Tech Publication & Service Info

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation – Part 2

20 January 2015 | Team EACPDS


Creating Ideal Translation Workflows for Optimum Results 

In Part Two of this post on coupling products for translation, we’ll discuss the specific steps that are required to implement complete translation projects – from managing technical content objects to managing costs and file collaboration. Refer to Part One for the overall solution design which shows the strengths of PTC’s Translation Manager, Windchill ProjectLink, workflow, reporting, and multi-lingual publishing and how they can be leveraged for translation.

The Process 

There are six process components to the overall translation solution. The process starts and ends with PTC’s Translation Manager. Windchill ProjectLink is nested in the middle of the process to facilitate the business project, cost collaboration, and file transfers with Translation Service Providers.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

Step 1. Designate Objects for Translation 

The first step of the process begins with source content that is ready for translation to the target language(s). The content is stored in Product or Library folders in Windchill/Arbortext Content Manager. Here the project owner identifies complete document structures or document objects to be translated. A translation work package is created for the objects. The Translation Service Provider and target language(s) are designated with the creation of the translation package. Languages and Translation Service Providers are configurable.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

At the completion of this step, the content is prepared for translation. It results with a collection of XML objects to be translated in a zip file. The source objects are set to the In Translation lifecycle state and the source content continues to be managed in relation to other content and states.

Step 2. Create Translation Project 

In the second step, ProjectLink is used to create a translation project that contains any business-related activity required for traceability. This activity includes deadlines and due dates, assign internal resources to the project, and expose the project to Translation Service Provider(s) or other external users outside your firewall. Any cost information, such as Requests for Quote and quotations received can also be stored under the project.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

To start, the translation zip package is posted to the project. From here, the package is available for workflow and lifecycle activities as well as for collaboration with Translation Service Providers. If a process for approving translation costs is required, the cost approval workflow would be executed on the translation package stored in the project. Providers will be able to see the source content in order to estimate the level of effort and designated project participants can see cost approved or not approved activity.

Step 3. Route Objects for Translation 

This step in the workflow is for actual translation activities. Here Translation Service Providers can:

  1. Checkout and Download the package when it is ready to translate and
  2. Checkin and Upload the package when the work is complete.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

This activity makes use of the translation package on ProjectLink so that collaboration with users outside your firewall can work on the project. The user interface is self-serving and provides traceability out-of-the-box. The zipped file is automatically iterated and historical versions are maintained on checkin so that everyone on the project is aware of the project status. Users can schedule alerts to immediately know when a critical threshold is reached. Therefore having the lifecycle states in ProjectLink enables real-time reporting on activities to show key performance indicators. Is the project on time? On budget?

Step 4. Route Translated Collateral for Approval 

The approval workflow activity in step four supports reviewing translated content delivered by the Translation Service Provider. Reviews may be performed by local native language review teams or it may include users that have other roles on the project. This activity uses the translation package on ProjectLink so that collaboration for users inside or outside of your firewall can continue to work on the translation. As a result of this workflow, updates can be made either by the Translation Service Provider or by home team members.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

Once the translation is approved, the translation project can be concluded and all ProjectLink activities closed. Even so, an organization may still elect to store invoices and final cost information in the project for matrix reporting and future planning purposes.

Step 5. Store Objects in Translation Library 

After objects are translated, the final translation zip package is returned to the Translation Library where XML objects and images are stored. Here the translated target objects are bound to specific revisions and iterations of source objects for each language. For clarity on object status, objects are marked “Translated” or “Translated, Ready for Publish”.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

When the objects are returned to Windchill/Arbortext Content Manager they can be published, updated, and iterated just like any other object. This is important since changes may be necessary to:

  1. validate the markup;
  2. facilitate aesthetics for publishing;
  3. change product names, service marks or other marketing decisions;
  4. change dates or other metadata.

Step 6. Route Assembled PDF Document for Approval 

In an environment with shared document components, status checks are necessary to verify that all objects included in the document are ready for publishing. This is a key element of the process since some objects may be In Translation, others may be at earlier iterations with no recent updates, or they could be universal images that require no translation. When all objects in the translated document are Ready for Publish, the published document is created, and routed for review and approval. This may be the first time that a translated document is being reviewed as a whole, thus it may be the first time that all content is reviewed relative to the content around it. At this point, it is expected that any changes made during this stage would be made by the home team for content stored securely behind the firewall.

Improving Workflows in Tech Pub Translation - Part 2

The document review and approval process should be the same as your usual published document review process with different resources for languages. Documents can contain a single language or there may be multiple languages per document depending on the style guidelines for your organization.


For anyone that has been involved in the translation process, you can likely sympathize on how complex and challenging the tasks can be. By putting ProjectLink to work in your translation process, it does not have to be the case. With PTC’s Translation Manager and Windchill ProjectLink, workflow activities can be more transparent, helping to streamline the translation process across all documents and languages that need to be managed. If you have questions about how ProjectLink, Translation Manager, or multi-lingual publishing solutions can be integrated into your organization, be sure to contact the EAC Product Development team from the links below.

Learn More

Be sure to read Part One of this post to learn more about the solutions being deployed in the workflow being described.