What’s a commodity? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a commodity as a mass-produced unspecialized product. The translation of any document, however, is not a commodity. There are many elements which make translations services diverse from commodities. Here are a few of the factors that translators must take into account for any translation, which means that translation is, in fact, a very specialized and customized service:
- The type of document being translated will modify the kind of terminology necessary in the translation. The intended target audience for the document will dictate the vocabulary that needs to be used.
- Another thing to consider is the level of expertise required by the translator which is based on the document’s subject matter. For instance, a translator may be committed to financial terminology while another has a natural knack for business reports and correspondence, while a third one specialize in pharmaceutical documents.
- Often overlooked, the reason someone needs a document translated in the first has a big effect on the kind of translation they might require. For example, a personal document such as a driver’s license or birth record needs to be an exact word for word translation, because these details are standard and important. However a tagline for a product ad needs to be localized to the local culture where the ad will be displayed and should never be word-for-word translation (which may give you questionnable results like “Nothing sucks like an electrolux”).
- Does the translation require certain Certifications? This can be a very specialized area, whereby certain government agencies require translations to become performed by certified translators or certified translation agencies. Sometimes documents have to be notarized with a lawyer.
It is important to remember is that there isn’t a bouquet of rules and practices that may encompass every translation project. Unlike commodities, the translation associated with a document is a very specialized service. There are even specific qualité standards for the translation industry (These are equivalent to the ISO standards and certifications). In Canada, it’s the CGSB131.10 2008, and for the EU, there's 15038:2006.
The primary objectives of CAN-CGSB-131-10-2008 and 15038:2006 are:
- To guarantee the use of professional translators
- To ensure the consistent management of each supplier’s human and technical resources, as well as its quality standards
- To ensure documentation of and full compliance with all language, managerial and administrative processes
- To ensure that these processes are adapted to the particular requirements of the language industry
- To safeguard clients’ interests by establishing a framework for client/supplier relations
These standards are not legally required to work in the translation industry (as of today, they may be in the future). However, they can help a translation services customer to pinpoint real translation services provider that respect a documented quality standard.
Firms that send bids or RFP and just consider the lowest cost without thinking about quality are often surprised at the outcomes. Remember that, if your business model is even marginally dependent on brand image, you should think twice about going down the road of cheap translation providers. The old adage that you get what you pay for is extremely applicable to translation services industry.
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Google Translator Has Been Hacked
SDL's chief executive officer John Hunter is leaving the company “to pursue other business interests”. He spent less than two years in the top job, having previously been SDL’s finance chief. Chairman and founder Mark Lancaster, who was chief executive before Mr Hunter took the reins in February last year, has taken over as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
Canaccord Genuity saw the move as a buying opportunity, arguing that Mr Hunter’s departure would act as an “immediate catalyst for a rebound in the share price”. The shares had tumbled since the group said on October 15 that ongoing litigation could cost the company up to $3m (£1.9m). The group also worried analysts by confirming that technology revenues remained “suppressed”.
Source: The Telegraph
For those of you who are not aware of the “ongoing litigation” that SDL faces, here’s a quick recap:
On October 15th SDL noted that it has a minor ongoing litigation with a former Trados shareholder, claiming breaches of fiduciary duty by former Trados directors on the sale of Trados to SDL in 2005. The company estimates the potential exposure to be between $1 million and $3 million, which if required, will be funded as part of the company's operational cash flow in 2013.
The SDL board believes the case to be completely without merit and expects that it will progress to a court hearing in 2013.
In its Interim Management Statement for the period from July 1 to September 30, the company said most of the growth in the quarter predominantly came from language services, whilst technology revenues remained suppressed.
Source: RTT News
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Google Docs Translations Don’t Make Sense?
Informations On Rhe Canadian Translation Standard
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Here are some interesting facts and numbers about the language industry.
Language Services Market
- The language services market is predicted to reach US$25 billion by 2013.
- North American telephone interpreting providers account for 85% of the combined revenue of the Top 15 global providers.
- The average year-over-year growth rate of the top 20 translation companies in 2007 was 26.68%.
