Commit appoints Clio Schils as Chief Development Officer

CGT Commit Global Translations welcomes Clio Schils as the company’s Chief Development Officer.  Ms. Schils has joined Commit to provide strategic solutions for expanding the company’s client base and fostering new partnerships.

Clio is a well-respected veteran in the translation and localization industry, bringing in more than two decades of expertise in the localization industry and over 15 years in life sciences-related roles, on both the client and vendor sides.

Prior to joining Commit, she served as VP, Global Life Sciences at Sajan, Account Director for life sciences at Lionbridge, and Manager, Linguistics and Publishing at Medtronic.

Ms. Schils also serves on the Board of Directors of the European Language Industry Association and has been moderating the Life Sciences Business Roundtable, an established industry event hosted in conjunction with the Localization World Conference since 2005.

Founder and Chief Strategist of Commit, Spyros Konidaris, said: “We are delighted to have Clio onboard. I have personally known her for many years, and we are confident that her experience and strategic vision will be extremely valuable assets for Commit in our continuous efforts for providing even better solutions and services to our customers.”

About CGT Commit Global Translations

CGT Commit Global Translations is a leading language services provider founded in 1997. Today, with offices in Nicosia, Cyprus, Athens, Greece and San Diego, California, Commit helps corporations around the world deliver their products, services as well as market their brands in the local language. Key strengths include experienced personnel, responsiveness and flexibility, competitive local market prices and commitment to high quality. Commit is ISO 9001 and 17100 certified.

Media Contact:

Effie Salourou

effie.salourou[at]commit-global.com | +30 2108056930

4 tips for getting started with Machine Translation

by Dimitra Kalantzi , Linguist at Commit  

There is no doubt that Machine Translation (MT) is nowadays one of the major trends in the translation and localization ecosystem. Everyone is talking and debating about it in social media, blogs, newspapers and at conferences and almost everyone, including businesses, government bodies, translation agencies, technologists and even freelance translators, is trying their hand at it. If your business or translation agency is also considering getting on the MT bandwagon, you might find the following tips useful:

  1. Remember that MT is an investment and should form an integral part of your localization and overall business strategy. That is, unless you have your own IT/NLP (Natural Language Processing) department or are big enough to set up such a department, you’ll have to turn to the pros, in this case MT providers. With their experience, they‘ll help you determine what your needs are and how best to fulfill them in terms of system (rules-based, statistical, neural, hybrid), languages, types of texts, confidentiality, availability (onsite or in the cloud) and pricing, among other things.
  1. Make your market research as thorough as possible. You might be surprised, but as you’ll find out the market is rather huge with lots of alternatives on offer. Ask around and more importantly, ask from each MT provider you contact to provide you with a list of criteria they consider the most important in choosing an MT solution. This way, you’ll be able to collate the information you gather into a single list of criteria that are important to you and make an informed decision based on your own needs, capabilities and aspirations.
  1. Set realistic expectations. No MT system will work out of the box, no matter the amount of initial training it receives. You’ll have to invest time and money in order to reap the benefits of MT. In addition, be realistic regarding the adoption of post-editing by your freelance translators and beware of losing your most valued partners. Putting aside the gross generalisation that translators dislike MT and technology in general, many translators are indeed reluctant to take on post-editing tasks for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the fact that because of the way they are currently practiced by some in the translation industry, MT and post-editing are often viewed as tools mainly targeted at lowering translation rates.
  1. Bring in the translators and/or agencies you work with from the outset, even before committing to MT and a particular system. Their collaboration and input might make all the difference to the success or failure of your MT venture. Bear in mind that although the role usually reserved for translators as far as MT is concerned is that of the post-editor, translators can also be of immense help in other related areas, such as MT evaluation and the maintenance and clean-up of translation memories (TMs) used in the training of MT engines.

