Archive for the ‘Velior’s Events’ Category

Our Services: Technical Translations into Russian

July 9th, 2014, Roman Mironov

Velior has been providing technical translations into Russian since 2005, while some of our team members have been working in this field much longer. From small safety tags to user manuals for complex machinery, technical texts account for a major part of our daily work. Our first goal is always to deliver translations that make it as effortless as possible for end users to operate devices correctly.

Some of the major subject areas and content types we have extensive experience with are listed below:

Russian technical translation subject areas

  • Medical equipment
  • Consumer electronics
  • Construction
  • Telecommunications
  • Energy
  • Automotive

Content types

  • User manuals
  • Specifications
  • Material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • Drawings
  • Replies to request for quotes (RFQ)

Experience

Technical texts are impossible to translate well without understanding the subject area. Having translated thousands of technical texts, we have experience that makes it easier to understand new projects. Our team also includes people with extensive field experience, such as an editor who worked in a machinery spare parts business for many years. Another source of expertise we draw upon regularly is a network of external experts who help us with more challenging texts.

Research

Another cornerstone of our translation quality is the extensive research that is part of each project. Whenever our translators come across something they do not understand, they research it as much as possible instead of translating literally. We make sure the original is crystal clear to us first and only then do we produce a final translation. The result is a target-language text that makes sense to users rather than leaving them clueless. Here are a few English to Russian translation examples from the IT field:

Original Our translation Literal translation
The cost of storing data continues to fall, but not as quickly as the price of managing data. Расходы на СХД снижаются медленнее, чем растут объемы данных. Стоимость хранения данных снижается, но не так быстро, как стоимость управления ими.
Continuing our long-term strategy, the new solutions incorporate features designed to markedly improve system reliability and support constant availability. В полном соответствии с долгосрочной стратегией в новую линейку был включен функционал, направленный на существенное увеличение надежности системы и максимальную бесперебойность доступа. Продолжая реализацию долгосрочной стратегии, в новые решения был включен функционал, направленный на заметное увеличение надежности системы и поддержку ее постоянной доступности.

 Terminology consistency

Having the processes in place to ensure terminology consistency is crucial for success in technical translation projects. We create or re-use client-specific glossaries for each job. Whenever possible, we extract terms for glossaries, translate them, and have them approved by the client even before the project begins, so that our translation meets the client’s expectations in the area of terminology from the outset, preventing costly rework after the project has already been delivered. Relying on glossaries has an added benefit of stimulating translators and editors to make a more conscious effort in this area, resulting in higher quality.

Keeping glossaries alone is not enough, though, because translators may forget to use a term from a glossary. To minimize human error, quality assurance tools, such as Verifika, allow checking translations against glossaries. Such tools flag all occurrences where a translation of a glossary term was expected, but was not found. Our linguists check all potential errors and either correct them or dismiss them as false positives.

In conclusion

If you want to find a Russian translation team you can trust, we might be a perfect fit. Contact us today for a free, non-binding quote.

2013 Recap

June 6th, 2014, Roman Mironov

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bogenfreund/11682223143/

2013 was the best year for Velior so far. It is my pleasure to report these accomplishments:

Revenue growth

Our revenue grew by more than 50%. This increase is attributed solely to being able to meet our clients’ expectations in terms of quality and customer service. Knowing that we “walk our talk,” clients felt confident that they could entrust us with more translation work.

More projects

The number of projects doubled. With so many projects to manage, our daily work has never been so demanding. Although difficult at times, this experience has been exciting and has helped us continue optimizing our processes, based on feedback about what worked and what did not.

More staff

We have expanded our internal team this year, too. With the core of the team unchanged, this could not be easier, because new people get up to speed quickly under their stewardship.

New partnerships with freelancers forged

With more projects than ever, we have had the privilege to get to know and work with many excellent freelance linguists. As a result, our team is now better positioned for handling larger and more diverse projects.

