Archive for the ‘lokalizasyon’ Category

Does Machine Translation Take Longer than Human Translation?

I am always talking about a term: ‘translation editors’. In my opinion, today’s ‘translators’ will change into ‘translation editors’ considering the advances in machine translation. However, I have read an article and the author is more pessimistic than me! The focus of her article is the current situation of translation agencies. She thinks some translation agencies are unreliable because they use machine translation. This is not the case in many translation agencies of course. That’s why you should be careful while choosing an agency. Agencies, like AIM Consulting,  offer the full services -not just translation but also a second round of editing and then a third round of proofreading. That’s the way it should be. Other than translation agencies, she is also talking about post-editing and how machine translation fails when the source text does not have a neat and simple grammatical structure. S/he has found this comment on web, which is quite right: 

“I was with a company back in 1995 that sold consumer translation software for PCs, and they marketed it as something magical: input an English business letter or marketing brochure’s text, and out comes a French or Spanish version. So simple, so inexpensive. No more expensive human translators.  But linguists laughed at the French and Spanish output which was often not only inaccurate, but offensive. Then they thought up the idea to combine machine translation (MT), as it is commonly-called, of business text, often marketing materials, with a low-paid, non-trained cadre of foreign language speakers, not translators, for a service offering to produce faster, accurate translation, but it turned out that this was not a faster process since even those linguists could not quickly “post-edit” poor quality machine translation of marketing content. It takes longer and is much more difficult to do that than just translating manually. Here we are years later facing the same issues. Most marketing material is not written with translation in mind, and contains abbreviated, “jargony” English language that is nearly impossible to translate accurately by machine. “Robo translators” can only work if the source language is carefully controlled, written in a simple grammatical style, and key term dictionaries are developed in advance that  can be used to handle a company’s specific terminology. The “crowdsourcing” model for translation for business purposes is a disaster waiting to happen in my opinion. For a global business, a careful, well thought out, culturally appropriate, quality localization project cannot happen magically with “robo translators” and volunteers.”

And conclusion:

So, why the ‘most’ translation agencies suck? Because it is not about human translation any more. Just learn from the example of Fortune 500 companies and try to understand why they don’t trust your “human” translation offerings. It’s a boiling soup, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time for a wake up call, or you’d be part of statistics.”

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Advertising Translation, Part#5 – Adaptation

The adaptation approach argues that there are insurmountable cultural barriers which require the complete translation of advertisements to reach the target audience. By employing the adaptation process, MNCs frame their ads with a new culture and language.

The adaptation approach regards the words as the representatives of the culture. The most important part is to understand what lies behind those symbolic words. The use and selection of verbal and visual elements are directly related to culture which is perceived differently from nation to nation. Different perceptions require target culture-oriented ways of conveying an advertising message. Therefore, the road to advertising translation is paved with cultural stereotypes. As the definition suggests, cultural stereotypes are the products of interaction and communication. They are set of accepted behaviors and social norms. For example, in USA, a direct and explicit communication style is dominant. Americans value time and efficiency, and place emphasis on individual achievement. Thus, American ads generally aim to give detailed information about the product and they make use of verbal elements rather than visual. Moreover, such kinds of ads are generally humorous so as to capture the audience individually. On the other hand, in Japan, the communication style is generally indirect and implicit. Such an audience would like to have succinct ads. In their media habits, silences have meaning and put emphasize on symbolism.

Considering these differences, the advertising translator should be aware of the role that cultural stereotypes play.

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Advertising Translation, Part#4 – Standardization

In many cases, producing culture-specific ads or translating already existing ads involves large sums of money and a qualified work force. MNCs that do not want to invest a great deal of money in advertising translation are not in the pursuit of long term profits. Although they try to lower the costs, at the same time, they do not want to lose the attention of target audience. They highlight comprehension rather than internalization. The solution to such kind of approach is “standardization”. The motive behind this approach is that consumers share similar needs according to some cultural, economical, regional and linguistic patterns.

Using these communicational and advertising styles, MNCs try to standardize the ads by modifying the original one. This approach takes advantage of the similarities between cultures. They generally use the original ad print or video after translating the slogans and, in some cases, the brand names. The brand names are often kept in its original form to create a strong image. However, in some cases, keeping the original brand names can be hazardous since the pronunciations of them differ from language to language. For example, in China, the name Coca-Cola was first rendered as ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, it was too late when the coke company discovered what the phrase exactly means: female horse stuffed with wax. After this mistake, Coca-Cola researched 40000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent: ko-kou-ko-le. This phrase can be loosely translated as happiness in the mouth (lingo72). This example shows how the phonetic knowledge and cultural awareness of the translator is important. The advertising campaigns ignoring culture and language can result in serious mistakes.