Hopefully, these tips will help you in your first exploratory steps with MT. But remember, adopting MT is by no means obligatory and you’ll be able to review your circumstances and decision further down the road. And whether you decide to go down the rabbit hole or not, rest assured that your trusted Commit linguists are here to help you deliver your products and services, as well as market your brand in the local language, and who knows, accompany you on your MT journey.

Translation myths debunked – A linguist’s perspective

Commit_translators_workspace_by Eleftheria Tigka, Vendor Manager at Commit  

“What do you do?” I am asked. “I am a translator”, I reply. “Wow, you must know many foreign languages!”. I get that a lot. And I understand that this must be one of the most common misconceptions concerning a professional translator: The number of the languages known: Two (one source language and one target language) are enough. Of course the more the merrier, nevertheless a translator is not a multilingual dictionary, ready to provide the equivalent of the source language in, let’s say, ten target languages. Two languages are enough, provided that they are known in depth and that they are handled with responsibility.

“Was your grandmother French?” I am also frequently asked. When I reply no, she wasn’t, the question that usually follows is “Then how did you learn to speak French?” Well, I studied. And then I studied some more. And this brings us to the second myth: It is not about cultural heritage, it is all about hard work. A professional translator has to study hard in order to gain his/her credentials, to gain the trust of his/her clients, of his/her peers. A university degree, often a master’s degree are today’s prerequisites to becoming a translator.

“It must be easy to do the translation, if you know the language”. You must have heard that as well. Well, it is not. A translator takes the responsibility of his/her words, which can define other people’s lives when used in a court of law or in the case of medical translation. A professional translator does not provide the general context of the original text to the client, but the exact words that may change the client’s life forever. So let’s break the third myth: Translation is serious work. It requires dedication, scrupulousness, attention to detail and endless patience.

“But what is taking you so long?” clients often ask and who can blame them? After all, it is only translation. But let’s be clear. We are not transcribing, we are translating and that makes all the difference in the world. An English word can have five to seven different meanings in Greek and choosing the right one can require time, research and many queries. This leads us to breaking the fourth myth: Translation can take time. And as all serious businesses, it costs money, but it pays off and if it is done right it never goes unnoticed.

Translation is no more or no less than any other profession. It is not suitable for amateurs, for the faint of heart, as it requires in-depth knowledge and much time. But it can also be rewarding, fun, interesting and life-changing, as any journey that is worth taking.

Commit supports The Smile Of The Child

Last week, Commit team members and friends gathered essential items and supplies to support The Smile Of The Child, a non-profit child welfare organization based in Athens, Greece. This was an initiative taken by the Athens College Alumni Association and Commit was more than thrilled to contribute. To learn more about this initiative and how you can contribute go to: http://www.saka.gr/anakinoseis-ekdiloseis/athlitikes/athlitikes-saka-liga/i-saka-liga-stirizi-to-chamogelo-tou-pediou/

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Does your marketing material speak your buyers’ language?

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by Dina Kessaniotou, Project Coordinator at Commit

This is a very good question for businesses wanting to expand their activities beyond their boundaries and go global. 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.

If we take a step back and consider the role of global marketing or the reasons why businesses want to expand in foreign markets, we will start to see the usefulness of the content adaptation to the language the audience understands best. Businesses want to become global for two basic reasons: increase their sales and boost their brand’s reach. The fastest road to increase sales is awareness – through an effectively localized marketing content, that will be global and local at the same time. Global because it will still convey the same consistent message of a business throughout the world and local because it will be customized in a way to reflect the experiences, the values and the culture of prospective local clients. The fundamental purpose of marketing is to penetrate the target audience and get closer to people. This can be achieved only through the language the audience understands best, as this language will become the means to draw their attention, make them want to learn more, and finally persuade them that the promoted product or service is what they really need.