Translation process investments

As our project management system, we replaced ]project-open[ with XTRF—a more sophisticated system geared specifically towards translation agencies. This should have been done long ago, but it was only with the increase in the number of projects that we realized ]project-open[ no longer met our needs. OmegaT, the program that we use as our translation memory tool, also saw massive improvements in 2013. Supported by highly motivated developers and donations from its users, Velior included,  this open-source project has been gaining momentum, with exciting new features added almost on a monthly basis. We have perfected our processes centered around this program, including simultaneous work of several translators to provide faster translation turnaround. Some urgent projects that we did included as many as four translators working in parallel.

Blogging

2013 was the first year that we consistently published two blog posts per week. This has been a challenge and required a complete overhaul of the writing and publishing process. Writing blog posts occasionally, in a haphazard manner, could no longer work. We brought organization to this process by doing three things. Firstly, I committed to writing posts on specific days, to make this a habit rather relying on a surge of inspiration.  Secondly, by writing posts in an organized fashion, well ahead of the publishing date, we were able to have them edited properly. A huge thanks goes to Susan Welsh, whose help editing the blog was nothing short of amazing. Thirdly, by letting another person manage the blog, I now have more time to focus on writing. We are still lagging behind the publishing schedule for the Russian mirror of the blog, though, but we will catch up in the coming year.

In conclusion

We owe this success to you—our clients, our people, and our readers. Thank you for making 2013 so remarkable for Velior. We look forward to strengthening our relationships in 2014. You can take advantage of Velior’s Russian translation services by contacting us.

Our Specializations: IT and Software Localization

July 13th, 2013, Roman Mironov

Photo by Donovan Henneberg-Verity, http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrhv/4453082320
The information technology industry has been one of the hottest industries in recent years.. People are enormously dependent on computers, networks, and the Internet. And so, demand for translations in this area is also great. We have been producing IT translations since the very inception of the company. We have a deep understanding of this subject matter, and if we do not understand а part of the source text, we can draw upon the wealth of information on the Internet and from external experts.

Translating IT texts is more challenging than most technical translation. Try giving a software localization project to someone who has no experience in this area, and you will likely receive a translation with misplaced tags, missing variables, and so on.

Another important consideration is adhering to the translation guidelines established by the companies that dominate this industry, such as Microsoft. We closely follow these guidelines, including Microsoft glossaries, so that our clients can be sure that we use the most common and accurate translations, instead of inventing our own literal translations, which no one will understand.

When we translate software, we know that context is everything. Where a word such as “View” is located in a program determines whether it is a verb or a noun, and that is crucial for translation. We also know the common pitfalls to look for when testing localized software.

Some of the major areas of expertise and content types we support are listed below:

Specific areas of expertise

  • Computer networks
  • PC hardware
  • Storage systems
  • Software localization

Content types

  • Graphic user interface
  • User help and manuals
  • Marketing texts such as white papers or product reviews
  • Websites

Recent projects

Here are a few examples of the most challenging projects that we have recently completed in this area:

  • Operations and maintenance manual for IT equipment used in hospital operating rooms as a central point of control and integration of audio, video, and data routing for medical staff.
  • Software and user manual for an immunoassay system. This project included implementing the client’s feedback and testing the localized software.
  • Travel and expense portal for internal use by a pharmaceutical company.
  • Training manual designed to teach people, primarily in the developing countries, how to use computers and the Internet.

For more information about what we are best at translating, check out the articles about our specialization under medical translation and corporate documents.

To request a quote, write us at info@velior.ru.

What System Are You Using to Run Your Translation Business?

April 7th, 2013, Roman Mironov

Translation project management systemIn the communication age, an ERP system is essential to running most types of businesses efficiently. This holds true for a translation business, too, as long as its operations are more or less complex. For a translation services company that uses a translation memory system, works with agency clients, engages two or more people in the projects, and has fairly complex or ongoing projects that span weeks, months, or even years, managing operations without an ERP can be a disaster from the financial and operational standpoint. The manual processes lacking transparency and prone to errors will likely become a bottleneck. The company will probably work in a crisis mode most of the time, and the management will spend many hours putting out fires each day.

