Miami, Florida – 20th May 2017 – Bryan Montpetit, CEO of MontLingo Language Services, Inc. was officially appointed to the Board of Directors of the Association of Language Companies (ALC) by way of vote.
For more information, please visit www.alcus.org
A Short Introduction to Google’s Neural Machine Translation (GNMT)
Google has recently unveiled the Google Neural Machine Translation system (GNMT), the most advanced machine translation tool developed to date. GNMT goes a step beyond the word-by-word and phrase-by-phrase translation we have come to expect from tools such as Google Translate, looking at sentences as a whole. Powered by math and stats, the new system is ushering in a new age for machine translations.
First we had MT, now what the heck is GNMT?
Like other translation tools, GNMT doesn’t actually understand language in the way we humans do. It cannot completely differentiate between perfect tense and past perfect. Nor does it understand words based on their etymological value. What it does instead is use its computing power to reduce translation errors by as much as 85% on several language pairs, including English to Spanish, English to French, or English to Chinese and vice versa compared to existing machine translation tools.
Existing translation tools, including Google Translate, can carry out fairly effective word and phrase-based translations, using their computational power to take in statistical models and a lot of data – well beyond what a definitive English to Spanish dictionary would include – and use that to differentiate between idioms, phrasal verbs, or similar constructions. A computer needs a lot of data to understand phrases such as “set an example,” “set foot on,” “set in motion,” or “set up housekeeping.”
The Power of Neural Networks
To oversimplify neural networks; a neural network is essentially a cluster of processors arranged to function like neurons in the brain, with each tier receiving output from the tier before it, rather than from the same output source. Tiers are interconnected through processing nodes that can come with their own rules for processing information, and which can adapt their behaviour based on the information that has passed through them.
GNMT relies on the adaptive power of neural networking and the deep learning they make possible to translate at a sentence level. Complex predictive rulesets enable it to handle huge sets of data that are more accurate than any phrase-based translation tools available, nearing human translations in accuracy.
The Future of Machine Translation
GNMT is not as good as a human translator…yet. It is however, a major improvement over existing automated translation tools. For example, even though it may have difficulties translating uncommon words, whose infrequent use makes them harder to recognize by its neural network, GNMT can break these into smaller pieces and associate them with other words and structures of language, resulting in fewer errors even for complex translations.
Google already uses GNMT to translate Chinese to English queries, and in the future we are likely to be able to use it as easily as we now use Google Translate. It is likely to become a valuable tool for translators, speeding up translations and reducing costs.
But advanced as GNMT is, it is important to remember that it is essentially a math-powered tool adapted to work with language through rulesets. It will not eliminate the need for translators or professional translation services for companies that need the best quality translation possible.
Sensitive Topics, Morals, and Translation
A big prospect wants to hire you for a major project. They pay well and have a fair deadline. Music to your ears. But what happens if the nature of the content makes you uneasy, or if they have been involved in a major tax scandal or used unethical advertising tactics and their name is stained all over the media? Do you work with them or not?
For independent translators, small agencies, and new translators who are only getting started, and who are faced with stiff competition from established, long-standing translators and agencies, the temptation to accept any project and relinquish any responsibility can be hard to resist.
“It’s their content, not ours,” it can be argued. But it’s important to think the matter through before making up your mind.
A Few Scenarios to Consider
Translators do not always share the same values and ethical code as their clients. The nature of the content that needs to be translated, or the values of the individual or organization for whom it is intended, may conflict with the values and moral code the translation company or the translator themselves. While companies cannot control what clients contact them or request quotes, they can always choose whom to work for.
Here are a few scenarios that convey this dilemma:
- A company that pollutes our oceans or has a bad environmental track record in the media requests translations for new chemical products
- A pharmaceutical company that has been involved in a media scandal because of abusive animal testing tactics needs to translate public-friendly marketing material to overcome the scandal
- A conglomerate known for unfair workplace policies, child labour and workplace discrimination ask for content localization to enable expansion to new regions
- A group that uses incendiary tactics to attract attention, insulting certain races, groups or members of the community, needs to translate a blog or website to help promote their message
Ethical issues related to translation projects can create a disabling tension for any associated translation provider, reducing their motivation and productivity. In the case of agencies, it can even give rise to internal conflicts, where one or more members of the team may not agree to work on a specific project for ethical reasons.
Is it getting hot in here?
Ethical Guidelines – The Only Solution
It is important for translators and translation companies to have a set of ethical guidelines in place to which they can refer when needed. These guidelines have to answer essential questions such as:
- Do we work with clients who have different values than our own?
- Do we endorse companies that pollute the environment?
