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!

One-Stop-Shop Translation and Typesetting (DTP)

One of the capabilities we at PLG like to flaunt is our ability to handle just about any file type. From professional design software like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, FrameMaker, and AutoCAD, to everyday office software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, we can translate your documents in their native format. Desktop Publishing (DTP) or typesetting is the formatting of your documents after they have been translated, to ensure they match the original English files. 

PLG’s in-house design team has over 20 years of experience in the industry, adapting your English material into new languages. We can either replace your English material with the new language, or create multilingual documentation, such as bi or trilingual packaging. The translation process often involved the expansion or contraction of your original text, which can throw off the formatting of your document. Romance languages like French and Spanish can often be 20% longer than the original English, while many Asian languages like Chinese can shorten the text by a similar proportion. Our team is used to these fluctuations and will ensure that the final product will come out looking professional and ready for use. 

This service, in addition to translation, allows us to offer a one-stop-shop for our clients, meaning that you can simply hand us your English files, and we will hand back print-ready material by the time we are done. Many of our clients have found this to be extremely helpful in saving time and money that they would otherwise have to allocate for their team to complete the formatting of their foreign language documents. With the ability to hand your multilingual projects off to us your team can handle other more pressing matters while we handle the complete language conversions. 

Let us know about your next project, and if you are interested in having polished formatted material sent back to you. We are ready to help!

For more details of PLG’s DTP capability and samples please visit our website at:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Subtitling and Voice-Over Services

In a globalizing world companies must continuously strive to offer multimedia content in various languages. This goes beyond brochures, manuals, and even websites, to include marketing videos, training or instructional videos, and similar content that a company may produce for its employees or customers. One specialty service that PLG offers, beyond regular translation, is subtitling and voice-over of video and audio files.

While many people may initially think of Hollywood or the entertainment industry when they think of subtitling or voice-over, our focus is on helping companies communicate with their customers in all mediums and media platforms. 

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. 

A number of PLG’s customers have taken advantage of our multimedia services, and reached out to their audiences with translated video and audio clips.  We recently assisted a major U.S. based financial organization in adding multilingual subtitles to over two dozen of their corporate education and promotional videos. They have been doing this for a several years, and have found it a very effective means to achieve their business objectives. Another project we worked on was for a technical firm that opted to create multilingual product training videos to improve their training results.   If you would like to take a look at samples of our work in this field please visit and click the “Samples” tab.

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! 

Give us a call at 1(847) 413-1688, or email us at today!

“Traditional or Simplified Chinese?”

Do I need Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese for this product brochure translation?  May I have my business card typeset in Cantonese or Mandarin? What dialect of Chinese is used Taiwan? We constantly receive questions like these from our customers regarding the most widely spoken language in the world.

Well, first of all, let’s clarify a couple of concepts. When we talk about Simplified Chinese vs. Traditional we are talking about two distinct sets of Chinese characters with some overlap; we are not talking about spoken language.  Simplified Chinese was a written form developed in the 1950s as the result of an effort by the Chinese government in Mainland China to promote literacy. This new written form took the characters used in Traditional Chinese, which have not changed since about the 5th Century, and simplified them both structurally and through the reduction in the total number of characters. 

As for Mandarin vs. Cantonese, this draws into question the spoken Chinese dialects. In general, Mandarin is considered the official dialect in China, a dialect understood by populations living in all regions of China. On the other hand, Cantonese is the dialect spoken only by the people in the southern province Guangdong (formerly Canton) and Hong Kong. Due to high population and emigration from these and other coastal area, Cantonese became widely spoken by Chinese living outside China. The choice between Mandarin and Cantonese is a proper question to ask in looking for interpreting service, but not for written languages. Believe or not, someone speaking Mandarin can be totally lost when attempting to speak to someone who only speaks Cantonese, but the written language of the two dialects is exactly identical except for a small number of expressions.

