Mother’s Day a Celebration Around the World

15929-happy-mothers-day-watercolorThis weekend we will be celebrating Mother’s Day. Unlike religious or national holidays, it is a day that brings the world together in a common and shared love of mothers. Each one of us has a mother or mother figure who spent a great deal of their life shaping us into the people we are today. No matter your mother nation or mother tongue, Mothers are worth celebrating.

But where did the term “mother tongue” come from?

To answer this we have to go back to a time when mothers were the sole source of information on customs, traditions and languages. While in the western world this means going back before the 19th century in many places around the world mothers are still the only ones performing these roles.

Before the public schooling system took root in society, children, from infants to adolescence, spent almost all of their time with their mothers. It was during this time with their mothers that children learned all they needed to be a functioning member of their society including cultural identity, language, laws and other societal norms. During these developmental years mothers were the most important members of their communities because without them children would learn how to be a part of the larger family unit.

The term Mother tongue stems from the fact that, for a large part of human history, mothers were the teachers of one of the most incredible advancements in our species development, language. It was because of that fact that we could come together as a species and communicate ideas and thoughts which created a collective knowledge pool which helped us create the amazing things that we have today.

While the role of mothers has changed over the many years, one thing hasn’t changed: All Mothers are amazing. So when you are celebrating your mother, grandmother or mother figure this weekend and what they have done for you, also remember that our world is full of mothers and they are each worth celebrating whether they played a part in your life or not.

Able Translations Wins the Consumer Choice Award

CCA LogoAble Translations has been awarded the Consumer Choice Award for business excellency in the interpretation and translation industry for the year of 2016. The award is given to businesses that provide only top quality services to their clients on a consistent basis.

The Consumer Choice Awards is an organization that employs independent market research firms to establish which organizations are the best in regards to consumer orientation within specific categories. Since 1987 the Consumer Choice Award has been given out to the most highly deserving businesses and it has allowed consumers to make improved, smart, and more knowledgeable purchase decisions when it comes to choosing a service.

Able Translations has always had a customer focused business model. We have created a system of personalized service options which allows our clients to receive the perfect solution in order to assure that they are always satisfied.

Our model is simple yet effective. We recognize and identify our clients’ unique needs and then create service offerings that meet the demand of those needs. We do not restrict our clients by providing rigid services which only partially meet their necessities. This has been a vital part to the core of our services which has led to our path of success over the many years we have been in business and it is definitely what has allowed us to win the Consumer Choice Award this year.

We would like to thank all of those who have been apart of helping us achieve this and we look forward to continuing our consumer driven approach for the upcoming years!

Why is Transcription Important to your Business?

Professional-Transcription-Services-1Able Translations provides professional, high-quality
transcription services. We employ a pool of skilled and
knowledgeable transcriptionists who are experienced
in transcribing recordings in English as well as over 150 other
languages and dialects. We accept audio files in various formats
such as mp3 and wav and always deliver the transcribed file according
to the client’s specifications thereby facilitating ease of use.

Benefits of Transcription:

  • Serves for better archiving and retrieval of information
    when required
  • Allows for more accurate documentation of an event
  • Aids in maintaining good records and facilitates
    informed decisions.

Information is priceless!

Let Able Translations be your transcription provider.

Able Translations’ Inaugural Paddle Battle Raises Over $23,000 for Mental Health

Paddle Battle Image 1

Toronto, Ontario, March 8, 2016 – Able Translations, a Canadian translations and interpreting company, and Able Transport, a full-service transportation company, raised over $23,000 on March 3rd with their inaugural Ping Pong Tournament, aptly named Paddle Battle for Mental Health. All of the proceeds from the event were donated to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in support of their work with mental health and addiction patients as well as their families across Canada.

Able Translations partnered with its sister organization Able Transport in order to bring awareness to the pressing issue of mental health. Throughout their respective histories both organizations have shown a commitment towards social issues both in their local community and outside of it. Paddle Battle is the latest installment in a long line of charitable endeavors and it was by far the largest with attendees ranging across a variety of industries and a number of notable celebrities.
“Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.” Said President of Able Translations and Able Transport Wilson Teixeira regarding the event his companies organized.

