One Country, Many Translations

Canada’s more than 9.9 million square kilometers are home to more than 36 million people as well as two official languages. Of course, that means all official government and correspondence and work needs to be translated from one language to another.
But we’re also a multi-national nation, with about 20% million of us speaking a language other than English or French at home. Some of the most commonly spoken languages in our homes include Aboriginal languages, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Romanian, German, Russian, Greek, Spanish, Gujarati, Tagalog, Italian, Ukrainian, Korean, Urdu, Polish, Vietnamese, Punjabi, Yiddish, and others.
Being a region of many languages and cultures doesn’t just mean we can feast on a range of world cuisines and enjoy getting to know people from around the world. It also means we are a nation translators and linguists can really adore.
According to Service Canada, there are over 3800 translation and interpretation-based businesses across the country and over 10,000 translators at these businesses and at larger firms. Demand in the industry is high, especially as more people decide to move to Canada from overseas and there is a demand for translations of college diplomas, legal documents, and other papers.
For businesses, too, Canada’s rich linguistic culture is good news. Companies that can capitalize on demand for services and goods in other languages can tap into hidden consumer bases. Just imagine: what if your organization could offer services, a website, or products in languages your competition could not? With the help of a translator or interpreter, you could enjoy just this advantage.
Vedia Translation is proud to be part of an industry helping Canadians of all backgrounds communicate effectively. If you’d like to translate any text into another language – whether to appeal to a wider consumer base, to abide by immigration application rules, or for any reason – feel free to contact us for a quote.

Translators: Canada’s Literary Heroes

Canada has long been a nation of literary superpowers. From Margaret Atwood to Alice Munro, Michal Ondaatje, and many others, Canada has produced fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays recognized on an international stage.
At home, though, it’s not just writers who play a key role in our national literary might. Since Canada has two official languages, many books are translated so they can appear in both English and French. In 1947, for example, Gabrielle Roy's Bonheur d'occasion was translated into the Tin Flute, reaching a whole new audience of English readers in Canada.
Since then, most other major books are translated so all audiences in Canada can read them. When Canadian literature is translated into English and French, it can also travel beyond our borders to France, England, Australia, the United States, and other parts of the world where the two languages are spoken.
In some cases, writers can write in both English and French. Nancy Huston, for example, has written in both languages and has received major French awards as well as the Governor General’s award for her English-language novels. Mostly, however, it is translators who make sure our national literature is preserved in English and French – and in some cases is translated for global readers, too.
Today’s literary translators work with the latest technology but still strive with age-old questions about how to best preserve the poetic language, tone, and style, of books. Despite their hard work, though, many translators receive only a small portion of royalties and many do not have their names appear on the covers of the materials they have translated.
Things may be changing, though. Translated works are becoming more popular and translation professionals are getting more recognition through literary prizes. This year, Canadian translator Jessica Moore, for example, has earned a spot on the Man Booker prize longlist for her English translation of Maylis de Kerangal’s Réparer les vivants.
At Vedia Translation, we’d like to congratulate Jessica Moore and all the other translators working in Canada to preserve our literary heritage and to encourage literature across languages.

Catch Them If You Can: How Fake Translators May be Wreaking Havoc with Your Budget and Your Translations

In 2002, Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Catch Me If You Can, a movie about real-life con artist Frank Abagnale. Before he turned 19, Abagnale effectively stole more than a million dollars through check fraud and successfully posed as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer. There are people who still try to pull Abagnale-like stunts today, although less successfully. Sadly, you may be trusting some of them to translate your important documents.

The Problem
Translation companies sometimes receive dozens of resumes from translators each day. Most of these resumes are from hard-working and honest professionals. Unfortunately, many translation companies receive 10 or more resumes a day from fake translators. Just like Abagnale put on an airline pilot uniform to fool airports, these “translators” use online translation tools so that they appear like experienced translators – when they are anything but. It’s such a serious problem in the industry that there are on-line volunteer groups (one of such groups: Scammers Intelligence Group, www.translator-scammers.com) trying to crack down on impostors trying to pass themselves off as translation professionals. Unfortunately, while the problem has been reaching epic proportions, many translation clients are not aware that there is an issue – and some of them are trusting their important business and legal documents to fraudsters using nothing more than Google and other online tools to do their dirty work.

How the Scam Works
Fake translators send their falsified resumes and CVs to translation companies.They also contact clients directly through online job marketplaces, job boards, and classified ads. Their resumes may be impressive, detailing college degrees and multiple languages spoken, but these individuals don’t speak or write in any of the languages they advertise. If they land a job or need to provide a sample, they just pass a text through a translation software system or even a free tool like Google. That’s it. For something you could do yourself in a minute, however, they may charge you hundreds of dollars (or even more!). If a client or translation service fights back against the poor-quality translations, the fraudsters will sometimes disappear, refusing to answer the phone or any emails after they have gotten paid. In other cases, they get defensive and start to make threats. If a translation company hires one of these fake translators and tries to reprimand them for using on online translator or for lying on a resume, the fraudsters will sometimes use social media to make fake claims against the translation company or will leave bad reviews of the company online.

