SDL Buys Trados

SDL buys Trados

TRADOS and SDL joined together in April 2005 to strengthen and better serve the globalisation ecosystem – the strong relationship among all players in the translation process bound by a common technology. The management said at that time:

We will provide you with more valuable and powerful products solutions that are more cost-effective and enable you to be more productive in less time. Not only will the merger lead to more valuable and powerful products, but we can also provide them with a lower cost of total ownership…

The Background: SDL Buys TRADOS

In a deal with far-reaching implications, publicly-traded SDL International (SDL) announced on 20 June 2005 that it would buy privately-held TRADOS Inc. for US$60 million. When its shareholders approved the purchase in early July, SDL became by far the largest supplier of translation memory, terminology management, and translation workflow management products. SDL is also one of the world’s three largest language services providers (LSP). SDL’s purchase of TRADOS created a larger company that is more visible to a broader range of buyers dealing with global or multilingual application and content development.

This deal created by far the largest globalisation technology company. Publicly traded SDL’s 2004 revenue was roughly $114 million at today’s exchange rate (GBP62.7 million), while privately held Trados reportedly turned over more than $25 million. SDL directly invoiced about $5 million in software sales, although it claims that upwards of 50% of its revenue is technology-driven. This deal has created an independent software vendor that directly booked more than $30 million in globalization tool business in the first year after the acquisition.

This acquisition had some critics: Trados had been the Switzerland of translation memory, terminology management, and translation workflow, offering the only independent desktop-to-enterprise solutions. The only other one-stop-shops were SDL and the Star Group, both companies that would happily sell you tools AND language services. Some rival translation agencies didn’t like buying core software from SDL or Star, but in this consolidating world, they won’t have much of a choice unless someone with deep pockets comes along to meld the best of the independent, point-solution translation memory, termbase, and workflow solutions into a single offering. Trados CEO Joe Campbell joined the SDL Board of Directors. Recruited from content management player iManage when it was acquired by Interwoven, Campbell added CMS expertise to SDL’s plans for a leading role in the global information management business.


Language Industry Background

This purchase by SDL continued a previously begun round of consolidation in the language services and tools industry, including Lionbridge’s proposed purchase of BGS. That deal created the world’s largest LSP with annual revenue exceeding US$400 million. Other 2005 deals of note included Irish LSP Transware ‘s purchase of globalisation management system supplier GlobalSight and Merrill acquisition of P.H. Brink, both acquiring translation workflow management tools in the transactions. The SDL and Lionbridge deals, though, captured most attention due to their size.


  • SDL buys TRADOS. SDL bought TRADOS for US$60 million (2.5 times TRADOS’ revenue), becoming the largest supplier of translation memory, terminology management, and translation workflow management products. SDL’s combined language service and tool revenue for 2004 was $114 million (£62.7 million), while TRADOS earned over $25 million selling tools and related services. Combined, the two companies account for the lion’s share of translation memory and translation workflow management software sale.
  • Executives highlighted SDL’s mission to meet the “global information management” needs of large enterprises in both technology and language services. Its bigger technology portfolio, more best practices and methodologies, increased economies of scale, and amplified marketing energy gave it a more strategic role in the entire information life cycle from authoring to localisation to publishing.
  • Lionbridge’s acquisition of Bowne Global Solutions. Lionbridge paid US$180 million for BGS, becoming the world’s largest LSP with this deal. In 2004, BGS booked $223 million in revenue compared to Lionbridge’s $154.1 million. The purchase price worked out to 80 percent of BGS’s 2004 revenue.
  • Executives emphasized scale, noting the increased ability to provide services across the entire application and content development life cycle, the cost-effectiveness of farming out labour to low-wage countries like India and the increased geographic footprint that BGS brings to the company.


Why Who Owns the Tools Is Important

Nearly nine out of ten companies outsource their translation and localisation work to language service providers. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of LSPs around the world, all falling into one of three categories when it comes to the technology they use to translate, localise, and manage customer projects.


  • The LSP buys most of its technology. These companies purchase translation memory workbenches, perhaps preferring one supplier but realistically using whatever the client wants. Many layer project management and workflow applications on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products such as Microsoft Access or Project . Earlier this year BGS had announced that it would join this camp, standardizing core elements of its production process on TRADOS-supplied software. However, the company did not execute on this plan as TRADOS sold itself off to SDL.
  • The LSP builds some tools, but keeps them to itself. Some firms like Connect Global , EQHO Communications , and Merrill Brink International build software infrastructure and tools that meet their specific needs better than any COTS product would. Lionbridge is the most visible example of such a company, assembling its infrastructure from commercially available and proprietary components. Earlier this year it purchased Logoport , a small software firm selling a web-based translation memory tool. A side-benefit of controlling its TM fate is that Lionbridge avoids having to buy licenses from SDL or TRADOS for the clients who don’t care which TM it uses.
  • The LSP builds technology and sells it to all comers. A few providers sell software, tools they developed (or acquired) to meet their internal needs for project management and technology needs. They hope to recoup their investment by selling them on the open market. SDL, STAR , , and Transware exemplify this model. This approach pleases shareholders by turning a cost of doing business into an asset, but it does limit the marketability of the tools because many LSPs feel uncomfortable buying core technology from a rival. This last point is at the heart of the concerns expressed by GALA members and inspired the survey.

This purchase was only a step in the global consolidation of the language services and tools industry. Within the same year, Lionbridge (US) bought Logoport (Germany), Transware (Ireland) bought GlobalSight (US), and Bowne Global (US). These mergers and acquisitions have affected buyers who can expect to have their business solicited by rival players, who will re-align their partnerships to match the new polarities of the industry, and venture capitalists and other investors might wake up to some potential opportunities. The one thing we don’t see is regulatory agencies in the United States or the European Union getting involved over the potential monopolisation of the translation memory industry — these companies are still too small for anyone in Washington or Brussels to take notice.

What are top translation services providers?

Top Translation Services

I was checking out some forums the other day when I came across this seemingly vague question. But when I read one of the posts, I thought I simply had to share it with you. Here is the full question that was posted there:

When big companies like Facebook or Twitter need their website translated into dozens of languages, what are some of the top translation services providers that they go with?



So what are top translation services providers?

Here is what Brad Arner, a language learner with a new addiction to code, as he described himself, said:

Not quite sure whom these big companies go with, but they aren’t getting their money’s worth. Based on the really poor translations that are offered for many of these sites in Spanish and French, I am guessing that they are computer translated. We were looking at one of Facebook’s informational pages the other day and the translation into French was just horrendous. Not only was the word choice wrong, the conjugation even went back and forth from formal to informal with out any rhyme or reason. This is a tell-tale sign of a computer translation.

Overall, it would be wise for Facebook, Twitter, etc. to find some professional translators to work on the localisation of their sites. Non-English speaking users often mock them for this glaring fault:

If you end up finding out whom they use for translation, don’t use them! Find someone else.

Computer translations are a bad idea. There is a reason that the largest and most important organisations in the world (U.N., Governments around the world, banks, Fortune 500 companies, etc.) still spend millions of dollars each year on professional translations. Languages cannot be viewed as mathematical devices that are logically ordered.

Find a translator that you can trust to do good work (i.e. someone who is certified in translation). Don’t depend on random native speakers who claim that they can translate something for you simply because they speak the two languages. I speak a number of languages fluently yet I don’t even attempt to translate for our site. It is a complicated task that needs professionals in order to be done correctly. In addition, be suspicious of anyone who claims that they can translate in anything more than 5 languages. They should either have a resume that supports their claims, be at least 50 years old, or be a true language fanatic, which is incredibly rare. In can be difficult to find a decent translator for a good price because they often work through agencies that take a decent cut. However, once you find one that you can trust, it will be well worth the price tag.

