The battle of man and machine [translation]

Man versus machine—the contentious struggle has existed for many years and in the last several decades it has come to a head in the translation services industry. Machine translation, the automated process by which computer software is used to fully translate a source language into a target language, has been the subject of great interest […]

The translators behind the translation

In today’s technologically-advanced, interconnected era, it’s easy to look at a piece of writing – be it a translation or a transcript – and take for granted the option of reading it in a language you understand. At Multilingual Connections, we’re all about celebrating the translators and transcriptionists who make that possible: their success is […]

The human side of our translation business

Like so many industries, the translation business is changing. Computer-assisted translation, machine translation, increased automation—it’s all a part of where the industry is going. Will machine translation ever be good enough to replace humans? It’s a common question these days, especially in light of Google’s much-touted advances in neural machine translations. But the answer continues to […]

Pioneer of Pinyin writing system passes away

Last week, a pioneer in the linguistics world passed away. Zhou Youguang, the father of Pinyin, died on January 14 at the age of 111. In the 1950’s Zhou Youguang lead a  committee that developed a standardized system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese. Since its official adoption by the Chinese government in 1979, Pinyin, which literally […]

Friends don’t let friends use Google Translate – most of the time

We live in an increasingly-automated world. It’s important to see how automation—like machine translation—can make things better / easier / cheaper, but it’s also important to recognize where human input matters. I’ve written elsewhere that friends don’t let friends use Google Translate. Machine translation doesn’t understand nuance. Though increasingly sophisticated, it continues to produce awkward sentences, […]

Trump in translation

Translation is part art, part science. No matter the content, it’s always a fine balance, but this election season has pushed the demands of translation to new heights. Before addressing the translation issue, though, let’s take a look at some of the topics that have kept linguists busy lately. Some have been looking beyond what […]

Control your potty mouth around kids – or swear a blue streak?

Years ago, as my husband and I cradled our newborn baby boy in our arms, we didn’t realize that one of the most difficult challenges ahead of us would be controlling our potty mouths. Of course we didn’t censor ourselves initially, but once he started talking, we were much more careful about what we said. […]

Tesla autopilot translation: the devil is in the details

Cars for me have always been about getting myself and my passengers safely from Point A to Point B. When my young son fell in love with Teslas, I found myself agreeing to chaperone play-dates to the Tesla showroom at our local mall—and gradually falling in love with the car, myself. With the much more […]

Pokémon Go and the art of translation

I say “Pokémon”; you say “pokey-man” In 1999, I began spending hours in the world of anime zookeeping, known to most as Pokémon. At the time, my parents patiently tried to understand what I was doing, but it didn’t help that I was speaking an entirely new language: Pikachu, Pokédex, helix fossil. They tried to engage, but […]

bibimbap

Roast grandma and other tasty treats

Part of the fun of international travel is exploring local delicacies. The funny part of international travel (at least for language-lovers like myself) is seeing how things are translated—or as often is the case, mistranslated. Got a taste for “spicy and weird soup” or “roast grandma”? Read on. An overwhelming majority of tourists to Korea are from […]

professional translation

How to become a professional translator

At least once a week, someone says to me “Hey, I know someone who is bilingual. Are you looking for translators?” As owner of a translation agency in the Chicago area, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such linguistic diversity. However, while I always appreciate a referral, what most people don’t understand is the […]

Baseball in Translation

I’ve never been interested in sports: playing, watching, reading… I often wished I were more interested, and I frequently marvel at just how many decades a human being could possibly live on this earth while absorbing absolutely nothing about sports of any kind.   Almost ten years ago, I became a mom. And no thanks in the […]