Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Global Market for Outsourced Translation and Interpreting Services and Technology to Reach US$46.52 Billion in 2018

Common Sense Advisory's 14th annual comprehensive study of the language industry shows growth continues due to content digitization, personalized customer service, and business globalization.
The global market for outsourced language services and technology will reach US$46.52 billion in 2018, according to a primary quantitative study by independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research). The firm surveyed providers from around the world to collect actual reported revenue for 2016, 2017, and expected revenue for 2018. CSA Research details its findings in the 14th annual global industry report, "The Language Services Market: 2018," the only comprehensive global analysis of private and publicly-traded language services and technology companies.
As organizations both large and small make their products and services available in more languages, the firm predicts that the language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$56.18 billion by 2021.

The firm found that the demand for language services and supporting technologies continues and is growing at an annual rate of 7.99%, representing an increase over last year's rate of 6.97%. 

Sixty-four percent of surveyed language services providers (LSPs) said revenue was up over the previous year. Factors driving this demand include content digitization, personalized customer service, and business globalization.
  • Revenues, rankings, and locations of the 195 largest LSPs in the world
  • Regional rankings of the largest LSPs in AfricaAsia-PacificEastern EuropeLatin AmericaNorth AmericaNorthern EuropeSouthern Europe, and Western Europe
  • Trends in automation and spoken-language technologies including the impact of artificial intelligence on project management automation
  • Breakdown of the market by translation, interpreting, localization and engineering, project management, and more
  • Breakdown of the market for technology sold by LSPs and technology providers with estimates for translation management, translation memory, terminology, machine translation, interpreting management, and other software
Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) is the premier market research firm specializing in the language services and technology industry. It provides primary data and insight to assist companies with planning, brand strategy, innovation, competitive positioning, and better understanding of global markets.

Included in report series are the largest 195 language service providers globally, as well as by region, all of which offer language and localization services to enable enterprises to expand global reach and to respond to domestic needs. The top 10 largest commercially-focused language services companies worldwide, listed according to 2017 revenues, are: TransPerfect; Lionbridge; LanguageLine Solutions; RWS Holdings plc; translate plus; SDL; Hogarth Worldwide Limited; Welocalize; Amplexor International; and Keywords Studios.
CSA Research's structured and documented market research methodologies ensure comprehensive and independent data-driven research for LSPs, technology vendors, global enterprises, and investors. Primary data and insight in CSA Research's 2018 independent study include:
"The Language Services Market: 2018" is available to CSA Research members. The list of the largest LSPs based on 2017 revenues is open-access and available here.
About Common Sense Advisory
Contact: Simona Bertozzi, 978-275-0500, 197258@email4pr.com
SOURCE: PRNewswire.com  
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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Scandinavian Languages: Are the Three Neighbouring Languages Becoming Strangers*?

Translation Nordic languages
Credit: StoryBlocks

The languages spoken in Scandinavia are called North Germanic languages and include Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. They are subdivided into East- (Danish, Swedish) and West-Scandinavian (Norwegian, Icelandic) languages. Finnish, being completely different, belongs to the Finno-Ugric language family.
Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are all very similar, and it is common for people from all three countries to be able to read the two other without too much difficulty. Understanding the spoken languages, however, can present more difficulties, especially for Swedes and Norwegians who have had little exposure to spoken Danish.
Icelandic and Faroese do have some words in common with the three other Scandinavian languages, but it is not common for Scandinavians to be able to understand Icelandic and Faroese, except for certain Norwegians who have a similar dialect (Norwegian nynorsk).

Norwegian is to Danish as Valenciano is to Castellano
In terms of vocabulary, the most similar languages are Danish and Norwegian, which is possibly due to Norway once being under Danish rule. The two languages differ about as much from each other as Castellano does from Valenciano. The main difference lies in the spelling of and pronunciation of words – the words often being the same words and having pretty much the same meaning, just spelled slightly differently. In some cases, however, a certain word will be used in Norwegian and another in Danish in the same way as English for example has ‘lorry’ and ‘truck’.
Whereas written Danish and Norwegian (Norwegian bokmål) is very similar, the written Swedish language contains some words that a Danish and Norwegian person cannot possibly understand unless they know them beforehand.

