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The history of translation and translation marketing

Marketing translation and translation, in general, have a long and robust history. How did the modern translation industry become what it is today?

What is translation? In its simple form, it means to turn symbols from one set to another, such as words from a body of text in one language to that of another. Translation and its emergence have played a very important role throughout history in bridging cultural and linguistic divides that have evolved through trade as well as a means of spreading traditions and religious beliefs. 

Where and how did translation evolve? How has translation changed today, and how will it be used in the future? 

Translation Origins

Sumerian bilingual text tablet

Sumerian bilingual text – Photo from Wikimedia Caption – “This is the first known Sumerian-Akkadian bilingual tablet which dates back to around 2270 BC. The practice of translation is believed to have begun in Mesopotamia.”

Scholars believe that writing began to emerge in humans some 5,550 years ago. First, with early pictorial signs in early Mesopotamian and Egypt, we have evidence of fully-formed writing platforms as early as 1300 BC in China. With the development of written communication, translation became a necessary means of communication for the growth of populations and trade. While translation started within the trade as a business translation for financial means, translation eventually found its way into culture, art, and religion as it proved to be an effective means of spreading your beliefs, values, and traditions to other people. 

The word “translation” and it’s meaning come from two different languages.  The word itself comes from Latin and means “to bring or carry across”, but its meaning is also derived from the Ancient Greek word metaphrasis, which means “to speak across”, which then led to the word metaphrase, which means “word for word”. While the meaning of translation comes from these ancient languages, it is believed that those in the Mesopotamian region were the first to practice the art of translation. 

St. Jerome Writing

“St. Jerome Writing” by the famous painter Caravaggio, painted in 1606.” – Image from Wikimedia.

One of the earliest known pieces to be translated is the Sumerian poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was translated into Asian languages in 2100 BC. From there, one of the first known significant translations is that of the Old Testament in the 3rd century, as the bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek. Between A.D. 383 and 404, a man named Eusebius Hieronymus, or St. Jerome as he would become known, translated the bible from Greek to Latin. What made St. Jerome’s translation so innovative is that he first translated the text from Greek. Still, he then went back and checked his newly translated Latin text against the original Hebrew version (since he was fluent in all three languages) to increase the translation accuracy. St. Jerome also endorsed the transcreation method rather than the traditional word-for-word translation. In a letter St. Jerome wrote to his friend on the best methods of translation, he said,

For I myself not only admit but freely proclaim that in translating from the Greek, I render sense for sense and not word for word, except in the case of the Holy Scriptures, where even the order of the words is a mystery.”

With his masterful translation of the bible and the concepts that he created, St. Jerome became one of the most prominent translators in history. St. Jerome died on September 30th, 420, and since then, St. Jerome has become the patron saint of translators. September 30th is also officially recognised as International Translation Day. 

The evolution of translation

The earliest days of translation required the work of educated polyglots or at least bilinguals who would painstakingly translate passages of text by hand. This work would take translators months and sometimes even years to complete. The advent of the printing press made things somewhat easier as the translations became more consistent. 

With the printing press, documents only needed to be translated once before being typeset and then run repeatedly. While this method was more efficient in producing copies, if there were any errors in the translation, they too were also reproduced, and there wasn’t a quick method to fix this. As a result, any translations with errors used as foundational pieces for translation into other languages meant that further errors followed and compounded into the next translation. 

It wasn’t until the late 20th century, with the emergence of machine translation and machine translation post-editing, that made the translation process became more consistent.

Modern-day translation

Woman sitting at computer program

Machine translation has changed the translation industry forever. Machine translation post-editing has resulted in quality translations that are reliable and accurate.

With the emergence of machine translation and platforms like Google translate, anyone can get a quick and immediate translation of nearly any text. However, just like in the early days of translation, machine translation alone is prone to many translation errors, especially since machines can’t translate the cultural concepts, idioms, etc., that make human language so robust. Machine translations are decent at finding concordances at the sentence level but fall flat when making suggestions at a morphological level. This is why international translation companies now use machine and human translations in a process called machine translation post-editing.

Even with current technology, machine translation doesn’t compare to human translation, which is what makes machine translation post-editing the most effective means of translation. Translators use a machine to translate the text first, a process that helps expedite the translation process, and then once the content has gone through a machine, the translator will then go through it and edit and compare it to the original text. This results in an accurate, reliable, fast, and quality translation for the client or business.

