Translation News

Translation News

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A translation error has almost left Russian prisoners at a UK prison heading to the ‘execution yard’ for their daily exercise.

The error was found within an information booklet aimed at Russian-speaking prisoners serving time at Lincoln prison. A member of staff spotted the mistake at the proofing stage: where the outside area should have been labelled the ‘exercise yard’ it was alarmingly labelled the ‘execution yard’.

This was the only mistake found in the booklet but it is in many ways a serious one. Whilst some people who can recognise the mistake might find it “a bit of a joke” Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, has been quick to demonstrate how such a mistake might not seem funny to a prisoner.

Prison can be a disorientating experience, especially for first-time prisoners. If this experience is coupled with an inability to communicate proficiently with other prisoners and staff then this feeling is magnified. Russian prisoners who rely on such information booklets, possibly as their only means of fully understanding the situation, could quite easily believe that an ‘execution yard’ exists and will be used. If this error had been published then it might have resulted in some prisoners feeling both confused and fearful. Even if they had recognised the mistake some distress could still have been caused. As Hardwick explicates some prisoners may come “from a country that still [has] execution yards” in which case such an error “wouldn’t be a funny thing” to them.

This error is clearly a sign that translation should be taken seriously if foreign national prisoners are to slot as easily as possible into the prison system. Prisons have the responsibility not only to serve as a means of punishment and rehabilitation, but also to uphold a basic level of care for all prisoners under their supervision. When these rights are not seen to be upheld then prisoners can become troubled, for example in Lincoln significant riots took place in both 2002 and 2005. Any action that may result in the distress of prisoners, who may already feel disorientated, is not useful in terms of both the individual prisoners’ health and the health of the overall prison infrastructure.

Although Lincoln prison has been praised for having a better range of translated information available than other British prisons, it is clear that this information is not always “entirely accurate”. Whilst Lincoln can be seen as a positive example of the efforts made to improve the range of translated materials available to prisoners, it must also be seen less flatteringly as an example of how quantity does not always mean quality when it comes to translation.
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Translation: Man vs. Machine

Posted by on in Translation News


Translation of documents from one language into another language should be considered thoughtfully.  Communication from one culture to another culture is key in the disciplines of manual and machine translation activities.

Machine or Online Translation

Machine or online translation can be defined as the activity or process of entering a text or document into a translation software interface – without the benefit of human interlocutors – which then delivers a translated document in another language.  However, the software program has its own set of rules for delivering the translation.  Analysis of the text and grammatical structure are completed entirely by this artificial process.

Read more > Translation: Machine vs Man
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Business generated by Europe's translation providers and other language teaching services is estimated to have been worth $12bn in 2008, according to research published by the EU last month.

The report, commissioned by the EU's translation service, said that the language industry is growing faster than any other sector in Europe, with expansion estimated to continue at 10%. But researchers warn that because the industry is so diverse, spread across activities ranging from in-company translation, software development and subtitling of films and television programmes, its impact is often overlooked.

One indication that this could change comes from evidence that investment companies are showing growing interest in the sector, the report's writers say. They point to evidence from eastern Europe where a small number of players are dominating translating services.

The report also highlights a growing acceptance of machine translation tools. This is in response to a shortage of human translators and improved accuracy of computer-assisted translation.

The translation and interpreting sector dominates the language industry, with an estimated value of $8bn in 2008, while language teaching was the next biggest sector, estimated to be worth $2.3bn.

Read more > Guardian
Tagged in: business translation
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EU patent translation proposals

Posted by on in Translation News

The European Commission has published a draft regulation that would allow applications for the proposed EU patent to be submitted to the EPO in just one of the office's official languages - English, French and German. The claims would have to be translated into the other two languages. Under the plans, which were revealed  by Margot Fröhlinger at the IP Business Congress in Munich last week, machine translations would be made available for purposes of research and dissemination. In case of litigation the patent owner would be obliged to provide a full translation of the patent into the language of the alleged infringer and also to the court hearing the case if so required.

