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Technology Takeaways from GALA 2017

At GALA 2017 (left to right): Bill Rivers, JNCL Executive Director; Jesper Sandberg, GALA Chairman; and Jiri Stejskal, CETRA President & CEO.

CETRA was once again represented at the 9th annual conference of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), which took place in Amsterdam March 26-29, 2017. This was our eighth appearance at what has become the premier event of the language industry, launched in Cancun in 2009 and alternating locations between Europe and the US ever since. Of great interest among the variety of topics were new advances in translation and interpretation technologies.

Neural Machine Translation – A Black Box

In his talk, John Tinsley of Dublin-based Iconic Translation Machines presented Neural Machine Translation as having brought on a “paradigm shift in computational linguistics.” While it is not quite commercially ready, what is quite fascinating about Neural Machine Translation is that it acts like a black box and the developers themselves are not quite sure how it works. In contrast to the now firmly-established Statistical Machine Translation, it is language-independent and cannot be customized for a specific domain.

A takeaway from this session was the observation that we are no longer stuck in the debate over “man vs. machine” (computers replacing human translators), but have moved on to considering the “man and machine” combination, acknowledging that machine translation is complementary to human translation. A secondary point is that the traditional comparison of machine translation with human translation (a popular source of mirth showing ridiculous machine-made mistranslations) is essentially flawed, because the quality of human translation also varies significantly among translators.

So what does it mean for the future of machine translation? Again according to Tinsley, in the next few years we will see hybrid systems of ruled-based, statistical, and neural machine translation engines, but in the long term there is the possibility of developing one giant neural network which will include all thinkable language combinations and cover all thinkable domains.

Interpretation Technology Solutions – An Alphabet Soup

Hélène Pielmeier of Common Sense Advisory delivered her presentation remotely via interpreting delivery platform and provided an overview of some old and some new typology for interpretation technology solutions. Here are the most common abbreviations:

IMS: Interpreting Management System designed to schedule and manage interpreting assignments.

IDP: Interpreting Delivery Platform supporting delivery of spoken word language services.

OPI: Over-the-Phone Interpreting using call center technology to provide audio remotely (but no longer exclusively over the phone as a variety of mobile apps have entered the OPI market).

VRI: Video Remote Interpreting providing both audio and visual rendition of both sign and spoken languages.

RSI: Remote Simultaneous Interpreting for audio only or audiovisual simultaneous interpreting.

MI: Machine Interpreting providing interpretation services without human intervention.

The title of Hélène’s presentation – “A Cure without a Disease? Sustainability in Interpreting Technology Solutions” – indicates that some of the new technologies were developed with a “build it and they will come” attitude and only time will show which of these will succeed. For example, some technologies enable the user to see the interpreter on video which adds a layer of complication but typically does not bring any value to the process. Similarly to the situation with translation technologies supplementing the work of human translators, traditional on-site interpretation which currently represents about 70% of the $10 billion market is not being replaced but the demand is actually growing, albeit at a slower pace than the technology solutions described above, with VRI showing the fastest growth.

Blog Author:
Jiri StejskalJiri Stejskal
President & CEO
CETRA

CETRA Ireland Celebrates 5th Anniversary

CETRA, a leading global language services provider, is proud to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its Limerick, Ireland office.  CETRA Ireland Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of CETRA, Inc., has successfully launched the company’s website globalization and software localization services and expanded CETRA’s client base in the EMEA market.

CETRA management and staff at 2012 CETRA Ireland grand opening in Limerick.
CETRA management and staff at the 2012 CETRA Ireland grand opening ceremony in Limerick. Left to right: Grace Sheehan, former Project Manager; Jiri Stejskal, CETRA President & CEO; Molly Stejskal, CETRA VP; Adrian Wall, CETRA Ireland GM; and Angela Wende, CETRA CMO.  Picture © Kieran Clancy

Since its founding in March 2012, CETRA Ireland has grown into a fully-staffed office with in-house management and project managers, as well as a network of freelance translators and interpreters.  Located near the University of Limerick’s Localisation Research Center, CETRA Ireland has the resources to help clients truly internationalize their business.

