Our experience at the ATD 2018

by Yuko Baba, Project Manager at Commit

The outside of the San Diego Convention Center was flooded with thousands of people from all over the world on Monday morning; and yes, we were one of them. Who could blame us for our excitement and anticipation! Even the regular attendees of ATD were surprised about whom ATD invited this year for the opening keynote – the 44th President of the United States, President Barak Obama. This 75th year anniversary of ATD had become a very special one for us.

As President Barak Obama walked onto the stage, the crowd cheered and gave him a standing ovation.  We were sharing the same room with the former president, and it was a big deal!! The attendees could not get enough of him as he gave the opening keynote. He spoke about learning, resilience, and value as he shared his upbringing, family and experience in the White House. One of the things he shared was to hold on to values that are tested and proven by our previous generations – values that do not change: values like “be honest”, “be hardworking”, “be kind”, “carry the weight”, “be responsible”, “be respectful”, and “be useful”. He shared that such values reflect our day-to-day interactions and the kinds of habits we form which transcend any issues or situations and they, as a consequence, become our baseline and foundation. “Those are things that will get you through hard times as well as good times”, he said. Those values will “sustain effort and ultimately give purpose to what we do” which will make us go above and beyond superficial benefits like getting paid. It is easy to put those values away and seek short term results, but with those values, we become successful in life. To say that he is a great speaker would be an understatement. It was a very in-depth, insightful and inspiring speech. To be honest, we wish he would speak longer!

This year’s ATD welcomed over 13,000 talent development professionals from all over the world as they offered more than 300 sessions with 202 exhibitors. Needless to say, all of the sessions offered were about talent development and its related fields; however, it was good information to be aware of, as we provide translation services to the talent development industry. Especially, with regards to the changes in the industry trends with the upcoming technologies of virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence – how the industry’s e-learning programs and the materials will be impacted – our industry will also have to make necessary adjustments to grow alongside our clients.  It was indeed a good learning opportunity to explore how we can use those new technologies to our advantage to improve our services. Also, through sessions like “Overcoming the Headache of Video Editing and Content Reviews” by Daniel Witterborn from TechSmith and “What’s Wrong with This Course – Quality Testing and Editing Strategies for Designers and Developers” by Hadiya Nuriddin from Focus Learning Solutions,  we had an opportunity to discover the challenges and difficulties the clients face developing an eLearning program. Also, it was interesting to know that most eLearning program developers and designers do not have a formal Quality Assurance in place.  This is something we can also consider when taking on an eLearning project to provide recommendations and offer solutions to our client. Over all, all of the sessions were very interesting and will be applied to our business practice.

Commit had a booth set up along with the talent development training companies, software companies, universities and fellow translation companies giving away lots of cool swag!  We had a good networking time with the people who came by our booth, who sat next to us during the sessions and lunch tables. We are grateful for those who came to visit us at our booth. We hope you had a wonderful and meaningful conference like we did!  We hope to see you next year in ATD 2019 in Washington DC!

Elia’s ND for Executives Catania – In review

This year, Elia’s Networking Days for Executives was held at The Romano Palace Luxury Hotel in picturesque Catania, Sicily. Commit was represented by our Chief Strategist Spyros Konidaris and our CEO Vasso Pouli.

The event featured two tracks, one on the Translation industry and company strategies and one on Financial strategies, and we attended both.

The first track was dedicated to the overall company strategy for LSPs and what the future has in store for the industry. During the first day, the two moderators, experienced and savy professionals, Kimon Fountoukidis from Argos and Dominique Hourant from TransPerfect laid down the main issues faced by today’s LSPs, including, but not limited to, organic growth and M&As, differentiating USPs, growth pathways, competition challenges, and many more. The second day was devoted to the attendees; several of them took the podium and opened up to share their personal experiences in many of the topics discussed the previous day. The track really took off with this exercise as sharing is really at the heart of this event and what provided the best value for all. After two full days, we left with many things to think about and apply to our company strategy.

The event also included a panel discussion with Iris Orriss from Facebook, Richard Brooks from K International, and Geert Vanderhaeghe from Lexitech. The discussion was representative of our industry as it included the opinions from both the buyer and the supplier side, especially with Geert being relatively new in the industry. Amazing takeaways here as well as the conclusion was that no matter what the size of the LSP, value is there to be added in providing services to the client.

