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How Translation Memory Can Improve Quality While Saving Time & Money

If you’re considering expanding your business into foreign language markets, a translation memory (TM) is one of the tools you can implement with your translation services company. A TM helps translators work more efficiently to reduce costs, increase consistency and reduce time to market. Here’s a closer look at all you need to know about TM.

What is Translation Memory?

A translation memory is a repository of original content and the translated versions of that content. For each new project, the translation services company inputs the new content into the TM, and the TM identifies repeated or similar content. Translators can then reuse previously translated content stored in the TM during future projects. As more content is translated, the TM continues to grow — so the more you put into the TM, the more you get out of it.

How Does a Translation Memory Work?

The TM compares existing content to the new content and identifies three types of segments:

Repetitions/100% match – This type of segment occurs when a new word segment matches exactly with another word segment in the TM. For example, let’s say that you previously translated this sentence: “To complete the installation, you need two AA batteries.” If this sentence exists in a new translation project, it would be identified as a repetition/100% match. The translator still needs to review the sentence for context and quality, but this type of segment takes the least time of the three to translate.

Fuzzy segment – This type of segment occurs when a word segment partially matches another word segment in the TM. Per the previous example, let’s say that your TM contains the following sentence: “To complete the installation, you need two AA batteries.” Now let’s say that your new translation project contains this sentence: “To complete the installation, two AA batteries are required.” In this case, the TM will recognize the sentence as a fuzzy match because the first part matches an existing segment exactly, but the second part is somewhat different. A fuzzy match takes the translator less time to work through than brand new content, but obviously it takes more time than a 100% match.

New segment – A new segment is one that either doesn’t match any existing segments or it matches a segment at less than 50%. A translator will have to translate this segment from scratch.

Note: A translator will see both the original content and the highlighted 100% match/fuzzy/new segments, and then decide whether to accept the translation that’s in the TM or modify it. Upon completion of any translation project, the TM will need to be updated so that it contains the latest information.

Benefits of a Translation Memory

A TM has three main benefits:

It Saves You Money – When repetitions/100% match and fuzzy segments are identified, they will have lower translation fees than new segments. If you’re working in an authoring environment where you have a content reuse strategy, you’ll probably have a lot of 100% match segments. If you don’t have a content reuse strategy, and/or if you have multiple writers, chances are that there will be a lot of fuzzy segments along with some 100% matches. In either case, a TM will make your translation projects more cost-effective due to its ability to recognize word segments.

It Improves Quality – Using a TM will increase consistency across different projects. It makes for a better customer experience when things are translated the same way across all documentation, websites and software applications. Even if more than one translator is working on a project, the suggestions from a TM can help translators remember which specific words to use. This can be especially handy if there are certain standard terms for your industry, product or service. If you work with your translation company to capture this terminology and get it translated before a project begins, you can incorporate it into your TM. A TM and a glossary of standard terms are two good tools to use together for the highest quality translations.

It Decreases Time to Market – A TM prepopulates new content with previously translated segments. A translator can then simply approve those segments and focus their energy on new content. You can really see the benefits of using a TM whenever content is repeated a lot, such as with technical documentation, or with larger projects such as website and software localization. With a TM in place, you can expect faster turnaround time and therefore decreased time to market.

October 16th, 2019

5 Ridiculous Patents

If you want to patent an invention, it must offer a solution to a problem. Specifically, it must meet the following three conditions: (1) Novelty – at least some aspect of it must be new; (2) Inventive Step – the new aspect/s must not be obvious or easily deduced; (3) Industrial applicability – the invention must be able to be made or used in an industry. We’re not quite sure how the following five U.S. patents made the cut, but they sure are entertaining!


Apparatus for simulating a “high five”

US patent no. 5356330

If you ever wanted to give a high five but no one was around, this invention could save the day. Patented in 1993, the high five apparatus “allows a user to simulate a ‘high-five’ in celebration of a positive event, thereby providing the user with a convenient outlet for the release of excitement,” says the description. And that’s not all! The patent also claims to improve hand-eye coordination and provide “an exercise device for enhancing the jumping skills of a user” when mounted above normal reach.




