We’re happy to announce our new ebook The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelance Translator.
Covering everything you need to know from day one, including qualifications, key skills and how to win your first customers, this Ultimate Guide also shows how you can branch out and grow your business over time. The back of the book contains an extensive list of resources for translators and other language professionals, including translators’ associations, conferences, blogs, podcasts, online dictionaries and handy Internet links.
It’s ideal for translators who are just getting started, those thinking about making the leap into freelancing, or even established translators looking to pick up some tips and tricks for taking their business to the next level.
Why the Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Successful Freelance Translator isn’t just for beginners
Of course, this Ultimate Guide is ideal for new freelancers. If you’re just starting out in the translation industry, we aim to give you a comprehensive introduction to every aspect of it, so that you can feel confident about setting up your own business and diving in head first. After all, the career of a freelance translator may be exciting and fulfilling, but it can also be risky and even intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with it. Having an expert guide will help you to confront the challenges you’ll face along the way.
At the same time, though, there’s also plenty here for experienced translators. Once the basics are dealt with, the book gets to grips with all kinds of advanced tricks and techniques that respond to real challenges that all translators face. Ever asked yourself any of these questions?
• How can I market myself more effectively?
• What can I do to improve my relationships with my clients?
• Am I charging enough for my work?
Over 150+ pages, we give you the skills, resources and advice to answer these questions and more.
Being a freelancer means taking responsibility for our own continuing professional development, and everyone can always find some way to improve. For example, many translators still don’t offer a translation portfolio that their clients can access at a glance – so in one chapter of the book, we lay out why portfolios matter, how to build one, and how you can make sure people see it once it’s ready. In other chapters, we explain the importance of social media, discuss the pros and cons of working for direct clients or translation agencies, and explore what we can learn from one of the worst translations in history.
Our aim is for this book to be a valuable companion whether you’ve been a translator for a few weeks or a few decades. To find out more about the book and what it can do for you, visit translatorsbook.com or our Amazon product page.
Make sure to tell us what you thought of the book after reading it: your feedback will help us to reach out to the broadest possible range of translators all over the world.
You can get this book at a 50% discount if you apply the following code at the checkout page of our website translatorsbook.com:
The discount is valid until April 30.
An interesting reflection from Tim Parks on the expendability of translators (from a commercial point of view) and the contentious issue of what a book’s translator deserves to be paid. Though everyone might agree that translators should be better paid, do we think of translation as its own intellectual property, and therefore translators deserving of a book’s royalties, like an author is? Or would it be better to be paid based on the difficulty of a translation, which likely has nothing to do with how commercially successful a book is (but everything to do with how long the translation takes)? Or will certain literary translation always be a labour of love? ( I was interested find out that 0.10 euros a word is a going rate for top-quality literary translation …)
From the article:
“Krieger eventually won her case and the money she was owed, but the sequence of events suggests the essential difference between translators and authors: [the publisher] Piper could never have tried to deprive [the author] Baricco of his royalties, since without him there would have been no books and no sales. He was not replaceable. But however fine Krieger’s translations, the publisher felt that the same commercial result could be achieved with another translator. It’s not that translation work is ever easy; on the contrary. Simply that it rarely requires a unique talent. Krieger wasn’t essential. She could be replaced.”
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Estelle Caswell of Vox spoke with Amber Galloway Gallego, a sign language interpreter who is known for creatively visualizing music into grammatically correct American Sign Language. Gallego, who has worked with over a great number of famous musicians, explains why she translates the emotion of the music for those who are hearing impaired or deaf.
If we merely show the sign for music then we are doing an injustice as an interpreter. So after listening to the beat and how their their tonality is and all the instruments then what I do is I break it down from English to ASL. So rhyming, metaphor, and wordplay are an intrinsic part of lyrical music especially hip-hop. …Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 concert venues have been required to provide interpreters for deaf attendees. …It’s vitally important that concert venues hire interpreters who understand the emotional power of music.
See the video interview with Amber >>
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With this new text translation language available, locals and travelers can communicate from and to Bangla throughout Bangladesh, the Indian subcontinent and around the globe by using the Microsoft Translator apps on their preferred device (Windows, Android, Kindle, or iOS). Businesses can also easily integrate the Translator text API in their business processes such as customer support, web localization, training or internal communication. The API can also add native translation support for solutions businesses market for industries such as manufacturing, retail, education, gaming, or government services.