“Our location in Limerick enables us to collaborate with the University of Limerick, and provide software and website solutions that allow clients to reach international audiences,” said Adrian Wall, CETRA Ireland’s General Manager who also launched the office five years ago.  “We are also proud to have established an operations center in Limerick that has helped expand CETRA’s translation offerings across the globe.”

The five-year milestone in Limerick coincides with CETRA’s 20th anniversary.

CETRA was founded in Pennsylvania in 1997 by Jiri Stejskal, who immigrated to the United States as a political refugee from Czechoslovakia nine years earlier.  The company has grown from a one-person startup into a top-100 global language company with seven offices in five countries, including Ireland.

“Our purpose is to help people better understand each other and the world around them. It has been truly rewarding to have had the opportunity to carry out that mission each day for the last 20 years,” said Stejskal, now serving as the President and CEO of CETRA. “As an immigrant, I am thrilled to have the ability to help people communicate across borders from our operational centers in Ireland, Korea, Ghana, Germany and the United States.”

About CETRA

CETRA provides language services to businesses and institutions around the world, including translation, foreign language and American Sign Language interpretation, website globalization, software localization, multilingual typesetting, voice-overs and transcriptions in over 200 languages. Its global network of more than 5,000 professional linguists, and its dedicated staff in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Ireland, Germany, South Korea, and Ghana provides professional, responsive service that saves clients time, simplifies the process and makes working with CETRA a pleasure. CETRA is ISO 9001 and EN 15038 certified.

Contact: Angela Wende, Chief Marketing Officer, 215.635.7090 x148

CETRA Language Solutions Celebrates 20th Anniversary

— CETRA Celebrates the Anniversary of Two Decades of Helping People Understand Each Other and the World Around Them —

CETRA's 20th Anniversary LogoCETRA Language Solutions, a leading provider of translation, interpretation and other language services, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. Over the past two decades, the company has transformed from a one-person startup into a top-100 global language company with seven offices in five countries.

CETRA was founded in 1997 by Jiri Stejskal, who immigrated to the US as a political refugee from Czechoslovakia nine years earlier. He was a freelance translator and a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania when the opportunity came along to start a language company in order to support international litigation at a major Philadelphia law firm.

According to Stejskal, the company’s anniversary means more than just two decades of providing language services to clients.

Jiri Stejskal, PhD, President and CEO, CETRA
Jiri Stejskal, PhD, President and CEO, CETRA

“Our purpose is to help people better understand each other and the world around them. It has been truly rewarding to have had the opportunity to carry out that mission each day for the last 20 years,” said Stejskal, now serving as the President and CEO of CETRA. “As an immigrant, I am thrilled to have the ability to help people communicate across borders.”

Today CETRA provides language services to government, nonprofit, and corporate clients, including the market research, legal, and life science industries. CETRA has grown exponentially since its founding, has been featured regularly on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies, and has received the US Chamber of Commerce’s annual Blue Ribbon award for the past eight years.

Through its “Doing Good” initiative, CETRA has also supported various charities that work to relieve illness, provide disaster relief, strengthen communities and promote cultural exchanges around the world.

“I am truly privileged to have worked with so many wonderful people, staff, clients, and vendors  for the past 20 years,” said Stejskal. “I am grateful for the fantastic staff here at CETRA; their dedication and teamwork has made my ‘American Dream’ a reality. Likewise, many thanks to all of our customers and vendors for your partnership. We worked hard to build your trust, and our growth would not have been possible without you.”

About CETRA

CETRA provides language services to businesses and institutions around the world, including translation, foreign language and American Sign Language interpretation, website localization, software localization, multilingual typesetting, voice-overs and transcriptions in over 200 languages. Its global network of more than 5,000 professional linguists, and its dedicated staff in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Ireland, Germany, South Korea, and Ghana provides professional, responsive service that saves clients time, simplifies the process and makes working with CETRA a pleasure. CETRA is ISO 9001 and EN 15038 certified.

