Going the Extra Mile

Specializing in outstanding service

As a premier language service provider with more than 2,000 clients worldwide, we believe in giving each company our complete creative attention to deliver exceptional service, no matter how small or large the project. Here’s just one example:

Protranslating was asked to create a series of original menus for a major cruise line that were customized to each of its travel destinations. These localized menus needed to be mouth-watering, accurate and consistent across nine different languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian and Russian. There was one additional challenge: Each of these menus had to be created and delivered with a three-day turnaround to dovetail with the ship’s itinerary.

To accomplish this demanding transcreation task, we rallied our troops. We recruited culinary experts in each language and trained our client’s staff in how best to format files for the final print-ready products. We even created a second set of annotated menus for restaurant wait staff, so they could better inform their customers about the diverse culinary offerings being provided.

We jumped on the challenge presented to us and did what it took to meet the deadline and deliver an exceptional product, which freed up the client to focus on creating exceptional food and travel adventures for its guests.

Click here to read all seven core values that guide us.

Machine Translation vs. Human Translation

Can software replace a native speaker?

As you have no doubt heard, the last few years of software development have yielded significant advancements in machine translation, and dramatic improvements continue to occur. Companies such as Google, Bing and Amazon have all been refining their algorithms to make automated translation a viable option for some business applications.

 

So, how do you know which translation method to choose, given your specific business requirements? To help clarify the issue, here are few pros and cons of both human and machine translations.

 

  • The Machine Translation Option
    • The pros:
      • Usually less expensive
      • Can translate large volumes of content quickly
    • The cons:
      • Less accurate across different languages
      • Less effective for technical or creative content
      • Cannot pick up cultural nuances
      • Cannot decipher context, resulting in poor word choices and literal translations
      • Machines don’t recognize words specifically chosen for their brand power
      • Hidden costs due to having to review and revise the translations

 

  • The Human Translation Option
    • The pros:
      • Removes most of the negatives of using machine translation
      • Native speakers can identify and translate cultural nuances
      • Human translations can convey the brand’s intended tone and voice
      • Captures the creativity in your content
      • Can incorporate SEO keywords
    • The cons:
      • Typically more expensive than machine translation, although continuous process improvements are helping to decrease costs
    • The Hybrid Option
      • In some cases, combining machine and human translations can create the perfect balance for your company, with an initial machine translation cross-checked by a human for accuracy and authenticity. While there has been exciting progress in machine translation technology over the last couple of years, it remains in the early stages. If you’re passionate about your message being interpreted correctly across multiple languages, it still pays to inject the human element into your translations.

 

In deciding which approach to take, it is important to carefully consider your requirements in terms of brand consistency, overall tone, speed, quality and cost. In general, machine translation works better for product pages or specific sections where 100% accuracy is not vital. Human translation serves well for high-traffic pages and translations across multiple languages, where content, messaging and context are crucial. We’re always happy to discuss with you the best option for your next project.

 

Keeping it Real

Building strength through humility

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” –Rick Warren

Protranslating strives to deliver the highest quality translation and interpretation services possible, and we have a 45-year track record of doing just that. But success doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. We also understand the importance of staying humble when it comes to building enduring relationships with our clients.

Our customer-centric approach requires the ability to focus on others and having a genuine interest in their projects, challenges and goals. Excelling in a consultative role demands that we put ourselves in others’ shoes and empathize with their own vision and needs, in order to grow strong and effective partnerships. To stay flexible and to continue to improve as a company means staying “teachable.” We understand the importance of listening, communicating clearly, and responding to changing circumstances in a timely fashion. We’re always learning from our clients and from each other, capitalizing on our strengths and working to shore up our limitations, and giving credit where credit is due.

We strive to foster teamwork, to facilitate communication and to inspire creativity. It’s important to make sure your language service provider, no matter how large, approaches its clients with the same openness, dedication and service mentality, whatever their size.

Click here to read all seven core values that guide us.

 

How to Streamline your eLearning Localization

Tips for collaborating with your language service provider

By: Carlos Estefani, VP of Client Services | Protranslating

To maximize your collaboration with a language service provider (LSP), it is helpful to consider a few elements early in the process. Making sure your source material is in the most useable form for localization will facilitate our work and ensure the best possible training experience for your global end users.

