Looking for a translation agency to translate Russian into English? This article explains why it is important to have your translation done by a native speaker, budget permitting.
Why a native speaker?
Translation is best done by native speakers of the target language (the one being translated into), because it requires excellent command of the language that only people who learned it as native speakers have. Learning a language as a foreign one rarely results in excellent command.
That said, when it comes to translating from Russian into English, your translation team must include native speakers of English, not Russian. More specifically, the translator’s name should be something like John Smith, not Ivan Ivanov. Now, the problem is that there is a huge supply of RU-EN translators producing low-quality work at bargain-basement rates, which makes it difficult to find the proverbial diamond in the rough in this market. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that clients sometimes succeed in buying good EN-RU translations at low rates and assume they can do the same for RU-EN, never realizing that good RU-EN translation costs much higher because of a different supply and demand ratio—there are much fewer skilled translators in this combination.
As a result, the market for RU-EN translations is segmented into at least three categories, with huge price and quality gaps between them.
Three quality categories
The first category is native speakers of English who are professional translators. Being in the best position to translate into their native language and equipped with professional training, they deliver top-notch work.
The second category is non-native speakers of English who are professional translators. They produce average translations that appear to follow English grammar and punctuation rules, but use language patterns typical of Russian, sounding weird to native English speakers. Such word-for-word translations are called “Runglish.” Here is an example:
Мы уделяем особое внимание нашим услугам в области устного перевода.
We pay particular attention to our services in the area of oral translation.
Our focus is interpretation services.
The third category is non-native speakers of English who are hobby translators. As if literal translations were not bad enough, these folks also inject them with mistranslations, grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Often lacking essential knowledge of the English language, they fail to adhere even to basic rules, such as distinguishing between BE and AE spelling.
What do you make of these categories? Most importantly, you need to understand you quality expectations before you buy. And by all means, include these expectations into consideration, rather than make your choice based on budget alone:
Just like medical or legal services, important translation is a service that does not lend itself to economy. You need a professional native RU-EN speaker for mission-critical content where nothing but top quality is acceptable. For instance, it makes no sense to save on translating marketing copy, because you will inevitably end up with texts that fail to sell or, worse, make people ridicule you. Here is an example of a great marketing translation from Russian into English: Bitrix24.
For less important materials, such as documents submitted for legal reasons only or internal company materials, a professional non-native RU-EN speaker might be sufficient. If you believe that average quality is fine for a particular piece of text, there is nothing wrong with buying this kind of translation.
Going with the cheapest hobby RU-EN translators is never a good idea. Although you might enjoy the low costs, you will end up wasting your time and money or even damaging your reputation. You may think that you are saving money, but in the final analysis, you are losing it. Think of it this way: you can spend an entire day doing something that you could have done by a professional in just one hour—you are not really saving money doing it yourself, but wasting time you could have spent way more productively.
How to ensure you get a native speaker to translate Russian into English
You can take certain steps to have your translation done by native speakers:
Insist on a native speaker when you talk to a translation agency’s sales person. That does not mean you will get one, but still increases the odds.
Request a sample from an agency to evaluate quality before you buy.
Try engaging a translator who is a native speaker directly.
Another way to safeguard yourself is to outsource translating from Russian to English to folks who know these subtle differences and have your best interest at heart like we do. Contact Velior for a free quote today so that we can recommend you a quality level that meets your needs.
Are you tasked with translating SDLXLIFF files from an agency client, but want to use OmegaT to do the translation? This may happen when you do not own a SDL Trados Studio license or you, like some of our readers, have an aversion to this program. Here is the good news: OmegaT makes such task easy with the use of the XLIFF filter included in the Okapi plugin. In fact, this filter has been around for a few years, but it is only with the M26 release that it can save translated SDLXLIFFs properly, without breaking them.
How to use the Okapi XLIFF filter
Put SDLXLIFF files into the source folder of your OmegaT project.
Open the project, then open project properties and go to File Filters. Make sure the XLIFF files (Okapi) filter is checked, while the XLIFF (native) filter is unchecked. OmegaT will highlight the current filter for your convenience.
