German to Indonesian in 3 seconds

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Translations booked online quickly and easily – like hotel rooms. That is the vision of nativy, a Vienna-based translation agency. How does it work? Anja Drame of TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, has obtained a precise answer to this question.

Josef Brunner, born in 1977, got to know the translation market from a client’s perspective while he was still working in international sales. He was often asked for help when a translation was needed. A business administration graduate, he had studied for some time in Spain, France and the Netherlands and, in addition, had taught himself Russian. So friends and colleagues considered him a language expert.

But everything began to change when his boss showed him a text in Cyrillic script and asked him “what does this say?” Even though it did look like Russian, the text was in Macedonian. But his boss did not understand that.
Lack of understanding of foreign languages within companies, an obscure translation market and the complicated procedure of procuring translations often made his company – like so many others – hesitate to address multilingual communication needs.

“At the time I asked myself why it should be easier to make an online booking for a hotel room than for a good translation”, Brunner remembers. He was convinced that it was technically possible.

And so the idea was born. In 2011, together with a colleague and software developer, he founded nativy, a translation agency that offers good translations in a client-friendly way and at fair prices.

nativy’s founders Brunner (right) and Kerschbaummayr

What sets nativy apart is a special order processing system that generates an offer for the client within seconds. Nothing could be easier: the client uploads the text to be translated, which is then automatically analysed and matched against a complex database of available translators. Additionally, the client can also specify when the translation should be finished. The offer is prepared almost instantly – complete with a price and delivery deadline. Now all the client has to do is choose, and it’s done!

Brunner wants the system to be fair to translators as well. “We regard our translators as our capital. Each and every one of them is an independent professional and must be treated as such. Price dumping and cutthroat competition for the cheapest translation is a trend that will peter itself out. Our translators set their own prices.”

Brunner knows that clients do appreciate this. “For us it is about offering value for money rather than just low prices”.
This distinguishes nativy from many other translation agencies, where the management usually dictates the prices in a “like it or lump it” attitude towards the translators.

With their concept nativy has so far registered more than 1300 qualified translators – including for less common languages such as Armenian, Indonesian or Marathi.

Precautions are also in place to protect the confidentiality of documents. “Simply put, we are not a marketplace where the client’s text is sent all over the place until a translator says, “I’ll do it”.
Only the translator who receives the job sees the text. And the translator can ask the client questions about the text in a separate chat room.

Brunner is not afraid that so much direct contact could mean eventually losing his clients to his translators. “As a client, you always have a choice – you can look for a translator yourself who happens to be available, negotiate the price with them and so forth. If I, as a client, engage a translation agency it is because I do not want to or cannot do that myself. When the client then needs to have a text translated to five, six or more languages, that question no longer arises anyway”.

Quality is important to Brunner. In September 2013 his company was certified for the second time by the Language Industry Certification System (LICS) in accordance with the European Standard EN15038. This standard defines quality criteria specifically for translation service providers.

Among others, it determines what training and experience the translators must have. All translators who wish to work for nativy must meet these requirements. “We communicate this very clearly. And we examine it carefully. Applicants who fail to meet these basic requirements will not be included in our database. Just being able to speak one or more foreign languages obviously does not make you a good translator. But we find out very soon when someone fails to meet the criteria.”

For Brunner the standard EN15038 is more than just a helpful, practical guideline for how to manage his business. For him it is also a clear competitive advantage. “Today there are so many translation agencies that are EN15038 certified. These are very simple quality requirements. If a business is not certified, then the client really has to ask, why not?”

Brunner does not accept the argument that clients are not willing to pay the higher cost resulting from the translation-plus-review principle. “That accounts for just 30% of the price. But in return the client has the assurance that the translation is indeed of high quality and that it will not embarrass them”.

Technologically, nativy is modeled after Microsoft. Project management in the cloud – is that the future? “We are probably the first agency where you can place an order in Microsoft Word 2013, that is, Office 365 – very clearly a global approach. It is still very new, and Microsoft itself has only just started with it and will continue evolving in this respect.”


And nativy, too, will continue evolving. The next innovations are already on the drawing board. Josef Brunner does not want to give away too much yet. But if they are only half as innovative, we have every reason to remain excited.


A lesson from Davos for language and terminology professionals

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->  strongly supported by TermNet, the International Network for Terminology

by Anja Drame
Roughly a week ago Gilbert Probst – economics professor and manager at the World Economic Forum (WEF), in other words a man who would know – addressed the audience who had assembled at the well-attended CIUTI Forum in Geneva. He was talking about a topic that was obviously close to his heart: Partnerships & Collaboration.

