On the execution level, every localization project has two major distinct dimensions – linguistic and technical. While the linguistic dimension encompasses language adaptation issues, such as language pairs, translation, and review, technical dimension includes physical aspects of the project, such as file formats, required software, digital resources and various additional services that need to be performed before, during and after the project, all with the aim of ensuring the quality and usability of the final localized materials. Both dimensions are of equal importance and we may say that the difference between translation and localization happens at the junction point of these two dimensions.
Editable file is one of the language industry’s magic phrases that activates certain powers such as cost/time optimization. The reason is simple – editable files can be easily imported in CAT tools and thus enable the localization teams to apply the carefully developed processes of linguistic and technical adaptation, quality control and optional DTP. Simply put – there is no localization process and reliable quality control without the CAT software and CAT software can only be used with editable files.
Here’s the basic scenario: you have the translated versions of your documents, but the translation wasn’t performed in a CAT tool and you have to build a translation memory because these documents need to be updated or changed across the languages, you want to retain the existing elements, style and terminology, and you have integrated CAT technology in your processes in the meantime. The solution is a neat piece of language engineering called translation alignment.