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Yasin Steiert & Afaf Steiert
The majority of the video game market originates from two regions: North America and Japan. Though household titles such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Battlefield 4 are set up to have language packs for different parts of the world, mid title games still are unlikely to have a globalized target market due to inexperience. That trend is naturally changing with the economy of the industry. According to IT research firm Gartner, the global video game industry is expected to reach $111 billion by 2015, up from $93 billion in 2013....
In this issue, we cover two things central to localization: emerging markets and translation technology. Emerging markets are the goal, at least in the sense that localization is always looking toward what was previously unexplored, while technology is crucial to the method....
When Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in 1859, he forever changed the view that the natural world was an ordered system that had existed as-is for countless years and would remain immutable until the end of time. “Survival of the fittest” became a basic axiom, not only in biology, but also in other spheres of human endeavor.
The business world in particular has embraced this principle, and its imperatives currently rule the vast majority of commercial ventures, from multinational corporations down to the small shops on Main Street....
Maybe it’s the yogi in me that thinks a little love can fix it all. “All we need is love” and so on. But there is something noteworthy in the traditional yoga salutation Namaste. It means the light in me acknowledges the light in you. So how can we get this segment of the freelance community to see the light?...
Rosalind Smith & Mohamed Aly
People today have become so accustomed to our globalized world with its easy access for one and all, and to the ease of internet communication in general, that we tend to take it all for granted. Few dwell on how easily we could be cut off at a stroke, unable to work, carry out projects, answer our clients, obtain valuable information and receive payments.
In fact, your whole operation can come to a grinding, screaming halt, leaving you feeling helpless, faced with this unforeseen and totally unexpected state of affairs....
The rise of emerging markets is bringing new languages into the spotlight and readers of this magazine are regularly introduced to the idiosyncrasies of less-common languages. Instead of focusing on the unique characteristics of each language, a greater understanding is achieved by understanding that all emerging market languages have common characteristics, and that there is a continuum of development as resources, tools and processes adapt to the needs of localizers.
The definition of an emerging market is vague, with the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, stock markets and other organizations maintaining different lists. For translation, the focus is primarily on Asian and Eastern European languages, since South America and Africa are at least partially covered by familiar languages such as Spanish or French for many commercial purposes....
...in April of 2008 Inuktitut became an official language of the Territory of Nunavut with the passing of the newly created Official Languages Act. This new law replaced the former Northwest Territories (NWT) Official Languages Act. Under the NWT Official Languages Act, created in 1984, English and French were classified as the two official languages in the NWT, and there were nine First Nation and Inuit languages that this act recognized. At the time, it was a major improvement for the communities who spoke these languages, this being their first official recognition from any government entity. However, the NWT Official Language Act merely recognized the presence of these languages and made no major effort to encourage their availability or usage in official settings....
Louise Law & Ellen Donaldson
Recent research by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that Brazil will become the fourth largest global economy by 2050. With a population of 202 million and a steadily growing economy, combined with the aforementioned up and coming global sporting events, it is no great surprise that marketers and companies are looking to Brazil to seize business opportunities for product and consumer global market expansion.
For Language Service Providers (LSPs) this means more work on the horizon for localization of content into Brazilian Portuguese. As more global businesses enter the Brazilian market and as Brazilian consumers get even greater spending power, globalization managers and LSPs need to make sure they are ready for this key emerging market.
There are a number of well-documented downsides to Brazil’s spotlight, however, that pose both challenges and risks for market opportunists....
Hernani Costa, Gloria Corpas Pastor & Isabel Durán Muñoz
The chances to develop tools for interpreters increase with regard to the preparation phase prior to any interpreting service, when interpreters need to acquire as much information and specialized knowledge as possible in order to get ready for their work. Once interpreters know the topic, the setting and all the features of the interpreting service, they can start compiling terminological resources such as glossaries, managing documents and so on. The correct management of these tools will usually mean better output. Another scenario prone to technology development is training, where all kinds of software and applications could be used to train interpreters at various stages and in different modes....
Aljoscha Burchardt, Arle Lommel, Georg Rehm, Felix Sasaki, Josef van Genabith & Hans Uszkoreit
The translation and localization industry has long used technology in the form of translation memory (TM) and terminology management systems, but for a variety of reasons it has not embraced other forms as readily. Most language technologies today have been deployed as monolingual applications without the multilingual support required by translators.