International markets are so poorly tapped by American tech companies that it is a tragedy. Every single American startup should have their site localised for different countries. Translations are cheap compared to the market that is opened up to them by offering their products in multiple languages. In addition, technical language, which is found throughout software/web-app products is very specialised. Hence, non-English speakers will rarely be able to understand an app’s full potential unless their is a high-quality translation that accompanies it. Choose wisely!

Thank you, Brad. I could not agree more. It seems that there are still a vast number of people who are like the man in the photograph above. When it comes to choosing a translation service provider, they often feel like they have to make a huge leap into the dark. But it shouldn’t be this way. There are many reputable translation companies out there offering top translation services. So, we’ll repeat after Brad – Choose wisely!

In the meantime, you can scroll to the top of the page and download this free Checklist with Top 20 Tips on Saving Time & Money on your next Translation Project. It’s free!

The reply was posted on Quora on 14 June 2012. You can read the whole thread here.

Please say what you think about that post and your experience with translation service providers in the comments below.

Difficulties Faced When Translating Legal Documents

Translating Legal Documents

translating legal documentsLegal Documents

Wіth legal documents, еvеrу wоrd hаѕ muсh mоrе significance thаn it wоuld hаvе іn a dіffеrеnt соntеxt. Thеѕе dосumеntѕ аrе often роrеd over as part of a lеgаl dіѕрutе, fоr еxаmрlе, and thе ѕеrіоuѕnеѕѕ оf ѕuсh a mаttеr mеаnѕ thаt documentation surrounding thе dіѕрutе is hіghlу important. Such legal documents could decide thе саѕе.


Translating Legal Documents

When legal documents are in аnоthеr lаnguаgе thаn thаt which legal рrоfеѕѕіоnаlѕ uѕе, іt іѕ vital thаt a hіghlу ԛuаlіfіеd lеgаl trаnѕlаtоr is аvаіlаblе fоr thе translation оf these legal documents. Thеrе is nо rооm fоr еrrоr. Thіѕ іѕ why lеgаl trаnѕlаtіоn is ѕuсh a highly ѕресіаlіsеd fіеld. One оnlу has to consider the nаturе оf ѕоmе of the rесеnt high рrоfіlе international саѕеѕ tо knоw the іmроrtаnсе оf good ԛuаlіtу trаnѕlаtіоn оf legal documents.

Eѕѕеntіаllу, іt іѕ absolutely imperative that the lеgаl mаttеrѕ involved іn ѕuсh lеgаl dосumеntѕ аrе mаdе сlеаr tо аll participants. Thіѕ means thаt anyone whо hаѕ a раrt tо play in whаtеvеr legal proceedings are taking рlасе hаѕ аn орроrtunіtу tо understand those. Thіѕ mеаnѕ hаvіng the bеѕt trаnѕlаtоr involved іn thе trаnѕlаtіоn оf legal documents, ѕо the case can rеасh a ѕрееdу соnсluѕіоn, ѕаvіng mоnеу аnd tіmе fоr еvеrуоnе.


Examples of Legal Documents

Sоmе of the legal documents thаt can bе іnvоlvеd іn legal translation include thе fоllоwіng:

  1. Contract translations, whеrе important соntrасtѕ, whether thеу аrе bеtwееn іndіvіduаlѕ or соmраnіеѕ, аrе ассurаtеlу translated for all parties. Thеrе аrе obvious соnѕequеnсеѕ if this іѕ not dоnе ассurаtеlу.
  2. Cоnfіdеntіаlіtу аgrееmеntѕ. Pеорlе dоіng business with each оthеr оr hiring freelancers often use thеѕе legal documents. Thеу аrе highly іmроrtаnt dосumеntѕ, еѕресіаllу when thе wоrk that іѕ tо bе dоnе іnvоlvеѕ sensitive іnfоrmаtіоn. Therefore, соmраnіеѕ іn раrtісulаr wаnt tо еnѕurе that their legal documents in thіѕ rеgаrd are еxреrtlу рrераrеd and expertly trаnѕlаtеd.
  3. Gоvеrnmеnt dосumеntѕ and other sensitive information. These саn іnсludе аll kinds оf іmроrtаnt and legal documents thаt bind роlісу fоr gоvеrnmеntѕ, whеthеr national оr local. It іѕ particularly important these are translated соrrесtlу, duе to thе fact thаt thеу аrе раrt оf public ѕеrvісе аgrееmеntѕ, аnd hаvе a direct іmрасt upon the lives of communities, bоth locally and nаtіоnаllу.


The importance of Legal Translations

Legal documents are vіtаllу іmроrtаnt, and оftеn rеԛuіrе that they be rеаd vеrу carefully by whоеvеr is using thеm. Lеgаl рrоfеѕѕіоnаlѕ mау bе соntrасtеd tо dіѕѕесt thеm оr еnѕurе they are fоllоwеd, and this process cannot tаkе рlасе if thеrе is a communication breakdown. It іѕ fоr thіѕ rеаѕоn thаt thе trаnѕlаtіоn оf legal documents іѕ реrhарѕ ѕоmе of thе mоѕt іmроrtаnt wоrk thаt takes place іn legal ѕесtоrѕ tоdау.

When faced, however, wіth аnу form оf lеgаl соrrеѕроndеnсе, wіthоut doubt, a tор notch рrоfеѕѕіоnаl translation will bе rеԛuіrеd оr уоu run thе rіѕk of your сrеdіbіlіtу ѕіnkіng faster thаn the Tіtаnіс.

Thе dіffісultу іn trаnѕlаtіng a legal documents іѕ thаt іt іѕ couched іn іtѕ оwn tеrmіnоlоgу thаt іѕ very often difficult to decipher еvеn іn English. An еvеn grеаtеr hurdle to trаnѕlаtіоn lies in the history аnd dеvеlорmеnt оf оur law, which is dеvеlореd frоm a ѕуѕtеm of judicial precedent rather thаn from аn origin in Rоmаn lаw, common thrоughоut mоѕt of Eurоре. Some оf thеѕе judgе-mаdе lеgаl рrесеdеntѕ are bіndіng, others аrе mеrеlу persuasive.

Yоu will аlrеаdу have bееn mоrе thаn aware thаt the law іѕ very соmрlеx аnd perhaps wіth thіѕ brief explanation оf thе underlying principles, you can see that our law іѕ based nоt оnlу on соdіfіеd асtѕ, but that оnе muѕt bе aware оf thе ѕріrіt of thе law tо fаthоm оr convey іtѕ truе nаturе.

For more іnfоrmаtіоn or when legal document trаnѕlаtіоn ѕеrvісе іѕ rеԛuіrеd, соntасt Columbus Translations.

Common Challenges Faced When Captioning and Subtitling

columbus captioning subtitling

columbus captioning subtitling

Subtitling for a global audience can be a daunting task. It is very common that the nuances of the local language are missed out completely. Especially so if the content is being translated into a number of different languages.


Subtitling Company Videos

In film production, particularly where the film is marketed to a number of countries, language service providers have to be adept at subtitling even when the language is not technical. Subtitles have to capture the emotions, the humour and the tone of the dialogue. In the same way a corporate video made for internal communication spanning many countries and languages has to have intelligently translated subtitles and captions. After all, they must provide their multilingual employers with accurate communication.


