Showing posts with label Translation Services. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Translation Services. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time management for Freelance translators

freelance translator

Those unfamiliar to the freelance translation profession usually think that freelance translators have more freedom with regard to their working hours and that they can work when and if they want! People seem to be under the impression that working from home without a boss is a wonderful existence!

Time and Time Management are key for the Freelance translator

Now let’s suppose that the freelance translator’s career is well on track with an established client base. Time management now becomes the key to the working life of the freelancer. If time is not managed correctly the life of the freelancer can become a living hell.

Working as a freelancer does not mean disrespecting normal working hours. On the contrary it requires a lot more discipline to organize the working day. If not, it could mean a disorganized working schedule with no personal life.

It often happens that freelancers at the start of their careers, place too much importance on the amount of work they need to do which of course is justified. OK, they have chosen this profession to do what they love, don’t have to go to the office, depend on others, work in other places etc. but there have to be boundaries, limits and rules to this working freedom by establishing concrete working hours that need to be adhered to rigidly. The following are a number of time management tips:

What are the working peaks and troughs of a freelance translator's day?

Often the freelance translator works better a certain times of the day. For instance in the mornings between 9 and 12 the translator may work more efficiently so we refer to this period as a peak work time. After lunch, for instance between 2 and 4 we find ourselves more lethargic and lacking energy. How do we organize our working time around these physical peak and trough working times? There are a number of workarounds but a suggestion is to do the more mentally taxing tasks such as translation at peak working times and then other less mentally taxing tasks such as administration and emails between 2pm and 4pm! Its only a suggestion and everyone works differently but its important to find your own rhythm for more efficiency!

How many times should the freelance translator check email?

Its important for the freelance translator to revise emails frequently especially if not doing so runs the risk of missing an important deadline or urgent text to translate, but a tough human habit to avoid is reading mails every time that the email dialogue pops up. Throughout the day this can be very time consuming and much better managed time wise if we revise the emails we receive periodically, say for instance, every two hours in one swoop, so to say. This avoids breaks in concentration and allows the translator to get into "email mode" which in essence is a different thought process than say, translation. I say two hours as a general rule of thumb and I think it’s an acceptable period within which to get back to a client. Alternatively, if the old habit is too hard to break why not program your inbox to “Send/Receive” every two hours.

Freelance translators working with different zones?

Given the nature of freelance Translation work many clients or Translation services companies are located in different time zones throughout the world: it’s important to establish this with the client at the onset of a working relationship. It can work to our advantage but in other cases for instance a Spanish Translator working for an Asian client, the freelancer has to be very clear at the start of the Project about the deadline and take the time difference loss into consideration when establishing it. Another suggestion is for the freelancer to program the email messenger to auto respond to the client or perspective client with the working hours and when to expect a response. This makes the client aware that there is a time zone issue

Freelance Translators should try Not to Work at Weekends?

I understand that this is easier said than done as most freelance translator deadlines tend to be yesterday and are always urgent but detaching from work is imperative to refresh the mind and body leaving us motivated and rearing to go on Monday morning. Granted, there are times where we haven’t planned correctly or a deadline’s urgency is unavoidable and we have to work on a Sunday. However, if this is the case it’s important to re-balance the work play barometer and take some time off on the Monday morning.

Its important to budget our time correctly and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to the multiple facets of Translation freelancer life for instance, Translation, administration, attending seminars, marketing, learning the latest tools etc…... What may help is keeping a task diary. Simply sit down on the Sunday evening and map out the task Schedule for the week while also taking into consideration peak and trough working times. Ensure that the task schedule is not over-ambitious and realistic, leaving enough time for a healthy personal life.

Workloads may also influence the task Schedule for instance, there may be extremely busy periods and tight deadlines for the freelance translator when there is no time for self-learning or attending seminars. Its important to take advantage of the less busy working periods and of course, managing them efficiently will lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, more opportunities and better professional development. During these periods we can revise Glossaries, do more marketing or study for exams. It’s important not to switch off during the less busy periods and keep the impetus and good working habits we have now established going. Apart from the bread and butter translation and administration work we have, we need to set professional objectives and gear our weekly tasks to achieving the objectives!

Managing Freelance translator Administration and Time

When working as a freelance translator, organization of administration tasks is very important. One has to establish an operative protocol that defines the delivery dates, invoicing, filing, procedures, query files, software maintenance, etc.

In general a rule of thumb is to send Translation invoices at the end of each month, in a way you can group small as well as large projects together and avoid minimal fees that tend to jeopardize the client relationship. But this is not the case very often as it may depend on each client and their requirements: some require invoices at the end of each Project, others at the end of the month, others when a certain sum of money is reached and so and so. If you are just starting out try using our Translation invoice template here. Simply fill in your details and you should be covered from all angles. It covers the client side contact details and fiscal details, your details such as address, fiscal details and bank account details and the project details such as the invoice date and due date, Word counts, Language combinations, taxes…etc… If you are dealing with an international transfer be sure to include your IBAN number and Swift code!