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Contact: Angela Wende, Chief Marketing Officer, 215.635.7090 x148

CETRA 2016: Top Blogs; Year in Numbers

We laughed. We cried. We blogged. We drank lots of coffee. We complete our year-end wrap up with a look at our top blogs from last year and our 2016 by the numbers.

Top Blogs of 2016:

CETRA at Historic ASEAN Summit on Languages
CETRA was invited to participate in a historic summit to assist with the creation of a Translation and Interpretation organizational body for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Olympic Interpretation: For Some, It’s a Golden Opportunity
Organizers for the 2018 Games in South Korea and 2020 Games in Tokyo have already launched their language service efforts.  Olympic interpretation is not easy.  In many ways, those striving for Olympic interpretation must match the same dedication to their craft as the athletes do to their sports.

CETRA Expands In-Language Coding Service
Designed primarily for the market research industry, in-language coding has significant value for any company or industry looking to better analyze large volumes of multilingual text.

Trends: APAC Market Research in Transition
There is a great push to focus on technologies, content, and formatting that appeals to a generation of consumers who insist on things being simple, appealing to the eye, and integrated with their current technological preferences – namely, cell phones (particularly Androids for the Chinese market).

CETRA Provides Language Services for Chiefs of Defense Conference
CETRA was tasked by the US Pacific Command with providing high-level language services for the annual Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) conference. It was the sixth time CETRA provided language services for the conference.

Interpreting Sustainability: Is it Sustainable?
Sustainability may have some of the most fluid and evolving terminology of any industry.  This new and rapidly evolving industry presents challenges for interpreters and translators to stay current with the terminology, while also addressing cultural differences when providing language services to clients.

CETRA Ranked as a Top LSP
CETRA Language Solutions was recently ranked as the 25th top Language Service Provider (LSP) in North America and the 91st LSP worldwide.  The annual rankings are made by an independent marketing research company called Common Sense Advisory (CSA).

GALA 2016: It’s Not Man vs. Machine
The overarching topic was a new approach to integration of technology. We are now moving toward a notion of “man and machine,” viewing technology as a complement to human intellect rather than its replacement.

CETRA’s 2016 By the Numbers:

Thank you to everyone who worked with us in 2016 helping people to better understand each other and the world around them.  We look forward to working together with you to reach even greater heights in the New Year!

Wabi Sabi: Beauty in Imperfection

Wabi Sabi is a concept of beauty in Japanese culture that developed through Buddhist influence from China over 700 years ago, and which still remains a deeply rooted aesthetic in modern culture and design.

Difficult to Translate

Notoriously difficult to translate, the concept of Wabi Sabi has two parts. The first part, Wabi, is often associated with rustic simplicity, and it represents the unique flaws that are necessary to perfect the true beauty of an object, much like imperfections in the panes of a stained glass window might enhance the beauty of the whole image when light shines through. Sabi refers to the inevitable decay and evolution of beauty through wear and tear, much like a wooden railing might take a deep, polished luster over the years as hundreds of hands leave behind their oils, discoloring the original wood varnish.

Simply stated, Wabi Sabi is the beauty in the flaws and impermanence of any given item.

Modern Application

In modern days, the idea of Wabi Sabi can be transferred to so much more than artwork. Consider it a self-help guide about embracing the inherent imperfections that define the joy in our lives—like a toddler’s toys scattered about a living room floor. Wabi Sabi in life encourages a person to not simply forgive or overlook an imperfection, but to embrace it as a defining point of our own beauty, and accept the fact that we are constantly fading and changing which is, in itself, a cause to celebrate both the here and now, and the changes to come.

