Alpha Omega Blog

Olympic Translation Issues: How to Prepare for Big Events and Lessons Learned

With a record-breaking 2,925 athletes from 92 counties set to compete and millions of spectators flocking to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, it’s clear that this will be one of the biggest sporting events in history. Of course, with so many people from hundreds of different nations gathering in one place, there are bound to be some Olympic translation issues.

Olympic translation issues

Let’s take a close look at how the International Olympics Committee (IOC) prepares for such a huge event and the lessons we can learn from what they have done.

Translation Preparations Prior to the Olympic Games

 First, South Korea has been reminding everyone that the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are being held in Pyeongchang (not Pyongyang). Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea. You can imagine the travel headaches and Olympic translation issues such confusion couldcause. So, the official name of the city has been changed to PyeongChang to make it clearer.

Translation remains a top concern for the IOC. South Korea sought out thousands of volunteers with language skills to act as interpreters and translators for athletes, delegates, and the press. The exact number of translators is unknown, but as a comparison, for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, over 1,000 interpreters were deployed.

This year, an official translation app is available for local businesses, athletes, and sports officials. Making this available should minimize Olympic translation issues, at least somewhat. Developed by a local software company, “Genie Talk” works on Apple and Android and can translate Korean, Japanese, English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Arabic.

Looking for some quick Korean lessons to get ready for the games? Check out football great Park Ji Sung’s quick phrases on CNN.com.

The Official Languages of the Olympics 

The Olympic games always have two or three official languages depending on where the games are held. Traditionally, the first two are English and French. The third language is the official language of the host country. This year, the third official language is Korean.

The choice of official languages is all about whom the IOC expects to watch the games, not the most popular languages spoken everywhere. For example, although Korean is spoken in both South and North Korea and by an estimated 80 million people around the world, it’s only the 17th most common native language.

In addition, much of the branding for the 2018 Games was inspired by the Korean alphabet. The emblem of the games, for instance, is a stylized version of the hangul letters ㅍ (p) and ㅊ (ch), for the initial sounds in “PyeongChang.”

Olympics translation issues

Linguistic fun fact: Although classified as a language isolate, many theories have been proposed to explain the origin of Korean. The most prominent theory links Korean to the Altaic languages of central Asia, which includes Turkish, Mongolian, and the Tungusic languages of Siberia. Others argue for the inclusion of Korean with the Dravidian languages of southern India. Unsurprisingly, Korean shares linguistic features with Japanese and Chinese.

Dealing with Social Media

Since the Winter Olympics is such a huge event, organizers have to make sure spectators from around the world can access the competition on their preferred platform in their preferred language without any Olympic translation issues. Two years ago by the end of the Sochi Games, there were over 150 million Tweets and 116 million Facebook status updates about the Olympics in different languages.

Social media may not be the first thing you think of when you think about translation for a huge event like the Winter Olympics, but actually many fans around the globe have nowhere else to connect with their favorite Olympic teams and athletes besides social media. The Olympic Channel, which broadcasts news about the Olympic Games has social media accounts is English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean. Each account is tailored to the individual users based on their primary language.

So, social media is actually an important tool for making the Olympic Winter Games accessible to everyone. And avoiding Olympic translation issues in social media is an important focus for the IOC.

Learning from Past Olympic Translation Issues

 Translation mishaps during the 2012 Olympics in London were some of the most notable to date. The biggest problems were with Arabic. Many companies relied on machine translation and asked vendors to swap fonts at the last minute. This turned out to be a huge mistake because the unvetted fonts made many statements impossible to understand.

Another notable example included signs at the official shopping center—yes, the Olympic Games even have an official mall. The signs were meant to say “Welcome to London” in Arabic. There were only two small problems: the words were written backwards and spaces between the letters made the signs incomprehensible.

Of course, machine translation has seen dramatic improvement to the algorithms making translation software more accurate today than back in 2012. Still, these Olympic translation issues are a lesson in what to expect when companies try to take translation short cuts.

While you almost certainly aren’t hosting an international event as large the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, you never want to sacrifice quality for speed. At the least, we recommend using a language service provider to edit any machine translations. As a business, you are nothing without your reputation. And if you are building a reputation as an international business, translation mishaps will quickly destroy any momentum you have built.

Looking Forward to PyeongChang

At Alpha Omega Translations, we are looking forward to the Opening Ceremony and all of the Winter Olympic fun happening over the next couple of weeks. Of course, we’ll also be keeping an eye out for any language translation wins (or fails). We simply can’t help ourselves!

Like the IOC, you, need a winning strategy for building relationships with international customers and organizations around the world. We’ve been working with clients like you for over 20 years now. Over the years we’ve developed custom solutions to help our clients power past their competitors, just like our amazing Olympic athletes. For more information about our expertise, visit our media and marketing translation page. Or contact us to talk about specific needs.

