Artificial intelligence is transforming machine translation (MT). Deep learning and neural networks have evolved into a new model – neural machine translation (NMT) – that has made MT faster and more sophisticated. But the future of translation lies in combining this new technology with human translators. Machine translation with post-editing is a rapidly developing service, and it heralds a swath of new opportunities for companies with a global footprint.

What Is Machine Learning with Post-Editing?

In 2014, researchers introduced the concept of neural networks to machine translation. Rather than memorize “windows” of words in sentences as previous models had done, neural networks look for the whole context of a particular translation. As a result, NMT produces a higher-quality translation in a shorter amount of time. What’s more, it continues to “learn” and improve.

Still, the technology has limitations. Though it’s suitable on its own for some use cases – such as getting the “gist” of an email message – it falls short when greater precision is required. That’s why machine translation with post-editing is one of the fastest growing services in the translation industry. The process is simple. Content is initially translated using NMT. Then, a skilled human translator reviews the output and edits for clarity and precision. The result is a better-quality translation – in less time.

This process is also highly efficient, an important consideration for businesses that need to translate larger volumes of content. For instance, as the internet has expanded access to a more global customer base, marketing teams must make social media and digital advertising content available in local languages. This is not an insubstantial task, especially as six in 10 international marketers don’t have support in all the local markets in which they operate, according to data from eMarketer.

However, machine translation with post-editing streamlines and simplifies translation projects. This process allows organizations to:

  • Handle large volumes of content. Many translation projects involve hundreds or even thousands of documents or pages. Examples include website pages, product support documents, human resource materials, and litigation documents used in the discovery process.
  • Accelerate turnaround time. Using NMT for the initial translation means human translators can focus on smaller sections of content, enabling them to deliver a high-quality translation in much less time than if they’d started the entire project from scratch.
  • Achieve greater precision. Though it is fast, NMT has its limitations. While it produces significantly better translations than statistical machine translation, it isn’t yet adequate for specialized text. However, when human translators conduct post-editing on machine-translated output, they can clean it up faster while ensuring creative and nuanced text is precisely translated.
  • Improve efficiency. By providing a foundational translation from which to start, NMT helps human translators be more productive. For instance, one longtime translator estimated that a good quality machine translation improves his productivity by 30% to 40%.

Working with Machine Translation with Post-Editing.

When evaluating a project for machine translation with post-editing, be sure to consider the following.

  • Languages. Because of the large amount of training data needed for NMT, the technology serves some languages better than others. For example, English, Spanish, and Chinese are more widely spoken and thus will require less post-editing and time to produce. Other languages will require a native speaker to produce a higher quality translation, extending the post-editing time.
  • Specialized text. Machine translation with post-editing will become more common for standard translations, but specialized content will still need the involvement of human experts. One of the limitations of neural machine translation is domain adaptation. The technology performs best in general use cases, but it’s not quite ready for specialized use cases, such as patents or healthcare.
  • Sector expertise. In order to ensure the subject matter is accurately represented and is compliant with government regulations, you need sector expertise. Certain disciplines such as life sciences and manufacturing have their own shorthand and terminology. Precise translation of this type of content is more difficult for artificial intelligence to achieve, making post-editing a critical step in the process. The American Translators Association recommends working with a translator who knows your subject inside and out.
  • High-stakes communications. What happens when more is at stake? Legal advisers can’t afford to misunderstand text as they determine how to proceed in a significant lawsuit. Products may not sell if the translation misses the cultural mark. Precision is essential in high-stakes communication, and the cost of errors can be high. For example, literal translations can lead to serious misunderstandings, especially in domains where words may have different meanings. A skilled linguist can ensure cultural accuracy.

When to Use Machine Translation with Post-Editing.

Machine translation services such as Google Translate are valuable for personal use or when “a sense of the content” is an adequate outcome. For example, Google Translate is ideal for tourists who want a quick translation of foreign-language signage at places they visit. Businesspeople conducting first-line research may value speed more, if they only need to get the gist of the news covered in an online article.

But for large scale projects that need to be completed quickly and accurately, machine learning combined with post-editing produces the best results. Artificial intelligence offers an efficient, cost-effective way to handle the large volume of content that businesses need to translate. However, human translators are better at capturing style, cultural nuances, and context than their machine counterparts.

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Two-thirds of companies say it’s challenging to be sensitive and adjust to local culture and communication styles, especially across multiple geographies, according to Globalization Partners. They can simplify the process by working with a translation partner that thoroughly understands these challenges.

The following checklist makes it easy to determine which content should be a priority for translation.

