Frequently Asked Questions
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Translation & Localization
Many global businesses need support in optimizing translation processes. According to Common Sense Advisory, nearly 90% of companies outsource their translation and localization projects. While some organizations choose to handle localization in house, not everyone has the resources, expertise or time to handle translation effectively. By selecting us as your localization partner, you gain immediate scale & expertise. You can focus on your core business, and let us focus on ours.
Many free online translation services are straight machine translations. In some cases, such as on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, a free translation service provides quick real time translations that may or may not get the idea across. The risks are poor grammar, mistakes and errors in translation. For business materials, such as marketing or legal documents, and complex localization projects, we recommend using a professional translation service provider who has extensive experience in business translations, project management, quality assurance, proofreading and review methodologies.
Sure. For some projects, that might be the better option. For example, if you have a personal document such as a CV or a non-profit community project, using a freelancer that you know and trust might provide you with exactly what you need. However, if your business relies on translations to support its global expansion, including multiple language translations, proofreading, reviewing and quality assurance, you’d be better served by working with us. You need to decide what level of quality, service and expertise is right for you.
We are accustomed to thinking that computers & software are productivity-enhancing tools. MT promises to decrease the cost of translations from any language to any language; with the accessibility of free online MT tools like Google Translate, it is becoming ubiquitous. For clients who already use machine translations, we offer review, post editing and QA services. If you are interested in using machine translation for your business we can review program to investigate the feasibility of implementing MT successfully.
There are lots of opinions about using free translation software such as Google or Bing. Google Translate is a free translation tool that provides instant translations covering different languages. It can translate words, sentences and web pages. When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you. This process of seeking patterns in large amounts of text is called statistical machine translation. Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translations will be perfect. Source: Google Translate
When our localization team receives a file for translation, the file is analyzed against your translation memory database to determine whether a pre-existing translation is available for a given phrase. Exact matches, also known as 100% matches, provide the highest amount of cost savings because the text already has a translation on record. The translator would simply need to verify that the pre-translated match is accurate and fits the context.
For example, if your text reads “He ran home to Main Street.” And the TM returned “He ran home on the main street.” This would count as a Fuzzy Match, our linguist would review the string or phrase, and would address the sentence in context. Using match analysis helps our translators maintain translation consistency, saving you money.
Phrases or sentences that are repeated continuously throughout a document are called Repetitions, and are usually discounted as 100% matches. A company that does not already have a TM cannot benefit from exact or fuzzy matches, but can benefit from repetitions.
We can work with most file formats. It is usually best to send the text directly from the source file, as it would require less conversion. PDF files are not meant to be edited. There are some tools that allow minor edits to a PDF file; however, these are limited for translation purposes due layout, design elements and character impacts. But if that’s all you got, send it over. For website translations, content in html, xml or any variations straight from your WCMS is best. We can also integrate using our Translation Management System with our API and connectors.
The term “cloud-based translation management system” refers to a TM system, where the translation memory software and linguistic assets (i.e. the translation memory database, glossaries) are hosted on remote, web-enabled servers that linguists access using a thin client or a standard web browser. With a cloud-based system, all linguistic assets are stored on a single centralized server; hence sharing translation assets among multiple linguists is eﬀortless. Teams can instantly collaborate.
DTP & Graphic Localization
Yes. When producing a brochure in a foreign language it is very important to ensure that the text alignment within the layout is correct. When the characters are different than the source language (i.e. English versus Chinese), the layout may need to be reset or aligned ensuring that the new text is properly displayed. Our Linguistic DTP specialists can work with various DTP tools, and also know the target language for your final document.
For brochures and data sheets requiring desktop publishing or design layout, providing the source file (ie. Adobe Indesign, QuarkXpress, FrameMaker) will require less manual manipulation, thus more consistency when developing the final document for print or digital versions.
PDF files are not meant to be edited. There are some tools that allow minor edits to a PDF file; however, these are limited for translation purposes due layout, design elements and character impacts. But if that’s all you got, send it over.
Marketing & Transcreation
The answer will depend on where your client base is located and which audience you want to attract. The top languages often requested are English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese; add Portuguese, Russian and Arabic and your web materials reach over 80% of the online market, according to study of language reach posted on MC Marketing Charts.