In this post, I want to share my opinion about the system that we use, ]project-open[, and engage our readers in a conversation about alternatives.

Advantages

  1. It’s free for any size of organization while a commercial ERP can cost many thousands of dollars.
  2. ]project-open[ has all essential features an average translation agency might need. It’s generally good. If you migrate to ]project-open[ from a completely manual process, this is going to feel like a major breakthrough in terms of efficiency and transparency of operations.
  3. It’s been designed with translation agencies in mind to a certain degree. I guess some translation agencies sponsored developing those translation-related features. These include things like special translation-related fields in a project template or creating an invoice from the translation tasks, just to name a few.
  4. It allows a certain degree of configuration without speciaized training. You can add things such as a custom field or project status.
  5. In addition to an installer, ]project-open[ also comes as a virtual machine running Linux, which saves time you’d otherwise spend on installation. If you have a VMware server, that is.
  6. It’s very stable and reliable. In fact, I can’t remember any problems in the last couple of years.
  7. It even lets clients track their projects. Our clients never asked us for that feature anyway.

Drawbacks

  1. Even basic customization isn’t easy. For advanced customization, you’ll need to contact developers or hire someone who knows the underlying software. This is true for any ERP, though.
  2. In the last few years, ]project-open[ didn’t see any essential improvements that could make a difference for a translation agency. A great benchmark in this aspect is the translation memory program OmegaT. While OmegaT is free as well, its gradual improvement over the last two years is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
  3. Project planning is pretty much rudimentary. If you want flexibility and the ability to quickly see what’s happening in a given project and which team member is available, say, one week from now, you’ll likely be better off using a standalone planning tool.
  4. Many processes like assembling an invoice from the translation tasks can’t be fully automated, which sort of defeats the purpose of using an automated system.

What’s next?

Generally, I like ]project-open[. But I’m not sure it’s a good idea to continue using it going forward. Switching to a system designed specifically for translation agencies might be a better investment of time that we’d otherwise continue wasting due to inefficiencies. Because no major improvements are being made (at least from the standpoint of a translation agency), the risk of getting left behind is growing by the hour. Yet, it works and it’s free. Compelling, right? The question is, therefore, whether there’s a cost-effective alternative.

Dear readers, over to you! What system do you use in your translation business? What systems are you aware of that combine both powerful features and attractive pricing?

Best and Worst Moments of 2012

January 3rd, 2013, Roman Mironov

Now is the time to look back at some of the results of 2012. Here’s a short list of the most positive and negative experiences I’ll remember this year by. Perhaps, these aren’t the most important things, but they definitely made a difference and are fresh in my memory right now.

Things I’d Love to Remember

For 2012, we set a goal to beat the previous year earnings by about 15%. Until the last couple of months, things didn’t look good. But November and December made a big difference. Although we didn’t meet the goal, we did beat the last year by 5% after all. Because I had been expecting a negative growth, this came as a very nice surprise. Because we worked hard lately, taking a few days off during the holiday season felt especially good. What’s better than taking a good rest after some hard work, enjoying a sense of completion?

Although we’ve been using the translation memory program OmegaT since 2010, it doesn’t stop surprising me in so many ways. This last year saw many exciting changes, the team collaboration being undoubtedly the best one. I often catch myself thinking how easy my life as a translator is now thanks to OmegaT and how difficult it used to be with other tools just a few years ago. I’m so excited about this progress and grateful to the folks behind this wonderful program.

We developed a relationship with a new client who delayed the first payment by several months. Our policy is not to put too much pressure on clients in such cases because we believe they might have a good reason for delay. Our focus is always on continuing the relationship rather than arguing until the point where it’s no longer possible. This approach worked out nice this time, and we’re reaping the rewards.

