Spanish, as a popular topic, sometimes seems difficult to find anything new to write about. Granted, any language with as many iterations or as much complexity as Spanish should have vast libraries (be they paper or digital) written on the subject. But it is precisely this complexity that seems to provide the difficulty in finding something new to say: the behemoth that is Spanish translation and all its challenges means that here in the localization realm, things can become so globally focused, so panned-out in scope, that we lose sight of the smaller and more specific details that could inform us. . .
The system requirements for a user to run XTM are quite moderate because all resource-intensive processing is done on the XTM Cloud server. You can use an average business computer and there is no need to upgrade your hardware in the future in order to support XTM. The system is based on open standards such as XLIFF, SRX, TMX and TBX and a complete implementation of the reference model as specified in open architecture for XML authoring and localization. The main advantage is that this ensures data interchange with other compliant systems. . .
Rodríguez de la Fuente: There are several ways MT helps us. Cost reduction is one of them, although not necessarily the most important. PayPal works to meet aggressive deadlines and does simultaneous shipping for all languages. Our motivation to use MT was to achieve timely deliveries with the highest possible level of quality.
Within a traditional localization workflow, MT allows us to reduce time-to-market and also to enforce terminology and consistent style and that reduces our in-house linguists’ workload when we’re doing quality assurance (QA) for outsourced translations.
We are also trying to find creative ways to use MT, like having our visual designers translate their prototypes using MT to make sure there won’t be text expansion issues later or performing source content review to flag translatability issues (like concatenation/sentence fragmentation). MT is a very good tool to ensure localization friendliness. . .
The reality, of course, is that regional differentiators like these often carry as much potential sensitivity as the issues that people typically consider more sensitive, such as disputed areas between two or more countries. The need for regional labels is straightforward; in the course of time, it’s always been useful to have a name to apply to various areas — it’s a natural part of the evolution of geography and the use of toponyms (geographic names). So instead of saying “that area north of the Mediterranean Sea and south of the Arctic Ocean but west of the Ural Mountains,” we simply say “Europe.” Much easier!
However, it’s not so simple when it comes to some of these terms, because they carry so much socio-historical, political and cultural context. Because of this, they hold diverse meanings to different people and thus we need to be careful about how we use them. . .
To us, “postmodern” meant wishy-washy, unable to admit the truth, unable to acknowledge resolutes. To my friend David, it simply meant the next age after the modern one, an age where everything is relative. In our classes, we learned our generation was the first to innately reflect tendencies of postmodernism, that right there in the spring of 1999, the theses and ideas we presented to the world were proof that the modern age was dead and that the postmodern one was fully taking over. Academically, this was neither a good or a bad thing; it simply was. A new literary movement was starting with us, a new line of thinking had begun.
In reality, postmodernism began in the late 1960s, so our professors were only sort of right. I and my classmates were born in the 1970s, so by the time we entered college, the world was a good thirty years in. Originally labeled “post-structuralism,” postmodernism itself is what academics and artists call everything that came after sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. . .
A very frequent topic of discussion among us was regional terminology. The word for drinking straw in one country could mean milkshake in another, while another term for the same innocent item could actually be a vulgar term in yet another place. Staying up to speed on so many varieties of Spanish was a constant challenge, especially when interpreting via telephone. An interpreter who lives in Miami is more likely to be familiar with Cuban Spanish. Likewise, someone who lives in New York has probably learned plenty of Puerto Rican Spanish. Living in Texas or California, you’ll become pretty familiar with Mexican Spanish. But when your work is spread across the entire United States, as it is when you’re a remote interpreter, you get exposure to the full cornucopia of Spanish speakers. It’s incredibly fun, but enormously challenging, too. . .
Like its neighbors in France, Italy and Germany, local versions are created in Spain for most TV programs and films. This is in part due to an order from the dictator Francisco Franco saying: “It is forbidden to project films in any language that is not Spanish.” His reason was obviously political but without acknowledging it, he forced the Spanish to create dubs that were really adapted to the Spanish culture instead of just translating American movies (and ideas) in Spanish. This kind of censorship was obviously not a good thing, but the concept of adaptation to the Spanish culture is nonetheless what we promote for our movies. The language used by the dubbing talent was obviously Castilian, as Franco wanted to keep Spain as unilingual as possible to eradicate the other local languages such as Basque or Catalan. . .