With the Microsoft Translator live feature, whether in the Translator apps or on the web at http://translate.it, users can also translate speech from any of the nine supported languages to Bangla.
See more >>
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Translation took to the big screen this year in the Academy Award-winning film, Arrival. Indeed, when an ominously oblong spacecraft touches down on Earth, translation proves to be humanity’s only hope. As the world descends into utter chaos, linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is sent to the frontlines to attempt to communicate with the mysterious “Heptapods”—to find out what they want and why they’ve come.
We asked three top translators to watch Arrival and to give us their two cents (via email) on the linguacentric feature: Hillary Gulley, translator from the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, and instructor at CUNY—Queens College; Esther Allen, translator from the Spanish, French, and Portuguese and associate professor at CUNY Graduate Center and Baruch College; and Will Evans, translator from the Russian, president at Cinestate, founder of Deep Vellum Publishing, and cofounder of Deep Vellum Books.
Esther Allen, Will Evans, and Hillary Gulley.
Here’s what they had to say:
Words Without Borders (WWB): What did Arrival get so right about being a translator?
Esther Allen: In “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, on which Arrival is based, the words associated with Dr. Banks are “linguist” and “linguistics”; the word “translate” never appears in the story. Part of what Arrival’s cinematic translation of the Chiang story does is introduce translation. And Arrival is an incredible translation, which takes a short story written in 2000 and adapts, expands, and reinvents it to make a statement that is profoundly and presciently about where we are now in 2017. Reading the story provides an interesting perspective on the film’s origins, but the story’s intellectual and political ambitions are far more limited.
What Arrival gets—far better than the Chiang story does—is that translation is about context. When Banks translates one of the alien symbols as “offer weapon,” the world goes into a panic. But she argues that in context the term could have a number of meanings, “weapon” being only one. This is exactly how a translator deals with the ambiguity that is inherent in every word and particularly challenging when moving between languages. Any given term in one language has the potential to become, legitimately, a range of other terms in translation, depending on context, intention, and a host of other factors.
Hillary Gulley: I like that Arrival so vividly illustrates that what a translator communicates and receives in language has at least as much to do with the subconscious element of language as it does with the information that we receive and reconcile consciously.
Will Evans: The importance of translating the whole experience of language—beyond words, combining the phrase or statement or entire text, adding in context, nuance, phrasing—rather than to think of translation as a direct word-for-word transfer of meaning.
WWB: What did Arrival get horribly wrong about being a translator?
Hillary Gulley: The movie confounds the skill sets of a linguist and a translator, for one thing, and then the separate skill sets of a live interpreter and an ESL teacher on top of that. I couldn’t figure out why Dr. Banks was expected to be all four. Maybe because she is a woman? Women tend to be great at making seventeen disparate jobs look as though they belong to one seamless role. Look at the rest of the characters in the movie, who are all men, each with a single mission—or maybe two: their assigned task, involving either fighting or science, and their seemingly self-assigned duty to second-guess the only woman there, who also happens to be the only one of them equipped to save humanity. At some point I said, this screenplay was definitely written by a man. (I was right—and the same applies to the short story that inspired the screenplay.)
In any case, there is this assumption—in the movie and in life—that a linguist and anyone else who speaks multiple languages is automatically a translator, which isn’t the case at all: some of the best linguists and most fluent speakers of a second language I’ve known are not great translators, and vice versa.
The film also propagates the common misconception that translators are walking thesauruses. Maybe this bugs me because I am the worst thinker on my feet, and prone to blanking on all names and the simplest terms. At home I handle this by using a series of sound effects—there’s a favorite clicking sound I usually resort to—so I can move quickly through a sentence without getting stuck on a word. In the film, whenever someone asked Dr. Banks for a term, I wanted her to pass them a copy of Roget’s instead of obliging herself to answer as if it were part of her job description.
