XTM Advent Calendar Day Twelve – Attention to Detail

XTM Advent Calendar Day Twelve – Attention to Detail

Attention to detail make all the difference.

A one letter change in your zip code could send you to the other end of the country.

A one per cent change in your DNA would make you a chimpanzee.

And a one digit error in coordinates can result in something being lost for 75 years.

The USS Grayback, a World War Two submarine, sank in February 1944 in the East China Sea. The Japanese ship that sank it kept a record of the action and its location, and when that record was found it should have been a straightforward matter to find the stricken craft and the eighty men onboard who lost their lives. Decades of searching proved fruitless, though. The Lost 52 Project exists to find lost World War Two submarines and give a sense of closure to the families of their crews, and in a last throw of the dice, they employed a Japanese systems engineer to analyse the original military documents. Working through the records with a fine toothcomb in the original Japanese language and in their English translation, he found that the US Navy had made a small but important error with the co-ordinates. The English translation was off by one digit, and that meant they’d been looking for the sunken submarine over a hundred miles from where it actually lay. In November 2019 an official announcement confirmed that the USS Grayback had been found.

As language technology providers we’re sometimes asked if we deliver a quality product. Different people have different definitions of quality. We believe quality means making a promise and keeping it.

If you’re a translation management system provider, it means delivering a centralized platform that simplifies the management and automation of the localization process, provides control of language assets, enables scalability without sending incremental costs spiralling upwards and connects the user with an integrated network of best-in-class tech solutions. It means paying attention to every detail.

That’s what we do. We keep our promises so our users can keep theirs.

Nations make a promise to their armed forces too, of course. They promise to support them and protect them and honour them if they fall. The families of the eighty men who lost their lives on the USS Grayback know where they’ve been resting since 1944. Seventy five years was a long time to wait but better late than never. It was worth paying attention to detail. It’s always worth paying attention to detail.