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Columns and Commentary
Interoperability refers to the process of making one thing fit with another thing — different systems and technological products, in this case. Interoperability is sort of like diplomacy between System A and System B, and as such, it is concerned with not just linguistic differences, but getting everything to work together for the common good. By extension, life itself involves interoperability, or bridging the gap between things that run on metaphorically different. . .
While the existence of internationally agreed-upon standards is a relatively new invention in the broad spectrum of human history, the reality is that human civilization has often been perpetuated due to the existence of various standards. If you take ancient Egypt as an example, one of the reasons that society flourished for a few millennia was due to a well-defined system of cultural operations and interrelationships. Admittedly, it didn’t hurt that the Pharaoh was a designated god-king with complete sovereignty over the people. . .
Jason Rickard, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a product manager for community at Symantec. Communities that collaborate to provide translation for languages that would not or could not be covered otherwise is one way that Symantec is supporting more users in more languages.
. . .Thicke: Tell us about your current role.
Rickard: I joined Symantec in 2004 after moving to Ireland and started a community group in 2008, primarily focused on community translation (crowdsourcing). Since that time, the group has expanded to also support community management, social customer relationship management and additional crowdsourcing activities. We are always looking at ways we can engage our users, and a big part of what we do is looking at the future.
Thicke: Because of my work with Translators without Borders, I am keenly interested in communities and see them as an incredibly scalable way of solving some of the world’s problems. Why are communities important to Symantec?. . .
My cousin Suzy says her family recycles because her nine-year-old son shamed her into it. He watched the movie WALL-E at a friend’s house, and now he’s paranoid that we’re destroying the planet. He’s not the only one. While I personally think we’re quite a ways from the trash-covered earth portrayed in the film, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that events such as the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill are destructive. While many blame BP itself for the destruction, I’m of the opinion that BP, albeit recklessly, was only working to meet market needs. If Americans weren’t driving gas guzzlers, Americans wouldn’t need so much gas. I won’t go for a second round of this blame game, but I’m probably not the only person who believes that spill was a hell of our culture’s own making.
In fact, I know I’m not the only person who feels that way. Many of my clients do as well. Most likely, so do many of your clients, if you work for a language service provider (LSP). And if you’re on the buyer side, you still may have noticed changes at your own employer geared toward creating a more environmentally sound workplace. . .
Under a contract designed to save the UK Ministry of Justice £18 million a year, Applied Language Solutions (ALS) started to provide them with court interpreting services on February 1, 2012. UK professional interpreting organizations have mounted a campaign against this contract because it significantly reduces interpreters' earnings.
According to the Law Society’s Gazette, nine out of ten court interpreters are boycotting the ALS service. Protesters claim that hundreds of court and tribunal proceedings have been cancelled because of a lack of interpreters. The campaign also urges statutory regulation of the interpreting profession and protection of the title of legal interpreter. . .
Nancy A. Locke
Ten years. It seems like yesterday. And yet ten years ago, the world was still reeling from the devastating one-two punch of the tech bubble implosion and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers. Both events had a chilling effect on the economy. The language industry did not escape the global slow down as companies reassessed their globalization strategies, axed important projects and choked off important revenue to a nascent industry with already thin margins. Some language services providers took a direct hit. Most spectacularly, Lernout & Hauspie, once a language industry superstar, crashed and burned in October 2001. Many other companies struggled to keep afloat, and major players such as Bowne Global disappeared. Optimism was at an all-time low; layoffs and rumors of layoffs cast a dreary pall over the industry.
In Canada, however, where federal language policy plays a key role in creating the demand for language services, a quiet campaign to put the language industry on the map finally started to show results. Bureaucracy-bound, the campaign moved at glacier speed. . .
I’m a historian by training who writes about the latest trends in translation technology. Some may see this combination as worldview schizophrenia, a perspective caught between the past and the future. I prefer to describe it like this: I study the past to gain a better understanding of the present and, hopefully, a better handle on the future.
With that in mind, allow me to give an overview of the short history of translation technology, especially the kind we find in computer-aided translation (CAT) or translation environment tools (TEnTs). We’ll then look at what’s happening presently and take a brave glance into the future.
