5 tips to ensure the success of machine translation

Machine Translation has been in place for more than 50 years now. As any other technology, it has evolved and it is now being widely used in many different scenarios.

However, machine translation is not just entering the text in an online service like Google, clicking a button and waiting for the translation to come up. That is just the primitive, raw translation. Machine translation can be more useful and efficient (and much more correct) if some basic requirements are met, both before and after translation.

Translate neutral texts

Texts with lots of cultural references are difficult to translate for humans. Imagine how it is for a machine that does not have context to take into account! Therefore, machine translation will work better with texts that do not make any reference to culture, traditions, religion, politics, TV or plays on words. For us, it works better with technical texts.

The more specific, the better

Although you may get some decent results with general MT systems, like Google Translate, which mix translations from all types of domains (legal, medical, food, tourism, IT…), MT will work best if you work with a system that has been made with texts belonging to the same topic (domain). This way, the terminology used will be that of the topic.

Number of existing translations for that domain

Although some rules are applied to MT systems, data is still the most important source of content. The more already translated texts for that topic, the better results you will get. Very often, 100% human translations are used for the engine to be created, in order to populate it with enough quality content that will help the system to do the translations automatically.


Machine Translation will not work if you do not fix the errors. Otherwise, you will not be able to retrain the system and improve the quality of the translation. Depending on your needs, you can make a bigger or a smaller effort on improving those translations, but you need to do a minimum so that MT fits its purpose, which is delivering better and better translations in less time.

Preparing the source text

As said before, the MT system lacks most of the context you have as a translator, and it will translate what it sees. Therefore, if there is a wrong word, it will translate it and it will not make any sense in the translation. Actually, this would be the same in the source language, but a human eye will easily notice the error and infer what the correct word is. Having said this, do always run the spell checker, regardless of whether you are using machine translation or not.

The same happens with punctuation. A comma in a wrong place can change the meaning of a sentence, and therefore, the translation will also be different.

Use short sentences. And here is why we think that MT works better with technical texts than with marketing texts. Long sentences full of subordinated clauses may be difficult for the MT system to translate.

Keep your terminology consistent. Again, something that you will find more often on technical texts. If you change the terminology continually, the system will not know which term should be used on each instance, and you will have to do more post-editing work to fix those errors.

At Jensen Localization we have MT systems in place that can be tailored to your needs. If you take all these tips into account when ordering your MT project, it will be easier and faster to build an MT system for you, so that you can start managing your translations more efficiently.

You can also contact us to let us know about your translation needs.

Choosing a translation agency

As any other company, we like getting feedback from our clients, so that we know how we can improve our services to meet their changing requirements.

Apart from contacting clients from time to time and asking them for feedback about our services, or sending surveys where they can rate different aspects of our business, it is also common to receive them in our offices, both in the Netherlands and in Spain.

Recently we received the visit from one of our clients, an American company for which we do translations into Dutch. This company has many different branches, and the tasks they require for us vary depending on the branch we are working on. In some cases, we translate content for their web interface, in other occasions, we work on SEO translation, and in other instances we translate marketing content.

Their requirements are, therefore, different, but some of them are shared by most of our clients. We thought it would be interesting for you to know them, so that you can choose the translation agency that will satisfy your needs.


Most of our clients are happy with the way we communicate, from the quotation request to the final delivery of the translated files. This process can take days or even weeks, and clients are happy to see that we raise a flag whenever an issue can affect the deadline, such us missing reference files, or pending queries. Sometimes, unexpected situations happen, and we usually receive good feedback about our responsiveness.


Quality is of course a must for every client. With so many people speaking languages, competition from pseudo-translators is fierce, but good clients know that speaking a language does not make you a translator, and this is why they trust translation companies. Quality requirements also vary with the projects and both the clients and we have the tools that help us to assess the quality of the delivered translations, and how to improve when the quality is not the expected one.

Capability in special situations

Bank holidays, the Summer, Easter and Christmas season, medical leaves, maternity… there are many special situations that can affect a project, particularly when we talk about big accounts that include several jobs per month. Together with the collaboration and comprehension from our clients, we manage to adapt our procedures and organisation to these specific scenarios, preventing delays in the deadlines and other inconveniences to our clients.

Does this mean we are perfect? Of course not! We are far from perfect, and if we never had anything to improve, our job would be extremely boring. With this article, we wanted to let you know what things you should take into account when hiring the services of a professional translation company, so that you can make your choice based on objective parameters. And if we are among the candidates, do not hesitate to contact us and tell us about your translation needs.

TAUS Review Magazine #4. Innovation in the translation industry.

At Jensen Localization we put great value into sharing developments and new technologies within the translation and localization industry, and for that reason we want to tell you about the 4th and latest issue of TAUS Review Magazine, focused on innovation in the translation industry.

When you talk about innovation many questions may arise, such as where should the money come from, as R&D can be very expensive. This question is partially answered in this issue, with an article about the importance of governmental support to innovation within the translation industry, mostly concerning machine translation.

Innovation is the future, and efforts are made all over the world to develop and find new ways of doing things. To get a glimpse into how they do it in Asia and Africa you might want to read this issue.

Talking about Asia there is one specific development we find extremely interesting – Neural machine translation. This is where machine translation tries to imitate how human translators do their jobs. If we look at Africa, particularly Ethiopia, the issue here is the gap between and within language communities, which is only getting bigger and bigger. While this is happening there might still be a possibility that the translation industry will revive and become a booming business in the country. You can read how in the article.

Another focus in the review is the different perspectives of innovation in the translation industry. Here you will get a better understanding of the perspectives of journalists, the language itself, translators and the research community.