Responding to Language Industry Trends: Experts Talk About What to Expect

As we continue celebrating 20 years as your trusted language partner, we can’t help but think about the future of our industry and language industry trends. This is no time to rest on our laurels! We are taking proactive steps so we can continue to provide unparalleled service for the next 20 years and beyond.

language industry trends

We have been carefully monitoring what the experts are saying. Now we’re ready to share what we’ve learned and the positive steps we are taking to position ourselves for the evolution. So, let’s look at the language industry trends experts are predicting.

Industry Experts Discuss Language Industry Trends

 The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) is one of the best resources for language industry news and getting the scoop from industry leaders. Alpha Omega Translations is a proud member of GALA—CEO, Dimitra Hengen, appears here.

Ahead of the annual conference, taking place in Boston this coming March, we recently revisited a podcast recorded during last year’s meeting. The podcast features CEOs discussing language industry trends. So many interesting and useful gold nuggets here!

1. The Enormous Potential of Neural Machine Translation.

 It is no longer acceptable for LSPs to bury their heads in the sand about machine translation. While during the past 10-20 years, we have seen only incremental improvements in machine translation, experts agree that we are on the verge of seeing a revolution in MT software.

Experts also agree that although the hype about machines yielding translations comparable to humans has been mostly overblown, a time is coming (probably very soon) when machines will be able to replace human translators for some types of translation tasks.

Experts disagree, however, about how the MT revolution will affect the work performed by individual translators. We certainly will see more of a trend toward humans editing machine translations in order to speed up the translation process. We may actually begin to see human translators working with MT engineers to improve their MT engines too, especially as language service providers begin to embrace the benefits of MT.

The timeline for seeing these big changes impacting the language industry is still anyone’s guess. MT has been around since the 1950’s and back then experts were predicting machines replacing human translators in 3-5 years. So, while there’s likely no need for panic, developing a strategic plan for using MT as a more central part of your work is a must.

AOT Lessons Learned:

We can choose to see advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine deep learning as a threat to our work or we can focus on the positive side and consider how to innovate to get ahead of the trend. At Alpha Omega, our team is focused on the positives and adjusting our service offerings to take advantage of new technology.

Benefits of Neural MT:

  • Greater access to translation tools, including automatic translation software, means greater access to information.
  • Building awareness of available translation and globalization tools also means an expanded marketplace for language services.
  • Better machine translations means human beings will be free to focus on customization and providing higher quality products to their clients.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • We’re focusing on building our service offerings in areas where a human touch is especially valuable (e.g., health care, legal services, and on demand interpreting).
  • We’re looking to hire language experts who also have more technical backgrounds.
  • We’re updating our client and customer profiles to figure out whom we best serve and in what capacities.

2. Continuous Delivery and Content Creation.

As we figure out how to lean on machines more and more for rote translation tasks, a world of possibilities opens up for humans to use their zones of genius to provide added value to their clients. Accordingly, we are seeing the demand for continuous delivery of translation, interpretation, and localization services becoming a growing niche for LSPs, as well as an increase in the demand for content creation.

We are not likely to see a contraction of social media or the dominance of new media any time soon. And these trends in digital marketing open many doors for LSP’s. Increased demand for video content means more opportunity for live translation and interpretation. This is an area where machine translation will likely never be comparable to what a human translator could provide.

This means we are likely going to see a trend away from traditional translation workflow, e.g., delivering a package of written content once per month, and toward continuous delivery of smaller bits of information and/or on-the-fly video interpretation.

In addition, the more quickly we are able to deliver translations, since machines will make it possible to translate billions of words per year, the greater the demand for content creation.

AOT Lessons Learned:

We believe all of this is great news for smaller LSP’s. Clients will continue to demand customized translation, interpretation, and localization services. They will seek out smaller companies who can work closely with their own in-house teams to produce innovative content. Smaller language service companies will benefit from being able to offer services and products that are flexible and personalized.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • At AOT, we have a team dedicated to business development. This task force is committed to finding ways to make AOT more of an end-to-end provider.
  • We aren’t just a team of fabulous translators, we’re language and localization consultants offering a full range of cultural services.
  • We offer our clients more than just translations. We can take a deep dive into their business goals and offer a complete globalization strategy based on our years of experience.

3. Video Translation Services with Expand.

The demand for video translation and video editing services, such as voice-overs and dubbing, is already a huge share of the language translation market. But experts see video translation services expanding even further in the near future. In the hospital and health care arena, we are already seeing video translation solving patient and health care provider interface problems.