“25% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime, whether it be mild or severe.”

“It affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures but we can all do our part to help.”

CAMH estimated that by 2020 the leading cause of disability around the world will be depression. With the numbers being as staggering as they are it is clear that more support is needed in order to combat this growing trend. That is why the work of CAMH is crucial.

The event itself featured fantastic entertainment as teams competed to be the first ever champion of Paddle Battle for Mental Health. Fittingly, the first place team was representatives from CAMH.

Whether it was team outfits, shared smiles or high fives each and every team put their joy on display no matter if their team won or lost their match. If there is one thing to be said about the event, it would be that it was fun in every sense of the word and supported an amazing organization in a very significant way.

With the overwhelming support for Paddle Battle being so evident, Able Translations and Able Transport were proud to announce next year’s Paddle Battle will take place on March 2nd 2017.

You can head over to today to get the latest information on next year’s event.

Able Translations Leading the Way in Simultaneous Interpreting

Julio Montero conducts the demo of the remote simultaneous platform

Can you adapt to a changing landscape? 

If you are young and entering the job market, things can be tough.

In the wake of the recession, the number of jobs is down, particularly for young people. When young people do find work, it’s often in jobs for which they are overqualified. (Interestingly, though, university grads still earn more money, and a degree is your best bet for employment prospects.) As if things were not hard enough, the language industry — translation and interpreting — are in a state of rapid change.

So how you do you, as a new interpreter on the market, find work in your chosen field? Well, a recent public panel discussion at Glendon shed some interesting light on that subject.

Donna Achimov paints a picture of a changing landscape

On Friday, November 28, we welcomed three guests to our campus.

  1. Kent Johansson, European Parliament, Directorate General for Translation, Multilingualism and External Relations Unit
  2. Donna Achimov, CEO, Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada
  3. Robin Strang-Lindsey, Senior Director, Service to Parliament and Interpretation, Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada

The European Parliament and t

he Government of Canada both run some of the largest translation (and interpreting) services on the planet. But, as the panel members explained, the way they run their businesses has changed. Here are some of the drivers of change that they discussed.


Increasingly, language services in the public sector are being asked to demonstrate their worth. Not only do they have to get their financial houses in order, they also have to measure their productivity and their impact. They need to have numbers to prove to the powers that be that they are efficient. For example, the European institutions can demonstrate that the total cost of interpretation and translation per year is less than 3€ per citizen, about the cost of a cup of coffee.

Robin Strang-Lindsey discusses value-added service.

Value-Added Service

It’s not enough to give value for money, services also have to add value in other ways. Members of Parliament on both continents are asking for new kinds of services. For exa

mple, some want translation and interpreting not just for the business of Parliament, but their own dealings as members. Others are asking for real-time translation of social media messages, so that they can tweet and post in multiple languages.

Thinking Outside the Box

Language professionals are being asked to think ahead of the curve. In the case of the European Parliament, will the Union expand and add new languages? If so, are language services agile enough to train and recruit a cadre of language professionals to meet the new need? Here in Canada, we have a similar issue with aboriginal languages. Also, following the recent attack on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, language professionals stepped up to the plate and devised a plan to work more closely with law enforcement and security agencies. In this way, real-time messages in times of crisis can go out accurately and quickly in multiple languages.


It’s no secret that technology has completely reshaped translation. Today’s translators have to be able to manipulate translation memories, develop term banks, manage projects, and standardize work flow. Increasingly, they also need to integrate state-of-the-art machine translation where and when appropriate. Technology has also begun to change how interpreters do their work.

Our Translation Bureau colleagues are working with Able Translations to explore remote simultaneous interpreting. Julio Montero of Able was on hand to demonstrate their remote simo platform. Julio’s English audio feed was sent over the Internet to an offsite location, where an interpreter worked into French. The French audio was then sent back to the room, where a radio-frequency transmitter broadcast it to receivers that our audience members were using. All present seemed to agree that the sound quality was on par with normal, onsite simultaneous interpreting.

