May already, the calendar says — wait a minute, I’m not through yet with March, let alone April! Did I hear hummingbirds in the back yard already? Localization World Barcelona is almost here — we’ll report on it in the next issue — and the cover date on this issue is June!
As the year rips along, a couple of random observations:
- Scientists have finally figured out what cartoon writers have known for a long time: dolphins talk among themselves. They name themselves and other dolphins, and they can, in conversation, refer to other dolphins who are not present. And why ever would you think any less of mammals smart enough to live in the sea, organize themselves and maintain a peaceful relationship with their world? I recommend So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Douglas Adams).
- More national-anthem news: this time, here in the United States, where a new Spanish adaptation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” has raised the question: Must the national anthem be sung in English? Of course, the US Bureau of Education had a Spanish translation made in 1919 (“La bandera de las estrellas,” which begins, Amanece: ¿no ves, a la luz de aurora, Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?). Some of the people protesting have been known to sing along. And the first verse of “Nuestro Himno” is almost the same (see www.npr.org for “Nuestro Himno” and the Library of Congress, www2.loc.gov, for the 1919 version). Incidentally, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” set to the tune of an English drinking song, has been translated into a number of languages, including German, Yiddish, French, Samoan and even Latin over the years.
In this issue, we focus on translation — more particularly, in this issue and next, on translation quality and the ways that people are devising to measure it. First, Göran Nordlund asks, is the quality of the translation the issue, or do problems stem from the source text? Next, Jiri Stejskal explains a variety of standards that have been developed, and Beatriz Bonnet provides details about the cooperation between European and US standards bodies. Jaap van der Meer writes about the shift from translator-first work to a user-first orientation and how that is affecting translation companies. And Jost Zetzsche examines several tools that are designed to help translators manage and bill their time effectively. In addition, translator Daniel B. Harcz comments in Perspectives on the manner (key word) in which client and freelancer interact through e-mail.
We take a brief look at the Korean language and at managing CJK projects, with firsthand examples from Sean Lee. Tim Nover, Christian Lieske and Keiichi Nakata detail a way of creating metadata from terminological and lexical databases for the Semantic Web. And Bill Hall concludes his examination of changes in the .NET Globalization namespace between versions 1.1 and 2.0.
On a serious note, with this issue we say good-bye to a dear man, Chris Langewis, who was a longtime member of the MultiLingual editorial board. With his passing, language technology has lost an outstanding practitioner and champion; students at the Monterey Institute of International Studies have lost a gifted teacher. We at MultiLingual Computing, Inc., and people throughout the language industry will miss a wise, warm and generous friend. We are confident, however, that his work and teaching will continue to strengthen and enrich the language industry for a long time to come. Thank you, Chris.