There’s nothing stopping this trend from expanding into other arenas such as hospitality, travel and tourism, and even retail. Imagine a native Chinese speaker walking into her favorite retailer in NYC and renting an iPad with interpreting services or a video personal shopper who speaks her native language.

Again, while we’re far from seeing robots and machines take away all jobs performed by human beings, it makes sense for human translators to consider how to adapt their skills in a world where these types of changes are likely not far off.

AOT Lessons Learned:

These new language industry trends make innovation more challenging, but this comes with the territory when you are part of a dynamic industry. At AOT, we have always adapted to new language industry trends. So, this is nothing new for us.

We plan to take the lessons we’ve learned over the past 20 years and apply them to the changes that come our way. One of the most amazing benefits of being part of such a close-knit community of linguists and language experts is that we realize there is more to be gained by working together, than tearing each other down.

How we’re adapting to meet this trend:

  • We know we can’t be all things to all people. We are always looking for new strategic partnerships, especially those that complement our expertise.
  • We are always open to sharing ideas and learning new skills from our peers. There is room for everyone to grow as long as we all focus on our differentiating areas of expertise.
  • We would love to talk with other Virginia area small businesses looking to expand into global markets.

Concluding Thoughts

These big language industry trends are so exciting! While we recognize that these trends will impact the way we serve clients going forward, we also think it’s important to embrace change. There is simply no sense in pretending that we can do business in the exact same ways we always have. The future is here!

What has allowed our business to grow over the past 20 years is first and foremost, our ability to adjust to a dynamic industry. Will you be a part of our exciting future? Join us by reaching out for your free quote today!

Celebrating 20 Years As Your Trusted Language Partner! Changes in Language and Language Services

This January 15th marks a significant milestone for Alpha Omega Translations. We have been in business for 20 years! It is difficult to overstate how grateful we are for our wonderful clients and partners. It is also difficult to overstate the changes in language we have witnessed and how these changes have influenced our work.

changes in languageGiven our position in the language industry, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss the evolution of language and the language services industry during the past 20 years. And, of course, reflecting on the past naturally leads one to ponder what the future will hold. Let’s dig in!

Tectonic Shifts in Language Affect the Industry

The language services industry is big business. According to a study released in 2016, the demand for language services and supporting technology is growing at an annual rate of 5.52% and experts predict the market will reach $45 billion by 2020. This means that any big changes in language will have a ripple-affect throughout the industry and beyond.

1. The Role of Technology

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention technology in our retrospective article. When we consider the biggest changes that have come down the pike in the world of linguistics, technology immediately springs to mind. There’s no doubt that smart phone technology has been one of the biggest drivers of industry and the language industry is no exception.

Talk into your phone and a Google app can now turn your words into a foreign language. Of course, software can give the gist of a foreign language, but for business, rough won’t cut it.

Far from replacing humans, technology has grown to become a translator’s best tool. Since the 1990’s, the introduction of Translation Memory (TM) tools has allowed language service providers, like Alpha Omega Translations, to keep up with the surging demand for high-quality translation.

TM databases allow translators to dip into stores of data including whole sentences that have already been translated in a given language pair. This helps translators speed up repetitive work, such as translating technical manuals.

2. Changes in Language

The translation market continues to widen with the trends in language. 20 years ago, translation in continental Europe was dominated by the “FIGS” (French, Italian, German, and Spanish) and Japanese, Chinese, and Korean were the only Asian languages to speak of. According to one marketing research service (Common Sense Advisory), speakers of 13 languages account for roughly 90% of online spending. But now we are starting to see a shift both for political and business reasons.

The European Union’s bureaucrats now have to communicate in 24 languages. In Asia, once-neglected languages, such as Vietnamese and Indonesian, matter more as these countries grow. In addition, today, more companies do business in Africa and regard that continent’s languages as increasingly important. Big software firms, like Microsoft, also find it profitable to localize their products in small languages like Maya or Luxembourgish. It is no longer true that translation is usually to or from English.

So, what’s next?

1. We’ll continue to see improvements in “Machine Translation.”

Many organizations looking to be successful on the global stage make use of Machine Translation (MT) today. As we continue to see breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computers increasingly learn from the massive collections of data available, we will continue to see improvements in “machine translation.” Computers will learn from huge databases of already-translated text to make even better guesses about how to render large chunks of text from one language into another.

While translators used to feel threatened by the idea of machine translation, instead of seeing machines taking over, we are starting to see computers as a powerful tool in our work. Besides the core of our business involves so much more than translating. There is project management, file management, acting as a liaison between clients and end users, and consulting work to be done. As Machine Translation improves, we’ll continue to see its role in our industry grow.

