Skrivanek will be at tcworld 2016 – Tekom Annual Conference, Stuttgart November 8th-10th 2016

18 10 2016

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Skrivanek’s Project Management Team Leader Jan Hirš will be representing the company at the tcworld conference in Stuttgart at the beginning of November. Jan has been working for various LSPs for almost 10 years and  has extensive experience in all aspects of the translation business. Most recently he has been appointed head of Skrivanek’s  International Project Management Center and Localization department providing language services to major companies and organizations worldwide.

 

If you would like to contact Jan prior to the event:

Phone: +420 739 391 791

Email: jan.hirs@skrivanek.com

 

See you in  Stuttgart!

L.Radova





Thinking Global from the Beginning

11 10 2016

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European “Eunicorns” have a globalization advantage: out of necessity, they globalize much earlier than successful North American startup companies. Markets in France, Spain, Sweden and other European countries are so much smaller than the English-speaking block, that entrepreneurs think beyond their own borders from day one. Then, when expansion to new markets is the best next step, their mindsets are flexible, translation resources in place, and geographical scalability already prepared for.

But why should a start-up in North America, the UK or Australia think beyond the enormous English-speaking market until much further down the road? For one thing, two-thirds of their customers lie outside that market, by some estimates. And since investors like to see long-term thinking, the question of where a company will be selling in five or ten years is immediately relevant.

An additional advantage is that some potential markets are also less competitive than those an English-speaking company may be most accustomed to selling to, because of fewer similar products. As an example, Arabic markets are often neglected by English-speaking companies, and yet they account for nearly 5% of the world’s internet users*. An early move to localize for such a market could be strategically brilliant.

Thinking globally before you “have to” could save not only money, but protect you from failed efforts and wasted time when you do start to move in that direction. If from the start you are planning with a global market in mind, you will use concepts, logos, and branding, that are simple and direct, and therefore easy to localize. Knowing and working from the essence of what your product offers your customers, you can choose keywords and phrases that don’t have to be abandoned later because they are only relevant to, for instance, an American audience.

Another important localization piece that can be provided for early on: any software you use should be able to support international character sets (Unicode), with user-visible text and images separate from executable code, and a capacity for text expansion.

For an American or UK start-up with limited localization resources, one safe, lower budget way to initiate global readiness could be to localize from American to UK English (or vice versa). Of course the languages are so close as to be interchangeable, to a large extent. It is easy to find UK variations that are accepted and understood by Americans, or Australian phrasing that does not deter purchases by UK buyers.

But the differences that do exist – spelling, phrasing, humor, cultural references — can be addressed and resolved. An internal structure for doing so can be developed within your company, including the development of a working relationship with a strong LSP such as Skrivanek. Then the interface for more complex localization will be in place, the process practiced and the glitches worked out.

J. McShulskis

*internetworldstats.com

 





Advancing Skrivanek’s Proofreading Expertise

3 10 2016

Committed to continuous professional development of its language service team members, Skrivanek offered specialized training for its proofreaders this year. Led by Dr. Tomas Svoboda, PhD, these sessions were held at the Institute of Translation Sciences at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague.

Proofreading is a mandatory componentspeakers-414560_1920
of translation, according to EN 15038 European standard and the ISO 17100 standard, which specifically delineate allthe required steps of the translation process. These include translation, check (revision by the translator), revision (proofreader), review (if required), proofreading (another proofreader, if included in the order), and final verification (by the project manager).

At Skrivanek, close attention is paid to these standards, but nuanced understanding of content is equally important at every stage, including proofreading, and this was a major topic dealt with in the training. Dr. Svoboda is a translator, interpreter, proofreader, editor, and an instructor of foreign languages and translation seminar teacher at Charles University, and he brought a rich perspective to his participants.

Issues unique to proofreading provided material for the bulk of the training, with Dr. Svoboda suggesting special strategy ideas, from the use of automated translation tools, to methods of focus on the material. High-level refinements that are critical to precision were analyzed, including controversial linguistic phenomena and differences in typographic requirements in different languages (such as apostrophes, accents, numbers, dates, quotation marks, etc.).

One of the most interesting discussions concerned the importance of deeply understanding the purpose of a document before undertaking its translation. Is the text for internal use, legislation, marketing? The style and level of quality are dictated by the purpose, and therefore thorough understanding is necessary in order to offer the correct final product at the appropriate price.

Fundamental project processes were thoroughly discussed as well; for instance, the essential preliminary step of gathering from the client as much background information as possible. This includes related reference materials, specific internal conventions and terminology that are used in the document(s), translation memory for use with CAT tools, and other supporting materials. Skrivanek’s policies emphasize client involvement at every stage of the translation process, in order to ensure the highest possible level of clarity and quality, and this training of our proofreaders strengthens our ability to accomplish this goal at that key step in QA.