- Do we collaborate with clients who have been involved in scandals?
- Do we translate content for companies or individuals with a poor or questionable online reputation?
- Do we say yes to any project, or use a selective approach to choosing our work?
If we refuse certain projects, how do we do it so that we do not offend clients or cause resentment?
Every translation company may answer these questions differently. But it is crucial that they answer them nevertheless. Because having clear ethical principles and adhering to them is one of the key factors that sets apart professional and respected translation companies from the rest.
Let’s face it, you as a translator or company owner may be lucky enough to never have faced a situation like this, but the moment you are, you’ll be happy to have had the foresight to consider your positions, document your desired behaviours and clearly make it known to yourself and your team, where you stand should it arise.
What’s your take?
Ever been faced with questionable clients or prospects?
We’d love to hear about it.
How Consistent Authoring Lowers Translation Costs
I was recently asked about how to lower translation costs and the person asking was somewhat taken aback when I proposed something that was seemingly outside the scope of translation. Authoring.
Authoring is directly connected to the cost of translation.
Inconsistent terminology and writing styles not only increase translation costs, but create confusion and can even dilute the power of otherwise effective content. When different terms are used to designate the same product feature or characteristic, and when writing styles are not consistent across marketing, technical, support, and media content, organizations lose not only money, but potentially customers.
Common Inconsistencies That Increase Translation Costs
One of the most frequent symptoms of inconsistent authoring is when different terms are used for the same thing, i.e. “start button”,“start”, “on switch,” or “power button,” to refer to the same button on a device or within an app. The marketing team uses one term, the support team another, technical writers who create product manuals yet another. Translators naturally adhere to the material supplied for translation, multiplying these inconsistencies. This results in translations that may use more terms than necessary. This is why we believe starting projects with terminology is key.
Another major issue is the stylistic inconsistency that naturally arises when marketing material, product descriptions, or technical guides are written by uncoordinated teams of writers who use different styles or different versions of English (i.e. American English versus British English). What further adds to these problems is outsourcing content without clear terminological or stylistic guidelines in place.
Benefits of Consistent Authoring
Consistent authoring creates source content based on a clear list of terms, making it more portable to translate in any language. Even more importantly, it keeps the message faithful to the original. Here’s how consistent authoring helps companies save money when translation:
- Streamlines the source material and keeps it concise
- Makes original content reusable, eliminating the need for new content
- Simplifies the translation process and reduces the number of revisions and modifications that have to be made to the translated content
- Reduces to an extent the need for editing translations, which can be necessary if the inconsistent source material leads to confusion
- Enables translators to acquire customer experience quickly, allowing them to focus on the process of translating rather than research
How to Implement Consistent Authoring
Consistent authoring has to be implemented in the source language and applied across all materials produced in that language, including product descriptions and manuals, website and blog content, social media content, and online and traditional media ads and beyond.
- Use terminology management to create clear guidelines on the correct terms that authors will be using to refer the product features or specifications.
- Use a style guide for all content, whether it’s published online or in print, destined for internal or external groups
- Revise all new content in the source language for consistency, ensuring it adheres to the terminology and style guidelines.
- Set clear guidelines when outsourcing web content, social media content, or any other type of content. Create a style guide for external sources
- Assign the management and updating of the terminology guidelines to a member of your team.
- Limit the number of authors who create content in the source language.
Consistent authoring is not an option, but a necessity. More than optimizing translations and reducing costs, it improves the clarity of your content, increasing its impact on your target audience. Consistent authoring has a higher return on investment.
Look to streamlining authoring, which results in lower translation investments. We would love to hear your thoughts!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wordbee selected as the official technology provider of MontLingo Language Services Inc.
The company achieves a significant breakthrough into the Canadian translation market
Montreal, Canada – September 1st, 2016 – Wordbee is pleased to announce today that it has been selected as the primary technology provider of MontLingo Language Services Inc. (“MontLingo”), a premier Canadian content creation and translation service company located in the greater Montreal area.
With the selection of Wordbee, MontLingo makes Wordbee’s high-performance translation technology platform available to a whole range of Canadian businesses with local or international language needs, thus solidifying an ever-growing Wordbee presence in North America.
MontLingo selected Wordbee for its easy-to-use, logical and symbiotic approach to client, project and vendor management, while offering a solid translation environment and extensive Business Intelligence reporting.
MontLingo selected Wordbee due to it’s easy to use, logical and symbiotic approach to client, project and vendor management, while offering a solid translation environment and extensive Business Intelligence reporting.
