Are US translation companies taking advantage of the current favorable dollar-euro exchange rate?

VoxAppeal is the translation professionals’ specialist provider
for multilingual video localization in all languages.

While text has traditionally made up the bulk of professional translation requirements, now more than ever, businesses require localization of a broad range of media supports, that few translation agencies are equipped to deliver.

With over 15 years’ experience in its field, VoxAppeal has developed and fine-tuned its quality-driven process – integrated with translation companies’ own linguistic services – for adapting any kind of media from one locality to any other. This enables fast, economical localization of several specific media types:

  • Videotranscription, timing, translation, subtitling, dubbing and voiceover recording, mixing, video compositing, post-production and synchronization, rendering and compression according to use and to the hosting platform: corporate video, training, documentaries, marketing /communication/advertising, etc.
  • Audio – voice recording, mixing and post-synchronization for video, IVR (interactive Voice Response) systems, audio guides for museums & tourist sites
  • Flash – integrated audio/video/text/web functions for webcasts and other interactive platforms
  • E-Learning – in Flash or other formats: voice, video, animation, text, etc.
  • Remote interpreting – recorded or filmed meetings, seminars & conferences, where full technical on-site interpreting facilities are beyond the client’s budget.

Translation agencies that have clients in the fields of marketing & communication, media production & broadcast, tourism, local or regional government, distance learning, mobile & telecommunications services or corporate or international clients generally, need to be able to offer them comprehensive multimedia localization.

US Dollar to Euro Exchange Rate Graph - Jun 8, 2011 to Jun 6, 2016
Agencies in the US are also now looking to take advantage of the current favorable exchange rate with the euro where specialist service providers in Europe can meet their particular demands.

To find out more about how you can gain a competitive edge and offer a range of new services to your existing clients, go to VoxAppeal.com, call +33 970 468 200 or mail us at contact@voxappeal.com.

Global Interactive Voice Servers – in all languages!

Where do all those voices come from..?

…on those vocal servers that direct you to where you want to go – the ticket office on the phone, the mail messages reader, reading your account info out to you, hosting & guiding you through large institutions or government agencies, via museum audio guides, giving you internal or members-only access & information, on healthcare servers, etc.?

brainadapt-tele.com

Voice Messaging Systems (VMR) are at the very beginning of a certain, exciting stage of evolution.

Well, finding & recording a voice is the easy bit. Adapting your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system to a global, multilingual platform is a nightmare. Unless you go to the right people early on. This means a one-stop shop that can handle all your language needs – translation, tracking, planning, voice casting, recording, processing, nomenclature, compression & formatting – for immediate deployment on your systems.

IVR, VoiceXML, CCXML (Call Control XML), VMS (Voice Messaging Systems), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and many more, are all tools & protocols that are common to the voice-messaging environment. A single system configured once for a single language, but which can then be employed for a large number of languages, makes each new language that little bit more economical to deploy – as long as the voice localisation and delivery to spec is done properly and professionally.

This takes a tried & tested process – in other words, VoxAppeal.

In the English-language medium, we are for the most part blissfully unaware that our language is only 3rd in the table of most widely-spoken native languages. The Internet gives us the very erroneous impression that everyone speaks English! The Internet is clever though – for a Spanish speaker, the Internet is entirely in Spanish, for the Chinese it’s all in Mandarin, and so on.

But whether you’re in Bonn or Delhi or Shanghai, when you call the local rail network to book a ticket, you want to get the required information in your own native language. Quoi de plus naturel ? Andonce the original service is deployed in Hindi (or whatever), for an international or multinational service, moving along the chain of popular languages is the natural next step.

This takes planning, though. And most planners with the foresight to include a multilingual option will develop in the world’s most popular 2nd language (or source language, for the purposes of translation), which is English. An international service deployed in Malay and targeting Punjabi or Arabic (+ 20 others), for example, will ideally have already deployed in English as a reference source for any further languages. Professional localisation options from English to any target language will be more prevalent than Malay>Punjabi or Malay>Arabic (+ Malay > 20 others) options. (There are always exceptions and I welcome any objections, of course!)

