The business category features all blog posts related to all forms of business, from start-ups to entrepreneurs and conglomerates. Most post refer to the business world of translation and localization though.

Good Translator | Bad Translator

How to choose a translator…

In an online world it’s almost impossible to know if you’re talking to a professional, a robot or another fly by night company. The world is a very small place now and you can connect with people in every corner of the globe in seconds. Visit any freelance site nowadays and you’ll see translators available for every language under the sun.  There are thousands of translation agencies in the world. The choice is limitless.

Who do you trust with your translation?
If you don’t speak the language yourself it is hard to tell if a translation company really is any good.  How do you know the manual you recently had translated is technically accurate, or indeed represents your company well. We’ve all seen badly translated English documents. We just never get to see the badly translate foreign documents as we can’t speak all those languages. However you can guarantee they are out there.

Even if you don’t speak a language you can still get an idea of how good the company is from a few simple steps. When you’re talking to the sales team – listen to the types of questions they ask you. Are they really interested in what your product does? or are they just trying to get you to close the sale today.

Good translation companies ask questions. Context is important for translation. When I speak about a “Row”. Is that a row of chairs, have a “Row:fight” with someone or are you “Rowing” a boat – taking a row.

If you are asked for a language such as “Spanish” – then you might be asked if you need Spanish for Spain, or Spanish for Latin America. There is a difference in the language.

Chinese is the same. There are different versions of chinese depending on the region.

Get our Free Guide

If you’d like to learn more we’ve developed our buyers guide to translation that you can download for free here:

Damian Scattergood

STAR Translation

 

Meet us at the National Construction Summit

Translation Services for Industry:

Come along and talk to our technical team about translation sevices for your business. We specialise in technical translation so can help you grow internationally. We’ve the technical expertise to translate operating manuals, machine guides, websites and much more. We’d love to speak to you at our stand at the National Construction Summit.

Our team will be there to talk to clients about translation, desktop publishing and our new 3d Video services.

We’ll also be discussing IOT, intelligent documentation and support material with STAR Prisma.

Entry is free using the code CONSTRUCT19.

Are you Brexit Ready?

London City

As Brexit rapidly approaches how ready is your business to deal with it?

Brexit is a hot topic for many people at the moment so  I thought I would weigh-in on the Brexit debate with my own insights. As Managing Director of STAR here in Ireland I’ve been planning for Brexit for a while and discussed it with many of our clients in both UK and Ireland. Here are some things to consider for your own preparations

Enterprise Ireland Checklist

One of the first things we recommend is that you complete the Enterprise Ireland Brexit Preparedness checklist. This is a great free tool sponsored by the Irish Government for companies to analyse what risks the company might be exposed to and how to develop a plan around this. Whilst originally designed for companies in Ireland it is just as useful for companies in the UK. Well worth doing. Look on the site for the Brexit ScoreCard

https://www.prepareforbrexit.com

How Brexit Impacts The Translation Services Business

Language Changes: We have noticed a change in the languages companies are translating into. In the past UK-based companies would predominately translate into most European languages. However, many companies are reviewing the countries they sell into and are changing their spending patterns on translation accordingly. We’ve seen come companies reduce their spend for some markets, and instead request transaltion to expand into new regions such as Asia. For UK based companies it is worth considering what languages you will be translating into and any cost adjustments you might need. With the exception of Japanese and some complex languages, most languages costs should be pretty similar.

Vendor Choices: Some businesses in the UK have decided to focus on using local translation vendor companies. This helps them reduce their currency exhange risk in the short term. However, after Brexit it is uncertain if this will remain a solid strategy. There is potential that offshoring to translation agencies in the Euro zone might be more cost effective.  Whilst you will still be exposed to some euro exchange risk, the risk would be reduced. The translation agency managing multiple languages and sub-suppliers would be carrying the risk. Your exposure would be to a single source vendor, as opposed to multiple vendors.

Current Fluctuation / Finance Implications

The current exchange rate fluctuation is a big challenge for every company trading internationally.  For example in the translation services industry since Brexit the Euro – Sterling rate has moved some 15% or more. For UK companies this has made translation companies in Europe more expensive. We have had to adjust our pricing and cost structures to remain competitive in the marketplace.

