# Multilingual Projects on the NLG Platform
Translating just like writing did not scale in the past. The production of translations was as dependent on the number of translators involved as much as text production was on its writers.
The NLG Platform provides good conditions for the distribution of multilingual content. More than 100 languages are currently available on the platform (plus different versions for countries and regions).
# What to expect from this guide?
In this guide you will learn how to plan and setup a project on the NLG Platform that can generate results in multiple languages.
It also covers the preparatory considerations and steps you need to take. Since setting up logic and conditions in Transform as well as using branches and containers in Write are essentially the same in multilingual projects as in monolingual projects, there are no lessons on the platform in this guide.
The prerequisite for this guide is the AX Seminar (opens new window).
# (Machine) Translation vs Automated Text Generation
Today there are two automated solutions for translation available: On the one hand automated translation (also machine translation) and on the other hand the automated multilingual text production.
Automated text-generation is not equally automated translation. In automated translation, finished texts in one language are translated by machine to one or more languages. It's roughly the same as using machine translating tools deepl.com or Google Translate instead of human translators. You put in a finished text, choose your source language, and then get the translation. This means the finished texts from the main language are translated in the various target languages. The quality of automated translation tools are good, but there is always a risk that the meaning of the texts is not maintained in the translation. Therefore, a quality check of each text is necessary.
In contrast, with automated text generation, translation does not take place after generation, but is part of the text project. In these projects, data, logics, structure and variance of the texts are processed centrally. The texts in different languages are generated out of one project.
Instead of making multiple copies of one text, on the the NLG Platform the semantic rules are created separately from the language and can therefore be applied to any language. Only the linguistic elements have to be adapted. Quality control is implemented centrally in the project.
These synergies lead to the fact that with AX Semantics you can localize contents much faster into several languages.
# Benefits of Automated Text Generation
What are the benefits of multilingual automated text generation in comparison to the translation of texts (also machine translation)? The individual benefits are more or less pronounced depending on the size of the project, the number of languages and other factors specific to the particular use case.
- Reduced cost for external translators
- Less effort for managing translation processes
- Ensured content conformity across languages (The text structure and message/statement of the copy is the same and can be quality assured for all languages).
- Working on several languages at the same time.
# Preparing Multilingual Projects
Designing multilingual text projects spans content issues on the one hand and linguistic features on the other. The general questions to ask in this context: In what ways will the content differ in various languages? To what extent does this affect the automated text project?
So first of all, it is necessary to describe the broad framework of the project. These initial considerations may even result in fewer languages being implemented first, or in certain parts of the text being excluded from automation because there are too many differences. In some cases you will decide to automate only a part of the content if the requirements are too different.
The framework of a multilingual project can cover for example:
- Composing different content/stories (for different languages).
- Selecting products: Choosing only a part of the product range for each language.
- Checking out product names/licenses checks, think also about differing data/number formats.
- Taking into account legal questions for the generated text.
- Defining overarching target groups for the languages.
# Preparing your data - what should they look like?
Due to several languages being created in a common project on the NLG platform, and not produced by a translation after the output of the first language, leads to special requirements for form and structure of the data.
Same data structure - translated values
First of all, this applies to the language of the data. Data is not always language neutral. Of course, there are cases in which all data are available as numbers, for example, and it therefore does not matter in which language the target text will be formulated. In most cases, however, there will be words or other values in the data that do not apply to all languages to be generated. Therefore, data has to be available in all target languages. So, if you haven't data in multilingual form, you have to translate the values.
The second important requirement applies to the structure of the data. To be able to set up the project properly, it is necessary that the data has the same or at least very similar structure in all languages.
This means, that the data must have the same data fields in all languages. Since all logic operation and relationships in the project, such as containers or triggers, refer to the data field names, the data fields must have the same name in all languages.
Working with Lookup Tables for translating data values?
In principle, it is possible to skip the translation of data before creating the project and to translate the data values via a Lookup Table. For this, one can use the same data for all languages and translate them within the project. This procedure only works as long as there are only a few data sets that need to be translated and if the data sets will not change.
As a rule, it is faster and less error-prone to translate the data in advance. Especially the maintenance effort afterwards is significantly lower.
Language settings are attached to Collections
The main language of each project is requested when the project is created. In a next step you define in the project settings the languages you want to have access to in this project. However, the properties that affect the data, as well as language, are mainly organized in collections.
For multilingual projects each language has to have its separate collection. When a collection is created, the corresponding language is selected from the very beginning.
If you have assigned a language to a collection, the language modules for these languages are activated. That means:
- The software ensures the grammatical correctness of the content in the containers, with regard to the respective languages.
- You can set the respective language as preview language.
- You have language-specific selection options when configuring containers, such as pronouns, cases or grammatical genders.
Once a collection is created, its language can not be changed.
Please ensure the correct language is selected on creation time.
# The Setup of Multilingual Projects
When managing multilingual projects, the first decision to be made is selecting the main language in which the project will be developed with conditions and logics, as well as in which the copy will be composed. In this main language, the project is created in the same way as any monolingual project. Then it is extended with the additional languages by creating the corresponding collections and translating the text parts.
- Copying Logics: Multilingual projects can be set up in such a way that the conditions and logics are developed in one language and then copied and adapted for the second (third, fourth, etc.) language. This works quite well, but can lead to additional maintenance effort if changes are still made to the logics after copying in the main language.
- Managing centrally: The slightly different method of setting up the logics in a main language and apply the logics and conditions to the subordinated languages as well has proven to be the most efficient way of handling multilingual projects.
The method of setting up the logics in a main language and transfer the logics and conditions to the subordinated languages has proven to be the most efficient way of handling multilingual projects.
# Adjusting Collections for Centrally Managing Projects
At the data level, this means that the data in each project within a collection must be available in the main language as well as in the new language so that the project runs without errors. While the values of the main language are used for processing the data within the project, the values of the target languages are then displayed in the texts.
# Adding Languages to the Main Languages within the projects
As soon as you have created the collection of the main language, work on your text project begins, which proceeds in the same way as for monolingual projects: You write your statements based on a test object and take care of the right calculations, logics and triggers in the Transform.
In the next step you change the preview language and the Test object for the second language you want to use.
# Translating the statements
Then translation starts: You have to translate the parts of the project, that are not built from variables from data. For this you have to copy your statements with all associated branches and triggers and translate the statements into the sublanguage.
When translating, it is helpful to open the project in two tabs: one with the settings of the main language and the finished statements, and the other with the settings of the target language for translating the statements.
# Multilingual Projects – Step-by-Step
- Define your text concept for different languages.
- Customize your data structure according to your text concept and ensure consistency across languages.
- Translate your data values (if necessary).
On the platform
- Create your project with your main language collection .
- Define test object for the main language.
- Run the analysis for the main language.
- Write your statements for your main language & define the logics and triggers.
- Check the results for the main language.
- Create your collections for the various languages
- Define a test object for testing each languages.
- Translate the statements.
Language specific adjusting
- Define the stories for each language (if necessary).
- Adapt Triggers, Branches or Logics for each language (if necessary).
- Check and review the results in each language.
# What's next?
- Learn more about multilingual projects in this webinar: How to Manage Multilingual Automated Content Generation Projects (opens new window)
- You can explore an example of a bilingual project: Newsstream Project English/German (opens new window)