Future language professionals, what does all this mean for you?

MCI faculty member Qjinti Oblitas takes in the remote interpreting demonstration.

First off, you need to stay informed. You won’t be able to change with the changes if you don’t know what they are in the first place. So find ways to stay in the loop. Join professional associations. Go to conferences. Read industry newsletters and blogs. Make sure you are scanning the horizon for future opportunities.

Second, get comfortable with technology. (There is a reason why Year One of the MCI is delivered online — it’s so our students are used to interpreting using remote platforms.) Figure out how you can use it to do your job faster, better, and smarter.

Third, be aware that you have to add value. Your standard skill set as an interpreter or a translator is not enough. You have to have two, three or more extras that make your services better than those of the competition. Maybe that’s a strategic combination of working languages. Maybe it’s knowledge of one or two specialized areas. Or maybe it’s something unusual that I can’t even think of because only you can bring it to the table.

Finally, adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur. (Or, if you are working within a large organization, of an “intrapreneur“). Develop a vision for your professional self. Where there are problems, imagine solutions. Seek out like-minded people and join forces. Organize to chase down opportunities.

Got a suggestion for adapting to a changing landscape? Let me know by leaving a note in the comments field below.


By: Andrew Clifford, Glendon College

Simultaneous Interpreting takes a Giant Leap Forward

Simultaneous interpreting involves converting your message into a different language in real-time. A team of interpreters, in special sound booths, hear you speak through headphones and immediately deliver your words in another language to audience members with headsets. This allows you to speak freely and at a natural pace.

Essentially, the process works like this. The speaker will get a few words into his sentence and then the interpreter will start interpreting with a small lag. As the speaker orates, the interpreter listens and speaks at the same time, converting one language into the other. After examining the rising costs of simultaneous interpreting equipment, we figured there had to be a better way to provide the service while making it affordable for even the smallest conferences. From these discussions, we realized that we could forgo all of the expensive equipment while maintaining the exact same quality as onsite simultaneous interpreting. From the ground up, we developed simultaneous remote interpreting.

We launched simultaneous remote interpreting over the last quarter with great success. The service uses a proprietary system to send and receive voice data with no delay. Additionally, unlike other internet communication software, our product is full-duplex allowing simultaneous listening and speaking without a reduction in sound fidelity or frequency response. This allows us to conduct simultaneous interpreting over great distances. Simply put, you no longer need to budget for interpreter sound booths, equipment, or pay travel costs to have interpreters at your event. The interpreting is done remotely and relayed back to the event with no loss of quality or accuracy.

The major benefit of the product pertains to accessibility matters. We believe that all stakeholders should be fully-engaged in their first-language. The cost of simultaneous interpreting was a major barrier to open communication, especially for smaller organizations. Now, smaller conference-type events can be open to people of all languages.

Language Extinction in the 21st Century

Believe it or not, we lose languages. I know, I know. It is hard to believe. How could it be possible that there might only be one person left in the entire world that speaks a specific language and they, well, ya know. That language is lost forever. If we are lucky, and we often aren’t, that language has been preserved somehow, either through text or audio recording. But usually, those languages vanish into obscurity, never to be heard again.

If you really think about it, the loss of languages seems like a fairly obvious occurrence. Before mass immigration and emigration, it would be less likely that a language could spread from one region to another. A declining village may not be able to pass on that language quickly enough to maintain it. But what if I told you, we lost a language in the year 2000. Surprised? How about if I told you we lost a language this year (2013)? That’s right. Even with globalization, languages are going extinct.
Since the year 2000, we’ve lost many languages, each with an important history. I want to share three of those histories with you today.

(In chronological order)

Sowa (2000)

Sowa was a language spoken by a village on the Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, a small nation in the South Pacific Ocean. During colonization, a mass displacement of people took place. Diverse groups homogenized and by the 1960s, the language was already beginning to disappear and by the year 2000, the language was extinct.