2. We’ll see translators increase their technology skills.

While machines certainly play their part, it’s unlikely that software could ever completely replace the need for human translators and localization specialists. More likely, we will see an increasing role for translators who specialize in deeply understanding how MT software works and how to correct for errors. This role within the language service industry would combine the skills of a translator, a linguistic reviewer, and a Machine Translation specialist.

3. We’ll see an increase in demand for transcreators.

Transcreators are highly specialized linguists charged with recreating the source content so that it’s appropriate for your target market. The goal here is to “recreate” content in a way that inspires the same emotions in the target language as the source content elicits in the home market. The linguists performing this service are highly creative translators. They tend to be senior, experienced professionals with as much marketing content experience as translation experience. They might also have agency experience.

Looking to the Future

At Alpha Omega Translations, we plan to proudly serve the translation needs of Virginia businesses for the next 20 years! Our certified translators offer medical translation, legal translation, and a wide variety of business translations.

But beyond business development, we also champion linguistic causes and do our part to preserve diversity around the world. Our efforts to preserve endangered languages, especially, have earned us praise in the press both at home and abroad.

As linguists and highly specialized language professionals, our team at Alpha Omega Translations is excited for the opportunity to grow in a variety of new directions. Thank you for being a valuable part of these amazing changes!

Context is King in Health Care Translation

When it comes to choosing the right pharmaceuticals translation agency for your project, it’s important to be clear about what type of translation you need. There is perhaps no field where getting the translation perfect matters more than in health care. But misinformation during the ordering of translation projects can cause confusion and lead to mistakes.

pharmaceuticals translation agency

Avoiding these mistakes, however, is easy as long as you use the proper terminology and provide the appropriate details to your language service provider. Let’s discuss some tips for avoiding misunderstandings related to healthcare translation services.

Common Misunderstandings

 In many cases, misunderstandings in health care translation occur because a translator may not have the context she needs to create an accurate interpretation. While it may seem like a tiny detail, context can make a huge difference.

Here’s one example of a translation gone bad: the English term “mild dementia” had been translated into German as “moderate dementia” on a patient’s medical record. As a result, the doctor prescribed an inappropriate treatment for the patient.

Unfortunately these types of errors are not uncommon due, in part, to the complexity of medical terminology. But besides making sure to hire highly specialized language experts from a trusted pharmaceuticals translation agency, you and your team can do a lot to make sure your translator gets the needed context.

1. Form a Team

Whether you engage your pharmaceuticals translation agency on a project-by-project basis or have a long-term contract, it helps to designate a translations team to spearhead the effort. That team could include in-house or outsourced editors, attorneys, and proofreaders. But it should also include your translator and project manager.

As your product evolves, your translator’s work will develop. If you make changes with your translator and form a partnership with her, this will make the end result better. Having a team who works well together with your translator can provide her the context that she needs to make the content better. Strong collaborative teams produce amazing work.

2. Define Your Audience

 We all know how important it is for your business to define your target audience. This is also crucial for health care translation services. When hiring a pharmaceuticals translation agency, it’s always smart to look for one that employs native speakers in your target language. Of course, if you follow this advice, your translator’s ethnic background is likely to be different from many on your team, so her cultural awareness of your audience may also differ from what you are used to.

The best way to avoid confusion here is to describe your target audience to your translator in a clear way so that she can understand and provide a better interpretation. Keep in mind that the tone required for a group of clinical researchers will be very different from the tone required for a group of average patients. Make sure to point out any relevant traits about your audience to your translator.

3. Allow Time to Get to Know Your LSP

 As with all cases of outsourcing in business, there will be a bit of a learning curve while your team gets used to working with your translator and vice versa. Having patience during the initial engagement is key.

The best way to ensure that you get over this initial hump is to allow adequate time before your deadline. Extend the project’s deadline further than you anticipate, leaving time for correcting errors. One thing is certain: a rushed translation job will cost you more in the long run because you will need to spend more correcting mistakes with your pharmaceuticals translation agency. So, make sure to use a systematic approach: plan, prepare, produce, and edit.

4. Understand What Type of Translation Services You Need

 Finally, you can give your translator all the tools she needs to deliver a quality translation as long as you understand your project well enough to describe the type of document you are looking for.

In health care and life sciences, especially, specifying the type of document can be tricky. It is a good idea to draw a distinction between medical translation services and pharmaceuticals translation services, for example.

