Translator queries

With their flair for languages, translators are excellent usability testers for all kinds of texts. Translator queries frequently inform authors of anomalies in texts, therefore it makes perfect sense to use translator queries in order to improve the source text quality.

Other types of translator queries are terminological issues. With smartQuery you can include these queries in your termbase to increase the reach of your terminology, saving significant costs. Missing terminology costs time and money, both of which have a negative impact on translation projects for the client. However, translator queries so far were always considered a “necessary evil” that create work and slow down the translation process. Rarely were they seen as a potential to improve the source text and the translation quality! Together with Austria’s largest LSP, eurocom, Kaleidoscope decided to tackle this issue. In the process, we came up with clever answers to questions such as: How can you manage queries in a collaborative, web-based environment? How can you re-use queries as term candidates and also forward suggestions to improve the source texts directly to the authors? How can you create statistics on queries for a single client and perhaps discover and address specific problems systematically? How can you use translator queries to improve the translation quality in an effective way?

The Foundation

Because a scientific foundation for query management was lacking, the first step was to run a master thesis project with the University of Vienna to review and categorize large amounts of query data. Two large eurocom clients were used as the basis: 1,080 query forms in Excel format as well as the entire e-mail traffic about queries made up the corpus for analysis. The majority of all issues (about 80%) were terminology queries. The “other” queries were about the process itself, for instance issues with translator guidelines or with the source text itself. At the same time, a pilot project concerning query workflow was conducted with another large client of eurocom and revealed some additional insights into the workflow design. The data from this pilot, together with the findings of the thesis project fed into the architecture of the smartQuery workflow solution.

Types of Queries

Not every query is the same. Based on the master thesis project we commissioned with the University of Vienna, smartQuery differentiates between three types of queries:

Terminological Queries

These can be logged by translators or project managers and are categorized as follows:

  • Incomprehensible source term Translation suggestion
  • Request for approval of target-language translation suggestion
  • Abbreviation
  • Proper name, label, software option, slogan
  • Inconsistent source text
  • Inconsistent target-language references

Some fields in the query might already be pre-filled if you are using smartQuery with an interface to a project management system. Also, you will only be able to choose the project which you are currently assigned to. You can define these categories freely as well as all the fields for a query and the access rights.

Process Queries

Queries that do not relate to terminology may refer to the process itself, for example problems with the instructions, style guides, or the source text – more specifically incomplete sentences, typographical errors, deviation from terminology guidelines, technical problems, etc. This type of query can be submitted by all roles.

Feedback Loops

The feedback query category includes information that although does not pose a problem for translation, is still worthy of note. Project managers and clients can initiate these feedback loops; however, a project manager has more options at their disposal than a client. Feedback loops started by a client can only contain a specific message. It will be visible to both project managers and translators. Feedback is always visible in the “My view” area for each user. In addition, users always have to acknowledge feedback by marking it as “read”. The user who created the feedback loop can check the read status at any time.

If the feedback loop is initiated by the project manager, then it can be directed either to the translators or to clients (or both). In addition to free text, feedback loops can also contain specific queries relating to a project. To add queries, project managers can mark the relevant queries as “inform client feedback” or “inform translator feedback” when creating a feedback loop. All queries can be assigned as many comments as you like and all actions are saved in real time. This enables all questions, answers, and comments to be fully tracked and documented throughout the process.

Managing queries

If you want

  • to organize translators’ queries once and for all – in a comprehensible and traceable way;
  • without relying on any Excel lists or other makeshift documents, which are never seen by everyone in the translation chain;
  • and you also want to improve the quality of the translations and source texts at the same time;

then we have got the perfect solution for you: smartQuery!


Translating with eurocom…

… provides peace of mind: High-quality translations delivered to deadline for many global market leaders. As a technical and marketing specialist we combine 25 years’ worth of expertise in translation with technology developed by the Kaleidoscope Group and a global network of translators. This makes us the market-leading and most innovative translation agency in Austria.

Read more

SDL: Market-leading Software

With its products Trados Studio, GroupShare, WorldServer, Passolo, and MultiTerm, SDL is the global market leader in translation software. Its range of software helps you translate faster and more efficiently, while reducing costs and the time required for translation and review by up to 40 percent. We are happy to advise you on how you can make the best possible use of these products.

Read more

SDL Trados Studio

You can save 30 to 60 percent in time and costs, depending on the text type, by using the world’s leading translation software, SDL Trados, in the translation process. Translators edit, review, and manage translation projects and terminology entirely in SDL Trados Studio. Most training centers provide training in the software and the majority of professional translators are proficient users.

