Multilingual by D Kreativ Group Language Center

as a Business
The Translation
Technology Run-down
Translating for the
Growing US Markets
Life’s Little
Six Habits for
Successful Translators
Thriving in a
Trust-based Industry
October/November 2008 GETTING STARTED: Guide
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RZ_AZ_Getting_Started_Alternativ1 1 09.04.2008 9:12:03 Uhr
The business of translation involves more than a
working knowledge of two languages or a few courses
in multilingual programming. It is a field that requires
knowledge in a variety of things, though language
skills and multilingual computing capabilities are crucial. These authors should help
anyone wanting to get started, providing advice both to those needing translations and to
those wanting to get paid to create one — or many.
Annette Hemera begins with an overview of how to make it in the translation industry,
and Jost Zetzsche looks at the tools the industry utilizes. George Rimalower lays out
the expanding need for translators in the US market and how to take advantage of the
opportunity this provides. Tim Altanero provides details about how to get personal or more
complex documents translated, and Dena Bugel-Shunra finishes things off with two series
of tips: what to do and what not to do to become a successful translator.
There are, of course, many resources available to translators. This is a good starting point.
The Editors
Editor-in-Chief, Publisher Donna Parrish
Managing Editor Laurel Wagers
Assistant Editor Katie Botkin
Translation Department Editor Jim Healey
Copy Editor Cecilia Spence
News Kendra Gray
Illustrator Doug Jones
Production Sandy Compton
Editorial Board
Jeff Allen, Julieta Coirini,
Bill Hall, Aki Ito, Nancy A. Locke,
Ultan Ó Broin, Angelika Zerfaß
Advertising Director Jennifer Del Carlo
Advertising Kevin Watson, Bonnie Merrell
Webmaster Aric Spence
Technical Analyst Curtis Booker
Assistant Shannon Abromeit
Circulation Terri Jadick
Special Projects Bernie Nova
Subscriptions, customer service, back issues:
Editorial guidelines are available at
This guide is published as a supplement to
MultiLingual, the magazine about language
technology, localization, web globalization and
international software development. It may be
downloaded at
The Guide From MultiLingual
Translation as a Business
page 3 Annette Hemera
Annette Hemera heads the consulting and training
division of Language Experts Group, Hungary.
The Translation Technology Run-down
page 7 Jost Zetzsche
Jost Zetzsche, consultant and translator, is an
English-to-German translator specializing in translation technology.
Translating for the Growing US Markets
page 12 George Rimalower
George Rimalower is founder, president and chief executive
officer of Los Angeles-based ISI Language Services.
Life’s Little Translations
page 14 Tim Altanero
Tim Altanero is an associate professor of Technical Communications,
Spanish, and German at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
Six Habits for Successful Translators &
Thriving in a Trust-based Industry
page 16 & page 17 Dena Bugel-Shunra
Dena Bugel-Shunra has been translating professionally since 1989.
With her partner, G. Daniel Bugel-Shunra, she runs Shunra Media, Inc.
Getting Started:
October/November 2008 • page
The characteristics of a “good translator”
have been repeated many times
in many places. Advisors often explain
how to translate a contract or operation manual;
how to define adaptation; how to recognize
a good translation memory (TM) and/or
dictionary program; where to find reliable
glossaries on the net and how to recognize
problematic source files; to weight the number
of words in your translation; and how to
open a zip file. Consistently reliable quality
and efficient use of tools are necessary but
not sufficient to become a successful translator.
Unless these things are supported by
thoughtful and consistent management, a
translator cannot expect more than temporary
success. While many translators
live under the illusion that as freelancers
the only thing they will have to do is
translate, a good measure of true success
is how well the translator can manage
his or her one-person business.
Like it or not, in addition to translating,
a freelance translator has to juggle
all the tasks needed to keep a business
running, no matter what the size.
In this regard, there is no difference
between Microsoft and John Smith
Translations because a one-person
venture has to traverse every single
step in the “value chain” just like its
corporate fellows. It has to establish
the business, organize it, and maintain it at
optimum operational level.
The freelance translator becomes the
production manager, quality controller,
operational director, supervisor, sales manager,
advertising and PR specialist, IT director,
chief stockholder and board chair all in
one. Sometimes the posts even conflict,
and short-term interests can be very different.
Most translators dive head first into
their companies without any training in the
business world. Many go through the steps
of getting a freelance operation permit, a
computer and a stack of dictionaries, and
proceed to bury themselves at their desks
translating night and day. They treat anyone
who offers accounting or tax advice,
advertising recommendations, or chances
to register themselves on a website at low
cost as an impediment, and consider the
effort of doing any of these things a pain in
the neck.
However, a freelancer needs to spend
a good portion of his or her working time
planning, advertising, bidding for jobs,
preparing invoices and accounts, and conducting
cost calculations, to put a business
on track to long-term success. Most
translation schools focus exclusively on
theoretical information and offer nil in the
way of practical tips. So, professionals just
entering the workforce have many difficulties
to overcome that take away time and
energy from the real job. Lack of knowledge
about how to run a translation business,
the outcome of intrinsic shortcomings in
translation courses, is the basic reason for
the huge vacuum on the Hungarian and the
overall Eastern and Central European language
services market. On the one hand,
here in Hungary we see a large number
of theoretically trained but inexperienced
translators hoping in vain to be entered
into client databases, while on the other,
we have clients unable to find translators
to cover their day-to-day capacities fighting
bitterly to secure good vendors.
Since most specialized translators study
translation to supplement a primary course
of studies such as technology or law, they
tend to treat a degree as a specialist translator
as a lifebelt, a second profession to fall
back on if they are unable to find a job in
their primary field. If worst comes to worst,
they can work as freelance translators, they
think. Given the ad-hoc nature of the choice,
most professionals who start businesses as
translators have not surveyed the business
climate, have not garnered basic information
on the language services market, have
not mapped out demands, and have no idea
about minimum investment costs or, obviously,
expected inflow. In other words, they
have no idea what they are up against.
Planning and management
The first and most important issue that a
freelancer should focus on is the life of the
business and its day-to-day operation. Before
delving into the planning details, however, it
is important to stress that according to
modern management science, a comprehensive
marketing outlook should
permeate the entire planning operation
and indeed the entire business. Once
we have sketched out our market, the
next step is to summarize it in a concrete
action plan. That means knowing exactly
what we want to sell, whom we want
to sell it to, for how much, and how to
convince our customers to buy from us.
Many people today are hesitant about
marketing, and many business managers
vehemently reject the very word.
The reasons are often understandable.
The facts are that marketing is really
an abstract science, that marketing work is
hard to define, and that it is very difficult to
account for, which is what managers tend to
find most painful. Business managers themselves
are often unaware that many of their
own actions are really marketing. They are
marketing when day after day they seek to
determine how their business stands compared
to competitors, what opportunities
they have, what are the optimum ways of presenting
the business, or of communicating
with and maintaining liaisons. If a business
manager begins doing these same activities
in a deliberate and organized way, he or she
has taken a giant step forward toward the
long-term development of the business.
There is no need to think in terms of
exceedingly complicated or elaborate procedures
when talking about planning or about
Translation as a Business
Annette Hemera
Even a single-person venture must
take all the steps in the “value chain.”
page The Guide From MultiLingual
any subsequent steps. We might label the
operation strategic planning, but for those
of you who find the term too rigid and frightening,
we ask only that you think about the
size of your monthly inflow if you could operate
your single person translation business
at 75% of capacity. Expecting to operate a
fledgling business at 100% would be unrealistic,
and it really seems too much to expect,
even for a business in full operation. Take
your 75% number and contrast it with your
monthly expenses. Once that is done, it is
worth thinking about the ancillary tasks you
will have to do in addition to translation, how
much time they require, when and how you
will manage them, and what they will cost.