“Norwegian is Danish spoken in Swedish
When it comes to pronunciation, however, Swedish and Norwegian are very close. For a Dane and a Norwegian, it can sometimes be quite hard to communicate, as Norwegians tend to ‘sing’, wheras we Danes ‘talk as if we have a potato in our mouth’. Swedes also ‘sing’, but depending on the region, some Swedish speaking people are easier to understand for Danes than Norwegians because they don’t ‘sing’.
In conclusion, this gives us the following equations:
Norwegian + phonology – vocabulary = Swedish
Norwegian – phonology + vocabulary = Danish
Thus, it has been said that “Norwegian is Danish with Swedish pronunciation”. While this is not completely accurate, there is some truth in the statement.

Are the three neighbouring languages becoming strangers?
Despite the similar languages, Scandinavians sometimes end up speaking English between themselves often due to the dialects existing in the Scandinavian countries and the effects of globalisation. However, making an effort to try and understand each other is only a matter of practice – in the same way as when an American person tries to understand a Scottish person.
If you were to learn one of the Scandinavian languages, which one would you go for?

*Written by Claus Skovbjerg, MA, stagiaire communicateur at TermCoord
Read more: Termcoord.eu 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Website Translation: Creating Content in Multiple Languages

Credit: storyblocks

There are a few common scenarios when creating content in multiple languages. Determining which of these matches your situation is key to making the right decision when building your site and tackling your website SEO.
The three main scenarios we see when building multi-language websites are:
  • Multiple languages serving the same country.
  • Multiple languages serving no specific country.
  • Multiple languages serving multiple countries.
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail so you can understand what is the right choice for you.
Multiple languages serving the same country
Canada is a good example since it is one country with two official languages, English and French.
 Here we could have a single website serving a single country with multiple languages. In this case, we would want to use a .ca country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) for Canada to automatically geo-locate the site and then have content in English and French to target French- and English-language queries.

Sometimes it is easier to consider what can go wrong here:
  • Is the English language version of the United Kingdom (UK)?
  • Is the English language version for the United States (US)?
  • For Australia? Or all the above?
  • Is the French version for France?
To ensure the search engine understands your site, geo-targeting and language targeting multilingual SEO tactics should include:
  • ccTLD for the country being served to benefit from default geo-targeting.
  • Single website with language-specific content in subfolders English and French: /en/ & /fr/.
  • Site hosted in the country that is being targeted.
  • Hreflang tags specifying language and country.
  • Links from relevant specific language websites.
With all of these steps followed, a search engine has all the pointers needed to know that this content is for English and French language speakers in Canada.
Multiple languages serving no specific country
Here we have a situation where we are targeting users based predominantly on their language.
We are not concerned if an English speaker is in the UK, the US or Australia or any other English language speaking location (small differences in spelling aside).
We don’t care if this is an Englishman in a country that speaks another language. As additional languages are added, they target speakers of that language around the world with no geographical bias.
Imagine a company that provides a software solution around the world. This business will want to have content in each language and have search engine users find the correct language version of the content.
So, an English speaking visitor in the UK, the US, Canada or Australia would all get the same content. A French speaker in France or Canada would also get the same French content.
Options here are a little more diverse. This is where considerations from the real-world and business operations become crucial in making the right decision (as discussed in more detail in my international SEO guide).
The tactic we recommend in this scenario is a single site with the following multi-language SEO tactics in place to support the desired ranking goals:
  • A generic TLD such as a .com that can target multiple countries.
  • Single website with language-specific content in subfolders (e.g., /en/, /fr/, /de/).
  • Site hosted in primary market with an international content delivery network.
  • Hreflang tags with language-only specified (not location).
  • Links from relevant specific language websites.
As the world gets smaller and subscription-based software solutions become ever more popular, this kind of setup is a simple way to target multiple languages across the globe.
Multiple languages serving multiple countries
This is where things can get a little more complicated because we may have multiple versions of the same language with nearly duplicate content, so technical configuration needs to be 100 percent accurate.
We may have a site in English and French, and we may have an English language section for each of the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada, along with a French page for France and Canada.
  • www.example.com/ — US, English (default).
  • www.example.com/gb/en/ — UK, English.
  • www.example.com/au/en/ — Australia, English.
  • www.example.com/ca/en/ — Canada, English.
  • www.example.com/ca/fr/ — Canada, French.
  • www.example.com/fr/fr/ — France, French.
This is fairly basic: two languages and five locations. We have seen this get a lot more complicated, and if it confuses you, then the odds of tripping up a search engine are amplified!
Get this wrong and your rankings go down the international SEO tube.
Tactics here for a single site include:
  • A generic TLD such as a .com that can target multiple countries.
  • Default location and language (US English in this example).
  • Country-specific subfolders (gb/, au/, ca/, fr/).
  • Language-specific subfolders below the country-specific subfolders (gb/en/, ca/fr/).
  • Site hosted in primary market with an international content delivery network.
  • Hreflang tags with language and location specified.
  • Relevant links from location- and language-specific websites.
This is a straightforward way to achieve the targeting of multiple languages in multiple locations.
Read more: 

