22 funny translation mistakes

When a non-native speaker of a language translates something there is always a danger of getting it nearly right but very wrong! Here is a list of funny translation errors compiled by airline staff from around the world.
Japanese hotel room – You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid
Paris hotel elevator – Please leave your values at the front desk
Tokyo hotel – It is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such a thing is please not read this notice
Bucharest hotel – The list is being fixed for the next day. During this time you will be unbearable
Leipzig elevator – Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up
Athens hotel – Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11am daily
Belgrade elevator – To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving then going alphabetically in national order.
Sarajevo hotel – The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid
Moscow hotel – You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday
Swiss menu – Our wines leave you nothing to hope for
Hong Kong tailors shop – Ladies may have a fit upstairs
Bangkok dry cleaners – Drop your trousers here for best results
Paris dress shop – Dresses for street walking
Rhodes tailor shop – Order your summer suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation
Hong Kong advert – Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists
Rome laundry – Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time
Swiss mountain inn – Special today… no ice cream
Copenhagen airline – We take your bags and send them in all directions
Moscow hotel – If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it
Norwegian lounge – Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar
Tokyo shop – Our nylons cost more than common but they are better for the long run
Acapulco hotel – The manager has personally passed all the water served here

–From World Time Zones

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Google’s Next Venture: Universal Translator

Google wants to pioneer the first smart phone technology to translate foreign languages almost instantly, the search giant told British daily The Times. The technology will be able to convert spoken words into a different language in real time, and could be ready within a few years.
Just as Google Translate converts text in 52 languages, the voice translation service will mimic a human interpreter. To achieve this, Google plans to combine the technology behind its text translation service with a voice recognition system, similar to the one found on Android smart phones.
The idea behind the feature is to allow users to easily communicate in other languages using a smart phone. The system would “listen” to the speaker until it understands the full meaning of the words/phrases and then send it to Google’s servers for translation. The person at the other end of the line would listen to a robotic voice translation and vice versa.
This all sounds good in theory, but it will be some time until we get to use live voice translation — probably in a “few years’ time,” Google’s head of translation services, Franz Och, told the Times. Despite “huge progress recently,” it’s still difficult to recognize various accents, Och explained. Google aims to solve this problem by having the software learn the users’ style of talking.
So don’t cancel your foreign language lessons just yet. Until then, you can get a taste of what’s to come ahead with several voice features found on the Google Android mobile operating system, such as search by voice, voice-enabled Google Maps navigation on the Motorola Droid, and voice-based text input on the Nexus One.

–Written by Daniel Ionescu

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Sourcing a Reliable Translation Service Provider

Today translation became one of the basic requirements for establishing your business globally. Your business can’t reach the end customers worldwide if you are going to use your local language or the international language. You should customize your product or service in the local language of the region where you market in order to reach all your potential customers. For this reason you should outsource to any professional translation service provider it may be either a translation agency or an individual, but you should make sure that they and their work is reliable else it will have long lasting devastating effect on your business.

• This article explains how you can outsource your work to a reliable translation service provider.

• The basic criterion of a reliable translation service provider is trust. The translation agency or the individual whom you hire to perform your translation task should be fully trustable, that too if it is a legal document or any other confidential data. The translator may disclose such information for money or any other advantage. Alternatively you may request the translation service provider to sign up a Non – Disclosure Agreement, if the work is worth that much.

• Money plays a key role in determining quality. There are thousands of translation service providers out there; you can find translation service providers in a varied range of budget. You can select the one which suits your budget, selecting a very cheap translation service provider may risk your business because the provider may be a newbie and may not know the seriousness of the work but there are chances where he may be an expert just now entering the business, so in order to capture the market he may offer the service for cheap rate. On the other hand very expensive translation provider doesn’t mean excellent quality because there is an upper limit for quality. So, wisely select the translation agency that will suit your budget and at the same time not very cheap.

• Experience can help you to determine the reliability. You can use the experience of the translation service provider as a tool to measure the reliability of the translation service provider. The more the experience, higher the reliability. Since, the translation agency had dealt with many similar translation projects in the past they can do your work with high degree of accuracy and perfection. Apart from the blind experience you should also look what is their customer’s feedback about their work.

• Native translators are more reliable than the equally ranked translators. The translation done by professional translation agency would be very clear and perfect in most cases but in some rare cases the translation not only deals with just the literal meaning of the text. The translation service provider should understand the context in which the word is spoken and should discover the actual intention of the phrase. Just translating the word from source language to target language with literal meaning will not produce correct meaning. So, as far as possible you should hire translation agency which employ native people for the translation work.

The above guidelines can help you to recruit the apt professional translation service provider for your task. Use these guidelines wisely and you will find perfect translation agency for your need.

