Project Management Bootcamp attendees

Project Management Bootcamp: The Lessons and Takeaways

Santiago Lávaque and Rocío Fernández Cirera at the PM Bootcamp hosted by AASL

Some of our devoted team members had the opportunity to attend the PM Bootcamp on March 30, 2019 in Córdoba, Argentina. The one-day event was hosted by the Asociación Argentina de Servicios Lingüísticos (AASL). The educational event was divided into three main workshops. “The Transition to the Autonomous PM”, “The 20:90 Evolution”, and a roundtable discussion “What is a 4.0 PM?”.

Alongside attending the workshops, guests were encouraged to network with the one hundred or so other attendees. Most guests were Project Managers, but some were company owners or linguists. Our Project Manager Rocío Fernández Cirera and our Operations Manager Santiago Lávaque attended the bootcamp in representation of Terra Translations.

The Lessons

There were many valuable lessons learned during the day’s workshops. For Santiago, a highlight of the day was a reminder to embrace new technologies like machine translation, “We should start seeing it as an ally and not an enemy. It’s also important to explain this to linguists so that they are on board with the change. And to provide them with the right training so the transition is smooth. Project Managers should be able to determine in which situations machine translation is a good fit and in which ones it isn’t.”

Another big takeaway from the day was the idea that Project Managers should have the proper tools to provide them with the autonomy and freedom they need to make decisions. Santiago agrees with this lesson, “This way they can strengthen their independence and provide a more comprehensive project management.”

Rocío walked away from the day with lessons that will help her improve her project management skill set as well, “The focus of the training was how to better work as a Project Manager, taking into account tools, organization, relationships with vendors, and the needs of clients.”

The Takeaways

Alongside valuable learning opportunities, there was also confirmation of our team’s commitment to high quality translation services. Santiago was proud that the processes, tools, and methods recommended, are ones our Project Managers already utilize. “I validated our current processes and approach to project management, in relation to both clients and translators. Most of the solutions or workarounds they suggested in the sessions are things we are already doing and have incorporated naturally over time,” Santiago said.

Rocío feels positive that our team’s efforts are paying off. “Terra Translations has steps and processes in place that other companies don’t have,” she noted. But of course, there is room for improvement. Terra Translations continuously strives to improve and fine-tune the way we do things. Rocío feels proud of our team because of this and feels reassured we are on the right path.

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4 Benefits of Using a Translation Company

Multicultural consumers are the fastest growing segment in the U.S. according to a 2015 Nielsen report. Already over 120 million strong, this thriving sector increases by 2.3 million every year. Content must evolve to meet the language needs of the flourishing multicultural market and global economy. Businesses are now relying on translation companies to translate and interpret content to keep up with market demands.

There are many advantages to partnering with translation companies over translation alternatives such as using freelancers or Google Translate.

Quality of Translations

One of the major benefits from a translation company is the superior quality of work. Translation companies are distinguished by three components to ensure the highest of accuracy.

The first component is a Vendor Manager. Vendor Managers vet every linguist that joins the team to ensure they have all the qualifications needed for a specific project or vertical.

The second component is Project Manager (PM) and Account Manager (AM). The PM and AM oversee projects in a fashion dictated by the client. Often times the AM is client facing, communicating the desired language dialect, format, and timeline to the PM. The PM will identify the best linguist and subject matter expert for the project.

Lastly, the Sales team makes up the final component of a translation company. The Sales team does much more than negotiate deals. They have their finger on the pulse of many verticals and understand all the ins and outs of the language service industry. They convey the translation company’s strengths as well as address concerns or answer questions from prospects. With the guidance of the Sales team, prospects and clients will better understand the translation process and discover needs they didn’t know they had. The multiple points of contact positively impact the quality of work and ease of doing business.

Timeliness

Regardless of project size or complexity, a translation company can pick up nearly any new project and hit deadlines in a timely manner. A translation company has the structure and the bandwidth to handle new projects quickly. Turnaround time on projects can be completed faster if needed because more linguists may be placed on the project.

Specialized Linguists

Translation companies better handle highly technical industries. They often staff teams with technical knowledge in addition to their linguistic expertise. To work with linguists with this additional insight is a huge benefit to industries with complex scientific text or strict guidelines such as HIPPA laws.

