Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lionbridge Stock is Way Up

I'm not an investor in the stock market, but I must say that I am pleased to see Lionbridge's stock come up from around one dollar to $3.00 in the last three months (see graph). It's an impressive appreciation, and it gives me the feeling that I should have put my money there. Definitely a better return than many companies around.

Although I am not a stock analyst and I don't know why the appreciation happened, I am happy to see that Lionbridge stock is recovering its value. The market capitalization of the company is still low at $174.26M, but definitely a good sign for the industry as a whole.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Collaborative Translation Expands

This month, two interesting developments in the area of collaborative translation:

  • Facebook applies for patent for Community Translation on a Social Network. If you have translated on the Facebook Translation platform, like I have, you know that the tool works very well. The only limitation of community translation, when it is voluntary, is that larger chunks of text never get translated.
  • Swedish newspapers reported yesterday Dan Brown's first new novel since "The Da Vinci Code" will be translated by six translators. The objective is to limit piracy and to prevent impatient fans from buying the English version of the book, by expediting the publishing of the Swedish translation.
What's the relevance of these stories?

Collaborative translation or community translation is taking hold as a valid process for commercial projects. The usual contention is that in order to achieve consistency, it is better to have as few translators working on a project as possible is trumped by the commercial imperative: It is better to have a good translation - even in the literary world - that is delivered on time, than a perfect translation that arrives too late to the market.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New York Has Six Official Languages. And It is Sued over Translations.

The New York Time publishes a story about a lawsuit against the city's welfare agency for not enforcing a law that requires the provision of translation services.

According with the Equal Access to Human Services Act of 2003, the city had sixteen months to have its forms made available in Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

The commissioner of the Human Resources Administration says that the agency “provides between 7,000 and 8,000 interpretation services each year through our contracted services.” It also provides interpretation services by hundreds of bilingual staff workers, and other community resources. The agency has also translated 800 client-contact forms, brochures and notices into the six required languages, he said.

The article quotes Language Line as the provider of telephone interpretation services for some agencies.

Looks there is opportunity for more translation services in New York.

Not a good day for interpretation

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had their little issues with interpreters yesterday in Mexico and Congo, respectively.

At a press conference, Obama didn't get the interpretation to a question by a Mexican journalist. Apparently it was a malfunction of the wireless equipment. However, Obama's reaction was gracious: "Perdóneme, I didn't get a translation on that one," Mr. Obama said to a room full of laughs. "It sounded like a very good question."

In Kinshasa, Hillary Clinton responded angrily to a question posed by a student at the local University. According to CNN, the student asked Clinton what President Obama would think of a deal between China and Congo, but pool reporters in the room said the interpreter made a mistake, posing the question as what would Bill Clinton think.

Clinton looked surprised when she first heard the translation in the headset, and then sharply replied, "You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion. I will tell you my opinion; I'm not going to channel my husband."

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, this is confirmation that only bad translations make the news. When was the last time you saw a story about a good translation? Did you ever? If so, please share.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Elements of a Collaborative TM Environment

Last week I was in Québec City for the ATA-TCD Conference, which was superbly organized by Rina Ne'eman and Grant Hamilton.

The biggest takeaway of the event was the last presentation of the last day: A panel presentation by Don Shin, from 1-Stop Translation, and Rocío Txabarriaga, from Common Sense Advisory, named "The Future of the Translation Industry: MT, TM, Open Source, Crowdsourcing: Where’s It All Headed? And What Should You Do to Prepare?"

For his intervention, Don compiled some of the major efforts being done in those areas, but what I liked the most was his depiction of what the desktop of a translator working in a collaborative manner might look like.

The key point is that the translator is in control. At the top, you have the source text. Right below it, you have the translator's TM, the project's TM, and a Machine Translation of the segment. And below that, the translated segment.

It is up to the translator to choose which one of these sources she is going to use. On the right panel you have access to terminology and a chat window, to ask for help in live mode to other people working on the same project.

Finally, on the bottom right, there is a fare meter, that shows how much money the translator is making on the project. Whether this is a motivator or a demotivator depends on the price that the translator is getting.

Another panel discussing Translation Management Technologies, moderated by Duncan Shaw, failed to address what all the LSPs in the room were looking for: Interoperability. What I heard LSPs saying is that they want to let their translators work with any tool that they prefer (Trados, SDL, MemoQ, Across, whatever) and not to require them to have different tools for different projects.

What the industry seems to want, and the technology providers can't seem to be able to deliver, is a standard format for Translation Memories that does not get corrupted if you change from one tool to another. Like as Comma Delimited File that can be opened by Excel, Lotus, MySQL or Oracle, without any data loss.

I guess that was the original promise of TMX.