Web-Translations Supplier Guidelines

Web-Translations Supplier Guidelines

When it comes to project work, it’s important that we’re on the same page as our linguists every step of the way. Our supplier guidelines can be found here. They outline examples of best practice at every stage of the process, as well as detailing cases of infraction. Communicating ideals to those that we work with is important for maintaining a trusting and respectful collaborative environment. Any queries regarding our guidelines can be directed to our Project Managers.

Reviewing – invisible but important

2349632625_4eba371b56_zReviewers are to translators what editors are to authors – a very necessary part of the process without which the text would not be ready for publication.

Reviewing is not re-translation, but rather a form of editing. Reviewers don’t focus on subjective stylistic amends, but instead look at what needs to be improved to increase a text’s fluency, understanding and accuracy. It is a balancing act; a translation must accurately convey the meaning of the original whilst not sounding ‘translated’.

Language service providers know that revision is their most powerful Quality Assurance tool for delivering the best possible translation. We often refer to it as ‘proofreading’, and although it is itemized separately on our quotations, revision should only be considered optional if the text is intended uniquely for internal company use, or for the client’s own information.

Reviewing is a crucial value-adding step in the translation project. More information on types of revision, the Web-Translations revision process and the limits of self-revision can be found below.

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How to Avoid a Branding Blunder

Following the decision of a Judge in France to prevent parents from naming their baby girl ‘Nutella’, this has sparked debate over words that should be deemed suitable, and indeed unsuitable, to be used as a name. In this case, the French courts deemed that the name would ‘lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts’ (BBC News) due to its association with the popular hazelnut spread.

This certainly isn’t the first case of its kind, but brings to mind an interesting point regarding our word associations and the power held within language. There are few instances where this becomes more apparent than in the translation world. (more…)

Will 2015 be the Year of Instant Translation?

Back in November 2014, Skype launched a preview of Skype Translator, which will aim to provide real-time translation of conversations in over 40 languages. Hot on its heels, Google has now updated its own app to include an instant interpreting function using voice recognition, as well as an impressive translation feature which utilises a phone’s camera to automatically translate text viewed through the lens.

Long gone are the days of trying to decipher the unusual looking dishes on foreign menus – now all you have to do is hover your phone above the page and receive an instant translation. Here at Web-Translations, we’ve given the app a quick road test using three major tourist preoccupations: warning signs, tourist information and those all important menus. Take a look at how we got on below. (more…)

Why use CAT tools?

catLast year, a Proz poll indicated that 88% of professional translators use a CAT tool. For the 12% of you who don’t, here are some reasons why we think CAT tools are essential: (more…)

6 resources every translator should use

Contrary to what some may think, not all translators sit alone in a dark room, typing furiously, using only a dusty old dictionary for reference. Translation has moved on!

It is more than just one opinion, one draft, one dog-eared dictionary. Translators, like lawyers, refer to myriad sources to select the best terminology, cite examples of similar contexts, delve into background information, and so on.

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7 Common Misconceptions About Translation

1. Machine translation (e.g. Google translate) is a great way to translate a website.

 

Google’s translation engine actually learns from content published on the web, so the more websites that are translated this way, the worse the quality of translation produced eventually becomes. Computers may be good at translating individual words and simple sentences that are repeated frequently online, however they will never be able to understand context. Only a human can understand a language and the subtleties within it.

2. Translation is easy and shouldn’t cost as much as it does.

Translators are skilled professionals and are as knowledgeable and experienced in their specialist field as solicitors or medical professionals. When you commission a translation, you are paying for that expertise at a rate that reflects the time and investment the translator has put into developing their skills, and the ongoing effort to maintain them.

You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to perform an operation on you, so why ask someone who isn’t trained in translation to localise your website? (more…)

Localising Android apps, Google-style

Chances are, you use Google to search the web. You may even use the Google Chrome web browser, and Gmail for your emails. What you might not know is that if you have a smartphone that runs the Android operating system, like many HTC, Samsung, LG and Acer phones, you are using yet another Google product.

Google financially backed Android Inc, and later bought the company in 2005. The first Android phone was sold in 2008, and now only 5 years later, Android has 64% of the global smartphone market.

Adding another trick to their bag, last week Google launched its new Android app translation service.

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Join the Crowd – is crowdsourced translation the future of multilingual online content?

I first stumbled across the concept of crowdsourcing a few years ago, when a small globe symbol appeared in the bottom right hand corner of my Facebook profile. Intrigued, I followed the link to Facebook Translate, an application that enables any user to contribute their own translations of the ever-expanding site content. In an impressive feat of translation ‘by the crowd’, Facebook was translated into French in a 24 hour period by a group of 4000 volunteers in 2008. But what implications does this open call principle have for the translation industry? (more…)

Defining and measuring linguistic quality

Quality is a word which is thrown around loosely, in many different contexts. What one person considers to be quality, another may not.

This is especially true with something as subjective as translation. People interpret language differently, and translation quality is often judged on subjective criteria such as style and choice of terminology. Some aspects of translation are are objective, however. ‘Yes’ translated as ‘no’ is clearly wrong, for example.

The Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (4th edition) defines quality as “the degree to which a product meets the specified requirements.” The International Organization for Standardization says quality is “determined by comparing a set of inherent characteristics with a set of requirements. If those inherent characteristics do not meet all requirements, a low or poor level of quality is achieved.” Both of these definitions include the concept of quality as a scale, with varying degrees, and also state that there must be a set of defined specifications to provide a point of reference on the scale.

Just because a translation accurately conveys the intended meaning of the original source text does not necessarily make it good quality – a quality translation is more than just maintaining meaning – it has to meet the defined specifications and be fit for purpose.

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International Translation Day – 30 September


Saint Jerome, best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin, is the patron saint of translators. In 1991, the International Federation of Translators selected 30 September, Saint Jerome’s day, as International Translation Day, with the goal of bringing together the global translation community once a year to celebrate the art of translation.

This year, the British Library is holding its fourth International Translation Day symposium, with a programme full of interesting-sounding seminars. One topic concerns how translated literature is reported in the press. Translated literature receives little attention in the press, and when it does, the translator’s contribution is generally either ignored or mentioned only very briefly. This is also often the case with the book itself; whereas the author is frequently lauded with a page detailing their life and previous works, the translator is usually just listed on the title page and that is it!

Is this really fair? Translation is an art, and translators should be recognised for the work they do. Translating an entire book takes months of research, creativity and hard work. The final translated book’s style, tone and how interesting it is to read, depend largely on the translator. Different translators will produce incredibly different books, directly affecting popularity and sales. Let’s take today to reflect on the efforts of talented translators around the world. Thank you to all of the Web-Translations translators – we appreciate what you do for us!

Happy European Day of Languages!

Did you know that English pigs and German pigs speak the same language?  But not cows, as German cows say "muh"

Did you know that English pigs and German pigs speak the same language? But not cows; German cows say “muh”

Can you speak fluent Pig Latin? It’s not one of the 200+ European languages celebrated today as part of the European Union’s “European Day of Languages”, but it does work well as a secret language. This is especially true in Britain, where it doesn’t seem as popular as in America. So, if you don’t speak Icelandic or Esperanto, I’d recommend brushing up on your Ig-pay Atin-lay for top-secret conversations.

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Untranslatable words

untranslatable-words   Image credit: Ella Frances Sanders, Maptia

Localise for Brazil or Portugal; don't localise into Portuguese

brittonprocolIt is essential to tailor your translated websites to a particular market, taking into account the country as well as the language. If you want to sell your products in Brazil, for example, translating your site into Brazilian Portuguese, as opposed to European Portuguese, is vital. Any on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimisation should also target Brazil specifically. Popular search terms vary widely from one country to another, even when the same language is spoken, so keyword research should be carried out based exclusively on Brazilian search data.

When Britton Procol contacted Web-Translations about creating microsites in five languages, they were clear that they wanted to target Brazil. Keyword research was carried out by our in-house team in order to determine two good keywords for on-page optimisation, based on Brazilian search engine statistics. The website copy was also localised for the Brazilian dialect of Portuguese. We work with linguists from around the world with a wide range of specialisations, and Project Manager Dominic McGrath assigned the translation work to a Brazilian Portuguese technical translator who has worked with Web-Translations for nearly five years.

Britton Procol Valves offer a selection of quality valves, consisting of slide valves, iris valves, rotary valves, butterfly valves, blowing seals, gravity diverter valves and pneumatic conveying diverters which are available in a range of sizes, modes of operation and materials of construction. Microsites are now live for Germany, Poland, Japan, Brazil and Spain.

