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Quarter IV, 2005

A Journey to England...

Iverson has been actively partnering with SDL Desktop Technology for several years for its computer-assisted translation software. The translation memory software we most commonly use, SDLX, is one of their key products.

I recently flew to their headquarters in England to meet with their team and attend a certification training class. I learned advanced tips and tricks about SDLX that allowed us to improve our processes. In addition, through one-on-one discussions with various development and support staff, I had the opportunity to exchange ideas about the future of the tools and enhancement requests. This was extremely beneficial in helping us stay on top of current and future developments in the computer-assisted translation field.

I also took advantage of my time in London to do a thrilling pilgrimage to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone which became a key metaphor to represent our industry. The historical importance of the stone is that it allowed researchers to decode the Egyptian hieroglyphic text inscribed on it by using the Greek translation which also appears on the stone. This laid the foundation for our knowledge of ancient Egyptian language and culture. Make sure to stop and pay your respects to this great translation artifact if your steps ever take you to London.

Submitted by: Hélène Pielmeier, Director of Client Services

Preparing Documents for Translation

Communication of business-critical information is the goal of every company's documentation, regardless of the language in which it is written. Any project manager in the translation industry will tell you that quality translation begins with quality source documentation. Conciseness in the production of English technical documentation results in documents that are easier to understand, quicker to translate, and whose lower word counts are more cost-effective. 

While conciseness is considered a key standard in technical writing, it is imperative to know when and where techniques for shortening sentences and phrases should be employed.  For example, the elimination of articles, prepositions or relative pronouns may result in fewer words, yet can cause a translator extra work in determining the function of a word. For example, the phrase "test file" may mean "test this file" or it may simply be a noun: "this is a test file". Rather than cutting important syntactic clues, technical writers might achieve conciseness through the following:

  • Avoid synonyms for important parts and processes; choose your operative terms and stick with them.
  • Avoid long modifier chains; limit adjectives to two or three per sentence.
  • Avoid repeating the text from graphics and headings in the body of the text.              

Concise, unambiguous source text allows translators to focus on the most important function of their job: communicating the message.  Rather than spend time sorting out that "turn the wheel clockwise" actually refers to the same process as a previously mentioned command - "rotate the wheel to the right" - translators can devote themselves solely to the accuracy, consistency, and quality of the translation.

Submitted by: Leah Leone, Traffic Coordinator

Consistency: Why Does it Matter and What Can You Do About it?

When we use translation memory on your projects, the application calculates the percentage match between sentences that require translation and existing sentences in your translation memory. Each time you edit a sentence in English, the match level with what we had already translated for you decreases and translation costs increase. Even the addition of a space, bolding a word or correcting a spelling mistake is going to be interpreted as a different sentence by our translation memory software.

Let's take an example: to calculate the impact on a 10,000-word document in which you edit just 10% of the sentences. If a sentence is on average 10 words long, that means 1,000 words would count as new. If you translate this document into 5 languages with an average cost of 30 cents per word, this represents $1,500.

The direct impact of minimal changes on cost is often under-estimated by authors whose natural tendency is to always try and perfect the document. Our computer-assisted translation partner, SDL Desktop Technology, developed a new tool called SDLAuthorAssistant to assist authors to leverage previously created content and compare it to what they are writing while they are writing the original English text.

SDLAuthorAssistant leverages an organization's existing translation assets and applies them to the authoring stage. It compares what is written in the original language against content which has been previously written, translated and stored in the translation memory. Forbidden terminology can be blocked and poor language constructions highlighted.

By having access to the latest translation assets and to rules concerning corporate writing styles, authors can improve the quality and consistency of global content. It can also help keep translation costs in check.

Please contact us if you would like more information about SDLAuthorAssistant and how it can help you.

Submitted by: Hélène Pielmeier, Director of Client Services

An Inside Look at Our Clients

Working in the translation industry is both fascinating and stimulating. Every company is unique and every project introduces new challenges and inspires our team to develop long-term solutions to meet the translation needs of our client. Here is an inside look at the work we do with our clients.

Several of the clients that we work with are in the manufacturing sector. Although these companies manufacture and/or sell a variety of different products, they share the common goal of promoting their product in international markets with the use of translation. The type of work we do for our manufacturing clients inclues includes print and online product catalogs, instructions for use, operators and maintenance manuals, websites and brochures. Another facet of their translation needs is for internal use, for example employee handbooks and benefits information.

We even do work for people who go to work on airplanes and boats! Specifically, we work with airlines and cruise lines to translate their materials for their international guests. The needs for these organizations include menus, marketing materials and websites. For more information on the work we have done in these industries, please contact us.

Another area we work in is the medical device industry. The needs for this industry are similar to manufacturing in that translation is a part of the overall international marketing strategy. In addition, a medical device client may translate product documentation or labeling to comply with regulations in overseas markets. Other work for companies in the medical/ device industry includes translating software that runs a device, instructions for use, patient rights and regulation documents and patents.

Additionally, we are involved in the K-12 education market through a joint relationship with TransACT Communications, Inc. For example, school districts translate documents in order to comply with federal communications regulations, such as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act. Translation is done for student handbooks, school-to-home communications, report cards and parent newsletters. For more information on the education market, visit the TransACT site. 

This is just a snippet of the type of work we do at Iverson Language Associates, Inc. Our clients and are companies and organizations that have an ongoing need to communicate business-critical information. More information can be found by visiting our website.

Submitted by: Molly Kreeger, Business Development Manager

Coming up Next Quarter...

More interesting articles, plus biographical information and photos of our two new employees, Frank Manzullo, Business Development Manager and Leah Wanta, Assistant Project Manager.

 

© 2005 Iverson Language Associates, Inc.

 

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