Types of Medical Translation Services:

  • Medical research literature translation
  • Scientific journal article translation
  • Medical contracts
  • Medical records translation
  • Mental health evaluation forms
  • Clinical protocol translation
  • Informed consent forms and other clinical trial forms
  • Patient recruitment materials for clinical trials
  • Training manuals and videos for health care providers
  • Reproductive health literature and other patient informational literature
  • Brochures
  • Data sheets
  • Bio-chemistry reports (vaccines)
  • Autopsy and toxicology reports
  • Case report forms (CRF)
  • Instructions for use (IFU)
  • NDA and IND
  • Patient information documents
  • Quality of Life (QoL) measures
  • Medical training manuals
  • Regulatory documents
  • SAE and SOP procedures
  • Software and hardware
  • Corporate websites and portals

Types of Pharmaceutical Translations Services:

  • Drug registration document translation
  • Instructions for use (IFU)
  • Package inserts and labels
  • Prescriptions
  • Data sheets
  • Drug reports
  • Pharmacological study reports
  • Drug production manuals
  • Corporate websites and portals

While some original documents may be straightforward and your translator may have worked on similar documents many times before, other custom projects may require additional explanation. Never be afraid to offer too much information. Even if a detail seems irrelevant, it could offer the context that your translator is looking for.

If you would like to discuss your health care translation project with a trusted pharmaceuticals translation agency, Alpha Omega Translations is here for you. Call us today at 703-768-2535, email us at info@alphaomegatranslations.com, or request your free quote.

Alpha Omega Translations is a proud member of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). We partner with GALA to help businesses develop language resources, training, and opportunities for growth.

Update on the Nearly Lost Art of the Whistled Language in Greece:

Our report has been featured on Sorosoro.com. Sorosoro is a collaboration of researchers, linguists, and anthropologists interested in preserving endangered languages around the world. Let’s continue to spread the word!

Doing Business Across the Globe With the Help of a Skilled Translation Partner

Have you ever stopped to think about the true value of finding an excellent translator? The real value of quality technical manuals translation services goes beyond transferring your content into a different language. An excellent translator is essentially a foreign language consultant.

technical manuals translation services

Aside from simply translating technical phrases from one language to another, a skilled translator plays the role of your readers’ ally, for instance, identifying better ways to strike a chord with your audience and drawing your attention to the potential for awkward miscommunications.

Finding this type of translator is especially important for any business owner looking to enter a foreign market where he or she is not a native speaker. Without the right technical manuals translation services, there is a good chance that differences in educational or cultural backgrounds will make it difficult to establish or sustain business, especially in non-Western markets such as China. So, let’s consider in what ways translators are your readers’ ally.

1. Fact-Checking

 When it comes to technical manuals translation services, accuracy is the most important goal. Thus, you need a linguist who demonstrates excellent attention to detail. One aspect of thi

s is double-checking facts whenever possible. For instance, a technical manual translation may require measurements being converted from the imperial system to the metric system. Your translator can and should double-check the conversions as part of the project. Obviously, if the measurements are off, this can have negative consequences for your users as well as for your bottom line as you work to move into the new market.

2. Removing Jargon

 Technical writers tend to use a lot of industry-specific jargon. However, dependin

g on the target audience for your manual, some or all of the jargon may need to be removed. It’s important to remember that experts in the US learn most industry-specific jargon during their years of formal education. But as you expand into other markets, it’s possible that your technical manuals will be used by people with much less formal education. Often your translator can advise you about the likely educational level of your intended readers.

Because removing jargon and achieving accuracy for technical projects requires research in a particular industry to find the right word, finding a translator with subject-matter expertise is key. Your translator may even need to create a new word in some cases.

3. Reorganizing and Restructuring

 Your translator can also be a strong ally for your end-users by offering recommendations for reorganizing and restructuring your text. Although you may think of this as work that an editor would do and not something you would necessarily employ technical manuals translati

on services to accomplish, a poorly organized document will affect the quality of the translation in the end.

In addition, the act of translating requires understanding the value of the source text within the framework of the source-language discourse. To develop such understanding, the translator must be aware of cultural differences and discourse strategies in both the source and target languages. As you might imagine, all of this will entail closely scrutinizing the structure of any document a translator receives.

If it helps, you can think of your translator as doing double duty for you. Not only is she providing an accurate translation, she also adds another layer of editing protection. Besides cultural differences can create differences in readers’ preferences when it comes to the organization of a text. For example, Italian readers tend to prefer longer sentences and paragraphs than English speakers. You will want a translator who can adapt your text in all the necessary ways for your target language.

Tips for Finding a Skilled Translator

In a previous article, we discussed the characteristics to look for in a great translator. Additionally, here are some tips for finding a skilled translator for your next project:

  • Always request a sample translation: Once you have screened potential translators, send a sample document and request a pricing quote, so you know what you’re dealing with.
  • Decide whether an ongoing or short-term project is best: If you are looking to build a team around this new foreign market and have a need for long-term technical manuals translation services, then it may make senseto sign an ongoing contract with a vendor. Otherwise, occasional needs can often be handled on an hourly basis.
  • Find someone who is proactive and a strong communicator: Doing business globally is exhilarating, but it is also complicated. A good translator will be able to predict at least some of the bumps along the way and be ready to handle any unforeseen setbacks.