Read more > EU
Tagged in: EU patent translation
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A small team of Kwintessential Project Managers got together to assess who are currently writing the best blogs on the web. To see who came in our top ten please visit > Top Ten Translator's Blogs 2010
Tagged in: blog translator
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The Guardian's Tim Parks argues it's time to acknowledge translators – the underpaid and unsung heroes behind the global success of many writers....

Milan Kundera fears translation could make his style banal.
Milan Kundera fears translation could make his style banal.

Who wrote the Milan Kundera you love? Answer: Michael Henry Heim. And what about the Orhan Pamuk you think is so smart? Maureen Freely. Or the imaginatively erudite Roberto Calasso? Well, that was me.

The translator should do his job and then disappear. The great, charismatic, creative writer wants to be all over the globe. And the last thing he wants to accept is that the majority of his readers are not really reading him.

His readers feel the same. They want intimate contact with true greatness. They don't want to know that this prose was written on survival wages in a maisonette in Bremen, or a high-rise flat in the suburbs of Osaka. Which kid wants to hear that her JK Rowling is actually a chain-smoking pensioner? When I meet readers of my own novels, they are disappointed I translate as well, as if this were demeaning to an author they hoped was "important".

There is complicity between globalisation and individualism; we can all watch any film, read any book, wherever made or written, and have the same experience. What a turn-off to be reminded that in fact we need an expert to mediate; what the Chinese get is a mediated version of me; what I'm reading is a mediated Dostoevsky.

Read more > Guardian
Tagged in: book global translator
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Medical translation in Dubai

Posted by on in Translation News

Wherever you are in the World, medical translation is a minefield. In Dubai more and more translation services are opening up that can provide excellent translation which assures accuracy and precision. It would be easy to assume that medical translation is just a basic means of translation. Not so, medical usage and terminology is specific to medical matters and can vary in interpretation around the globe. It is essential when considering medical translation in Dubai that you seek the right translation services who can guarantee accuracy and translators who have the medical knowledge and experience of the terminology required for such work.

Most Medical translation services in Dubai will provide translation in medical research with leading international companies; pharmaceutical companies, informed consent documents, patient case reports to name but a few, all of which require accurate and precise translation. Remember, where medical translation is concerned, any mistakes can not only mean the loss of business, it can in some cases mean a matter of life or death and, translation mistakes can result in costly litigation.
Of course, all medical documentation in Dubai will be in Arabic and translators used in the translation will have a comprehensive knowledge of both Arabic and English. It is essential for all translation services to ensure that translators interpret accurately so that meaning is conveyed from Arabic to English and vice versa.

It is further, essential when considering medical translation that electronically communicated information is supported by the appropriate software so that numeration, characters and browsers etc are compatible to the target language.

In the last two decades, Review Boards have been set up around the globe to protect client subjects and to ensure expert and accurate medical translation in a world where commercial, legal and medical links are made. In Dubai, all medical translation will be undertaken within the professional requirements of the Dubai health authority.

Looking for a translation company in Dubai? Visit > Dubai Translation Service
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Vantar þýðendur úr íslensku á ensku—næg vinna!

If you know what that means, then Iceland has a job for you.

Iceland's banking system has collapsed, its economy is in turmoil and its volcano has blotted the sky with ash.

As a result, things have never looked better for the small cadre of Icelandic translators who render the North Germanic tongue of 320,000 island-dwellers into something the rest of the world can understand.

The remnants of Iceland's three major banks conduct creditors' meetings in Icelandic. Many of the creditors are foreign. Interpreters are needed.

Among the assignments: bankruptcy cases, criminal probes, fraud suits and, earlier this month, a 2,000-plus-page report on the banking mess—solid gold for a translator—produced by a "truth committee" of the Alþingi (that's parliament).

"A big uptick for me," says Daniel Teague, an American translator who has lived in Reykjavík for decades.

"I don't think I ever did bankruptcy before," says Keneva Kunz, a Canadian-born translator working in Iceland for more than 20 years. "In the last year and a half, I don't think I've done anything else."