Machine translation (MT) is currently the best-known example to the public at large, driven largely by the success of free services pioneered by AltaVista’s Babelfish and then made truly mainstream by Google Translate. The translation and localization community’s acceptance of MT for production purposes has been considerably more reluctant and cautious, but even here it is making significant inroads....
Professional translators, language service providers (LSPs) and clients alike clearly understand that MT can prove an effective means to improve productivity and therefore reduce turnaround times and translation costs. Sure, one could debate whether MT should indeed be used in any translation project or whether it should be restricted to specific projects. Yet the decision on whether to adopt MT usually boils down to one simple question: assuming that the desired quality level is guaranteed and that the processes allow for the use of such technology, will MT improve translators’ productivity?...
Accessibility isn’t worth very much on its own without the ability to control who accesses what. Role-based accounts provide for greater security because it serves as a gateway for everyone who might touch the translation process, from linguists to project managers. Each system user is set up with a profile that lays out what he or she can see within a translation management system, for instance.
In the coming months, we will likely see heightened sophistication with how much these role-based accounts can be fine-tuned. Some providers of cloud-based workflow technologies are working on getting more detailed with who can access what information once logged in to the system — such as translation project requestors in a given department only having access to certain types of projects....
Terminology is at the very heart of our linguistic landscape. In everything we do — fixing our cars, preparing meals, taking medication, even enjoying our hobbies — we come into contact with specialized language units. In language science, these units are called terms. Terms are not just important for scientists or professional language workers; they play a significant role for all of us. By being more aware of terminology and its evolution, we can take better care of the treasures of our language.
As language workers, we see that correct, consistent terminology is becoming more important and complex than ever, thanks to the multilingual environment we live in. For instance, we have 24 official languages in the European Union. In many spheres of the linguistic landscape, texts must be translated in each of the official languages. Terminology is the key to making translation clear, consistent and precise....
While ten years ago we only had four or five solutions using online TMs, today we can find more than 40. We now classify CAT tools in two different categories: desktop-based or cloud-based. For higher flexibility, we find both approaches being addressed by some developers such as WordFast or Kilgray (memoQ).
One of the most important changes that we can appreciate in these ten years is the proliferation of this type of solution, with a clear trend toward cloud-based solutions. Proliferation means competition and competition means lower and flexible pricing. Today a group of translators can offer this technology to its clients while in the past only big corporations had the infrastructure and money to do so. It is still true that the level of development is very different and that this will be reflected in the price, but high-end solutions are still more affordable today than they used to be....
In order to remain competitive, global business leaders need to be able to adapt to diverse national, organizational and professional cultures. A leader who can accommodate and master these challenges practices what we refer to as geoleadership.
Differences in language, cultural preferences for pace, intonation, spatial distance and more play a role in any intercultural communication. The seemingly worldwide acceptance and use of “common” technologies, both hardware and software, can create an illusion of familiarity....
Other sections on accessibility and localization, fan translation (“ROM hacking”) and crowdsourcing, as well as the use of machine translation in online games provide valuable insights. To me, however, the most interesting chapter was “Pedagogical issues in training game localizers.” The authors criticize the fact that despite the large demand for game localization and the existence of numerous translator training programs at universities worldwide, this subject has been largely ignored (though they do include an appendix on “Postgraduate courses in game localization in Spain”). Rather than simply decrying this state of affairs, they offer a detailed discussion of what such programs should consist of, including specific course descriptions . . .
Thus, for me, and probably for many readers, localizing for Western Europe seems like it should be easy. Easier than many places, anyway. And probably it is — both for products coming from the United States and products coming from other locales in Western Europe. There are many shared cultural assumptions and even some shared cultural references. . .
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, UrbanDictionary.com has seven different definitions of the word frenemy. None of them are positive. Personally, I first heard of frenemies when the term popped up as a program title in season three of Sex and the City. In this episode, Miranda meets a guy at a wake and asks how he knew the deceased. He says, “Roommates in college. We were friends, but competitive. We were always fighting it out for everything. He even died first, just to beat me to the punch,” to which Miranda responds, “You were the classic frenemies.” In other words, they looked and acted like friends, but really, down at the core, there was still something adversarial going on. Friend + enemy. . .