Related: How to be a translator in 2022

Regarding translation management, translators today don’t need to be polyglots anymore. Still, most translation companies want translators who are experts in language pair translation, meaning a translator needs complete mastery of two languages, as well as subject-specific expertise (i.e. English-Chinese legal translation). Language pair translations ensure you get the most accurate and quality translation

Future of translation

iPad and world map

It’s easier than ever to take your business global- Photo by Geralt on Pixabay

While machines have made things easier in the translation industry, and I’m sure even St. Jerome would be impressed with the progress that has been made, as of yet, machine translation cannot operate alone and still requires the handy work of a professional translator. Using a professional translator is especially important in business as businesses today are not afforded the same luxuries of making translation errors as the early pioneers were. Companies today now use business translation services to ensure that they’re getting the best quality translation possible to represent and expand their brand. These companies use machine translation post-editing with qualified translation professionals to produce consistent results.

Related: Why Google Translate Isn’t Enough for Business

That is not to say that machine-alone translation isn’t being worked on, however. The Semantic Web or Web 3.0 is an extension of our current internet that is being worked on that aims to create instant translations of any language online, which would include any semantic or cultural content, and make the searches and the retrieval of this information universal. Web 3.0 aims to analyze every piece of data that is available on the internet and have it make sense in every language. This would create interactive pages that are no longer just text translations but include audio/voice and all other forms of media. While the Semantic Web sounds impressive, the fact that there are over 6,800 languages worldwide and that we are still confined to our current means of machine translation means that this idea is a very long way from becoming reality. 

In the meantime, quality translations are best left to the professionals at international translation companies like Into23. Into23 offers localization and translation services in any language with professional translators from all over the globe. Into23 can help your brand or business reach new markets in other languages and offer translation solutions for every industry. Check out our services today and get a free quote.

Create better results using Business Translation

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The total number of companies dealing in the global market in 2020 was around 213.65 million. With the rise in demand for digital platforms and the internet, businesses can go beyond the countries within their marketing spend. 

Nowadays, even a small company in a quaint city can provide its services to customers worldwide in Australia. But this doesn’t mean that business expansion doesn’t have complications or challenge localization. 

Take a simple example of a big market, such as India. If you want to connect to the audience in India as an American company, then you translate your digital presence into the local language, as more than 90% of Indians prefer to consume information in their native language. 

But this is not the case with India only. In a survey, experts evaluated 29 countries based on their consumption of information in their native language. They discovered that 76% of online customers prefer to buy from a brand with products that present information in their native language. 

All this clarifies; that proper translation is a requisite to online success globally. Apart from online content, businesses use translation services even for legal, scientific, and financial purposes. 

Here is a look into the different types of business translation organizations currently use to negate the language barrier.  

What is business translation?

Business translation is the translation of information and official documentation that a company distributes. These documents can include emails, training materials, website content, memoranda, etc. All the translated documents can affect the brand identity; therefore, the translation must be 100% accurate. 

In most cases, businesses don’t have linguistic experts in their organization, and therefore, they usually go for business translation services. These third-party experts provide complete translation services. From voice-over translation to legal translation, a translation management company has many services.

A professional translator will be well-versed in both languages to avoid misinterpretations. In most cases, word-to-word translation rarely works since the terminology may differ in the native language. That is why it is necessary to work with a company that exclusively offers business translation servicesA business translation company may offer a wide array of localization services but still must have the ability to deal with financial, legal, and even medical documents. 

Types of business translation 

Although there are many kinds of business translations because a business can deal in a wide array of documents and content, we have discussed the four main types of business translations that firms of all sizes and types use.

Technical translation

There are two ways to define the term technical here;

  • In a broader sense, technical translation deals with the translation of instructional leaflets, user manuals, medical records, financial reports, business memos, clerical notes, etc. All these documents have one thing in common; they all have a distinction of being for a particular target audience, and they all can have even a limited shelf-life. Not all business translation companies specialize in technical translation as it needs a higher level of expertise and experience. 
  • In a narrow sense, technical translation deals with all the technical documents like mechanics, IT, electronics, and different types of industrial texts. For providing this type of technical translation, the translator must know about the specific technology as just being a linguistic expert is not enough. 

