Lowering Translation Costs: What a Translation Memory Can Do for You

Translation memory tools (TM) aid human translators in producing translations through the use of software-based databases. Many translation agencies use Trados, which allows translators to take advantage of repetition throughout the document to make translation quicker and more effective.

Documents and projects which would be good candidates for use of TM tools include those that are:

• Highly repetitive
• Technical in nature
• Large-volume translations
• Newer versions of previously translated materials

TM databases are continually growing entities which work best the more the translator uses them. Because all previous translations are stored in the software, any time a phrase or sentence recurs in a text, the TM tool produces either a 100% match or a “fuzzy” match (one that is close but not exact). The translator can either accept the match or manually translate the phrase or sentence.

Trados, one of the most popular TM tools, is especially effective if a document has many repetitions. Trados is also useful in creating consistency among various translations with similar language and phrasing. If the client has a large volume translation that many different translators will work on, using Trados also allows for consistency among the sections that each is translating.

Terminology for the Translation Industry

There are some terms related to the translation business which every translator should be familiar with. This terminology also helps Translation Buyers to make an educated decision when choosing a Translation Provider.

Below are some terms:

A simplified and standardized form that is used for the purpose of providing a certification of certain public documents relating to adoption, including notarized documents, that is used in countries that are in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Convention. 

Back Translation
Back Translation is the process of translating a document that has already been translated into a foreign language back to the source language – preferably by an independent translator.

Copywriting is the process of writing the words that promote a person, business, opinion, or idea. It may be used as plain text, as a radio or television advertisement, or in a variety of other media. 

Desktop publishing (DTP)
Using computers to lay out text and graphics for printing in magazines, newsletters, brochures and so on. A good DTP system provides precise control over templates, styles, fonts, sizes, color, paragraph formatting, images and fitting text into irregular shapes.

The science or practice of compiling dictionaries, based on a study of the form, meaning, and behavior of the words in a given language.

Machine Translation
A technology that translates text from one human language to another, using terminology glossaries and advanced grammatical, syntactic and semantic analysis techniques.

Mother Tongue
A person’s first language, native language or mother tongue is the language that was learned first by the person. Thus, the person is called a native speaker of the language

Neutral Spanish, Universal Spanish, Standard Spanish
A linguistic variety or that is considered a correct educated standard for the Spanish language. Standard Spanish is not merely Spanish adjusted to fit in prescriptive molds dictated by a linguistic overseeing authority, but also a form of language that respects the literary canon and cultural tradition.

OCR (Optical character recognition)
The translation of optically scanned bitmaps of printed or written text characters into character codes such as ASCII. Most OCR systems use a combination of hardware and software to recognize characters.

Proofreading means the critical revision of a text. In translation, this task mainly consists of checking aspects of spelling, grammar and syntax plus the general coherence and integrity of the target text.

Source Language
The language in which the document that is to be translated was originally written.

Target Language
The language in which the document that is to be translated is converted to (e.g. from English to Spanish).

More Terminology for the Translation Industry

Certified Translations in the U.S. and Abroad

While the words “certified translation” may bring to mind a translation that has gone through a rigorous process to check its validity, in the United States the reality is much simpler. A certified translation is simply a translation accompanied by the source text and a straightforward signed statement in which the translator attests to her ability to translate the material and the accuracy of the document.

Most documents granted by any government body must include a certification of accuracy along with the translation. The following is not an exhaustive list, but will give you an idea of which translations may require a certification from the translator:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Identity documents
  • Immigration documents
  • Wills

Some clients may request that the translation be signed by a notary public to add an extra layer of assurance that the translation is correct and complete. In these cases, the notary public simply adds her signature and seal to prove that she has witness the translator sign the certification.

Machine Translation vs. Human Translation: Pay Less, Get Less

In the province of Buenos Aires they exist around 150 helmets of stay with lodging capacity. Of modest to luxurious, all offer varied alternative for all the tastes and budgets. It is possible to be enjoyed an only day of field or one more estadía prolonged.

Babel Fish machine translation of text from ArgentinaTuristica.com

While you might get the gist of this machine-translated excerpt, the resulting text grates on your ears like fingers down a chalkboard. Using online machine translators such as Babel Fish will give you a rough idea of the foreign-language text, but will not render a translation useful for any other purpose.

Google’s translation site renders a slightly more comprehensible excerpt of the same original text:

In the province of Buenos Aires there are about 150 helmets stay with accommodation capacity. From modest to luxurious, all offer alternatives for all tastes and budgets. You can only enjoy a picnic or a longer.

Language Shifting and the Role of Spanish Translations

A study released by the Pew Hispanic Center in November reports that English fluency increases across generations, even in first-generation monolingual Spanish-speaking families. Furthermore, by the third generation, Spanish has all but faded into the background.

While those who arrive in the U.S. as adults may always struggle with learning English, their children either grow up bilingual or use English as their dominant language at the expense of Spanish.

Spreading the Message: Spanish Translations Reach a Wider Audience

Your product or service is solid and well-received. Your marketing materials are glossy and your copy punchy. You’ve created a niche for your company in all the major English-speaking markets. Yet you want to push sales to the next level. Take sales up a notch by reaching out to the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. and translating your message into Spanish.

The Hispanic community’s buying power is increasing rapidly as the Latino population explodes in the U.S. Getting your message out to this demographic can boost your sales, especially if you are in the automotive, personal care, telecommunications, or food and beverage industries.

While many Latinos are bilingual, 60% of Hispanics prefer to make buying decisions in Spanish. If your company translates its materials into Spanish, you will be reaching a demographic with the power and desire to purchase products and services.

Once you make the decision to translate your message into Spanish, don’t rely on just anyone to do the translation. Most companies have bilingual employees, but don’t assume that just because someone speaks both English and Spanish that they will be able to accurately and effectively translate your copy. Make sure that you entrust your PR materials to a skilled translator who will be able to create Spanish-language materials that are just as dynamic and audience-appropriate as
the English originals.

A solid and culturally appropriate Spanish translation can allow your company to tap into the Hispanic community and boost sales. You will be able to target Latino radio stations, Spanish-language publications, and television programs to access new customers.

Having translations of your materials is only a start to forming a relationship with Latino customers. Your publicity materials must be backed up by a solid understanding of how to provide customer service to this demographic. If you do business in any of the states with high numbers of Spanish-speaking residents, such as New York, California, Texas, or Arizona, you probably also have bilingual employees on staff. Make sure that you also have Spanish-speakers as front line customer service providers so that you can take your message all the way to the finish line of solidifying new customer relationships.