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Smartling releases plug-in that integrates IBM Watson Language Translator

Source: KMWorld
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Smartling, a translation technology and service provider, has released a new integration that enables global brands to use Smartling products and services with the IBM Watson Language Translator machine translation service.

The new Smartling plug-in helps organizations gain more flexibility and control of the translation supply chain, as well as access to machine translation technology that can help them enter new international markets.

The combination of Smartling’s translation software, management services, and platform architecture and the Watson Language Translator represents a new frontier in content localization, according to Matt DeLoca, vice president of Channels and Alliances for Smartling. Smartling’s software automates the translation process, helping to increase speed-to-market, while now also providing businesses with the flexibility to take advantage of Watson Language Translator. With Smartling, customers have the flexibility to use a variety of translation options, including the Smartling professional translators, their own preferred translation agencies, or an advanced machine translation engine such as Watson Language Translator, DeLoca explained.

The new integration by Smartling connects customers with Watson Language Translator and makes it possible for them to use the cognitive, machine learning tool for existing and new translation needs.

For more information, go to

“Les Jeux de la traduction 2017″ competition runs from March 10 to 12 at Concordia University

Source: Concordia University
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

From March 10 to 12, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, will host the best and brightest Canadian translation students for the 2017 Jeux de la traduction.

Hundreds of undergraduates from 12 teams representing universities across the country will put their language-swapping prowess to the test. The gruelling weekend will challenge their speed, rigor and imagination.

Participants will deal with materials that only human translators can adequately interpret. For example, teams will have to translate excerpts from songs and audiovisual material that uses “plays on words” and colloquial expressions. They will also be asked to translate materials that have constraints — such as 140-character tweets.

All events will be timed and judged on additional criteria such as creativity, spelling and grammar.

“Quick turnaround of material is a constant reality in the world of translation, so speed is important,” explains Christine York, lecturer in translation with the Département d’études françaises.

“But a translator has the responsibility to the authors and characters they are interpreting to do justice to their work, so this is also heavily weighed.”

Translations are judged anonymously by a committee made up of professors from each university represented at the games. The 12 competing schools are hosts to Canada’s only undergraduate-level translation programs.

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IBM reaches new record in speech recognition

Source: IBM
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Last year, IBM announced a major milestone in conversational speech recognition: a system that achieved a 6.9 percent word error rate. Since then, they have continued to push the boundaries of speech recognition, and have now reached a new industry record of 5.5 percent.

This was measured on a very difficult speech recognition task: recorded conversations between humans discussing day-to-day topics like “buying a car.” This recorded corpus, known as the “SWITCHBOARD” corpus, has been used for over two decades to benchmark speech recognition systems.

To reach this 5.5 percent breakthrough, IBM researchers focused on extending the application of deep learning technologies. They combined LSTM (Long Short Term Memory) and WaveNet language models with three strong acoustic models. Within the acoustic models used, the first two were six-layer bidirectional LSTMs. One of these has multiple feature inputs, while the other is trained with speaker-adversarial multi-task learning. The unique thing about the last model is that it not only learns from positive examples but also takes advantage of negative examples – so it gets smarter as it goes and performs better where similar speech patterns are repeated.

Reaching human parity – meaning an error rate on par with that of two humans speaking – has long been the ultimate industry goal. Others in the industry are chasing this milestone alongside IBM, and some have recently claimed reaching 5.9 percent as equivalent to human parity. However, as part of the process in reaching the milestone of 5.5 percent, it was determined that human parity is actually lower than what anyone has yet achieved — 5.1 percent.


Stepes app to support document translation from cloud drives

Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Stepes has announced that it recently launched version 5.0 of its mobile translation app used by professional human translators to support on-demand translation of documents stored on cloud drives such Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Box.

“The ability to translate documents directly from cloud drives is a natural progression of Stepes’ mobile-centric human translation technology,” commented Carl Yao, Stepes founder. “This new release allows content writers and localization managers to easily request document translation services anywhere and anytime, all from their smartphone.”

