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ISO 18587 on MT post-editing gaining traction

Newly published ISO standard 18587, on post-editing machine translation, is already attracting interest among LSPs and clients alike.

Within a couple of weeks of the standard’s publication, the ATC received enquiries from LSPs as far away as the US, a fact not lost on ATC’s lead on standards, Raisa McNab.

‘’It seems that clients are also already aware of it, which just goes to show how much of an impact machine translation has within the translation industry today, and how welcome an ISO standard on MT post-editing is to many,” she said.

ISO 18587 regulates the post-editing of content processed by machine translation systems and establishes competences and qualifications that post-editors must have. The standard is intended for use by post-editors, translation service providers and their clients.

Livia Florensa, CEO of Barcelona-based translation company, CPSL, was the original architect of 18587. As the standard’s ISO Project Leader at ISO, she was also responsible for coordinating its development, aided by comments from ISO member countries including the ATC’s ISO standards Commenting Group, lead by the Association’s ISO expert Chris Cox.

“It was necessary to create a specific standard for post-editing because it was explicitly left out of the ISO 17100, which provides requirements for translation services, but it was a complicated process, taking four years to reach the stage of final publication,” Livia explained.

Commenting on the standard in its different development stages via the UK’s ISO representation, Livia, who will remain on ISO’s Technical Committee as an expert member working on the standards relating to translation and interpreting, said;

“It’s been a long but interesting process and it has been extremely rewarding to tackle the issue of finding the best process to follow during post-editing, to ensure quality translations that meet the client’s expectations. At the same time, it has allowed me the opportunity to foster the creation of a standard that affects our industry.”

ATC’s Raisa McNab said it was still early days for the 18587, but given the traction it’s gaining, it would be incorporated into the service offering of the ATC’s new ISO certification service being launched at the Language Industry Summit in London, 21-22 September.

‘’We will be offering certification services to ISO 9001 and the translation industry standard ISO 17100, but as there won’t be very many certification bodies offering auditing and certification to ISO 18587, we are very keen on introducing 18587 into the mix as soon as possible,” she said.

Get the standard here.

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Customer Journey Mapping for LSPs: An Essential with Bags of Potential

In a crowded marketplace, LSPs and translation agencies can struggle to create a USP that will generate leads, convert sales and help the brand evolve.

Adopting a customer-centric approach for your business can offer invaluable insights into your customers, helping to highlight your USP and securing future growth.

Understanding how a customer interacts with your company, the brand, staff, newsletters, etc and how they feel about it, every step of the way, is something taught by proponents of the Customer Experience school of thought (or CX as its more commonly known).

Through examining every possible and potential interaction with a customer, (whether new or established), CX teaches proactivity in trying to connect with people on an emotional level, to organically drive their decision to buy with you. It is an approach very much favoured by some of the big players in the world of commerce including Adobe, who believe it is helping them stay relevant and prepared for the future.

Not every LSP of course is able to adopt a CX approach similar to the likes of Adobe due to obvious factors such as lack of time, knowledge and/or resources. However, one thing that every single LSP should try to do is Customer Journey Mapping (CJM).

CJM is a powerful tool with the potential to transform your business.


Customer Journey Mapping. How Does It Work?

In essence, CJM is a team exercise, a tool and a visual aid that illustrates and captures each and every ‘touchpoint’ a customer has with your company.

It brings a team and all stakeholders together in one place to cover what, where, how, why and when customers come into touch with the company. What do they do at each point? What are their motivations, reservations and options at each point? What are the range of possible emotions and where are the gaps that exist in the current journey or experience? This helps identify opportunities to improve that experience, improve certain touchpoints or innovate functions.

Working as a company to explore your customers’ journeys helps you take a step back, assess what you are doing in a joined-up manner and address opportunities across all functions. 

There are different ways and formats when it comes to running a CJM workshop or exercise. There is plenty of guidance available online; however a lot of it is very basic and offers only simple tips.  Save yourself the time and start with the CX Toolkit from Oracle which also comes with free materials and instructions on how to run your own workshop [which of course you can adapt].

What’s Essential in Customer Journey Mapping?

Firstly, identify what you are hoping to accomplish. Are you looking to fix current issues and challenges within the business? Or are you looking to embellish and improve upon them? Identify a gap in the translation market? Or fixing a block in your sales pipeline?

Secondly, make sure everyone in the company is involved – no matter how little you believe the impact of their role to be. Even employees behind the scenes impact the customers’ journey. Bringing everyone together is good for teamwork, morale and illustrating to certain parts of the company how they impact the customer experience.

