Some Thoughts

Human versus Machine

You can have a machine translate your document at no charge right now. Depending on the style of the document, you may be able to get across the gist of its content in the language you choose. These programs are getting better, but are still a long way from being usable for serious business projects. The main reason for this is that machine translation programs are unable to distinguish between literal and contextual usage. Thus, human intervention is still necessary to produce a worthy translation.

Including client changes in translation cost
Et oui, this is a tough one sometimes. If the client reviewer understands that their role is to check the document for accuracy of terminology and jargon, completion and clarity, then their changes are generally accepted and implemented without affecting the cost of the translation. We'll consider it a leaning opportunity and update our glossaries.

However, reviewers often take the opportunity to essentially re-write the original copy through the translation and change the original meaning. Making these changes falls outside the scope of the translation and requires a change order to be issued.

Some people do get translation!
Even at C-level!
I was just invited to participate in a presentation by the CEO of a global company. The company has set on a unifying course for its many subsidiaries and produced a brochure to communicate internally its new mission and vision. The CEO spent about an hour going over each idea and explaining point-by-point what was important and why, so the in-country teams could do a better job at the localization of the brochure. It is so rare but so gratifying to see that there are people who understand the mechanisms of translation and make it a priority to ensure that their ideas are understood properly by their first line of defence in a global economy: the translators!

Have you ever experienced anything like this? Email me and tell me about it.


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