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MultiLingual is the leading source of information for the language industry and businesses with global communications needs. Published eight times a year plus an annual index/resource directory, it is read by more than 12,000 people in 67 countries. Information and current news are also provided by and the free electronic newsletter, MultiLingual News.

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Back Issue

Magazine Cover
October/November, 2010


Columns and Commentary

Post Editing: Visualizing the future

Honestly, how often do we consume visual media? The younger you are, the more you’re likely to find it a completely normative part of life; as ubiquitous as car exhaust, grass, insects or jeans, and exponentially more mundane. Most of my generation and those younger than us carry around video in the palm of our hands, turn to our phones to answer everything, have never gotten cable because Hulu is free and Netflix is cheap, can’t read past a third-grade level if there’s a flashing ad somewhere, and hoard and exchange ironic YouTube and FAIL Blog clips like trading cards of yore.

Off the Map: Wearable culture

When it comes to the visual representation of culture, I often get asked about what might be the most obvious outward expression of a cultural identity. Given the events of the recent World Cup football competition, some might think it’s simply how creatively a person might wear a national flag. Indeed, the wearable aspect of culture is actually ...

World Savvy: Are smartphones making us stupid?

Imagine this not-too-far-fetched scenario. A young project manager in the US midwest comes into the office and shows off his new Android smartphone. His boss notes the project manager showing off its features. “Very interesting,” he says, and then adds, “I just read a research report that said people who use smartphones at work are 28% less productive than those who don’t. Accordingly, I am cutting your salary ...

The Business Side: Shrinking the triangle

Good, fast, cheap — pick any two. Project managers will tell you this project triangle is the way it has to be. Fair enough in the short run, but there is a dynamic perspective to this particular triangle. A truism of technology is that it serves as a great flattener, ultimately destroying pricing and economies in one area, only to give rise to new and hopefully broader opportunities. The rise of communication technologies that join markets, customers and workers are a remarkable example ...

Perspectives: Backing into localization

The other day I was talking with an industry colleague, and the question came up about how each of us had ended up in the localization business. In my case, I always had an interest in history and archaeology. Who among us doesn’t love National Geographic? I had lived...

Takeaway: Don’t write for translation, write for users

I was recently impressed by a tweet from Darwin Information Typing Architecture high priestess JoAnn Hackos (@jthackos): “Stop writing documentation. Started saying that 20 years ago but still hasn’t taken hold. Write for the customer...

Getting Started Guide

Prescription Drug Labeling and Translation

The state of California is currently considering Senate Bill (SB) 1390, which, among other provisions, would require that pharmacies consider “the needs of patients with limited English proficiency” when labeling prescription drugs. The bill is receiving attention from health care ...

How Documentation and Translation Processes Affect Each Other

Companies that successfully integrate translation into the documentation and product development process reap the financial benefits of simultaneous global releases; high-quality products that meet the needs of all their customers, regardless of locale; and improved perception of customer service. Such integration also requires the localization/translation vendor to ...

Native Speaker or Nonnative Speaker: That Is the Question

Translation, always a thorny issue, has been considered something of a necessary evil since time immemorial. One question that has probably been in vogue since translators first existed is if the translator should be a native speaker or a nonnative speaker of the target language ...

Industry Focus

Video killed the radio star — what about translation?

If video killed the radio star, there’s no telling what it will do to translation. Of course, I’m referring to the Buggles’ smash hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” and the first video to play on MTV. Since August 1, 1981, this British punk song has been covered by Radiohead, the Violent Femmes, Presidents of the United States, and even Alvin and the Chipmunks. And when the Chipmunks get with it, no matter what “it” is, you know it’s gone mainstream. Face it, folks: video is taking over. According to YouTube, site-goers watch ...

Dubbing vs. subtitling

Subtitling is a field of audiovisual translation that very little has been written about in terms of market and economic impact. The current situation of this specialty audiovisual translation market is gauged through data gathered on subtitling published by various sources in the past few years. Its economic status has been analyzed through data collected ...

Moving toward multimedia content

While traditional approaches to the translation of text to text are still widely used, new methods of communicating with users in their target languages (TLs) are being explored and used around the world. As graphics, sound, images and video clips become more and more prevalent, shifts in the approaches and processes used to translate such content are ...

Challenges of internet slang in game localization in China

With the increasing popularity of video gaming among young people, internet slang has emerged over the past five years as an alternative form of computer-mediated communication within cyberculture. Jargon used in online games is not only varied, but also evolves and changes continually with users sometimes making up internet terms and...



Fluency is most aptly named. I've been watching the development of translation environment tools, often called somewhat more narrowly computer-aided translation tools, for a number of years now, and I think it's not an exaggeration to say that this very young tool is developing at a faster pace than any other tool I've looked at in the past. Only a few weeks ago I wrote about Fluency elsewhere, and already much of what I wrote is obsolete — partly because ...


Operations infrastructure for real-time translations

More than two decades ago, I coauthored a paper on real-time translation. The basic idea was to embed a machine translation (MT) engine into the operating system and have it translate user interface (UI) elements in real time. This debatable concept was hatched in the context of the TRON Project, an ambitious ...

Who decides translation quality?

If you have been in the localization industry for more than a day or two, you have heard talk of the translation trinity: cost, time and quality. Costs have been moving towards commodity status for some time, and the industry has made good strides in shifting to a continuous process, but quality is still a conundrum for many of us. Unfortunately, I think we have been straying ...