Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Foreign visitors to World Cup aided by nonprofit translation program

This year, even monolingual sports fanatics were able to enjoy the World Cup. This year’s edition of soccer’s biggest tournament was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Portuguese is the official language. Over half a million foreigners attended to see teams from 32 countries compete for the cup. In order to help all of those people navigate through everyday situations like hailing a taxi, consulting a doctor, or ordering from a restaurant, a Korean non-profit organization set up a language assistance service that operated 24 hours a day during the tournament. The service is called Rio Amigo. Calling the right number connected tourists to a volunteer translator speaking one of seven languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Korean) who were then able to communicate with the locals in Portuguese. Rio Amigo is the direct descendent of Before Babel Brigade, a similar service developed for the 2002 World Cup, which was hosted by South Korea and Japan. Due to its popularity, the number of volunteer translators has more than doubled since then. The World Cup may be over, but perhaps by the next one (in four years’ time), more languages will be offered.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meet our new staff: Joy and Keith

Last month, PLG welcomed two new staff members: Joy Shapley (Project Manager) and Keith Jordan (Director of New Business Development). Read more to learn a few interesting facts about the newest additions to the PLG team.


Joy Shapley is a recent graduate of the Translation Certificate Program at the University of Illinois. She has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, speaks Spanish fluently, and is currently studying Japanese, Arabic, and German. As a project manager, Joy will be responsible for overseeing translation projects from the initial quote to the final edits. In her free time, Joy likes to read, write, and play sports; rugby is her game of choice, but she admits to being obsessed with the World Cup as well.

As Director of New Business Development, Keith Jordan will be in charge of talking to potential customers and explaining the ins and outs of what we do here at PLG. He is a native of New Jersey who moved here in 2002. Now he resides in Rockford with his wife Mary and his three children: Destiny, BJ, and Brian. Keith is an avid swimmer, but he’s not a fan of any other sports. When he’s not at work, Keith enjoys reading the Bible and participating in activities for his church.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Microsoft’s new Skype feature: Translating calls in real time

Last month at the Code technology conference, technology giant Microsoft announced a new feature for Skype, the decade-old video conferencing program allowing people from around the world to talk to each other, face-to-face. Skype has more than 300 million active users, and is currently available worldwide for free. The new feature is slated to “translate” conversations in real time; that is, after a sentence is said, an automated voice will repeat that sentence in the language of your choice.

Sounds like something out of science fiction? Well, don’t drop out of your foreign language classes quite yet – the new technology, as impressive as it is, still has its flaws. In practice, it seems like you will be able to understand the gist of what the other person is saying, but the translated sentences that result from your conversation will sound choppy and strange to a native speaker. Useful for saying hi to your friend Christiane in France, perhaps, but for a serious business meeting, you’re better off hiring a professional interpreter.

For more on this story visit the official Microsoft Blog article at http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/05/27/microsoft-demos-breakthrough-in-real-time-translated-conversations/

Project Spotlight: Pro-Tec Athletics

In keeping with this July's newsletter’s theme (World Cup), our project spotlight this month is the work we’ve done for Pro-Tec Athletics, specifically the Gel Force™ Knee Support label (English to German) and the Foam Roller User Guide (English to Canadian French). The former was a translation-only project, meaning that we provided the client with a bilingual Word document containing all of the text on the label in English and German. The latter was a little more challenging, as we were asked to prepare, translate, and then format the French User Guide in the exact same manner as the English version, including images and fonts! Thanks to our great in-house design team, however, we were able to deliver a translated User Guide that was just as flashy as the original.

One of the challenges of formatting labels that have been translated into French is the limited space available. On average, if English text is translated into French, the French text will take up about 50% more space. For example, the phrase “user guide” is “guide de l’utilisateur” in French! Our designers, in order to ensure quality in the finished product, always have to take differences like these into account.

Great job team!

To learn about Pro-tec Athletics cool products, check them out at www.pro-tecathletics.com/ 

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