But, there is good news. Stories were compiled in the original Sowa language in hopes of capturing the history of the language. Additionally, researchers that studied the language had written large vocabulary lists that are now being used in an attempt to reconstruct the language.

Eyak (2008)

Eyak is an extinct Na-Dené language historically spoken by the Eyak people, indigenous to south-central Alaska, near the mouth of the Copper River.
Although the extinction itself is an interesting story involving migration and the merging of culture, it is what happened after the extinction that is the real story. You see, the language went extinct…or so we thought.

In 2010, the Anchorage Daily News, an Alaskan publication, ran a story about a French student (France French, not Canadian French) who had learned Eyak through materials he had compiled including print and audio instructional material. He had never visited Alaska nor had he had any contact with native Eyak speakers. Nevertheless, he learned the language and is now considered a fluent speaker, translator, and educator of the Eyak language.

Livonian (2013)

Livonian, a language spoken by a small population in Latvia, became extinct this year. There has been a massive push to resurrect the language but because Livonians are a small minority it Latvia, the opportunities to speak it are extremely limited. That being said, the language is still being advanced, mostly by a young group of Livonians that started the Livonian Cultural Centre. Additionally, the language is still taught to students in universities in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland giving rise to a growing population of second-language speakers.

25 Facts You Didn’t Know About the English Language

1. TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

2. “Go.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

3. The sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English language.

4. The word racecar and kayak are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.

5. The longest word in the English language is 1909 letters long and it refers to a distinct part of DNA.

6. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.”

7. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.

8. “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

9. “Stewardesses” is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.

10. The “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.

11. The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

12. The symbol on the “pound” key (#) is called an octothorpe.

13. The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

14. The longest place-name still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwe-nuakit natahu, a New Zealand hill.

15. The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

16. Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning “containing arsenic.”

18. Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing.

19. “The” is the most frequently used word in the English language (used three times in this sentence alone).

20. There are six words in the English language with the letter combination “uu.” Muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir and residuum.

21. “Rhythms” is the longest English word without vowels.

22. “Queueing” is the only word with five consecutive vowels.

23. “W” is the only letter in the alphabet that does not have one syllable. It has three!

24. “Deeded” is the only word that is made using only two different letters, each used three times.

25. The only words with three consecutive double letters are “bookkeeping” and “bookkeeper”.

Happy Translation Day!

International Translation Day

Translators perform an amazing feat. Every day, talented individuals are using an immense amount of brain power to craft our messages in a way that lets the world read it. Having worked alongside translators for some time now, I get the privilege of watching this transformation of words take place. It is truly remarkable.

On September 30th, we celebrate International Translation Day. It is one day, and they deserve many, where we can say “Thank You” for helping us overcome communication barriers.

Why September 30th?

International Translation Day is celebrated on September 30th because that is the feast day of St. Jerome. St. Jerome, born in 347, was a religious scholar who provided one of the original translations of the bible. He is the patron Saint of translators so it only makes sense to celebrate translators on this day.

What Makes Translators so Special?

Translators take text written in one language (the source language) and transform it into a second language (the target language). This isn’t a simple matter of knowing two languages. Translators are experts in two or more languages. There is a rule known as the 10 000 rule which states that to master something you need to spend 10 000 hours doing that activity. But for translators, they spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. They are life-long learners.

Beyond knowing two languages, translators are often technology experts. They use sophisticated language tools daily. These “computer-aided translation” tools, known as cat tools, help translators keep terminology consistent and recognize repetitive and previously translated text. In addition, translation project management tools help guide a team of language experts through the translation process. Knowing what to do at each step is critical to the success of the project.

How to Say Thank You to Translators

Well, I suppose you can thank them in their language of choice. But, if you don’t personally know a translator, you can spend some time appreciating the work that they do. If you speak more than one language, read a translated copy of a book you love. Appreciate the amount of work that has gone into the masterpiece that is being revealed to you in a whole new light.

