Most of the work exchange in the translation industry is still based on the very courteous act of job offer and job acceptance. In theory, project managers accept a new job only after having checked if they are able to assign a trusted translator to that project.
However, what would you do if your customer sends a batch of 30 software strings from English into your most common target language, with a deadline of one calendar day: would you go ahead and check for translator availability or simply take the job and solve the translation later? My guess is that most project managers do the latter… After all, they are likely to find someone, especially if they already have a few translators trained for the job and the client.
The value of placement times
I have heard people at companies saying that if the customer does not get a project placed with a language service provider between 10 to 15 minutes, their project managers start to get annoyed. In the world of continuous localization, placement times are extremely valuable, given it can reduce idle time and spare the client from having to wait for “project management bureaucracy” for translation to finally kick-off. Continuous localization’s goal is to shorten the waiting without compromising quality.
Some multilingual vendors have gone as far as offering jobs to multiple translation companies at the same time, awarding the job to whoever takes it first. In a way, this approach works against cautious project management: under pressure, you are more likely to take the job without knowing beforehand who is going to translate it. (This approach clearly works better with translators than with companies, in the case of companies they are only testing the PMs’ reaction time.)
In July 2019, we introduced the auto-approval functionality in BeLazy, aimed at automating the “business-as-usual” projects. This means that BeLazy can automatically accept projects in the vendor portal of your customers and create them in your business management system without having to wait for a project manager.
BeLazy allows you to define on a per-connection basis the projects that you should always take. This way, the longest waiting time for your customer may be the time it takes until the next synchronization with that connection. Even more, if you have an established workflow (service, order template) in your business management system for assigning incoming jobs to translators ready to work, the project may have already launched by the time you look at it.
Auto-approval is one of our most important milestones towards reaching fully automated continuous localization workflows. Even if the job offers come when nobody is in the office, it will be taken immediately.
The power of rules
Auto-approval is configured in your profile, on a per-connection basis.
How do you do it?
1- Add a new rule by clicking Add rule.
2- Select the connection (this will list the names of your connections).
3- Give the rule a name and possibly a description (this is just for your reference so you can use this information to search for a given rule).
The actual rule consists of one or more conditions that include:
- Source language
- Target language
- Weighted quantity
- Project manager first name and last name
If you give more conditions, all of them have to be met at the same time. If you want to do either this or that, you can create more than one rule set for the same connection. Don’t forget to save changes when you are done!
There are no pre-selected values appearing in the rule editor, but your best bet is to copy out information from the Approvals pending area. The rules in the editor are based on values coming from the vendor portals, so, for example, the specialization here should be your customer’s specialization, not the specialization that you are mapping to in your business management system. Simply look for typical projects for a connection in Approvals pending, and copy out the values from there.
Weighted quantity is a quantity measured in words, and the only interesting format is the deadline. Here you can specify minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc. Here I share a few examples:
- 2d means 2 days from receipt.
- 1h 30m means 1 hour, 30 minutes from receipt.
- 1w means a week.
- You can also use 48h instead of 2d, of course.
You can specify whether you want the deadline to be within or after.
Once the criteria are selected, decide whether the rule should approve or reject a project. Most likely you’ll want to automate mostly approval, but if you have been receiving too many English to Inuit requests and you work with only the very few translators that everybody knows for Inuit, you may want to reject that language pair automatically.
Again, don’t forget to click Save changes once you are done configuring the rules!
If you want to disable a rule temporarily without having to delete it, just click on the Pause button. This is useful during weekends or holidays when you don’t want to take jobs with 24-hour deadlines. You can unpause the rule back on a working Monday!
Rules for selecting services
Users of BeLazy may have already seen the same rule editor in the connection automation wizard when you have to select the standard service to be used and exceptions to it (this is referred to as “service” in XTRF lingo but as “order template” in Plunet lingo. Terminology can be a bit confusing, but we are basically referring to what’s included in the service).
Example 1: If your customer generally orders translation and proofreading, then you set up your business management workflow for the equivalent of translation and proofreading. But at times, this customer may order just a translation, and then you need to select a different workflow or service.
Example 2: The customer normally sends SDL Trados packages, so the workflow deals with the files, but sometimes they send you an Across job where no files need to be managed. Again, based on the translation tool, you need to select a different workflow.
The rule editor allows for selecting all this. In the connection automation wizard, this consists of three steps:
- Select the default service.
- Select the criteria based on which you want to define exceptions. For example, this can be a task, a deadline, or a translation tool (the list of criteria differs per vendor portal).
- Define the actual conditions (using only the criteria selected) and the service to select if the conditions are met. For instance, if you selected a task in the previous option, you can say that if the task equals TEP in the vendor portal, you use the Premium translation service/order template in your BMS.
Share your thoughts!
BeLazy is a brand new technology and Auto-approval is one of our latest innovations (no other commercially available tool offers the same functionality at the moment). We believe that it will give language service providers equipped with BeLazy a competitive edge over those who don’t. We want to make it work for you, so we are always interested in hearing your feedback.