Author Archives: Pangeanic

How Medical Translation Services Are Changing the Healthcare Industry

The translation of medical documents can be needed in healthcare for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons for translating medical documents is having a foreign patient or client. It’s so important that medical documents are translated as accurately as possible, so that everybody involved is on the same page. If mistakes are made, you could put your patients in grave danger and yourself in a lot of trouble. You just can’t afford to make any guesses or mistakes when it comes to somebody’s health. Although you may have employees that speak second languages, asking them to translate medical documents will take up a lot of their time. This means they’ll either have to put it off or their day to day work will suffer. With medical translation services, you can get things done fast and accurately. Here’s more about how medical translation services are changing the healthcare industry:

Automate Certain Processes in Your Establishment

Automating processes in the workplace can make everything so much quicker. If only you could automate everything to make life easier! While you can’t automate everything, you can automate lengthy processes like translating medical documents. As the service is so quick and affordable, you won’t need to worry when you get a foreign client or patient through the door. Everybody will have ample time to do the things they trained to do!

Less Stress for Everybody Involved

Going to the doctors, hospital, or even the vets can be a stressful experience for people. When your health or the health of a loved one is on the line, you can feel all kinds of conflicting emotions as it is. That’s without misunderstanding what is actually going on! Put yourself in a patient’s shoes for a moment. Imagine going to the hospital and receiving a document in a language you can barely understand. You wouldn’t know what to think or do. By using medical translation services, you’ll put patients and clients at total ease. Communication will be improved and the experience will be a more positive one. You won’t need to worry about documents being translated in the right context. Medical translation professionals are experienced in healthcare.

Protect Patients and Safeguard Yourself from Lawsuits

When it comes to medical documents, the slightest mistake can mean big trouble. It could mean a dangerous situation with your patient for a start, let alone a dangerous situation for you. Using a medical translator means you’re not only protecting your patients, you’re safeguarding yourself. You’re also taking care of your reputation, which is one of the most important things in the healthcare industry. The smallest mistake could force you to close your establishment, let staff go, or offer large amounts of money as compensation.

Many establishments are now turning to medical translation services to minimise the risk of mistakes. Also helping to keep patients safe and avoid getting into trouble. Jobs are made that bit easier and experiences in the medical workplace are better for both employees and patients.

The benefits of translating a website into a different language

There are more than one billion live websites online. They are mostly monolingual, although translations are becoming increasingly important. There’s no denying the Web has become the ‘de facto’ tool to search for information (much to the relieve of trees) and, as all statistics point, for commerce, too. And there is no better way to make a website more enticing to a broader audience than making it multilingual.

Companies such as Microsoft and Adobe have versions of their sites in several languages. It helps them to gain the competitive edge. Especially when targeting new foreign markets. By the way, did you know which is the website with the most translations in the world? Surprisingly none of the above, nor Wikipedia.

But it is something you all wish to do. The economics of offering your website in different languages are unquestionable. But let’s try to be precise. The following six reasons explain the benefits of using a website translation service provider:

1. English isn’t the dominant language in the world

You might think that English is the most common language in the world. But, you may not know that English is only the third most common spoken language. The dominating language is Mandarin Chinese, followed by Spanish.

2. You will increase your company’s revenue

Large, medium and small companies and brands realise the benefits of selling to an international audience. In a digital age, there’s no ‘local economy’. If you only target an English-speaking audience (or a monolingual audience), you’re missing out on a lucrative opportunities.

There are plenty of people that want to use your products and services abroad. You just are not talking to them. Take mobile games as an example. Typical games directed to an online audience under 16 or 18 many times but who has a cellphone. Kids play online with other kids from China to Spain, from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. And they buy credits. Online, in their language.

3. A website translation service is better than Google Translate

To cut costs, some firms rely on nothing more than machine-based translation services. One typical example is Google Translate. You just need to read a few more articles in our blog to realize how terrible this decision can be.