  1. Business-critical Documents
    • Mission and vision statement
  2. HR Materials
    • HR Manual
    • Employee benefits packages
    • HR forms
    • How to conduct a performance evaluation
  3. Internal Communication
    • Newsletters
    • Email messages
    • Corporate presentations
    • Employee handbooks
    • Company intranet
  4. Training Materials (scripts, training modules and quick reference guides)
    • HR training
    • Risk, regulatory and compliance
    • Organization leadership and development
    • Safety training
    • Anti-bribery/anti-corruption/ anti-trust
    • Workplace harassment
    • Cybersecurity training
  5. Ethics and Compliance Policies
    • Code of conduct
    • Regulatory compliance
    • Export compliance
    • Ethics hotline, posters & brochures
    • Procurement & supply chain
    • Ethics investigations
  6. Health and Safety
    • Safety data sheets
    • Manuals
    • Risk assessments
    • Occupational health and safety training
    • COVID-19 guidelines and reopening plans
  7. Salary and Payment Documentation
    • Compensation plans
    • Sales incentives

As you prepare to translate critical internal communications, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Define important terminology: Some words and phrases have different meanings in different languages, so they need to be clearly defined.
  • Account for local variations in languages: Regional dialects can have a big impact on a translation’s accuracy. Make sure you consider these nuances during the translation process.
  • Quality is key: Translations must be accurate, so a formal quality control process is necessary. Errors can result in misunderstandings and even injury.
  • Don’t forget revisions: It’s all too easy to translate a document once and then forget about it. If you revise the compensation or benefits package, be sure translated versions are revised too.

A reputable translation services vendor can work with you to ensure accurate translations of critical internal communications and help create a more inclusive, diverse environment across all locations.


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With operations spread across multiple countries and continents, it can be challenging for global companies to engage distant employees. Companies with a global workforce face many challenges when it comes to employee engagement. After all, communicating company news and policies in multiple languages can be complicated.

However, research shows diverse and inclusive company atmospheres deliver tangible benefits. According to Gartner, they accelerate innovation and improve the bottom line. Meanwhile, a recent survey by Globalization Partners found that embracing multilingualism helps organizations achieve better results overall.

At the same time, though, Globalization Partners discovered that three in 10 employees don’t feel a sense of inclusion or belonging in their organizations. Just as translation of marketing content helps companies connect more effectively with customers, translation of critical internal documents helps global businesses make all workers feel as if they’re a part of the same organization.

6 Reasons you Need to Translate Internal Communications

It may be tempting to simply declare English as your official company language. It can certainly be a faster and less complicated way to disseminate information. Yet, there are many reasons why global companies should, and in some cases must, translate internal communications.

  1. Foster Diversity and Inclusion: According to Gartner, 75% of organizations whose frontline decision-making teams reflect a diverse and inclusive environment exceed their financial targets. Translating critical documents ensures universal understanding of, and higher engagement with, your organization’s mission and vision.
  2. Promote Ethical Behavior: While no organization is immune from corruption or misconduct, global corporations are especially at risk. Almost half of companies have experienced economic crime and fraud, according to a 2018 PwC survey. In addition, problems are more likely to occur in subsidiaries or joint ventures far from headquarters, writes Mary Jo White, former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in Harvard Business Review. Leaders, more than compliance programs, set the tone for ethical behavior, White noted, underscoring the need to translate both messages and policies.
  3. Ensure Legal and Regulatory Compliance: In some countries and states, the law requires certain internal communications to appear in the employee’s primary language. The best way to avoid legal issues is to err on the side of caution and translate all important communications. For additional insight on the types of workplace language laws in various countries, the Association of Corporate Counsel covered a number of examples here.
  4. Attract and Retain Better Talent: Global organizations can’t be sure the best employee for a given role will be a native English speaker. When they fail to provide internal communications in a preferred language, employees are more likely to feel undervalued and misinformed. That makes them more inclined to look for a job somewhere else. Also, companies risk missing out on hiring future top performers if compensation and benefits materials aren’t available in local languages. Simply put, a person who can’t fully understand what comes with the job is less likely to accept it.
  5. Reduce the Risk of Misunderstanding: When companies provide materials in the staff’s preferred language, everyone is sure to understand the organization’s goals and expectations. When they know what to do and how to do it, employees are more productive.
  6. Improve Worker Safety: If employees can’t understand your safety procedures, they’re at much greater risk of on-site injury. Such incidents not only lead to downtime, but could result in lawsuits or possible legal penalties. While safety should be top of mind for all organizations, it’s especially important when employees are working in factories or operating machinery of any kind.

