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Mario Bros Anniversary, Nintendo Localization Stumbles

Localization

Nintendo is celebrating the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros this year, but the game that centers around two fictional Italian plumbers may have run into a language problem.

In homage to its flagship game turning 35 this year, Nintendo has released several Super Mario Bros collector’s items that will be sure to evoke the deepest 80’s nostalgia. Teaming up with with the gaming company, Amazon has already been shipping random orders in limited edition Mario-themed boxes. Likewise, apparel company Champion is collaborating with Nintendo to release a line of Super Mario streetwear, including the signature red overalls, which are also in very limited supply.

Perhaps the most anticipated item, though, is the Game & Watch. The predecessor to the Gameboy, the Game & Watch was the first handheld console. To pay respects to its first successes with handheld gaming, Nintendo has committed to delivering the most authentic experience possible, with some modern twists. From the color palette to the button layout – including the classic D-Pad and minimal controls – the Game & Watch is nearly indistinguishable from the 1980 version, except for a USB charge port and upgraded graphics.

With Nintendo’s meticulous effort to recreate the original experience of handheld gaming, it may be surprising, then, to learn which details went overlooked in the development process. According to UEPO.de, Nintendo botched parts of the localization process in several countries.

First, a glitch occurred on the digital clock application, preventing users from accessing dozens of game options. Additionally, the lyrics for one of the songs in the game are displayed in the wrong languages. Italian, for example, shows up in the German version, but Spanish appears for Italian users. French shows up in the Spanish version, and German in the French version. These appeared to be the only languages in which the mishap occurred. Nintendo has since released an apology to its users who experienced the issue.

This is not the first time this year that Nintendo has found itself in hot water over a botched localization process. Earlier this year, Multilingual Magazine reported on problematic Chinese translations of the recent Paper Mario game. For further insights into the game localization process, go here.

We reached out to Nintendo for a statement and will update this article with any responses we receive.

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Nuremberg Trials, 75 years of Simultaneous Interpretation

Interpretation

75 years after its first use at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, simultaneous interpretation is still modeled largely after the process implemented by the Allies during the trial of Nazi war criminals.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials, in which Nazi leaders were tried for their crimes against humanity. During the international military tribunals, the world witnessed an unprecedented due process; never before had a coalition of nations come together to form an international court to try the leaders of an aggressor, albeit dissolved, nation. Furthermore, the tribunals were the first time on record a court used simultaneous interpretation in its process.

The necessity to ensure a multilingual process came about from the Allies’ mission to provide “fair and expeditious trials” of the Nazi leaders. Since the tribunal had representation from France, the Soviet Union, the UK, the US, and the former Nazi Germany, the Allies determined a fair process could only occur if the trials were carried out in English, Russian, French, and German.

With interpreters present for the trials, the Allies now had to figure out a way to guarantee expeditious proceedings, a difficult task even with two languages, let alone four. Prior court proceedings and official events generally provided consecutive interpretation – a practice in which the speaker waits for the interpreter to finish speaking before moving on to the next statement. However, such a back-and-forth process would have taken far too long, according to officials.

To speed up the interpreting process, Colonel Leon Dostert, a French-American foreign language expert for the US Army, suggested the idea of simultaneous interpretation. Consulting with IBM, Dostert proposed a system of microphones and headsets to transmit each language simultaneously with the speaker. The solution proved effective, aside from stories of prosecutors occasionally tripping over the wires.

Thus came the birth of modern simultaneous interpretation. Since the Nuremberg trials, interpretation practices are still largely based off the improvisation of Dostert and IBM. Although communication technology advancements have streamlined the process for interpreters, the practice is still heavily reliant on humans to parse regional accents and errors in speech. Nevertheless, the innovative practices of these trials have set a number of precedents for international justice, not least of which the inextricable link to language to ensure a fair due process.

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Friday Roundup | November 20, 2020

Friday Roundup

CPSL announces partnership with DreamTech

To step up efforts toward technological development and offer comprehensive digital solutions, Barcelona-based language service provider CPSL is embarking on a joint project with DreamTech, a renowned immersive and interactive technologies provider, to offer state-of-the-art, multimedia, eLearning, and digital localization solutions. Now, CPSL will be able to add additional value in multilingual and localization projects by implementing DreamTech services, including 3D for virtual and augmented reality, prototyping and modeling. The synergies between the two companies will allow them to offer a fully personalized product to customers, who will now be able to enjoy the benefits of an end-to-end solution, created on demand.

Tenesoya Pawlowsky, CEO at CPSL, said that “By collaborating with DreamTech as a technical partner, we will lead the way in offering digital solutions that help companies train their teams and make them operative from anywhere, in a very short time, and by providing them with groundbreaking ways to further expand their business.”

