web 2.0 & the world of corporate translation

I just finished the second course for the Graham School translation certificate. It was not at all what I expected. But in a good way, I’ve decided.

The course was on translation business tools and opened my eyes to an entire world of corporate translation and localization strategies. Did you know, for example, that Boeing, in an effort to cut translation costs, devised their own form of simplified English, which they used for all of their international communications? I can’t remember the number, but it was some insanely small vocabulary that they forced their technical writers to use in all documentation. The strategy was questionably English-centric, but has really paid off in the long run, because now they can translate their many documents into all the different languages with much smaller margins of error and a much higher rates of consistency.

The real take-home point for me was: translation is becoming less about translation, as we know it, and more about 1) culling what we put IN to the “translation machine” (whether that’s a team of globally-based translators or computer aided translation) and 2) polishing what comes OUT of the “translation machine” (post-editing).

So now, I’m a little intrigued by this whole thing. Maybe I’ll have a stint in the world of corporate translation after I finish this stint in educational technology. Who knows.

What I do know, however, is that learning to collaborate online using Web2.0 collaboration tools is an incredibly valuable tool. If you haven’t already, make sure you:

  1. have your own Skype account
  2. have gmail and yahoo accounts for chatting, audio, video
  3. have participated in a yahoo group to get something done
  4. know how to share presentations with tools like slideshare and authorstream
  5. know how to create a blog or and understand simple HTML
  6. know how to coordinate schedules across time zones
  7. can craft good emails and online writing
  8. can present your ideas online with tools like wikis, google docs, zoho, etc.
  9. have joined a social network before
  10. can quickly learn and use web2.0 tools (2/day would be a good start)

These might seem like simple things, but for all you people out there who have the time to do global collaboration work, I highly recommend it. These skills and experiences will put you far ahead of the pack when you finally enter the workforce.

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