Method of concealing partial baldness

US patent no. 4022227

Look familiar? President Trump seems to be sporting a hairdo that was patented in 1975 by a father and son team from Orlando, Florida. According to the patent description, Frank and Donald Smith wanted to create a solution for partially bald men who didn’t have the financial means to buy and maintain hairpieces, hair weaves or hair transplants. This patented ‘do uses only the hair on your head divided into three sections folded over each other.





Sealed crustless sandwich

US patent no. 6004596

Be careful, your lunch might be infringing Smuckers’ PB&J sandwich patent! Yup, you read that right – the American company known for its jams, jellies and preserves also has a proprietary sandwich patented in 1997. What’s so special about it? By their own description, Smuckers’ patent provides “a convenient sandwich without an outer crust which can be stored for long periods of time without a central filling leaking outwardly.” An important part of the patent is a cutting cylinder that creates the circular shape of the sandwich, crimps its edges and removes the crust.


Life expectancy timepiece

US patent no. 5031161

If you ever wondered how much time you’ve got left, this watch claims to have the answer. Patented in 1991, it displays “the number of minutes, days and years remaining in a person’s life based on actuarial data.” The data it evaluates includes whether a person smokes cigarettes, consumes alcohol and fatty foods, their stress levels, exercise routine, and genetic factors such as family histories of known diseases and recorded lifespans.





Animal ear protectors

US patent no. 4233942

This picture might look like someone stuck toilet paper rolls on their dog’s ears, but the strange headpiece – patented in 1979 – is actually meant to keep the pup’s long ears away from its mouth and food while eating. (A simpler solution might be to purchase a tall bowl for your long-eared animals, but I digress.) In the description, the inventor says the ear protectors are “light weight, comfortable and not easily removed by the animal.” Of course, it can also be “decorated so as to enhance the appearance of the animal in the eyes of its owner and of others.”


October 7th, 2019

5 Tips for Selecting a Medical Device Translation Company

Does the prospect of selecting a medical device translation company fill you with anxiety? The right company can do wonders for your brand, while the wrong translation company can cause major damage to both your reputation and bottom line. It’s an important decision to make, and not one to be taken lightly. These five tips will help you select a translation company that can localize your medical device materials professionally, accurately and according to local laws and regulations.

1. Do Your Research

This cannot be emphasized enough. Only look for translation companies that offer medical translations as a specialty or as their core competency. Since this area is so specialized, you should only rely on experts who understand the complicated process. Medical translators must be subject matter experts, or even doctors, who know the regulations and certifications that are required in each country.

Check references to make sure that the vendor has plenty of subject matter expertise and that it has accumulated loyal customers over the years. Also, make sure the medical translation company you’ve chosen has a dedicated project manager who is responsive and available to you as needed.

Tip: If you’re new to medical translations, you’re going to need time to understand the process. It’s OK to ask for explanations and to expect a high level of responsiveness and customer service from your vendor.

2. Look for ISO Certifications

For medical device and other medical translations, you should expect a translation company to have the following ISO certifications: 

  • ISO 9001:2015 – This is the international standard for quality control. It specifies general requirements for setting up a quality management system (QMS) that meets customer and regulatory requirements. This standard is intended for any organization of any size in any industry.
  • ISO 17100:2015 – This standard is similar to ISO 9001, but it’s geared towards the specific processes required to deliver quality translation services.
  • ISO 13485:2016 – This standard outlines specific quality management system requirements for companies providing medical devices and related services.

Tip: If a medical device manufacturer outsources its translations, the manufacturer will be held accountable for the work of the translation company. That’s why many medical device companies require translation vendors to obtain the ISO 13485 certification.

3. Gather Bids

When you’re researching a medical device translation vendor, it’s a good idea to seek a few different bids. This does not have to be a formal RFP process, but it’s important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. For example, when speaking to different translation companies, make sure you provide clear and consistent project instructions and then ask for a full explanation of how the vendor will complete the required tasks, how long it will take to do so, and what the cost for services will be.

