Post Editing: A festive stew for the new year

Food — what’s more basic? Or more exotic? And how well does food translate? Not to mention the specialized languages of agriculture, gardening, food processing and serving. Agribusinesses and grocery conglomerates have certainly changed the way people in the United States are fed and how they think about food. Some days it seems that any given vegetable, fruit, meat or grain can be a staple, a luxury, a prescription, a trap, an objet d’art or even a political statement, depending on where it came from, how it was grown, how far it has traveled, how long ago it was picked and by whom.

This time of year is not so good for growing one’s own food in Idaho, except for the sprout crop on the windowsill. It’s more the pull-something-out-of-the-freezer/pantry season, when thrifty gardeners are entitled to feel a little smug as they open home-canned peaches or defrost summer’s cherries, transforming stored sunlight into stunning pies. And, yes, knowing that the cherries were picked, pitted and frozen all on one hot summer day, and traveled less than a hundred yards from tree to freezer to winter stove, gives that pie a special flavor. Maybe we can’t live entirely on food that was produced within a 100-mile radius, as one new movement aims to, but we have our pies, our moments. And that feeling’s special anywhere, whatever the local crop.

So, in this issue’s Industry Focus, Kirk Anderson looks at food and drink as a specialty for translators, and John Freivalds describes the kinds of terminology and language questions that occur in the chain that brings food from mud to menu.

In the business arena, Huiping Iler interviews language-industry managers about business metrics, and Sylke Denfeld describes a careful system of translation vendor management. On the technology side, Tanja Schultz and Katrin Kirchhoff outline multilingual speech processing challenges and some solutions; Yves Savourel gives a detailed look at localization of XML documents with the new Internationalization Tag Set, which is close to final form; and Garry Levitt discusses a “clean” information management process. In the first of a planned series, Philipp Strazny collaborates with Tim Nishimura to explain where lines of Japanese text may and should not be broken.

Translator Andrei Gerasimov’s review compares three translation quality-assurance tools so that users can choose what will work best for them.

Allowing our regular columnists a short rest, three well-known voices in the language technology industry sound off in Perspectives columns. First, Jaap van der Meer and Andrew Joscelyne share their views on the present and future of the translation industry in part 1 of a three-part series. Then, Lyra Spratt-Manning looks at the effects of mergers and acquisitions.

In his Takeaway, Donald A. DePalma re-examines the question of whether internet visitors prefer to view sites in their own language — and finds the previous research understates the facts.

Also in this issue, you’ll find a “Getting Started Guide” on the topic of Going to China. Jacob Hsu, Libor Safar and Arturo Quintero outline some of the management and general business aspects of such a move; Elaine Winters and Sheh Adams offer fascinating cultural information. Carol M. Barnum describes how US and Chinese technical writing differ; and Tim Altanero shares his impressions of a Chinese city and the changes taking place there. Think of it as a primer to help you prepare for Localization World Shanghai in March!

Welcome to a new year in the language technology world — and bon appétit!