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News and insights into the fascinating world of language and the translation industry
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▶ See ALM's super-talented Project Manager discussing her job and life in British Sign Language - YouTube

ALM's very own talented María López García, is a great communicator. Not only does she speak Spanish, English and French, but she has also been learning Brit...
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Primary school teachers in Coventry and Warwickshire to get university help to teach languages

Primary school teachers in Coventry and Warwickshire to get university help to teach languages | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
University of Warwick receives funding to offer free foreign language support to school staff
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English is not the lingo of the successful British exporter

English is not the lingo of the successful British exporter | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Katie Allen: Our reluctance to learn other languages is not just arrogant: it's holding back the UK's economic performance
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TAUS - Enabling better translation - The Call for the Human Language Project

Global communications is becoming a matter of data and technology. Data in this context are collections of text and speech corpora. Technology is translation automation technology. Organizations – both business and government – that do not have
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Lost in translation: International comics at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Lost in translation: International comics at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
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The 12 best words in the German language - The Local

The 12 best words in the German language - The Local | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
The Local List has covered all aspects of German words, from the untranslatable to the longest. But we've never done a ranking of what are simply the best words
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Yes, you can learn a foreign language in your sleep, say Swiss psychologists

Yes, you can learn a foreign language in your sleep, say Swiss psychologists | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Subliminal learning in your sleep is usually dismissed as pseudo-science at best and fraud at worst, but a team of Swiss psychologists say you can actually learn a foreign language in your sleep.
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UK aims to emulate Mittelstand success - FT.com

UK aims to emulate Mittelstand success - FT.com | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Britain’s long neglected Mittelstand collection of medium-sized businesses is to be the focus of government efforts to ensure the economic recovery leads to long-term improvements in the balance of trade and productivity, the business minister said.
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11 weird spelling facts

11 weird spelling facts | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
The English language is just plain strange sometimes. Here are some examples of the biggest head-scratching oddities.
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International Trade Expo Interview with ALM's very own David Quinn

International Trade Expo Interview with ALM's very own David Quinn | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
International Trade Expo Interview: David Quinn
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Overseas Exports Critical to SME Growth Success

Overseas Exports Critical to SME Growth Success | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Business exporting is critical to the success of both SMEs and the wider economy, yet currently only one in five SMEs export their products and services compared to an average of one in four across the EU.
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Understand the value of professional translation and how it can help your business grow

Understand the value of professional translation and how it can help your business grow | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
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It's official: Nike rhymes with spiky - and you're saying all these wrong too

It's official: Nike rhymes with spiky - and you're saying all these wrong too | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
From Audi and Adidas to Porsche and Yves Saint Laurent, here's a quick and easy guide to how you should be saying corporate brand names
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Texting, verbing keep language changing

Maybe we're only imagining it, but it seems like our language is changing faster today than ever before.

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 14, 5:26 AM

Maybe we’re only imagining it, but it seems like our language is changing faster today than ever before.

With the language used for texting, our young generation has invented an English shorthand that at first was only understood by them, but now seems to have become accepted – or at least understood – by everyone. Many folks know the meaning of LOL and BTW now and accept such terms and, by the way, they are not just phrases we laugh out loud about anymore.

We would be willing to bet that today’s teachers and parents struggle to remind young people that this type of communication is acceptable for texting but are not standard forms of English that can be used for everything. The words “you” and “are” still have to be spelled out sometimes.

Many of us “older” folks are often appalled by the poor grammar that has seemingly become acceptable and is often used by television celebrities, movie stars and even politicians. We can’t count the number of times that a “g” is dropped at the end of a word, the subjects and verbs don’t agree, or the wrong words are used.

However, it’s also fun to watch the changes in language. For example, we wonder when Google quit being just the name of a company and became a verb meaning to search for information – “I will google the team’s record.” We don’t know when this change occurred, but we do know it was long after Xerox became more than the name of a company and became a verb meaning to make copies – “I will Xerox those letters.” So, it’s obviously not something new.

