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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

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January/February, 2011


Columns and Commentary

Post Editing: The ghost in the machine

Philosophers have long debated what it is that makes us human, extrapolating on the soul, creativity — for what else among animals or machines has a penchant for l'art pour l'art — love, complexity and even hatred. For centuries, we were supposed to be the only beings on earth capable of using real ...

Enterprise Innovators: MT at Symantec

Enterprise Innovators is a series of interviews with trailblazers whose innovations in language technologies are helping establish new best practices within the localization industry. In this first column of the series, Lori Thicke speaks with Fred Hollowood, ...

Off the Map: Pinnacle Islands: mapping sensitivity

I've many times mentioned geopolitical disputes over various pieces of geography, and their variety has been all over the map, so to speak, from boundaries to place names to breakaway regions and so forth. However, perhaps it would be useful to deconstruct a specific dispute to better illustrate the dynamics behind the issue. This could help elucidate some of the geopolitical, social-historical and cultural ...

World Savvy: Dying customs

There is nothing more universal on earth than death. It will happens to all of us, yet how it is observed has to be one of the most local and culturally sensitive activities around.

No generalization can be made as to whether a local custom involved in the observance of death is right or wrong. It just "is" and we have to respect how it is observed and how we pay our respects. Michael Kearl's Guide to the Sociology of Death says it all: "Every culture has a coherent mortality thesis whose ...

The Business Side: Agile challenges

Agile development is such a hot topic these days because it represents a change in how software is developed. More specifically, it has proven successful in producing highly productive results. It has a lot of developers very excited, and at this point, it's hardly going away. That's why ...

Perspectives: Translation agency pricing

I have been a translation agency director since 1998. As such, I have had to develop a viable method for determining the rates we charge our clients. At first, I had based my quotations solely on ...

Perspectives: That does not compute: fear of losing the human element

The term machine translation (MT) is usually unsettling on more than one level. First, of course, is what you've no doubt encountered in your own business or heard elsewhere. Clients hear the term, and their minds jump from value to cost. They cringe and think, "They're incorporating MT into my project? Now I'm paying for them to feed words into a machine?"

But underlying that thought lurks the suspicion that their text will undergo a freakish transformation: ...

Takeaway: Unsung heroes of localization

More often than not, the news in the localization industry is about a new tool or application. Rarely does one hear anything about the thousands of people toiling behind ...


MT and translating ideas

Language is the last real barrier to expediting localization processes, and computers now appear set to break that too, crunching words as they do numbers. However, excitement about fresh translation productivity gains needs to be tempered a bit. The reductionism that has enabled the industrialization of many other processes cannot wholly succeed with language, since words alone are not perfect ...

The changing addressable market and machine translation

A good definition of addressable market is the clientage of people and organizations that share the same pain that your product resolves or mitigates. There are two, maybe more, variables involved in addressable market for machine translation (MT) software. One is the environment on which it runs, and the second is ...

MT data security

Most people know about machine translation (MT) from the internet. Providers such as Google Translate and others supply online translations within seconds "from every language into every language," as it were. All this, free of charge. The decision-maker of a company asks, "Why, then, should I waste ...

Improving MT results: a study

If machine translation (MT) has gone mainstream, our guess is that this has more to do with changed expectations than with improved technology. That MT technology has advanced goes without saying, but the biggest change may be that users no longer expect high-quality translations "out of the box." Most users anticipate having to invest in some customization work to get the kind of MT output that is as close to human ...

An experiment with literary machine translation

I recently wandered into an experiment with machine translation (MT). For a long time I have been interested in a part of history that is not widely known. During World War I, there was a military campaign in East Africa that involved hundreds of thousands of troops. A small number of German and native troops defended their East African colony against ...


Search engine optimization and international branding

Many large companies invest money in international offline advertising, but when you search for their brand name in local search engines, sometimes you will not find their site in the top organic results even if ...


Translating slogans

In a per-word world, slogan translation should be some of the most inexpensive work we do. After all, Refreshingly Real, for example, is only two words. But what's refreshingly real about slogan translation is that this type of work comes anything but ...