By enabling direct support for cloud technology, Stepes is continuing to improve the process of tanslation for businesses and linguists alike. Stepes is the world’s first mobile translation ecosystem powered by professional human translators from around the world. It enables businesses to streamline translation and localization by instantly notifying linguists of new project requests. Stepes technology allows linguists to translate anywhere, anytime from their mobile devices, or desktop computers.


Lionbridge onDemand Grew 68% in 2016

Source: Lionbridge
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Lionbridge Technologies, Inc., announced 2016 results for Lionbridge onDemand, its Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) solution that is fundamentally changing the way translation services are provided.  Lionbridge onDemand combines software and services to enable users in all enterprise departments to easily submit and receive translation projects online, and seamlessly access translation within their content management systems and marketing applications.

Lionbridge onDemand’s revenue grew 68% year-on-year in 2016 and has more than 5,600 users.  These users reported high customer satisfaction with onDemand which boasts a total Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 72.  The platform’s highly-automated, intelligent delivery model drives significant benefits including:

  • 99.8% on-time delivery rate
  • 99.4% revision-free project rate
  • 99% of users satisfied or very satisfied (85%) with their customer care

This performance reflects the uniqueness of the solution and the maturity of the BPaaS production model.

About Lionbridge onDemand

Lionbridge onDemand is a comprehensive Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) solution that combines global-scale software with the industry’s most trusted translation services.  Lionbridge onDemand supports dozens of file types and provides seamless integration with content management systems and marketing platforms.  As a full-featured solution, onDemand provides users in all enterprise departments to access translation, receive automated quotes and delivery commitments, user review workflow, asset management and invoicing.

To learn more, visit

Nonprofit organization offers Jewish texts in English online for free

Source: The Oakland Press
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Earlier this month, Sefaria, a nonprofit organization devoted to Jewish text learning, announced it had uploaded 22 tractates of the renowned Steinsaltz English-language edition of the Babylonian Talmud and will post the remainder as they are translated and annotated.

The Hebrew version of the Talmud will begin going online by the end of the year at

The Talmud, considered the canon of Jewish law, is central to rabbinic Judaism but has mostly been the purview of rabbis and scholars, in part because it is written in Aramaic, and in part because it encompasses multiple volumes.

“Ninety percent of the world’s Jews speak Hebrew and English,” said Daniel Septimus, Sefaria’s executive director. “The Talmud is in Aramaic. From an accessibility point of view, it’s a game changer.”

Although there are other online Talmud editions, they are not in English or cost hundreds of dollars to access. Sefaria’s edition has a Creative Commons noncommercial license, meaning anyone can use it as part of the public domain for noncommercial purposes.


SDL announces 2016 earnings

Source: SDL
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

SDL released its preliminary financial results (for the year ended 31 December 2016) to the analyst and financial community on 7th March 2017.

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US Department of Defense announces recipients of 10-year language services contract

Source: Slator
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

In a statement dated March 3, 2017, the DoD announced the winners of a super-sized, 10-year language services contract. The USD 9.86bn Army contract will be divided among nine companies and run through March 16, 2027.

Winning slots in the framework are ABM Government Services, CALNET, CWU, Global Linguist Solutions, SSI (Mid Atlantic Professionals), Mission Essential, SOS International (SOSi), Valbin, and WorldWide Language Resources.

The contracting authority, the US Army Intelligence and Security Command in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, received 20 bids. The award comprises multiple foreign language support contracts under the program called Defense Language Interpretation Translation Enterprise (DLITE II).

The DLITE II contract will provide interpreting, translating, and transcription services for US Army missions across the globe. Much of it will be “short notice and urgent” and include locations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Defense Department RFP, contractors are expected to supervise and report on the services they deliver on a daily basis, including costs. It is also desirable for DLITE II contractors to employ linguists with secondary level, mission-related skills like medical, legal, engineering, and military.

