Friday, April 6, 2018

Netflix and Large Scale Subtitle Translation

Netflix is working on an incredible, but complex, solution to a very difficult problem. As one of the largest digital media and entertainment companies in the world, Netflix is working on being able to bring its content to users around the world. 

Netflix’s international business will soon account for more than half of the company’s revenue, so the company has begun to invest massively in its ability to translate and subtitle content for users outside the US. However, Netflix is in a difficult position for translation, since all of the content produced by the company (TV shows, and movies) contains the most difficult parts of language to translate, jokes, idioms, sarcasm, cultural references, slang, etc. 

How does one go about handling, and ensuring quality translation on such a large scale for such difficult content?

Last year Netflix revealed the HERMES tool, which allowed thousands of translators in hundreds of languages the ability to test their translation skill, in order to be an approved resource for the company. The test consisted of several rounds of multiple choice questions which were meant to measure the translator’s ability to:

  • Understand English
  • Translate idioms, etc. into their target language
  • Identify linguistic and technical errors
  • Subtitle proficiently

Through the completion of the test (which consisted of thousands of randomized questions, so that no two tests were the same) Netflix was able to produce scores regarding a candidate’s skill level in translation, and match candidates with projects that would suit their skills.
This will also allow Netflix the ability to self-manage and work with translators directly rather than having to go through 3rd parties like us. For an enormous company with deep pockets, this was a rather incredible solution to a difficult problem. Within the coming years we should see Netflix content available in just about any language, as their international sales will no doubt soon surpass their US market.

Video and Audio Translation – How it Works

Does your company have training videos, marketing ads on YouTube, a company introduction video on your website? In the past year we have seen a large increase in the number of requests for video subtitling and voice-over work, and we would like to extend our services to you! 

Click here to see a video sample on our website!

Creating multimedia content in multiple languages can be a daunting task for companies who are looking to diversify their content. Our job is to streamline that process for you, and provide turnkey solutions for your video and audio translation. 

Having a video subtitled or dubbed with a new language can certainly be a more expensive service than translation of a document, but it can also be an extremely effective way to bring new and important material to your multilingual staff and clients. It also displays another layer of effort and inclusivity to all those who may take interest in your product or services.

There are 4 key components to the subtitling/voice-over process:
  1. Transcription – First we need the script from the video, if you are unable to provide this we can simply watch the video or listen to the audio file, and copy down the text.
  2. Translation – As with all of our projects, the next step is translation. This can get a little tricky when it comes to multimedia content, as languages often lengthen or shorten the amount of text after being translated. With video or audio files, however, we have to stick to a narrow timeframe. Translations that are too long or too short will throw off the flow of the video, or will bleed over into different scenes/slides. 
  3. Voice-Over/Subtitling – with as much preparation and timing considerations brought into the translation process as possible, our team then moves on to creating the subtitles or voice-over itself. This process again, requires some careful editing and timing, as well as hiring appropriate voice talent to record the script. 
  4. Quality Review – All videos have to go through a strenuous quality review before being delivered back to the client. The translators and project manager carefully go through the finalized file to ensure the translations flow properly, are not cut off anywhere, and convey the appropriate meaning at the right times. 

If presenting your company in a global light and offering multimedia content in multiple languages is important to you we would be happy to chat further about how we can help!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Top 3 reasons to translate your company content

If you are receiving this newsletter you have either used our services in the past, or have at least inquired about potentially using our services. In this globalizing economy companies are finding it more and more necessary to localize their content for different markets. However, those of us working in the translation industry are often met with skepticism as to why it would be necessary for a company to be able to provide their content in multiple languages. 

Let’s review some of the top reasons our clients ultimately decide to translate their material with us.

1. You sell your product overseas.
This may seem like an obvious answer, but many of our current clients have been selling their products abroad for years, and have only just begun to translate their user manuals, or marketing material to help drive those markets. In today’s market potential customers expect to be able to get information about products quickly, easily, and in their own language. While not impossible to sell products overseas without ever translating the literature that comes with it, our clients have found great success in being able to provide multilingual content. Consumers are far more likely to invest their money and trust in a product that comes with instructions in their own language, or marketing material meant specifically for them. 

2. You are looking for ways to keep growing. 
As with any business the key to success is continual growth. Our top client’s don’t see translations as a necessary evil; they see translation as an opportunity to grow their brand. Through the translation of their websites, marketing content, user manuals, software interfaces, etc. our clients are able to push their business to new heights. Markets they thought were stagnant or had a hard time penetrating have opened up to them through the ability of their company to promote themselves in multiple languages. Their business and products are instantly viewed with more credibility and trust by their potential customers who are able to read information in their native language, while providing even our smallest clients the appearance of a more global presence.

3. You have to adhere to regulations
Another no-brainer it would seem, but many of our small or up and coming clients go to sell their products abroad only to find out that the laws of that country require them translate their content. One of the biggest areas we see this is our clients selling products in Canada, and specifically Quebec, who quickly discover that the province is very strict on its rules regarding French translations being not only available, but given equal prominence on packaging and instruction sheets. In cases like this our company is always poised to quickly step in and make sure your product is ready to hit the markets running. 

