Best Practices for Optimizing your Workflow
by Calvin Scharffs
In the typical Web project, there are many steps to get your work done. You have to define the site structure, setup necessary modules, create content, make sure everything works, deploy, fix, repeat.
If you go global, the busywork gets compounded. You multiply your process by the number of languages, pages, words per page, people involved, steps involved and time zones. Some people keep track of pages in a spreadsheet, and every time a page changes, they have to copy and paste out the content, send it for translation and wait for the translation provider to email it back. Good luck avoiding errors in this process, too—by virtue of sheer volume, mistakes are bound to happen.
It’s a lot of needless manual labor that keeps people from focusing on the creating that you love. The trick is to find a way to automate both your development workflows, from dev to staging to production, and your globalization workflows. That way, you avoid all the tedious tasks and the whole process becomes more automated and efficient.
Here are some tips for optimizing your workflow, so that you can go back to doing what you love:
- Use an integrated CMS like Drupal with Lingotek Translation Module to manage all of your content in one system. When content is scattered all over the place, it is not only difficult to manage, but can also result in customers becoming unsatisfied with the end result. When you have your content integrated with your translated content, you are enabled to regularly update existing content and translations, as well as upload new documents that relate directly to your customers.
- Using a cloud-based staging environment like Acquia Cloud to help find and identify problems before moving to production. This has become easier to do in the past few years, as many such environments have a drag and drop feature that allow you to stage your site to be tested before deploying your site to production. As a result, you can effectively identify problems and correct them without the pressure of live customers on the site.
- Automate your processes. Automated backup and restore, documentation generation and tests are standard protocol, but more complex tasks can be automated, too. Content translation is an example. Automatic translations can quickly convert content into another language and help you appeal to a whole new market in minutes to hours, rather than days or weeks of manual labor. There are several different translation workflows that can be automated—machine-translation workflows provide a quick and inexpensive approach, while other workflows are much more complicated, involving professional human translators, and can produce better results. Basic translation workflows are great for the getting started, while a more comprehensive workflows can be necessary for effectively reaching your customers globally. All of these workflows can be automated.
When the moving parts of your website all exist in a single system, you have full control of your content from the get-go. It’s easier to ensure everything is placed into the right channels and tailored to the direct needs of the customer, whether in English or another language. In other words, if you do things the easy way, you, your company and your customers all win.