Archive for March, 2011

New Rules of the Road for Global Online Marketing Campaigns

This article was publish on http://www.marketingvox.com. Here is the part #1:

News flash. Online ads in India perform better when written in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and other regional languages compared to English creatives! Apparently these localized ads attract more internet users, according to a survey by Ozone Media and reportedin the Economic Times.

If that wasn’t surprising enough, the study also found that resident Indians respond to regional language ads 30% more compared to English ads.

Pardon the tongue-in-check tone, but what is really surprising is that companies seeking to go global must learn the same lessons over and over again, with each new generation of technology. The absolute necessity of translating anything marketing related – or customer facing as well – into a local language complete with local expressions, culturally-sensitive images, along with a grasp of the region’s history, manners and attitudes has been long established. All that remains is learning what these habits are and tapping the correct resources to execute the campaign according to local custom. Which in itself is hardly an easy feat, of course.

To be fair, new technology – a category that does include online marketing – requires a review of the basics so they can be adopted to these new-to-the-scene tools and practices.

 

For the full article, click here.

Localization vs Internationalization

Localization and internalization are two of many important things for a company which wants to adopt a product of another country, so to say another language. Have you ever thought about the importance of translation in localization and internalization? This article is published by the W3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity who works with W3C working groups and liaises with other organizations to make it possible to use Web technologies with different languages, scripts, and cultures.

 

Localization

Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale).

Localization is sometimes written as l10n, where 10 is the number of letters between l and n.

Often thought of only as a synonym for translation of the user interface and documentation, localization is often a substantially more complex issue. It can entail customization related to:

1.            Numeric, date and time formats

2.            Use of currency

3.            Keyboard usage

4.            Collation and sorting

5.            Symbols, icons and colors

6.            Text and graphics containing references to objects, actions or ideas which, in a given culture, may be subject to misinterpretation or viewed as insensitive.

7.            Varying legal requirements

8.            and many more things.

Localization may even necessitate a comprehensive rethinking of logic, visual design, or presentation if the way of doing business (eg., accounting) or the accepted paradigm for learning (eg., focus on individual vs. group) in a given locale differs substantially from the originating culture.

Internationalization

Definitions of internationalization vary. This is a high-level working definition for use with W3C Internationalization Activity material. Some people use other terms, such as globalization to refer to the same concept.

Internationalization is the design and development of a product, application or document content that enables easy localization for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language.

Internationalization is often written i18n, where 18 is the number of letters between i and n in the English word.

Internationalization typically entails:

1.            Designing and developing in a way that removes barriers to localization or international deployment. This includes such things as enabling the use of Unicode, or ensuring the proper handling of legacy character encodings where appropriate, taking care over the concatenation of strings, avoiding dependance in code of user-interface string values, etc.

2.            Providing support for features that may not be used until localization occurs. For example, adding markup in your DTD to support bidirectional text, or for identifying language. Or adding to CSS support for vertical text or other non-Latin typographic features.

3.            Enabling code to support local, regional, language, or culturally related preferences. Typically this involves incorporating predefined localization data and features derived from existing libraries or user preferences. Examples include date and time formats, local calendars, number formats and numeral systems, sorting and presentation of lists, handling of personal names and forms of address, etc.

4.            Separating localizable elements from source code or content, such that localized alternatives can be loaded or selected based on the user’s international preferences as needed.

Notice that these items do not necessarily include the localization of the content, application, or product into another language; they are design and development practices which allow such a migration to take place easily in the future but which may have significant utility even if no localization ever takes place.

The value of internationalization

Internationalization significantly affects the ease of the product’s localization. Retrofitting a linguistically- and culturally-centered deliverable for a global market is obviously much more difficult and time-consuming than designing a deliverable with the intent of presenting it globally. (Think back to the Y2K effort and trying to “undo” two-character year fields that were built on the assumption of “19xx”).

So ideally, internationalization occurs as a fundamental step in the design and development process, rather than as an afterthought that can often involve awkward and expensive re-engineering.

For the original article, click here.