Spotting the Scam
There are two types of fake translators: Identity thieves and entirely fictitious translators. Identity thieves will scour the Internet for actual translators and their resumes or will post a fake translation job online to get the resume of a real translator. They then swap out the contact information for their own, posing as the professional. This form of identity theft can ruin a professional translator’s reputation and career once the thief starts handing in sub-par translations. A professional may not even know that the theft has taken place until they notice bad reviews online or a sudden drop in jobs. The translator then has to spend months or even years trying to restore their reputation. Identity thieves are often hard to spot, because they are using the real name and credentials of a professional. Entirely fictitious translators are easier to spot but there are many more of them. These fraudsters make up degrees, skills, and names, creating their own fake identities. They then send out thousands of resumes with these fake identities. In some cases, these resumes are good for a laugh. They contain obvious mistakes, strange educational qualifications, and languages that don’t quite add up. If you are looking at a translator’s resume and you see that the translator allegedly got a media degree in Japan, a graduate degree in biochemistry in India, and a PhD in Art History in the UK with fluency in Japanese, Polish, Spanish, and Hungarian, you’re probably looking at a fake CV (especially if the resume has several errors).

Staying One Step Ahead of Scammers
One of the best ways to protect yourself against fake translators is to work with a professional, established translation agency. If you are hiring an individual translator for a project, you’re on your own when it comes to detecting scams. You may spend hours or days trying to figure out which resumes are legitimate and which are not. In the end, you might be fooled anyway and have to pay to have your text translated again – this time by a qualified translator. A professional translation company like Vedia Translations has a screening and testing process to weed out fake translators. For example, Vedia Translations has created a special multi-step procedure. Before entrusting any translator with your important documents, we put these professionals through careful checks that include:

  • Reference checks
  • Linguistic tests
  • Background verification
  • Translator anti-theft group checks
  • Translation community feedback checks
  • Education credential verification (contacting universities and colleges to verify credentials if needed)

Our company also shares information about known fake translators with other translation and language service providers so that we can improve the industry as a whole. Another thing that Vedia Translations does is check the IP addresses of translators who apply to work with us against the IP addresses of known fake translators. Since Vedia Translations is part of the translation industry, we have the industry contacts and knowledge to carefully check each translator we work with. This is an advantage the average individual or business simply does not have if they need business or legal texts translated. By verifying the professional credentials of every translator, we save our clients frustration and time. We also safeguard the quality of our translations so that we can fully stand behind them. Most translators are honest and hard-working individuals, but a few imposters have wreaked havoc in the industry as a whole and have defrauded individual clients out of money for poor-quality translators. If you are ready to entrust your translation project to a qualified professionals, contact Vedia Translations today for a quote. We’d be happy to explain the process we use to ensure you get a quality translation each time – on budget and on time.

Why Are Machine Translators Getting Better So Slowly?

In Star Trek movies and TV shows, translations between Klingons and humans onboard the Starship enterprise happens in real time, with no glitches. Many techies likely thought that by 2013 or 2014 we would have accurate machine-based translators in our pockets.

Translation has never been more important. As our world becomes more mobile and more international, being able to translate news stories and web pages in different languages is a big plus. For companies, accurate translations are a must for deals across borders.

However, even makers of popular machine-based translators such as Google and Microsoft’s Bing agree that replace human translators with machines is a long way in the future. In the past few months, Google’s efforts at translation through machine have gotten a lot of press, and there is no doubt that Google’s current translation efforts are a big jump from the online translators of years past. While previous translators online did only word-by-word translations, today’s machine translators use  Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) to analyze databases of human translations online. Algorithms then try to find patterns in groups of words – rather than individual words – to translate sentences and paragraphs.

However, there are lots of problems. For one thing, machine translators rely heavily on online translations already completed – and any errors in the system can affect accuracy of the machine translations.  A bigger problem is simply that machine translations and translation programs still can’t understand or interpret nuances, syntax, and various translations of one word.

This means that even Google experts agree that machine translations can be a bad idea in situations where accurate translations are a must – such as medical settings. While machine translations may be handy for getting a very general understanding of a web page, they are not great for really understanding or translating longer documents. It can be even worse in cases where a document relies on an industry heavy language. Translating a document written in legalese, for example, absolutely needs a professional and experienced human translator.