Examples of beautifully translated materials are everywhere, if you look. From signs to Shakespeare, the beauty of translation is all around us.

Thank you to all those who make this possible.

This Week in Translations – Volume 1

Stories From September 1 to 7, 2013

7 myths and misconceptions in language translation for business

“Translation of your business messages into foreign languages may seem easy with the internet at your fingertips and bilingual friends on call. However, casual translations often result in messages translated quite literally, instead of rephrasing them to make them more readable, and won’t check things like grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary and expressions that might be local to a particular market.”

Read More

How are startups using translation tools?

“Specifically in the Arab world, it’s critical to pay attention to linguistic diversity, as a citizen or as a business. When startups venture into content, they must pay attention to language barriers and local nuances in order to make their services accessible to as many people as possible. English may be widely used, but a majority of the population prefers their native language.”

Read More

Lost in translation: Crime and language barriers

“Sheriff Elks says oftentimes immigrant workers in the East can become easy targets, as criminals assume they won’t call 911 for fear of deportation. However, he insists his deputies are willing to help anyone, so he encourages them to report any criminal activity.”

Read More

How Do You Say …? For Some Words, There’s No Easy Translation

“Just as good writing demands brevity, so, too, does spoken language. Sentences and phrases get whittled down over time. One result: single words that are packed with meaning, words that are so succinct and detailed in what they connote in one language that they may have no corresponding word in another language.”

Read More

China International Translation Contest launched in Beijing

“CITC 2013 is aimed at encouraging the initiative and creativeness in the transmission of Chinese culture to the world, as well as at presenting Chinese culture to the world, extending the international influence of Chinese culture, and promoting cultural prosperity of the whole world. ”

Read More

New Persian translation of “Les Miserables” to hit Iranian bookstores soon

“Although the first translation is good, it is not void of mistakes and it needed to be retranslated into Persian more precisely and with a better and smoother text,” Parsayar said.”

Read More

How we saved the Yukon $10 000 (and could do the same for you)

The Problem:

The Yukon Government holds frequent meetings. In attendance is a mixture of both English and French stakeholders. In their effort to maintain an inclusive environment, they decided that language interpretation was necessary. There were, however, two barriers to implementation. These barriers are most likely barriers you have faced; time and money. They needed to use simultaneous interpreting, interpretation that takes place as the speaker is speaking, in order to keep meetings to a reasonable length of time. In order to make use of simultaneous interpreting, significant investment needed to be made to their infrastructure.

Had the Yukon Government decided to use the traditional setup for simultaneous interpreting, they would have required special sound booths for the interpreters, sound booths that are not made for boardrooms. These booths came with a hefty price tag. They were out of the questions.

Enter Able Translations:

In late 2012, Able Translations had served a major conference in the Yukon. To reduce costs for the organizers, Able made a commitment to supply simultaneous interpreting to this conference remotely which eliminated the costs for sound booths and interpreter travel costs. We offered the same solution to the Yukon Government. The price tag? Close to $15 000 for all the required equipment. We knew we could do better.

Our Solution:

The team at Able Translations worked tirelessly to produce a software solution capable of providing simultaneous interpreting remotely with no change to our client’s infrastructure. All it took was a laptop and the transmitters and headphone receivers that are often used at conferences to deliver this mode of interpretation. The price to outfit two boardrooms with our new technology was less than $5000.

The success of what we dubbed “The Yukon Project” has spurred us on to offer this service to all of our clients. We can virtually eliminate the major costs of simultaneous interpreting making this mode more readily available to all who need it.

What’s Your Google Localization Strategy?

Factor the following into your localization strategy

Over the last few years Matt Cutts, the Head of the Web Spam team at Google, has posted several hints to the fact that Google uses localization as a criterion for ranking well on their search engine. This was later confirmed when details were released about Google’s Panda update. Yet, a lot of search engine optimization companies aren’t applying this idea to their localization strategy.

