Monthly Archives: April 2011

Lenguas en extinción florecen gracias a la tecnología

By | Español, puro y simple | No Comments

La moderna tecnología de la información frecuentemente es señalada como la responsable de homogeneizar un mundo que parece cada vez más pequeño, particularmente en lo que se refiere a culturas y costumbres autóctonas. Sin embargo, hay casos en los que las redes sociales, por ejemplo, contribuyen a salvar lenguas en peligro de extinción.

 Los idiomas de las minorías se encuentra en situación de vulnerabilidad, pero un ingenioso sitio ha asumido el arduo trabajo de rastrear tweets en lenguas originarias.

 Se trata de Indigenoustweets.com, que registra comentarios de microblogging en 68 lenguajes. El sitio funciona utilizando una base de datos de palabras y frases especialmente creada para este propósito, establece qué “tweeteros se expresen en su idioma nativo más a menudo y luego los ayuda a ponerse en contacto entre sí.

 Esta aventura informática es el producto de la labor de Kevin Scannell, profesor de Ciencia de la Computación en la Universidad de Saint Louis, en Estados Unidos.

 Scannell le cuenta a la BBC que le sorprendió encontrar tantos hablantes de otras lenguas en un servicio predominantemente inglés: “Me impresionó ver que hay casi 1.000 personas que escriben sus tweets en irlandés y 3.000 que lo hacen en vasco. Y estas cifras van en aumento”.

 “Es asombroso que hasta el momento hayamos comentarios en 68 idiomas, considerando que cuando comenzamos con el proyecto contabilizamos 35”, destaca.

 Lengua materna. Estas lenguas incluyen el creole, hablado por unas 12 millones de personas, principalmente en Haití. El sitio ha registrado 6.878 usuarios de Twitter que utilizan ese idioma para comunicarse.

 En el otro lado del espectro se encuentra el gamilaraay, un lenguaje considerado prácticamente extinto y que se habla en una pequeña parte de Nueva Gales del Sur, el estado más populoso de Australia, situado en el suroeste del país.

 Allí se ha contabilizado apenas un usuario de esa lengua en Twitter.

 El profesor Scannel afirma que el sitio es una invitación a que los hablantes de idiomas minoritarios se descubran mutuamente a través de internet.

 “En las redes sociales hay personas que quieren alcanzar a un audiencia mayor y para ello usan el inglés o el francés, lenguas más abarcadoras. Pero también hay quienes se comunican con familiares y amigos utilizando su idioma nativo. Nosotros queremos que estos internautas se conecten con otros similares, de cuya existencia no estaban enterados”, agrega.

 “Indigenoustwet.com es un sitio es muy sencillo”, asegura Scannell. “Uno encuentra su lengua en la lista, hace clic en ella y de ahí se pasa a una tabla de todos los ‘tweeteros’ que escriben en ese idioma”.

 “Ofrecemos estadísticas sobre la frecuencia con la que un usuario publica comentarios en galés, por ejemplo, en relación con otro lenguaje y cuántos seguidores tiene, y además mostramos una foto de él. Todo esto ayuda a decidir a quién queremos seguir”, completa.

 El sitio también enumera los trending topics de los usuarios de cada lengua.

 Oportunidad para las lenguas. El sitio fue construido usando el reconocido API de Twitter, una caja de partes que le permite a la gente como el profesor Scannell utilizar el servicio de maneras que no fueron anticipadas previamente por el equipo que desarrolló la red social.

 Indigenoustweeter.com se nutre de contenidos recolectando las palabras que reconoce desde una base de datos de idiomas.

 “Los datos de la base provienen de páginas web”, explica Scannell. “Tengo un montón de información para unos 500 idiomas, que he estado recopilando durante ocho años. Ésta proviene de blogs, noticias y páginas web”, afirma.

 Con la ayuda de la comunidad del sitio, su fundador está agregando nuevos idiomas todo el tiempo.

 No es poca la gente que desconfía de la tecnología de la información, incluyendo las traducciones mediante programas y las redes sociales, ya que sienten que promueve las lenguas globales y la cultura anglosajona. Scannell tiene una visión diferente

 “Cosas como Twitter y los medios de comunicación social representan una gran oportunidad para los lenguajes minoritarios. Un sitio como IndigenousTweets.com es un buen ejemplo de algo que le permite a la gente conectarse, comunicarse y utilizar su lengua de manera natural a través de internet”.

   lanación.com

The development and progress of translation

By | Translations | No Comments

Today, I would like to talk about the changes in the world of translation.

 When I started translating I was 19 years old and a freshman at college, computers were just appearing in Chile and we were extremely privileged to have an Atari at home. I was the only freshman at college who was using the Atari for her projects.