Business erupted last fall when Iceland rushed its application to the European Union. The Icelandic currency had sunk with the banks, and the island's leaders were suddenly anxious to ditch their króna for the euro.

Read more > WSJ
Tagged in: iceland translator
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Translation and Litigation

Posted by on in Translation News

When in litigation, knowing the exact contents of e-mails, faxes, letters, and other documents is crucial, but tough when they're in a language other than your own.

Take David Kessler. The Drinker Biddle & Reath partner remembers working on one matter involving a multinational company. Although most of the discovery was in English, the legal team found that a few of the company's employees e-mailed each other in an Eastern European language. Thinking that it was odd, they decided to use machine translation to get a sense of what the messages said. They turned out to be linchpins in the case -- and Kessler learned something important about translation technology.

"Machine translations are not very good at idioms, not very good in context, but they can be useful in terms of getting a sense of the document to let you decide if you want to spend more money," Kessler says.

In an increasingly global economy, a single matter can involve a variety of languages. Unfortunately, it can be costly translating the documents. Many corporations have found that translation technology and e-discovery tools supporting multiple languages are important tools in constraining budgets -- and winning cases. But there are also drawbacks. Used incorrectly, the software can fail to save time, increase some translation costs, and even overlook documents in an e-discovery keyword search.

Read more > Legal
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The Translating and Interpreting (T&I) Program in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University was commissioned in late 2006 by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) to:

• conduct research into whether there were problems of language proficiency with NAATI accredited practitioners
• assess the quality control mechanisms in place within the language services industry and
• compare NAATI’s testing procedures with those of comparable overseas organisations.

The researchers were asked to recommend changes to the quality control mechanisms in the industry and to NAATI examinations, if they considered they were indicated in the outcomes of the research.

The methodology adopted was to conduct a national survey of a representative sample of language service providers and consumers, professional associations for translators and interpreters, ethnic organisations and Chairs of NAATI examining panels. Focus groups were planned for Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. A separate survey form was sent to a number of international organisations.

The research showed that, with a few minor exceptions, Australian respondents were generally not concerned about the English proficiency or proficiency in languages other than English (LOTE), of accredited practitioners and in particular those accredited at the NAATI Interpreter and Translator levels in particular. Most of the concern expressed about language proficiency was over practitioners in unaccredited or recently accredited languages, plus to a degree a small number of specific major long-accredited languages, usually from East Asia. The survey data suggested there are widely different responses from medical and legal consumers on English proficiency, with medical consumers more likely to feel that the situation is getting worse.

The impact of perceptions of poor language proficiency on service providers was overshadowed by other concerns, many of which were related to ethics and professional conduct. Among consumers of language services, concerns about language proficiency were mixed with concerns relating to the variability of accredited practitioner behaviour and demeanour, ethics and professional conduct. There were concerted calls for both groups for better training and monitoring of standards.

Read the full report > NAATI Report 
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Sir, So, Revenue & Customs has mislaid confidential information by entrusting it to an external service provider? Worse could be to come.

Because of the Government’s decision to outsource almost all translation work to two private agencies, thousands of confidential documents are now being handled by unspecified subcontractors, many of whom are likely to be based outside the UK, possibly beyond the reach of our security services. Previously such work was performed by named individuals with many years’ experience in this field, each of whom had to sign the Official Secrets Act; most were also qualified members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting and/or the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and governed by their respective codes of conduct.

The agencies claim to offer comparable quality and security, in addition to huge cost savings, but by offering rates far below those current in the UK professional translation market, they are inevitably going to attract less experienced suppliers, and/or source them from countries with lower labour costs. One of the agencies concerned already has a substantial operation in China, for example. Given the Government’s recent track record on security, can it guarantee that this is truly in the best interests of the country?

Read more>  Letter
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Japanese electronics giant NEC Corp. said Friday it has created a world-first real-time translator on a cellphone, which can instantly turn Japanese travellers' words into English.

NEC cellphone

One second after the phone hears speech in Japanese, the cellphone with the new technology shows the text on the screen. One second later, an English version appears.