When you seek out technical manuals translation services, it’s good to keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Fixing a bad translation can take twice as much time as simply starting from scratch. So it pays to get it right the first time. At Alpha Omega, we only hire certified and highly skilled translators as part of our technical translations team. Request your free quote today or email us at info@alphaomegatranslations.com with any questions about your project.

Finding a Great Translator Can Take Time. Here’s What to Look For.

Making the decision to hire a translator in the financial translation services area is a big step. With all of the available options, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you do your homework and know what to look for in a language service provider, you will find someone to give you the results you expect.

First, it’s important to understand what type of translator you are looking for. There are several to choose from:

  • Localization translators: Specializing in the cultural and linguistic nuances of the language, localization translators make sure the language is not only accurate, but also that the tone has the desired affect on your target market. This type of translator is best for marketing copy and documents or videos making use of subtle humor, for instance.
  • Language translators: These providers focus on translating the written word from one language to another. Language translators typically work in language pairs (e.g., English to French or English to Spanish). Many also specialize in a style suchas literary, financial translation services, or medical language services.
  • Interpreters: When a professional translates at the same time as someone is speaking this is called simultaneous interpreting. This can be done over the phone during a conference call, for example. Another popular need for interpreters arises with video voice-over.

Once you know what type of translator will best suit your needs, it’s time to consider the qualities you are looking for in a translator. We encourage our clients to consider their individual goals and business objectives, but there are some standard characteristics everyone should look for.

1. Language Qualifications

This is the first and most obvious characteristic to look for. When choosing a language service provider, one question to ask is how many of the available translators have experience in the source and target languages in which you have needs. A team of translators assisting with your project is likely to yield a better result than one or two.

Look for translators who are native speakers in your target language or who are accredited with the American Translators Association or a similar reputable agency. In addition, certain legal documents and court filings require specific certifications for translators and interpreters. If you are unsure about your translator’s credentials, ask for a sample of their work and have it checked by an outside source you trust.

2. Industry Experience

A good translator has impeccable language qualifications. But what takes a translator from good to great is her industry experience. Translators should be familiar with the subject matter and vocabulary of your industry. In financial translation services, for instance, look for translators who specialize in financial reports, SEC filings, and business correspondence.

From technical backgrounds to medical knowledge, you want a translator who spends the majority of his time working in documents in your specific area of expertise for the best results. Your audience will be able to tell the difference!

3. Writing Skills

Beyond having strong language skills and industry experience, it is important for your translator to understand how to present information well. The translated text should be as clear and concise as the original. To engage with your target audience, a good translator must grasp not only the meaning, but also the “voice” behind the words.

Keep in mind that translators wear many hats. They aren’t simply taking a string of English words and replacing each one with the Spanish equivalent. Even a very simple computer algorithm could do that. But if you want your translation to actually make sense to a native Spanish speaker, who may be interested in investing in your company, it’s important to find a translator who understands the original document in a deep way and can convey all the meaning included in the text.

At Alpha Omega, all of our translators, editors, interpreters, and localizers are native speakers of their target language(s) and have one or more university degrees in their specialties (law, medicine, finance, commerce, engineering, journalism, etc.). Our linguists take the time to understand your financial translation services document inside and out. We’re raising the bar when it comes to professional translation services.

4. Personalized Customer Service

Of course, the best, most efficient translators are not of much value to you if your language service provider has poor customer service. You want to know that you will be able to talk directly to your translator if you have questions. You want to know that someone is keeping track of your documents and is working to meet even the tightest deadlines. After all, you are counting on your language services. It is an integral part of your business.

Personalized customer service is so important when it comes to translation and localization. With the right translators, project managers, and a process that is seamless, you have the capacity to tap into a whole new market of potential clients. In today’s increasing global trade economy, financial translation services are more important than ever.

Having a strong project manager to see your project through from start to finish is a great benefit. Look for a language service provider offering a flexible and yet, efficient project management system with a continuous live connection to the experts. This way, even if you have a specific question about a certain language combination, your expert will be able to answer you question immediately.

5. Professionalism

Professionalism is the characteristic that really sets the best translators apart from the rest. It goes without saying that you will get an accurate and well-written product. But professionals are especially sensitive to the time and budget needs of their clients. If you need a rush job or quick turnaround, you need a service provider who is responsive and can deliver every time.

The process of finding a translator who you trust can be difficult. But if you look for the above qualities, you are more likely to see the results you need. Share your financial translation services goals with your service provider and don’t be afraid to speak honestly if someone is not meeting all of your needs.