SEO for multi-language websites:How to speak your customers’ language

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Andy Martin*: Google Translate will never outsmart the human mind – and this is why

Translation by Humans and Machine translation, translation google translator
Credit: StoryBlocks
... Google is often adequate, and in so many languages too, but only in the way of a particularly uninspired apprentice translator. I once picked a book off a shelf in a bookshop because I was attracted by its zany title: Whatever. It was only when I saw the name of the author and leafed through it that I realised that it was a book I already knew well in French: Michel Houellebecq’s Extension du domaine de la lutte. After initially saying to myself, ‘What kind of crazy translation is that?!’, I saw that, in fact, it’s a stroke of genius. The original title is deliberately turgid to the point of being interesting (and may, in fact, be a homage to the sociologist Auguste Comte) and the translator had achieved what is surely the only real point of a title, which is to make you pick up the book in the first place. Google’s “Extension of the field of struggle”, while technically permissible, has the opposite effect.

Perhaps it’s obvious that a machine is going to struggle with the resonance and complexity of, say, Victor Hugo or Jean-Paul Sartre. So I thought I’d start with an easy one. One of the first sentences I (like many others, I suspect) can remember learning, probably around the age of 3 or 4, before even going to school, is this: “The cat sat on the mat.” Google Translate suggests: “Le chat s’est assis sur le tapis.” Again, good try Google. But try remembering that 50-odd years from now. You could argue about the tense and even the choice of noun (is “mat” really “tapis”?) But the main point is that Google can’t see that it’s a mnemonic, made up of rhyming monosyllables, and that the best solution is to change the species, which is what French does, in the children’s rhyme, “Il était une souris qui mangeait du riz sur un tapis gris…” (There once was a mouse who was eating rice on a grey carpet…) Now that I can remember. (And it goes on, “Et sa maman lui dit, ce n’est pas gentil de manger du riz sur un tapis gris.”)

A machine translator does nothing but translate. This is how it sees its job. As a form of tautology or equivalence. One set of words is exchanged for another set of words. One code is replaced by another code. But, you will say, isn’t that what translation is? This is what I tell my class: if you want to be a good translator, don’t translate. Only bad translators translate. You have to live it. If you want to translate George Sand or Flaubert or Tolstoy, for the duration of that translation, you have to be George Sand, you have to be Flaubert, but reborn, as if they really spoke English, now.

There is, at the core of the translation process, a mystery, an almost mystic transcendence. There is no direct equivalence of one language to another. It’s not just that certain words (eg hygge in Danish) cannot be satisfactorily translated: none of them can. This is what happens in a serious translation. You read a sentence. But – and this is the point that Google tends to miss – those squiggles on the page actually represent something other than words, they are not reducible to mere information ones and zeroes. So you convert them into something other than words. Something like ideas, imprecise though that term is. Or feelings. You infuse the words with your own memories, your experiences, your fears and desires, things you have done or seen or fantasised about or heard once in a song on the radio that you will never hear again. The experience of having been born and being doomed to die also get in there. You – for a brief impossible moment – become Tolstoy, and then and only then can you re-express what was said somewhere else in some other time in your own words in your own time. And, inevitably, of course, you still get it wrong.

Translation is like the archetype of all human relations. We never get it quite right when it comes to understanding other people. At the same time, we ought to try. Being human is an advantage when it comes to translating other humans. 

