Fernanda Pivano, a legendary translator who first brought to Italian readers so many great American writers and poets (from Edgar Lee Masters to William Burroughs, from Hemingway to Bob Dylan) died today in Milan.
I never had the privilege of knowing her in person, but it was thanks to her translations that I first read many American writers.
Last week I was in Québec City for the ATA-TCD Conference, which was superbly organized by Rina Ne’eman and Grant Hamilton.
The biggest takeaway of the event was the last presentation of the last day: A panel presentation by Don Shin, from 1-Stop Translation, and Rocío Txabarriaga, from Common Sense Advisory, named “The Future of the Translation Industry: MT, TM, Open Source, Crowdsourcing: Where’s It All Headed? And What Should You Do to Prepare?”
For his intervention, Don compiled some of the major efforts being done in those areas, but what I liked the most was his depiction of what the desktop of a translator working in a collaborative manner might look like.
The key point is that the translator is in control. At the top, you have the source text. Right below it, you have the translator’s TM, the project’s TM, and a Machine Translation of the segment. And below that, the translated segment.
It is up to the translator to choose which one of these sources she is going to use. On the right panel you have access to terminology and a chat window, to ask for help in live mode to other people working on the same project.
Finally, on the bottom right, there is a fare meter, that shows how much money the translator is making on the project. Whether this is a motivator or a demotivator depends on the price that the translator is getting.
Another panel discussing Translation Management Technologies, moderated by Duncan Shaw, failed to address what all the LSPs in the room were looking for: Interoperability. What I heard LSPs saying is that they want to let their translators work with any tool that they prefer (Trados, SDL, MemoQ, Across, whatever) and not to require them to have different tools for different projects.
What the industry seems to want, and the technology providers can’t seem to be able to deliver, is a standard format for Translation Memories that does not get corrupted if you change from one tool to another. Like as Comma Delimited File that can be opened by Excel, Lotus, MySQL or Oracle, without any data loss.
TM-Europe 2009 will be held on October 1st and 2nd in Warsaw. This year, the conference theme is Quality and Terminology Management, and Business Terms and Conditions for Translation and Localization Services.
In the 2008 TM-Global Translation and Localization Market Survey customers and providers alike reported that consistent high quality was the number one factor they take into account when managing processes or selecting a vendor, yet they had problems pin-pointing how quality is defined, measured and manifested.
The conference’s schedule covers an interesting range of topics, among which:
a workshop on translation and localization technology (Daniel Goldschmidt and Jost Zetsche)
a discussion between customers and translation companies on how they do business together
a panel and several presentations on terminology management
a panel and presentation on quality management
a presentation on different approaches to selling translation in the US and Europe (Dave Smith of Lingua-Lynx)
a post-conference workshop on Selling Translation
TM-Europe is the annual conference of the Polish Association of Translation Agencies (PSBT) and is organised by PSBT and TM-Global.
For more information on the conference visit www.tm-europe.org.
Translators are only human and errors are introduced by human translators every day… that’s why we have Quality Assurance processes in the first place! Auto-propagating translations pre-QA carries a tremendous risk
Many translation blogs start with tentative steps, unsure of where they are going, only to find their feet with practice and time. David, on the other hand, hit the ground running.
Technological jargon and the abbreviations used in text messages pose a new threat to clear language, the Plain English Campaign has warned on its 30th anniversary.
The Plain English Campaign is 30 years old.
The organisation says incomprehensible instruction manuals and the ‘text speak’ associated with mobile phones and the internet can be as hard to understand as the legal language of ‘small print’.
Chrissie Maher, the veteran campaigner who began the war on waffle on this day in 1979, said the increasing acceptance of street slang could prevent younger generations from benefiting from clearer communication.
The 71-year-old said: “Youngsters have their own jargon and that’s all very well in its place but if they aren’t taught plain English it will hold them back when it comes to applying for jobs, signing hospital forms or applying for credit in a shop.
“Technology has brought benefits but also a lot of jargon and poor language that is not easily understood. With mobile phones it is so easy to slip back into text language and then suddenly you have used ‘woz’ instead of ‘was’ in a formal letter without even realising.”
Research shows three-quarters of school pupils believe it is acceptable to use abbreviations such as ‘lol’ in academic assignments, and exam boards including the Scottish Qualifications Authority have admitted answers containing text message language are given some marks as long as they are correct (…).
This week, Google launched its new platform for translation projects, the Google Translator Toolkit. The tool is designed for translators and is similar to translation memory (TM) tools available in the market — such as Across, Déjà Vu, Trados, and Wordfast — and integrates Google Translate’s statistical machine translation.
As we have been discussing in Common Sense Advisory’s research, and in recent industry gatherings, this is the long-needed revolution in an industry that has been trying to “out-Trados” Trados, or trying to increase the productivity of processes and pump up technology that is old and cumbersome. Google Translator Toolkit incorporates all the collaboration features of current technology in an elegant way and enables translators to regain control of the process.
Even though it is still a bare bones solution, it will attract early adopters. Hardcore TM users, on the other hand, will likely shun the new technology.
It is still early to predict the impact of this launch, but we expect that the following will happen:
TM tools will develop interfaces that will read/write Google TMs and Google MT if they want to stay in the market.
Pre-translation and post-editing will become standard practices, even for the most recalcitrant translators.
Discussions about intellectual property of translation memories will become irrelevant, with negative impact for efforts like TM Market Place and the TAUS TDA initiative.
From the Google Translator Toolkit website, we also learn that:
It supports 47 languages.