Some UK companies importers and exporters are struggling if they are buying raw material from outside the UK for manufacturing. Following assembly in the UK and re-exporting they are getting a double hit in costs, tariffs and addtional overheads.

This has lead some companies to explore moving some or all of their operations outside the UK, depending on their supply chain.
There is some useful information on the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors website in the UK about this.

Just in Time (JIT)

Manufacturer employing “Just In Time” supply chain delivery need to evaluate the costs of any hard border or import slow down as a result of Brexit. Any delays in production will impact revenue dramatically and at worst their ability to deliver product on time.

Options being taken by UK Manufacturers include, stockpiling product for the short term, increasing stock holding for longer JIT times or simply creating warehousing facilities in the Euro zone.

Staffing

They restrictions on the free movement of people and its impact on staffing remains to be seen. There is potential for Brexit to impacts both current staff and recruitment.

Contracts, Benefits, Pensions, Visa’s etc may need to be reviewed.

Hiring staff will also be more challenging and legislation has changed. Have you considered all the impacts on your company? With the multi-national and multi-lingual nature of our business this is a major consideration for us.

On staffing, even simple things such as sales teams moving in and out of Europe will need close review. If you have UK based sales teams travelling to and from Europe post Brexit will there be delays, additional travel costs etc attending sales, meetings exhibitions, conferences and client meetings?

What steps might be required in moving stands and expo equipment across Europe from the UK?

We are currently looking at our own Dublin sales team and how this might impact us travelling across the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland.

Brexit Impact on Manufacturers

Manufacturers are hit on a number of fronts.

  • Import / Export Tariffs
  • JIT
  • CE Marking / ISO Standards

At the moment current thinking is that CE Marking should be ok. However there are some concerns that there may be some additional legislation around this when products from the UK will be officially designated as coming from outside the EU. Additional certification or paperwork might be needed. On the other hand we’re currently not aware of any discussions about products moving from the EU into the UK. If you want to know more about CE marking you can contact the CE Marking Association in the UK.

We work with manufacturing companies around the globe and translate documentation into over 70 languages. One of the important things to remember is that we can update documents we have previously translated – so we can help control the costs of any new documentation if this has to happen for you.

What happens if there is no deal on Brexit?

This is a tough question. The UK government has an excellent resource on its’ website publishing information on a variety of supports and options for people and companies alike  if there is a no deal Brexit.

How can we help?

Here in STAR we are in the same position as our own clients. As an internaionally traded company we work with businesses around the globe. We have customers in the UK and elsewhere. We face similar exposures and challenges to our clients.

Our global footprint gives us the strength to help you deliver your products in whatever country you choose. If you’re considering expanding into a new region and have questions, we’re happy to discuss how we can help you reach new markets.

Brexit also brings opportunities. Read more about Brexit Export Implications and Sales Ideas.

What action can you do today to help your business?

Damian Scattergood Managing Director STAR Translation Services

Best Translation Services Award by EuropeanCEO

euroCEO
STAR Group is delighted to announce that we have been awarded Best Company in the Translation & Localization Services Industry by EuropeanCEO.

Josef Zibung STAR Group CEO recently discussed his unique management style with EuropeanCEO used to guide the global company. Companies rarely take lessons from 18th century philosophers, but STAR Group’s approach shows the future-proofing benefits of the lessons of the past. The style enables the company to move quickly in local markets whilst delivering a strong global brand.

To read the full details visit: STAR Group demonstrates the business value of a federalist approach

https://www.europeanceo.com/business-and-management/star-group-demonstrates-the-business-value-of-a-federalist-approach/

For more information on STAR Group and our worldwide operations visit : http://www.star-group.net

 

EuroCeo2

Details of the awards and winners: http://www.europeanceo.com/awards-2016/

STAR Group is one of the world’s largest translation and localization companies. The company is represented globally with 51 locations in over 30 countries covering every major language in the world today. The company specializes in multilingual information management, including translation services for websites, documents and software systems.

London City

Brexit: Export implications and sales ideas

Brexit: export implications
Brexit – can we predict the future?

Brexit and your business

The shocking news of Britain’s vote to leave the EU has far reaching impacts on companies around the globe. Just how will it impact your business?

The immediate impact for companies operating in the Eurozone is one of currency exchange rates changing. Today we’re more expensive than yesterday so will we lose business?