For many planners, however, hindsight is the mother of budget overrun, as the decision to consult a localisation professional is often taken too late to avoid unnecessary expenditure (as is also so often the case in corporate video production and in website design), although an initial consultation is most often entirely free of charge and can provide the essential guidelines to a profitable multilingual venture further down the line.

Why “Turnkey”?

From the client’s source audio/video files, images or websites through to delivery of identical products translated and localized to the client’s target market, if your product is any kind of complex media, then the only guarantee of a quality service is a TURNKEY service.

That is, a service from A to Z, from the initial ‘home’-localized product, through all the various intermediary stages and media components up to delivery.

Why?

Because we know our job; we know the restrictions of the various stages of the job; our processes are tried, tested and optimized with the absolute objective of quality. And to reach this objective, any compromise in the process is costly. To us, and to our client.

A good example is video translation.

Video is a complex media. It is made up of film images, still images, graphics, animation, on-screen text (still or animated) – sometimes laid over other images, a soundtrack (or several) consisting of music, sound effects, voices in one or more languages, and even “hidden” soundtracks designed to play to different audiences and language groups. Then there is the video format: the screen size and aspect ratio, the resolution in pixels, the framerate, the bitrate, the hundreds of codec variations and configurations. Etcetera.

Complex.

That is why we will generally ask “what do you want to do with this video?” This is not an impertinent question. It is so that you, and we, do not waste time and money producing something you think you want but which may not serve its intended purpose.

Consider a hypothetical video translation case drawn from real experience:

A client asks for a promotional video presentation to be “translated”. The video features clips including scenes in an American environment, images, on-screen texts and a soundtrack with music+sound effects laid over with an American voice.

The client wants a quote specifically for: a Russian voice and Russian subtitling of on-screen text. He could also ask for a range of options, such as complete localized post-production of the video: replacement of typical American scenes with Russian scenes that he has provided, replacement of on-screen English text with Russian text, recording of a convincing Russian voice to take the place of the American one and replacement of the background fiddle music with something more classical and Russian.

If the video is to be one from among the client’s 100+ media items available to a Russian audience from the media library page deep within his company website, the first version might be sufficient, although future higher-profile use of the video should also be taken into account. If it is to serve as the front-page video advertising his company’s services, the full-quality option would be essential. The cost would of course not be the same, but the consequent income potential would be vastly different too. However, that is a calculation that the client must do for himself.

Part of that calculation is of course, outlay. And if I can have it transcribed cheaply by some third-party transcription service or agency, why include that in a turnkey service?

If I have a Russian speaker in the company who can translate the transcription and the on-screen texts, why include translation in a turnkey service?

If my trainee can do the timing of the translated texts why include that in a turnkey service?

If my DTP department can import the Russian text into the original US images, why include that in a turnkey service?

Will my Russian target market really mind having some nice American fiddle music in the background or the odd fleeting image of US marines, $ signs or hamburgers?

The short, quick, and ultimate answer is: Quality. If it is not pervasive in every aspect of your target product, it doesn’t have a capital “Q“.

The more detailed answer would take into account any one of all the possible flaws of any one stage of the process that is not included in the turnkey service and see its exponential effect on the rest of the process.

Just a typing mistake in the transcription can lead to a mistranslation of enormous proportion (see “Reset” & Hillary Clinton in one of our previous blogs).

Not paying attention to speaking rate in the voice translation could mean it is impossible to record the Russian voice in the time available (or it must be sped up to Mickey Mouse proportions).

Having a text “timed” in a Word file may be superfluous as this format cannot be exploited in a titling configuration tool, and will have to be done again, precisely.

Every stage of the process must be checked by a target-language professional linguist who knows the technical, linguistic and target-market requirements of the project. And even still, our processes are designed to reduce all possibility for human error to an absolute minimum – retyping from one page into another, copy-&-pasting or “assuming” what is meant. We welcome and encourage consultation and communication with our client at every point in the process. A question with an “obvious” answer is still better asked than guessed wrongly.

Our language professionals are trained and qualified, which means not only that they know the language, but they know and recognize the different quirks of the culture, and can make those little adjustments that, if they were not made, could have extensive, negative effects.