These activities might include advertising,
quality assurance, customer relationship
management and administration. In other
words, you will need to plan out when and
how you write out your offers, update your
internet profile, compile your bids, open
your mail, and how much time you’ll need
for each of these. It is worth looking at these
activities and estimating the time they take
and what they cost, and putting the numbers
down on paper even if you tend to do
all these things by yourself. It will help you to
make sure not to leave anything out, which
in turn will keep unforeseen expenses from
cropping up, and even more important, it will
help you to manage your time in the most
efficient manner. If you know exactly what
you have to do each day, it becomes easier
to check to see that things are done and to
enlist outside help when it becomes necessary,
in other words, when your business is
ready to grow.
Planning is really just setting your company’s
goal and deciding exactly how to reach
it. Business experts say that when it comes
to goals, it is worth having SMART ones —
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic
and Timely. After defining your goals (such
as turnover of €50,000 a year within two
years and a 10% profit and at least 15 regular
customers who require translations from
English to Dutch in engineering industry subjects),
you will now have to consider all the
resources and tools needed to meet them.
Then you need to determine what technologies
(TMs, means of telecommunication,
hardware and software) are needed to support
them, how much it costs to produce
these services, how much they can be sold
for, through what sales channels, what type
of agency, and for how big a price differential.
In addition, it is also important to learn
how much tax you will have to pay on your
inflow and, finally, what type of company you
will need to establish as far as the law is concerned.
Read a few related studies focused
on your home country and on the world at
large, visit the websites of various language
service providers, electronic marketplaces
and community pages, subscribe to internet
forums and find out what language combinations
people request work in, and in what
specialized areas. See the deadlines they are
offering and the prices they charge.
Then check the other side — the service
providers — and see what they are offering
and the methods and technologies
they work with. For instance, say you have
a law degree and a certificate as a specialist
translator in your pocket and originally
planned to translate from German to Italian.
By doing your homework, you discover that
there is an abundance of freelance translators
offering these exact services. So, it
becomes clear that you will need to look
into something else, to offer a product in
demand and in short supply. At this point
you will have to decide whether to focus on
a specific section of law, such as real estate
documents. In marketing terminology this is
called the period of differentiation and positioning,
meaning that you provide the largest
variety of services that differ from those
offered by your competitors (all your freelance
translator colleagues) to build a special
position on the market. You will need to
do this without limiting your scope of movement
or typecasting yourself as too much of
a specialist or you’ll find yourself missing
out on jobs you could easily do. This is why
you will need to continuously sound out the
market, which means continuously revisiting
and updating the plan and goals, even if
you are the only one ever to see them.
After finishing your business plan, you will
know how much money you have to make
and how much you can make, and what you
will need to cover monthly expenses. People
rarely think about it, but often their profits
are a direct outcome of the efficiency of their
work organization, meaning both that they
must have all necessary tools and know how
to take advantage of them. In other words,
their businesses need to be properly organized
and technologically supported.
Today’s businesses are a great deal easier
to organize and manage, given the wide
variety of advanced technology, hardware
and software they can access. Countless
IT implements and computer programs can
make it easier for client and supplier to
keep in touch, to archive and protect data,
to monitor visits to websites, to bill and prepare
invoices, to plan turnover, to handle
project management and so on. Even if
you are a one-person business, you should
be aware of available tools and know how
to use them well. This goes for translation
technology, as well. Keep your knowledge
level up-to-the-minute. In today’s world
October/November 2008 • page
many vendors are still uncomfortable with
computers and respond with difficulty or
inflexibility if a client asks them to try out
a new tool. In general, it is always hard to
talk translators into learning something
new. This is why translators who are open to
development and to learning new tools are
highly valued. A growing number of translation
bureaus offer free training and free
software and support to willing translators.
As far as IT setup, it might be worth thanking
your cousin, the enthusiastic amateur,
for the offer to help, but seek out a professional
to design the technology for your
business, to help in putting together the
most satisfactory configuration and to select
the programs, antivirus software, operation
systems and peripheries. A professional will
also be able to help you in finding cheaper
procurement sources and will see to it that
you do not have to spend your nights installing
software and figuring out which cable
goes where. A professional also can give
you pointers on setting up a website, and it
certainly cannot hurt if that professional is at
home in the realm of language services.
It is worth planning your one-person business
in a way that calculates with minimum
and expected growth. You have calculated
the minimum income you need as well as
the maximum attainable and the amount of
work involved for each. You know the size of
the workspace you’ll need, including your
computer’s memory capacity, the speed
you’ll need for your data transfer, and how
many envelopes and hard copy files you’ll
need. Still, it is wise to give yourself a specific
amount of extra room. When making
plans, however, be careful how high you
leap, and refrain from choosing unjustifiably
expensive equipment. Do not buy much
more than the equipment you’ll need to get
started, and do not get the most expensive
tools on the market.
Your website should not be limited to
your working languages. It should be legible
in all languages used in your target markets.
Websites should be easy to modify, so
yours should have an easily understandable
and manageable administrative platform.
It should include a succinct but attentiongetting
introduction, a list of references,
sample translations serving as teasers, and
a feedback page. Don’t forget to include
photographs, for they personalize the site,
turning you into their friend. Make certain
that your contact information is visible and
easy to understand.
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page The Guide From MultiLingual
After setting up your working conditions
and ideal working environment, your job is
to make sure that potential clients not only
know you exist but, if need be, can find you
quickly and easily, which gives them an
added incentive to choose you from among
the variety of service providers available.
The marketing concept does not end when
you have chosen your possible customers
and targeted a market. You will have to pick
up that thread again and again. To be more
accurate, you must never let it go. After you
have defined your target customers, you will
have to see to it that you have all necessary
marketing conditions in place to sell your
product. This means that you must offer
your potential customers regular and up-todate
information so that, should they need
your services, they will have all the information
they need in hand. This includes knowing
how and where to find you.
The first and most important step here is
to compile appropriate introductory material
— a professional portfolio. Basic features
of good informative material include succinctness,
essential information, easy-tocomprehend
style, and a clear presentation
of your professional experience in reverse
chronological order, with your most recent
jobs listed first. Do not include too many
areas of specialization, and do not express
interest in “all” subjects. This will not make
you more attractive and is one of the surest
ways to frighten off a potential customer.
It is also worth preparing separate designs
for different markets and cultures and using
them should you get a concrete request for
information. What might be quite satisfactory
in one country is often insufficient in another.
It is important to have good references, but it
is also obvious that a beginner will not have a
long list of recommendations. Do not let that
get you down! As a beginner, you can offer to
provide a test translation free of charge, and
you can set your prices below those charged
by more experienced colleagues.
Don’t forget that customers are struggling
to contend with a constant shortage of
vendors, and there are only a few truly welltrained
professionals who produce highquality
work. At the same time, the market
has been growing year after year, so it does
have room for a beginner freelancer. As far
as evolving an ideal clientele is concerned, it
is worth working with fewer regular clients
and developing long-term relationships with
them. Clients willingly work with vendors
they have come to know and trust. They like
people with whom they have fostered
smooth and successful relationships in
which the project manager and translator
understand one another without lengthy
explanations, allowing project time to be
used for quality assurance instead of having
to clarify details for one side or the other.
