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Web-Translations’ “smooth and efficient service” helps European Lung Foundation maintain multilingual website
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“Web-Translations provides us with a reliable service to help us provide patient information in 8 different languages. The team of translators are prompt and reliable, delivering text within our often tight deadlines. All texts are reviewed by our own reviewers and we find there are usually minimal changes from the original text. The process for translations is smooth and efficient, which is a great benefit for our small team; minimising our workload, whilst maintaining 8 different language websites.”
Lauren Anderson – Press and Communications – European Lung Foundation
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Jeremy Clarkson often comes across as arrogant and opinionated, so although I usually disagree with him and his attempts to turn cars into spacecraft and otherwise waste my TV license fee, I will have to admit that I agree with him about one thing…
“When I see a sign advertising CD’s and DVD’s, I become so angry that my teeth start to fall out”
- Jeremy Clarkson as quoted in Monday’s Metro
However, I’m not sure whether overuse of the apostrophe is actually worse than eliminating them altogether, which is what the Mid Devon District Council did earlier this month when it officially banned them from street names. Also, the current BBC drama Prisoners’ Wives is correctly listed as such on the iPlayer, but when you watch the opening credits, the apostrophe disappears! Tsk tsk.
As a Project Manager, I have often found that translators whose native language is not English are excellent grammarians and do a fabulous job of spotting errant apostrophes (and other mistakes) in English texts. Perhaps we can hire translators to teach English in our schools, to work for the BBC, and to work for our councils!
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One of the most recognised truisms in the translation industry is that good source content yields a good translation.
Glossaries and style guides can certainly help, but what matters most is that the original copy is well-written. When text does not flow logically, is difficult to understand, inconsistent or contains errors that can make it difficult for non-native speakers to even grasp the intended meaning, it takes a good deal longer to translate. During a recent project, a translator asked me what sort of fabric ‘shiffon’ was and what exactly ‘broidrais anglais’ was. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the text should be ‘chiffon’ and ‘broderie anglaise’, but I’m sure she had already taken time to search in a few dictionaries before asking me.
Translators charge by the word, so when portions of text take longer to translate, the translator needs to make time savings elsewhere. Yes, good translators will do what is necessary to make the translation as good as possible, but realistically, they probably have a deadline that they accepted based on the principle that the source text was of an acceptable quality, and another job lined up ready and waiting. This extra time may be time that they would prefer to spend reviewing their translation or researching the client’s product.
Not only does it take longer to decipher the source text and even longer to produce a good translation, poor source text can also be very discouraging to a translator. At least on a subconscious level, translators must wonder “why am I spending so much time and effort to make this text read well, when the client is clearly satisfied with substandard copy?”.
Project Managers realise this and so we do our best to ‘pre-localise’ text before we send it for translation, which most often includes running a spell check and reading through the file to fix any obvious errors. We hope this improves the translator’s impression of the quality of the text, and in turn results in a better quality translation. It can also reduce ambiguity, aiding the translator’s understanding of the source text, which results in a more accurate translation.
By taking the time to edit your text prior to sending it for translation, you can achieve a translation that is of far higher quality and much more appealing to readers of the target market. Ask yourself if the copy is consistent and accurate, if the tone reflects the message you want to convey, and if there is anything that is unclear or might otherwise be misunderstood.
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Google has updated the way in which its Image Search Results are displayed, by introducing user-friendly preview boxes on the results page as a replacement for the classic sidebar and iFrame format. It’s sleek, and it works seamlessly – but is it fair?
Google has a perhaps-unfair reputation for being cavalier with the impact of its updates on webmasters. This most recent development looks, at first glance, to be a very minor change in visual style – but there’s a chance it could have a more profound effect on the way image searching is carried out and, potentially, on the traffic many sites see from image results.
What the new look essentially does is to move all of the browsing functionality to the search engine’s pages. Whether this contravenes fair use is a matter for debate: the US legal case Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation (2003) established a search engine’s right to make thumbnails, but Google’s latest endeavour may just differ from that example by providing much higher-resolution images than mere thumbnails. Even if fair use applies in the strict sense, though, the truth is that webmasters are going to have to deal with a whole new set of challenges surrounding the new layout.
Google’s official line is that they have tested the design and found it to increase traffic to the domains the images are hosted on. Associate product manager Hongyi Li says that, “This means that there are now four clickable targets to the source page instead of just two.” This is certainly the case, but in the instance of search engines, we know from the value of meta descriptions that the quality and contextualisation of a link can be of huge importance. What this new design does is essentially removes the website from the decision-making process; there may be more buttons to click through, but there’s no way to sell the click-through to a potential reader or user, except for the image.
In this sense, it may be that Google’s new Image Search Results is actually a step backwards, removing the connection between images, the pages on which they reside, and the domains on which they are hosted. Granted, people do use Google Image Search for the pure act of finding a picture – it’s worth noting you can now save a high-res image straight from the search engine – but many more use it less directly, as a tool for finding information and browsing opportunities.
The blogosphere is awash with claims by webmasters that their search traffic has dropped off since the implementation of the new features, in contrast to Google’s much-repeated argument that it has been proven to work. Whatever the final verdict, Google have again proven their capacity to change the worth of whole segments of web content in a fairly innocuous update. A picture’s worth a thousand words – give or take 5%.
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At Web-Translations our translators are our partners and most valued asset. With their help we make every effort to provide our clients the highest quality service.
Each year we acknowledge 20 of the finest and brightest of translators from around the world with our “Most Valuable Translator” award. These exceptional translators come from a wide range of backgrounds and actively share their high-quality, real-world expertise with Web-Translations. With the MVT Award, we thank these inspiring individuals for the powerful and independent translations they give us, and for helping us provide the quality service that our customers have come to know us for.