Many firms face scalability challenges related to the amount of content they’re processing, the number of languages and markets they’re supporting, and the timeframes in which they must deliver all of this. Those in the sectors that make up life sciences — such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and biomedical technologies — have additional pressure from governmental regulatory bodies around the world. These firms require a framework to help them avoid making typical mistakes and to enable them to mature as quickly as possible when it comes to localization.
The localization maturity model allows life sciences firms to reduce risk — it’s all about mitigating risk for translation and localization managers at life sciences firms. This focus leads them to concentrate on predictability, reliable processes and knowing what to expect at every turn. The goal of these managers is to translate this effort into achieving compliance in local markets as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible....
From a translation services provider perspective, we hear the argument now and again that any translation process change, even for the better, takes time — which is something that executives aren’t too keen to expend. Any deviation from the status quo seems to present a disruption.
Then again, the cost of not changing a process that isn’t working well can be even more significant. This is abundantly clear from the unsettling anecdotes from clients' long-spanning careers in the life sciences....
Translation has unfortunately made its home as an unwanted stepchild in the content development process. A common reason for this is that frequently within an organization there is no one who is truly responsible for translation. The task of managing translation is thrown on the shoulders of a technical writer, a project manager or someone else who doesn’t have the understanding, time or desire to deal with it, and is generally not compensated for this additional responsibility. Even in companies that have an internal translation manager or group dedicated specifically to overseeing translation, the company is generally too large or too decentralized to control this effort....
So in 2010, during meetings with our client on the subject of terminology, we asked, “How can our translators know your terminology preferences?” It was suggested that we take the documents previously published by the organization as our basis. We then asked if these documents were available and if someone could provide them to us.
This question is both a simple and complex one. Yet again, the size of the organization and the vast number of participants complicated this task. Not only were previous reports needed, but also the translations of treaties or conventions referenced in the documents, as the latter have legal value and so forth. It was of course impossible for such a large volume of data to be sent to us on any medium. Moreover, these documents would have had to be organized, sorted by language, subject matter and so on. We were back to square one....
Traditionally, medical device industry translations are considered exceptional compared with the best practices of industries such as IT, and for good reason. This is a highly regulated industry, and the quality of translation is not just a matter of customer satisfaction.
However, these differences are starting to blur for two reasons. First, the world of medical devices is going digital. Content related to medical devices is appearing online, such as instructions for use (IFUs), support content, user-generated content or even instructional and promo videos. Medical devices also include complementary mobile apps or standalone software, or may themselves be medical apps. In addition, reporting of postmarket medical device adverse events such as medical device reports is more common, as are electronic ways to register new medical devices with regulators....
XML has become one of the defining technologies that is helping to reshape the face of both computing and publishing. It is helping to drive down costs and dramatically increase interoperability between diverse computer systems.
From a localization point of view XML offers many advantages: a well-defined, rigorous syntax backed up by a rich tool set that allows documents to be validated and proven; a well-defined character encoding system that includes support for Unicode; and the separation of form and content, which allows both multi-target publishing (PDF, Postscript, WAP, HTML, XHTML, online help) from one source....
We recently commissioned a survey that paints an interesting picture of the global translator community. Among the few hundred respondents, a majority was female, with more than 40% being 26 to 35 years old, and nearly 38% being between 36 and 55 years old.
The majority of respondents were located in Europe, which may have something to do with the methods our European company used to apply the survey. This in turn may have affected the number of languages spoken by respondents (Figure 1)....
A few summers ago, as I was chatting late into the night with my Korean-American friend about the non-mainstream ways we grew up, it occurred to me that people raised more traditionally might have an easier time relating to cultures — such as many Asian cultures — that embrace collectivism over individualism, stronger power structures, strong family influence and so on....
Most of us who work in localization and culturalization have a pretty solid understanding of the types of content that are typically adapted for international markets. I would venture that the majority of content localized today involves pretty straightforward text copy and other media that are descriptive, logistical or administrative in nature — things such as user interface text, medical records, technical manuals and so on. I’m essentially referring to nonfiction types of content.