The issue with using unchecked machine-based translators is that you always end up with the wrong translation. The last thing you want to do is to become a laughing stock, an Internet joke.

As a developer of machine translation technologies, I can only say to you: use it for fast translations where speed is more important than quality, like reviews or just to get the gist. Machine translation is not a publishing service.

4. You will increase consumer confidence in your brand

Following the above line of thought…What happens then when you take the time to translate a website? Your potential customers will have more trust in your brand. Why? Because they will feel you understand their needs. You have now reached to them. You are not saying ‘hey, I have this cool stuff, which by the way you can’t really use nor understand, ¿sabes amigo?‘.

5. Multilingual websites overcome cultural barriers

When a website is in a person’s native tongue, they will feel more comfortable browsing through it. I travel frequently to Japan and China and, believe me, I feel very comfortable when I ser something in a Latín script.

6. You’ll gain a significant competitive edge

Surely! How many restaurants in Shanghai or Dalian won me only because I could read the menu! Have you ever been to an Italian restaurant where everything was written in Chinese? I have. I settled down for ‘spaghetti’, in whatever shape it came.

There are many universal things in life that people use, regardless of their language. If you sell something they use, you should tell them about it. Having a multilingual website (and menu for your restaurant) will give you the competitive edge.

But there’s more…….

Website translation services are useful beyond the Web

The Internet offers many different ways of communicating and trading online. During the Web’s infancy, people would do those things solely on websites.

These days, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, we also use “apps” for the same purposes. After all, they offer a convenient way to talk and buy online without opening a browser!

Professional website translation services can get utilised for multilingual apps. This also includes rich HTML content served within those apps.

Translate content that makes sense to your audience

When you use a good website translation services, one thing is for sure: the translated content you receive will make total sense to your target audience!

Pangeanic provides a raft of website translation and localization services. We can translate your content to and from dozens of popular spoken languages.

And now the commercial line…. Contact us today to request a free translation quote.

Google Translate error: we thought Russia was Mordor

Google Translate errors have become a kind of popular culture joke (see our previous entry about the “clitoris festival” in a Spanish town). Some years ago, it proved unable to translate President Obama and it kept naming him “Bush”. This was due, at the time, to the larger amount of data linking the words “President” and “Bush”. Now, Google provides another interesting translation error.

Google Translate is one of the most widely used translation tools worldwide. We have to say  that Google has had the good taste to offer its product in mobile applications, and even applications for smartwatches in addition to the web version. It is extremely convenient to use and it has become a reference tool for translation professionals and users of translation services at least to discern or understand texts in foreign languages. And let’s be fair, Google Translate’s machine translations are often of good quality considering it is a very general software, an “non-customized machine translation engine” (read more about how machine translation works here). Because of its ubiquity and availability, it is a product that is hard to beat.

But voila, Google translate is an automatic tool, and is likely to produce errors. It relies on thousands of alingned, bilingual documents. So, some mistranslations can occur… but some are a little more odd than others. So, according to BBC reports, the tool recently found no better match for the country name “Russia” than “Mordor” (or Black Land in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s “The Lord of Rings” fictional universe, the region occupied and controlled by Sauron). To continue with the story, “Russians” became “occupiers”.

According to Google translate, Mordor is real and is none other than Russia.
Well, Russians may have bad press, but for Google to say this…

So how can these machine translation errors happen?

First of all, one needs to remember that these errors are not produced by any particular language. In reality, they are the result of a translation of the Ukrainian language into the Russian language. The search giant does not rely on simple dictionaries, but on huge databases, and many entries are web pages indexed by its own search engine. Therefore, Google Translate ultimately depends on data provided and created by us, the general public.

Google translates Russia as Mordor

The tool analyzes millions of documents and matches certain words, certain habits of language. Statistically, it finds equivalents between languages because after a certain number of occurrences in a given language, it infers that a certain word happens in a certain way. This approach works better in some languages than others, but combined with other techniques, it can provide fairly decent results.

