Tag Archives: translation services

A Pair of Glasses that Shows You Subtitles

When traveling abroad or meeting people from foreign countries, modern technology has made it easier than ever to communicate without language barriers. Instead of learning the language before we visit a country, we can simply bring our smartphone along and translate the conversation as we are engaged in it with one of the many translator services provided on the web or as an app. In fact, real-time translation might be even easier now with the invention of a new form of revolutionary translation technology. Instead of looking down at our phones to see the translation, a set of subtitles will appear before our eyes.


New Invention Combines Existing Technology

The invention, called the Vuvix 1200 Star glasses, is not entirely novel. Essentially, the glasses combine the powers of two small computers, a Jawbone Bluetooth microphone, a TV, an iPhone, an iPad, a headset microphone and a transformer. Clearly, the design is not exactly portable yet. However, it certainly paves the way for similar technology in translation services that you can someday travel with. Right now, the device is only useful for one-on-one conversation. As technology improves and all of the devices get smaller and more efficient, the glasses could be worn even at a major event and they could still translate the spoken words in real time.


Real-Time Subtitles Might Hinder Language Education

While the subtitle glasses will certainly bridge the gaps caused by language barriers both domestically and abroad, they might also affect people’s drive to learn new languages. If you were taking a long trip to Germany, for example, you’d probably focus and spend a lot of time learning German before your journey. Then you’d be able to fully immerse yourself in the culture upon your arrival, even if you did need to whip out your pocket German translator every now and then. These glasses might prevent people from feeling the need to educate themselves, as they are essentially the easy way out.

While the future of translation technology such as the Vuvix glasses might have a negative affect on whether or not people learn new languages for vacations abroad, they will certainly provide benefits to companies or individuals who deal with international business partners. Instead of learning every language or hiring a traveling professional translator for every overseas business meeting, international businessmen can simply wear these glasses to understand every aspect of the new business deal in real-time. Until that day comes though, a professional translator is obviously a more appropriate strategy.

Language Debate Sparked by Voting Ballots in WI

The United States is a melting pot of many different cultures and peoples. While English is the official language of the United States, nearly one in every five Americans speak another language at home. Whether or not these citizens speak English does not change the fact that they are still citizens, and they have the right to vote. This concept has brought up a dilemma in Wisconsin, where most ballots do not provide a translation for non-English speaking citizens. Some officials feel that non-English speaking citizens should be provided with translation services or additional ballots to ensure that they are given an equal right. Others feel that doing so slows the assimilation process. Both sides of the argument are valid and can be applied to the United States at large.

Some Cities Translate Ballots

Milwaukee voting centers do provide translated ballots and even hire bilingual poll workers to help accommodate those who do not speak English as their first language. Other towns, such as Appleton, actually have community members who volunteer to help non-English speakers navigate the polls so that their voice can be heard. When there is no support or translations available, many people who do not speak English bring along their younger family members to vote for them. While hiring a professional translator to work at every poll would certainly be expensive, many people believe that smaller cities should at least provide translated paper ballots.

Translation Services at the Polls Don’t Solve the Problem

While offering a translated ballot at the polls would help non-English speaking citizens in the moment, it doesn’t solve the larger problem of language barriers in the United States. Many officials feel that, since English is the official language of the U.S., the government should instead focus on providing education resources to help assimilate people into the culture. If they can’t get any help at the ballot, they might be pushed to take action and learn the language of the country in which they reside as opposed to relying on translator services.

The problem is not one that can be solved without further debate, but is certainly one that pertains to the entire U.S. Spanish-speaking people who make up a huge part of our country, so at what point should they stop using a Spanish translator and learn the English language? The question will likely be up for debate for many years to come.

D.C. Makes Language Translation a Priority

In 2004, a law required government agencies in Washington D.C. to work on the translation of important documents and services into several languages.  Unfortunately, though the law technically made it a priority, it was not considered one until now.  After a report showed that 58% of non-English speakers in the region had trouble understanding D.C. agency documents, they decided to finally make professional translation for all the information they offer a priority.  This is good news, because 74% of those speakers said that there were no interpretation services available to them when they needed help, and 50% of the documents they needed to read, understand, and fill out were not in their language.  For a state with so many foreign residents and with such high expectations for setting a standard for national government policies, many believe that eight years after the creation of a law is a little late for taking care of it.  Then again, others feel it is better late than never.

One Government, 10 Different Languages

As of now, the people living in D.C. are from 25 different countries and speak 10 different languages.  While there do seem to be plenty of documents with a Spanish translation, their study found that it was primarily Vietnamese and Mandarin speakers who had the most trouble finding information in their language or translators who could interpret for them.  The D.C. Office of Human Rights plans to combat this, by making more information available in more languages and by informing their residents of this change through a public service campaign.  For those who speak Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish, or Vietnamese, all they have to do is request translation services, and their language needs will be met by any D.C. government agency.

