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Weekly Shorts | January 22, 2021

Business News, Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Technology, Terminology, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized, Weekly Shorts

TransPerfect revenue up 11.5 percent

TransPerfect has announced a 2020 year-end revenue of 852 million USD. This is a roughly 11.5 percent increase over 2019’s revenue of 764 million USD.

Volaris buys Across

Canadian private equity firm Volaris Group has purchased Across, a Karlsbad, Germany-based translation management software provider. Deal value was not disclosed.

A Swedish hashtag?

Most language professionals on Twitter use #xl8 to find one another’s tweets, but translator Erik Hansson is pushing for a Swedish language version. The current #xl8 has English language origins, using “x” to represent the “trans” in “translate” and “l8” as a phonetic representation of the rest of the word. “I am not giving up hope,” Hansson tweeted Monday, “One day, more #Swedish #translators on Twitter will finally discover our own hashtag #ovst” — short for översättning, the Swedish word for translation.

American Literary Translators Association awards open

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has officially opened its 2021 award applications. The National Translation Award is given to translated books for both poetry and prose, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize goes to an English translation from one of any Asian languages, and the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) is awarded for Italian into English prose.

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Ad Astra Buys MontLingo

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Silver Springs, Maryland-based translation company Ad Astra has bought MontLingo, a language services provider (LSP) in Brossard, Quebec. MontLingo was founded by Bryan Montpetit. Montpetit is well known in the industry for prior sales roles held at various translation software companies as well as for his stent on the Association of Language Companies (ALC) board. Neither LSP responded to inquiries regarding deal value and other details by press time.

MontLingo will become Ad Astra’s first office in Canada, with Montpetit staying on as vice president of marketing.

This is the fourth language industry acquisition MultiLingual has learned about this week. On Monday, Memsource announced its purchase of fellow translation management software (TMS) provider Phrase — formerly known as PhraseApp. Canadian private equity firm Volaris Group also recently acquired Across, a Karlsbad, Germany-based TMS. And yesterday, MultiLingual was first in the localization industry to report on Straker Translation’s acquisition of TMS company Lingotek.

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Breaking News: Straker Acquires Lingotek

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Technology, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Australian language services provider Straker Translation has officially purchased American translation tool company Lingotek, according to mandatory public disclosure reporting in Financial Times. Straker Translation is traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Under Australian law, listed corporations must notify the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) when “the products of the merger parties are substitutes or are complementary to each other” — as translation management systems (TMS) and services are to one another. Financial Times  — an Australian business newspaper — shared the news in a running ticker tape of deals at 9:50 am Australian time, January 21 2021.

Grant Straker, Straker founder and chief executive, said the acquisition is key to Straker’s ongoing plans for expansion. The deal brings with it access to 20 enterprise customers and partners, including Oracle and Nike.

This is a roughly US $6.74 million deal, with Straker Translations paying out $5.27 million in cash, and Lingotek receiving the remaining $1.2 million in stock. In 2020, Lingotek’s revenue was $US 7.9 million. The disclosure predicts Straker Translations will therefore reach break-even on the buy during the company’s 2022 fiscal year.

Lingotek is a cloud-based translation services provider, offering translation management software and professional linguistic services for web content, software platforms, product documentation, and electronic documents. In 2006, Lingotek was the first US company to launch a fully online, web-based, computer-assisted translation (CAT) system and pioneered the integration of translation memories (TM) with a main-frame powered machine translation (MT). Since then, the company has been expanding and modifying the tech it offers companies.

In the last six months Straker has seen its share price increase by 50%, and this acquisition is likely to continue to increase Straker’s stock prices.

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GlobalSake Launches February 4 with a Look at International Fitness

Language Industry News and Events

GlobalSake (pronounced like the Japanese rice wine) debuts its first online event February 4 focusing on international expansion case studies in the wellness and fitness verticals. Until the end of January, MultiLingual readers can use code GSCommunity2021 for a 20% discount on the annual program.