The second track, Financial Strategies: The Golden Quest, was delivered – very successfully indeed – by Gráinne Maycock, VP of Sales at Sajan, and Robert Ganzerli, seasoned industry expert and former owner of Arancho Doc. Though rich in presentation content, the track very soon took the form of an open discussion and honest sharing of best practices, where P&L, EBIT(DA), accountability, monitoring, KPIs, budget, operating (whatever) and taxes suddenly seemed appealing and interesting. Corporate and financial strategy was at the heart of the track and reminding us that there is no size that fits all. So, it was indeed both a relief and a challenge to realize that we must make our own and make it our own! Ooh, and Minions were a very nice and fitting touch – those who were there know.

We spent 2 full days sharing knowledge, hearing different opinions and networking – we wonder what’s in store for the next edition of ELIA’s Networking Days for Executives next year!

What is GDPR and how does Commit protect your personal information?

by Effie Salourou, Customer Operations Manager at Commit

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It takes effect on 25 May 2018 and standardizes data protection law across all 28 EU countries as well as imposes strict new rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information (PII).

GDPR applies to all organizations holding and processing EU resident’s personal data, regardless of geographic location. Many organizations outside the EU are unaware that the EU GDPR regulation applies to them as well. If an organization offers goods or services to, or monitors the behavior of EU residents, it must meet GDPR compliance requirements.

What is considered personally identifiable information (PII)?

PII is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. The types of data considered personal go beyond just name, address, and photos. GDPR extends the definition of personal data so that something like an IP address can be personal data. It also includes sensitive personal data such as genetic data, and biometric data which could be processed to uniquely identify an individual. So, keep in mind that files from your legal, finance, life sciences or HR department are likely to contain personal information.

What has Commit done to protect your personal information?

  • We have trained our inhouse teams and informed our partners in order to create a personal data protection culture.
  • We have incorporated the Privacy by design/by default principles into our systems to promote privacy and data protection compliance from the start.
  • We are collecting only the necessary data needed to perform the services you requested, and we are limiting the storage periods for that data.
  • We are compliant with ISO 9001, 17100 and 27001 certifications and we are following all relative codes of conducts.
  • We are performing periodic internal inspections to make sure we are GDPR compliant.
  • We have a Risk Management Plan in place to try and avoid vulnerabilities and data breaches and violations.
  • We are providing the following personal data rights to our clients and partners in accordance with the GDPR: the right to be informed, the right to access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to restrict processing, the right to data portability, the right to object and the right to withdraw consent.

We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. For more information on the kind of data we collect from our partners and clients and why and for a detailed description of rights, please read our Privacy Notice here.

What to keep in mind when assigning your first post-editing task

by Dimitra Kalantzi , Linguist at Commit

Maybe your business or translation agency is toying with the idea of experimenting with Machine Translation (MT) and post-editing. Or maybe, after careful thought and planning, you’ve developed your own in-house MT system or built a custom engine with the help of an MT provider and are now ready to assign your first post-editing tasks. However simple or daunting that endeavor might seem, here are some things you should bear in mind:

