Tag: Translators

BOUTIQUE TRANSLATION AGENCIES: THE NEW GENERATION

BOUTIQUE TRANSLATION AGENCIES: THE NEW GENERATION

There was a time when dinosaurs dominated the world of translation: huge great lumbering beasts of companies with offices in every major world city and thousands of contractors at their fingertips. They offered every language pair, every specialism and every service under the sun, all overseen by huge teams of project managers in vast offices filled with piles of paperwork. But things don’t stay the same forever, and with the rise of the internet and a new focus on niche services a very different kind of professional translation service is on the rise: the boutique translation agency.

They may be small, but don’t underestimate their appeal to translators and clients alike.

What are boutique translation agencies?

LIGHT ON THEIR FEET

Boutique translation agencies take their cue from boutique advertising companies, the new form of PR that aimed to offer something different to the behemoths of the ad world. Just like their marketing forerunners, boutique translation agencies are small, nimble and fast-paced. Unlike the larger firms that worry so much about economies of scale, boutique agencies offer specialised services with a high degree of personalisation and flexibility.

Boutique firms have staff that can react quickly and flexibly to any new challenge, because they aren’t spending their time churning out huge amounts of repetitive work. They’re free to follow opportunities, evolve and change rapidly through time, leaving big global corporations in their dust. They don’t have a vast translation team of unknown and untested contractors, but rather they work with a small and trusted group of contacts, so the relationships within the agency tend to be closer. This means that quality control is not a matter of ticking boxes as it is with larger companies, but rather comes down to close working relationships where managers have in-depth, detailed knowledge of all their staff’s skills and strengths, and can draw together the perfect team for each project.

 EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED

Specialisation is also one of the biggest strengths of these new and nimble agencies. Unlike massive international companies, they aren’t Jacks of all trades and masters of none. No one can truly specialise in everything, and larger companies run the risk of spreading themselves too thin at the expense of quality. Boutique agencies are at the other end of the scale, offering very specific niche services. They know their strengths and they know their target market’s needs, as well as having a comprehensive understanding of the language, culture or industry they specialise in.

Different firms have different ways of narrowing down to a specialisation. Some focus on a particular subject area or industry, for example legal, marketing or technical translations. These agencies focus on hiring translators who are experts within that industry, many of whom will have had a previous career elsewhere before becoming translators. Other agencies specialise in particular languages, amassing a team of native Russian translators, for example, but with a wide range of interests, knowledge and skills. These teams offer particular advantages because they can combine the different subject specialisms of their translators in line with the client’s needs. Many of these agencies also offer specialised services such as localisation, DTP or web services like SEO and web marketing, all in combination with translation. This allows a team of different professionals, all with a comprehensive understanding of your language pair or industry, to work together fluidly and produce an excellent finished product exactly to your specifications.

THE PERSONAL TOUCH

In line with the fantastic opportunities for specialisation that boutique agencies offer, clients and staff alike tend to find these firms are much more personal than the big multinationals.

Smaller agencies can offer a highly tailored and personalised service built around your needs rather than the company’s ‘way of doing things’. Instead of forcing you to fit their box, they will shape their work to suit your needs. You’re likely to experience less bureaucracy and paper pushing, because a smaller team can find common sense solutions instead of having to rely on endless protocols. And you’ll have access to the people that matter. Often a smaller translation company will be directly managed by the CEO, who isn’t a fat cat investor sitting in a board meeting or playing golf, but is more likely to be a translator him/herself. At the very least you’ll have a regular, designated contact person within the company over time, so you’ll have an opportunity to build a good working relationship with your own project manager. And with a smaller company the team that wins your business is the exact one that will work on your project; unlike some of the less scrupulous bigger companies they won’t impress you with the CVs of excellent translators and then farm your work out to untrained, poorly qualified individuals.

A by-product of all this is that boutique agencies tend to be more detail-oriented and creative than their larger cousins. Unbound by pointless rules and procedures they’re free to offer the kind of personalised service that has clients returning year after year.