Translation and language services in general
are an extraordinarily delicate trustbased
activity, so if your work is reliable and
conscientious, your reward will be guaranteed
work. It should be worth it to you to
register with as many portals as possible
and to subscribe to as many professional
materials and gazettes as you can. As you
gain experience, you will be able to choose
among the more and less interesting and
useful ones, and know which of them you
definitely should take the time to study. You
can improve your professional reputation
and name recognition if you become an
active participant in the virtual world of
freelancers. If you are present on a wide
variety of forums and can help colleagues
with your comments and concrete advice,
you will be building your own name. Do not
believe that a beginner cannot be a help. No
one knows everything, and something that
you know about may be precisely what
another colleague needs information on.
Project management – administration
Although you may be a freelancer and only
have to manage a few translation projects,
when the amount of work increases there
will be parallel tasks and deadlines, multiple
file transfers and glossaries, accounting and
invoicing for several projects at once — in
other words, project management and quality
control. Think about it for just a moment.
Last week you delivered a 50-page purchase
offer and then began preparing a glossary
for a bid you have to deliver in two weeks.
In the meantime, the terminologist of the
work you just delivered calls and asks you
to check a few expressions because the client
has made some suggestions that look
good. In that instant you will have to perform
faultlessly on multiple levels, and if you are
not careful, things can get mixed up and you
might lose control.
To wade through the minefield of project
management and survive intact requires
maintaining a very clear picture of the
sequence of steps, the building blocks of
various functions and exactly where they
fit into the translation chain. You must
have an overview of the entire process and
know exactly how each operation fits into
the whole. You must very clearly see where
your responsibility begins and others’ ends,
and know exactly what you have to do, what
questions you have to ask, and what information
you must have before you begin your
work. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk,
jeopardize others’ success and spend endless
days arguing with your clients.
It is worth thinking about the above. It will
improve your chances, and eventually, your
efforts will begin to command money. G
October/November 2008 • page
Imagine this scenario: A new face shows
up at the 2008 regional translators’
annual gathering and introduces herself
as someone who just got started as a
translator. She admits that languages are
not her strong point, but says she’s sure
she can get by with good dictionaries and
spell-checkers. I’ll predict she’ll be spending
that party pretty much left to herself.
Now imagine the same scenario with
a twist: This time the new translator says
that she feels very strong linguistically, but,
boy, her computer must have crashed six
times yesterday and she can’t even install
the latest version of Microsoft Office, let
alone specialized programs for translators.
I predict that she will be surrounded by a
couple dozen translators all too eager to
chime in with “Me, too! Me, too!”
It’s clear that translation professionals
come from different stock than, say,
engineers. Here is an interesting way to
prove that point. When was the last time
you went to an engineering website and
found an image of the patron saint of engineers,
St. Patrick, or the cool patroness
Lady Godiva? I’m sure it’s been awhile.
How about translation websites with St.
Jerome, the patron saint of translators?
There must be hundreds! And though I see
no problem with identifying with one of
the giants of our profession’s history, it’s
dangerous to get stuck.
So, given our industry climate, is translation
technology an oxymoron? Not on
your life! It’s just that getting translators
to use it is sometimes about as easy
as making your kids clean their rooms or
brush their teeth.
Translation technology: ready, set, go!
About ten years ago, long-time translation
technology veteran Alan Melby released
a typology of “Eight Types of Translation
Technology” (see
8types.pdf). They consist of:
1: Infrastructure
2-4: Term-level before, during and after
5-7: Segment-level before, during and
after translation

8: Translation workflow and billing
Interestingly, the order of the items corresponds
loosely to the timeline with which
the language industry attached importance
to them.
The first principle, infrastructure, is concerned
with communication, systems to create
and manage documents, and database
capabilities. This infrastructure formed the
technological basis that allowed us to use
translation technology in the first place and
turned us from individual service suppliers
into a relatively well-connected industry.
The six language-related principles concerned
with term- and phrase-processing
before, during and after the translation
have received the most focus from tool
vendors and users in the past decade and a
half. Perhaps surprisingly, it was terminology
rather than segment-level translation
that resulted in the first commercial products
(TRADOS MultiTerm and TermStar
from STAR). Although machine translation
(MT) efforts date back to the 1950s, they
initially did not have much to do with the
language industry.
• Infrastructure and term- and segmentlevel
language processing clearly remain
of basic importance today, but it is the last
aspect — translation workflow and billing
management — that is causing the most
excitement and the greatest number of
new products in the industry.
Let’s first look at the six language-related
principles in detail and see how we can
match them with some of the past, existing
or upcoming technologies and tools.
Term-level processing
Term-level before translation, the monolingual
and bilingual term extraction for
the creation of termbases and glossaries
in preparation for translation projects, is
probably the most overlooked area in practical
terms. Many non-translation-related
tools allow for indexing and concordancing
of monolingual materials, but a surprising
number of tools are also specifically
geared toward the language industry.
Essentially, two kinds of technologies
are used to achieve the extraction of terms,
matching of term pairs and glossary creation:
those that work primarily on a mathematical
level (“if word A always appears
in sentences for which word B always
appears in the translated sentences, then
these words must form a word pair”) and
others that work with underlying dictionaries
and other language materials. Not
surprisingly, the results from tools that
use linguistic material are more accurate
and superior to their competitors, but the
number of languages that are supported
is naturally more limited. Tools such as
SDL PhraseFinder, TEMIS XTS, and Similis
basically support English, French, German,
Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and, in
the case of XTS, a smattering of additional
European languages.
It is anyone’s guess why these tools are
not being used more consistently, but I
would assume that non-billable time plays
a significant role in this.
Term-level during translation refers to
the automatic terminology lookup that
virtually all translation environment tools
(TEnTs) perform. The term TEnT is used for
The Translation
Technology Run-down
Jost Zetzsche
St. Jerome — patron saint of translators.
(Peter Paul Rubens — ca 1625-1630)
page The Guide From MultiLingual
the tools that are often referred to as CAT
tools and that contain a translation memory
(TM), a terminology maintenance, and
a translation interface component. A terminology
database, conceptually a highly
customized dictionary that was either created
in the previous principle or is created
manually before or during the translation,
presents project- or client-specific term
pairs alongside other supporting information
to the translation professional as he
or she works through a text.
While all TEnTs offer this feature, the
way they use it differs significantly. Not
surprisingly, the two tool vendors that
early on released their terminology components
as standalone tools — STAR and
TRADOS — have complex engines behind
their terminology components, whereas
many of the other tools use mere bilingual
How the terminology component is
integrated into the workflow also differs
greatly and includes anything from a mere
highlighting of source terms that are found
in the termbase to the proactive display of
matches to automatically entering them
into (pre-) translated segments. Especially
this last feature, coupled with the complexity
or ease of entering the terms in the
first place — unlike building up a TM, there
is always a manual component of entering
matches into a terminology database
— makes a significant difference in how
much the terminology component is used
by the translator. The more immediate the
benefit and the lower the cost (or the lower
the entry or processing speed), the more
likely it is to be used.
Term-level after translation refers to
the terminology consistency check and
the non-allowed terminology check. For
this task there are both specialized tools
(such as QA Distiller, Quintillian, ErrorSpy,
or XBench) and increasingly many TEnTs
that support these features internally. And
in fact, it was the rise of these third-party
tools that seems to have given the TEnT
vendors the push they needed to implement
quality assurance features such as
white- and blacklisting terminology in the
last two or three years.
From a technological point of view, a lot
still needs to be done in this area. Some
tools do use morphological rules for a limited
number of languages aside from mere
static matching rules, but most tools don’t,
and the majority of languages are not morphologically
supported. So the translation
professional more likely than not ends up
being presented with long lists of mismatches
that are due to the inability of the
tools to recognize necessary morphological
changes of target language terms or,
for the same reason, non-flagged items on
the source side.