Esther Allen: I winced when it’s revealed, in one of the many flash forward scenes, that the book Banks has published about the Heptapod language is titled The Universal Language. That indicates a return to the Chomskyan linguistic model which scorned the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. But Sapir-Whorf—the hypothesis that your experience of the world and particularly of time is conditioned by the language you speak—is the central underlying premise of both movie and short story. And it’s only Sapir-Whorf that has something to tell us about translation. Translators don’t deal in universals, they deal in particulars, in contexts. But that has more to do with the history of linguistics than with the practice of translation.
Will Evans: I don’t know too many translators who live in modernist masterpiece houses on lakefront property, but I like the idea of a linguist approaching translation as a series of problems to be solved without losing the empathy so necessary to make translation successful. It’s super valuable to keep the fields of linguistics and literary translation in dialogue with one another to continue to expand our understanding of the full range of possibilities that language contains.
Read the full interview >>
Related: Interview with the linguist behind the film Arrival
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Two years ago, the marketing research division of Florida-based TR Cutler Inc. interviewed CEOs of privately held manufacturing operations in North America and reported that their top fear was a lack of communication with employees due to the inability to motivate or inspire the workforce. That research was recently replicated, and while communication breakdowns are still the No. 1 fear, the reasons and importance are quite different: It’s about communicating with a multicultural workforce.
In 2015, 20 percent of these CEOs identified communication challenges as being generated by multiculturalism, but by early 2017 that percent doubled to 40 percent. CEOs indicated that the communication problem was about creating a culture of quality in an increasingly multilingual workforce.
Figure 1: Reasons for communication breakdowns by privately held manufacturing CEOs (© 2017 TR Cutler, Inc.)
“Advancements in technology are often met with resistance, especially when the workforce fears displacement,” says Ignacio Isusi, a multicultural industrial communication expert who drives best-practice leadership. “The rise of automation is often associated with the threat that companies will outsource labor to machines. It is up to executive leadership in the C suite to ensure that the employees feel valued, respected, and perceive their critical role to the future success of the company.”
Isusi, who operates the leading cross-cultural executive coaching firm ISUMAS Coaching, says “Spanish-speaking executives being fully understood by English-speaking employees, and English-speaking executives being understood by Spanish-speaking employees must be a top requirement to maintain a quality-centric work environment.”
This is not merely a matter of translation or dual-language workplaces. Industrial leaders must capture the communication needed to honestly empower and engage employees. The foresight of devising impactful and effective employee engagement, and supporting safety and quality initiatives is essential.
A cultural communication context to ensure quality and safety includes training a multilingual workforce. It is an urgent challenge for many industry sectors, particularly in all aspects of manufacturing. In food and pharma manufacturing, as well as automotive and aerospace, a misunderstood assembly or hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) is literally the proximate cause of an employee or customer death. These dangers are not hyperbole, but rather a daily occurrence. Isusi insists, “Industrial leaders must properly accommodate the linguistic needs and preferences of employees in order to increase retention rates and satisfaction, ensure safety, and achieve success.”
Failure to completely understand training materials leads to inferior employee performance, negatively affects morale, and underutilizes workers. In the manufacturing sector, this translates to poor throughput and deficient productivity. Most seriously, lack of comprehension of safety and regulatory training may lead to injury or death.
See more >>
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Localization in the gaming industry is no easy game to play. Diverse brand loyalties, distinct player preferences, cultural differences, hard-to-spot subtleties, and a host of other issues make it essential to approach gaming localization as strategically—and accurately—as possible.
But what makes the difference between a good supplier of gaming localization and one that is mediocre at best? How do gaming companies select the right localization partner? And where do some translators and LSPs fall short?
These are just a few of the questions discussed in the latest Globally Speaking podcast—an episode that focuses entirely on the specific needs of the gaming industry.
Hosts Renato Beninatto and Michael Stevens interview Andy Johnson, who is the Principal Program Manager at NSI, Inc. and has worked in the field of gaming localization since 1991. And a lot of what he has to say might surprise you.
Among the most important issues discussed are:
- How games and the gaming industry itself have both changed in recent years
- How gaming companies determine what languages will or will not be profitable for localization purposes
- Why localizing content across the board isn’t the right solution in many games
- How do gaming companies use big data to drive localization decisions?
