web and spider crawling down

A web of problems: Why Google Translate and website translation can’t marry

It is not news that machine translated websites are penalized by search engines. Google has developed its technologies on the back of reliable bilingual website crawling and freely available public data. After ditching rule-based engines (Systran) back in 2006, it embarked on a mission to use statistical machine translation (SMT) as a byproduct of its own data analysis. Websites that use machine translation to inform users are crawled and aligned, but those alignments provide data that adds dirt (read: uncertainty) which worsens the probabilities and hence the output (read: the translation). That is why Google Translate and website translation can’t marry. A machine translated website will be penalized by Google, for it is dirty. It is also a proof of laziness on the part of those responsible. The search giant wants to analyze natural, human data. We recently bumped into an article on Slator.com that got our feathers all aflutter. […]

scrum board agile methodology software development illustration project

Agile Localization and Continuous Localization – The evolution

Our people here at Pangeanic have been around the block when it comes to translating and localizing products for international markets, from website translations to software. These are the guys you would call “an expert in the field.”  However, in order to keep their guru status, they have to keep up with the new ways content is produced and, obviously, the new ways it has to be delivered. Translations are not “given” to users any longer. They are expected in various shapes and many formats and, many a time, they are expected immediately. Sometimes, they need to be produced for intermediate versions and releases. We have heard the terms Agile Localization and Continuous Localization, but do we know what they truly mean? Let us talk to Garth Hedenskog, Director of Sales at Pangeanic and Manuel Herranz, Pangeanic’s CEO. Garth faces many clients every day and he is aware of the […]

Deep learning – The day language technologies became a Christmas present

It is said the third Monday every January is the saddest day in the year. It does not take deep learning to feel so. A long vacation period has ended. No sight of another one until several months away. Overspent, overstuffed, with no more presents to exchange, with winter settling in the Northern hemisphere and missing the drinks and chocolates that made our sugar levels go sky high, many start booking holidays in the sun. Let’s turn the clocks back to Christmas and we will remember the last few weeks as the Christmas when language technologies made it to the top of the list. Millions of people, literally, have opened boxes whose content was an electronic assistant with a rapidly improving ability to use human language. There are two main products: Amazon’s Echo, featuring the Alexa digital assistant, which sold more than 5m units. In essence, Echo is a desktop […]

Maxim Khalikov from Booking.com

Some takeaways from TAUS Summit Portland

TAUS Yearly Summit in Portland was a great event and the largest I have attended so far (and I have been a regular attendee since 2007 in Brussels). The organization has definitely grown from being considered a think-tank to promote the exchange of data for the benefit of automatic translation engine training, to develop useful tools for the industry. There were times when only experts and a few EU officials or managers from large corporations attended. The mixture in the audience and the quality of the keynotes prove that TAUS has grown as a major reference conference for decision makers and translation technology implementers in the language industry far away from service LSP’s conferences. We are going to be postediting and leaving the TM syndrome behind. Translators will need to face the reality and the realm is post-editing – Tony O’Dowd, CEO, KantanMT. Unfortunately, I missed the first day of […]

map of cameroon showing ngong language with 2 speakers

Why do languages die?

If you ask people in the street how many languages they think there are in the world, answers will vary. A joke says that a random sampling of New Yorkers resulted in inspiring answers such as “probably several hundred.” Clearly, this is quite far away from what we know today.  Funny enough, estimates have escalated over time. In 1911, the Encyclopedia Britannica implied a figure somewhere around 1,000 languages around the world at the time. That number escalated during the 20th century. During the course of time, 7,097 distinct languages have been catalogued according to the most extensive catalog of the world’s languages by Ethnologue (published by SIL International), generally accepted to be the authority in the field. Of course the number of languages has not multiplied in 100 years. In fact, languages die. It is our understanding of what a language is and how many languages are actually spoken in areas that previously had not been researched. Although it is hard to […]

3 reasons for a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and 7 things you should not do

by Manuel Herranz and Alex Helle If you are one of those people who believe that operating in English (or your national language and English as the default international language) suffices to talk to the rest of the world… we regret to inform you that there is a huge misconception in the way you approach the global marketplace. There are powerful reasons to have a multilingual Joomla, WordPress or Drupal website and I would like to help you understand why. A few months ago we reported in this blog on a study by the European Union that pointed to the fact that 90% of users preferred to visit websites in their own language. The survey, conducted by Gallup, found that Internet users in 23 EU countries prefer browsing and making purchasing decisions in their native languages. You can visit the link above to download the full PDF, but if you […]

6 important points for brands writing content for international audiences

by Manuel Herranz Writing content and distributing knowledge to international audiences can present a number of challenges.  The first one is for management to understand the value and ROI of multilingual content and translation into several languages. The second is for the brand itself (that is staff, from production to accounting) to believe they work for international markets. They need to be convinced that their salaries and the company’s revenue come from people that speak other languages and whose only affinity to them is the brand. Thirdly, traditional channels for the distribution of quality translations need to be complemented (or substituted) by the company’s website as a hub for multilingual knowledge, social media, etc. But we might call those three points the fundamentals. They are prerequisites. I would like to deal with some other points that brands can often miss when writing content for international audiences. This is a short […]

5 tips to translate a website in many languages and embed it in your business strategy

by Manuel Herranz Large enterprises and even SME’s around the world are realizing how important it is to translate a webpage in many languages. 1. A free website translator isn’t simply enough. It may do the job fairly well if you just need to understand a website in another language, but that kind of automatic translation is not good enough when you are looking to attract customers. 2. Free website translations published as good content send the wrong message to your potential audience. Google can be quoted as the best example. The search giant is very aware that it is the search engine of choice used around the world and it needs to be available to everyone. Since there are still billions of people who can’t read English or understand it, Google provides the option of translating websites and search results into the language they are familiar with – but […]

Machine translation: Can it be used to translate travel industry content?

by Manuel Herranz There have been strong opinions for and against machine Translation over the last few years. Whilst the general public has become a keen user of free online services, professional translators have poured bitter criticisms against the technology. Understandably, because the language industry is a small industry compared with other sectors where automation took place years ago (automotive industry, printing, telecommunications, to name a few). The Internet and in general any industry based on electronic communications has added to the increase in demand for multilingual websites, which means more translation for eCommerce sites and website translations. There are many supporters of machine translation technology because of the many advantages and problems it has solved where a translator could not be at hand and human translation was not an option. See the video celebrating Google Translate’s 10 years. But it has also gained something of a bad press, particularly […]

Medical Translations: Quality Matters

by Manuel Herranz When you think about two different jobs, doctors and translators do not come to mind as two related professions But the fields of life science and medicine and translation services do share at least one important feature: you never call the doctor until you need one. Likewise, you never search for translation services until you really need a translator. But the same could be said about the legal profession and legal translations or the engineering industry and technical translations. The translation industry is a multi-facetted industry and professional translators are supposed to be experts or knowledgeable about many fields. It is not a small industry either, and myths about the translation industry are disappearing as technology has been able to automate many processes. Ideally, experienced translators working in any of those particular areas of knowledge will help improve the conditions of each industry, and in particular the […]