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MultiLingual is the leading source of information for the language industry and businesses with global communication needs. Published eight times a year plus an annual Resource Directory, it is read by more than 17,000 people in 82 countries.

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December 2016

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Columns and Commentary

Post Editing | Katie Botkin
Multilingual December 2016

I have mixed feelings about emerging markets. Inevitably, they “emerge” as business partners with the developed world, as potential buyers for what someone else is trying to sell them, as potential sources for coveted exports. In the era of global commerce, emerging markets are exciting: untapped money flows, impressionable demographics unjaded by first-world glut....

Community Lives: Creating a universal language | Jeannette Stewart
Multilingual December 2016

It seems that wherever languages are used, the desire for some form of universal language is identified as a means of circumventing the one-to-one translation process. The idea of a bridge (a koiné language) connecting a number of languages, understandable to a large population, does indeed have a strong appeal, especially when a goal of globalism is real-time, multilingual communication. Does a universal language make sense in today’s network-connected world?

Language has many functions. We do not have a universal means of communicating with each other quite simply because we do not have a universal topic to discuss — we have millions. This is excellent news for translators and localizers. Perhaps not such good news for those hoping that computer-assisted translation will be a magic bullet for cross-cultural communication. Yet the idea persists and with a growing appreciation of what characterizes a global community, it is still an idea under investigation....

Perspectives: Colloquial and formal communication choices | Daniel B. Harcz
Multilingual December 2016

The reasons behind a person’s decision concerning a friendly attitude versus an official one can be manifold. First of all, the culture language professionals live and work in will determine their business attitude in a major way. In some cultures, such as that of the United States, informal communication between professionals working for different companies is much more common than in some other cultures, such as in most Eastern European and Asian countries where business communication is typically more formal and impersonal....

Perspectives: Translation: the business of innovation | Jesse Tomlinson
Multilingual December 2016

Innovation is a word that can annoy or animate and is used in many ways by many people in a broad range of businesses and cultures. And yet as translators and interpreters, we don’t often see ourselves as innovators.

As a translator and interpreter, I once got into a tweet exchange with someone who claimed that innovation was “the color of BS,” and just another buzzword. There’s no doubt that the word annoys some people and excites others....

Core Focus

Continuous delivery for emerging markets | Dave Ruane
Multilingual December 2016

When thinking about emerging markets and continuous delivery, it may not always be possible to apply the data-driven, almost live, continuous delivery approach as does the innovator company GYG. However, anyone who follows the technology adoption life cycle will know that eventually what innovators do, we all will. In the fast-changing world of continuous delivery, it may just be a decent barometer to start measuring against.

Anne-Cécile Tomlinson leads the global content operations department at GYG. She has experience in translation and localization both at linguistic and management levels. Her main focus areas are localization strategy, process optimization and business efficiency. I caught up with Tomlinson at GYG to dig into how they provide continuous delivery for emerging markets....

The calculus of global content | Donald A. DePalma
Multilingual December 2016

Translation buyers and suppliers face the challenges of massive content volumes, along with demands for faster turnaround times and more target languages, all while dealing with flat budgets. Some look to machine translation (MT) as the solution. At the same time, mainstream media like The Wall Street Journal report the criticisms of linguists and other specialists who decry the quality of MT. There is some math involved with handling big-data volumes, which establishes a clear role for MT in meeting these challenges....

Entering Latin America | Jacob Andra
Multilingual December 2016

Even though each country is unique in its business culture and regulatory environment, four Latin American nations share a special bond: Chile, Peru, Colombia and the aforementioned Mexico. This foursome comprises the Pacific Alliance, which confers some significant commonalities across its members. According to a March 14, 2015, article from The Economist, it standardizes a shared commitment to “free markets, free trade and democracy.” The Alliance’s liberal ideals distinguish its member countries from “state-led, protectionist, and in some cases authoritarian governments” found elsewhere in Latin America. Each of the four ranks within the World Bank’s top 60 countries for ease of doing business....

India vs Latin America: Similarities and differences | Jacob Stempniewicz
Multilingual December 2016

Due to the long period of colonization and suppression of local cultures by the colonizers, Latin America emerged as a collection of independent states that are nowadays relatively homogenous linguistically. Portuguese enjoys a dominant position in Brazil and Spanish is used nearly everywhere else. The remainder are smaller nations or territories that speak creole variants of English, French or Dutch. The native languages of the Americas went into rapid decline throughout the colonial times, with few surviving to the present day. The only exception is the Guaraní language, widely spoken and recognized in Paraguay....

Localization for the next generation of emerging markets | Louise Irwin
Multilingual December 2016

There are many contenders for fast-growing emerging markets that rank as high as — if not higher than — some BRICS nations. Forbes has a comprehensive list that includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Ethiopia. Research company Euromonitor International adds Nigeria to the mix when considering the growth of middle class consumers. 

Personally, I have a few favorites worth watching. Let’s start with Indonesia, ranked 37th on the Global Competitive Index produced by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Columbia University. Its purchasing power-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) is the eighth highest in the world, right behind Brazil and Russia, and its quarter billion population makes it the fourth largest economy on the planet....

Iran as an emerging market | Yasin Steiert, Afaf Steiert
Multilingual December 2016

Iran remains one of the few economic pariahs that has managed to weather the pressure of international economic sanctions and remain robust enough to witness a financially liberal future without the cost of war or internal market collapse. A consumer base of 76 million has been made more easily accessible to European firms and is slightly more exposed to US investment, albeit with a few hurdles....

Takeaway

Adventures in DTP | Amy Clements
Multilingual December 2016

Just when we think we've seen every client expectation and have incorporated them into our screening and onboarding process, we get blindsided by a new requirement that we would never have imagined....

Technology

Crossing sentence boundaries in statistical machine translation | Laura Mascarell, Annette Rios, Martin Volk
Multilingual December 2016

Standard phrase-based statistical machine translation (SMT) systems translate one sentence at a time, completely ignoring discourse dependencies and the wider context of the document. As a consequence, words with multiple senses are often mistranslated when they are ambiguous in the local context. These translation errors decrease the quality of the translation, threatening the cohesion of the text. Research in discourse-aware SMT tackles document-level issues to improve the translation and to ensure that discourse features such as cohesion are maintained in the translation....


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