THE CLIENT IS KING

Whereas big multinational corporations are bound by the bottom line, long-term relationships, reputation and old-fashioned business values mean everything to smaller companies. As they thrive by word-of-mouth and often keep their client list short, boutique agencies are heavily focused on client satisfaction and building trust. For smaller companies no account is too small to warrant their care and attention, and communication tends to be personal, efficient and meaningful.

Boutique agencies aren’t staffed by managers from other sectors with no real understanding of translation, and they don’t take on new translators with little evidence as to their skills and abilities. They tend to be run by passionate linguists who view their business as a vocation, not just a moneymaking exercise. That’s why you’ll often spot all kinds of added extra value when working with a boutique agency, along with a willingness to source additional services or skills in accordance with your needs. In short, they will go the extra mile for your business, because they know that’s how to win and keep custom.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Finally, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a boutique translation agency, as many of these companies offer outstanding value for money with no compromise on quality – in fact, often providing a more specialised and personalised service than a big provider of ‘off the peg’ translation solutions. They will be able to offer flexibility over rates and often have much lower overheads than multinationals. Some are based in countries with low tax rates and rents, while others save by managing their team online instead of assembling them in an office. Bearing all this in mind, a small budget to a global firm can often be quite a substantial one to a small agency, meaning you can get more for your money.

What aren’t boutique translation agencies?

EXCLUSIVE SERVICE, EVERYDAY PRICES

Boutique translation agencies needn’t be expensive. Although the term conjures an exclusive tailor-made experience, owing to the nature of these smaller companies you needn’t pay through the nose for it. For a start, they are less profit-oriented and more concerned with providing an excellent service, which is, after all, their unique selling point. Low overheads and innovative working practices also mean that if money is tight in your office a boutique agency might be just the right service provider for you.

FOCUSED, NOT LIMITED

Boutique translation agencies needn’t be limited in scope. Don’t confuse their emphasis on specialisation with a narrow focus. Any good small agency will have a network of highly skilled individuals on call, and can put together teams to tackle any text. The difference between these smaller translation agencies and the corporate giants is that boutique agencies know their limits and will not take on work on spec without knowing they can deliver. They also don’t keep huge numbers of staff on their permanent payroll just to cover any eventuality, so they can really save you money.

MIDDLEMEN BEGONE!

Small translation firms know that you want to pay for fantastic translation, not layer upon layer of middle management. You’ll have a project manager, whose role is to know the team inside out and be able to pick out the best individuals for your project. Good project managers are indispensable after all – but you won’t be paying for heads of business development, corporate strategists, marketing gurus, IT departments or any other of the staff members so indispensable to bigger clients. Instead you’ll find your team is flexible and diverse enough to tackle any of the challenges that come their way.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Boutique translation agencies are the very opposite of corporate. You’re not just a number on a spreadsheet and you won’t receive formulaic service – rather the whole experience will be shaped around you. These firms don’t tend to be concerned with growth at any cost, but rather they prioritise building and maintaining a cast-iron reputation in a specific field. There are no economies of scale, which means every client matters, and customer service is by nature at the very heart of everything they do.

It easy to see why these agencies are becoming more and more popular, and in some sectors are now starting to corner the translation market. Bigger companies are running scared and looking to find ways to streamline their service offerings, but savvy clients are still abandoning impersonal companies in their droves, looking for something different. In the battle of David and Goliath you’d be forgiven for betting on the big guy, but don’t rule out the underdog. Putting meaning and value back at the heart of the translation process, it looks like these plucky contenders are here to stay.

Reference: https://bit.ly/2og0aWS

DQF: What is it? and How it works?

DQF: What is it? and How it works?

What does DQF stand for?

DQF stands for the Dynamic Quality Framework. Quality is considered Dynamic as translation quality requirements change depending on the content type, the purpose of the content and its audience.

Why is DQF the industry benchmark?

DQF has been co-created since January 2011 by over fifty companies and organizations. Contributors include translation buyers, translation service providers, and translation technology suppliers. Practitioners continue to define requirements and best practices as they evolve through regular meetings and events.

How does DQF work?