  1. Make sure the translators/post-editors you involve are already specialized in the particular field, familiar with your business or your end-client’s business and its texts, and willing to work on post-editing tasks. Involving people with no specialization in the specific field and no familiarity with your/your client’s texts, language style and terminology is bound to adversely affect your post-editing efforts. Ideally, the post-editors you rely on will be the same people you already work with, trust and appreciate for their good work.
  1. Forget any assumptions you might have about the suitability of texts for MT post-editing. For example, IT and consumer electronics are often among the verticals for which custom MT engines are built, and it’s usually taken for granted that software texts are suitable for post-editing purposes. However, this might not hold true for all your software texts or even for none at all, and should be judged on a case-by-case basis. For instance, some software texts contain many user interface (UI) strings that consist of a limited number of words (in some cases only 1 word) and are notoriously difficult to translate even for professional translators, especially when the target language is morphologically richer than the source language and there’s no context as is often the case, leading to a multitude of queries. It would seem that such texts are hardly suitable for post-editing or should, at the very least, be not prioritized for post-editing purposes.
  1. Define your MT and post-editing strategy. If your overall goal is to get the gist of your texts and you’re not concerned with style and grammar, then light post-editing might be right for you (but you’ll always need to clearly specify what constitutes an error to be post-edited and what falls outside the scope of post-editing, which might be tricky). If, on the other hand, you’re after high-quality translation and/or the output of your MT system is (still) poor, then full post-editing might be best for you. Also bear in mind that post-editing the MT output is not your only choice. In fact, instead of giving translators/post-editors the machine translated text, you can provide the source text as usual in the CAT tool of your choice and set the MT system to show a suggestion each time the translator opens a new segment for translation.
  1. Offer fair prices for post-editing. As a matter of fact, the issue of fair compensation and how post-editors should be remunerated for their work is still hotly debated. Some argue for a per-hour rate, others for a per-word rate. Some believe that post-editing always involves a reduced rate, for others it means a normal, or even increased translation rate. It all depends on the type of post-editing used (light vs full, normal post-editing vs translation suggestions), the quality of the MT output and its post-editability, the suitability of a particular text for post-editing, the language pair involved, etc. And, of course, translators/post-editors should be paid extra for providing further services, such as giving detailed feedback for a post-editing task.
  1. Last but not least, if you’re a translation agency, you should always have the approval of your end-client before using MT and post-editing to translate their texts. It also goes without saying that if you’ve signed an agreement with a client which forbids the use of any kind of MT or if the use of MT is expressly forbidden in the purchase order accompanying a job you receive from a client, you should comply with the terms and conditions you’ve accepted and should not make use of MT.

Post-editing MT output is by no means a straightforward endeavor and this post has barely touched the tip of the iceberg. Let go of our assumptions, find out as much as you can, involve everyone in the new workflow and ask for their honest feedback, be ready to experiment and change your plans accordingly, and let the adventure begin!

Successful Localization Client Management Realignment Practices

by David Serra, Senior Business Development Manager at Commit

A localization client-vendor relationship is one of the most important facets of client management. Translation Programs for clients are always evolving in and out of a client’s organization. And of course, the goal is a strong business partnership that lasts the test of time and naturally leads to same account revenue growth.

The initial goal when taking on an account in transition is to create an enterprise translation program based on KPIs from localization industry standards. For example, clients with a multiple-vendor model without centralized systems tend not to have integrated terminology management and little to no Translation Memory maintenance. For the sake of a client’s content, that content needs to be leveraged across all translation vendors. Without this example, client translated content can contain inconsistencies, which could result in increased costs and poor translation quality. This is often referred to in the localization industry as one of the steps of taking your clients through a localization maturity model and continuum. Client Management always needs to be prepared with a plethora of solutions, with cyclical business review meetings, glossary maintenance, value-add linguist participation with terminology management and on-site client-vendor localization strategy meetings. Good communication between key stakeholders is essential to a productive collaboration and business partnership.

Below are some examples of how to realign client localization accounts:

Step 1: Define critical challenges – Assess how to produce high quality translations for specific market needs

Step 2: Avoid defensive retort or rationalizations – Identify only issues needing fixes.

Step 3: Agree that any account realignment is not done in one meeting – Outline goals and schedule follow-up sessions as a systematic assessment of the account.

Step 4: Analyze project resources – Determine areas for improvement (People, Tools, and Processes).

Step 5: Develop transfer of knowledge – This includes TMs, glossaries, style guides, and quality review of legacy translations.

These initiatives are part of a wider industry trend from providing services to providing solutions. There is always a strategic need for translation quality to contend in competitive markets and localization service providers need a multi-layered understanding of client’s business needs and to provide solutions tailored to those specific localization business needs. Communication is one of the building blocks of a fruitful business partnership, along with assembling the best team to deliver localization services coupled with the right business objectives, the right tools and the best localization business practices.

Back to “human”

by Vasso Pouli, CEO at Commit

This is not a usual newsletter entry, it will not be about a specific localization subject nor a very informative or educational one. It is more of a ‘putting-my-thoughts-to-writing’ piece which however are open for questioning and debate by you, the readers.

There were two instances that sparked this idea, a funny one and a rather sad one; but let me start with the funny one and see whether we will get to the sad one.

