Category Archives: Lost in Translation

A Few Ways To Translate “I Love You”

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Saying ‘I Love You’ does not come easy for many.  And its especially hard when the language of love is the not easy to communicate.

Here are a few helpful ways to say ‘I Love You’ in our top most requested languages:

English Spanish
Happy Valentines Day Feliz día de San Valentín
I love you Te Amo
I miss you Te extraño
English Japanese
I love you 愛しています
I miss you いつもあなたのことを想っています
Happy Valentines Day ハッピー バレンタイン
English German
Happy Valentines Day Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag!
I Love You Ich liebe dich!
I Miss You Du fehlst mir!
English Italian
Happy Valentines Day Buon San Valentino
I love you Ti Amo
I Miss You Mi manchi
English French
Happy Valentines Day Bonne Saint Valentin
I love You Je t’aime
I Miss You Tu me manques

Have your Valentines Day translated by contacting us today!

Looking for Global Love? Submit to Win an iPad Mini!

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Verbatim Solutions has a fresh new look for 2014!

In celebration of our redesign, we want to share the love with you this Valentines Day by helping you expand globally with our translation services.

Submit your order of $250 or more by March 31st, and be automatically entered to win an iPad mini!

Order valued at $250 or more is equal to one entry; multiple entries are accepted. The more translation projects you submit the better your chances to win! Order must be received by 5 PM MST March 31, 2014 to be eligible for entry. Winner must be 18 years of age. Offer valid on new orders placed through March 31, 2014; entry must be applied at time of order; cannot be applied to previous orders. Offer cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Winner of 16 GB  iPad Mini with Wi-Fi will be notified by April 1, 2014.

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What exactly is cloud translation?

Cloud Translation ExplainedThere is great excitement in the air about the shift to cloud translation. The concept appears simple and seamless, i.e. translation can now be done with greater collaboration and ease for clients, LSPs and translators on a unified platform. But what exactly is involved in this shift? What is required to create a true cloud translation system? Who stands to benefit?

To fully understand the shift from desktop to cloud computing in the localization industry, is to accept the fundamental change in ownership and access of translation memories from LSP to client.

Step 1:  Centralization of File Management

In traditional desktop translation, standard over the past two decades, the typical LSP project manager knows that a portion of the day will be spent troubleshooting hardware, software, or connectivity issues. Not something to look forward to for sure, as many such issues come as not-so-pleasant surprises that almost always cause uncomfortable delays. File management and organizational skills have always topped the list of a project manager’s resume. Translators as well have had to accept the unwanted tasks of file management and learning more about files, folders, and hard drives than they ever cared to.

Cloud translation promises to ease that pain and eliminate most file management tasks. In theory, the concept of a package, archive, file, or any of a host of project-related contrivances disappears. Best of all, reference materials such as term lists and translation memories are no longer scattered around the world to be later gathered and merged together by the LSP. They are kept safe and sound on the cloud for easy access.

Step 2:  Live Translation Memory is Where it’s at!

For twenty years file formats have changed, but the concept of translation memory has not, i.e. translation memory is a storage area where all past translations are stored and from which new translations can be leveraged. All sorts of attempts have been made to best manage this concept; from using translators on intranets or LANs to the aforementioned scattering and merging of “packaged” TM curated specifically for translators located around the world. Each method offers collaboration and leveraging, but each is limited by restrictions of scale, costly coordination, or lack of ROI.

Even the best of these attempts have fallen short of managing TM the way the cloud can; it is for this reason that cloud translation is so important to the industry and to those requiring translation today and in the future. The main feature of the translation cloud is access. Access eliminates the need for a given person to be in a specific location, which means translators can ideally be located anywhere in the world and have the same efficiency as if they were together in the same room.

Cloud translation is NOT just a system of file-less project management and online status, as some would have their clients believe. Rather, it is a system of access to a client’s LIVE translation memory where new translations are entered and existing translations are edited at any time from anywhere. Any system that does not include this feature is not true cloud translation.

Step 3:  True Integration = True Cloud Translation

It is popular in CMS systems for seamless translation to be confused with cloud translation. Customers find it easy to submit their text through plug-ins or apps that claim to translate in the cloud, but essentially those plug-ins simply “package” up the client’s content and send it to the chosen translation vendor. There it is translated using traditional, inconsistent means and the final product is returned to the plug-in company as a digital file that is then uploaded to the client’s CMS. It’s seamless to the client, but it’s not cloud translation.

