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The Importance of Languages and Dialects

Endangered language

Endangered language

Guest post by Georgina Cornforth

With an estimated 6,000 languages already being spoken around the world in 2017, it’s surprising that there are enough speakers of the tens of thousands of dialects which we often don’t even realise exist. Although it is believed that languages and dialects are becoming extinct at a rate of around 3-5 each year, new ones are slowly evolving such as ‘Textspeak’ or even ‘Emoji’. If ‘Emoji’ were to one day be officially recognised as a language, it would certainly facilitate communication between people from all over the world and break down language barriers, however simple that form of communication may be. Nevertheless, dialects are extremely specific to certain regions and villages, so therefore maintain a great deal of culture within them which a possibly universal language such as ‘Emoji’ simply could not. (more…)

Is English still the world’s lingua franca?

striped globe cropAs the ever-expanding translation industry brings people more content in their native language, and on the eve of talks aiming to set out Britain’s exit from the European Union, it has been suggested that English is starting to diminish as the world’s lingua franca.

This blog post seeks to establish if there’s any truth to this idea.

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Plural patterns

piggy In English, we say 1 pig, 2 pigs, 3 pigs and so on.

So, does it follow that in another language it should be
1 [insert translated word for pig], 2 [insert translated plural of pig], 3 [same again] and so on?

Nope!

Earlier this month we worked on a project for one of our clients, a customer review network, which reinforced the fact that plural usage can vary greatly between languages. For this particular project, the translation source text included two snippets of text, one of which had a variable:
1 review
Showing {{number}} reviews

As the translation was into 27 languages, we saw many different patterns. We found this really interesting, and wanted to share them with you.

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How to sell the benefits of yourself as a human translator

Reports last week claimed that 40% of jobs would be replaced by machines by 2030, and that they will be able to ‘translate and interpret text quicker than humans’.

Many companies already use machine translation to provide quick and free translations of their websites and other materials, so it is down to us as language service providers along with our team of trusty translators to explain the added value of human translation.

But where do we start explaining to a company with their eye on the bottom line why they should invest in professional translation? Here are a few of our suggestions:

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Translation agency fees: what are you paying for?

In a world where machine translation (MT) is on the increase, it’s no surprise that someone might wonder whether they could save some money by having their text translated automatically. A performance comparison of machines vs humans is one factor in the debate, and is something we’ll touch upon soon. For this week however we’d like our clients to consider: what are you paying for when you hire a professional translation agency? Or to phrase this differently: what do you forgo when you choose to put your translation into a machine? (more…)

Translating mqxliff files in Trados Studio

Have you been sent a MemoQ .mqxliff file to translate, but you work with Trados Studio instead? Don’t worry, we can help you work with the .mqxliff file in Trados.

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Would your SMS be over the limit?

Ever contemplated a multilingual marketing campaign that uses SMS messaging to contact your customers? Or simply wanted to practise a bit of French with your latest foreign speaking acquaintance? Then you may want to have a serious think about size. Because when it comes to texting, it really does matter.

As English speakers, we are lucky enough to be given a grand total of 160 characters per text message. These days, our mobile providers generally allow us to exceed these limits and will concatenate multiple messages into one long message, billing us for the equivalent number of messages. UK mobile networks use GSM encoding, which supports a character set consisting of the Latin alphabet, numbers, many other symbols, and some support for non-English accented characters. ‘Extended’ GSM character sets are also provided in some countries and offer additional characters, but this can vary depending on the mobile provider and handset. Often, using these characters will also subtract more than one character from your precious 160 character allowance. In fact, even using your favourite smiley or salsa dancing emoji will instantly convert your message to Unicode and reduce your character limit to 70. And if you send a special character to someone with an incompatible handset, which is tricky to know beforehand, it may simply appear as a ☐. (more…)

LSP insights: getting hired as a freelance translator

translationJob applications can be daunting in any profession; not least in the language service industry, with most agencies operating a rolling recruitment process for new talent across various languages and specialisms. What does it take to stand out in a crowded inbox? The Web-Translations Projects Team weigh in on what they look for when hiring new translators.