In the project properties, uncheck Enable Sentence-level segmenting. By disabling segmentation, you keep the original segmentation of SDLXLIFF files and also enable OmegaT to insert any 100% matches automatically.
Translate the text.
Create the translated files.
Although this is absolutely the easiest way to translate SDLXLIFF files in OmegaT, I cannot promise it is the safest one. I did test it extensively and found no problems so far. However, I stongly recommend a roundtrip. Before diving deep in translation, you translate a few segments, save the “translated” file, and open it in SDL Trados Studio to make sure everything is fine.
It is also a good idea to open translated files in Studio after completing translation. Obviously, to do this kind of check, you need to own a Studio license. If you do not have one, at least have a colleague who has such a license and can check files for you in important projects.
You may also want to use this route with files that have a lot of 100% matches, because there is no easy way to handle such files with the native XLIFF filter.
What is still slightly disappointing about this filter is that tags it displays have incremental numbers, which can undesirably turn non-unique segments (i.e., repetitions) into unique ones.
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This video explains the basics of translating SDL Trados Studio files in OmegaT to give you a general idea of the process:
OmegaT has two XLIFF filters: the native one and the one from the Okapi plugin. The native filter requires that the text to be translated is placed between the “target” tags within the file or, put simply, source is copied into target. This is the filter that I am going to work with.
Preparing the SDLXLIFF file for translation in OmegaT
Open the SDLXLIFF file in Studio.
Use the Copy All Sources to Target command to insert the original text into the right column. This creates the “source equals target” format expected by OmegaT. For pre-translated segments, you will need to use the Clear Target Segment command first, or else Studio will not populate those segments with the original text.
Save and close the file.
Translating the file in OmegaT
Open the project in OmegaT and make sure the native XLIFF filter is used. The text for translation will appear in the Editor pane.
Translate the text.
Create the translated file.
Checking the translated file
Open the translated file in Studio and watch for any errors during opening.
Run QA Checker.
Save the target file in Studio to make sure the SDLXLIFF was not corrupted while translating with OmegaT.
What I showed is a very basic process. There are quite a few nuances and ways to automate the process, including the ability to forgo using Studio.
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This video explains yet another way to be more productive with OmegaT.
Centralized location concept
When you create a new project, OmegaT puts the “tm” and “glossary” subfolders in the project folder. If you have any additional TMs for this project, you copy them into the “tm” subfolder, and the same for the glossaries. With long-term projects (returning clients), you end up copying all previous project TMs and glossaries into these subfolders whenever you create a new project. This is inefficient and—like any manual process—prone to human error, such as forgetting to copy some of your files.
To avoid this problem, you can store and access TMs and glossaries for clients in a centralized manner. The setup looks like this:
Your clients’ TMs and glossaries go into the “tm” and “glossary” subfolders within this centralized location. When you set up a project, you point OmegaT to this folder for the TMs and glossaries, thus making it use the centralized location instead of the local folders.
The next time you create a project for this client, all you need to do is this:
Copy the TM and the glossary from the last project into the centralized location. This will make sure your centralized location has all files from previous projects. This is still a manual process, but it is much easier and smarter than copying files between local project subfolders.
Point the new project to the centralized location for TMs and glossaries.
If you use OmegaT on different devices, it is a good idea to put this centralized location on a network share accessible from all these devices.
To avoid configuring paths to the centralized location manually for each new project, you can simply copy the project configuration file (omegat.project) from the last project to the new one, provided the old one has correct paths.
Relying on a centralized location to store TMs and glossaries is an important step to keeping your valuable translation assets under control. Not only does it bring organization to TMs and glossaries, but it also saves time and prevents you from using outdated files or losing important files.
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This is the next article in the series about frequent challenges that Russian translators face. It explains nuances of translating the term “function” in the context of business administration.
Meaning and challenge
Function is a traditional way of organizing people into broad groups within an organization, based on their most general role. Common functions include operations, human resources, marketing, and accounting.