SYSTRAN offers new widget

SYSTRAN announced its new Translation Widget designed to easily translate websites for global audiences. SYSTRAN Translation Widget is inserted directly into the website to translate text for all visitors and activates based on the visitor’s settings, cookies and preferred browser language. The widget can be deployed across most internet browsers and internal company intranets, and visitors can access it on PC, Mac laptops, tablets and smartphones. Users are also able to create customized user dictionaries that helps better translate special terminology, acronyms and industry-specific language. The new JavaScript Translation Widget uses SYSTRAN’s Marketplace Catalog, which has hundreds of language combinations in different domains so translations are adapted to businesses’ industry and professional jargon to provide a better and more meaningful experience for their website visitors.

Klaus Skovrup joins LanguageWire

Klaus Skovrup has joined LanguageWire as chief financial officer on October 1, 2020. Skovrup is based in the company’s Copenhagen office.

TransPerfect announces GlobalLink OneLink JS

TransPerfect announced the launch of GlobalLink OneLink JS, an extension of the GlobalLink OneLink website localization platform. GlobalLink OneLink automates the process of translating and releasing websites. With nothing to install, OneLink may not require IT involvement and requires no client-side project management.

Contentstack welcomes Translations.com to Catalyst

Contentstack has announced that Translations.com, the technology division of TransPerfect, has joined Contentstack’s Catalysts program. Catalysts advance the use of a microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native software-as-a-service, and headless (MACH) architecture. In so doing, Translations.com will offer Contentstack users an all-in-one solution to initiate, automate, control, track and complete all facets of the translation process. The combination of Contentstack and the extended localization workflow capabilities of GlobalLink Connect will provide users with a comprehensive solution for global enterprise content management.

60 companies come together to form the Entertainment Globalization Association

10 founding companies and 50 forming companies have announced their collaboration to create the Entertainment Globalization Association (EGA). EGA defines its globalization mission as specifically concerned with dubbing, subtitling, and audio description services. The founding companies of the association are Audiomaster Candiani, Deluxe, Hiventy, Iyuno Media Group, Keywords Studios, Plint, SDI Media, Visual Data Media Services, VSI, and ZOO Digital. The additional 50 companies represent service providers from all around the world. EGA aims to form a closer connection to the creative community to better facilitate the “retelling” of their stories for global audiences. The association is primarily focused on creating educational resources, localization standards and generating consumer impact research of localization. Chris Fetner has been named as the managing director of the association. Before this role, Fetner led Netflix’s content localization vendor strategy for nearly a decade and is widely regarded as an industry transformer among entertainment localization companies.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with these leaders in localization, every company in the association is an outstanding contributor to sharing stories globally, and I’m excited to see how we can all work together to help creatives share their stories more broadly,” said Fetner.

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Language Services Mean Access and Justice

Language

We spoke with Karina Rodríguez about working as a language services provider in veterinary medicine, renters’ rights, and childhood learning in California.

The language services industry contains a multitude of entry points, many of which lead down their own surprising and frequently intersecting paths. Language may provide an anchor in this journey, but each new project can demand niche concerns that the language services provider (LSP) must account for.

With innovative technologies, LSPs have access to a variety of tools to expedite their services. However, these tools can only streamline so much, especially in fields like law, medicine, and childhood development, which often require technical knowledge to ensure accurate communications across languages. Ultimately, the work falls to the individual translator or interpreter.

We interviewed Karina Rodríguez, who has worked for several years as a freelance translator and interpreter for organizations in Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, California. With translation and interpretation experience in fields like veterinary medicine, renters’ rights, and childhood learning, Karina has relished the opportunity to provide language access and justice to ESL and non-English speaking communities across the state.

Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I am 29 years old, and I am currently a coding bootcamp student doing a full-stack web development program. I have worked in veterinary medicine for the last four years, and I have done translation work in between vet medicine jobs.

Which languages do you translate and interpret?

I translate and interpret from English to Spanish and vice versa.

Your first position as a freelance translator was with Oakland Community Land Trust. What drew you to translation work? What was your first year like?

I worked at a veterinary clinic for about two years and was very disappointed by the work environment and the actual work in veterinary medicine. The doctors were pretty burned out most of the time and so were the support staff (including myself). The one thing I really enjoyed and loved about working there was being thrown into interpreting during medical exams/procedures and more. I learned a lot by just being thrown into that role.

After I quit that job, I decided I wanted to explore doing translation and interpreting a bit more. I had a very hard time landing that first translation gig! I started trying to break into translation work through Upwork.com, where I was able to land some translation gigs. Most of the work I did that year was part-time, but eventually I did land a gig through a college friend whom I met through political organizing at UC Berkeley. He connected me with an organization that was doing awesome work in making renters owners of their homes in Oakland, the Oakland Community Land Trust. That gig allowed me to do both interpreting (to current tenants) and translation of materials for conferences and other documents.

