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Humans or Robots? Who is Best Equipped to Handle your Translation Services?

One vs the other or together?

Many organizations and businesses including the travel and tourism industry, eCommerce industry, finance, social media platforms, news industry, as well as gaming industry require translation services. As a result, there is a huge demand for translators. With advancements in technology, several translation services are easily available that are competing with human translators in efficiency and cost. There is a constant debate in the industry regarding cost-cutting. As a result, human translation services are competing with machines.
Here are the pros and cons of both for you to decide…

Machine translation
Several programs are used to translate speech to text and from one language to another. However, every language has nuances that are understood by native speakers or people who have in-depth knowledge of the language. Unfortunately, that is not something a machine can differentiate, yet.
The advantages of using machine translators are:
– You get an instant translation that too in several languages available with ease. This comes in handy, especially for tourists.
– The tools for translation can be easily available online, usually, free of cost.
– The level of accuracy is improving with time, thereby improving precision.
The disadvantages of using machine translators are:
– Usually, machine translators convert sentences word by word. Any bilingual individual will know that that is not how translations work. Thus, many times, using machines for translation results in inconsistencies.
– The underlying meaning of the text is often not captured by the machine translators. This includes any metaphors, tone, puns, etc.
– Inability to understand the nuances of the language can result in costly errors that can cause loss of contract, business, or life.

Human translators
Humans who have studied the language are well versed with the distinctions between the words, their meaning, and usages. Additionally, being familiar with adages, idioms, and commonly used slang can make them better translators as they can effectively communicate the message as per the language in demand.
The advantages of using human translators are:
• Not only do you get experts in the language, but also in specific areas like legal, medical, industrial, etc. This is extremely important as there is a huge demand for the translation of medical and legal documents.
• They can understand the context in which the document is written and can adequately translate it.
The disadvantages of using human translators are:
• The services are costly and require more time compared to the machine.

Wrapping It Up
There can never be a comparison between man and machine. A machine can only be as good as the instructions it is provided with. Knowing the context in which a word is being used is important to efficiently translate it, which is not accurately possible with machines. However, if instead of accuracy, time matters, opting for machine translators is advised.
If you require accuracy while translating the documents, then hiring a human translator is recommended. Though they prove costly, in the long run, the investment is paid for with good work. Both machines and humans can work in tandem to provide efficient, timely, and cost-effective translational services.

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Freelance Translators Obtaining Security Clearance

Aside from large translation corporations, there is a competitive landscape for freelance translators in Canada. Research estimates that there are approximately 15,000 freelance translators, interpreters, and localization specialists in Canada. With this being said, freelance workers are encouraged to expand their certifications and skill set in order to give them an edge in a large competitive environment. This blog will explore how freelance translators can obtain security clearance to secure more job opportunities.

What Does This Look Like?

By far, the government is the largest consumer of translation services. They require a plethora of services for different reasons. For example, translating documents from English to French. With this being said, there is a competitive territory for translators to acquire employment opportunities.

Translators often compete on: quality, price, and customer service. Check out my other blog that highlights a buyer’s priorities when purchasing localization for more information: https://robinayoub.blog/2020/06/29/purchasing-localization-buyers-priorities/

Quality is typically in the eyes of the beholder. The translated content must be accurate and well-presented. Moreover, price is a huge factor in the translation industry. Price degradation has become an issue where people are unable to make a living with the low prices that are offered. Thus, pricing must be fairly calculated to represent the quality of the content. Lastly, customer service is an integral component in building one’s brand. This includes quick turnaround, prompt communication, and overall happy clientele.

These three factors are important in building a strong reputation for freelance translators. However, a fourth factor that can give translators an edge in the business is obtaining their security clearance licence. Government agencies are often searching for translators that are qualified to translate secure content. A minority of translators are cleared by the government to provide this service. Thus, it is encouraged that more freelance translators look into obtaining a security clearance licence to: a) receive more contracts, and b) request for more money.

Applying For Security Clearance

There are different levels for security clearance. The process to obtain the certification involves: background checks, certifying one’s workplace, and meeting certain requirements. You can learn more at: https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/esc-src/personnel/information-eng.html

Wrapping it Up

Conclusively, freelance translators that have obtained their security clearance licence are open to more employment opportunities. Not only does this help government agencies with their translation needs, but also allows freelance workers more flexibility in leveling up in their career.

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GPT-3: The Latest Breakthrough in the Translation Industry

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence lab in San-Francisco that developed a language model by the name of GPT-3 (generative pre-trained transformer) that mimics human-like text. The beta release was June 11, 2020. This blog will explore some of the capabilities and drawbacks of GPT-3.

What Does This Look Like?

GPT-3 is programmed to observe and mimic multiple linguistic patterns. These include but are not limited to: solving language and syntax puzzles, answering medical queries, and changing the type of style from input to output text. For example, a twitter user asked the program to translate “everyday” language to legal jargon. This transformed the input text from “my landlord didn’t maintain the property” to “the defendants have permitted the real property to fall into disrepair and have failed to comply with state and local health and safety codes and regulations”. The capabilities of GPT-3 are quite impressive and are fine-tuned to mimic human translations.

