The Need For Translation Service
- product manuals
- financial documents
- service offerings
- company policies
- clinical studies / medical reports
- technical specs
- annual reports
- intellectual property
- legal text
- religious text
About software localization
While working in the software localization field for a big IT company, I figured out how sometimes translators can’t avoid bad translation renderings. I found out that About software localization strings are translated out of context, the mainly visual context in this case. Once the translation was passed onto engineers, ‘words’ were assembled to the software itself and just a quality review used to follow this stage of the process. At this stage, translators were not allowed to correct so many things (as the main work was already done), while, instead, a lot of errors were spotted when words were finally associated to menus, windows, etc.
Someone said that the translator is a rational agent aware of and controlling his actions and that he/she surrenders to external coercion only if his/her reason decides that it is the wisest thing to do.
I don’t agree with such an out-of-date and topical thinking.
I’ve just read in a NY Times article published in November that IBM is working hard on a new translation software – called n-Fluent – which sounds interesting. On IBM’s website you can find detailed info about it: the development process of the software apparently involved 400,000 people, that is, IBM staff worldwide, and n-Fluent should really be smarter and able to deal with idiomatic expressions etc. I just hope it is MUCH better than IBM’s Translation Manager, which probably is the worst-ever released translation software to date, according to my experience and to my colleagues as well.
What really seems to be interesting, though, is Clay Tablet, the collaborative translation tool, version 2.5: here’s some general news and the homepage. Clay Tablet connects to corporate databases as well as translation vendors, reaching an impressive 210 million translated sentences. Is anyone ever used it?
The business market is requiring more and more skilled translators in order to translate their documentation and websites, so apparently, companies address to professionals in order to get their translations done. Agencies and freelance translators have a good load of work (even though translation demand is lower than the offer). By the way, if we consider results our certainties start to fade away. This is not a general rule or hypothesis applying to all countries in the world; Europe, in particular, the southern area, has nothing to do with translators’ status in the USA. If we have a look at localized websites, for instance, we can spot the results of these differences.
I recently read on an Italian recruitment website the wonderful translation from English into Italian of the word interview into Intervista. Unfortunately, localization is often considered as the less creative field of translation and the simplest from a fraseological point of view. As a matter of fact, many freeware, web applications and social networks are translated by volunteers and this is certainly not a way of recognizing the importance of translation and localization! If a single term has been wrongly translated, it’s very likely not to there have been a translator behind it.
There’s a huge gap between big companies who search for professional translators in order to translate software and websites and the examples above made.
Will it be a matter of budget or of common declassification of translation activities? The only conclusion we can come to is to advise to address to professional translators and agencies for both translators and company’s results protection! How and what we write and say is often more important than any marketing strategy!