Monday, February 13, 2012

What CEO's Need to know about product localization

What CEOs need to know about Product Localization?


This issue addresses the needs of executives and decision makers with strategic international expansion plans. Once international requirements are identified, the knowledge gained herein will facilitate all future translation work. Click on the titles below to view the full text.

Acting on the favorable exchange rates for the US dollar overseas, the continued outsourcing trend to China, and the ongoing overall globalization trend worldwide, companies all over the globe are accelerating their activities in foreign markets. In this article, we examine the tangible and intangible benefits of localization and translation. Competitive, brand, image and market share gains are cited and addressed.


So you made a decision to localize. Depending on the strategic importance of geography, time-to-market, and availability of funds, you may decide to choose different localization strategies to best fit your requirements. This article describes the different localization strategies available to companies today and the pros and cons of each. Over-the-wall, coupled, and integrated strategies are used to permit applying tradeoffs between time-to-market and costs, and to impact development and revenues.

As your company enters into global markets, catering to your newly targeted international clients’ language needs will soon become a long-term commitment for your product development team. This article examines in-house options, as well as the alternatives, to help you choose the best strategy. Always consider hiring professionals for the job. It could mean the difference between success and failure.

Top Five Myths of Localization

This article was originally written by GlobalVision in one of their industry newsletters but I thought it was a great article and I wanted to repost it. 

Myth 1: Localization is simply translation
Many executives do not realize the level of effort involved in localization, dismissing it as simply translation.
For many years now, advances in internet technologies, development tools, authoring tools and platforms, have expanded the use of different file formats and build environments. Software applications and manuals are no longer based only on Microsoft resource files or Word documents. Java, XML, ASP, PHP,  HTML, as well as many other formats, have become standard in many applications and products.
Furthermore, with the continued trend toward the convergence of technologies, companies are marrying software, hardware, mechanics, chemistry, biology and other sciences to develop high-end solutions.
Translators are now expected to understand all these different technologies and file formats, and accurately translate only what is needed, without modifying tags, links or code. If errors are made, a significant amount of debugging time is needed to fix and build the international products.
Localization is both an art and a science. Do not underestimate the efforts needed or short-cut the process. It takes experienced engineering and translation professionals to properly implement an efficient translation-reuse process and localize your product.
Myth 2: Anyone who knows a second language can perform translation tasks
Would you hire anyone who speaks English to be your Tech Pubs writer, or anyone who knows a computer language to be your programmer? Translators are professionals with years of schooling and translation experience. They earn their living doing translations. Most live in the countries that they are translating for and are natives of the language they translate into. They have an excellent command of the languages they translate from and into to ensure consistent, accurate and timely work. Recruiting amateurs to do translation work, even if they know your product or technology well, will lead to inferior results and product delays.
Myth 3: Lower per-word translation rates reduce costs
In localization, it is often the long-term costs that matter the most. Software, help, docs and other texts related to products are constantly changing. With each product release, the localized material needs to be updated and synchronized with the source. Lower upfront translation costs do not necessarily mean lower long-term costs. The following are key factors that contribute to long-term costs:
  1. Process: Is the latest and most efficient translation-reuse process being implemented? If Translation Memory (search-engine and database) tools are not used, updates will be very time consuming and costly.
  2. Maintenance costs: Vendors who have lower translation rates may have steep penalties built into fuzzy matches (similar but non-identical matches), repeats and 100% matches. This creates steep overhead costs each time a new revision of your product needs updating.
  3. Quality: Although low quality translation will have lower initial costs, the long-term costs are significant. Post-translation changes are very costly, particularly if you have incurred production costs for layout, desktop publishing, quality-assurance, duplication or printing.
  4. Ownership: Do you own your translation memories and databases? If you pay for the work, you should own it all.
Myth 4: A language review cycle is not necessary
To the untrained eye, a translated text appears final regardless of the quality or state it is in. Just as you see the value in having your source files edited by a second writer, or your software code reviewed by a second developer, the translated text should also be fully checked by a second translator. In the case of translation, the editing cycle will require not only reading through the translated text, but also verifying it against the source. Many vendors with lower rates, or higher overhead, will cut corners on editing in an effort to turn a profit. They may not ask a second translator to edit the text and instead perform “cursory checks”, which only require the editor to quickly read through the translated text without ensuring that it accurately represents the source. Always ask your translators or translation vendor what level of editing they perform after translation.
Myth 5: The vendor that provides the best translation sample offers the best quality
Asking localization vendors to provide a translation sample is often mistakenly accepted as a lead method to measure vendors’ quality standards. Although in theory the concept makes sense, in reality, it is far from optimal. First, there are a lot more tasks involved in localization, than simply translation. Second, translation samples are often done by the most qualified translators who may or may not participate in the actual translation, once your project is awarded. If a sample is requested, you need to make sure that:
  1. The vendor knows how to manage, parse, prepare, reuse, compile, desktop-publish and QA the required files.
  2. The translator translating the sample will be the lead translator on the project.
Since this cannot always be guaranteed due to scheduling or other factors, it is often more reliable to check vendors’ references, experience, reputation and track record.