Afaf Steiert & Yasin Steiert
This blossoming of the Spanish language within the United States has resulted in a massive translation market sector in which competition is being waged between companies in order to secure a position in the marketplace. Just to illustrate the financial clout of the Hispanic consumer market, take into account that more than one out of every ten businesses are Hispanic, according to the most recent IRS report. Fully 71% of Hispanics are more likely to buy a product if it is advertised in Spanish, according to the second-quarter 2012 Nielsen report “State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative." Furthermore, the US Department of Commerce estimated that Hispanic-owned businesses grew by 55% from 2002 to 2007, at a time when the entire US economy only grew at about 10%. . .
Martín Ariano Gahn & Celia Rico Pérez
Given that RBMT engines mostly offer a word-for-word rendition, any culturally-oriented or creative use of the language will get lost in translation with MT and will elicit some laughter from the post-editor who will be amused by the absurdity of the output. Thus, instead of using phrases like Mi madre solía decir que el que mucho abarca, poco aprieta or La Roja volverá a ganar, try to strip those expressions to the very basics by removing the cultural contents and converting them into more straightforward and pared-down sentences (such as Mi madre solía decir que uno no debe hacer muchas cosas a la vez and La selección española volverá a ganar). . .
Business intelligence is a set of methodologies, processes and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. It is used for effective strategic, tactical and operational decision-making. But, concretely, what does this mean and how does it apply to localization?
Let’s start by looking at one example in detail: the monitoring of vendor performance. Because we outsource the translation and localization engineering and testing, it is crucial for us to keep an eye on the performance of our vendors. This enables us to achieve the objectives set by our upper management. To monitor vendor performance, we first had to define what it means to us and how to measure it. . .
Francesc Morelló Garcia
This is the case of the Catalan, Galician and Basque languages in Spain, where in addition to these three, a total of 15 minority languages are known to exist; it is also the case of Quechua and Aymara in Bolivia, a country with a total of 42 officially recognized languages; and of K’iche’ and Kakchikel in Guatemala, where there are 27 registered languages, to offer a few examples.
What happens to technical translation in these languages? The daring of companies like Microsoft, Google, IBM and Nokia, to name a few of the businesses that have sought to translate their products into some of these languages, is helping these endangered minorities. . .
This issue’s Core Focus takes a look at some of the basics of translation, though more from the point of view of business-oriented translation. Jeremy Coombs has some advice on using macros to improve translation efficiency, and Jeff Williams has interviewed a few translators about machine translation, quality and so on. Igor Vesler provides an overview of some online resources to aid technical translators. . .
Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez
Many of the most popular translation tools available in the market have now implemented web-based solutions, but these solutions are often feature-limited alternatives to their more complete desktop applications. Wordbee’s browser-based only philosophy releases the user from the burden of having to install a desktop version, but without losing any of the tool’s functionalities. Wordbee is a totally customizable collaborative translation management system (TMS), which makes it an eligible solution for both corporate and governmental institutions as well as for language service providers (LSPs). Thanks to its automated workflow technology, Wordbee makes the translation process smoother and simpler at all levels, yet efficient and successful, even for enterprises working with mixed internal and freelance teams or only with external translation professionals. . .
Probably one of the most obvious influences on international content distribution is the element of national government. Since we live in a world of boundaries and many different legal jurisdictions, we naturally must deal with local governments and the host of rules and regulations that govern the import and export of products of all varieties.
Now this is the point at which I need to interject a standard caveat regarding the form of the content products. Many in the world of IT and software have long been used to the notion of sending a piece of physical media through the shipping process involving customs, clearances and so on. The world of physical media still exists but is declining rapidly for mainstream content consumers and it’s likely that physical media such as CDs and DVDs will become nostalgic specialty items rather than the norm. With the growth of “cloud” data and content services, the ability to regulate across borders becomes significantly more challenging for local governments. . .
In all seriousness, these scenes seem rather silly as I put them down in print. (See why I might be embarrassed to admit I love it?) But to see them played out by characters who have become real on the small screen really helps one understand how difficult it might have been for people in those times to deal with technological changes. I’ve shared in this column before that I grew up in the rural American South during the 1980s. My grandparents had a party-line telephone, a way of sharing a single phone line between multiple families that doesn’t exist in the United States anymore, and their telephone itself was a corded, rotary dial until I went to college. Seventy-some-odd years of technological telephone advancement and we did not have nor want the latest thing on the market, a cordless touch-tone. . .
Of course, we serve many clients in the United States and Europe, but in many instances, the origins of these relationships were via contacts here in the United Kingdom. It seems that we are not unusual in this regard — according to Common Sense Advisory, geographic location is the third most important factor for translation buyers, after price and speed. So why is this manifestly global business so often still purchased locally?
Really, it’s all about relationships. Even in this digital age of e-mail, video conferencing and telecommunications, you still cannot beat face-to-face interactions. Locally sourced translation is a consequence of needs and pressures on both sides of the client-vendor relationship. . .