The challenge with the Russian translation of “function” is two-fold:
Incorrect or clumsy
Literal translation of “function” does not work.
The entire decision-making process can stall, usually at one of four bottlenecks: function versus function …
Вследствие этого весь процесс принятия решений может застопориться, обычно из-за одной из четырех проблем: конфликт между функциями …
There is no short and sweet Russian equivalent that would fit all contexts, which often forces translators to use longer, descriptive word combinations. Sometimes, the words chosen by translators are not fully equivalent to the original meaning.
Colleagues feel that people help across functions.
Сотрудники считают, что люди в организации готовы помогать друг другу независимо от функциональной области, в которой они работают.
Possible translations of “function” and “functional”
Функциональная область (you can also add “деятельности”)
For example, after senior managers at a major U.S. retailer used this method to sort out a particularly thorny set of corporate decisions, they promptly built the process into their own functional organizations.
Например, после того как высшие руководители крупного американского ритейлера успешно применили метод для ряда особенно проблематичных корпоративных решений, они поспешили наладить аналогичный процесс в собственных функциональных областях.
But fluid decision making across functional teams remains a constant challenge, even for companies known for doing it well, like Toyota and Dell.
Однако совместное принятие решений несколькими функциональными подразделениями по-прежнему затруднено, даже в компаниях, известных своими успехами в этой области, таких как Toyota и Dell.
Подразделение (отдел). Be careful because it may appear narrower than “function” and clash with translations of “division” or “department.”
Different functions have different incentives and goals, which are often in conflict.
У разных подразделений (отделов) разные стимулы и цели, которые часто противоречат друг другу.
Regardless of the option chosen, it might be a good idea to explain what is exactly meant the first time the term is used.
“Cross-functional,” meaning “bringing together people from different functions,” takes the translation challenge to the next level. Translators find themselves between a rock and a hard place—a literal translation that makes readers scratch their heads or a long, descriptive translation that makes the text difficult to read.
Each table group will form a cross-functional team tasked with proposing a new logo for a division of our global company.
Группа за каждым столом формирует межфункциональную команду, перед которой поставлена задача разработать новый логотип для подразделения нашей глобальной компании.
Long, descriptive translation
Cross-functional decisions too often result in ineffective compromise solutions, which frequently need to be revisited because the right people were not involved at the outset.
Решения, принятые группой людей из разных функциональных областей организации, слишком часто оборачиваются неэффективным компромиссом и требуют пересмотра из-за того, что изначально к принятию решения не были привлечены нужные люди.
The choice depends on context. If you choose “межфункциональный,” make sure to provide an explanation the first time the term is used.
Once again, it is important to avoid the simplistic translations provided as examples below:
For instance, a team that thinks it’s more efficient to make a decision without consulting other functions may wind up missing out on relevant input.
Например, группа сотрудников может посчитать, что примет более эффективное решение, не консультируясь с представителями других функциональных областей, и в итоге может упустить из виду существенную информацию
Например, один отдел может посчитать, что примет более эффективное решение, не консультируясь с другими функциями, и в итоге может упустить из виду существенную информацию
Different functions have different incentives and goals, which often create conflicts in departments.
У разных функциональных областей организации разные стимулы и цели, которые часто создают конфликты на уровне отделов.
У разных отделов разные стимулы и цели, которые часто создают конфликты на уровне отделов. (Too narrow and also clashes with translation of “departments.”)
Version 3.1.3 brings 16 enhancements, but this video focuses on just four most important ones.
Enhancement in the area of alternative translations
Previously, each alternative translation was rigidly attached to a specific file name. OmegaT would only insert alternative translations when the file name in the translation memory matched the actual name of the translated file. If you forgot about this and change the file name, OmegaT would not insert the alternative translation.
Now you can disable this behavior by unchecking Ignore file context when identifying segments with alternative translations under File Filters. OmegaT will save alternative translations without file names and will insert them in any file as long as the context of the segment is the same, of course.
