Sometimes when I tell people my company helps companies increase their global reach through language translation services, I’m met with a skeptical grin.
“Is that going to be around much longer?” they say. “I thought Google Translate and other automated translation tools were making that kind of thing obsolete.”
And here’s one of the reasons Machine Translation (MT) is such a complex and contentious topic. Yes, it is can be a powerful tool for businesses rapidly looking to adapt to foreign markets. Yes, it can drive down costs and speed projects along. But applied to the wrong projects in the wrong way, it can have just the opposite effect.
The only thing that evolves as fast as the technology we use every day is the jargon used to describe it. The phrases “cloud computing” and “in the cloud” are employed on a daily basis by CEOs, CIOs, project managers, and advertising execs to describe a variety of technology and productivity situations in our network-obsessed culture. Like many others, you may have a general sense what “the cloud” is, but what, exactly, do these phrases really describe? And how does the cloud operate for international businesses?
Even if you haven’t invested in a cloud computing solution for your own business, global or otherwise, you’re probably already accustomed to cloud-based services. Whether synchronizing your eBook reading or streaming your music collection through Spotify or Rdio, you’re already relying on the tenets of cloud computing. In this post we’ll define that nebulous nimbus phrase, take a look at some of the pros and cons of building a business dependent upon it, and shed a little light on cloud computing in other countries.
Here’s one for the hardcore language nerds out there (like us!). We couldn’t resist sharing this article we discovered recently about a computer program developed by UC Berkeley and the University of British Columbia to reconstruct the vocabularies of ancient languages.
While you certainly won’t need to have your brand translated into proto-Austronesian anytime soon, the implications of the technology and its relationship to human linguists is fascinating to consider. Read on for a brief look into how computer scientists and language historians join forces to take us on a tour of major mother tongues.
The imminent arrival of the New Year provides a perfect opportunity to analyze the technological innovations that wowed us in 2012 and take a peek at the shiny new ideas that will change our lives in 2013. Six trends caught our attention in 2012: gaming, eCommerce, search engine optimization and marketing, eLearning and training, applications, and multimedia. Looking ahead, these trends will continue to fascinate us as deeply interconnected innovations transform how we interact with each other close to home and globally.
Machine translation, or MT as we call it around here, has changed the way translation agencies do business. Far from the error-prone technology it once was, MT has recently become a viable way to produce workable translations — though, not without some risk.
Mashable recently published an article about a newly launched translation tool that marries MT technology with speech-recognition technology. Our take on the article follows, and we'd love to hear what you have to say. Read on and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Have you ever noticed how serious gamers have their own language and jargon? If you're one of them, you're probably fluent in the languages of your favorite games, understanding their codes, acronyms and special terms.
Games, on the other hand, can't learn other languages on their own. And if you want to publish a new title in international markets, you’ll need to translate and localize your game just as you might any major software release.
In this post, let's take an abbreviated look at seven crucial aspects of going global with your game. There are millions of new, international gamers out there waiting to buy...and play!
As Acclaro gets ready to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we're taking a look back at some trends that have changed the way we do business today.
Throughout the history of the translation industry, human translation has always been the best way to get the best quality. Over the past ten years, however, machine translation has matured into a viable solution for more and more industries. Translation is not just cryptography. Language is often a fluid and illogical medium and good translation requires fluent knowledge and careful attention to detail and nuance, something that computers just don't do very well. However, that doesn't mean they aren't trying...or at least, getting better.
Machine translation. It sounds simple, right? Rather than use a human translator, you put the burden on a computer. How hard could it be?
That depends, of course, on how much you value making sense from what you’ve translated. And that depends on what — and how much — you’re translating in the first place.
Machine Translation (MT) is a powerful and evolving solution to the complexities companies face when they must quickly and inexpensively make large amounts of information available to international audiences.
In this six question Q&A we’ll give you the “nuts and bolts” (if you will) about the current state of MT and how it might help you save time and money on your next translation project.
Acclaro has invested in cloud-computing technologies to help streamline internal and client-facing communications, especially around time-sensitive project information for translation services. Key benefits include cloud-based, centrally-located repositories for project information and query management, which facilitate communication and shorten project lifecycles. Read the press release on Acclaro and cloud-computing, or click below to read the full post.
This January, largely due to grassroots organizing on social media platforms, U.S. internet users witnessed the demise of two proposed laws, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act). These bills were both designed to expand the power of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property...and were met with resistance by U.S. internet users from coast to coast. If, like millions of others, you celebrated the defeat of SOPA/PIPA, you may want to put a cork in that champagne. It turns out there’s a much more far reaching agreement, called ACTA. International in scope, it may affect what your business is able to do (or not do) online.
Flash Player will soon undergo a radical transformation for mobile apps, according to an article in Gizmodo. As the driving force behind video-dominant social media sites like YouTube, Flash was once the stalwart, must-code application for interactive media, but will soon morph into Adobe’s newest project: AIR, which will take full advantage of the rich media functions of HTML5. Acclaro’s Globalization Consultant, Jon Ritzdorf, explains what this could mean for the world of mobile app localization.
A localized mobile application is a great way to reach your global customers. However, it's not always as simple a process as making sure your app's language matches that of your user's mobile device or smartphone. There are some things to think about on the development side, which we've neatly summed up in our full newsletter article from earlier this year.