During that time I was also taking online computer science courses and exploring that career path. I eventually decided to go back to working at a veterinary clinic in a shelter setting because I didn’t want to give up so easily on working in vet med, based off one bad experience. Through that job, I also practiced/used my interpreting skills in a medical setting.

Has your experience in computer science and software engineering led you into any projects related to localizing content?

I have not had the opportunity to work on anything related to localizing content, but I am very interested! I hope I can merge those two skills and form part of a project that does that type of work.

Most recently, you have done freelance translation and subtitling educational videos for the San Diego-based company Sports for Learning. Can you speak more to any projects currently in progress?

I was able to land that job through my network because I have always advertised that I am looking for translation work. In this role, I subtitle videos using Veed.io, which actually does some preliminary translation. I correct the grammar and wording of the subtitles. The work there is very consistent, and I translate/edit three videos a week. I subtitle educational videos that help children learn about mental health, physical health and emotional maturity.

Has your work consisted of in-person work? Remote?

The work is remote. We communicate through Slack and occasionally have video conferences.

Do you have a notable moment? Proud accomplishment?

I am mostly proud of being an important part of their project. I like that they value my work and that they are able to help Spanish-speaking children better learn the material through subtitles in Spanish.

You said in your first work with interpreting and translation, you were thrown into medical exams and procedures at the veterinary clinic. What was that like?

It was challenging at first, because it was my first professional experience doing interpreting in a medical setting. Doing medical interpreting is a challenge because it requires a decent amount of knowledge of medical terminology in English and Spanish. It was also my first professional experience doing interpreting in general, so I had to learn on the spot how to best interpret for clients accurately and in a professional manner. I was asked to interpret during medical exams and to clients in reception.

What communities does Sports for Learning serve? Along with the Spanish translations, do you know of any other non-English services included in the subtitling project?

Sports for Learning serves San Diego area schools, but I believe the videos have become popular enough that it includes schools beyond San Diego. I know that the students are predominantly Spanish-speaking. At this time, they don’t subtitle into any other languages.

Can you say more about your experience with video subtitling? You mention there is a focus on content about mental health, physical health and emotional maturity for children. Have you had tricky translation struggles with any of this subject matter? What are some of the difficult concepts to translate?

Subtitling videos for Sports for Learning has been okay so far. I would say that the biggest challenge has been figuring out what are the appropriate words to use given the audience. Our manager has done a good job of creating a list of words with the preferred translation to Spanish. We make sure to cater to the Latino Spanish dialect in order to better help the communities we are serving.

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Friday Roundup | November 13, 2020

Friday Roundup

Lilt Labs opens registration for upcoming webinar, Rethinking Your Customer Engagement Strategy, with CSA Research

Join Lilt Labs next week when CSA Research shares insight on building a global engagement strategy. In this joint webinar, Lilt will speak with CSA Research Senior Analyst, Arle Lommel, to discuss the key steps in a successful international strategy, along with how AI can help new or existing programs run more effectively.

The webinar will discuss how to understand the customer engagement map, the benefits of planning multi-language content for every step of the journey, and how artificial intelligence is helping companies tackle customer engagement.

Register here to attend the webinar, which will take place live on November 18 @12PM ET/9AM PT. Recordings will be sent to registrants and attendees.

Women in Localization announces launch of its first student-led chapter at MIIS

Women in Localization announced this week its first student-run chapter at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, CA. The chapter will be led by Elizabeth Hawkes, who will be joined by Jamie Chu and Jaqueline Xu as events managers and Autumn Smith as social media manager.

“It is difficult for many students to get access to and connect with industry professionals due to transportation challenges from Monterey to the Bay Area, where most of the events tend to be,” said Autumn Smith. “This student chapter aims to close this gap and make professional development and industry knowledge events more accessible to all interested students at the Middlebury Institute.”

Interpreters Unlimited named top 10 most reliable language translation solution provider

Interpreters Unlimited, Inc. (IU) has been named Top 10 Most Reliable Language Translation Solution Providers in 2020 by IndustryWired Magazine (IWM). IU is led by the father-son team of President and CEO Sayed Ali, and Vice President Shamus Sayed. IU has grown through strategic acquisitions that have helped expand services from translation, localization and interpretation to include language classes and non-emergency medical transportation. IWM is an independently published global media company and an industry resource for entrepreneurs. The company covers best business practices, insightful analysis, and interviews with industry leaders.

Plunet reveals Version 8.0 with innovative resource assignment management

Plunet has launched the new version 8.0 of the leading business and translation management system. The new release focuses on an improved resource assignment management, which sets new standards for the translation industry through extensive automation and improved usability.