Given that invoicing is so important it’s important to simplify the process as much as possible. What we often recommend is that you request a Purchase order from the client. This is a great record of the project details agreed between the freelancer and client before translation commenced such as the rate agreed, the Language combination, delivery date, translation memory word counts and translation rates etc… If the project budget deviates significantly from the PO during the project its good to inform the client and request an updated PO which ensures that both are in total agreement with the extra works and the client will not get a nasty shock when they receive the final bill.

Some times administration can be boring as it is not a creative process but it is necessary. One has to invest the time in developing the efficiency of the administration processes to save time and also instill more confidence in the client!

I hope that this advice has been useful and saves you at least, some time that allows you a more active personal life. Of course any comments are welcome!

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain that hires translators on a freelance basis. We offer economically unbeatable translation quotes in most common language combinations of the world and fields of industry.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Stop Shop offering a 10% discount off 2013 translation rates

One Stop Shop Translations is offering a 10% discount off its 2013 translation prices with the following coupon, TRAONESTOPSHOP2013. Simply send your coupon number coupon number with your translation request and the discount will be taken in account accordingly in your quotation. This discount comes after a succession of translation rate cuts in 2012 due to the current economic climate but in no way reduce the quality of the translation services produced by One Stop Shop.

One Stop Shop Translation’s CEO, Mark Kieran says, “With this discount and the previous cuts in 2012 we see ourselves as one of the most competitive translation companies in the world considering the quality of the services we offer. We can still remain competitive due to our unique management model and translator loyalty we have built up over the years. ”

A translation quote can be requested can be requested on this link. Simply upload the files that need to be translated with any additional comments, for example, language combinations required and/or additional services required for example software localization or Desk Top Publishing. Add your coupon number to the translation quote request and then simply click the send button. You will receive a personalized quote the same day from a sales representative with your 10% discount added accordingly. Alternatively do an online translation quote here for an idea of the price you will pay. Simply enter the field of specialization of the document, the language combination and the word count and the price without VAT or the discount will be calculated directly on the screen. Please note for multiple languages and documents or more complicated requests you can send a request directly to or call our sales line on directly on 0034 91 365 9608.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Understanding Translation Quotes

translation quote
Time and time again clients are left baffled by the translation quote process. The fact that there is no formal method for translation quotes means that quotes can be interpreted in many different ways. A client may think he is choosing the cheapest quote while in fact this may be the opposite.
The following article describes some of the headaches and remedies to confront the quoting process. Normally, someone looking for translation services will shop around and receive at least three quotes. Firstly the needs of the client must be taken into consideration.

Is the client is only looking for a single language to be translated with no additional translation services such as software localization, desk top publishing or software localization?

In this case it is often recommended to go straight to the translator and avoid the middle man, the translation services company, as they of course take a percentage of the translation which in some cases can be up to 50% of the translation quote. This is justified by the additional value they add to a translation.

Does the client need multiple languages translated?

In this case the client may have the in-house resources and knowledge to deal with a multiple translation language project however this is often not the case as a lot of projects tend to be one off or a lot of the multilingual projects require a lot of specific translation expertise and skills which are only available within a translation company. For instance, the use of translation memories, the availability of a large database of specialized translators, Desktop publishing specialists or software localization engineers. For many companies this expertise and resources would be a sizable investment and not worth it in the long run so they tend to outsource their translation needs.
On the plus side a lot of translation tasks are very measurable, for instance word counts to measure the cost of translation, page counts to measure the costs of desktop publishing, string counts to measure the costs of software localization. Even though all these tasks within the translation process are very measurable translation quotes can differ to the extent that clients may even wonder if they are looking at the quote for the same project.
Here are some pointers to bear in mind when requesting a translation quote: With regard to the cost of translation some translation services companies may charge by: • Word count which tends to be the most reliable • Character count which can be especially the case with Asian languages • Page count which can be unreliable as there are often great variations in the number of words per page
Word counts and translation rates can vary greatly too due to the following factors: Some companies use Translation Memory technology. This technology can reduce the word count greatly even with new translations as there may be a lot of repetitions within a file. For instance, in the case of software a lot of the User Interface strings are repeated throughout the software. A lot of companies will offer a discount on these repeated strings or offer the repeated terms at a reduced word count. One thing to bear in mind however is that the cost of translation memory technology will be factored into the translation price. At the beginning the prices may seem a little more expensive but once the translations are in progress and the translation memories of previous work built up, the benefits of reduced word counts and more consistent translations are clearly evident. Paying that little bit extra will increases quality and in the long run reduce cost provided the translation memories are managed correctly. The aforementioned gives an insight as to why some translation prices and word counts can vary from one translation quote to another.

Does the translation quote include revision?

Some translation services companies factor the cost of revision into their translation rate making them more expensive. This has an obvious advantage in that translators are only human and a third eye to revise texts enhances quality. To summarize the use of translation memory technology and revision greatly enhance quality and give us an insight into why translation rates can vary so much between translation services companies. One must also bear in mind that a client can be more focused on cost as opposed to quality as in many cases they will have local offices doing the revisions.