At STAR Translation, we’ve already seen customer buying patterns change both negatively and positively. However, the exchange rate impact is only one of many possible impacts to your business.

Impacts to consider

  • Sterling movements
  • Regulatory changes
  • Customs and trade
  • Supply chains and routes to market
  • Possible changes to your business model
  • Free movement of people
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Taxation changes

If you are in export sales, production management or documentation management this will impact your international sales and your translation process and costs.

Actions to consider around Translation and Sales

  • New Export Markets: Translate Your Website
    What new export markets could you export into?
    If you’re looking for a fast way to enter a new market – you could simply translate your website and start selling in a new country.Not ready for a full translation? Try a Microsite: A quick way to test the water is to create a microsite in a new language. Rather than translate your entire site you can pick the most popular pages and translate them. This new website can then be promoted and you can see what traction you are getting in that market. If you have customers coming in then translate the remainder of your website. You can manage the budget and track the expansion.
  • Use a One Stop Shop: Cost Reductions
    Now might be the time to start looking at a new translation agency who can provide a one-stop shop for all your work. Review your translation agency and process.The larger agencies like STAR provide translation, desktop publishing and layout work, and Web Translation all under one roof. We also employ technical teams that can analyse how best to share your content across your departments to reduce your overall translation spend.  Often if you can control how you author your contents better – this can have a dramatic impact on your costs. Get advise in this area.Can you change how you write and produce content to optimize your costs?
  • Video Translation
    Speaking of costs, they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Rather than have a complex manual for your product – have you consider translating your videos? The setup costs can be high, but it’s a great way to sell products. Video subtitling is relatively cheap. A professional voice-over might be a way to boost sales with content you already have in house. What content could you take, translate and open up new markets with quickly?
  • Google Ads
    If you are targeting new regions, plan for Google Ad Translation as well. Putting a budget into Google Ads, translated and targeted at new regions around the globe could kick start your new export market. Multilingual SEO is important to break new ground quickly and cost effectively.
  • Enterprise Ireland Support
    If you are in Ireland, now is the time to start talking to your Enterprise Ireland team.
    They are putting in place plans to support exporters around Brexit. View their FAQ and Brexit page.EI state that over the next two years there will be a level of uncertainty in the marketplace, so you should put in place a medium term strategy to manage your business during this time.

Business Impacts Infographic

Here’s what PWC say about Brexit and the impact on exporters – download the infographic.

They have a dedicated page to Brexit.

Brexit

The STAR Team

Read more about Brexit in our “Are you Brexit Ready?” Article.

Magento fastest growing platform in Europe

Magento fastest growing e-commerce platform, Europe

Magento fastest growing platform in Europe
Magento, most used e-commerce platform by biggest companies in Europe / Magento logo and EU flag

Magento fastest growing platform in Europe

According to Magento Commerce, the content management system Magento is the fastest growing cross-platform in Europe.

It boasts an impressive 53 clients on the Internet Retailer’s list of the 500 biggest e-commerce companies in Europe, more than any other platform.

“That’s more than any other provider and more than double Demandware’s 26 and SAP Hybris’s 24 clients,” the company stated.

In a press release from early June, Magento announced that 31pc of mid to large companies use their software. Other figures show that it powers over 25pc of e-commerce sites on the Alexa top one million list.

CEO Mark Lavelle added, “our European customers are out-innovating their competitors in mobile, unique shopping experiences, and new digital commerce business models”. Magento users in Europe include Dyson, Frankfurt Airport, Lafuma, Missguided, Orsay and Poundland.

Magento 2

The release of Magento 2 eight months ago is attributed to its fast growth: totalling over 350,000 downloads with approximately 2,400 live sites running on it. The update introduced new products like Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition, Magento 2.1, Magento Order Management and a renewed Magento Marketplace.

Magento’s rise isn’t a surprise to some: the company has been steadily growing since last year.

Translation for Magento websites

Using the Magento platform?

We translate sites running on the Magento content management system into more than 70 languages. Bring your e-commerce store to the global marketplace. Contact our sales team today.

