Tag: localization

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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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Localization & Race: Disney’s Dubbing Controversy

freelancing, Geopolitics, Language in the News, Localization, Localization Culture, Localization Strategy, Multimedia Translation, Personalization and Design, Uncategorized

Disney/Pixar’s localization of the movie Soul has generated some race-related controversy, according to The Independent. Released in 41 different countries, the film is about a Black jazz player who tries to reunite his body and his soul after the two accidentally split apart. It’s only the fourth animated movie in the history of American cinema to feature a Black character in the leading role.

The film hasn’t gone without criticism in the United States, where cultural news sites like Gizmodo, Screen Rant, and Insider have pointed out that Soul seems to lean into Black stereotypes. In its original English version, the film uses a white actor to voice the main, Black character’s soul — something Gizmodo and others claim removes Black agency.

In Denmark and Germany, white actors voice the character’s body as well, sparking the Danish controversy. (If German cinema-goers are upset, the media is yet to report it.) “A number of activists and scholars suggested that [the] casting was an example of structural racism,” reports The Independent. Nikolaj Lie Kaas — the voice actor who received the lead Danish part — said, “My position with regards to any job is very simple. Let the man or woman who can perform the work in the best possible way get the job.”

The language industry, however, has long considered non-qualification related factors in “who gets the job.” In interpreting especially, US providers often pair limited-English proficients (LEP) with interpreters of the same gender for assignments, based on language and topic. If an LEP has been raped, for example, crisis centers may require a same gender interpreter as a way to help minimize trauma. For religious reasons, female Arabic and Somali speakers also may require female interpreters for medical visits. In these instances, a man very well may be the best interpreter in town, but other factors must be considered in awarding the job. That said, film localization is a different field and appears to adhere to different standards in at least some cases.

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Was Amazon’s Giant Translation Gaffe a Marketing Ploy?

Localization

“It felt like a huge prank,” said translation industry business consultant Anne-Marie Colliander Lind in a conversation about Amazon’s botched launch of amazon.se in Sweden last week.

Amazon launched its amazon.se platform in Sweden last week, and the transition into the new market did not go unnoticed. On day one, users were reporting en masse blatant and quite shocking errors in much of the Swedish translation. We wanted to better understand what went wrong, so we turned to localization expert and consultant and native Swede Anne-Marie Colliander Lind to glean some insight about how Amazon allowed these shocking gaffes to define its first impression in Sweden.

Describing her initial reaction to the news, Lind said, “It felt like a huge prank.” Lind’s surprise came from more than just the level of vulgarity she witnessed. Beyond noting the flag blunder — Amazon used Argentina’s flag in place of Sweden’s — she found the ubiquity of certain errors particularly disconcerting.

Lind took us through a few examples and explained why they appeared so flagrant. Some were relatively innocuous. Star Wars products that featured the Death Star translated it as Dödlig Stjärna, or dead star. The trunks in swimming trunks turned into Bagageutrymme, meaning trunk (of a car).

Some were a bit more risqué.

The Swedish kuk, for example, is equivalent to the English noun cock. From an English perspective, we knew the double meaning of this word can refer to both rooster, and, well, yeah. In Swedish, on the other hand, kuk is employed solely as a vulgarity, meaning cock and dick would both translate to kuk, but rooster would not.

For intentionally vulgar products — like the pair of boxer shorts with a rooster printed near the phrase “Suck my Cock!” — the pun, then, would not track, but the juvenile denotation would. Still, as we scrolled on, kuk continued to show up in places where the translation clearly should have been tupp, the Swedish word for rooster. Even more, it began showing up in products devoid of any rooster or phallus-related content: skateboards, fishing tackle. Our minds wandered.

translation

The fishing lure and skateboard in this picture both use forms of the Swedish word kuk, which translates to a phallus-related vulgarity.

Lind noticed verbal conjugations of kuk as kukad and kukande, which as verbs would mean, essentially, to dick something. We conjectured the source translation might, possibly, have been from the English verb form of cock: to set something in place, like a skateboard wheel or a fishing lure. So perhaps the machine translation recognized that the word was now used as a verb, but still could not determine a better equivalent than an unrelated vulgarity?

It seemed possible that anywhere the English letters c-o-c-k would have appeared — even for words unequivocally referring to something else — the Swedish resorted to the vulgar translation.

Pung, or scrotum, is used here to describe a bra.

Similar tendencies arose with the Swedish word for rape, Våldtäkt, which described not just rapeseed oil products, but also descriptions for shower curtains, cell phone covers, and sexual assault goal-keeper shirts. Pung, referring to the scrotum, was used to describe bras and lingerie. Feline-related material became pussy. It all seemed, to Lind, too blatant to just be a mistake with the machine translation.