Regardless of your reason for translating your content be sure to use a vendor you trust! Our staff is standing by to help with your next project, so give us a call!

2018 Winter Olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympics began this morning in Pyeongchang, South Korea, bringing together athletes, volunteers, spectators, and press from all around the world. Over 200 participating countries will be sending young athletes to compete this year, which begs the question, how will so many people from so many countries will communicate?

The primary languages of every Olympics are English, French, and the language of the host country, in this case that would be Korean. Of course, not every competitor speaks one of those languages, so South Korea has organized over 2,000 volunteer translators and interpreters to help facilitate communication between athletes, coaches, the press, and the game’s judges, organizers and staff.

Additionally, a local South Korean software firm developed the official translation app for the Winter Olympics. The app, named “Genie Talk”, is usable on Apple and Android devices and can translate English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic.

In a funny translation related “egg-cident” this past week the Norwegian camp attempted to order eggs for its athletes from a local grocery store in Pyeongchang. Unfortunately for them, when attempting to place the order they turned to some help from Google Translate which made a minor translation mistake. Instead of ordering 1,500 eggs, the Norwegians received an order of 15,000! Luckily they were able to sort the matter out and return most of the unneeded eggs, but we are sure they will be more careful next time they use a machine translation tool.

As a very diverse company, with translators and staff from around the globe we will be cheering for many different countries in the Winter Olympics. However, we will all be inspired by the act of people from so many different countries, religions, cultures, and languages to come together in friendly competition.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Translation Memory

A common topic I review with new and even old clients is the use of our Translation Memory system. This system is a corner stone of the services we provide, and how we provide them, but it often seems a point of confusion for those that don’t work in the industry.

The technology within the translation industry is vital to our process, and the high level of consistency and accuracy we are able to provide across documents. At PLG we utilize the leading commercial software Trados, which is the leading translation memory (TM) program, to store previously completed translations, and assist our translators in current projects. 

It is highly important to distinguish the fact that translations memories are not the same as “machine translation (MT)”. While a machine translation like Google Translate, utilizes algorithms to provide an estimated translation of any given sentence or word, our translation memory software does just as the name implies and memorizes input translations. 

As our professional translators work, they enter their translations into a stored database built just for your company. When future material comes up that is similar to something that was previously translated, the software suggests the “memorized” translation to the translator. The translator then reviews the translation, makes any adjustments necessary, and saves the updated translation to the memory once again. This memory applies to content that is repeated not just within a given document, but across documents and projects.

Over time as we work with a client the translation memory grows larger, and our translators have more material to reference. This allows us to provide more accurate, consistent translations both faster and less costly. Two good examples are the TMs we have built for our customers at Walmart and HoMedics in the past years. The TMs combined have over 3 million translation pairs of sentences between a source language and the target!

Natural Disasters Require Multilingual Responders

Over the past several weeks we have seen several large scale natural disasters from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to earthquakes in Mexico and now Hurricane Maria. These disasters have forced millions from their homes, and caused billions of dollars of damage. The areas affected will be dealing with the repercussions of these events for years to come. 

It is in times like these we all look to do our part, and help our neighbors as best we can. One need that can often go over looked is the need for translators and interpreters in times like these. While millions of people seek shelter and safety they will need to communicate with those around them, and not all speak English. In order to communicate directions, safety measures, instructions, medical emergencies, and endless other information, we will need multilingual first responders ready to aid in this effort. 

Spanish will certainly be the largest language need, as Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico have large Spanish speaking populations. However, many other languages will be needed including American Sign Language, Arabic, and Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and more. 

These events are an important reminder of the key to multilingual communication and translation. Language can often be a difficult gap to bridge, but in times of crisis conveying important information in as many languages as possible can help save lives. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Business on the Rise!

While January and February started within our standard rate of growth this year, the past three months have seen some truly incredible numbers as PLG increased business by more than 40% compared to last year. We see this as indicative of our high standard of quality, competitive pricing and turnaround times which are some of the best within the industry, while also, of course, evidence of a strong U.S. economy that is continuing to globalize with every year. We would like to thank all of you for your continued support and business as PLG looks to have one of our best years ever. 

Two of the most requested services recently have been for our label packaging translations as well as user manuals. These two categories have seen significant increases in both current customer requests, as well as new customers finding us online, or through our marketing efforts. With 1/3 of our business coming from new clients this year, we are excited for the future as we continue to grow and make new partnerships. 

As we continue into the summer we are committed to our continued excellence and growth. We are fully prepared to handle this continued increase in business, and have our resources properly positioned to continue providing the same level of service. A big round of applause must go to our team who has handled the recent busy months quite flawlessly, and will continue to provide the best support possible to you, our customers.

As a token of our appreciation if you have any upcoming projects during June or July talk to a PLG staff member and mention the newsletter for 5% off!