Thirdly, be specific when examining a journey. If you sell more than one product, don’t try and approach all of them in one go. It is important to look at each service or department or product in its own light. Your customers will surely have differing needs, no matter how slight, which should be identified and capitalised upon.

Fourthly, decide on certain customer types you want to explore. Are they new customers? Old clients? Are you hoping to win some back? Consider focusing on your top 20 or so clients initially before broadening the scope as this will really solidify a shared understanding of your company’s USP, goals and values.

Fifthly, validate your findings. Remember it is going to be hard to think like the customer so many of your conclusions may be based on assumptions. Involving clients and having their input will really help avoid making poor decisions based on limited points of view.

What’s the Potential of Customer Journey Mapping?

In terms of the potential offer by CJM, there are many benefits it has to offer, from improving intra-team communication to shaping marketing campaigns. Each company will experience different benefits dependent on their intentions.

Here are some of the key benefits most experience:

New Ideas

Exploring and understanding your customers, their experiences, feelings and motivations will help generate new ideas about your brand, services or products. Getting everyone together to talk about creating the best experience possible for your customers will lead to innovation across the board in terms of how to present the company, engage with clients and improve services.

Streamlined Procedures

If anything comes from CJM at the very least it is helping to identify snags and issues for your customers in terms of the procedures they have to go through to get a translation. From filling in forms on your website, to receiving quotes, to how they get their translations, all are scrutinised in one process as opposed to independently which helps identify where and how to save time, reduce burdens or simply make it a better experience.

Customer Loyalty

Providing a great customer experience organically results in customer loyalty and longer-term relationships. Think about the tea or coffee brand you always drink – why? There is something about that experience that takes you back again and again. Through CJM you learn how to make happy customers who will want to stay loyal to your brand.

 

Neil Payne started his career as an English teacher in the Middle East before attempting and failing to become a freelance Turkish to English translator. The failure led to him setting up a successful translation agency which he ran for 12 years before leaving the industry. He now runs a cross-cultural training company and spends far too much time in the greenhouse.

Image from Flickr.

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The Chinese LSP market is thriving. As the country continues to open its doors to more international trade and its economy continues to grow, the demand for language services increases. It’s an imperfect but exciting market not to be neglected, writes Kain Jagger, Sales and Marketing, Lan-Bridge.

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ELIA Together 2017: Community, collaboration, communication

There’s a longstanding myth that translators are solitary creatures by nature, preferring to spend their days burrowed away in their little home offices rather than joining the horde. After all, if we weren’t reclusive introverts, wouldn’t we all have opted for the exciting world of interpreting instead? Well, with a vast tapestry of attendees from 38 countries across the globe, all keen to share their own perspectives on the profession, this year’s ELIA conference showed that solitude, far from being a motivation for translators’ career choice, is in most cases just an unfortunate byproduct.

The team behind 'The Patchwork Approach' gave an inspiring talk on 'The Warmest Project', their unique initiative designed to bring language professionals together on a human level, sharing their weird and wonderful tales of life in the industry (read more at https://www.gala-global.org/publications/patchwork-concept-lessons-learned-warmest-project). Quoting David Brooks, Jozeph Kovalov warned translators against getting “caught in the loneliness loop”.

‘Humans are caught in the loneliness loop. What drives us, ultimately, is the yearning for community and to be understood by others’

This occupational hazard is the very reason why it’s so important for independent language professionals and companies to meet up at events such as ELIA Together, and to build relationships that can continue well into the future. But what does this mean in reality?

Various practical ideas for promoting better community, collaboration and communication were discussed this year. One speaker recommended that translation companies take a more personal approach to the recruitment process using the concept of ‘remote interviews’, giving both parties the opportunity to develop a rapport with one another. Strategies like this reflect the need for the relationship between the language professional and the translation agency to be a mutually beneficial partnership rather than a mere business transaction – a mantra that fits in well with our ethos here at STB.

Heidi Kerschl, who in her own words has worked “on both sides of the fence”, suggested taking that collaboration even further, bringing together project managers and freelance translators (or, perhaps, Martians and Venusians!) for software training, for example. While the logistics of such an arrangement could prove challenging, the fact is that, whether we’re project managers or freelance translators, we face the same obstacles day in day out, so it makes sense to try and overcome them together.

Talking of obstacles - funnily enough, in an industry brimming with experts in language, communication was highlighted time and again at Elia Together as the greatest hindrance to successful collaboration. As keynote speaker Balász Kis reminded us in his opening talk, the faceless world of email communication opens up a minefield of potential misunderstandings. That’s why the best thing about an event like ELIA Together, besides the fascinating talks and the amazing location, is having the opportunity to venture out from behind the screen and talk face to face, without a keyboard in sight, with the people who make our profession a community.