Why do translation rates vary so much from language to language?

There is a simple rule of thumb here in that the rates tend to be reflected by the country of a particular language. For developing countries the local language tends to be translated more cheaply than in developed countries. For instance Chinese translation services tend to be cheaper than German translation services.
To summarize, three main factors that influence the cost of translation are: • Use of translation Memory technology • Language combination being translated • Whether there is revision
So far we have only considered the cost of translation but what about the other translation services: Software localization tends to be charged on an hourly basis but again the hourly rates can vary greatly from one translation Services Company to another. Again a major factor can be the location of the translation services company. For instance a translation vendor in a developing country tends to have much lower hourly software localization rates as opposed a vendor in a developed country where the costs of labor are much more expensive. The same principle also applies to the cost of desktop publishing.
All in all, if you are wondering why one quote is so cheap you have to probe that particular translation services company exactly what their process is, how they manage to cut their costs so much and be sure to ask for references of previous work completed. Picking the best translation quote is definitely a mind field but if all your priorities are clear there is a vendor out there to suit your needs.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation rates, click here or get a great value personalised translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Stop Shop Translations: MLV - MultiLingual Translation Company Recruitment...

One Stop Shop Translations: MLV - MultiLingual Translation Company Recruitment...: In this article we describe, referencing the standard Translation Project Management process, internal and external human resource aspects i...

Translation Company Recruitment and Human Resource Management

Translation Company Recruitment
In this article we describe, referencing the standard Translation Project Management process, internal and external human resource aspects of the translation company recruitment strategy, from the main aspects of linguistic production to the selection and formation of personnel, production flow and human resources and selection process and contraction.


Translation companies offer their clients full management of their localization and Translation needs from any Language to another with all the technological expertise necessary to make the final product. This often involves the replication of products per geographical region. Multilingual language company clients often lack the necessary resources to redistribute their product in regions or markets, against the single language company model where the client has many local offices for the distribution. Put simply, the translation and localization process can be handled at local office level or the central office as is the case of the multilingual translation services company model. With the Multilingual translation services company model the client depends on its supplier to manage all aspects of the process with very high expectations due to the Multilingual translation services company's expertise: The benefits of this model are minimal technical and linguistic complications and maximum standardization of their localized product within a very small time frame. We are no longer in the times where multinationals released their products on different regional markets on a gradual basis. Now the client can expect SIM ship releases of their products which means a simultaneous release of their product onto various regional markets.
To confront this challenge the multilingual Translation companies incorporate a team of professionals with different skill sets for example sales agents, Project managers, project analysts, translators of various languages, Desk top publishing specialists, localization engineers, etc. Depending on the production and management model chosen by a Multilingual translation services company the group must guarantee the standardization of the localized product across the whole production process, in other words all the team must be speaking on the same page. Added to this challenge is the time differences across which the different Multilingual translation services company resources are working in.
To guarantee efficiency and quality across all these production processes by different resources located across the globe there are two main problems the multilingual translation company has to crack:

On the one hand the Multilingual translation services company has to identify a streamlined and integrated production and management process through the use of global management tools and the implementation of advanced information and communication technologies.
Due to the above, and the second problem, this implies that there has to be continuous re-training and formation of the various personnel located across the globe in diverse teams from Europe and America to Asia. It also implies a coherent and optimal recruitment of personal in the diverse specialized areas with minimum disruption to the production cycle. This also involves the complicated process of external resource recruitment and monitoring their performance.

Along with the new demand from clients for more visibility and traceability of their products during the localization cycle and more control over their localized content the Multilingual translation services company has had to face yet another challenge, the use of Translation assisted tools such as machine Translation tools, Translation memory environments and automatic Project management tools. Without doubt the ability of the Multilingual translation services company to compete is influenced by the amount of investment and the degree of success to which they have implemented these ever changing tools.

In this article we will describe, making reference to the standard Project management process, the most relevant internal and external human resource factors, from their selection to their training and development.

Translation Company Recruitment - the key players in the workflow

Once the client has chosen his supplier and the Project is in process, he uses the following principal resources: Project manager, Translation Manager, Lead translator and Translator:

The role of the translation project manager can differ from one multilingual translation company to another but their main function is to be the connection point between the various resources of a Project. On one side they liaise with the client to find out their specifications and expectations, budget and delivery schedule. They then have to guide the project through the various tasks liaising with the various resources responsible for those tasks, right through to completion while all the while ensuring that the workloads have been realistic and the project is delivered meeting the client’s quality, budget and deadline expectations.
It often happens that the client may change the budget or specifications of the project while in the production phase. It is the responsibility of the PM to ensure that these changes are implemented with minimal fuss without affecting the production cycle or the translation quote constraints within reason. It is also their responsibility to coordinate the resources that have been chosen for the project. Typically this may involve a translation team, engineering team, publishing team, testers and evaluation team, etc. The main task of the PM is to make the end product of each production phase available for the next phase. This may involve transmitting vital information to the relevant resource at the best time during the production cycle. The PM ensures that each resource completes his process or task on time and to budget thus ensuring the overall success of the project.. The PM also filtrates information back to the client in the most efficient and timely manner for example queries from translators or technical problems encountered by the engineers which need input from the client.