Things I’d Rather Forget

Instead of offering the premium services only, we added the standard and economy services to our range this year. While I’m positive this was the right move, I feel frustrated, too, because we should’ve done this earlier. Different clients have different expectations about translation quality and costs. Pushing the premium services onto people who want lower prices and faster turnaround isn’t a wise marketing strategy. If we had done this move earlier, it could’ve helped us save quite a few good clients who went elsewhere a few years ago because they didn’t want the premium services.

I’m also quite disappointed with the latest Trados. Not as big as other experiences in the post, but still a disappointment, especially because many issues happened during the last month and are fresh in my memory. Some files couldn’t open until we restarted the program. Some formatting was in WYSIWYG format instead of the tagged format. One evening, I had to stay in the office until 11PM with a colleague to finish a project because we couldn’t get the program to update a TM. I admit that I don’t have the full knowledge of this latest version, and things might get better with practice. But I’m not a newbie to CAT tools and older Trados versions either. I’d love the program that’s a market leader to be more user-friendly.

If you want to learn more about why we, just as many other translation professionals, need to use Trados, check out my post about how we ended up purchasing Trados.

If you have anything to add, feel free to get in touch via the comments!

It Finally Happened

December 10th, 2012, Roman Mironov

Just wanted to write a few words about buying Trados (“T”), which is a kind of a milestone for me because I’ve been avoiding using it in a hope that I could just wait until CAT tools become totally interoperable. In this post, I share my mixed feelings about this purchase.

What I Don’t Like about It

T is a great translator productivity tool except for two things. First, since it’s a de-facto industry standard, many translation agencies use it and ask their translators to buy and use it as well. I’m already proficient with the CAT tool I like and don’t want to use a different tool because this will slow me down. The time I’ll waste on figuring out T is better spent on more value-adding tasks. Second and most important, its price is exorbitant. Making a huge investment in something that you actually don’t need is kind of a challenge.

Struggling without T

The great program we use for translation, OmegaT, supports Trados, including the most recent version. That is, you can translate T files with some limitations. The challenge is that you still need T to have a look at the translated files. This is critical because OmegaT is not 100% compatible with T, which occasionally results in technical problems with the translated files. You won’t notice those problems unless you use T to look at the translated files. For quite some time, I’ve been using various workarounds, but because of a few major issues, I decided this resistance no longer made financial sense.

Buying

As soon as the next promotion started, I got T at a very generous discount. Even though it was twice as much as MS Office, this was the price I’m actually prepared to pay for professional software.

What’s Next?

Usually, I’m quite compelled to learn a new productivity software that I get my hands on. But not this time. To be able to use T in a team environment, I need to purchase a team license for each PC. The license price is exorbitant. While a freelance version costs €802, the team version costs the staggering €3,225. There is no way I’m buying several licenses at this price. It’s hard to even consider buying when the free OmegaT offers the same or even better functionality for team projects. This means that I’ll use T just for the tasks that I can’t accomplish with other tools such as reviewing the translated files.

The bottom line is that even if T it’s a great and popular tool, the price is completely prohibitive for small players like me. SDL claims 80% of translation supply chain use it. Are these 80% really happy about this pricing? The rates in the translation industry are dropping and so are margins. Why people keep buying T (and thus directly or indirectly forcing other people to buy it) instead of looking at less expensive and even free alternatives is a mystery to me.

For more information about using OmegaT in a team environment, check out this post about how the team project function in OmegaT works.

Do you use Trados in your work? Or maybe you have an interesting workaround? Please share in the comments.

The Trend Is Your Friend

November 20th, 2012, Roman Mironov

We decided that it doesn’t make sense to fight the trend any longer. I mean the price pressure. Instead of trying to convince clients why you want to pay a premium for top-quality translation, from now on, we’ll simply let you choose the price you like. You can choose from three service levels depending on your budget, quality, or deadline expectations. In essence, you have a choice of three quality levels: (1) translation + revision by a translator with 8+ years of experience, (2) translation + revision by a translator with 5+ years of experience, and (3) low-cost translation. Read on for more details.

