It is with great pleasure that we publish a guest article in our blog, written by Seo‑Young Jun – M.A. Candidate in Translation and Localisation Management (KOR-ENG) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. Seo‑Young has been getting to know XTRF at her graduate school which is taking part in the Academic Programme by XTRF.
Enjoy the blog!
What is XTRF?
To answer this question, here is a brief overview using your friendly neighborhood analysis tool, the five W’s and one H.
Who: Project Managers, Clients, Vendors, and more
What: XTRF Language Business Platform
When: During translation projects
Where: In your company, office, or home
Why: To successfully finish your projects
How: Using XTRF features customizable for every role and project
XTRF Language Business Platform is a translation management system highly customizable to meet your needs in successfully completing a translation project. Without a doubt, XTRF is a powerful tool that offers practical business solutions by minimizing the delivery time of your project, efficiently assigning different vendors to each job, and organizing the entire process in a fast and task-oriented manner.
I had a chance to learn a few of the key features in XTRF, using the portals for project managers, clients, and vendors. In doing so, I realized that XTRF enables the project managers to not only focus on each task and assignment but also to oversee the entire process, a crucial component of a successful project. The client and vendor portals, of course, have their own strengths compatible to their respective users as well. XTRF definitely has its own limitations, but overall, it has proven to be an effective and essential tool for all members of a translation project alike.
The Learning Process
First of all, let’s think — what does a project manager do? What is a project manager?
- The one who manages the entire workflow, working closely with the clients and vendors
- His/her responsibility to organize and assign translation tasks and jobs, planning, executing, and successfully closing the translation project.
What about the client and vendors?
- A client is the one with the cash — in other words, the one who gives the final approval at the end of the project.
- Vendors are your translators, editors, reviewers, and proofreaders.
All of them, as well as others not listed here such as the administrator, accountant, etc., are essential players in the translation project.
So how will XTRF play into the entire translation process? In a group of five to six people, my colleagues and I simulated a translation company. Having assigned different people to different roles, we were ready to begin our journey into XTRF.
Using Different Portals
We used three different portals in this learning process: the project manager portal, client portal, and the vendor portal. And in doing so, what intrigued me the most about all platforms in XTRF was its automated workflow system and simplicity. The simulation began by requesting a quote in two ways — the client requests the quote, or the project manager requests the quote. Whoever begins the process, the project manager or the client on the other end will immediately receive the request. One of the ten most fundamental must-have features of workflow technologies is bound to be the automated quote process, and XTRF definitely puts a checkmark on that category. Upload the appropriate information and files into the system as you are directed into each section, and XTRF will resolve all the communication and calculation issues for you. Again, once the quote is submitted from the project manager portal, you will be able to see the request on the client portal, and vice versa.
In addition to the fast automated system, the entire layout of XTRF is simple and incredibly easy to follow. Personally, I was worried that I might get lost in the midst of the receivables and payables process, but it turned out to be a simple step just like any other. Each section is laid out in a clean and slick design that I don’t think anyone – or most people (I should never assume the absolute) – will have trouble navigating throughout the page. This was a very important component, particularly because this quote/project window is where the bulk of the project management takes place, collaborating with involved vendors. Let me demonstrate some of my points here with some screenshots:
As you can see, the above screenshots demonstrate the simplicity in beginning a project. All you have to do is fill the boxes in with the appropriate information.
Take a look at the finance section below.
The numbers on the before (left) and after (below) screenshots from submitting a CAT analysis file to calculate the quote are drastically different for obvious reasons. XTRF generates all such important numbers and information for you in just one click when you upload the critical files.
When the project manager sends the quote, the client on his/her portal will be able to view the request right on the home screen (below).
The easy navigation and fast automation extend to the vendor portal as well. My colleagues and I continued our project simulation and began assigning translation, editing, and proofreading jobs to individual vendors. As proven during the quote request, XTRF smartly and automatically sends the job to each vendor with all the necessary files. So not only can I vouch for the speed of XTRF, I can also vouch for the secure file storage amongst all involved parties. Yes, it is like an email, so there shouldn’t be anything surprising about it – but even an email takes some time to reach the recipient on the other end. XTRF is fast and can literally work its magic in one click.
Above screenshot shows that the project manager has assigned each job to a vendor (one for all steps, in this case).
As a vendor, once you enter your portal, you can see that you have jobs pending on your plate. A vendor will not be able to begin work until the project manager gives a “go.” It may seem like a tedious step — and actually, everything about XTRF may seem tedious because all the steps are broken down one by one in such manner. However, this meticulousness is what I appreciate about XTRF as it truly advises the project manager, in particular, to be organized and thorough (must-have qualities for a project manager). XTRF is essentially a microcosmic representation the entire communication process (like back-and-forth emails) amongst the project manager, client, vendors, etc.
As seen above, the project has begun, and the translation is complete. On to editing!
If I can manage to point out one minor setback I discovered in XTRF is the screen view. Unless I zoom out or scroll left and right, there are some portions that I cannot see in complete, full 100% view. Take a look at the two screenshots below:
It’s definitely a minor issue, but it can be slightly irritating for some users, including myself, who prefer seeing all the information in one frame without having to scroll left and right.
The Beginner’s Journey Continues
As if I could not say it enough already, my experience with XTRF has so far been quite exciting. The first steps into this entire system has been incredibly interesting and educational, and I have no doubt that as I continue to learn more about project management, XTRF will be a platform that I will grow to appreciate even more.
This was originally published on Seo-Young Jun’s blog.