Monthly Archives: August 2012

Making Decisions in the Translation Process

By | Spanish Translations, Translations | No Comments

AZ World is currently in the process of translating a large website and an interesting event came up worth explaining in the blog.  It started with the increasingly common term, “Sustainability.”

This term, according to the major Spanish language institute, the Real Academia Española, should be translated as “Sostenibilidad.”  And this was how AZ World advised the client.  However in all of the client’s previous translations, for items such as HR documents or press releases, “Sustainability” had been translated as “Sustentabilidad.”  While technically incorrect, the use of this word is becoming more common, and may in the future be considered acceptable.  But as it currently stands, AZ World would not advise its use.

The client is now faced with a choice that only they should make.  Should they start translating the term differently from now on? Should they go back and change all the previous uses? Should they continue to translate it less than correctly for the sake of consistency?  These are decisions that only the client must make; we as linguists should only advise.

This is a very common problem.  Different departments will often hire different translation companies who don’t share things like TM’s or glossaries.  AZ World recommends that every company choose a single agency for their translation work, or at least insist on common translation memories and glossaries.

When is Translation Unnecessary?

By | Translations | No Comments

The Summer Olympics in London just wrapped up and if you watched the opening ceremonies you would have noticed something during the Parade of Nations.  When each nation’s team entered the stadium, the name of the country would be read aloud by the announcers, in French and then English.  This is done as the official languages of the International Olympic Committee are French and English.  But Samuel Johnson over at The Economist, thinks that this may not always be necessary.

Johnson thinks because for many countries, such as Canada or France, the names are basically the same in French and English no one would be lost if only the English or only the French is announced.  He also mentions stop signs in South Africa, and other examples.  You can read more about his argument here.

What Johnson is missing is that the point of translation is not simply utilitarian communication.  As we discussed last week, talking to someone in their own language is a great way to win them over.  It makes the reader feel welcomed, like they belong there.  Language is more emotional than we often acknowledge, and so translation has multiple purposes.  Translation is therefore “needed” even when it isn’t “necessary.”

Translating Products Necessary For Reaching New Customers

By | Translations | No Comments

The Common Sense Advisory, a market research company, recently did a survey of 2,430 web consumers around the world.  And every business looking to expand their customer base should look at these statistics.

When it comes to language, 72% of all consumers only visit, or at least mostly visit sites in their native language, and about the same number said that they are more inclined to purchase something if the related information is in their own language.  In fact, 56% said that a product being in the right language was more important than price.  This shows how important translating your product can be to success in a foreign market.

Even in places with high rates of bilingualism, like Europe, language still matters.  42% of Europeans said that they never purchase products in languages other than their own.

Read more about it here, or if you’re already convinced request a quote from AZ World here.

The Future of Interpretation?

By | Interpretation | No Comments

Inspired by Project Glass, Google’s enhanced reality glasses, Will Powell, a programmer, has created a way for people to subtitle life.  This is how it works.  A microphone picks up what the other person says.  It then sends that information into a speech to text program to get the text that it then sends to the Microsoft Translation API.  Microsoft’s translation software then translates the text and the result is then displayed on the person’s “glasses” in the bottom of their view.  Literally subtitling their life.

You can check out a video of the process here.  While there is a lag, which is certainly longer than concurrent interpreting, the real issue is as always quality.  This is still just machine translation and is beholden to all of those limitations.