DQF provides a commonly agreed approach to select the most appropriate translation quality evaluation model(s) and metrics depending on specific quality requirements. The underlying process, technology and resources affect the choice of quality evaluation model. DQF Content Profiling, Guidelines and Knowledge base are used when creating or refining a quality assurance program. DQF provides shared language, guidance on process and standardized metrics to help users execute quality programs more consistently and effectively. Improving efficiency within organizations and through supply chains. The result is increased customer satisfaction and a more credible quality assurance function in the translation industry.

The Content Profiling feature is used to help select the most appropriate quality evaluation model for specific requirements. This leads to the Knowledge base where you find best practices, metrics, step-by-step guides, reference templates, and use cases. The Guidelines are publicly available summaries for parts of the Knowledge base as well as related topics.

What is included in DQF?

1. Content Profiling and Knowledge base

The DQF Content Profiling Wizard is used to help select the most appropriate quality evaluation model for specific requirements. In the Knowledge Base you find supporting best practices, metrics, step-by-step guides, reference templates, use cases and more.

2. Tools

A set of tools that allows users to do different types of evaluations: adequacy, fluency, error review, productivity measurement, MT ranking and comparison. The DQF tools can be used in the cloud, offline or indirectly through the DQF API.

3. Quality Dashboard

The Quality Dashboard is available as an industry-shared platform. In the dashboard, evaluation and productivity data is visualized in a flexible reporting environment. Users can create customized reports or filter data to be reflected in the charts. Both internal and external benchmarking is supported, offering the possibility to monitor one’s own development and to compare results to industry highs, lows and averages.

4. API

The DQF API allows users to assess productivity, efficiency and quality on the fly while in the translation production mode. Developers and integrators are invited to use the API and connect with DQF from within their TMS or CAT tool environments.

References: Taus

What happened at the TAUS Asia Conference 2018?

What happened at the TAUS Asia Conference 2018?

On 22-23 March, 2018, part of the TAUS team was in Beijing for the TAUS Asia Conference. It was the sixth time that TAUS came to China, but we quickly realized that it should actually be an annual event on our calendar. This was the first TAUS conference ever hosted by a university, namely the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).

 BLCU was established in 1962 and is located in the Haidian District in Beijing. They have bachelor and master programs in 8 languages, but also teach computer science and technology and digital media as well as as a translation and interpretation major. In 2011, the university set up the first localization department in China. A tour through the classrooms impressed us all: high tech equipment identical to that found in the European Parliament is used by the students to practice their human interpretation skills.

Being at this prestigious university in the “Hall of Future Global Translation Talents”, was a perfect fit for TAUS and our plan to have, for the very first timelive automatic interpretation technology (using Microsoft Translator) running throughout the program, with the help of Mark Seligman from Spoken Translation. We are finding ourselves now at a crossroads with the rapid revolution of Neural MT and Artificial Intelligence and realize what a huge impact technology will have on the future of the translator profession. In addition to the live automatic interpretation, four students of BLCU provided live interpretation from the professional interpretation booths and via devices handed out to the attendees at the university. They confessed to being a bit nervous when they realized they were ‘competing’ with the live automatic interpretation from Microsoft.

At the end of the conference we invited the four interpreters and the automatic interpretation leader Mark Seligman on stage to evaluate the different interpretation methods and how they competed or interacted with each other. Before the conference, one of the students, Zhu Qiankun, noted the news from Microsoft that their translation quality is at human parity when compared to professional human translations and also find that it significantly exceeds the quality of crowd-sourced non-professional translations. He found that this declaration is somewhat unreasonable and irrational and wrote an essay about it still before he knew he was going to be functioning as a human interpreter at the TAUS Asia Conference. After teaming up with the machine to interpret the presentations at the conference he wrote another essay with his findings and although his overall view on machines taking over the human jobs did not change he also found that there were some advantages of human and machine working together, namely seeing the live translation transcription projected as a large image on the screen helped them interpret faster and more accurately. He also noted that numbers, names and dates are translated better by the machine than by the human interpreter. The live automatic interpretation phenomenon will be repeated at the upcoming TAUS Executive Forum in Tokyo (on 16 and 17 May).