Cultural References

Subtitling and captioning is also challenging because the meaning can be missed out completely unless cultural references and idiomatic turn of phrase have been captured by the translator. Any translation service that has the knowledge of the local flavour and regional references will be able to meet this challenge head on. Take Spanish, for instance, which is spoken in a number of countries just as English. Each region has added a native slant to the language. Unless the translator understands the usage of the language and the culture in all the various regions, subtitling and captioning may not be as smooth.


Technical Limitations and Accuracy in Subtitling

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges faced when subtitling or captioning is the length and the duration of the subtitles. Not only do subtitles and captions capture the essence. They must be short enough to be understood at a glance. Suppose you are making a business presentation to an audience in a local language. You have to fit your subtitles and captions into the space available on the screen (usually 2 lines of 37-40 characters). They must also fit within a limited span of time so that viewers can read and understand them easily. The number of characters used must not only fit the screen. They must be clearly seen and understood in order for the presentation to be successful. This could mean using correct typography and shorter easier words, without taking away the accuracy or the message.


Software vs Human Subtitling

Machine Translation software is being widely used among translators. But when it comes to subtitles and captions, a literal translation might not work all that well. It could confuse the viewer especially if a word is used to mean a number of things. Literal translations never work out well. They will disrupt the natural flow of the language rendering it artificial and uninteresting. It will be difficult to keep the attention of the audience if the language fails to convey the meaning properly. Your business presentations and video material will fail to make a lasting impression unless the subtitles and captions can engage the audiences. If a business is to capture the attention of the native audience, then they need to hire professional translators. It is because the staff that creates subtitles in-house might not have the necessary training to make effective multilingual captions and subtitles.

Save Time and Money Tip No 2 – In-house translations

In-house translations - Save Time and Money Tip No 2 2

A common misconception is that using internal company resources to work on a translation is “free.” It’s not. You’ll still have to invest your time, staff and resources to get it done… Time is money, so any amount of time you and your colleagues spend trying to fix a bad translation instead of performing their core job tasks will be at a cost to your company. That is why you can’t say in-house translations are free. But not only that – they can cause all sorts of other problems, too. We’re going to look at just a few of these problems in this post, so here we go.

In-house Translations:

The Difference between Translators and Bilinguals

Professional translators are first and foremost writers, capable of producing texts that read well in the target language. They are also fluent in their source language(s) as well. Most important of all, they are effective bridges between the languages they work in. They can communicate the message of the original text, with the right style and terminology, in their native language.

Bilingualism is something else. Bilinguals speak two languages fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two, especially in writing. And experience shows that many people described as bilingual overestimate their communication skills altogether.

In 2000, Lina’s, a pricey French sandwich chain, advertised for franchisees abroad with a text concocted by a self-proclaimed bilingual employee.

Slogan: “Tomorrow, we will expect on your dynamism.”

Response: Zero.

Conclusion: Bilinguals don’t necessarily produce good quality in-house translations.

Bilingualism on its own is not a guarantee of written fluency or skill in translation.


Professional Translators Work into their Native Language

If you want your catalogue translated into German and Russian, the work should be done by a native German speaker and a native Russian speaker. Native English-speakers translate from foreign languages into English. In-house translations should only be performed by native speakers of the target language. As a translation buyer, you may not be aware of this, but a translator who flouts this basic rule is likely to be ignorant of other important quality issues as well. So for example, when one of your in-house employees says they are bilingual and they promise they will take care of this product description translation into Chinese, you can be sure they have no idea what they are embarking on. You should always translate into your native language only if you expect high quality from the final text.

OK, there are exceptions. But not many. If your supplier claims to be one of them, ask to see something he or she has done. If it is factually accurate and reads well and if the translator guarantees equivalent quality for your text – why not? Sometimes a translator with particular subject-matter expertise may agree to work into what is for him or her a foreign language. In the case of such outsourced and in-house translations, they must be carefully edited – and not just glanced through – by a language-sensitive native speaker before they go to press.

Do translators living outside their home country lose touch with their native tongue? At the bottom end of the market, perhaps. But expert linguists make a point of keeping their language skills up to scratch wherever they are.


Teachers & Academics: At your Peril

Save Time and MoneyFor many companies faced with foreign-language texts, the first stop is the language department of a local school or university if in-house translations are not an option. While this may – sometimes – work for inbound translation (i.e., when you want to find out what the other guys are up to), it is extremely risky for promotional texts.

Teaching a foreign language is a demanding activity that requires a special set of skills. These are rarely the same as those needed to produce a smooth, stylish translation. The risks are even greater if you opt for student translators, which may seem like a nice, inexpensive option, but may cost you even more in terms of wasted time and money than in-house translations.

Q: Would you approve of medical students performing minor operations to pay their way through medical school? (Would you describe your brochure/letter/annual report/speech as “minor”?) Would you have your company’s financial statements prepared by business students to save money?


In-house Translations:

Resist the Temptation to Do it Yourself

We have discussed this problem in our first post on the subject – Save Time and Money Tip – Don’t DIY. Speaking is not writing. Oral fluency does not guarantee smooth, stylish writing. Even if you regularly negotiate successfully in French, German or Spanish, and spend lots of time in the countries where those languages are spoken, 99 times out of 100 your written command of a foreign language will be immediately recognisable as “foreign”.

If you wish to project an international image, you will probably be better served by a less ethnic approach. In many cultures, awkward or sloppy use of the local language – especially by a native English speaker – is not amusing. It is insulting. Do you really need to insult your clients with poor quality in-house translations?


How Important is Style?

Some translations are no-hopers from the start.

Tehao Rechargeable shaver RCCW-320: Smuggle the razor blade (reference value around 400 g) on your muscle vertically. Then drag your skin and shave back slowly.

Often these are raw machine translation, or the work of non-native speakers struggling away with a grammar book in one hand and a dictionary in the other. They are good for a laugh.

Other in-house translations are technically accurate, yet the sentences do not flow as smoothly as they might; word order or choice of vocabulary may be unduly influenced by the original language. They are not particularly effective for selling, but may be good enough for readers who know the subject and can – or have time to – read between the lines.

Many translators/translation companies often supply “for-information” translation as standard work, rather than a “rewrite” or “adaptation”. To avoid misunderstanding, clarify this up front. Get it in writing.


In-house Translations:

Have Typeset Copy Proofread by your Translator

If you still decide to go for in-house translations for your next big project, at least have a translator proofread the final text. Even if you have a sound procedure in place, with reliable translation providers who know your company inside out, last-minute additions (headings, captions, word changes) by well-meaning non-linguists can sabotage an otherwise effective house translations

“Skeletons of Mothers (Foreign Companies)” reads one heading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange web site. The page itself is a well-translated outline of listing information for foreign companies. The stumble appears to have occurred when a non-native English speaker stepped in, dictionary in hand, as deadlines loomed: true, honegumi (literally “bone/assembly”) can be rendered “skeleton”, but in this context would be “outline” or “summary”. “Mothers”? The market segment concerned is for high-growth companies that need “nurturing”.

“Beware: there are two stops at Roissy/Charles-de-Gaulle airport” warns a sign in the rail link to the international airport north of Paris.

Be sure to have a language-sensitive native speaker on hand to vet final fiddling. For the same reason, do not finalise changes to foreign texts by telephone. They are almost always misheard.


OK, there they are – the most important things to bear in mind when making the choice between using a professional translation agency or relying on your staff to do your in-house translations. As always, please comment below and share your stories. What is your experience of using in-house bilinguals and translation agencies? We look forward to hearing from you.