Wabi Sabi and Language

Wabi Sabi can also provide guidance from a linguistic perspective. The global evolution of language is both praised as progressive and lamented as a loss to the ever-waning traditions and structure of unique cultures. However, in the translation industry, we see that the change in language is inevitable. As globalization allows for more and more ‘borrowed words’ to link one language to another, instead of cheapening language, there is a rich brotherhood that is created when two people from different worlds can share understanding of one idea naturally and intuitively. Yes, as we all grow closer to each other, we may lose some of what makes us unique, but perhaps the celebration is in the greater creation of a world of people who understand each other better, and see the world as a little bit more united than it was before.

That is an example of Wabi Sabi worth communicating.

Kim GroffBlog written by Kimberly Groff
Senior Project Manager
CETRA Korea

Two Insiders’ Perspective on The Arrival

Languages, interpreters and translators are sometimes featured by Hollywood and in our pop culture.  Many commonly recognize “Lost in Translation.”  A new movie, “The Arrival,” is the most recent occurrence of our industry on the big screen.  Following are two perspectives on “The Arrival” from those in the language industry.

CSA: How Hollywood Turned Language Into a Weapon

Slate: A linguist on Arrival’s alien language

CETRA at Historic ASEAN Summit on Languages

asean-1CETRA was invited to participate in a historic summit to assist with the creation of a Translation and Interpretation (T&I) organizational body for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN represents a commitment to intergovernmental cooperation and economic facilitation between 10 southeast Asian member states. It is similar to the EU, but for Asian member states. The summit was held to create an ASEAN Multilingual Translation and Interpretation (MTI) committee designed to help provide common standards, support, and cooperative structure to the language industry across the participating 10 nations.

Currently, ASEAN nations have varying levels of TI industry development, so the role of the committee is to harmonize the efforts of the industry in both continued development and quality expectations. CETRA was able to provide insight from the global language services provider (LSP) perspective on:

  • Linguist qualification requirements
  • Regional differences in language service demands
  • Best practices and information on current translation technologies
  • Insights on other international standards for the language industry such as ISO, EN and ASTM
ASEAN Summit
Maneerat Sawasdiwat Na Ayutthaya (left), President, AATI ASEAN MTI, with CETRA’s Kim Groff at the ASEAN language summit.

This initiative is a historic moment for the language industry in southeast Asia. Though the ASEAN countries are vastly different with a wealth of language and cultural barriers, translation and interpretation are bridges that can truly allow great cooperation and unified strength across any and every industry they touch.

We are very excited to see how the regional language industry will expand and innovate through the support and guidance of the ASEAN MTI committee, and to see the many benefits that ASEAN itself will reap as a result of supporting the linguists and language professionals in the region.

Participating organizations of the summit included the International Federation of Translators (FIT), Association of Asian Translation Industry (AATI), language service providers and educational institutions.

The MTI committee was able to draft a series of best practice guidelines as a starting point for the committee to help grow, support and establish reliable certification of linguists in the region.

In the future, the committee plans to solidify its membership so that it is  managed by experts in all 10 of the ASEAN countries, and to formalize commitments and standardized best practices for the industry.

Over the past decade the AATI MTI has organized several T&I events in the region to celebrate National Translation Day and other key unifying activities for linguistic professionals. Next year will see the launch of an ambitious awareness campaign to address the relative devaluation of language services and the underrepresentation of the linguists who provide critical support to the entire ASEAN network in social, economic, and political arenas.

CETRA was very privileged to be included in the foundational stages of such a worthy and far-reaching venture. We look forward to cooperating with ASEAN MTI to help grow this historic initiative into a strong network of support for professional linguists and LSP partners in ASEAN for decades to come.

Blog by:
Kim Groff
Senior Project Manager
CETRA Korea

CETRA Presenting Sponsor & Hall of Fame Member of Philly 100

CETRA Language Solutions, a leading global language service provider, was recognized as a bronze and presenting sponsor recently at this year’s Philadelphia 100® awards. CETRA is a former Philadelphia 100® award recipient and a member of the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Philadelphia 100® is a program organized by The Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Business Journal and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Small Business Development Center.  This year marked the 28th annual awards ceremony.  CETRA has been an active partner with Philadelphia 100® since 2007.

