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Friday Roundup

Language Industry News and Events

TRANSLIT launches interpreter training webinars

Complete Language Solutions has just launched a series of free and paid webinars to help beginner interpreters improve their professional skills. To celebrate the launch, TRANSLIT is offering the readers of Multilingual News a special 40% discount for all paid events. Make sure to use this promotional code when you are booking your ticket online: 40TRdc1409.

TRANSLIT webinars will cover subjects such as memory techniques, note-taking, basic interpreting skills, building up interpreters’ professional credibility, stress management for freelancers, and others. The full list of events is at https://bit.ly/translit-training

RWS joins United Nations Global Compact initiative

The UN Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are proud to join the UN Global Compact, reinforcing our commitment to these principles and taking responsible business actions,” said Richard Thompson, CEO of RWS.

Park IP now compatible with Aero UI

Park IP, a Welocalize company, has announced it is now compatible with Relativity’s new interface, Aero UI. Aero UI gives users the same access to the power and security of RelativityOne with a new user interface that streamlines processes, increases efficiency, and simplifies the organization of large volumes of data.

Park IP’s AI-enabled solution for Relativity, first made available in 2016, helps law firms and corporate organizations automatically translate multilingual e-discovery data. When foreign language documents are part of the review process, costs dramatically increase, and time-to-completion expands. With the backing of Aero UI’s performance and interface, Park IP expects a simpler, quicker, and more cost-effective linear review process and an improvement of time-to-value for users.

“The Aero UI-supported version of the Park IP’s plug-in underscores our two continued commitments to our clients: stay current with developing Relativity technology and use AI to innovate our best-of-breed machine and human translation solutions,” said Alex Yanishevsky, Senior Manager, AI/NLP Deployments at Welocalize. “We look forward to continuing to provide users of RelativityOne with integration and access to Park IP’s machine and human translation services – now with the power of Aero UI.”

Belgian LSPs ElaN Languages and OneLiner Merge

Belgian language service providers (LSPs), ElaN Languages and OneLiner Translations, have announced their merger. The transaction was concluded in June 2020. Founded in 1990, ElaN provides translations, multilingual copy editing, and SEO for the private and public sectors. The company changed owners in 2018. OneLiner was founded in 2000 and serves a mix of government and SMEs in its client portfolio. Johan Noël, Management Team Lead at ElaN, described the two entities as “very complementary with virtually no overlap in terms of client base.” 

AppTek named one of the fastest growing companies in the greater Washington Area

AppTek this week announced its selection as one of the Washington Business Journal’s (WBJ) 75 Fastest Growing Companies in Greater Washington DC for 2020.

The 75 Fastest Growing Companies is a prestigious list that names the top companies within the Greater Washington, DC region assessed according to revenue and growth. Nominees are evaluated through a rigorous judging process and independent third-party evaluation. This year, roughly 2,200 companies were considered. The list of honorees reflects the ever-expanding diversity and growth of the DC business region. WBJ will release the complete list at a ceremony on October 22nd.

“Having enjoyed significant year-over-year growth, we are proud and excited to be recognized in the Washington Business Journal’s list of fastest growing companies,” said AppTek CEO Mudar Yaghi. “We believe our success can be attributed to the technical depth and innovation of our scientific team coupled with growing demand for our industry-leading multilingual automatic speech recognition and machine translation AI technology platform. We’re grateful for the trust of our customers worldwide who rely on AppTek to power their speech-centric services.”

GlobalLink goes virtual

In the sixth year of the TransPerfect conference, GlobalLink NEXT takes place from September 30 to October 1. Registration and program details can be found here. Responding to the limitations caused by the pandemic, TransPerfect has decided to take its annual GlobalLink NEXT conference virtual. A leader in language and technology solutions for businesses globally, TransPerfect is now entering its sixth year of holding the conference.

GlobalLink NEXT 2020 features two days of content, including innovation spotlights, case studies, product workshops, and breakout tracks. Attendees can choose from sessions organized by industry and by technology. Client speakers and speakers from TransPerfect will highlight new GlobalLink product releases and innovations related to translation management, website localization, machine translation, AI data annotation, and component content management.

This year’s virtual format provides participants the opportunity to tailor their experience by industry, with specialized sessions for life sciences, medical device, and travel/hospitality, among others. Functional tracks include translation management and workflow, website localization, and global customer experience.

GlobalLink NEXT is known for client spotlight sessions and thought leadership panels. The 2020 lineup offers insights from 25 global leaders, including Avis, Google, Hilton, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Rockwell Automation, Rosewood Hotels, UPS, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Xylem. More speakers will be added to the program in the coming weeks.