Even if people tend to use English terminology in some industries, the whole communication still needs to be in the audience’s native language as this is the only way the message can resonate with them and touch their heart and mind – leading them to the decision-making process. The language that people understand is the one they will use to search content, read articles, or view a quick video ad from their devices during their free time – it is also the language in which they will share the information with their friends. It is more than obvious that this is the way for businesses to create a personal connection with consumers. The traditional patterns of the one-size marketing campaigns seem to progressively give way to more personalized and interactive approaches. Going even further, localization in marketing material can be the key for differentiation.

That said, we can easily assume that what we need here is not just translation but localization in its full meaning – adaptation, customization and creativity, taking into account differentiation. This is the field where localization can be really fruitful. Modern tools open the way to localization for videos, interactive content and anything that could create a one-to-multiple, but also personal relationship with people, anywhere in the world. Studies have shown that marketing globalization can bring a drastically improved return on marketing expenses.

At this point, it would worth mentioning the role of Machine Translation. It has become one of the main trends in the localization world and we cannot ignore the advantages it can bring in terms of costs and time efficiency. However, its use in marketing content has been greatly debated. If we consider, as mentioned above, that translation in the traditional meaning of the term would not be remotely enough, we can easily assume that marketing material wouldn’t be the ideal candidate for Machine Translation, where the different nuances of a language are usually left out of the whole process. And, most importantly, we would lose authenticity. Marketing localization is a process that can be developed exclusively between humans. The original message should be felt and conveyed to evoke the same feelings to other people. There is no machine that can feel and adapt content and create feelings from one culture to another. This is also a way for businesses to show that they really care for their audiences…

 

Price pressures, a viable business, happy customers – can you have it all?

by Vasso Pouli, CEO at Commit

The pressure for price reductions holds strong throughout markets and industries, both for products and services, for many years now and will continue to do so for many years to come. However, according to the law of supply and demand, a low supply and a high demand increases price, while the greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price tends to fall.

For parties in the translation industry, it is common knowledge and a topic visited often in conferences that reliable, experienced and qualified translators and editors are not that many – no matter the language pair – and even if someone argues that they are, then usually it is their availability that is limited or they are lacking in specialization – always compared to the demand!

So, the first half of the law should apply here, right? The answer is “no”! Despite the very optimistic predictions for the growth of the industry, compared to the stability or even slump in other industries due to the recent financial crisis, the pressure for price reductions in the translation and localization industry is more than ever. Why is that? Maybe because translation is considered as an afterthought in the development of any given product, and often of so little visibility that it gets a tiny bit of the allocated budget, if any? Maybe because we, as professionals in the field, have not fought enough to elevate our ‘product’ to the place it should be in our buyers’ minds? Maybe because technology has taken its toll? Maybe because non-professionals have entered the profession offering ridiculously low rates for a respectively low-quality ‘product’? You can pick and choose, but I would not want to get into that.

Instead, let’s take this for granted and see how we can respond to that fact in a way that is respectful of our customers, our businesses and our resources, and still lead a viable business.

Let’s start by trying to understand our customers’ needs and educate them on our workflow and its importance for their end ‘product’.

There are certain steps a text must go through before a high-quality translation can be delivered. Of course, there is a reason for that and it’s not out of a whim that localization agencies favor the translation & editing process, nor because we want to add to our customers’ spend. Language is flexible. Language is subjective. Language is preferential. Language is also fixed and objective (i.e. industry terminology). Humans create language and they choose how to do it, and each individual may choose a different way, a different word, a different meaning… and all may be saying the same thing! So, yes, humans need to be involved in your translation projects, and the more they are involved, the better it is for you and your content, because the more chances there are that their translation gets closer to YOUR way, to YOUR word, to YOUR meaning. How much time, effort and energy have you put in and how many different people have you involved in the creation of your content, or even your ’slogan’? If you think about it, from enough to too much. So, if it was so challenging to settle on a phrase or to finalize your initial content, how can its translation be considered an easy task, especially when it involves many different markets and cultures?

Our advice would be that you should not try to save from compromising processes and eliminating steps (which correspond to people). Instead you should try to locate what you really need to translate and into which languages, evaluate and streamline your translation processes. If this is something new to you or you don’t know how to go about it, ask us; we can help.

