FUNNY THINGS I HAVE SEEN IN MY 25 YEARS AS A TRANSLATOR

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I would like to share with you the Friday´s funnies … somethings translators can laugh or cry about, or both laugh and cry about!

I invite clients and translators to share their funny translation and interpretation stories.  But please, protect the innocent … we are telling stories without pointing fingers.

Enjoy!

FROM A TRANSLATOR

(A certified translator who was also a lawyer in his native country)

AZ World:  What happened that I do not see the opening Spanish question marks (¿) and exclamation points (¡) and why are the accents missing?

Translator:  Oh, I charge extra for accents and those special characters since it takes me longer to WRITE THEM!

FROM A CLIENT

(A software company in need of translation for their software user interface, blogs and website)

Client:  How much would you charge for everything you see on our website, some of our blogs, as well as parts of our software?

AZ World:  You need to be able to provide us with the material for translation.  We cannot guess what you need to have translated!

Client:  Really, are you incapable of looking at everything and just providing me a quote?  I do not have time to provide you with what I need to have translated, I am the president of the company and I am a busy man!

FROM A CLIENT

(Supply chain agent from a large mining company)

 

Client:  The quality of your translation is appalling. We make a lot of changes and you should give us a discount of at least 50%.

AZ World:  We looked at the edited document you sent and saw you made 7 changes total.  We noted 5 times in the 27 pages that you changed “however” for “notwithstanding“; while the other two changes correspond to a verb that in Spanish should be left in the subjunctive tense.

Client:  If my administrative clerk who can speak some Spanish says that you are wrong, you are wrong.  You should pay me for my time for this, so expect my invoice.

Questions to Ask before Choosing a Translator or Agency

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Finding the right team to translate your company’s documents and material shouldn’t be difficult or stressful but, on the other hand, it should not be taken lightly because you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression in another language.

The following are questions you need to ask before engaging a translator or translation company:

  • What are the translator’s or agency’s areas of expertise? Can they provide you with a partial client list that has companies similar to your company?

Always aim to work with professionals that have specialized in your industry/area. Request the resumes of the team that would oversee your project and always check the track record of your language service provider.

  • Ask for the years of experience of the team that will work on your project?

Always ask how long has the translator been working as a professional translator? Ask how many words have they translated in your industry/area? Ask if they have been involved in similar projects?

  • Ask if the language provider is only using native speakers?

When you check the translator’s resume, check to see whether the translator only works into their native or dominant language.  Usually, a translator will have a dominant language and one or two languages from which he/she translates from.

  • Ask how long does it take to translate a document?

A translator’s final quality output is usually 2,000 words per day.  The more complicated the document, the more complexities in the format, the more junior the translator, the more edits made, the longer the translation will take.  On the other hand, if the translator can translate the subject in their sleep, the project will go faster and with fewer bumps.

  • Ask what will the translation cost?

The cost is usually per word or a set fee per project for small documents (at AZ World we like to charge a fixed amount per word) and we base the word count according to what our computer assisted translation software, Studio 2015, provides us.

One last thing, there is no such thing as a “perfect translation” in the same way that not two people will see beauty in the same way.  There are, however, good and bad translations, and there are errors and horrors in translation!  You can manage both of these by choosing the right translator at the beginning.

What do you think?

If you are looking to translate something and need some help, please contact us at info@a-zworld.ca or visit us at www.a-zworld.ca.

The Strengths of AZ World

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As you might be aware, over 70% of AZ World clients are mining companies or mining industry service providers such as engineering, environmental and/or, mining software companies.  As commodity prices, particularly gold, silver and copper, have come down over the last several months to a year, we have seen our clients become more careful in the way they spend their money.

In the spirit of being cost effective, we provide the following thoughts based on our discussions with clients over the last few months. We encourage our clients and all users of translation service providers to consider these tips; and ask whether your language service provider offers you any of these items?