Earlier this year, CETRA was recognized as one of the 25 top language service providers in North America and one of the top 100 globally by Common Sense Advisory, an independent marketing research company that focuses on research for businesses in the language services industry.  CETRA also received the 2016 Blue Ribbon award from the US Chamber of Commerce.  CETRA has received the Blue Ribbon award each year since 2009.

CETRA provides language services to businesses and institutions around the world, including translation, simultaneous conference interpretation and American Sign Language interpretation, web site localization, software localization, multilingual typesetting, voice-overs, and transcriptions in over 200 languages. Its global network of more than 5,000 professional linguists, and its dedicated staff in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Ireland, Germany, South Korea and Ghana provides professional, responsive service that saves clients time, simplifies the process and makes working with CETRA a pleasure. CETRA is ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and EN 15038 certified.

Helping People to Better Understand Each Other

Imagine a world without translators: How would we communicate with each other? With nearly 7,000 languages spoken around the globe, trade and cultural exchange would be impossible. Leaders of nations could not talk to each other. Scientific discoveries could not be shared. Books could be read only by those who speak the author’s language. Cross-border traffic would come to a halt. Breaking news would reach only a select few. The Olympic Games could not be held. Nations in distress would not receive assistance from more fortunate ones.

There is a constant need for language skills. Having the ability to connect different languages not only helps people to better understand each other, but also to better understand the world around them.

With the scheduled exit of the UK from the European Union, an organization in England has noted the impact linguists have in the nation’s economy. At the same, recent US Census data shows that more than one-in-five US residents now speak a foreign language at home, and that number is on the rise.

We encourage you to read two recent examples of the importance translators and interpreters have in our global community.

Report on US Census Data | BBC Article

CETRA Expands In-Language Coding Service

CETRA Language Solutions recently expanded its in-language coding capabilities to better serve the growing demand for this service from its global market research clients. Designed primarily for the market research industry, in-language coding has significant value for any company or industry looking to better analyze large volumes of multilingual text.

The expanded in-language coding service integrates CETRA’s leading translation services with its strength in linguist recruitment. In-language coding can help clients to better extract and quantitatively analyze the reams of verbatim text generated by open-ended questions in surveys, as well as from CRM systems, customer-feedback systems, customer records, web sites, voice/video recordings, social media, and images.

“CETRA provides language services to many of the globe’s top market research companies, and investing in our in-language coding service allows us to provide even greater value to our clients,” said Jiri Stejskal, President and CEO, CETRA. “Offering in-language coding helps us stay in the vanguard of language services. In-language coding is increasingly needed by the market research industry, as well as many other industries that require analysis of large data sets of text, phrases, and numbers.”

CETRA can provide in-language coding to clients in multiple languages at competitive rates.

CETRA is adept at working with many leading analytical and sampling technologies, including Ascribe, IBM SPSS and Confirmit.

In market research, verbatim coding is the assignment of numeric codes to various words, phrases, ideas or concepts in text, so that the information and meaning in the text can be extracted and analyzed quantitatively.

Typical requests for in-language coding include responses to open-ended survey questions that need to be categorized according to certain criteria. In most cases, the needed code frame is provided by the client, and surveys range from 300 – 2,000 responses.

CETRA provides language services to businesses and institutions around the world, including translation, simultaneous conference interpretation and American Sign Language interpretation, web site localization, software localization, multilingual typesetting, voice-overs, and transcriptions in over 200 languages. Its global network of more than 5,000 professional linguists, and its dedicated staff in Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Ireland, Germany, South Korea, and Ghana provides professional, responsive service that saves clients time, simplifies the process and makes working with CETRA a pleasure. CETRA is ISO 9001, ISO 13485, and EN 15038 certified.

For more information, please contact Angela Wende, Chief Marketing Officer, CETRA, at 215.635.7090 x148 or angela.wende@cetra.com.