Since this is also an important topic for us at TermNet, ourselves an International Association with the aim to foster and facilitate such collaboration in the language industry sector for now 25 years, we listened attentively.

The mere fact that a person like him only a few days before kick-off of “his” World Economic Forum (and all the other high-ranking speakers – there were plenty!) were speaking at a “language event” demonstrates the special standing CIUTI enjoys, but this is another story and I am shifting off my story.

His talk reminded me that language industry is not so different after all from other sectors when it comes to dealing with the new global challenges. And that we can perhaps learn a thing or two from the World Economic Forum that is currently underway in Davos.

So, Probst was talking about benefits and difficulties we all face during this time of change with its insecurities, old values no longer valid and new challenges ahead which nobody can grasp yet in their full magnitude. And he was talking about a remedy that attentive followers of the WEF talks and discussions (yes, they were broadcast online :-)) also heard of repeatedly.
He urged the participants of that morning session to broaden their approach, to skip the
idea of going the way alone, to embrace partnerships.

Still too many of us fear collaboration because in their mind it is all about competition, about secrecy, and about demonstrating just how strong one person or organization can be without help or support.
But these are not qualities that are likely to get you through this long cold winter that
is also called economic crisis.

Collaboration and partnerships are all about synergies, of making use of strengths and
resources of the other for mutual benefit (the stress being on the word mutual!).
Partnerships can be formed not only within one’s own circle of peers. Moreover, they can –
and should even – reach across sectors.

Public-private partnerships are not new in business and governments. And the ever more important (Corporate) Social Responsibility (CSR) is built upon collaboration between the various stakeholders from all area of society.

Partnerships open one’s mind and show new ways. They also create resilience – another
buzzword one heard all along the recent meetings in Davos. So what does it mean? Resilience is the ability to survive as a system even if parts of the system are in distress. It is more or less like a human being in this season: Even if constantly attacked by vicious
flu virus and other bacteria from those runny-nosed around you, you stand a good chance not to fall ill if your overall immune system is intact. You are resiliant. Yeah, congrats, you have the chance to survive this winter.
And this is exactly what collaboration helps to build in an industry.

However, partnerships and collaboration are not an easy task. Whoever says so has never
really dealt with one. The more diverse the partners, the more different the respective
outlook on life, and the more each partner’s interests differ, the more of a challenge this
partnership becomes.

And this is where we can build the link back to our playground of terminology, multilingualism, diversity management and communication: In our globalised world, societal multilingualism becomes more complex than ever before.

Not only become our societies more and more multilingual, the combination is constantly
shifting. This makes it abit more difficult to find solutions that are meant forever.
Even in a monolingual setting (but even more so in a multilingual one), changes in
political and economic systems cause a new situation that needs to addressed.

For instance: the health system. As another great speaker at the CIUTI Forum in Geneva, Louis Loutan, argued, there are massive changes ahead in the way access to health and health systems work. Family, peers, social networks and more and more community health workers will reform the face of health systems forever (in case you wonder: this was also discussed at the WEF, among others by Jeffrey Sachs and Rwandan president Paul Kagame who kick-started a programme of 1 million additional health workers for Africa).
Doctors will lose increasingly their status as singular authority on health issues. People
will find their information online, through mobile devises, in social groups. Multiple
authorities on health questions will pop up. Therefore, education on health issues, (multilingual and multi-medial) content on health matters including new priorities for normal citizens is the new keyword.

By the way, Louis Loutan has co-authored guidelines for the dealing of health workers with interpreters which outlines some problems encountered here. It is available online free of charge if you are interested in this topic. And I find it quite aptly named “Other words, other meanings” as it demonstrates a good understanding of the subject. A very good read and highly recommended.

And it does not stop at the challenges posed in a linguistically diverse society. Diversity as such is prone to misunderstanding. Age, gender, different life experience, physical abilities, etc. all make sure one needs the little bit of extra care to ensure communication is successful.

For us terminology and language professionals all this opens up a vast new field of possibilities. But one that can not be taken upon all alone. We need partnerships. We need trust in one another. We need to start listening to others and find synergies. They exist. And there are more people willing to collaborate that you might think.

And this way we will not only survive, but prosper.