Whenever we encounter new cultures outside of our experience, whether it is through travel to the locale or people from those cultures visiting us, we face a dilemma. There is an innate desire to connect and communicate, to find the common ground experience that may lay the foundation for a long-term relationship of some variety. Certainly there are topics that are common to all of our humanity — family, friends, work, recreation and so on. At various levels, we also collectively experience issues with politics, economics, various forms of disparity, inclusion, exclusion and so on. What defines the boundaries of proper topics? Who writes the rules of context for when a discussion about, say, a government action against its citizens is acceptable and disclosure of one’s annual income is not? And of course, why does this matter to our practice of content localization and culturalization? . . .
Ask me about the US localization job market and I could rattle on for days, but for intel on Western Europe, I called on Inger Larsen, managing director of Larsen Globalization, a language industry recruitment company based in London.
Larsen and I know each other well. We were business partners for close to seven years, both recruiting for the company she founded in 2001. My US-based partner and team kept focused on the US market, and Larsen and her crew took care of the United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East. We all recruited for Asia. For years now we have gone to each other for advice and like to toss back and forth tidbits on what makes us different.
The great thing about getting to know a job market through a recruiter is that she (or he) has a very good feeling for how jobs are flowing at any given moment. They know trends in hiring, they know who is hiring and what the most popular positions are. . .
Karen Netto & Nelia Fahloun
Inside the EC, the Directorate-General for Translation (DG Translation) has several translation-related initiatives. These include terminology (the IATE portal and the activities of the TermCoord unit); translation masters degrees (EMT, a quality label for university translation programs); and machine translation with the MT@EC program.
According to an EC study, up to 11% of small to medium enterprises (nearly a million firms) have lost contracts with potential clients in other EU countries because of language barriers. Recognizing the shortage of language skills, the EC is proposing that by 2020, at least 50% of all 15-year-olds in Europe should speak one foreign language as an “independent user” and 75% of all pupils should learn two foreign languages at lower secondary level. . .
According to the 2012 First European Survey on Language Competences, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish are the most widely taught languages in the EU. The survey also found that improvement is still needed and that skills vary across countries. Only 42% of students were found to be competent in their first foreign language, and just 25% in their second.
At the college and university level, the Erasmus program promotes and facilitates study abroad and the resulting enhanced language and intercultural skills within the EU. The Erasmus program has been in existence since 1987 and over three million students have participated. The program currently serves approximately 230,000 students per year. The term “Erasmus generation” has been coined to describe the generation of transnational professionals able to follow career and professional options seamlessly throughout Europe. Employers can get involved by offering internships and placements to students in the Erasmus program. . .
When Oscar Wilde quipped in his 1887 short story The Canterville Ghost, “We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language,” he was definitely onto something. The differences between British (UK) and American English, however small they appear to nonnative speakers, stand out to natives on either side of the pond.
Despite a few centuries of these gradually evolving variants, the languages never diverged too much, and UK and US English remain siblings. So how much do these differences justify localizing or customizing content, products and services for the UK market?
Thanks to globalization and the proliferation of American culture, language and products, what gets produced in the United States is perfectly understandable to just about anyone in the United Kingdom. After all, aren't they all avid consumers of cult series such as Friends, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad? . . .
But how useful is access to all of Google’s technology if you can’t understand the interface?
That’s of course where localization comes in. More than three in four of Google’s users live outside the United States. Three in four internet users have a different native language than English. As language professionals, we wield the power of language to convey values. And our mandate as Google’s language specialists is to use the power of our respective languages to convey Google’s values.
Here’s a story about how much localization can matter on a micro-level: one of the most recent additions to the over 160 languages that Google Search is localized into is Myanmar. Bringing Google to Myanmar was a volunteer project bringing together Google and the Burmese community worldwide, and it met a host of challenges. . .
In part one of this article, I discussed the main approaches to machine translation (MT): statistical (SMT) and rules-based (RBMT), as well as hybrid, which combines the two. Using case studies from my own company, LexWorks, as well as those from other technology agnostics such as PayPal, Symantec, Autodesk and Adobe, I demonstrated that for many experienced MT practitioners, it’s not a case of which engine is best, but rather which engine best suits the content and language combinations. This second article of the series provides more concrete examples of fitting the right approach to the right situation. . .