Various professional studies have emphasized the commercial effect of web-based video to market footprint for most companies. However, if the video quite obviously originates from a different cultural market, it loses effect and this footprint is decidedly diminished.

Just ship us your project to analyse cost-effectively, and relax while we make your media work for you across all your target-language markets.

Translating for your Web Market

Fiona Graham writes on bbc.co.uk about the importance of using professional translators when translating your company’s website.

What your “afterthought” translation process could look like.
Or you could call the professionals.

Citing one UK-based company: “you need to get one good person that speaks that language really well” and “I speak French so it was easy for me to determine someone is the right person to have”, language services professionals will have their heads in their hands. What a revelation! Here’s another big secret that you probably haven’t stumbled upon yet: When going to school or to an important meeting, bring a PEN! (Success not guaranteed.)

That’s about how basic this information is, and equally how much of a foregone conclusion it should be. But as the article reveals, most companies, even multimillion-$ turnover companies, have no idea how to go about translating one of their most fundamental marketing tools, yet they virtually all THINK they know.

Unfortunately, the article just scratches the surface and does not go into the essentials of specialisation. Website translation today requires a range of expertise: in translating AND proofreading in each of the language pairs and in the field of activity concerned, in target-language SEO, in website architecture & coding, in multimedia, in imagery localisation, in page layout, etc.
For “the right person”, read “the right company”, with all the necessary expertise.

Also under-emphasised in the article – It is absolutely essential to get professional advice before taking the first step, as professional linguistic management companies may otherwise have to UNDO a lot of what has been done, even down to the website architecture, in order to provide a professional, scalable, futureproof and efficient translated site.

Ideally, moving to multilingual should be a step that is forward-planned to coincide with a major overhaul of your company website. That way the architecture will be designed to be multilingual from the foundations up.

Professional website translation, to be efficient and ultimately profitable, is NOT something to be added as an afterthought, otherwise it may only offer the kind of return that the example in the article offers (+20% overseas trade for +400% market size).

Probably because they got “the right person”!

VoxAppeal channel on YouTube

Just to add a little clarity to your misty vision of a specialisation that draws from several distinct activity sectors, just take a peek at some of the samples now up on the VoxAppeal channel on YouTube.

Included are brief HD 1080p and 720p renditions of some of our customized subtitling options, excerpts from TV reports & interviews with some of our staff & management, and some samples of older stuff (just to show how far the industry has come in just 3-4 years).

There are billions (nearly) of our projects that have NOT been uploaded so as to protect our clients’ media, intellectual property & copyrights. But a short list of just some recent projects include media translation and localisation for the likes of Microsoft, PagesJaunes Group, Streamwide, Société Générale, Bouygues Construction, Brainsonic, Fleishman-Hillard, BIVB wines, Pierre et Vacances, Sofrel, Teoxane and more, but this first glance into the global world of media internationalisation may give you a little more than an inkling of what we’re about.

More to come of course, so you’re more than welcome to tag along!

Robotica subtitled

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Où en est le Marketing Vidéo ?

En tout cas, il semble qu’entre le moment où j’écris ceci et le moment où vous le lirez, les outils de marketing vidéo n’auront pas cessé d’évoluer !

Les derniers chiffres des recherches Forrester exposés dernièrement lors du récent webinar de Brightcove démontrent la tendance et révèlent un dynamisme fort dans le sens de l’exploitation poussée de la vidéo sur internet à des fins commerciales et de marketing. Le webinar a cité des exemples tirés d’une vingtaine de secteurs et a décortiqué le process d’application, de suivi et de contrôle de la webvidéo avec les capacités “Web 2.0” d’intégration et interaction et donc sa grande pouvoir d’accroche sur l’internaute à travers le divertissement.

MSC / Microsoft, pour Brainsonic

Sous-titrage vidéo sur le Web – Cliché d’une vidéo récente, sous-titrée pour Brainsonic, par VoxAppeal

Les exemples cités font ressortir des augmentations de conversion, non pas dans les virgules, mais de l’ordre de 20 à 1000 % et des indices de satisfaction considérablement améliorés.

