Using API Integration for Translation Projects
Big web-based projects often require a whole suite of software applications to complete. Many software developers have developed APIs, or application program interfaces, to allow two systems of software to talk to each other. They’re invisible to users, operating in the back-end so a user’s experience is smooth. Think of an API as a private line that software can use to solve problems. And APIs are infinitely scalable, evolving as software does.
API integration is one way to ensure that you create a networked, agile suite of software that saves you having to repeat tasks or commands.
If you have a platform or tool that needs to be translated, API integration can be a big help. In its most simple form, the act of translating a platform or web tool is simply repackaging existing material and creating new partnerships.
For example, let’s say you have a website whose user interface you want to translate into French. On our end, we create French language databases and files in our Translation Management System (TMS). API integration allows these two resources to talk to each other and create a more efficient workflow.
API integration is also more secure as you don’t have to rely on emails which can be hacked or corrupted. If you’re communicating across offices or time zones, API integration also decreases the time it takes to get a response. It’s faster because you can instantly request projects from a central application rather than playing games of telephone. And of course, it’s low-hassle: you don’t have to copy and paste content since you can pull it directly from your API.
Getting started with API integration
While API integrations can vary in set-up and tools used, we thought we’d share what Venga’s API integration process looks like so you get a sense of what to expect.
First, we ask clients to share their existing API documentation with us so we can figure out the best way to set up the integration. We look at a client’s software assets, their needs, and prioritize their software functions to suggest an integration method.
Once we’ve agreed on how the integration will proceed, we ask for an Access Token that lets us connect our assets to a client’s APIs.
Set-up time will depend on a client’s system and the familiarity of their software. For instance, if a client uses a common file repository like Dropbox or Google Drive, integration might be faster than if they have something completely custom or complex.
If a client has custom software and APIs, integration will still be possible—it will just require a bit more time to build an optimal set-up. In our experience, even very complex systems have taken less than a month to set up.
Since we’re building networked software, we will have a one-time charge for the integration development. If a client has additional features that they want to add later, that development will be treated as a separate project.
How API integration works
As we work, clients can create translation requests through their API, or we can set up a custom client portal for them if they find that simpler. So here’s what the process might look like for a typical translation project:
- API Request: A translation for a project is sent via API with a unique ID for each task. Unique IDs help our system detect that the project request is a new task.
- Automated Scan: We set an automated scan for new requests. This can be every 15 minutes, every hour, or every day, etc. as requested. This way, we can keep track of new projects and updates to projects.
- Quote: Once a new request is detected, our system automatically pulls the files and generates a quote for translation. We can pull any file type through the API ( html, markdown, video, etc.).
- Launch: Pre-approved projects begin immediately, while quotes needing separate approval wait for client input. Often, our clients have a consistent amount of work that they know will be coming throughout the year. At Venga, we begin by having a discussion about quality requirements, pricing, and then set a scope of pre-approved work to save time and streamline the process.
A quote-by-quote approval process is also very doable. For example, we can send an API call changing the task status from “In progress” to “Quote ready” for approval. In some cases, this additional step to the process may extend deadlines.
- Deliver: Completed projects are uploaded and an API call sent to record completed status.
- Review: Clients can review and send additional requests for changes.
And it’s that simple!
No email chains, no back-and-forth file transfers, no lengthy approval processes. Because web-based platform translation processes often need recurring cycles of translation and review, working with API integration speeds things up and creates a dynamic conversation between you and your translation partner.