The Translation is the boss of the Translation department. He has overall responsibility of the translators in the translation company and guarantees the linguistic quality of the work produced by the department, including texts that are sub-contracted to freelancers external to the company. He is also responsibility for the feasibility of projects undertaken from within and outside the department. He is involved in the planning of all projects and ensures that all projects run smoothly using the most efficient and economical methodology and processes. It is important to ensure that all department members are working at their optimal capacity and that control and quality measures are working correctly. He or she must also monitor each department member efficiently to ensure their performance is optimal, they are up to speed with the company processes and also their personal development and motivation flourishes. The updating of department processes and technologies should be a collective department process guided by the translation manager.

There is a lead translator for every project Language assigned on leadership skills and experience. When there is regular work from a client it is advised to have a stable translation team with the same lead translator. This saves time when recurrent linguistic issues arise. The lead translator is responsible for the final linguistic quality of the project, all the components such as the glossary, software, help, documentation, establishing stylistic norms and standard terminology. Normally he revises the work of the other project translators to ensure that this goal is achieved and resolves technical problems (translation Memory and terminology issues, etc.). He is the bridging point between the translators and the Project Manager, the lead desk top Publisher and lead engineer and selects and analyses the freelancers chosen for the project if one is hired.

Translation Company Recruitment - SELECTION AND CONTRACTION PROCESS

The multilingual translation service company always offer the translators the opportunity to work in different positions giving them the opportunity to specialize in their preferred area thus motivating them more. This may be a field of specialization for their particular Language combination or an unrelated Translation position such as:
Management of Translation projects
Linguistic and functional testing on various platforms
Audio recording positions
Line manager
Terminology Management (creation and maintenance of multilingual glossaries)
Pre-Project Evaluations
Sales Support

Selection of translators

The selection of translators during the translation company recruitment process needs to be standardized. From receipt of C.Vs and aptitude tests to the interview stage and training after hire the Translation Company must maintain standardized recruitment processes while at the same time adapting to the local laws and legislation where the staff are being hired.
Standardization can be guaranteed in the following aspects:
• The information the candidate receives
• The aptitude tests (Translation and revision tests) and the evaluation. This includes the methodology of the tests and the formulas used to calculate the results.
• Ensuring the candidate is anonymous for the aptitude test thus ensuring results are objective
• Results feedback to the candidates

The following people are involved in the translation company recruitment process:

Recruitment manager: This person publishes adds and gathers the relevant C.Vs according to the specifications per language. Universities are a very good source of recruitment and its important for the translation company to maintain good relations with the various education centers where there may be potential candidates. This close relationship is also beneficial in that it can enhance and develop new technologies and methodologies in the localization sector.
The distribution of translation company offices often complicates the registration of candidates and for this it is better to have a centralized Database.

Translation manager: The Translation manager who conducts the evaluation of the tests selects the best candidates and is also involved in the interview process.

Line manager: also assists at the interviews and is involved in the final selection process.

Translation Company recruitment tests

The revision and Translation tests are the same throughout all the world wide offices of the multilingual Translation Company. During the selection process it is handy to do two tests: 1 external by email and if this is passed the second at the company offices. Both tests are evaluated by senior translators or a line manager in that language. During the test it is important to establish the following:
• The linguistic quality of the candidate: written quality of the target translation, terminology knowledge and translation methodology.
• Comprehension of the source language, both in general and specific terms of the company fields.
• Capacity to resolve problems in the translation, documentation and deadlines.

Translation Company Recruitment External tests
The objective of the test is to ensure that the translator is familiar with certain materials. It is done at home. The focus of the test is on quality as opposed to speed.

Translation Company Recruitment In-house Tests
Once the first test is passed there is an in-house test. Again the format of the test is the same across all the translation company branches. Here the focus of the test is not only on linguistic quality but also on the adherence to deadlines and instructions.
The evaluation or correction format is based on a standard formula


The interview process be it face to face or telephone should be supported by a series of processes and documentation:
• There should be a standard list of questions
• There should also be a formula for objectively evaluating the answers of the candidate.
• There should be a formal description of the post with clear guidelines of the specifications of the job plus the skills and expectations required from the candidate


There are three important prerequisites that the translator should have:
1. Linguistic Excellence
2. Capacity to work in a team
3. Adaptivity

Translation Company Recruitment Training

The Translation teams must work in harmony to ensure linguistic quality and smooth production flow. The training efforts of the company should be directed in this area and try to ensure that the new translators comply with the quality and production standards established by the company within a year.

