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Translators Without Borders

Knowledge is power and language barriers cost lives. Having access to information in your mother tongue is much more effective than in a foreign language. Facilitating the success of humanitarian projects all over the world, Translators without Borders provides a vital service.

ATC organises an annual dinner in aid of this non-profit organization: this year it takes place at the Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN on Thursday, 22nd September.

Translators without Borders is the American sister organisation of non-profit Traducteurs sans Frontières (TSF), which was founded in 1993 by Lori Thicke and Ros Smith-Thomas. Translators without Borders provides a much needed translation service for NGOs such as Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), Médecins du Monde, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam US and Handicap International. Its professional translators aim at breaking down the barriers of language and building up the transfer of information by for example, helping to carry out engineering and construction projects (such as digging water wells), and agricultural projects (such as translating information on how to irrigate the land). Translation is also particularly important in healthcare. In many areas in the world people do not only die from diseases, but also from the fact that they do not have basic information about how to stay healthy and what to do to prevent the contraction and spread of disease.

The members of Translators Without Borders translate more than two million words per year, but this does not even meet 1% of the total need. By developing an open digital platform and establishing new organisational infrastructure, the NGO hopes to increase this to 10 million words or more every year. They have a noble mission: to increase access to knowledge through humanitarian translations.

By | September 14th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Want Your Business Never Lost in Translation?

Last week HK HSBC announced the redundancy of 3000 backend staff to take place in the next 3 years so as to stay competitive and improve on efficiency. Something that we spotted while watching the news on Hong Kong TVB has proven to be quite intriguing… want a Bank that’s Never Lost in Translation?

The feeling of being lost in translation is an unpleasant one for all. It is easy to feel vulnerable as an individual, and it’s much worse as a business when you have to protect not just the business, but its people, reputation and assets. Effective communication, like translating and interpreting messages with global counterparts is absolutely crucial.

Take the Chinese language for example. Most Chinese people are proficient in English and many would claim that they have the ability to translate. However, it is interesting to note just how many people see as a challenge, the translation of the word “well”.

In Mainland China, Chinese people love reading sentences with Chinese phrases and idioms as the country focuses on native language education, hence its people are more drawn into artistic and literary pieces. In Hong Kong however, Chinese people were mainly educated to be bilingual, especially in the 70′s to 90′s. Their Chinese is perhaps not as strong as those from the mainland as HK people tend to lead a busy and hectic lifestyle and have very limited time to read. Sentences must therefore be written in a way that allows for fast reading.

Huang Youyi, the Vice President of the International Federation of Translators, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and vice president of the China International Publishing Group said that the quality of translation in China is far from perfect: there are simply not enough qualified translators. Chinese is not widely spoken outside China, so good translators are essential to carry the country’s messages overseas, but few of China’s international communicators have lived abroad and thus their understanding of overseas cultures and societies is limited. The country is now setting up master’s degree programs on international cultural communication and media organisations are increasingly investing in training staff abroad in order to fill this shortcoming in professionals. However there is still a long way to go. “In the 1970s, there was practically nothing about China in foreign newspapers. But now, you see several articles on the front page of New York Times every day. “Our task is to explain China to the world. We are still at an early stage, but our progress will speed up as time goes by,” Huang said.

A professional translation team will not only focus on the translation but also the cultural background and its target readers. Sadly we are seeing those grossly inaccurate literal translations for marketing material more and more, which will undoubtedly affect branding in the long run.

If you want to avoid being a victim of a second-rate service, ask SanTranslate and we’ll keep you safe from being lost in translation.

By | September 13th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

British Education still the best

The University of Cambridge ranks third, after Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the Times Higher Education survey. THE World Reputation Ranking, published in March 2011 with data supplied by Thomson Reuters is the first survey of its kind looking solely at the reputations of institutions for teaching and research.

Taking 12 of the places in the top 100, the UK is second only to the US, a massive 45 on the total ranking, with Cambridge University beatingOxford. Cambridge was ranked first also in the most recent ranking of UK universities, published by The Guardian last May. Graduates of Cambridge have won a total of 61 Nobel Prizes, the most of any university in the world. The University of Tokyo ranks eighth and it is the only other nation apart from the US and the UK to feature in the top ten. Imperial CollegeUniversity College London (UCL), the London School of Economics and Edinburgh University make the top 50.

The ranking is the largest global survey of academic opinion ever undertaken, based on a survey of 13,388 academics over 131 countries and is partly used as indicators for compiling the well-known Times Higher Education World University Rankings. University reputations have become of even bigger interest for future students now that university fees are sky-rocketing and there are more applicants than ever competing for places.

By | September 8th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments
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