Quelques-uns des chiffres les plus intéressants de ce Webinar (qui est résumé en anglais ici), au hasard :

  • Augmentation de 1,5 % à 15 % des internautes qui passent “à l’acte” et visitent le produit montré quand il s’agit d’une vidéo (société de vente de cheminées), donc conversions x10
  • 45 % d’amélioration des ventes (société de produits de mariage)
  • 24 % de baisse des produits retournés (boutique de e-commerce)

Mais ça, c’est le présent. L’institut de recherche britannique Coda, prévoit que d’ici 2017, la consommation de vidéos sur le web dépassera les 1,8 exaoctets (milliards de GO, si vous ne le saviez pas)… par mois ! Et ceci essentiellement sur des appareils mobiles.

Entre temps, il est intéressant de constater que, pour toute société sérieuse qui ne se freine pas à ses propres frontières, la vidéo en ligne est d’ores et déjà visible dans toutes les langues dans tous les pays et que sa traduction et localisation, par la superposition de voix ou de sous-titres, se fait facilement et professionnellement à moindre coût, si on trouve la bonne adresse du spécialiste qui intègre la traduction et l’audiovisuel !

Il ne fait donc aucun doute que l’expérience du Web s’annonce bien plus dynamique qu’on la connait actuellement et passera inexorablement par la vidéo. Après… The world is your oyster !

Et à l’aube du salon E-Commerce à Paris ce mois-ci, c’est une vraie mise en bouche.

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Viral video buzz networking thingummy quoi?

It’s definitely not television, is it?

In fact, although I watch TV less and less, whenever I do, I now get this strange, vacuous, helpless sensation, from the knowledge that despite all my best reflexes, I cannot change or interact with what is happening in front of me.

I can’t tell the producers what I think of their programme, I can’t personalise news/information/documentaries to the items I want to hear about. I can’t return to the weather for my region if I’ve missed it… and the channel has no idea what I really want to see; they’re just happy to dilute it to the lowest common denominator among their target audience…

And I can’t submit my own material to them even where the channel is close to my issues of interest.

With WebTV, however, I can submit content to a number of Web video channels dedicated to my specific audience, interact with viewers, change, improve and adapt my content, on my own channel, on various hosts. (My own example: http://www.metacafe.com/channels/VoxAppeal/)

The question remains though, with social network hosting services exploding in such numbers that it’s getting harder & harder to keep up: Are they losing the focal impact that they have had until now?

Before they’ve even mastered the means of reaching across cultural boundaries?

Several Buzz sites are cross-linked – WordPress to Twitter, Twitter to Facebook and Facebook to YouTube, etc., but as they cross-link and multiply (see the “Share” list below), the walls dividing each language group from the next are as high as ever. If not higher still, as the impression of comprehensive reach to anything that matters is greater than ever, so you just don’t know what you’re missing on the other side of that wall. In fact, we no longer even notice the wall because we think that the whole world is speaking in our own language.

I have noticed that some subjects are better covered in specific language communities than in others. English is of course the most widespread, but still only accounts for about half of all web content, including content created by 2nd-language English writers. But for example, I have found a huge amount of information on Web programming on French sites and forums, and the Japanese are way ahead of the rest in terms of digital subtitling techniques, software and references (drawing from a rich Manga culture, no doubt). I can’t begin to list what I am missing in languages I don’t understand, let alone emphasise the importance of simply understanding the cultural particularities of each community.

How others see us?
“I hate America”
– How others see us?

Also extremely useful would be to know, for example, how Iranians, Chinese or Latvians report their news and views, in contrast to how the English contributions to Twitter, WordPress and the BBC report them.

Maybe that final frontier of networking, the language barrier, could be crossed with the creation of a global translingual social network (the fact that “translingual” just showed up underlined in red tells me it really is a more foreign concept than I had imagined!)?

Or maybe what we need is an optional tweak at the root of Google (or any other search engine) allowing the search of translations of websites into the searcher’s language, before displaying the list?

Or maybe both would be required before either could work properly?

In the interim, it feels like we are sinking into that TV-sofa passivity again, where we’re happy with what we’ve got, because it’s a bit better than what we had before. At least until, eventually, frustration sets in again.

Enfin, ça viendra, un jour.
ﺎﺒﻳﺮﻗ ءﺎﻘﻠﻟا ﻰﻟا

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