A comparative look at Machine Translation

Here is an interesting article by Jayaram Krishnaswamy who compares different machine translations of the same Japanese text. This article clearly highlights the importance of us as translators. You can see why we are still there for you!

“Machine translation has to go a longway before it can become an established way of doing translations. Recently while reading a news item in Japanese I tried out my own translation skills learnt a long time ago and tried to see how it compares with machine translation. Here are some results. Some did not recognize the language and Google recognised it as Chinese with all the Hiragana / Katakana characters left in place with only Chinese characters translated into English and to get an all English translation the language was set to Japanese.

Original News item March 21, 01:00 AM Japan Time

北澤防衛大臣は、防衛省で記者会見し、福島第一原子力発電所について、19日に続いて、上空から表面温度を測定した結果、3号機の格納容器の上を除いて、1号機から6号機まで、いずれも100度未満で、専門家の分析で、使用済み燃料を保管するプールに水が入っていることを裏付ける貴重なデータになるという見方が示されたことを明らかにしました。

Bing Translator:

Members expressed the view that Kitazawa, Defense Minister at the Ministry of Defense briefing and Fukushima first nuclear power plant on the 19th followed, from surface temperature measurements taken, except on the containment of no.3 unit aircraft from No. 6 MK until none less than 100 degrees, expert analysis, storing spent fuel pool water contains valuable data to be unveiled.

Google Translation after indicating language as Japanese:

Sawa Kita Defense Minister, the Ministry of Defense press conference about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, followed by 19 days, the surface temperature was measured from the sky, except for the containment of Unit 3, Unit 1 6 Unit until, in less than 100 degrees both in expert analysis, it was shown clearly to the view that as valuable data confirms that the water has entered the pool to store spent fuel.

Yahoo- Babelfish:

Defensive Minister of State Kitazawa the reporter interviewed at the defensive ministry, following on the 19th concerning the Fukushima first nuclear power plant, 1 from the machine 6 to the machine, each of them made that the viewpoint that is shown under 100 degrees, with analysis of the specialist, it becomes the valuable data which supports the fact that the water has entered into the pool which keeps the spent fuel, clear the result of measuring surface temperature from the sky, 3 excluding on the Containment Vessel of the machine.

My Traslation ():
Japanese Defense Minister Kitazawa at the defense ministry’s briefing following the 19th unvieled the results of aerial surface temperature measurements on reactors 1 to 6  at the Fukushima Nuclear Power station. The results of surface measurements indicate that on reactors 1 to 6 were below 100 deg C except directly above the containment vessel of reactor 3. This result according to expert analysts is an important data indicating that water has entered the pool containing the spent fuel  rods.”

For the original article, click here.

Machine Translation vs Human Translation

 

With the development in machine translation technology, questions about the future of translation have started to be raised. Is it possible that the machines can do what we, as translators, do exactly what we do right now? Will we be unemployed in the future? Will the job description of the translator be reduced to “translation editor”?

While I was reading blogs and articles to find out what’s going on in our field, I came across this interesting article. Here are some parts from it. I think we all share the thoughts of “patenttranslator”:

 

“In some ways, computers changed the translation universe beyond recognition as cheap or free machine translation became as ubiquitous as advertising. Just about everybody (at least everybody in the non-English-speaking world) is using machine translation to find out more about the world around us.

But seen from another perspective, you could also say that real translation, the kind that is produced by humans who understand and translate languages, has not really changed that much since the time of Saint Jerome, the patron saint of translators and librarians who lived about fifteen hundred years ago. It all depends on what your view of translation is. If you see it as mostly just moving words from one language to another, the future of translation is in memory tools such as Trados and more and better machine translation, while the only future available to translators will be human editing of the product of these computer editing tools and of the machine translation product. That is certainly one school of thought on the future of translation.

The way I understand translation – it is mostly about what things said in one language really mean in another language. Computer tools and software can be programmed by human programmers to look for meaning. Meaning is a category that can be simulated by software, but simulation is almost never a substitute for the real thing. Meaning is a category that is not and never will be accessible to machines, regardless of how powerful they may be by the time everybody who is reading these lines will have been dead for decades.”

For the full article, click here.