We recently learned there is even a name for changing nouns and occasionally other parts of speech into verbs. It’s called verbing.

There are a bunch of new verbs that are used today that still sound awkward to us such as calendar and task. Our understanding stumbles a little when someone tells us, “I have been tasked with this project,” or we hear, “I will calendar that meeting.”

Upon investigation, however, we discovered this is nothing new at all. Evidently Benjamin Franklin griped about the whole business of verbing in 1789 calling it “awkward and abominable.” We found examples of it from William Shakespeare and the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. Oops. This has gone on longer than we thought.

We may have stumbled over these words that have recently been verbed, but we hadn’t looked at other words that were verbed so long ago they are commonplace today. Here are some examples: medal, rain, bottle, audition, diagnose, email, referee. Remember, we now guilt people into doing something, and we friend people on Facebook. So, now we know, verbing isn’t anything new, but Benjamin Franklin was right. The new words do seem awkward until they become integrated into the language.

Let’s look at the word “tailgate.” Once upon a time it was the back of a pickup truck. Then it became a verb meaning someone is following a vehicle too closely. Then it became an adjective as in a tailgate party meaning a party out of the back of a vehicle, and now it’s a verb again: “Let’s tailgate before the Lobos game.”

So verbing isn’t new. Let’s keep the tradition going – did you lottery this week?

Contact the Ryans at ryan@abqjournal.com.

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Give languages a fair shout

Give languages a fair shout | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
We need policy to foster foreign language study at all levels of education, says Jocelyn Wyburd
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It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: How the Premium Market Offers Translators Prosperity in an Era of Collapsing Bulk-Market Rates - Kevin Hendzel

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: How the Premium Market Offers Translators Prosperity in an Era of Collapsing Bulk-Market Rates - Kevin Hendzel | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: How the Premium Market Offers Translators Prosperity in an Era of Collapsing Bulk-Market Rates

Via Charles Tiayon
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Charles Tiayon's curator insight, September 2, 10:33 PM

The skill set required to succeed at professional translation is so demanding, extensive, persistent and endlessly expanding that “being bilingual” falls several light-years short of even qualifying for consideration.

This holds true for successful translators working in every sector of the translation market.

After all, translation is, among other things, the craft of leveraging every aspect of your life-long experience, training, subject-matter expertise, writing skills and cultural sense in a way that allows you to project all that collective and hard-earned knowledge onto the page in a compelling and authoritative narrative.

So it makes sense that the more focused, targeted and specialized that expertise, the more specialized the market served.

And this is where it gets complicated.

It’s perhaps not surprising that since translation is the gateway through which all globalized commerce must pass, the translation market itself is very far from homogenous in a way that would make it easy to identify these specialty disciplines and markets.

In reality the translation market is a wildly expanding explosive galaxy of massively divergent markets, sectors, sub-sectors, specialties and requirements.

It manifests an almost unfathomable agility to expand and evolve very rapidly to serve all the global markets it supports.

Despite this chaos, there does seem to have emerged over time a general delineation that helps us make sense of this enormous explosive cloud.

Bulk vs. Premium

We have found it useful to distinguish between what is referred to as the “bulk market,” where translation is essentially a support function – where knowing what the text or webpage or software dialog generally means is good enough – and what has come to be called the “premium market,” where getting the translation exactly, precisely, elegantly, authoritatively and compelling right is necessary because of the enormous stakes involved at that level of the market.

The bulk market, perhaps not surprisingly, tends to dominate discussions of the industry. It is often treated as though it were the entire industry. This is why most surveys and studies – even those that are marketed and sold aggressively for thousands of dollars – tend to consist largely of self-reported data exclusively from large bulk-market translation companies that in turn buy these surveys, resulting in a lopsided, limited and ultimately highly distorted view.