NEC said it was the first time in the world that automatic translation is available on a cellphone without external help.

The company made it possible by making the software, which includes a voice-recognition system and translation functions, compact enough to operate on a small microchip mounted in a cellphone, it said.

The software, which can recognise some 50,000 Japanese words, is especially designed for smooth translation of travel phrases such as "Can I have a subway route map?".

Read more> NEC
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translate this page

As part of Kwintessential's growing suite of free translation and intercultural communication tools, we have today released our very latest edition. Those of our web-savvy readers will be aware that some website pages carry a little tool that allows you to email the page to a friend, family or colleague. The idea being that word of mouth spreads the news about that service or article. Our new tool is basically a newer, more international, version that allows you to send the website page but in a foreign language. So if you are reading a news article that you know your French colleague would find of interest, it can now be sent them in French.

The tool is a CAT (computer assisted translation)  so is not 100% accurate, but does nevertheless offer a level of accuracy to allow readers to understand the website page in their language.

translation tools

Other free tools available include:

> Free Email Translation - send emails in French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese for free!

> Free Online English Dictionary - look up the meaning of English words using Merriam, Websters and Oxford.

> Free Online Translation Dictionary - translate single words from English into all world languages.

> Free Online Translation - translate any text for free between English and French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese.

> Free Website Translation - a neat little tool to translate your website for foreign visitors.

> SEO Keyword Translation Tool - research your keywords in foreign languages.

> Website Text Scraper - free tool allowing you to remove coding from a website page and be left only with the text.

> Website Word Count - need a website translation? This tool counts the number of words on your website pages.
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New multilingual dictionary

Posted by on in Translation News
Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s School of Computing have developed an original system for building multilingual dictionaries based on multiple term equivalences from what are known as universal words. System reliability and accuracy is 88%.

The system is based on Princeton University’s WordNet database. WordNet is a lexical database developed by linguists at Princeton’s Cognitive Science Laboratory. The database was designed to inventory, classify and relate the semantic and lexical content of the English language.

WordNet is packaged as an electronic database that can be downloaded over the Internet. WordNet’s underlying foundation is synset (synonym set), a group of interchangeable words that denote a meaning or particular usage. Each synset is one possible meaning of a word, described briefly and concisely. WordNet has a lexicon of over 200,000 perfectly structured and defined English terms. This is one of the pillars of the system conceived by researchers at the UPM’s School of Computing.

Read more> Dictionary 
Tagged in: English multilingual
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Translation conference in Libya

Posted by on in Translation News
 Libya has launched its third conference on translation, organised by Libya’s Academy of Graduate Studies, the British Council and the Italian Institute in Tripoli.

arabic translation libya

Present at the event were Dr. Saleh Ibrahim Al Mabrouk, Dean of the Academy of Graduate Studies; Mrs. Anna, Director of the British Council in Tripoli; Peter Rosily, Head of the Italian Institute in Tripoli; Mrs. Jennifer, Advisor at the US Embassy at Tripoli; Cultural Attaches of the Tunisian and Moroccan embassies in Tripoli; and a number of scholars, professors and students.

During the conference, Mabrouk stressed the important role of translation in the advancement of civilisations, noting that it is translation (not merely learning a foreign language) that led the Arabs previously to take a leading position in science and knowledge in the world.

“Translation is an important subject that must not be undermined. The Arabs had advanced previously due to translation, not due to learning foreign languages. Learning a foreign language on its own does not lead to a Renaissance. In order to revive knowledge, translation and the transmitting of scientific information is needed,” said Mabrouk.Read more> Libya 
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New Arabic translation initiative

Posted by on in Translation News
Kalima, one of the most significant cultural initiatives to come out of the Arab world in years, launched today and announced a much-anticipated list of 100 books, selected as candidates for translation into Arabic. Kalima ("word" in Arabic), funds the translation, publication and distribution of high-quality works of classic and contemporary writing from other languages into Arabic.

