Machine translation has its opponents and supporters but everyone agrees that eBay adopting machine translation (MT) is becoming a huge success story. They really are selling more with the help of MT. Continue reading eBay Uses Machine Translation to Sell More
PDF files have been used to send and view documents for quite some time now. But as great as the format is, it has its limitations. While PDF is not always the most flexible format, people have also false assumptions on what cannot be done with a PDF.
One of the most common issues that users face is trying to print off a small section of a larger document. It’s frustrating to have to print an entire 150-page document when all you really need is a few paragraphs from some individual pages. The good news is that there is a way to print PDF that will not only save you a whole bunch of printer ink, but a great deal of time in the process. Continue reading Can I Print Only Selected Parts in PDF Files?
This is a real life example of translating a small Windows application called Multilizer Translator Gadget, which is a Windows Sidebar Gadget. Although every software localization project is unique, there is a universal path which is followed by majority of localization cases. Let’s go through this path with this case.
Before any localization project can be started, one needs to define the goals for the project. Localization is not a simple term and to avoid any misunderstandings it is important to clarify what it means in this specific case. In our case the localization was reduced to translating the user interface into multiple languages.
#1 Set up the goals for the project.
After one knows what is the desired outcome of the project, it is recommendable to take a look at the software. There are many things software developers can do to ease the actual localization process. (Due to the technical aspect of this stage, the following few paragraphs contain some technical jargon. If it’s too complicated, just jump straightly to the “Localization Phase” or ask a nerd for some assistance.)
The sources were organized in a typical way in the following folders:
root +css +images +js
#2 Check the software architecture.
The Gadget takes a use of the Microsoft MUI architecture; there can be folders named by the ISO locale, such as ‘es-ES’. On a Spanish system the Sidebar would first look for files under ‘es-ES’ directory. If not found, then ‘neutral’ files would be loaded. Based on this architecture, translation would involve that all the files would be copied under a new directory named by the ISO locale. After that the files with texts in English would be translated to another language. This approach, however, is not so elegant. A lot of files were duplicated as such.
To overcome this, we decided to internationalize the code. This means that we removed all English texts and placed them in one common resource file named ‘resourcestrings.js’. And the user interface is now populated at start-up by calling a getResourceString() function.
With this approach the translation of the gadget is simply reduced to translation of ‘resourcestrings.js’.
We also added two extra functions to make the programming part even more convenient:
#3 Internationalize the code (if possible)
These relatively small changes in code ease and simplify the next phase of the localization project significantly.
When all the preparative work is done, the actual localization can begin. One can do the localization phase manually or semi-automatically with a special localization tool. Manual work requires a lot more technical knowledge about software development than working with a localization tool. The most significant differences between these two methods are time and security. A localization tool speeds up the process by automating certain tasks and secures the software by eliminating the possibility to make fatal changes to the code during a localization process.
We did our project with our own, advanced localization tool called Multilizer Enterprise. It is a versatile tool for both small and big projects. We first created a new Multilizer project and scanned our software with the tool. Our localization tool recognises which part of the code should be translated and shows only these strings. After that we exported the translatable material automatically to Google Translator Toolkit with MOTO.
#4 Prepare the project for translation.
At this point of the project it’s time to translate. Depending on the goals of the localization project, one should decide how the translation is made. The best output is likely to be made by a professional translator who is specialized on the topic and on software localization. However there are also situations when e.g. crowdsourcing translation is the best solution. Again the goals and targets of the project should be taken into account. In our project we used an online employment platform called Elance to find translators.
The translators worked on our project with Google Translator Toolkit. This kind of online outsourcing is simple for the translators, because they can work online where and when they want to without any need for downloading or installing programs to their own computers. To ensure the quality, there should be a good communication channel between the participants.
#5 Recruit translator(s) and communicate with them.
When the translations are finished, they can be integrated to the code. In our project this was made by importing the translations automatically back from Google Translator Toolkit to Multilizer Enterprise.
#6 Integrate the translations to you project.
When all this have been made, one can finish the project and build the localized software. In this stage there is a temptation to mark the project as finished and move to the next one. However there’s still one important thing to do.