The STAR Team

Source: E-commerce News

Eating carpet prohibited, by Justin Ross Lee

The hazards of machine translation

Eating carpet prohibited, by Justin Ross Lee, the hazards of machine translation
Eating carpet strictly prohibited – a sign of the hazards of machine translation / Image credit: Justin Ross Lee via BBC

The Hazards of Machine Translation and Beyond

The Jackie Chan bus stop, a restaurant called Translate Server Error, wife cake, children sandwiches, wide-boiled aircraft – they sound like comical lines at a stand-up show. But, in fact, they’re real-world examples of glaring mistakes and the hazards of machine translation.

For big firms, poorly translated text can have major consequences such as the risk of offending potential customers or losing business. Although we often hear promises of machine learning tech that will process language translation effortlessly and naturally, just as a real [human] translator would.

But when will such technology be available to businesses?

Skype and its real-time translation upset

Last January, Skype launched its real-time translation tool which instantaneous voice-to-voice translation in seven languages. However, it suffered heavy blows when users complained that it turned ordinary Mandarin words into obscenities. The glitch came to light during the shooting of a Skype commercial in China; apparently even the simple phrase ‘it’s nice to talk to you’ translated into offensive swear words.

Google Translate, the traditional approach

Translation tools like Google Translate have traditionally been built around phrase-based statistical machine translation. Machine translation works by analyzing a back catalogue of texts already translated, such as academic papers and glossaries.

The texts are analyzed in parallel – both original and target languages. Using statistical probabilities, it selects the most appropriate translation to the phrase submitted; the better the quality of the original language, the greater its effectiveness. But it’s prone to howlers, like the ones mentioned earlier. Often the translations sound mechanical and dull.

The End of Machine Translation?

Alan Parker, director of engineering language technology at Facebook, recently commented on statistical machine translation reaching “the end of its natural life”. It has been said that translation technology is on path towards artificial neural networks much like the neural pathways of the human brain.

These neural networks are structured similarly to the brain, using complex algorithms to select phrases appropriate to the translation. Astonishingly the sophisticated network can learn metaphors, idioms and the subtle meaning behind language. This will effectively transform language translation today – rather than direct literal translation, the neural network can translate the same meaning to a different culture avoiding any possible offense.

While Facebook and Google have reported that they will switch over to neural network translation this year, they have not publically announced specific dates.

Auto-translation, not perfect yet

Despite the two tech giants rolling out plans to use neural networks, there are still major hurdles to cross before we’re quite there yet. According to Professor Philipp Koehn: “there are very hard problems with semantics and knowledge representation that have to be solved first, and that we are not close to solving.” Professor Koehn hints at less explicit information in the source language such a gendered nouns and verbs in languages such as Portuguese, Italian and German. Prof. Koehn is a computer scientist and expert in translation technology at the University of Edinburgh.

‘Chinese doesn’t use plurals, verb tenses or pronouns as we do in English, which makes exact translation very difficult’, Prof. Koehn added.

The Hazards of Machine Translation Tech and the Future

Albeit, translation technology has come a long way and provides decent literal translations; there is the need for a tech that speaks the real language of the end user.

Machine translation technology is a handy tool, but don’t rely on it entirely.

The STAR Team

Source: BBC Business News

Enterprise Ireland, East Point Business Park

Exports up by 10%, Enterprise Ireland Companies

Enterprise Ireland exports up by 10%, East Point Business Park
Enterprise Ireland reports its companies’ exports up by 10% last year, East Point Business Park / Image credit: RTÉ

Exports up by 10% last year, Enterprise Ireland reports

Enterprise Ireland reported in its annual business review that its companies saw an increase in exports up by 10% last year – an all-time high of €20.6 billion.

Enterprise Ireland helps Irish companies export to international markets.

EI also noted that growth was seen in exports across all sectors and in most export markets.

Export Sectors

A 32% increase saw exports of internationally traded software to €1.8 billion; construction and consumers firms saw an increase in exports of 21%, a total of €2.8 billion.

Manufacturing companies reported growth by 11% showing a total of €3.4 billion and food exports grew by 3% reporting, a total of €10.6 billion.

The figures announced today show the strength and capabilities of Irish companies competing at a global level — Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Exports to the USA and Canada grew by 27% to almost €3 billion, while those to the UK rose by 12% to €7.5 billion and Northern Ireland increased by 8% to €4.2 billion.

“The 2015 export figure of €20.6 billion demonstrates the scale of the success that Irish companies are seeing in terms of winning business at record levels internationally”, Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland remarked. 429 overseas presences were established, including 200 in high-growth markets.