The conference kicked off with a keynote address from Francis Tsang, President of China at LinkedIn. Francis provided deep insights into the Chinese market, with lots of facts and figures about the workforce and trends. It was a perfect start to two-days of brainstorming and knowledge sharing at this prestigious venue. This was followed by a CEO conversation, starring Marcus Casal from Lionbridge, Henry He from TransN and Adolfo Hernandez from SDL. TransN is the largest translation service provider in China and Henry He provided some great insights into the Chinese market. We quickly figured out that some of the recent trends in the western part of the world, such as blockchain technology, are also very much on the minds of people in China. Francis’s and Henry’s speeches confirmed many of the things that TAUS had predicted in the Nunc Est Tempus eBook that came out last December (see chapter: China’s Turn).

Over the next 48 hours we saw innovative presentations from many Chinese companies as well as western companies. For example: Alibaba presented their work with AI and cross border e-commerce, Niutrans showed their latest developments in MT technology, TalkingChina showcased their advances in boutique translation, and Johnson and Johnson gave a crash course on the challenges of pharmaceutical translation with a focus on China. In the Game Changers Innovation Contest we saw nine innovative technologies, ideas or perspectives. The most original idea came from Tianqi Zhang at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, who showed how machine translation can advance the way football is reported all over the world. It’s no surprise that her innovative and unique research was voted the winner of the Game Changers Innovation Contest Beijing 2018.

With over 160 attendees, the TAUS Asia Conference Beijing 2018 was our biggest conference to date. As always, the participants comprised a good balance between buyers and providers. And since we were at the university, we also had some great representatives of the academic world.

The last session of the conference was focused on talents – bringing together the academic and the business world. Alex Han (professor at BLCU and TAUS representative) gave a presentation about what he thought would be ‘the future translator’. Skills and requirements of translators are changing, and Alex is taking the lead in adapting the study programs to meeting these changing needs. Frans de Laet, a guest professor at BLCU, presented his ideas about the humanization of machines in relation to translator jobs. You’ll see a thorough report of this session as well as the others in the upcoming Keynotes eBook coming out in April.

I think it’s safe to say that the TAUS Asia Conference 2018 was a great success. Lots of new perspectives and ideas were shared and brainstormed among the speakers and attendees, and new connections were made and social networks enriched. We are looking forward to coming back to China again soon!

Reference: https://bit.ly/2qdWZzq

Exclusive Look Inside MemoQ Zen

Exclusive Look Inside MemoQ Zen



MemoQ launched a beta version for MemoQ Zen, a new online CAT tool. MemoQ Zen brings you the joy of translation, without the hassle. Experience the benefits of an advanced CAT tool, delivered to your browser in a simple and clean interface. You can get the early access through this link and adding your email address. Then, MemoQ’s team will activate your email address.

Note: preferably to use gmail account.  

These are exclusive screenshots from inside MemoQ Zen, as our blog got an early access:

Once the user logs in, this home page appears:

Clicking on adding new job will lead to these details:

You can upload documents from your computer or adding files from your Google Drive. The second option needs access to your drive. After choosing files to be uploaded, you’ll complete the required details for adding new jobs.

In working days field, MemoQ Zen excludes Sundays and Saturdays from the total workdays. This option helps in planing the actual days required to get the task done. After uploading the files and adding the details, a new job will be created in your job board.

Clicking on view statistics will lead to viewing the analysis report. Unfortunately, it can’t be saved.

Clicking on translate will lead to opening an online editor for the CAT tool.

TM and TB matches will be viewed on the right pane. Other regular options such as copying tags, join segments, and concordance search are there. Previewing mode can be enabled as well. Unfortunately, copying source to target isn’t available.

QA errors alerts appear after confirming each segments. After clicking on the alert, the error will appear like this. You can check ignore, in case it is a false error.

While translating, the progress is updating in the main view.

Clicking on fetch will download the target file (clean) to your computer. TMs and TBs aren’t available to upload, add, create or even download yet.

Clicking on done will mark the job as completed.

That’s it! Easy tool and to the point with clean UI and direct options. Although it still need development to meet the industry requirements i.e adding TMs and TBs, etc. But, it’s a good start, and as MemoQ Zen website states it:

We created memoQ Zen to prove that an advanced CAT tool doesn’t need to be complicated. It is built on the same memoQ technology that is used by hundreds of companies and thousands of translators every day.