Proudly working with memoQ software

memoqAfter many years of working exclusively with SDL’s Trados software, in January we purchased memoQ, a new type of translation software. The purchase was primarily to aid the provision of a new site for Party Delights, a UK e-tailer selling party products. With nearly a million words to translate to French, we needed software that could handle such a large word count. memoQ quickly handled large Excel files that Trados often took over a day to analyse, making it much more suitable for the project. It also correctly handled the .resx files we needed to translate.

memoQ was also selected for this particular project because of how it aids our QA processes. With 13 translators each working on multiple files, we needed to be able to review multiple files at once in order to ensure consistency. With memoQ, we could open all of the files for a particular product type, checking for consistency and running various functions across large amounts of text in disparate files. The user interface improves the QA process, with many features which help Project Managers to ensure consistent and accurate translations.

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i’m lovin it…


Last week we talked about promoting multilingual websites, with the general idea being that Content is King. Creating great website content is the best way to get indexed, and also to get visitors and conversions.

With your English website, it is fairly straightforward, but where should you start with your multilingual sites? Developing a global marketing strategy should be first on your tasklist.

McDonald’s is the Big Cheese (with bacon) of international marketing – ranking no. 7 on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands for 2012. McDonald’s successful strategy can serve as a blueprint for SMEs, so let’s have a look at what they do well:

Keep overarching branding consistent
No matter where you are, when you see those golden arches, you know there will be a McDonald’s.

Adapt products
From selling Kronenburg Beer in France, to the McArabia flatbread sandwich in the Middle East and the McMuffin with vegemite spread in Australia, McDonald’s creates region-specific menu items.

Unify marketing campaigns
Launched in 2003, the company’s first global marketing campaign, with its ‘i’m lovin it’ strapline, was a resounding success. The strapline was localised for some countries, but kept in English for others. The localisations are not all direct translations, but do all include the concept of loving something. Product packaging and television advertising included a selection of localised different straplines, highlighting the global aspect of the company.

Localise
McDonald’s registered the name ‘Macca’s’ for use in Australia. In France, the website uses ‘McDo’ frequently (pronounced Mac-Dough, which is how the French refer to McDonald’s).

Whilst keeping the overall branding consistent and unifying marketing campaigns, products and marketing have been localised, making McDonald’s familiar wherever you are, but local enough to appeal to the target market.

Can a cow be a box?

I don’t think a cow can be a box, but I recently spotted a child’s toy that did describe a cow as a box:

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The toy is a shape-sorter in the form of a cow, and is described in French as a ‘boîte à formes’, which is translated as ‘sorting box’ in English on the packaging. In French, ‘boîte’ means a rigid container, among other things. (For a complete list, try WordReference.com). However in English, ‘box’ means a rigid rectangular container. A cow is definitely not rectangular, and I wouldn’t call a cow a ‘box’! Perhaps it could have been better described as ‘shape-sorter’.

I imagine that the French text for this packaging was included in a long list of product names and descriptions, and that the translator did not have access to images, and so chose the most logical translation of ‘boîte à formes’. Unfortunately it was not the best option, in my opinion. Perhaps if the translator had been provided with images, they would have translated it differently.

It’s all about the grammar…

If you haven’t seen the latest BBC drama Restless, then turn away now! Or better yet, catch it on iPlayer. Not only was it partly set in my hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, but it was full of period costumes from the 40s and 60s, with plenty of spies popping out from behind trees.

The turning point of episode two centred on a German map which the main character, a British spy, was supposed to pass on to an another spy while in Las Cruces. She was only supposed to obtain the map and pass it on. However, she decided to look over the map and noticed that the German text had grammatical and spelling errors. This set off a whole chain of events and she nearly ended up beng killed.

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Google Translate Used in Terror Investigation

Broken records be damned, because it apparently needs stating again; it’s not okay to use machines for important translation. Included in the very long list of things that count as “important” are things like medical records, immigration documents, and transcripts being presented in the course of a terrorism investigation by the police.

 

…yeah. In Denmark, police used Google Translate to present a suspect with a text message which it later transpired meant something entirely different. The Internet giant’s machine translation is widely accepted as a leader of its pack, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to rely on it. It might be a clever computer, but it’s still a computer.

 

Maybe this all needs to happen. If you knew nothing about the law, the chances are you wouldn’t sue somebody and represent yourself using a free PDF as your guide. If you knew nothing about medicine, you wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself after a quick Wikipedia search. So why do people think that linguistic solutions are one click away, courtesy of an algorithm?

 

“The police said no other documents had been translated using Google Translate,” but it’s hard not to be skeptical. That’s the thing about machine translation – it’s 90% accurate, but the other 10% is really, really going to hurt.

Major Chinese Newspaper Fluffs Satire Translation

If ever there was an example to illustrate the need for professional translation, it was this; major Chinese newspaper The People’s Daily have taken an article by the Onion as fact and consequently declared North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un the Sexiest Man Alive, utilising the American satire website’s description of the, ahem, “great man”:

 

“With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.”

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Makeshift translation service allows blind to read braille "with their eyes"

NewScientist reports that a new retinal prosthesis implant innovated by Californian accessibility manufacturers Second Sight allows people with no vision to read words as braille signals on their retina, thereby offering translation capability for important signage and instructions.

 

The implant, which is a modification of the Argus II, uses text recognition software to transmit signals back through nerves to the eye and display a 10×6 (or, for braille letters, 3×2) grid of signals.

 

Impressive stuff. Patrick Degenaar, of Newcastle University, though, thinks that the research is heading somewhat in the wrong direction. “Why not use [the text recognition] to provide auditory feedback rather than Braille?” he asks.

 

Source

Microsoft’s Speech Translation is still all talk

At an event in China last month, Microsoft’s Rick Rashid unveiled a piece of technology that will likely attract a considerable amount of hype. In front of the company’s Asian 21st Century Computing gathering, the Chief Research Officer showed off speech recognition and automated spoken translation technology, his words being accurately transposed into Mandarin with his vocal tone synthetically carried through to the translated version. From the reaction of observers, the demonstration appeared a success, and the technology raises interesting questions about the possibilities, and the limitations, of automated translations.

 

Much has been made of the voice recognition and emulation side of Rashid’s translation, which is at best an optional enhancement, and in some cases would appear as undesirable excess. It’s exciting, for sure, that a computer can imitate a person’s vocal habits – but it’s not earth-shattering. On the other hand, the suggestion from some quarters that we are now capable, to some degree, of replacing interpretors with computers, is one worthy of serious intrigue.

 

The question we need to ask, though, is how this would ever be possible. You might pin me as naïve, and you’d be half-right, but language factually entails more than a series of algorithms. Consider the relationship between semantics and pragmatics; one concerns itself with somewhat strict meanings and definitions, while the other is wrapped up in the implicit nature of what we say, how we really use language. Which of these is more important? You could certainly argue that each requires the other to act as a balance, but it’s absolutely clear that the way we communicate has more about it than mere dictionary definitions and the frequency of a word in proximity to another.

 

It is common for us to assume that we can build machines capable of anything and everything, but the simple fact is that most of language is conducted on a very human level, in our instinct and the traits we share. For us to understand one another, we need to have a good idea of unspoken context, of the intricacies of a conversation, and of the peculiarity of much of our language. If a computer can do this at all, it cannot do it well. It cannot purposefully soften a verb to keep a diplomatic meeting from boiling over and it cannot understand the in-joke and explain it to a new audience. Those things exist in a different ball park to what we’re currently excited about; the art of professional translation is still as essential as ever.

qTranslate: The easy way to talk to everybody

 

For all our proclamations that the Internet has rendered geography null and void, it’s startling how many business opportunities are still missed because of language barriers. Though much progress has been made since the turn of the millennium in bringing global reach to a huge number of successful brands, many great organisations still don’t know how to even begin communicating with audiences abroad.

 

In this light, it’s a wonder that the fantastic qTranslate plug-in for WordPress has taken so long to flourish. Once activated, qTranslate transforms the control panel into an incredibly simple and reliable interface for making your site’s content multilingual. It organises your pages neatly and intelligently, and offers a user-friendly integration which is compatible with Search Engine Optimisation add-ons and a huge range of content types. In essence, qTranslate condenses the work involved in reaching foreign-language users down to an absolute walk in the park.

 

 

If you’re fluent in the second language you want to target, it’s as simple as opening that language’s tab in WordPress’ Post Editor and writing your new content – you can even change the layout of your posts based on the language in play. But if you’re not a native speaker, part of the beauty of qTranslate is how easy it makes getting what you’ve written translated by professionals at LiveTranslation. There’s an option to turn on the translation service, which allows you to pay for an affordable, professional translation, courtesy of Live Translation, with just a couple of clicks.

 

There’s no mess involved: you get your content, in a range of different languages, all housed on one site but still clearly distinct from both your users’ and a search engine’s perspective. It’s simple to install and even simpler to maintain.

 

 

When combined with the supplementary qTranslate with Slugs, what results is a multilingual WordPress control panel which is both intelligent and uncomplicated. It’ll translate your dates and times without being told, let you optimise your URLs for each individual language, and even give you multilingual menus. And if you’re missing a language that could help you crack a key market, you’re literally five clicks and no effort away from taking the first step across the border. Online, you can talk to everybody. Now, they’ll be able to understand you, too.

