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Skype conversations can be translated in real time. Booking site reviews can be automatically translated depending on your language preference. Business emails written in Japanese can be rendered in French in just a couple of seconds. If you cannot read street signs in Tbilisi, Georgia, just take out your smartphone and it will guide you to your destination in whichever language you choose. Language barriers should not stop you anymore, modern technology is here to help! Machine translation is slowly but surely establishing its presence in our everyday life. While the average consumer only giggles when coming across weirdly translated phrases...
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Over the last two decades our industry has spent a lot of time and energy making the localization process increasingly more efficient. Dollars spent in the process are highly leveraged thanks to the application of translation memories and machine translation, together with sophisticated expert systems and static analysis tools that help ensure that quality can still be achieved at scale. Companies that release products internationally know how to write global-ready code and content, standards exist and are generally adhered to. Companies wishing to extend into international markets for the first time have a deep bench of partners and suppliers that...
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* The title is borrowed from an article written by Bill Joy (then Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems) and published in Wired Magazine in April 2000. (Why the future does not need us). This article was somewhat gloomy, giving us a warning about a future in which machines essentially dominate us, humans. “We must do more thinking up front if we are not to be (…) surprised and shocked by the consequences of our inventions.” Projecting this fundamental and existential problem on our own sector, the field of translation, could easily lead to depressing and devastating visions of the translation industry...
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in Quality
Last year, I did some New Year's predictions in my post Wishing you an innovative 2015! reflecting on topics that would keep us awake in 2015. To continue writing on these expectations (calling them predictions might be too pretentious), making this a tradition, here is my two cents again on some of the new topics that will dominate this year’s blog posts and translation conferences. Last time, I talked about big data and business intelligence becoming the buzz words of the year. I also mentioned a new direction in the industry towards dynamic pricing based on quality and productivity results. And...
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Shortly after the first TAUS roundtable was held in Moscow back on May 22, a huge heat wave has moved in over the Moscow region to kickstart the official summertime in the European part of Russian Federation. By now, the first two summer months are over, and the weather in MSK is finally starting to cool down slowly after reaching the extremes of +35C (95 F) during the daytime – so I feel it’s a good time to look back and review some takeaways of that eventful spring day I’ve spent together with fellow globalization professionals from around the globe who...
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Or Time is on our Side Sometimes it is very rewarding to think in terms of decades, centuries and millennia. Not in a fatalistic way, like ‘in the long run we are all dead’. But in a positive way, thinking that there is direction and meaning in what we do. Psychologists say that our brains are mostly occupied by sex, what we eat, what we wear and now… what we share, on Facebook, all on the same day. You can’t erase the evolution from our body and our brains. In the beginning we were hunters. At work we have become farmers,...
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  Tars drives the streets of Moscow in his Hyundai taxi twelve to sixteen hours a day, if he can. “Moscow is all work”, he says in broken English. Tars is from Fedorovka in Bashkortostan, some 1,400 kilometers away from Moscow. Back home he speaks Bashkir with his two brothers and his mother. He hopes to go and see them in June. It will be more than a day travel by train. In Moscow he speaks Russian. He also knows a bit of Mari and Tartar, two other languages that are spoken in his native country. Tars thinks we are from...
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The great Hockey player Wayne Gretzsky  said his secret to success is this:  “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”  Today in business we call this strategy “planning for the end game.”  Lately I’ve been thinking – is the translation industry positioned for the end game, or are we following the puck, hoping to catch up, but losing ground in a rapidly accelerating world of technology? This raises an even  more compelling question: If the statistical approach to Machine Translation is falling short of the goal, how do we find a new approach...
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The past few years has seen the emergence of online translation companies like Gengo, Onehourtranslation and Tolingo. In theory, it sounds like a great idea. Instead of calling up a translation agency, speaking with a sales representative, getting price quotes and negotiating delivery times, you just go online and get a quote instantly, pay in advance by credit card and get your translation quickly. You can even track the progress of your order online. And the price is lower than that of a translation agency, since they essentially cut out the middle man. Sounds great, doesn’t it? And there is precedent...
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News reports and pundit commentary from the latest Consumer Electronics Show recently held in Las Vegas suggest that we are entering a new era of “conversational” devices. This has largely been driven by the rapid improvement in speech recognition, dragooned into handling the interface problem raised by the particular form factor of smartphones – a small, typing-unfriendly screen constantly connected to the cloud. But it also includes augmented reality type services for your digital glasses and other variants of digital madness. Does this conversational moment pose a threat to - or open up opportunities for - the translation automation agenda? When technologists...
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