A2Z and Lockheed Martin Corporation, Enterprise Service Agreement

A2Z Global is pleased to announce the recent exclusive Enterprise Service Agreement (CSA: #NPL001), with Lockheed Martin Corporation. This agreement commenced on March 1, 2011 and will continue over the next 3 years. A2Z Global, a full service Language Solutions Company, will be providing translation and interpreting services to the entire Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC).

Prior to the ESA agreement, A2Z worked with LMC on the AEGIS Program by providing Japanese Computer Aided Training Program (JACAT), with Japanese & English Training Modules translation clean-up, audio narration and bid proposals to the Korean Navy.

Translation & Publishing of Technical Documentation Services to be provided:

  • Technical Documents
  • Operator and Service Manuals
  • Training Guides/Manuals
  • Operation and Maintenance Procedures
  • Contracts and legal documents
  • Computer Software
  • Bid proposals and RFP's
  • Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM's)
  • Narration of scripts for audio in all languages
  • Illustrated Parts Breakdowns
  • Marketing Materials
  • Specifications
  • Web Information
  • Online Guides
  • Computer Software
  • Graphic Design / Technical Illustration
  • Software User Guides
  • Desktop Publishing in any language
  • Installation Guides
  • Available in over 50 Languages

A2Z has the ability and experience with handling Classified work and Logistics Support. For more information about our Facility Security Clearance, please inquire at lockheed@a2zglobal.com.

Other Services Offered But Not Included In the ESA
Please inquire for more detailed information.
UK Ocean Survey Vessel/Ocean Survey Program - SECRET Cleared Personnel
Electronic Harbor Security System - SECRET Cleared Personnel  

Facility Security Clearance: SECRET

• Logistics Support Analysis (LSA )                       • Logistics Management Information (LMI)
• Level Of Repair Analysis (LORA)                       • Optimum Repair Level Analysis (ORLA)
• Life Cycle Cost (LCC) Analysis                           • Total Ownership Cost (TOC) Analysis
• Personnel Requirements Analysis                         • Task And Skill Analysis
• Training Requirements Analysis                           • Tasks Required For Training
• Technical Documentation                                      • Manuals Requirements Analysis
• Spares And Repair Parts Analysis                         • Provisioning Technical Documentation (PTD)
• Support Equipment Requirements Documents (SERD)
• Support Equipment Analysis                             
• Packing, Handling, Storage, and Transportability (PHS&T) analysis
• Facilities And Facilities Interface Analysis
• Logistics Demonstration Planning / Implementation
• System Engineering / Management
• Safety Engineering
• Integration / Verification / Test Engineering
• Project Engineering / Management
• Reliability Engineering
• Maintainability Engineering
• Configuration / Data Management
• Engineering Support

Monday, January 16, 2012

Foreign Etiquette Tips


The following advice by Sue Fox, author of Business Etiquette for Dummies, may help business travelers avoid an embarrassing gaffe abroad.
Argentina It is rude to ask people what they do for a living. Wait until they offer the information.
Bahrain Never show signs of impatience, because it is considered an insult. If tea is offered, always accept.
Cambodia Never touch or pass something over the head of a Cambodian, because the head is considered sacred.
China As in most Asian cultures, avoid waving or pointing chopsticks, putting them vertically in a rice bowl or tapping them on the bowl. These actions are considered extremely rude.
Dominican Republic When speaking to someone, failure to maintain good eye contact may be interpreted as losing interest in the conversation.
France Always remain calm, polite and courteous during business meetings. Never appear overly friendly, because this could be construed as suspicious. Never ask personal questions.
Greece If you need to signal a taxi, holding up five fingers is considered an offensive gesture if the palm faces outward. Face your palm inward with closed fingers.
Egypt Showing the sole of your foot or crossing your legs when sitting is an insult. Never use the thumbs-up sign, because it is considered an obscene gesture.
India Avoid giving gifts made from leather, because many Hindus are vegetarian and consider cows sacred. Keep this in mind when taking Indian clients to restaurants. Don't wink, because it is seen as a sexual gesture.
Japan Never write on a business card or shove the card into your back pocket when you are with the giver. This is considered disrespectful. Hold the card with both hands and read it carefully. It's considered polite to make frequent apologies in general conversation.
Malaysia If you receive an invitation from a business associate from Malaysia, always respond in writing. Avoid using your left hand because it is considered unclean.
Mexico If visiting a business associate's home, do not bring up business unless the associate does.
Philippines Never refer to a female hosting an event as the "hostess," which translates to prostitute.
Singapore If you plan to give a gift, always give it to the company. A gift to one person is considered a bribe.
Spain Always request your check when dining out in Spain. It is considered rude for wait staff to bring your bill beforehand.
Vietnam Shake hands only with someone of the same sex who initiates it. Physical contact between men and women in public is frowned upon.