  • Creation of a Translation Memory for your company
    • A translation memory (TM) is a data base that grows and learns as it is fed by the translator which: allows you to never be charged at the new word rate again for segments that have already been translated; and improves the process of updating documents.
  • Translation Memory management
    • the use of a TM means that different translators can be used on a project and supports maintaining the same “voice and message” for your company.
  • Creation of glossaries and style guides for your company
  • Translations performed by a translator and edited/proof-read by a second set of eyes with experience in your industry
  • Localization and adaptation of your translation
    • a translation that might work well in Mexico but the use of the same word or phrase could either be wrong or could be an insult in South America; or
    • your target audience may read or speak in a lower register meaning that and the translation may need to be done in a very easy to understand manner.
  • Competitive and transparent rate structures
  • Fantastic quality control
    • there is a reason why we work with several of the largest mining companies in the world! Quality is a baseline expectation.
  • Excellent turn-around time for delivery of your translations projects
  • Ability to bring together teams of up to 50 translators and editors working on one single project

Software Translation Tips!

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Did you know that when you translate a software program you should…?

  • First, translate the software screen images
  • Second, translate the user manual or help manual
  • Finally, translate the “strings” – the error, warning or help messages the software issues when users make mistakes

A good principle when translating these three components is keeping the translation memories (TM) as separate files.  You will be able to obtain leverage by having more than one TM open when translating, but, for example, for the translation of the “”strings” you should only use and save into the “strings” TM and so on.

Keeping these 3 things separate will help create consistency in the long run.

If you are looking to translate something and need some help, please contact us at info@a-zworld.ca or visit us at www.a-zworld.ca.

A TRANSLATION PROFESSIONAL’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE UPS AND DOWNS IN THE MINING INDUSTRY

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As a translator, interpreter and a project manager who has worked with over 70 mining companies, engineering firms and mining software companies, I have seen and lived through the mining industry’s ups and downs in my 24 years of experience; today I am seeing a broad industry downturn.

I have personally translated the complete feasibility study for one of the largest gold mine construction projects in the world today, and my multilingual team has translated many feasibility studies, environmental studies, corporate sustainability reports, tailings reports, pipelines assessments, web sites, contracts, policies, procedures, etc. for some of the largest mining companies around.

From the translation professional’s perspective, I see two issues / problems emerging:

  • Transfer of knowledge – during a downturn people leave a company, often with little notice, resulting in situations where nobody knows who was responsible for maintaining the translation memories and/or bilingual databases, or where these items are located, for all the company’s projects that are on hold/stand-by while the company waits for the commodity prices to go up.  When the projects do proceed, if there was no transfer of knowledge, then the company often has to pay for translations again which were already complete, or were only updated, causing extra costs to re-invent the wheel.  I have experienced this first hand because when one of the largest mining companies in Vancouver was acquired in 2003, I was asked by the acquiring company to translate a project’s feasibility study (which had undergone small updates), however, I had already completed over 70% of the translation this project for my original client who had been acquired!
  • Using unskilled staff or over qualified staff – during a downturn, companies try to keep their staff occupied and minimize external costs; this leads to an assumption that because the person in the reception is bilingual, for example, he or she can translate or edit documents.  However, as we say in Spanish “lo bonito, cuesta caro” (cheap things are expensive in the long run). That person in reception may be great as a receptionist, but likely has no idea about translating at a professional level (i.e. the choices in the use of the language, new grammar and punctuation updates) where life and death consequence may very well arise from the translation. On the other hand, using your lawyer to translate isn’t smart because his or her $300 to $500 per hour rate is better spent on doing what he was trained to do.  To round my point, neither of these two people will be using translation memory software and they will tend re-invent the wheel over and over again choosing words and phrases for which you may already have a corporate preference.

What do you think?

If you are looking to translate something and need some help, please contact us at info@a-zworld.ca or visit us at www.a-zworld.ca.