We strive to not only fully satisfy each of out clients, but also to ensure that your end-users are satisfied. At Alpha Omega, we have raised the bar in the industry. You should not settle for less from your language service provider! Contact us today to request your free custom quote.

 

Ready to Grow Your International Business? Encourage Employees to Learn a Language.

While it’s true that English remains the dominant language of international business, it is a mistake to think that Americans don’t need to invest time and effort learning another language. Multilingual technical translation along with other translation and localization services can help. But there is no doubt that investing in a culture of respect for other languages opens doors in business.

Yet, only 18% of Americans speak more than one language. Contrast this with the 56% of Europeans who speak another language besides their native language.

This dismissive attitude seriously limits the economic potential of American business, experts say. The U.S. Committee on Economic Development (CED) suggests that American businesses lose more than $2 billion a year to language or cultural misunderstandings.

With the rise of the global economy, the need for high quality multilingual technical translation to communicate effectively with foreign partners, as well as to adapt to foreign clients is becoming more urgent every day. Let’s discuss the business benefits, as well as which languages are most useful in our dynamic global economy.

The Business Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Although finding a translation service to provide you with multilingual technical translation is a must, the benefits of being able to communicate with overseas clients, suppliers, and customers in their native languages are clear—as are the costs of lacking this skill. Even learning enough of another language to offer a few words can establish trust.

Whether you want to take the lead by learning a second language yourself or you want to encourage a workplace culture that respects diversity, consider some of the reasons you have for making this a top business priority:

1. In-House Language Skills Win Clients

There’s nothing like traveling abroad to make you appreciate the comfort of being able to communicate in your native language. You know the relief you experience when you discover someone with whom you can communicate in a foreign land. Now imagine how your clients feel when they communicate in business most of the time using their second language.

When your clients have access to employees who speak more than one language, you gain a huge advantage over your competition. Besides the obvious ease of communication, knowing a language means having a deeper understanding of a culture. Knowing another language, even imperfectly, shows a willingness to reach across boundaries and welcome open conversations. This means that having in-house language skills will make it easier to establish rapport and camaraderie.

In international businesses, business growth is also directly related to the multilingual technical translation skills of your team. Communicating with a native speaker in their language means business can be done faster and more efficiently across complex markets.

2. Learning a Language Sharpens Your Cognitive Skills

Beyond the direct business benefits, learning a foreign language sharpens many cognitive skills. Even spending 15 minutes per day working on a second language strengthens your brain in the following ways:

  • Improved mental agility: A University of Edinburgh study found that learning a language boosts cognitive capacity, which includes mental benefits like improved attention spans. Surprisingly, the benefits were significant enough to measure after just one week of study.
  • Decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia: Seniors who practice foreign languages have a lower risk of developing memory problems. Bilingual seniors were shown to be better at an attention-switching task, which is an indicator of brain health, than their monolingual peers.
  • More rational decision-making: When you think in a foreign language, you make more rational, less biased decisions. Foreign language permits more distance between the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain when evaluating risks. So, learning a second language can also make you more decisive.

3. Learning a Language Broadens Your Perspective

If you are interested in being more open-minded and discovering the beauty of other cultures, then learning another language may be right for you. As you learn, you will naturally have questions about the population, culture, and belief system of those who are native speakers. Being open to these new perspectives and experiences will inevitably translate into new entrepreneurial pursuits.

What are the best languages to learn for international business?

At one time, French was the preferred language of global exchange. As China gains economic power, the Chinese government will continue to push for Mandarin. And Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world. So, where should you start if you’re ready to learn a new language?

Of course, the best language to learn will depend on what industry you’re in and which countries you deal with most often. If you travel to Turkey a lot for business, then it wouldn’t hurt for you to learn Turkish. On the other hand, if you’re more likely to send account managers to meet with clients in Romania, then it makes sense to find employees who are able to keep up with the news coming out of Bucharest that might affect clients and to understand their unique challenges. Having team members who can translate these cultural differences into English can prove invaluable to the growth of your business.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that language fluency doesn’t just come from taking language courses. Learning a language sounds like a daunting task to most people. It requires the motivation and desire to do the work. So, if your goal is to encourage your employees to expand their horizons in this way, you will want to make it as easy as possible. One recommendation is to offer funding and incentives, such as time off of work, to attend class or study for exams.

There are obvious benefits for businesses that take their international status seriously. In addition to working with a multilingual technical translation service on any translation and localization projects, having employees with in-house language skills makes doing business in other parts of the world much easier.

At Alpha Omega Translations, we love working with our amazing clients to make their businesses truly stand out. Let us help you grow your global company beyond what you previously thought possible. Describe your project and we’ll be in touch with a custom quote.