Listen to the podcast >>
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Which is better, working for translation agencies or finding your own clients directly? Every translator has an opinion on this, and the debate sometimes gets contentious. But there are pros and cons to each kind of working arrangement.
Working for direct clients can be very lucrative, although you do have to take into account the extra work involved. Unlike with work acquired via a translation agency, you have no project manager to handle communication with the client, so you will be the one sending all those emails, marketing yourself, finding outsourcers and doing a million other administrative tasks that can distract from your true passion: translating. By the time you add up the hours spent on these ‘unpaid’ tasks, you might find your total hourly rate doesn’t look so lucrative after all. Nonetheless, working for companies directly is a great way of feeling plugged in to your industry of choice, and allows you to hunt down the work you find most interesting.
Plenty of translators love agency work however, because it’s much more simple and straightforward. Your only concern is the quality of your work, meeting deadlines and billing on time, because the project manager takes care of everything else. Many translators find that they form strong working relationships with agency staff that can last for many years, and enjoy opportunities for professional development that they might not otherwise have heard about. Agency work is often very varied as well. If you only like one form of translation you might find this dull, but many people love the variety and say it makes every day interesting.
Of course there’s nothing to say you have to choose one or the other, and plenty of people are happy with a mix of both. In your ideal world, which working style suits you better?
This is the summary of an article published in the translation blog of Translators Family, under the title Is it better to work with agencies or direct clients?, by Oleg Semerikov and Translators Family.
Trying something new– a sort of monthly digest of TNews. Let me know if you don’t find it useful or of interest, thanks! – Jared
I hope you have had a productive March so far. Here are some of the highlights in Translation News for the month:
Translation / Interpreting
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GLOBO, a technology and services company specializing in multilingual communication, announced today it acquired Certified Translators and Interpreters, based in Houston, Texas. Mark Rockford, a leader in the language services industry and the founder of Certified Translators and Interpreters, joins GLOBO as the Vice President of Strategic Services.
Under Rockford’s leadership, Certified Translators and Interpreters (CTI) emphasized interpreter professionalism and recognized the critical role linguists play in communicating with Limited English Proficient individuals. Rockford realizes the influential role interpreters have in the healthcare space, and has been an advocate for increasing meaningful language access to Limited-English patients. CTI established its footprint in the Southwestern United States and has a presence in Monterrey, Mexico.
GLOBO and CTI share professional values and the desire to drive the industry forward by highlighting the role of professional linguists and focusing on technology, said Gene Schriver, GLOBO’s CEO and founder.
“You want a guy like Mark Rockford on your team,” said Schriver. “He’s respected by his peers in the industry, by his team of professional linguists, and by the healthcare administrators that work with CTI every day.”
“Gene has fostered an amazing culture at GLOBO, and we share the same values and vision. GLOBO’s incredible growth is the result of building the best technology while highlighting and supporting the work our linguists do every day,” said Rockford. “CTI’s customers will see immediate benefits through GLOBO’s tech prowess and expanded services capabilities.”
GLOBO worked with CTI to interpret Pope Francis’ remarks during his Papal visit to the United States in 2015. Over 100 credentialed international media outlets had access to GLOBO’s audio feed of the interpretation; several networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN, broadcasted GLOBO’s interpretation of Pope Francis’ Spanish remarks into English.
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Kola Tubosun, curator of Yorubaname.com, is heading up a Yoruba speech-to-text initiative. Their immediate goal is to create a Siri-like application that will service millions of Yoruba-speaking people in Nigeria and elsewhere but, ultimately, their creation will help ensure the language’s longevity. Besides, a Yoruba Siri—maybe we’d call her Simi instead— is bound to have a lot of personality.
From the interview which appeared on okayafrica.com:
For those who don’t know much about speech synthesis, can you elaborate on it some more and tell us how it’ll be utilized for the Yoruba text-to-speech application?
Speech synthesis is the process of creating human speech using software and audio segments. It’s called text-to-speech because the end product needs written text to put into action. Like those bibles that read the words to you, or like those GPS systems that talk, or even these Word applications that can read to you what you have typed, the system picks out already written text and converts it to synthetic audio. It is created, usually, by a process of training the computer to string along segments of audio into comprehensible speech. Watch this video to see it in action.