Basically, Google has decided it will, or at least consider, serving you search results that match your locale. This makes sense. If you’re searching for a place to get your oil changed, do you want search results from all over the world or do you want results from your city?

The logic holds true for the association between their top-level domains and your localized website. if you search on, you’ll likely only want to view French websites. In this case, your English only website, as relevant as it may be, will not rank.

Since its release, Google Translate has become to the go to application for multi-lingual integration on the web. Google Translate is a machine translation platform that uses a statistical model to translate content from one language to another. The technology has vastly improved since its release, with new languages added and updates to the way the platform renders its translation. But, its still not perfect. Google Translate is known for oddities and abnormalities in translation, causing a disconnect between the text’s original message and the newly rendered version. But this is only one of the major issues with Google translate.

In 2011, Matt Cutts, the head of Web Spam at Google, announced that websites that are translated dynamically with Google translate do not help webmasters increase their search engine rank. These translations are not indexed or stored by Google thus have no chance of appearing in a search. Even more shocking was that Cutts said that sites that are auto-translated my appear to Google as spam, risking delisting from the search rankings. Further to the point, Cutts stated that Google would rather a webmaster translate their site using a proper localization strategy because it is more easily read by human beings and that Google Translate often produces results that that are contrary to Google’s terms of service.

How to add this to your localization strategy

Google has made it pretty clear. Your localization strategy should include a plan on how to deal with the Google algorithms.

If Google prefers local content than your localization strategy should include the following:

  • Registering all of your addresses with Google Local
  • Using Google Analytics to see the top languages that view your site and then translate them accordingly. Let the user pick the language they would like to view your site in. Do not rely on Google Translate for this
  • If you have sites that cater to different countries than add local content and use local currency and time/date formats. Even adding widgets (like a weather widget) for the major cities in that country would be a huge advantage
  • For the best results, let a professional localization company like the Word Exchange handle your localization strategy

Localization – Making Technology for Everyone

What is Localization

Many years ago, the majority of video games were produced in China and Japan and then introduced to the North American Market. The first wildly available platform, the Nintendo Entertainment System, was introduced to the North American market in 1985 and with it came a flood of Japanese produced games. I was just a kid at the time so my reading skills weren’t as strong as they are today so some things were lost on me that weren’t lost on my older siblings. I didn’t notice how poorly translated these games were from their source language (Japanese) to their target language (English). Now, at the time, top-notch localization wasn’t necessary as there was little competition in video game development. We, in North America, bought the games that were available at the time. And that was that.

As the video game and software markets expanded and products travelled across borders in all directions, localization has become far more necessary. But, as much as the market has expanded, it has also become extremely saturated with development companies struggling to fill niches or create a unique value proposition to help differentiate their company. The situation has become far more competitive since the tech start-up revolution where individuals combine tech-savvy ideas with a DIY (do-it-yourself) mentality. These businesses are light, agile, flexible, and growing at a rapid pace.

To combat the oversaturation of the software, app, and web development market, firms are turning to localization to help them conquer new, less competitive markets. The top 8 fortune 1000 software companies have seen tremendous growth since they began focusing on localization. One industry expert notes,
“Customers are more likely to purchase a localized product or software application than one that hasn’t been localized…they also experience higher satisfaction with localized products, and are more likely to make repeat purchases. For producers, support costs are lower when products are localized, and when product support and services are available in local languages. That’s the power of quality localization services.”

Localization, or L10N, is the process by which software, apps, and websites are made relevant to a specific cultural market. Localization involves four major components: Linguistics, physical, business and cultural, and technical.

Linguistics –

There is a widely held belief that localization is basically the translation of the linguistic components of software, apps, or websites. Translation is actually just one step in a multi-step process. In its simplest form, the linguistic component of localization involves the conversion of text from a source language (the language in which the original software is written) to a target language (the language of your target market). This process focuses on terminology, flow, and grammar.
In more complex localization projects, the localization professional will likely take a deeper look into the construction of the text in order to optimize it for the target market. For example, a direct translation of a phrase may still make sense to the target market but it might not use the actual, everyday language that the target market would use for that expression. This becomes especially important when working toward localized search engine optimization (SEO). In this instance, you need to use relevant – exact, phrase, and broad match word variants in order to rank well on search engines. These variants need to be the most popular terms searched in that locale for your product offering.