Phrase-level processing
Segment-level before translation refers
to the preparation that texts need to go
through before TM or MT is performed.
These include text segmentation, text
alignment of previously translated documents
and indexing.
Both text segmentation and alignment
have recently seen significant improvements.
Differences in text segmentation
had long been the major obstacle to
exchanging TM and corpus data between
different tools. However, a relatively new
standard, SRX — Segmentation Rules
eXchange — has provided a major step
toward overcoming this obstacle. Not all
tool vendors have embraced this standard,
and it is therefore not yet widely used, but
within the next couple of years this should
become something of a non-issue.
Alignment, long on the list of a translator’s
most undesired tasks, has also taken
a quantum leap forward. Traditionally,
alignment was performed by a pre-packaged
feature of TEnTs that analyzed texts
mechanically by segmentation rules and a
limited number of non-linguistic markers
such as numbers or styles.
However, through the recent commercial
release of tools or services that specialize
in alignment and use statistical (AlignFactory)
or linguistic materials (AutoAligner),
this task’s accuracy and automation have
made it once again reasonable to use
alignment on large-scale projects. The
resulting TMs can then be employed as
traditional TMs or as training material for
statistical MT engines.
Segment-level during translation refers
to TM lookup and MT processes. TM lookup
— the leveraging of content from translation
memories and/or corpora — is at the
heart of what TEnTs such as Across, Déjà
Vu, Heartsome, JiveFUSION, Lingotek,
MemoQ, MetaTexis, MultiTrans, OmegaT,
SDLX, STAR Transit, Swordfish, Trados,
Wordfast and any number of other tools
do. In regard to this principle, a translator
and a project manager may have different
expectations: the translator is primarily
interested in the ease and practicality
of the translation environment; for the
corporate user, workflow and translation
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management are of greater concern. These
different expectations have put tool vendors
in an awkward spot, not only resulting
in different versions for the different
user groups but also in shifting emphases
on the different groups in different stages
of the tool development cycles.
MT is experiencing its greatest revival
since the excitement that surrounded it
in the 1950s. And here again, different
stakeholders have very different agendas.
Though MT by and large remains the bestloved
enemy of the freelance translator
and is eyed with suspicion by smaller language
service providers (LSPs), large LSPs
and large translation buyers have long
been running projects that are too large or
too time-consuming for human translation
through primarily statistical MT.
One of the more exciting developments
today is partnerships between TM and MT
vendors. This has the feel of the prodigal son
written all over it, considering that TM was
originally a subset of machine translation.
Segment-level after translation — missing
segment detection and format and
grammar checks — is the counterpart to
the white- and blacklisting of terminology
and terminology consistency checks on
the term-level. And just as those developments
were driven by the aforementioned
third-party QA tools, so it is here. While few
grammar checks are in place (aside from the
tools that use the Microsoft Word interface),
virtually all TEnTs provide a large variety of
mechanical, non-language-related checks.
These include missing segment detection
and format checks, but also verification
of numbers, punctuation and special characters.
On a translation-related level, the
introduction of QA features, including the
term checks, has been one of the biggest
pushes in the tool development during the
last couple of years. And while it probably
will take another year or two until they are
accepted and widely used by the majority
of translators, they are here to stay.
The workflow hurdle
Still, it’s the last principle, translation
workflow and billing management, that has
thrown the language industry and its tool
vendors into a tailspin lately. While there
are certainly improvements to be made on
the first seven principles, they are typically
accepted as a given and are implemented
in some way or the other on the translator’s
workplace or the LSP’s network. But when
sophisticated translation buyers who were
used to complex software-based workflow
and accounting applications took a more
active role in the process, and when at the
same time some global LSPs’ growth could
primarily be attributed to their sophisticated
workflow products, there was an
almost universal call for tools that would
support these aspects of the business.
Tool vendors responded with a number of
different solutions.
There are a number of powerful, webbased
tools for LSPs such as Plunet, Worx
and Beetext that cover various aspects of
project management. Through partnerships
or connectivity with TEnTs, these
tools attempt to cover most technological
aspects of the translation process.
Translation management systems (TMS)
such as Idiom WorldServer and other corporate
products from SDL and Across, along
with any number of company-internal tools
such as Lionbridge’s Logoport and Elanex’s
ElanexINSIDE, also cover workflow and project
management. However, these products
essentially cover all eight principles: the
infrastructure, the term- and segment-level
processing before, during and after translation,
and the translation workflow aspects.
Though the market experienced some
hiccups earlier this year when Idiom was
acquired by SDL, this should be a market
segment with significant growth potential.
The goal is in sight! Have we run through
our translation technology survey in Olympic
The cloud
Well, we’re almost done. We have so
far assumed that these principles refer to
desktop-based or network-based computing,
but they also apply to cloud-based
computing. The internet has enabled translation
technology users to collaborate and
share resources — something that already
seems natural in the days of Web 2.0 and
beyond, but is still new in the lives of most
translation professionals. Projects such as
TDA, the TAUS Data Association, or TM
Marketplace allow for the sharing of or
access to data sources and at the same
time open-source and commercial projects
alike open to crowdsourcing. Tools such as
Lingotek or the Google Translation Center
offer translation interfaces that provide
the necessary tools for translation and
access to ever-growing public TMs. And
these in turn can then be used to train MT
to be more accurate.
To return to St. Jerome — he is without
a doubt a fantastic model, but he has been
forced to march to a new beat with different
tools (Figure 1). If he continues to employ
them wisely, they will not only make him
more accurate and efficient, but give him
access to a whole new world of communal
resources and forms of collaboration. G
Figure 1: St. Jerome has been forced to
march to a new beat with different tools.
page 10 The Guide From MultiLingual
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page 12 The Guide From MultiLingual
According to the 2005 American Community
Survey, nearly 13 million US
residents speak English “not well”
or “not at all,” up from almost 11 million
people in 2000. This trend is expected to
continue as communities across the United
States experience an increase in their immigrant
populations. A recent Pew Research
Center report estimates that 82% of the
population increase in the United States
through 2050 will be the result of newlyarrived
immigrants and their children.
From border towns to big cities and the
heartland, the need for culturally and linguistically
appropriate services for the
limited-English proficient (LEP) population
is on the rise. Add to that an ever-growing
global economy in which US companies
will need to communicate with businesses
and customers around the world, and it’s
easy to see why the demand for
translation professionals will only
Spanish still dominates as the
number one language requested for
translation, but other languages are
getting an increased amount of attention.
Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean,
Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and
French LEP populations carve out
sizable niches in the United States.
Each geographic region has its own
unique translation needs. In the
Northeast, the primary non-English
languages are Spanish, Chinese, Italian,
French and Portuguese, while in
the Midwest, Spanish, German, Polish,
Arabic and French dominate.
New opportunities for translators
Besides immigration, other factors
are driving the need for translators.
In California, where more
than 40% of the population speaks
a language other than English, a new law
taking effect January 1, 2009, mandates
that health plans provide LEP enrollees
with language assistance services at hospitals,
clinics and other health care locations
that accept plan insurance. Under
the regulation passed as Senate Bill 853,
health plans are required to evaluate the
language make-up of each of the communities
they serve. If 3,000 beneficiaries or
5% of the beneficiary population in the
community speak a language other than
English, health plans must provide assistance
in that language when enrollees
obtain health care services. Senate Bill
853 was passed to alleviate language and
cultural barriers. The legislation stipulates
that all vital documents must be translated
into these “threshold” languages and
interpretation services made available to
enrollees at all points of contact.