Only 3% of all proofreading candidates that apply to Skrivanek are able to pass through our demanding selection process. It was these top-notch proofreaders who attained even higher levels of skill through our 2016 Prague training.

 J. McShulskis

 

 





Will Brexit Weaken the Presence of English in Europe?

18 07 2016

The European Union currently has 24 official languages, one language chosen by each of the 28 member countries. All enjoy equal status, a founding belief being that every citizen has a right to know what is going on in their name and to play an active part if they wish to.

English was chosen by just one country: the United Kingdom. Ireland chose Gaelic, and Malta chose Maltese, in spite of the fact that English is in everyday use in both of those countries. The existing structure of the EU dictates that if the UK leaves the EU, so does English as a member language.

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One of the practical consequences of that for the UK and other English-speaking nations that trade with the EU, would be that EU documents would not be produced in English by the internal EU translation entity, DG Translation. All translation would have to be done by the foreign, English-speaking companies or governments, at their own expense. Another consequence is that English is currently one of the three EU “working languages” used to apply for EU Patents, among many other processes, giving English-speaking researchers and corporations an edge over competitors who don’t work in English, French or German (the other two working languages), and that advantage would be lost.

The three working languages account for about 70 percent of material that is translated in the EU, according to Europa.eu, the EU’s official website. The other 30 percent is comprised of legislation and major policy documents, which are translated into all 24 official languages.

What is the linguistic future of the EU? As the UK begins to execute its EU departure, opinions vary as to whether English might be kept on as a working language, and there are strong comments from EU commissioners both for and against. The process could take up to seven years, European Council President Donald Tusk has warned, and the question of language is only one of many – but it’s one that cuts deeply into the emotions of Europeans all over the map.

Skrivanek has been providing translation services to the European Commission, Translation Centre for the Bodies of EU, European Parliament etc. since 2003, and in that time has delivered over 1,000,000 pages in 14 languages, including English, covering a wide range of subject matter. We will be watching developments closely, and our clients both commercial and institutional can rest assured that we will track changes and new requirements in order to provide exactly what is needed.

J. McShulskis





What’s the Rush? – what you’re paying for when you pay rush fees

1 07 2016

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Trust fosters good relationships between LSPs and their clients, and that trust is built through the successful execution of projects. Project managers at LSPs work with their clients to set up timelines that everyone follows, and in turn the translation team gets translated text completed on time and delivered where it needs to be with the highest possible quality. Clients pay for this service in a timely manner, and trust grows.

But what if an unforeseen need arises and there is more or different text required by the client within the same time frame, or a quicker turnaround becomes essential? It certainly happens, and while sometimes an LSP can fit the extra work into its schedule without taking extraordinary measures, often enough there are urgent alterations required, so “rush fees” are common and necessary.

The rush fees that are usually charged in such cases might more accurately be called “inconvenience fees,” because what they compensate for is the rearrangement of schedules and plans. Rush fees aren’t surcharges tacked on to take advantage of heightened need; in fact they don’t result in extra profits for translators, but rather they’re an attempt by language service providers to recoup extra costs incurred.

This is because there are many elements involved with any translation job. When you ask for, say, overnight turnaround of 15,000 words from English into Chinese, you are not asking for something along the lines of an increased number of people to pack more boxes. The whole “LSP machine” has to be adjusted, and that machine is quite complex.

For instance, LSPs might have to ask their individual translators to process a stressful number of words per day (1,500 – 2,000 is considered an average per day output, sometimes lower, sometimes higher), and the likely scenario is that to do so, those individuals will have to work over weekends or late into the night. Specialists and translators may have to be kept on-call and paid retainer fees if it’s uncertain how many people will be needed to properly process the work on time. And translation jobs always consist of steps that must be completed in order.

Additionally, the “rush job” often interrupts other jobs in the queue and borrows resources that were supposed to be available for other clients (such as computer systems and automations). In other words, the organization required for the smooth and orderly processing of translation is shoved off to the side, and an “emergency room” type structure is put in place – for you.

Rush jobs probably shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, and if a company finds that they frequently have something Due Right Now that they haven’t arranged to have done, it would be wise to take a look at internal organization. It could be that strict, early deadlines for those departments creating content will save a lot of hassle and cash at the translation/localization phase. Other times problems arise because of last minute additions or changes by the client’s client, and that conflict might best be dealt with by educating those clients about the processes involved and the kind of obstacles and costs that untimely changes create.

Whatever the situation, potential delays that can cause rush requests should be watched for and communicated to your LSP. Sometimes a heads-up, warning them that part of the job might need to be rushed, will allow them to prepare in a way that doesn’t require emergency measures.

Workers in any other industry get overtime to compensate for such excess demands, so if a client is interested in building a trust-based relationship with their LSP, rush fees should be expected for quick turnaround requests. Translation is an intellectually demanding process that simply takes the time that it takes, and for high quality professionals, sacrificing quality through shortcuts isn’t an option.