We are releasing it as a limited beta because we want to listen to you from day one. As a gesture, it will also stay free as long as the beta phase lasts.

Localizing Slogans: When Language Translation Gets Tricky

Localizing Slogans: When Language Translation Gets Tricky

A slogan. It seems pretty straightforward. Translating a few words, or even a sentence, shouldn’t be all that complicated, right?
And yet we’ve seen countless examples of when localizing slogans has gone awry—from big global brands—illustrating just how tricky translating slogans can be.
Anybody recall Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” tagline being translated into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave” in Chinese?
While humorous, this language translation misfortune can be costly—and not just in a monetary sense. We’re talking time-to-market and brand reputation costs, too.

Why slogans pose language translation difficulties

The very nature of slogans makes them challenging to translate. Many times slogans are very creative, playing on cultural idioms and puns.
There often isn’t a direct translation that can take on the exact meaning of your slogan. And, in fact, linguists may experience translation difficulties in attempting to complete the translation word for word.
Local nuances come into play as well. Some words may have entirely different meanings than your source language and can be misinterpreted. Just think of product names that are often used in slogans. The Chevy Nova name was criticized in Latin America because “Nova” directly translates into “doesn’t go.”
Also, different cultures have unique emotional reactions to given words. Take McDonald’s and its famous slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” The fast food mogul localized this slogan to “Me encanta” or “I really like it,” so the mantra was more culturally appropriate for Spanish-speaking countries, where love is a strong word and only used in certain situations.
Because of the language translation difficulties involved, you may need a more specialized form of translation to ensure that your slogan makes a positive impact in your international markets.

How to approach localizing slogans

First and foremost, communication is vital throughout the entire localization process. When approaching slogans, we’ll collaborate with your marketing experts—whether internal or outside creative agencies—as well as your in-country linguists with marketing expertise.

Having in-country linguists’ work on your slogan is absolutely critical. These language translation experts are fully immersed in the target culture. They are cognizant of cultural nuances, slang and idioms, which ensures that your slogan will make sense—and go over well—in your target locales.

We’ll review the concepts in the tagline or slogan as a team and identify any challenging words or phrases and assess how to approach it. Oftentimes, a direct translation won’t work. We may need to localize it in a way that’s more appropriate, such as the McDonald’s “Me encanta” example above.

If it poses much difficulty, then we may need to turn to transcreation services.

Transcreation process and your slogan

The transcreation process is a specialized version of language translation that’s a highly involved and creative process.

Copywriter linguists will identify your brand qualities and portray those in a way that perfectly resonates with your target audience. Think of it as a mix of “translation” and “creation.” It’s not a word-for-word translation, but rather re-creating an idea or message so it fosters an emotional connection in a different culture.

Looking at a quick example, Nike’s celebrated slogan “Just do it” had no meaningful translation in Chinese. So instead, the message was transcreated to mean “Use sports” or “Have sport,” which had a more prominent impact in that culture.

Localizing slogans, or more specifically, your slogan, correctly can mean a stronger global brand reputation—driving revenue and increased market share worldwide. Taking a hasty, nonchalant approach can mean just the opposite. And you may find yourself having to spend time and resources rectifying what comes with a language translation error.

 Reference: https://bit.ly/2GSx36x
Adaptive MT – Trados 2017 New Feature

Adaptive MT – Trados 2017 New Feature


SDL Trados Studio 2017 includes new generation of machine translation.

How does it work?

It allows users to adapt SDL Language Cloud machine translation with their own preferred style. There is a free plan and it offers these features:

  • 400,000 machine translated characters per month.
  • only access to the baseline engines, so this means no industry or vertically trained engines.
  • 5 termbases, or dictionaries, which can be used to “force” the engine to use the translation you want for certain words/phrases.
  • 1 Adaptive engine.
  • Translator… this is basically a similar feature to FreeTranslation.com except it’s personalized with your Engine(s) and your termbases.

How does it help?