Atari is long gone and most of you have never heard of that “prehistoric” equipment … Translation like most things in life has evolved. Translation is no longer an isolated activity, because with the advent of the Web, translators today are able to join different forums and societies that protect, train and keep them current.

Through these forums, blogs and societies, we translators have learned how to keep up with technology to deal with clients who will not pay on time, lawsuits, stress, problematic clients, challenging terminology, etc. One of these forums has more than 300,000 translators from all around the world.

However, sometimes our clients, or the rest of the world, are unaware of this evolution and like to work in the same way we were working 20 or 30 years ago.

Some clients think that a PDF or faxed document is better because that way it is official (I heard that last week about a technical report that was 150 pages long).  They do not understand that a PDF document needs to be re-typed partially or even in its entirety depending on what type of PDF it is, and in this way allowing a greater chance for errors, typos and omissions. Also, the translator needs to do all the formatting which is time-consuming … and if it is time-consuming, it is more expensive for the client.

 In the above paragraph I was not talking about certificates and similar documents – that we understand. I was talking about Technical Reports, Manuals and Studies, Help Files, Training Manuals, etc.

 A PDF does not permit the use of CAT tools. CAT tools are the means by which translators are more productive, consistent and able to improve the quality control of the final translation (for more information on CAT Tools see our blog “What is a translation memory”.  “More on translation memories” and “Why at AZ World we use translation memories”.

 One last point, when you have a document and you can apply your CAT Tools, feedback is easy. What can be easier than to do a translation, then the proofreader checks the translation sends it back to the translator who updates the changes in the translation memory and sends the final copy of the TM to the project manager. In that way, you do not have to re-do those changes over and over again.

 Only companies lost in translation will be doing the same changes over and over again and not embracing the changes of the world.

What do we do at AZ World

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For the last 10 years, Ana María has been busy following her dream to create the best translation agency in the Pacific North West.

Ana Maria worked on two mine construction projects in Chile; and, after moving to Vancouver, she worked for the Vice-President, Construction at Placer Dome Technical Services Limited.

Combining her experience in the mining industry with her degree in English, French and Spanish translation and interpretation, Ana María and AZ World have specialized in translating for mining companies, engineering firms, mining software companies, and mining suppliers both locally and around the world.

AZ World has translated complete feasibility studies, environmental studies, technical reports, technical equipment specifications, mining contracts, merger and acquisition documents for mining companies, bids and tenders, technical manual, help manuals and web pages for their mining clients – in addition to countless other documents for the Finance, Operations, Legal, Treasury, Information Technology, Internal Audit and Human Resource departments.

AZ World presently provides translation in over 50 language combinations through a network of 50 main translators and has access to an expanded network of more than 500 translators who can assist should AZ World have multiple projects at the same time.

We have worked with more than 50 mining companies or mining industry suppliers and our clients keep coming back year after year. The referrals from our clients and the fact that they keep returning is our best recommendation.

For more information visit us at

www.a-zworld.ca

A few thougts on interpretation

By | Interpretation | No Comments

Interpretation is as old as mankind; it began when one group needed to know what was meant by the sound uttered by another.  Translation started after we began to write.  Translation or interpretation, the written and spoken arts, have always been an essential part of being human.

 Since those early days, translation and interpretation have evolved significantly. During the Nuremberg trials Simultaneous Conference Interpretation came of age; several languages were translated concurrently.  Before those trials, it was thought impossible.

 Experienced professionals know it is not enough to be able to read, write, or speak another language.  Would you hire a biology student to do open heart surgery or a paralegal to represent your company in court? Of course not, for the exact same reasons, you should always use a translator or interpreter, who is certified and familiar with the nature of your project. 

 Hiring untrained and uncertified personnel can have grave consequences and the effect of global communication should not be understated.

 When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go”. After the company figured out why it wasn’t selling any cars, they renamed the car in its Spanish markets.

 In Canada, The Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTIC) sets, maintains, and promotes national standards in translation, interpretation and terminology, and is the umbrella under which the Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC (STIBC) operates. 

 When selecting a translator or interpreter one should check to make sure that they are certified by STIBC, or one of the other provincial societies that operate under CTIC, and that they have adequate translation/interpretation training (certificates/degrees/diplomas).  It is also prudent to ask for a list of past clients or client references to ensure they have a reputable track record.

 Technology is also very important. Ask whether the translator uses translation software such as Trados/SDLX.  It makes the translated product more consistent and can create large savings for the end user, YOU.

 Remember, once your company image is damaged, it is very difficult to recover. Even corporate giants have made costly mistakes in the past, don’t be one of them.