If Cantonese is the primary language for
a qualifying number of the population, for
example, health plan providers near those
segments of the population will need to have
Cantonese interpreters available, as well as
translated documentation and instructions.
About 100 insurers, including Cigna, UHC,
Health Net, Aetna, Kaiser and Blue Cross
offer health care coverage in California.
Some insurers are already applying Senate
Bill 853 standards in other states even
though not yet required. The new California
law is considered a model for other states
with large LEP populations.
Another California regulation in the
works that will require translation expertise,
this time concerning lending documents,
is also getting a close look around
the country. Beginning in April 2009, California
Assembly Bill 512 would require that
all consumer real estate mortgage loans
be translated into the primary language of
the borrower. Currently, LEP borrowers are
asked to sign loan documents written in
English although the loan was negotiated
in another language. The new law would
be a means to eliminate language-related
Marketing financial products to LEP
speakers is also gaining popularity. For
example, a company provides its employees
with a self-directed retirement plan
with multiple mutual fund options. More
and more mutual fund companies are
translating fund brochures and prospectuses
into languages spoken by the
company’s LEP employees. The
practice helps employees make
sound investment decisions, and
it has been found to increase
employee plan participation.
As more LEP workers find jobs
in regions of the country not
typically known for large non-
English speaking communities,
the businesses in these regions
are beginning to implement language-
specific safety programs
that have been in effect for
decades in states with high concentrations
of immigrants such as
California, Florida and New York.
To comply with national safety
requirements, businesses with
LEP workers will need to translate
Occupational Safety and Health
Administration regulations into
languages their workers understand. Companies
with LEP workers are already realizing
that the cost to translate safety signs
and literature is minimal when compared
to a possible lawsuit if an LEP worker is
injured on the job because of a lack of
understanding safety procedures.
Translator jobs
Translation companies are always looking
for competent, well-educated translators.
The demand will only increase as
these new laws, safety concerns and marketing
opportunities fuel the need. What
should a translator bring to the table? Ten
or 15 years ago, only a handful of degreed
Translating for the
Growing US Markets
George Rimalower
Instructive pages like these — in Spanish,
Vietnamese and Arabic — from the Queensland,
Australia, government health services will soon be
mandated in certain locations in the United States.
October/November 2008 • page 13
translation training programs existed. Now,
more than 15 universities around the United
States offer translation degrees. The Monterey
Institute of International Studies has
been offering master’s programs for translators
and interpreters for more than 35
years. At the very least, an undergraduate
degree, whether in translation sciences or
in another field, is usually required by reputable
translation companies seeking to
add to their translator roster. An American
Translators Association certification validates
the translator’s abilities.
Translators can take on a number of
different roles during the translation process.
Translators entering the field need
to decide their strengths before marketing
their services to a translation company.
A translator who is well versed or has an
advanced degree in law, for example,
could be invaluable when translating
court documents or legal contracts. On
the other hand, a linguist with a medical
background might consider translating
clinical studies. All translators today are
expected to be experts in computer-aided
translation (CAT), GMS and TMS software
programs. These programs make the
translation process more efficient, consistent
and accurate.
A translation must go through multiple
steps before it is ready for the client. Each
step requires a different set of translation
skills. After a document has been translated,
it is reviewed by an editor who focuses
on fine-tuning the document’s cultural and
linguistic integrity while ensuring that the
register is appropriate for its target audience.
The document must then be proofed
by another translator who checks the document
for spelling, punctuation, missing text
and word wraps. The document may also be
sent to a graphics department before it is
finally delivered to the client. Novice translators
must decide how they will participate
in this process. In many cases, linguists can
have the skills for all three roles: translator,
editor and proofreader.
Pitching your translation services
Since translation is all about accuracy,
translators seeking employment need to
ensure that résumés and cover letters are
error-free, with proper grammar and punctuation.
Résumés should highlight education,
accreditations, language pairing, expertise
and services offered (translating, proofing,
editing and desktop publishing, for instance).
The résumé should also include a list of professional
affiliations, software proficiency
(word processing, desktop publishing, CAT
and TMS) and the type of available hardware
(printers, scanners, communication
tools, ftp sites). Additional résumé information
could include countries of residence,
special interests and references
from other translation professionals, clients
or agencies.
Translation companies emphasize quality
of translations and the ability to meet
deadlines. Only by being honest about
capabilities, respecting timelines, providing
high-quality work and communicating
clearly with language service companies
can a novice translator advance to the list
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page 14 The Guide From MultiLingual
Translations are everywhere — from
websites to the back of one’s utility
account to the box your toothpaste
came in. But what if you need one and
you’re on your own to get it done? This
question, though seemingly benign, raises
a host of other issues to the uninitiated,
often in a confusing array of terminology
and resources. This article should partially
guide the translation newcomer to finding
the right service.
One of the most basic needs an individual
might have is the translation of
vital records such as birth, marriage and
death certificates. Also included might be
police and driving records, weapons permits,
military discharge or service records,
adoption papers and any number of other
official documents that, even if in one’s
possession, still require translation.
The custodians of these documents may
reside in the countries of origin, each of
which will have a different, if somewhat
similar, process for obtaining duplicates or
copies of originals. Obtaining the requisite
documentation requires legal knowledge,
of course, but may also require connections
or legal authority in the country of record.
Before a translation can even begin, expertise
beyond linguistic skills is required.
Such expertise is usually not as simple
as turning to a local civil attorney because
the nature of the translation spans legal,
linguistic and cultural bounds usually not
housed under one roof.
In countries such as the United States,
where immigration patterns often follow
the ebb and flow of international politics, it
is not uncommon to have to deal with documentation
needs stemming from countries
with which the United States has (or
has had) limited diplomatic ties and their
concomitant legal agreements. Such is the
case with Cuba and Vietnam, for example.
In other cases, the custodian of the documents
may be indisposed or non-existent,
especially if the country in which the documents
originated has suffered war, natural
disaster or chaotic government, such as
Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Myanmar and
A step into nearly any metropolitan civil
court in the United States reveals that these
are not uncommon situations. At a court in
Texas, for example, I witnessed several
Vietnamese people seeking annulment of
marriages because spouses could not be
located after many years and the individuals
wished to remarry. In an Oregon court I
witnessed a South African seeking divorce
from a spouse still resident, and definitely
not lost, in that country. In a Nebraska
court, a young couple sought court sanction
of an arranged marriage consummated
in Iraq while both were minors by
US law — now eight years on with both
now in the age of majority.
Beyond vital records are other documents
as innocent as, say, a letter from
Flanders telling the recipient that a grandparent’s
government coal mining pension
will be increased by a couple of percentage
points, to the more complicated case of a
home study done by a US adoption agency
that must be submitted to the requirements
of the Guatemalan or Chinese or
Sudanese government, or even as heartwrenching
as a Red Cross appeal that must
cross a local chapter to reach an outpost in
a war-torn region in search of a lost child,
sibling, parent or other relative.
Each of these situations requires expertise
beyond the purely linguistic, and figuring
out where to turn to even begin the
process can be daunting. Fortunately,
however, there are professional associations
that can act as referral services or
directories of members for either companies
or individuals specializing in the type
of the translation needed. is a tremendous source of referral,
for instance. It may often be self-referential,
but is still useful. An individual may post
his or her requirements and then receive
bids from around the world. This is quite
handy in that it allows one to locate individuals
who have the expertise and contacts to
get the job done, often at a fraction of the
cost of engaging a middleperson
of some
kind in this country.