–written by irinaM

Do We Need Certified Translators?

–Written by gluc

Let’s say that you are dealing with some important paperwork between two languages (a birth certificate from a different country, perhaps) and suddenly the man on the other side of the desk says, “This document has to be translated by a certified translator.” What do you do then?

Well, first of all, don’t panic. It’s important to understand that in certain situations it is necessary for a translation to be done by professional who is specialized in that field, since the document has legal ramifications and, in many cases, will seriously affect your future.

Simply put, a certified translator is a person who is trained in such activities. He or she has studied it as a profession for several years and specialized in legal matters. Then and only then is he or she capable of translating a legal document. In addition, once the translator has finished the job, he or she signs and seals it and certifies that it is a faithful translation. Since the translator is certified, he or she is registered and, therefore, the signature is cross-checked with the one on file.

This procedure is used to provide a legal backing to security, since translations of public documents cannot be issued at random and the professional organization of certified translators is responsible for verifying that our documents are ratified as public documents.

For more details about Certified Translators, please visit:
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Why Translation?

The response to the call for sessions on the Presidential Forum theme, “The Tasks of Translation in the Twenty-First Century,” has been remarkable. In addition to the Presidential Forum and its two linked sessions, over fifty additional translation-related sessions are scheduled for the 2009 convention. Talks on topics from retranslation to self-translation, from translation in the medieval Persian context to translation in the early American context, and from inter-Asian translation to postcolonial translation will enrich the emerging field of translation studies and offer new insights to those of us in adjacent disciplines.

Lately, as a thought experiment, I’ve tried to imagine living in a world without translators. A preposterous notion, to be sure, although perhaps no more so than others we accept as premises for entertainment, for example, the notion that a certain Benjamin Button is born old and proceeds to grow younger. In any event, to anchor the exercise in a bit of science fiction, I’m positing that the human brain has evolved to permit the learning of just a single language; translation is thus out of the question. The resulting world, as I picture it, is radically and starkly diminished. Pursuing the experiment through the prism of my own tradition, which members of my generation typically encountered in curricular form as “ancient history” followed by “Western civilization,” I see that the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Hebrews, and the Romans learned nothing from one another. There has been no New Testament, no Renaissance, no Reformation, no Enlightenment, no scientific or industrial revolution. There is no American Constitution, no United Nations Charter, no European Union. Works of literature, philosophy, scholarship, and science that may have been produced in other linguistic contexts are forever inaccessible to speakers of English—and of course the English language itself has not developed in anything like its present form.

Fortunately for us, the human brain in its plasticity took a more propitious evolutionary path. Human beings can and do learn multiple languages; translators and interpreters have always been with us, and we need them as much as ever. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, let me point to a handful of contemporary reasons.

Although increasingly competent machines are already taking over some routine translation tasks, human translators continue to be indispensable even in this context, to select input for the machines on the one hand and to evaluate and refine their output on the other. And it is far from given that machine translation will ever be able to handle the syntactic, stylistic, and cultural complexities of literary, philosophical, or scholarly texts. For these tasks we shall continue to require highly educated translators with strong backgrounds in the source and target languages and cultures.

Although English functions increasingly as an international lingua franca, monolingual English speakers are at a decided disadvantage in exchanges—whether diplomatic, commercial, or personal—with their multilingual counterparts. In addition, countless critical situations arise in which the use of English is not an option.

The combination of globalization and the knowledge explosion facilitated by digital media means that the sources of new knowledge will be increasingly diverse and translators will be in increasing demand. A whole new industry is growing up, for example, around the need for “localization” on the Internet: translation and contextualization of Web content for speakers of regional and local languages. Meanwhile, voices in our Anglophone culture are calling attention to the severe import-export imbalance: on average over the past several decades, only two percent to four percent of the books published in the United States have been translations.

The MLA itself, in its recent report “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World,” notes that “there is a great unmet demand for educated translators and interpreters, and translation is an ideal context for developing translingual and transcultural abilities as an organizing principle of the language curriculum” (243).

But there is a problem. In his excellent book The Translator’s Invisibility, Lawrence Venuti documents the history of the Anglo-American tradition according to which good translations must be fluid and transparent and good translators must stay out of sight. The invisibility of the translator has become a cliché, but it is by no means a myth. Presses don’t want to advertise books as translations. Newspapers sometimes publish translated texts without acknowledging the fact. Academics have been known to remove translations from their curriculum vitae to avoid jeopardizing their chances for promotion or tenure. And until recently, few universities in the English-speaking world have acknowledged translation as a legitimate area of study.