GlobalSake was founded in 2017 by Talia Baruch (who formerly headed international product and growth at Linkedin and SurveyMonkey), John Hayato Branderhorst (a senior strategist at btrax), and Yin Yin (director of strategic accounts at BigSpring). The nonprofit strives to be a global community of tech leaders in startups, scale-ups and multinational corporations driving international efforts. GlobalSake’s stated mission is “to bring together cross-functional, cross-cultural, cross-regional professionals for shared collective wisdom and meaningful collaborations for more effective alignment on global efforts.” The vision is to broaden localization into a more strategic, holistic, and cross-functional industry. Based in San Fransisco, California, past events were held in person. Like many other events, GlobalSake is opting for a digital approach in 2021, hoping “to address our community’s ask for continuity with on-going meetups for relationship building and knowledge share” even during this current “time of virtual isolation.”

GlobalSake’s 2021 annual program — TheParlamINT— is a speaker series of 12 monthly events held via Zoom, each dedicated to a different challenge in localization. The program looks at case study stories around the world, considering what worked, what didn’t, and the lessons learned.

Each event is held on the first Thursday of each month. March’s discussion is on international consumer insights, and April’s is on global payments, with subsequent topics focused on strategy and other aspects of global expansion. The full annual program is here. The first event in the series kickstarts on February 4, and is held from 9-10:30 am Pacific time, with industry insights from professionals working for ASICS Digital (formerly Runkeeper)Noom Inc, Kin, and other global brands.

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Memsource Buys Phrase

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Czech Republic-based translation management system (TMS) Memsource has acquired Phrase, a competing TMS headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. Memsource chief executive officer (CEO) David Čaněk would not disclose the value of the deal, but did indicate it was a predominately stock transaction: “The three founders of Phrase will become shareholders of the Memsource group.”

Phrase — formerly known as PhraseApp — will continue to operate its technology independently of Memsource with Čaněk serving as both business units’ CEO. Čaněk would not disclose Phrase’s annual revenue, but a Memsource news release references Lufthansa Systems and Pizza Hut Digital Ventures as two key Phrase clients. The acquisition was funded by The Carlyle Group — an American private equity corporation that became Memsource’s majority shareholder last July.

In a space that has recently become crowded with multiple small to medium size TMS, MultiLingual asked Čaněk why buy Phrase. “A few reasons,” he emailed, explaining Phrase was “a bootstrapped business — just like Memsource — with a similar culture and a very successful high-growth business complementary to Memsource in many ways,” both in terms of product and European regional focus.

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Weekly Shorts | January 15, 2021

Business News, Geopolitics, Interpretation, Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events, Localization, Multimedia Translation, Personalization and Design, Technology, Terminology, Translation, Uncategorized, Weekly Shorts

Translation error says Spanish speakers don’t need vaccine

A localization error on the Virginia Department of Health’s website told Spanish speakers they don’t need coronavirus vaccines, according to Norfolk, Virginia newspaper The Virginian-Pilot. Medical students at George Mason University discovered the mistake, which may have stemmed from unclear source text: “Before the faulty translation, the English passage simply meant the vaccine wasn’t mandatory,” the paper reports.

TransPerfect opens Istanbul office

New York-based translation company TransPerfect has opened a new outpost in Istanbul, Turkey. N Can Okay will oversee the office, dealing primarily with talent recruitment, according to a company release.

Neural interpretation from TikTok?

ByteDance, the parent company of international social media platform TikTok, has gotten in the interpreting game, releasing an open source tool named NeurST: Neural Speech Translation Toolkit. Note this is a misnomer, as the tech does not translate written language — rather interprets verbal speech. Full code is available on collaboration portal GitHub.

Nieman Lab predicts non-English news

American journalism think tank The Nieman Lab anticipates the United States will see more non-English news content in 2021 as both translated and in-language reporting increase. “Additionally, we foresee more substantive and equitable partnerships developing between mainstream and ethnic media organizations,” write Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula.

ATA accepting conference proposals

The American Translators Association has issued its call for presentation proposals for the association’s October 27-30, 2021 conference. The event will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota with virtual attendance options. Proposals are accepted through March 1.