Training should include the following:
• Organizational structure of the company and different roles of each department
• General Procedures such as dress code and time management, right and obligations of the employees
• Processes specific to the department such as workflows, Project management software, process documents related to the Translation procedure and the interaction process between the different departments
• Technology: Translation Memory and internal translation tool Use.
• Style and Quality: Style Guide of the company and the main clients. Quality controls, query process and correction process

Once the training has been complete there should be an appraisal system in place to not only monitor the progress of the employee but also their development. This may include:
• Identifying other training needs
• Monitoring performance
• Establishing objectives and renovating objectives once achieved


During very busy periods when the workload is too much for internal staff the Translation company needs a data Base of quality external translators.
The evaluation of the freelancers follows the same format as the evaluation of the internal employees, although there may be extra criteria for correction of the aptitude tests bearing in mind there will be no training: the freelancer must be fully trained already in the field they will be translating, for instance a Spanish translator with Spanish legal translation experience. This evaluation is conducted by a Senior translator.
All the selected freelancers must be logged in a central database under the field and specialty they have been chosen for. The database should contain the following information on the freelancer
• Contact details, prices, qualifications and aptitude tests.
• Current projects and availability.

It is very important to record the progress of the freelancer in the database. This includes information such as the adherence to deadlines, linguistic quality and capability of resolving issues. This helps to avoid problems on future projects.


The whole recruitment, training and monitoring of staff in a multilingual Translation company is the core of the business. As new markets open and technological advances continue at a fast pace it is of the ultimate importance for the MLV to keep up with these advances with regard to recruitment in order to stay competitive.

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Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation services recruitment opportunities, click here. One Stop Shop Translations realises the importance of translation company recruitment!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crowd Sourcing and free translation

Crowd Sourcing and free translation I have just finished watching a conference by Luis von Ahn and its sent my head spinning, the main reason being I am the owner of a translation services company. I have briefly looked into the topic and the implications are astounding.
We saw the fist example of Ahn´s work in the area of crowd sourcing with the security utility reCATPTCHA which digitizes documents by getting users to transcribe words that the OCR software is not sure of.

Now the crowd sourcing guru plans to use the same concept to translate the World Wide Web via a free language learning portal. Here are some interesting statistics about language learning, there are 1.2 billion people learning a foreign language around the world and in the US alone over 5 million paid over $500 for language learning software last year.

These statistics alone present a very valid case for the success of the language portal and thus ensuring the success of the crowd sourcing translation project but the consequences are severe for the translation and Language Learning sectors. Just on a side note, won’t the final system translations have to be proofed anyway?

Most IT companies with significant interactive crowd sourcing resources at their disposal tend to be very successful and argue that such a system is free, doesn’t discriminate the poor while adding value to the time, otherwise wasted. They invest in language learning which all sounds very good but let´s face it folks, most successful IT companies must have an ulterior motive. Apart from this crowd sourcing translation portal destroying the e-learning language sector overnight one has to ask the question whether they will begin to use the resource commercially and destroy the translation services sector as well.

For instance let's take a look at Google's track record. Up to five years ago there were no more than three to four Google adds per organic search, displaying on the side of the page. Now we have more adds than organic searches displaying on the side, bottom and top of the page. Of course, Google addwords is the main source of revenue for Google, it’s a business so we shouldn't complain!

In the case of the digitization project Google has a serious argument in that it would make millions of out-of-print books broadly available online but the counter argument was that it would give Google exclusive rights to profit from millions of orphan works and a complete library nobody else could compete with giving Google a monopoly status to name it´s price while also tightening it´s stranglehold on the online search market. Thankfully a New York judge ruled against the settlement google had proposed on the grounds of the good old 300 year old legal concept copyright.

Bearing in mind that machine translations of Google still have a long way to go I think that the free language portal won´t be the last in a line of crowd sourcing gimmicks to translate the web and also strongly believe that they will get there sooner rather than later. However, we are safe for now given we can fall back on copyright, God only knows how many copyright infringements there are already in the google corpus of translations when we also consider that most translations are derivative works! In 2011 Twitter successfully translated its portal into 65 languages, however, this differs from the aforementioned case in that the corpus of twitter text is their own and does not infringe copyright rules!

I am looking forward to a lot of legal wrangles between google and the courts worldwide, the whole crowd sourcing translation issue appears to me to be a legal ticking time bomb!

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Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

For our latest translation rates click on this link or get an economically unbeatable translation quote here.

Remember that translation is not just simple straight forward translation but a complicated process that involves many stages and specialized expertise!

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Stop Shop translation re-vamps English version of Website

One Stop Shop Translations has just re-vamped the English version of its website. New features include an interpreting quote facility and an option to download the latest interpreting rates from One Stop Shop Translations. In addition there is a full client list and information on new translation services such as subtitling.

One Stop Shop Translation’s CEO, Mark Kieran says, “After four years of successful trading it was time to re-vamp the website and expand on some of the new translation services and knowledge we have acquired over the years. We also decided it was high time that we gave the public an insight into the prestigious list of Blue Chip clients we have built up over the years and in turn give them an extra sense of security when dealing with One Stop Shop Translations.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Your Spanish Translation Quote – Tips and Advice

Choosing the correct translation services is often a very difficult and time consuming. These days there are thousands of freelancers, agencies, directories, software and methodologies. To add to this, the difference in the Spanish translation quotes from agency to agency can vary greatly. This mish-mash of decisions make it very difficult for a person to be happy with the choice they have made and may make them always wonder what they may be missing.
The aim of this article is to aid the reader to make informed decisions when purchasing translation services. The article touches many translation issues and hopefully some will be applicable to you the reader when making a safe decision.