Access, not seamlessness, is vital when choosing a translation vendor; by providing access a LSP is essentially giving ownership of a live TM to the client and providing support for it. And why not? Clients pay for translation, so why shouldn’t they have complete access to it at any time they want with the ability to modify at will? There are few systems today that offer this type of true integration, but the results are fantastic!

So, who benefits? Ultimately, everyone.

With access, clients no longer debate pricing. Analysis reports are performed by the clients themselves, and decisions can be made based on actual volumes and matching, nothing padded. Exact matches are priced at $0.00 since, after all, that is the best benefit of leveraging the TM; and clients can even get more for their translation dollar by doing some of the work themselves.

One client found that updating his user manual from Product ABC to Product XYZ could be performed entirely by himself using true cloud translation tools provided by his LSP. This type of product update cannot be performed by the plug-in company at such a convenience or savings because the client ultimately does not have access to their TM in a live environment.

The cloud is exciting because it is finally allowing LSPs to connect translators with clients via access to translation memory. Ownership can now be easily placed in the hands of the client and LSPs can provide better tools for better translation instead of file management.

 

Tips for Website Translation

WebsiteWhy Human Is the Only Option

As a website owner, it is your job to ensure every person who comes to your website or blog has the ability to read what you have to say so they can make the decision to take action. Yet, if you do not invest in professional translation for your website, you will under-whelm your target audience. You’ll also be wasting your marketing dollars. With human translation services, you get a better result every time.

Why You Need It

You may know the importance of having a website that is easily accessible to a wide range of people. No matter what you are selling or what information you are presenting on the site, clear information is a must. Keeping that in mind, consider the problems with computer-generated website translation:

  • It lacks any real passion – it does not know the unique cultural components that make a language authentic.
  • Poorly constructed translation leads to mistakes and misunderstandings with your audience (likely an audience you spent significant amounts of time drawing in.)
  • Mistakes will make you look bad. In fact, mistakes on a website are one of the most common reasons people do not trust a new provider. Would you trust a provider with content with strange phrases?

There is something you can do about this, though. Instead of using a basic website translation tool, turn to a human translation service instead. When you do so, you’ll benefit in a number of ways.

Consider the Benefits

With professional translation, you’ll gain the following. You will be simplifying your translation process, getting better results the first time. You’ll meet the demands of your local environment. Localization is a critical component to translation that computerized systems miss. Additionally, you will find that you are losing far fewer customers and website visitors because you have a website that people can understand, enjoy, and react to in the way you want them to do so.

The final website will sound natural. It will communicate effectively with your audience. None of the original meaning of your statements will be lost. Human translation does take slightly longer, but the quality provided far outweighs anything offered by a computer program. The complex sentences and unique local phrases are not lost. You get to provide your readers with a genuine, natural website that they feel right at home using.

Turn to a professional translation service to help you to achieve your goals. You’ll love the results you get and so will your customers.

3 Common Mistakes of International Marketing

The need for global marketing has increased more in recent history than ever before.  Now, companies don’t just compete on a local or regional scale.  They must be prepared to expand to international markets if they truly want to succeed.  Unfortunately, most executives are not well versed in all the different languages of the countries they hope to do business in.  A savvy businessman understands this shortcoming and plans accordingly to avoid potential pitfalls.  Those who do not plan ahead may find themselves succumbing to one of these common mistakes.

English is everywhere.  Why translate?

English is spoken in many areas of the world but that does not mean that all people everywhere speak and understand English fluently.  As a matter of fact, most countries around the world only teach English to small groups belonging to the upper classes. This leaves out the majority of potential customers from any marketing campaign conducted only in English.  A prime example of this mistake occurred when Starbucks attempted to break into the holiday market in Germany by offering their Gingerbread Latte.  What should have been a great selling product performed very poorly because the company failed to translate it into German.  The next year saw a drastic improvement when Starbucks changed the name to Lebkuchen Latte.  Once everyone could read and understand what the product was, it sold quite well.