If you want to know more about this topic or how TermNet can support you, send me a message to termnet(at)termnet.org. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Google goes (further into) Africa

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Google unveiled localized Swahili versions of Gmail, Google Maps and Google Chrome.

Localizing software makes the Internet more relevant for users everywhere, but in African countries it has the special benefit of bridging the huge Digital Divide and thus bring the local population closer to information that are relevant for economic development, education, health, democracy and their government. “Google is focusing on making the internet more relevant and useful to Africans by creating more African content online; raising awareness among consumers and businesses about the opportunities offered by the internet; and developing products that are locally meaningful” writes KBC online.

Joe Mucheru, Google Lead for Sub Saharan Africa, said in an interview with the KBC, “The Internet offers so many opportunities, and we want to make the Internet more relevant and useful to East Africans.  Being able to use products like Chrome, Gmail and Maps in Swahili means that our users will now have a much better experience of the web in their day-to-day lives. And this is just the beginning.”

Google’s announcement coincides with the commencement of the East Africa Community Common Market in July 2010. The common market wants to see trade among the signing countries made easier and has as an ultimate goal a single currency. It represents a significant milestone for the people of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda & Burundi, which will create new opportunities for the free movement of capital, goods, services and persons across East Africa.However, experts do not see it is likely to be in full swing until 2015.

Swahili is spoken by approx. 120 million people in the East African Common Market or 20% of all speakers of indigenous languages in Africa. “Swahili uniquely conveys much of our shared culture, is the lingua franca used in day-to-day interaction across borders, is one of the languages of the African Union and is becoming an increasingly important part of the internet fabric in Africa” says the Chairman of the Kiswahili and African Languages Department at Kenyatta University, Dr Leonard Chacha Mwita.

Google currently has offices in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. This week, the company has also made localized versions of Gmail and Maps available in Amharic.

One more week until TSS 2010

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International Terminology Summer School 2010

Phones ringing, e-mails coming in and going out in an endless stream, last questions answered, last documents prepared and last problems solved – it is just about a week to go before the kick-off of this year’s International Terminology Summer School and the final preparation phase is in full swing. But all is going smoothly and so at the same time we are looking forward to a great event which is a little bit different from those of the last years.

First of all, our Summer School is a Spring School, really. Both the time of the year and the weather in Europe can’t suggest anything else. But it did not keep many the terminologists from attending. Unfortunately we even had to close our doors early in order to keep the number of attendants managable. Still, we will be a large and merry group.

Secondly, TermNet and other project managers responsible for the EQCA Certified Terminology Manager worked like crazy to launch this new and exciting certification during TSS 2010. And TSS 2010 in turn has offered a special deal for all its participants who want to spice up their attendance with a water proof and Europe-wide acknoledged certificate. A small admin fee for the certification body aside the exam will be free of charge.

But “the CTM”, as we affectionately call it by now, is open – and affordable for everybody! Test it and do the Self-Assessment (completely free of charge, of course):

ECQA Certified Terminology Manager Self-Assessment: http://www.ecqa.org/index.php?id=23 (simply sign up and the chose Certified Terminology Manager from the list)

Right after TSS 2010 there will be a series of free workshops organized at the United Nations in Vienna called Diversity and Global Understanding and there was an announcement in this Blog before (check entry). Registration is still possible during next week – go ahead and sign up, it is a great programme. But again, participation is limited. And after that we will all be at the ACUNS Annual Meeting. ACUNS is the Academic Council on the United Nations System and this year’s meeting will be in Vienna – and as new ACUNS members we will not only be there, but also organize a roundtable on Diversity Management, Terminology and the UN. We’ve heard that close to a thousand participants will attend in total and the events will take place at the UN in Vienna, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Vienna. The programme and keynote speakers are first-class at any rate and I, personally, look very much forward to it.

Of course we will (well, nearly :-)) liveblog from TSS to keep you up to date and create a platform for discussion of topics!

Federal government announces additional support for Canada’s official languages

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A press release from the Government of Canada.

Read the full original article at the source

GATINEAU, Quebec, April 19, 2010 – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced the signing of additional contribution agreements to strengthen Canada’s official languages. The agreements support the government’s Canadian Language Sector Enhancement Program—an initiative which encourages the development of a skilled workforce and integrates language technologies.

In July 2009, Public Works and Government Services Canada invited project proposals for university scholarships in translation and language industry initiatives to support the government’s official languages strategy, the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future. Through the contribution agreements announced today, the government is investing a further $6 million in industry projects that will enable organizations to promote and strengthen the language industry in Canada.

