Category Archives: machine translation

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The Translation Landscape in Northern Europe: NTIF 2016 Malmö

It was 07:00 am on a cold autumn morning in Malaga. The plane to Copenhagen was heating the engines for taking off and I, the representative of Jensen Localization, was on board that plane.

After 3.5 hours of bumpy flying with plenty of turbulence, I reached Kastrup airport. My next objective was to get to the train station to reach Malmö, a small Swedish city right next to the mighty Baltic Sea opposite Copenhagen.

Tickets in the train station were only sold in machines; it was a premonition of what was lying ahead in this trip, the replacement of humans with machines. Science Fiction? A sad reality? Continue reading to find out what happens.

Two big guys asked all passengers for our IDs before entering the train platforms. The train arrived on time, and it speeded up while crossing the Øresund Bridge, an amazing piece of engineering. Once in Sweden, there was a border control. What for? I still do not know; we spent 25 minutes waiting for some controllers that never showed up.

Øresund Bridge,

Øresund Bridge, Øresund. Source: Wikipedia.

Before NTIF 2016

At Malmö central station the Sun was shining and however cold, I had some time to discover a bit the old town of this northern Venice.

Suellsbron bridge

Suellsbron Bridge

Christmas decorations in Malmö old town

Christmas decorations in Malmö old town

sculpture in Malmö

Optimistorkestern, the optimistic orchestra. It was erected in 1985 to celebrate the opening of the first pedestrian shopping street in Malmö.

That same night, I attended the NTIF 2016 welcome dinner, where I had the pleasure to meet very nice people from Sweden, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, and many other countries. We had a glass of champagne and some nice finger food while chatting. There were too many names to mention as there were more than 150 attendees, so it would be difficult to be fair to everyone.

Nicolás and Anne-Marie

With Anne-Marie Colliander Lind, one of the NTIF organizers.

After some tourism and socialising, it is time to start working

On the first day, the 24th November, there was a tight agenda that took us from all current issues and advances in the localization industry to periods of networking, eating, drinking coffee, and visiting booths.

The conferences made me think more about fuzzy matches. In the future, would it be possible to have standard rules for metrics? Would it be possible to use them globally? I believe that there is a real need for everyone in this business to make these metrics as consistent as possible, as we are currently forced to use the ones established by the big guys in this industry under their own rules.

What most of us already knew, or had a feeling about, was that online translation services might be the next step of evolution in our business. However, will they replace human project management? This is the reason why and Matecat instant quote appeared on the market. Will they be successful? Time and customers will decide their fate.

And the day went by. The feared Machine Translation monster is growing, but we should not be afraid of losing our position in the translation process; all rule-based systems and the ones requiring coding will have to be reviewed by an IT specialist that would need to work closely with linguistic reviewers for the best results. The guys at Prompsit (the creators of Apertium, a free open-source machine translation platform) made some remarks about how dependent some organizations in Nordic countries were on these tools and highlighted the concern of Nordic institutions on the impact on Nordic students, who use them to cheat on their homework.

Cultural issues and the job of translators finally recognised

Around midday, I attended a very particular speech, which was not directly tackling translation issues, but culture issues. How do Nordic people look to outsiders? Michael Booth described each Nordic tribe from the perspective of a British man that married a Danish woman and moved to Denmark for love. Scandinavia may seem like the new utopia for many people around the globe, but it also has its downsides. Do you want to know what the similarities between Danish and Norwegian languages are? Have a look at this article on our blog.

typical Dane

A typical Dane, according to Michael Booth.

Because energy moves the planet and our fast developing society, we are happy to see initiatives like the one at one of Europe’s leading energy companies: DONG (for Danish Oil and Natural Gas). With around 6,500 employees, they are planning to increase the visibility of translators in corporate and government organizations. If you are a translator, it is time to say: Finally! Or Hurray!

Florian Faes from Slator updated us on the latest news on the translation industry: the rise of MT, the battle for TransPerfect, Lionbridge reorganization, and how SDL went back to the roots. He also talked about Who Went Where, as the localization industry is one with the highest employees mobility. I am well aware of it! Northern winds brought me back to the warm South, although houses are warmer in northern European countries, you know.