And some more seasoned translation & localization services buyers might question the role of humans and ask where technology is in all that. Although, technology was late to enter our industry and help us benefit, there are quite a few tools that can facilitate our work, and the savings time-wise have been translated to real savings for the customers. Customers must always make sure that their language service provider reflects those savings from CAT tools in their invoice offering discounted rates for previously translated (fully or partially) content. Another new trend is machine translation (MT). It is undeniably a considerable advancement in our industry and will most probably play a huge role in how the future of localization will be shaped, but it does not have a universal application. It can serve as a first draft in some types of fixed-language texts, like manuals, to increase the speed and the performance of human translators, and free machine translation engines can be used to give you the gist of a text for your personal understanding; but, raw MT output is not ‘publishable’ text — at least not yet and not where the message matters. Ιt is merely usable in only some language pairs and in no case does it serve the broad spectrum of the languages of the world, it cannot cater for more creative content, and don’t think of only sophisticated marketing content, just try to machine translate your Facebook status update and see what the engine comes up with in various languages.

In every case, we need to invest in and make the most of all available tools and technologies, not only to save money for our customers but to also streamline and standardize our processes, facilitate our project managers and our linguists, monitor and report on our workflows, and lead a transparent and healthy business.

In terms of business practices, price reductions are usually pushed down to the lower levels of the supply chain, which can either be us as agencies or our external resources. In both cases though, this level involves the actual people who do the actual work, and these are indeed those of value to the customer. In the same way agencies recruit for expertise and knowledge, and train their in-house staff to new trends, tools and methodologies to optimize efficiency, the same investment should be considered for external collaborators. Individuals have invested both time and money to specialize and should be able to keep doing so if they are to continue to efficiently support us and, of course, our customers. Hence, although, regular flows and high volumes or long-term projects can of course justify a negotiation to a certain extent, crunching fees should not be adopted as a standard practice, as it is important that all parties involved in this transaction, be it the customer, the intermediary(ies) or the resources, feel that this is a mutually beneficial relationship.

Ultimately, I feel that the way we conduct our business will determine the quality of customers we attract; fair and reasonable practices will most probably attract fair and reasonable customers, and talent will gravitate towards places it can grow.

Change in Commit management

Commit, a leading language services provider announced today a change in their management team.

IMG_9466-3.00_00_00_00.Still003_After 20 years as the General Manager of the company, Spyros Konidaris will be stepping down from his position. Vasso Pouli, a long-time Commit employee, will be taking on the CEO role and responsibilities.

Spyros founded Commit in Athens Greece in 1997 and drove the company through 20 years of development and expansion. “It’s been a challenging and rewarding twenty years and it’s time that the baton is passed on to people with the energy and vision to drive the company to the next level. Vasso started out as a translation intern and has worked her way up through the Production and Operations departments. I am confident that she will be an excellent leader for the years to come.” Spyros will continue serving the company as Chief Strategist.

Vasso has been working for Commit for the past decade, going through the positions of linguist, Project Manager/Coordinator, and, since 2014, Operations Manager. “I am greatly honored for the selection and excited about the future. I feel I have some very big shoes to fill in, but I am very fortunate to be leading such an engaged and strong team. There is a ton of opportunities in today’s localization industry and lots to be achieved, and I am confident that with their support Commit will rise to the challenge.”

About Commit

Founded in 1997, Commit is a leading language services provider, headquartered in Athens, Greece, and with US operations based out of San Diego, California. The company offers a complete portfolio of services, including localization, translation, interpreting and consulting. Key strengths include experienced personnel, responsiveness and flexibility, competitive local market prices and commitment to high quality. Commit is ISO 9001 and 17100 certified.

www.commit-global.com

Technical writing: Your source content does have an impact on the quality of translation!