The site also offers a well-read forum
in which one might pose a question about
a translation and thus learn about available
resources and gather questions to
ask when eventually hiring a translator or
translation service. As the site is global
and globally read, answers can be had
often in just a few hours. Over a period of
days, the number of responses and wealth
of information increases as more and more
translators read the queries, which can
either be language-specific or not.
One of the largest databases available is
the American Translators Association (ATA),
which compiles a list of members who selfidentify
areas of expertise and language
pairs. It also maintains a list of translation
companies that is helpful, among other
things, in locating local resources who, if not
experts themselves, may be able to refer to
another source. A limitation of the resource,
however, is that not all languages are listed
in the drop-down menu provided.
Many countries offer a similar type of
national professional association, which
can be located using a search engine and
terms such as (in quotes) “[country name]
translators” followed by words such as
institute, association, union and so on. In
this manner, one might again locate an incountry
translator and gain insight into its
needed expertise.
Research done this way may lead to
more specialized professional associations
suited to the case. For example, in
the United States, there is the National
Association of Judiciary Interpreters and
Translators, which also contains a searchable
database of translation professionals.
This organization is specific to the legal
industry and its translation and interpretation
needs. Most of the members are corporate
and may have a depth and breadth
of experience that is most appropriate for
a given situation or need.
Courts often ask for “official,” “certified”
or other “legalized” translations of
documents, so that even if one succeeds
in acquiring the documentation, it may be
unclear as to what is actually required.
Even if the original is signed, is sealed
and contains enough stamps to wallpaper
a small room, the “officialization” of the
Life’s Little Translations
Tim Alta nero
October/November 2008 • page 15
translation is still needed — and unfortunately,
exactly what this entails varies by
jurisdiction, court and even judge.
Even in cases where one might expect
national standards, such as with immigration
cases, the same type of document
from the same country may have
to be treated differently based on the
desire of the specific court in which the
case is held.
Of prime importance in this instance is
the knowledge that no translator is certified
or otherwise “official” as constituted
by any organization in the United States.
While courts can and do certify interpreters
through rigorous processes, often
at the state or county level, they almost
never certify translators except under the
most unusual of circumstances.
The closest that we come in the United
States to such a designation is “accreditation”
granted by the ATA to those who pass
its examinations. Such a designation is
handy, but it is not an officially recognized
national credential and it is only available
in a few, selected language pairs, primarily
European languages and a few East Asian
languages. However, it may be sufficient
in the eyes of a court.
It is incumbent on the individual to
ascertain what “officialness” constitutes.
This can be just about anything, from the
relatively meaningless to the demanding
or even, at times, seemingly random.
At the meaningless end of things, a raised
seal or notarization may be required. In the
first instance, any individual can purchase
a raised seal at an office megastore for just
a few dollars, whether or not he or she is a
translator. Slightly up the scale is the notarization
obtained from a notary public. While
obtaining notarization does nothing other
than identify (usually via a driver’s license)
the person who signs the translation, it is,
at least, testifying to the signature on the
paper, whether or not that person was the
On the more demanding end of things,
translators may be asked to provide a “letter
of competence” (also called by many other
names) in which he or she outlines education,
memberships and experience, includes
some references, and maybe, in the most
demanding of cases, provides copies of
degrees from accredited universities. Rarely
will a university transcript be necessary, but
it does not hurt to have one on hand.
All said and done, however, sometimes
the translator is but a mere formality for
a lawyer and judge. I have seen one case
where, after considerable expense, a
Vietnamese translator was hired, paid a
retainer, but never used, as the court simply
accepted tax returns as proof that the
individual had lived as a single person in
the United States for the past ten years
and thus annulled a previous marriage in
Vietnam. In the case of a Bosnian matter,
the court accepted that records were not
available due to civil unrest. In the matter
of a Cuban criminal case, the court
accepted a Cuban police report and the
word of a translator that there were no
previous convictions in Cuba without any
kind of official translation.
Thus, the provision and translation
of life’s documentation are as varied as
life itself. How they are received by the
authorities in question is equally varied
and sometimes quite different from what
one might expect. G
A Solution All About You
Global industry leaders rely on Kinetic to manage
their multilingual corporate communications.
We can help you reduce costs up to 75% and
accelerate cycle time 60%-80% while maintaining
global brand consistency.
Kinetic workflow tools give you the freedom
to seamlessly connect all your translators and
print service providers.
Our services include globalization consulting,
translation management, DTP, digital brand
management, web to print management and
business intelligence.
Louisville, Kentucky USA
SALT Group
Cairo, Egypt •
2008 Milestone:
SALT Group Going Global
• European Standards EN 15038-certified
• Opened new office in KL Malaysia
• Adding 15 new language pairs
• Raising online connectivity to three
alternate lines of two Mbps each to
guarantee 100% up time
• Leading an international initiative to
strengthen the concept of culture and
business. First article published in BP
eStrategies magazine 4th quarter 2007
High Quality Translations
Increased Productivity
SYSTRAN is the market leading provider of
language translation software solutions for the
desktop, enterprise and internet available in
52-plus language combinations and 20 domains.
Powered by its hybrid machine translation
technology, SYSTRAN solutions automatically
translate text. Integrated advanced post-edition
tools increase efficiency and are combined with
a training module leveraging mono/bilingual
resources to incrementally shorten the time to
generate high quality translations. Use of SYSTRAN
solutions enhances multilingual communication
and boosts user productivity and time savings as
they deliver real-time language solutions for search,
content management, online customer support,
intra-company communications and e-commerce.
SYSTRAN Software, Inc.
San Diego, California USA • Paris, France •
page 16 The Guide From MultiLingual
Translation buyers have a short list of
favorite providers who get the plum
jobs, the ones who are called first for
their language combination. What makes
a project manager keep you at the top of
their mind?
Excellent linguistic skills are de rigueur,
as are prices that are within the industry’s
tolerance help — neither too low to be
credible nor too high to be affordable. But
as long as translators and project managers
remain human, the human relationship
between the provider and the buyer is the
key to the success or failure of a business.
This doesn’t mean a phony pretense to
friendship: phony behavior reeks for miles
around. What it does mean is building a
reputation for reliability. Because while
a translator sells language services, the
buyer is looking for reliability, for a known
quantity in a business that is just as much
art as craft.
How can you be in that quantity? Get
into the habit of doing three things for each
project you’re involved in, and then change
focus and incorporate three things into the
lifestyle you have outside of individual projects.
When these become habits in your life,
the market will respond, and reward you.
Here’s what you can do to give each
translation you deliver a final polish.
Read it over on paper.
Screens are wonderful. Flat LCD screens
are tempting; they threaten to colonize your
desk, though they hardly take up any space.
With all that on-screen clarity, can we skip
that last step and proofread on screen?
Not if we want a successful business.
Mistakes leap out at us from the page
in a way that puts to shame even the best
proofreading tools. If your project can be
printed out, grit your teeth and print it. Rapidly
typing fingers insert all manner of errors
into our texts. On-screen, we are lulled into
complacence by the little red underlines.
Off-screen, we are alert to actual meaning.
Every project is improved by a round of
proofreading in a new context. Paper gives
that context, after a text has only ever been
seen on-screen. By all means, keep things
environmentally friendlier and print on both
sides of recycled paper. But do include the
time you’ll need for printing out the project
and reading it one last time on paper before
you sign off on it and send it out.
Ask if you’re not sure.
Alas, telepathy is not in the typical
translator’s toolbox.
