Deployment of eCdT to the Centre’s in-house translators

The environment of the Centre’s 100+ in-house translators underwent a dramatic transformation at the beginning of October 2017 when they switched to the brand new Translators’ Module of eCdT, the new translation workflow management system that was launched in 2016. Our translators are enthusiastic about this new tool as it revolutionises their way of working.

The Translators’ Module in eCdT is the core tool to which translators connect when they arrive at work. It shows them what language tasks need to be completed and within which timeframe. It is also tightly integrated with the computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool used at the Centre, since translation work is carried out using a translation memory system directly accessible from the Translators’ Module. Any relevant information or resources such as clients’ instructions and reference documents are available at the click of a mouse within the tool.

The translators are unanimous: the new tool’s ergonomics are great and they appreciate it all the more given that their work environment is very complex. Their screens present a mosaic of source texts, target texts, glossaries, translation memories, termbases, etc.

But it is not only the ergonomics that make the difference compared with Flosys, the legacy programme that had been used and fine-tuned for 16 years at the Centre. Three new features are especially meaningful for our translators.

Bird’s eye view = strong team

The Translation Department is divided in 23 language teams. Communication within the language teams is crucial especially since many translators are teleworkers and multicultural office space is the norm. Now, with the new tool, the translators can see what the other members of the team are working on. It is therefore much easier for them to coordinate their work, whenever necessary, and to work efficiently as a team.

Self-service = empowerment

The Translators’ Module in eCdT has another feature that makes a difference in the translators’ everyday life: self-service. Translators can now book certain tasks such as translations from a selected list or pre-book certain outsourced translations they wish to revise. With this new feature, which can be used on a voluntary basis, the translators can take decisions on an informed basis and feel more empowered within the translation process.

Example: Let’s say Knud has recently translated several documents on the use of glyphosate. He sees in the self-service screen that a press release on the subject needs to be translated urgently. He takes it as he is already familiar with the terminology and the client’s preferences.

Forum = shared resources and memory

The eCdT Translators’ Module includes a discussion forum. Through the forum, the translators can share information on specific jobs, clients’ preferences, terminology, etc. The beauty of it is that it is kept in the tool’s long-term memory. Good ergonomics, powerful filters and the genuine need among translators to exchange information make this communication tool really useful.

Example: A document needs to be translated from English into all the other EU languages. Caroline, the French translator, encounters a content-related issue in the original. She asks the Centre’s client coordinator via the forum to contact the client to clarify this. The Centre’s client coordinator will reply via the forum to make the client’s clarifications available to all translators involved in the job.

The secret ingredient behind this success story

Do you know this quote from Steve Jobs? ‘It does not make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do.’ This is exactly what we applied at the Centre.

A taskforce of translators shared their needs, week after week, with the IT Department and learned, in turn, about the IT constraints. Once the beta version was ready, a pioneer group of translators tested it, wrote the user’s guide and trained the other translators.

The end-users were empowered during the whole process and it paid off. Their eyes glitter now when they talk about eCdT, their new ‘Rolls Royce’, as one translator put it.

With the implementation of the Translators’ Module, all stakeholders involved in the translation workflow are now connected to the eCdT platform: clients via the Client Portal, the Centre’s external language service providers via the Freelance Portal, the Centre’s workflow management section and technical team via the Workflow Management Module, and now the in-house translators via their specific module. As a result, it is envisaged that this will enhance the Centre’s efficiency in processing client requests.