  • Faster translation with smarter MT suggestions.
  • Easy to use and get started.
  • Completely secure – no data is collected or shared.
  • Unique MT output, personal to you.
  • Access directly within Studio 2017.
  • No translation memory needed to train the MT.
  • Automatic, real time learning – no pre-training required.

What are the available language pairs?

Uptill now, Adaptive MT is available in these language pairs:

English <-> French
English <-> German
English <-> Italian
English <-> Spanish
English <-> Dutch
English <-> Portuguese
English <-> Japanese
English <-> Chinese

For reference: https://www.sdltrados.com/products/trados-studio/adaptivemt/

The Translation Industry in 2022

The Translation Industry in 2022

In this report, TAUS shares predictions for the future of the translation industry in line with their expectation that automation will accelerate in the translation sector during the coming 5 years. The anticipated changes will inevitably bring along various challenges and opportunities all of which are explained thoroughly in the Translation Industry in 2022 Report.

The report explains the following 6 drivers of change

1. Machine Learning

Machine learning (ML) was introduced in the 1950s as a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), to have programs feed on data, recognize patterns in it, and draw inferences from them. 2016 was the year when ML went mainstream, with a lot of applications that were almost unimaginable a few years earlier – image recognition and self-driving cars are just two examples.Computational power and unprecedented advances in deep neural networks will make data-driven technologies astonishingly disruptive. This might be also the case of MT.

As a rule, the growth of machine intelligence represents a threat to many human jobs as people will be replaced by intelligent systems.  The majority of creative jobs is relatively safe while sales jobs could be at risk. The forecast is dubious for technology jobs, but the more senior jobs being relatively secure, while computer programmers and support workers may likely be replaced.  The assumption that jobs requiring manual dexterity, creativity, and social skills are the hardest to computerize is already obsolete: new developments in deep learning are making machines more powerful than anticipated, especially in areas relating to creativity and social interaction. 

In the translation industry – as in other industries – many functions will be affected – whether enhanced, expanded or replaced – by ML.

2. Machine Translation

In the past years NMT has been said to be achieving impressive results, and it is more and more often presented as a replacement for SMT. Advances in artificial neural networks are bringing extremely high expectations, suggesting that NMT could rapidly achieve higher accuracy than SMT. Independent evaluators fnd that NMT translations are more fluent and more accurate in terms of word order compared to those produced by phrase-based systems. Better quality MT will mean that a broader range of document types and audiences can be addressed.
NMT will help the further expansion of speech-to-speech (S2S) technologies, now available mostly as English-based monolingual systems. Transforming these into multilingual systems implies many deep and expensive changes. Most S2S technologies are still at an infancy stage and confned to university labs. NMT will help bring speech-enabled devices to the streets.

MT will lead to the ultimate disruption in the translation industry when, only the premium segment of artsy—and possibly life sciences—
translation will remain tradable.

3. Quality Management

Due to the uncertainties intrinsically involved in translation quality assessment, and the fixity of the relevant concepts in the translation community, users seem now willing to accept good enough MT output, especially for large volumes, delivered virtually in real time. For serviceable MT output with no human intervention downstream, TAUS coined the acronym FAUT (Fully Automated Useful Translation) already in 2007. Investing in quality-related decision support tools has become essential to gain translation project insights and beneft from MT.
Applying machine learning to data-driven translation quality assessment will be a disruptive innovation that will call for a major shift in conception and attitude.  Data-driven applications in translation quality assessment will go from document classifiers to style scorers, from comparison tools to automatic and predictive quality assessment, from content sampling to automatic error detection and identification. The data-driven approach to quality will require another major attitude shift.

4. Data

There is a strong need for data scientists/specialists/analysts, but this profile is still absent from the translation industry.

Data has been the fuel of automation, and after entering the automation era at full speed, we are being challenged with many issues.  Translation data is typically metadata: data about translation that can be harvested downstream the closure of a translation project/job/task.  The analysis of translation data can provide a very valuable insight into the translation processes to find the best resource for a job, to decide what to translate and which technology to use for which content. Translation data will be more and more frequently generated by algorithms. More data will come from rating staff and KPIs. All these kinds of data will come from ML applied to translation management platforms, which will get rid of human involvement.