Technology

A significant perk to using a translation company is the agency’s access to technology. Different translation companies will leverage technology to the client’s advantage. For example, AI and machine translation create efficiency when translating certain projects. Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools are another technology they will utilize to execute faster and more accurate translations. The more work the CAT tool is fed, the more accurate translations will become. From graphics to recordings, translation companies usually have the technology and equipment available to produce all desired deliverables. Finally, translation companies have the ability to provide additional complementary services that other translation alternatives can not. This includes proofreading, in-country review, quality control, DTP, and voice-overs. This again streamlines the process and makes a translation company a one-stop-shop for all translation needs.

The Vital Importance of Translation of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are an undeniably important step towards making medical progress. However, that progress can not come at the cost of trial participants. The participant’s ability to understand everything a medical trial involves is equally important. Proper translation of clinical trials is a necessary step in creating a safe clinical trial. Especially in low and middle-income countries where patients may only have access to medical care through clinical trials. There are the research needs of pharmaceutical companies and academia to consider as well. But at the end of the day, the needs of the participants are of the most vital importance.

The Stakes

There are regulations in place designed to protect patients who take part in a clinical trial. Protecting patients through a well-designed clinical trial is of the utmost importance. Legitimate translation of clinical trials can help avoid dangerous mistakes. The following steps of a trial require careful consideration because if there is failure to meet the ethical and specified guidelines, there is danger of incurring health risks and even causing patient fatality. Generally, Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) have to be evaluated. The drug must also be determined as safe for human consumption.

The risks of mistranslation can include:

  • Improper translation may cause the patient to not understand or properly follow instructions.
  • The likelihood for appropriate follow up and treatment of any side effects of the trial decreases.
  • There may be disparities in prescription and administration of the study preparation.
  • Aside from the participant’s needs, faulty translation can cause damage to credibility and economic revenues.

The Reach

In recent years, more and more clinical trials are not held in their country of origin. The 20 largest pharmaceutical companies based in the United States conduct one-third of their clinical trials solely in foreign locations. It has also been found that the majority of study sites are outside of the United States. This shift to holding foreign trials means proper translation services are necessary to accurately implement and portray the outcome of a clinical trial. Foreign trial locations may have differing languages and cultures which can lead to confusion. A clinical translator can also help interpret PROs.

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Source: clinicaltrials.gov

The Regulations

The obligation to translate documents related to clinical trials may vary from country to country. But in the United States there are set guidelines. Any documentation used for patients or investigators must be in the local language. When research by US companies is conducted in another country, the FDA still requires the company to comply with ethical standards.

While it may be tempting to conduct a trial without complete translation, this is the wrong course of action to take. Skipping proper translation of clinical trial efforts to reduce cost or time spent on a trial can be detrimental to a trial’s outcome. Translation services should be involved at many stages, including clinical research, regulator submission and review, production, and marketing. Improving your trial’s quality with translation services can in fact save more time and money than skipping this important step. Reducing the chances of facing a lawsuit or rejection by regulators are two more benefits of using a qualified translation service. But the safety of the final product and the trial itself should always be a company’s top priority.

What is machine translation? Here’s what you need to know.

The use of Machine Learning is growing at an extraordinary rate. In fact, business leaders said they believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be fundamental in the future according to a PwC study. 72 percent termed it a “business advantage.” There’s no denying the cost savings and efficiencies Machine Learning can provide. However, researchers still seek to perfect and appropriately apply data and technology. Professional translators also incorporate a form of Machine Learning into practice. This is known as machine translation.

What is machine translation?

Machine translation utilizes software to translate one language into another. The process performs simple substitutions of words with no human involvement. One of the most well-known examples is Google Translate. Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that their service now translates 143 billion words a day. While highly popular, professional translators agree that Google Translate lacks accuracy. The final translations that Google produces, especially when cultural references are involved, are not precise.

What are the different types of machine translations?

There are three main types of machine translations. The first is rule-based. The translation relies on a collection of language “rules” developed by linguists. With countless linguist guidelines, rule-based machine translation requires costly upkeep. First of its kind available commercially, today the technology has since been replaced with more efficient software.

The second type is statistical machine translation. This more complex form uses algorithms to produce text selected from millions of possible permutations. In some situations, combining rule-based and statistical translations improves the quality of the translation. Similar to rule-based, this form is not being used as frequently due to the additional work needed to maintain the system.