“The theme for this year’s event is ‘Digital Acceleration,’ and we’re very excited to deliver more than 100 sessions designed for attendees whose content needs have evolved in a world that has quickly gone digital Matt Hauser,” TransPerfect’s Senior Vice President of Content Solutions said. “We have built the program so that attendees can consume content at their own pace, even after the official event dates are over, in acknowledgement of all our clients working remotely.”

TransPerfect President and CEO Phil Shawe added, “With more people spending larger blocks of time online, the need for organizations to communicate with global consumers and to create content using best-practice technology has never been more important. Of course, we look forward to the day when we can again host our GlobalLink NEXT attendees face to face, but 2020’s virtual environment offers some unique advantages – such as the ability to greater customize content. We look forward to embracing this format and delivering a truly first-class conference experience for attendees.”

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Chief Interpreter for European Commission Steps Down

Language Industry News and Events

The Chief Interpreter post will be filled on an interim basis while the European Commission seeks a new head to fill the position.

After acting as the European Commission (EC) Directorate General for Interpretation for four years, Florika Fink-Hooijer has stepped down to fill the role as Directorate General for the Environment, reporting to Virginijus Sinkevičius, commissioner for Environment and Oceans at the EC. The move has left the EC in search for a replacement Chief Interpreter.

Beginning in 2016, Fink-Hooijer led the Directorate General for Interpretation, also known by its previous French acronym SCIC. The SCIC is the world’s largest interpreting service with over 500 interpreters on staff, supported by 3,000 additional freelance interpreters.

The post came under fire recently after the EU COVID-response effort excluded thousands of freelance interpreters, a common theme for freelance workers during the pandemic. The Association of Conference Interpreters (AAIC), an international trade union, issued a press statement in June that highlighted the importance of supporting interpreters.

“Conference interpreters are facing financial losses that, in some cases, represent up to 100% of their income. Because of the nature of their contractual relation with the Institutions, most freelance interpreters will not be eligible for national aid measures, even if their Member State of residence were to adopt support measures for this category of workers,” the AIIC said.

Following the departure of Fink-Hooijer, the current deputy Carlos Alegria will take over as acting General Directorate for Interpreting on an interim basis as the EC searches for a new head. Alegria served as an interpreter for the SCIC from 1985-1993.

Furthermore, the EC is looking at women candidates for the new Chief Interpreter to meet its 2019 target ratio of 40% women in official posts, according to UEPO.de. Currently, women make up 38% of leadership in the EC.

The new President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, “has set her goals even higher: by 2024, half of all managers within the Commission administration should be women,” the report said.

According to UEPO.de, “Since Florika Fink-Hooijer is replacing a man in DG Environment, a renewed female occupation of the chief interpreter’s post would offer the opportunity to increase the proportion of women at this important management level. A total of 33 Directorates-General work for the Commission.”

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TranslateMe Launches Translation Validation Pipeline

Translation

The pipeline will allow TranslateMe to utilize machine translation, but with a validation network of human translators that works on a token-based system.

TranslateMe recently announced its plans to launch its network marketplace to improve its translation services. The launch comes as TranslateMe upgrades its platform by adding a validation pipeline for its telegram proof of concept and its contributors.

Combining machine translation to drive down translation costs with the validation of the contributor pipeline, TranslateMe expects to raise the quality of translation of all content through the validation pipeline, claiming that the translation portal will provide near-perfect translation.

“This will be a real service and use case for TMN. The final step will be to move our validation pipeline into a smart contract,” said TranslateMe in a statement. “This will secure and manage proof of translation. Proof of translation will be used to ensure the contributors claimed value is authenticated by our smart contract. Contributors will earn for fixing errors in machine-translated sentences, voters will be rewarded for validating the best suggestion, and finally staking nodes will be rewarded for distributing validation data.”

Translators can participate as validators on the marketplace and be rewarded in TranslateMe’s NEP-5 TMN token. The company will write its validation process, which it calls “Proof of Translation,” into a smart contract that handles voting logic and token reward distribution. The validators will be able to suggest improvements and review each other’s edits, voting on the most accurate before the job is completed. Eventually, the company hopes to expand the token system to 140 countries.

“Essentially we will be creating a smart contract that will link an input sentence with a validation step of multiple contributors and a final result of a perfect translation,” TranslateMe noted. “The entire contract could be included on any translation platform as a better approach to outsourcing or any system that needs high-quality translation results without the hassle of verifying work or working with actual translators. The utility payment value for this process will be TMN.”