To translate Russia as Mordor can then be explained like this:

  1. It appears that these terms have been widely used by Ukrainian soldiers after the invasion by Russia of the Eastern Ukrainian regions. The have created documents or texts that Google has been able to find.
  2. Google has aligned these texts, pun included.
  3. Statistically speaking, there was enough or even more data at one point equating the word “Russia” to “Mordor”, just as it happened with “occupiers” (the coverage by the Ukrainian and Russian media and TV was very one-sided in both cases).

To avoid the wrath of the Russia, Google has of course responded in a statement, specifying that its automated tool was not always perfect and that errors could occur.

The research giant then assured that it would continue to do its best to improve Google translation and in the future to avoid such errors.
The point remains that to rely on millions of documents instead of a simple dictionary to translate terms like “Russia” is a little bit unnecessary, but that it is another story.

5 tips for a cultural adaptation of translations

Marketing departments work hard to produce high quality content, high quality translations, catalogues, websites and content in general to project a quality brand image – an image that engages target markets and boosts loyalty to the brand and, of course, sales. This is in fact related to what we know as Inbound Marketing.  However, it is no secret to any marketeer that website content, and content in general does not fit equally in some markets and some content becomes very popular in some some cultures and regions whereas other content that may seem very relevant to us does not seem to stir any feelings.
The first marketing draft is usually born out of a home market and companies use it to other target markets. The thinking is very simple: “Let’s translate into Chinese and this content can reach 1,5bn Chinese speakers. It is a simple enough methodology
Create Content - Translate - Sell

Here’s the consequences of this traditional translation methodology:

  • can be managed by anyone in the office;
  • little planning required;
  • uncomplicated workflow, some of it can even be translated by colleagues or local agents;
  • lack of communication, and engagement from your audience (damage to brand image);
  • loss your competitive advantage if compared to brands that adapt their content after a cultural audit of a website content.

(By the way, 400 million Chinese do not speak Mandarin, the national language – so the first question from a translation project manager would be “translating into Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese?”. Banknotes in China carry 8 languages.)

Therefore, if this has been the way you have produced website content (or content in general) for other markets, think twice. Maybe it was the translators, maybe it wasn’t the way the original was written. Perhaps it was that the content represented your culture and did not attempt to engage and be close to your audience.

A cultural adaptation of translations

A sound cultural audit should always take place prior to translation to avoid different translators applying different solutions. Once the text has been sent to translators, it is too late. A cultural audit will recommend replacing idioms and expressions, local metaphors, humor, imagery, etc. A cultural audit will also identify any general areas of content that should need to be adapted for ANY new market.  However, if you are dealing with content that has been translated already, you should focus in assessing how much of it has been adapted appropriately for the target market. Maybe little needs to be done. Maybe you have to delete several paragraphs and spend several hours or days in adaptation. At the end of the day, this does not mean the translation was wrong, it means that you opted for the traditional translation methodology. In fact, many translation buyers instinctively want an adaptation and expect a cultural audit of their translations…. they just do not say so!

Many experienced translators will contact your Translation Project Manager and say “this does not sound very good in my language”. That is useful feedback. But there is more work to do. In order to carry our a cultural adaption of translations you need bilingual linguists (whether they are , in-country or not is irrelevant, but they must keep up-to-date with current affairs in their language). They must have some experience in buyer behavior and be able to be in the shoes of the target user.
Ideally, these linguists need to have expertise in the industry in question (marketing and advertisement, tourism and travel, retail, film if dealing with subtitling…). They must also have developed a keen attention to detail and notice things like graphics and layout (turning a publication into an Arabic translation means going right-to-left and a whole redesign needs to take place, pictures, bullets, etc). Colors carry different meanings in different cultures: whereas red means life in China and Japan, it is the color of passion, love, energy and excitement in Western cultures.  There is a lot of psychology behind the use of color in marketing content.
Good translators will probably have adapted any local expressions already. Content writers should be aware from the start that very local expressions (cultural references to events happening only in Japan, to soccer if you are a European writer or baseball or American football if you are from the US will not mean anything in other countries).

