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Implementing Automation in your Processes

In this article by Tabea De Wille, read about specific situations where automation might be beneficial and how to implement automation.

Types of tasks

As we have already discussed, automation is especially helpful for boring and repetitive tasks whereas creative tasks that require complex thinking can be more suited for human intervention. Typical situations where you might want to consider automation include:

  • Retrieving resource files from the set of code files and populating your localization database to expose strings for translation to the localization team.
  • Deciding whether a particular string is ready for localization. This can be based on particular factors such as the version of the product that the string is submitted for, whether the team has released that string for localization, whether the team has been submitting a large number of strings recently, whether the string has been updated since the last export and similar decision points.
  • Creating a localization task and packaging up the task for the localization team.
  • Providing documentation that will help the localization team with understanding the context that this particular string is used in.
  • Selecting candidates for terminology management.
  • Automatically translating text using machine translation. This might be then either post-edited or used without further editing, depending on the type of text and its use. Machine translation can also be helpful as an initial translation attempt to help engineers decide whether the software is sufficiently internationalized and can be localized by human translators in the future, or whether changes to the code will be necessary to facilitate this.
  • Checking whether translations are complete and satisfy the requirements. This might include string length detection, detection of punctuation mark and number mismatches, detecting how well-formed variables embedded in the string are and similar issues.
  • Importing translations back into the localization database.
  • Generating resource files with updated translations and submitting them to code.
  • Generating a new build with the submitted resource files for testing purposes.
  • Generating test scripts, automated testing, assigning and triaging defect reports.

Getting started

When it comes to automation implementation it can be helpful to start with a single task that is particularly labor intensive or error prone when done manually. You are likely already using automation in some contexts for example when it comes to checking whether terminology has been implemented consistently in the translations. You will notice that this is generally not a fully automated process because you are still allowing the reviewer to override the results of the automated test, which means that whatever is found in the check is not automatically implemented but only offered to the reviewer as a potential issue which the reviewer can then accept or dismiss.

You might want to start with identifying the biggest pain-point and seeing whether you can automate a solution with small scripts to see whether this approach will be helpful and worth a more robust implementation.

Article by Tabea De Wille, University of Limerick, Dept. of Computer Science & Information Systems

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