“These mistakes don’t resonate with machine translation,” she said, adding that even Google Translate would have picked up on such errors. Furthermore, Amazon has translation standards in place that require vendors provide translations for product descriptions and customer support. Even with the reliance on individual vendors, Amazon would still have a filtration process for vulgar content. Furthermore, trade names, which are generally marked as non-translatable, were included in the numerous gaffes.

Amazon released a statement of thanks to the community for pointing out the gaffes, promising improvements as they continue to receive feedback, but did little to clarify the source of the errors or what it would do to prevent such a disaster in future launches. Amazon will act on any flagged material by lowering the rank of products with poor translation quality. But simply removing or lowering the rank of these products seems more in line with sweeping the issue under the rug than determining what caused the disaster in the first place.

Lind noted that the company’s own localization processes seemed to be running smoothly, including delivery mechanisms and payment information, highlighting that Amazon would hire its own localization team for essential site functions. Clearly, Amazon has shown a commitment to the smooth exchange of money and goods, but all while allowing some terrible translations to slip into the public sphere.

We discussed what this all means for Amazon, and whether the company can assimilate to the Swedish market in a meaningful way moving forward. Lind said that while she expects the dust to settle around Amazon as it makes fixes to the site, she does not expect it will take to the Swedish market as significantly as it has in other European markets. With Sweden’s strong ecommerce industry — including retail giant IKEA — Swedish consumers already have access to quality products over the internet. Nevertheless, Amazon will try to find ways to become the premier ecommerce site wherever it goes.

Which brings us back to the translation issue. As a multi-national company, Amazon knows the risks and considerations of launching in a new country. So could this have been a large-scale prank that the company employed as a marketing scheme? After seeing IKEA successfully recover from its own translation gaffe back in August, perhaps Amazon is following suit.

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Adaptive Globalization Releases Linguist Salary Report

Language in Business

A comprehensive guide released by recruitment company Adaptive Globalization provides detailed salary and job description information for the language service provider industry.

Adaptive Globalization has released the first comprehensive salary report for the language service provider (LSP) sector. The report details benchmark competitive salaries for an array of positions as a guide for employers seeking to attract and retain talent in the coming year. Moreover, it provides summaries of key roles in the industry, their progression paths, and their salary ranges across 18 locations globally.

Locations in the report include Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, the UK, and the United States.

The report states that the global language service and technology industry is worth $49.6 billion, and “Understandably, for such a large industry, there isn’t one ubiquitous compensation structure. Instead it is typically determined by several factors.”

According to the report, some of the factors affecting salaries range from company type (LSP vs. client-side), to market conditions, to cost of living. Though the report does not mention how these factors, or others like gender or the COVID-19 pandemic have made an impact, they likely also play a role, as signaled by some of the LSP market movement this year. The salaries for linguists ranged anywhere from €14,000 to over €100,000 per year, depending on management level and location. Switzerland and the US rank among the higher salaries, while Poland and Italy rank among the lowest among the selected countries.

Breaking down some different departments in LSPs, the report outlines roles in sales and operations. It covers a section for linguists, which covers positions like translation checker, proofreader, interpreter, translator, transcriptionists, senior translator, language lead, language quality specialist, language service manager, head of translation, and language department director.

“Linguists are the people working directly with languages,” the report states. “They are detail-oriented people, with academic degrees in the source language. Typically they come with excellent knowledge of the most common CAT tools.”

Along with the positions for linguists, the report also includes localization management and engineering positions. It defines requirements for internationalization engineers, for example, saying they “are usually Software Engineers that specialize in designing mobile apps and incorporating the adaptation of different languages to the design,” and noting that they “are usually very experienced… and know the different nuances of each language (technically speaking).”

Adaptive Globalization specializes in language industry recruitment. Working with both language service agencies and large companies, the company recruits people working in the translation and localization industry.

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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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Lokalise Raises $6 Million in Backing

Localization

Previously bootstrapped, the software startup team Lokalise decided to raise external capital to hire top talent in order to accelerate growth, as it moves remote.

This week, Latvian translation software startup Lokalise announced that it had raised $6 million in a recent funding round. With a focus on translation and localization of apps, websites, and games, Lokalise provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) product that helps users improve workflow and processes when updating for different languages and regions.

“Initially we were just a handful of coders building a product for a pain that we ourselves were experiencing,” said Lokalise co-founder and CEO Nick Ustinov. “When top-tier customers started knocking on our doors we saw the larger opportunity at play. We quickly realized that the greatest challenge to scale Lokalise is in attracting the best go-to-market talent. Having met good VCs in both Europe and the US, we are happy that we picked Mike Chalfen as our partner to realize our vision.”