For those of you who don’t know me, I have a rather strong-minded but cute 3-year-old daughter whose Christmas gift request was ‘Chatty’, a robot penguin. Well, Chatty has a pre-installed set of instructions which it acknowledges using voice recognition SW and acts accordingly. Chatty is a nice penguin with very funny responses and pre-recorded messages and every time we turned it on, we had a blast, but that was only as long as an adult voiced the instructions, i.e. when Chatty said ‘I am hungry’, we said ‘Eat’ and then there were a bunch of funny chewing sounds and Chatty thanking us for its delicious dinner and asking for a drink, and you can imagine how the story goes… But everything fell apart when my daughter wanted to boss it around being the one to be voicing the orders. At the age of 3, well… let’s just say that she has not yet mastered the art of clear articulation, and instead of ‘Stop’ she uttered ‘thtop’ or thought that it would be nice of her to add its name in the question i.e. ‘How are you, Chatty?’ or be even nicer and ask politely by adding ‘please’ in the order. Chatty was having trouble understanding her and either said, very successfully I may add, that she did not make sense or that she had not eaten her food and she did not speak loud or clear enough. At first, she was troubled and insisted, but then she was concerned, then angry because she could not understand why being polite did not have the expected outcome in this case nor what she was saying wrong when she uttered ‘thtop’ instead of ‘stop’. So now poor Chatty sits deactivated on the top shelf of her drawer wishing, I imagine, it could interact more or better with her, as this would be more fun. Right, Chatty…?

And you are probably wondering why I am saying all this… Well, we are in the era of Amazon deliveries with drones and instant service, we interact with machines all the more often, probably much more than we do with people, and we have a reason for doing so; it is easier, it is transactional, it is quick, so quick we have no time to actually mentally process it, and this makes it automatic. And automation is good, it saves us time, it frees our hands from the mundane and procedural tasks supposedly allowing us to deal with the more creative and challenging ones. But are we up to the task? This would require inspiration, interpersonal interaction and cooperation. How can we achieve this when we expect humans to communicate in a pre-conditioned manner and we condition both our words and our actions in order to trigger the expected outcome?

At the end of the day, when neither of the recorded options in a voice service suits our question, when our instantly generated invoice has the wrong information, when we accidentally press the wrong button and everything crashes, when we want a cafe latte with double shot of espresso, low fat milk, Stevia instead of sugar and a straw -even though it is  a hot drink-, we need to talk to a person, to an actual human being. Only they can be insightful, flexible, creative and add meaning and value to our interaction, and only then can we be genuine, can we be ourselves, even if we may not utter clearly enough or even if we are more verbose or polite than what would be expected.

We are all striving for a leaner, more automated and streamlined workflow, but what if we strived for more meaningful human interactions, where every ‘ping’ has its equal and corresponding ‘pong’ instead of the same mundane stereotypical preconditioned automated ‘ping’, ‘ping’, ‘ping’.

And why don’t we leave the sad story for another time?

What do you think?

Does technology threaten translation?

by Dina Kessaniotou, Project Coordinator at Commit

The question of whether technology threatens translation depends on many different factors, and, basically, on how people conceive its purpose. The answer is indissolubly tied to how effectively the involved parties can leverage its advantages, identify its disadvantages and set the limits.

If we take a step back and consider when technology first impacted the translation process, we will be able to see the big benefits it has brought about: the broad use of the Internet, even if not a translation-specific tool, resulted to a tremendous change in translation, compared to the old-fashioned, paper-based ways, in terms of quantity, speed and quality in search. There was an exponential increase in the volumes of information available to linguists. Search became much easier and much more effective, as huge amounts of data, with multiple possibilities of customization, were made instantly and directly accessible.

At a later stage, translation-specific technology, namely the CAT tools, offered many valuable advantages to all players of the translation production cycle. Linguists were able to accumulate their knowledge and previous research effort, store it and organize it in a way they could easily retrieve and reuse it in the future. They could therefore eliminate repetitive work, increase their speed, reduce turnaround times for their clients and, of course, keep consistency – one of the most painful tasks in many types of content. This means savings in time and costs for all involved parties in the translation process. This also means ability to focus on brand new content. As there are still huge volumes of untranslated content, clients will normally be more willing to push this content into production in the near future. This is what happened during the last few years and will probably continue to happen, given that major providers in different fields of specialization have realized the importance of localization. Based on the above, translation technology is clearly a faster way to growth.