What we’re trying to create for Yoruba is similar, and the uses of the application are many. For instance, most artificial intelligence softwares use spoken language as means of activating them. Siri, on the iPhone, for instance, can be spoken to and “she” speaks back. That voice is a manufactured voice. But because it can respond to commands and take commands, it is useful in many other ways. Blind people, for instance, will be able to operate their phones if they can just talk to it and tell it what they want. You can use it at ATMs to help people who don’t speak English, etc.
Why is it so important that we have this software in Yoruba in particular?
Well, Yoruba has over 30 million speakers. That is already a huge population that can benefit from this kind of innovation. Many of those 30 million do not speak English at all, which means that they are shut out of a number of things involving technology. If a market woman can use an ATM in her local language, I think that empowers her. If she can speak to her phone in Yoruba and it does what she wants, that’s a leap forward.
But more importantly, African languages have been left out, for too long in global conversations in technology and that has always bothered me. Siri exists in Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian, three languages which, combined and multiplied by two, still aren’t as widely spoken as Yoruba, yet there is Siri in those languages. Why? Because we don’t care?
So, I’m working on Yoruba because that’s the language I speak and on which I have competence as a linguist to create anything. My overarching aim, however, is to show that more can be done for any African language, and more should be done. One of the ways to keep a language from being endangered is not only to speak it to our children, but also to have them capable of adapting to changing times, in this case with technology.
See more >>
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Stepes has announced new, on-demand translation review for mobile devices so businesses can efficiently review, post-edit, and store translated content on the cloud for access anywhere.
“Mobile translation review delivers a superior user experience so language and subject matter experts can effectively and conveniently perform linguistic validation and post-editing for translated content.”
The efficient review of translated content for linguistic quality and technical accuracy is a major bottleneck in the translation and localization process. Stepes simplifies translation review, allowing in-country reviewers (ICR) and subject matter experts to validate translated content anywhere, anytime from mobile devices or computers.
Linguistic quality assurance (LQA) is an integral step of the translation process. Many enterprise customers rely on their in-country staff in sales and marketing to review and validate translated content from localization service providers (LSPs.) However, complex file formats and demanding turnaround times often lead to poor quality or missed project deadlines.
“Stepes simplifies translation review, providing an intuitive, chat-based interface so bilingual sentences can be checked and edited for mistranslations, terminology accuracy, and consistency anywhere, anytime,” commented Carl Yao, Stepes’ visionary. “Mobile translation review delivers a superior user experience so language and subject matter experts can effectively and conveniently perform linguistic validation and post-editing for translated content,” continued Yao.
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The Associated Press, which maintains a writing style guide that is something of a bible for journalists, is overhauling its recommended terminology for sex and gender, according to their latest stylebook update.
In a presentation to journalists this weekend, the curators of AP‘s style guide urged writers to start thinking of “gender” and “sex” as separate concepts, noting that while gender is “a person’s social identity,” “sex” refers to their “biological characteristics.”
You can only be one sex, it turns out, but you can be quite a few genders.
“Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex or gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people,” the update noted. “When needed for clarity or in certain stories about scientific studies, alternatives include men and women, boys and girls, males and females.”
The update also authorized the use of the word “they,” typically designed to refer to multiple individuals, as a “singular pronoun,” noting that “gender non-binary” individuals often ask others to refer to them using the plural term, sending the whole English language into a tailspin.
“We specify that you need to make clear in the context that the ‘they’ in question is just one person,” AP‘s style master said, in announcing the change. “We don’t, among our own staff, want to open a floodgate. But we recognize a need for it, so we want to open it a bit.”
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Airbnb now has a Chinese name, and everyone in China is mocking it.
The American room-rental startup last week revealed its new brand name to be used in China — a three-character moniker, 爱彼迎, “Aibiying”. Each character individually translated means “love,” “mutual” and “welcome.”
Airbnb said in Chinese on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, that the name means “let love meet each other.” The company further explained that more and more Chinese travelers are getting to know each other through Airbnb, and that the name represents their value and mission bringing together tens of millions of neighborhood communities around the world with love.
