Localization

The Rise of the Machines

The Rise of the Machines 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

If you’re fond of ’80s movies, chances are you’ve seen what they envisioned the 2010s to look like: full of hovercrafts, futuristic cities, and murderous robot machines. For better or worse, none of those things have become commonplace yet, but we are making strides in the technology department. The self-driving car will soon be commercially available, and our lives are very much devoted to smartphones and the Internet.

Speech Recognition

But why are we so behind on speech recognition? This is a hugely debated topic in the transcription and translation industries, as many don’t want their jobs to become obsolete. Though while that is a worry, the ability for a machine to accurately transcribe or translate will provide cheap access to many who need language services, which would be a huge step forward.

The problem is that language is so, so difficult (especially English) in so many ways. It may seem like speech recognition should be easy to develop, but just think about an elderly person having a conversation with a pre-teen. Even if they’re both speaking English, it can sometimes feel like conversations between two different worlds due to how quickly language evolves, context, and speaking styles.

Machines have this same problem. While we are extremely close to machines being able to understand monotonous, clear English spoken by a single speaker, problems arise when you have recordings with groups of people (which is what we specialize in).

Where Machines Fail

Here’s an example: a market research company is holding a 10-person focus group with folks who do speak English but aren’t native speakers. The group is comprised of teenagers from the rural south. So that’s 10 people, many talking over each other at certain points, who don’t speak English well, use regional dialect, and also use many newly-created words. That’s hard enough for a human to transcribe. But for machines, at this time, it’s not possible to achieve anywhere near 100% accuracy.

In the future, this will likely be solved in some technical way that my non-scientific brain cannot fathom. When it does, Atomic Scribe will evolve, just as language does. For now, it’s best to use human-powered services if you’re looking for accuracy. The rise of the machines will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Does Size Matter in a Translation Company?

Does Size Matter in a Translation Company? 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

Here’s a question: how many times have you heard a company boast about their size? Can you recall, or is that number too high? It seems as though the biggest grocery store always claims to have the most food. The biggest sporting goods store must have the largest selection of tennis rackets in the world. And, without fail, the most well-known translation companies claim to have the highest number of translators, even numbering in the tens of thousands.

That sounds reassuring at first. With so many translators, surely your translation will be done in a timely fashion and of the highest quality, as there are so many workers to choose from. But is that really the case?

Personal and Professional

A large number of translators often means it’s impossible for an agency to know their translators one-on-one. The translators become a number, just one part of a mass e-mail blast that gets sent out when a project comes in. As such, that means the project manager can’t match up the perfect person for the job. If you don’t know where your translators’ strengths lie, how can you know if they are the best person for the project?

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Although some may suggest otherwise, there is always someone more apt for one project than another person. It could be a technical translation that requires specialized knowledge, or it could be a certain dialect or industry. It could be a poetry project that needs someone familiar with literary translations, or a medical conference with difficult terminology.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and translators are no different. Because of this, knowing your translators personally and matching their strengths to certain projects should be a consideration for all companies. That’s why we suggest taking time to select a translation partner and to learn about who you will potentially be working with. It’s a little effort that will go a long way in helping you achieve the most accurate translation possible.

When Is It Time to Find a Translation Partner?

When Is It Time to Find a Translation Partner? 4000 2667 Atomic Scribe

For English speakers, sometimes we forget that the whole world doesn’t speak our language. Or if they do, that doesn’t mean that they can understand all of it. Heck, even a lot of native English speakers find the language confusing, and who can blame them?

It can be a daunting task, but in today’s world you need to be able to reach the most people you can, and that means translation is key. Here are some reasons why it might be time for you to find a translation partner to help.

Getting Into New Markets. Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller… or, at least, our ability to connect with others in far away places is becoming easier. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean getting our message across in one language is becoming easier, too.

The population in non-English speaking countries is growing. But more than that, studies show that 75% of consumers in those countries prefer purchasing from sites in their native language. An even more impressive statistic is that 60% of those surveyed claimed they rarely or never bought from English-only sites. That is a huge amount of the world’s population one misses out on if they only provide information in English.

You’re Spending Too Much Time Lost in Translation. A common comment we hear in the midst of working with a new client is, “I wish I had done this sooner!” Frankly, many don’t realize just how much time they’re wasting by trying to translate materials themselves or trying to find ways to engage non-English speakers without using translation.

We know your time is valuable. So is ours. That’s why it’s important to partner with a capable translation agency to take on some of your load. Check out the agency’s credentials. Speak to those they’ve worked with in the past. Ask for samples. Do what you need to do to feel confident that this agency is dependable and will provide an accurate translation by native speakers to put your own mind at ease.

Google Translate Isn’t Cutting It. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sometimes Google Translate is sufficient for your needs. If you just need the gist of something translated, your language pairs are popular, and accuracy is not paramount, then using machine translation might be all you need.

