Hot Topics: Translation Industry, Machine Translation Language Service, Online Communication, International Audience

Unreasonable Expectations for Machine Translation Are Based on Blind Faith in the Infallibility of Technology

Yet, many people have an almost fanatical belief in technology, they trust it fanatically and unquestioningly, the way hardline communists used to believe in the righteousness of their own system, or the way religious nuts believe that their version of religion is the answer to everything.

“The translation industry” is shamelessly exploiting this belief in omnipotence of technology.
The industry posits as an irrefutable fact the highly nonsensical proposition that as machine pseudo-translation is constantly being improved, human translators will eventually, perhaps quite soon, become an unnecessary, expensive appendage that can be simply removed completely with the scalpel of cutting-edge “language technology”. According to the industry’s credo, the only way forward for translators is “to embrace technology”, by which they mean that translators must incorporate machine pseudo-translation into their own business model, preferably by becoming post-processing factotums ready and willing to be exploited by “the translation industry”.
The problem is, this line of reasoning simply ignores reality.
The reality is that machine translation has been around for more than half a century and that it can now be accessed for free with a few mouse clicks by about a billion people as I am writing these words.
Reasonably good machine translation, within certain limits, has been available to this patent translator at official websites of the of the European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office and other websites containing digital libraries with millions of patent applications in dozens of languages for at least the last 15 years. When I was translating a patent ten or fifteen years ago, I only had a single file on my computer’s desktop. I now need to have a folder on my desktop for each patent that I am translating, not just a file, and one of the files in that folder, which contains a number of reference files, is usually a machine-translated version of the same patent that I am translating. Link to the full article HERE

Defining the skills and competences of technical communicators on a European level

By Dr. Daniela Straub

In a major initiative, the European Commission is outlining the multilingual classification of skills, competences, qualifications and occupations on a European level. Under this initiative, tekom has helped to define the profession of the technical communicator.
One major problem technical communicators in many European countries are still facing today, is the lack of recognition of their occupation. This is in part owed to the fact that there is no common international description of the profession and no definition of the necessary knowledge, skills and competences.
Within international classifications and frameworks, such as NACE and ISCO, the profession of technical communication is incorporated in other occupations and not cited explicitly. Often job agencies, employers and job seekers are unfamiliar with the occupation and its requirements. National online job portals often use one classification system and one language. The lack of a common language and common understanding of the technical communicator’s profession makes it difficult to exchange data and information, particularly between different countries. Link to the full article HERE

Six Reasons to Centralize Translation

By Terena Bell

When exporting into a new country or market, it’s really tempting to rely on in-country distributors to translate your communications. In fact, I’ve sat in trade sessions and read trade magazines that advised new exporters to do exactly that. In a way, it makes sense. In-country distributors speak the language; know your product and they are already in your new market. But in reality, leaving translation up to your distributors might stop your international growth before it even begins.
That’s because, at the end of the day, your distributors aren’t you. They are separate legal entities making their own autonomous business decisions in tandem, but apart from yours.
Let’s think about this pragmatically. When your distributors translate your materials…
1. …it doesn’t save you money.

While it may seem cheaper at first because the distributor fronts the costs, the loss in sales costs you far more in the long run. That’s because every minute a distributor spends managing translation is less time spent selling your product. So weigh up the few hundred dollars you’d shell out for translation against the few thousands your distributor could make in that same amount of time.

2. …it increases your time to market.

Think about ROI. How much do you sell in a month? On average, involving a distributor slows the translation process down by one week to three months. So you might be launching later than your competitors.

3. …it makes you look sloppy.

If you have ten different distributors translating your materials, you will look like ten different companies. As any marketer knows, brand inconsistency lowers client trust, which means customers buy less. It also makes you look like you don’t have a handle on your international growth as it goes against lean thinking, creating waste in your communications supply chain. And this makes it harder for you to be profitable abroad.

4. …it creates issues when you no longer work with that distributor.

Lose your distributor and you have to start all over with translation. That’s because if your distributor paid for the translation, it belongs to him – even though it was about your product. So when the distributor goes, you might lose your communications in that market. Now, not only does another business own all your information, but you now have to pay for new translations as though they were a first-time purchase. Basically, you have to start over from scratch –even if you’ve been in that country for years. Link to the full article HERE