Although this improvement does not sound exciting, everyone who ran into the issue with alternative translations after renaming files will appreciate it.
project_save.tmx created automatically in team projects
In the past, you had to create the project_save.tmx file in a repository for each team project. Otherwise, you would get an error about the project_save.tmx file that did not exist. Now OmegaT is supposed to create this file automatically.
Navigating to selected fuzzy matches
If you want to jump to the segment that displays in the Fuzzy Matches pane, you can do so by right-clicking it and selecting Go To Source Segment. OmegaT now also makes it possible to do the same through the Go To menu. Simply select the fuzzy match and click Source of Selected Match.
File names displaying for search results
OmegaT now conveniently displays file names for each search result. All you need to do is enable the file names checkbox in the Text Search window.
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I know this is a review of an old version, but better late than never!
Join me for another video review of OmegaT—this time it is my pleasure to review most of enhancements introduced in version 3.1.2.
Notes from orphan segments and external TMXs display in search.
Previously, OmegaT could find segments with notes from TMXs placed in the tm subfolder of the project, but it did not display the actual text of notes. Now, it displays this text right below the target part, preceded by the equal sign. And it does the same for orphan segments.
Aggregation of search results
Similarly to the Fuzzy Matches pane, the Text Search window now displays several identical results as one and also shows the number of other results that are not displayed. This makes it much easier to use.
Alternative progress bar
You can now click the progress bar in the lower right corner to switch to the alternative one that shows the percentage of translated text and the number of words left for the current file and the entire project.
Sortable errors in QA output
The main QA script now displays the errors sorted by error type by default, making it easier to check errors efficiently.
Spelling errors included in QA output
Instead of running both the QA script and the spellcheck script when you finalize the project, you can now run just the QA script, because it will include spelling errors as well.
Stripping tags only in selection
Kos Ivantsov improved the “Strip tags” script by making it delete tags in the selected text only, provided some target text is selected.
Connector to TaaS
OmegaT now includes the ability to connect to the EU termbase project. You can download the glossaries (collections) for the project’s language combination to the glossary subfolder of the project or access the termbase in real-time. While public collections are freely available, access to private ones requires an API key that you can get on the API key page.
In addition to inserting suggestions by hitting Enter, you can do the same by double-clicking.
OmegaT detects the type of repository automatically in team projects.
No need to select between Git or SVN anymore.
Two labels in the Text Search window renamed for clarity
Number of matching segments and Display all matching segments instead of Number of results and Display all results, respectively.
Word bug fix
In the past, OmegaT failed to include the text placed before leading tags in target files. This bug is fixed in the latest version, allowing you to rearrange the text with regard to leading tags as necessary.
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Version 3.1.0 of OmegaT has seen massive improvements in the area of scripts. This video explains the most important enhancements.
Saving window position and size in preferences
OmegaT now keeps the Scripting window position and size in the preferences file, so that every time you open this window, you do not have to resize or move it all over again.
New location for the Run button
The Run button now displays in the lower left corner of the Scripting window, which makes it easier to access. Remember also that you can press it using the Alt+R hotkey.
User-friendly script names
The scripts now support user-friendly names that display in the script list instead of the file names. Most standard scripts already have names configured. To add names to other scripts, you can do the following:
Add a line to the beginning of a script.
/* :name=QA – Check Rules :description=The rules are based on the Checkmate Quality check
Сreate a file that has the same name as the script, but properties extension. In this file, you need to provide values for name and description.
name=Convert XLIFF to TMX
description=Converts translated XLIFFs into translation memories
You can also create a file script_name_[language].properties which will have the localized name and description for that language. For example, this localization file includes the name and description that will display in the Japanese version of OmegaT.
Localized name and description for the Japanese language
OmegaT now monitors the scripts folder for changes in real time. If you make any changes to any script, the script list updates automatically without having to press F5.
