation output accordingly.


Post-editors can work three to four times faster than traditional translators.



Translation is the transformation of a text in its original language into the same text in the target language.


Localisation is the transformation of an object from one cultural environment to another. An object is a document, a software, a film, a book, and so on.

In localisation, the object retains its most salient features, and the cultural-unfit features are replaced, as far as possible, by their adequate counterparts.

Localisation of a software consists of the following steps:

  1. Identifying the software usability in the target culture.
  2. Identifying the features that need to be replaced or adapted.
  3. Translating the content of user interface and user assistance.
  4. Replacing or adapting the non-transferrable features.
  5. Building the localised versions with target locale settings and translated content and features.
  6. Testing the localised versions:
    • Verifying the validity of translation in context of the software.
    • Verifying the validity for each target audience of the localisation aspects including:
      • national characters in user interface, user assistance and input fields
      • formats of numbers, time and date, currency, units of measurement, according to the locale
      • sort order of lists and glossaries, according to the locale
      • bi-directional display and input of text (where applicable).

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