Translations and glossaries each have a maximum size of 1MB.
Documents can be uploaded in most common file formats.
Translation memories have a maximum size of 50MB per upload.
Google Translator Toolkit is free, but in the future, Google plans to charge users whose translations exceed high-volume thresholds.
Google Translator Toolkit is not perfect. There are valid concerns about using it, along with the predictable resistance to change by those tied to the existing model. However, Google has already changed our behavior in the way we look for information. Now, it is launching a platform that has the potential to revolutionize the translation process, especially if combined with Google Wave, which is expected to be launched soon.
The role of the language services industry is to evolve from this stage. Alea jacta est!
Global software product development and globalization services are converging. The globalization services that make it possible for companies to sell and support their products and services outside of their home markets – internationalization engineering, software localization, website globalization, international QA & testing – are moving upstream, as more and more software development functions are outsourced.
The current economic downturn may have slowed the transition from U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) to IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), but Paul Munter, Audit Partner with KPMG, explains why and how U.S. companies need to put this issue back on their financial radar screens. You can meet Paul personally during LISA@Berkeley on August 5, when he addresses The Potential for IFRS Adoption in the U.S.Click here for more information.
SDL International made a technology announcement recently that will be of interest to any of you who are focused on streamlining the way you create, distribute, manage and pay for your global content, whether that be in the form of websites, marketing and sales materials, product documentation, support information, legal documents – whatever. We asked Andrew Draheim, one of the most experienced, hands-on content globalization consultants, to put the SDL announcement in perspective.
NOTE: Neither Andrew nor LISA has had access to software or any specifications, so all comments below are based on publicly available information from SDL.
What did Facebook have to say at the LISA Forum Asia 2009 in Taipei, after announcing that it had reached 200 million users – 70% of whom are outside of the U.S.? Did you know that Google is currently failing in all non-English search markets in Asia? And why is Thomas Friedman (of the ‘world is flat’ fame) flat out wrong?
All of us are only too painfully aware of today’s global financial downturn. Asia is being hit particularly hard, since its economies have long relied on exports and manufacturing as a road to increased prosperity. GDP growth in Mainland China dropped to substantially in 2008 compared to a robust 13% in 2007, and industrial production in Taiwan dropped by 32% in December 2008 (The Economist, January 29, 2009). The ever-expanding Western appetite for goods made in Asia has now disappeared, for the most part. It’s now time for the region to cultivate a more diverse economic base with unique offerings and value-added services.
Sin-Yaw Wang is back and refreshingly candid, as always. Wang, who helped establish the Sun Engineering and Research Institute in China in 2001, and then ran it from 2005-08, recently toured Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam. When we talked to him, he explained why standards are dangerous political weapons of war. He also brought us up-to-date on what’s happening with open source in Greater China, along with his views on Taiwan’s prospects for becoming an outsourcing destination for global product development. I’ll give you a hint – they’re bleak at this point, but he did offer some advice.
Joseph Hsu (Chairman of the Board of Symbio Investment Holdings Company) has been a ‘mover and shaker’ in the global outsourcing services industry in Asia since the beginning. In the following interview, he explains why Taiwanese and Mainland business leaders have a joint responsibility to ensure that China doesn’t become another Japan in ten years. It’s now time for people on both sides of the straits to work together to usher in an era based on the “China value” instead of the “China price,” one that is based on collaboration to build the ‘Innovated in China’ brand.
You can learn a lot from the companies founded by Taiwanese expats who were schooled abroad and honed their entrepreneurial talents in the U.S. They’re back in force in China and have excellent advice for Taiwan as it searches for the right model to leverage its global ODM/OEM success to move up the value chain to global outsourcing services. Eric Mou of iSoftStone warns other Taiwanese companies (in no uncertain terms) that their window of opportunity is closing very quickly in China. He encourages them to seriously explore the possibility of complementing Taiwan’s IP in the business applications arena with China’s scale to create a world-class services sector for Greater China and the world.
In November last year, Cisco announced plans to double its investment in China to USD 16 billion over the next five years. At the same time, it revealed that demand for its products grew 35% in emerging markets, compared to 20% in Europe and 13% in the U.S.
Editor’s Note: The following interview is an excerpt from the LISA Industry Insights Report: The New Breed of Chinese Localizers – Building Quality Localization Hubs With Full Outsourcing Capabilities. The report includes full versions of interviews of Beyondsoft, Celestone, Cisco Systems, E-C Translation Ltd., hiSoft Technology International, Neusoft Group Ltd., thebigword, VanceInfo Technologies and Welocalize, along with an analysis of how the Chinese software development and services sector is transforming itself into a global product development center before our very eyes.
For the past eight years running, Deloitte & Touche has ranked Welocalize as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America in its annual Maryland Technology Fast 50 ranking. And in 2008, Welocalize earned a place on the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row.
About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.
And if you’ve got a problem with that, don’t be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).
The hyphen has been squeezed as informal ways of communicating, honed in text messages and emails, spread on web sites and seep into newspapers and books.
“People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they’re not really sure what they are for,” said Angus Stevenson, Editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week.
Another factor in the hyphen’s demise is designers’ distaste for its ungainly horizontal bulk between words.
“Printed writing is very much design-led these days in adverts and web sites, and people feel that hyphens mess up the look of a nice bit of typography,” he said. “The hyphen is seen as messy looking and old-fashioned.”
The team that compiled the Shorter OED, a two-volume tome despite its name, only committed the grammatical amputations after exhaustive research. More.
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