In the above post, I have used materials published on the ITI website:

Essential Proofreading Tips for Your Content Marketing

Essential Proofreading Tips for Your Content Marketing

Some content marketing businesses publish as many as 250 pieces of content each month.  At that level they say the observe the challenges writers struggle with – everything from writer’s block to poor sentence structure.

But one of the biggest challenges comes after a writer completes a piece.

If content marketing is a significant part of your marketing strategy, the last thing you want is for all of your hard work to be undermined by spelling errors or glaring typos.  A poorly proofread article is like a home that is dusty and unkempt.  No matter how beautiful everything is underneath, the whole package doesn’t make as good of an impression as it could.

Like any other task, proofreading is a skill that you can learn and hone.  Many of us, however, either don’t allow enough time to proofread, or we never learned how to proofread.

Luckily, there are tools that make the process easier, less tedious, and much faster.  Here are some essential proofreading tips to give your written content that final polish.


Essential Proofreading Tips:

1. What to Look For When You Proofread

The first of our essential proofreading tips is that not every typo or issue is alike.  Each needs to be attacked in a different way.

At a minimum, check for:

  • Spelling (check not only for incorrectly spelled words, but also check the spelling of proper names and words that sound the same but are spelled differently)
  • Grammar
  • Sentence structure (did you use complete sentences, not just fragments?  What about run-on sentences, i.e., two sentences smashed together?)
  • Numbers (this is especially an issue when using digits, as the difference between 20 and 200 can be significant)
  • Dropped words and missing words


Essential Proofreading Tips:

2. Edit for Web and Mobile

In school you probably learned “composition” style writing.  In composition style you may, for instance, have been told to avoid one-sentence paragraphs.

Writing for the Web and small mobile screens is different.  Short sentences, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists are essential.

A helpful tool to develop a concise online writing style is the Hemingway app.  This free app flags long, complex, or confusing passages for you to change.


Essential Proofreading Tips:

3. Use a Spell Checker – and Go Beyond

Take advantage of technology and use a spell checker.  Microsoft Word has a built-in spell checker, and browsers such as Chrome have numerous spelling plugins or extensions available.

Not every spell checker is created equal.  For example, depending on its sophistication, your spell checker may or may not flag “their” when you meant “there” instead.

A more advanced category of technology is the grammar checker.

In addition to catching spelling errors, grammar checkers are designed to pick up errors in word choice, grammar, and sentence structure, among other things.  Grammarly, the Ginger app, Whitesmoke, Grammark, Language Tool, and CorrectEnglish are just some of the choices.  Some are free and some are paid or offer both versions.


Essential Proofreading Tips:

4. Use Checklists

If you find yourself making the same sorts of errors over and over, a checklist can serve as a great reminder.  For example, let’s say that you often misspell proper names in articles – spell checkers may not help with names.  Or perhaps you proofread the article body, but overlook your titles or the subject lines of your email newsletter.  A checklist can remind you to proofread those elements specifically.

If you use WordPress as a content management system, you can install a checklist plugin that will remind you or your editor to double check for those “gotcha gremlins.”  You can program it so that the post will not publish until the author or editor specifically checks off each item.  Four checklist plugins are reviewed here.  Another plugin not on that list, but my personal favourite, is Pre-Publish Post Checklist.


Essential Proofreading Tips:

5. “Hear” Your Writing Aloud

Finally, the last but definitely not the least important technique on our list of essential proofreading tips. A common piece of advice is to read your written article aloud.  Hearing it helps catch missed words, redundant phrases, and similar issues.

Watch out for two common problems with this step.  First, some people find this step tedious and skip it. Second, your eye tends to see what you intended to write, not what you actually wrote.

That’s where a text-to-speech application can help.  This type of application turns text into the spoken word so you can listen to your writing read back to you.  One such application is NaturalReader.

In the end, taking the time to proofread your work pays off.  You will gain a more polished end product, and your marketing will appear more credible.

There are also Language Service Providers who offer free proofreading services for your website and blog. It may be worth checking some of them out.


The above article was originally published by Anita Campbell on the Small Business Administration blog.

Save Time and Money Tip No 1 – Don’t DIY

Save Time and Money Tip No 1 - Don't DIY 2

First things first, if you want to save time and money on translations, remember this rule:


Resist the temptation to do it yourself. Full stop.

Speaking is not writing. Oral fluency does not guarantee smooth, stylish writing, especially in another language!
Even if you regularly negotiate successfully in French, German or Spanish, and spend lots of time in the countries where those languages are spoken, 99 times out of 100 your written command of a foreign language will be immediately recognisable as “foreign”.

If you wish to project an international image, you will probably be better served by a less ethnic approach. In many cultures, awkward or sloppy use of the local language – especially by a native English speaker – is not amusing. It is insulting.

For non-linguists, buying in translation is often a source of frustration. The suggestions in this blog post are aimed at reducing your stress and helping you save time and money on translations.


A universal truth?

The sheer variety of translation projects is daunting. So daunting, in fact, that even experts sometimes wonder if there is any single piece of advice that applies to all translation projects:

“Always do X.” “Never do Y.” “Do Z, and you’re home free.”

How about this:
In every translation project, the buyer and the translation service provider (translator or translation team) should agree in advance on a set of specifications to be followed while carrying out the project.

This statement is more powerful than it might appear. It provides the basis for a universal definition:
The quality of a translation is the degree to which it follows the agreed-upon specifications. Simple but true.

If you don’t identify what you waSave Time and Moneynt up front—or do identify it but those instructions don’t reach the person doing the work, or are not
understood by him or her—you are unlikely to get a good translation. Patching up a poor translation definitely won’t help you save time and money, since it may also mean patching up your image and reputation if you have inadvertently offended (“I didn’t know X meant that in Colombian Spanish!…”) or left readers grappling with an incomprehensible phrase. Ask any translation service provider, and you’ll get a raft of examples of lost time and budget due to crossed wires.

A European lens manufacturer printed the English version of its annual report in full colour with a typographical error on the front cover: “Optical Products Worlwide”. The company and the translation supplier each thought the other was proofreading. The covers were pulped and reprinted (at considerable cost).

Failed translation projects are as different as frogs and falcons, but they have one thing in common: time, money and frustration could have been saved if both sides had agreed in advance who did what, when and how. If they had drawn up a set of specifications. Learn about them below as they will enable you to save time and money on your future translations projects.


Time, money and image…

Translation is a risky business, as Mead Johnson Nutritionals of Indiana Save Time and Money - Don't DIYfound out a few years back, when misleading Spanish instructions on bilingual labels forced it to recall 4.6 million cans of Nutramigen Baby Formula. Following the flawed directions could have caused illness or even death, said company officials.

Feedback from sharp-eyed linguists has served Swedish housewares company Ikea well. “Svalka” means “refreshing” in Swedish—a fine choice for a line of drinking glasses, thought management. Unfortunately it means “landfill” in Russian. (The company’s Moscow team axed the final “a” for glasses sold locally, retaining an exotic flavour while avoiding an unfortunate association.)

A California manufacturer of medical equipment sold a device in France without a French translation of the instructions for using it, wrongly assuming that all the operators would be fluent in English. In France, French language documentation is required by law. Far worse: patients died from radiation overdoses administered by poorly informed technicians.


So how do you Save Time and Money on Translations?

Top 10 Specifications

The bare-bones specifications from which many others are derived are:

1. the audience and
2. the purpose of the translation.