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InterpretAmerica Closes

Business News, Interpretation, Language Industry News and Events, Uncategorized

Today marks the last day of operations for InterpretAmerica. Founded in 2009 by Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen, the organization served as an open forum to champion the profession of foreign language interpreting.  Over the past 12 years, it hosted multiple conferences of its own as well as partnered with the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) on its Think! series events. Allen and Slaughter Olsen marked the end of their tenure at 11 am Eastern with a memoriam of sorts — a 90 minute conference call celebrating the group’s advocacy efforts.

For those outside the language industry, InterpretAmerica’s best known work may be the video it produced for American business magazine Wired, showing how interpreters do their jobs. While the explainer focused primarily on interpreters working at the United Nations or in other political environments, it did review crucial differences between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, as well as other basics of the profession.

When asked about their personal favorite projects, though, both Allen and Slaughter Olsen cite Lenguas, a Mexican conference series Slaughter Olsen says “recognize[d] interpreters in conflict zones and the inclusion of so many indigenous interpreters in our activities as peers and colleagues.”

“What really triggered this [closure] was a radical change in my career path,” Slaughter Olsen explains, “In May of 2020 I accepted a position as VP of Client Success at KUDO,” a multilingual web conferencing platform. Allen says she then took “time to decide whether to stay on with InterpretAmerica as a solo effort or maybe with a new partner,” opting to close in the end. Resources presently on the InterpretAmerica website and YouTube channel will remain online indefinitely.

Speakers at today event included interpreting industry leaders from GALA, Certified Languages International, Cross-Cultural Communications, the Coalition of Practicing Translators and Interpreters in California (CoPTIC)​, the American Translators Association (ATA), and others.

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Maldonado named Women in Localization president

Globalization, Internationalization, Interpretation, Language, Language Industry News and Events, Localization, Translation, Uncategorized

Women in Localization has a new president: Argentine translation leader Cecilia Maldonado begins her one-year term today.

Founded in 2008, Women in Localization is a nonprofit organization that works to foster a global community for the advancement of both women and the industry by providing networking, education, career advancement, mentoring, and recognition of women’s accomplishments. Membership is free and both women and men are invited to join.

To select its officers, Women in Localization works through a succession committee. The committee interviews existing board members to determine their goals for the group, then selects a slate of candidates accordingly. Candidates are also interviewed then the final list is presented to the board, which votes. Maldonado served as vice-president in 2020 and was confirmed president for the upcoming year during the board’s last voting session.

In 2020, Women in Localization’s “high level objective” was to focus on growing global membership, “which included setting up a virtual/global chapter to focus on our remote members and provid[ing] stronger support to our non-US chapters,” according to Maldonado. Six new chapters were founded according.

“I’m super excited about my new role at [Women in Localization],” Maldonado emailed. “After constant growth, 2021 will be a year for restructuring and reorganization, simplifying and streamlining our organizational structure so we can set the foundations for enduring success. With 28 chapters in 18 different countries today, we need to step up our game to be ready for the challenges and opportunities growth brings.”

Maldonado is well-known figurehead in the localization field, having cofounded both Translated in Argentina, an industry association, and Think Latin America, a popular conference that later became part of the Globalization and Localization Association’s Think! series. She is also an active volunteer for the Association of Language Companies, a US trade group.

Nimdzi — the organization that owns MultiLingual — is an official Women in Localization partner.

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ATA Offers Payment Plan to Struggling Members

freelancing, Interpretation, Language Industry News and Events, Translation, Uncategorized

Can’t afford your American Translators Association (ATA) dues? New this year, the organization is allowing members to pay in two installments: 50 percent down now, the remainder in six months. Annual renewal fees cost anywhere from 89 USD to 492 USD, depending on membership type.

This payment plan is a first for ATA and what organization president Ted Wozniak calls “a member benefit [considered] as a token of appreciation for current members who may have financial issues due to the pandemic.” According to a December 30th Tweet, in order to take advantage, members must renew online. ATA currently has more than 10,000 institutional and individual members across more than 103 countries.