Because we operate within a consumer ecosystem that’s increasingly driven by digital content, we’re also seeing a continued increase in the need for adapting creative content, meaning more and more content like books, films, television programs and video games....
I’ve written on war in this column before but only in the hypothetical. Now that it’s about two actual nations, both of which have MultiLingual readers, writing gets a lot more stressful. While I won’t say which side my politics align with, the first thing I have to do is admit a bias as a journalist: I have a clear opinion on right and wrong here. But what isn’t clear to me as a language service provider (LSP) owner is how our industry should handle the business side of this or any other war-like conflict....
Close to 300 million people spoke Russian in 1994, just after the fall of the Soviet Union. That number has already decreased by about 120 million, according to Russia’s Benjamin Kaganov, deputy minister of education and science. And the number of Russian speakers is projected to keep dropping in the next 50 years, something that has spurred Russia to allocate around $46 million to open language learning centers around the world....
If your team is like mine, you constantly face the challenge of doing more with the same or less staffing. We need to be flexible with finding quality employees, wherever that road might take us. In the case of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks, that road took us to the 3DPLM offices in Pune, India.
In February 2014, my colleague Lyn Amidon and I traveled to India to greet and train our new technical writer, and to learn how to create and grow a SolidWorks documentation team there....
We all recognize that stereotypes are inherently unfair, and yet there is a sense in which they are not altogether unhelpful. It really is true that, in general, Americans (like me) are too loud, too direct and too informal when seen from the perspective of many other cultures. And it really is true that the cultural predispositions of many Asians to avoid causing others to “lose face” can result in severe communication problems when combined with the direct Western approach to problem resolution. So with these cultural characteristics as a backdrop, we explored several areas that often give rise to difficulties between us, inhibiting our ability to serve our customers effectively....
Benjamin B. Sargent
We discovered that Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino are underrepresented in global websites compared to to Korean, Traditional Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese. Part of this has to do with lower per capita incomes, but the other reason is higher tolerance for English....
These factors would likely make you think that localization is a widespread, well-developed industry in Korea — a been-there-done-that kind of field, with trials made and errors fixed as Korean-made goods and services swarm the world and global businesses target eager consumers in the tech-hungry country.
Quite to the contrary, localization is still relatively unknown and underdeveloped. Not a single major localization conference has taken place in the country, for example. Ask a professional translator whether they have heard of “localization,” and only few would answer yes. Localization is still not mentioned in major translation schools, let alone included in the curriculum. This is in stark contrast to many education institutions in other countries with localization courses and degrees....
One of the most enduring features of the localization industry has been the inconsistency of word counts, not only between rival products, but also sometimes between different versions of the same product. Trying to establish a measure for the size of a given localization task is not unlike trying to fight a many-headed dragon — with Asian languages that use different writing systems providing additional challenges.
The havoc that the lack of a uniform system of measurement can cause was exemplified in 1999 when the Mars Climate Orbiter Spacecraft was lost because one NASA team used imperial units for a key spacecraft operation, while another used metric units. The total cost of this error was $125 million. Trying to cope with a lack of a common definition for estimating the size of a localization task can be equally catastrophic....
The service pattern of localization companies underwent remarkable changes starting in 2002. Outsourcing service companies began to purchase localization companies, and traditional localization companies tended to transform into outsourcing service providers. For example, Worksoft changed its software localization service into a software outsourcing service. Henceforth its development was sped up and it became one of the listed companies of the New York Stock Exchange as the leading enterprise of China’s software outsourcing service industry. Localization technology has also been developing rapidly in the past decade. SJTU Sunway Software Industry Limited was the first to formulate the concept of “information localization” in China, and in 2004 it successfully developed Yaxin CAT, a computer-aided translation tool, with the ambition of becoming the largest information localization expert in the Asia-Pacific region....
