Monthly Archives: December 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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This is my last posting until 2011 as I will take a break to spend time with the people I love the most. The office will work but at a slower pace.

 In 2010, we doubled the number of clients we served and increased the languages in which we translate, and for that, I have to thank the clients who believed in us and kept coming, and the translators, editors and support staff of A-Z World.

 We are what we are because of you!

 We grow because we work together as a team and strive to provide our customers with a great job, and our translators with a good environment in which to develop their expertise.

 We are passionate about the work we do and are always looking for new ways to provide you with a better service at a better rate.

 I hope to hear your comments in the New Year…

 Thank you for your support.

 Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year.

How important to you is the material that will be translated?

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I will start my post today by telling you a story.

 At AZ World, we used to translate for a training/coaching company.  Working with the material was entertaining, fun and enriching for all of us, and this was ongoing for a couple of years.  At some point, we became so accustomed to the client that they could send their material at the last minute and we would try to accommodate their translations. Usually, I would receive a call late in the afternoon asking if we could translate for first thing the next morning and we always tried to fit them, but at some point, we stopped hearing from them….

 I called our main contact and was told that the quality was no longer there, that they had found words mistranslated…

 The first thing I did was to apologize to the client and then I asked a few questions:

 Did you find spelling mistakes? No

  1. Did you find typographic or formatting mistakes?  No
  2. Did you find mistakes in the translations?  Once, they found one mistake…one sentence was a negative and was translated into a positive.
  3. What do you mean by mistranslated words?  Some words that you used were not known by the people who used the material. Some other words could have been better.

 I apologized again and I was sad for a while…I liked the client and their material but after a few days of analyzing the conversation, I thought:

 We provided translations without spelling, typographic or formatting mistakes, in short notice.  The client was aware that we could not accommodate a proofreader.

  1. We mistranslated one sentence in over 70,000 words…. that was done in a document that was sent at 8AM and was requested before 2PM
  2. About the mistranslated words… we had asked the client after every document we sent to let us know if there were comments, feedback or something we could do better in order for us to change and improve the translation memory… We never heard from the client until we were told that our work was not “that” good…
  3. More than a year has gone by and the client is still using our material with very few changes…

 From this experience I reconfirmed that we translators are not mind readers and that we cannot assume that because a company is in the communications business they will communicate with their suppliers too.

 To summarize my point today, your material needs to be checked if:

 The original material was carefully and thoughtfully prepared for accuracy, consistency, grammar and style.

  • It will be circulated or published.
  • The accuracy might endanger lives/money.

 It deserves the same attention when it is translated because you want your company and your name to look professional, and the document deserves the same attention after it has been translated.

Google to Translate European Patents

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Google today announced an agreement  to use its machine translation (MT) technology to translate patents into the 29 European languages used by the European Patent Office’s (EPO) 38 member countries. The deal promises to remove translation, a major obstacle to the European Commission’s plan for a unified, European Union-wide patent system.

Registering a patent in Europe is currently an expensive, complicated, and lengthy process. Nearly a year ago, the E.U.’s 30-year march to unify the patent process across Europe looked like it was drawing to a close, thanks to a proposal that would limit patent filings to three languages — English, French, and German. Italy and Spain were in the forefront of the E.U. opposition that would have prohibited the filing of a patent in Italian or Spanish.

This language-limiting approach followed other European Union’s initiatives to limit the number of languages into which it translated documents. Limiting language access is never a popular choice, especially in an organization characterized by its multilinguality. The other expedient of producing less content or writing shorter documents offends the natural sensibilities of the career bureaucrats and politicians working in Brussels.

The Google Translate deal finesses the translation issue by allowing inventors, scientists, lawyers, and other concerned constituencies to read and understand patents in any of the 29 European languages to be translated by Google — as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. According to the EPO, Google’s MT will offer access to a current database of about 1.5 million documents, and the 50,000 new patents added every year.

This deal is a win-win for both the EPO which overcomes the limited-language objection and for Google, which gains access to a huge corpus of documents to further train its engine. However, this announcement will be much less welcome news for language service providers (LSPs) that depend on translating patent applications and inquiries. Many LSPs have begun complaining that the volume of patent translation will decrease as a result of this deal. While that may be true, the bigger picture is that another barrier will be removed for business globalization.

What should patent-focused LSPs do? Rather than fight the inevitable rear-guard action against MT quality, they should think outside the standard patent application. Besides patents, innovative businesses need help entering global markets — in localizing global websites, translating technical publications, and developing multilingual training and customer care materials. For specialized patent activity, including litigation, they could also work on their pre- and post-editing skills to refine Google’s MT output which will surely take some time to reach the EPO’s expected level of usefulness (see “The Market for MT Post-Editing,” Nov10).

This article was written by Donald A. DePalma 30 November 2010
http://www.globalwatchtower.com/2010/11/30/google-european-patents/#more-1954

Do you speak/translate “SPANISH”, “MEXICAN”, or “CASTILLIAN”…?

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 I have been asked that question so many times that I’ve really lost track…

 I am sure I do not speak Mexican because I was born in Chile and other than short holidays, never lived there. However, I received a big influence from the Spanish priests at my brother’s schools and Argentinean nuns at my school.

 I have also been privileged to travel around Spain and enjoyed their culture, food, sun and people. It made me really happy that in the South of Spain everybody thought I was a native Spaniard.

 This picture should help to prove my point.

 As you can see, Spain is divided in Provinces, one of those Provinces is called Castilla and Leon and that is from where the language takes its name. However, you can call the language Castillian or Spanish and both are correct and accepted as synonyms.

 In Spain several other languages are also spoken and have official status:

  •  Catalonian – Spoken in Catalonia, parts of Andorra (where it is the national language), parts of France and the Island of Sardinia in Italy.
  • Basque or Euskara – Spoken in the Basque country
  • Galician  – Spoken in Galicia

 There are several dialects:  Aragonese, Asturian, Caló, Valencian (usually considered a dialect of Catalan), Extremaduran, Gascon and Occitan.

 To summarize, Castillian and Spanish are both right and I am very proud to have been raised speaking “Chilean” (if something like that exists).

 Enjoy,

AM

Do you speak/translate “SPANISH”, “MEXICAN", or “CASTILLIAN”…?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

 I have been asked that question so many times that I’ve really lost track…

 I am sure I do not speak Mexican because I was born in Chile and other than short holidays, never lived there. However, I received a big influence from the Spanish priests at my brother’s schools and Argentinean nuns at my school.

 I have also been privileged to travel around Spain and enjoyed their culture, food, sun and people. It made me really happy that in the South of Spain everybody thought I was a native Spaniard.

 This picture should help to prove my point.

 As you can see, Spain is divided in Provinces, one of those Provinces is called Castilla and Leon and that is from where the language takes its name. However, you can call the language Castillian or Spanish and both are correct and accepted as synonyms.

 In Spain several other languages are also spoken and have official status:

  •  Catalonian – Spoken in Catalonia, parts of Andorra (where it is the national language), parts of France and the Island of Sardinia in Italy.
  • Basque or Euskara – Spoken in the Basque country
  • Galician  – Spoken in Galicia

 There are several dialects:  Aragonese, Asturian, Caló, Valencian (usually considered a dialect of Catalan), Extremaduran, Gascon and Occitan.

 To summarize, Castillian and Spanish are both right and I am very proud to have been raised speaking “Chilean” (if something like that exists).

 Enjoy,

AM