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 Tuesday, 05 August 2008

Google-translation-center

The word on the street is that google is about to launch a new translation service.  Called “Google Translation Center”, this service will:

  • Connect translators with clients
  • Let translators work for free or charge their clients for their work.
  • Let translators translate their documents online
  • Provide translators with a CAT (computer assisted translation) tool similar to the other tools available on the market

From the article at techcrunch:

If you have a document that needs translating, you can upload it and request a translator to work on it, according to the marketing information on the site. The Translation Center is set up as a marketplace for matching translators with people who need texts translated. It supports both paid translations and volunteer ones.

Also, Google doesn’t want to take part, for now, in the payment process.  They state in their terms of service:

Your interaction with any third party participant(s) or user(s) within Google Translation Center, including payment and delivery of goods and services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and such third party participant(s) or user(s) and Google is not involved in such dealings.

Translations created in Google Translation Center are purely between the translation requester and the translators.

As a R&D Director for a translation firm in Canada, this news rapidly caught my eye.  Here is my breakdown of the impact this new service will have and my humble predictions:

So, what does all of this means for the translation industry

For translator networks:

This will surely steal business from a lot of web sites connecting translators to clients such as elance and craiglist, but not enough to get them out of business since they have more than translation projects in their portfolio.

For professional freelance translators:

For a lot of them, this will probably become their primary portal since Google is very good at indexing other sources of data than just theirs (just check the sources of the videos featured on google video and you will see what I mean).  They will probably index every translator gig available in the world and provide translators with a portal to search, maybe bid on them and execute the translation.

For professional translation firms:

For translation firms, this is neither a good or a bad news. They will lose maybe a handful of customers due to the fact that they will get very cheap translations on Google platform.  But, this is one industry where the saying “You get what you pay for” is really true. You won’t have any quality assurance when using this kind of service and, for many customers, this matters a lot. The quality of the corporate communications is a mirror of the company’s professionalism. And when you are a major bank, or in the medical industry (where a typo in a prescription can effectively kill someone), you can’t afford low quality translation. And you never will be safe with the quality of the translation provided by Google’s service (or any other online service for that matter) because the reviser might be your old Uncle Joe who runs only Word’s spell-checker on your document.

For translator tools software vendors:

This will probably be the main spot in the industry where the impact if this service will be felt.  For these vendors, the whole market of freelancers is at risk since they will have access to a CAT tool and translation memories for free. The only market that will be left for them after the service will be mainstream is the big translation firms, for the reasons stated above.

For the future of Google’s platform:

The big challenge for google with this platform is to keep away the spammers.  How easy will it be to log-in as a “fake translator” add advertising into a document. Then, when the client get his translation, he will be directly hit by the ad when reviewing this document.  Or worse, the ad won’t be caught (very possible case since you won’t know every language your document/brochure/Web site/etc. has been translated into) and will be published as a part of that document. The worst case scenario for Google is that all the email spammers will use their platform to publish their ads, since the email rarely even get opened by the target of spammers.  But inserting spam as part of a translation in a legitimate document will be a lot more effective.

 

UPDATE: Google removed most of the pages and reference documents (all URLs are now redirected to google’s main page).

 

Tuesday, 05 August 2008 10:28:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Language Industry | News
 Thursday, 31 July 2008

AppScout has a good article on the new Amazon’s payment service:

Amazon on Tuesday unveiled two new payment options that allow Web site owners to shift payment transactions to the online retailer.

With Checkout by Amazon, webmasters will get help from Amazon in managing shipping charges, sales tax, promotions, and post-sale activities including shipments, refunds, cancellations, and charge backs.

Amazon Simple Pay, meanwhile, is a less complicated option for those who don't need Amazon's end-to-end checkout pipeline and order management capabilities.

To enable Checkout by Amazon, webmasters must add Amazon 1-Click to their Amazon.com account and insert a few lines of code into their Web site template. When customers go to check out of the site, they click the "Checkout with Amazon" button, a widget pops up asking for a shipping address, and customers buy via Amazon's 1-Click. Amazon sends them a confirmation e-mail, and users remain on your site.

Click here to read more

Thursday, 31 July 2008 08:37:49 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General | News
 Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Please, go see this video. This is, sadly, soo true:

http://tinyurl.com/6s4s8g

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 16:04:50 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Humor

CAPTCHAs are everywhere now.  When you want to open an account, anywhere, you will encounter one of those.  But there are times when the programmers probably needed a spec describing exactly what the expression “proving that you are a human” means…

Corey Smith found some of the worst CAPTCHAs on the Web.  Here is my personal favourite:

Mathcaptcha

Wednesday, 30 July 2008 13:26:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
General | Humor

A common thing you may want to do when dealing with transactions involving various documents and files is insert them into you SQL Server database.  The following code snippet let you load a file from the disk and insert it into your database.

INSERT INTO myTable (documentData)
SELECT * FROM
OPENROWSET(BULK N'c:\myDocument.doc', SINGLE_BLOB) as dt

Note that you need to name the select statement (here, I named it “dt”) or you will get this error message:

Server: Msg 491, Level 16, State 1, Line 3
A correlation name must be specified for the bulk rowset in the from clause.