 

Translation and Culture

The term ‘culture’ addresses three salient categories of human activity: the ‘personal,’ whereby we as individuals think and function as such; the ‘collective,’ whereby we function in a social context; and the ‘expressive,’ whereby society expresses itself.

Language is the only social institution without which no other social institution can function; it therefore underpins the three pillars upon which culture is built.

Translation, involving the transposition of thoughts expressed in one language by one social group into the appropriate expression of another group, entails a process of cultural de-coding, re-coding and en-coding. As cultures are increasingly brought into greater contact with one another, multicultural considerations are brought to bear to an ever-increasing degree. Now, how do all these changes influence us when we are trying to comprehend a text before finally translating it? We are not just dealing with words written in a certain time, space and socio-political situation; most importantly it is the “cultural” aspect of the text that we should take into account. The process of transfer, i.e., re-coding across cultures, should consequently allocate corresponding attributes vis-a-vis the target culture to ensure credibility in the eyes of the target reader.

Multiculturalism, which is a present-day phenomenon, plays a role here, because it has had an impact on almost all peoples worldwide as well as on the international relations emerging from the current new world order. Moreover, as technology develops and grows at a hectic pace, nations and their cultures have, as a result, started a merging process whose end (-point?) is difficult to predict. We are at the threshold of a new international paradigm. Boundaries are disappearing and distinctions are being lost. The sharp outlines that were once distinctive now fade and become blurred.

As translators we are faced with an alien culture that requires that its message be conveyed in anything but an alien way. That culture expresses its idiosyncrasies in a way that is ‘culture-bound’: cultural words, proverbs and of course idiomatic expressions, whose origin and use are intrinsically and uniquely bound to the culture concerned. So we are called upon to do a cross-cultural translation whose success will depend on our understanding of the culture we are working with.

Is it our task to focus primarily on the source culture or the target culture? The answer is not clear-cut. Nevertheless, the dominant criterion is the communicative function of the target text.

Let us take business correspondence as an example: here we follow the commercial correspondence protocol commonly observed in the target language. So “Estimado” will become “Dear” in English and “Monsieur” in French, and a “saludo a Ud. atentamente” will become “Sincerely yours” in English and “Veuillez agreer Monsieur, mes sentiments les plus distingues” in French.

Finally, attention is drawn to the fact that among the variety of translation approaches, the ‘Integrated Approach’ seems to be the most appropriate. This approach follows the global paradigm in which having a global vision of the text at hand has a primary importance. Such an approach focuses from the macro to the micro level in accordance with the Gestalt-principle, which states that an analysis of parts cannot provide an understanding of the whole; thus translation studies are essentially concerned with a web of relationships, the importance of individual items being decided by their relevance within the larger context: text, situation and culture.

In conclusion, it can be pointed out that the transcoding (de-coding, re-coding and en-coding?-the term ‘transcoding’ appears here for the first time) process should be focused not merely on language transfer but also-and most importantly-on cultural transposition. As an inevitable consequence (corollary?) of the previous statement, translators must be both bilingual and bicultural, if not indeed multicultural.

Is it our task to focus primarily on the source culture or the target culture? The answer is not clear-cut. Nevertheless, the dominant criterion is the communicative function of the target text.

Let us take business correspondence as an example: here what we do is to follow the language commercial correspondence protocol commonly observed in the target language. So “Estimado” will become “Dear” in English and “Monsieur” in French, and a “saludo a Ud. atentamente” will become “Sincerely yours” in English and “Veuillez agreer Monsieur, mes sentiments les plus distingues” in French.

Finally, attention is drawn to the fact that among the variety of translation approaches, the? Integrated Approach? Seems to be the most appropriate. This approach follows the global paradigm in which having a global vision of the text at hand has a primary importance. Such an approach focuses from the macro to the micro level in accordance with the Gestalt-principle which lays down that an analysis of parts cannot provide an understanding of the whole and thus translation studies are essentially concerned with a web of relationships, the importance of individual items, being decided by their relevance in the larger context: text, situation and culture.

In conclusion, it can be pointed out that the transcoding process should be focused not merely on language transfer but also-and most importantly-on cultural transposition. As an inevitable consequence of the previous statement, translators must be both bilingual and bicultural if not multicultural.