How does it feel when a small child incessantly asks you questions? Or when you are interrupted by another question from a colleague while working on your answer to the first one? There is an important lesson in these experiences: aggregating questions, i.e., asking several questions together rather than throwing them at another person one by one as they come up, is a must for reducing interruptions and sustaining concentration. This post discusses why such a habit reduces the stress for people you interact with—and yourself.
A client sends every single question about your translation by e-mail as soon as it pops up. As he continues checking, some of these questions are resolved naturally, and your answers are already unnecessary.
An editor keeps asking you about your translation choices by Skype, instead of sending a well-laid-out, easy-to-use error report with her comments.
A freelance translator bombards a project manager with questions about the project, instead of reading the project kick-off e-mail designed to answer these questions.
The best practice in these and similar scenarios is postponing and aggregating your questions until you get to the end of whatever your current task is—translating a project, editing a translation, reading an e-mail, and so forth. Then and only then, do you send an aggregated report to the recipient.
Postponing a question often means letting it simmer and resolve itself naturally, as you find the answer in the very content of the task. For instance, an editor may wonder why a translator translated an acronym in a particular way, but finds the explanation a few pages later. Postponing saves you the time required to ask the question and the time to answer it for the other guy.
Interruptions are counterproductive, and doubly so in translation, which is often a creative process requiring full concentration. By packing questions into one message, you limit the number of interruptions, ideally to just one. Fewer questions asked on an ad hoc basis means fewer interruptions, resulting in higher productivity.
When you ask a question, especially in a face-to-face situation, you tend to wait for the answer, wasting time. When the other person is listening to you, he is wasting his time. Making an aggregated written report saves time for both sides—while one side is writing, the other is free to work, and vice versa.
By firing questions incessantly you are putting unnecessary pressure on the recipient, making it difficult for her to concentrate and come up with the best answer. Sending an aggregated report allows her to work at her own pace, resulting in better answers.
Additional productivity tip
I find it very helpful not to answer questions that come incessantly. Answering them right away prompts the other guy to ask more, because (a) you are sending a message that a constant stream of questions is okay with you, and (b) he gets instant gratification, which only reinforces the desire to ask more questions.
I know your mind craves the quick fix of an immediate answer, and so does mine. However, a more mature and productive approach is asking questions in an aggregated form. This best practice reduces interruptions, eliminates stress, and improves the quality of answers.
One of the best things about OmegaT is the ability to inject new functions with plugins. One such indispensable plugin is the Okapi plugin, which adds support of various file formats into OmegaT. A few other very useful plugins have been created by Japanese translator and programmer Yu Tang. This video is about one of such plugins.
Some time ago, Yu Tang wrote several scripts for accessing files and folders, such as opening the current file, glossary, and the translation memory folder. However, using scripts is not always optimal. Firstly, although you can assign a script to a Ctrl+Shift+Fx shortcut to use it more efficiently, the number of shortcuts is limited, so you normally want to reserve them for more frequently used functions. Secondly, many people prefer a more visual way to access files than with a shortcut. The FolderMenu plugin written by Yu Tang later addresses these issues.
Just like with any other OmegaT plugin, you need to download it and put it in your plugins subfolder within the settings folder of OmegaT. Although it is just one file, make sure to put it into a separate folder, for clarity. The resulting installation under Windows might look like this: C:\Users\your name\AppData\Roaming\OmegaT\plugins\FolderMenu\FolderMenu.jar.
The plugin will add the Folders menu to the OmegaT’s menu bar.
To access the current project’s folder, any subfolder within it, or any file, go to Folders → Project Root and then select the desired item. Most frequently, I use this menu to open files in the source and target subfolders. You can also access glossaries and translation memories if they are kept within the project folder.
The second option in the Folders menu is User Config, allowing you to access any file in the settings folder of OmegaT. You do not often need to access them directly, but the next time you need them, you will likely appreciate how easy it is to do so through the menu.
The FolderMenu plugin makes accessing files and folders in OmegaT projects a breeze. By using it instead of browsing manually to files and folders outside of OmegaT, you will save quite some time over the long term. A great piece of work by Yu Tang and an excellent example of open source in action.