Style Guides and Glossaries are the key to consistency across projects and borders. How an idea is adapted can be subjective and may vary from person to person. For example, “that is a smart outfit.” What does it mean? If the word “smart” was translated using synonyms, you might get “that is an intelligent outfit” or, “that is a brilliant outfit” or, “that’s a sharp outfit.” To ensure a messaging tone or style across languages, provide a Style Guide and glossary for your company or project.
Marketing translation is the process of adapting marketing materials for local markets and languages. Marketing translation ensures that the company’s positioning and voice is consistent throughout all marketing materials including websites, collateral, packing, product specifications and brochures for foreign markets.
Transcreation experts take your content or storyboard, and bring in creativity to reposition it with unique copywriting and editorial review in the local language. Trancreation is like hiring local PR or brand management expertise to develop your local advertising campaign. Since transcreation is highly specialized and creative intensive, a higher level of collaboration, time and costs commitments are usually associated with this compared to Marketing Translations. Talk to us to determine which is better for your international marketing needs.
Software & Mobile Apps
Software localization involves the user interface, help files, “read me” files, installers, legal warranties, user guides, and any installation instructions. Any voice-over requirements in both the application and the eLearning materials must also be considered. Training materials, user documentation, customer support websites and other online resources are also part of the program.
Yes. We also support open source content management systems. We leverage our API with a plugin which connects the backend of a Drupal or Wordpress website to our translation management system. Clients can send content directly to us for translation using the relevant CMS plugin.
Clients can access our Client Portal via the our website to initiate and track their localization project. This web based application serves as a window to your localization projects, and is accessible via the internet…on the cloud.
Understand your market. Find out which devices are most popular in your target markets, and use that data point in developing your localization strategy. In some regions, it might make more sense to design mobile apps first for specific apps, and then roll-out more broadly. For example, based on user population: IOS, then Android, BlackBerry or Windows may be a good strategy in some countries.
Test, test, test again, and test more… your final step before you move to your next market is to test. Test your app on each platform, as well as for major mobile browsers. This will demonstrate how well an app works on various operating systems and ensure consistency.
Pseudo-localization is a testing method whereby the text (usually the strings of the software user interface) is replaced with another text to test for internationalization issues. By testing the application with non-Latin characters and accents, such as those used in Asian and Middle Eastern languages, many issues related to UI display can be revealed early in the product development cycle.
ELearning & Training
The learning experience can vary tremendously based on presentation. Localizing eLearning material will depend on the type of content, the presentation platform, and the target culture. Along with content, consideration should also be given to the user interface, voice narration, and multimedia platforms. Selecting the right voice and delivery speed can make a difference to the training experience. The goal is to make the learning experience effective for the audience.
Multimedia can enhance training programs by allowing the learner to receive the material using visual and audio cues designed to stimulate the learning experience. For example, presenting material with voice and sound effects can be effective for both visual and auditory learners. Flash media, videos and other visual effects will not only bring the content alive, but will also make the experience more memorable, and enhance the learning process.
Localizing multimedia content will depend on many things including the source material and the target languages. Consideration should be given to text, colors, images and sounds. Different cultures have different connotations regarding visual images and colors. For example, white connotes pureness in some Western cultures, but in some Asian cultures it is reserved for death.
Voice-Over & Subtitling
When deciding on voice talent you should consider the type of project and the audience. Is it training for employees or an advertising piece with potentially high visibility? Is it a computer based eLearning module or a video for YouTube? Does it make sense to use a female British English talent or a male American talent, or an accented voice, such as a Spanish voice speaking English? The voice must represent the right appeal for the audience.
The primary difference has to do with how the text is recorded in relation to the screen slides or video images. If a specific audio speed is required, then you would need a timed script dictating the amount of time a specific sentence, phrase or section will need to span. Whereas a free flow script will allow the voice talent to express the message in a natural speed not tied to time constraints, yet flowing within the video or screen slides.
When localizing multimedia projects the decision to use subtitles or voiceover will depend on the content and budget. For example, when producing an eLearning piece, a more enriching learning experience can be created by using both visual and listening cues. Videos tend to be more effective using voice talent when there is lots of dialogue or narration. When working within strict budget constraints, using subtitles can be effective.