Brian Ó Broin
While most definitely a minority language in Ireland, Irish has an unusual status in comparison to most other minority languages in that it is constitutionally considered the country's “first official language." This is far from the truth, with probably a maximum of 2.5%, about 150,000, of the island's population having anything close to native-speaker ability, and the legal status of the language remains a source of annoyance to speakers of both English and Irish in the country.
The language's constitutional status stems from the cultural nationalism aspirations of the country's founders in the early years of the twentieth century, whereby it was believed that the country might be “de-anglicized" and the Irish language revived through constitutional and legislative action. An aggressive, but mostly unsuccessful, policy ensued of requiring demonstrable Irish-language skills from every Irish schoolgoer and legally recognizing the primacy of Irish in districts where the language was still the community's preferred tongue. . .
Ciarán Ó Bréartúin & Seanán Ó Coistín
Irish (Gaeilge in the Irish language), sometimes called Irish Gaelic or simply Gaelic in North America, has a very prestigious, albeit little-known history. It is probably the third oldest language spoken in Europe after Basque and Greek.
Irish has the third oldest written records in Europe, after Greek and Latin, and Ireland was one of only 17 places in history where an independent alphabet was created. This alphabet, known as Ogham, was created for the Irish language. One of the earliest grammars in history was written in Irish in the seventh century. It is called Auraicept na n Éces (Handbook of the learned) and it is the first instance of a defense of vernacular languages (at that time, spoken Irish over Latin). It predates Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia by 600 years. . .
However, SMEs don’t have the capital, diverse skillsets and resource pools that are available to bigger organizations that internationalize their businesses. The small business approach to marketing often appears unplanned, unorthodox or even at times chaotic from the large organization perspective. SMEs tend to be closer to their customers, are more flexible in responding to customer needs and are more agile at exploiting new opportunities than larger companies. Because of limited access to capital and resources, SMEs depend on personal networks and word of mouth to market their products and services. They very rarely engage in full-scale market research as their customers and industry contacts provide them with the information they need to develop their presence in specific markets. . .
The idea of automating tasks with computers has been around as long as computers themselves, which is unsurprising because computers were developed with task automation in mind. But users soon discovered that computers aren’t just good for automating complex numerical equations; their speed makes them ideal tools for small, repetitive tasks. As home computers became common in the 1980s, macros became popular as shortcuts for programmers, and then for average users. A number of programs such as SmartKey were soon written to help users create them.
There are several different types of macros. Keyboard and mouse macros map a sequence of keystrokes and/or mouse actions to an output sequence. . .
As everyone in the translation and localization industry knows, professional translators are the backbone and lifeblood behind the scenes. By and large, translation is a solitary function and most translators work long hours for very exacting clients. Their observations and comments offer important insight into the state of the industry.
The conference was an opportunity to speak with a few translators to get their read on the marketplace and what they see as the emerging, relevant trends. A specific set of questions was posed to all the translators. Of particular interest were their observations on pricing and MT. . .
The ability of today’s translator to fully utilize the potential of web-based resources is a critical factor in both the quality and the speed of the translation process. Alas, as with any other fast-growing technology, human skills lag behind in this regard. For example, using a traditional dictionary only requires a basic knowledge of the source alphabet, while searching online sources in a meaningful manner presupposes sophisticated skills in the area of compiling and fine-tuning search queries, as well as handling the numerous resultant hits. Even more important is the conceptual difference between using a dictionary, thesaurus or similar collection of terms, and working with the various contexts in which a sought term occurs. . .
Benjamin B. Sargent
Not only is Arabic under-represented on the websites of the best global brands, it’s also missed by the great majority of Fortune 500 companies — a paltry 5% of these offer web content in Arabic. In comparison, 12% of Alexa’s 500 most popular websites by traffic volume offered Arabic as a language option. The depth of the disparity found between the size of the online Arabic-speaking community and the lack of content in that language suggests that an opportunity has been missed by global brands. . .
As many of our writers in this issue point out, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is an interesting localization market — and it’s possibly for that reason that it feels trendy in spite of the fact that we’ve been covering it for years.
Part of it, as they say, is location, location, location: the collective CEE geography has landed its countries in political upheaval over the decades, and currently, their wealthier neighbors to the west have an emerging business relationship with them. . .
Not quite two years old, MemSource Cloud is already developing into a complete and user-friendly online translation environment. The developers were originally attached to a Charles University research project that resulted in a server and code editor plug-ins destined to solve the problem of inconsistency when translating text strings. Based in Prague, MemSource is proving to be a useful resource for project managers and linguists alike. . .