Register for the 1st International Summer School in Translation Technology; 29 August – 2 September, 2016

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The University of Leuven (KU Leuven) is organising the 1st International Translation Technology Summer School for language professionals who are looking for a practice-oriented and state-of-the-art introduction to translation and localization issues and tools, from 29 August to 2 September, 2016 at Campus Sint-Andries, Antwerp, Belgium.

Antwerp_town_hallThe registration deadline is 31 July and there are a limited number of places still available.  The summer school, developed in collaboration with industry experts and consultants, translators’ association from Belgium, and guest lecturers from renowned universities, aims to help the participants make informed decisions when switching to modern translation environment systems.

The programme of hands-on workshops and lectures and it is suitable both for young graduates and language professionals (Translators, Project Managers, Translation Technology Lecturers) who are looking for a practice-oriented introduction to translation and localization issues and tools. Continue reading

Student Speak: Translation Students at UAH on Using KantanMT

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University of Alacala

The  University of Alcalá (UAH), one of KantanMT’s Academic Partners used the platform to teach final year undergraduate students Custom Machine Translation during the 2015-2016 academic year.

KantanMT.com was used in the course ‘Machine Translation and Post-editing,’ which was taught for the first time in the ‘Degree in Modern Languages Applied to Translation’ in UAH. English and Spanish were the main languages used during this course.

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Some Friday the 13th Trivia That Tells You Why Localization is Important

JASON_VOORHEES_-_FREDDY_VS_JASON.jpegToday is Friday the 13th, known by many as the unluckiest day of the year (as most of Jason Voorhees’s victims would probably agree). Indeed, in the Anglo-Saxon world and in some other parts of the globe, Friday the 13th still has the potential to paralyse and invoke irrational dread. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, announced that an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the US are affected by this day – so much so that they would go out of their way to avoid having to face the day – thus making it the most feared day in the history. Continue reading

Student Speak: Student at UCL Chats with KantanMT Team

architecture-1122359_1920Dissemination of Machine Translation innovation is a major priority for us at KantanMT. We believe that Academic Partnerships have a huge role to play in furthering the scope of research and innovation in the field of Machine Translation, and as such we have partnered with a number of Universities to help students use the KanataMT platform in a real word scenario.

We are always looking for ways to improve the KantanMT platform, and to keep our finger on the pulse of the KantanMT user experience, we asked one of the students using the platform to answer some questions about the platform.

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TAUS CEO, Jaap van der Meer talks to KantanMT

The translation industry has experienced a great shift in the past number of years, and not many can say they haven’t been affected. The movement to automate translation processes, driven by a remarkable increase in the demand for accessible multilingual content and price pressures on localization professionals can be seen at every level of the translation industry.

TAUS (Translation Automation User Society), a translation industry ‘think tank’ was founded in 2004 as a result of a roundtable held at the Localization World Conference in Seattle at which a group of some of the biggest IT companies in the world; including Oracle, IBM and CISCO sat to discuss the topic of automation and explore ideas of how to support the movement and those it affected by it.

TAUS CEO, Jaap van der Meer talks to KantanMTJaap van der Meer, Founder and CEO of TAUS talked to KantanMT about the evolution of one of the industry’s most well-known resource centres and the rapidly increasing developments in translation technology. He also shares his opinions and thoughts about the translation profession which he sees as having no escape from this global move to automation.

For Jaap, TAUS began as an ideology; he wanted to “help the world communicate better and create bigger opportunities for the translation sector”. He notes how the translation sector differs from other industries in that most industries have developed shared approaches, best practices and common metrics to support themselves and others working within these industries.” The lack of this he says is something that has created a “huge barrier to efficiency and innovation” in the translation industry, and when we remove these barriers “we create a much bigger opportunity for each individual player in the industry”.

TAUS is synonymous with automated translation, and in particular with machine translation. Yet, while Jaap would suggest that this is only one piece of the puzzle, he does believe that in time “every company that operates internationally will have to start using it.”