 

Download qTranslate.

 

First Time Exporters: Full Support for your Website Translation

As the liberalisation of global commerce continues, more and more companies are joining the international market every year. Exporting has traditionally been seen as one of the most risky, and expensive ways to grow a business.  While there are many pitfalls and challenges when trading internationally, the Internet offers an excellent way for you to reach out and grow your market share, without investing millions.

Global trade has never been so easy with the First time Exporters Guide. By working with Web-Translations you will have a partner to help you at every stage in your journey.  We combine years of experience, with top-quality language and web skills to offer a hand-held, strategic approach to boosting your global trade.

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New Refer a Friend feature on LiveTranslation.com

LiveTranslation is pleased to announce its new Refer a Friend feature.

Customers and registered translators are now able to recommend the site to family, friends and colleagues.

Each new customer that registers after receiving a referral will receive 25 words of free credit to test our translation services, and the registered customer that referred them will receive 10 words free credit for their successful registration.

Current users are requesting translations for a variety of texts: emails, love letters, notices about foreign property, business correspondence, customer service enquiries, website pages, marketing promotions, recipes, reports, apartments to let, product information, sayings/phrases, and even a marriage proposal!

“I was given a recommendation to use Live Translation following the advice of friends who had used various other online translation sites. Getting a price for my translation was quick and easy, and it was competitive. This service helped me add another language to a website created by my company, so I would recommend Live Translation to others.”
Matthieu – La Valette du Var, France

Simply sign up here if you’re a potential customer, or here if you’re a translator, then use this page http://w-t.cm/friend to let your friends know!

For further information or support, give us a call on +44 (0) 113 8150460 or email info[at]livetranslation[dot]com.

Translators & Project Managers – just like Fish and Chips!

Translators and Project Managers (PMs) are just like fish and chips: one won’t go without the other. Here’s a short guide on how to enjoy this recipe without giving yourself indigestion!

Rather than writing about what freelancers love or hate (or a similar rant from the Project Manager’s perspective), it’s possibly more useful for everybody to know what elements link translators and agencies together so tightly, and how they can work better together. (more…)

How to write a successful CV for the translation industry

Guest Post by Anna Lycett

So you’ve decided that the time has come and you want to get work as a translator. You’ve completed your degree or found some great opportunities and all you need to do is send your CV to potential clients and just start translating… Stop. Send your CV? Well, in order to be able to do that, you’ll first need to have one!

With a great wealth of tips on writing CVs available on-line, one can get really confused. Moreover, everyone is unique, so some people will prefer one format over another. But I believe that there are some rules that one should follow whatever their tastes. (more…)

We've Taken The Plunge Into Bath!

We’ve expanded Web-Translations and opened an office in Bath to meet the needs of our growing portfolio.

Andrew Carter (pictured right, below) who has been with us for over 2 years as a freelancer, has now become a full-time employee, and is heading up the new satellite office with his latest recruit, Jonathan Power (pictured left).

Andy & Jon - Bath Office TeamAndrew says: “I worked with Web-Translations on a freelance basis for 2 years, and became a full-time employee just a few months ago. I enjoy working with a wide variety of clients, and love knowing that whatever their aims are we have a product in our multilingual website “toolkit” that will help them succeed in international markets.” (more…)

"Slave earrings" translation blunder causes great offence

Vogue Italia has been widely criticised for the feature it ran on its blog this Monday, a piece entitled “Slave Earrings” that has since been removed.

The post read: “Jewellery has always flirted with circular shapes, especially for use in making earrings. The most classic models are the slave and creole styles in gold hoops.”

It continued: “If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Colored stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres. And the evolution goes on.” (more…)

The importance of Translation Project Management

Well, where to start? Not wanting to blow my own trumpet, as a former project manager, but project management is, in my humble opinion, vital to a smooth, problem-free, well-executed translation project!

A recent article handily backs up my opinion, stating that project managers are, in fact “indispensable to the process due to the vast number of project variables, requirements, exceptions to project scope, etc.” Project managers liaise with both clients and translators to see a project through to completion. Their role involves understanding clients’ needs and requirements, ensuring that they can all be met, and then creating a logical sequence of tasks to be carried out to a specific deadline, not to mention assigning the work to suitable translators and proofreaders who specialise in the subject in question. (more…)

In the mood for foreign films?

It’s a comment you may have heard expressed before by many native English speakers: despite possessing an interest in foreign films and a willingness to embrace their ‘quirkiness’, it sometimes feels as though you have to be “in the mood” to watch them. After watching a French film the other night and hearing my housemate make this exact comment, my thoughts consequently drifted to how world cinema seems to have rapidly gained popularity over the last ten years in the U.K. (more…)

Neutral Spanish

One of the most important questions a project manager can ask when preparing to organise a translation is about the intended audience.  Is the Chinese translation for mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan?  Is the Portuguese translation for Portugal or Brazil?  Is this Spanish translation aimed at Spaniards or Spanish speakers in South and Central American countries?

These variations on one language are more in-depth and important than some people may realise, and as such, it is important that any translation is specifically carried out with the audience country in mind.  This often means translating a text into one language twice, one for one country, and one for another.  However, if a client only wishes to invest in translating text once, yet wants to appeal to both South American and European markets, for example, what can be done?  Should they choose between the two, use the same translation for both markets, or is there another way?  This is where “Neutral Spanish” comes into play.

The idea behind this concept is that vocabulary and terminology be defined early in the process, so that only terms that will be understood in both target audiences are used in the translation, thus ensuring that the final translation is suitable for use in both Spain and South American countries that use Spanish, such as Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina.  The large number of Spanish speakers who reside in Central America may be included in the client’s target market as well, so their variation of the language must also be taken into consideration. (more…)

Translation memory demystified

Translation memory is a type of software that stores a unit or “segment” of a source language together with its translated equivalent in the target language.

This is useful for several reasons. Firstly, it improves the consistency of translated documents, as once a segment of text is stored in the memory, the translator will be prompted to use it wherever it appears in a file. Secondly, where text is repeated in a document, the client does not need to pay for the sentence to be translated twice. Thirdly, it makes the process more efficient, so translations take less time.

Other useful feature common to most types of translation memory software are:

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Pre-translation preparations

There is a lot more to translation than meets the eye. Yes, the essence of the process is translating a piece of text from one language into another, but there is a lot more to consider than many people are aware.

There are lots of factors that need to be taken into account both before starting work, and during the translation process itself. Clarifying these points, and identifying any issues at the start helps to ensure a smooth translation process, and avoids delays while any difficulties are overcome.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, clients should be asked several key questions, including (but not limited to):

What is the purpose/end use of the translation?

File formats – what format do they need the translation back in?

Processing text post-translation – will it be added to a Content Management System, or typeset into a design ready for print? If so, are those responsible experienced in doing so?

Reference material – could include previous translations and any background information to guide the translators. Clients who take the time to provide such information reap the benefits by getting an accurate translation that reflects their company style and is immediately fit for purpose. Without background information, the translators are often working in the dark, and it can take longer to produce text that is ready to use or publish.

Is there an  in-country manager who will be reviewing the text, or who can help with any terminology queries?

Is the author of the document available to answer any queries about its contents?

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Crowdsourcing and machine translation: the start of a beautiful friendship

Machine-aided translation is one of those things people love to hate. Despite the best efforts of enthusiasts like myself, the majority of computer users still believe that machines are useless translators.

The whole area of machine translation has a terrible image problem. There are endless jokes and “true” stories about computer translation failures. Some of these are very funny (like the machine that apparently translated the English saying “out of sight, out of mind” into “invisible idiot” in Russian). However with a little crowdsourcing help, I suspect the machines may have the last laugh. (more…)

Nothing beats a good pun!

Eating penguin chocolate bars with a couple of Spanish friends the other day got me thinking about jokes, puns and play on words in general. The Spanish translation of the word “pun” is “juego de palabras”, meaning literally “word game”, which sums up just what a pun is. Having always been interested in language and humour, I am a big fan of word jokes, and feel particularly proud of myself when I make what I consider to be an amusing pun (though others might disagree…).

We regularly groan at puns printed on the front pages of tabloid newspapers, and at the jokes printed on penguin wrappers and in Christmas crackers. Last year in fact, The Sun newspaper held a competition to see if its readers could “Out-pun the Sun”, inviting readers to give their best suggestions. Shakespeare used puns in Romeo and Juliet, and puns also appear in Harry Potter and James Bond books, which are internationally popular and have been successfully translated into many languages. Idioms and puns often have similar equivalents in languages with a common root, but there’s always a challenge for the translator to convey the original meaning, and this is why literary translation in particular is such a specialised and highly-prized skill. (more…)

Maltese language rarely used on the internet

A lot of websites on the internet are available in more than one language, and some in a number of different languages.  This is a topic that features every now and then on this blog, as we comment on which languages are most popular, how the languages in which a website are available affect the traffic to a website, and so on.

