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FAQ

I have read about your web site translation & localization services. Do you include search engine optimization in these services too? Do you also develop and host websites?

Babel Linguistics is not a SEO company, but we do offer clients “SEO-compliant” translation and localization services. The involvement of web site optimization and search engine positioning experts in all of our web site localization projects allows us in fact to guarantee a final product which preserves the optimization specs of the original product. Most of our clients have achieved excellent search engine rankings for the localized versions of their web sites, because we care to ensure that any optimization of the original site is not jeopardized by a simple “text translation”. That is why web design and branding firms also turn to us when their own clients require web site localization, knowing that they can count on a reliable partner able to strategically “speak their language”. With the localization of your website, we also offer an entirely renewed website (web design and web developing) and hosting services for your site.  

Are you able to download our web site to translate/localize it?

We are able to download a non password-protected site using software for this purpose. We may use this system for estimating work, whilst for the actual site localization we would rather have the client supply us with the complete structure, or give us ftp access for downloading from the server where the site resides. Such access is used only by authorized technical staff for the download of the structure and the upload of the final localized site, if so required, and is not used additionally by the team of linguists who work on the web site localization. There are several ways to work with web site content. Some clients, for instance, prefer to activate a specific area of their server where they can themselves download and upload the site (all pages that are to be translated and localized). Other clients have created a “content management system” that is linked to their site, where we can enter the localized version directly, and then upload and re-view it ourselves. This has proven to be especially functional for us when localizing a large site in multiple languages simultaneously.

How to submit translation material?

If it is any text to translate, we prefer to receive it electronically (as a Word file, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, or any other application) via e-mail. For very large files we can activate an area of our server where you can perform an ftp upload. 
Any hardcopies may be sent to our postal address or you may scan your document and e-mail it to us as a compressed image file (.gif, .tif, .jpeg, or .pdf). If it is software to be localized you should send the source files, or local files if the software has already been prepared for localization, via e-mail or upload them via ftp onto a specific area of our server, or as explained above. If it is a web site to be localized, please see the answer to the previous question above. For small web sites, you may also send us the complete structure in a .zip format, via e-mail.

How can we verify your experience?

Since facts are worth far more than words, the most tangible result of our high quality work is the complete satisfaction of our clients. You may refer to our list of clients and what they are saying for a random selection of clients. Some of them have consistently needed our services over the years. If so desired, we may give you a direct reference to one or more clients so that you can check and discuss with them about the language solutions we have provided and the results obtained. If your project involves website localization, you may see for yourself the multilingual websites that we have localized for these clients by visiting their web address.

How do we get a customized quotation?

We take every assignment as a stand-alone project, and carefully evaluate its level of complexity in order to provide a quotation that guarantees the highest quality standards for the best possible price. 
You may use our quick contact form to tell us about your project and provide as much information as possible, including your deadline or approximate date you would like to have your project completed. We will be pleased to contact you as quickly as possible with our best estimate.

What is the difference between translation, localization, and globalization?

Translation is the process of converting a text from a language to another. It is not, however, just a matter of a mechanical conversion of words: an accurate translation requires complete understanding of the original text, including terminology, in both the source and the target language. Localization is the process of adapting the original contents to the linguistic and cultural systems of the destination geo-linguistic area. This process must take into account technical standards, stylistic requirements, and the expectations and needs of the target market. Software localization involves the conversion of the textual information and the adaptation of the software functionality, user interface, online manual and multimedia resources to the target language, as well as the conversion of numeric components, adaptation of window size, and formatting modifications where necessary. Website localization involves the conversion of the text and the adaptation of the site’s graphic structure to the target language, the construction of a parallel navigation structure to keep each linguistic version in sync with the others, page formatting in order to support characters in the target language, image and graphics processing with translation and adaptation to the linguistic and cultural specifics of the target language, and finally the reprogramming of any advanced scripting elements (Java, Javascript, VisualBasic Script, script CGI/Perl/Php, files Flash/Shockwave, RealAudio, etc.). Globalization is the process of planning content which will be suited to a global public. Planning a software product or website right from the beginning so that it is made as independent as possible from the intended geo-linguistic area is one of the essential requirements for reducing cost and simplifying the process of localizing the product itself. This may also be referred to as internationalization.

We have text content in both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. Do we need two different translations? Is Mandarin the same?

Very often people are confused about the variations within the Chinese language. It is important to notice that there are many different Chinese dialects and two different Chinese scripts. Spoken Chinese: There are many regional dialects and variations of Chinese. However, the two main strands are Mandarin and Cantonese. Mandarin is the most used dialect of Chinese as it is the official language of the People’s Republic of China (mainland China). But it is also used in Taiwan (officially, Republic of China). Cantonese is more regional as it only spoken in the Canton (or Guangdong) province in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao. Written Chinese: Today Chinese characters come in two forms, “traditional” and “simplified”. The split came when simplified Chinese was introduced and promoted in mainland China by the government in 1949. This was done to improve literacy rates in the population. Mainland Chinese went on to use the modern version of characters whilst Chinese populations outside mainland China (Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao) kept the original traditional script. The basic difference between them is that the traditional form is still based on earlier characters and uses more strokes. The more modern simplified characters are a lot simpler. If you are still unsure as to whether you need Mandarin, Cantonese, Simplified or Traditional, please contact us anytime.

Do you perform machine translations?

No. We go through an actual translation process with human input at all times. The quality of machine-translated text, in terms of terminology, meaning and grammar, varies depending on the nature and complexity of the original text, but it is never good enough for release or publication without extensive editing by a professional. Machine translation (even if using highly customized MT programs) should never be used to translate entire documents. Some search engines interface with an automatic translation program to provide translations of websites. The result is not an optimal reproduction of information. To get an idea of what MT can and cannot do, visit Babelfish, which provides a free online MT service. Not to be confused with computer-aided translation!