The third type and most commonly known is neural machine translation. First introduced by Google, neural machine translation uses an AI modeled after the human brain to predict a sequence of words. This interactive form allows translators to train the machine in real time as they rework and edit suggested phrases. The engine will learn and remember new terms in the correct context and tone for greater quality in future translations. Sentences and phrases generated from a neural network-based machine translation usually sound more natural and fluent.

When should I use machine translation?

While machine translation may optimize the speed, many projects require more attention. As mentioned earlier with Google Translate, machine translation lacks the ability to fully understand culture, context, and tone. Translation errors and fluency issues are still possible. Sales, legal, life science, safety, and marketing content should be handled by human translators. There are, however, certain contexts and situations where it is most beneficial. One scenario is having large volumes of content to translate with short deadlines. Another instance machine translation can be applied is as a placeholder while human translation is in process.

Translators across the industry can agree, it is highly recommended that machine translated content should undergo human post-editing. Post-editing can be light. The translator ensures the text is accurate and understandable. Post-editing can also be more in-depth or full. The translator ensures the text is accurate, fluent, and consistent with the target language.

Machine translation has grown more sophisticated over the years. Nonetheless, it’s still imperative to have a human translator check for errors. Especially if the translation is for professional use. Every translation mistake has the potential to drive away customers or worse…go viral.

Section 508: Is your Content 508 Compliant?

Regardless of the stage or size of your business, it’s imperative for founders and executives to be aware of Section 508. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act) was the first legislation to address equal access for individuals with disabilities through the removal of employment, architectural, and transportation barriers. In 1998, Section 508 became part of the Rehab Act. Its purpose was to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Not limited to federal agencies alone, Section 508 impacts businesses that work with a federal agency at some capacity. This can include private contractors, financial institutions, healthcare, and many others. For vendors, a lack of compliance eliminates opportunities for conducting business with the government or any of its agencies. To promote inclusivity and diversity, many large companies have voluntarily chosen to be 508 compliant.

Who does Section 508 support?

The Rehab Act affects a large demographic. There were nearly 40 million Americans with a disability according to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau. That represents 12.6 percent of the civilian population. The law was designed to break down barriers and create accessible media for those with hearing, vision, and cognition disabilities. According to the Department of Health and Human Services website, in the U.S. 10.5 million people have a hearing disability, 6.4 million people have a visual disability, and 14.8 million people have a cognitive disability.

Section 508 should support the needs of people with:

  1. Blindness or visual impairments
  2. Deafness, hearing impairments, or use of assistive hearing devices
  3. Difficulty with speech
  4. Difficulty with fine motor control
  5. Limited reach and strength

What types of content need to be 508 compliant?

Compliance with Section 508 requires information and communication technology (ICT) to be accessible. ICT accessibility covers any and all digital communication from a company. This can include emails, website content, and computer software. With the evolution of technology and mass media, the section has gone through several updates. On January 18, 2018, the standards were revised with mandatory provisions. This includes audio or video descriptions and closed captions on computers and smart devices. Additional examples of ICT that falls under 508 compliance include information kiosks, multifunction office machines, apps, and customer premises equipment.

How does Section 508 affect translation professionals?

With the new mandates, many language service providers incorporate 508 compliance into their services.

For video content, translation professionals add descriptions, text prompts, sub-text, and closed captioning to make video clips and animations accessible to those with disabilities. For visual content and images, translators must design accessible content for the visually impaired. This includes voice-overs and detailed audible descriptions of the information displayed.

Section 508 compliance mandates all non-text elements have a text equivalent. For users with cognitive impairments, content should be able to be navigated without a mouse and be available in plain language and clear design. Graphics must have text equivalents using “alt” and “longdesc” tags.

Ignoring Section 508 

If you decide your business doesn’t need to be 508 compliant, you should probably think again. Penalties for non-compliance are hefty. Fines can reach $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for each subsequent violation. Federally funded businesses risk having their grants revoked. Lastly, your business may become vulnerable to lawsuits due to ignoring section 508. In 2008, Target agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that its website was not accessible to the blind. The corporation agreed to improve its website and pay $6 million into a “Damages Fund” for members of the class-action lawsuit. With a proactive approach to accessibility, businesses can cultivate an inclusive culture and better reach current and potential customers.