According to Heidi Kerschl, “a good project manager is one you can get drunk with”, so we’ll meet you at the bar at Together 2018!

Lauren Reed

Surrey Translation Bureau

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Effective Localisation: Beyond Translation

Having material localised is essential for any company looking to expand into different countries. No matter the industry there will always be a need to manipulate the content to fit the target population, whether it is a product, business, movie, e-learning etc. To be effective this must be done right and not just translated.

So how do you achieve successful localisation?

First of all it is important to understand what localisation actually is. In short, localisation is altering content for a different locale or population. The most obvious example of this when working internationally is translating content. However, localisation does not stop at translation, it also includes…

-Changing images, graphics or colour schemes

-Altering content to match the desires of the population

-Accurately inputting translated material that may vary in size

-Converting to the target demographics units e.g. kilometres, currency etc.

-Using the correct formatting for dates, times etc.

-Meeting legal and cultural requirements

The best way to successfully localise your content is to work with a translation and localisation provider, who can localise each part of your project whether it is websites, video or printed material. To make this process run smooth and efficiently It is important to consider the following things before diving into localisation.

Planning:

First things first, languages.

Put your selected languages into stages (either in similar groups or by importance).

 Stage one: French, German and Italian

 Stage two: Chinese, Japanese and Korean etc.

 Focusing on fewer languages will help the quality checking process. This will allow an improvement in work flow and highlight any areas that may need editing for the localised version to work.

Next, find your range.

Identify what does and doesn’t need localising.

Audio, video, text, images, tables, screenshots, logos and names are just a few things to consider.

Have any of these things been translated or localised previously? If so, compile a glossary with them all in, this will help your localisation provider. Often brands are already used in the target country, therefore they probably don't need localising. Selecting anything that doesn't need to be localised saves time and money.

Make an Estimation

Estimate the word counts and timing for the audio, video or text.

Prices for localisation are often done by word count. Knowing these can help your localisation service provider give you an accurate quote. Little things like this are often overlooked by companies and it basically means more work for the localisation provider and therefore more time and money.

Development:

Now consider your design

Changing languages can cause havoc with the design of your content.

To avoid this, limit the text on images and in videos. Also, consider that text expands in different languages, on average by 20-50%. Furthermore many languages only 'work' in certain fonts and formats. If your original content contains all manner of fonts, italics, colours and even bold text the process of localising this will be much more difficult. So it is best to keep it simple if you know it will be localised at a later date.

Save, time, money and effort.

Can you provide the correct source material to be localised?

When providing content to be localised the editable source content is vital to make the whole process easier and therefore quicker and cheaper. If you have an English version already the easiest thing is to provide the source material which can then be altered.

Keep it cultural.

Countries have different views and beliefs on many things. Some are not all obvious.

Things such as colours, pictures, signs, gestures and symbols are all important to consider to make the localisation accurate because the last thing you want to do is cause offence.

In addition, some colloquial language and acronyms etc. wont translate directly, this causes issues if there are specific phrases or terms used for your product. A lot of phrases etc. are only relevant in their own specific culture and will be 'lost in translation' in other languages.

Listen to the pros.

Just because a person can speak a language doesn’t mean they can be a voice over artist. If you require voice-overs make sure you sample various artists and ensure that they fit your specific needs. Does their personal sound portray what you want it to?

Review:

Finally, test the content.

Review the validity of  the localisation, is it achieving what it set out to achieve? Does it still portray the same message? There is no point localising materials if the message is lost or confused.       

Double check the translations, no translator is 100% perfect and often words can have multiple meanings or can be interpreted differently. As a result, getting a second opinion on translations is essential.

Ensure that the product is user friendly, can the desired people access it. Make sure that this is across different platforms that may be used, e.g. PC, mobile, Mac. In addition is it available across different internet browsers?

The modern globalised world demands localisation, any think that needs to transcend across different countries and cultures needs to be localised effectively. Many people think simply translating material will suffice but this is not the case. In addition many people fail to understand the requirements to successfully localise something and therefore the above tips should be followed. You can avoid ineffective localisation by hiring experts that control all aspects of the localisation process for you. The key to this relationship comes down to good communication, if you can go through the factors above with your provider the process will be much smoother and inevitably more successful.

Adelphi StudioLtd

Website Address: http://adelphistudio.com/
Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/Adelphitrans

 

 

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