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Guidelines for writing for translation

content_highlightedIn the translation world, we talk a lot about quality.  The first building block of a top-quality translation is a quality source text.

Writing source content with translation in mind is critical.  In addition to the standard rules for well-written English, there are specific guidelines to follow when creating source content for translation.

Keep reading to find our Top 10 Guidelines for writing for translation.

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Writing for translation

bookcountriesThe London-based author Kazuo Ishiguro writes with translation in mind. ‘I want my words to survive translation,’ he says. ‘I know when I write a book now I will have to go and spend three days being intensely interrogated by journalists in Denmark or wherever. That fact, I believe, informs the way I write – with those Danish journalists leaning over my shoulder.’

Ishiguro concedes that the process of globalisation, of appealing to and ensuring that one is understood by audiences around the world, may lead to a ‘greyness’ of language: ‘There are a lot of things I don’t write now. I stop myself writing certain things because I think, for instance, that it wouldn’t work once it’s translated out of English. You can think of a line that’s brilliant in English — with a pun or two, you know — but of course it becomes nonsense once translated into a different language, so I don’t use it.’

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New government grants for exporters

britain_eu_mashupDIT funding worth £6.7 million is now available to businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber

The Department for International Trade (DIT), known as UK Trade & Investment until it was rebranded last September, has 9 English regional DIT branches, as well as Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish branches.

The DIT Yorkshire and the Humber will deliver a programme of £6.7 million of funding for its Enterprise for Growth programme.

Funding for the programme comes from the EU to strengthen the region’s businesses. Targeting both first time exporters as well as businesses already exporting, companies can access matched financial support to develop exports and create jobs.

To qualify for the funding, companies in the Yorkshire and the Humber region must work with the DIT, who will help them to develop their international trade plans. Funding provided will support a company’s export strategy, which may include translation of marketing collateral for international visits, website localisation to improve positioning in target markets, translation of product packaging, and more.

If you are interested in the programme, please get in touch and we can facilitate contact with your local International Trade Advisor, who will help you get started.

The results are in… 2016’s Most Valuable Translator awards


Happy New Year!  We have had a great start to 2017, and would like to announce
Web-Translations’ Most Valuable Translators for 2016.

We’re extremely grateful to our network of linguists, whose extensive talents allow us to offer translation services across a wide range of industries. We’re privileged to work with many exceptional translators;
our MVT awards showcase just some of these. (more…)

Style. It’s not just for Versace…

I awoke this morning to find…

I woke up this morning and found…

When I woke up this morning, I found…

When I awoke this morning to find…

When writing original English copy, there are multiple options for conveying an idea. Similarly, there is almost certainly more than one way to translate a particular idea from another language into English.  The same is of course true when translating from English into other languages, to varying degrees.

You can probably think of other ways to express the idea of waking up this morning and finding something.  Imagine how many variations there are in a full sentence, a paragraph, or a page of text. (more…)

Is your site mobile-friendly?

Ours is! You can easily check with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

Visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/, pop in your URL, and Google will analyse your site. Having a mobile-friendly website is incredibly important, not only because so many people rely on their smartphones for internet access, but because Google uses mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. (more…)

When’s a paella not a paella? When it’s rice with stuff…

The rise of social media giants like Twitter and Instagram have changed the food industry. With instant access to an audience voraciously consuming ‘little twist’ recipes and how-to videos, TV chefs are now better placed than ever before to sell their brand to the public and attract more fans. However, increased access to followers works both ways, and the risk of a misguided post going viral is one downside to this new form of exposure. This is something Jamie Oliver found out on Tuesday when he took on Spanish gastronomy and lost.

Jamie_paella (more…)

Happy International Translation Day!

Poster-FIT_2016_final_A3-100dpi-212x300

We would like to take the opportunity to wish all of our lovely translators a Happy International Translation Day!

The event began in 1991, when the International Federation of Translators set the 30th of September as the date for an annual celebration to recognise the translation profession. This particular day was chosen as it is the feast day of Saint Jerome, the translator of Biblical texts and patron saint of translators.

Celebrating the European Day of Languages in Leeds

EDL-poster-2016-1

Join us and other members of the Leeds language community in celebrating the European Day of Languages on 26 September.