You ignore local culture.  Every country has its own unique idiosyncrasies and rituals.  Not fully understanding those cultural issues can lead to epic failures on the marketing front.  For example, suppose your client went to Central or South America with a campaign that compared the locals to Americans.  Most people in the region would be completely confused by that statement as they consider themselves to be Americans.  Instead of giving a compliment, your company would be insulting them with the exclusivity.

Likewise, each country has its own religious doctrines to follow.  Whether the religious majority happens to be Catholic, Hindi, Muslim, or Buddhist, failing to take into account the religious aspects of translated material can not only lead to poor sales, but in some cases it could lead to public outrage.

But it sounded great in English!

Would you drink ‘toilet water?’  Or let restaurant staff ‘eat your fingers off?’ Probably not.  But that’s exactly what some American ads in other countries sounded like when poorly translated.  Schweppes Tunic Water became Schweppes Toilet Water in Italian.  And Kentucky Fried Chicken went from ‘finger licking good’ to ‘we’ll eat your fingers off’ in Chinese.  Sometimes, the literal translation of the word or phrase is not what the message or the product is actually trying to convey.  There are subtle nuances that the translator must be aware of in order to translate the implied meaning rather than a literal translation which is what would be found in most OTC translation software systems.

Incorporating the global economy into your business plans in the future provides an excellent opportunity to expand your business like never before.  That being said, businesses that fail to capitalize on that opportunity are doing little more than spinning the wheels in the dirt.  The errors are costly and time consuming.  And, failing to capture the initial launch into a foreign estate, that’s one more opportunity for your competition to come in and steal the thunder.

Tips for Mobile Translation

When professional human translators take on the job of creating mobile apps in different languages, these specialized projects often require a specific approach that considers the design complexity of mobile apps, as well as the particular user base and how they will respond to translated text. When a company wants to reach local language communities with an mobile app, translation can be a core part of getting a project ready for release. Some simple tips can help companies pursue effective mobile app translations that work the way they are supposed to.

Do the Background Research

Before going ahead with mobile app translations, it’s extremely important for the company to know what kinds of language their targeted users have in common – beyond this, companies can also pursue what’s called ‘localization’ where they break down user groups into other demographics or identify different slang terms or dialect that may be popular among a user base, to really fine tune a project and its results.

Separate Text from Code

Many professional human translators are not advanced in handling raw code, but they are very good at translating words from one language to another. That means that for the most effective mobile app translations, some of the text for the app may need to be removed from its programming setting for translation. Some companies use simple spreadsheets to take out snippets of text that will be reinserted into code later, where others use specialized web hosted tools or other methods to sort out text that needs to be translated.

Plan for a Consistent Interface

One other very big tip for a mobile app translation is that all of the text on various screens or pages needs to be consistent in terms of format and appeal. That means looking at the individual phrases and sentences that will appear as the user makes his or her way through the app, to make sure that these will have the same kinds of sentence structures or formats that will be clearer to users – it also makes sense to make visual diagrams of how text will fit with graphics on any given app screen.

Define Common Terms

Having a list of definitions of common terms and spellings for ambiguous or most-used terms will also be a major part of effective mobile app translations – terms that may be used differently in different countries or language groups will need to be presented consistently and in ways that the largest segment of the user base can understand. That means having good reference materials that professional human translators can use to really achieve good results for these kinds of digital-based translation projects.

Words that Have No Translation

When it comes to translating and interpreting across various languages, one of the biggest issues that professional human translators face relates to changing words or phrases that do not have a direct translation. Within this general category of lexical differences, there are certain specific kinds of language items that don’t ‘match’ from one language to another.

Non-Matching Words and Structural Language Differences

Many words that seem to have no accurate translation involve fundamental differences between how certain language items are approached in different languages. For example, one type of difference would be the ways that languages construct their verbs. Here’s one instance of this phenomenon involving different sets of ‘Western’ languages that, while sharing many characteristics, do still have their differences. In Spanish, French, and many other related European tongues, there is a direct verb for the idea that something has a comparative worth (ex: Span: “merecer”) In English, however, a different kind of phrase is substituted, where English speakers will simply pronounce that something “is worth” something, or ask “is it worth…(x)?” This key linguistic difference has spurred many errors, for example, in European speakers asking Americans “does (something) worth (something)” Here, the speakers could perhaps be forgiven for carrying over their own verb into a translation attempt that is, in the end, not accurate.

