Wednesday, April 22, 2020

AIT Tools Free or Deeply Discounted "To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus"

Besides Yamagata Europe (see my last post), AIT is also offering its tools for free (to medical translators) or deeply discounted “To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus”. Here is the text of a message I received from AIT:
We hope you are safe and healthy. We also hope that you keep calm, stay home, and learn new tools for translators.
AIT joins in the international community’s efforts to contain a pandemic, and we’d like to support translators at this challenging time.
To contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 virus, all medical translators can get software for FREE! Please, contact the AIT customer support to get your license.
We wish to support you in overcoming this difficult period, so even if you do not work with medical translations, you can get an unprecedented 80% discount on all our software products for translators, to work from home safely, and be on the top:
Stay home, take care of older loved ones, and above all, stay healthy!
P.S. If you have friends or colleagues who are engaged in medical translation, please share this email with them, so they will be able to get the software for free.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Free Translation QA Tool to Help Fight COVID-19

I repost this message which I have received from Yamagata Europe:

Yamagata Makes QA Distiller Free For All to Help Fight COVID-19

From April 2020 onwards, Yamagata Europe will offer its QA Distiller software for translators and technical documentation professionals free of charge. Instead of paying for the software, companies who download QA Distiller will be invited to donate to Translators without Borders. 
The partnership with Translators without Borders (TWB) represents Yamagata Europe’s commitment to making sure everyone has access to information in a language they understand, especially during the fight against COVID-19. TWB is a non-profit organization offering language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies worldwide. Donations will help TWB fulfill its mission to eliminate language barriers that prevent the dissemination of critical health information. 
TWB uses language expertise and technology to help people access health-related information. TWB offers translation of content for partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Red Cross, monitors and prevents the spread of misinformation, and shares verified multilingual content. The need for this work is underlined by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We’re not just fighting an epidemic, we’re fighting an infodemic.” 
The most trusted QA tool since 2004
QA Distiller is a stand-alone tool developed by Yamagata Europe that makes it easy to find formal translation mistakes in bilingual files. You can use QA Distiller to detect inconsistencies, terminology mistakes, wrong numbers, missing brackets and much more.
The free QA Distiller version will include all features of what was previously the Professional License, with support for over 90 languages. QA Distiller users will also benefit from regular updates, including new features and languages, and basic usability and functional support by Yamagata Europe.
Today, QA Distiller has over 1,000 satisfied users. Yamagata Europe developed the tool originally to fulfill its own need for improved language consistency checks after translation. QA Distiller was first presented to the industry at the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) congress in Saint Petersburg in 2004. A commercial release followed later that year.
QA Distiller was always offered on a ‘buy once, use forever’ basis, with the addition of an online license check. Basic support was always free and optional support & maintenance contracts with free upgrades were added a few years after the launch.
The software came in three versions: Freelance, Professional and Enterprise. From April 2020 onwards, only the Professional version will be available, free of charge. This version will not be limited in the number of languages and there will no longer be a license check.
The current version and license server will continue to be accessible until the end of April 2020. Current users can visit our QA Distiller support page to find info on how to switch to the new version.
Fight the COVID-19 infodemic: donate to Translators without Borders
A donation to TWB will help the organization fight the current infodemic. According to TWB’s Head of Fundraising and Communications, Sharda Sekaran, “Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people more than ever need access to accurate information in a language and format they understand. The donations through this partnership will support TWB, so that we can support the emergency response.”
Download and donate now!
You can make donations starting from $10, but we hope that companies will find the generosity to donate substantially more.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Translators’ Attitudes towards Machine Translation

I’ve received the following message, about a questionnaire regarding translators’ attitudes towards Machine Translation, together with the request to share it with other translators:
I’m a BA student from the English Studies Department of the University of Sheffield and I would appreciate it if you took the time to fill in the questionnaire for my dissertation regarding translators’ attitudes towards Machine Translation. It would also be very helpful if you shared it with other potential participants. Thank you in advance! Here’s the link:
Kind regards, Irene Chamali
The questionnaire includes, at the beginning, before any questions are asked, a full “Participant Information Sheet”. I’ve checked (and answered) the questionnaire, and I believe it deserves that translators answer it, as it comes from a legitimate study.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Spotlight on the Israeli Translation Market

The size and shape of each country's translation industry differs enormously. I was sent the following article by Tomedes, a translation agency founded in Israel and specializing in Hebrew translation. Read on to discover an interesting description of the translation market in Israel, from the most sought-after services and languages to insights into coming trends. 

There is no commercial relationship between Tomedes and myself or my company.

Spotlight on the Israeli Translation Market

by Ofer Tirosh, founder and CEO of Tomedes

Top Israeli Business Translation Needs

When it comes to professional translation in Israel, three services are enjoying a boom in demand: software localization, marketing translation and legal translation. It is the strength of Israel's tech industry that creates the demand for software localization. This same industry also has a large appetite for marketing translation, as do the local medical and gaming industries.