Translating the slogans, the translator should have a control over the language of target audience. The successful translation or standardization of slogans enhances the memorability and the impact of ad campaign. However, a number of MNCs prefer to keep the original brand name and slogan. For example, Adidas, Nike and Nokia use the same slogans under their brand names ignoring the target audience’s comprehension. On the other hand, L’Oréal standardizes its slogan in every language which is originally “L’Oréal, Parce que vous le valez bien”. It is translated into Turkish and English without any interpretation, which means the standardization approach is employed effectively. Considering the L’Oréal example, it may seem that that approach promotes the global image of the product and brand. Nevertheless, it is not the case for most of other slogans. When the advertising companies take advantage of the sound system to simplify memory recall, it gets harder to standardize the same slogan for each target audience. Examples include “If anyone can, Canon can” and “O2, see what you can do” (t, sf189).In both examples, the standardization approach falls short of having the intended memory recall effect on target audience. When standardized (translated literally like L’Oréal example), the slogans lose their alliterations.

Advertising translation part#1

Advertising translation part#2

Advertising translation part#3

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Advertising Translation Part#1

In this blog post, I will publish the first part of my previous research: Advertising Translation. I always believed  that  MNCs should work with translators while adapting some other ads, produced in another country. I will publish my work part by part. What do you think about advertising translation?

With the improvements in technology, the trade policies of governments and global market competition, a number of multinational corporations (MNCs) have turned to international advertising. As the name implies, international advertising is the conveyance of a same advertising message to different countries. International advertising is the core of global marketing. The most debated question in international advertising is how to transfer the same message across cultures. The role of language and translation is of vital importance while transferring an advertising message across countries. Perceived as finding the equivalences of every single word between two different languages, the translation process is too often ignored in a multi-cultural business context. As a result, the managers of MNCs employ wrong advertising strategies by thinking only in business terms. However, each target culture should be treated individually. With the purpose of creating the intended effect, advertising translation is supposed to be based on adapting every single element of the campaign. In this paper, three different ways of transferring the advertising message will be examined within the domain of the translational studies. The first approach employed by managers is globalization. This approach ignores all the cultural and economical differences between countries. On the other hand, the standardization approach supports the translation of certain aspects of advertising campaigns. Adaptation is the final solution to those differences between countries because this approach defends the necessity of creating a culture-specific message in each country.

Müge YILDIRIM, Bogazici University- Translation and Interpreting Studies, Spring 2010.

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Translations of city names

Last week, we had a discussion on our Facebook page. We wanted to know how we should translate the city names into English. Should we use only English characters or should  leave  as they are?

In my opinion, we should use English characters if we want to get some healthy feedback. I would put a footnote and write the original name at the bottom of the page. If this is not possible- let’s say it is a brochure- I would use English characters only. I am opposed to the complete translation of the city names. For the sake of pronounciation ease, in many languages the important city names are changed. For example London. In Turkish, it is ‘Londra’ and in French it is ‘Londres’. We should use this as ‘London’ because it is all consisted of Latin letters and it is easy to read. There is no confusion. However, in other languages there are many different city names. For example Moscow. The original spelling is ‘москва’. It is impossible to spell for Latin alphabet users. Here, we need a complete translation of the alphabets. In Turkish, it is ‘Moskova’. Considering the English version, either English or Turkish is not loyal to the original name.

There is a third category which needs half-translation. In countries using Latin alphabet, there may be accents, umlauts, cedillas etc. I think all these ‘minor’ differences should be left out while translating. For example: Istanbul. The original spelling is İstanbul. This difference is so little that we can easily ignore it and write as Istanbul. However, in the cases of ‘Şırnak’ or ‘Çanakkale’, we should make some more changes. In Turkish, ‘ş’ gives the ‘sh’ sound, so we can write the name of this city as Shirnak’; ‘ç’ gives the ‘ch’ sound, so we can write the name of this city as ‘Chanakkale’.

We should think the target language and their language, pronouncation habits. After all, our aim is to give the closest pronouncation and as translators, we should have the linguistic knowledge to do that.

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P.S. There is a special term for the alphabet translation but  it just does not come to my mind right now. Sorry about that.

No More Silent Super Mario! What about Game Localization?

