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Technical Translations
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Technical Translation Services For Business and Industry
Technical Translation Services For Business and Industry

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For more information see www.technical-translations.co.uk

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How Do I Know If My Vendor Is Using Machine Translation Tools?
You don’t, unless they advertise the fact in their marketing material. But if you’ve been having trouble with the quality of the output of your translation provider and their service is unbelievably cheap, it could be that they’re using machine translation to keep the cost down. In the aftermath of the recent recession everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, and translation providers who do use machine translation for the bulk of their work often undercut those using trained professionals.
However, because machine translation tools use formal and systematic rules, there is a high risk of ambiguity of meaning, and of confusion. It is generally agreed in the translation industry that while machine translation tools are handy for translating high volumes, for instance, a professional translator is irreplaceable where accuracy of content and meaning is essential.
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Can Machine Translation Really Replace Humans?
People are always looking for inventions to make life easier, and replace our own ability to process complex tasks. Machine translation has been improving over time, although Technical Translations still get clients who have had an uncomfortable brush with its results coming to us for a second look at their multilingual requirements. We all know that large enterprises such as Google are putting a lot of money into improving their free machine translation service. But how effective is machine translation and how do you know whether your translation vendor is using it or not?
How Effective Is Machine Translation?
We at Technical Translations would only recommend our clients use a tool like Google Translate (and we do) to enable them to understand the gist of a communication they have received in a foreign language, for instance, so that they can decide whether it is something they’d like to have translated by a qualified human translator. The reason for this? Well there’s a lot that machines miss.
Google’s online translation tool, for example, works just like its search engine does, using a database of texts from the internet (examples of word variants and phrase matches between different languages) and uses algorithms to enable it to pick the best match to the words and phrases in the source text. But it isn’t perfect and Google point this out to its users in their blog:

"When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you. By detecting patterns in documents that have already been translated by human translators, Google Translate can make intelligent guesses as to what an appropriate translation should be. This process of seeking patterns in large amounts of text is called "statistical machine translation". Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect. The more human-translated documents that Google Translate can analyse in a specific language, the better the translation quality will be. This is why translation accuracy will sometimes vary across languages."

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We at Technical Translations believe that something special goes into making a translator, something about building on the desire to communicate in another language and turning it into a career, marrying linguistics and translation experience with professional skills and becoming an expert in the field. Many of our translators can speak more than one other language in addition to English, and they can provide services in quite a range of language pairs (such as French, Spanish and Italian into English).
Alex Rawlings was only twenty when he hit the headlines for winning a competition looking for the most multilingual student in England. He speaks eleven languages, English, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, German, Catalan, Spanish, Russian and Italian fluently or very close to fluently. Quite an achievement and an example to most people in the UK, which does not have a very good track record on speaking foreign languages.
In fact, if we were in the business of advising young people on career paths, we’d point out that a foreign language will open doors for you and set you apart from the crowd, as provision for learning is also taking a hit in this country due to recent cuts, which in turn will eventually lead to a shortage in supply and better pay for professional linguists in the long run.
Technical Translations would love to hear from Mr Rawlings if he decides to take up translation as a profession following his graduation as he is obviously a very talented young man.  Indeed we are interested in hearing from all talented translators via our website http://www.technical-translations.co.uk/translators-wanted/

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The Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission (DGT) have an interactive online tool for collecting and exchanging data on the health of the language industry in the European Union.
Translators, interpreters, corporate bodies, national statistics bodies and other associations active in the language industry are being encouraged to contribute to the project. This input will turn the website into a valuable source of facts and figures about the language industry.
The data can be accessed at http://ec.europa.eu/language-industry and offers document searches, data submission and the addition of information via online questionnaires. It covers the following areas of the language industry: Translation, interpreting, subtitling and dubbing, software localisation and website globalisation, development of language technology tools, language teaching, and linguistic consultancy.
Directorate-General for Translation will be managing the database but it is hoped that most of the input will come direct from the language and translation industry.

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The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpreting is trying to encourage more English graduates with European languages into the interpreting profession. They have even produced a video clip on the subject, which has been launched on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA2fWvtMPDU) and a selection of EU and national websites.
What is the reason for this interest in raising the profile of the interpreting profession? Apparently, without a significant increase in the numbers of interpreters graduating from interpreter schools and universities, qualified English language interpreter numbers will decline by a staggering 50% in the next ten years. It is a fact that as qualified European and English language interpreters retire, they are just not being replaced in adequate enough numbers even to maintain the status quo.
Compounding this problem is the fact that many young people growing up in English language speaking countries do not understand the need to learn another language to interpreter standard, if at all, because English is a common language used in business. So qualified European language interpreters with English as their first language are in decline, and this opens up a huge opportunity for savvy language graduates to turn to their best advantage.

Misuse of Apostrophe so bad that one Council decides to ban their use altogether.  Incorrect use of the apostrophe is becoming very common and Melandra Smith, Senior Project Manager at Technical Translations, wonders if this is behind the decision made by Devon council. “I have seen an explosion of misplaced apostrophes in recent years, usually just before the final ‘s’ in plural nouns. No-one seems to take the trouble to proofread their published material nowadays, which means that errors are creeping into signage on shop fronts and vehicles as well as appearing in documents.”

Our translators love working for Centuries Technical Translations, one recently commented “Translation is a solitary profession but working with Centuries you really feel appreciated and part of a team. Being treated this way makes you go the extra mile for them and their customers. Centuries is one of those rare marvels in our industry. They really go out of the way and are always ready to deal with queries."

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Technical Translations launch their newly enhanced website www.technical-translations.co.uk with improved services to clients including the ability to upload the document or other file requiring translation directly into the quote request

Quality Translations can add value not just cost.  For many businesses translation is seen as a part of the cost of doing business, the conditions of a sale might include include the production of translated materials, but by producing quality translatios you have an opportunity to add value.  A well prepared set of translated documentation can make the difference between a one off order and a regular contract.  Early in our company history we had a great example of this, a major contract had been won by a client of ours and delivery was due into the Middle East.  The terms of supply stated that our client should produce translations into Arabic and at first they wanted to do only the bare minimum to keep costs down.  However, when we pointed out that presenting the head of purchasing with a leather bound set of product literature in Arabic would be a gesture likely to win favour, the client agreed and we went ahead and produced two copies of beautifully presented Arabic paperwork, complete with gold embossing!
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