The natural evolution of CAT tools was the development of Machine Translation systems. At this point, and especially at the earliest stages of the development, the usefulness of technology started to be questioned. Many linguists thought it really threatened translation as it aimed to replace the human brain. In fact, there is still no machine that can catch all nuances and intangible elements of a language and adapt them in a different language. Even the more “flat” texts evoke specific feelings and emotions that should be properly conceived and transferred. So there is no way for machines to “threaten” translation. This doesn’t mean that the MT technology can’t be fruitful, especially if linguists are constantly involved in the MT development. Instead of being skeptical about machines, we should rather make them work for us. What might need to change is the way linguists offer their knowledge. Some years ago, it might have been difficult to perceive how CAT tools would increase efficiency and profitability, not only for clients but also for linguists. Nowadays, a considerable part of linguists cannot imagine their lives without tools.

The fundamental purpose of technology is to be continuously aligned with the challenges of the market and contribute dynamically to the linguists’ efforts for high quality services – and not just to cut costs by delivering automated results in one step. The only thing that can downgrade its usefulness is the lack of understanding of its real mission. When used effectively, technology can bring exclusively positive results and is really a valuable and profitable investment for all involved parties.

ELIA Together 2018 – In review!

by Effie Salourou, Customer Operations Manager at Commit

ELIA Together, the premium event that brings together language service companies and freelance linguists took place last week and we couldn’t have been more excited! You see, it was hosted in our hometown, Athens, and we got to welcome and meet old and new business partners, colleagues and friends.

The venue

The event was hosted at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC) that is undoubtedly a stunning, state-of-the-art venue for conferences and events. With three different halls covering the three different tracks of the conference (Specialisation, Trends and Technology), there was a session for each taste!

The food

You can’t go wrong with Greek food! The menu on both days included fresh salads, mouth-watering appetizers, typical dishes for meat lovers, lots of options for vegetarians, and luscious desserts!

The program

The theme for the third edition of Together was Specialise to Excel and had 31 different sessions. Here are some of the sessions that we managed to attend:

  • Óscar Jiménez Serrano gave the keynote speech on Technology disruption in translation and interpreting mentioning a lot of successful examples (and some not so successful ones) from his personal career.
  • Wolfgang Steinhauer’s session had a very intriguing title as he promised to show us how to drastically increase our productivity in order to manage to translate 10.000 words per day! His method and point of view was very interesting, and this is something that we will definitely investigate further.
  • Another informative session was the one presented by Sarah Henter, which was an introduction to clinical trials. She focused on what makes the linguistic work on clinical trials so special, what kind of texts and target audiences there are and what knowledge linguists need to acquire in order to efficiently work in this area.
  • Josephine Burmester and Jessica Mann gave a presentation on Marketing localization and the complexities of this field. They gave very vivid examples taken from the German advertising industry and showed us how something global can become local (or not!).
  • Daniela Zambrini focused on the purposes of Simplified Technical English, illustrating the structure of the ASD-STE100 Specification and its advantages for translators and technical authors. This session was quite interactive since at the end we had to re-write sentences according to the Specification.
  • If you wanted to learn more about patent translation, you had to attend Timothy Hodge’s presentation called “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to translate patents”. Showing interesting facts and examples from our everyday life, he gave us an insight on the life of a patent translator and also gave us some tricks for finding and using the right terminology for translating a patent document.
  • This year, Commit presented a session as well! Our CEO Vasso Pouli addressed an important point about specialisation: the huge value we can add by combining vertical, task and technology knowledge. She made an interesting point by showing how we can expand our localization services by adding new skills to our portfolio.

Our booth/our team

Commit had a booth and we got to showcase our new corporate image and marketing material. We got to meet and greet lots of familiar faces as well as new business contacts that we hope will lead to fruitful collaborations. We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth and of course the ELIA organization that made this conference possible. Ευχαριστώ!

Linguistic validation services in the Life Sciences localization industry

by Nicola Kotoulia, Project Coordinator at Commit

Among the multiple specialized localization services available in the Life Sciences sector we also come across those referred to as Cognitive debriefing, Backtranslation & Reconciliation and Readability testing. How familiar are you with these methods? What does each mean, why is it required and what does it entail?

Translation errors can change the meaning of important content in clinical trial settings resulting in medical complications or the rejection of an entire clinical research project. Ambiguity in translated health questionnaires or instruments can mean that items or questions can be interpreted in more than one way, jeopardizing patient safety and clinical trial data integrity. Unclear and hard to use translated drug leaflets mean that users may not be able to take safe and accurate decisions about their medicines.