One language that doesn’t get much press or attention is Maltese.  Maltese is a very interesting language; about half of its vocabulary is borrowed from Italian and Sicilian, and English words make up as much as 20% of its vocabulary.  (more…)

Can we communicate solely through gestures?

To those who say communication is key in a successful relationship… Katie Price, aka English glamour model Jordan, has proved you wrong…

Just in case you are not up-to-date on Jordan’s latest romantic liaisons, she is currently dating an Argentinian named Leandro Penna.  As reported in The Guardian, in a recent interview she gave, it conspired that the couple do not talk as they do not share a common language, and that actions do apparently speak louder than words.  An example given by Leandro is that sometimes he will be sitting and moving his head, and Jordan will realise that he is looking for the remote control.  She also commented that “In the car, I’ll think, I bet he wants his glasses, just before he asks for his glasses.”  (This does raise the question: how does he ask for his glasses if he can’t speak English and she can’t speak Spanish?!  In addition, if he can ask for them, why does it matter that she thought that’s what he was going to ask before he did so?!) (more…)

Translation and Tourism: getting multilingual ready for 2012

Looking at facts and figures relating to tourism in the United Kingdom can give us an insight into why people visit the country, what they look forward to the most, and why they would return.  This is very important in the world of translation, in order to offer services to industries that would benefit the most from translating their websites, brochures and menus, to name but a few.

With the Olympics coming up next year, which will attract a huge number of multilingual tourists from all over the world, this is the perfect time to look at the statistics, and determine which areas of British culture are likely to attract visiting tourists.  Companies within these fields could potentially reap huge rewards from offering details of their services in the right languages so that foreign tourists can understand what is on offer, and make the most of their trip to the UK.  Not to mention that upon receiving a warm welcome, and being addressed in their own language, those tourists are more likely to think highly of our culture and country in general, and potentially more likely to recommend a visit, or even to return themselves. (more…)

Do the British mean what they say?

A Spanish friend recently sent me the link to an article published online.  This “guide” explains to the rest of Europe what British people really mean when they say certain things, and what others understand by what has been said.

For example, according to this article, when a British person says “You must come to dinner”, the real meaning is “It’s not an invitation, I’m just being polite”, whilst the listener will think “I will get an invitation soon”.  Obviously, this is an extreme generalisation, but I have to admit, it does ring some bells.  If you accidentally bump into someone and they say “we must do lunch” or “we must get a coffee one day”, chances are you won’t set eyes on them again until you accidentally bump into them again… (more…)

Google discontinues its Translation API

Google recently took the decision to retire its widely adopted API, stating “substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse” as the reason.

The API has been “officially deprecated” since the 26th of May, and will cease to exist completely this December the 1st.

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"25 things translators should never do"

I recently read an interesting blog article citing “25 things translators should never do”. Whilst a company’s employees may have a contract or be given guidance by fellow employees or their boss, freelance translators trust their opinion, instinct, business acumen, or all of the above, in order to decide how to behave. This raises the question as to whether these ideas vary greatly between translators, whether there are any generally accepted rules, and how clients view different behaviour. (more…)

Mr Prawo Jazdy

You would think that, with all the resources they have at their disposal, the police in Ireland would be able to translate text in the blink of an eye, to ensure no embarrassing mistakes are made. It would seem, however, that such mistakes are not always avoided…

Back in 2007, police in Ireland took note of over 50 people with the name “Prawo Jazdy”. A popular name in Ireland? A common name among Poles who have emigrated to Ireland? Or, alternatively, the Polish translation of “driving licence”?

It is, of course, the latter. “Prawo Jazdy” was originally believe to be the name of one person who had repeatedly committed offences, until it became clear that the same name had been used on numerous occasions in order to refer to a number of different people. As a result, the police system contained over 50 people with the name “Prawo Jazdy”. Finally, upon investigating this seemingly unlikely occurrence, police discovered that this is actually the Polish for “driving licence”.

Whilst this mishap may have occurred a few years ago, it is a story that we can all learn a valuable lesson from – translation is vital!

Football proves popular with foreign tourists

According to research carried out last year by Visit Britain, “foreign tourists spend £2.3 billion a year watching and playing sport”.  Unsurprisingly, football is the main sporting attraction in Britain, with matches throughout the country attracting 1.2 million foreign visitors in 2008 (the most recent year with complete figures).  A percentage of these were from English-speaking countries: 267,000 were Irish, 95,000 were American and 55,000 Australian.  However, a large number of these spectators were from non-English speaking countries: 88,000 Germans, 86,000 Norwegians, 75,000 Spanish, 65,000 Italians, 52,000 Dutch, 46,000 French and 39,000 Swedes. (more…)

New Translation App Released

A new app has recently been released called “Babelshot (photo translator)”. The clue is in the name – it is indeed an app that will translate the text that appears in a photo taken with your camera phone or that is manually typed into the app.

The app provides translation in 56 languages, from Afrikaans to Welsh to Korean to Slovak, so there aren’t too many countries in which you would be left stranded without help. Photos that the app can translate can vary from signs, to menus, to newspaper articles, and can be particularly useful when travelling abroad in a country where you don’t speak the language. In some cases, it may be vital that a sign can be understood: “no swimming”, “No entry” or the slightly more extreme “Do not enter, danger of death” are quite important!

This new app allows you to take a photo of a portion of text, send it using the app, and receive the translation. The only necessity, other than a desire to know what something means, is a connection to the internet.

The app uses Google Translate in order to provide an instantaneous response. Ah, Google Translate… once again, we return to the topic of machine translation and its reliability. Whilst a translation app for phones is no doubt a fantastic idea, given that you can easily carry your mobile with you wherever you go (and a lot of people already do), and they are, generally speaking, a lot smaller and lighter than a dictionary, can you rely on the translation you’re given?

At the time of writing, there are three users who are not enamoured with the new app: the first three reviews on the Babelshot app page on the Apple website are less than complementary. Reviewr100, for example, had problems using the app when taking a photo of white text on a dark background. A developer promised to fix the issue. However, the user had no more success with black text on a clean white page. Their final comment? “I guess this app may work if you only use it under pristine laboratory conditions and not in the real world.” Another reviewer was compelled to write a comment, despite never usually doing so, and comments that it just doesn’t work, plain and simple. The third review, I must admit, is my favourite. Rearend’s comment, with a title of “Horrible”, simply states: “Doesn’t work-waste of $-junk”.

Obviously being able to translate foreign texts, in whatever form, quickly and easily can be very useful when abroad. I have never used this app, and would be interested to hear any reviews, positive or negative, from those who have – is the Apple site‘s description correct? According to them: “Take a photo of a text, a sign, a book, a newspaper… and Photo Translate will recognize the text and translate it automatically to the language of your choice”? Or is it, as Rearend comments, a waste of money?

Live Translation – new file upload feature

Real-time online translation service Live Translation has a new improvement – you can also now upload files to get a free quote and buy your translation at any time of day or night.

The file upload feature can handle any common document file type: Word, PDF (with selectable text), txt file, Excel…

Your file will be returned to you in your chosen format, usually within just a few hours.

Register for a free account now and we’ll give you the first 50 words for free:

http://w-t.cm/LiveTrans

Here Comes the Bride…

The greatly anticipated event is almost upon us… with so much hype surrounding the big event, we couldn’t not comment on it! Very soon, Prince William and Kate Middleton will tie the knot in front of nearly 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey, and what promises to be a vast number of people via television and internet. With so many people wanting to be involved, from all over the world, multilingual communication is in high demand. The monarchy has long been an extremely popular tourist attraction for foreign visitors, and there are a huge number of non-English speakers who want to be able to watch and understand the wedding of the year. (more…)

The relevance of online translation

Love it or hate it, the internet is increasingly becoming an essential tool in everyday life. This rings especially true in the field of translation. (more…)

What makes WordReference.com so good?

Founded in 1999, www.wordreference.com is perhaps the internet’s leading online multilingual dictionary. It will be familiar to anyone who uses more than one language, from schoolchildren to professional translators. It offers dictionaries in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, as well as Arabic, Japanese, German, Polish, Russian, Greek, Chinese and more. But what makes it so great? (more…)

The rise in non-English Internet communication

I studied International Business and Spanish at university. Why Spanish? Because I liked it, I wasn’t half bad at it and I thought it might come in handy somewhere down the line. Lucky for me, my chances of that happening are slightly raised because Spanish is the official language of 21 countries with around 400 million speakers worldwide, making it the third most widely spoken language across the globe after English and Chinese.

According to a study published last year, Spanish is the third language of international communication on the Internet.

Following my initial paragraph, that doesn’t sound out of place or surprising. However in reality, this third place position actually means that only 4% of Internet users communicate in Spanish, which corresponds to just 136 million users out of a total of 1750 million.

Obviously this figure now seems a lot lower than it should be when bearing in mind the high numbers of Spanish speakers internationally. So why the discrepancy? Many Latin American countries have low levels of access to technological developments and the study concluded by saying that if this were similar to that of English speakers then the presence of Spanish on the Internet would be around 16%. Improvements are being made though as Spanish did actually see a 1% rise.