Lokalise aims to streamline the localization process, allowing users to upload language files or integrate them directly with GitHub or GitLab so that it automatically updates changes. Additionally, users can browse each sentence in different languages from the service, and a team of translators can edit text in the Lokalise interface all on the same page.

Similar to cloud-based platforms, Lokalise has collaboration features through comments and mentions, as well as assign tasks and trigger events based on completed tasks, like an email notification. Furthermore, Lokalise allows users to use Google Translate or a marketplace of professional translators, with built-in spelling and grammar features to spot errors.

“Most customers work with internal or external individual translators or language service providers (LSPs) directly,” Ustinov said. “The SaaS product generates 90% of our revenue — the revenue breakdown between the SaaS product and the marketplace of translation services is 90%/10%.

Founded in 2017 in Riga, Latvia, by tech entrepreneurs Petr Antropov and Nick Ustinov, the company has since attracted over 1,500 customers in 80 countries, from early-stage businesses, to scaleups and Fortune500 companies, including Revolut, Yelp, Virgin Mobile, and Notion.

“Every business has an online presence, yet inefficient localization remains a painful barrier to geographic expansion,” said lead investor Mike Chalfen. “Lokalise changes that. It has amazing customer references. Its beautifully designed collaborative tool and powerful integrations position it to disrupt the industry’s complex and archaic business processes. I am excited to partner with this ambitious team to build a new category leader.”

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Netflix Partners with NMG to Localize Streaming Services

Localization

Addressing issues related to content, user interface, and payment options, the partnership will grant greater access to the Netflix streaming service for Russian viewership.

Partnering with Russia’s National Media Group (NMG), Netflix will now localize its services to Russian viewership in the effort to expand access to the streaming service. Though the international version has been available in Russia since 2015, the partnership will bring significant updates to both the content and services starting from Mid-October.

One important change will be in the payment options. Available only to payments in Euros previously, Netflix will now allow viewers to pay in local currency, including payment options in rubles. With the collaboration, the company also has plans to increase the number of local Russian films, as well as to make updates to the user interface to better serve Russian viewership, including offering full access to Russian subtitles and dubbing. The films and services will be available to subscribers globally, as well.

“NMG confirms partnership with Netflix. According to the agreement between the two parties, NMG will act as the Netflix services operator in Russia,” said NMG CEO Olga Paskina. “We are currently working on full localization of the streaming service, which will enable us to provide Netflix’s services and content in Russian. This deal is in line with NMG’s strategy to achieve leading positions in digital and content media segments in Russia.”

Accounting for around 25% of Russia’s TV market, NMG will become the primary operator of the streaming service in Russia. The partnership is expected to comply with the Russian media legislation, which stipulates that foreign entities can only hold 20% of a company. Although the partnership will open new avenues for content, NMG will not be responsible for creating any additional content.

“Netflix is available in over 30 languages around the world,” said a Netflix spokesperson in a statement to Broadband TV News. “Almost five years after launching our English language service in Russia, we’re excited to provide a fully Russian service for our members in partnership with NMG.”

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Moscow Translation Club Transforms to Russian Association of Translation Companies

Business News

The Moscow Translation Club has evolved into the Russian Association of Translation Companies — the localization industry’s newest association.

The Russian Association of Translation Companies (RATC) was officially registered with the Russian Federation government in July, and is on track to join the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC).

Active member and co-founder of the Moscow Translation Club (MTC) Janus Worldwide announced the official registration of the RATC, an association that complies with Russian law and begins with 12 companies from across the Russian Federation. MTC members will become primary members of the association, and will be presented in the first RATC board. Margarita Yegorova of MegaText — a translation agency and board member of MTC — will serve as president, supervise activity, and represent the RATC in an official capacity.

Moreover, the three vice presidents — Serge Gladkoff of Logrus Global, Konstantin Josseliani of Janus Worldwide, and Alexey Shesterikov of Awatera — will take over the responsibilities of setting up international operations. Chair of the board Nikolay Kulikov of AKM Translations will manage the board and the association, and coordinate its governing bodies.

Founded in 2014 by leading Russian translation companies, the MTC arranges events to discuss issues in the translation and localization industry. Members of the MTC came up with the idea to obtain legal status for the RATC to protect the interests of the industry and promote its development with legal standing.

As founder of the MTC and president of the largest translation company in Russia, Josseliani hopes to apply his experience to the RATC to benefit the translation industry as a whole. He will manage cooperation with Russian legal entities and social organizations, procedural work, and any other responsibilities deemed necessary by RATC members.

Now that the registration has taken place, the association is slated to join the EUATC, which will enable exchange in and representation of the Russian translation industry. “We have been working with leading members of the Moscow Translation Club since last year providing them with our guidance on how to go about forming an association,” said Geoffrey Bowden, secretary of EUATC. “While there are some formalities to go through, we anticipate that the Russian Association will be admitted into membership of the EUATC at its next virtual General Meeting on September 18.”

