Thursday, March 31, 2005

Interpreters lost in translation

KBCIfrom Idaho 2 News

"It's really important to know that just because you speak two languages doesn't mean you can be an interpreter"

I'm sick and tired of "Lost in Translation"

Not the movie, which I haven't seen, and that, to all accounts is well done.

I'm really tired to see that so many news pieces that may have to do or not with translation, drag in that movie's title, whether it is appropriate (seldom) or not.

Just from the last few days:
  • "Market insight: Lost in translation" (on a piece that tells how the weak dollar has wiped out gains made on foreign transactions)

  • "Interpreters lost in translation" (about the fact that in order to be an interpreter, being bilingual is not enough)

  • "Nothing lost in translation in Pollack's 'Interpreter'" (about a new movie set at the UN)

  • "Lost in Translation" (about a TV show)

All of this just in the last couple of days. Enough already!

TRADOS grows in Language Service Providers market

from marketWIRE

"TRADOS attributes the industry-leading growth to its continuing focus and investment in this important market."

Full-time Spanish-speaking interpreter job approved in San Jacinto

from (registration required)

ENLASO Joins GALA (Globalization And Localization Association)

from Yahoo Finance

Monday, March 28, 2005

Transperfect Creates New Transcription Division For Medical, Legal, And Corporate Clients

from Business Wire

"TransPerfect Translations announced the establishment of a new division to expand the company's existing transcription service offerings. "

New Revision of CiyaTran MT, Machine Translation Software for Farsi, Dari and Pashto<>English

from marketWIRE

"CiyaTran MT automatically supports correction/adjustment of spelling errors, morphological variations and syntax deviations, and detects format, encoding language and domain of the input text. "

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Software learns to translate by reading up

from New Scientist

This looks interesting, although the press release is over a month old. It describes a new technique for machine translation.
I just stumbled on it while I was searching for other information on a Microsoft blog.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Most useful tool for translators

Search and Replace, an unassuming utility program from Funduc software, must surely be one of the most useful tool for a translator.

For instance, right now I'm verify the translation of some software against a glossary and the translation memory provided by the customer, and against the Microsft glossaries.
By saving the customer glossary and translation memory to txt format, I'm able to do all my searches on the reference material using Search and Replace.

Since it supports regular expressions, I'm able to create complicated searches, such as for words followed on the same string by a certain different word, or words not followed by another on the same string, etc.

Very useful, and highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Interesting article on MT post-editing

Jeff Allen has begun an interesting thread on ProZ by linking to a new article on his on machine translation post-editing (What is Post-editing?).

According to Jeff post-editing of machine-translated text would permit to reduce translation time by up to 70%, while producing professional high-quality translations.

In order to achieve such gains, a good procedure needs to be in place, so that the necessary terminological work be done before the MT stage.

Furthermore,the post-editing should be done by a fully qualified professional.

I think this is very important, as it points to a future in which MT translation becomes another tool (although maybe the most important one) in a professional translator's kit: just like, in the past twenty five years or so, our profession has been revolutionized first by the coming of the personal computer, and then by CAT programs.

Friday, March 18, 2005

LingvoSoft Translation Dictionaries

from SymbianOne

LingvoSoft publishes a range of translation products for desktops, PDAs and smartphones. Their extensive product line includes full text translators for the desktop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

PROMT announces new version of translation software

from eMediaWire

"The software will be presented for the first time at the largest IT & computer exhibition of the year, CeBIT 2005 that will be held on March 10-16 in Hannover".

Call center offers phone-based translation service

from KRT Wire

The story is about the services provided by Language Line Services, "the world's largest over-the-phone interpretation firm". to market in foreign languages through SDL autmoatic translation tool


USP to publish U.S. Pharmacopeia - National Formulary in Spanish

from Pharmaceutical Processing

"The USP - NF provides standards of identity, strength, quality, and purity for prescription and non - prescription drug ingredients and dosage forms, dietary supplements, medical devices, and other health care products. "

Friday, March 11, 2005

Philosophy lost in translation

from The Oracle

...discussed how the meanings of words can be easily lost in translation: "Our own uses of language can lead us to all kinds of assumptions"...

Iverson Nominated for Translation Industry Award

from eMediaWire

"Iverson Language Associates, Inc., has been nominated for a 2005 ClientSide Excellence Award for its work in managing document translation. Client Side News, the publication presenting the award, is a monthly news magazine focused on the language and translation industry."

