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05/27/06

Permalink 01:16:56 pm, Categories: For translation buyers, Spanish language & translation, 86 words  

Do apostrophes matter?

According to marketing expert Seth Godin, they do!

Glad to see an influential marketing expert highlighting the critical importance of language correction and correct spelling. It is as important for your original materials as it is for your translated materials. You know that IBM, Sony, or any other leading global company wouldn't allow any misspellings in their message. So if you want to portray as professional an image as theirs, you shouldn't allow them in yours either!

More thoughts about the subject on this recent post.

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05/26/06

Permalink 02:28:52 pm, Categories: For translation buyers, Machine translation, 156 words  

Chess and translation

It is well known that computers have beaten some of the greatest chess masters in the world. On IBM's website you have a dedicated page to the first complete match of 6 games lost by a chess master (Garry Kasparov) to a computer system (Deep Blue in this case). This happened in 1997. The competition between man and computers on this front is ongoing, with alternate victories on each side. More information on this wikipedia page.

So computers can successfully challenge the very best human chess players in the world. When you think that no computer system has succeeded in translating languages in a way that could challenge even an ordinary human translator's performance, you should start wondering. Language is way more complex than chess is, as complex as the human consciousness. Translation involves two different languages, each one with its own intricate structure and unique characteristics, so it requires as much highly skilled human intervention as possible.

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05/13/06

Permalink 10:29:45 am, Categories: For translation buyers, Machine translation, 145 words  

Machine and human translation

You’re in a tight corner. You have a text to translate into Spanish by tomorrow and you also have significant budget constraints. What can you do to save money and get your translation on time? You struggle with the thought for some time until an idea comes to mind. A free online translator will do half the job, and then you’ll send it to a professional translator who will polish it in no time and at little cost! The perfect idea! Right?

Well, no.

If machine translators saved time and effort to professional human translators, we would use them all the time ourselves, which we don’t. It’s indeed less time-consuming for a translator to translate from the original text than trying to correct a machine translated text. As an English to Spanish translator, I understand English much better than mutilated Spanish!

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05/11/06

Permalink 09:01:04 am, Categories: For translation buyers, Machine translation, 102 words  

Life would be boring without MT

Machine translation is always there to lighten our days. I recently received a request to proofread a text which had been translated into Spanish by an online machine translation service. It dealt with healthy food. My preferred part was "Coma un puñado de tuercas cerca de 5 días a la semana" as translated from "Eat one handful of nuts about 5 days a week". "Tuerca" is indeed a possible translation for "nut". I grant you, this kind of nut is very rich in minerals. It’s the kind you use with bolts! The translated text also suggested eating Turkey, the Asian nation…

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04/29/06

Permalink 10:40:16 am, Categories: For translation buyers, Spanish language & translation, 137 words  

The Spanish language in the world

The Spanish language differs from one Spanish-speaking country to another, and there is much more to it than the reduction to the pair Castilian (European) Spanish/Latin American Spanish. Even within Latin America, Spanish has a distinctive touch in every Hispanic country. These differences reach a peak in casual oral language and tend to fade in written language, the more formal it gets. So in theory it is possible to write for a global Hispanic audience. This makes Spanish a very interesting language to invest your resources in as a multilingual company. A single translation can address more than 300 million native Spanish speakers in the world. No need to highlight the interesting ROI considerations this entails. This is of course only a brief and rough overview on the subject that I will be fine-tuning in upcoming posts.

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