Over many years of working with hundreds of companies to develop localized eLearning material, we’ve discovered some ways to make the process go more smoothly. Here are some tips for increasing efficiency—and saving time and money:

  • Versions of the files used in the final source products should be made available for localization. Often, technologies used for eLearning products have two versions of the source—both editable and noneditable (published) versions. If the editable version is not available, then either the localized version needs to be created from scratch following translation or, in the case of multiple languages, rebuilt before translation is begun.
  • When designing eLearning content, be sure to allow space for possible text expansion. Depending on the language, the length of localized text can increase by as much as 50 percent. If the layout of your source content leaves room for expansion, you won’t be faced with space challenges in the localized versions, which can result in development delays.
  • Sharing process information, such as screen shot scripts and asset maps, from the source creation phase can be very useful to the localization effort. This helps reduce the process design time and minimizes the issues encountered during engineering.
  • Consolidate repeated items in a single place. Often in eLearning content, certain elements will be repeated on each page (for example, the “Next” and “Back” buttons). Assemble these repeated elements in a common repository or page template so they only need to be replaced once during the localization process. If these elements are integrated into each page, then each equivalent localized version must be similarly integrated, which increases the development time.
  • Lastly, consider up front which culturally relevant items will need to be changed in each version of the training. If an eLearning product has content that is not culturally neutral, that content needs to be replaced or re-written for each localized version. For example, using images of currency from the United States would need to be changed to comparable images suitable for each country. Being aware of this during the design phase will help eliminate time-consuming revisions later.

Following these simple guidelines will help us create accurate, effective and compelling localized eLearning programs for you.

About the Author: Carlos has been with Protranslating since 1998. During this time, he has helped introduce translation technology solutions that save clients both time and money. He is currently vice president of client services and in this role serves as a liaison between Operations and Sales. Drawing on his extensive industry knowledge, he provides expert guidance on creating efficient processes in complex translation projects. Carlos received a B.A. in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Localize your eLearning

Making sure your training materials are effectively translated

By: Carlos Estefani, VP of Client Services | Protranslating

Savvy managers know that offering top-notch training and development is key to building and maintaining an effective, productive and skilled workforce. This is more important than ever when the reach of corporate training extends around the world, to employees in multiple cultures, speaking a variety of languages. Whether your company is large or small, effectively translating your learning materials into other languages can dramatically impact the overall quality—and job satisfaction—of your global workforce.

We’ve all been exposed to good and bad learning experiences. The best training programs are engaging, accessible and relevant. Ensuring that your corporate training meets these criteria in a global setting adds another degree of challenge to the mix. How do you ensure that the translations of your training programs are not only technically accurate but tailored to the cultural preferences and sensitivities of your global audience?

You need a language service provider (LSP) that understands your various audiences and can communicate with them so that they can best absorb and benefit from the training you offer. Protranslating is such a company. Here are some of the ways we can help you localize your corporate programs:

  • Our translators incorporate diverse cultural learning styles. These expert linguists are native speakers who understand and skillfully make use of language nuances, cultural learning styles and target reading levels when translating your company’s training materials into different languages.
  • We use culturally relevant images and graphics. The best training materials organize and reinforce their messages with colored symbols and imagery. These elements improve esthetics and enhance learning. However, you need to be sure that these elements translate well to your end users in other countries. Since colors and designs can carry different meanings in other cultures, you don’t want to offend or confuse your audience. A knowledgeable LSP will pinpoint and address any in-country sensitivities within your global learning materials design to help you to be more appealing to end users.
  • We work in multiple presentation formats. Rather than having to spend time formatting your training materials, you can rely on us to customize and manage that process for you. Simply tell us your preferred file type. We work in Captivate, Storyline, Camtasia, Flash and others.
  • Our client portal makes it easy to communicate with us. You can submit and track projects, and pay and store invoices, which speeds up your project cycle and frees you up for other training and development projects.
  • One-stop shopping saves you money. Protranslating is typically 30% less expensive than our competitors because we have an in-house studio with resources that include linguists and voice talent.

Choosing an LSP with extensive learning and development experience working with a broad range of industries and projects, as well as the technical and professional capabilities to handle multiple languages and cultures, will ensure that your corporate training programs meet their objectives every time.

 

 

About the Author: Carlos has been with Protranslating since 1998. During this time, he has helped introduce translation technology solutions that save clients both time and money. He is currently vice president of client services and in this role serves as a liaison between Operations and Sales. Drawing on his extensive industry knowledge, he provides expert guidance on creating efficient processes in complex translation projects. Carlos received a B.A. in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Put the Medal to the Pedal

Speed & quality go hand-in-hand when conducting global research

By: Bob McNabb, Director of Business Development | Protranslating

When conducting research, speed is crucial to success. To gather actionable insights from your data, you need to be able to understand and analyze responses before the information is out of date. If you wait too long, any insights gleaned would be irrelevant. When you have a global project, things can get complicated, and panic can start to set in.

How do I balance this tiny budget and timeframe against the need for accuracy? Do I need to cut corners on quality control steps to meet my deadline? If I cut corners on quality, what is the likelihood the data I collect is accurate? At that point, I may spend more time and money correcting and re-surveying.

Everyone’s considered this dilemma. Before letting yourself fall too far into that rabbit hole, look below for a few ways to help you stay on budget, on time, and walk away with actionable insights from good-quality, global data.