“The possibilities seem endless with Wordbee – from automating project creation and task assignment to getting down and dirty with custom filter configurations – and I have no doubt that Wordbee’s innovative technology will enable MontLingo to manage heavily-involved collaborative projects with a high degree of precision and efficiency,” said Bryan Montpetit, CEO of MontLingo Language Services Inc.
“There are many great language service companies producing really innovative products and services in Canada and we are very proud to have MontLingo as a partner in a location where we foresee strong growth,” said Anita Sempels, CSO of Wordbee. “Bryan Montpetit is an industry veteran who has contributed to the growth of successful Canadian language service and technology providers, and I am confident that this partnership will help us grow our market share in Canada.”
Wordbee is a software company engaged in the development of high-performance translation technology solutions for language service providers, public and educational organizations, and global enterprises.
The Company has developed Wordbee Translator, a cloud-based collaborative translation and project management platform and Wordbee Beebox, a CMS connectivity solution.
About MontLingo Language Services Inc.
MontLingo is a premier Canadian language service company specialized in content creation and professional translation services. Providing engaging content and the highest-quality translation services in over 150 languages, MontLingo is a single stop for all content related needs, from single language press releases to international collateral professionally translated for your target audience.
Wordbee – Agathe Saunier, Press & External Communication, firstname.lastname@example.org
MontLingo – Bryan Montpetit, CEO, email@example.com
Ethics in any business are important. I mean it sounds logical enough doesn’t it?
I’m coming across more and more end-clients that require incredibly fast turnaround for their translation projects. As I often do, I’ve been discussing methods of rendering translation more efficient with industry colleagues and friends and one method in particular that keeps coming back to the surface is Machine Translation Post Editing (MTPE).
Now MTPE isn’t anything new, it’s been around for many years already and is growing in popularity. But if your customers aren’t aware that you as a translation provider are using this method, while still charging for “assumed” human-based translation, is it ethical?
If you aren’t aware of MTPE, or haven’t dabbled it in as of yet, let me simply clarify what it is we’re discussing here:
Customer X submits a document for translation. You decide to use machine translation for the “translation” of the document, which hopefully means having a “reputed and dedicated” machine translation engine perform the initial translation. Being transparent, typically the process takes a matter of seconds to complete once all the parameters and the engine itself are in place. Then a human translator or reviser performs the revision of the translation and ensures the produced final translation “product” is of quality. And then the document is returned, typically quickly and with an interesting profit margin.
The question remains: is this simply a method of increased efficiency and profit margins? Is this an example of we, the translation providers, simply taking advantage of existing technology? Being smarter “business” people?
I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on the matter from owners and operators of translation service companies. I have to say, the opinions tend to fall on both sides of the ethical fence.
My personal stance is that I do not have a problem with MTPE. I actually even believe it’s utilizing available technology to ensure a lower cost end-product. That being said, I also believe it has a specific place. And that place is not, for example in marketing collateral or press releases. In fact, it’s not useful for a lot of subject matter at this point in time.
The majority of content that we see at MontLingo is simply not the right fit for MTPE. But should the opportunity arise, I would not hesitate to recommend this approach. I would also guarantee I pass on the cost-savings to my end-client.
We believe in transparency with our clients and if our services can be offered at a lower price, without jeopardizing quality, we’ll be happy to do it!
Questions about MTPE? Ask us about what we feel is the right fit for this approach and what kind of material is best suited. We’d love to hear from you.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MontLingo enters into Canadian Language Service Company (LSC) Market
Content and translation service company MontLingo officially launches activities in Quebec.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada – August 1, 2016 – MontLingo Language Services Inc., a Montreal-based content and translation service company, officially enters the translation market, looking to provide comprehensive language solutions to end-clients with local or international language needs. Building on its in-depth industry knowledge and vast network of professional in-country resources, MontLingo prides itself on providing engaging content and the highest-quality translation services in over 150 languages.
Entering the market with the right combination of linguistic expertise and technology, MontLingo is bringing advantages to clients on many levels.
“I’ve seen so many companies throwing money away because of inefficient content creation-related processes,” said Bryan Montpetit, owner and CEO of MontLingo. “MontLingo’s ability to streamline the process and provide stellar content and translation results in less expenditure while receiving higher quality content overall.”
Dedicated to helping businesses reach their multilingual audiences in the most efficient way, MontLingo relies on state-of-the art technology and task automation to effectively reduce overhead, passing savings on to the end-client.
About MontLingo Language Services Inc.
MontLingo is a premier Canadian language services company specialized in content creation and professional translation services. Providing engaging content and the highest-quality translation services in over 150 languages, MontLingo is a single stop for all content related needs, from single language press releases to international collateral professionally translated for your target audience.
Bryan R. Montpetit
CEO, MontLingo Language Services Inc.
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