Consider this, for example. Simone de Beauvoir, the philosopher, writes in one of her memoirs, “La religion ne pouvait pas plus pour ma mère que pour moi l’espoir d’un succès posthume.” Google suggests: “Religion could no more for my mother than for me the hope of a posthumous success.” Google here makes no (or little) sense. Mainly because Beauvoir, in her elegant way, is being elliptical and economical. To spell it out (a little laboriously, I admit), she is saying, “The afterlife promised by religion was of no more comfort to my mother than the hope of a posthumous literary success was to me.” It helps if you know Beauvoir was an atheist of course. And also if you have a rough idea of the kind of salvation on offer from religion. If all you can see is a bunch of words, then you’re stuffed.

Or what about this? A touch more obscure and archaic, but not unintelligible. From an essay written several centuries ago by Catherine des Roches (or Kate of the Rocks), who really wanted to be an intellectual rather than have to hang out at balls and parties in pursuit of “courtly love”: “quant à moy, qui n’ay jamais fait aveu d’aucun serviteur, et qui ne pense point meriter que les hommes se doivent asservir pour mon service…” Google proposes the following: “as to me, who has never made a confession of any servant, and who does not think it merits that men ought to enslave me for my service…” This is semantically and grammatically challenged, ie complete garbage. I hate that “me who has”. So clunky. How can “enslave me for my service” ever be right? Here is my version (entering, for a moment, into the mind of a 16th-century #Metoo poet): “And what of me? Not currently in a relationship, nor ever really had one, and don’t really want one either if we have to go through this silly business of a star-struck lover pledging to be my servant.” It’s far from perfect, but at least it sounds like a human being (who may have acquired a FaceBook account).
I admit that every now and then I suspect a mischievous student of putting a Google translation in front of me just to keep me on my toes. 

Machine translators are a relatively recent invention. But machines have been with us for millennia. Technology is a necessary supplement to humanity. But tools and machines are cold dead things, they are essentially inert. We have to switch them on. All of literature and philosophy and expressive language is a protest not against the machine per se, but against people behaving as if they were machines – incapable of making a judgment call in particular circumstances (which circumstances nearly always are). 

The human mind, we are implicitly saying, is something other than a constellation of metal or silicon. Similarly, the good translation is not translation – exchanging a random collection of information for another – it’s more like a form of resurrection. Translation gives you not just the meaning of a text, it gives you the heart and soul of its author. Its secret message is always, “I am not a robot.”

*Andy Martin is the author of ‘Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me’, and teaches at the University of Cambridge. 

Read more: The Independent

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

New report: The Nordic region is strong and growing

Stockholm, Sweden,  Nordic Region
Stockholm. Credit: Baltic Media 
By 2030, the Nordic Region is expected to have around 29 million inhabitants, an increase of more than 10%. The Nordic economy is doing well and despite the various challenges linked to ongoing global market changes, the Nordic’s recovery rate after the economic crisis has been impressive. You can read about this and more in the latest version of State of the Nordic Region.

The Nordic population is growing and it is increasingly concentrated in urban settlements. The average age of the population is also increasing, while a growing share of people have a foreign background. All of these trends are expected to continue in the years to come.
By 2030, the Nordic Region is expected to have around 29 million inhabitants, an increase of more than 10% from the current 26 million. Over the past ten years, the population has grown quicker but also aged faster than in many other European regions. This process does not however affect all Nordic municipalities in equal measure. Growth is largely concentrated in the urban areas, while many remote and sparsely populated areas face population decline and high rates of population ageing.
Immigration accounts for a large part of the population increase. Indeed, roughly 26% of all Nordic municipalities increased their population between 2011 and 2016 only due to international migration. As such, questions relating to how the integration of newcomers can be best facilitated have gained increasing relevance and will undoubtedly remain of central concern in the years to come.

A varied, but strong economy

The Nordic countries are generally performing well above the EU average when it comes to economic development, despite the ongoing impact of the economic crisis. From a macro-regional perspective, the Nordics constitute a very coherent region. Nevertheless, large and economically significant variations remain at the regional level.
Below the national level, many of the sparsely populated or inland municipalities are falling further behind the main metropolitan areas. Despite this, the northern parts of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden all rank very highly on the more broadly focused European Social Progress Index.
The Nordics also remains an attractive destination for foreign investment, accounting for 7% of Europe’s total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in-flows, despite constituting only a small segment of the European population (less than 4%).
Overall, the Nordic economy is doing well and despite the various challenges linked to ongoing global market changes, the Nordic’s recovery rate after the economic crisis has been impressive.
The Nordic countries are generally performing well above the EU average when it comes to economic development, despite the ongoing impact of the economic crisis.