Premium service

Highlights: The best quality and customer service we can provide, including translators with 8+ years of experience

Designed to provide the highest quality of translation, this service is for clients who don’t want to compromise on quality. They recognize that high quality is key to having a huge return on their investment in translation. I also recommend this service for scenarios where translation errors can be extremely costly. Examples include:

  • Difficult translations such as pharmaceutical or financial documents requiring that a translator specializes in this area
  • Proposals that can secure significant business
  • Any other important document where a translation error can result in damages or lost profits

This service includes translation by one linguist and full-fledged revision by a second linguist with 8+ years of experience (per EN 15038). We also provide additional services at no charge where possible. For example, we don’t charge a minimum fee for any follow-up requests to translate a few additional words. The rate for this service also depends on the project difficulty.

Standard service

Highlights: Great value for money, translators with 5+ years of experience

This service is designed to provide a high level of quality, which is totally fine for the majority of translation clients. It’s important to understand, though, that by choosing this service, you agree that your translations may not always be flawless. Think business class and economy class in airlines. If this is not what you expect, please go with the premium service to make sure you get top quality.

This service includes translation by one linguist and revision by a second linguist. Because both linguists have 5+ years of experience, they produce a well-crafted, professional translation that meets requirements of most clients.

To make things easier for you, the rate for this service is fixed so that you don’t have to contact us to know the exact costs.

Translation only

Highlights: Good quality, but not excellent

“Trans only” is translation by a regular translator + automated QA check by a second translator. Does not comply with EN15038 and may not produce high quality.

Economy service

Highlights: Perfect choice for anyone who needs fast turnaround and low cost and is less concerned about quality

This service includes translation by one linguist. While it doesn’t provide the same level of quality as “translation + revision” does, it sure is a great choice when low price and short deadline are important.

For more information about choosing the service that’s right for you, see our price list. To buy the translation service you like, please place an order or request more information.

Focus on the Opportunity

November 13th, 2012, Ekaterina Ilyushina

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Getting this quote done is taking me forever, and I’m not even sure I’ll get the business”? I have, and I believe people in general tend to get frustrated when after many hours spent on preparing a quote, a prospective client never gets back to them. Just recently, someone on a translators’ forum wrote how disappointed she was about her prospect’s behavior. This prospect asked her to download a program that she didn’t know how to use. She spent many hours on learning the program and preparing a quote. But because of the high rate she quoted, the prospect chose someone else. She was so frustrated that she was considering billing this prospect for the many hours she spent in vain.

Translating a Bid Package

Although an unsuccessful quote is actually a valid reason for frustration, I’m starting to rethink my attitude to this process completely because of one English to Russian translation we provided recently. Our client, a foreign company, was submitting a bid package in response to a request for proposals made by a large Russian company. Two things about the bidding process in Russia make it very challenging. First, large companies usually ask for a lot of information. The amount of details requested can be intimidating for a U.S. or European company. If they want to bid, they have to invest a lot of time and effort in their quote, much more than they’re used to. Second, this process is notorious for various frauds that make it easy for only one particular bidder to win the business while others have very little chances.

Impressive Investment in Preparing a Bid

Now back to our client. While we were translating their bid package, I kept admiring them for having the courage to make the significant investment in this bid despite the two issues I described above. Our fee alone was over $2,000, and I estimate their total investment to get that quote done, including the legal fees for reviewing the legal documents, was about $10,000. And they probably knew the odds weren’t in their favor!

After seeing this great example, I’m asking myself, “What right do I have to be disappointed about my unsuccessful quotes when other people invest $10,000 in a quote with odds against them?” I’ve always tried to be as positive about my quotes as possible. But this example really encouraged me to shift my thinking into a new gear. From now on, my goal is to be enthusiastic about each quote I make, focusing on the opportunity rather than something I can’t control.

If you want to try me, use this page to request a quote for translation services! And please share how you feel about quoting in your line of work.

Do You Like Projects with Multiple Files as Much as I Like Them?

