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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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Google Translate Causes Vaccine Mishap

Language in Business, Language in the News, Localization Basics, Personalization and Design, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Last week, MultiLingual reported on a Virginia Department of Health website translation error that incorrectly told Spanish speakers they don’t need coronavirus vaccines. New information from Richmond, Virginia newspaper The Virginian-Pilot now reveals how this error came to be.

“The Virginia Department of Health’s main sources for translating critical covid-19 and vaccine information are three marketing agencies that don’t list translation services on their websites and Google Translate,” Sabrina Moreno reports, pointing out that both translation reliability experts and Google itself caution medical providers not to use the free online tool for medical translations. Google translated “the vaccine is not required” as “the vaccine is not necessary” on the Department of Health’s frequently asked questions website.

In the United States, Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus with higher death and hospitalization rates than white Americans. Ensuring this group has access to covid-19 vaccines is of particular importance in Virginia where — as of January 13th — Latinos only accounted for 9 percent of those receiving a dose despite making up 21 percent of the commonwealth’s covid-19 hospitalizations.

“Immigrant advocates and certified translators said the state’s failure to prioritize adequate translation showed Virginia’s lack of investment in populations already facing a trust gap in the health care system and language barriers that have historically limited access to medical care,” writes Moreno.

Luis Oyola, director of organizing for Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond, says he’s been warning the state of what Moreno calls “the desperate need for translated and culturally competent materials” since March. “The government is reaping what they sowed,” Oyola told The Virginian-Pilot

The government, however, continues to stand beside its mistranslation. “Many Spanish speakers do read this form as it was intended — namely, to make clear the vaccine is not mandatory and therefore will not be forced on anyone,” director of communications Maria Reppas told local television station ABC 8News.

Nearly 1.4 million Virginians speak a language other than English at home. More than half of these people speak Spanish.

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Terena Bell is an independent journalist who writes for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fast Company and others. She is former CEO of In Every Language.

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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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Belgian Translation Error Could Result in Travel Fines

Geopolitics, Language in the News, Technology, Translation, Uncategorized

English-speaking visitors to Belgium may have arrived under a misunderstood set of coronavirus-related travel rules, according to national newspaper The Brussels Times.

“According to the English version of the official info-coronavirus.be website,” journalists Maïthé Chini and Jules Johnston reported on January 4th, “travelers must complete the form ‘within 48 hours of [their] arrival in Belgium.'” Trick is, that information is not correct. In its original French, Dutch and German — the country’s three official languages — the government states Passenger Locator Forms (PLF) must be completed before people arrive — not after.

Fortunately, the Belgian government corrected the mistake not long after The Brussels Times called to request comment. “It was a wrong translation of the text and it has now been corrected,” Yves Stevens, spokesperson for the country’s coronavirus crisis center, told the paper. It’s unclear, however, how many travelers entered the country before the correction was provided. Fines for those who do not complete the forms as instructed are €250 per person.

According to Reuters, Belgium has seen 650,011 covid-19 infections and 19,701 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the global pandemic back in March. Travelers and residents are encouraged to use Coronalert, a contact tracing app available in English, French, Dutch and German for iPhone and Android. According to the frequently asked questions page of the Coronalert website, “The language of the app is automatically matched to the default language configured in your smartphone’s language settings. If your phone is set up in another language than these four, Coronalert will by default be installed in English.”

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State of German Industry Report Released

Business News, Geopolitics, Globalization, Internationalization, Language in Business, Language Industry News and Events, Localization, Localization Strategy, Localization Technology, Technology, Translation Technology

Qualitätssprachendienste Deutschlands (QSD) has released its first report on the state of the German language industry. Compiled from national statistics authority data and the responses of more than 100 companies, the report reviews market size, translation and interpreting prices, common client verticals, machine translation (MT) adoption strategies and technology development. It also lists Germany’s top language services providers and analyzes industry growth over a nine year period, as well as job creation. An additional section takes a look at how the global covid-19 pandemic has affected the sector.

According to the organization — which is a conglomerate of DIN EN ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certified translation providers — the German market is unique in that it is even more highly fragmented “at the top” than in other western European countries. To show this fragmentation, the report maps multi-language vendors (MLVs), estimating market shares for each. It also claims foreign companies win more translation business in Germany than national leaders combined — which QSD believes will eventually lead to the sale of many of these providers.

The QSD report also discusses local translation providers’ strong focus on technology as digital native clients come into buying power. Much of this development is redundant, writes the group: “Very similar classic client portals. terminology management products, REST APIs for Plunet and [quality assurance] QA checkers will compete for buyer attention.”

More information is available at https://www.qsd.de/en/language-services-in-germany-2020/.

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A New Translation App from…Hyundai?

AI, Business News, Language in Business, Localization, Localization Technology, Machine Learning, Technology, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

There’s a new Korean-English translation app out there and it’s made by Hyundai. That’s right: The automobile manufacturer has gotten in the language business.

According to newspaper The Korea Herald, AIRS Company — an artificial intelligence subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group — developed the tool in order to help the corporation’s international employees communicate. Called the H-Translator, it uses an artificial neural network (ANN) to translate written text as well as extract copy from captured images.

The South Korea-based AIRS Company was established in 2018 and began building the app in 2019. H-Translator can be used both as a standalone tool and with external chat tools. The manufacturer is currently working on adding additional languages and wearable functionality.

In a statement posted on Facebook on December 17, AIRS Company used Facebook’s translation automation to announce the tool into languages other than Korean. In English, one of the more coherent portions read “From the world, we offer the highest level of translation quality specialized in the automotive industry. We are looking forward to being a beginner of translator development for communication between the future vehicles or robots, etc.”

Founded in 1967, Hyundai is a South Korean automotive manufacturer headquartered in Seoul. The company is no stranger to international business: it operates the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea, and employs about 75,000 people all over the world. As Hyundai has noted, many employees don’t speak the same language. Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries.

In September, Business Korea reported that Hyundai had recruited top AI scholars as part of a strategic transition to expand its offerings: “To pioneer the future of sustainable mobility, [Hyundai] is undergoing an ambitious transformation from an automotive manufacturer to a smart mobility solution provider and it is invested and engaged in various projects and collaborations covering AI, autonomous driving, electrification, and Mobility as a Service (MaaS).”

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Friday Roundup | December 25, 2020

Business News, Translation Technology, Weekly Shorts

Amazon adds translation to Alexa

Amazon has launched Alexa Live Translation which — according to a blog on the company’s site — “allows individuals speaking in two different languages to converse with each other, with Alexa acting as an interpreter and translating both sides of the conversation.”

Unfortunately, Amazon uses translation and interpreting interchangeably, but one thing that is clear is that users activate the feature by asking Alexa to “translate.” The virtual assistant then listens to what the first speaker is saying and identifies the language from English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi before interpreting the message. Live Translation is currently available on Echo devices set to US English.

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