In order to help avoid such hazards, IRBs, medical ethical committees, regulatory authorities and applicable legislation require that validation methods in accordance with FDA and ISPOR (International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research) guidelines are put in place for translated documentation, such as Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs), Clinician Reported Outcomes (ClinROs), Quality of Life (QOL) questionnaires and package leaflets (PL) of medicinal products.

Cognitive debriefing (also known as pilot testing) is a qualitative method for assessing respondents’ interpretation of an assessment, using a small sample of patients. It helps determine if the respondents understand the questionnaire the same as the original would be understood and tests the level of comprehension of a translation by the target audience. The goal is to ensure that data collected from PROs can be comparable across various language groups used during trials. Steps of the process include:

  • Developing a debriefing protocol tailored to the target questionnaires/instruments, subject pool, mode of administration, anticipated problem items etc.
  • Recruiting respondents including in-country professionals experienced in interviewing techniques and patients that match the target population.
  • Conducting the interview (in person or otherwise) during which respondents complete the questionnaire/instrument and answer questions to explain their understanding of each question or item. They restate in their own words what they think each translated item means. This way the interviewer discovers errors and difficulties and locates points that are confusing or misunderstood.
  • Generating a report with demographic and medical details of the interviewees, a detailed account of patients’ understanding of all items, including information about the number of subjects interviewed, their age, time for completing the task and any difficulties that came up. It may also include investigator recommendations or solutions for resolving confusion or difficulties.
  • Review and finalization during which a project manager checks the reports completeness, and ensures that the detected problems are addressed by making revisions as needed for clear, precise and well understood final translations.
  • Creation of summary report where the service provider details the methodology used, as well as the results of the cognitive debriefing.

Backtranslation and reconciliation is a very effective and stringent process that provides additional quality and accuracy assurance for sensitive content, such as Informed Consent Forms (ICFs), questionnaires, surveys and PROs used in clinical trials. It is a process for checking the faithfulness of the target text against the source, focusing mainly on the conceptual and cultural equivalence and less on the linguistic equivalence.

In a back translation, the translated content (forward translation) is translated back into the original language by a separate independent translator. The back translator must be a native speaker of the source language and have excellent command of the target language. He/She should stick more closely to the source that he/she would for a regular translation to accurately reflect the forward translator’s choices, without attempting to explain or clarify confusing statements or to produce a “polished” output.

The next step, “reconciliation”, refers to the process of noting any differences in meaning between the two source versions. The original text is compared to the back translated text and any discrepancies are recorded in a discrepancy report. Discrepancies may be due to ambiguity in the source text, errors introduced by the forward translator, or back translation errors. The reconciler flags issues such as differences in meaning, inconsistent/incorrect terminology, unsuitable register, missing/added information, ambiguities or errors in the backtranslation. Several back and forth between the linguists may be needed to reconcile the versions so that edits and adjustments are made as needed to optimize the final translation.

Readability testing in the fields of pharmaceutics qualifies that the medical information contained in the drug leaflet is usable by potential users of the medication, that is, that they can understand and act upon the information provided. It is a critical step in the process of designing product literature.

Since 2005, manufacturers of medicinal products are legally required to have their patient information leaflets (PILs) readability-tested in order to acquire product approval. According to Directive 2004/27/EC, these leaflets should be “legible, clear and easy to use”, and the manufacturer has to deliver a readability test report to the authorities.

Readability testing may be carried out by the sponsor or CRO, or a language service provider undertaking the localization of the documentation. The process steps can vary, but stages may include:

  • Preparation of the PL, during which the text of the leaflet is carefully edited and checked, spelling and grammatical errors are corrected, and sentences are rephrased to ensure compliance with the appropriate EMA template.
  • Drafting of questionnaires with questions covering the most important details of the product and its use. These questions that must be answered correctly by any user to ensure correct use of the product.
  • Pilot testing for assessing the prototype in terms of clarity, simplicity, safety, non-ambiguity, etc. Results are used to further revise the leaflet.
  • Actual readability testing conducted using subjects of different ages who are native speakers of the language of the leaflet. Participants are interviewed on key questions about the product. They should be able to answer most questions correctly and no question should consistently cause problems. The goal is to achieve a 90% correctness in the responces.
  • Generating reports that detail the test result based on which final edits are made.

The above processes provide an additional safety net for clients in the clinical and pharmaceutical industry helping them meet regulatory requirements and allowing them to focus on their registration and marketing preparation plans.

