The evolution of localization department tools: BDO case study

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The journey to efficiency in translation is a unique story for every company out there looking to expand to international markets. After all, there is no magic bullet that just works - you have to try different tools and approaches to see which one fits your needs better.

Natalia Garbuz, Head of Data Processing Department at BDO Ukraine went through so many different stages, the final one being Smartcat.

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What localization challenges were you facing before you started using Smartcat?

Quite a number. We’re a seasonal business that deals with a lot of rather typical documents at hand. Depending on how well you know the business, that is a challenge all in itself.

First, we needed to make sure that every department involved in working with document templates could use the same system our localization department would. Trados, for instance, required a separate installation on every single PC, which incurred extra costs and prohibits collaboration over a single project.

Second, we have a strict visual identity formatting policy - meaning that whatever comes in, must come out exactly the same. Trados, which we used, would change the document formatting upon export, and that’s an endless headache to deal with.

What we really needed was a cloud-based collaboration platform, with editorial functionality, translation memories, personal space, and shared functionality. Of course, since we’re all about auditing, accounting, and financial reporting, we needed our own glossaries too.

How did Smartcat help you overcome these challenges?

We found every single function and feature we desired in Smartcat. That being translation memories, terminology base, glossaries, machine translation from a variety of different vendors (DeepL being an example of that), a corporate account with separate seats for employees, and so many others. We’re also super happy that document formatting stays intact upon export, it’s a blessing.

Moreover, Smartcat is cloud-based, which we find very important due to our company’s positioning on cybersecurity and data protection.

Why did you choose Smartcat over other localization solutions?

Picking the right tool wasn’t easy for us. 20 years ago, it was a printed dictionary. In the 90’s, Trados made its way to the market, which was a big step in the right direction, but it too had to evolve. The 00’s? Google Translate. A dream! Free, efficient, and with tons of language pairs, yet sometimes comically inaccurate. All good, but still not good enough to fully support professional translation. The benefits of well-rounded machine translation were also something we wanted.

Then, in 2012, Smartcat comes along and decides that cloud computer-assisted translation (CAT) capable of machine translation, continuous translation, translation memories, and so many other things, is the way. And they were right. It simply has all we need, unlike other solutions that offer either some of these functions that we need or none of them.

How did your workflow change when you started using Smartcat?

Our first step was testing, of course, a couple of weeks before we decided to subscribe to Smartcat for the first year of use. As we started testing, we’ve received a large translation project with a tight deadline. Perfect opportunity to see what Smartcat was made of, in the heat of battle, so to speak.

By the time we were done with the project and proceeded with the license purchase, we’ve already learned the ropes and even managed to build a modest glossary and translation memory. It was a win for sure.

After that, we’ve decided to call for a company meeting and sold everyone on it with a nice pitch and a short training video. Where our own knowledge of Smartcat wasn’t enough, their support team would jump in and help us out with exhaustive answers on every topic that interested us.

The last step was to…start using it, company-wide! We’re talking about 70 employees. The support team once again swooped in to help us out with the process. All we had to do in the end is provide an email, a username, and generate a password. Boom, they’re in! Just like that.

What are your favorite features? How are they helpful?

We rely on translation memories a lot in our business. Building one takes a lot of skill and know-how. Without Smartcat’s fantastic support team, we’re sure it would’ve taken a considerable time to get done the proper way - time being the most valuable resource we have.

Due to our highly complex process, transferring what we had as a translation memory (a series of Word documents with text aligners, capable of transforming a document into TMX format) into Smartcat couldn’t be achieved in a way that could satisfy our confidentiality standards. In the end, that wasn’t all that much of a problem, however, as our translation memories expanded over time in Smartcat with every single successful project delivered.

What results did you achieve using Smartcat?

We continue to build glossaries, translation memories and improve the efficiency of our localization department. It’s the work that never ends, and we’re happy it’s so streamlined now. And of course, once again, it’s worth noting that we are now all working together in a single, secure cloud-based collaboration space. And our documents no longer get mangled up upon export! So far so good, we will keep using Smartcat and its ever-growing range of functionality.

Anything else that you find important

Yeah, the support team! We mean it, you won’t be on your own in case of a technical issue. They’re always out there, ready to help. It’s like a miracle. What’s more, your desires to improve the product are actually heard. At some point, we and some other users noted the lack of non-printing characters in the segments into which the text is divided. The app would say there’s an error when in reality, there is none, and it was visually confusing.

Do you know what happened? They fixed it a week later. They’re looking after their clients really well, and that in itself is extremely valuable.

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