Non-Matching Words and Idiomatic Differences

Another category of words with no accurate translation involves the actual labels or names given to objects, places and people in a given language. This set of non-matching words expands as more and more slang and dialect are included. For example, if a person from one language culture uses a local food, let’s say tofu, in a phrase like “tofu-eater,” a person from another language community must respond by figuring out whether that phrase has any inherent meaning in their own language. If not, the listener must ask the speaker more about what the particular label means and how it is used in context, in order to create a new phrase in their own language that parallels the meaning.

Handling Words With No Translation

Essentially, professional human translators work around this issue, in many cases, by creating new words and phrases that mirror the significance of non-translatable words. These substitutions can be elaborate descriptions, or simple single words that may roughly correspond to how a unique word is used in its original tongue. In other words, there’s a lot of fact-finding that goes into high-level translation, and research supporting the carrying of one linguistically labeled concept from one language to another.

The Future of Localization: Too “Fuzzy”, Part 4

This post is the final instalment of a 4 part series that examines the state of the localization industry and where it is headed in the future through use of new technology.

Translators already experienced in segment-based systems may rebel against this abandonment of the fuzzy match. After all, the fuzzy match is often used as a negotiation tool for acquiring work from an agency. Translators sacrifice a percentage of their full-word rate in return for the promise of the fuzzy match ROI.

The rebellion will be short-lived however. As pointed out above, term-based translation systems allow the client to have greater ownership of the memory and therefore expect greater ROI out of them. The days of the “review charge” based on exact and/or fuzzy matches are fading quickly. Translation agencies will be selling translation for one price only. Every segment without an exact match will be charged at a full-word rate, and the true competition for work among agencies will boil down to how well the online, term-based translation system can provide the best possible reference (think “translation experience”) for the translator.

Agencies will offer reduced rates based on this new cloud technology and experience. Margins will shrink, but so will overhead. Lots and lots of overhead. Our Verbingo technology has proven to shave 2-4 hours of time performing wasteful tasks on a basic, average project of 10K words into just one language. Tasks such as file prepping, material transferring, project importing, checking, troubleshooting, etc. can be reduced from hours to minutes using these new online tools. And that’s not to mention the practical elimination of everyday risks such as equipment and power failures.

Translators need to understand this business mindset, and that it’s inevitably on the way, if not already here. However, as agencies shift their sales discounts from segment-based to term-based processes, translators should also expect a similar shift in the way they expect to be paid. After all, if the fuzzy is to be eliminated, all that remains is translation at full-word price.

And why not? Why shouldn’t every word be paid at full price regardless of the level of matching?

In my opinion, translators stand to gain in this transition. The onus lies squarely on the shoulders of agency owners as they decide how to update their old systems with this new technology. New systems will allow translators to break free of the “fuzzy” hold and expand instead with new and creative ways to peruse entire databases of reference. The ability to provide an accurate and consistent translation can now lie 100% in the hands of the translator, and agencies offering the best translation experience will be the ones attracting the best translators, working out the best payment arrangements and expecting the best results for their clients.

Quite simply, if a segment can be presented to a translator as follows where client-approved terms are highlighted, and any further reference can be obtained by any number of intuitive, simple searches, the speed and efficiency of the translator will increase as will the potential for income. A flawed fuzzy match in this case might not only cause a good translator to question or distrust the translation memory, but also put him at risk of perpetrating potential errors and providing shoddy work.

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This is a positive shift in our industry. Technology can now be put to work as a true value-add instead of a partial value-add. Translation memories can begin to be better managed, trusted and leveraged without spending wasteful energy on meaningless edits. Translators can spend more time providing translation instead of doing file management, software management and memory management. More time spent translating at a full-word rate means more opportunity for existing and future talent to make a good income while practicing their translation craft. The future of this industry is predicted to be bright, but not before it becomes less “fuzzy.”