When we were approaching the end of the day, all of us held our hands together and sang Kum ba yah (not really, but it would have been nice) during the presentation about networking tactics by John Di Rico. He made us understand that united we prevail and that business cards should be exchanged with both hands in Japan. Remember this on your next business trip!

After a one-hour break, the time for the real deal arrived: the Dining and Dancing event sponsored by Moravia & Ciklopea, which was indeed a total success. I was surprised by the charisma of Moravia and Ciklopea representatives and amazed by the dancing skills of the participants; that would make any Latino dancer jealous! I suspect that not only Cecilia and Anne-Marie may have some Latin roots.

NTIF dinner

NTIF dinner with Swedish delicacies

NTIF dinner

Time to dance with some Swedish music!

Sales and marketing strategies for translation companies

The last day of the NTIF, 25th November, focused on conferences about emerging business opportunities and again the dichotomy between Machine and Men in translation. The needs to cope with new challenges in the industry: transparency, costs reduction, data control, and a sustainable business model. Very nice on paper, but difficult to achieve in reality.

In the morning, another beneficial and challenging factor that was discussed was the media growth of Facebook and Netflix and their constant struggle to increase video production, as well as subtitling, dubbing/voice over and graphic localization. Adding to this growing cake is the lack of banking rewards for big money savers that is pushing them to invest in growing industries, the translation industry being one of them.

Midday conferences focused on mergers and acquisitions, buy and to be bought. They brought to our awareness that company owners do not live forever, even if they want to, and that sooner or later a merging will even shock or benefit any LSP.

The last two conferences that I was able to attend were about the enormous impact of social media and browsing on our lives, and the importance of creating proper content to reach our target audience. Both of them made a convergence that the old sales method is in decay and that feelings, emotions, connection with your audience, quality and added value are key points in reaching your objectives.

It was a pity, but I could not stay until the very end of the event because I had a plane to catch in Copenhagen to be back in Spain. Luckily, I was able to follow the final part of the event via the Nordic Translation Industry Forum Facebook page.

We, at Jensen Localization, would like to suggest that the 2017 NTIF should be hosted in Fuengirola. Do you know why? Because it is one of the Andalusian cities most populated by Nordic people (according to the 2014 statistics, there were registered 4,500 Finnish, 1,750 Swedish, 1,200 Danish and 800 Norwegians). It is warm, beautiful, with a balanced combination of beach and mountains, you will feel at home!

If you were in the NTIF and I did not have the pleasure of meeting you or dancing with you, please feel free to write me or contact Jensen Localization for any question you may have or just to say hello and keep in touch.

Thank you, Cecilia Enbäck, Anne-Marie Colliander Lind and all NTIF participants for such a memorable event that already has a place in the translation landscape.

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!

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.

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.

TAUS Review. The Data issue.

As a translation and localization company constantly trying to improve the industry and narrowing the linguistic and cultural gap between countries, we are proud to be a member of the Translation Automation User Society (TAUS). Like TAUS, we too want to help the world communicate better and we are happy to share with you their online magazine, addressed to anyone interested in globalization and better communication across countries and cultures.

In their latest edition, the “data” edition, TAUS talks about data related to the translation industry, also called translation-related-data, which concerns who is involved with the data, what the is data about, what the data source is and when the data is originated. Since many find that there is not enough data regarding the translation industry, specially for Asian languages, this topic is further discussed in this magazine.

Another interesting article worth reading is about Google Translate, which answers many questions one might have regarding the world’s most used online translation tool.

In this issue TAUS also brings you on a trip across the world from Ethiopia to Japan. Translation is used everywhere and even though the world is starting to become more and more homogeneous there are still places where much improvement will be required.

To learn more about the translation industry in both Ethiopia and Japan and much more, please follow this link to TAUS Review Magazine.

And if you want to learn how translation can be a useful tool for your company’s worldwide presence, do not hesitate to contact us.