XTRF takes their summit online in December

Summit #online is for new, potential, and long-standing XTRF clients. With a packed program full of content and inspiration, it will suit anyone that works with XTRF – from managers and owners, through to project managers, vendor managers, administrators, and salespeople. The event will be free, but event organizers ask that attendees donate to a designated environmental cause. Register and find out more about the event here.

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MIT CSAIL and Reviving Lost Languages

AI, Technology

Can the evolution of language inform machine translation models for extinct languages? Researchers at CSAIL think so. Jean-Francois Champollion did too.

If not for ancient Greek and Coptic – a descendant of ancient Egyptian – the decades-long effort to crack the Rosetta Stone could have turned to centuries. For dead languages with few or no existing descendants, the task would appear impossible. Machine translation could help.

A project at MIT has been evolving throughout the past decade, as researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have sought to develop a system that can automatically decipher lost languages, even with scarce resources and an absence of related languages.

The team made headway in 2010 when Regina Barzilay, a professor at MIT, alongside Benjamin Snyder and Kevin Knight, developed an effective automatic translation method from the dead language Ugaritic into Hebrew. However, the more recent study considered this breakthrough relatively limited, since both languages are derived from the same proto-Semitic origin. Furthermore, they found the approach too customized and unable to work at scale.

To build off their initial findings, Barzilay and Jiaming Luo, a PHD student at MIT, have proposed a model that accounts for several linguistic constraints, particularly “patterns in language change documented in historical linguistics.”

One grounding principle here is that most human languages evolve in predictable ways. This would account for linguistic patterns where descendant languages rarely make drastic changes to sounds. A plosive “t” sound in a parent language, could feasibly change to a “d” sound, but would very seldom evolve into fricatives like “h” and “s” sounds.

Along with these constraints, another notable detail here is history. As the algorithm deciphers patterns in sounds and syntax, it will also pull from encyclopedic data to fill in some of the blanks.

“For instance, we may identify all the references to people or locations in the document which can then be further investigated in light of the known historical evidence,” Barzilay told MIT News. “These methods of ‘entity recognition’ are commonly used in various text processing applications today and are highly accurate, but the key research question is whether the task is feasible without any training data in the ancient language.”

While imperfect, these methods have so far made progress. The team found the algorithm could identify language families, and one instance corroborated earlier findings that Basque – a language spoken in a region of northern Spain and southwestern France – appeared too distinct to assume any linguistic relation.

The team hopes eventually to develop a method of automatically identifying the semantic meaning of words with or without a linguistic relation. Like the linguists who cracked the Rosetta Stone, CSAIL researchers could be on the verge of a paradigm shift.

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CITLoB Elects 2020-2022 National Governing Body

Language Industry News and Events

In a statement, CITLoB president Sandeep Nulkar outlined the new body’s mission to meet the unprecedented demand for Indic language services and cultivate global partnerships.

The Indian association of language services companies, Confederation of Interpreting, Translation and Localization Businesses (CITLoB) recently elected its new National Governing Body for the 2020-2022 term.

The newly elected body will begin the term during a time of unprecedented demand for content in Indian languages and proactive government policies to build and nurture a progressive Indic language and language technology ecosystem. We asked president of CITLoB Sandeep Nulkar how the association will address the shifting landscape.

“Our top priority right now is to bring global best practice to India so that the industry can mature quickly and become capable of meeting the unprecedented demand,” said Nulkar.

CITLoB

The new governing body at CITLoB.

The new body aims to work toward consolidating what has, thus far, been a largely fragmented and unorganized industry. CITLoB has already been rolling out events and initiatives to get language professionals and language services companies ready to meet the demands of an increasingly inclusive and vernacular internet for every Indian. This week, CITLoB will hold a free webinar called “Data Science – What’s in it for LSPs and language technology companies,” which you can sign up for here.

Flyer for the webinar to be held on Nov. 12 at 9AM EST

CITLoB has been receiving increasing attention in the global community and has already signed a partnership agreement with the European’s Union’s official language industry body, the European Union’s Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC) and has a partner arrangement with the US-based global association Globalization and Localization Association (GALA).

“We want to ensure global and national partnerships with like-minded bodies to enhance the visibility of the Indian market, while also facilitating the market entry of members of partner bodies in an environment of trust,” said Nulkar.

CITLoB’s National Governing Body for 2020-2022:

Sandeep Nulkar (President)
BITS Private Limited

M. Sudheen (Zonal Vice President – North)
Crystal Hues Limited

Senthil Nathan (Zonal Vice President – South)
Langscape Language Solutions

Binod Ringania (Zonal Vice President – East)
Transoplanet

Sunil Kulkarni (Zonal Vice President – West)
Fidel Softech Private Limited

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