November 7th, 2012, Roman Mironov

Just wanted to say how much I love OmegaT’s concept of handling source files. Unlike most other CAT tools, OmegaT doesn’t convert source files into an intermediary bilingual format like SDLXLIFF in SDL Trados 2011. When I first started using OmegaT, I wasn’t excited about this concept because after years of working with other tools, the idea of not having a bilingual file seemed disturbing. It was only after a while that I figured out how cool this approach was.

OmegaT’s Translation Memory Concept

Again, there is no process of converting source files into any sort of bilingual format. All you do is put your source files in the source subfolder of your project. As you translate, the program saves all translations to a translation memory file. When you decide to create target files, OmegaT essentially makes a copy of your source files and replaces the source text in them with the respective text from your TM.

Key Advantages to This Concept

  1. Since you essentially work directly with a TM, not with bilingual files, OmegaT virtually reduces the hassle of having to switch between the files. We had a project with about 300 small files recently. Imagine opening and closing all these files one-by-one as we translated and revised them. A nightmare, right? OmegaT saves you time and energy by letting you access all files in your project as if it’s just one file. You do see the borderlines between the files, technically speaking, but that doesn’t prevent you from moving between them effortlessly.
  2. This feature comes in especially handy when you need to make global changes across several files. You simply find your search term using the search feature and then navigate to each segment by clicking it in the search window. And you see absolutely all occurrences of your search term in the search window, which allows you to get a good idea of the context for that term. In contrast, other tools usually let you find only what’s in the current file, and the way they present the search results is not as convenient as with OmegaT.
  3. With other tools, each time you make a change to bilingual files without connecting to a TM, you need to take a separate step of updating the TM, which is sometimes time-consuming. Moreover, at times, you might find yourself wondering which version of translation is the most recent one—the one in the bilingual files or in the TM. With OmegaT, you don’t need to worry about things like that at all.
  4. With other tools, when you make a change to a source file along the way, you need to recreate a respective bilingual file. With OmegaT, changing a source file is enough.

Summary

If you’re tired of opening and closing bilingual files or the idea of having bilingual files in the first place, you might really enjoy OmegaT’s approach to translation memory. If you’re still not motivated enough to try it, check out this post about how I realized my first impression of OmegaT was a snap judgment.

Challenging, Yet Rewarding Way to Serve Clients Better

October 31st, 2012, Ekaterina Ilyushina

Wouldn’t it be great if you were available to your clients 24/7? Sounds crazy? Perhaps, but this is just what I’m going to advocate in this post. It’s also a follow-up to my previous article about the best time to contact us for translation services and marks a change in the way I service my clients. Two years ago, I suggested the best times to contact me during the day. Now, I suggest that any time you’d like to contact me is the best time!

As a mother of a 3-year old, I do know that 24/7 availability is excruciatingly difficult and may have a negative impact on your work-life balance. I need to have very strong reasons for doing this. And I think I have at least two:

  1. Competition in translation industry is fiercer than ever, with low entry costs for new translators, pricing pressure, and machine translation being the three primary driving forces. Going an extra mile for your clients is no longer something that helps you stand out. Rather, it’s a necessity. If you want to remain competitive, it might be a good idea to rethink your work-life balance priorities.
  2. Because a major percentage of our customers is U.S.-based, there’s a huge time difference between us. To give you an idea of how challenging it gets at times, here is an example: we sometimes receive the first client’s email at 6PM and the last one at 6AM (the next day). If we can’t honor our U.S.-based clients’ requests in a timely manner, this means we’re providing a suboptimal customer service to more than a half of our customers!

With these two reasons in mind, I recognize that one of the best contributions to customer satisfaction I can make as an account manager/project manager is being there for my clients as long as possible during the day. My goal is 24/7. I know it’s a challenge, but I believe a stretching goal like this gives me motivation to go beyond what’s normally expected, especially when I don’t feel like doing it.

Next time, I will provide examples of how extended contact hours add value to translation services.

Please let me know if I am going too far with my goal of 24/7 availability. I think it’s way of the future, but I might be just too optimistic.

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