Multi-user collaboration is one of Smartcat's best features. It allows the team to be more productive, it shortens deadlines and in many cases, it helps improve quality. The Smartcat editor is built around multi-user collaboration and communication. Linguists at different stages of the process can collaborate on the same document and interact in real-time. Gone is the old process where editors had to wait for the translator to complete their task to be able to start reviewing the translation. This is beneficial on many levels:
- Projects can be completed faster as tasks are performed in parallel. In theory, the editing could be completed only hours after the translation, no matter how big the project is.
- The entire team becomes more productive as the editors can be more proactive in their actions. They can correct terminology or style errors before they are propagated to the entire document, saving hours of work making the same corrections over and over.
- Editors, translators, and proofreaders can ask and answer queries to improve the consistency and quality of the final document.
- If a client review is part of the process, client reviewers can add their comments and respond to queries very quickly, adding to the efficiency of the process.
The system needs to be adapted to prevent mistakes when multiple people are working in the same document and Smartcat implements a smart locking mechanism to ensure that users do not overstep their area of responsibility. Translators cannot go back and correct the work of the editors for example, although they can communicate their comments if needed.
When a task is assigned, the linguists will have access only to the segments that have been assigned to them. If a document has been split between multiple translators, they will only be able to edit a certain segment range. However, they will be able to view the entire document which is crucial to ensure consistency across the file. If pre-translation rules were used to confirm segments at a certain stage, linguists at these stages will find themselves unable to edit these segments. For example:
A linguist assigned to this stage will be notified that this stage has been confirmed and is done and the Lock symbol indicates that editing is not possible. As segments are confirmed at a certain stage (either manually or automatically), it makes it impossible for participants at earlier stages to edit these segments.
Note: The project manager can revert a confirmed segment to a previous stage. See the Editor Overview.
An important factor in multi-user work is communication. The editor offers options for team members to communicate with each other. The tabbed section allows for messaging at the document and at the segment level.
Comments entered there are updated in real-time and more importantly, are replicated among the project's languages. This means that a question asked in a document in Language A will automatically appear in the same document in Language B, saving the project manager time and minimizing the risk for errors.
The editors can provide guidance to the translation team, translators can ask questions and project managers can answer queries. Team members are more engaged in the process.