However, the company totally failed to impress Chinese people with this moniker. Rather, the Chinese name gave Chinese netizens some cheap entertainment, laughing at the expense of Airbnb.
Why? First, the pronunciation of this name is like some sort of difficult language test. Even for a native Chinese, this name is really hard to pronounce. There’s a high chance that Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky might have a hard time just spitting out the words.
Second, the name just sounds wrong in many ways. With the new moniker “Aibiying” quickly taking social media by storm, Airbnb has received an overwhelming amount of nasty comments.
Some said it’s corny; some said it sounds like a name for a sex toy shop, especially with the pink-colored background accompanying the logo. Some said that it sounds like a copycat porn company (because the second character “bi” sounds similar to a crude slang for female genitalia). Many said that the company should just drop the Chinese name altogether.
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A new study reveals that adults are capable of learning and processing a new language in a way that resembles native speaker language use.
“Learning a second language as an adult is a difficult task,” said UC Riverside affiliate psychology professor Elenora Rossi, who was on the research team. “For years, scientists have believed that only the brains of very young children were pliable enough to allow for successful learning of a second language, while that was thought to be impossible for adults.”
In the past two decades, the advance of testing methodologies and revolutionary neuroimaging methods have allowed language processing to be studied in real-time in a non-invasive way, opening the doors to a better understanding of how our brains process linguistic information in two languages.
In the study, the team looked at how native English speakers, who learned Spanish as a second language as adults, understood sentences in Spanish that contained subtle aspects of Spanish grammar that do not exist in English. Participants in the study were already advanced in Spanish, but not native speakers. The goal was to test them on aspects of Spanish that are typically difficult to learn because they don’t exist in the structure of English grammar. Errors were purposely introduced and participants were asked whether they could detect the errors.
“Counter to the long-standing assumption that learning a second language and becoming bilingual past early childhood is impossible, we found that English speakers who learned Spanish as adults were able to understand these special aspects of Spanish,” said Judith Kroll, a UC Riverside psychology professor who was also on the research team. “The results suggest that adults are capable of learning and processing a new language in a way that resembles native speaker language use.”
The research team also included Pennsylvania State University faculty members Michele Diaz, psychology professor, and Paola Dussia, professor of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
The authors of the paper, published in Frontiers in Psychology, are part of a larger research effort between UC Riverside and Penn State to study the bilingual mind and brain. The research is conducted in collaboration, and supported by a National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education grant. Future research by the team will target understanding how an intensive but short period of new language learning may shape adult minds.
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BabelNet, one of the largest operating multilingual encyclopedic dictionaries has recently released its new live (beta) edition.
The new BabelNet live version includes, among other things:
- An increase in the total number of languages, from 271 to 284. New languages include: Adyghe, Azerbaijani, Goan Konkani, Livvinkarjala, Maithili, Northern Luri, Serbo-Croatian, South Patois, Tarantino, Tulu
- Cantonese, Min Nan and Classical Chinese are now managed, displayed and searchable separately from standard Chinese
- Chinese text is shown in either traditional or simplified characters, depending on which is used in user searches
- Increased number of relations from 380M to around 1.8 billion
- Increased number of images from to 10.8M to 12.1M
- Increased number of synsets from 13.8M to 15.2M
- Increased number of senses from 745M to 932M
- Better management and visualization of has-part, part-of, has-kind, has-instance and is-a relations
- Update of all of the resources, including:
- All of the Open Multilingual Wordnets at their latest release
- Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikidata and OmegaWiki
- Integration of new open wordnets for Gaelic, Chinese, Portuguese and Korean
See more >>
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Today, United Language Group (ULG) released its proprietary Translation Management System (TMS), Octave. Facilitating collaboration across translation teams while consolidating tasks and streamlining project communication, Octave integrates Machine Translation (MT), API connector technologies, and CAT tool capabilities. Octave represents a significant upgrade to ULG’s platform base technology, allowing for exponentially more robust features in subsequent releases.
Octave incorporates translation management features for clients, vendors and project managers, allowing for complete, end-to-end transparency throughout the lifecycle of a language project. Through Octave, clients can submit language projects, track status updates, view project reporting data, and manage terminology. Integrated, add-on applications such as OctaveMT provide the flexibility, security, and scalability for global project submitters in any industry. Octave uses a secure, password-protected environment to keep data confidential and safe.