“We don’t have hard data on the economic impact of the downturn or the pandemic on our members,” Wozniak emailed MultiLingual. In the United States however — where the ATA finds the bulk of its members — recent Census Bureau surveys reveal self-employed adults were hardest hit by 2020’s economic downturn. In states where at least 25 percent of businesses had to close for temporary quarantines, 13.9 percent of freelancers were forced to rely on food banks, religious or community groups, or friends and family for at least one meal a week. This compares to 8.7 percent of workers who were not freelancers prior to the downturn. The majority of American translators are self-employed.

ATA had planned to conduct a members’ compensation survey in 2020 — a plan Wozniak says was pushed back to this year because of the pandemic. Right now, the association is basing the need for payment plans on “anecdotal stories from members,” he explains, which range from “a near complete loss of business to little or no change to an increase in business — not entirely unexpected given the diversity and dispersion of [translation and interpreting] services around the globe.”

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FAST teams with GTS Translation in the fight against AS

Language Industry News and Events

The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) teams with GTS Translation to localize their annual science summit in French, Italian, and Spanish.

What is Angelman syndrome?

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurogenetic disorder which causes delayed development, challenges with speech, balance, learning, and memory. Most people with AS also experience seizures. AS was named for Harry Angelman, a UK pediatrician who first reported children with this disorder in 1965.

While most people have never heard of Angelman syndrome, the disorder affects approximately 1 in 15,000 people in the general population. Some scientists believe that AS has the greatest potential for being cured when compared to other neurogenetic disorders. That’s why so many leading pharmaceutical companies are stepping up research to find cures for AS. A partial list of sponsors who support these efforts include Keder Solutions, Ovid Therapeutics, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, PTC Therapeutics, Genetx Biotherapeutics, Roche, Biogen, StrideBio, and Taysha Gene Therapies.

About FAST

FAST is run by an all-volunteer board of Angelman syndrome (AS) parents and professionals dedicated to finding a cure for AS and related disorders through the funding of an aggressive research agenda. The foundation is committed to assisting individuals living with Angelman syndrome to realize their full potential and quality of life. FAST’s goal is to bring practical treatment into current medical practice as quickly as possible. The hope is that grants will lead to additional research support from government agencies, other funding sources and organizations around the globe. FAST is served by two boards: the board of directors and the scientific advisory board. 

FAST is global. There are active FAST organizations in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. 

FAST enjoys the support of famous celebrities who love the AS cause and come to the FAST Global Summit & Gala, which is held every year (more on that later). The list of celebrities includes Colin Farrell (who himself is dad to a child with AS), Vincent D’Onofrio, Retta, Christina Applegate, Jai Courtney, Wilmer Valderrama, Josh Peck, and others.

AS Parents and Celebrities at FAST Gala 2019

The FAST Global Summit & Gala

Since 2008, the annual FAST Global Summit & Gala is held in December at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. The annual FAST Global Summit & Gala features a science summit, educational workshops, AAC carnival and a star-studded gala recognized as Chicago’s largest celebrity fundraiser. One hundred percent of the money raised at the Gala benefits research for Angelman syndrome. The Science Summit speakers focus on the latest developments in AS research, providing real-time updates on current and upcoming trials, providing the opportunity to ask questions directly to those developing therapeutics. The Educational workshops provide parents, caregivers, therapists and educators with information and knowledge about services that can help improve the quality of life for individuals with AS and those who care for them. The FAST Gala is Chicago’s largest celebrity fundraiser, attended by some of the actors and celebrities mentioned previously.

Colin Farrel and Friend at FAST Gala 2019

In year 2020, due to the COVID-19 virus, FAST decided to hold Virtually Unstoppable, the first virtual FAST Global Summit & Gala. The Virtually Unstoppable event was a jam-packed weekend full of research and clinical updates, educational and best practices seminars, access to vendors and Angelman-specific resources, opportunities to network and mingle, opportunities to win some amazing prizes, and appearances by Actor Colin Farrell and the 7th Heaven band.

Virtually Unstoppable 2020 Virtual Summit

The videos were streamed directly from the virtual platform. FAST had a state of the art virtual platform that resembled the Hyatt in Chicago where we usually host the Global Summit & Gala. Registrants could navigate the platform to find specific resources and visit the vendor booths, as well as of course participate in the Science Summit as well as the Educational Summit. Networking opportunities happened at Lunch with Friends and the Big Bar on Friday, and at the mini-Gala on Saturday night.

