Summary of 2015

If you are reading this blog, Happy New Year! We hope you had a great holiday season and charged your batteries to make the most of 2016.

As every January, we like starting the year with a summary of our most interesting articles related to the language and translation industry. See our suggestions below and feel free to comment on them!

At Jensen Localization we often talk about the many industries where translation plays an important role. If you are located in Spain and are interested in Nordic countries or in the tourism industry, you may find interesting the articles Translation and Business Opportunities between Norway and Spain and  Translation in the tourism industry. The British and German markets. These articles will help you to understand better how translation can help you to improve your business in these industries and markets.

If you are interested in Machine Translation, we suggest you to read our 5 tips to ensure the success of machine translation and do not hesitate to ask us if you need further information. We will soon launch an improved version of our MT system, would you like to learn more about it? Contact us!

A very frequent confusion among clients requiring translation services are literal translations. Do you really know what a literal translation is? If you want to test your knowledge, read this article and let us know your opinion.

Finally, one of our most recent articles is not only useful for translators and Project Managers, but for any content creator, editor or just any person that wants to make sure a text is 100% correct before publishing. If you are a blogger, this post is a must read! Do not underestimate the power of checklists and read our article Checklists are still useful.

We hope you like our selection of articles, but you are of course welcome to read the rest of posts! And if you would like us to talk about any particular topic related to the translation industry, share it with us!

Checklists are still useful

We live in the era of technology, and it certainly helps us do our job more efficiently. But sometimes, simple things are the best tools, and this is why we want to talk to you about checklists. Yes, that list of items you proudly tick off to reaffirm that you have done all that you intended to do.

After editing a text, and before publishing it, it is useful to go through a checklist containing the following items. As you will note, some are specific for translated texts, but others are useful for monolingual content creation too:

Spell check

Sounds basic, but you cannot imagine how many texts we get to translate that contain spelling errors. Sometimes, a spelling error can change a word completely, and this will change the meaning of the sentence. Do not run the spellchecker automatically and pay attention to every term that is corrected, as sometimes wrong corrections may be inserted.

Bullet lists

They help to make a text more readable, but they have their own punctuation and style rules. Make sure to follow them, and if you are not sure about the rules, just take a simple one: whatever you do, do the same in all items of the bulleted list.

Queries and answers

Communication is the key to success. You may have asked questions to your client or to other departments; make sure you have implemented the replies accordingly before publishing the text.

Headers/Footers

Although in software like Word, headers and footers are created automatically when you add the first one, check them as well, as you may want to change them once the text is finished. In the case of translation, this is usually where the language code appears, so make sure you apply the correct language code.

Punctuation

As spelling mistakes, punctuation errors can change the meaning of a sentence, so make sure you place commas and other punctuation marks correctly.

Multiple spaces

It may seem a freak requirement, but a text full of double, triple or even longer spaces just looks bad, see below.

This is an example of how too   many white spaces   make the text look   awkward.   If you want to   avoid   it,       make sure you     turn hidden   text   on and     check the   white   spaces     between       words.

Text processors will add spaces if you choose a full justification of the text, but you have to differentiate between those automatically generated spaces and those inserted by you. How can you check that? For example, in Word, activate the hidden text (¶) and you will see a dot between each word. If you see more than one, you should remove them so that you only have one space between each word. Word will then justify the text so that it looks good.

Numbers

We have already talked about translating numbers. Both for monolingual and multilingual texts, check any part of the text containing numbers, such as dates, hours, temperatures, etc. Localize them if needed and make sure (particularly for dates and hours) that you always use the same formatting.

Graphics

Check that they appear where they should, and if they include text, make sure the text fits properly in the graphic. This is very important for localized graphics, as the text length may vary according to the language.

We hope this article helps you to understand the importance of checklists as a tool to improve the quality of your documents. Do you have any more items in your checklist that are worth commenting? Share them with us!

The Expedia Localization Vendor Summit in London

Expedia offices, LondonFor more than two years now, Jensen Localization has been working with Expedia as their provider of Dutch translations.

Although we maintain daily communication with our clients, there are times where a more relaxed atmosphere allows you to go beyond the client-vendor relationship and transform it into a partnership, where you really feel you are part of a team that is working together towards a common goal.

And this is what we have experienced at the Expedia Localization Vendor Summit that we attended from 6th to 8th October 2015. Our PM at Jensen in charge of this account, Isabel Guijarro, and our Language Lead, Jenny Bos-Klok, attended this summit in London, where not only they could meet the people at Expedia with whom they work more often, but also the vendors working on other languages for this company.

Jensen Localization at Expedia offices in LondonThese types of summits help you to understand how each department involved in the localization process works, and how our work fits in each of the stages of the process. During three days of meetings, they had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the different departments and brands Expedia needs localization for, such as Venere or Hotels.com.

Working with a big client such as Expedia does not mean that you just sit in a conference room and listen to a long list of requirements. This can easily be done by email. Expedia is a human-value company, where we can express our opinion about those things that would help us to improve our job and processes. Our colleagues took this opportunity to ask specific questions about reference materials, handoffs and tools for both translation and QA before final delivery.