The core resource of translation is course the translator. Let’s take a scenario where we have a friend who is bi-lingual in Spanish and English and a medical patent to translate from English to Spanish. Easy, he’s a friend and he’s cheap although he has no translation experience. Wrong, the consequences of choosing this resource, although cheap, could be disastrous. Every particular field of translation requires particular skills. In this case where we have a medical patent translation the translator needs to have grounding in medical science and be up to date with the latest medical terminology. In addition, they must also be experienced in writing in the particular style of medical patents, something which is learned over years of practice. At One Stop Shop we have medical patent translators with PHDs in fields such as chemistry, biology and biotechnology and years of experience translating in these particular fields. Even within the Medical or life Sciences field a translator with education and experience in chemistry would be a much better choice, than for instance a translator with a background in Biology, for the translation of a drug patent. It must also be emphasized that your translations should be handled by professionals. A good translator is a linguist, they have studied the art of translation, specialized in the language combination and fields they are most suited to and built up years of knowledge and experience. A linguist also has to mold the Spanish translation for an international audience meaning that the language must be neutral and not have any slang or regionalisms.

Some people may query the importance of being so selective when choosing a translator, after all, it’s only translation but take the example of the drug patent which is written by a chemist. To the average lay person the patent is double Dutch. The patent will only be understood by peers in the industry. This is why peers in the Spanish speaking drug patent field deserve to receive a high quality translation from a translator with grounding and experience translating drug patents regardless of the translation price.
The image of the company depends on it. A poor quality translation will cause untold damage within your industry and affect your standing within this industry.

Some clients may say that they have this great software that translates automatically. One thing to bear in mind that machine translation is only approximately 60-70% accurate, the rest of the fine tuning needs human intervention. While machine translation is good for informal translations and getting the general gist of something, professional translation that represents the image of the company requires a human. Then a client may say to edit the machine translation thus saving up to 70% of the costs. The reality is that a professional translation agency or translator will probably refuse to do this as editing a machine translation involves re-writing the whole translation and may involve more work than starting the translation from scratch.

The next question is whether to use a freelancer or a translation agency? The main question is what the difference is. With an agency the text is revised which is why the translation quote tends to be more expensive. The main advantage to having the text revised is that it is better to have a “second eye”. No matter how good the translator they are bound to make errors from time to time and in this respect, the revision cycle is like an extra safety net to eradicate these simple errors providing a higher quality translation.

To summarize, here are a few questions to ask oneself, before deciding on the translation service to use:
• Is the translator experienced and qualified in this particular field. Ask for a profile of the translator or better still ask for a sample of profiles and decide on the best fit
• Why is the translation so cheap from this agency? In some cases the translation rate may not include revision, hence the reduced fee. The translator may not be fully qualified either and cheaper to sub-contract.
• Does the Translation Agency use the latest Translation memory technology? This is very useful in the case of updates. The previous translation is re-used and hence reduces costs and ensures consistency.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No recession for the translation services sector

In today’s climate most industries are experiencing rapid or steady declines. The unlikely scenario of steady growth is occurring in the translation sector.
Studying the translation sector allows us to see the growth of society towards Globalization. The need to cross cultural barriers is at the core of modern business and in this process translators are revolutionizing global communications.

When analyzing the translation services sector a very common term used is language service provider (LSP). Other services provided by LSP’s include interpreting, localization, internationalization and supporting technologies. Interpreting involves the translation of one spoken voice to another. Localization is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local "look-and-feel." Internationalization is the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures, a process called localization. Supporting technologies are those that technologically aid a user in learning or honing his or her language skills.

The reason that there hasn’t been much data collected on LSPs until recently is due to the fact that most LSPs were privately held and were reluctant to divulge such information. Recently with acquisitions some LSPs have grown so large that they are now publicly traded. The first data on LSPs was recorded quite recently, in the late 1990s, by the US Census and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Due to this lack of concrete information one can only make general predictions of the annual revenue spent on translation with a 9 to 21 billion dollars being a conservative estimate. Even without these concrete numbers to justify this figure there is no doubt that the importance of the LSP is increasing. Language options on websites, customer service calls and TV are testament to this.

According to Common Sense Advisory, the global language services market totaled $14.25 billion in 2008. Common Sense expects the industry to increase to around $25 billion by 2013, almost 11% five years. In the 2006 the US Department of Labor predicts a 24% increase in the number of US translators by 2016. To understand these statistics more we have a breakdown of the top 30 LSPs per territory.

Asia, $106.3M, 2.8%
Scandinavia, $130M, 3.4%
Rest of Europe, $637M, 16.8%
UK, $565M, 14.9%
USA, $2,334M, 62.1%

When considering these figures it is important to note that the LSP model is more developed in the UK and USA. For instance in mainland Europe there are a lot more sole translators.

