Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Translation Times are Changing

Over the past decade, we have seen a great many changes in the translation industry in the UK. Below are a few key points that translators and clients need to know these days:

Automated Software Translations

Everyone by now has used Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/), and there is no question that this brilliant service that Google provides has come in handy for all of us. For translating emails, enquiries, basic information, etc., there is no better automated, online, free translation system out there. Google Translate will only be getting better as the years go on. Now, inflating Google's ego aside - it must be said, this is by no means a professional translation, and cannot be relied upon in any way for any use in business, romance, professional communication or for any purpose other than simply to get a 'gist' of what the source text meant. If any translator is using Google translate for any part of their translation, they are simply not a professional translator. With that said, this does give an excellent opportunity for translation clients to sniff out and catch translation scammers by running their text through Google Translate and seeing how many similarities there are with the results and the translated text they have been provided with.

There are countless other free, online translation resources out there now, however Google has (as with so many other things they are involved in) emerged as the industry leader, and they will most likely retain that position for a very long time to come.

Software-Assisted Translations

There are several translation software utilities that, when used by professional translators, can actually increase the quality of the translation and also dramatically reduce the delivery time of the translation project. The industry-leading software is Trados. Referred to as "translation memory" software, the function of the software can be compared to an individual having a permanent, photogenic memory. Any paragraph or phrase that the translator has previously translated is stored in the "memory" of the program. When the translator comes across the same content in their next job, the previous translation will be 'suggested' to them. Therefore, the more work the translator does, the larger the "memory" becomes, and the less time-consuming future translations are. This is of course, only a tool, as the very same sentence, in different contexts, could in fact require totally different translation in order to retain the meaning. Trados is particularly helpful when large volumes of text have many repetitions (e.g. header/footer, table titles, etc..) If a translator is a professional Trados user, they will often quote in terms of "new words" / "repetitions", with a substantially reduced rate for all repetitions.

Online versus Real World

Long gone are the days when individuals would need to bring their documents to the office of a translator and wait for days until the translation is completed. Now, scans or even photos of documents sent via email are sufficient for translation purposes (even for certified translations) in most cases. Furthermore, as the world has been getting smaller and smaller, UK translators were once only based in the United Kingdom. There are now university-qualified English translators throughout the world. Many of whom live in countries where the cost of living is substantially lower than the UK and therefore they can reduced their rates substantially, still offering the same high quality translation services of their competition.

Translation Scammers

Now that Google Translate (and others) have become wide-spread, unfortunately so have the individuals and companies that are scamming unsuspecting clients (and translation agencies alike) by falsifying credentials and under-cutting prices of translation services, only to turn around and run the client’s documents through one of these online tools, ‘claiming’ to have performed the translation themselves. Two useful resources about translation scammers can be found here: http://www.translator-scammers.com/ and: http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/

As with any tech-based industry, translation will continue to morph and grow, and it is expected that translation software such as Trados will continue to improve, but there will always be a requirement for qualified, university-educated translation professionals to at the very least, proof-read the translation before sending it on to the client as a ‘done job’.

For further information about translation services in the UK or to request a free quotation for your translation project, see Translator UK

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Translator UK is Mobile-Friendly

Translator UK and all of the staff are welcoming the new 'mobile friendly' update to the search engines. We look forward to more of our mobile users providing us with the feedback that we have used thus far to bring to life a clear and user-friendly design.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Translator UK Goes Secure

Further to the latest recommendations from Google, Translator UK has obtained an SSL certificate with 128-bit encryption and from this point forward will only authorise secure use of their website, https://translatoruk.co.uk.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What has the latest Google algorithm update done to translation agencies in the UK?


So, as many of you translators and translation agencies that follow this blog already know, the latest Google algorithm update (labelled Penguin 2.1 - http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/webmasters/gvkoojlTNco) has dramatically altered the search results for any search phrases related to the translation industry. Has Translator UK been affected by this? Most certainly. Have other translation agencies that rely on their internet presence for a substantial amount of their new business generation? Indeed.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Many would argue (and have argued) that this algorithm update is a great move forward for the web, and after spending the past month investigating the changes pertaining to the translation industry, my conclusion is not which I would have expected. Yes. Even though our own website's positioning has suffered tremendously, I can still look at this situation from the outside and realise that the overwhelming majority of the changes that have taken place are indeed for the better of the end-user (the individual client that is in search of a translation agency to have some documents translated). Let's first talk about those positive changes:

Positive changes the algorithm had on translation agencies in the UK

  1. Agencies that had no client communication / social connections have been demoted
  2. Agencies that have created countless fake blogger accounts and duplicated content have been demoted
  3. Agencies that have used link farms and paid-for-link services to boost Page Rank and obtain more link juice have been penalised
Overall, these changes have weeded out the worst-of-the-worst search results that were out there. Let's now take a look at what Google still needs to do:

