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This week we had the opportunity to sit down with CEO  Aaron Alder and Product Manager CiCi Jones to learn more about the inner workings of translation. We talked about each of their roles in the translation process and about how Metafraze accomplishes what it does. Aaron started this company more than twenty years ago and for much of that time was doing everything himself. Within the last few years, the company has grown and given him the ability to hire new talent. One of these talents is CiCi Jones, Aaron’s daughter, who has a degree in technology management and worked as a Medical Assistant for seven years before coming to work at Metafraze. She has taken on the project management side of Metafraze, giving her a unique understanding of what it takes to get a document translated.

Both Aaron and CiCi are very knowledgeable about translation, and so rather than bog this article down with unnecessary commentary, we thought it best to let them speak for themselves. Below are excerpts from both of their interviews that shed light on the translation process, and Metafraze as a company. We hope you find their answers as interesting as we did!

Q: What is the role of a project manager?

A: Well for a long time I was the only project manager until CiCi came along. And she handles almost everything that isn’t my translation, so she manages a lot of the projects herself. As a project manager, you work with the account executive and client. The project manager will analyze documents to understand how much we should charge to translate them and how much to pay the linguist.

C: I’m the middleman between clients and linguists. If a client wants a certain file translated into a language, they give it to me, and I prep it for translation. That means I go in and see which parts of the file need to be translated and ensure that scripting notes are left untouched. From there I move the files into our software and assign them to a linguist. Once they do their job, they send those files back to me. I review them again, making sure that everything that needed translation was translated and resolving any formatting issues with the original document. Then I send the files back to the client.

Q: What does the machine translation process look like? What options are out there?

C: The machine translation is far better than what you interact with on the internet. Even Google Translate. The cool thing about the system that we use is the translation memory. It’s like the client’s library. If the same client is using us over and over again and uses the same wording or phrases, then the system can reference the library that’s been built for them. The more this happens the higher quality of translations we can produce for them because the library gets larger.

A: Lots of customers have concerns about quality for sure. We educate the client to tell them that when we do a machine translation it’s near human quality with MTPE. That’s when a human does a review after an MT has been finished. I would say about 75% of clients who have a concern initially move forward and use it anyways.

Q: How often do you recommend MTPE? Do you see many clients using it?

C: I would say we do it a few times a week, granted we are a smaller agency. It’s often enough that our linguists are very equipped to work with machine translations. We usually recommend MTPE for high-viewing content. It’s essentially a hybrid of machine translation and human translation. We know machine translation on its own isn’t the best, but with the human editing of a linguist it gets done much faster and it is cheaper too. I think in the future it will be more used than unused.

A: We have customers who use it pretty often. Many clients who have cost concerns see MTPE as a good option for translation. Recently companies have been getting more educated and will even ask for it upfront.

Q: What is a translation memory? How does that contribute to the translation process?

A: The translation library is composed of any documents that we have previously translated for a company. It stores words, phrases, and segments for future use. It allows us to guarantee a high-quality product because those phrases will always match previously approved translations.

C: The library is updated whether it’s MTPE or full human translation. It’s all done in the same system, so it all gets accumulated in the same library. This also reduces costs for companies needing translation. If two lines match exactly it is considered a 101% match and we don’t charge customers for those. Even if it’s only a 50% match it gets a reduced cost.

Q: What do you like about Metafraze?

C: The thing I love about Metafraze is that we are a small agency with big agency capacity. We have a lot of clients with a lot of translation needs. Some use us daily and some monthly. With us being smaller but equipped with the right linguists, we do translations quickly and accurately. We choose very carefully when selecting a linguist. The people we use are the best in the industry, and no one translates into anything that isn’t their native language. Even Aaron who speaks German fluently does translations from German to English because that’s his native language. We don’t use anyone who can just speak the language we want them to be fluent in the language they are translating to. That makes us superior because translations will be of higher quality.

Q: What is your goal for Metafraze? What kind of impact do you want it to have?

A: I want us to be innovative and thought leaders. One thing that has always scared me a little bit has been not being as leading edge as possible. It’s always a balance between cost and opportunity cost to get there. I want us to be customer service oriented. We should be flexible and make it as easy as possible for the client to work with us. The values listed on our website are my values. I think we should be honest and trustworthy, working to build bridges. We should communicate with each other and never stop learning. I see myself as the typical small business owner that’s trying to figure out how to do things and how to grow. That means that I have the same struggles and problems that any other small business owner has. That’s something I want to be honest about because I think it’s important. Metafraze has the staff, talent, tools, and expertise needed to support our significant growth goals. About five years ago it was just me doing everything on my own, and I realized that it would be sad if I hadn’t built something to leave behind when I retire. I can’t sell just myself, and so I want to build something I can leave behind for my family or whoever.

               We hope you enjoyed these interviews! If you would like to learn more about translation and how it can help your business call or text (801) 471-0417 today!

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