A thriving, but partly segregated labour market

The Nordic Region has recovered strongly from the financial crisis. Sweden boasts the highest employment rate in the EU while Iceland has the highest rate in all of Europe. A high employment rate for women stand out and remains a basic feature of Nordic labour markets. Finland and Denmark have each seen their labour force diminish in absolute numbers since 2008, while Norway’s has stabilized.
The Nordic model, with its wage structures and low share of unskilled jobs, makes integration into the labour market challenging for newly arrived immigrants.  All in all, the labour market in the Nordic Region is doing well but in a continually changing economic landscape, significant challenges remain.
We see Iceland and Faroe Islands performing very strongly, whereas Denmark and Sweden have stabilized.

Read more: Norden.org

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Science Says These are the Oldest 16 Words in the English Language

English language translation
Credit: Storyblocks
They've lasted over 15,000 years.

Not a lot of things last over a thousand years; even fewer last over 10,000.
Yet a British research team has put together a list of what they called "ultraconserved words," or words that have remained basically unchanged for a stunning 15,000 years.
The researchers say this is because they all originate from the same ancient mother tongue -- a language used toward the end of the last ice age. That language tumbled from its tower of Babel to become seven language families, which all sound like they're out of Game of Thrones: Altaic, Chukchi-Kamchatkan, Dravidian, Inuit-Yupik, Indo-European, Kartvelian, and Uralic.
The 700 modern languages used by more than half of earth's population descend from those seven original families. Researchers scanned them for cognates: words that sound and mean the same things in different languages, like "father" -- padre, pere, pater, pitar, etc. From those, they put together proto-words, or what they believed were the cognates' ancestral form.
Ultimately, they found 23 words shared by at least four of the seven language families, making them the oldest and longest-lasting words in English. Here they are in all their ancient -- and modern -- glory:
1. Thou
The singular form of "you," this is the only word that all seven language families share in some form. As soon as language evolved, we would have needed to identify each other, and specifically to refer to the person to whom we were speaking.
2. I
Similarly, you'd need to talk about yourself. Plus, what's the use of language if not to talk about yourself?
3. Mother
The last cry of most soldiers dying on the battlefield is "Mom," so it's no wonder that it's a primal word. It's also an interesting non-pair on the list: "mother" makes it, but "father" doesn't.
4. Give
Human survival has always been predicated on our ability to cooperate. Teamwork in early civilizations wasn't a nice-to-have -- you died without it. "I was really delighted to see 'to give' there," study head Mark Pagel said. "Human society is characterized by a degree of cooperation and reciprocity that you simply don't see in any other animal. Verbs tend to change fairly quickly, but that one hasn't."
5. Bark
As in from a tree, not a dog. Anthropologists suggest this was a particularly important element of early civilizations because it was used to make baskets, rope, and, when boiled in water, medicine. In fact, aspirin was originally willow bark tea.
6. Black
Likely because in its original form, it helped early humans distinguish the light of day from the black of night. Another non-pair: "black" makes the list but "white" doesn't.
7. Fire
Light, warmth, security, a way to cook, a way to keep the wolves away. For a long time (and for many, to this day), fire was the greatest tool for survival. It was the best way to keep the "black" at bay.
8. Ashes
Makes sense, given how critical fire was.
9. Spit
What happens when you try to eat ashes.
10. Man/Male
The fact that "woman" doesn't make the list gives one pause, and may point to the linguistic reality of the patriarchy that has ruled much of the planet for thousands of years.
11. Hand
After our brains, arguably the most important body part for a human being, especially with its accompanying opposable thumbs.
12. Hear
There were all kinds of things we needed to hear: the approaching footsteps of a predator; the sound of prey fleeing; the sound of a baby's cries.
13. Flow
Unclear why this was so foundational, but perhaps it had to do with another fundamental element required for survival: water.
14. Old
Wisdom is essential when it comes to survival. The old people in a tribe were respected and listened to, for the simple fact that they had seen more and therefore knew more. Our modern culture would do well to reinstate this kind of respect.
15. This
Probably because you'd need to be able to specify that you meant this rock.
16. That
Not that rock.
"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself." - Derek Walcott
Read more:Inc.com