English held the top spot in the study with 45% of Internet users’ communication and German came in at number 2 with 6%. French and Italian also figured in the top 5.

What’s really interesting to note is that English suffered a huge 29% fall, which has been attributed to the rise in the use of Chinese, Arabic and Russian on the Internet as these economies and markets develop.

So the importance of different languages on the Internet today is obvious – English can no longer be assumed to be the only language that matters, and catering for these differences will be a key issue in the success of businesses in the coming years as more and more non-English speaking users come online, and I for one, les doy la bienvenida.

Interpreter/Translator listed as one of the best 50 careers for 2011

U.S. News has compiled a list of the predicted best 50 careers for 2011. They have based their decisions on estimated projections of job growth from 2008 – 2018 provided by the Labour Department, and then finalised the 50 careers by taking into account which jobs would provide an above-average median income, and the careers for which the number of jobs is expected to increase. They also used information on job satisfaction and turnover, as well as consulting industry experts to gather “anecdotal evidence about employment prospects and job satisfaction”, according to a recent article in US News.

Interpreter/Translator appears in the subcategory ‘Creative and Service Jobs’, along with Film and Video Editor, Commercial Pilot and Multimedia Artist, amongst others. Employment of both interpreters and translators was expected to increase by over 20% between 2008 and 2018. Cities in America, such as Washington D.C. and New York offer the most possibilities, particularly with Spanish, given the increasing number of Spanish inhabitants in the US.

In fact, many professional translators agree with this trend, with nearly 50% of those polled by Proz.com saying that they believed their income would increase in 2011 – that’s compared with only 14% who felt the opposite.

Besides the potential growth of the translation marketplace, there are many other reasons why becoming a translator is a good career move for individuals with the necessary skills and dedication:

Alternatively, in-house translation positions (although rare) also offer the opportunity for creative language work, and honing your craft while in a stable, secure working environment.

What skills do you need to become a translator?

Qualifications required by each company may vary, but as a general rule, all translators are expected to have completed at least 5 years of Higher Education, and many translation companies (Including Web-Translations) will require a minimum of 3-5 years of commercial translation experience.

Lots of the language translator professionals we work with have worked in a particular industry such as engineering, or in a legal profession, before deciding to change career.

If you’re a translator, share your career journey with us: How did you end up becoming a translator, or is it something you always wanted to do?

Are there any other benefits of working freelance that we’ve overlooked?

“Translations can only be as good as their source text”

A recent poll on Proz.com invited users of the site to agree or disagree with this statement. It is fair to say that opinions varied. Just under half – 48.5% of respondents – disagreed, opining that translations can be better (perhaps indicating that translators feel it is expected of them to improve on the source text); 34.5% stated that ‘It depends’, whilst a mere 15.2% agreed with the statement. A very small percentage – 1.8% – chose the ‘Other’ option.

In the forum attached to this poll, there are comments from a number of translators who have strong opinions on the topic.

Whilst some translators argue that as long as the meaning is represented, the translated text can be edited in order to produce a more fluent final piece, others disagree, stating that regardless of the standard of the source text, the translations must be faithful, and it is not up to the translator to edit the meaning or style of the text. The latter, it is argued, is particularly relevant when working with legal or technical documents. One translator comments that some mistakes such as spelling errors and examples of incorrect punctuation can be easily corrected, however improving a badly written piece of text to the extent that the resulting translation is a smooth, fluent text, often proves quite difficult.

“Although they say you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, we usually have a bash anyway” is one translator’s contribution to the discussion, whilst another remarks that it would be “absurd” to reproduce a poor piece of writing in the target language.

On the other hand, one contributor, who clearly feels very strongly about the subject in question, states that it is not his job to correct the source text, but merely to translate what he is given. He gives the example that an interpreter would not say what they thought their client was trying to say, but would faithfully translate what their client had said. He states that it is up to the author of the text to ensure that the text is coherent and comprehensible. Another translator agrees, opining that the translator’s principal job is to preserve the meaning of the text.

One point that the majority of the participating translators seem to agree on is that the final decision lies with the client. If the poor quality of the source text is highlighted to the client, and they give their permission for the translator to take more initiative and edit the text to create a more fluent final piece, then translators are generally happy to do so. Although this does raise the issue of rates and charges – should translators charge more if they are expected to proofread and edit the text, as well as translating it?

“The better the original text, the higher the probability that a skilled translator will produce not only an excellent translation, but one that accurately reflects the original text without being a “transcreation” is the concluding view of one translator. Therefore, if clients provide translators with well-written, fluent, accurate documents for translation, this will be reflected in the resulting translations, and everybody is a winner!

Quality in Translation

Web-Translation is proud to be backing the Quality in Translation initiative.

This campaign has been launched with the aim of promoting and fostering awareness of the skills and talents necessary to work in translation, and improving quality levels across the industry. Translation is a fine art, and translators often do not receive the credit they deserve. A good translation should give the impression that the text was authored in that language, and should convey the same tone, style, and ideas as the original.

Few people are aware of what it takes to produce a good quality translation. Not only must a translator have proficient skills in their native language, and at least one foreign language; they must also be knowledgeable about their particular area of expertise, whether it be financial, legal, or medical, to name but a few. A translator must be efficient, hard-working, and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that all terminology is correct, and that all terms are accurate. This often involves extensive, time-consuming research, as well as dialogue with the client, and colleagues to clarify and get advice on particular terms.

Here at Web-Translations, we are very appreciative of the work our translators carry out, and would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of them for their hard work over the past 10 years.

Quality is very important to us, and is an issue we take very seriously. Delivering a high quality translation is, of course, vital in ensuring that a client will return to us in the future. More than that, it is a matter of principle. We are not prepared to deliver a poor translation to one of our clients, and so we take great measures to ensure that we don’t. Ensuring high quality translations is an aspect of the business that every member of our company is involved in. Our Sales team ensures that the delivery promises they make to our clients allow the translation and proofreading to be completed by experts, who have enough time to focus on the project, and work on it to the best of their abilities. Our Marketing team spreads the message that we are a reputable, dedicated company, who constantly seek to deliver outstanding translations. Our Projects team make sure that projects are assigned to suitable, capable translators who specialise in the required subject area.

As a supporter of the Quality in Translation campaign, Web-Translations is committed to:
1) Striving for the best possible translation every time
2) Only accepting assignments that allow them to strive for this goal
3) Declining assignments at prices that undercut this goal
4) Only working with professional translators translating into their native language
5) Only handing assignments to translators specialised in the particular field
6) Constantly striving to improve translators through constructive feedback and ongoing training
7) Actively raising the awareness of buyers about the goals of the “Quality in Translation” campaign

As our Testimonials show, these are policies that we have employed since the beginning of Web-Translations, and that, as a proud champion of the Quality in Translation campaign, we will continue to recognise and implement.

Google to machine translate patents

Google has confirmed that it will machine translate patents into more than 29 languages, using the Google Translate interface.

On 30th November, an agreement was reached between Google and the European Patent Office (EPO), in order to facilitate the understanding of patents throughout the world.

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The best translation agency (part 2)

We at Web-Translations are experts in the language industry.

Regular readers of this blog may remember our proud announcement that we had become members of the Association of Translation Companies back in March of this year.

We’ve also won an impressive collection of prestigious awards, right from the beginning of the company… (more…)

How to find the best translation agency

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a rating system to identify the best translation agency?

Buying translation is a daunting prospect for those who have no prior experience of commissioning this type of service, and if the buyer has little or no knowledge of languages, then it’s hard for them to have a point of reference on what is needed to produce a good translation; specifically: the level of skill, and the combination of education and experience that qualifies one person as a translator rather than simply a native speaker of a language.

Consequently many fall into the trap of buying translation as a commodity; as if buying rice or cotton; and go about comparing quotes on the basis of cost and/or speed of delivery. Translation is a service, however, and like all services, it is performed by people whose education, skills and time all contribute to delivering the final ‘product’ (for want of a better expression).

While it’s logical that you would want a service to be performed by the best people, it’s actually quite alien to most of us to buy a service from a) someone you don’t know b) aren’t ever likely to meet and c) where you as a buyer do not actually consume or experience the service first-hand.

Here’s what translators say about translation agencies

Every now and then I take a peek at what our translators are saying about us on the Proz Blue board, the litmus test with contented suppliers – we are well on the way to being the best translation agency.

Company Rating over last 12 months Overall rating
Web-Translations 5 5
Lingo 24 5 4.9
Thebigword 3.4 4.2
Applied Language 4.4 4.4
Transperfect 3.6 4.1
SDL International 4 4.4
Lionbridge 1 4.6

* Note: The links are to the corresponding blueboard page used by translators to rate each agency for likeliness to work again on a scale of 0-5. The scores in the table above are accurate as of the 29th October 2014.