Expedia Localization Partner SummitTechnology does help a lot, and we need it to work more efficiently and meet our demanding client requirements. But in the end, business is done between people, and when you are part of a multilingual and multicultural team of vendors, it really helps to have a face to face meeting from time to time to learn more about each other and empathise with them. Next time we are asked to do something we do not see the point in doing, we are sure we will find an explanation to it :-).

We want to thank Tommaso Rossi and Andrea Velasco from the Vendor Management Team at Expedia for their help since the beginning of our relationship with Expedia and for inviting us to this event, which really exceeded our expectations. We look forward to more years of successful partnership.

(Pictures courtesy of Expedia, Inc)

 

Choosing the right translators for your project

Legal, medical, marketing, IT, patents, videogames, cooking, literature, nursery, financial… the variety of texts we can translate is what make our job so interesting. And also so challenging, as usually a translator cannot translate all types of text.

This is why translation agencies have procedures in place to choose the right translators in their team for any specicific project ensuring that the translator is qualified for that specific subject.

In this article we would like to share with you some details about our translator selection process, so that you get assured that your project will be in good hands. If you are a translator and would like to work with us, this will also help you to see if you meet our requirements.

When we receive a translator’s résumé, we check mainly four things:

  • Translation training. We work with people who has a degree in translation or who has received sufficient translation training, as translation implies a series of skills that the mere fact of speaking a foreign language does not provide you with. We also have subject-matter experts, who may not have any linguistic training, but they are used for consulting and verification tasks.
  • Translation tools. We think that translation tools are essential for working in our industry, especially for technical translation and software localization. There are many tools available in the market, and we understand that a freelance translator cannot make such a big investment, but mostly we can provide them with licenses to be used on certain projects. When we can see in our records that they are already familiar with several translation tools, we know that it will be easy for them to learn to use new tools.
  • Language combinations. We get applications from many different language combinations, and all of them are stored for future use. However, we give priority to those language combinations that are more in demand by our clients.
  • Specialty fields. As above mentioned, translators get specialized in certain fields; they build their own reference material and get training on these fields, so we only give them jobs that are related to their expertise. This does not mean that they will never have a chance to do something different; they can of course apply to do other types of texts, so that they can gain experience. When this happens, the job will be reviewed and edited by experienced translators in that field. We understand that in many cases you cannot disclose information about your clients, neither can we. This is why it is not so important for us to know your client, but we do need to know what type of translation you have done, i.e., no need to say that you worked translating user manuals for Samsung products, you can just say that you translated user manuals for consumer electronics products.

If after checking all this, we want to have this translator in our team, our Vendor Manager will send the translator one or more test translations (the translator can choose to apply for more than one field), and if the results are positive, the Vendor Manager will take the further steps to include this translator in our team.

From that moment on, the translator may start getting projects from us, if the availability, rates and specialty match our requirements for any specific project.

Having said this, we take the opportunity to let you know our latest needs. We are in need of medical translators for the English-Norwegian and English-Swedish language pairs, and Swedish-English translators, mostly for technical fields.

Would you like to join the Jensen Localization team? Contact us!

Do we actually know what a literal translation is?

We decided to write a post about literal translation because we have noticed that many people are confused about it.

We often say that translators are language creators working with meaning, not with words, that sometimes clients expect you to deliver something that is completely different from the source language. I am afraid that, although this sometimes happens, it does so much more often in the translation of poems and other literature works, than in technical translation or localization.

Literal translation may sometimes be used in legal contexts, where the client wants to know, word by word, what the text is saying.

But there are literal translations that are indeed wrong.

When a literal translation is not valid is when you translate word by word and do not take into account context, culture or other references. For example:

It’s raining cats and dogs.

This is a widely known English expression whose origin is still unknown, and which means that it is raining very heavily.

Translating it into Spanish as Está lloviendo perros y gatos would be a literal translation that is wrong, as it is a word by word translation that makes no sense in the target language, and there is actually an expression in this language that has the same meaning, Está lloviendo a cántaros (cántaro means jug, hence the metaphor, since a jug can contain a big quantity of water.)

However, if you have a text like:

“We use the latest technology to provide the best service to our clients.”, you may translate it in several ways, but it will always make you think of the source text:

Usamos la última tecnología para ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Usamos la tecnología más avanzada para ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Gracias al uso de la tecnología de última generación, podemos ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Are these translations wrong? Of course not, but there are sentences whose structure, context and meaning are the same in both languages.

guidebooks-1425706-1920x1440We like creativity, but there are times when the text does not allow for much creativity, and that does not mean that it is a literal translation, or that it is wrong. Besides, getting too far from the source may lead to a wrong translation, so be careful with creativity.

We hope this helps you to better understand what literal translations are and when you can put a claim to your translator provider because you are not happy with the translation.

Remember that at Jensen Localization we can help you reviewing translations done by other translators, do not hesitate to contact us for further information.