TransPerfect was founded in 1992 as a two-person operation. Today, the company employees over 3,500 people full-time and has a network of over 5,000 certified linguists and subject-area specialists. Their offices have expanded from a single dorm room to 90 offices across the world, making TransPerfect the world’s largest privately held language services provider.
Language Scientific was founded in 1999 by a group of international scientists and engineers. The company was born out of the group’s frustration with the inaccurate technical and scientific translations they discovered while working together on a nuclear non-proliferation project for the US Department of Energy. Today, Language Scientific has grown to include over 5,000 highly specialized translators.
ISO-9001:2008 certification: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifies certain quality management procedures, and ISO-9001:2008 is the most updated version of this certification. It is not specific to translation or localization industries; however, it certifies that there are documented processes to the translation or localization service. It is an objective standard that ensures certain quality measures are being met by certified organizations.
Human translation: Human translation is performed by people who are fluent in the language pair being translated. The whole process, from translation to proofreading, is performed by people. This type of translation is generally more accurate than machine translation since the humans who translate will account for nuances and cultural context. Because of this, though, it takes longer than machine translation.
I’m split on the ili in two ways. I travel a lot. For the last 3+ years I’ve spent extended time in over 30 countries across 5 continents. In all that time I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed any translator. While Mandarin is the most-spoken first language in the world (Spanish being second), English is by far the most prevalent second language. It’s essentially the lingua franca of the world, especially in touristy places. In the times during my travels there was no common language between me and someone, a big smile and hand gestures worked wonders.
Three-step validation system: Every translation project done by Language Scientific undergoes a three-step validation system for quality assurance. Three sets of eyes look at every project: the translator, editor and proofreader. This ensures a more accurate translation, and any discrepancies between the three sets of eyes will be brought to the attention of the project manager, who will refer to the client for the final decision.
Another factor to take into consideration is the translator’s range of vocabulary. Make sure your translator is equipped with professional vocabulary for whatever purpose you intend to use it for. You don’t want to translate to your doctor in China the wrong text as to what symptoms you are feeling. That is why it is important to make sure your translator will have a well-developed medical vocabulary. The number of words your translator is equipped with will guarantee a quality and accuracy of translation.
It's important to keep in mind there’s no such thing as “real time translation” yet, despite what Google says. We’re still not quite there for the Star Trek-style Universal Translator that just speaks in your language while someone else is speaking. Right now it’s sentence (pause) by sentence (pause), give or take a few sentences. No translator is meant to tell your life story. Mostly it’s for asking for the bathroom. The ili does that, and a lot more. It's positioned as travel-centric, but I threw a lot of random phrases its way and it did pretty well. Maybe it can't translate random medical conditions, but just about anything a traveler would need should be covered.
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