There were different rooms available on the platform (such as the Science Summit room, Educational Summit room, Resource Room, and Vendor Fair). Friday’s Science Summit was meant to feel live so we played it in real time. All of the presentation videos were stitched together so when the attendees entered the Science Summit room on the virtual platform they were given the option of viewing the presentations in English, Spanish, French or Italian. After the event the videos were separated and posted as solo presentations so visitors were able to choose the video by name and language.

Attendees interacted with the platform on all types of devices- phones, laptops, desktops, ipads. We made sure that the platform was friendly for every device.

This is the first year we have done real time translation of the Science Summit. In the past the presentations were translated after the fact and posted on our YouTube channels. Because the event was fully virtual this year, FAST knew we would have registrants from all over the world tuning in. We wanted to make sure our audience could fully engage and understand the complex scientific information. Having that information in your native language makes it much more comprehensible.

Localization project beginnings

In early October, 2020 Amelia Beatty, an AS mom and member of the FAST board of directors, contacted leading professional translation services company GTS Translation Services, among other vendors, to help in the localization project. The project requirements were challenging: FAST had about 20 scientific/ pharmaceutical/ medical presentations that that were between 10 and 20 minutes each, as well as a few presentations by Dr David Meeker, keynote speaker, and Dr Allyson Berent, FAST’s chief scientific advisor, which were 40 minutes in length. FAST wanted to have all captioned videos submitted to their platform host by November 13th. Presenters were asked to submit their videos two days before the deadline. The videos were to be subtitled in French, Italian, and Spanish.

Amelia Beatty shown in one of the videos

Beatty said that “we selected GTS for this project after having interviewed several other translation companies who proposed a much longer timeframe, saying that if they use actual humans to translate it will take at least three weeks. GTS was the only translation company that committed delivery of human translation withing the delivery deadline.”

David Grunwald, managing director of GTS Translation Services, said that “the workflow we proposed for the FAST summit was professional human translation with no use of machine translation. Using machine translation for video subtitles can yield poor results, as the structure of spoken language does not always lend itself well to translation software. This is especially true when using MT to translate technical medical and scientific subject matter.”

The workflow

The most difficult challenge was the deadline. Localizing 400 minutes of video into three languages in only two days was a very tough proposition from the start.

To meet the deadline, GTS assembled a team of 5-6 translators per language, who worked around the clock to get the translations done. Videos were uploaded to a secure FTP site and then transcribed into SRT files. These files were then submitted to the translation teams.

We mostly used the Handbrake software application for burning the captions into the videos. Adobe Media Encoder was also used for a few videos which required more advanced editing. One of the things we needed to verify is that translators saved the files in the correct UTF encoding format. We also needed to maintain the time stamps. However, text expansion in some languages required us to adjust the time stamps in order to avoid clogging up the screen with excessive texts.

Handbrake Video Editing Software

“Besides the extremely tight deadlines, another challenge was that some of the speakers were not native English speakers, complicating the task of transcription. Luckily, we were able to draw on our staff of experienced medical transcribers who managed to do a good job despite the difficulties. Our translators also assisted in this task, checking the videos concurrently with the translation to make sure that the transcriptions checked out. Another thing that worked in our favor was that fortunately, the actual deadlines were somewhat more flexible. We received the videos in several batches which reduced a production bottleneck,” said Grunwald.

“The Summit and mini-Gala went really well. The Friday Science Summit was incredible. We had 1730 registrants from 61 countries around the world!! Our virtual platform was incredible, everyone was extremely impressed. Our Italian, French and Spanish communities loved that they could watch the science presentations in their native language (because let’s be real, AS science is difficult enough in your native language!). We received requests for Portuguese and Russian for next year. The weekend culminated in raising $2.2 million for Angelman syndrome research at the virtual mini-Gala! A big thanks to GTS for this project. I know it was big and we had a tight deadline but GTS really pulled through to give us quality translations in a short amount of time. We are very pleased with the end result,” said Beatty.

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