It’s as though having first discovered the primitive optical telescope, astronomers declared the game over. What they see in the sky with their own eyes is all there is. They never expanded their reach into radio or far-infrared astronomy, or launched orbital telescopes to peer farther into space and hence deeper back into time.

The analogy is useful because it’s exceedingly hard to accurately measure the size of the translation industry or accurately identify its “quality” segments.

The Quality Continuum

The translation industry is best represented as a very long continuum that encompasses all market segments, with raw bulk free machine translation (MT) at one end and $25,000 tag line translations of three words at the other.   

And it’s far more accurate to characterize the “quality” continuum in terms of gradual and consistent gradations of shade rather than in terms of clear differentiating boundary lines.  

So to be clear, the “premium vs. bulk” dichotomy is a form of shorthand only.

Having said that, it’s still quite useful for how it illuminates markets that are not always screaming for recognition.

For example, the premium sector includes commercial segments that are fiercely guarded and often shrouded in secrecy to prevent additional competition.  Many of these are boutique translator-owned companies, marketing corporations, multimedia conglomerates, think tanks, government agencies, regulatory bodies, and even embedded subsidiaries in multinational corporations that deliberately fly under the radar of “research” companies to avoid alerting other companies to their profitable businesses. 
 
Pure translation alone in the high-end expert pharmaceutical, medical device and IP litigation as well as the premium legal, financial and marketing sectors across all languages and in all countries dwarfs the entire global IT localization industry, for example, by about two to three orders of magnitude. 

There are some years where one single IP pharmaceutical litigation case in Japanese-English alone will run into the $10 – $20 million range.

That’s one single translation project in one single language pair.

And the net profit margins in the premium market are considerably higher.

Value Proposition: Cost of Failure

While it’s true that the premium market tends to operate at higher prices, the market really operates on a completely different value proposition than does the bulk market. 

That proposition is this: The cost of failure is dramatically higher than the cost of performance

So in the premium market, the cost of translation errors – liability, regulatory failure, loss of life, damaging publicity or significant loss of prestige – far outweighs the often much higher cost of “getting the translation precisely right.”  

Paying whatever cost premium for translation that is necessary to prevent the cost of failure is viewed as a wise investment.

In the bulk market, the value proposition is inverted.  The cost of failure is low, so there is no corresponding push to invest in getting it right.

Rates are lower. Sometimes dramatically lower. And falling.

This can be tested by comparison to the dynamics of other industries, too.  The cost of failure for a Walmart product is very low – the consumer almost expects it to fall apart.  It’s the same with cheap online localization and “just good enough to understand it” bulk translation. 

But a fractured fuel pump on a Boeing commercial aircraft in flight has an enormous cost of failure, so several layers of review, ongoing maintenance and testing as well as regulatory enforcement are built around it in an effort to ensure that does not happen, a process which drives up fuel pump manufacturing costs dramatically.

When the failure of an IPO or the collapse of a deal due to a translation-related regulatory failure or when nuclear weapons are improperly dismantled or lost to unknown people – that’s a very, very high cost of failure.  

Budgets necessarily expand to pay a premium for translation expertise in these cases.

Of course, translators who want to play in this market must have developed Boeing-quality translation skills through narrow specialization, though, not Walmart-quality generalist abilities.

This means that they must specialize, evaluate, validate, collaborate and continuously improve.

Skill Sets

In brief, the difference between a bulk-market translator and premium-market translator can be summarized as follows.

While bulk-market translators’ heads are buried in dictionaries, premium market translators are buried inside their clients’ heads.

By that I mean that it’s an environment where your subject-matter expertise must absolutely be on a par with your customer’s subject-matter expertise. And it’s their core business, so that’s a very high bar. This requires that you specialize. Intensely.

And your writing skills in your target language must be equally compelling.

A helpful analogy to illustrate the difference between the premium market and the bulk market can be found in the health-care industry in the US.

This demonstrates the correlation in another profession between a pure laser focus on a single specialty over a career and higher remuneration.