Wednesday, 30 July 2008 12:38:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Code Snippet | SQL
 Thursday, 10 July 2008

Using SQL Server 2005 new function ROW_NUMBER() makes this really easy.

All you have to do is to add the function ROW_NUMBER, with the OVER() clause as such :

SELECT ROW_NUMBER() 
        OVER (ORDER BY EmployeeName) AS Row, 
    EmployeeId, EmployeeName, Salary 
FROM Employees
The OVER clause needs an “order by” parameter to know how to sort the rows for proper numbering.
 
Thursday, 10 July 2008 15:58:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Code Snippet | SQL

There is a very simple script to accomplish this and this can be really helpful for generating stats on a week-by-week basis:

SELECT DATEADD(wk, DATEDIFF(wk, 0, GetDate()), 0)

Replace GetDate with a datetime column and you could generate, for example, a sales report, week-by-week.

Thursday, 10 July 2008 12:25:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Code Snippet | SQL
 Wednesday, 02 July 2008

This isn’t necessary a critical part of a DBA’s job but, at times, it can be useful to have an idea of how many rows are in your databases.

The simplest way to get it is with this query:

select sum(rowcnt) from sysobjects, sysindexes
where sysindexes.id = sysobjects.id and sysindexes.indid in (0, 1) and sysobjects.xtype = 'u'

This will get you the sum of rows in the entire database, for users objects only.  If you want the table-by-table breakdown, you can simply add the name of the object in the query:

select sysobjects.name, sysindexes.rowcnt from sysobjects, sysindexes
where sysindexes.id = sysobjects.id and sysindexes.indid in (0, 1) and sysobjects.xtype = 'u'
order by sysobjects.name

Wednesday, 02 July 2008 09:43:51 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Code Snippet | SQL
 Thursday, 26 June 2008

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.

Thursday, 26 June 2008 14:04:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Business | General | Marketing

The quality of your sleep is a determining factor in your daily productivity.  Hacking your sleep schedule requires some time and effort but can be really rewarding in the end.  You will have more time to do whatever you like to do (work, be with your family, blog, etc.) and you will have more energy to do it.

  • Do not eat before going to bed (at least 2 hours before sleep time).
  • Sleep in dark, quiet room.
  • Sleep with fresh air (open windows or get air refresher).
  • Exercise during the day. If you don’t exercise, go for a 15 minutes walk before the sleep time.
  • Do not watch TV in the bed before going to sleep. Read a book, take a bath, do something relaxing.
  • Don’t drink coffee or other stimulants within 6 hours of bed time.
  • Don’t take long naps (more than 30 minutes) during the day.

Follow these simple tips and within one or two weeks you will notice how your sleep starts improving.

A trick that works marvels for me is:

First, condition yourself to wake up exactly at the same time every morning, weekdays, weekends and holidays included.  Your body needs stability at some point in the sleeping process.  For working people like me, the easiest variable to standardize is the wake-up time.  Then, go to sleep only when you feel tired.  Don’t give yourself a specific bed time but let your body decide when you need sleep.  By having the same wake-up time, your body will automatically feel tired at exactly the right time to have the perfect sleeping time, every time.  Doing so will save you countless hours of sleepless bedtime.  I went from 8–9 hours of sleep per normal night to 6–7 and I have the same amount of energy than before.

Another tip that I can give you is to stop the caffeine and replace it with exercise.  A good rule of thumb is 15 minutes of exercise for each cup of coffee taken in a normal day.  For example, if you take 3 coffees in your normal day, exercise 45 minutes per day.  After 2–3 weeks, you will find that you need less and less coffee to stay awake and alert.  Within 2–3 months, you will have replaced your coffee addiction altogether, you will be more healthy, more rich (coffee is expensive in the long run), you will sleep better and you will need less sleep than before.

Since everyone is different, something that works for me may not work for you.  These are just examples of what you can do to sleep better but you need to find what works best for you.

Thursday, 26 June 2008 12:53:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
General
 Friday, 30 May 2008
ProjectManagement
Friday, 30 May 2008 15:35:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Humor
 Monday, 26 May 2008

The LTRIM function in T-SQL only removes whitespaces. But, in some instances, you need to do more complex trimming. The trick is to use the PATINDEX function in conjunction with the STUFF function.  PATINDEX will return the index of the first occurence of a specified pattern.  In my example below, PATINDEX will return the index of the first non-zero character.  STUFF takes 4 parameters:

– the affected column

– the the starting point of the deletion

– the length of the deletion

– a string to insert at the deletion point

So the code below will delete all characters, starting at the first, and finishing before the first non-zero character.  Why not use SUBSTRING instead?  Because STUFF is a little more robust than SUBSTING and will not raise an error on you if the PATINDEX returns -1.

SELECT STUFF(myColumn, 1, PATINDEX('%[^0]%', myColumn) - 1, SPACE(0)) FROM mytable

Also, if you happen to have a column of type float and you want to get the values without the leading zeros (for example, 0.75 would become .75), you simply need to cast your column as varchar and you’re set.


Monday, 26 May 2008 16:49:50 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Code Snippet | SQL

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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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Stanislas Biron
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