5 tips for cultural audits

A cultural audit of website content and general content should produce a professional report, with recommendations and actions. These will help you avoid pitfalls in translation, publishing, design, use of pictures on your website and printed materials. It does not matter how much you have spent on translation if you have translated material that does not engage or that it is not relevant.

  1. Some materials are just plainly inappropriate for the target market. They should be recreated from scratch and completely re-written. A brand and style guides should be created for the translator’s reference.
  2. Some marketing materials do not contain a lot highly creative content and many experienced translators and a good translation company can offer localization services without much adaptation.
  3. You will find out the quality of your existing translations and what people are reading on your website. Have you noticed that after translation, some publications do not produce any results in certain countries? A cultural audit of your translations will be able to diagnose if that content is not aligned with your brand and professional linguists will report and recommend on how to improve it.
  4. Spend time preparing the source content for each target market. Maybe you end up with 4 or more adapted sources. That is fine. It is likely that you may not need to translate all your material, so preparation will save you money! Consider a cultural audit as an insurance policy. It is prevention work. Changing translation at a later stage is always more expensive.
  5. Focus on strengths. Write content that will address questions readers find informative. “What is our company’s competitive advantage?” “What keeps clients coming back to us (retention)?” “What would the industry be missing if our brand didn’t exist?”

Machine Translation Market to Reach $983.3 Million by 2022

by Manuel Herranz

According to new research by Research&Marketing, the global machine translation market is expected to weigh $983.3M by year 2022. Several advancements in technology have led to an increase in the sophistication of translation technology, which is capable nowadays to provide translated versions with minimal errors and consistent grammatical coherence. This has considerably widened the scope of use for machine translation. Machine Translation can translate documents rapidly, seamlessly and cost-effectively. Machine Translation for content in regional languages has spurred the MT market over the past few years. The provision of MT as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) over secure cloud services hosting at data centers is a key area which is expected to add a substantial growth opportunity to the machine translations market. The prominence of cloud computing over the last few years has resulted in a spectacular demand in growth for cloud-based translation (whether machine translation or computer assisted translation tools). The growth in cloud computing is expected to boost even more the growth of machine translation market, possibly as a result of API services plugging in to websites. R&D over the last few years and the technological applications by several providers have enabled machine translation technology to seamlessly integrate into a wide range of products, from CMS to enterprise-level systems and even handheld consumer devices. The proliferation of smartphones has also led to the introduction of machine translation apps providing instant translation of multilingual text and sometimes voice. 

Machine Translation Market Expected to Reach $983.3 Million by 2022

Further key findings from the study point to: 

  • Industries that produce “controlled language” documentation like the electronics industry or the automotive sector are expected to gain significant market share and are key to this growth.


  • Government initiatives (particularly in the US and Europe) and the presence of a large number of service providers has helped boost market growth in the U.S. Microsoft and Google, have made SMT technology very popular across the world thanks to their free online engines.


  • Machine translation in healthcare is expected to gain market share from 2015 to 2022. The ever increasing need for accurate, timely translation of large amounts of content is expected to push the demand in various industries.


  • Millions of segments of glossaries, bilingual texts, and other data are required for an MT engine to learn by examples when we approach the training of Statistical MT translation engines. The demand for SMT and Hybrid Machine Translation (like PangeaMT) has increased over the past few years, due to its effectiveness over rule-based systems in terms of development time and cost. Research shows it is to remain the largest in the technology market through 2022.


  • Machine translation providers tend to commercialize their products and machine translation services through their own websites, although they sometimes sell indirectly through a network of specialist agents. However, the majority of providers prefer having a direct sales channel. Machine Translation solutions are available as commercial software solutions or as free, web-based applications (e.g., Microsoft Bing Translator and Google Translate). 