With this being said, there are a few errors that GPT-3 possesses. Given that this program is still in the experimental phase, it is bound to include limitations. These shortcomings include: biological/physical/social/psychological reasoning, semantic understanding, and biases in certain texts. For example, GPT-3 is programmed to translate texts without knowing the meaning of words, thus lacking semantic representation. This means that the program is capable of generating texts that are: biased, racist, sexist, homophobic, and or politically incorrect.

Wrapping it Up

We have come a long way in developing AI models that mimic human translation. GPT-3 is not the first, and definitely will not be the last program in the journey of the development of AI machines. GPT-3 possesses its advantages and limitations, showcasing the required dual nature of human and machine translation services.

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Translation Innovations

Translation has never seemed easier. Machine-based translation innovations are emerging in different forms. In previous blogs, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of machine based translation services (link here: https://robinayoub.blog/2020/06/25/the-translator-cyborg-from-a-buyers-perspective/). Despite the possible challenges that occur with machine translation services, products such as the translation smart mask and the Scanmarker air have gained a lot of attention. This blog will explore what these two translation products entail.

What Does This Look Like?

Due to COVID-19, masks have become mandatory across almost all places. A Japanese company by the name of Donut Robotics invented a smart mask that can be hooked up to a bluetooth device and translate messages into eight different languages. Languages so far include: English, French, Mandarin, Korean, Bahasa Indonesian, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese. The Chief Executive of Donut Robotics stated that, “We worked hard for years to develop a robot and we have used that technology to create a product that responds to how the coronavirus has reshaped society.” For example, this may be useful people are travelling abroad and are unaware of the native language.

Moreover, another machine-based translation innovation is the Scanmarker air. This product is mostly advertised to students as it is a helpful study aid. The Scanmarker air is a scanner and translator. This is able to: highlight texts and transfer it to any device, as well as translate texts to forty languages.

Wrapping it Up

Conclusively, it seems as if automatic translation products and services are becoming easier and more accessible. This does not mean that machines are at the point of replacing human translation services, but it is interesting to see how far automated translation products have evolved.

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Top 3 Reasons Why Localization is Important

Localization is the process of translating content and making it specific to local geographical areas and cultures. In a world with billions of people and hundreds of countries, localization plays a prominent role in reaching broader audiences and catering to numerous target markets. The following section of the blog will outline three reasons as to why localization is important for business expansion. 

Why is Localization Important?

  1. Expanding to various markets: The main goal for most businesses is to expand market audiences and increase overall profit. It is often difficult to grow if businesses are restricted by linguistic and cultural boundaries. With localization, businesses are able to communicate more effectively to various market audiences around the globe. For example, Airbnb is a website that offers vacation rentals and experiences around the world. They localized their content in terms of: language translation on the website, offering vacation rentals and experiences specific to a certain geographical locations, and creating marketing campaigns to attract tourists.

2.  Creating a known brand: The reason why many of the popular brands that you and I both love are so successful is due to localization! For example: Netflix, Apple, Samsung etc. have expanded their market audience on a global scale. Consequently, a greater number of people are aware of these brands which generates higher consumerism rates.

3. Customer Satisfaction: Localization strives to understand the culture(s) of a certain geographical location and appropriately translate content to suit their local culture. For example, popular pizza chain ‘Dominos’, noticed that their sales were not doing so well in India when they were selling westernized pizzas (e.g. pepperoni pizza). In order to fix this, they localized their brand by altering their cuisine and began selling pizzas that appeal to the consumers (i.e. paneer tikka pizza). Consequently, this increased revenue and enhanced customer satisfaction. 

Wrapping it Up

Localization is an integral tool used to ensure that businesses adapt to the local character of a certain place. It is as simple as acknowledging and supplying to the needs of different places. 

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Upcoming Events in the Translation Industry

Due to COVID-19 and following health and safety guidelines, many workplaces have shifted to a digital platform. This includes: virtual meetings, webinars, information sessions etc. The major advantage to a digitalized work place is the ability to reach people from all ends of the world. It is a highly globalized community with various businesses interacting and sharing ideas. The following section of the blog will outline some virtual and non-virtual upcoming events in the translation and localization according to Multilingual News.

What Does This Look Like?

The following link outlines the major events occurring in the translation and localization industry in the upcoming weeks: https://multilingual.com/events/

As conveyed in the link above, many of these events are hosted by companies across various regions: Italy, Croatia, United States etc. Some of these events are held in conference halls and allow in-person meetings, whereas other events are offered online. Topics included range from: localization challenges in market pivots to new trends in translation and technology. As a proud member of the localization industry, it is always wise to seek different learning opportunities as this can help me grow my business and better assist future cliental.

Wrapping it Up

I encourage anyone who is currently in the translation industry, or anyone wanting to learn more about the translation industry to attend these events. Make sure to follow my blog for updates about the localization industry!

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Language Evolution: Past, Present, Future

Language is a form of communication that is unique to each region and culture of the world. As we are in the midst of globalization and expansion, we often encounter various languages in one sphere. However, this was not always the case. This blog will explore languages that have gone extinct and the what the future holds in terms of linguistic evolution.