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Finnish Group Developing ASR for Local Languages

Technology

Anticipating a rise in foreign-language residents, Finland looks to progress its voice recognition services to be able to recognize a wide range of Finnish accents.

As AI speech recognition technology innovation thrives, Finnish leaders have noticed a lag in local development. To help establish a foundation for voice-activated services in Finnish, broadcaster Yle, Helsinki University, and state development company VAKE launched “Donate Your Speech” — Lahjoita puhetta in Finnish. A publicly funded venture, the project aims to draw speech samples from a large and diverse pool of Finnish speakers, including those learning it as a foreign language.

“Getting non-native Finnish speakers to share their speech is really crucial — especially when you consider how well voice recognition systems understand heavily accented English,” said Pia Erkinheimo of VAKE. “People pause, stumble and mumble a lot more than they think, and it’s important AI learns to recognize that.”

Making progress this year, the “Donate Your Speech” team has already recorded 2,000 hours of speech out of a goal of 10,000 hours. The Language Bank of Finland, an entity within Helsinki University, will manage the accumulated speech. For a nominal fee, the material will be available to anyone, provided they can prove compliance with EU GDPR privacy rules.

“We don’t think of this as large Chinese or US companies benefiting from the project. The point is that we are all in this same ecosystem — including many small Finnish companies — so everyone’s benefiting from it,” Erkinheimo said.

Although the team is optimistic about how the new data will benefit Finnish speakers globally, many common fears about the ethics of AI arose from critics. “There’s a lot of ways in which innocently released data can be misused–a risk that this kind of information can fall into the wrong hands and be manipulated to create deep fakes,” Jyväskylä University lecturer Dave Sayers said, referring to the possibility of impostors fabricating audio samples to yield speech appearing to be authentic.

Aleksi Rossi, one of the leaders of “Donate Your Speech” for Yle, agreed that the potential for abuse exists as new technology emerges in the realms of face and voice recognition. “If someone really wanted to manipulate your voice for criminal purposes they could already do so without your sample,” he explained. “Bringing the threat of misuse into the world actually makes things safer because it prompts the development of new safeguards.”

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Egyptian Translation Center New Rules Draw Criticism

Translation

The new guidelines released by the Egyptian National Center for Translation will stifle freedom of thought and restrict access to texts that go against Egyptian religious and social values.

In an announcement that has shaken the Egyptian translation community, the National Center for Translation, a nonprofit state-run organization in Egypt, has established a strict new set of guidelines for the books it will accept for translation into Arabic. In the statement, the Center made clear that any books proposed for translation will not be accepted if they oppose religion, social values, morals, and customs.

The announcement has drawn widespread criticism from the translation community, who fear the new rules could severely limit meaningful cultural engagement through literary texts.

“The new guidelines will limit, for example, the translation of deep philosophical books dealing with complex human issues, some of which we like to discuss and others we do not,” said Mohammed al-Baali, director of Sefsafa Publishing House and one of the collaborators with the National Center in previous projects. “The translator has no right to interfere in the text he works on at the pretext that it conflicts with the values and morals of the society to which it is transmitted,” he added, explaining that translators need to leave aside their personal, religious and societal convictions while working.

The restrictions at the National Center for Translation started becoming apparent four years ago, after it translated a book issued by a French publishing house titled Al-Tahrir’s Egypt: The Birth of the Revolution, with a preface by the Egyptian writer Alaa Al-Aswany.

Later, a decision was made to stop the book’s sale, according to a source from the center, who asked to remain anonymous. The source said that a TV presenter had attacked the book as a “threat to national security,” which caused sharp criticism of the center and resulted in the ouster of a former director.

“We need laws that support the translation and publishing movement in a way that supports the cultural movement in the region instead of imposing restrictions on moral pretexts that plunge us into useless discussions,” said Amir Zaki, winner of the fifth edition of the Rifa’s Al-Tahtawi Award for Translation’s youth category, which the National Center for Translation announces annually. Zaki also runs a blog that publishes translated texts, book reviews, and academic articles related to translation issues.

Along with Zaki, other translators have also created alternative spaces to publish translations without the influence of official institutions.

“Translation is to read others, is to search for the new, the different and the shocking,” said poet, novelist, and translator Ahmed Al-Shafei, who has translated more than 20 books and whose translation blog has gained momentum recently due to the diversity of texts it publishes. “It is to introduce other voices; it is the start of an argument. So, if we turn it into translating what is consistent with our convictions, ideas and vision of the world, then what will be translated — if anything — is of less importance.”

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BIG Acquires ISI Language Solutions

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation

ISI Language Solutions will offer BIG specialization in healthcare and insurance translation and localization solutions.