After the software is localized, one should test it properly. It’s a good idea to let the translator(s) see the outcome as well. All the possible mistakes or typos are relatively easy to fix now before any further marketing actions.
This is how our localization project proceeded. Would you do something differently?
This article is originally published at translation-blog.multilizer.com.
Translation quality is a hot topic especially when talking about machine translation. It is true that machine translation is not the same as professional human translation, but can we say that the quality of machine translation is worse than the quality of human translation. The common opinion seems to agree with this claim. However I’m not sure if the issue of quality is this simple at all.
While the use of social media and Internet is booming, the criteria of written text is evolving. Anyone of us can write and publish online no matter how bad our language skills are. It was argued already when SMS was the hot new innovation that the languages will suffer when people start to communicate innovatively. Since then the technological development has taken giant leaps and the world has changed.
I believe that there are different criteria for (translation) quality depending on the place or channel. Grammatical mistakes in a novel are probably received differently than in social media. The target of today’s e-communication is to share ideas in a way that people can understand the message. A major reason behind translation projects is also sharing information to a wider audience. This stretches the limits of the concept of quality.
The quality of translated information is hard to define. Let’s take a real life example:
A person from our development team was the other day involved in translating a manual in PDF format. The manual was related to building an electronic gadget, and the translation was made with Multilizer PDF Translator.
Multilizer PDF Translator automatically translates PDF documents using machine-translation, so the translation quality is not perfect. Unlike other solutions for PDF translation, however, Multilizer PDF Translator preserves the layout. During the translation project it became clear that the layout of the translated document was more important than perfect grammatical quality.
As a proof for our claim, see the Spanish translation for “Important! Before turning on power, ensure that capacitors C7, C9, and C15 are connected as shown in the diagram.”
The left text without image has a better translation from grammatical point of view as the right one which is far from perfect. I bet many of us would however choose the incorrect translation if it shares the information in an understandable way.
Have you ever read a grammatically correct text without understanding what it is really trying to say? At least I have.
Bamunka language has got their own alphabet. This is a good thing in this time of globalization when few, giant languages tend to rule the global communication. Languages are an asset to the world. Bamunka is spoken by 20,000 people in Cameroon. Here are the Bamunka alphabet:
In addition software can now be localized to Bamunka language, because the alphabet is Latin alphabet plus some special characters that have existing Unicode codepoint. Thus the software to localize must be Unicode enabled to support proper localization.
What is the most exotic language you know?
There are at least two common situations when machine translations can offer real advantage compared to other translation options. Firstly when human translator service is used with basic translation project, machine translation can save as much as half of the translation expenses charged by the translation provider. Secondly, when translating easy-to-read documents, machine translator can achieve very high quality translation within minutes. Don’t believe me? Read ahead.
When you want to translate any text to another language with extremely high quality, a human translator must be involved. That means it will cost you some money and when the price is usually based on the word count, the translation project can become way too expensive for a small business or for a private person. If you first translate the text with computer and then have a professional, human translator proofreading and fixing the errors you can save up to 50% in cost. Thus by combining machine translation and human translation you will achieve great savings both in cost and time.
Another way to use machine translation effectively is to translate text that is easy for a computer to translate. When the text itself is easy the computer makes less or no errors. Thus you will have good quality translated by a machine. There are various guidelines (check for example our machine translation guidelines or this article) for writing text that can be easily translated with a machine. First of all, write short sentences. All sentences must be also simple without complicated sub sentences or multi-level sentence structures. Also make sure that you use common language and not any speciality words.
In a previous post we compared machine translation with driving a car. If we take this parable to this conversation also, it really seems reasonable. You can’t travel around the world by driving a car, but it is reasonable to drive to the airport or harbour. Likewise machine translation can take you closer to the destination and ease you journey. In addition driving a car is much more pleasant if the road is in a good condition. A good machine translator is like a good car: it speeds up the tour and takes you closer to the destination smoothly and quickly. Sometimes the road even leads to the end and a good car is the only transporter you need.