Think of the last service you bought…

You might have had your car serviced, or maybe you had your hair cut in a salon/barber’s, perhaps you’ve visited the dentist recently? These are all personal examples that everyone can relate to. It’s easy to pay more for a service when you’re the direct beneficiary, the experience you go through and the interaction with the person providing the service can easily and quickly justify the value. Personally I get my haircut on the corner of Leeds city train station, not for its location, I just like the guy that does it and he does a great job.

It gets harder to gauge the value on a service where you have no idea what has been done – we place the trust in our car mechanic when they say there’s a split in a pipe and it needs to be replaced, or when your dentist explains that although there’s no pain, its important you have a filling. This is where trust is important, but because you are personally involved you can quiz the person directly; there is something comforting about looking in the whites of the eyes of a person asking you to buy a service from them.

Business is different…

Unless you need a haircut, don’t drive or need to see the dentist you should be able to relate to the personal examples, however business services are different in that they tend to fall into the rather broad categories of: Legal, Financial, Web or IT. When you choose a lawyer or solicitor you might go by recommendation or you might have looked someone up for a particular skill. The natural thing to do is arrange to meet. Once you get to know someone’s background, invested the time to communicate your situation (giving rise to the need for the service) you have some comfort factor in knowing that you now have a relationship with a person you will entrust to do a good job. You feel confident, you like the person, and so you buy the service.

Now imagine…

You need a document in another language so that someone can understand it. There isn’t any desirability in this purchase; -it’s not something that will ‘happen’ to you personally (like a haircut), neither is it likely to be an on-going business need so you don’t feel the need to establish a relationship (in the way that you might with a lawyer or an accountant). You don’t speak the language, so feel uneasy that you can’t even tell if what you are getting back is excellent, good, average or worse. You weren’t the person who wrote the text in the first place. You just want a document in another language, surely that’s pretty standard right?!..

Not just any translation will do…

Conveying something in another language in a way that reads naturally is actually quite hard. When a text needs only to inform, the reader needs to understand. When a text needs to sell or influence, the reader needs to be motivated and compelled. Achieving the desired outcome isn’t easy.

So please… be kind… show a little appreciation

Web-Translations understand that delivering good quality translation can be a pretty thankless task to the many millions of freelance translators out there. If it wasn’t an art from which people derived satisfaction it would be on a par with legal and accounting services, which (as I understand it) are not quite as much fun in providing. But translators can’t just work for the love of it. They need agencies that fight their corner, justifying better prices, upholding greater values, raising standards.

Web-Translations is a high quality agency

Ultimately it is our freelance translators that provide our service, so in keeping them happy; we are in the best position to pass on a great service. We use highly skilled, educated project managers to develop and nurture great working relationships with suppliers in the same way that we do with clients.

Take a look at our Translation Buying Guide for more tips on how to buy translation.

Help us get the word out…translation quality is worth paying for!

The world’s first multilingual social network: XIHA

Yet another social network – so what’s special about this one?

Finnish-created XIHA is the world’s first multilingual social network. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do offer content in different languages, but this is supported through a monolingual implementation – you have to choose one language for the user interface, and would mostly update your status & post comments, etc in that language. Multilingual people are therefore not easily able to fully express themselves, as to choose one language might alienate friends and followers who do not understand it.

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Is machine translation making a comeback?

Now, before I get shot down by a flurry of irate translators, hear me out.

There’s been an increase recently in the use of post-edited machine translation for some projects where the volume of content is so huge, and the time window so short that human translation, and then proofreading and subsequent editing of the text, would just not be practical. We at Web-Translations are observing this trend with great interest. (more…)

How International Blast works

This post is an explanation of how our International Blast service works, as it’s something we are often asked about.

International Blast was developed as a first step localisation for companies who wanted to begin trading internationally online, but preferred a cautious approach rather than investing a larger amount of money, time and resources in localising their whole website.

Even localising just one or two key pages of a website yields results, and often generates sales in a new target market. By pricing the service at £295, it is also an affordable option if a company wish to test several new markets at once. (more…)

Web-Translations is proud to showcase its new portfolio of work

 

 Have a look at some of the recent projects we’ve been working on:

If you’d like to be featured as one of our success stories, get in touch!

Harry Potter and the 64 Translations

With J. K. Rowling’s final instalment of the Harry Potter books coming out in cinemas soon, a blog post about how other countries have learnt about this brilliant saga is long overdue! The best selling series of books has been translated into at least 64 different languages, including Latin and Ancient Greek.

With so many new and invented words, translators had a hard time making the book as magical for their own nation as it has been for us!

Lord Voldemort, meaning ‘flight of death’ in French, has been difficult to translate as his real name – Tom Marvolo Riddle – forms an anagram of ‘I am Lord Voldemort’. This means his name had to change with the language.

In Icelandic, he is called Trevor Delgome; he became Tom Gus Mervolo Dolder in Swedish which is an anagram of ‘ego sum Lord Voldemort’ – that’s Latin, not Swedish! And my personal favourite is the French, where He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named goes by the name of Tom Elvis Jedusor.

Many of the spells in the books come from Latin words, and usually we British can get the basic gist of them. For example, from the word Expelliarmus we could take out the words ‘expel’ and ‘armed’ or ‘armour’ to figure out that this spell disarms somebody.

However, for languages that don’t stem from Latin, other methods were used to create the same effect. In the Hindi version, translators used words that derived from Sanskrit to invent the spells.

As well as the authorised translations, other illegal, amateur translations have been made – in China in particular. Among these was a version completely different to the genuine books. It was called Harry Potter and Leopard Walk up to Dragon. In this book, Harry becomes a fat, hairy dwarf, is stripped of all his magical powers and is made to fight a dragon that embodies all the world’s evil!

Maybe we should just stick to the films for now…

Guest article by Annie Smith.

Web-Translations voted top language blog for second year running

We did it again! Thanks to your eager voting, we were ranked in the Top 100 Language Blogs this year for the second year running!

See the full list

Thanks to all of you who voted for us, we really appreciate your support!

Top 100 Language Blogs 2010

How to localise a content-managed site – Case Study

We’re going to take you step-by-step through a localisation project to explain how it’s done. The example we’ve chosen is the multilingual site we did for Loc8tor.

Loc8tor.com is an ecommerce site where customers can buy Loc8tor devices to help them keep track of keys, mobile phones, pets and all sorts of other belongings. This is an ideal showcase for the different elements involved in the professional localisation of a website.

 

With any website, the first step is to get the content into a format that translators can easily work with.

There are two main ways of translating content from a CMS – the translators can work directly into the system and input translations as they go along, or an export can be obtained from the system – usually either XML or Excel format.

Translation is not always done in a linear fashion – starting at the beginning and finishing at the end – a translator needs to be able to skip parts and come back to them later, raise queries if something is unclear etc. When it comes to proofreading the translation, a file will usually be easier to work on and edit than the content within the CMS. With this in mind, an exported file is often the best method.

So, the Project Manager will deliver the file to the translators, or give them access to the CMS as necessary. Once the translation is complete, the proofreaders do their part. Any images or other parts of the website not already part of the CMS/export file would be localised at this stage too – a professional localisation includes everything, not just the obvious text components of the website.

If an export file has been used, then this needs to be imported back into the CMS. This is usually done by the client’s web team, but sometimes we are given an access login to the system and can upload it ourselves.

The published sites we localised for Loc8tor can be found at www.loc8tor.eu, www.loc8tor.fr and www.loc8tor.es.

With some projects, this is where our involvement ends, but there are other stages that are recommended in order for the localised website to be a success:

Usability testing – this is especially important for eCommerce websites or any others where transactions take place. The localised site is tested from the user’s point of view to make sure all functions work correctly, links lead to the pages they should, etc.

Multilingual SEO & eMarketing – just because you’ve invested in localising your site doesn’t mean that customers in that particular country know it is there! Submitting your site to local search engines, building some inbound links and promoting the new website online will all help get more traffic, and these initial measures are included as standard in our Strategic Approach to Localisation packages.

Managing updates – it’s important that you consider how updates to the website will be managed. Many CMSs can be configured to send updates for translation, which minimises the delay in keeping the multilingual site current.

Keyword Research – Knowing the most popular search terms for your product or service is critical. We help to capture maximum exposure by identifying not just your keywords, but also complementary keywords and competitive keywords to help you optimise your website, and maximize the effectiveness of your multilingual Pay Per Click campaigns.

Pay-Per-Click – ideal for giving your web traffic a boost, for promotions, sales and to announce new content. In most industries it will be expensive to stay at the top of results using PPC alone, but it should form part of your overall web strategy if you have sufficient budget.

A good localisation strategy will consider these additional elements of the process as well as simply translating the main body of text on a website.

If you have any questions about website localisation, or any comments about this article, please let us know.

Web-Translations joins the ATC

We’re proud to announce that Web-Translations has become a member of the Association of Translation Companies.