While a lot of the growth can be attributed to globalization we cannot forget the importance of the internet. The internet has revolutionized the way that we exchange information and has exponentially increased the amount of information available. Translated information can reach any corner of the earth with the click of a button. The industry continues to grow as other countries, specifically those in Asia and the Middle East, follow this example in an effort to expand their audience reach to the United States and Europe.

The growth of the translation services industry and the role the internet plays in promoting this growth consolidates an upward trend. With the online marketplace getting more diverse, the demand for translation is ever increasing. The scope for the development of the non-English speaking translation market is phenomenal.
The importance of the translation services sector is growing in importance to the extent that what officially existed as an unrecorded industry up until 20 years ago is now a thriving industry with an expected value of $25 billion in the coming years. The importance of man’s need to communicate will always drive the sector upwards.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hiring Translation Services and Due Diligence

As a translation services manager on the client side you are probably aware of the many questions you should ask when hiring translation services companies. Your department is centralized with linguists and project managers specialized in the area. But often, especially in many smaller companies, employees are tasked with sub-contracting large translations under the assumption that their task should be simple thus ignoring due diligence and causing mayhem.
Typical problems often ignored include differing file formats requiring different engineering tasks and ensuing costs. On the linguistic side there are many considerations to be taken into account to ensure quality such as the volume and deadline, the translation agency quality procedures and the flavor of the language into which the document is being translated.

The following is a series of questions and answers to consider when outsourcing your translation services needs:

1. What is the source language and target of the document? One must bear in mind that certain language combinations are harder to come by than others which has a bearing on availability and cost. Translating from English to French is a much easier outsourcing process than from Zulu to French.

2. What is the flavor of the target language? For instance a French translator from Paris translating into Algerian French can lead to a lot of quality issues.

3. What is the reason for the translation? For instance in the case of a legal translation, does the translation need to be sworn or certified.

4. What is the standard required for the translation? Will it be published and be the corporate face of the company or is it just for internal purposes only?

5. Is there a particular style of the translation? For instance does it have to adhere to an in-house style guide? Are there particular terms for the translation to adhere to? Perhaps the layout has to adhere to a particular in-house style?

6. What is the field of translation? Is it a legal, business or medical translation? In this case ensure the translator has the relevant experience translating in this particular field, ask the agency for a translator profile.

7. Check and see if you can provide the translation services company reference material such as previous translations, glossaries etc.

8. What format is the document in? Depending on the format there maybe additional engineering costs for the target language. Do you have the capacity to do these tasks in-house or is it more cost beneficial and realistic to outsource these tasks? Ask for a quote and ensure that you understand the additional engineering costs that are involved and decide from there. If you have done your homework in advance you will often get a feel for the level of professionalism and expertise that the client has.

9. Be aware of the translation metrics involved in translation and it’s engineering tasks. If your deadline is too soon you may have to realize that this will have an effect on quality and consistency

10. Will you have to send updates of the files after the agency has started translating? Has there been a system devised to cope with these updates between you and the client. Are you prepared for an elevated translation quote due to the updates and advised your boss?

11. Do you require Translation Memory technology to be used by the vendor? Are their Translation memory rates as competitive as other vendors? Shop around and get other translation quotes.

12. It often helps to proofread the source text before being sent to translation. This avoids updates and poorly written texts which lead to poor translations

13. Is copyright to be retained or transferred?

14. What are the payment terms?

15. Is there a set of business terms and conditions?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Choosing a Translation Services company or Machine Translation

As we are all aware the translation industry is awash with translation tools such Spell checkers, translation memories and automated glossaries. But is the feasibility of machine translation a reality in this day and age. By explaining the doubts and limitations of machine translation I hope to clarify to clarify some of the preconceived notions that the general public may have about the field and aid them in deciding on Machine translation or a translation services company.

The notion of computer translation is not new. In fact shortly after World War II the American Government had already began investing considerable resources in the field without the slightest doubt that the concept was not a reality.Some common terms in this field indicate the some of the difficulties that those pioneers of machine translation were to encounter, for example the difference between machine translation which is the translation of text by a machine and Computer Aided translation which is the translation of texts by a translator with the aid of translation tools. Under Machine translation there are three types of system namely Batch, Interactive, and Interlingual Approaches. A Batch method has coded rules to `decide' on the best translation. There is no need for a translator.

With an Interactive system the translator is present and decides on the translation options provided by the translation system.

With an Interlingual approach the source translation is translated to an intermediate language that is used to translate back and forth between the source and target languages.CAT and MT software these days use either the Batch or interlingual approach.

With MT translation most texts tend to have a 70% accuracy e.g Google translate. Most experts now concede that 100% accuracy is not possible. Three terms that crop up are Fully automatic High Quality Translation which is in my view is impossible to achieve, Fully Automatic Low Quality Translation and Partly Automatic Medium Quality Translation. The percentage accuracy claims of Machine translation is open to debate as there is no universal standard to measure this and accuracy claims tend to be very subjective.