It’s especially important to understand the vendor’s quality management system. If a vendor only has one quality control step, ask why. At Morningside, our quality assurance process includes multiple rounds of editing and proofing with built-in redundancies to ensure accuracy, proper terminology, and correct localization for the target audience.

4. Don’t Expect Cheap and Fast Translations

Have you heard of the project management triangle? It’s a concept that’s been around since the 1950s. In this model, there are three key elements – good, fast and cheap. Your project can be any two of these – but it’s impossible to achieve all three.

With medical device translations, the work must be good – there is simply no room for inaccuracy in this industry. If you cut corners to save money and time in the short term, you will pay for it later (products will be pulled from shelves and costly litigation can take place).

That leaves you with a choice to make about cost. If you want your project completed quickly, it’s not going to be cheap. Rush fees will be applied. However, you can save money (and avoid rush fees entirely) if you plan a project timeline with your vendor well in advance of your deadline.

5. Talk to Fellow Industry Professionals

Are you in touch with fellow medical device colleagues at other companies? Are you attending an industry trade show in the near future? Try asking fellow professionals which translation vendor they’re using and whether they’ve learned any helpful lessons along the way. It’s always better to learn from others than to experience issues first-hand.

Invitation to Connect

If you’d like more information about medical device translations, feel free to reach out to us today or request a complimentary quote. As a medical device translation company, we have all three ISO certifications and 20 years of industry experience.

September 25th, 2019

How to Protect IP Rights when Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a well-established phenomenon in today’s global economy. Although initially associated with large, multinational companies, today outsourcing is growing among small-to-medium businesses as well. The key motivations for outsourcing include cutting costs, solving capacity issues and maintaining a clear focus on the core business. On the other hand, outsourcing raises a very critical question: How do I protect my intellectual property rights (IPR) – both for existing IP as well as any new IP that may be created? In this blog, we take a closer look at how to manage potential IPR risks without losing out on the benefits that outsourcing can bring to your company and bottom line.

Determine your IP strategy

Before jumping onto the outsourcing bandwagon, you should do an inventory of the IP that will likely be exposed. If you have third-party licensing agreements, make sure you are free to share the required IP with your outsourcing vendor. Where relevant, strengthen your IP portfolio by registering and filing patents, trademarks and copyrights – not only in your own country, but also in the countries where the outsourcing would take place.

You should also consider defining an initial outsourcing scope of work that does not expose your core IP. After you have established a good working relationship with an outsourcing vendor, you can extend the scope with greater confidence that your business-critical patents will be safe.

Make IP part of your due diligence

Finding the right outsourcing vendor is a long and arduous process. Be sure to make IP an important part of your due diligence, at several levels.

Start with the target countries themselves. Respect for IP rights varies from country to country and you should consider avoiding outsourcing to countries where IP laws are weak or poorly enforced. Two websites where you can gather relevant information are the International IP Index and Country IPR Toolkits, both of which are maintained by the US Chamber of Commerce.

Regarding the vendors, you should ensure that they have well-established procedures and a security infrastructure for protecting sensitive data. Make sure that they do thorough background checks on their employees and properly train them on IPR. While checking out their references, explore their track record of respecting and protecting intellectual property. Verify that they have insurance that will cover them for any damage you may suffer if your IP (including your trade secrets) are compromised.

Key IP issues for outsourcing agreements

When it comes to drafting the outsourcing agreement, there are a number of IP-related issues that should receive special attention. For example, the agreement should contain comprehensive, enforceable non-disclosure and non-compete sections. These issues are particularly important when your IP includes trade secrets.

The ownership of IP is also a critical issue. Not only should the ownership of existing IP be crystal-clear, but it should also be clear who owns any new IP that may be created during the outsourcing. Newly created IP is typically defined as “works for hire” that belong to the company paying for the work. But it is not unusual for outsourcing agreements to include options for mutual licensing of new IP. That’s all well and good, as long as it is clearly spelled out and understood the same way by both parties.

Tip: Organize and file every contract and agreement related to IP for easy future reference, just in case IP conflicts arise.