It could be one reason why machine translation is still a $200 million market while human translation is a $34 billion market. In many cases, human translators are needed to clean up the grammar and syntax messes that machine translators leave behind. Many human translators have to start from scratch with a document that has been translated by machine, because the quality can be so bad. That Star Trek ideal of instant, machine-based translation is still far in the future.

Translators Help Non-Profits Make a Big Difference

We’ve all heard of groups like Doctors without Borders and UNICEF – non-government organizations that head into countries all over the world to help those in need. These organizations routinely need your money and your support in order to keep going. They need money to pay for supplies and other necessities in order to carry out their work. Once these organizations head into a foreign country, however, they need something else: good communication.

Whether it's an environmental group cleaning up an oil spill in a foreign country or a team of doctors arriving in a remote village halfway around the world in order to offer basic medical services, the needs are the same. They need to be able to communicate effectively with the local population in order to offer help. They also need to be able to understand the culture around them in order to offer the best assistance possible.

That's where groups like Translators Without Borders comes in. Translators Without Borders is a nonprofit group that was founded in 1993. To date, it has helped translate millions of words on behalf of charitable and nonprofit organizations. The group's work shows exactly how important translators are. Without them, it's difficult for groups such as UNICEF to do their work. Once charitable organizations gather up your money and the resources they need to help, they still need to be able to understand the culture where they are headed and need to be able to communicate.

If the charitable group is a team of doctors hoping to offer medical treatment, for example, they need to be able to speak with patients in order to understand symptoms and in order to explain medical treatment. If the group is offering to set up clean water in the form of a well, the group needs to be able to communicate with local authorities and with local volunteers. In order to keep the volunteer safe, the groups’ participants need to be able to communicate their intentions effectively with local police and with local people and need to be able to understand the local culture where they are trying to help. Translators can help with all of this, not only by translating words, but also by helping to explain cultures and cultural differences.

With translators, overseas volunteers and nonprofits are able to provide more help and are able to learn more about the cultures they visit. Translators even allow volunteers to build lasting friendships with the people they help. Overseas charity work simply cannot happen without translators. Charitable groups such as Translators Without Borders help provide charities with no cost translation services.

The next time you give money to your favorite nonprofit group, consider the role translators play in ensuring your donation is put to good use.

The Perils of Online Translators

There is no doubt that online translators such as Google Translate are fun tools for a rainy afternoon. However, when companies rely on such services to translate their business website, unintentional humor is often the result. While translating with Google Translate can be amusing when it’s all just fun and games, there are serious limitations to online translators that make them inappropriate for business use.

Unlike human translators, who understand the nuances of language, idioms, and geography, online translators only translate literally. When businesses try to appeal to a global audience by using translators, they often run into trouble. A company will sometimes use Google Translate to translate an ecommerce website into many languages, hoping to attract customers across the globe. Unfortunately, the results are often inaccurate and even undecipherable. In some cases, readers in other languages cannot understand what an online translator has translated for them. This makes it actually harder to connect with potential clients across the globe. And in almost all cases, such automatic translations don’t look very professional.

For example, Google Translate cannot tell the difference between “Georgia” the US state and “Georgia” the country (which is also sometimes spelled Grusia). If you use Google Translate for your company website and translate the word “Georgia” the online translator can place your business in the US state in some languages and in Grusia in other languages --  that’s sure to be confusing for customers and embarrassing for you!

If you are writing a holiday card to your aunt and want to write “happy holidays” in another language, free online translators are a perfectly good choice. If you are creating a website – especially a business website – you need translations that are accurate and that reflect the professionalism of your business. This means that you need professional, experienced translators who can give your website the attention it deserves.

Need a Translation Fast? Get the Facts

Inevitably, sometimes you need a translation completed at the last minute. You may be involved in a court case and may need a new document translated in time for the next court appearance, for example. You may have a business emergency that requires business documents to be translated quickly. Many translation companies, including Vedia Translations, offer rush services. However, as a consumer you need to carefully consider all the implications of rush service.

The reality is that translation is a time-consuming process, and there is no way to really speed up the process. A professional, full-time translator can translate between 2000 and 2500 words per working day, on average. In many cases, translation agencies use a statistic like this when setting rates. Any translation that requires more words than a translator can complete in a day is usually changed an additional or rush fee, as a rush translation requires the translator to work extra hours, increasing the overall cost of the translation.

In situations where a translation needs to be completed on a very tight deadline, there are in fact a few options:

1) Complete the translation at a regular rate but have the translation late;

2) Have one translator complete the translation on time;

3) Have several translators working on the translation to complete it by the deadline.

Each approach has its advantages and drawbacks. If you need a translation completed by a specific time, you have the option of having one translator work around the clock to complete a translation. The advantage of this approach is that the final product will be congruent and consistent, as it will be translated by one professional. The main disadvantage is that the translator will need to charge additional fees for the many hours of work and the stress of the assignment. Additionally, the translator will typically have less time for editing the final product in rushed assignments.

