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Web-Translations acquires Live Translation

Web-Translations is pleased to announce its acquisition of Batley-based company Live Translation.

www.livetranslation.com is the world’s first real-time translation service powered by human translators. It offers professional translation in minutes as well as a fully managed document and website translation service, making it the ideal complement to Web-Translations’ existing portfolio of services.

With prices starting from as little as £1.99, Live Translation is ideal for translation of emails, text messages, and blog posts.

Managing Director of Web-Translations Daniel Rajkumar is naturally thrilled about the takeover:

“This is a great opportunity for us, as we can now cover both ends of the market: the corporate and SME clients who have planned budgets to spend on their translation needs, and the smaller businesses and individuals who are looking for a more economical service, but still demand a certain level of quality.”

The next step will be to localise the website into different languages, then integrate Live Translation with email-translations.com, and other services such as blog translation that Web-Translations is already offering. The service will also be expanded to include additional language pairs.

Sign up for your free Live Translation account here to try it for yourself!

“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.

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!

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…)

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