What Does This Look Like?

According to the Linguist List, there are approximately 573 languages that have gone extinct. These languages are categorized by subgroups and families and originate from various regions (e.g. Indo-European, Australian, Afro-asiatic etc.). Early forms of linguistic speech have evolved, in accordance to multiple factors, into the languages we know today. Bilingua, a language exchange app, explains why languages go extinct. The most common factor is attributed to social and economic shifts. Different languages may exist in the same region and communities shift to using one language over the other. Moreover, Bilingua lists the top six dead languages that are most influential; namely: Latin, Coptic, Biblical Hebrew, Sumerian, Akkadian, and Sanskrit. For example, the Latin language had a monumental impact on geographical areas across Europe and the Mediterranean coast of Africa. The language slowly died out due to the overtake of the Roman Empire; however, Latin has influenced subsequent languages including: French, Spanish, and Italian.

Moreover, as we go through periods of demographical and culture change, it is safe to assume that many languages used today: English, Mandarin, Arabic etc. may go extinct, and or, evolve into new branches of languages. It is difficult to predict when this prominent evolutionary phase will occur, but linguistic evolution is inevitable.

Wrapping it Up  

It is important to study the evolution of linguistics, including extinct languages in order to learn about the influential impact on languages that are practiced today and to better understand and predict the future of languages.

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Applying Localization Services: Assisting Foreign Students

International students attending post-secondary programs overseas away from home are often faced with various obstacles, including but not limited to: learning the host country’s language, adapting to cultural norms, and navigating services that can help with assimilation. This blog will explore the benefits of integrating localization specialists across post-secondary institutions (i.e. university, college) to better assist foreign students enhance their learning and social experience.

What Does This Look Like?

According to Masters Portal article in 2019, the top-ranked universities in Canada that occupy a high rate of international students are: University of Toronto, University of British Colombia, and McGill University. Research conducted by the Canadian Bureau for International Education reveals that a majority of international students originate from China, India, and South Korea. As one can imagine, cultural norms and learning techniques greatly differ across various regions of the world, making it difficult to assimilate into host countries.

As a solution, localization services should be available in post-secondary institutions. For example, a drop-in room with localization and translation professionals providing foreign aid. Most international students often enrol in programs relating to math and science, straying away from art and English programs. Therefore, a foreign student(s) may have inquiries regarding language acquisition and understanding figures of speech as it may be a struggle.

Wrapping it Up

Consequently, it is important to recognize the struggles that foreign students face when migrating to a host country. Localization services in post-secondary institutions can be an integral component in reducing isolations and aiding the integration of foreign students with the rest of the student entity.

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Expanding Translation Services: Sign Language

English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German; the list goes on for commonly translated languages. However, sign language (i.e. American Sign Language: ASL) is rarely ever recognized or provided by translation companies, which disproportionately affects individuals of the deaf community. This blog will explore how translation companies and language service providers can integrate ASL professionals in order to reach a broader audience.

What Does This Look Like?

ASL is commonly used when translating spoken word in North America. This is most prevalent in media content (e.g. live theatre, concerts) as well as the professional world (interviews, legal related matters). It is important to recognize that select individuals cannot communicate using spoken language, therefore require ASL professionals to translate for them. For example, an ASL professional translator is always depicted on the news when translating reports on COVID-19. The inclusivity of all communication methods helps spread the message across to a broader community.

Subtitles are a great advantage and mostly used for digital media content. However, ASL is needed for live reports, news, or interactions. Translation companies should integrate ASL professionals in their system in order to provide assistance to businesses in need of such translation. This is especially important for localization companies due to the wide range of sign language used around the world. The most commonly used and recognized are American, French, Chinese, British, and Indo-Pakistani sign language. Thus, sign language is unique to each region of the world.

Wrapping it Up

Conclusively, sign language is often undermined and forgotten when it comes to translation services. It is important to recognize alternate forms of communication methods in order to cater to all communities and reach a broader audience.

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The Impact of Communicating in One’s Foreign Language: Macron Captured the Hearts of the Lebanese People by Speaking in Arabic

August 4, 2020. A date that will forever be engraved by many Lebanese people and the global community. A tragedy occurred at the port city of Beirut, Lebanon. It has been recorded as the world’s third most powerful and dangerous non-nuclear explosion. The country is left in disarray and poor condition as many people are homeless, injured, or dead.

What Does This Look Like?

French president Emmanuel Macron is the first politician from a different country to visit Lebanon after the explosion. He has become the symbol of hope for the people as he stands in solidarity with them. Macron spoke French for the majority of the time, yet ended his press conference by declaring, “I love you Lebanon” in Arabic, echoing the worlds of Lebanon’s greatest treasure, Fairouz, in her song “Bhebak Ya Lebnan.” This one phrase captured the audience and made them feel they were not alone in this mayhem.

Wrapping it Up

One should never underestimate the power of words. Language is such a powerful tool used to communicate emotion. In the eyes of the Lebanese population, Macron’s phrase symbolized hope for the future of Lebanon, as members of the global community stand in solidarity to aid the injured, shelter the homeless, feed the famine, and pay respect to the departed.

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