“Octave is ULG’s solution to many of the workflow efficiency and process transparency concerns with language translation,” said ULG’s President, Kristen Giovanis. “This launch is a major step forward for the scalability of our business and the effectiveness of our services. Octave underscores our commitment to providing language technology that meets the needs of our clients in all industries and global regions.”
Octave features the integration of client-specific process workflows as well as multilingual terminology and supply chain management capabilities. Octave allows clients to submit documents for translation, approve estimates, and track the status of current language projects. Through the Octave client portal, users are provided with task notifications as well as in-depth reporting features, including purchase order history, number of words translated and terminology management savings.
Capacity management technologies and change order capabilities transform any localization undertaking into a customizable and transparent process for clients. Personalized and automated client estimation and invoicing in Octave creates efficiency and ease of use for end users.
Octave also offers online reviewer capabilities, resource management and file management features that assist global project submitters with localization projects of any scope and scale.
See more >>
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The automotive landscape remains in constant flux as ride-sharing services implement autonomous driving platforms and driverless cars and trucks appear on the roads. Billions of dollars and euros are flooding the sector as chip companies (Intel and Qualcomm) buy vehicle systems companies (Mobileye and NXP Semiconductors), traditional car manufacturers (Daimler, Ford, and GM) put money into driverless taxis (Lyft and Uber), and ride-hailing services (Uber) purchase self-driving truck technology (Ottomotto).
In the process, vehicles have morphed into computers – if not supercomputers – on wheels. Software now controls the engines as well as the dashboards. BlackBerry’s QNX operating system and middleware run in more than 60 million vehicles worldwide, while Apple and Google continue developing their own underlying software platforms. That means user experience design is just as important as body or parts design was in the past. At the same time, vehicle ownership continues to be a rite of passage in many countries as people enter the middle class and aspire to continue moving up. These customers expect the same personal attention they see in every other market. Language, of course, enables a more intimate level of experience.
However, drivers can’t be distracted by Google Translate or stumped by poor translation when they are lost at night on dark streets or traveling at 140 kph on Beijing’s 6th Ring Road. Dashboards must look familiar and resemble the screens on their phones, and be accurate and responsive – and for some drivers – integrate with their preferred wearable or digital personal assistant. These requirements mean that localizers in the automotive industry face new challenges as they adjust to delivering what are, in essence, very large mobile devices:
- Design focus has shifted from autobodies to software and connectivity. Car manufacturers now compete against well-funded and experienced software companies such as Apple and Google. Dashboard design, and the software that runs it, have become top criteria for many buyers, whose expectations come from their everyday use of smartphones. No one wants to learn a new interface, especially if it’s clunky or diverts attention from driving. In this context, localization quality becomes a critical issue. Getting internationalization right for these components is essential.
- Infotainment screens are just one of several components to be localized. Software now runs drivetrains, tires, and various engine components. Embedded sensors report data via the internet to help technicians focus only on what they need to review, fix, or replace in order to speed up service delivery times. As a result, documentation for technicians must evolve as their functions change.
- Vehicles integrate more deeply with the world around them. Anyone who has purchased a new car within the last 24 months is driving a device that is connected to the internet: AT&T alone reported 11.8 million connected cars as of Q4 2016, up from eight million in Q1. This connectivity serves multiple purposes: 1) providing vehicle-to-vehicle communication; 2) enabling vehicles to connect to infrastructure, such as when Audis talk to traffic signals; 3) facilitating telematics to help track vehicles; 4) supporting personal digital assistant, smart home, entertainment, and security apps; 5) delivering over-the-air updates; and 6) creating built-in hotspots. These new scenarios have profound implications for localization, including increased demand for multilingual speech integration, manipulation of multimedia formats, adaptation for local regulations, terminology rationalization, and software testing.
- Automotive content continues to iterate at faster rates and in smaller pieces. Customers want intelligent cars now, at affordable prices, and in their local languages. Auto manufacturers have been scrambling to get the design right for their infotainment screens. Connected vehicles raise the possibility of continuous upgrades and improvements post-sale. Not all brands are quite there yet, but their focus should now turn to iterating their enhancements faster in all languages. When they do, localization teams must be ready to support Agile workflows.