A need for foreign language services in the aerospace industry

Creating more market opportunities worldwide, the aerospace industry continues to strengthen the economy and the demand for technical specific translations.

Technical translation has a determining role in the aerospace industry as there are many documents that need to be translated such as files, training and user manuals, marketing brochures and official aerospace documents. Language services providers should make every effort to provide superior translation services as any mistake or uncertainty in the meaning could result in consequences for the industry and effect the level of trust in the company’s ability to provide accurate translation to sensitive materials.
Aerospace is a widely diverse field and a multi-billion dollar business industry. The "Aerospace Industry Forecast to 2013" report, estimates that by the end of 2027, the world’s airlines will take delivery of 29,400 civil airplanes with total value of US$ 3.2 trillion to keep pace with the growing demand for air traveling. Despite the lingering effects of the global economic downturn, the industry continues to represent one of the largest manufacturing industries in terms of people employed and value of output.
New international market opportunities are arising. There is a demand for technically specific translations in this industrial sector. The extensive technical documentation for, amongst other things, the production, maintenance and marketing of airplanes and their component parts requires efficient strategies and solutions for the translation process. There is also a need for culturally sensitive and accurate training materials.
The US aerospace industry is internationally competitive and represents the biggest aerospace market, followed by EU, Canada and Japan. However, developing economies such as China, India, Mexico and Brazil are expected to emerge as big marketplace for aerospace products.

A2Z Global has 30 years experience in translating for the aerospace industry

Technicians from all over the world have to be in a position to command and maintain complex aerospace systems. Technical documents are thus created internationally for regional markets and have to be consistent and easy to understand in the desired language. They also have to abide by the legal stipulations of individual countries and the quality assurance system demands of the aviation industry.
A2Z Global Language Solutions will help you to fulfill this complex task so that delays with product introductions can be a thing of the past, key international markets can be better reached and the ability to compete in the market is increased.
Alongside the transport and engineering factors of the field of aerospace engineering, a translation also has to take into consideration special aspects of this theme such as the areas of law, mathematics, science and environmental technology. A2Z Global offers 30+ years of knowledge in translating specialty texts with technical, ecological and scientific content, regardless of their scope or technicality.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Open Source Review

Omega T

OmegaT is a free translation memory application written in Java. It is a tool intended for professional translators. It does not translate for you! (Software that does this is called "machine translation", and you will have to look elsewhere for it.) OmegaT has the following features:
  • Fuzzy matching *  | Match propagation  | Simultaneous processing of multiple-file projects
  • Simultaneous use of multiple translation memories  |  User glossaries with recognition of inflected forms
  • Document file formats include:  XHTML and HTML  |  Microsoft Office Open XML (Office 2007/2010: .docx, .xlsx, .pptx)  |  OpenOffice.org  |  XLIFF (Okapi)  |  MediaWiki (Wikipedia) |  Plain text
  • Unicode (UTF-8) support: can be used with non-Latin alphabets  |  Support for right-to-left languages
  • Integral spelling checker  |  Compatible with other translation memory applications (TMX)  |  Interface to Google Translate

System requirements:OmegaT will run on any system on which the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) has been or can be installed. The JRE is now supplied with OmegaT and need not be obtained separately. OmegaT has been successfully installed on Windows (all versions from 98 onwards), Macintosh OS X and Linux.

Files in Microsoft Office XML format can be translated directly in OmegaT. Files in older MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint formats can be translated following conversion to the equivalent current Microsoft Office formats or to OpenOffice.org (also free). To obtain OpenOffice.org, follow the link from "Third-party software" button on the left.

Download  | Documentation


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Esperantilo TM


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Anaphraseus - CAT translation application


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CafeTran - 80 Euro

Open Java Language tools

http://www.linuxfortranslators.org/tm/olt.html