Playing PC games has always been a part of spending my leisure time. Since the first moment I got my first computer, I have fallen in love with little flash games! In time, my taste has improved (if this is the right term) and I started to play more complex games. I have seen all the menus, directions etc in another language. It was sometimes hard for me to follow all the points, playing the game at the same time. While playing the old games, like Super Mario, you do not need any other language because it is always obvious what you are supposed to do. I used to play games like The Sims. I think such kind of games have some contributions to the language education. Everything is written and it is easy to get the meaning of the words. However, when it comes to other games, especially the military ones, you have to follow each points that is said in the game. Sometimes, the commands and directions are not written. Considering the games are dubbed in a native language (mostly English), there is no way but translate to serve all the game-lovers because they may not know English that well. I have read an article in a blog called Gamasutra. It is a blog about games. The author highlights very important points. I am going to paste the parts that I find interesting. As you know, you can read the whole article by clicking the link below:

There is a major aspect closely related to maximizing sales abroad: creating international versions of a game. Localization contributes to game growth, sales will increase dramatically if localization follows the right lines.

It’s true that many gamers consider localized versions to be dull and prefer to play the game in their original version. You know why? Because of poor quality, poor localization, thus poor gaming experience.

For localization to be of the highest quality, the localizer needs to take local customs and differences of each country into account; this further guarantees that sales will be profitable. All gamers prefer to play a game in their native language, that’s the best way to get immersed in it.

After translation is complete, it’s a key point to provide the translator and reviewer with screenshots or a code to access the game so they can experience it through the localized version before release. They’ll get the feel a real player will get!

Think globally, get expert localizations and watch your sales increase!

[References:  Heather Maxwell Chandler, The Game Localization Handbook, Game Development Series, 2005]

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The Opportunities of Localization

 

It is a well known fact that translators earn very little considering the amount of the work they do. In my countyr, and I am sure in many countries, translation is considered something very easy and anyone who “knows” two languages can do it. I remember having decided to study Translation. My grandma asked me that “Is this a decent job? Are you sure?”. Yes, I still am sure; however, I am also aware that one should add something on translation. Localization is a huge plus if you are a translator. With the developments in technology, internet and web, knowing how to localize websites or products is a must for international companies. Here is an article, published in Columbia Daily Tribune. It talks about translation, localization and interpreting and their importance for many companies:

 

“Dale Eggett, who will finish a master’s degree in less than three weeks, will go to work the week after, having had no problem landing a job.

“I did have multiple, multiple job offers,” said Eggett, whose Spanish and computer skills put him in the forefront of a burgeoning field. The global marketplace for interpreting, translating and other language services was estimated at $26.3 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $38.1 billion by 2013.

Most people are familiar with translators, who deal with the written word. Interpreters handle oral communication in government agencies, courtrooms, doctors’ offices and businesses.

But Eggett, 28, of California, who will graduate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, will be paid $50,000 a year to work in a relatively new discipline: localization management, which provides one of the best chances for steady employment in language services.

Localization combines language expertise with computer savvy. “I’m kind of behind the scenes making the job easier for translators,” Eggett said. When a website needs to be translated, it’s Eggett’s job to strip out the coding and send the translator only what needs to be translated.

The work is painstaking. Imagine a complex website with multiple drop-down boxes, leading to more drop-down boxes. Each element on each box needs to be translated.

Like many other sectors, language services face unique challenges, said Jiri Stejskal, president of Cetra Language Solutions, an Elkins Park, Pa., company that supplies translators, interpreters and localization experts to a range of clients.

Stejskal is in a better position to know than most. He recently was president of the American Translators Association and is in line to become president of the International Federation of Translators in Basel, Switzerland.

One issue is machine translation. “It’s not quite there yet,” Stejskal said. He pulled out a screen grab of a Philadelphia government website that used the familiar journalism term “lead story” on its home page. Somehow in Spanish it morphed into a “story about metal,” featuring a photograph of former Philadelphia Mayor Juan F. Calle, or John Street.

But a more fundamental and ongoing struggle is to educate employers about the difference between being simply bilingual and truly qualified.

Top interpreters need to hear what is said and speak it in another language simultaneously. That’s the gold standard used at the United Nations and international conferences, and high proficiency can merit a six-figure income.

That level of ability isn’t the same as language skills gained by growing up in a bilingual household. “Knowing how to cook doesn’t make you a chef,” Stejskal said.”

For the rest of the article, click here.

 

Thank you  Columbia Daily Tribune and MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS.

 

 

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