As an effort to develop a culture of peace that emanates from a complete belief in the importance of translation in achieving rapprochement among peoples, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia created the King Abdullah International Award for Translation. Texts can be submitted in Arabic or any other language in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, religion, and literature although one of the main purposes is to further knowledge about scientific research.
According to UNESCO reports, Greece alone translates double the entire translation volume of all of the Arab countries put together, and Spain translates five times the volume that the entire Arab world together translates. In other words, the Arab world has translated less than 10,000 books during the past 50 years, while Greece has translated 10 times the amount of books translated in the Arab world during the same period.
There are two prizes, one is a $200,000 and a $140,000 second prize for the appreciation of contributions of individuals. The first award was presented in 2008 for works published in 2007. During the past five years, the award has received about 650 submitted translated works from different countries, submitted in various languages. So far, a total of 50 people have won this award.
We encourage professional translators as well as translation agencies around the world to submit their translations in and from Arabic and may the best ones prevailed for the conservation and enrichment of the Arabic language.
Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times showed a raw image of the future of human labor with the appearance of machines and the total displacement of humans. In the translation industry, this classic portrayal of technological advancement doesn’t hold true even though people think they can use Google translate to publish their translated website.
Yes, we use technology and advanced tools to work in a more effective way and deliver translations of higher quality, but, currently there isn’t a complete, flawless automation of the translation process. At the time we have in the field what is called machine translation (MT), not to be confused with CAT tools, which is a series of software that divide the original document into smaller segments so the translator doesn’t skip anything. Machine translation, on the other hand, is the application of computer software to translate texts automatically from one language to another. But, is it really effective? And, if it is, who will benefit the most from it?
How good is Machine Translation?
It is good, yet it is still a work in progress as many efforts around the world are contributing to the development of this complicated software. At the moment it can produce workable results; however, post-editing by a professional translator is still required.
First of all, let’s be clear in the fact that we are not talking about typical online translation services like Goggle and Bing, which don’t allow users to select subject fields or use terminology bases but rather, linguistically custom software (such as SYSTRAN) that even let you select a stylistic preference. These systems are the result of years of research and can now handle more than a word-for-word translation.
Pimp my MT!
There are three classifications of machine translation, each with their own set of advantages. In conjunction with your translation service supplier, you should decide which system will work best for you and your needs:
a. Ruled-Based Machine Translation—based on semantic rules of languages that uses a three stage process.
1. Analysis: creates a syntactic structure of the source language sentence.
2. Transfer: converts that structure into the correct one on the target language.
3. Generation: selects words to create a translation.
b. Statistical Machine Translation—based on a large corpora of information; is like a pet, it needs training to become the best pet it can be and consists of two major components.
1. Translation Model: it provides a translation based on the training data, aligning the source and target texts.
2. Language Model: gives the best translation based on the training data, only in the target language.
c. Direct Machine Translation—only uses a bilingual dictionary to provide a translation; it is the most rudimentary form of MT since it only replaces words from the source to the target language without following any linguistic analysis or processing.
What is the future of translators?
Translators will still be needed; there are still instances in which machines can’t do the job of a human. We should start looking at it as a friend and not as an enemy, since they will still take some of the bulk of the job for us. It is fair to say that, in the near future, we would never have to start a translation from scratch again. But, the creative part of it will always be in the hands of human translators. Translators and proofreader will always have the last word.
ATA’s president, Dorothee Racette, mentioned on this month The Chronicle an article she wrote for Tech Writer, an online magazine for technical writers and editors, about what companies should take into consideration when asking for a technical translation.
Although this article was written having in mind technical translation projects, it outlines the basic rules for success of any translation project.
Some of the key aspects the article points out are in line with our view on the topic and have been mentioned in previous posts (Follow the links to read previous posts about these topics):
1. Defining your audience is one of the most important aspects before starting a translation. It determines who your reader will be and therefore, structures the whole translation process from selecting a translator to the vocabulary.
2. Finding a Qualified Translator would offer that extra guarantee that you are hiring a person who’s knowledgeable and serious about translation.
3. Machine Translation (MT) usage will always depend on the scope of the project. Sometimes clients only need to understand the gist of a text and, do not require or want a high-quality human translation. In any case, MT should always follow a human post-editing step.
4. Proofreading is an essential step of quality assurance in translation. Your client will be impressed and satisfied that even the longest, most complicated document was delivered flawlessly.
JR Language created this blog for the general public to have a source of reliable information about the translation industry and the localization process. Following these recommendations will help the translation agency or translator have a better understanding of your need, resulting in a smooth translation process.
Technical requirements are essential components that must be taken into consideration ahead of time. After deciding the preferences that suit your business best, amazing results are sure to come out of your newly localized multilingual website.