For more information please click on:

Short overview of PangeaMT platform without API for in-house translation engine generation and translation

Google Translate error from vegetable to clitoris

Thanks to Google Translate error Spanish town calls for clitoris festival

Google Translate error mistranslates Galician vegetable food festival and makes town the world’s laughing stock

There are 11,000 inhabitants in Spain’s town of As Pontes, Galicia. This is the rainy, Atlantic North West. Portuguese language and Portugal herself broke away in the Middle Ages as a separate country, but Galician and what later become Portuguese are closely related languages. So close, it seems, that Google Translate was having a hard time telling them apart. And due to the naivety of some town officials, what was meant to be a culinary festival celebrating the local grelo, became the world’s joke. The leafy green vegetable similar to broccoli but without the large head, also popular in Italian cuisine, was mistranslated for a Portuguese slang word.

However, this small town has become rather famous because it has been marketing a very different kind of festival for the last few months. A Google Translate error turned the Galician word grelo into the wrong Castilian Spanish and it ended up inviting people to take part in a “clitoris festival”.

Google Translate error from vegetable to clitoris

Google Translate error: from vegetable

Google Translate error turns vegetable into clitoris

….to something rather different










Local officials in As Pontes first wrote the announcement for their annual grelo festival in Galician language, which is also an official language in the region. Unfortunately, they used machine translation software Google Translate for the Spanish version of their text. This meant that suddenly the town’s “Feria do grelo” or “Rapini festival” that is held every February with tastings and awards for the best grelos became the “Clitoris festival”.

The translated announcement read something like:

“The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine. Since 1981 … the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”

Customized machine translation has proven very successful when systems have been built for a purpose in mind and with the proper terminology for a field. The dangers of using general, uncontrolled and generalistic online machine translations are many. Town officials said it was likely the translation error was on the official website for several months before it someone noticed it earlier November and hit the headlines in the world’s press.

The officials believe that the online translation tool must have misunderstood the Galician word for the Portuguese one. “Grelo” means rapini, a green cruciferous vegetable that looks like a small broccoli but without the large head. Rapini is marketed the US as broccoli raab/rabe. In Portuguese vulgar slang, it can also refer to the clitoris. How Google used statistics to mistranslate the vegetable will make it to the annals of history’s funny machine translation errors.
The town is considering filing an official complaint with Google. According to British newspaper The Guardian, Monserrat García, a town’s spokeperson said: “They should recognise Galician [as a separate language] and translate it accurately.”

One cannot find any trace of this error in Google Translate. The company has manually changed the translation, and grelo now translates as “brote”, which is still not right (for it means “sprout”). Mrs García is still dissatisfied: “It’s still not the best way of describing grelo, as it is a vegetable from the turnip family.”

There has been, nevertheless, a positive aspect to the embarrassing error. The surge of interest in this year’s festival was unprecedented.

Source: (Spanish)

Further reading:
Statistical machine translation platform presented at the European Union
- Customize your own machine translation environment
- The growing popularity of machine translation services
- Mistakes in Translation and Advertising that will Make Your International Business Fail

well-written document for translation

The importance of a well-written document for translation

by Garth Hedenskog and Manuel Herranz

Let’s see if we can make your life easier by going through a few steps to improve your next translation experience!! If you are a newbie to the translation arena, we recommend to use a good translation agency with a proven track record who can provide references. There are thousands of translation companies around so you will be spoilt for choice. All will promise you the world but be careful, some agencies will forget all about you once the sale is made.

What is the foundation of a good, professional translation? Undoubtedly, a good translation team and trained linguists of course. But even the best translators will have a bad time if the foundation is weak: a good source file. To say that a translation read better than the original source file has become a kind of joke in the translation industry.

What we call a source file in the industry is basically the original file of the work you need to be translated. Source files come in a wide range of wonderful formats and the most usual are: all xml-based formats (which include all Microsoft Office formats nowadays), all formats compatible with Tikal including DTP programs such as: InDesign, Frame Maker, and older QuarkXPress, PageMaker, software localization formats such as .po, Robohelp, etc.

The translation industry is always under enormous pressure to meet tight deadlines while maintaining the highest quality translation possible. As our clients work in fast paced high pressure environments, translation does at times become an afterthought. An example: “Hey John, have you finished that presentation for the German bid which is due tomorrow?”  “Yes finally, but wait, we still need to have it Translated into German!!”  - does it sound familiar? This I’m sure you can relate to if you deal with international clients or international offices.

However, this is not a problem faced by private industry, individuals or smaller companies. As we witness a true data deluge and a torrent of data being published online every day (a lot of it in translation), large companies have published to write clearly in order to facilitate the translation process. Organizations such as the European Union have published guidelines to make translation as smooth as possible. In its Writing for Translation booklet, published by the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union recommends, among other things that authors should help translators by

  1. Emphasizing what is important (by using summaries, explanatory headings and limiting each paragraphs to one idea only)
  2. Showing a logical train of thought (by using connectors and linking each sentence to the next)
  3. Avoiding ambiguities and long sentences
  4. Using lists when numbering issues
  5. Avoiding empty verbs and the passive voice whenever possible
  6. Being coherent in the use of terminology, particularly when dealing with technical terms
  7. Avoiding very culturally-specific expressions when addressing an international audience
  8. Likewise, avoiding professional jargon, fashionable words and abbreviations and acronyms

well-written document for translation

Sometimes, so much time is spent on creating a beautiful, well-written document for translation that not enough time is scheduled to the actual translation − with disastrous consequences. And the opposite can be very true as well: a rushed, unchecked document that does not follow the above recommendations is sent to translators, who only end up recreating or increasing a confused line of thought. The secret is to get a good balance. After all, there is unfortunately only 24 hours in a day! On average a good translator will translate about 2000 – 3000 words a day depending on how familiar he/she is with the subject field. Whilst machine translation as a production aid has increased those figures, that first version will need to be proofread or reviewed (review is comparing the source and target files, proofread is just checking the translation). DTP or formatting work takes places afterwards, typically followed by a final pre-publishing (pre-press) QA process.

We always recommend to translate from the ORIGINAL language and not a translation. We all know the game Chinese whispers (or telephone game in the US). As the source always changes, the final message will not always be a reliable reflection on the original message.

If your message isn’t clear in the original then it is going to be impossible to get a clear message from the translation. Without getting in the argument of translation being an art or a science, planning and guidelines will always help when it comes to getting a quality service.

Now that we have explained a few points to improve your translation experiences, we recommend further reading for sure-fire ways to have a disastrous translation experience and result: 6 tips to get a terrible translation –

Enjoy translating!


Indian Business

India needs more translation into European languages to advance its economic weight

by Manuel Herranz

The last decade has been great for India. Not only its economy has grown, but we can already see Indian heads at most big companies in the US and other countries, as CEO’s or key personnel. This is not surprising: when we look at the recent developments in India’s economy we find out that it is currently growing faster than the economy of China. Traditionally, India’s economy has been more open and less protective. It has always been easier to do business in India, with less red tape than China. It is a huge achievement for a country which is now entering a second phase: Indian companies will begin to take positions in the world and export services directly from India making use of their excellent English skills.

This is a key difference when looking at other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, China) which have other national languages. Brazil and Russia have suffered stagnation for more than one year as a result of a stop to their internationalization efforts and weaking home market or, in the case of Russia, lack of diversification. Most developing countries have had a hard time keeping up with the US dollar, even the Euro. But that has not been the case with Indian Rupee – a currency that has been getting better against the US dollar recently.

Lower oil prices have also been a godsend for the Indian economy. India has built water dams to make full use of stored water. It is now taking care of the floods tha thave affected the country so badly through history. India has a lot of gold reserves to keep its currency and economy stable in hard times. In a very Indian suave, and peaceful way, the stars are aligning for India to have a strong presence in the online, digital economy as well. If it can influence the online world, it can win a psychological battle whilst China begins to struggle with the concept of not being the factory of the world any longer. However, when one speaks to Indian businesses and companies (many of them bilingual or trilingual people), one realizes soon that India needs more translation into European languages to keep up its economic weight.

No business, company, national or regional economy can try to be a truly global entity today if it does not have a strong online presence. Whilst using English is a first bridge is a very good approach for corporate websites and general information, the Indian economy is now connecting with people all over the world on a daily basis and this is when more professional translation into European languages is needed. India has strong presence in Europe via historic links with Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal to a smaller extent. It used to be only Indian people emmigrating to European countries to make a living, but the digital economy has changed in the recent years. European and American companies are now really interested in hiring Indian individuals for big jobs.

Whether Indian businesses want to have a connection with corporate entities in these countries or approach potential buyers and end users, they need learn and behave like their Western counterparts and use translation services as a marketing and sales tool. Investment into translation into European languages will produce fruits as they tap into markets with a high purchasing power. Although largely spoken as a common tongue, English is not the native language of India and so most of the content in the country is not made in English. Nowadays, India needs to translate its content in English and other languages that are spoken around the world in order to be recognized as a growing economy. Of course, businesses can’t do this on their own.

Indian Business

Indian Business and translation into European languages, a partnership that soon will bear fruit

Good times are ahead for the Indian translation industry and those tapping into India as a future investment. Indian businesses will have to use professional translation services and fortunately, these services are not far from them. The online world is full of companies and agencies offering professional language translation. Western companies have a large amount of experience in using languages as a tool in sales, Multilingual SEO and marketing. Profitting from the experience of European translation companies, human translators and properly-used machine translation technology, Indian companies will soon providing services beyond the English-speaking universe. China has concentrated a lot in manufacturing and labour over the lat 40 years. It has created hubs of excellence but raising costs of living and higher costs are beginning to create tensions in their economy. India is poised to use its deep knowledge of a digital economy, its approach to business and life, its good knowledge of English and better connection to the West, as well as translation into European languages to its full advantage very soon.

Pangeanic has launched a new website directed to Indian businesses to focus on how Indian companies can benefit from European language translation.

Microsoft Skype Machine Translator is finally here – and data sucking?

by Manuel Herranz
Several companies are working in machine translation and, in fact, some large companies are “BUYING” machine translation companies so that the technology becomes part of their offering a it becomes core to their business. Ebay did so with Apptek in 2014 and Facebook did it a year earlier, acquiring Mobile Technologies, the Pittsburgh-based developer behind the app Jibbigo. Previously, Facebook had been relying on Microsoft Bing for machine translation. Microsoft has gone a step forward and Microsoft Skype Machine Translator is finally here.

If your business interests are based in more than one country, you probably want to have a certain level of ownership about your multilingual content and how it is published. You can translate yourself. Perhaps you are willing to pay for professional translations for your most relevant content, but leave not-so-relevant content to machine translation, which can happen on-the-fly. Furthermore, many of your transactions and interactions may be with foreign buyers and consumers… so perhaps it is not such a good idea to rely on “data sucking” companies. Many translators already use the services of generalist machine translation providers “with feedback” so that eventually. Fears of eavesdropping and telephone tapping, a major concern over the last few years are making more and more business edgy about how much of their data is being used by third-parties and for what (usually commercial) purposes. I should write more about how some users have had their AdWords campaigns stopped when they clashed against major accounts. Will Microsoft’s Universal Skype Machine Translator be another way of “data sucking” for large software companies?

Learning foreign languages a thing of the past and "data sucking" the present?

Learning foreign languages a thing of the past and “data sucking” the present?