Pause a moment to ponder the implications
of this sad fact: we will get requests that
we do not fully understand. Clients, being
human, will make ambiguous statements,
they’ll leave out some piece of information
that we need in order to determine linguistic
register, gender (what’s with the unisex
names?), or a key clue about the audience for
which the translation is being bought.
In such cases, “I don’t want to interrupt
my client” is exactly the wrong idea.
Gather up as many of your questions as
you can before you start the project, and ask
buyers what exactly they want or need. If
new questions arise as you start translating,
collect as many as you can for a single e-mail
or conversation — as many as you can without
halting your work on the project.
Don’t be a pest, don’t get in the way, but
definitely ask by e-mail or phone. Consider
it a quality assurance move: you’re making
sure that you are in fact giving your clients
what they want.
Double-check arrival.
Spam filters. Network downtime. Misdelivered
mail. Gremlins.
So many things can divert the project
delivery, be it by e-mail or physical mail! Happily,
you can put a technological fix into place
that will guarantee you find out about any
delivery disasters befalling your projects.
Here’s the line of code to add to your
project delivery e-mails: “Please confirm
that you have received the correct file.”
Do not rely on automatic reading confirmations.
What you want is an actual,
human response: “Yes, I got it.” By asking
if the correct file has been received,
you’ve recruited your client’s attention. If
they got the wrong file, they’ll know right
then and there, and you will hear about it
and be able to correct the error.
If the work is not delivered by e-mail,
include the same question on your physical
cover letter, and be sure to call and ask
if it has really arrived.
You’d think everyone does this — but,
no. Only successful translators do. Be one.
Make sure your translation got to where it
ought to be.
The Big Picture
Hunched over a translation, six dictionaries
and a cup of coffee in reach, we are all
too liable to lose track of the gross motor
muscles that keep us in business. Here are
three habits that will hold your career on
track for the long term.
Keep up with both languages.
Language fades. You can see it in your
own usage. If you are not exposed to one
of your languages, idioms will start to slip,
or you’ll mix up genders or come across
some term that didn’t exist last year, probably
in the field of consumer electronics.
Keep it up on a regular basis. Bookmark
a web-based radio station in your other language;
download podcasts to hear at the
gym; subscribe to a monthly journal that
will lie around, waiting to be read. The best
translators are rampant datavores. Having
a habit of devouring your data in both languages
will keep your linguistic muscles
flexed and ready for actual projects.
Let the market know you’re out there.
Translators sit alone in their cells,
focusing on the tiny space between the
languages. It is easy to stay there for the
duration of your projects, enjoying the
gentle flow of words over your brain.
“Easy” is a clue: if it’s easy, you need to
be doing more.
Every freelance professional must spend
time and effort to inform possible clients
that his or her skills are out there. Build
this into your week as a habitual thing, not
a one-time project. Print up a brochure,
contact likely buyers, trade organizations,
commercial and governmental organizations.
Do something — anything — to keep
your name out there, where potential clients
might become actual clients.
Engage in gratuitous learning.
We deal in words, and words are used to
describe and explain things in many fields.
Spend time learning about a subject, and
its vocabulary will force itself into your
consciousness. Learn new words — which
means new tools for your trade, new
usages, new ways of being able to say the
things that you are called upon to say.
Gratuitous learning is the sort of learning
that does not follow naturally from
everything else you have learned before. It
is a horizon-expanding kind of learning and
tends to refresh the mind of the learner.
In every week, include fifteen minutes
of something entirely out of your regular
route of learning language. G
Six Habits for
Successful Translators
Dena Bugel-Shunra
October/November 2008 • page 17
Are you tired of translating? Do you
miss working at whatever it was
you did before joining the profession?
Never fear, you can drive yourself
out of business quickly and efficiently,
to the point where you will never be burdened
with translation projects again.
If you want to keep plying your trade,
though, watch out for those steps — and
take preventative measures to avoid
them. Here are four surefire ways to destroy
your reputation as a translator —
and five good ways to sustain the esteem
of your clients and co-workers.
Put your cape on, Superhero — or
is it SuperTranslator? You can do anything.
You speak Swedish and English,
and some project manager asked you to
translate Norwegian? Go for it. You can
surely do a good job anyway, piecing
together any unfamiliar idiom with a little
help from Google. Time constraints?
Not! A! Problem! If you’re asked to
translate 50,000 words by the day after
tomorrow, just say yes and deal with the
consequences later. Medical translation?
No biggie, it’s in your source language,
and it looks a lot like words. Promise
them anything, that’s what a salesman
does, isn’t it?
Not if you like translating for a living…
If you want to keep your clients, learn the
n-word and use it frequently. No may be
your best tool for keeping and expanding
your business. If it’s outside of your
area of expertise, your language or
your comfort zone and if doing a project
endangers your health, “thank you for
contacting me about this, but I will not
be able to take on this project” sounds
much more professional than the three
a.m. scream of despair when it turns out
that you’ve committed to something that
was not merely a stretch, but an actual
Drop deadlines
You promised it on Tuesday morning?
Thursday is only two days later, and it
also starts with a T. Close enough, really.
The project manager has her hands full
of so many clients and languages, she
won’t notice if your project slides a few
more days. If you’re battling the clock,
you can’t just stop translating and take
the time to call and inform your client,
right? That would be a distraction, and
they might get a little mad. So just soldier
on, ignore frantic e-mail queries
and turn off your phone’s ringer. When
they get it, they’ll get it.
Not if you like translating for a living…
Translation is never the last step of
a process — which means that any delay
Thriving in a
Trust-based Industry
Dena Bugel-Shunra
Stop searching, start working.
euroscript International S.A.
55, rue de Luxembourg
L-8077 Bertrange
Tel: +352 31 44 11 1
Fax: +352 31 44 11 209
euroscript, euroscript THE WORLD OF DOCUMENTS and the euroscript logo are trademarks of euroscript International S.A. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. © 2008 euroscript
Are you looking for ways to optimise cost and reduce time-tomarket?
At the same time, you want to improve customer
support and quality? Then contact us. euroscript’s tailored
solutions cover the whole content lifecycle and include a high
degree of multilingual expertise.
Benefit from the use of our latest software technology, a
unique combination of expertise and a strong focus on
Rely on our proven competencies in engineering, consulting
and training, system integration, and business process
services, including translation and terminology management.
Manage content more efficiently. Our global network enables
near- and offshore 24/7 content management services and
supports a variety of businesses worldwide.
page 18 The Guide From MultiLingual
in your schedule jams up the schedules
of everyone who comes after you. Your
project manager takes all the heat from
the end client and the designer and the
database specialist and anyone else who
wants to get his or her hands on that text;
she counts on you to get results to her
desk at a particular time, which you’ve
committed to do — all translation projects
have deadlines. If you can’t make
the deadline, let your project manager
know as soon as possible, and come up
with an alternative plan you can actually
work with. Deadline reliability may
be the single most important quality in
a translator.
Type like a Neanderthal
A word processor is just like a typewriter,
except you never have to fight
with the ink. Tabs and spaces are just
the same, callouts and tables are both
just boxes, so use them interchangeably.
For an end client, deliver everything in a
fixed-size font; if your project is heading
to a designer, use fancy fonts and mess
things up with the occasional table.
Don’t ask what’s needed — just guess.
If you’re translating a website, ignore all
those things between the pointy brackets.
Just type over them. In Cyrillic.
Not if you like translating for a living…
There’s always some way of messing up a
document. Talk to your project manager to
find out what the client wants. Moreover,
learn your tools. If your primary translation
environment includes Microsoft Word,
read a book about it or take a class.