As one of the oldest and most respected professional bodies in the translation industry, members of the ATC are carefully vetted before admission into membership, adhere to a strict code of professional conduct, are subject to the rulings of a professional ethics committee and carry full professional indemnity insurance cover to safeguard the interests of the translation purchaser.

Membership bestows upon Web-Translations some well-earned recognition of the excellent service we offer – it’s great to hear from an independent party how great a job we’re doing!

London Eye vs London Zoo

Oh dear! If ever there was an example of how not to translate a website it must be the London Eye website. It would seem that the Merlin Group clearly don’t care about their international visitors…

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Crowdsourced translation – Twitter jumps on the bandwagon

Twitter is the latest company to use crowdsourcing to localise their website and interface – about time they localised it too, as in the arena of social networking, Twitter has been lagging behind other sites such as Facebook when it comes to reaching a multilingual audience…

So what is crowdsourcing exactly?

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New EU language Regulations for Pharmaceutical and Medical Device manufacturers

Latest EU regulations demand that all packaging and instruction leaflets for pharmaceutical products and medical devices are translated into the official language of the country they are being exported to.

American companies in this sector who intend to export their products to Europe must comply with these regulations, and indeed should embrace multilingual packaging in order to compete with their European counterparts.

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Web-Translations wins prestigious blog award

The Web-Translations blog is part of The Daily Reviewer’s list of top 100 blogs!

The Daily Reviewer selects only the world’s top blogs, sifting through thousands of blogs daily to present the world’s best writers. The blogs that  feature on the Daily Reviewer website are authoritative on their respective niche topics and are widely read. To be included in the Top 100 blogs list is a mark of excellence – for the full list of linguistic blogs, click here.

We are very proud to be recognised in this list – it’s great to know that so many people out there read and value what we’re writing.

Keep reading, and remember: we welcome your comments!

.eu – how to reach 500 million with one domain

The .eu domain is exclusively for residents of the European union. It offers a single European identity on the Internet for 500 million Europeans in 27 different countries.

Why choose a.eu domain?

To show you are European – using a .eu domain states that you are located in Europe

Broaden your market – .eu domains widen your potential customer base. We at Web-Translations have found that just by localising a few key pages of our client’s websites, they gain significant traffic and enquiries. Imagine that extended across the whole of Europe!

Attract customers – a .eu website tells your customers that you are open for business within Europe – that’s 27 different countries. It also combines the traffic of all your separate country websites into one – all those visitors will come to a single website.

Streamline your website – creates one location or hub for all the information about your company, products and services that is relevant to EU customers. It can make managing your multilingual website much easier.

Increase the visibility of your website – .eu domains attract attention, and therefore traffic!

Create a good impression – be taken seriously as a global company

Leaves scope for future development – even if you only have one or two European languages on your website now, if you choose to add any more at a later date, these can be based on your .eu domain.

 Many global companies have already taken advantage of this opportunity – Hyundai, Pioneer, Versace, Ricoh, Lexus and Estate Agents Century21, to name but a few.

Celebrity linguists – setting the example

Of the UK’s richest under 30s, at least half (53 %) count languages among their skills, according to research, while only 14 % say they speak no foreign language at all.

According to MP Phil Willis “The lack of linguists in our society severely disadvantages us as a nation.”

As any Careers Advisor can tell you, the ability to speak another language is not only useful, it might be essential for a particular career path, or just might be the string to a candidate’s bow that makes them stand out from other applicants for a job.

With many young people answering “I want to be famous” to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, who among their role models are setting an example to youngsters that learning languages is a good idea?

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Automated/Machine translation – put to the test

We’re always being asked “why can’t I just use Google Translate/Babelfish/[insert name of machine translation tool here] instead? It’s free!” Where do I start?…

Well, it’s true of translation as much as of anything else: you do get what you pay for. So if you are paying nothing for your translation, you can guess how good (or not) it’s likely to be.

The free automated translation tools can sometimes be very useful for getting an understanding of the text. But if you intend on publishing the text, this is the last thing you would want to use as the automated translations are very literal.
For example, there’s nothing French about french fries, but a translation machine doesn’t know that and you could end up with a very odd text! (more…)

Web-Translations at European SME week

Web Translation was proud to be involved in the first ever European SME week in Brussels last week.

Here’s a video including Cassandra Oliver talking about multilingualism in Europe:

 
Cassandra was one of 5 people from SMEs across Europe invited to participate in a series of events as part of the first European SME week.  This included a round-table discussion on how important languages are to businesses in the EU, opportunities and obstacles created by a multilingual Europe, and what can be done to improve the way that small businesses handle such issues,web or blog translation.

The panel discussion in the video above was the culmination of the event, which also featured a gallery of successful EU entrepreneurs, and an art installation entitled “How it feels to be an entrepreneur“, created by Dieter Michael Grohmann- blog translation specialist.

Reviewing translation – who should do it?

Having shelled out money, time, and other resources on getting a web translation done, it’s important to choose the right person to review it if this step is part of your process. An inexperienced or overzealous reviewer can change the meaning of the text entirely, or introduce errors if they are rushed or their written skills in that language are inadequate.

There’s a delicate balance that must be struck between the translator’s knowledge of their language, and the client reviewer’s knowledge of their company and products. So who is the best choice as a reviewer? (more…)

Hillary…we can help!

 

Oh dear, who did that translation for you, Hillary? Next time, give us a call!

If you haven’t seen the latest US foreign relations gaffe on the news, have a look at youtube – it really is quite funny! Hillary Clinton, in an attempt to improve US/Russian relations, had a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and presented him with a gift in front of a room full of reporters. The red button on a black and yellow base was supposed to say ‘reset’ in English and Russian, and was intended to be symbolic of Russia and the US restarting their relationship.

Clinton: “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?”

Lavrov: “You got it wrong; this says ‘peregruzka,’ which means overcharged.”

Ooops!

International Trade – ask the expert!

This month in Yorkshire’s Insider magazine, Daniel Rajkumar, managing director of Web-Translations answered readers’ questions about web translation and emails, and setting up internationally usable websites.

Q: I have set up a new arm of my company in France as a base for drawing in business from across Europe. As I am looking at a lot of different countries do I need translation of the whole of my website or blog into all the possible European languages? Won’t English do?

A: “If you are serious about drawing business in from Europe you will have to have the website or blog professionally translated for the main language of each country you are targeting. People use the web for research and they search in their native language, so if your website is not multilingual, it will simply not be found.

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Multilingual content management now free and easy…

It’s an all too common problem: How do you maintain the multilingual pages of your website as changes are made to the English? To what extent do you allow local input, while retaining central control?

Joomla has been the web’s favourite open source CMS since its separation from Mambo September, 2005, boasting some 4 million downloads in 2008, making it the most popular CMS of last year.

The Nooku story germinated from a conversation between Joomla!’s Johan Janssens and government and NGO stakeholders who wanted multi-lingual management, better than Joomfish.

Thanks to Johan, Pete and Mathias, webmasters the world over will have access to the plugin that is expected to go down a storm. As Phillipe Chabot, ICT Coordinator of the United Nations Regional Information Centre put it:“If you are thinking multi-language; Nooku is a must have! Our website needs to drive 13 different languages, so for us this made a giant step forward to improve our web presence. It’s just brilliant!”

Nooku is not yet publicly available

As a partner Web-Translations has the source code and can assist with implementation. By integrating Nooku with Web-Translations’ Pay-As-You-Go Translation service, users have the perfect solution for maintaining multilingual websites. Web-Translations is the UK’s only full service Nooku integrator.

Cassandra Oliver, Marketing Manager at Web-Translations had the chance to test-drive Nooku last week: “What struck me first of all is that the interface is so simple. Nooku is easy to use and seamlessly integrates with Joomla. It’s miles better than Joomfish and an ideal tool for many of our clients.”

Web professionals and laymen alike are singing Nooku’s praises across Europe:

“If you need to build multi-lingual sites that are easy to manage…you’ll simply love Nooku.  Customizable, elegant and so well-designed it fits Joomla! like a glove, this is a professional solution for multi-lingual content that will rock the community!”

Paul Delbar – delius, Belgium

The name Nooku is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word “Nuku” meaning “to translate”. It follows the spirit of the name Joomla! derived from the Swahili “Jumla” meaning “all together”.  Nooku website

Having deployed several multilingual ecommerce websites using OS Commerce and Magento, Web-Translations are now helping businesses to save thousands by switching from proprietary CMS solutions such as Tridian, to mature Open Source alternatives such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress.

Why pay a license fee?

In April 2007, SDL Trados acquired Tridion (a CMS company) for €69 million, that investment is recovered in the form of license fees, development and translation services. An implementation can cost anything from US$ 80,000 to … sky is the limit.

At a time when businesses are looking to cut costs, we’re advising clients to review expensive license fees and the cost of running their CMS. Open Source has come of age and matured in the area of ecommerce and CMS. Enterprises looking to save can do so quickly by embracing Joomla! + Nooku with Web-Translations, where there are no license fees and a vibrant community means support and development is plentiful and inexpensive.

