Test translations

From time to time the question of test translations pop up. I usually oblige, providing the source text is reasonable in content and length, and the company seems reliable.

I did so once again recently, and just got back their feedback:

I just wanted to let you know that the proofreader from our team was very happy with your text. He did not change anything, and now we have delivered your test translation to our client and are waiting for his feedback. We will be in touch with you again, as soon as we receive the feedback.

Need I say I really enjoy this kind of emails first thing Monday morning?

Proprietary translation tools

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Sometimes you do stupid things. Like accepting to translate in a non-professional tool. You think that ”it might get to be a little bumpier, but it cannot be too bad”. Well, guess – it can.

Different checks that cannot be turned off and have to be inactivated each time with the mouse instead of keyboard. No merging of many small files into one big work document. No automatic inserts of memory hits. No functioning previews. The list can be made much longer. But I think you get the general drift.

Just today I read complaints from several colleagues on Facebook about exactly this. There were comments like

  • I just HATE proprietary translation tools
  • I actively avoid all jobs that even have the faintest smell of proprietary tool
  • It must cost a lot to develop something that is a lot worse than the existing options on the market

Of course one can complain about SDL Studio, MemoQ and others, but they do not give this kind of work stress. Never again!

Post editing is approaching

The translation industry is changing, with more material which needs to be translated, but at a lower cost. One way to deal with this is machine translation. We have all laughed from time to time when we read funny and incomprehensible MT results. Well, MT is advancing, and so is post editing. Post editing is a way to cut costs by first running the text through a decent machine translation engine, and then having a human to post edit the material before sending it off to the readers.

As a consequence of that I have taken the time to complete the Post Editing Certification Exam that SDL has to offer, and am pleased to say I passed it.

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Customer appraisal is always welcome

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I got a very nice email in my inbox:

I’m getting a lot of “thank you” from [the customer] for delivering this content on time and I can only pass it on to you because it is YOU that made it possible:

“We all appreciate the extra time and stress that it took to get all of the re-synced content translated and completed. Not only that, but the HOME PAGE content. That is huge.

So thank you very much for all of your effort around this. This is the not the final note of gratitude to you all, but this particular handoff was crucial!”

This is always very welcome, of course. So please keep them coming, not only to me, but to all these people out there that you are dependent on in one way or the other!

SDL Studio 2014

Today I spent a couple of hours at a roadshow on SDL’s new version of Studio. There were a few exciting new features and my decision when I left was to install the new version sooner or later, whenever my project status allowed me to do so.

A few hours and an electrical outage later I discovered that my Studio 2011 had taken a heavy toll when the electricity disappeared. The project I was about to deliver was corrupt, and I could not create a new one using the same source files and automatically retranslate it with the existing memory. What to do?

But, hey! I could take the opportunity to install 2014! Said and done. It worked like a breeze with the problem project, and it was intuitive enough for me to clean the files and deliver to the customer.

So, now when I was already up and running I could just as well continue with 2014 for the next project too. This was a client who more often than not forgets to switch off Track Changes in Word, something that causes havoc already at the import stage in 2011. I made a conscious decision not to rectify that, and just act as if nothing was the matter. And it wasn’t! The program worked like a charm even though Track Changes was activated (I checked). Hurray!

Now I have got two problems rectified in one and the same evening. A good start with the new translation tool.

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The dilemma of the software translator

It is difficult to translate software. As a translator you get many phrases totally without context which might turn out completely wrong. As a programmer (who often is the person to hand over the source material, possibly via one or two middlemen, to the translator) it can be hard to identify all strings that need translation.

The below dialog is an example of the latter. I came across it the other day when I was about to update the operating system of my cell phone.

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Unfortunately my Korean is not good enough for me to sort out what it meant. But as the only option available was the Swedish word Bekräfta (Confirm) I did so. Unfortunately that didn’t help. My cell phone is still not upgraded.

Did you ever come across a similar problem caused by translation?

I have NO distributor or business partner in China!

I got an upsetting email tonight from China domain name registration center, who wanted to confirm if I had any business together with BaoYuan Ltd. They want to register ”heljesten” as their internet keyword and domain name in China and Asia.

I can guarantee that this is totally false! I have never had, and am not planning to have, any distributor or business partner in China whatsoever.

When you google BaoYuan Ltd it seems they are up to a lot of different sorts of business, ranging from chemical, electrical, art production to international marriages! I don’t know if Bao Yuan is as common in China as Svensson is in Sweden, but I certainly do not want to be mixed up in any of those activitites. Especially not international marriages.

To this effect, I will publish this text on my Swedish site also, plus on my blog heljesten.nu, where the registrar found me.

If you should hear anything from any Chinese/Asian contact using Heljesten in any form, please let me know immediately!