Besides these, the most basic specifications are also the best known:

3. The Deadline
4. The Price
5. The Subject area and type of text
6. The Source language and regional variation
7. The Format (word processing file? XML?)
8. The Volume (how many words, characters, etc.)
9. The Target language and regional variation

That makes nine. For an even ten, we would add:

10. Identification of the steps to be followed during the production phase, after analysing the source text. These steps are essentially the same in both the American and European standards. Here are the most basic ones: translation, bilingual checking and monolingual checking.

An absolutely critical part of this tenth specification is to identify who is responsible for each step of the production phase, and to define the specialized know-how of each person (for example, subject-matter expertise). If any basic step is going to be skipped, that should be noted, and a reason given. In the “optical products” example above, if the specifications had indicated who was responsible for proofreading, the reports would not have had to be reprinted.

Following the above guidelines will help you save time and money on your future translation projects, reduce the risk of ruining your reputation and allow your business to grow in a way you would expect it to, without any nasty surprises.


How to get the standards

The European standard
To find out more about the European standard, see:
To obtain a copy of the European standard, contact the standards body in one of the 27 European countries that belong to CEN: (search for EN 15038)

The American standard
To find out more about the ASTM standard or to obtain a copy of it, see: (search for F 2575)


In the above post, I have used materials published on the ITI website:

Reasons To Employ Professional Qualified Translators

Why Employing Professional Qualified Translators Matters

A business which operates internationally will sooner or later need to use professional translation services. Taking this step allows the business to communicate its objectives to their clients and customers speaking the local language. Managing translation requirements within your company might compromise how efficiently your business is run. Seeking help from a professional translation agency that employs professional qualified translators is recommended for the following 4 reasons.


Top 4 Reasons for Engaging Professional Qualified Translators

Quality of Work

Employing bilingual individuals to cater for your translation needs could provide a quick solution to the problem. However, you may end up with compromising the quality of your brand as a result of inaccurate translations. This aspect could even send the wrong message about the products or services you are offering your clients. Understanding the source and target languages does not necessarily mean an employee can produce high quality translations. Translation agencies provide accurate translations because every translated document gets revised a few times by different professionals. This reduces the risk of inaccuracies and mistranslations.


Keeping Pace

In many cases, small businesses strive to manage their translation needs internally. They find it particularly challenging to keep up with the demand as their business grows. The possible outcome is mistakes and missed deadlines. A minor error could turn costly depending on the nature of the business. A translation agency can adjust to your business needs. It usually employs numerous linguists to cater for busy periods. It also ensures that you benefit from customised and flexible customer service.



If your work requires translating technical terminology, skilled translation teams can provide professional qualified translators in different fields. A bilingual member of staff may experience difficulties with translating technical language. Professional qualified translators consult with doctors, IT experts, lawyers and other field specialists if necessary. This allows them to produce high quality and accurate translations.



Achieving consistency is one of the main advantages of dealing with professional qualified translators. Offering inconsistent communication is a sure way of risking business loss. A customer forced to learn terminology in order to grasp how a product functions is likely to seek help elsewhere. Also, if an in-house translator leaves your company, replacing them with a new professional could have a negative effect on the quality of translated work. On the other hand, contracting a professional team of translators to handle your work minimises the possibility of this happening. It ensures that your clients experience clear and concise communication each time they engage with your website content.


Professional Qualified Translators


Communication is an integral part of international business. The aim of any business enterprise is to communicate its message in a way that prospects can understand. Ensuring the clarity of your marketing or advertising content can prompt your customers to act on your call to action. Approaching a translation agency employing professional qualified translators ensures that your translations are done efficiently and accurately. In this way, you will be able to deliver effective communication of your promotional material and generate more sales.

Why Translate? – Here’s 5 Good Reasons

Why Translate? - Here's 5 Good Reasons 3

The story

Why translate? A few weeks ago we received the following email from one of our regular clients:

Let me tell you that although you may feel far removed from the document’s key purpose, please know that your work is probably helping thousands. For example, that instruction manual you laboured over a few weeks ago… well, it will ensure that its user will know how to operate a piece of equipment properly and safely. The legal contract that landed on your desk last minute on a Friday evening, due Monday… well, it will help someone understand the terms of a contract before they sign it. And all those game-related strings in XML or Excel! Yikes! Well, those help, too. They make people enjoy a game in their own language and have some fun.

Translation is omnipresent, really, and it is one of these industries that rarely gets recognized, so give yourselves a little kudos for the important work you do!

Aaw! At first, I thought sweet.

But then it made me think… It made me think about why translate all the things we translate day in day out.

Why Translate? – 5 Good Reasons

It made me think more about the purpose of what we do, who we serve and how we can benefit our customers. Our client was right – our work rarely gets the recognition that it deserves but it does not mean our clients don’t benefit from our work. So why translate? – I ask myself. Why our clients come back asking us to translate another project for them. Maybe because they see an added value to the products or services they offer or maybe they understand they are required by law to meet certain legal obligations such as Health & Safety or Equality and Diversity or maybe they simply appreciate the fact that reaching more markets translates into more sales. Below are just a few answers to the ‘why translate’ question – a few reasons why businesses translate their content.

  1. Increase sales. Most businesses see a simple cause and effect relationship between their content being localised into different languages and an increase in sales as a direct result of that. They understand why translating their website or marketing leaflets is so important to their business and recognise the need for this type of investment. Some other examples of the content business usually translate to get more sales include manuals, product descriptions, adverts, marketing videos and promotional articles.
  2. Reach new markets. At a certain point, many large companies start thinking about taking their business to the next level – they make the decision to go global. It may seem like an obvious choice for many large enterprises and they put a lot of effort into preparing financially for this step. Unfortunately, not all large companies understand the communication hurdles awaiting them in the process of expanding their business activity. Not only this, simply translating all your content into the target language(s) does not usually solve the problem either. What these businesses may not know is that they will need professional localisation services which will take into account all the cultural differences and nuances between the local and the host country.
  3. Meet certain legal obligations. OK, this should be pretty straightforward. One of the most obvious reasons why businesses translate is the law. They simply feel they have to make at least some of their documentation accessible to all their staff and customers. Some examples of this may include company policies and regulations, employment agreements, disciplinary procedures, employee handbooks, operating manuals and so on.
  4. Add value. Another reason why we translate is to add value to the products and services that our clients offer. A product description or a manual that has been localised and adapted to the local market will be perceived by the local community as having a higher value. It will also make this particular product or service easier to sell when exported to new markets. In many cases, it may also be a legal requirement of the local market to have them localised in the first place long before they are even allowed to be distributed in the host country.
  5. Boost brand awareness. Last but not least, businesses translate because they want to boost their brand awareness. By localising their products and services, they understand that they will gain more exposure and will inevitable serve as a driving force for their marketing efforts. What better way to find new customers if not through word of mouth among customers who are happy with what you offer simply because they feel that you care about their language needs and appreciate the barriers they may be facing?

Bottom line

So why translate? I think the client we quoted above has nailed it – in the end, it is all about helping your end users better understand as well as fully enjoy the products or the services they have purchased. After all, who wants to eat ‘Factory Cheese’ or have their bottom measured on their next trip to Japan.