Localization is extremely powerful in the sense. Google Translate, a translation tool deployed on many websites as a quick and dirty localization tool, converts text dynamically by user control. Although the tool does make the site accessible to most languages, it does nothing in terms of search engine optimization. The reason being, the site isn’t indexed in the target language. It is only indexed in the source language. A website can’t rank well if the term doesn’t appear on the page.

Physical –

The physical component of localization is multifaceted. Generally, this is when your localization expert will deal with the graphical elements of your project. Different locales respond to graphics and interact with interfaces in different ways and your project needs to reflect that.

In this stage, images might be changed to suit the local audience. For example, a website might feature stock images of people from the source locale. They need to be changed to feature the target locale. Text and image colors may also be changed to suit local tastes. Different cultures associate different meanings to colors and their combinations so attention needs to be paid to this element.

Beyond swapping graphics, text arrangements on graphics need to be adjusted to fit the new text and its direction. As you may know, some cultures read from right to left or from top to bottom. This configuration would have to be considered when preparing images for your software, app, or website.

Business or Cultural –

In this step of localization, business and cultural conventions are addressed. Of course, the linguistic aspects of business and cultural conventions have been adjusted but there are issues that go beyond terminology and written conventions.
Business and cultural conventions deal with issues such as currency, date, phone numbers, and address formats as well as issues concerning formality and business decorum.

Technical –

The technical aspects of a localization project are usually the most complex, especially if the software, app, or website hasn’t been internationalized ahead of time. Internationalization is usually the precursor to localization. Normally, software is internationalized at the time of development in order to make localization easier. The software architecture is designed in a way that facilitates localization. For example, one would design software that uses resource files that are dynamically inserted at runtime. Basically, all of the translated text would be stored in the resource files and the language would be chosen by the user and dynamically inserted in place of the source text. The design of the program would be such that the translated text could be inserted without major change to the interface.

During the technical phase, especially when considering web design, navigation menus and containers would need their height and width adjusted to incorporate the changes of text length that is inherent in the translation process. Another example would be making keyboard shortcuts relevant to the local market.

To summarize, the four main considerations during localization are linguistics, physical, business and cultural, and technical. Each of these steps is extremely important to having a clear, coherent localized product. It becomes more complex but more necessary to follow this path as the number of markets you would like to engage increases.

It is important to note that each of these steps can be made far easier and less expensive if your software, app, or website is internationalized in the first places. Structurally, it will be prepared to meet the demands of localization thereby reducing the time spent on physical and technical details which are the steps that are most complex.

Pay with a Tweet! – Able Translations’ “The Definitive Guide to Buying Translations”

Hey Everyone,

We know buying translations can be pretty tricky. We’ve had so many people contact us with specific questions on how to buy translation services so we put together this handy guide (which can be bought be tweeting it). In the guide, we cover:

– What you need to ask yourself before buying
– What to look for in a translation agency
– The questions you need to ask before you commit to starting a project

It also comes with a handy cheat sheet to help you out when you’re on the phone with a company rep.
You can download here, for a tweet!

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4 Language Services Myths Debunked

When I chat with friends about the language services industry, it becomes clear that there is little mainstream knowledge about the subject. Often, my friends will make broad blanket statements about what they think they know about the industry. In hopes of disseminating some quality information on the subject, I will now debunk 5 myths about the language services industry.

Myth 1 – Translators and Interpreters are just people that speak two languages

This is probably the most prevailing myth about the industry. Some folks think that just because you can speak two languages, you are automatically qualified to become a translator or an interpreter. Those in the know, however, are aware that this is just not true.