Erroneously, also data covering multilingual text resources is labeled as translation data. In fact, language data specifically consists of translation memories, corpora, and lexicographical and terminological collections. Of course, all these resources have metadata too, which could be exploited. Stakeholders should become more open and massively start sharing their translation metadata to make it the real big data of the translation industry.

There is a strong need for data scientists/specialists/analysts, but this profile is still absent from the translation industry. Translation companies should be looking out for these specialists who can mine and use data for automation. This will most probably lead to a further reduction of the number of translation companies that are able to float and thrive in a more and more competitive market. The challenge for the next few years might be the standardization of translation data in order to shape it and make it convenient for users to derive the maximum benefits from it.

5.  Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability of two different systems to communicate and work together through a common language or interface. While many other industries have flourished thanks to standardization which led to interoperability, automation and innovation, the translation industry has always suffered from a lack of interoperability. This has been costing a fortune for years, both on the client side (in translation
budgets) and on the vendor side (in revenues).
  Things have been changing a lot since 2011, when TAUS published a report on the costs from
lack of interoperability in the translation industry
. Many blame the lack of compliance to interchange format standards as the primary barrier to interoperability, and no one believes any longer that true interoperability in the translation industry can be achieved only through awareness programs, education, and certifications. Interoperability should come from the adoption of standards created by consortia and not from the dominance of a market leader.

The spreading of MT has forced a breakthrough in the interoperability dilemma, starting a wave of innovation and renewed efforts. Most of these efforts have still been focusing on APIs though, as XML has been established for years as the common language, bringing everyone the industry to find its child formats TMX and XLIFF essentially enough.  So far, most of the many APIs made available are meant to simplify the translation business process and reduce translation management and overhead cost. Only a few have been designed to help disintermediation and facilitate access to services.

In this case, we could expect that the most influential buyers of localization and translation services will advance their requests; the technology vendors with the necessary technological and financial resources will fulfill those requests or even introduce their own solutions on the market, just as it happened in the past.

6.  Academy

Translation education is vocational by definition: it prepares people to work in the trade as translators. None of the skills translation students acquire is anything but sophisticated.  Today, many players in the translation industry complain about the lack of good translators, but they seem to ignore that, more than in many other academic fields, translation education follows obsolete models that are still shaped for the 20th century. To make matters worse, the gap between the academic world and the industry is so wide that, when approaching the job market, translation graduates instantly and bitterly realize they don’t know much about the actual work they are supposed to do. They also discover that the world is not interested in their basic skills.

The future may not really need translators, at least not in the old way, as the audience will become even more forgiving for lesser quality of fast-moving content. A highly-automated localization environment will depend on human skills in quality evaluation, content profiling, cultural advisory, data analysis, computational linguistics, and gradually less and less in post-editing; translating plain text will indeed be a long-tail business.

The success of any innovation depends entirely on the people that are going to nurture, develop, and implement it; in times of exponential growth, education is vital to drive adoption and prepare the next generations of workers. Employers should play a part in closing the skills gap with continued professional training. It is never too early to prepare for the future; vast workforce and organizational changes are necessary to upend stale business models and related processes.

For more details, download the full report.

‘Human Parity Achieved’ in MT

‘Human Parity Achieved’ in MT

According to Microsoft’s March 14, 2018 research paper with the full title of “Achieving Human Parity on Automatic Chinese to English News Translation,” a few variations of a new NMT system they developed have achieved “human parity,” i.e. they were considered equal in quality to human translations (the paper defines human quality as “professional human translations on the WMT 2017 Chinese to English news task”).

Microsoft came up with a new human evaluation system to come to this convenient conclusion, but first they had to make sure “human parity” was less nebulous and more well-defined.

Microsoft’s definition for human parity in their research is thus: “If a bilingual human judges the quality of a candidate translation produced by a human to be equivalent to one produced by a machine, then the machine has achieved human parity.”

In mathematical, testable terms, human parity is achieved “if there is no statistically significant difference between human quality scores for a test set of candidate translations from a machine translation system and the scores for the corresponding human translations.”

Microsoft made everything about this new research open source, citing external validation and future research as the reason.

Reference: https://goo.gl/3iFXXG