Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why Your Translation Projects Are Losing Money

Plenty of things can go wrong with a translation project; nearly all of them spill red ink!

Have I scared you? Then that’s good because now you’ll be more focused on how to prevent most, if not all, of these things happening! That’s right -- There’s absolutely no reason why any translation project should ever lose money. Whether you’re doing translation in-house or outsourcing follow this one simply rule to ensure your projects don’t lost money.

Losing money refers to the true cost of translation:
  • Cost of the translation project and/or
  • Cost of poor translation quality, including but not limited to lost customers, lawsuits and fees & penalties for non compliance.

First, by way of introducing examples -actual translation projects- you’ll be able to see where potential problems start. These are the problems we want to nip in the bud before they have an opportunity to blossom. My company gets access to these projects from translation directories which we have signed up to. While we don’t bid for these projects, having access to this kind of information provides a pulse on the translation services industry, i.e. how many projects are out there, what kind of projects, who is posting projects, etc. Let’s jump in:
  1. Project
    English to Japanese Translation project of 16,000 words due within 24 hours. Problem: Can only be completed with machine translation, translation crowdsourcing and/or a combination there of -- The results scream Poor Quality

  2. Project
    English to Japanese Translation project of 300~500,000 words due within 72 hours. Problem: Can only be completed with machine translation -- The results…Trust me, you don’t want to know!

These types of projects are surprisingly common. The poor quality guaranteed on these projects through the use of poor translation tools and methodologies such as machines translation and translation crowsourcing is merely a symptom of a much a bigger problem. So, what’s going on here?

The root cause is personnel -- The person, or persons, who erroneously believed they could bring such a large project to fruition while maintaining your quality standards, within such ridiculously short deadlines. These folks are either clueless about translation, or have ulterior motives such as profiting from you regardless of the true cost to you. In other words, the real problem is who’s on your translation team? Whether your translation project is handled in-house or outsourced, follow this simply rule:

Ensure the right professionals are on your translation team.

And, oh, know that there’s no magically wand you wave for instant translation -- Producing quality translation is hard work that requires the skills and expertise of professional Japanese translators, so plan ahead to avoid any ridiculous deadlines that pressure translators unnecessary.

Translation Article bY Japan based Tokyo Translation Service

Friday, February 6, 2015

Professional Translation - What Is

As the name implies, this is translation services provided by professional human translators who work for an organization (translation agency, company, firm etc) or who work for themselves freelance.

Regardless how professional translators choose to deliver their translation services, professional translators are:

  • Bilingual
  • University Educated
  • Trained and Experienced in Translation
  • Skilled in Translation Tools
  • Subject Matter Experts

As you can see from the definition above, being bilingual by itself does not qualify a person as a translator. More importantly, professional Japanese translators only translate into their mother tongue (never the other way around).

Translation Article bY Tokyo Translation Service Japan

Translation Cloud - What Is

The translation cloud is a collaborative technique that has been enabled by advances in cloud computing technology, and is a fairly recent development in translation. With cloud translation, multiple human translators collaborate in real time simultaneously in the same workspace with shared resources. (Not be confused with translation crowdsourcing - see post below - which is not a collaborative technique.)

The purpose of translation clouds is to realize improvements in efficiency, communications between project participants, and to minimize or eliminate the managerial tasks in projects.

The introduction into shared resources of computer translation - i.e. machine translation - along with the practice in some translation companies of using novice translators (enhance profit), has brought into question the quality achievable through translation clouds. This is the reason why some professional translation companies in Japan have decided not to roll out a cloud.

I do believe, though, that as the translation quality of the cloud becomes more and more of an issue for customers, more translation companies globally will start shunning the cloud.

Translation Article bY Japan Translation Services Tokyo

Translation Crowdsourcing - You Already Know

Most people are familiar with crowdsourcing, although they may not necessary know it.

Ever used Wikipedia?

This is the same approach used in translation crowdsourcing, where many human translators work on the translation of a source text. Translators respond, for example, to an “open call” for Japanese financial translation with each participant being assigned a different section of the finance document to translate.

Much the same as Wikipedia, since alot of people - a crowd, that is - does the translation, quality issues, such as quality of contributors and final product, are to be expected. In addition, crowdsoucing is notoriously plagued by “Editor Wars” where numerous editors continuously override others’ editing. The benefit of translation crowdsourcing is a faster translation process.

Translation Article bY Tokyo Translation Services Japan

Computer Translation - What Is?

This term is also the stuff of no small amount of confusion!  Stick with me - We'll clear it all up

Computer translation is a generic term that actually refers to 2 completely different types of translation using - no surprise - computers: machine translation (MT) and computer assisted Translation (CAT).

Machine Translation
A human translator supports the machine. That is, a computer program translates the source text, with the result then edited by the human translator, if it is edited at all.

In terms of quality possible, machine translation is a thoroughly discredited technology. It does, however, have limited utility (i.e. ).

Computer Assisted Translation
A machine supports the human translator. A professional human translator translates the source text aided by a software program. The heart of this technology is what’s called:

  • Terminology base
  • Translation memory

Used appropriately by experienced professionals, CAT can improve efficiency. However, quality is not at the level of say a professional Japanese legal translators. And, CAT translation tools vary according to the type of source language.

Find out more about the the different type of translation -- Read other blog posts right here!

Translation Article bY Tokyo Translation Services

Professional, Machine, Crowdsourcing & Cloud Translation - Confused?

Yes, those are all different kinds of translation!

We often get asked by clients about the difference between all the kinds of translation options out there. And, don't worry -- Plenty of translation industry folks get confused, too!

Some folks confront this confusion before launching a translation project. That is good, because it saves them thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars. Others, unfortunately, discover after the fact that they used the wrong kind of translation solution so more money needs to be forked out (not to mention the cost of lost business & customers). For example, a client recently contacted our Tokyo translation company to re-translate an eCommerce website because their so-called "professional" translation service provider recommended a machine translation solution.

 Here you'll learn what type of translation is right for your needs. Let’s jump right in.

Essentially, there are only 4 kinds of translations:

  • Computer translation
  • Translation crowdsourcing
  • Translation cloud
  • Professional translation

(I'm sure other types of translation will emerge overtime, so we'll be updating this theme periodically -- Bookmark this post & stay updated!)

A brief description of each translation type will appear in subsequent posts.

Translation Article bY Tokyo Translation Services in Japan

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What is....Certified Financial Translation?

Simply put, this is translation that is certified by the translating services company as accurate in what's known as a Statement of Certification.

When is certification of financial documents required? Generally, when any type of financial documents are submitted to any of the following entities: Commercial Banks, Courts of Law, Embassies, Immigration Services, Educational Institutions, Law Firms, Official Organizations, National Registries.

However, in most cases certified Japanese translations would be required for the following types of documents: Certified Koseki Tohon Translation, Birth Certificate Translation, Divorce Certificate Translation, Driver's License Translation, Family Register Translation, Financial Record Translation, Juminhyo Translation, Marriage Certificate Translation, Records and Transcript Translation, Residency Certificate Translation, Toki Tohon Translation, Vehicle Registration Translation.

It is also important to be aware of Red Flags when requesting certified translation services. (Click the bolded link above for more)