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Language Services Associates (LSA), a leading provider of professional translation services, recently completed a translation project for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the lead U.S. center for robotic exploration of the solar system.  The LSA [tooltip content=”A member of the Translation and Localization division assigned to manage a client project from the estimating phase through to completion, delivery and follow up.” url=”” ]Project Manager[/tooltip], Cornee van der Linden, recently sat down to answer some questions about this project.

What did this project entail?
This project involved the translation of NASA’s Comet Quest app into Spanish, German and French.  Comet Quest, which was released on February 29th and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, is a free game that puts players at the controls of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Spacecraft.

Can you take us step by step through this project from LSA’s standpoint?
Sure.  As soon as the request was received by LSA’s professional translation services team, we carefully reviewed the materials and provided the client with a time and cost estimate.  Upon client approval, we started working on the project.  Our first step was to source qualified Linguists who would be suitable to translate content of this specialized subject matter.  The selected Linguists were then encouraged to download the English version of the app so that they could familiarize themselves with it.  The next step was to translate and edit the text and [tooltip content=”The English text that needs to be translated.” url=”” ]source strings[/tooltip] for the game interface and to properly adapt it into each of the [tooltip content=”The languages that the source text is translated into.” url=”” ]target languages[/tooltip].  The translated files were then delivered to the client for final QA testing.  The entire project, from start to finish, took approximately two weeks to complete.

What did NASA hope to accomplish with this project?  What was their overall goal?
The purpose of Comet Quest is for children and parents to learn about comets and the Rosetta mission in a fun, interactive way. Having this game available in Spanish, German and French (in addition to English) will allow NASA to reach a much larger audience.

Which translation method was used to complete this project?
[tooltip content=”TEP Translation (Translation, Editing and Proofreading) is a three-step process. After translating, the document is sent to a second Linguist who serves as an Editor. The Editor may make changes and corrections to the initial translation and has the final say on these edits. The Editor then sends the document to the Project Manager, who provides a final proofread and quality assurance check.” url=”” ]TEP Translation[/tooltip] (Translation, Editing and Proofreading) was the method LSA used for the translation of NASA’s Comet Quest app.  The translation and editing itself were done in [tooltip content=”A Translation Management System (TMS) that offers language and workflow tools to manage translation projects.” url=”” ]WorldServer[/tooltip] and [tooltip content=”A computer-assisted translation software suite.” url=”” ]Trados[/tooltip].

What challenges did you face when working on this project?  How did your team come up with solutions to meet these challenges?
The biggest challenge LSA faced when working on this project was identifying and sourcing the appropriate Linguists.  We had to find Translators who were not only familiar with this specialized subject area, but who were also enthusiastic about working on a game assignment like this.  I worked very closely with our [tooltip content=”A member of the Translation and Localization team who is tasked with locating language resources for projects.” url=”” ]Vendor Relations Manager[/tooltip] to identify the Translators in our network that would be best suited to work on this project.

What is the current status of this project?
LSA has submitted all of the translated files to the client, and NASA is now in the process of building the Spanish, German and French versions of the Comet Quest app. Once that step is complete, the translated versions will need to go through final QA testing to ensure ‘everything looks and works the way it’s supposed to.’  NASA will then add the translated versions of the app to iTunes for free download.

Are there plans to translate the Comet Quest app into additional languages?
We’re not sure if NASA plans on translating this app into additional language offerings any time soon, but we are ready and available to assist should the need arise.