For a list of events happening in the Leeds area, visit celebrate.leeds-2023.co.uk

At Web-Translations, we are excited to be participating in some of the events:

Francesca has been interviewed on video as part of a career advice programme for sixth-form students, Jennifer will be presenting at the Language Showcase on the 26th, and Jasmine will be attending the Business Breakfast on the 27th.

Please stop by and say hello!

Google’s new Expanded Text Ads: what we understand so far

With the new-format Google ads running alongside standard text ads for nearly a month, we’ve noticed some quirks, understood a bit more, and most importantly – seen the benefits.

Google announced the change back in May, and launched the new Extended Text Ads (ETAs) at the end of July.

Advertisers have until 26 October to create old-style standard text ads (STAs); after this only ETAs can be created. Google hasn’t given an end-date for running STAs, but it’s in your best interests to make new ads. We recommend you start by running both sorts of ads simultaneously; if your ETAs don’t perform as well as your old ads, tweak them until you are comfortable removing the old ads.

The Google guide to expanded text ads is helpful, as is the Google blog post from the day of the launch.

More Content
The old-style character limit rule of 25/35/35 no longer applies. ETAs have 2 headlines and a description, and the fields will allow 30 characters in each headline + 80 characters in the description. However, the new format is based on the pixel width of a letter instead of the number of characters, so it is highly possible that your ad might be truncated, even if it is approved by Google. Google has recommended the combined number of characters in the headline should be kept to 33 to ensure the headlines are are not truncated, but this seems like a wasted opportunity if you might be able to use 60 characters… The ad preview is not entirely reliable, either. It seems the only way to know your ad displays 100% correctly is to actually see the ad running, which isn’t very helpful.

Overall, you can make longer ads, which give you more of an opportunity to convince someone to click on your ad.

The lack of a set character limit is making translating the ads more tricky; each ad needs to be checked in the editor/preview, and tweaked as necessary.

Longer Display URL
Previously the display URL as a field with 35 characters, but the new version combines the domain from the Final URL field with 2 fields of 15 characters each, separated by / characters, which will allow the display URL to take someone deeper into your site, but possibly not to a specific product, which you may have been able to do before.

Mobile-friendly
Google says the new format is to help advertisers ‘succeed in this mobile-first world’. With an iPhone 6, I noticed that the entire first screen is taken up with sponsored ads, requiring me to scroll down to see the organic search results.

Improved CTR
At Web-Translations, we have seen higher CTRs for our primary keywords with the new ETAs. Perhaps our competitors haven’t all started using the ETAs, but whatever the reason, the ads are performing better for us. The data below is based on English-language ads from 2016.  ETA data is only from the month of August; we expect these figures will drop in the coming months as more companies move to ETAs.

 

keyword Standard Text Ad
CTR
Extended Text Ad
CTR
professional translation 2.41% 3.43%
translation services uk 2.19% 3.23%
professional website translation 3.26% 5.36%

Mistaken identity: the importance of checking your references…

spellcheck

Following Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal from the leadership race, it was announced yesterday that Theresa May will take over from David Cameron as PM later this week. The news was soon trending on Twitter, with Brits across the country documenting their reactions.

Amidst the ranting, raving and jokes lay one subtle spelling error that caused a stir: Teresa May (without the ‘h’) actually refers to a UK Glamour Model, not the next Prime Minister. It is evident that Teresa uses Twitter as a marketing tool to good effect; as such, we hope that the added publicity was positive rather than negative. Nevertheless, it must have quite bemusing to suddenly find yourself involved in such a public discussion! We noticed this morning that Theresa (with an ‘h’) had now taken over as a trending topic; it seems that the general public did eventually check their spelling. (more…)

Poochas gracias!

Fran and Jasmine enjoyed meeting all of the lovely guide dogs

Fran and Jasmine enjoyed meeting the lovely guide dogs

Thank you to Gateley solicitors for inviting us to your Guide Dogs for the Blind event.

Well done on your fundraising efforts – we hope that the dog named ‘Gateley’ has a long and productive life as a companion.

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