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.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Interesting article on post-editing machine translation

Recently, Isabella Massardo published on interesting article on post-editing machine translation:

5 Effective Strategies for Post-Editing MT
Because of the misleading fluency of NMT systems, we now have to get the meaning of the source text first and then compare the text with the MT raw output to make sure that the translation is correct and adequate.
Good to know that there are still people who realize that advocating for "Monolingual Post-Editing", as some zealots increasingly do is ever more dangerous, especially now that machine translation is becoming even more "fluent".

The link was not correct but it should work now.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Term Extraction Using Concordance Tools

Yesterday, at the 9th annual conference of the Colorado Translators Association, I gave a new presentation: "Term Extraction Using Concordance Tools". I think it was well received: lots of colleagues attended, and several had various questions to ask at the end.
I've posted the presentation (in embedded form) in the "Other Presentations" tab of this blog, from which you can also download a copy. At the end off the presentation there are links to all the programs mentioned.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

'It's a silent conversation': authors and translators on their unique relationship

From the Guardian, an interesting article on authors and their translators:

From Man Booker International winner Olga Tokarczuk to partners Ma Jian and Flora Drew … leading authors and translators discuss the highs and lows of cross-cultural collaboration.