Skrivanek’s project managers are the cream of the crop worldwide, and they’re acutely aware that rush jobs must be handled with the same attention and accuracy that any scheduled translation job receives. Procedures and alternate workflow structures have been developed to meet every scenario the global marketplace can generate.

 

For more details, please refer to our website: www.skrivanek.com.

J. McShulskis





Is the Spanish of Argentina the Sexiest?

9 06 2016

6427241251_5dd2239c6e_b-kopie.jpgThe failure of European Spanish as a one-size-fits-all language for every Spanish-speaking country in the world is illustrated by a trend in the publishing industry. Independent Spanish publishers are seeking markets beyond Europe, in both the U.S. and Latin America, since financial recovery in Spain has been slow. Interestingly both the Spanish language used and the illustrations have had to be altered in order for children to identify with the tales.

From its European birthplace, the Spanish language has traveled and taken root as a dominant language in nearly twenty other countries. And as is always the case with vibrant languages adopted in varied environments, time, oceans, and myriad human influences have ensured that European Spanish evolved in different ways than did its cousins in Latin America and elsewhere.

Spaniards can speak with Mexicans or Argentines quite easily, but their languages are different enough to create moments of confusion. Different enough, too, to create philosophical arguments over which variation of Spanish is the most beautiful, the most pure, the sexiest. And as home to the Real Academia Espanola, which regulates the language, Madrid boasts the Spanish often considered ‘most important.’

From the marketing perspective, the variations are enough to cause disconnects between a company and its customers. A word or idiom incorrectly used, for instance, can be inaccurate at best, and offensive in the worst cases. “Coger” is a good example of the extreme: in Spain it means to “grab” or “take,” as in lunch or buses, but in most Latin American countries it is a crass way of referring to sexual intercourse. “Okay” as an affirmation is “vale” in Spain, and “bien” or “okay” in Latin America. The word “camión” means “truck” in Argentina and “bus” in Mexico. And the gap created by incorrect words frequently becomes a gap in trust.

In addition to vocabulary differences, there are a few notable pronunciation variations, including:

* In some parts of Latin America, the‘s’ at the end of words is sometimes ‘eaten’, most frequently with plural nouns, or for instance in the slang version of Buenos Aires.

* ‘C’ has a pronunciation like ‘s’ through most of Latin America, and often like ‘th’ in Europe.

* In Spain, the double ‘l’ is close to the ‘y’, but in the Buenos Aires region, it’s more like ‘sh’ or ‘zh’.

Grammatical differences include different frequency of the use of the three past tense forms, and a preference in Europe for the use of ‘vosotros’ when addressing a group as ‘you’, versus ‘ustedes’.

Whether it’s advertising or a child’s story, language is an intimate tool that can connect straight to the heart – but you have to get the details right. Skrivanek Group has over two decades of experience translating Latin American to European Spanish and vice versa, and from either one into dozens of other languages.

J. McShulskis

 

 





Skrivanek will be at CTIP – Clinical Trials Innovation Programme, Hamburg June 27th-28th 2016

11 05 2016

Clinical Trials Innovation Programme

Skrivanek’s newly appointed Global Sales Manager Jaroslava Ouzka will be representing the company at 5th CTIP event in Hamburg towards the end of June. Jaroslava has been with Skrivanek over 10 years and  has extensive experience of all aspects of the translation business. Most recently she has headed Skrivanek’s  division providing language services to major European institutions such as the EU and European Parliament.

“The CTIP meetings are always an excellent opportunity to hear about new innovations and trends, exchange experiences and of course network with a range of professionals from around the world” “I’m really looking forward to a busy two days” said Jaroslava.

“Skrivanek has a division exclusively dedicated to Life Sciences and Medical translations with experts delivering top quality translations across the sector from packaging and product information through clinical trials and research findings to medical device manuals and marketing materials. We are proud to count companies such as Abbott, GE Healthcare, Siemens, Worldwide Clinical Trials and many others among our clients. We deliver high quality Life Sciences translations that allow clients to successfully communicate and compete in global markets. Our Life Sciences translators are among the best specialist linguists in their chosen field, and they are guided at all times by Skrivanek’s stringent quality assurance and best practice policies to ensure that all statutory, legal and moral obligations are met.”

So, as a leading supplier of translation services to clinical trials organizations worldwide Skrivanek regards the CTIP as a “don’t miss” event and although Hamburg is still some weeks away we would like to invite other attendees who would like the opportunity to meet Jaroslava and discuss how they might benefit from Skrivanek’s expertise to contact us as soon as possible to arrange an informal meeting. As we all know from experience schedules fill up quickly and time flies at such events!

 

If you would like to contact Jaroslava prior to the event:

Phone: +420 605 235 691

Email: jaroslava.ouzka@skrivanek.net

 

See you in  Hamburg!

J. Atkinson