“Today’s announcement clearly demonstrates not only the government’s willingness to ensure the viability of this industry, but also our overall commitment to the linguistic duality that enriches our lives and helps to make our country unique,” said Minister Ambrose.

“The language industry in Canada has an enviable international reputation and we are proud to hear Canada cited as an example to follow,” said Alain Chamsi, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Language Industry Association (AILIA). “Given the major labour shortage in the language sector, the Canadian government’s contribution made through these agreements will enable AILIA and other stakeholders to promote and strengthen the industry so that it can continue to be a beacon of language expertise.”

Ce texte est également disponible en français.

For further information, the media may contact:

Chris Hilton
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Email: Chris.Hilton@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

Public Works and Government Services Canada
Media Relations

PWGSC news releases are also published on our Web site at http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html

WSIS Forum 2010: Turning Targets into Action – towards 2015 closes tomorrow

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The year of 2010 marks a turning point for assessing the progress made towards WSIS implementation during the past five years and for proposing new strategies to ensure the achievement of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals by 2015.

The WSIS Forum 2010 is currently held (10 to 14 of May 2010) at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organizers, UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP set-up an exceptional event: More than 800 participants have registered. Four heads of UN agencies, many ministers, CEOs, civil society, representatives from academia and other stakeholders will participate in a week full of high-level debates, facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, interactive sessions, knowledge exchanges and kick off meetings. There will also be an exhibition and several publication releases and two receptions for the participants…

(for full article go to UNESCO)

WSIS Summit is webcast. View the sessions here: http://www.itu.int/ibs/WSIS/201005forum/index.html

UNESCO will also present its WSIS mid-term assessment, a publication entitled: Towards Inclusive Knowledge Societies – A review of UNESCO’s action in implementing the WSIS outcomes at the Forum

Language Portal of Canada launched

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Canada has been regarded by most of us as the linguistist’s and terminologist’s paradise for many years. And derservedly so. Hardly any other country puts so much real effort into preservation and promotion of linguistic diversity. And above all, these efforts are crowned with professionalism, efficiency and success!

Canada now finally has her one-stop-shop for anything related to her linguistic heritage. The country’s rich linguistic resources are now accessible at the newly launched Language Portal of Canada.

“Through this portal, anybody can finally obtain access free of charge to TERMIUM®, the Government of Canada’s linguistic and terminology data bank. With TERMIUM® finding the right words has just become easier with more than 3,900,000 terms of which some 200 000 are in Spanish” says Gabriel Huard, Director of the Translation Bureau.

He further notes that “the portal also contains a vast array of language tools, a magazine, exercises dealing with problem words in French and English, and a directory of useful links to resources and organizations active in the language field.”

In June 2008, the Government of Canada published the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-­2013: Acting for the Future. Within the framework of this initiative, Public Works and Government Services Canada mandated the Translation Bureau of the Government of Canada to design and put online the language portal.

Go to www.ourlanguages.gc.ca

Terminology country report: Turkey


If you had asked me about terminology in Turkey one year back, I would probably have answered that there is not much going on in this country. It’s true, we have the occasional (however, I must say, very interested) participants at TSS. But else there was not much information coming out of the country that reached me.

But that was before I encountered TermTurk project (www.termturk.net). This project, sponsored by the EU-Turkey Dialog programme, is an eye-opener for me.TermTurk, TSS 2009

What’s it all about? Actually, it is meant as a beginning. A group of people got together to kick-start what they perceived as long overdue – the development of an elaborate and active terminology infrastructure in Turkey.

Surprisingly, there has not been much institutionalised research on terminology. Nor is there something like an information centre where interested groups or individuals can find what they need to know about it. It is surprising, because there is such a strong patronage: Kemal Mustafa Atatürk himself wrote a brochure to introduce Turkish geometry terminology. Atatürk, as we know was very dedicated to language planning in order to promote and facilitate nation-building processes in the new republic. Terminology is even explicitly mentioned in the country’s famous Anıtkabir – his mausoleum and museum in Ankara (something that my colleagues and I still marvel about because it such a pleasant feeling to see terminology being rewarded such public recognition).

So finally, TermTurk should achieve what is still lacking: an information and research centre at Hacettepe University in Ankara, closer ties with internation organizations and activities (e.g. in standardization and reserach), a national terminology policy, and networking, networking, networking of the many different and often isolated initiatives within Turkey.