Only three of the nine companies awarded are language service providers (LSPs) in the narrow sense — WorldWide Language Resources, Valbin, and Global Linguist Solutions — with the latter two primarily serving the US government.

Contract winners Mission Essential and SOSi started out as LSPs, but have since expanded their focus to serve other government requirements. ABM specializes in facilities management, CALNET in IT and intelligence, CWU in staffing, and SSI in language training.


The Dictionary of American Regional English tracks down unwritten terms which are dying out

Source: Johnson, The Economist
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Biologists reckon that most species that have ever existed are extinct. That is true of words, too. Of the Oxford English Dictionary’s 231,000 entries, at least a fifth are obsolete. They range from “aa”, a stream or waterway (try that in Scrabble), to “zymome”, “that constituent of gluten which is insoluble in alcohol”.

That is surely an undercounting. The English have an unusually rich lexicon, in part because first they were conquered (by the Vikings and Norman French) and then they took their turn conquering large swathes of the Earth, in Asia, North America and Africa. Thousands of new words entered the standard language as a result. Many more entered local dialects, which were rarely written down. The OED only includes words that have been written.

Dedicated researchers have managed to capture some of the unwritten ones. For the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), researchers conducted thousands of interviews—usually with older country folk—who still spoke their regional dialect. They found such treasures as “to pungle up”, meaning for someone to produce money or something else owed, and “the mulligrubs”: indigestion and, by extension, a foul mood.

The smaller and more local a word, the more danger it faces of dying out. DARE’s editors trekked out to find old people in the countryside precisely because younger urban speakers are more likely to adopt metropolitan norms, whether “broadcast standard” in America or “BBC English” in Britain. Other factors gave this homogenising trend a boost: advertising, which tends to standardise the names of things bought and sold in national markets, and the rise of American popular culture and global mass media in the second half of the 20th century.

A study published in 2012 found some evidence for this homogenisation. It looked through a huge trove of books published since 1800, scanned and made searchable by Google, and found that the death rate of words seems to have speeded up in English (and also in Spanish and Hebrew) since about 1950. One cause is the death of perfect synonyms in an era of mass communications: the words “radiogram” and “roentgenogram”, both meaning the same thing, were eventually edged out by “x-ray”, the world having no need for three labels for the same thing.

But DARE’s editors resist the standardisation hypothesis. What people call their grandparents—for example, “gramps and gram” or “mee-maw and papaw”—is more immune to the steamroller of national norms. In fact, these words are especially stubborn precisely because they give people an emotional connection to where they come from.


The Evolving English WordBank chronicles and preserves dialect

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 2017

Source: Warwick
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation awards £1,000 for the best eligible work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction or work of fiction for children or young adults written by a woman and translated into English by a female or male translator, the prize to be divided between the writer and her translator(s), with each contributor receiving an equal share.



See more about the prize and how to participate >>

Version 13 of Translator’s Tool Box released

Source: International Writers' Group, LLC
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

International Writers’ Group, LLC, has released version 13 of The Translator’s Tool Box: A Computer Primer for Translators by Jost Zetzsche. The latest version has more than 470 pages, with all new and updated information, links and images, and is published simultaneously in two different formats: PDF and an HTML5 help system.

Until March 13th, the new 13th edition is available for 31 USD.

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Using JavaScript to make website localization easier

Source: Jon Ritzdorf, Moravia
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Until recently, website localization was primarily approached in three ways.

  1. In the traditional file-based approach, project managers would take their loose collection of files (e.g., HTML, PHP, XML, etc.) and simply hand the content off to translation. Those translated files, once returned, would be passed on to the web developers to build the target-language versions of the site.
  2. Then there was the API “connectors” approach to website localization. Using this method, your web content management system (WCMS) (e.g., Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.) could be connected to a translation management system (TMS) via an application programming interface (API). Source content would be pushed to the TMS through the connector to the translation vendor and routed back to the WCMS through the API.
  3. From about 2010 onward, we saw the rise of DNS proxy or “mirror-based” approaches to localization. No fussing around with APIs—you would get a web mirror where your localized website is stored and managed by a third-party server with a built-in TMS.