Establish clear communications

Poor communication is the #1 reason for the failure of an outsourcing project. Language barriers and cross-cultural misunderstandings can undermine the development of trust that is essential for a fruitful working relationship in general and for the protection of IPR in particular. All efforts invested in establishing strong communications in a multilingual, multi-cultural working relationship will go a long way to ensure successful outcomes.

September 18th, 2019

How to Expand Your Business with Localization

In today’s globalized world, the ability to expand your customer base often means being able to communicate with new customers in their own language. To reach these new customers, you need to adapt your business materials both linguistically (via translation) and culturally through a process called localization. Here are four of the most popular ways to localize your business in 2019.

1.  Penetrate new markets with website localization

The practice of regionally targeting website content is extremely popular and there are no signs of it slowing down. As such, high-quality personalized site experiences are becoming a central focus for businesses that wish to reach new audiences. To achieve a successful online user experience in new regions, you’ll need to consider translating and localizing all of your online content – from blogs and buttons to forms, videos and captions. If you use WordPress or Drupal as your CMS, check out these translation plug-ins that can help you manage regular updates.

It’s important to note that when you start planning for website localization, you need to consider what you can do to ensure that all of your carefully crafted content will actually be found by the various search engines available in different regions. For example, less than 2% of internet searchers in China use Google. If you want to expand your business into China, you’ll want to consider optimizing important keywords for Baidu’s search algorithms – not Google.

2.  Attract new users to your app

If you want your software application to gain more users worldwide, you’re going to have to localize your user interface (UI) for multiple markets. Localizing your app is especially recommended for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and multi-player gaming apps.

Make sure you use local metrics, relatable images and appropriate content. Always adjust the text length to fit correctly in each language’s UI, and don’t forget to localize the copy for push notifications (which are a rich opportunity for building relationships with consumers).

Lastly, if you maintain a web and mobile version of your software, consider using Progressive Web App (PWA) development to combine your apps into a single simple-to-maintain platform that allows users to work offline.

3.  Simplify customer service with chatbot localization

A chatbot is a computer program that runs off a pre-set script in order to simulate conversation with human users. Chatbots (or bots) are becoming increasingly popular as a way to provide instant responses to online customer inquiries. This rise of real-time messaging has led to a fundamental shift in how people prefer to communicate – they don’t want to wait on hold on a customer support phone line. They want to go online, see a product, type in a question and get an instant response. In fact, a recent report found that chatbots are being used by people from all 195 countries in the world, and 41% of those chatbot users are business executives.

Here’s some food for thought: While AI and machine learning are clearly the driving factors behind a chatbot’s abilities to do its job well, none of that matters if the script it runs off of is awkwardly written or incomprehensible. After all, chatting — whether with a person or a bot — requires a common language. So if you hope to close more deals and increase customer satisfaction by adding a chatbot to your website, it’s critical to ensure that all of your chatbot scripts are translated and localized correctly.

4.  Embrace eLearning for more effective training

For businesses that operate in multiple regions (or in regions where multiple languages are spoken), eLearning is one of the most effective and versatile training tools at your disposal to connect with learners. You can use eLearning modules internally to conduct employee job training or externally to deliver product guides and information to your clients, and much more.

Effective localization of an eLearning course means reviewing every element of every slide, including text, images, captions, image text, videos, scripts, audio narration, subtitles, quizzes, example scenarios, etc. For a deeper dive into how to optimize your eLearning content for translation, check out this blog.

Use an expert LSP

There’s a lot to get right with eLearning translation, chatbot scripts, and website/software localization. If a translation is wrong or laughable, it can quickly go viral — turning a well-meaning company into an overnight laughingstock. Even if a poor translation doesn’t turn into a meme, it could still hurt your business if the content has not effectively delivered your message and branding.

As a result, it’s really in your best interest to partner with an LSP that has localization expertise in your industry. A qualified language partner like Morningside Translations can provide a step-by-step plan to ensure that all of your online content is successfully and efficiently prepared to hit the right targets.


September 13th, 2019