As we all know by now, technology is constantly changing the way we interact with other people and the world around us. Machine translation has been around for many years, and its reliability and accuracy is improving all the time. The same sort of technology has even begun to be applied to spoken language, with translator apps available on many smartphones. Of course, the hit-or-miss accuracy and reliability of these technologies means that they are no substitute for professional human translation, and are unlikely to become so, but they provide examples of how technology has begun to explore language and can provide valuable tools to those who are unable to access or afford professional services....
My group at Warner Bros. (WB) had been dubbing movies in more than 25 languages for more than 15 years when we began game localization. This led us to approach this new challenge from a different angle than the rest of the industry. It appeared to me that applying our expertise in film dubbing to game localization was the most logical thing to do and, most importantly, it was what everyone in the game industry wanted at the time: high-quality dubbing for games. This may seem simple, but the film world and the game world were (and still are) far away in the localization universe, and this is where this new gig became really challenging....
Key performance indicators should be used to manage a business by helping assess progress against stated strategies. They must then be relevant to that particular business and its strategy, and supposedly have a significant impact. Therefore, they should be revisited frequently to drive appropriate actions.
In today’s knowledge economy, company value is no longer driven primarily by physical assets, but is increasingly attributable to nonfinancial business drivers. Success and future value creation depend on the effective measurement and management of these critical nonfinancial or intangible resources that comprise the intellectual capital of the business....
I suspect many of us in the localization industry would be thrilled to be invited to the table to help overcome such a challenge. But with a few notable exceptions, we generally are not. I wonder why? As insightful cultural and linguistic experts, often with significant networks and resources in the global markets in which these brands operate, more of us ought to be involved upstream instead of downstream. Besides, as a Japanese man who grew up loving American culture — and eating my fair share of Big Macs — I ought to know something about Japanese McDonald’s, both as a customer and as a localization specialist....
The first time I played a video game, I was 18. Prior to me being 18, my entire family was so nerdy we didn’t even have television. You see, being homeschooled until college without technology is basically like growing up in the 1950s. Especially if you’re homeschooled by people who grew up in the 1950s. Basically I just quilted, wrote Star Wars plays for my siblings to enact and read J.R.R. Tolkein books all day — and I am exaggerating only very slightly. So that first time I played a video game, I lost spectacularly. I was too much of a nerd to be any good at video games...
Richard Sikes & Angelika Zerfaß
Upon first launch, the user is greeted by a welcome screen containing links to the most important work areas within the software, either from the ribbon or from a navigation panel on the left-hand side. The top of the navigation panel contains an area that displays applications from OpenExchange. The prominent positioning of this display is a not-so-subtle hint at the importance SDL has placed upon OpenExchange as an extension of the core product functionality. Four applications are listed by default, followed by a link to the OpenExchange website.
Although OpenExchange has been available to licenced Trados Studio users since the 2009 version (Service Pack 3), providing users access to a variety of helpful utilities that could run alongside Trados, the 2014 release has made use of a new Integration application programming interface (API) that allows developers to embed their applications directly into the Trados user interface. OpenExchange applications thereby become part of the overall user experience, extending the core product functionality with a palette feature set that is essentially limited only by the time, resources and interest of third-party developers....
Stereotypes are rampant across all forms of popular media, and we’ve seen them evolve for the better over time yet some have a long way to go to see improvement. But what exactly is a stereotype? Strictly from a dictionary definition, it’s “the widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Most usually, this image or idea doesn’t reflect the reality of the person, place or thing, and thus it can potentially perpetuate a misperception of that entity, usually to its detriment. After all, it’s rare that a stereotype is actually a more positive reflection than the reality....
I personally find Beam Technologies’ approach to all this refreshing. Instead of picking up their leftover toothbrushes and going home, Beam Technologies is staying positive. And they’re also letting Procter & Gamble do the heavy lifting when it comes to client education. “We’ve hardly spent a dime on marketing,” Frommeyer told me. But February 2014, the month of the announcement, was Beam Technologies’ best sales month ever. Since the announcement, the company has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg Media Group and also yours truly. When asked to describe in one word how this disruption has affected his business, Frommeyer’s word is “money.”...