By Alejandra Patricia Karamanian

The role of translation in localization, internalization and globalization (Part#2)

Reprinted by permission from the Globalization Insider, Volume XI, Issue 1.5, pages 1-5. Copyright the Localization Industry Standards Association

(Globalization Insider:www.localization.org, LISA: www.lisa.org)
and S.M.P. Marketing Sarl (SMP) 2004.

To complete our quartet of terms, we can show how translation fits into these key processes. Once again, we can probably rely on the vernacular understanding of the word and say that translation refers to the specifically linguistic operations, performed by human or machine, that actually replaces the expressions in one natural language into those of another. This has the effect of making translation just one task – possibly the most time consuming, costly and vital, but as we have seen not the only one – in adapting something to the needs of the given locale.

An interesting phenomenon is that much of today’s new, emerging publishing standards, such as content management systems and XML, place a new focus on the art of translation. Where localization previously incorporated translation as “just one” of the activities, these new publishing standards strip all the complexities from the raw text, i.e. separate layout and structure from the “content”, which is one of the primary goals of internationalization. This means translators in localization can finally start focusing on what they should really be focusing on – changing one natural language into another.

We can see more and more practices and technologies that were previously very specific to the “localization world” entering into the more traditional translation industry. For example, translation memory tools are now commonly used by translators who translate material which is not software related. Similarly, legal translators may be faced with XML documentation while life sciences translators may have to translate a piece of software running on a medical device.

As humanity evolves, so do languages and definitions. The concepts of translation and localization may progressively merge. Localization may no longer be a separate discipline since sooner or later all translators will have to know at least the basics of localization – from translation to localization, and back again.

For the full article, click here.

By Pierre Cadieux
President of i18N Inc.
Specializes in internationalization training
and consulting for embedded systems,
shrink-wrap software and web sites.
Technology Editor of LISA Newsletter
pcadieux@i18n.ca
www.i18n.ca

&

By Bert Esselink
Author of “A Practical Guide to Localization” book.
Works for Lionbridge’s consulting group.
bert_esselink@lionbridge.com

A short history of localization, internalization and globalization (Part#1)

Reprinted by permission from the Globalization Insider, Volume XI, Issue 1.5, pages 1-5. Copyright the Localization Industry Standards Association

(Globalization Insider: www.localization.org, LISA: www.lisa.org)
and S.M.P. Marketing Sarl (SMP) 2004.

In the beginning, or shortly thereafter, there were people. And when one people met another people, translation was born. Then, somewhat later, came software. And when people started translating software, some of the changes required were not, strictly speaking, translation: changes to character encoding’s, date and time formats, sorting rules, etc. The term localization was used to more generally describe any changes required to adapt a product to the needs of a particular group of people generally in the same physical location or locale; in short, to make local as the dictionary suggests.

A locale in our industry identifies a group of people by their common language and cultural conventions; the group may or may not be in the same physical location. French-Canadians, for example, are present mainly in the province of Quebec, but there are several other groups in Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. In our industry, the word locale has become a virtual location, more akin to the concept of culture. To wit, we name locales by language-country pairs; for example, French-Canada is one locale, while French-France is another.

When multiple localization efforts were performed on the same product, it became obvious that certain steps could be performed in advance to make localization easier: separating translatable text strings from the executable code, for example. This was referred to as internationalization or localization-enablement. This definition represents a shift away from the dictionary: internationalization, in our industry, is only the first step in the overall process of making international, as the dictionary suggests.

Finally, when the “rest of the world” gained in importance, it was a marketing imperative to have a strategy to sell all over the world: a so-called globalization strategy!

 

For the full article, click here.

By Pierre Cadieux
President of i18N Inc.
Specializes in internationalization training
and consulting for embedded systems,
shrink-wrap software and web sites.
Technology Editor of LISA Newsletter
pcadieux@i18n.ca
www.i18n.ca

&

By Bert Esselink
Author of “A Practical Guide to Localization” book.
Works for Lionbridge’s consulting group.
bert_esselink@lionbridge.com

 

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