Visit our company website at

Monday, May 7, 2018

Can you edit from Indonesian to Malay?

This comes up enough that I would we should mention it here: These languages are not similar enough to be able to edit from one to the other. Oddly enough, many linguists in both languages believe it can be done, but see what you say when you give them a project and ask them to do it!

There is even a Wiki page on this, see here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Realities of Editing

In the real world we still depend on expert linguists despite the lure of cheap crowd-sourced work or an automatic miracle.

We also know that even when the most qualified subject specialist is employed on a project, others who edit/proofread/check their work will attempt to take it apart, often for completely unjustified reasons, perhaps as a justification for their own employment as an editor. This is just a syndrome we have to account for in the very subjective realm of localization.

So even top experts are disputed by other experts. Augmented or MT does not really address, in any way, the actual quality of a translation and the subjective decisions that have to be made.

Where it does come into play, we suspect, is as another attempt to chip away at what translators are paid. First it was the translation tools like Trados which had as their first advantage that an employer could discount repetitions and not have to pay a full-word rate for each word translated.

Now exactly the same thing is happening with MT--linguists are asked to assume every word is essentially a repetition and then vouch for the work for a fraction of their per word rate (or even an hourly rate). It seems incredible that any professional linguist would willingly accept such a bargain.

This race to minimize or eliminate the cost of the human element in any field is always going to be a driving element in business. However, the editor and the subjective decision are likely to remain part of the industry for a long time to come.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

12 Hilarious Reasons Not to Google Translate Thai

12 Hilarious Reasons Not to Google Translate Thai
Roast duck sanctuary and sweet-fitting Kayasart. Know ye millet grain?...

Monday, September 25, 2017

The chasm between top management and the trenches

TMs, augmented translation, and machine translation—they all have the same goal: replace humans, who are an expense, with an automatic solution which can reduce or even eliminate the need to pay people.

Interestingly enough, these economic concerns are the same reasons companies try to replace experienced project managers with interns.

This is the flow of the industry. TM tools, after all, are meant to enable a company to discount linguists’ work. Linguists even have to pay for this discount by buying the TM tool (in most cases).

Underpinning this is the idea that technology can replicate the work of a specialist linguist so that they can be replaced with a cheaper (or free) generalist. It means one can swap one linguist for another because this technology assists their word choices (although “correct” translation is a lot more than proper word choices and the assist from technology often does not lead to better translation—we pointed this out and coined the “over reverence phenomenon” years ago).

The possible savings are a tempting thing for the C-level folk in localization companies—imagine the cost reduction—and profit increase—if one did not have to pay so much to those pesky translators!

However, the clarion call from production is the same—the need for individual experts and individual subject specialists. Only these human beings can adapt the style and substance to a certain client.

The needs from clients also are clear. They need competent project managers to sort out the mid-project changes that are inevitably part of any project. Harried interns are rarely about rise above hectoring in their efforts to force linguists to adhere to tightened deadlines or other changes.

So this demonstrates the long-standing chasm between top management and the trenches where the work is done. More and more systems with little to show for it, but more bureaucracy…