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:
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…)
Before localising a website, there are several key things to consider:
If your site runs off a popular CMS, or if you have static HTML, localisation will be straightforward. Bespoke systems may also have been designed with localisation in mind.
• Consider whether all the elements of your design are editable. If you have images with embedded text that you have created in another program, the same program and file will be needed to create localised images.
• Ask yourself if the design is going to work if you don’t translate all parts of your website, or will there be an empty space on the French site where the “online chat” function is in English?
• Look for other potential spacing issues, such as the insertion of a dropdown language menu or currency selector.
• Find out if you can export/import content for translation. If not, would you prefer to provide us with access to your site, or would you handle all the content yourself?
• Can you provide server access to an external IP should this be necessary?
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…)
Each country has its own variety of cultures and traditions, and this is no different when it comes to business. What may be considered normal in one country could be classed as rude or offensive somewhere else and your behaviour could make or break a deal. Do your homework before attending any international meetings so you can make the best possible impression.
Japan is very conservative and this is reflected in their approach to meetings. To make the best impression dress smartly, preferably in a dark colour. Ladies should try to tone down their makeup and avoid high heels such as stilettos. After you have made a great first impression, remember to offer out your business cards and do so with both hands. For that extra special touch, translate the reverse of your business card in to Japanese.
When it comes to websites, translation isn’t just about providing information. It’s also – crucially – about user experience.
The web is basically a roadworks team. In the last 20 years, potholed beaten tracks have been renovated into information ultra-highways, smoother and speedier than most people even appreciate. We zip ideas along these tailor-made arteries and they come back at us just as quickly; standing on the central reservation is a fairly dizzying experience. (more…)