- Think about the technical decisions:
1. Site structure, platform and navigation are key elements to consider before planning the localization of the site.
I. How are you going to host the translated version of the site: new domain, subdomain or subfolder? They all work differently according to your objectives and platform where you host your site (be aware of the limitation and implications of each option).
II. How are you going to navigate from one language to the other?
a. Are you going to use written text link for the choice of languages, or do you want to use images of national flags?
b. Will your user be directed to the main page upon selecting a different language, or will they be directed to the respective page where the language selection occurred?
c. How about the URL structure? There are different URL naming options in the target language that use specific extension to help users and crawlers identify the language in multilingual websites.
Examples: “en”=English and “es”= Spanish (Español)
2. Selecting the format of the working files and how to exchange content with the translation agency.
a. How will you supply the material to be translated: MS Word, html, xml, php, or others
b. Which of the above formats will be more convenient for your IT staff to receive the translated files
c. Revise your existing Content Management System (CMS). Look for answers to the question of structure and best practices to incorporate the translated content.
3. Website localization assurance is perhaps the most important step, as it is vital to proofread and test your website before it is open to the public. Always double-check connections, navigation and correct sequence within each language. By carefully reviewing the new site, you avoid the embarrassment of faulty navigation within your site that can render all of your efforts towards a multilingual page useless.
In order to market globally you must stop and ask yourself multiple questions to be successful in the planning and execution of a website localization project. Fortunately there are translation agencies, like JR Language, with the experience and know how to guide you in partnership to facilitate this complex process for you. JR Language has worked in multiple website translation projects. All of our work is edited and proofread independently after translation to ensure that your localized content appears original and attractive towards all your target markets.
If you have any questions about your multilingual website translation and localization, please contact us by leaving a comment or questions, sending us an email at email@example.com, or calling at 1-866-389-5036. We will gladly address your question and see how we can help you.
Continuing with our sequence of postings on the elements to consider when planning for website translation and localization, this post will teach you about the most important factors during the actual translation process. Keep in mind that at this point you should have made certain decisions about your audience and your budget. For more information on your audience and budget, read our previous posting Planning your website translation and Localization I: Audience, and Planning your website translation and Localization II: Budgeting.
- Think about the translation process:
To achieve great results you have to work with professional translators and editors like that of JR Language who have experience in researching keywords and competitors in the new market, and have a deep linguistic understanding of that culture.
- Find an experienced translation agency that can help, advise, and support your company effort with the localization of your content to different markets and languages. For your website to resonate with your localized audience, it must speak the local lingo and create copy that reads like it was originally written for that language.
- Localize your website appearance and metrics. The images, currency, and overall message must be appropriately adapted for the new audience. Additionally, different cultures expect different features from a website, based on what is customary for them. Try to maintain the overall look and feel of your original site, if possible, by retaining the same colors and style that your company has branded.
- All the graphics and multimedia elements need to be localized. Graphic translation and subtitling or voice-overs of videos are important for the overall experience of the user.
- When translating into other languages, text expansion within your website is common. Plan for this growth by leaving extra room or enabling text boxes to expand automatically. For example, in German and Spanish the increase of the translated text is about 20%-30% longer compared to English. Your webmaster may need to adapt the layout in order to fit everything needed.
The translation and localization is the fundamental process, impacting the success of your new multilingual site. If you have any ideas or concerns about the translation process while planning for your own website localization, please leave a comment, write us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call to speak with one of our project managers experienced in website translation.
Next week JR Language Translation Services will be attending the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas from Monday April 30th to Thursday May 3rd.
As the OTC website states, The Offshore Technology Conference is the world’s leading event for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection.
Annual conference attendance surpasses 50,000 individuals, and more than 2,000 companies will participate in this year’s exhibition. OTC receives attendees from around the world, with more than 110 countries represented in latest conferences. OTC has been held in Houston since 1969, and it is one of the largest trade shows held in the United States.
JR Language will be representing the translation Industry at the conference on its 35th anniversary. This translation agency, that has many of the Oil and Gas Industry’s important players as customers for language services, will be featuring its translation services for the Energy, Oil & Gas Sector.
JR Language delivers multilingual translation services for every area of the energy industry, from technical translations to contract translations, our expert team has 25 years of experience to back with confidence any energy related translation project.
We are looking forward to mingle with clients and prospective clients of our oil and gas translation services at this prestigious technology conference.
After careful consideration of various business management systems we decided on buying Plunet. This system will let us better organize and have a more in sync business management process. It will help us combine processes that, until now, were separated, making the PM and the administrative phases run smoother.
It is JR Language’s 5th anniversary. We want to thank our loyal clientele who has put their trust in us with their translation and localization needs.
We hope we can continue growing and successfully helping our clients in their translation needs for years to come. Thank you!