Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Benefits of Website Translation

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One of the great services we offer here at AZ World is website translation.  And today we’re going to talk about some of the great benefits a multi-lingual website can bring you.

The Benefits

The most significant benefit of translating your website is obvious; a bigger audience and more visitors.  This is not only due to the fact that non-English speaking users will visit your site, but also because multi-lingual sites rank higher in search results.  While duplicated content on your site does not help search engine optimization, translated content doesn’t count as duplicated content and will.  This means that you will even get more English users as a result of the new translated pages.

A translated webpage can help you get more bilingual users to prefer your site.  Even if the user is completely fluent in English, if they’re mother tongue is, for example, Spanish, they will use the Spanish version.  A site in a user’s preferred language will become their preferred site.  It makes that user feel more at home, like you are accommodating their specific needs.  Creating that emotional connection can be the greatest draw to your site.

In addition to bringing in more users, multi-lingual websites also lend a site the appearance of a global audience.  In today’s business world this can be a huge selling feature, especially if you provide business services.  Your prospective clients want to know that your company is forward looking with a variety of different clients, and a multi-lingual site can give you that look.

Machine or Human Translation?

There are a lot of services out there like Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babel Fish that offer website translation for free.  And those translations are worth exactly what you pay for them.  Get human translators with experience working with websites to do your site and the payoff can be great.  Consider also consulting a SEO specialist who knows about key search terms in other languages.  Say you have a site which sells handmade tables and you want it translated into French.  An SEO specialist can tell you what French word for table your competition uses and then you can specify which word you would like the translator to use.  This combination will make your translation as effective as possible.

Ironically, the AZ World website is not yet translated; we’re hoping to get that done this September.  Nonetheless, we still have plenty of experience translating websites and can help you take your site global.

Happy Birthday Machine Translation!

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Well we missed it by a couple weeks… but it was on January 7, 1954 that computer translation was first publicly demonstrated at the Georgetown-IBM Experiment.  60 Romanized (Put into the standard Latin alphabet from the Russian Cyrillic) Russian sentences were translated by the specially designed computer.  The corresponding paper published said that computer translation was a solvable problem, within 3 -5 years.

Well its 58 years later and Translation Telephone still turns, “Make love not war” into “We love war.”  Perhaps recently announced military funding for machine translation will make the difference?

On the other hand, human translation is over 4000 years old, and human interpretation is no doubt older than that.  There are artefacts of partial translation of one of the earliest pieces of literature, the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh” from around 2000 BCE.

So maybe in the year 6054 machine translation will be on par with human translation today, but until then AZ World will be happy to meet any of your interpreting and translating needs.

The Difference Between TM and MT

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One of the best parts of using AZ World as your preferred translator is our use of translation memories, or TM’s.  A translation memory is a database of words and phrases used in your documents, files or software.  It is best explained with an example.

Say your company, Initech, releases weekly Human Resources bulletins that must be translated into Spanish so that employees in both New York and Madrid can read them.  Assuming Initech, uses a standard format for each of the bulletins, there are probably words repeated each week.  These can be things like company slogans or mottos.  For example, “Is This Good for the COMPANY?”  Instead of paying full rate for translating “Is This Good for the COMPANY?” every week, Initech would only have to pay full rate once, then that phrase would enter into Initech’s TM and every subsequent translation would charge that phrase at a significantly lower rate.

This system rewards customer loyalty by providing our clients with a lower rate the more they use AZ World, but it has another benefit for clients as well.  The TM is the property of the client and will be provided to them if they request it.  The client then still has a database of translated words they can take to a new translator should they choose to leave AZ World.

The way the TM actually works depends on the specifics of the translation software used, but it can be useful to think of it as a sort of find and replace function.  And this is where people become confused about the two.  Eventually, wouldn’t all the words that a client requires be in the TM and then the translator would be obsolete?

This is where it is important to point out the difference between using translation memories, TM’s, and using machine translation, MT.  MT uses a general database of words and simply replaces all entered words with their translated equivalent.  While MT software is getting better and better at detecting context and finding equivalent verb tenses, it is still nowhere near as good as professional translation.  While MT uses a general database, TM’s are client specific databases that contain the words that best fit that client’s needs and environment.  The TM also isn’t used for every single word in a project.  Large bodies of text cannot be properly translated with a TM, but technical and specialized words within a body of text can be.

The biggest difference between MT and TM’s is the human presence.  A professional translator is always present when using a TM to make sure that what the TM does is coherent and relevant.  TM’s allow translators to be quicker and more effective and consistent.  They take the best parts of MT and combine them with the human touch to provide clients with the best possible translation at lower prices.

Words With No English Translation

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A while back we posted about a neat single serving site called Translation Telephone, which pointed out the flaws in relying on Machine Translation.  Another single serving site, points out a complexity in the translation business.  “Words With No English Translation” is about just what it’s called.  Push a button and see a new word with no English equivalent.

Languages aren’t just lists of words which correlate nicely with one another.  Translators can’t be swapped for a find and replace function and this great site shows one reason why.

Check it out at: