Friday, September 02, 2005

Buy translation and toilet paper in the same place

For those of you who have seen Common Sense Advisory's presentations, the concept of the translation-to-toilet-paper ratio is not new. We have said it all along that some companies spend more money on toilet paper than they spend on translations (but nobody talks about cutting the consumption of toilet paper).

Mustang Cleaning Supplies from the U.K. is offering both. According to their press-release, they are going to offer machine translation for their janitorial clients who might hire a Portuguese employee who cannot read local manuals and regulations.

They are using Systran's machine translation and offer a disclaimer: "The translation services are provided by SD2001. The SYSTRAN Software used by SD2001 strives to achieve the highest possible accuracy, however no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace human translators. Any discrepancies or differences created in translations are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes. If any questions arise in regard to the accuracy of information contained in any translated portion of text provided, please refer to the orginal version. Language structures in English are not easily translated into another language. Source text that includes jargon common to an industry, may not be translated accurately. Mustang Marketing & Services Ltd or SD2001 are not responsible for translation errors."

The fact is that this is the ultimate example of commoditization of language services. But don't be afraid. Although they will certainly attract some clients, these are not the client that you might want to have.

1 comment:

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