Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Must-Have Markets

      A hobby for some, but sweat and tears for most of us. The process of providing a translation is a business, after all - one that is quite simple in its fundamental principles, yet  demanding knowledge of the direction in which the work must be taken as a requirement, or at the very least something to be recommended. Even though Forbes' annual list of the most profitable industries provides an approximate idea of where the money lies in general, if this is applied to the translation industry it might not always mean that we are going to be able to find our pot of gold there. This blog will touch upon a couple of industries in which translation work has excelled in terms of financial profit. 

       First off, the list of top earners suggests that the really big money can, of course, be found in the oil industry. This is also not far from the truth when it comes to translations, even though it comes into play only in a couple of sideways aspects - legal and technical. Arguably the most sizeable of the two is technical translations, mostly due to the incredible amount of technology that is required to extract oil, meaning that the accompanying documentation can be fairly vast (such as manuals, safety sheets, etc). However, the technical field continues to slug it out with the legal side of the industry to see which is biggest. Contracts, regulations, standards, court documentation, and more - these are just the tip of the iceberg. While it probably is the most toughest market for translation agencies to enter, getting one's foot in the door can guarantee rising profits for the foreseeable future. 

     Whilst carrying out translations for the oil industry sounds very promising, and something that is worthy of investment in terms of time and resources, it comes nowhere near to the medical field; medical equipment in particular. Regulations that have been issued by the World Health Organisation clearly state that in order for the equipment to be distributed to different countries, it needs to be provided with translation and adaptation to the target country. While translations for the oil industry can allow for exceptions to be made based on specific trading countries, the translation of technical documentation for medical equipment is an integral part of any successful market entry plan for manufacturing companies. This places the translation market in a very valuable position, one that has a lot of added value. Resource qualifications, experience, and market knowledge are just some of the points that can prove to be highly valuable when trying to sell yourself as the best translation provider in the market.

     If providing written translations is not the direction in which a company prefers to aim itself, simultaneous and consecutive translation services can turn out to be quite profitable as well. We believe that this area requires a particular level of dedication, which can sometimes exceed the efforts that are needed to run a written translations company, mostly due to the irregularity of the work. Experience tells that when working with government institutions, the European Union, or any other governing bodies of the country in which the company in question is based, this area of work can turn out to be the most profitable.

       Even though deciding on a particular market should be one of the first points on the agenda for any new translation company, following and adjusting to market tendencies in order to get the most out of what you do is only natural. Whilst the world is indeed moving towards a reduced carbon footprint and greener living, oil is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Despite this, we would like to think that human health will always remain the priority in our lives, which means that it is always a wise investment to adjust the choice of resources and technical capabilities in order to be able to service the medical care business. Of course, these areas form the world’s most outstanding industries these days, and the translation industry will always persist as long as companies are willing to trade goods with each other, which in itself is a basic fundamental of human nature. 

Author Didzis Grauss
Project Manager/Baltic Media Ltd

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

SDL Trados Studio 2014 - How badly do we want it?

      SDL’s products are certainly no stranger to anyone who’s even remotely connected with the translation industry. Something that is plainly obvious is that it was with the launch of Trados 2007 that the industry started producing immense turnaround volumes within severely short deadlines - much shorter than they ever were before the advent of Trados 2007. While there were obviously Trados versions before this one, to our mind it was 2007 that marked the real start to the era of segmented translations. Now, while successfully avoiding the expression “next generation”, SDL is on the verge of launching their newest and beefiest product - SDL Trados Studio 2014. We have taken the liberty of using our resources and knowledge to take a highly interesting look at what is awaited from the new software package and also to work out just how badly we might actually need it. 
        Something that has taken a great deal more time than it should have is document aligning, known in Trados as WinAlign, which is finally being integrated into the newest version of SDL Trados Studio. What WinAlign does at its most basic level is to help to create parallel texts and translation memories as a final product from documents that have not been translated in any bilingual file form. This function is a personal favourite, mostly due to the fact that there still exists a small percentage of people in the pool of translatorswho do not consider any CAT tool to be a must-have. WinAlign has helped us to maintain our extensive translation memories in a format that has constantly been updated and systemised. There was probably a very good reason for holding back for so long with WinAlign, but are we happy that it has finally arrived? How could we not be!

        What Microsoft already started way back in 2007, SDL has now implemented in the form of intuitive “User Interface” groups in order to increase the user experience. This might be a personal view, but neither myself nor any of my fellow project managers find it to be exceptionally helpful. From discussions with other colleagues, and enquiries for their views on the matter, we have concluded that while it might help to integrate SDL Studio 2014 into everyday active use faster than with the previous two versions, those people who will be using this system on a daily basis would still prefer the old-fashioned, systemised way of accessing things.
         The final step that we’re discussing in our first blog is the video tutorial function that was introduced in SDL’s final product. When it comes to its use by project managers, we find this to be something that is extremely helpful. Prior to this, it was mostly us who were doing all the tutoring. It’s nice to know that we finally have some help. In addition, we consider this to be another step towards a faster transition into the next version because, as we may well know, translators and project managers still have no problem when it comes to working with the previous three versions of the product. The video tutorial feature is a great way for new users to ease themselves into using software that is generally considered to have revolutionised the translation industry. We’d like to offer Trados a hearty thanks for this welcome addition.
       Apart from the three features that we’ve pointed out here, the new software packs in a whole lot more, such as document preview, instant terminology list creation, and more intuitive translation memory usage. Overall, it will feel just the same as the good old Studio versions; however the new software package delivers a good many new items to the table that were very much in demand. Despite the fact that the newly-marketed features are on a par with the general level of expectancy, it would also not be impossible to ship them out with the previous version as well. That aside, we are very much looking forward to the release of the new version and we hope that the video tutorials will be utilised in order to introduce the software to an even greater number of people in the ever-expanding pool of translators. 

Author Didzis Grauss
Project Manager/Baltic Media Ltd