“I Speak” Cards Help Give Foreigners a Voice

If a person does not speak English at all, even asking for an interpreter for the language they do speak could be difficult.  This is why the Office of Human Rights created their “I Speak” card.  Basically, the card gives foreigners the numbers, information, and even English words they’ll need to request an interpreter.  They are hoping this card will encourage non-English speaking residents to come forward for the services they need and to feel more welcome in the community.  Hopefully, this change will also give the government more information about who’s living in their city and the kind of services they require. In the meantime, at least this translation policy is finally seeing some action, so that a conversation can get started.

Translation Error Fuels International Tensions

Although professional translation is an important and useful service, it is never more important than when the words being translated can ease or spur international tensions.  On August 30th, the president of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, gave a speech which was translated into several languages.  Unfortunately, Farsi interpreters got part of their translation wrong, replacing the word “Syria” with “Bahrain.”  This seemingly minor mistake, made for an entirely different interpretation of what the president was saying, and now the Bahraini government is demanding an apology.

Was the Translation Error a Mistake or a Strategy?

To Bahrain, the mistaken translation included them in the list of Arab states dealing with revolution this past year.  They claim that their crackdown on Shi’ite protestors are not enough to be considered the same as dealing with an all-out revolution.  Iran and Syria though have criticized them for these crackdowns in the past and are fairly open about their stance on the matter.  This has led Bahrain’s state-run news agency to accuse the Iranian media of making the “mistake” on purpose.  They believe it was yet another strategy meant to interfere in their affairs and should be considered “a violation, fabrication, and unacceptable media behavior.”

Bahrain Demands Apology

If such a mistake were made in an important business translation or even a technical legal translation, there would most likely be avid apologies by the translation company for any harm the mistake might have caused.  Because the countries involved don’t agree on the issue of Shi’ite power in the Middle East though, an apology for this particular translation issue is yet to be made.  Bahrain has publicly demanded an apology from Iran’s media and the Iranian officials though, by formally filing a complaint with their government.  However, experts believe an apology is unlikely, especially with all of the tension surrounding Syria and Iran right now.

Even if you’re not using translation services at such a high level as these governments, it may be just as important.  One word could completely change the meaning of an entire conversation or document and could potentially put an end to important business relationships.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure any translation company involved has the experience and knowledge necessary to make accurate translations.

About The Translation Company

The Translation Company is committed to offer quality translation services for the best price possible. Our lean structure and fine-tuned processes make possible rates sometimes half of those rates offered by other competitors. More than 100 languages served to clients worldwide.  Contact The Translation Company today at 800-725-6498 or at translation@thetranslationcompany.com .

Translation Volunteers Make an Impact on Online Education

When Amara was founded in 2010, its intent was to provide free professional translation services in the form of subtitles to online videos in order to “break down political, social, and cultural barriers” around the world.  Since then, their translation volunteers have added subtitles to over 200,000 videos in 100 different languages.  Their success has allowed them to make more information available to more people.  They even donated their services to the famous KONY video, which hit the world by storm this year.  Now though, they are setting their sights on education, so that their subtitles can improve learning worldwide.

Amara Partners with Coursera and Khan Academy

In an effort to make online learning more accessible, organizations like Coursera and Khan Academy produce hundreds of thousands of educational videos and post them online for anyone to view.  Of course, with those videos being produced in English, they can’t reach a large part of global audiences.  Amara intends to solve this problem, by offering their free translation services and subtitling to those companies.  They have started the process of translating their videos, so you can already find some lectures in ten languages with more coming soon.

Amara Still Benefits by Offering Free Services

Although all of their translators are volunteers, Amara is by no means going broke.  With every video partner they make, they get shares in a booming industry.  In April alone, 181 million Americans viewed 37 billion videos online.  By adding their subtitles, they have a stake in the growth and profits of the companies creating those videos.  Their collaborations include PBS, TED, Netflix, and more, giants in the field of online video access and viewership.

Your YouTube Channel isn’t a Priority

Don’t get too excited about all those translator services though.  Amara won’t be hitting personal or commercial YouTube channels anytime soon, or likely ever for that matter.  They tend to stick with corporate video companies or globally-viewed educational programs meant to increase information access and awareness.  Luckily, with the interpretation industry hitting $33.5 billion dollars this year (an increase of $26 billion since 2009), there are plenty of translation companies out there willing to help you out.  Even though those services will most certainly not be free, for every language you add, your viewership and potential for money-making should increase tenfold.  Just make sure the message you’re conveying is one worth translating.