Young Translator Helps Interpreting the Written Experiences of Japanese Immigrants


"Some people had large boxes full of diaries they called me to translate, " says Nicole, 17. "I told them I'd love to, but there's no way I could get through even half of that."

When Translations Leave for Cheaper Markets

from Business Week online

An article that deals with problems that are all too common for most of us, nowadays:

"When one market begins to dry up, try adding the value of expertise. For a couple of linguists hit hard by online outsourcing, going upmarket may be the only solution"

One answer (given by Chris Durban), is certainly interesting... I don't know how feasible it is, though, for most translators:

"The key in translation services is to segment, segment, segment. The problem with most translators is that they make themselves too small. They have stuck with 12 cents a word for far too long. The top of the market is 50 cents or 60 cents a word -- and it's empty! There is very little competition at that level."

Chris Durban, however, has more to say on this topic in his own column, The Bottom Line (certainly worth checking out, though "cum grano salis").

E-Z-MRP Seeks Spanish Translation & Distributor for Exclusive License Agreement

from MediaSyndicate

E-Z-MRP is an integrated manufacturing system that includes all the functions needed to control manufacturing operations.
It was designed to make it easy to add and support foreign languages. With the success of the Chinese translation project E-Z-MRP is seeking to add additional foreign languages to the system through cooperative ventures with distributors in foreign countries.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

"Tasking the Translator" conference

from Cornell Chronicle

Anne Carson, winner of the 2001 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, will be keynote speaker for a conference titled "Tasking the Translator," to be held March 11 and 12 at Cornell. The conference features artists and scholars from the United States and abroad, including a presentation by Barcelona-born multimedia artist Antoni Muntadas.

"Globalization produces rich new possibilities for linguistic innovation and experimentation, as well as threatening the continued existence of a wide array of linguistic and literary practices, translation is bound up with our modes of transmitting knowledge and the past, as well as our very ability, as global intellectuals, to address each other."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Translation Device for Emergency Zones

from Wired

"...the U.S. military is refining a handheld voice-translation device that will soon be used by police and emergency-room doctors back home."

Suit against translator rule is dismissed


"A federal judge in San Diego dismissed a lawsuit yesterday that challenged a federal policy requiring hospitals and doctors to provide translators for patients who speak little English. [...] The rule applies to doctors and hospitals receiving federal funding."

New Full-text G>E E>G MT Program

from Presse Portal

"To avoid the most obvious mistakes resulting from the incorrect translation of terms with several different meanings, the Full-Text Translator 5.0 has been equipped with subject areas to limit the possible choices right from the start."

Which, as far as I know, is standard on most other MT translation packages.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Lost in translation?

from the Kansas City Star (registration required)

Yet another public administration relying on automatic translation to provide multilingual information to non-English speakers.

"Translations done by computer are not always accurate..."

Which would imply that most of the time they are... or am I missing something?

The Dispiriting Experience of a Translator

from: Corriere della Sera

"Ora i casi sono due: o l'autore e l'editore si aspettano che io lo corregga e operi i tagli necessari, ma io non sono in grado di farlo..."

"Either the author or publisher expect that I correct and cut the text as necessary, but I cannot do that..."

How many times, as translators, we end up ranting against whomever is responsible for the (perceived?) poor quality of the text we are working on.
I wonder, though, how many times we look at the quality of our own efforts, instead.

It is always easier, I think, criticizing others, more difficult to see with an objective eye our own work.

When (Medical) Translation Goes Wrong


A few concise but serious examples of problems of various kinds in medical translation and bilingual communication.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Business - i-Free Launch SMS Translator

from the St. Petersburg Times

"A professional translator, who asked not to be named, saw the service as possibly useful as entertainment, but not as a working tool."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Guantanamo Translator Sentenced

from Wired News

Text Messaging Gets an (Automatic) Translator

from Business 2-0

"Unlike electronic phrase books, the software understands natural language"

I rather doubt that it does, actually.

Translation Software That Learns by Reading

from Slashdot

Incorporating Multilingual Glossaries into Translation and Localization Systems

from e-releases

A webinar hosted by ENLASO (

"Viable" Alternative to Translation Memory Products


"this is so clients need not hire staff to maintain text databases and also to be sure that reused text is not out-of-date or lack unification. The aim was to eliminate the TM department and let DTP operators handle text reuse."

I don't know anything about the details of this new technology, but I rather doubt that DTP operators will be able to handle meaningfully text in languages different than their own.