Another option is to have several translators working on an assignment at once. Initially, this may seem to be the less expensive option, since several translators working together can charge the typical (non-rush) rate. However, when several translators work together, a reviser and editor are often needed to go through the final product in order to ensure that the final product is consistent. Since different translators may use different nuances and have different vocabularies, the reviser is needed to ensure that the final product is coherent and congruent. This can add to the time or the cost of completing a translation as well.

The truth is that having additional time to complete a translation allows a professional translator the freedom to do the best job possible. In cases where a translation must be completed on a tight deadline, it is imperative to understand the different options possible and to discuss the options available with your translation agency. Vedia Translations, for example, never rejects assignments and is willing to find a solution for you, no matter what your needs are. All you need to do is to communicate with Vedia Translations about your needs and expectations when you call.

How Coordinated is Your Translation Effort?

If you have documents that need to be translated, coordination between translators has a big – and direct – impact on the quality of the final product. If you have one large assignment that needs to be translated from one source language into one target language, your translation agency will often split up the work between a number of translators to ensure that the assignment gets completed in a timely manner. Typically, the translation agency will assign your project to one reviewer to ensure that all terminology and text are consistent and that the work of all the translators is coordinated into one cohesive whole. As well, translation agencies will sometimes have teams of translators work together to develop a common agreement about meanings of the source text.

When one document has to be translated into several different languages, a team is usually assigned to the project, but few translation agencies coordinate their efforts. Instead, typically one translator is assigned to the project for every target language. This can be a big problem, as it can mean inconsistencies in style, terminology, and layout. If your document is being translated from English into Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and French, for example, four translators with very different backgrounds and understandings could be looking at your document and the resulting translations could be very different from one another. A simple phrase or idiom could be understood equally accurately – but differently – by each translator, so that you end up with four translations that have very different connotations.

To combat this problem, Vedia Translations has adopted a unique approach: when a large assignment requires multiple translators, Vedia Translations arranges for an online conference between all translators to work out a common terminology and a common understanding of idioms. This ensures that translations of phrases such as "silver lining" are translated accurately – and not literally – into the intended languages. This online coordination ensures a clearer, more consistent final product for you.

Why “Friendly” Translations Can Have Bad Results

We all have friends who speak a foreign language and if we have a text that we need translated, it can be tempting to ask these friends for help. After all, they know the language, don’t they?

The problem is that this "friendly" bit of advice can lead to serious inaccuracies and errors in your translations. No matter how talented and skilled your co-workers and friends are, they are probably not professional translators. They may make mistakes in your text. If they are expats, they may not be aware of the latest grammar changes and other changes in their own native language. Language changes all the time, and professional translators and linguists at Vedia Translations work many hours to ensure that they are aware of all these changes. As well, just as you may not have perfect grammar and a perfect vocabulary in English, your expat friends and coworkers may have their own language problems – problems which can then end up in your translated document.

There really is no substitute for a professional translation. After all, would you entrust anyone with a toolbox to fix your home's plumbing or allow anyone with a stethoscope to prescribe you medications? While a non-professional translation may not mean a leaky pipe or a misdiagnosis, it can have severe consequences. Poorly translated legal or immigration documents can mean costly legal delays or the loss of a court case or visa. Errors in marketing or business translations can mean significant losses in profits or in business opportunities.

Getting professional results in any field means choosing to work with professionals; that's why clients turn to Vedia Translations for their translation needs.

What is Localization and Why is it Important For Translations?

If you need a translation from English into French or from French into English, you may be thinking in terms of large language groups – French is French and English is English, to most people, after all. However, the reality is that languages differ considerably by region, which is one reason why you need a professional translation agency to handle this detail.

If you need documents translated from English into Spanish, for example, is the document headed to Spain or Latin America? It's an important distinction, because the words and expressions in Spain are very different from those in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. The same is true for English into Portuguese translations; Portuguese in Brazil is virtually a different language than the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. When you decide to have documents translated, knowing where the documents are headed is important, since a translation agency can work on localizing your translated documents, ensuring that your documents are accurate and reliable for their intended target audience.

Even translating documents from Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages into English can be problematic – are your English-language documents for a British or North American audience? North American English speakers may not understand British terms such as "lift" Even within North America, differences in spelling between Canadian and American English can be significant. If your translated documents are for a Canadian audience, you don’t want to have American spellings, as they will look like errors.

You want to make your message clear, and for that to happen you need to work closely with a translation company that is equipped to handle localization. If you have important documents or marketing materials to translate, your message can become confusing or even offensive to your audience if localization is not taken into account. Good quality translation services, such as Vedia Translations, work closely with professional translators from different regions to ensure that your translations are completely accurate and clear for your intended audience.