When to use Machine Translation over Translation Services companies. There are five important criteria when choosing whether to use machine translation over translation Service companies.

1. Subject matter. Here the computer can have an immense advantage especially in regard to technical texts. In the case of a field like Life sciences where the vocabulary is very specific, the Machine Translation system can have a terminology Database built up over years which is impossible for a Translation Service company to compete with. Of course the quality depends on the amount of work and quality of the work put into the Machine translation’s dictionary.

2. Speed. Speed is an area where the computer reigns supreme considering that the average translator translates at a rate of 2,500 words per day.

3. Level of accuracy. We already discussed the levels of accuracy. If a text is solely for information then a fully automated translation is feasible but if we need 100% accurate translation the amount of time spent post-editing the MT system can often outweigh the benefits of using this system.

4. Consistency of vocabulary. Again the computer is excellent when it comes to consistency. One centralized MT system ensures consistency as opposed to a Translation vendor outsourcing a large job or different jobs over time to different translators. It is often the case that no two translators translate a sentence in the same way. Of course, the success of the MT depends on the preprogramming done beforehand.

5. Cost. Bearing in mind that the computer can tick all the right boxes for speed, consistency, level of accuracy and subject matter one has to bear in mind that successful Machine translation systems require substantial investment to populate them with high quality and a high volume of content which, of course, has to be passed onto to the client of a Translation Services company.

It’s pretty evident from the above points that the computer can yield impressive results but what we must realize is that current MT systems will not give 100% accurate translations. If this level of accuracy is required it’s always best to hire the services of a translation company.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Choosing A Translation Services Company

I am often surprised to hear that Localization managers are not happy with the level of service they are receiving from their translation vendors. Frequent complaints about missed deadlines, poor linguistic quality and unresponsive project managers seem to be the norm. Then when I ask about their prices I wonder why they wish to stay with the same translation services company when receiving such a bad level of service. To add insult to injury when the words Translation memories or translation savings are mentioned they seem unaware of the idea. Similarly with Managers complaining of prolonged schedules the same question springs to mind, “Why stick to the same vendor with such a poor level of service”.

The main reason why these Managers are reluctant to change is the risk involved which outweighs the unknown reward. To lower this risk and have visibility of the partial benefits of two or multiple vendors why not protect your Translation assets thus ensuring full independence when out-sourcing. While maybe being a little more labor intensive the multiple vendor model keeps current vendors more competitive and allows you to easily draw comparisons on the level of service you are receiving. How can you possibly tell how fast your vendor is, the competitiveness of their translation prices and the efficiency of their processes with a single vendor model?

Implementing the multiple-vendor model?

The first thing to do is to request your Translation memories. At One Stop Shop we acknowledge the importance of our clients requesting Translation Memory imports to protect their intellectual property while at the same are not worried about entering the competitive vendor model because of the confidence we have in the level of our service.
Remember you have every right to your TMs as it is your intellectual property.

1. Phase in alternative Vendors.
Ask One Stop Shop Translations for a quote here and your current vendor for a quote. If you have supplied us the TMs you will have a direct comparison of the price per word rates and the savings from using the TM. If the TMs are not supplied at least you will have a comparison of the translation rates which will not let you down. You, you will have clear visibility on additional services you are being charged for e.g. Project Management

2. Hire One Stop Shop Translations on a test project
This is a good way to measure our quality and customer service.

3. Phase in more projects to One Stop Shop Translations
Provided you are happy of course phase in more work to your second vendor.

Quality, Turnaround and Cost
All vendors profess a quick turn around, high quality and unbeatable prices so at least now with the multiple vendor model you can draw your own comparisons. It may be helpful to keep a checklist or post-project feedback form to collate all criteria scores over a period of time. Apart from the quality, price and turnaround other effective criteria that may be selected are responsiveness, relationship, due diligence, reporting and technology.
One Stop Shop Translations can help you draw up these checklists free of charge and help you phase in a higher level of translation services.
With regard to quality you may not have the luxury of your country reviewers to judge this but there are other methods which One Stop Shop Translations can guide you through. Extensive quality criteria are always recommended.
With regard to cost, apart from having lower rates One Stop Shop Translations have no hidden costs with regard to the pre-project quote, that’s right, no Project Management costs, no update costs within reason. Due to our due diligence One Stop will negotiate any grey areas of the project at the Quote stage, still remain competitive and avoid any nasty surprises for the client with the invoice.
At all stages the client has to right to the analysis files (Trados, Catalyst, FrameMaker etc.) and will receive a clear explanation if there are still in the dark.

Choosing One Stop Shop Translations
While there are many translation services companies to choose from, we will distinguish ourselves from the competition by our friendly and highly qualified people, free consultancy and Project Management services and our expertise in your industry. We would love the opportunity to demonstrate these things to you and describe how we've been able to help other clients in your position make a change for the better. To schedule a discussion with One Stop Shop Translations, please call +34–91-365-9608.

Mark Kieran,
One Stop Shop Translations S.L.
(Madrid) 0034 91 365 9608