Read more

SDL GroupShare

SDL GroupShare is the common working platform for localization teams of any size, who use SDL Trados Studio and SDL MultiTerm. Teams can collaborate on translation memories, project management, and terminology, allowing them to achieve significantly more efficient translation workflows. Assigning and archiving functions allow for even greater automation possibilities.

Read more

SDL WorldServer

The SDL WorldServer workflow automation solution gives you the tools you need to bring together all of your company’s translation processes in one uniform, traceable, and managed system that avoids manual or redundant steps and drastically reduces transactional cost. You benefit from clearly defined and largely automated management of even the largest projects for the entire company.

Read more

Localizing with SDL Passolo

Localizing software is a complex task involving developers, product managers, and translators. SDL Passolo makes the process quicker and easier for all parties: For translators it displays dialogs and menus on the screen for context. And for the development team it runs QA-checks and even compiles final target-files. What’s more, SDL Passolo is linked to SDL Trados and SDL MultiTerm.

Read more

SDL MultiTerm: “The” Database

SDL MultiTerm’s highly customizable database structure can be adapted precisely to your requirements. In fact, SDL MultiTerm is the only commercially available tool that can handle the demands of professional terminology management. MultiTerm’s tight integration into the SDL translation environment automatically provides the translator with the necessary terminology.

Read more

Queries Have Potential

Queries come up in almost every translation project. Unfortunately, they are often considered a nuisance. Instead these queries present enormous potential for you to enhance quality and lower costs. As the majority of queries relate to terminology, it is important to adopt a holistic, collaborative approach in this area so that this potential can be fully exploited.

Read more

For Queries: smartQuery

Do you want to organize translators’ queries once and for all – in a comprehensible and traceable way? Without relying on any Excel lists or other makeshift documents (which are never used by everyone involved for whatever reason)? Do you also want to improve the quality of the translations and source texts at the same time? Then we have the solution you have been looking for!

Read more

Global Quality Management

You want a seamless in-country review process for translators, project managers, reviewers, and experts? You want reviewers and experts to be involved without the need for specialist software skills and training? And with every review step documented automatically? Directly in the InDesign layout, too? And how about using the review for quality management? Take a look at globalReview!

Read more

Small but Mighty!

Do you want to speed up working in SDL Trados Studio and SDL MultiTerm even further and customize it even more precisely to your needs? Then you should take a closer look at our little digital helpers: expertTools enable elegant processes and solutions that would otherwise be highly complex and time-consuming. Many of our expertTools are available both as a freelance and as a professional version.

Read more

Connecting Content

Connecting Content is the ideal solution for connecting a content management, catalog, or technical editing system to an SDL Trados-based translation workflow. Connecting Content also works smoothly with a variety of other workflow systems and is a logical solution for automating time-consuming processes in this field. Once set up, it runs automatically on a server, automating your projects.

Read more

Translate Excel Files with Ease

Excelling Studio makes working with Microsoft Excel files much easier. These files are often a stumbling block, especially when processed in translation tools. Excelling Studio from Kaleidoscope organizes your Excel files and prepares them for translation in SDL Trados Studio. The tool reads data from the columns and rows of excel files and converts them to a special XML format.

Read more

COTI – Standard for Automation

COTI – Common Translation Interface – is a German standard for exchanging translation projects between a CMS such as SCHEMA ST4 and a CAT. Kaleidoscope has built this bridge for the world of SDL Trados Studio, GroupShare, and WorldServer, enabling standardized automatic data exchange between editing and translation management systems that can be implemented extremely quickly.
Read more

Machine-based translation

Unlike translation memory (assisting human translators by storing and re-using translations), machine-based translations are prepared completely by a computer. As a result, they provide unprecedented speed. Unpolished wording and grammatical blunders are the downsides. Machine translation is therefore an alternative to “no translation” or as additional input for CAT tools.

Read more

Consultancy & Workshops

While you can simply download and try out some of our products for yourself, larger-scale solutions such as SCHEMA DocuManager or SDL WorldServer have extensive configuration options. To enable us to tailor these systems to your individual requirements, we can offer you specialist guidance and workshops. This will give you a clear picture of the desired and perfect solution for you.

Read more

Rely On Our Support

Do you want tailored guidance and prompt support response times? Then you can rely on us! We provide support both for the SDL Trados products we market and for the software solutions we develop in-house, such as quickTerm, smartQuery, globalReview, and expertTools. In order to support the products from our other partners, we negotiate direct support and maintenance contracts on your behalf.

Read more