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TICO-19 COVID Response Effort Welcomes TWB

Translation

Translators without Borders has joined TICO-19, a coalition of academic institutions and industry partners, in an effort to translate and localize urgent health-related resources and materials into languages without access to the latest information.

black android smartphone on yellow tableResponding to the worldwide shortage of translators and translated health resources during the ongoing pandemic, Translators without Borders (TWB) has partnered with several academic institutions (Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University) and industry partners (Amazon, Appen, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Translated) to form the Translation Initiative for COVID-19 (TICO-19).

Preparing emergency and crisis-related content available in nearly 90 languages so far, TWB will serve professional translators and aid in the training of state-of-the-art machine translation (MT) models. Access to content like “Translation Memories for the Translation Community,” “Translated Terminologies,” “TICO-19 Translation Benchmark” (a collection 30 documents translated from English into 36 languages), and a number of other resources will provide many regions life-saving information.

Some of the terms include more general terms like pandemic or recovery cases, but also terms related to scientific terminology like viral nucleic acid and serological analysis (an examination of blood serum). One of the phrases it collected states, “Data reported to CDC are preliminary and can be updated by health departments over time; critical data elements might be missing at the time of initial report; thus, this analysis is descriptive, and no statistical comparisons could be made.”

With countries like the United Kingdom and Australia reporting widespread lack of translation resources for some of their most at-risk communities, the TICO-19 partnership with TWB may provide some much-needed relief in the near future.

“Language technology is a powerful tool that can help people communicate more consistently, quickly, and confidently about global issues like COVID-19. Yet many languages don’t have the necessary data needed to build this innovative technology,” explains Grace Tang, TWB’s Gamayun Program Manager. “We’re excited that industry leaders recognize this gap, and are working with us to develop technology that can help everyone communicate about COVID-19, no matter what language they speak.”

A language equality initiative, Gamayun uses advanced language technology to increase language equality and improve two-way communication for marginalized languages. Joining the TICO-19 coalition will help TWB build upon the mission of Gamayun to allow everyone to give and receive information in the language and format they understand.

“We’re excited that industry leaders recognize this gap, and are working with us to develop technology that can help everyone communicate about COVID-19, no matter what language they speak.”

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Multimedia Localization Service Market Report Released

Localization Strategy

Multimedia localization deals with subtitling and translating scripts, creating voiceovers and dubbing, as well as animation, graphics processing, video production and so on. Importantly, the multimedia localization service industry has demonstrated adaptability in these trying times, with one video game localization team even using video calls to record voice actors.

Despite the disruption to the world economy this year, the continued success of the multimedia localization service industry would make sense considering its growing relevance in our daily lives in recent years. As with trends occurring in other language-related industries this year, the ingenuity and adaptability of the multimedia localization service industry appears to have the capacity for an upswing. Market.biz released a report recently on the impact of COVID-19 on global multimedia localization service market size, status and forecast 2020-2026 that will elaborate on the state of those trends.

Consisting of comprehensive data that aids in the detailed appraisal of the multimedia localization service industry, the document provides a summary of regional and global developments, the overview outlines the scope of the study, key market segments, ongoing trends among manufacturers, suppliers, and industries operating within the multimedia localization service market, and the implications of COVID-19 on each market by type.

Relying on SWOT analysis —a compilation of company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats—that focuses on revenue and forecast by type and by end users in terms of revenue for the period of 2015-2026, the report analyzes the global multimedia localization service status, future forecast, and growth opportunity.

Furthermore, the report identifies cloud-based and web-based aspects of the industry, profiles key players and analyzes their development plans and strategies. Among these key players are Rev.com, 3Play Media, Language Link, RWS Moravia, Morningside Translations, One Hour Translation, AMPLEXOR International, Translated, ABBYY, Aberdeen Broadcast Services, Acclaro, ALTA Language Services, Andovar, applingua, Aspena, Click For Translation, Day Translations, Dynamic Language, Boffin Language Group, Argos Multilingual, among others.

Along with the numerous list of key players, the report was also conducted worldwide, in regions as North America, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, and Central & South America. With its global reach, it aims to define, describe and forecast the industry by type, market, and key regions.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, Market.biz anticipates “the global impacts of COVID-19…will significantly affect the multimedia localization service market in 2020.” Some companies are finding ways to respond, but many markets are already impacted, with flight cancellations, travel bans, restaurant closures, slowing supply chains, stock market volatility, and falling business confidence becoming the norm during the pandemic. The report provides a detailed analysis of what all these disruptions mean for the multimedia localization service industry.

 

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