"The rest of the world enjoys a wealth of domestic and translated writing, why should the Arab world be any different?" asked Karim Nagy, Founder and Chief Executive of Kalima. "Today Kalima is bringing Arabic readers all over the world quality writing in their mother tongue - something they have been deprived of for so long. Kalima has taken the first steps on the long path toward rebuilding the Arab library."

Read more> Kalima 
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Dublin Translation Company

 Dublin City University is to lead a €30m research partnership which hopes to develop the next generation of high-tech automatic language translation.

DCU will work in tandem with other Irish colleges in the five-year research project, which is being funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

SFI will contribute €16.8m in funding to the project, with international and domestic industry partners ploughing €13.6m into the venture.

The plan is that the research will transform the localisation sector of Ireland's global software business. Localisation is the process of adapting things like digital content, download manuals and software to other languages and cultures.

Read more> Dublin 
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Babel Fish and the diplomatic incident

Posted by on in Translation News
Amazing, the internet. You can feed a phrase in one of the major world languages into a translation site like Babel Fish (, and out it will come another. Type, for example, "internet translation sites like Babel Fish are more trouble than they're worth", click the "English-to-French" button, and you get "les emplacements de traduction d'internet comme des poissons de Babel sont plus d'ennui que la valeur de they're". Put back into English, that yields "the sites of d'internet translation as of fish of Babel are more d'ennui that the value of they're", which, you will agree, is about as close to the original as to make no meaningful difference.

So when indignant officials at the Dutch foreign ministry received an email from a group of Israeli journalists that began, "Helloh bud, enclosed five of the questions in honor of the foreign minister: The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian," they might perhaps have guessed what had happened.

Read more> The Guardian
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Branding and Translation

Posted by on in Translation News
What are customers around the world saying about the new booming Middle Eastern brands? What are they reading in the brand names? Which ones are they loving and talking about? Which ones can they pronounce, type and remember easily? Are these new local brands leading the charge for global mindshare and creating a sense of greatness, or are they seriously lost in global translation?

Currently, 99 percent of mega-Middle Eastern projects are being branded under Arabic-based names -- which are mostly foreign to international audiences -- while some are projecting mixed messages due to translation. These stumbling blocks can seriously limit brand-name appreciation, prolonging the costly process of obtaining global mindshare.

To appreciate this dilemma, unless you are fluent in Japanese, try to make sense out of a fancy scripted Japanese name with some deeply rooted cultural message and a rich heritage.

For this reason, more than half a century ago, the global image-savvy corporate Japan developed all of its major brand names based on international rules of translations, taking into account unintended connotations and pronunciations. This was done with an eye toward global appeal, making the names easy to talk about, spell and remember. Contrary to popular belief, America really provided the most resistance to global branding E-Mail Marketing Software - Free Trial. Click Here.. It was the Japanese who truly laid the systematic foundation on what makes globally accepted and universal name identities fit enough to capture global attention.

Read more> Brands 
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The EU is a community of 27 countries, whose unity and diversity is expressed via 23 official languages, as well as plethora of other national, regional and local languages. It is home to nearly 500 million people with diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Multilingualism contributes to European values of democracy and equality. The European Parliament is committed to debate and discussion in all EU languages. The reason for this and how it is achieved is explained in this focus.

conference simultaneous interpreters

Preserving this unique linguistic diversity is a big challenge. As the EU has recently started operating in 23 languages, it is worth looking at the meaning of multilingualism, its benefits and its costs.

The EU is a "multicultural, multilingual democracy" and it uses three alphabets: Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. To set the stage for the rest of our article here are a few statistics about multilingualism and its costs * For 2006 the cost of translation in all EU institutions is estimated at €800 million, in 2005: the total cost of interpretation was almost €190 million.
* Multilingualism expenditure represents over one third of the total expenditure of Parliament.
* The EP translated 673,000 pages during the first half of 2007 (165,000 of them externally).
* Since 2005 the EP has translated over a million pages a year.
* EU system on average requires over 2000 translators and 80 interpreters per day.

Read more > The EU
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