What still needs to be done by Google (Google To-Dos)

  1. Quickly revisit websites (and inbound-linking 3rd party websites) that were only breaking one or two of the rules and see if they have now come into compliance
  2. Better evaluate the search phrases people use and display more relevant results
  3. Minimize the impact of news sources external links to corporate websites

Further on Google To-Do 1

Up until recently, Google was not really able to determine if their guidelines were being adhered to or not, with this latest change, they now can see those that are 'breaking the rules' and are penalising them. As the past decade has seen even the smallest companies consult with an SEO expert at one stage or another and heed their advice, these companies are being hit hard, and without the resources (technical or financial) to engage a web development company to re-build / re-brand their website so that it complies, Google has made a great effort to improve its Webmaster Tools so they can (to a certain extent) fix the problems themselves.

However, the trouble with this, is once the problems have been addressed, it appears (at least from my own research) that even one month later, Google has not properly re-assessed their site and its compliance, therefore re-allocating their positioning. An example of this is that I have seen "inbound links" that still appear within Webmaster tools when the link from the 3rd party site had been removed over 4 weeks prior (this is in addition to a disavow file being uploaded and the 3rd party page that previously contained the link being updated in Google"s cache, clearly no longer linking to the domain name in question).

Further on Google To-Do 2

Prior to this latest update, if a search was performed for a generic "Translator" query, a relevant list of both independent translators and translation agencies alike appeared. This is indeed logical, and the way that it should be. If you speak English, and are searching for a "Translator" of some kind, you are indeed looking for a person, or a company that employs this person. At the time of writing this article, excluding paid results obviously, the top 10 search results for the term: French Translator UK displays like this:
  1. Google Translate (very cheeky by Google to display this first)
  2. Online Dictionary
  3. Online Dictionary
  4. Online Dictionary
  5. Employment Agency with jobs for translators
  6. Online Dictionary
  7. Employment Agency with jobs for translators
  8. An actual translation agency offering French Translation Services
  9. Employment Agency with jobs for translators
  10. An actual translation agency offering French Translation Services
Now, Google is constantly telling us that they want to give the most relevant results for their users. I believe that having only 2 relevant results for this search out of 10 on the first page (in positions 8 and 10 respectively) is not in the best interest of the user.

It seems clear to me that these online translation tools, dictionaries and employment websites all have a much greater internet "worth" (e.g. Alexa rank, Wikipedia references, Dmoz listings, Google Page Rank) than the vast majority of translation agencies in the UK, and understandably so, they are offering free services, not professional translation services. I also believe this stems from Google interpreting "Translator" as synonymous with "Translation", which of course is false.

Further on Google To-Do 3

This point is definitely up to debate, but it has been a longstanding SEO concept that having high-quality links from trustworthy, reputable websites such as established news agencies pointing to one"s site has a positive impact on their search positioning. This was logical, back when the small time business owner still had a chance using their "naughty" SEO tactics, however this can no longer be deemed as "fair" following the update. It is also often commented that "Content is King" and having good, creative content alone will invoke links from other sources organically. This (unfortunately for many of us) is what caused so many useless SEO-only driven blogs to be created, millions of guest-blog requests to be sent world-wide and carries on to this day. To explain why this change needs to be (in my opinion) actioned is simple. It comes down to what is the best results for the end user to see? If Translation Company X happens to be one of the biggest and best in the UK, they will indeed have the budget to engage marketing experts to dream up new and exciting content to write about, they will also easily afford the PR companies that have the personal network "connections" to journalists and editors in the leading publications and will of course exploit them on behalf of their well-paying client. Taking a quick peek at this link https://www.google.co.uk/?q=translation&tbm=nws is proof in itself that the larger companies DO indeed have a great deal of "News" written about them. I say "News" as skimming through those results I find many "charitable partnerships, product launches, CEO interviews, etc.. etc.. etc.." so putting this all together, if the algorithm remains as it is, within a very short space of time, all of the top (or wealthiest) translation agencies will indeed exploit this (or it may happen organically, to the same result) and internet searchers will soon see only those top translation agencies on every translation related search they do, leaving the smaller boutique agencies that may be offering a better quality product at a cheaper price with better customer service to be left to their own devices.

As the managing director of Translator UK, I have written this article not to criticize, complain, or to any other purpose but to generate debate. I invite you to post your comments about what I have said, your own experiences, your own interpretations of the impact this update has had on our industry.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Russian Translation Services

If you have ever considered translating your website into Russian, or having your documents translated by a professional certified Russian translator, now is the time.. Translator UK has recently launched a suite of new Russian translation services. Much more information about these translations services and the Russian translators that provide them can be found at Russian Translators.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Translation in the UK

Whatever the translation project you need done, our international group of translators will be able to assist you. For our global website, please visit:

AOD Translation

For our UK-specific website, please visit:

Translator UK