Benefit of Localizing your Marketing Materials

Companies with an international or global reach are quickly realizing that there’s a lot of value in making their marketing or outreach materials more precisely targeted to a particular audience. This is often called “localization” and is pursued along with other marketing efforts such as technical translation of documents into multiple languages. Localization is becoming a higher standard that companies use to make sure that they get what they want out of international or multi-lingual campaigns. Project managers, creative directors, and others are looking at how to secure services that can work localization into various parts of a campaign, from brochures and visual ads to web content and printed slogans on different kinds of product marketing inventories, and using professional, highly trained experts to perform quality assurance on their efforts.

Principles of Localization

What localization takes into account is that technically translated communications are often more effective when they appeal to a particular local dialect and culture. Here, the idea is that language, to a local audience, is much more than a set of words or “lexicon.” It’s the way words and sentences are said, along with references to local culture and customs that help the language seem authentic, to give communications the appeal of “language on the street” rather than artificial or formal language of many technical communications.

Why Localize Marketing Materials?

When people read marketing documents or take in marketing campaigns in any media format, they’re more likely to pay attention to things that ‘sound the way they do.’ Many technically translated marketing documents may not sound quite right; they don’t have the common mannerisms, characteristics, and inflections that a local population uses every day. Materials can sound wooden, stilted, out of touch, or even forced or contrived. Professional translators who can match results to a local population through localization deliver a much different set of results: materials that engage, that catch the listener’s or reader’s attention, and that fit into a local culture seamlessly.

Benefits of localization include better customer loyalty over time, higher rates of conversion, better returns on investment, and a better reputation for the business that’s behind the marketing campaign. All of this is accomplished through the same principle of “language precision” that suggests that in order to be effective, language has to really match a local community, and not just a technical standard. Think about using professional translation firms to work localization into what you use to reach out to customers.

The Future of Localization: Too “Fuzzy”, Part 2

This post is part of a 4 part series that examines the state of the localization industry and where it is headed in the future through use of new technology.

The concept behind these databases is that the translation engine uses them to find, or “remember”, a match on a current segment. A high percentage of matches means less translation required, and hence less cost to a client. As this concept was developed and began to clearly add value to agencies, the next logical step was to improve on that matching ability and create a more “fuzzy” matching algorithm that allowed an even higher percentage of matching, and hence an even greater savings. Clients quickly accepted this logic, and subsequently sought out agencies that could do the most leveraging on their materials to keep costs down.

Fuzzy matching algorithms have always been segment-based. They essentially search for as much of a whole match as possible. Internet browsing algorithms, however, have always favored “term-based” searching. Browsers know they can find how to bake a cake on the internet by typing individual terms like “bake” and “cake” and “recipe” much easier than typing “How do I bake a cake?”. Search results usually offer more options and choices by typing individual terms instead of longer “segments”.

Translators quickly caught on to this trend and found a world full of context and reference for their translations projects. Whatever the segment-based fuzzy engine couldn’t find, a quick term-based search on a friendly browser usually could. Translators always find comfort in consistency, and the more reference they have, the better.

Unfortunately, until now agencies haven’t been able to just provide access to their entire translation memory databases due mainly to their huge size. Instead, a project manager generally provides some sort of packet or project consisting of matches (exact and fuzzy) extracted from the main database, sent via email to the translator at the beginning of a project. Once the translation is complete, the translation pairings (source and target) are sent back to the agency and merged with the main database for future reference.

A heavy and burdensome process to be sure, one that has hampered the industry since the first CAD tools were introduced in the late 80s. The process seems easy enough, but what happens when an agency receives translation edits from the client? At what point are they integrated back into the database? Why update a database that may or may not ever be referenced again? Truth is, the majority of the time client edits never make it back into the translation databases, rendering them not only useless but even harmful IF they are actually needed again.

This problem is now being solved through a new generation of tools, such as Verbatim Solutions’ Verbingo, where a user can do a term-based search of a client’s ENTIRE translation database (accessible online) to find whatever possible matches may exist. The databases are stored on the cloud where they can be accessed from virtually anywhere.

This exciting technology is new. It presents change and the potential for different and better processes. It means we can leverage our translation databases (also called “memories”) better which means we can improve profits. The challenge now, however, is to re-train not only ourselves but our clients on where the best value lies in these memories. Let’s start by defining the value of segment-based matching to term-based matching.

Up Next: The “Exact” Match