 

 

Expert Tips to Save You Time and Money by Keeping Your Translation Project Moving Forward

One of the most challenging aspects of any technical translation project is keeping the project on track. Technical manuals translation services typically involve translation, editing for style and consistency, and proofreading. With so many moving parts, coordination is key to getting high quality results within a reasonable timeframe.

technical manuals translation services

This means that beyond making sure that your language service provider (LSP) offers the best translators in the business, you will want to fully understand their approach to project management. Also, make sure the details are clearly specified in your contract so you know what to expect. You don’t want to run into unexpected roadblocks in the middle of your project.

Consider these expert recommendations and tips for working with a team of professional translators before you commission your next complex project:

1. Insist your LSP uses a dedicated project manager.

For any large translation and localization project, such as technical manual translation or audio video translation, several individuals will be involved throughout the process. Even the most efficient workflow systems can fall apart without a dedicated project manager. If your LSP doesn’t provide someone in-house, it’s crucial that you assign this task to someone in your organization. Otherwise, you risk inaccuracies and confusion.

At Alpha Omega, we make a point of assigning two dedicated project managers, a lead project manager and a junior project manager, to each client project. Project managers decide how best to organize workflow, assign tasks, and set up project milestones for updating clients. Our team works well together due to strong project managers and you’d be surprised how valuable having two can be. If at any point, you want a status update or have a question about some aspect of your project, one of our project managers will get back to you quickly.

2. Review the quality assurance process for technical manuals translation services.

It is always disappointing to find technical manuals translation services with unreliable quality assurance processes. If your LSP assigns your project to a single translator, without any indication of quality assurance monitoring, this should be a huge red flag. The best translation services provide a team of translators who act as a safeguard against individual errors and who can work through any linguistic challenges together.

Best practices for quality assurance involves a front translation team consisting of at least two subject matter specialists, an independent linguistic translation reviewer, a back translator, and an independent industry reviewer. Project managers are responsible for making sure quality assurance protocols are followed.

The goal of any strong QA process is to deliver excellent localization and translation services, while continuously improving the overall quality of translations. This approach requires transparency, continuous feedback, and issue tracking. In addition to providing excellent translations, if your LSP checks for factual inconsistencies, ambiguous passages, and suggests solutions (in track changes or comments), that is an added value.

Although many clients hesitate to get involved with their LSP’s translation process, we always encourage those seeking technical manuals translation services to gather as much information as possible. Does your LSP keep a translation checklist from the start of the project, so any discrepancies can easily be traced back and resolved? Do the translation reviewers use a detailed evaluation system to rate the quality of each translation?

When it comes to editing, do editors complete forms with recommended corrections, which then go back to translators for review and comments? Answers to these questions will give you a good sense of your LSP’s translation process, so you will know you’re getting high quality work. The most effective quality assurance policies require translators, reviewers, and editors all to agree on edits before finalizing the translation.

3. Understand the translation management system.

Once again, which translation management system your LSP uses may seem like a technical detail with which customers need not concern themselves. However, the level of flexibility and automation available to your LSP can make a significant difference in your costs. So it is worth educating yourself, especially if you expect to use external translators for several projects.

Different technical manuals translation services use different digital platform to help manage client projects. The best platforms are highly customizable so that various functions and extensions can be adapted to fit individual client needs. Powerful management tools are needed to ensure accurate translations, lower costs, and direct communication between translators, reviewers, editors, and clients.

In addition to managing workflow efficiently, the right TMS will automatically save translations to a database that can be leveraged for future translations to cut costs, speed up work, and create terminology consistency across all projects. Another advantage for clients here is that you can view histories for all translations and retrieve archived translations delivered months ago.

Our list of recommended translation technology includes MemoQ, SDLTrados, and WordFast. These systems easily integrate into your service provider’s TMS and can be connected to the workflow system. These advanced software programs also allow translators to crowd-source the translation request and complete time-sensitive projects more quickly.

At Alpha Omega, we love the ability to use state-of-the-art technology and our Translation Memory Engine to place literally hundreds of people on a client project to work on it simultaneously. Of course, crowd-sourcing has its drawbacks. But when combined with a dedicated project manager and a tested quality assurance process, clients gain incredible value from crow-sourced translations.

Conclusion

Perhaps nothing harms the reputation of the translation industry more than low-quality technical manuals translation services. Unfortunately, the lack of serious regulation in our industry means that consumers need to educate themselves to guarantee they receive high quality translation work.

If you follow the above recommendations, you will do a lot to protect yourself and help us maintain the integrity of our industry. At Alpha Omega Translations, we practice what we preach. For each project, we custom build a team with professional translators, editors, reviewers, and linguists to meet your unique needs. Contact us and request your free quote!