Bilingual Blogging: How Translators Can Help

If your company has a web presence, your marketing strategy most likely includes a blog touting your product or service.  But if your blog is only in English, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to expand your sales by reaching out to the Hispanic Community. What better way to target this demographic with enormous purchasing power than having your blog translated into Spanish?   You may already have your website available in multiple languages and perhaps have employees who can provide customer service in Spanish, but by translating your blog, you can increase Latino buy-in.  This is especially true if your blog includes value-added information such as news about your product or industry, tips, or commentary.   Translating a blog into Spanish isn’t as simple as cutting and pasting the published text into an automatic translation website, as explained in this blog post.  Doing this will most likely alienate and confuse the exact community you would like to target.   Because a blog is always a work in progress, most clients without a bilingual writing staff would be well-served by contracting this work out.  A good blog with a lot of traffic and comments needs to be consistently updated and the translation should be right behind the original English-language postings.   By contracting blog translation out to a translation agency, your company will ensure that the message and content of each post is just as effective as the English-language original.   Keep in mind some questions to consider as you plan to launch a blog in two languages: 

  • Should the English-language blog simply be translated into Spanish and left as is?
  • Should the translator also translate the user-generated comments on the Spanish language blog, and if so, what are the logistics of doing so?
  • Is it best to have two separate communities with separate sets of comments for the ease of translating?
  • If so, will the community created at the English blog lose out on the benefits of the comments at the Spanish blog and vice versa?

 There is no right or wrong answer to these considerations especially in the relatively new world of blogging.  When your company decides to actively reach out to the Hispanic community through dual-language blogging, a translation agency with experience in Spanish Translations will be able to offer guidance on how to navigate the above questions. Transpanish is offering 15% discount on Blog Translations. Offer expires on April 1st, 2008.  

Services a translation company may offer – First Part

The services a translation company may offer vary greatly from client to client and from project to project. Every day, clients are renovating their global identity and hence their needs are constantly evolving. In addition, technical and industry advances generate new standards with which translation clients and translation service providers must strive to stay caught up with.

Assignments differ in size and difficulty: from a single birth certificate of less than 100 words, to legal documents that a law company needs for litigation, to an advertising brochure for a home appliance to be marketed to Spanish speakers in the U.S., to website localization for a multinational firm.

These projects will require tailored project plans and work flows. However, they will all include elements from the following services:

Translation and Editing- a source document is translated and edited into another language.

• Usually one translator and one editor work together as a team, with the translator finalizing the document after reviewing the editor’s tracked changes.
• Most translation agencies offer translation, editing and proofreading when quoting translation rates.

Translation Only – a source document is translated only.

• Clients may request this if they need to translate a document for informational purposes only; other customers may have in-house or in-country resources to edit or proofread the translation.

Project Management in the Translation Industry

Project Management is a fast-growing field and it is tailored differently for specific industries.

A translation Project Manager (PM) is responsible for the overall coordination of translation-related projects for their clients. The objective of a translation Project Manager is to be the bridge that connects the client’s needs with the vendors that are best prepared for the project. Translation Project Managers establish the proper steps and procedures for the translation process, starting with the initial project analysis and developing the project plan, to contracting and overseeing the appropriate team members.

Translation Project Manager

The PM must be focused on the process and on the client’s requirements in order to successfully complete the assignment. It is essential to take into account that the role of a translation Project Manager is not to translate. Language knowledge and translation experience is advantageous as this information helps the PM to better understand the process, and educate and manage the client. Translation Project Managers outsource most of the translation work to qualified freelance linguists/translators.

The ideal translation PM needs to be comfortable multi-tasking and must be attentive to all the details of a project. They should have the following traits:

– Organized
– Able to multi-task, solve problems and prioritize
– Detail-oriented
– Dedicated and perceptive
– Should be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
– Good team player with a positive attitude, determination, and strong management skills
– Should be able to lead and make decisions for the team
– Excellent communication skills with good negotiation skills
– Should be able to consult with clients, identify requirements, and inform technical information clearly
– Background in the translation and localization industry

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

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.

Social Networking in Spanish Explodes

Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, and MySpace are all social networking websites that are extremely popular with youth. Users can connect with others to chat, share photos, videos, and comments through individually designed pages. Up until recently, U.S.-based web applications have primarily been in English, although users can chat, post comments, and interact in Spanish.

A 2007 article in USA Today explores how social networking sites are branching out to appeal to Spanish-speaking users., for example, caters to those interested in music in Spanish.

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.

Translating PDF Documents

What is a PDF?

“Portable Document Format” or PDF is a file format which allows the author to preserve her file in its original form, complete with text, images, and other formatting features. By its nature, PDF is not a file format conducive to editing, but rather for documents intended for final distribution.

This can make doing translations from PDFs complicated despite various types of software and strategies for working around the semi-permanent nature of these files.

Working with PDFs

You may come across either of the two types of PDFs: application-generated and scanned PDFs.

Working with the former type is much less complicated, as the document was originally created with another computer application and then converted. You will be able to extract lines, paragraphs, pages, and entire sections of the document so as to save it as a Word document.

If you receive a scanned PDF, your work becomes more complicated, as these are images and therefore cannot be edited. You can purchase OCR (optical character recognition) software such as ABBYY FineReader, Textbridge, or ReadIris which will read the image and then convert it into text.

Preserving Formatting

Whether you are working from application-generated or scanned PDFs, preserving the formatting of the original document is a challenge, especially if the document is rich in images and tables. Once you either extract or convert text, you will be able to manipulate the Word or Rich Text document so as to match the formatting of the PDF, but this is time consuming and not very feasible, especially if your contract with the client doesn’t reflect the extra time and effort necessary to return a perfectly formatted finished document.

If it’s important to your client that you produce a translation formatted exactly as the original was, request that they send the source files rather than a PDF. This will ensure that you are able to efficiently provide the client with a well-formatted translation.

You can then convert the finished document into a PDF for the client or return the Word or Rich Text document to them so that their graphic designers can lay out and format the piece as they wish.