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by Nicola Kotoulia, Project Coordinator at Commit

When companies seeking to expand to foreign markets decide to use translation as an enabler of greater brand awareness and more sales, there is one thing that they should not overlook: What is their source content’s quality? And is it global-ready?

“Translation errors” are often a result of poorly written or unclear source text. How often don’t translators puzzle over the intended meaning of a sentence, on how to deal with inconsistent use of terminology, incorrect grammar structures, ambiguities, non-uniform style and other source related issues?

Often there is not the opportunity to obtain clarifications, and translators have to make an educated guess about the intended meaning or the desired approach relying on their research skills, professional experience and best judgment. And this could sometimes mean an incorrect translation or a target text that does not measure up.

When localization planning and timeframes allow for it, there can be multiple waves of questions and answers, with query resolution not always guaranteed. Especially for large scale projects, this can have a significant impact on cost, workflow, deadlines and product release.

Quality technical writing is a key factor in avoiding such situations. When creating your global market targeted material to be translated into several languages, there are some things you need to consider in order to ensure high translation quality, lower cost and faster speed.

After identifying your audience, defining your purpose, obtaining an in-depth knowledge of the material and organizing your thoughts, planning must focus on setting and using naming conventions for a consistent output. You can document these conventions, along with processes and terminology in the form of style guides and glossaries.

When it comes to the writing task itself, here is what you should keep in mind:

  • Time should be allowed for drafting, reviewing and editing.
  • The content should be translation friendly, meaning that the translator can get it right to the point. Clarity, brevity, simplicity and correct word choice for example, contribute to this point.
  • Prefer active voice for straight forward communication.
  • Define what may not be familiar (such as abbreviations, acronyms).
  • Avoid the use of jargon and idioms.
  • Make efficient use of words (eliminate redundancy, remove needless words).
  • Use consistent phrasing to say the same thing multiple times.

All these tips will make your content easier to translate, will speed-up the translation process and reduce editing rounds. Moreover, your original document will be accurate, precise and tightly-written, optimized for the domestic audience.

Moving on to the actual localization process and selecting the right partner is the next challenge. Choose wisely and trust your content to an experienced language services provider. They will use native, certified translators whose expertise matches your type of content, experienced project managers and industry-leading localization tools ensuring consistency, confidentiality and a high-quality output.

Does translation really make any difference to our lives?

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by Giannis Nistas, Linguist at Commit

Have you ever thought about the importance of language services? How translation and interpreting shape the world we live in as well as our everyday lives?

Well, let’s check some numbers first regarding the size of the translation and localization industry: According to Common Sense Advisory, in 2015 the global language services industry turnover totaled 40 billion USD–with Europe accounting for a market share of 53,09%, and North America and Asia covering 34,82% and 10,49% of the global market respectively. For 2019, the translation industry value worldwide is projected at 50 billion USD.

These are quite big numbers, so let’s shed some light on the role this industry plays in areas like international politics, global business, and our everyday life.

International Politics

Language services are crucial for day to day operations in international politics. You have interpreters facilitating communications in multilateral negotiations in international forums, discussing topics ranging from climate change and human rights to international trade and security.

Then, you have numerous language professionals working for intergovernmental organizations, like the United Nations. These can be copy preparers, editors, interpreters, reference assistants, terminologists, translators and verbatim reporters.

And if you consider a “place” where linguists play an absolutely decisive and vital role, that is the European Union. Being a supranational politico-economic organization of 28 member states, the EU is widely dependent on language services to maintain a close contact with its over 510 million citizens.

Since the EU is based on the multilingualism principle, all laws, treaties, secondary legislation, regulations and directives should be translated into the 24 official languages of its member states. For a democratic organization like the EU, language professionals serve the principle of transparency, promote the right to information and help reinforce many other democratic values.

Global Business

Most corporations with global presence have based their dominance in the global market on translation/localization strategies. In this context, they offer localized versions of their websites into numerous locales; they have developed dedicated online portals for their partner communities; they communicate with their distribution channel partners through translated material; they provide their channel partners with translated training content to help them get familiar with the features and capabilities of new products; they localize demand and lead generation campaigns to expand their pipeline.