Linguists & Coders with the Right Know-How
When selecting a linguist for any given project, make sure that they have the cultural and linguistic know-how to avoid biasing the survey or responses, but technology know-how as well. Whether you are using data collection platforms such as, Qualtrics, Confirmit, Medallia, InMoment, or something similar, or various file formats like XML, programming script within Excel, or some combination, the linguist should have a strong working knowledge of how to navigate the programming text without disrupting the code and causing errors.

Determining whether to code directly in-language or first translating the responses then coding in English, has significant effect on cost and timing. Project or research objectives typically drive the decision, but an experienced coder can guide you through the nuances. When appropriate, you can save time and money by coding directly in-language. In addition, poorly written open-ended questions may not provide the correct data. Allow your coders to assess the questions before data collection so they can help you fine-tune your survey and capture insights. It is just like the saying – “garbage in, garbage out.”

Translation Memory & CAT Tools
Technology is always changing and improving our lives. Within the language industry, it does just that: Translation Memory and CAT tools help speed up the translation process by maintaining consistency. When utilizing these technologies, the translator is able to manage an entire translation in one place (CAT tool). If there is repetition, the system auto-populates the translator’s previous words, leaving them to simply approve the input, and making the process move much faster. This is important for pre- and post-comparisons, say you’re gauging brand awareness, you don’t want to see a change in data because a question was translated differently from one point in time to another.

Machine Translation with Human Editing
Machine Translation is great for speeding up the translation process of open-ended responses. Given this, it only becomes beneficial if you have a large volume of open-ended responses. That said, there are always two sides to the coin. When respondents have the freedom to use their own words, it’s important to include a human element to review the machine’s work, ensuring it accounts for all cultural nuances.

Global Project Management Teams
It is crucial to have ’round-the-clock service no matter where you are located. For example, there is a 12-hour time difference between Miami and Beijing. If a change is requested by someone in Miami in the middle of their workday, their colleagues in Beijing won’t see that request until the next morning when they get into the office. This could cost you an entire days’ worth of translation work. Balance your project managers around the sun and you’ll save days. If you take these factors into consideration before you begin this process, you will save time, money, and headaches in the long run. If you’re not managing the translations yourself, be sure to ask your language service provider whether they are utilizing these techniques before getting started.

About the Author: Bob is a consummate market research professional with a career spanning 23 years, including data programming and analysis, report development, project management, and consultation to Fortune 100 conglomerates. The types of research he has conducted includes, new product development, optimization, and reformulation, branding, ATU, and much more. Over the last 5 years, Bob has been assisting market research suppliers and clients providing top-notch translation and customer service and is currently working with Protranslating. Bob was a pitcher in high school and had a brush with the Hall of Fame, though he didn’t know it at the time. In a legion baseball game in 1986, he threw two pitches to eventual Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. Of course, the second pitch landed over the left-center field fence for a home run. Better luck next time.

Don’t Lead the Witness in Any Language

Keep Biased Opinions from Skewing Your International Survey Data

A common perception in survey writing is that the more languages the survey is required to be translated into, the more opportunity there is for human bias. In more cases than not, this is found to be true.

Think about the time it takes for an author to write a survey in English. First, they must understand what the survey is trying to learn and the audience it is trying to learn from. Is the audience well educated on the subject matter? Are there environmental considerations that could affect their feelings toward a topic? Only after considering these things can the author even begin to think of the number, flow, and specificity of questions. This process is extremely time consuming, and for good reason — you want good results. Now think about how long it would take to translate something that has been so thoughtfully written into yet another language, within a completely different culture.

If you consider these two simple things before translating your survey, you’ll not only reduce the opportunity for bias, you’ll also reduce the number of headaches you would have undoubtedly suffered throughout the process.

1. Does your linguist have a strong understanding of both languages and both cultures?

It’s one thing to firmly grasp two languages. It’s a completely different thing to understand two different cultures. Consider, for example, how common it is to include questions about income in surveys. The U.S. generally measures income annually. In Germany, however, the cultural norm is to measure income monthly. A question as simple as, “What is your household income?” could be translated accurately, but the responses could completely miss the mark. This would lead to errors, and ultimately the need to re-survey. You want a linguist who will not only translate your questions accurately, but be sure to note cultural nuances such as these, keeping you on-time and within budget. The best linguists are those who have spent substantial time living in each audience’s country.

2. Are you utilizing technology at the correct times?

Given the previous example, you might not think there is ever a good time to use technology in survey translations, but that’s simply not true. You can benefit from the speed and savings afforded by technology, while simultaneously avoiding bias, if it is used at the right time. Let’s say you need to measure brand awareness over time. To truly understand if brand perception is improving or declining, you need to have consistency in questions. Translation memory tools can memorize key terms and phrases. If human translators are put to the task, their translations may vary slightly depending on many factors, whereas a translation memory tool would not.

If you take these factors into consideration before you begin, you will save yourself time, money, and headaches in the long run. If you’re not managing the translations yourself, be sure to ask your language service provider how they would handle these two issues when translating surveys before getting started.