Each of these legacy methods have their associated risks and opportunities as well as varying levels of localized content management involvement.

JavaScript to the rescue

Today, with advanced developments in JavaScript extensions, a number of companies are making web localization even easier. You just add the company’s provided JavaScript code to the web pages that you manage, and a sort of “search and replace” occurs of the source language content with the target language content.

In a nutshell, the JavaScript spiders the English content and does a near-instantaneous “switcheroo” with the visitor’s preferred language, provided by your translation service, as the page renders. For those of you who want a more detailed explanation, TAUS has a great article on the subject.

These third-party web localization services have a number of features in common:

  • Simple one-line JavaScript code placed on each page for which you want to have translated content
  • Online editor for translation
  • Option for in-context editing of translated content
  • Option to add machine- or human-translated content


Google adding neural machine translation to more languages

Source: Google
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Last November, people from Brazil to Turkey to Japan discovered that Google Translate for their language was suddenly more accurate and easier to understand. That’s because we introduced neural machine translation—using deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases—for eight languages overall. Over the next couple of weeks, these improvements are coming to Google Translate in many more languages, starting right now with Hindi, Russian and Vietnamese.

You’ll get these new translations automatically in most places Google Translate is available: in the iOS and Android apps, at, and through Google Search and the Google app. We’ll be introducing neural machine translation to even more languages over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for smoother, more fluent translations.

Image courtesy of Google


TransPerfect faces class action by ex-employee over data theft

Source: Slator
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

A former TransPerfect employee has filed a class action lawsuit against the New York-based language service provider (LSP).

The class action suit was filed in the Southern District of New York by Jesse Sackin, who, based on his LinkedIn profile, works at e-discovery provider Catalyst Repository Systems. Sackin was an Account Executive at TransPerfect from September 2013 to December 2015.

The ex-TransPerfect employee was among thousands of current and former staff whose W-2 information was stolen in January 2017: A member of the LSP’s accounting department fell prey to a phishing scam and forwarded the W-2 data to cybercriminals. The data included names, addresses, salaries, as well as bank account and Social Security numbers.

Sackin said the stolen information was of great value to cybercriminals and accused TransPerfect of failing to take the necessary precautions to safeguard employee information from unauthorized disclosure.


A step-by-step look at how “Star Wars” movies are dubbed (into Spanish)

Source: io9
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Translation is one of the toughest jobs in Hollywood— especially when you’re dealing with one of the most popular franchises in the world. Remezcla and NPR’s Latino USA recently released a neat breakdown of how Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was translated into Spanish… and the history behind R2-D2’s infamous Latin American moniker.

During the profile, Katya Ojeda, the translator behind many Latin American versions of Star Wars films, shared how it wasn’t easy converting Rogue One into Spanish. Since Star Wars is one of the hottest things out there, and Disney is always wary of leaks, the translators and actors never actually got to see the movie while working on it. Instead, Ojeda had to translate from a rotoscoped version of the film. The entire screen was in black, and when the actors talked, little “bubbles” would open up so she could observe the lip movements. She said the script was only available on one computer, and there was no way to access it outside of working hours.

When it came to the actual voice acting, the actors had to rely on acting cues from dubbing director Héctor Gómez Gil, since he was the only one who actually got to see the film beforehand. Well… with one exception. Turns out, Diego Luna voiced his own character, Cassian Andor, for the Latin American version of the film.

Another challenge surrounds the specific terms that are unique only to Star Wars. Nowadays, Disney and Lucasfilm will send all translators a list of terms they’re supposed to use, like sable de luz instead of lightsaber. That’s mainly so they can coordinate with marketing and toy development. However, that wasn’t always the case, or at least it wasn’t as enforced. One of the most famous translations is the use of Arturito instead of R2-D2— a name many Latin American Star Wars fans still use fondly, even though it’s been updated for the newer films.