It also clearly shows that we can appreciate the very significant training and skills required of practitioners to succeed in any sector of the translation market.

Translation vs. Health Care

The bulk market in translation is similar to the general practitioner (GP) physician market in the US health-care industry.

Yes, general practitioner physicians are exceedingly well-trained, work to a high standard and gave up most of their early adult lives to work in poverty while learning to hone their craft. They tackle a wide variety of different cases and enjoy and perhaps even thrive on that variety. They cure a lot of disease and save many lives. There’s actually a shortage of them in the US right now in rural communities, but their earning power peaks out at the floor of the medical industry’s premium market.

They refer out cases and patients that require greater expertise to the specialists.

The premium market in translation is similar the Board Certified specialist physician market in the US health-care industry.

They too are exceedingly well-trained. They share the first 5 years of training with the GPs (4 years medical school + 1 year internship) but then begin a whole new adventure, measured in yet another 5 years, depending on the specialty. They embark on this endless deep dive to develop increasingly well-honed skills in one specific area of specialization.

Their lives are more defined by the patients and cases they don’t see rather than by the ones they do. They see cases and patients the GPs refer to them. They consult constantly with their other Board-Certified specialists on the most difficult cases and conduct research to advance best practices.

Their remuneration is typically considerably higher than what is observed in the GP market.

Like any analogy, this one is imperfect.

Premium-market translators will now and then work outside their primary specialty, but it’s not very common in the US to see a Board Certified cardiovascular radiologist, for example, working as a primary care physician in a health clinic.

Part of the reason is that the medical industry in the US is tightly regulated and licensed and translation is surely at the other end of that spectrum.

So in our industry we must rely more on the honor system and appeal to best practices and professionalism when claiming competence in language directions and levels of subject-matter expertise.

Expanding Demand and Market Rates

We see that the premium sector of the industry is continuing to expand – and rates are rising – which is in stark contrast to the realities of downward rate pressures in the bulk market today.

The fact that the two markets appear to be moving in opposite directions at an accelerating pace is revealing.

This makes it even more urgent to sound the alarm for all translators and encourage them to begin to make the enormous investment in time to specialize, elevate their subject-matter expertise and hone their writing skills in collaboration with their colleagues to jump upmarket as quickly as possible.

 

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How do languages change and evolve?

How do languages change and evolve? | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Plants and animals aren't the only things on this planet in a constant state of change....
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How Brands Can Tap China's Unique Social Media Culture

Witty content, often involving Chinese-language puns or plays on words on social media, can make a huge impact here.
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Breaking the language barrier

Breaking the language barrier | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
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Lost In Translation: Foreign Ads Speak a Whole Different Emotional Language

Lost In Translation: Foreign Ads Speak a Whole Different Emotional Language | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Each and every one of us experiences a vast—and constantly changing—spectrum of emotions on a daily basis; at any given moment, the pendulum may swing from happy to sad, from calm to frustrated, …
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More Firms Demanding Language Skills For New Export Markets | The Economic Voice

More Firms Demanding Language Skills For New Export Markets | The Economic Voice | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
Major European languages remain in high demand from British businesses but there is a shift towards languages used in the world’s fastest growing markets
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5 Fast-Growing Industries Ripe for Entrepreneurs

5 Fast-Growing Industries Ripe for Entrepreneurs | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
No one knows the future but, sometimes, you can make a very educated guess where things are headed.
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Johnson: Rise of the machine translators

Johnson: Rise of the machine translators | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
THOSE passingly familiar with machine translation (MT) may well have reacted in the following ways at some point. “Great!” would be one such, on plugging...
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Football Dictionaries and Glossaries - lexicool.com

Football Dictionaries and Glossaries - lexicool.com | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it

A selection of Football dictionaries, glossaries and terminologies compiled by lexicool.com (MULTI)


Via lexicool.com, Terminology Coordination of the European Parliament
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How do people lose their native language?

How do people lose their native language? | Translation and language in the news | Scoop.it
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