- The total market for outsourced interpreting services stood at US$2.5 billion in 2007, with telephone interpreting worth US$700 million.
- 70% of LSPs employ between one and 10 people, 11% employ between 20 to 99, and the rest employ 101 or more. Only six firms worldwide employ more than 1,000 people.
- Nearly 90% of companies outsource some or all of their translation and localization work.
- In 2005, there were around 4,000 translation companies with more than five employees in the world; 450 of those were based in the United States.
- 20% of medium-to-large LSPs offer a house brand of translation management.
- 67% of language buyers say that a vendor’s automation capabilities are important.
- Content that reaches 200,000 words (roughly 400 U.S. letter-size pages) triggers the need for a translation memory.
- About 40% of translation buyers regularly buy from five or more suppliers, while 20% buy from only two.
- Almost one-tenth of software firms fully outsource localization work to a language services provider, specialty coding house or offshore developer.
- Only 26% of companies can formally measure and calculate the return on their localization investment.
- 44% of translation buyers stayed with their vendors for five years or more, with the rest citing far longer relationships.
- Three-quarters of the typical purchaser of translation services have been buyers for six years or less.
- It would take 83 languages to reach 80% of all the people in the world, and over 7,000 languages to reach everyone.
- Websites offered in only one language can address at most 30% of the total online population.
- Translating into 50 languages provides access to almost 96% of the world’s online residents.
- 72.4% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.
- 56.2% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.
- 72.1% of the consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language.
- English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese add up to 88% of the addressable online market.
- More than 99% of what people write, say, or generate never leaves the language in which it was created.
- Websites tailored linguistically and transactionally to the residents of one country can address, at most, 20% of the total world online population.
- Over 70% of software suppliers localize new releases.
- Only 12 of the top 100 global brands and just four of the top 50 U.S. online retailers translated a significant part of their corporate websites in Spanish.
Source: Common Sense Advisory
Seth Godin’s blog is one of those that I religiously follow. He is a great marketing guru, wrote numerous books and speaks at various conferences. He always finds the right way of saying things and he’s simply a great writer.
If you haven’t already done so, add his feed to your feed reader. You won’t be disapointed.
For example, here is Seth’s post for today. Very insightful.
The telephone destroyed the telegraph.
Here's why people liked the telegraph: It was universal, inexpensive, asynchronous and it left a paper trail.
The telephone offered not one of these four attributes. It was far from universal, and if someone didn't have a phone, you couldn't call them. It was expensive, even before someone called you. It was synchronous--if you weren't home, no call got made. And of course, there was no paper trail.
If the telephone guys had set out to make something that did what the telegraph does, but better, they probably would have failed. Instead, they solved a different problem, in such an overwhelmingly useful way that they eliminated the feature set of the competition.
The list of examples is long (YouTube vs. television, web vs. newspapers, Nike vs. sneakers). Your turn.
Want to call a meeting today?
Then first, stop and consider the hourly cost of the people that will be attending your meeting. You'll realize quickly that calling a meeting is very expensive since no productive work is done during that time.
It's important to ensure that every person present and every minute of your meeting adds value. It’s equally important that your motivation for calling this meeting is justified and need a consensus of everyone attending. Don't invite people who won't participate but will simply report back to their boss or team (sending a copy of the meeting minutes by email will be a lot more effective). Also, don't call a meeting to tell people things that could be communicated by email or memo.
In fact, you should only call a meeting when actual decisions needs to be taken or something really needs to be discussed live with the attendees.
Then when you finally decide that you need to hold your meeting, make sure that:
- You are prepared. People don’t like seeing the main speaker confused or ill-prepared.
- You assign someone to the note-taking task. Everyone else can then actively participate, knowing that the full meeting notes will be emailed to them later that day.
- You verify that everyone present has a good reason to be present.