Marketing translation in Israel, from Hebrew to English, is used to reach out to international companies. Online retailers, in particular, are upping their game there, after Amazon launched first an English-language site for Israeli shoppers and then, towards the end of 2019, a Hebrew-language site (an event which saw Hebrew language translation services being engaged at scale during the run-up).

Many Israeli businesses are also seeking legal translation services from English into Hebrew and vice versa.

Hebrew Translators Are Just the Beginning

In terms of the most sought-after language pairings, Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew are just the start. Professional translators for Hebrew-Spanish, Hebrew-Russian and Hebrew-French are all much in demand.

Immigration has climbed almost every year since 2008. Israel welcomed 13,701 immigrants in that year, compared to 34,000 in 2019. This influx of new residents is driving demand for professional translation of official documents.

How the Market for Translation Services in Israel Has Changed

In recent years, the market for translation services in Israel has undergone complex changes. Language translator Avishay Beidani wrote in the Times of Israel that the field of literary translation is not sustainable, observing that, "the amount of compensation was so low as to be insulting."

While demand for particular kinds of translation has waxed and waned, over the past decade globalisation has significantly increased the need for translation, localization and interpretation services in Israel. The translation industry now generates billions of dollars every year as companies strive to break down global trade barriers and increase their international footprint.

What Does the Future Hold for Professional Translators in Israel?

It's not just technical translation needs that are ramping up, but requests for video translation and transcription as well. The user experience on the internet is changing rapidly. Static content is out; dynamic and engaging content packed with infographics and videos is very much in. Companies looking to maximise their reach and their sales figures are embracing this wholeheartedly  hence a spike in demand for video translation services that looks set to continue for some years to come.

Japanese and Chinese translation services are also likely to be big business in Israel over the coming years, just as they are around the globe. Both Japan and China have invested, and will continue to invest heavily, in the future of the cyber/technology industry. Israel plays a major role in this industry, with Tel Aviv being home to a dynamic tech scene. The city has one of the highest startup densities in the world, at around 2,500 startups across its 435,000 residents.

Then there's the demand for military industry translation. Israel is exporting an increasing amount of weapons and new cyber technologies to East Asian and European countries  all of which presents plenty of opportunities for a language translation company offering the right specialist knowledge and skills.

Hand-in-hand with these major trends is the need for customer care. This means that a document translation company that wants to meet the needs and expectations of Israeli clients needs to prioritize customer service by providing dedicated account managers as well as translators, making support services available outside of regular business hours (and ideally round the clock), being able to respond to changing customer needs, providing urgent translation services for priority documents... the list goes on!

Only a translation agency that delivers on all of these fronts and more will be able to fully harness the potential that the Israeli translation market presents. That potential is not to be underestimated. A translation company that is dynamic in its approach, engaged with major market trends and flexible in the way that it both scans the horizon for future trends and adapts to those trends will find the Israeli translation market a welcoming place indeed.

Monday, January 06, 2020

SDL Trados Studio 2019 - The Manual (3rd edition)

Mats Linder's SDL Trados Studio - The Manual has now been updated with a new edition - the third for SDL Trados Studio 2019, to cover changes introduced with service release 2 (SR2) of the program.

The manual is now grown to 612 pages, in all some 15 pages of new text. It includes updated text on several new AppStore applications, updated information on machine translation. A bookmark list for easier navigation is also now provided.)

The price is USD 52 or 49 Euro for new users (or half of that for those who bought previous versions of the manual).

I highly recommend it, since it complements (and mostly supersedes) SDL's own badly written documentation: Mats writes in a way that any user of SDL Trados studio will find useful.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Interpreters will be replaced by pre-recorded videos

According to INTERSECT, a newsletter of Cross Cultural Communications,
The Trump administration has announced that interpreters for initial deportation hearings will be replaced by pre-recorded videos in several languages.
[...] The videos will inform those who face deportation of their rights. How anyone knows whether the videos will be understood, or how those who watch them will ask questions, is unknown. Previously, interpreters were available for questions when judges informed those to be deported of their rights.
In addition, vast numbers of those who will watch the videos speak indigenous languages unlikely to be recorded in the videos. In an article in The San Francisco Chronicle,  one judge reported this change as a “disaster in the making.”
Language lobbyists suggest that U.S. residents write a letter to Congress to protest the change.
One more step in the Republican quest to transform the US into a country where the rights of the people count for nothing.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Instaspekers: even if it were legitimate, too dangerous to be trusted?