See more >>

Copyright Lucasfilms

thebigword wins major contract with NATO

Source: Slator
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Provider of translation and interpreting services thebigword has been awarded a major contract with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.

The large five-year framework contract means thebigword linguists will provide troops language support using a mix of local Afghan and US staff. The unique nature of NATO operations means all linguists are required to be fluent in a variety of language combinations. A challenging requirement that thebigword is uniquely placed to fulfil thanks to their large pool of linguist partners who can deliver services in more than 250 languages across the globe.

The company provides other firms and organisation with language support and has a dedicated Defence Division based in The United Kingdom and Washington, D.C. Other clients include the US Army, Department of Homeland Security, UK-based defence manufacturer BAE Systems and crisis response organisations such as the UN.

Larry Gould, CEO of thebigword, said:

“With our dedicated defence division and our pool of linguists we’ve been able to supply NATO with highly trained staff that work to make sure troops, contractors and local people can communicate effectively and ultimately are kept safe while on site in Kabul.
“We’re very proud of the work we do with international organisations – whether it is assisting on NATO missions or helping with crisis response in places like West Africa with the UN. The work we do helps to save lives and makes a huge difference and I’m very proud of the professionalism and skill shown by all our staff in sometimes difficult situations.
“We’re committed to ensuring we meet the unique requirements of the NATO contract and we hope to expand on this in the future. We’re a growing company and are committed to delivering the best in language service support for all our clients.”

thebigword is the largest interpreting services provider in Europe and is in the top 15 language companies in the world. It works with a range of major Government departments, including the Ministry of Justice and the NYC Department of Education, as well as blue chip companies and brands on a global scale.

Translators without Borders announces the winners of its 2017 Access to Knowledge Awards

Source: Translators without Borders
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Created in 2012 to honor the volunteers, donors, and non-profit partners of Translators without Borders, the awards are given within six categories. In addition to six winners, a number of honorable mentions were also chosen.

Excellence Award

Awarded to Edith Boehler

A former board member and treasurer, Edith provided outstanding support during an internal transitional phase at Translators without Borders in 2016 and, on a voluntary basis, helped considerably with the financial reporting.

Honorable mention: Asian Absolute

The global translation company, Asian Absolute, donates the expertise of its technical support team on a daily basis to help manage the content of the Translators without Borders website. Their technical and administrative staff provide consistent quality and a service that can be relied upon.

Right to Knowledge Award

Awarded to Narges Rasouli

Narges has donated over 100 hours of translation time through the Farsi Rapid Response Team. She has been awarded the Right to Knowledge because of her ongoing commitment and the quality and impact of her translations.

Honorable mentions: Gema Ramírez-Sánchez, CEO of Prompsit, and the Kurdish Machine Translation project team

Over a matter of weeks, Gema and the team of volunteers created an offline machine translation system to facilitate conversations between aid workers and Kurdish-speaking refugees. The app is available for free on Google Play and can be integrated into other systems.

Empowerment Award

Awarded to the Guinea Mentors Team: Sylviane Couturier, Maryvonne Dulac, Jacek Sierakowski and Corina Roe

The mentors have been an invaluable resource in empowering new translators in Guinea, West Africa, and preparing them for their future careers. As part of the Health Education & Training (HEAT) project, the new translators are improving access to health information for the local communities.

Honorable mention: Farideh Colthart

A regular visitor to the refugee camps in and around Athens, Farideh is a strong supporter of Translators without Borders. She volunteers her time as a translator on the Farsi Rapid Response Team and has been involved with training interpreters in Greece and speaking publicly to recruit more volunteers.

Humanitarian Communicator Award

Awarded to Internews

Internews has been a non-profit partner of Translators without Borders since the start of the response to the European refugee crisis. They understand the importance of communicating with communities in the right language and have established an essential and accurate resource for refugees in deciphering the facts from rumors. See more:

Honorable mention: Save the Children

The international children’s charity, based in the UK, has been a continuing partner and donor on the European refugee response, particularly looking at how language barriers are impacting children in refugee camps.