Machine translation has experienced incredible growth in recent years, both in terms of technological innovation and wide industry adoption. Indeed, Jaap believes that “the investment that goes into improving MT technology and integrating MT and post-editing into translation workflows will be the one thing that has the biggest effect on the industry” over the next few years. He stresses however that this investment needs to feed an entire ecosystem, because MT is not stand alone. “You can’t just dump a machine translation system into an existing environment. You need to change and innovate the whole environment. There’s a lot of evaluation and metrics involved and widespread training needed.”

Another technology that he sees developing in line with machine translation is speech translation, and the convergence of both technologies. Those attending the TAUS annual conference in Vancouver in October will learn more about this as it is the conference theme. So will TAUS offer similar resources for speech translation as with text translation? Well, Jaap admits that although TAUS always tries to be “ahead of the curve”, the process of building such an extensive repository of speech corpora might be too demanding for an industry body of TAUS’ size. The solution? Jaap says they will need to “collaborate with other industry groups and also at a government level” in order to grow in this area.

So, as TAUS continues to expand its services and move into new areas Jaap’s role begins to grow and diversify. What keeps him driven on his pursuit towards language as a utility? “It’s just because I believe in it, if it were just for business, I’d probably do something else.” A nice thought knowing that that there are people working to progress an industry and ease the path for all stakeholders involved.

Business Strategies

KantanMT Business StrategyWelcome. This is a four part blog series which will examine Porter’s core strategies for competitive advantage. During the series we will look at how these strategies can be applied to companies working in the translation industry.

Introduction

Michael Porter, Harvard Business School, explains that competitive advantage occurs when an organisation “acquires or develops an attribute or combination of attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors.”

Expanding on this concept, in his book “Competitive Strategy” (1980, a book which was voted the ninth most influential management book of the 20th century) – and again in “Competitive Advantage” (1985, a book I read during my years in college) – he surmised four core strategies companies should embrace in order to create a clear and superior competitive advantage in their markets.

I thought it would be interesting to see how Machine Translation – as a growing service differentiator in the LSP world – would fit into Porter’s four strategies, and to examine if it ticks all of the Competitive Advantages check boxes!

Cost Leadership Strategy

Porter defines “Cost Leadership” as offering products or services at the lowest possible cost in the industry. The emphasis here is on cost rather than price; cost is what you purchase your products/services at and well, price is what you sell these on at – hopefully obtaining a nice profit in the process, helping your company grow and thrive. I guess in a nutshell, it’s all about avoiding operating at a loss by optimising this cost/price ratio.

But the devil of achieving that cost/price optimisation is in the detail of efficiently running a day-to-day innovative business. And by running a business that develops an attribute, or attributes, that differentiates it from its competitors. Successful companies that embrace Porter’s Cost concept must by necessity strategically vary their Cost attributes through the product/service they offer. A good example is Walmart, where they offer key items at deep discounts, while selling other products at less aggressive discounts. It is different sides of the same cost/price coin and taken holistically can be a very successful strategy. Walmart has successfully beaten off all of its major competitors in the US domestic market for decades by pursuing this particular Cost Leadership strategy.

So what’s the take-out here for Localization Service Providers (LSPs) on cost/price? Well, for the majority of translation quotes, the per-word translation-costs represent the lion’s share of the total project costs: in many cases this is as much as 85%. So while some LSPs may focus on containing the costs of their support services (such as engineer, project management, review and edit etc.), the really successful ones realise that it is by focusing on the translation-costs – that 85% of cost area – that they can gain most competitive advantage.

This reality has been manifesting itself as a significant and wholehearted move by many LSPs. Many are now moving towards Translation Automation as a cost saver. Clearly, for an LSP to embrace a “Cost Leadership Strategy”, it must be relentless in pursuing a translation automation strategy. Only by developing such a strategy will an LSP give itself the strong differentiating cost attribute that allows it to outperform its competitors.

Machine Translation is a key component of any translation automation strategy, and its use can positively impact on the translation-cost component of any localization project. For instance, one of our KantanMT members reported a 37% reduction in translation costs as a result of integrating MT into their automated translation workflow.

…Read more about Porter’s strategies in Friday’s blog.
Tony O’Dowd, Founder and Chief Architect