It is one thing to recognize a need for competent translators in the world and quite another to take responsibility for their nurturing and development. Yet no one is better positioned to take on this task than we are, as postsecondary language and literature professionals. Some of us already help students reach advanced levels in foreign language study. Others help students refine their writing and editing skills in English. Many of us also teach courses that expand our students’ cultural knowledge. Almost all of us work at teaching our students to become more careful and critical readers. In short, our current disciplinary structures provide the basic frameworks that allow students to begin to acquire the skills and knowledge essential to translators. Attending to the development of future translators at the college and university level need not require significant structural changes or an infusion of new resources.

An increased presence of translation in the undergraduate curriculum ought to elicit an increased presence of translators as teachers and scholars. I have argued elsewhere that translation of literary and scholarly works should be acknowledged as evidence of scholarly activity and assessed as such in decisions about hiring, promotion, and tenure. Adopting this practice would be one way of implementing the recommendation of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion, which argues that “the profession as a whole should develop a more capacious conception of scholarship by rethinking the dominance of the monograph, promoting the scholarly essay, establishing multiple pathways to tenure, and using scholarly portfolios” (11). Not every course related to translation has to be taught by a professional translator; still, faculty members who are experienced in the field should be recognized as such for the value of their work and for the special contributions they can make in the translation classroom.

The theme of this year’s Presidential Forum is intended to shine a spotlight on the vital contributions of translators and to increase awareness of translation as it relates to much of the teaching and scholarship we do. I see translation as a hitherto underutilized arena of collaborative work, a site of potential engagement and interchange with colleagues and students in our and adjacent disciplines. Come to the convention if you can, sit in on some translation sessions, and if all goes well you’ll come away with some ideas for enhancing the position of translation on your campus and in your work.

2009 MLA President Catherine Porter

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Lost WITHOUT TRANSLATION

Taken from October 2008 issue of Officer.com

By Carole Moore

[…]

A call for help

Twenty-six years ago, a San Jose police officer realized his department not only was fielding more calls for service from Spanish-speaking subjects, but a growing number of Vietnamese were also settling in the area. Launched originally as a non-profit, Language Line Services (LLS) of Monterey, California, acted as a kind of go-between for clients who needed to communicate with individuals who did not speak English.

Louis Provenzano, LLS president and COO, says the company partners with 911 calls, police and emergency dispatchers. LLS provides access to 176 different languages.

The concept is simple. The officer notifies dispatch of the need for an interpreter. Dispatch calls the company on a special emergency telephone line and the officer hooks up with an interpreter.

“Some cities just let the officer dial directly — [we do] whatever the police want to do to make it easier.” Provenzano says.

LLS’s most requested U.S. language is Spanish. No surprise there, but the runners’ up might make a few jaws drop: Mandarin is second, followed by Korean, Vietnamese and Cantonese. “We also get lots of requests for Polish and Portuguese,” says Provenzano.

One fascinating byproduct of this service are the trends they indicate — in the Washington, D.C., area, for example, there is a growing need for Krio interpreters. Krio is the language spoken in Sierra-Leone.

Phoenix, Arizona, has a growing need for Dari, spoken in Iran. Oromo, a language used in Ethiopia and other African countries, is showing up in Seattle, Washington, while Denver, Colorado, has a demand for the Tibeto-Burman language of Karen, and in Chicago, Illinois, Urdu is spoken by many Pakistani immigrants. Some countries, like the Philippines, have numerous dialects. They present challenges, but thus far LLS has managed to meet them.

Handling some of those calls is Susan Avila, one of LLS’s 4,000 translators. Some LLS staffers work in call centers, while others translate from their homes. Competition for Avila’s job is fierce: The company only hires one out of every 12 applicants.

Avila, who works in Fort Worth, Texas, has been interpreting for 10 years. She says one of the most dramatic cases she assisted with involved a man who had been kidnapped and managed to get hold of a cell phone to call for help. As the police were searching for him, she was asked to instruct him to kick walls and make noise so officers could find him. They did — and also found and arrested his kidnappers.

“Of course not every call is that memorable,” Avila says.

Commgap of Salt Lake City, Utah, is another company that works with law enforcement agencies and attorneys to facilitate interpretation over phone lines. Similar to LLS in structure, Commgap’s Leilani Craig, executive director, says “We’re a full translation agency and offer a whole round of language services. Part of our services are telephone interpreting on demand.”

The dynamics are pretty simple, says Craig. The agency contacts Commgap and within 30 seconds they have an appropriate interpreter on the line. Commgap routinely records conversations they interpret and, says Craig, there is no minimum, no set-up charges and no binding contract.

“Agencies can use us as much, or as little, as they want,” she says.