And TermTurk is doing well in achieving these goals: Turkish standards institute is now actively participating in ISO/TC 37  standardization projects, a series of well-attended trainings, conferences and workshops foster dialogue and knowledge transfer, quality assurance and service certification (LICS) take root, training material is obtained, translated and produced at high speed.

TermTurk as a project will come to an end in November 2009. But the continuation of the achievements is already planned and prepared.

There is much to be expected from Turkey in the next years. And I, for my part, am quite proud to be at the core of the action from the very beginning.

Wouldn’t you want to develop an international standard?

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It’s August again and this usually means  it is time for terminology and language experts, computational linguists and other practitioners to convene and talk standardization (or what did you think August was for 🙂 ?)

This year the meetings take place in Bogotá (Colombia). Our host here, Colombia’s standards organization ICONTEC has gone to tremendous lengths to make our stay here as pleasant and safe as possible. We feel completely welcome and pampered. If there would be one complaint than it is that it is simplemente freezing here at these high altitutes.
But we will not have much time to notice the cold anyway since we are all working like maniacs on the various new standards or those under revision. discussion after discussion and consensus-finding in order to produce standards that are useful to user groups as diverse as anything: culturally, linguistically and by professional background.

Users of standards concerning principles and methods of terminology span the entire range of communication, globalization etc. And everyody who has a stake in these standards or special expertise in a related subject field is welcome to join. Of course it is not quite that everybody could just show up. Work is delegated via national standards institutes. So if you would be interested in – say – getting involved in developing an ISO standard on the principles of style guides (no joke – this is actually a real example as this might become a new project to be taken up soon), you would have to contact your national standards organization (e.g. DIN in Germany, SABS in South Africa, BSI in the UK or ICONTEC in Colombia). They can delegate you to participate. This is the easiest if the standards body is already member of ISO/TC 37 and have an active national mirror committee.

Anyway, they will be able to tell you and help you. And if not, there might be other ways and maybe ISO/TC 37 secretariat can assist.

Have a look at Wikipedia to learn more about ISO/TC 37 and the standards the committee develops: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO/TC_37

So if you have no other plans in August or want to escape the holiday frenzy – or have a genuine interest in standardization work:  Welcome!

We’ll report from here in the course of the week via Twitter (twitter.com/termnet) or here in the Blog.

Any questions? Comments? Bring them on!

How terminology standards are made (Part 1)

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We have written about standards before and will keep doing so as they are really an important issue for the terminologist.

ISO/TC 37 Bogota


From 8-14 August experts from the industry who are committed to bring in their knowledge (or interests) in the development of standards within the framework of ISO/TC 37 meet again. This meeting is traditionally scheduled in August in a different location, i.e. hosted by a national standards organization.

This year the meeting week will take place in Bogotá, Colombia, hosted by ICONTEC. The week will consist, as usual, of project meetings (to bring the standards in development a bit further towards publication), plenary meetings (in which important general and strategic decisions are taken), advisory groups meetings (to prepare these decisions through debate), and a number of side events, excursions, networking, partying (just a little – these are long days of work!).

We will be there and we will bring you there through the reports in this Blog. And maybe you find that you would like to become involved in this work as well … which would be great, indeed!

The official Website of the meetings.

On Friday, 15 August a Conference will take place which is open to everybody who is interested, and where Colombian and South American language industry members meet to discuss standards, how they benefit their work and how to bacome more active. If you are in the area, please join. Registration is required, though:  tc37meeting /at\ la.icontec.org.



Excerpt from the meeting Website:

Welcome to the official website of the Annual Meeting of ISO/TC 37 Terminology and other Language and Content Resources ICONTEC, the Colombian Institute of Technical Standardization and Certification, is the host of Annual Meeting of ISO/TC 37, and invites you to join the meeting to be held in Bogotá from August 8 to 14th, 2009 The mission of TC 37 is to provide standards and guidelines to standardization experts, language professionals in all institutions and organizations creating and handling terminologies and other language and content resources (including ISO, other international standards developing organizations, national standards bodies, national government services, companies, non-governmental organizations, etc.) in order to enable them to prepare high-quality language resources and tools for a wide variety of applications in professional and scholarly information and communication, education, industry, trade, etc. In this web site you will find the whole information to the meeting and information on the hotels and other facilities that Bogotá and Colombia offer to travelers.

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