In an already-busy season for acquisitions, Atlanta-based BIG Language Solutions (BIG) has announced the acquisition of healthcare and insurance specialist ISI Language Solutions, a provider of industry specific language access and localization solutions, for an undisclosed sum. ISI Language Solutions provides services like translation and localization, onsite interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting, video remote interpreting, alternative formats (large print, Braille, audio), multimedia localization, and linguistic quality assurance technologies.

Advised by Nimdzi in the acquisition, ISI had been listed on the Nimdzi Top 100 largest language service providers in the world several years in a row. Nimdzi Insights M&A advisor Jonathan Otis said, “Nimdzi has enjoyed working with ISI on many projects over the years, culminating with this successful transaction. We think ISI fits well with BIG and will thrive with the additional resources now available.”

BIG was founded by CEO Jeff Brink in partnership with MSouth Equity Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, in order to assemble a portfolio of high-performing and complementary language service providers, of which ProTranslating was the first. Brink heard about ISI via boutique advisory firm JSquare Conseil, which advised on Acolad’s Telelingua and HL Trad deals.

The acquisition fits well with BIG’s regulated-industry growth strategy, which involves investing in technology and growth, according to Brink.

ISI was founded in 1982 by George Rimalower — the son of Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi Germany. ISI owners Emilie Villeneuve and Michael Bearden were long-term employees for ISI before purchasing it from Rimalower in 2012. Villeneuve, who began as an assistant, stepped into the role of CEO at the time, while Bearden, who started as a project manager, became president.

As part of BIG’s acquisition of ISI, around 70 ISI employees will join the BIG and ProTranslating organizations. In the COVID-19 environment, nearly all of the due diligence and advising were conducted remotely, via video conferencing and daily calls — and in the end, the remote work paid off.

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SAS Localization Search Engines Available to Public

Localization

Expanding access to its search engines, SAS aims to create more cost-effective and efficient function for its localization software for users in the translation community.

SAS terminology manager Ronan Martin announced recently that the search engines in the SAS Portal are available to communities outside SAS. Already operating internally, these tools are used extensively by testers, technical support and in-house translators. Several factors have led to the decision to open the portal.

SAS uses language vendors for most languages and aims to provide better access to freelance translators, who can use the SAS firewall to review their own translations and compare translations of the same source text in other languages.

Along with granting better access to the translation community, SAS must localize software for contractual reasons. “A new generation of young analysts in non-English speaking regions who have only ever encountered many key terms in English,” said terminology manager Ronan Martin. “There is two-way push: translators and some older academics want to use localized terms, while younger people want to use the English terms. This is an ongoing struggle, but the portal at least provides a way of linguistically navigating the software for users who find themselves in this predicament.”

Martin also pointed out that localizing software is expensive and challenging from an engineering point of view. The company’s default position is to localize a software solution to the extent that there is a business case for it. This will usually encompass the user interface. Localizing documentation and user guides can be prohibitively expensive, as they are generally large. Responding to the barrier, users may interact with the software in their local language, and simultaneously delve into English-language documentation and guides. The portal can provide a bridge between the two languages.

Like many other software companies, SAS is moving away from shipping software packages and instead turning to cloud deployment using the DevOps approach. This entails developing discrete pieces of software that are slotted together in different combinations, known as a containerized approach to software development.

Academic environments are also of great interest. Students have free access to SAS software as part of the company’s academic programs.

“We hope that they will take this knowledge and experience into industry with them when they graduate,” said Martin. “We would like to support students, lecturers, course providers, researchers, authors and presenters of papers by providing terminology in the local language, to the extent we are able to.”

Furthermore, SAS expects an increase in situations where third party companies assemble apps using SAS containers behind the scenes. This could be an app developed in another language, or an English-language app localized outside SAS.

“This is a new exciting development,” said Martin, “But looking into the future we would like to establish an eco-system of SAS terminology that cascades down through the software, regardless of where, or in what language it is developed. We hope the portal will enable this to happen.”

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European Commission Campaign Promotes Translation

Translation

From health services to entertainment, translation impacts an inexhaustive list of industries. The European Commission has created the #DiscoverTranslation campaign to inform audiences of the vital role translation plays in our society.

The European Commission announced the launch of #DiscoverTranslation, a campaign aimed at emphasizing the pivotal role the translation industry plays in the global economy. Releasing an informational statement this week, the European Commission provides a brief report on how a world without translation would function.