But even in the case of small-scale corporations, it goes without saying that they have better chances of succeeding in foreign markets if they localize their marketing content, like their websites and their brochures. Another key to success for many companies is the localization of their product names. For example, many food companies end up having their product names localized, so that they do not sound awkward or offensive in different cultural contexts and locales.

However, when it comes to companies doing business in the pharmaceutical and medical device sector, the risk can be a lot greater than an embarrassing translation. For such companies, the translation of relevant documents, e.g. Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC), Product Information Leaflet (PIL), Instructions for Use (IFU) etc., is obligatory for regulatory approvals to be granted. Public health is an issue to be taken seriously, that is why the field of medical/pharmaceutical translation is the most regulated one.

From the above-mentioned examples, it is more than obvious that translation helps to ensure a smooth economic activity and contributes to positive business results.

Everyday life

To better understand how important language services are in our everyday lives, just think of the following examples:

  • Many patients need to use medical devices at home, like nebulizers to inhale medicinal drugs. What if they didn’t have localized instructions to instruct them how to use them?
  • How difficult would it be for someone to learn how to operate a home appliance or a personal computer without reading a manual in their mother tongue?
  • Clinical studies aiming to contribute to the improvement of medical treatments or to the establishment of new ones need volunteers. But who would accept to take part in such studies without first having fully understood the complications and risks, their rights and obligations before signing an informed consent document?
  • Asylum seekers need to be heard in their mother tongue, so what if there were no interpreters to facilitate communication? The same applies to medical interpreters who help patients communicate with doctors and nurses and, also help doctors understand the needs of foreign patients and choose the indicated treatment.

And the list goes on and on!

So, to answer the question in this article’s title, YES, translation really does have a strong impact to our lives. It gives us access to valuable information, it opens doors for global trading and helps international politics go around. Language services are everywhere and judging from the 2017 predictions, the demand is increasing at a fast pace. We’ll only have to wait and see what the future will bring for our industry!

A look back at your favorite posts from 2016!

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Now that 2016 has come to an end, we thought it would be a good idea to do a round-up of our most popular content from last year. So here it is:

The contribution of linguists in times of crisis

Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, so many unfortunate crisis situations seem to have happened last year that affected everyone in our globalized world: civilians, governments, businesses. However, how often do we think of the importance of communication in times of crisis?

How glossaries improve the quality of your translations

This post explains exactly what a glossary is, what we should include in it and how and why we should create one.

10 tips on expanding your business globally

Are you considering taking your first steps in the global market, in an attempt to reach international audiences with your products or services? With the use of social media and the Internet, the world has become a much smaller place. Our society is globally connected and many people around the world can now access your products or services. But going global is no easy task! It requires time, effort and money. Read our 10 tips and make sure you’re on the right track.

ISO 17100: Ensuring quality translations for your business

This blog post explains exactly what the ISO 17100 standard is, what are its main differences from the EN 15038 standard and what are its added benefits.

Localizing mHealth apps: Do special regulatory terms and conditions apply?

As mHealth apps are changing the standards of healthcare services and open up new possibilities for patients and doctors alike through a constant evolution of innovative technologies and brilliant ideas, the regulatory standards and localization processes are called to take a step further and grow in tandem, putting the spotlight on the safety and accessibility of mHealth app users. In this post, we take a look at all the special regulatory terms and conditions that apply to the localization of mHealth apps.

What is machine translation and how can your business benefit from it

In this post, we take a deep dive into the world of machine translation explaining exactly what it is and how it can help businesses all around the world.

Crowdsourcing translation: Pro or Con?

An important advantage of the “connected world”, apart from the unlimited access to all kinds of information, is that it brought together previously “disconnected” people, groups or crowds – giving them the opportunity to become more active and engaged in the world around them. Read this post and learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of this method.