Over the past few weeks I received many emails from Instaspeaker, a new company which will soon launch a translation app for mobile devices. They are looking for experienced translators to provide interpreting and translation services on the fly through their app. According to their messages
Instaspeakers is a live on-demand translating app. Think Uber, but for translators/interpreters. Using our app customers can initiate a video call with a translator/interpreter [and get] video remote interpreting (VRI) [or] upload a picture or document [to get] an audio file [with the sight translation of the document].
On the face of it, this app is just one of the many that aim at providing linguistic services in real time for their users. I find these messages deceptive, disparaging and dangerous.
  • Deceptive because they say "Earn on your terms," which, to me, implies setting your own conditions and rates — but the rates are instead set by Instaspeakers. Deceptive also because when you go to their website, they paint a very rosy picture of the translators' and interpreters' earning potential:
Elite translators have between 0-9 years of experience, and are billed at $1.50/minute. Elite translators can earn up to $73,000/year
Premier translators have between 10+ years of experience, and are billed at $2.50/minute. Elite translators can earn up to $134,000/year
...only to say in the footnotes that
Earning estimates are for explanatory purposes only, and the actual earning potential of each translator will be determined by the actual time each translator works and the rate for which their services are billed out. Earnings estimates are based on 40 hour work weeks over the course of 12 months.
So, to earn $ 73,000 dollars in 40 weeks, how much would an "Elite" translator have to work? If we multiply 40 weeks times 40 hours/week, times 60 minutes/hour, we get 96,000 minutes. If billed at $1.50/minute, the total would be $144,000 - but since Instaspeakers' earning estimate is 73,000, that means that only about half of the $1.50/minute would be paid to the translator or interpreter.
But nobody would be able to constantly translate 40 hours per week for them: even if it were possible, 40 hours of actual production work for them per week would mean not having any other customer, and takes in no account the time one would always need for administrative tasks, idle time, and so on.
  • Disparaging because it treats translation and interpreting as a hobby "Instaspeakers allows you to earn extra cash in your spare time".
  • Dangerous because they ask to their candidates (who, after the first 400 applicants, will be required to pay $15 for their own background checks) a wealth of personal information: address, social security number and bank account information. They say they need the bank information to pay you, and the address and social security to run the background check.
I have no reason to believe that this wannabe "Uber for translators / interpreters" are not a legitimate service, but...

But if I am wrong, providing them with all that personal information would mean providing someone we can not really check with all the information necessary to steal our personal identities, and, even if they are legitimate, providing a combination of name, address, social security number and bank information would mean that in case of a data breach (and we have seen how frequent such events are), the threat actors would have all of our personal ID, not only a mere email address or credit card number.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How to ensure poor translation results

 I've just received the following email from

Ciao! Abbiamo appena ricevuto una richiesta di traduzione di 40.000 parole, con subject legal. Il documento (word caricato su Matecat) sarà diviso in link da 1.500 parole circa. I link saranno inviati domani mattina (ore 10.30 \ 11.00) e dovranno essere pronti entro le 17.00 del giorno stesso (14\06\2019).  Facci sapere se sei disponibile e se si per quanti link da 1.500 \ 2000 parole circa

For those who don't speak the execrable Italian-English mixture used in the above message, the following is a rough translation:

Hi! We have just received a request for the translation of 40,000 words, subject legal. The document (word loaded in Matecat) will be divided in sections of about 1,500 words each. The sections will be sent [to translators] tomorrow morning (by 10:30 - 11.00 AM) and must be ready by 5:00 PM on the same day (June 14, 2019). Let us know if you are available and, if so, how many 1,500-2,000 word sections you can take.

This means translating 1,500-2,000 words in a bare six hours or so (possible, though probably a bit tight, considering the subject), but it also means that the whole translation will be done by a group of between 20 and 27 translators. You'll notice there is no mention of terminology coordination (impossible anyway, given the time constrains), nor of editing or proofreading (and no sign of the rates offered).

Even assuming all translators who accept this "offer" are all good professionals (and, frankly, I doubt any good translator would participate in such a project), the resulting translation is likely to prove disastrous because of the inconsistencies that will inevitably crop in, given the likely number of translators and the little time available.

This is the recipe for a failed translation.

Monday, May 27, 2019

An article from the Economist on the art of translation

The Economist, has recently published Daniel Hahn on the art of translation, an article which deals, among other things, with the intersection between writing and translation:
“Translating becomes a sort of replicating of an idealised version of that writing experience, so that I can write a novel as if it’s from scratch, but I know it’s going to work because it’s been road-tested in another language. I’m constantly writing these great novels, which is an amazing privilege.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

New edition of Mats Linder invaluable SDL Trados Studio Manual updated for SDL 2019 SR1

Mats Linder's SDL Trados Studio - The Manual has now been updated with a new edition - the second for SDL Trados Studio 2019, to cover changes introduced with service release 1 (SR1) of the program.

The manual is now grown to 598 pages, and includes 30 pages on machine translation -- useful for many translators, considering the ever-increasing presence of MT in many projects.

The price is USD 52 or 49 Euro for new users (or half of that for those who bought previous versions of the manual).

I highly recommend it, since it complements (and mostly supersedes) SDL's own badly written documentation: Mats writes in a way that any user of SDL Trados studio will find useful.