Beyond speaking two languages, interpreters and translators are highly skilled scholars. Generally, they have a degree in linguistics followed by a number of possible certifications (CILISAT, ATIO, RID, AVLIC for example). These translators and interpreters take course upon course in order to become proficient at skills such as terminology recognition and CAT tool usage, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting skills, presentation skills, as well as a host of other applicable skills that are required of language professionals.

Myth 2 – Google Translate means the end of human translation

I’ll admit it, I often copy and paste into Google Translate to get a quick and dirty translation of an email or article that I’m reading in a different language. Google Translate has come a long way. It is more sophisticated than ever. But, with globalization and the importance of global business partnerships, Google Translate just won’t cut it. It is ultimately unreliable. It uses complex algorithms to process a source language into a target language. The results can be muddled at best. Google Translate cannot compete with the quality and certainty of a professional translator. When it comes to contracts, marketing material, and technical documents, it is still VERY unwise to use Google Translate.

Beyond all of this, Google Translate has opened the public’s eyes to the importance of multilingual communication. This has forced consumers to look at ways to incorporate language services into their business models.

Myth 3- Language Service Providers are mostly Mom & Pop shops

This is a huge misconception. Generally, if you are a full-service multilingual provider, you employ a large staff of professional project associates, admin staff, marketing and sales, as well as IT professionals in order to offer your clients a range of possible solutions. You will also work with 100s if not 1000s of language professionals in order to offer every service in multiple languages.

Able Translations and others have put together proven success models that allow their companies to grow beyond basement start-ups.

Myth 4 – Aren’t bibles really the only thing that gets translated?

How many times have I had this conversation:

Friend – So, where are you working right now?

Me – I work for a large language service provider that does interpreting and translation

Friend – Oh, like…bibles and stuff?

To be honest, I don’t know that we’ve ever translated bibles here. Maybe? We specialize in more technical documents but I think the public takes for granted that most documents are just “written” in all languages at once. Generally, they come to use with a source language and are translated from the original document into other languages while retaining the original messaging.

Well, there you have it. 4 common language services myths debunked.

Are there more? Comment below with your most commonly heard misconceptions about the language services industry.

…Wish I Had an Interpreter

For the majority of us, needing an interpreter might not come up daily. I get that. Although I’ve seen many-an interpreting sessions and have even “tested” a couple out just so I could get a handle on the process but I’ve never had to use one myself. So, today I thought “where might I, average Joe Copywriter, need an interpreter. Here’s what I came up with.

1) A Hospital Abroad –

So, I’m sitting on a beach in the Dominican Republic, drinking a fruity drink, and enjoying the sun.

“Boy am I relaxed”, I think to myself.

Turns out, I’m a little too relaxed. I fall asleep and wake up with a terrible sunburn and near sunstroke. Off to the hospital I go.

One of the first questions the doctor asks me is: “¿Es usted alérgico a algo?”

“huh” I reply.

Turns out he’s asking if I’m allergic to anything. Wish I had an interpreter…

2) A Foreign Police Station

The doctor ends up treating me, although it took longer than it should have. I’m feeling a bit woozy. I stumble out onto the street and begin to make my way back to my resort. I figure the day can’t get much worse. I realize it can as two police offers handcuff me and throw me into the back of a police car.
It turns out that the final “instructions” I was given by the doctor was not “try and take it easy until you get back to Canada”. He was actually telling me to pay at the receptionist’s desk, which I did not.
Sitting in a small room at the police station, passport confiscated, shoe laces removed, my mind wanders.

“Why on earth am I here?” I think out loud.

“¿por qué no pagar?”, an officer replies.

“Did he just respond to me?” I wonder…

I begin to speak, “Can you please tell…”

“Yo no hablan Inglés”, the officer shouts, cutting me off.

…Wish I had an interpreter.

3) Lost in a Foreign City

Alright, my fine is paid and I’m released from the police station, only to find myself lost on the streets of Santo Domingo.

“tweeeeeeeet”, I whistle for a cab.

I get in.

“¿a dónde?” the cabbie asks.

“not this again” I mutter under my breath.

…Wish I had an interpreter.

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