“Without translation, the world would be a duller, poorer and more unequal place, both economically and culturally, where only the ´happy few´ with a knowledge of other languages would have access to goods, information and culture from other countries,” the statement opens. “Translation has oiled the wheels of human interaction and helped [civilizations] evolve for thousands of years. Even today, could you imagine a world without online services, news from other countries, or subtitles for your [favorite] TV series? No translation, no fun!”

It goes on to describe cross-cultural relationships in which translation plays a key role in mediation, including international trade, legal proceedings, and new technologies.

“Before buying stuff or booking a trip abroad, many people want information so they can compare them,” it states. “If they can’t find this information in their language, they might go and shop somewhere else: research has shown that 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language. And 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites. Without translation, online shopping would be limited to national markets.”

The mission of the campaign states the goal to “promote the translation profession to audiences outside the language industry.” With that in mind, the statement looks at many of the ways the larger population can take translation for granted. Many important industries are listed on the document for their reliance on translation to function effectively.

“[Translation keeps] us healthy by avoiding potential allergens in food/chemicals/medicines, all listed in the ingredients/composition,” the list begins. “[It enables] economic interaction across borders—from marketing and sales to political and scientific cooperation, helping investors make informed decisions, enforcing legal rights and obligations.”

Also among the list, news in foreign languages, emergency communications, and cross-cultural entertainment and arts all utilize translation to reach global and multi-regional audiences. While it is not an exhaustive list, it gives readers some foundational information regarding how translation is more ubiquitous in our lives than we might expect.

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Friday Roundup

Language Industry News and Events

EU consumers push back on Big Pharma bid to relax COVID-19 translation rules

Drug manufacturers pressured officials to grant some leniency on translation rules for vaccines, indicating that translation into 24 different languages will slow the distribution of the vaccine considerably. Consumers, however, reject the plea, demanding that manufactures ensure safe access for any vaccine through translated medical labeling and documentation.

Rwandan and Harvard med students help shatter the coronavirus language barrier

Olivier Uwishema, a Rwandan med student currently studying in Turkey, used money he saved from his monthly scholarship stipend to create the Oli Health Magazine Organization, a non-profit organization that helps young people in professional health education and scientific research. The organization has now partnered with Harvard Medical School and a team of people from all over the world for the creation and translation of accessible COVID-19 resources into English, Turkish, French, Kinyarwanda, Swahili, and 21 other languages.

“The collaboration between OHMO and Harvard Medical School is based on resources where OHMO collaborates with the school student organizations to provide accessible, evidence-based COVID-19 information in many languages, vetted by physicians, professors from Harvard and other professional health providers worldwide,” Uwishema said.

“In response to the COVID-19 crisis and in recognition of the need for timely information relevant to primary care, I immediately started my project of Coronavirus Global Awareness to make sure no one is left on the sidelines of this coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding that more than 200 medical students, medical residents, and doctors have joined the initiative.

inWhatLanguage introduces new website and language management experience

inWhatLanguage, a localization and translation technology provider, announced the launch of its new website and focus on its language management platform, LMX, designed to help organizations grow faster while improving the customer experience.

LMX combines inWhatLanguage’s localization technology with automated workflows to drive action at every level of translation management. Language Management Experience is the relationship an organization creates with people in global markets as they interact with its brand, products, services, and employees.

Translations.com announces new GlobalLink Connect integration for Shopify

Translations.com, the technology division of TransPerfect, the world’s largest provider of language and technology solutions for global business, today announced that it has built and launched a new GlobalLink Connect integration with Shopify. The integrated solution allows users to create translation requests within Shopify’s admin panel and take advantage of GlobalLink Connect’s translation workflow management without leaving the familiar interface of the Shopify platform.

GlobalLink Connect provides an all-in-one solution to initiate, automate, control, track, and complete all facets of the translation process. By combining the Shopify platform with the extended localization workflow capabilities of GlobalLink, organizations gain enterprise-level multilingual content management and deployment capabilities with minimal project management and virtually no IT burden.

VICE Media Group expands CaptionHub usage across new international markets

CaptionHub’s subscription service with VICE Media Group (VMG) has expanded to reach new audiences in over 80 countries across mobile, digital and linear channels. After a successful European-wide adoption in 2019, VMG has expanded its CaptionHub account across its Americas and APAC distribution network.

CaptionHub supports VICE in the fast and efficient distribution of VICE’s cross platform, award winning content in a variety of languages and formats. CaptionHub uses the latest technology in automatic speech recognition, and builds on it with machine translation, speaker identification, and frame-accurate alignment to make it the best solution for global and remote post-production teams.

Also available to VICE through CaptionHub is the new built-in Memsource integration to leverage Memsource’s translation features, giving their linguists access to cross-company termbases and translation memories.

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