[…]

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For more information about Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Cantonese and other Asian language translation, please visit 1-Stop Translation’s website at www.1stoptr.com or email us at marketing@1stotpr.com

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Tips for web site localization

By Felicia Bratu
Your company is expanding to foreign markets and you’ve been chosen to oversee the localization of your company’s web site. You built the web site and you know all about it: every page, each navigation button; scripting, coding, applets, cascading style sheets, etc. But you don’t have a clue about the translation process. At this point, you are doing some research about translation and localization and may seek some guidance. You need a plan – identifying possible challenges and implementing the most cost-effective processes.

Here are some tips that can help you:

1. Do not translate your web site only because everybody is doing it. Carefully evaluate your business needs and establish performance indicators to measure your success (or lack thereof). Most managers these days demand return investment on all marketing activities. It will be to your advantage to be able to show bottom line improvements (i.e. online sales in Germany increased 20% or support calls dropped by 10% after we launched the German web site).

2. Identify which section of the web site needs to be translated and define a handoff process to your translation vendor. Some of the web pages are simple HTML files which can be easily opened and translated. But with anything non-HTML, the text often has to be extracted. This category includes all the graphics that contain text, Flash files, and PDF files.

3. Try to provide your translator with all of the source files from the very beginning (such as cost estimating). Do not copy and paste every page of your web site in a Word file. It is not necessary and can be time consuming. Even though your translator can download all the files from your web site, it is still a much better practice to hand over all the files relating to the web site. Word count and cost estimates can be very inaccurate if the translator doesn’t have all of the files to work with.

Actually, if you have a dynamic web site, the word counting could be off by a long shot because of the unnecessary repetitions.

4. Make sure that your translator uses a translation memory (TM) tool. A TM tool keeps all the translated material in a database and makes it available for any future updates. Using a TM tool can help you save money, improve consistency, and speed up turnaround. In addition, working within a TM tool, tags and script code are recognized and protected during content translation.

Provide your translator with any available reference material such as translation guidelines, previous translations and glossaries. The guidelines can address issues such as what terms should be left in English, punctuation, adaptation of date/time format, addresses, symbols, and measurement systems. A glossary is a multilingual terminology list that defines how abbreviations, product names, or industry specific terms should be translated. If the translator is using a translation memory tool, these glossaries can be imported to ensure consistency.

5. Provide your translation vendor with original graphic files including navigation buttons, Flash objects, textual graphics, and PDF files. These will have to be localized as well. It’s in your best interest to send the native PhotoShop and Illustrator files that were used to create the GIFs and JPEGs on your web site! Also, some languages such as French and Spanish are often longer than English. So, you should keep this text expansion in mind when you create your initial graphics to allow for longer text. The desktop publishing specialist at your localization company will keep the background image and will reconstruct the layers containing text and merge them to make the target language images for web.

6. Do some testing after the initial localization is done to make sure that the site looks good and works properly. Check the visuals first. Then do some functionality testing (such as creating and filling out a test form) to see if any function was lost during the translation process. Check to make sure that all necessary pages have been uploaded and translated, all the links are working, and that the translated text can be viewed properly (your developer should change the character encoding according to the target language).

In addition, you should perform testing to ensure that your web site works well on different platforms, operating systems and browsers at this phase.

Make sure that the translator or agency understands how browsers work with special characters (diacritics). If your localizer is working or making revisions on the translated text in HTML mode, be careful to never enter characters with accents into the code itself. Certain browsers could display the web page incorrectly.

7. Some translators will try to differentiate the localized files from the source files by adding a distinguishing extension for each language (the French file for home.html will be named home_fr.html). When this happens, every link reference in every file will need to be renamed to point to the right link. This will be time consuming and it will increase the possibility of creating errors. Instead of doing this, it is better to store each language version in its own folder.

8. Almost every target language requires localization of measurement systems, date format, punctuation, the thousands/decimal system, and colours. Everyone involved in the localization process should have cultural sensitivity to avoid offensive content.

9. Pay attention to web site layout when localizing in a language like Arabic or Hebrew. Because these are right to left languages, it is most likely necessary to redesign the layout (especially when your web site has navigation bars on the left).

10. If you want to optimize your multilingual site you should be aware that not all major search engines are working properly with foreign pages and your web site may not be listed in many of them. Also, the terminology your translators prefer (however correct or appropriate) might be VERY different from what your customers are using to find you. You must understand how your customers search online to effectively achieve high rankings and good online results. You should do research on what the major local search engines are and what your competition is doing.

Article taken from http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/75064

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For more information about website localization into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian languages, please visit 1-Stop Translation’s website at www.1stoptr.com or email us at marketing@1stotpr.com

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