In conclusion, if your target market is mainland China, you will want to translate your documents into Simplified Chinese; if you are headed to Hong Kong or Taiwan you will use Traditional. We recommend translating into both languages if you will be covering both markets. However, if your budget does not allow you translate into both versions, our recommendation is to translate into Traditional Chinese. The reasoning here is that both written formats will be perfectly understood in just about any region, but you may find that your customers who use Traditional Chinese will be more sensitive to your language choice.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Chinese New Year marks the first day on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, and thus falls on a different day every year typically between January 21st, and February 20th. Like many holidays the original tradition has its roots in an agricultural holiday set for farmers to enjoy festivities and downtime before the start of spring. 

The Rooster is the 10th zodiac in the 12 year cycle. If you, or someone you know was born in 1921, 1933, 29145, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, or 2005 then you/they are a Rooster! Roosters, are said to be honest, punctual, and ambitious; however, they can also be impatient, critical, and eccentric.

No matter your Chinese Zodiac we wish you the best of luck and happiness in the coming year.

Importance of English to Spanish Translation

Spanish is spoken by more than 500 million people across the world making it the most widely spoken romance language, as well as one of the most important languages for communication and business. The United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, following Mexico. Around 50 million Hispanics live in the United States, making up 17% of the population. Regardless of whether you're interested in English to Spanish translation for business, political, medical or socio-economic purposes, our professional translators will be sure to exceed your expectations.

Like any language that spans across the globe, Spanish has many different dialects spoken by different people in different regions. These dialects mean that people from different Spanish-speaking countries may use different words, syntax, and pronunciations when communicating. One easy analogy for non-Spanish speakers is the difference between British English and American English. Communication between someone from Britain and someone from America would not pose too many problems; however there may be the occasional hiccup due to “strange” pronunciations, or use of an alternate word (think water closet vs. bathroom). 

With this in mind, our clients often ask for our advice when they plan on using a Spanish translating across multiple countries or regions. 

Our standard advice is that in most technical fields, such as engineering, chemistry, medicine, computer science, machining, etc. the dialectal difference will be minimal enough to cause little if any concern. As is common in most languages, our professional speech, and even more our professional writing does not exactly mimic the way we talk to our friends and family. This standardization of language means that you can be certain that one Spanish translation done with an international market in mind will be accepted and understood by nearly all Spanish speakers worldwide.  That being the case, it is always wise to inform us of your target market and audience when requesting a translation. This will help our Project Managers select the right translator for the job, and ensure any dialectal exceptions should be taken into account. 

Spanish speakers aren't going anywhere, and in fact, it seems that they will continue to grow in number. Spanish is currently the third most widely spoken language in the world, behind only Chinese and English. With such a large market, few companies can afford to not offer their literature in Spanish. Let us know about your next Spanish project, and we will be happy to lend a professional hand. 

Canadian Label Compliance

As a Language Service Provider (LSP) we always strive to provide a one-stop-shop for all of our clients label translation needs. In addition to our standard translation and typesetting services, we often like to remind our clients that we offer label compliance review services for those looking to sell their products in Canada.

Canadian packaging regulations are set by the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. These regulations identify the required information to be placed on Canadian packaging, including ingredients lists, net weight, advertising claims, and more. There are also strict layout, font size and language restrictions that apply to your product packaging.

By providing our clients with a review service for this type of detail oriented restrictions we are able to save you both time and headache in maneuvering such red tape. Our standard process for helping our clients become compliant is as follows:

  1. Client sends PLG English artwork files of the labels to be compliant for Canadian market
  2. English artwork is reviewed for compliance regulations
  3. Changes to English material is made either by PLG or the client
  4. English material is translated into French
  5. Bilingual artwork is reviewed again for compliance
  6. Final edits and changes are made
  7. Compliant label is delivered to the client

Unlike Mexico, there is no official certificate or other document issues by Canadian authorities to indicate that a label is compliant. Rather the burden falls to the manufacturer of the product to ensure they are adhering to any regulations pertaining to their products. Our finalized work is always compliant to the best of our professional opinion and expertise.

Let us know about the next product you are looking to introduce to Canada, and we can discuss our compliance services to streamline your entry into a new market.