Why Translate Factory Cheese
Factory Cheese
Why Translate Mens bottoms
Mens Bottoms



Please comment below if you have seen direct benefits of outsourcing your translation needs or have experienced problems resulting from a communication barrier between the customer and the manufacturer or the service provider. We’d love to hear from you…


3 Reasons to Translate your Company Website

3 Reasons to Translate your Company Website

Businesses and professionals often fail to understand the need for professional translation services. Although translating marketing materials leads to extra expenses, it has the potential of improving business returns. This post will give you 3 reasons why you should translate your company website. More and more companies are now reaching foreign markets and communicating with a global audience. That is why they are finding it necessary to translate their website content, company documentation as well as their marketing materials. The outcome is that bigger budgets are getting allocated for translation services, which a good number of small to medium businesses generally lack or say they can’t afford.

Going Global

Companies trying to develop international presence or dealing with multinationals will benefit greatly from utilising website translation services. This approach should form their long-term business development and marketing strategies. The quest to maximise profits requires reaching for unseen markets. It is vital for any business to have an international customer base if targeting expansion and international trade participation.

What is Localisation

Localisation refers to modifying a product and making it both suitable and usable for a particular target market. As such, website localisation generally refers to moulding a western-oriented English website into one conforming to a foreign audience. The Internet is a medium by which businesses are capable of reaching an international audience. Companies now recognise that this process is vital for ensuring successful marketing campaigns abroad. There are at least three major gains that come along with website localisation – they are the reasons why you should translate your company website.


  1. Speak the Language of your Customers

First, about one-third of web users are non-native speakers of English. PC ownership and internet access is increasing at very high rates outside Europe and North America. By breaking linguistic barriers, website localisation opens doors to different continents. The Harvard Business Review reports that 90 percent of internet users visited a native-language website, given the choice of languages. According to the survey, 72.1 percent of them acknowledged spending majority of their time on websites in their local language. Business enterprises now keenly acknowledge the presence of other languages and their influence on doing business, including Spanish , French, German, Arabic, and Chinese. It has led to more foreign-language pages being produced online than ever before.

  1. Gain Credibility and Trust for your Business

Next, localisation of websites also builds credibility for a company. A business which avails online information in different languages will possibly gain more credibility than an exclusively English-language website. Localising a website is evidence of being a genuinely international player. Localisation demonstrates that you understand and appreciate a particular region or country. The Harvard report stated that 56.2 percent of consumers said price played an inferior role compared to the opportunity of obtaining native-language content for a particular product.

  1. Boost your Sales and Revenue

Website localisation is also known to boost the revenue of businesses. A lot of money is lost by businesses in dollars, pounds and Euros owing to failure to localise information on their web pages. Harvard Business Review reported that 72.4 percent of consumers indicated they would more likely purchase a product that relayed information in their native language. Not only that, 42 percent of them claimed they did not purchase services or products in other languages.

Overall, a majority of web users feel more comfortable and understand a company much better when the information about their services or products is presented in their native language. So don’t think twice and start looking into localising your website content today. Translate your company website and see your visits and conversion grow, which will inevitably lead to higher sales for your business.

What about you? Have you ever experienced the fact that customers would buy from you more quickly if you had your content translated? Share your story in the comments below…

How HR can benefit from a Translation Agency

Translation Quality Depends on the Individual Translator 4

And where to start…

OK, so here is the story. A few years ago, a friend of mine recommended our translation company to a Client – quite a large company with offices all over Europe and the headquarters in the UK. The company employs a substantial number of foreign workers, many of whom are Eastern Europeans. Apart from helping with the day-to-day business operations by translating things such as memos, company policies, etc., we have helped the Client with numerous issues they have had over the years which were a result of the language barrier between the employer and their foreign staff.

First things first

There are well over 7 million foreign-born residents in the UK, corresponding to approximately 12% of the total population. Of these, nearly 5 million (8%) were born outside the EU and 2.5 million (4%) were born in another EU member state.

Many of these people are migrant workers, particularly those arriving from old and new EU countries. The Polish population alone has increased more than ten times since 2001. That’s over 1000% increase in just over 10 years! And the numbers keep growing… (see infographics)

At the time of the most recent UK census, conducted in April 2001, 8.3 per cent of the country’s population was foreign-born. This was substantially less than that of major immigration countries such as Australia (23 per cent), Canada (19.3 per cent) and the USA (12.3 per cent).

What does it mean to me?

For any business operating in the UK, or in any other country for that matter, it means that they can expect their workforce to be more and more international and diverse. This also means that the issues they will face in the future are going to be more and more frequent and they are more likely to be a result of the language barrier between the employer and their staff.

The problems are many and can be very different – ranging from not understanding the instructions in the workplace to violation of the company policies, including the Health and Safety or Fire Safety policies, to disciplinary proceedings and criminal cases.

A competent Translation Agency can act as an important intermediary or a link between the two parties ensuring both support for the Employees and fulfilling legal obligations for the Employer.

So where do I start?

What should a Company know and do to start a successful cooperation with a Translation Agency? Below are some of the most important things to bear in mind.

  • Do some research first. Like with anything else, it is common sense to shop around first before deciding on your supplier.
  • Choose your Partner wisely. Look at the different suppliers’ websites, check their location and time zone, compare the services they offer, etc.
  • Don’t go after the cheapest translation agency to avoid potential quality or deadline issues or the most expensive one either as the price does not necessarily guarantee high quality. Instead, think about the benefits they can offer to your business.
  • Contact your chosen supplier and ask questions. You may want to ask about the linguists they hire and their qualifications, language pairs they offer, deadlines, communication channels, etc.
  • Discuss terms. Ask whether the supplier operates a satisfaction guarantee policy and what happens if you are not happy with the translation or any other aspect of their work.
  • Negotiate the cost. Now is the time to talk about the money. Very few translation companies feature a price list on their website. Instead, they require you to contact them and request a quote. In either case, you should not hesitate to bargain with the suppliers to get a better offer from them or at least ask for large volume discounts – usually for translations of 10,000 words or more.
  • Agree on the process. Discuss the process that your supplier is going to apply, including file exchange, communication channels, payment methods, etc.
  • Be flexible! Remember it is much more important to receive a good translation than to get it quickly. Even with the best players in the field, there will always be delays, issues and queries. That’s why it is vital that you stay flexible and facilitate the whole process rather than make it more difficult for the supplier to provide you with high quality translation work.
  • Enjoy! This is an exciting time for your company. You are finally in position to communicate freely and effectively with your staff as well as the wider world so try to stay positive!


So what’s happening with our Client today? They have just managed to successfully close a very delicate disciplinary case involving a Polish employee. Thanks to the co-operation between the Client and the Translation Agency, the communication between the two parties involved was very smooth and enabled the Company to close the case and the Employee to keep his job!

What Companies Should Know about Translation

Translation Quality Depends on the Individual Translator 2

Are you ready to go global?

Imagine having your company’s press release read worldwide or doing business with prestigious overseas clients. Your small business may not be there yet but thanks to an increasingly global economy, those dreams are becoming a reality for many companies.

As the business world continues to go global, the need for language-translation services is greater than ever. Translation experts shared their thoughts on the latest industry trends and what international businesses need to know.

Why are businesses translating content?

Businesses have many different motivations for translating content for international audiences. It may be to facilitate an overseas business partnership or to expand their market reach and sell to global consumers. But regardless of the reason, businesses are becoming more particular about which pieces of content they put energy into translating, and for whom.

“People are moving away from taking a piece of content and making 19 or 20 different quick translations,” said Dougal Cameron, chief operating officer of e-book publishing platform Pubsoft. “There’s more of a focus on why it’s translated for a specific audience. A good translation can make a huge difference in how content is received.”

Ian Henderson, chief technology officer and chairman of global language service provider Rubric, noted that a low-quality translation can give a bad impression of your business.