If you work with a content management system (CMS), such as Drupal, Sharepoint, Joomla, or Wordpress, and are considering localizing the website that lives inside of it, you may wonder how well it will play with your languages. Or, if you're trying to find the right CMS that supports the localization process, you'll need to ask a few questions, such as: Will the text display correctly? Will the CMS be able to keep language content separate? Not all CMSs handle things the same way, so it's best to figure out the answers before you start the localization process and/or before move to a new CMS. Read a quick review of the basic questions you need to ask, or read our full article on how to choose the best CMS for your localization needs.
If you’re thinking about testing—or even diving into—the waters of the rapidly growing Chinese social media market, now is the time to start doing your research. With more than 400 million Internet users, most of them young, educated, and savvy about games and web socializing, there’s ample opportunity for well-prepared businesses to succeed.
We’ve got a few ideas to help you get familiar with Chinese online channels as you start out, and expand into this lucrative market in a way that’s culturally appropriate. More detail can be found in our full newsletter article.
Conventional wisdom has it that the best, highest-quality translation method is human translation and editing (as opposed to a rules- or statistics-based machine translation tool, à la Google Translate). Certainly when style and nuanced meaning are important, there’s really nothing that takes the place of the human mind for intelligent, effective, accurate localization. But there’s also a great tool that aids our linguists during translation, adding the power and speed of computers to the fluidity and contextual smarts of the human cerebellum.
That tool is translation memory, or TM, and it helps us create better consistency both within and across projects for our clients. Translation memory can also lower costs and speed up timelines for greater efficiency.
Due to the prevalence of English-language searches in China, a unique partnership has formed between the Chinese search giant Baidu and the American "decision engine" Bing. Baidu users searching for English terms will see a selection of English search results alongside Chinese results in their browsers, providing access to an additional layer of information.
Bilingual search results, still a relatively new technology, show how the quest for information on a global scale overcomes regional language barriers...or perhaps caters to an increasingly polylingual group of internet users who are comfortable searching in one or more languages.
We all remember the way new slang, idioms, and hand gestures rapidly spread from kid to kid through high school. But that’s nothing compared to how quickly social media transmits regional slang and unique words and spellings both within common languages and around the globe.
During most of human history, new words and idioms traveled slowly from different regions of a country, and entered common usage at the same rate. The same stately pace applied to words borrowed from foreign languages.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Orkut (Facebook’s main rival in Brazil), Foursquare, and perhaps most importantly, Twitter have changed all that.
Language is a fluid and dynamic means of communication. Historically, translation has been best performed by human beings who can accurately adapt and express this fluidity and dynamism in the face of the logical contradictions and irregularities that most languages present. However, in recent years, “machine translation” (or MT) has started to come into its own, as its once-stoic technology – the realm of 0s and 1s – catches up to human adaptability.
1. Human Translation
A professional linguist (most often, an in-country native speaker) reviews your project and, using guidelines agreed on beforehand, translates it to the language you require. The goal is to speak to your audience in the most natural, effective way. You can expect human translations to be free of idiomatic errors and to flow naturally and fluently.
Mobile Language Apps for the Very Mobile Traveler
Calling all business travelers and international frequent flyers! Don’t have time to study your foreign-language phrase book or get to a class before you take off? These days, it’s easy to take along a language-learning app and hone your language skills while you’re on the go.
In most languages, a basic vocabulary of just about 100 words will get you by quite nicely – and that’s a very doable goal that a mobile language app can help you reach.
Whether you just want to learn to say hello and order a meal in Norwegian, ask directions to the museum in Dutch, or buy some souvenirs in Japanese, there are loads of apps (both paid and gratis) for your smart phone or your laptop. Right here we’re going to suggest a few free mobile apps that can help you learn to speak up in almost any language.
– For multiple destinations and simple phrases
Quick, essential phrases in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Taglog are at your fingertips with this app. In three easy steps, you can master everyday cordialities that will take you across Europe and Asia. Byki also offers a database of vocabulary around themes. Want to know how to order a beer in every country you visit? This is the app for you.
If scholars, linguists and book lovers could travel through time, one of their first destinations would be the Royal Library of Alexandria, Egypt. In the time of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, this legendary center of learning was reputed to be a universal library, gathering what was then all the world's knowledge in a single place.
The original Library of Alexandria has long since vanished. The ideal it represents, however, continues to inspire visionaries in the digital age. Today, tourists and scholars can find a similar experience at sites such as Egypt's new Biblioteca Alexandrina, while digital pioneers are coming closer than ever to creating a true universal library online.
The First Universal Library
The original Library of Alexandria, founded by Egypt's King Ptolemy II in the 2nd century B.C., was said to contain hundreds of thousands of scrolls from throughout the ancient world, written in Greek and many other languages. For centuries afterward, Ptolemy’s creation helped make Egypt an active hub of scholarship and education.
The Library's exact fate remains a mystery. Historians have blamed its destruction on Julius Caesar, the Emperor Aurelian, religious strife in the late Roman Empire and invading Arab armies. What is certain is that its disappearance marked the end of ancient Egypt’s intellectual preeminence. The dream of a universal library went into eclipse for much of the next 2000 years.
Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.