- You keep it short and sweet. A long, boring meeting is useless and energy-draining. The most effective meetings I've seen are the daily stand-up meetings in the Agile Methodology. They typically last from 5 to 15 minutes and still manage to get a lot done in that period of time.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be difficult for the newcomers in this field but it’s certainly no voodoo magic. In fact there are a lot of easy-to-implement tips to help drive traffic from search engines to your site. Here are my favourites:
1. <title> tags:
This is maybe the most easy to implement. <title> tags are used by all search engines to discover what your site is about. Check your own site right now for that if your title reads “MyCompany”, then you can easily improve your results with search engines. You should rename your title tags to something looking like “MyCompany – Proviging Search Engine Optimization to small businesses”. This more descriptive title will help search engine categorize better your website and this will give you a higher rank in searches.
2. <h1> tags:
Almost as important as <title> tags, <h1> tags are one of the primary source of context for search engines. You should have <h1> tags that are descriptive of your business. For example, if you have a software business but all your <h1> tags are used to display your political views, search engines will think something fishy is going on and you will get lower results. Your h1 tags should not only be present, but also be descriptive of your business.
3. URL naming:
URLs are another source of information on the subject of a particular page. If your urls contains only a GUID or a productID, your won’t get the benefits from this aspect of SEO. URLs should be as descriptive as you can make them. For example, this is a awful URL for SEO :
This is a much better URL for the same product
4. Don’t be too hungry:
Don’t try to put irrelevant keywords on your site in the hope of getting better search results. This is called "Keyword stuffing" and “refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in search engine results”. Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site's ranking.
5. Links to your site:
Inbound links are also a big part of website ranking (the famous Google’s pagerank algorithm uses inbound links to rate websites). The theory is that if a website is a reference in a particular domain, then lots of other websites will link to that particular website.
Beware of businesses that tells you that they will get you a higher pagerank by adding link to your website on sites that have a high pagerank. That practice is called Link Farming and it may in fact LOWER your rank as this is considered bad practice.
6. Create value:
You need to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page's visitors?
Examples of content that generates links:
- Free white papers related to your industry
- Free code snippets / downloadable source code
- Free solutions to existing problems your customers may have
- Free tools
In fact, people loves free stuff, so providing them with some quality (and free) content will get you lots of quality links.
8. Use descriptive alt text for images:
Search engines also can’t see your images. So, for your images to appear high in image searches, you must give them descriptive alt text.
Other relevant posts:
What are your customers saying about you online?
Tools for Web developers
Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on users. This is, in my opinion, the best way to get good feedback on a website or product.
UserTesting.com is a Web startup where you can enroll and submit a site for a usability test. Real users then log-in/enroll/use you site or service, record everything and sends you a flash video with their commentaries.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up for user testing, specifying the demographic profile of your target audience and how many user testers you want (one user costs $19, five users cost $95).
- Users record their screen and voice as they use your website, speaking their thoughts as they browse.
- You watch and listen to them use your site. Each user’s session - mouse movements, clicks, keystrokes, and spoken comments - is saved as a Flash video for you to watch.
- You read their review.
- What they liked.
- What they didn’t like.
- What would have caused them to leave your site.
That means that, for a ridiculous amount of money (less than 100$), you can get tremendous feedback on your site, feedback that you may never have otherwise.
Great idea guys and keep on the good work!
If you liked this post, you might also like : What are your customers saying about you online?
From The Wall Street Journal:
Brand reputation, or what your customers think about your business, is crucial for any small company that wants to attract new clients and grow a business.
What one customer says in a blog or product review can directly influence another customer’s decision to choose you over your competitors.
Here are four ways you can monitor your brand online:
1. Google Alerts: Set up a once-a-day alert for the names of your company, key products and top executives so you can check every time they’re mentioned on a Web site or news story. You can also set up alerts to track the same information about your competitors.
2. Social-media buzz: At Serph.com, you can search social-media sites that Google Alerts may not catch. For example, Serph pulls results from social-bookmarking site del.icio.us and social news site digg.com, among others.
3. Customer reviews: Monitor and respond to what customers are saying about your business on review Web sites like Yelp.com and Citysearch.com. These sites allow businesses to register with the site so they can customize their listings with contact information and better interact with customers.
4. Yahoo Pipes: This service allows you to set up a “pipeline” that aggregates information from search engines, miniblogging tool twitter, photo-sharing site flickr and other Web portals that could be mentioning your business.