If we go back to machine translation (MT), like mentioned before, it is still something that needs to be developed further within many different areas. Intel IT has managed to use MT to translate knowledgebase content since 2007, but because of the high costs and complexity very little tests have been made for Multilanguage MT comparisons. Now, Intel IT has recently completed a study using Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing (URUT) software to assess the users’ acceptance level.

To learn more about URUT and innovation within the translation and language industry, please follow this link to read the TAUS Review magazine #4.

Remember that machine translation is just one of the many services we offer at Jensen Localization. Feel free to contact us if you need translation, localization, editing or any other language service.

Translation in the tourism industry. The British and German markets.

The tourism industry is one of the industries requiring massive translations. Businesses in this industry get customers from all over the world and it is essential for them to address their needs not only with high quality resorts but also with high quality service that will enable them to have a positive tourism experience.

As you know, our Spanish branch is located in a tourist area, the Costa del Sol, and there are often events and seminars addressed to tourism industry professionals, as sometimes being in a sunny area with nice beaches is not enough to get the best clients.

We attended two conferences about specific markets, United Kingdom and Germany.

Although they are the traditional markets coming to the Costa del Sol, their habits have changed, as society has changed.

All customers, not only British and German, are now much more informed, and want much more quality. Considering that the British tourist is just looking for sun and beach at low cost prices is becoming a topic that is less and less true. Their interests are as varied as their visitors:

  • Family holidays.
  • Nature and rural areas.
  • Learning Spanish.
  • And yes, the Sun and the beach too.

They are very used to social networks and, as there is a high community of residents living in the area the whole year, they get information easily.

They also book most of their holidays online, instead of going to traditional travel agencies.

As for the German tourists, they are, after the British, the second most important market visiting the Costa del Sol. Their interests are also varied:

  • Nature and rural areas.
  • Culture.
  • Golf.
  • Health.
  • Retirement. They come first as a tourist and then they buy a property and retire.

They are increasing their online habits, but still they rely much on traditional travel agencies.

How can translation help to get business from these markets?

Most of the bookings are done in their country of origin, so they should learn from you before coming to your destination. Build a nice and user-friendly website, adapt it to all formats (tablet, mobile, wearables, etc.), interact with them in social networks, establish strategic partnerships with in-country professionals and attend industry events. And when you do all this, take into account their language, their culture and their values. Maybe you think that the best you can offer is your swimming pool, when maybe they are more interested in your restaurant.

And what about when they are here? Make sure your staff can communicate with them, that they can be helpful if they have an issue with their passport, if they need medical assistance, etc. Providing a leaflet in their language with some tips about how to avoid being stolen or what to do in case of a medical emergency can be a good starting point to make customers feel you care for them. In appreciation, they will for sure talk about you with relatives and friends, both online and offline.

As mentioned in the conferences, the customer is not the purpose of the business strategy, but one more element of it. So, taking him into account from the very beginning will help you to meet his needs more easily and increase your sales.

At Jensen Localization we can help you to be known in the origin countries when British, German or any other nationality tourists are planning their holidays, and to bridge the language gap with them once they are in your establishment. Feel free to contact us for more information!

Networking in the translation industry. The GALA conference in Seville.

GALA roll-upIt is time to find cooperators and not competitors. Competition exists and will always be there, and actually I think that our competitors are more outside the translation industry that inside.

Compared to other industries, I think that the translation industry is quite collaborative, long before the term networking term was coined.

Therefore, we are very used to do networking. We attend congresses and seminars where we find both freelancers and translation companies with whom we discuss opportunities for collaboration, because even if we do the same, there is always something where you are the best and something where you need help.

The last event we attended was the GALA conference in Seville, Spain, held in the end of March.

It was the first time we attended a GALA event; we attended conferences in the past such as Localization World, or TAUS Summits, but we never attended any event from GALA. And I must say that it was nice to be back in a translation event.

I thought it was going to be a European event, so to speak, and it came as a nice surprise to see that there were people from all over the world, from the US to South Korea and a large representation of Argentinean companies.

From this blog I want to thank the GALA organisers for organising a networking event where, in a very few minutes, we had the opportunity to meet around 60 people, which is absolutely not bad.

Does this mean that I will make business with each person I met? That would be great, but it is not the purpose of a networking event. In a networking event you get a first picture of a person or business, and it is not until you are back in your office that you start contacting those that attracted your attention most. Do not be afraid if you do not close a deal after a networking event, or if you do not hear soon from someone you met. Maybe at that moment there was not a need to get in touch, but that need may arise later and be sure you will be contacted if they need you.

So, do not worry about preparing a perfect sales pitch for a networking event. Instead, try to get information from your counterparts, see how you can help them and they will in return ask you how they can help you. And it is then business may come.

Attending all sessions was completely impossible, for obvious reasons, so I had to make a choice. Due to my job position, I focused on the sales speeches, and I enjoyed very much the open discussion about collaborative selling with Anne-Marie Colliander Lindt from Inkrea.

Despite companies having a sales specialist, companies need to be aware of the fact that all departments are part of the sales cycle. The whole staff needs to be aware of it too, and for that they need information and training.

For example, if the IT department helps the production department, PMs and translators will be able to work more efficiently, and therefore, the client will trust the company more and this can lead to more sales.

PMs are the ones talking with clients on a frequent basis, they are the ones clients will ask when they need help, and they are the ones getting important feedback from the client that can help the sales staff to prepare specific offers and proposals to increase sales.

And this is true not only for translation companies, but for any company. Communication, proactivity, team spirit and thinking about the general benefits and not the individual ones will be crucial in the success of your company; no matter how good your translations are or how much you invest in technology.