Web Translations sees Open Source technologies as a key growth area of its business strategy, with plans to release multilingual professional translation plugins for WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and Open Office in 2009.

Translation Industry Glossary

This post is just to point both new and regular readers in the direction of our updated Industry Glossary.

This glossary gladly serves to save you the hassle and embarrasment of asking your resident techno-geek for an overly convoluted explanation of any industry terms, by providing simple, jargon-free definitions of the terms below…

 

Bi-directional

If you would like to add to the exisiting definitions, or have a fantastic industry term that you can’t wait to define, let me know and I’ll add it to our list.

Ordem e Progresso: Brazilian Portuguese spelling reform

Many major Brazilian newspapers are finally implementing a new spelling reform. The reform was to include all Portuguese speaking countries and aimed to unify spelling but only Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal signed up initially in 1990, with Brazil, only now, actually implementing the changes.

It is believed that 0.5 percent of words used in Brazil will be affected, against the 1.6 percent of Portuguese words. Furthermore, around 98 percent of the spelling discrepancies between the two countries will be eliminated once Portugal implements the agreement. They have until 2014 and are not likely to act before that time given the resistance to it of the people. The reason? Many common usage words will be effected whereas Brazilians must only become accustomed to a few missing accents, for example in idéia and vôo (which are now spelled ideia and voo), and also to new hyphenation rules.

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Mistranslations – English in other countries

It’s a favourite cautionary tale among translation professionals: Make sure your translations are accurate or you and your product could become a laughing stock. The first step in achieving this is to use a native speaker – a golden rule that should never be broken.

Here are a few examples (many of which you may have seen before – but the old ones are often the best) of mistranslations into English – a language I would hate to have to learn as a foreign language myself, as there are so many exceptions to rules and slight nuances as the following will demonstrate:

“We take your bags and send them in all directions” – Airline Ticket Office, Copenhagen                (Never a truer word said!)

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Tips for translators

We’ve already given our dos and don’ts for clients who want to buy translation services, but what about those selling them? Yes, I’m talking about translators – the missing link in our business equation. Those who help us make it happen for each and every one of our clients.

Here is an early Christmas gift – just a few pointers for translators who are looking to increase their client base (and in the current economic climate, who isn’t?) by applying to agencies.

 

1. Your CV: Cast a critical eye over your CV. The same rules generally apply for translators as they do for anyone applying for work: anything over 2 pages is just too long. Two pages is ample to give an overview of your relevant experience, qualificiations and specialist subjects – you can keep a list of translation projects you’ve worked on separately, then it’s ready to provide should someone ask for it. Doesn’t belong in your CV!

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Most translated document?

Yesterday, it was 60 years since the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly (that makes the year 1948, just in case you’re in the throws of a mid-week lull and can’t do the maths).

Clearly, that was as great a day for humanity as the day a certain snake tricked poor Eve into eating an apple wasn’t. But it was also the beginning of a long story for the translation industry. The Guiness Book of Records claims said document is the most translated text in the world – available at last count in 337 languages. (This sparked debate in the office as the Holy Bible, as commented on recently by me, is available in over 2000 languages: something must exclude it from the running – probably its confabulated nature.) Many of those languages are ones we, as a translation agency, have never even heard of – Huasteco, anyone? (spoken in Mexico) – and include even the synthetic language, Esperanto.

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Expensive translation mistake for Science journal

Max Planck Institute Science journal mistakenly uses flyer for Macau brothel to illustrate report on China…

The respected research institute wanted beautiful and elegant Chinese classical texts to adorn its journal, which included a special report on China. Little did they know that the text they had chosen was from a saucy flyer promoting strippers and other features of a brothel!

To Western eyes, Chinese characters look dramatic and beautiful, and have a powerful visual impact, but be careful that you know what they say before you print or publish whatever you are using them for!

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Too many official languages?

In this country, despite our multicultural make up, we have only one Official Language for our 60 or so million inhabitants. That language is, unless you’re from Barnsley, English. The minority languages recognized on these shores are Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Lowland Scots and Cornish and rather suprisingly do not include any Asian languages, despite a long history of immigrants from that area.

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Language learning: how much is too much?

‘A single 30 minute lesson’ would probably be the answer to that questions from many of my collegiate peers past, but are we really, scientifically, limited by anything other than apathy?

It is true that there is a critical period for learning one’s native language as a child: feral children raised in solitude without any linguistic stimuli (or ‘negative feedback’ as it’s technically called) prove this when they are returned to society in their teens, yet remain unable to string together even a simple sentence. But what about the acquisition of a second, third, fourth or even fifth language?

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Warehouse Express and Personal Projectors

Now, the unwritten rules of this company blog (which, post-ironically, have been written down), clearly state that any self, or client slanted, promotion is punishable by death: we have a website for such things. Having said that, and at the risk of corporate punishment, two projects deserve to have at least a little digital ink spent on them…

Most summers are remembered by an effeminate pop song, the social slaughter that is Big Brother and, in this country at least, an ongoing disappointment at the crude and rainy weather. Not so for Jenn, though, Chief Project Manager here at Web-Translations, who was pinned down with the task of coordinating the translation, localisation and launch of over 2000 products and 500, 000 words into German for online camera specialists, Warehouse Express.

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Subtitlers have never had it so good

I reckon subtitlers must be well in demand going on the amount of subtitled content we’ve been seeing on our screens of late.

Now, as a linguist and having spent many of my language-learning student years with my eyes glued to that bar at the bottom of the screen, I’m no stranger to subtitles. In fact, I am eternally grateful for the invention as, without them, not only would we be missing out on hours of Kung-Fu lips-moving-no-speaking hilarity, but I’d have been lost in the midst of countless French films, despite learning the language for most of my conscious life.

But what’s with all the subtitling of English speaking people that’s happening at the moment?

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Foreign languages in pop’ culture

It occurred to me today that translation and foreign languages litter everyday life, even for those of us whom aren’t in some way married to the industry.

Take a moody, emotionally charged teen for instance; nothing but a disinterest in foreign languages plagues their consciousness, yet their subconscious is perpetually peppered with alien tongues.

From the perfunctory ramblings of Pete Doherty on ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (meaning ‘work makes you free’ – words which hung over concentration camps in war time Germany) to the twisted sonics of unintelligible, yet enjoyable, Scandanavian crew, Sigur Ros: multilingual-ness is everywhere.

So, too, are many English words used without a thought for their origin. Cliché, for example: a French word which comes from a time saving process typists used to use. For frequently occurring phrases, one slug of metal was cast to save typing each letter of each word out every time, and that slug was termed a cliché. A word which now describes an idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty.

Translation by a Translator

Introducing Mr Jack Dunwell, one of Web-Translations’ prized French to English legal translators, and his abstract, poetic thoughts on being a freelancer…

Free At Last, Debbie

When did I lose my autonomy?
To this 5 am drive
I can’t even find my trouser legs
Without falling over
My socks
Without gasping?
At the night walk
The night walk

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Translate this…

Well, actually, you couldn’t, because today I am talking about whistled languages.

They may be as rare as an honest politician, but they exist, or existed, all the same, and not just in the enchanted forests of the seven dwarfs. On the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands, for instance, or in Turkey (Kusköy, “Village of the Birds”), France (the village of Aas in the Pyrenees), Mexico (the Mazatecs and Chinantecs of Oaxaca), South America (Pirahã), Asia (the Chepang of Nepal), and New Guinea.

It is in West Africa, though, that the sound of whistling is most common. Widely used in languages like Yoruba and Ewe, even the finest of the romance languages, French, is whistled in some places.

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Translation’s more than just words…


Language has come a long way from the pictographs of 5000 years ago (above), with the development of grammar an integral part. You wouldn’t think much of reading a piece of text littered with grammatical errors, as much as you wouldn’t were it soiled with spelling mistakes, right?

I read somewhere that, back at the turn of the last century, some Bolshevik print workers from St Petersburg refused to carry on with their jobs unless they were paid, not only for each letter they printed, but each punctuation mark, which seems fair…(note to self: do not let a translator hear that, we’ll have all manner of trade unionists on our backs: those printers arguably precipitated the first Russian Revolution!)

My point is that, paid for or not, grammar is as important as anything else, which is why translations should not be edited by anyone other than a trained linguist, despite what your intuitions may tell you.

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To translate or not to translate?

The ultimate answer is ‘it’s up to you,’ but here is a small gathering of words which may help to sway you one way or the other…

Think of this address on the back of your widget sales brochure, which has been translated into Hindi:

Widget Heaven
13 Wiggle Road
Bristol
W1D G3T
United Kingdom

Sure, the city and street should not be translated, but is the average provincial Indian postman really going to know what United Kingdom means? If you were posting something which had been translated into English would you know what यूनाइटेड किंगडम meant? (That’s an easy one, too, it means United Kingdom.)

You see the point.

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