In the 1950s and 1960s, translation technology was synonymous with machine translation (MT) or, more accurately, the idea of what MT would be able to do “in five years.” As it became apparent that this five-year prediction was an ever-moving target, funding dried up and only a handful of academic and commercial attempts soldiered on. . .
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
The thought of purchasing a new product or service can seem overwhelming at times. I know that when I need a high-quality product, I tend to research the item or service I’m looking to buy for some time before I buy it. Note that “high-quality product” doesn’t necessarily equate to “expensive.” For first-time car buyers, for example, the process of researching efficiency and safety, test driving and closing the deal can be stressful. There are so many people involved and things can seem unsure for a while before a deal is finally reached, but finding the right car that fits your needs and taste is the goal.
In this way, first-time translation buyers are a little like first-time car buyers. If you don’t know much about languages, there can be a sense of uncertainty at first about what dialect of a language is needed or how much is a good price for a translation project. . .
Mehdi Asadzadeh & Afaf Steiert
It is a well-known, taken-for-granted rule that for any translation to work properly, a translator has to go beyond the superficial meanings of the words.
It is not enough to work out how best to render the words of the source text; rather, it is much more important to extract what the words mean in a particular situation according to cultural context. The cultural facet of translation studies urges us to consider the point that the translator is not the only person involved in the translation process. . .
Real working standards, open or not, must have been driven by a representative industry consensus. In fact, industry representativeness is one of the main competitive characteristics in standards bodies (consortia) in general and in the localization industry in particular.
Let us start with the assumption that openness of standards is an intrinsically positive property and that the localization industry would do well to keep its standards open rather than proprietary. . .
Patrick Guillemin & Sandrine Trillaud
ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, produces globally applicable standards for information and communications technology, including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast and internet technologies, and is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association with more than 700 member companies and organizations, drawn from 62 countries across five continents worldwide, that determine its work program and participate directly in its work.
The Industry Specification Group (ISG) is a flexible standards mechanism offered by ETSI, which builds upon ETSI’s established processes and the professional support provided via the ETSI portal. ETSI ISGs operate alongside the existing structure of technical committees and working groups, and supplement ETSI’s conventional standards development process. ISGs provide a mechanism for the speedy preparation of technical requirements or specifications for well-defined, specific issues, typically in response to a need expressed by a subset of the ETSI membership. ETSI has established seven ISGs during the past three years.
In March 2011, during discussions with the Localization Industry Standard Association (LISA), industry players learned that the five community standards (TMX, TBX, SRX, GMX-V and xml:tm) of LISA OSCAR needed to be maintained elsewhere. . .
We envision translation as an ubiquitous service — so goes the TAUS mission statement. However, this reality will likely only be possible with systems interoperability. This occurs when diverse systems can exchange and process information without human intervention. For ubiquitous translation we would need wide-scale systems interoperability across the industry. We are far from that right now.
Before diving into the interoperability landscape, let’s first examine the value of having translation as an ubiquitous service. The idea is that in a knowledge-driven, interconnected and globalizing world, translation is a basic human requirement. . .
Book on hyperpolyglots challenges perceptions of language proficiency
I’ll come clean. When I was asked as a child in primary school, “What would you do if time and money were no obstacle?” the answer I wrote was, “Travel the world and learn as many languages as possible.” Whether you grew up in a multilingual family or were raised in a largely monolingual environment like I was, those of us who have worked in the language industry have an undeniable love of and penchant for languagesBook on hyperpolyglots challenges perceptions of language proficiency
I’ll come clean. When I was asked as a child in primary school, “What would you do if time and money were no obstacle?” the answer I wrote was, “Travel the world and learn as many languages as possible.” Whether you grew up in a multilingual family or were raised in a largely monolingual environment like I was, those of us who have worked in the language industry have an undeniable love of and penchant for languages. . .
I recently had the opportunity to discuss the product vision with technical director Dominik Radziszowski. I want to focus on the current product version, but I think it is important to see this version as movement along an arc with a definite goal in mind. Radziszowski recognizes the amazing diversity among LSPs, and rather than trying to be “all things to all people,” he has set a course that allows XTRF to focus on core capabilities. . .
International branding errors cause trouble
The annals of marketing campaigns are littered with offensive and often hilarious translations and branding efforts that have backfired, originating from large companies that should have known better.
At a recent session on “Taking Your Brand Global” at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York, executives from Disney and Jimmy Choo shoes made the point. . .