The UK remains our largest export market, exports there have ‘fallen from 45% in 2005 to 37% in 2015’, the agency stated.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor commented that ‘Irish companies continue to deliver for the Irish economy.’

The STAR Team

Source: RTÉ News

NSAI logo, ISO 9001:2008 certification

STAR receives ISO 9001:2008 and EN 15038, NSAI Certification

NSAI logo, ISO 9001:2008 certification
Certifications awarded by NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland)

STAR awarded ISO 9001:2008 and I.S. EN 15038 certifications

Today we attended a certification award ceremony presented by NSAI Standards; and received revised ISO 9001:2008 and IS EN 15038 certifications.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001:2008 certifies that we have a system in place to manage our quality and ensures that we deliver a consistent quality service to our customers; focus on improving customer experience and quality satisfaction; and have a process for tracking quality issues and managing quality improvements.

What is IS EN 15038?

IS EN 15038 certifies the consistent delivery of quality for translation services – a system established to manage our translation processes and services.

What ISO 9001 means to us

It provides a structured framework for managing our processes, which allows us to deliver consistent high-quality products and services around the world.

Our Customers

It gives our customers confidence in the services provided by us, that they can reach new markets knowing they are in safe hands.

More information available on NSAI for ISO 9001 quality management.

The STAR Team

pseudo translation process

Information meets machine for efficient bus repair

Information meets machine for efficient bus repair — Industry 4.0

Dynamic Maintenance and repair using GRIPS, example

Typically, maintenance and service plans are static and not optimized for individual products. This can lead to waste of scarce resources such as time, money and materials. Not so in GRIPs.

When maintenance plans, interval and material are managed in GRIPS, you can produce dynamic maintenance plans and servicing strategies. Maintenance plans created in GRIPS take into account variable such as time and usage intensity (e.g. for a vehicle, the mileage), since last service, quality of the consumable (e.g. oil and fuel quality) and operation conditions (usage profile). For example, a dynamic maintenance plan for a bus can vary greatly depending on how demanding the operational conditions are: touring cross-country being the least demanding while inter-urban service to arduous or city service being the most demanding on engines, brakes and the body.

GRIPS example on buses, information meets machine
The screenshot shows a maintenance planning front-end used by a GRIPS customer for buses / STAR Translation Imaging

Maintenance information is dynamically compiled for different contexts. A bus might come in to a service station for just two hours and an individualized maintenance plan needs to be produced combining all maintenance steps, which have high-quality priority for this vehicle; require similar skills and tools; and for which the material required are already in stock and do not have to be ordered.

The dynamic maintenance capabilities of GRIPS are revolutionizing how maintenance is done. Instead of a predefined static, rigid and expensive maintenance schedule, it is a product’s individual configuration, history and current context (the time the vehicle is available for maintenance, budget for maintenance, etc.) that determine which maintenance task will be performed.

Similar to dynamic maintenance, repair information can also be dynamically produced and individualized in GRIPS. For example, when performing multiple repair steps after an automobile accident, a service technician can combine repair steps which all require, as pre-work, the car to be put on the lift, or which all require a specific, expensive tool (like a diagnostics device), which is available only one in the service station and is therefor in high-demand. Dynamic maintenance and repair make an efficient use of scarce resources and increase customer satisfaction.

Dynamic Diagnostics

Similar to maintenance, most diagnostics and troubleshooting routines today are statically generated. Diagnostic trees produced by Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) are defined by engineers or aftersales specialists, and do not take into consideration any contextual information like time, tools, shared preparation steps, etc., necessary to produce a more effective, relevant and individualized diagnostic procedure on demand. GRIPS manage fault codes, symptoms, causes, links to repairs and feedback from previous diagnostic sessions.

Unlike other content management systems, GRIPS also manages the links to a model of the product’s structural and functional breakdown, as well as the links between components in the two models (e.g. how hardware and software components are related to support different braking system functions: like normal braking, manual braking, assisted braking with ABS / ESPS, etc.) Those functional and structural models are then used to produce context sensitive and efficient diagnostic procedures. Moreover, feedback collected from many diagnostic sessions help to identify the most relevant diagnostic or troubleshooting strategy for an actual problem.

Read more about GRIPS Information Management.

The STAR Team