Multi-user collaboration is one of Smartcat's best features. It allows the team to be more productive, shortens deadlines, and helps improve quality in many cases. The Smartcat Editor is built around multi-user collaboration and communication. Linguists at different stages of the process can work on the same document and interact in real-time. The old process where editors had to wait for translators to complete their task to be able to start reviewing the translation is gone. This is beneficial on many levels:
- Projects can be completed faster as tasks on stages are performed simultaneously. In theory, the editing stage could be completed only hours after the translation, no matter how big the project is.
- The entire team becomes more productive as 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 leave their comments if needed.
When a task is assigned, 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 pretranslation rules have been used to confirm segments at a certain stage, linguists at the previous stage 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.
Note: The project manager or an editor can revert a confirmed segment to the translation 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 segment levels.
Comments entered there are updated in real-time and more importantly, are copied among the project's languages. This means that a question asked in a document for Language A will automatically appear in the same document in Language B, saving the project manager time and minimizing the risk for errors.
Therefore, team members are more engaged in the process, that is, editors could guide the translation team, translators could ask questions, and project managers will be able to control communications.