Fortunately, the localization managers in charge of multilingual content and code production don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can pick up the baton from colleagues who have already figured out how to localize for the small screen. They can also benchmark themselves against competitors such as Apple, BlackBerry, Google, and Intel by applying the same CMMI-based benchmarking methodology used by those companies: CSA Research’s Localization Maturity Model(TM).
Language – whether expressed as text, speech, or gesture – will only become more essential for enhancing customer experience for drivers worldwide. As software, hardware, and user data are more tightly integrated through vehicular connections to the Internet of Things (IoT), localizers in other industries may be able to learn a thing or two from the automotive sector over the next few years.
Common Sense Advisory >>
In the 2016 film Arrival – an adaptation of a short story by Ted Chiang, Story of Your Life – Earth is visited by extraterrestrials, known by humans as “heptapods”. They appear in huge, black spacecraft and, although they don’t attack mankind, various leaders of the world view them as a threat. Unable to communicate with the aliens, Dr Banks, a linguistics teacher, is employed by the US army to translate their language into English.
Jessica Coon, an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University, Montreal, acted as a consultant on Arrival, helping director Denis Villeneuve and Actor Amy Adams accurately bring Dr Banks to life. As well as providing pointers to what the character’s office would look like, Coon looked over the film’s script, discussing with the filmmakers how a linguist – a person who studies linguistics, defined as “the scientific study of human language” – would go about communicating with an alien life form.
“There were a lot of things the film got really right when it comes to doing fieldwork,” Coon says. “Earlier on in the film, she’s the first person to take off her helmet and really try to interact with the heptapods in a meaningful way. As linguists, we’re interested in the more abstract properties of languages, but you can’t get at those directly. You have to interact with speakers of those languages, whether that be human language or alien languages.”
Another prominent point the filmmakers get right is how Banks asks simple questions at first, rather than complex. “You have to understand the smaller parts first because there’s so much room for miscommunication and certainly – in this case – the stakes are very high. You want to make sure you understand what’s being communicated, and what the possible ambiguities are.”
In many ways, Coon explains, the way Banks translates the alien language is similar to how we would translate another human language into our own. First, you have to establish that both parties are trying to communicate with each other. One starting point is then looking at common objects and attempting to interpret how each group communicates what that thing is. For instance, the scientists in Arrival names the two heptapods Abbott and Costello. After learning how the aliens say these, Banks can act out walking and get the sentence “Costello is walking” from them. By taking away the known word for “Costello”, the scientists can work out the action itself.
While building from simple to complex sentences is a tactic used when communicating between unknown languages, when it comes to human languages we have a huge head start. “Human languages share certain things in common,” Coon says. “We know how to find certain patterns, and when we find one common property we are able to find others. Human language seems to be very directly linked to other more general aspects of human cognition.”
“Humans are born ready to learn human languages and humans can do this effortlessly. When it comes to alien languages, we do not have this luxury. It would be very surprising, actually, if they were similar-to-human language because, really, human languages are directly tied to out genes – to our humanness – and so we can expect alien languages to differ hugely from our own.”
Read the full article >>
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The Language and Life Project of North Carolina State University has promoted research and education about the languages and dialects of North Carolina and the United States for more than 20 years. They’ve produced wonderful films on the “hoi toide” dialect of the Outer Banks (The Carolina Brogue), the Cherokee community’s fight to save their language (First Language), and the language of southern Appalachia (Mountain Talk), among others. Their new film, Talking Black in America, is an in-depth look at one of the most politically charged and misunderstood varieties of American English.
Executive producer Walt Wolfram, a linguist who has studied the subject for more than 50 years, says “there has never been a documentary devoted exclusively to African American speech, even though it’s the most researched—and controversial—collection of dialects in the United States and has contributed more than any other variety to American English.” The film aims to address important issues like linguistic profiling and discrimination while also showing that “understanding African-American speech is absolutely critical to understanding the way we talk today.”
Talking Black in America will premiere at 7 p.m. on March 23 at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be public showings at other campuses through the spring.
Trailer for Talking Black in America >>
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