“Poor quality negatively impacts your branding,” Henderson told Business News Daily. “If you’re an overseas hotel and a native speaker reads your description online, he or she may seriously question your reputation based on a bad translation.”

What are your translation options?

When a business wants to translate a piece of content, it generally has three options: machine translation, a professional translator or crowdsourcing. Each one has its costs and benefits, and each serves a specific purpose.

  • Machine translation tools, such as Google Translate, are usually free to use and give you an instant translation when you copy and paste text into it. Keep in mind that these tools only provide basic translations and are often not accurate. However, a translation like this can be post-edited (PEMT) by a professional translator or reviewer for better quality whilst keeping the cost at a reasonable level.
  • Professional translators are native speakers who will provide a high-quality translation of your content for a fee. Unlike machine translators, a professional will take grammar rules and colloquial phrases into account to make the content flow naturally.
  • Crowdsourced translation may take some time to complete because you’re dealing with volunteers who are likely to have little translation experience. However, crowdsourcing is less expensive than hiring a professional translator and still provides a comparable quality of translation.

Which one should you use?

The translation tools you use for specific content depends on your business priorities. You might use high-end translation for your advertising or creative copy, machine translation for internal use, and crowdsourced translation for user-generated content. The main trend is getting smarter about your content and choosing the right quality appropriately.

Cameron agreed, advising businesses to determine whether a professional translation is worth the investment based on the nature of their content. For example, instructive how-to content with simple language may not require much more than a free machine translation. An engaging article or book, on the other hand, should be professionally translated to preserve meaning and linguistic elements.

How should you execute a translation project?

The task of translating just one piece of content can be difficult enough so multiple pieces of content and ongoing translation efforts can be a massive undertaking. Distributing the work among different parties might be the one of the options for large-scale projects. However, we always recommend using a trusted translation agency that can guarantee not only accurate and natural sounding translation into multiple languages but also consistent terminology and style thanks to latest Translation Memory (TM) tools such as SDL Trados Studio.

Bad Translations, Marketing and Hollywood…

Translation Quality Depends on the Individual Translator 7

And what they have in common…

Today we are looking at two very interesting articles about Translation. The first one is Bad translations as a marketing tool by Corinne McKay, in which she explains how freelance translators can pitch their freelance services to new clients by using client’s existing bad translations, without being offensive or too pushy.

She suggests applying the following 3 steps:

  1. Compliment the effort.
  2. Provide a carefully-worded reality check.
  3. Give them a little something for free.

We particularly liked Step 3. The translator could for instance improve their website or menu translation and send it to the company free of charge. Another idea was to use a bad (machine) translation as a marketing tool and send the client a table with three columns: an excerpt of the original, carefully crafted English version, their current “bad translation” (most likely Google translate plugin) and what the translator would consider a proper translation. The client will be delighted and happy to place new orders as it definitely pays off to provide some value for free before asking for anything!

Hollywood Film Titles

The second article, Hollywood movie titles lost in translation, is by Aron Heller, who explains the difficulty of translating film titles across the globe. He gives many interesting examples of past and recent film titles and how they were localised according to individual countries, languages and cultures, as was the case with the animated comedy film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, which was translated into an Israeli as “It’s Raining Falafel” and into Turkish as “Raining Kofte,” which is a local version of the meatball.


Some of the translations are often amusing. No one can quite explain how “Terminator” became “Deadly Mission,” ”Alien” turned into “The 8th Passenger” or “Top Gun” morphed into “Love in the Skies.” Even the movie “Lost in Translation” was literally lost in translation. It was called “Lost in Tokyo.”

7 Common Misconceptions About Translation

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7 Most Common Misconceptions About Translation, and why should you care…

There are many misconceptions about translation in the translation industry but today I have chosen just a few to highlight the problem and point out why businesses wanting to outsource translation to translation agencies need to be mindful of these urban myths to avoid losing money in the future.

So here they are..

  1. Google Translate can do the job just as well

    This is probably the most damaging misconception for both businesses and translation agencies alike. Not only does it imply that the translation process is as easy as copying and pasting your source text into a text field but also that it can be executed by anyone in the company saving you the cost.

  2. My staff can speak the language – we can do it in-house

    This misconception is similar to the first one. However, it implies that virtually anyone can translate, including your in-house staff, as long as they know a bit of the ‘other language’. This philosophy hurts businesses and their hard-earned reputation by exposing translation mistakes made by unqualified personnel.

  3. All translation agencies are created equal

    Because many business owners believe that translation is a relatively simple process involving not much more than merely replacing a text in one language with the text in another (very much like Google Translate does), they often don’t a waste Are they wrong? Well, there are translation agencies and there are Translation Agencies. I have heard many stories of how businesses suffered when a translation went terribly wrong. You can read of these stories in our past blog post.

  4. Translation Quality depends on the Translation Agency you choose

    Yes and No. Of course, the better and more professional your Translation Agency, the more chances there are of receiving a high quality target text. However, as we demonstrated in another post earlier this year, translation quality also largely depends on the individual translator assigned to your job, especially with translation agencies which do not implement very strict Quality Control measures.

  5. Quality Control is a norm

    It’s not, unfortunately. I know of some very large and respectable Translation Agencies which do not proofread their translations for instance. That is why businesses need to be aware of this fact when choosing your provider, especially when the translation is to be published whether in print or on the company website.

  6. Translation cost is directly related to translation quality

    This is a very common misconception among many of us. When we think of any business or service they provide, we tend to think “It must be good if it’s so expensive. It can’t be bad.” Unfortunately, quite often it’s just wishful thinking. There are some very decent inexpensive providers out there and there are horrendous company who often charge their clients up to 5 times the translator’s fee!

  7. Translation training is just an added bonus

    So what can you do as a business to guarantee high quality of your translation? I’d say your number one priority should be to make sure that the person translating your material is a fully qualified, professional translator – a linguist not only fluent in both the source and target languages but also trained to perform high quality translation work. At Columbus, we have made this our number one priority when hiring new translators – each and every translator working for us has to be a fully qualified and trained linguist with at least 5 years’ professional translation experience.

And why should you care?

Simply because it is your money that is at stake. But also because poor translations and incompetent translation agencies mean a waste of your time and resources and, even more importantly, they can seriously damage your company’s reputation in no time at all, like in the case of these Chinese companies. Enjoy!

3 Reasons Why Outsourcing Legal Translation Services Is Important

3 Reasons Why Outsourcing Legal Translation Services Is Important

Because there are few disciplines that emphasise precision quite like the world of law. Every single word has to be accurate and every clause needs to be strictly upheld. The stakes are a lot higher, too, when you’re dealing with multiple borders. And anything less than precision can mean the difference between losing and winning a legal case. There’s also the factor of being subject to deadlines and filing due dates in multiple languages.

It may seem cost effective to handover your legal translation services to your staff but do think about going down this route very carefully as it can end up costing you a fair deal.

Outsourcing Legal Translation Services

Here’s 3 Reasons why outsourcing may be the right solution for you:

  1. The Bilingual Employee Isn’t a Native Speaker

    Possessing fluency isn’t enough. Legal translation services will ensure that their translators are native speakers of the target language. This helps with detecting cultural expressions and any other regional linguistic nuances native to the languages you want documents translating into. This is especially important when translating something like a record of testimony or emotional deposition.

  2. An Employee May Lack Proper Knowledge or Training to Provide Legal Translation Services

    It is also important that translators have the necessary legal training and this is where legal translation services can help. A suitable linguist will have the native familiarity with local codes, laws and regulations in order to handle your projects.