The expert dealing with technical translation must fathom the required formatting. In some cases, even the images in the documents need to be changed so that everything becomes. Be sure to choose a company that specializes in technical translation. 

Marketing and website localization

It is one of the most common types of translation services companies use. More than 71% of all small businesses have a website! Almost 49% of all businesses use some kind of digital marketing strategy. Therefore, we can understand the significance of websites and marketing.

The website localization deals with the translation of website copy, videos, and documents on the website. During website location, even the currencies, layouts, and address formats are changed to make it relevant to the local audience. 

In most cases, you need to consider the languages you wish your website to convert into and then translate only those web pages used by the native audience. But instead of relying on an automated translation system that will not be accurate, you should use the services provided by business translation companies. 

Similarly, marketing localization deals with translating all the content used for marketing purposes, from the voice used in the videos to the content used in the ad campaigns. In most marketing localizations, the company decides to hone into a specific area, and then they market the product after translation in that specific area with a specific language. 

Scientific and medical translation

This type of translation includes translating documents that have medical content linked to the patient, such as instructions, packaging, labels, product-related content, software, quality management certificates, and clinical trial paperwork. All these documents and content types need good translation services. 

It is one of those translation services where accuracy is prioritized over everything else! Since its a matter of health and safety of a patient, translators must have the requisite knowledge, and they must be in-country professionals as well. 

Translation of medical documents is tricky since the need for general translation varies from country to country. Therefore, a linguistic expert with experience in the medical field can be your best bet! 

The translator must follow a high level of quality control, and the company you are choosing for such a translation service must have the most updated tools and tried and tested processes in place. 

Legal translation services

It is one of the most complex translation services provided by an expert translation management firm. Legal translation services involve legal documents like agreements, birth certificates, marriage certificates, wills, memorandums, etc. 

These documents contain very intricate details. An experienced translator providing legal translation services needs to fathom the underlying contexts of the different documents and that of both countries for which the document is intended. Everything needs to be kept in mind during legal translation, from the politico-legal aspect to the socio-cultural aspect. 

Even after all this, the translator will have to translate the document so that local audiences can understand. That is why not all translation management companies provide legal translation services. Why? Because it requires a high level of linguistic expertise and experience in the legal field.

You should carefully choose a translation management company for legal translation services. Even a single mistake in the legal document can lead to challenging legal consequences! 

Why choose us for business translation?

Into23 is a one-stop-shop for all your translation needs since we provide translation services for every field, every type of document, and every type of language you can think of. It doesn’t matter how diverse or specific your translation needs are; we can help you. 

One of the best things about our translation services is that every translation service is fit-for-purpose. We don’t rely on a one-size-fits- approach. We always analyze the interests of the audience, the document, website, or content that needs to be translated. We evaluate our client’s target language and their specific needs. Only then will we move forward with our translation process. 

We have incorporated technology in its best form in our process as it aids in getting your content to the translator as fast as possible. We use a perfect mix of human expertise since we know translation is a human process. Since humans are prone to errors, we achieve 100% accuracy by using automated translation QA checks. 

So, the next time you need any translation service with 100% accuracy, timely delivery, and quality that surpasses your expectations, just get in touch with INTO23 and get the job done professionally. 

Great Translation Tips for your Agribusiness

The Language of Farming and Food: Why Agribusiness companies need Translations

The global Agribusiness sector has been reshaped by the impact of the pandemic. Agriculture in developing and emerging economies has faced extensive setbacks due to supply chain disruptions and the disproportionate effect that COVID 19 has had on populations in the world’s major production regions. The industry has had to adapt with a combination of support programs for smallholder farmers and increasing investment in agritech, a major agribusiness trend in recent years. 

Set up your investment in agricultural machinery with multilingual translation services

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Agritech involves improving the efficiency of industrial equipment like tractors and processing machines on the one hand, while developing completely new technologies, platforms and applications on the other. A report from the World Government Summit identifies new production techniques, supply chain innovations and cross-industry applications as three major agribusiness trends in 2021.

Innovation

Hydroponics, bioplastics and desert agriculture revolutionize the way agricultural products are grown, while vertical farming, genetic engineering and 3D printing enable expanded production in urban environments. Blockchains provide enhanced logistics solutions that streamline and digitise agribusiness finance, while data analytics provide actionable insights on both the production and distribution side. IoT integration brings agricultural machinery online and closely integrates every step of production, which is increasingly automated with digital agriculture applications of robotics, which enhance soil monitoring and provide a chemical free pest control solution.