Language: the Key to Entering the European Market

by Giannis Nistas, Linguist at Commit

Language has always played a pivotal role in our societies and lives. It is a means of communication; of understanding the world we live in; of giving a name and meaning to new concepts; of defending oneself in courts; of closing deals, however small or big; of hurting people or saying “I love you” to our other halves; of bringing people together or separating them; of exploring new cultures, and the list goes on. In a nutshell, language is what makes the world go round. OK, just to be fair, money does the same too.

Speaking of money, did you know that language can help businesses enter foreign markets to pursue their fair share of sales and earn millions? And do you know a place in the world where language is taken very seriously? That is Europe and the European Union (EU). Let us have a brief look at why a company should enter the EU market in the first place, why invest in localization, how to make it happen, and a language service provider’s role in this journey. But first, let us briefly present the language status quo in the EU.

EU Languages Overview

A politico-economic union of 28 member states, the EU is also known for its linguistic diversity or multilingualism. It has 24 official languages, while some other 60 languages are spoken in specific regions or by specific groups. The principle of multilingualism lies at the heart of the EU in line with the bloc’s motto “United in Diversity”.

Why Enter

The EU is home to some 500 million citizens with above-average living standards, which means they have high purchasing power. The Europeans have set up a single internal market to facilitate the provision of goods and services within their territory. It is a highly regulated market with standardized rules and regulations across different economic sectors that ensure predictability. It is an open economy with a great impact on global trade. No one can sum it up better than the EU itself: “The openness of our trade regime has meant that the EU is the biggest player on the global trading scene and remains a good region to do business with.”

On a different note, the EU is now recovering from an economic slowdown. As with every financial crisis, in the aftermath there are also many opportunities for growth and the creation and development of new markets, both niche and large-scale. The Europeans are still among the wealthiest people in the world, and they can support consumption-driven, services-related, and technology-based offerings, among others. The youngest of them are familiar with mobile apps, video games and other aspects of the digital and knowledge economy.

So, YES, the EU market is worth your localization money and efforts.

Why Localize

As mentioned above, the EU is a multilingual union of states. While English is the most widely spoken foreign language in Europe by 38%, there is another 62% of people that speak other languages.

Also, when it comes to selling abroad and establishing foreign presence, you should always keep in mind the “speak-your-buyer’s-language” principle. As my colleague Dina Kessaniotou, Project Coordinator, put it in her article a while ago, “Even though English is a commonly used language in many markets, talking to people in a language they understand in depth seems to achieve much better results.”

Furthermore, in certain sectors, such as the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry, localization is a prerequisite for entering the EU market due to the strict regulatory framework covering the marketing of drugs and medical devices in the EU, and, of course, due to the risks their use might entail.

So, YES, invest in localization. The ageing European population you may be targeting to boost the sales of your innovative handheld ECG recorders, for example, will surely want to read the Instructions for Use in their mother tongue. Or, the young French will feel more comfortable attending your e-learning course in their language.

How

This could be the topic of a separate article, but let us look at some basic options. You should first decide how you want to enter the EU market. For example, will you cooperate with dealers who will sell your products or will you sale them directly through your own website? In the former case, you may only need to localize your products’ documentation and maybe some limited marketing material. In the latter case, you should additionally localize your website in the language spoken in your target markets. In addition, if your product is an electronic device running a software you may also need to localize the user interface for better user experience. For software, video games, websites and other multimedia content, your efforts should revolve around the broader process of globalization, of which internationalization and localization form part.

But would just localizing your content do the job? In certain cases, you should go a step further and ask for transcreation services. This applies mostly to advertising and marketing material, and includes the process of adapting a message from one language to another while keeping its intent, style, tone and context. This ensures cultural adaptation to the greatest extent and helps to avoid translation blunders that can lead to laughs and, even worse, failed investments of time and money.

When deciding how to render your content in your target markets’ language, you could ask for consulting services from a language service provider to help you with your decision-making. Answer their questions about your needs and requirements, your products and services, the type of your content and file formats, your target groups and markets, etc., and let them set up the right localization strategy for you.

So, YES, do learn about all the available language services and choose the ones that best fit your needs.

For the end, here is our suggestion: Embark on the localization journey as part of your go-to-market strategy and discover new revenue streams! Trusting a team of experts can guarantee a safe landing on your European destinations. Just tell them where you want to go and leave the rest to them!