Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vendor Management Event in Mexico

As you are aware, I go to a lot of events all the time. One of the best events I go to is one organized by a couple of Argentinean entrepreneurs in Córdoba once every two years: the Cecis (photo on the side). I like it because they take good care of the program and the participants, making every event an experience.

They asked me to suggest a topic and a keynote speaker for their first event outside of Argentina. I believe that the big topic for 2008 is going to be Vendor Management, and I suggested that they organize an event for Vendor Managers from translation companies only (as there is none).

The event will be held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in February, a time when some of us will be ready to leave the snow and go to somewhere warm. The idea is to have an event that is affordable and where vendor managers can discuss their issues and challenges and even find some new resources. It's supposed to be half-conference half-training.

If you have any ideas of themes that you would like to have discussed, please let me know.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Quality Still Doesn't Matter - ATA San Francisco Presentation

As promised to the attendees of my presentation in San Francisco, here is a copy of my presentation.

The new directions of the translation industry is a ongoing topic for us at Common Sense Advisory. So stay tuned, read our blog at and send us comments whenever you have them. We love to hear new ideas.

And while you are visiting the Global Watchtower, read my posts on The End of Localization Taylorism and Dispatch from Localization World: Old Age Affects Localization Industry.

Click here to download the presentation.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sample Translations as a Sales Tool Presentation

Here is presentation that I made at the ATA Conference in San Francisco.

What I forgot to tell the participants is that now that you know the power of sample translations, start asking your prospects to give them to you, and dazzle them with your reports.

Click here to download the PDF file.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Google MT and dotSUB - an atomic combination

I wanted to do something cool for my presentation at the ATA this weekend -- Quality Still Doesn't Matter, which focuses on topics that should really matter to translators and LSPs, such as productivity, new technologies, sales, etc. -- and decided to start with a video subtitled in dotSUB.

dotSUB is a cool site that allows you to upload your video, transcribe and subtitle very fast. I actually wrote about it in the Global Watchtower almost one year ago.

So... this week I read the news about Google abandoning SYSTRAN and starting to use its own Statistical Machine Translation Engine instead. I played with it a little bit by writing some text in Portuguese and having it translated into English. I was very surprised with the quality of the translation into English. That's when I decided to really play with Google Translate and dotSUB.

Here is what I did:

1) Wrote a script in Portuguese.
2) Had it translated into English with Google Translate.
3) Read the script to my webcam.
4) Pasted the Portuguese text into dotSUB.
5) Pasted the English transaltion into dotSUB.

All of this took me no more than 10 minutes to do.

Then I decided to have some fun. I edited the English translation a little bit and used Google Translate to go from English into Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian.

I found that the quality of the translation was much better than I expected. I can judge Spanish, French, and Italian. I asked someone here in the office to check the Russian, but I have no idea of how the Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic came out. I don't even know if my visual pasting of the subtitles didn't break any words in the middle.

Check out for yourself. Try changing the languages using the small arrows in the bottom right corner of the video.

What I am going to say in my presentation is essentially that translators that are not using Google to pre-process their jobs, are doing too much work. MT is here to stay... as I had predicted a couple of years ago, this can be the disruptive player in the market.

Look out for mash-ups of Translation Memory technologies with Google from Elanex, XML-Intl,, and other players. I can now see huge projects incorporating all these new technologies: a Ning portal for discussion and training, Google Translate for preprocessing translations, a shared translation memory repository from LingoTek, a wiki in for editing the translations in a collaborative way. These are all free technologies that would allow a company to manage a huge project in a much more efficient way than using the tools of today. All of this could be managed in ]Project Open[ and the sales process might have been tracked in FreeCRM or SugarCRM.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Globalization Partners International and LiveEarth

I don't know if you watched the LiveEarth Marathon this weekend. I saw a little bit of it on NBC, a little bit on Bravo, and some of it on the Brazilian TV. While US TV mostly showed the international attractions singing in English (like Lenny Kravitz running in the middle of the audience in Copacabana beach in Rio), I really enjoying watching some of my local favorites in the Brazilian broadcast.

I was pleased to see that my friends at Globalization Partners International were involved in sponsoring and providing services to such a global event (7 concerts in 7 continents on 07.07.07) for what is one of the biggest concerns for humanity these days. Martin Spethman, the owner of GPI, tells me that this event was just the beginning of what is going on with Live Earth.

GPI provided translation and website localization services in 19 languages ranging from Arabic to Zulu. Translations included a set of "Solutions" to educate over 2 billion people on how they can fight global warming and pledge their support the movement.

In that same conversation, I learned that GPI won 12 website awards in one year 2006 for its own site. Even though I like his site, I am not that I am that impressed with the 12 awards. What it tells the cynic in me is that he had the time to register to at least as many competitions.

But what matters from my perspective is that these accomplishments demonstrate the place smaller firms can have if they are successful and innovative in marketing their services, how smaller firms carve out a niches (environmental products and services translations in this case), and how they can compete very successfully without huge marketing budgets. After all, GPI is listed among LiveEarth partners among companies like Pepsi, eBay, and Philips.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Common Sense Advisory in Business Week

Our PR agent, Melissa Gillespie, is very happy today.

My partner Don DePalma was mentioned in BusinessWeek Special Report "Online, a Global Strategy Starts at Home." After scoring Time magazine earlier this year (Translation Nation, January 12, 2007), the stakes have gone up for Melissa. Next she will have to put me in the cover of some magazine.

Last week in Berlin, we ran a workshop for several European translation companies called "Unleash the Power of PR" in which discussed the value of being quoted in the mainstream media. The workshop was organized by ELIA and drew 22 participants.