File first drafts
You read it, you translated it, it’s
in English now, send it in. No need for
spell-checking. No need to read it over,
top to bottom, on paper rather than on
screen. No need to ask your favorite
proofreader to glance at it in exchange
for your glances at his or her work. Just
lob it off in the next e-mail, with a sigh of
relief when you press send. Right?
Not if you like translating for a living…
Nobody’s perfect. Put into place a standard
quality assurance routine, and stick to it.
Use automated tools, changes of environment
from screen to paper and from desk
to clipboard to make the errors jump out
at you. Get some help from a friendly colleague,
or contract out your proofing. Errors
will still crop up in documents, but not so
many of them, nor quite so embarrassing.
Career not done yet?
Translation is a trust-based industry.
This implies that if you’re still getting jobs,
there are still people out there who trust
you — for both your language abilities
and your people skills. That trust is your
greatest asset. If you like translating for a
living, nurture the trust your clients have
in you. Underpromise but overdeliver; live
up to every promise you’ve given; know
your tools and your boundaries; and adopt
a humble point of view. This will help turn
your linguistic assets into professional
ones and drive your ability to retain clients
over many years of career development in
a field that clamors for new talent.
It’s up to you. G
October/November 2008 • page 19
European Leader in
Translations for 20 Years
Headquartered in Brussels for 23 years,
Telelingua International also has offices in
Paris, New York and Shenzhen. Telelingua
has more than 100 employees and yearly
revenue of more than 20M$. It is one of the
most experienced translation and localization
companies around. Telelingua International has
worked for prestigious companies in different
industries for years and was awarded “Best
SAP Translation Partner” in 2005.
Telelingua International
Brussels • Paris • New York • Shenzhen
GIP and Telephonic
Interpretation Services
It’s finally here. Global Interpreter Platform
(GIP) is designed for language companies that
want to start providing telephonic interpretation
services and compete in this growing market
space. It’s a complete module that includes a
telephonic interpretation console as well as a
face-to-face scheduling console. Because this is
SaaS (software as a service) approach, it does
not require any upfront investments. Please
contact us if you would like to start your own
telephonic interpretation company.
Telelanguage, Inc.
Portland, Oregon USA
Six Degrees
of Transcreation®
TripleInk is a multilingual marketing
communications agency that works across
languages, cultures and borders to provide
insightful strategies and meaningful translations
to companies that want to reach US ethnic
and global markets. Our clients rely on us to
make their message understood and their brand
relevant, anywhere on earth.
Our services:
• Transcreation of advertising
• Website localization
• Technical translations
• Multilingual production services in all media
• Consulting on multicultural marketing and
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA •
Unitype, LLC
Lockhart, Texas USA •
Unitype Multilingual
Multilingual word processing and data input for
over 100 languages. Includes most national and
major languages. Includes ancient languages.
Global Writer
• Standalone multilingual word processor
• Create Unicode-compliant documents
• Fully supports bidirectional editing
Global Office
• Integrates with Microsoft Office
• Type Unitype languages into Word, Excel,
Outlook, and PowerPoint
• Automatically selects keyboards and fonts for
each language
Global Suite
• Includes both Global Writer and Global Office
Consulting and Training
for Translation Tools
Independent consulting, training and support
consulting on translation technologies
• Tools evaluation and comparison workshops
• Setup considerations
• Evaluation of your translation and
terminology processes
• Independent evaluation of your own tools
against the tools in the industry
Tools training (beginners, advanced, customerspecific
Q&A sessions)
• Project managers and translators
• Sessions in English or German
• Online or onsite
Technical support
• For end users (project managers/translators)
of translation tools
Angelika Zerfass
Bonn, Germany •
Your Turkish
Localization Partner
Teknik Translation Agency is dedicated to
providing high-quality translation services for
its multinational customers in the following
language combinations: from English, German,
French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch into Turkish.
Our specialization includes IT, electronics,
technical and medical translations, telecommunications,
commerce and business.
Quality-oriented and flexible service,
responsiveness and on-time delivery ensure
permanent customer satisfaction.
Teknik Translation Agency
Izmir, Turkey
October 13-15, 2008
Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin USA
Innovating Localization Business Models •
Sponsored by
• Large exhibits with tools and services from around the world
• Excellent speakers and keynote addresses
• Three days full of sessions for beginners and experts
• Social events for networking Dinner Sponsors
This guide is a component of the magazine MultiLingual. The
ever-growing easy international access to information, services
and goods underscores the importance of language
and culture awareness. What issues are involved in reaching an
international audience? Are there technologies to help? Who provides
services in this area? Where do I start?
Savvy people in today’s world use MultiLingual to answer these
questions and to help them discover what other questions they
should be asking.
MultiLingual’s eight issues a year are filled with news, technical
developments and language information for people who are interested
in the role of language, technology and translation in our
twenty-first-century world. A ninth issue, the Resource Directory
and Index, provides listings of companies in the language industry
and an index to the previous year’s content.
Two issues each year include Getting Started Guides such as
this one, which are primers for moving into new territories both
geographically and professionally.
The magazine itself covers a multitude of topics.
How are translation tools changing the art and science of communicating
ideas and information between speakers of different
languages? Translators are vital to the development of international
and localized software. Those who specialize in technical
documents, such as manuals for computer hardware and software,
industrial equipment and medical products, use sophisticated
tools along with professional expertise to translate complex
text clearly and precisely. Translators and people who use translation
services track new developments through articles and news
items in MultiLingual.
Language technology
From multiple keyboard layouts and input methods to Unicodeenabled
operating systems, language-specific encodings, systems
that recognize your handwriting or your speech in any language
— language technology is changing day by day. And this technology
is also changing the way in which people communicate on a
personal level — changing the requirements for international software
and changing how business is done all over the world.
MultiLingual is your source for the best information and insight
into these developments and how they will affect you and your
Global web
Every website is a global website, and even a site designed
for one country may require several languages to be effective.
Experienced web professionals explain how to create a site that
works for users everywhere, how to attract those users to your
site and how to keep the site current. Whether you use the internet
and worldwide web for e-mail, for purchasing services, for
promoting your business or for conducting fully international ecommerce,
you’ll benefit from the information and ideas in each
issue of MultiLingual.
Managing content
How do you track all the words and the changes that occur
in a multilingual website? How do you know who’s doing what
and where? How do you respond to customers and vendors in
a prompt manner and in their own languages? The growing and
changing field of content management and global management
systems (CMS and GMS), customer relations management
(CRM) and other management disciplines is increasingly important
as systems become more complex. Leaders in the development
of these systems explain how they work and how they
work together.
Making software ready for the international market requires
more than just a good idea. How does an international developer
prepare a product for multiple locales? Will the pictures and colors
you select for a user interface in France be suitable for users
in Brazil? Elements such as date and currency formats sound like
simple components, but developers who ignore the many international
variants find that their products may be unusable. You’ll
find sound ideas and practical help in every issue.
How can you make your product look and feel as if it were built in
another country for users of that language and culture? How do you
choose a localization service vendor? Developers and localizers
offer their ideas and relate their experiences with practical advice
that will save you time and money in your localization projects.
And there’s much more
Authors with in-depth knowledge summarize changes in the
language industry and explain its financial side, describe the challenges
of computing in various languages, explain and update
encoding schemes, and evaluate software and systems. Other
articles focus on particular countries or regions; specific languages;
translation and localization training programs; the uses
of language technology in specific industries — a wide array of
current topics from the world of multilingual computing.
If you are interested in reaching an international audience in the
best way possible, you need to read MultiLingual. G
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