Don’t hesitate… Integrate!

It’s hard to imagine a translation agency nowadays that doesn’t use at least one CAT tool. It goes without saying how they help businesses reduce costs or improve the quality and consistency of translated text. They have become a must-have not only for Language Service Providers, but even for professional freelance translators. Similar to CAT tools, Translation Management Systems (TMS) have become equally important for many translation agencies. A TMS is a central and most important tool for many LSPs now. Advanced systems like XTRF are not only a database of clients and vendors, but also a tool for managing files, communicating with partners, invoicing, reporting, and much more. In addition to that, at XTRF we put a lot of emphasis on making project management as efficient as it can be by automating repetitive operations. Many translation agencies also use other tools, like dedicated accounting systems, applications supporting sales, systems for managing quality or client satisfaction, etc.

Because today’s world is increasingly interconnected, so is XTRF! You can integrate it with multiple other tools you use. And the great thing about XTRF is that it’s so versatile.

Built-in integrations

XTRF has the option to integrate with various external systems. The most popular built-in integrations of XTRF are those with CAT tools. In a typical use case, the integration handles the transfer of the input source file to the CAT tool, where it is converted to a translatable bilingual format. It chooses the correct Translation Memory and Termbase, as well as prepares a hand-off package for the translator. The integration will also retrieve the analysis run by the CAT tool and, according to price profiles defined in XTRF, use it to calculate the translator’s fee and the charge for the client. With a proper workflow set-up, everything will happen within just a few clicks. If the process requires multi-step translation, e.g. translation + proofreading, the integration will communicate with the CAT tool to prepare a package for the proofreader. At the end of the workflow, the integration will take care of the file clean-up and update of the TM.

As shown in the above example, the integration offers a two-way communication between XTRF and an external system. It not only allows for the control of the entire process solely from XTRF’s interface, it actually allows you to run operations in the CAT tool without opening it or even knowing how it works. XTRF integrates this way with the most popular CAT tools on the market: SDL Trados, memoQ, Memsource and GroupShare. Apart from CAT tools, XTRF also offers built-in integrations with some accounting systems, including QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online.

Integrations through macros

Another way of integrating XTRF with other systems are with macros. Contrary to our built-in integrations, macros are a very flexible solution, always designed together with our clients to meet their specific requirements. From a systems integration standpoint, macros allow for the export of required pieces of data from XTRF, in a required format importable to another system. The most popular “integration macros” are those exporting data to external accounting systems for the purposes of invoicing, but XTRF macros can export other pieces of data from other areas of the system. The macros can be run manually or you can have XTRF run them for you periodically on their own. The results of the export can be saved as a file, emailed to another user or e.g. saved in a specific remote location.

Using macros has pros and cons. First of all, they are always customised to meet your expectations. They are relatively inexpensive, and using them does not generate additional costs – you only pay for their development. On the other hand, they will only help you integrate one way, from XTRF out, and the integration will not be fully automatic.

Integrations through REST API

XTRF, like many modern systems, offers access to its API and provides its documentation. If you have a knowledgeable engineer, you can develop your own integration with any external system you like. The REST-API methods provided by XTRF allow a great deal of operations, like creating projects or quotes and defining their basic parameters, posting project instructions, transferring files to and from XTRF, creating client profiles, allowing read and write access to project details, and a whole lot more.

Integration through the API offers a wide range of possibilities, and allows for the development of tailored solutions. Similar to our built-in integrations, communication between XTRF and the external system is two-way. The integration possibilities are almost limitless with this approach.

So, why not integrate?

As described above, XTRF can be linked together with other software applications you use, and you can make them work together as a whole. The biggest value of such integrations lies in making your internal processes centralised and thus more efficient. The integrations will save you time, improve internal processes and facilitate the communication between teams or with your business partners. A system like XTRF is already one of the most important tools in any growing LSP. Using integrations can turn your XTRF into an indispensable command centre.

Bogusław Reich
Implementation Project Manager at XTRF and former Project Manager at Argos Multilingual - a major Polish translation agency. Boguslaw has been in the localization industry for nearly 10 years.

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