At the end of the day, all digital companies publish data on the Internet, and most translate, having to offer content into several languages. Anybody publishing on the Internet makes his/her content available to public, worldwide scrutiny. Who doesn’t (try to) use the Internet to operate worldwide nowadays, from buying software to clothes and read news and blogs from all over the world? Microsoft has had a deep interest in the language area for a long time, perhaps in the wake of Google Translate taking a lead in the area. Chris Wendt’s work at Microsoft is visionary and I personally proud both Pangeanic and Microsoft exchanged data and pushed the technology forward as founding members of TAUS. We have been also lucky to co-present with him several times at Machine Translation fora. Microsoft is creating something new with these two (existing) technologies. Both voice recognition and machine translation are not new technologies. They have existed in several shapes for some time, but they are now entering maturity stage. The problem was always to combine them together as each statistical system introduces a margin of error. It was not long ago that we wrote on Pangeanic’s blog about Microsoft’s skype translator and how long it would take for it to really develop, assuming a much longer time since the first test into German sounded a bit stiff. The distance between German and English is much greater than between Spanish and English.

My guess is that cracking machine translation will come first and Microsoft has picked the easy prey with English and Spanish. Google is not having such a good time with Indian languages and the Indian government is investing in its own machine translation technology. Adding voice means adding another layer of algorithms and statistics to the technology. Any word that is not recognized well will be rendered wrongly into a query sentence for machine translation. And if the starting sentence makes little sentence as it has not been understood from voice to writing properly, the translation can only get worse.

Also, how Microsoft plans to make money out of this remains the question… Why would anyone speak to a friend whose language cannot understand? There may be some situations where the software will come handy to discern, just like Google Translate is useful in very concrete situations and for vocabulary and sentence query. I can imagine certain useful situations, like speaking to foreign mother-in-laws and relatives.  But is this enough to justify the investment? Will people pay a subscription service for Skype translations? I don’t think so. Therefore, the business case must be somewhere else. And considering how massive amounts of data (Big data) need to be translated,  questions on eavesdropping, private/personal data and security that come to mind.

Next time you think languages, think Pangeanic
Translation Services, Translation Technologies, Machine Translation

Computer tools for translators: user needs poll

by Anna Zaretskaya and Manuel Herranz

We have often said in our blog and publications that translation stopped being a craft a long time ago. Translation companies are becoming solution providers in terms of tools and technology – particularly solutions that help companies publish more, faster and in more languages. It is no wonder then that more and more translation tools are flooding the market and translation professionals choose one or other as their “life tool”. Anna Zaretskaya is a  researcher at the University of Malaga within the EU EXPERT project. Anna is researching on computer tools for translators, the use of certain tools, their popularity and how and why translators make a choice between one tool and another. Also, Anna is interested on how machine translation is affecting and is being adopted by professional translators in their daily life.

Anna says: “The invasion of technology in the translation industry that we observe today forces professional translators sometimes to use highly complex computer programs and resources in order to keep up with industry requirements. Even though there exist a vast variety of such programs on the market, not all of the existing technologies were successfully adopted by professionals. One of the possible reasons of this is that the programs were developed without taking into account translators’ real needs.”

The survey ‘Computer tools for translators: user needs’ intends to contribute to solve this problem. It is conducted by the University of Malaga within the EXPERT project (EXPloiting Empirical appRoaches to Translation). Computer tools for translators: user needsThe purpose of the survey is to find out how current translation technologies can be improved to be more convenient and useful for professional translators. To be more specific, it tries to answer questions like: How do professional translators work with the tools they have at hand? How satisfied are they with these tools, with their performance, offered features?  Have they improved their productivity and income by using them? and What is translators’ overall attitude towards technology-related industry trends? The results of this study will be used to improve already existing tools and adjust them to translators’ working practices, and also to envisage some new types of technologies or functionalities.

All professional translators are invited to participate in the survey and make their contribution to the future of translation technologies. The survey can be accessed through this link:

We would like to help Anna, as a EU researcher with her work. In case of any questions, please contact Anna Zaretskaya: annazar [at]


Next time you think languages, think Pangeanic
Translation Services, Translation Technologies, Machine Translation