Donor Award

Awarded to Sandberg Translation Partners (STP)

The Nordic translation company has been a long-term supporter and sponsor of Translators without Borders. In 2016 they donated a significant amount of in-house translation and project management time to a joint project with UNCHR, the UN Refugee Agency, and involved 35 of their freelancers in the work.

Honorable mention:


A leading provider of custom machine translation systems, KantanMT is a sponsor of Translators without Borders. In 2016 they held a very successful Hike Challenge fundraiser in Dublin, raising over $6,500 and are also active in promoting TWB’s work through social media.

Communicator of the Year

Awarded to the Translators without Borders Cookbook team: Sophie Llewellyn Smith, Chris Thompson, and Pavel Gudoshnikov

The volunteer technical and design team launched the Translators without Borders Cookbook to celebrate cultural diversity by sharing locally loved recipes. The result has been a valuable fundraising tool for the organization and an excellent example of creative collaboration. See the Cookbook at

Honorable mentions: Jessica Lightfoot and Sheena Makhecha

Jessica played a crucial and central role within the team establishing connections with new NGO partners. She has been consistent and reliable in collecting, screening and cataloging important documents. Sheena managed the project to subtitle and dub the renowned sexual abuse and rape awareness video, Tea Consent, into 11 languages. Partnering with Voicebox and DotSub on the technical elements, she was the driving force behind this highly impactful project.

See more >>

Pearl Linguistics files for bankruptcy

Source: Slator
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Slator has learned from multiple sources that London-based Pearl Linguistics is going into liquidation. According to our sources, interpreters working for the language service provider received an e-mail telling them the news. The company website has been pulled offline.

Pearl Linguistics is a relatively small language service provider that qualifies for the so called small company exemption for regulatory filings in the UK, which applies to companies with revenues of  less than GBP 6.5m or fewer than 50 employees.

In a LinkedIn post, Mathew Anson, Head of Business Development for language service provider Silent Sounds Communications, says his company has just taken over a contract from Pearl Linguistics in Derby and asks interpreters for Punjabi, Slovak, Arabic, Pashto, Farsi, and Polish to contact him.

Pearl Linguistics was founded in 2004 by Zeynep Demirbilek and Pinar Guler who, according to the most recent regulatory filing, each owned 50% of the company. Demirbilek held the position of Managing Director.

The company made it onto the vendor list of some large framework contracts announced in the UK in 2016. In May 2016, the company was selected as one of a dozen vendors on the GBP 40–120m framework contract awarded by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organization (ESPO).

As recently as January 2017, Pearl Linguistics emerged as one of the winning bidders for the GBP 100m (maximum) framework contract to provide interpretation and translation services to the UK’s National Health Service.

GALA 2017 Announcement: Amsterdam, 26 – 29 March

Source: GALA
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The 2017 GALA conference will be held in Amsterdam on the 26th through 29th of March. Livestream of the conference will be made available to GALA members who are unable to make it in person.

Video: GALA 2017 Announcement: Amsterdam

Conference website >>

A finished English translation of “The Zohar”, 17 years in the making, to become available in May

Source: npr
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The translation of a rare Jewish text is almost done, thanks to Berkeley scholar Daniel Matt. This May, publishers will release the final volume of the authoritative English translation of The Zohar.

The Zohar’s origins date back to 13th-century Spain when a man named Moses de Leon claimed to have found a collection of ancient manuscripts, but scholars believe he was actually the author.

Matt knew the translation wouldn’t be easy. He also worried that intensive study of the mystical writings would exhaust him spiritually. But then in 1995, he got a phone call. A woman named Margot Pritzker was interested in paying for the full translation. Her family owns the Hyatt Hotels. Matt wasn’t interested, but agreed to meet with Pritzker and her rabbi. She asked how long it would take.

“And I said 12 to 15 years. And Margot said to me, you’re not scaring me. And at that moment, I turned a corner, and I basically said, OK, I’ll do it.”

Read and hear more >>

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