Agribusiness enterprises have to adapt to the current landscape by adjusting their production strategy in order to maintain competitive advantage and ensure sustainable development. Adopting new platforms and adapting to digital agriculture brings an additional layer of challenge that may be overlooked: expert translation services for agriculture.

Translation Management as a Service for Agribusiness

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The global agribusiness industry is complex, and digital agriculture makes it even more so. In addition to the inherent requirement to provide user interfaces and documentation in multiple languages, Agriculture involves different standards procedures and regulation in every country. Terminology is a key consideration that requires not only a solid understanding of the industry, but also an appreciation of the vital importance of consistency across international operations.

Agribusiness enterprises require expert technical document translation services in order to ensure that crucial context is accounted for, while the sheer scale of operations makes Translation Management as a Service (TMaaS) a necessity. The complexity of the challenge scales with level of data generated by digital agriculture technology. In agribusiness, the volume of information flowing in multiple directions in real time requires companies to plan ahead to adapt.

Technical Documentation

For example, digital agriculture initiatives in China have accelerated the rollout of 5G networks in rural areas. Automated systems can track crop and livestock health, monitor yields, and assess landscape fertility with satellite imagery. The level of information this generates requires a comprehensive solution to efficiently track and translate, while user interfaces have to be understood by field operators who require training and administrative staff who need to fully understand the information to file reports. Multinational agribusiness enterprises have to ensure that the entire information and communication loop runs seamlessly at all times.

Innovative platforms and connected equipment provide the level of the precision required to effectively manage an agribusiness value chain. Translating this information requires the same standard of accuracy, with a steady stream of information to continuously maintain. With Translation Management as a Service, agricultural enterprises can centralize and coordinate their terminology, translation memory and document versions with a cloud-based translation system.

Agribusiness enterprises also face the challenge of coordinating translations for their fertilizer products, which includes packaging, brochures, legal documents and training manuals. Into23’s translation management system identifies key phrases that provide a basis for subsequent translation requirements. With our language translation technology, higher the volume, the faster we can translate at reduced cost.

Translators who understand Agriculture

expert translation services for agriculture

Our technical document translators are experienced with agricultural equipment and agri-input literature and understand how to handle the volume and attention to detail required in business translation services. The document translation team works from an enterprise model perspective and plans for scalability ahead of time. They are also adept with the language and vocabulary of agribusiness, and fully understand the difference between conventional usage and industry context.

From livestock nutrition to pest control, plant breeding, fertilizers and crop protection, we work with the level of accuracy required in any language-pair. Whether it’s Polish to Chinese, Portuguese to Chinese, Urdu to Chinese, Chinese to Hindi, or more conventional language pairs like German to French, we understand application, context and culture.

Agribusiness enterprises frequently need to coordinate operations in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. Equipment is often manufactured in the PRC, while seed and soil solutions are developed in Europe and deployed in Africa. The EU is a major market for processed agri-commodities while Hong Kong and Singapore serve as important business hubs for the sector. 

Why Into23?

Into23 is an expert enterprise translation service provider based in Hong Kong, and we provide a comprehensive solution for agribusiness operations. We can coordinate and plan projects that require multiple language pair translations at scale for different aspects of the operations cycle, including sourcing, production, marketing, sales, logistics and compliance. 

It is important to work with an agency that not only appreciates the importance of accuracy but also understands how to coordinate documentation translations at scale for a multinational enterprise. Working with multiple translation agencies often results in disjointed datasets and an unacceptable level of variability in critical communications. Labeling and leaflet vocabulary should seamlessly link across operations, regions and locations.

The advent of digital agriculture accelerates the pace at which agribusiness information and communications will flow. In 2022, we are only in the initial the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution, but the momentum is unmistakable.

At Into23, we are passionate about business, languages and cultures. Our linguists are keen to assist any enterprise that wants to proactively face the challenge of adaptation. From experience, we understand how to coordinate enterprise projects at scale and ensure smooth transitions, which gives us a decisive advantage with supporting agribusiness with multilingual translation services over the upcoming decade.

Feel free to get in touch or share your thoughts on global agriculture and cross-cultural collaboration. We value the stories our clients want to share, because as translators, we understand that people bring vibrancy and vitality to businesses.

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