    In order to ensure compliance and protect your firm’s reputation, doesn’t it make sense to contract legal translation services who have the in-house expertise for any branch of law you may require? It sure does.

  3. Translation Technologies

    To spare your firm any serious damage, entrust your foreign language materials with a reputable legal translation services company. They will be able to centrally store and manage your content with the help of a translation management system that they will be able to access at any time. You will also be able to generate on-demand quality reports on a variety of factors.

    Furthermore, when it comes to cost savings, translation memory software greatly helps to reduce your spend by searching all the stored up translated content and making use of previously translated segments at a reduced rate. This also helps to make the translation process quicker.

Choosing to work with a reputable legal translation service provider can become a firm’s most time and cost efficient strategy. Make sure that the language service provider you choose has both the technologies and expertise that align with your unique legal translation requirements.

Translation Quality Depends on the Individual Translator

Translation Quality Depends on the Individual Translator 12

Does Translation quality depend on the individual translator?

Although the above claim may seem like a bold one in the age driven by Quality Control Management, every translation project outsourced to a Translation Agency is eventually assigned to an individual translator. And whereas many good Translation Agencies run various checks on their translators, including qualifications, experience and other credentials, the quality of the final product will be down to that particular person’s skills and expertise. He or she will give the target text its final shape and feel, regardless of what happens later on in the QA process as many professional translators would agree that it is much easier to translate from scratch than try and fix a text that has been poorly translated in the first place.

Things to Look Out for

There is a number of factors that businesses may want to take into consideration when choosing a Translation Agency.

First of all, not all agencies screen their translators particularly carefully. And even if they try to, there are many self-proclaimed ‘professionals’ with some experience but no qualifications to do the job properly.
Many Translation Agencies will compromise quality for the sake of cost reduction and employ unqualified translators in third world countries who are desperate to earn their income and whose qualifications may not be equivalent to what seems to be the norm in the Western World.
Some Translation Agencies (and I could name a few!) will put pressure on their translators to accept lower rates, which naturally impacts on the quality of the final product. Others will push for time to the extent that meeting a deadline becomes as simple as going to the moon and back before you can say one-two-three. How does this impact quality? I think you probably know the answer to that one…
Last but not least, there is Machine Translation, which is regarded by many as a Holy Grail – a cheap and quick way to get rich. Projects are translated by computer programmes, post-edited (read: quickly polished) by low paid linguists and the result? I guess you know where this is going…

In conclusion, I would say that in today’s online world of translation agencies it is quite difficult to say who will or who can guarantee high quality translations.  There are many factors to consider but one thing remains true as ever – at the end of the day it is all about people (individual translators) and their ability to do the job well. So, let’s say it again – translation quality does depend on the individual translator hired for the job even if you’re paying the agency and not the translator himself/herself.

A little extra…

As the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi slowly come to an end, we thought it would be a good idea if apart from celebrating the athletes and their fantastic achievements, we also celebrated the best ‘Lost in Translation’ moments of the 2014 Winter Olympics. We have had lots of fun reading through these and we hope you will, too. Enjoy!

Are You Losing Money Because Of Poor Translation?

Are You Losing Money Because Of Poor Translation?

translation booksCould This Be You?
You are part of a busy organization. You’ve got a lot to offer your clients and you love what you do. Your biggest focus is on getting your job done well and eventually getting a lot more clients consistently. You want your business or organisation to grow and you want more clients / customers. You realize that in order to be successful in the international marketplace it is essential to speak the language of your customers and prospects.

Maybe you have your sights set on growing your exports. Or maybe you’re struggling to communicate with your staff, business partners, customers. Your days are filled with client meetings, emails and creating great products and services for the international marketplace or trying to reach out to the local community. You wonder how to boost your sales?

What went wrong?
It’s only natural that some things simply get left behind. Translating your website, product or service documentation could be one of them. You simply don’t have the time or the staff to deal with the translation workload. And so you keep putting off finding the right translation agency to work with and end up rushing about getting documents translated at the very last minute. Or maybe in the past you have had things translated and they ended up being inaccurate or clumsily worded or maybe you decided to cut down on your cost and had it done in-house and the results weren’t exactly what you or your customers expected. Now you feel you’ll never want to find yourself in that situation again.

The story…
The above is a story so many business owners can relate to. Last summer a client from China told me a story about how they outsourced the subtitling of their video material that they had produced for one of their clients to a ‘cost-effective’ translation agency based in China. As it usually happens when businesses try to cut their costs down, the translation that my client received was not only of very low quality but the end client also had serious concerns whether or not it was nothing more but a 100% Machine Translation.

Added cost
What happened was that the client not only had to request a complete remake of the whole translation but they also got themselves into a dispute with the Chinese translation agency as to whether it really was Machine Translation or not, which the agency obviously denied. Eventually, they hired our team to resolve the dispute and to decide which side was right. And guess what? All our translators agreed it was 100% Machine Translation. It was double the original cost for our Client, double the time spent on the project and a dent on the production company’s reputation.

Final thought
Clients outsourcing translation services want to be sure that their text not only is translated correctly but is also well written and checked for any mistakes so that it reads as if it was written in the target language giving them the peace of mind that they so desperately need. Unless corporate client learn that lesson, we will keep hearing stories like this for many years to come…

The same client contacted us a few weeks later saying that they were very pleased with our service and asked if we could translate their website content for them as from then on they would only use us for all their translation needs. We said we would be more than happy to help. When nothing happened for the next couple of days, I approached the client and asked if they were still interested in pursuing that website translation they had mentioned the week before. The client said… they’d decided to do it all in-house this time. A lesson learnt…

Is the Art of Translation Dying?

Is the Art of Translation Dying?

It’s been a while…

Translation has been around for as long as humankind and so have translation issues. They are said to have started with the building of Babel. Translation has played a crucial role for tradesmen and merchants, sailors, scholars and clergy alike. Translation has even been used by teachers as one of the main strategies in teaching foreign languages.

Endangered Art

But is the Art of Translation becoming an endangered species? With the rapid development of Machine Translation tools such as Google Translate, people all over the world have learnt that translation issues can now be solved with one click of the mouse (or a tap on your smartphone touchscreen). More and more have relied on these services for their daily language needs including translating text messages, emails, business correspondence and more recently even whole websites.

Is Machine Translation good enough?

So do we really need human translators anymore? The answer is probably not as easy as we might expect. On the one hand, Machine Translation meets most everyday translation needs for a large majority of language users. On the other hand, certain industries such as publishing, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance or law still rely heavily on human translators to guarantee highest possible quality of their materials and to exceed their customers’ expectations.

What should you expect from a Translation Agency?

Translation for industries such as the ones listed above requires impeccable accuracy including style, grammar and spelling but above all they need to be written in a way that takes into account all the nuances of the source and target languages, cultural implications, legal aspects, etc. As customers, we expect the manual for our newly purchased flat screen TV to be accurate just as we would not want to suffer the consequences of an inaccurately translated agreement or a title deed or a will for that matter.

Lost in Translation

We have all experienced too many times inadequate, funny or even embarrassing translations on product descriptions or manuals, in advertising, on websites, road signs, notice boards, etc. You will find some truly hilarious examples of badly translated Chinese in an article Chinese Signs That Got Seriously Lost in Translation. The only way to avoid mistakes like these still seems to be hiring a professional human translator, especially if you want to impress your clients, and not embarrass yourself!