But if accuracy and context are important to your project, then machine translation could end up causing you major issues. Bad translations can be extremely damaging to a brand or business, and it can destroy your credibility. If this is a worry for you, then it’s best to find a partner to allay these fears.

In the end, the only person who can decide if it’s time to find a partner is you. But remember that human translators are better at accuracy, context, localizing to different markets and cultures, and adapting to your needs than machine translation, and remember that you need to be able to trust your partner to provide these needs.

Your App Must Be Multilingual

Your App Must Be Multilingual 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

You might notice the headline this week is a statement and not a request or suggestion. While usually here at Atomic Scribe we’re (kind of) gentle about our perception of the language services industry, this is a topic that we can 100 percent say without hesitation: you need to localize your app content to reach more people worldwide.

Because, simply, the app industry is worldwide, and it’s only going to grow in the coming years. While apps were previously most associated with gaming (which still commands a large part in the industry), with every passing day it seems to become so much more than that. Now apps provide a way to bank, shop, exercise, connect to coworkers and employees, talk to your doctor, video chat, get directions, find a place to eat, and on and on.

Given that 46 percent of app users report having paid for their apps, that’s big money, too. By 2017, it’s expected that over 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion worth of revenue. —Entrepreneur, August 26, 2014

Users Prefer Native-Language Content

There are an estimated 400 million native English speakers worldwide, mostly in the United States and United Kingdom. Adding in secondary speakers, that number grows to a whopping 1.2 billion… but that still leaves out 6 billion people, or over 80 percent of the world’s population. That percentage could grow as the populations of India and French-speaking Africa increase more than any other region, as is predicted.

Those 800 million secondary speakers are also more likely to use an app or browse content in their first language if it’s available. According to a study conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 75 percent of participating consumers stated they prefer to buy products in their native language, and 60 percent claimed they rarely or never bought from English-only web sites. That is a huge amount of people one is missing out on by not translating content.

But here is the great news: it is incredibly easy to translate and localize your apps for new markets. Better yet, you don’t have to keep paying or pay per customer. You just pay for a translation once, and that’s it. As the revenue your app will generate by reaching millions of new people should make the initial investment worth it in no time, it’s a simple decision to make.

Sports and Translation: Bringing the World’s Biggest Sport to All

Sports and Translation: Bringing the World’s Biggest Sport to All 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

The United States has long had an intense fascination with athletics, but until recently that largely excluded the world’s most beloved sport. While soccer (or football, for most everyone else) has captivated hearts worldwide for decades, it’s only just now taking root in the U.S. and becoming a big part of the sports landscape. A lot of this is due to the Internet and Americans having much more access to matches than ever before. Gone are the days you’d have to scan a newspaper in the hope of finding the Premier League scores; now NBC shows over 300 matches a season live through Internet and television.

What’s evident is that while soccer is itself a kind of language, there are still a lot of areas where the existence of multiple languages is causing issues. As you’d expect with the number one sport in the world, leagues and teams are made up of players from different countries with different native languages and cultures. In fact, many teams in the Premier League in the United Kingdom have more non-native English speakers than English speakers. Chelsea Football Club, for example, has first team players from Brazil, Nigeria, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, and more.

And it’s not just English-speaking leagues that are popular worldwide. Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga are also watched by millions and growing at extraordinary rates. In the United States, MLS is becoming known for talented foreign players, such as Thierry Henry and Kaka. The sport is growing everywhere, and so are barriers that different languages can create.

World Cup 2014: Record U.S. TV ratings sure sign of soccer’s rapid growth here

Bayern Munich Takes on English

A good example of teams reaching new markets is Germany’s biggest club, Bayern Munich. The Bavarian club has recently opened an office in New York, and they provide much of their online content in English, including their official site and a separate Twitter account for English speakers. Their site can be translated into Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish as well.

Bayern Munich is the second most commercially profitable club in the world, having made almost €250 million in 2013, ahead of immensely profitable clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. Their commercial revenue helps them provide low ticket prices, which is considered a commodity that makes the Bundesliga so appealing to match-going fans and viewers alike.

Soccer clubs operate as worldwide businesses nowadays, and Bayern knows this. While the United States is seen as the next big moneymaker in the sport, there is also lots of potential in China, India, and in the countries of Africa for expanding the game. But to do this you need to be able to communicate.

How Translation Helps the Sport

The opportunities for using translation to reach current fans and new markets is endless. You can translate interviews, press releases, match reports, press conferences, news articles, players’ or clubs’ web sites, and so much more. Best of all, you pay for a translation once and then it’s yours forever, which means recouping the cost is much easier than with time-sensitive commodities.

Atomic Scribe can help. As passionate as fans are about soccer, that’s how we feel about translation. Both are arts, and both are best at the highest quality. The world’s biggest game also delivers the biggest audience, and we can reach them together.