A reputable translation services vendor can work with you to ensure accurate translations of critical internal communications and help create a more inclusive, diverse environment across all locations.



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A Fortune 200 global manufacturer was transforming their Human Resources (HR) platform so that the workforce would be able to carry out activities previously handled by HR team members. The goal was to engage employees and their managers in making decisions swiftly, without requiring multiple levels of approvals. They determined this change would require translation of hundreds of documents into the eight languages most frequently spoken by 90% of their workforce.

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Colors can have a huge impact on the success of any communication, but they can also have positive or negative connotations depending on where you live and the culture in which you have been raised.

Below is a general list of colors and cultural symbolism you may want to consider when developing your global communications.


African: Good luck, anger
China: Good luck and celebration, joy, festive occasions
Hebrew: Sacrifice, sin
India: Purity
Japan: Anger, danger
South Africa: Mourning
Russia: Bolsheviks and communism
Eastern: Happiness and prosperity, worn by brides, purity
Western: Danger, love, passion, stop, anger
Middle East: Danger, evil
South American: Cruelty, success
Celtic: Death, afterlife


Korea: Trust
Eastern: Marriage, femininity
Western: Love, baby girls, Valentine’s day, feminine
Belgium: Baby boys
Japan: Spring, femininity, youth


China: Family, learning
Ireland: Religious color for Protestants
Hindu: Desire, courage
Japan: Warmth, energy, happiness, courage
Netherlands: Royalty, color of Dutch royal family
Western: Creativity, autumn, Halloween if with black
India: Purity, courage, sacrifice


China: Money
Japan: Money, heaven
Eastern: Wealth, strength
Western: Wealth


China: Royalty, nourishing, honor, respect
Egypt: Mourning
India: Merchants
Japan: Courage, grace, nobility, childish, gaiety, illness, religion
Eastern: For the dead, sacred, imperial
Western: Hazards, coward, weakness, hope, taxis, caution, joy, happiness, energy
Middle East: Happiness, prosperity


African: Religion, life, success
China: Exorcism, youth, growth
Ireland: Symbol of the country, religious-Catholics
Japan: Life, future, youth, energy
Eastern: Eternity, family, health, peace, prosperity
Western: Spring, go, money, Saint Patrick’s Day, safe, sour
Middle East: Fertility, strength
South American: Death


African: Peace, love
China: Immortality, strength, power
India: National sports color denoting secularism
Iran: Heaven and spirituality, mourning
Japan: Villainy
Eastern: Wealth, self-cultivation
Western: Depression, conservative, corporate, masculinity, calm, authority
Middle East: Protective
South American: Trouble


Japan: Decadence, God, insight, mystery, celebration, wisdom
Thailand: Mourning, widows
Eastern: Wealth
Western: Royalty, flamboyance, decadence, cruelty, beauty, modesty, mystery
South American: Mourning


China: Death, mourning, humility
India: Unhappiness
Japan: White carnations symbolizes death, mourning
Eastern: Funerals, helpful people, children, marriage, mourning, peace
Western: Brides, angels, good guys, hospitals, doctors, peace, purity, virtue
Middle East: Purity, mourning
South American: Peace


China: Color for young boys, evil
Japan: Evil, mystery
Thailand: Bad luck, evil, unhappiness
Eastern: Career, evil, knowledge, mourning
Western: Death, evil, bad guys, rebellion, Halloween with orange
Middle East: Mystery, evil, mourning
Africa: Maturity, masculinity
South American: Masculinity, mourning


Japan: Modesty, reliable
Eastern: Helpers, travel
Western: Boring, dull, sad, plain, respect


African: Truce
Japan: Intelligence
Western: Stylish, money
Western: Personal power, peace, truce, death


China: Earthy
Japan: Earth, durability, strength
Western: Earthy, dependable, wholesome, steadfast, health
Eastern: Earth, mourning
India: Mourning

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Solving a Law Firm’s Translation Challenge.

An AMLAW 100 Firm approached Translate.One with the need to translate 380,000 words from Spanish into English on a rush basis. The matter involved litigation related to a power company.

All documents were in PDF format, which were created from several different file types: PPT, Word, scanned documents with handwriting, and Excel. Even with the most advanced document conversion tools, most files could not be converted cleanly in order to leverage translation memory software or machine translation technology. Keeping in mind that the average word count capacity for a professional translator is 2,250 words per day, we had to quickly scale up production efforts to meet the client deadline of 25 days.

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Naming a new product or company, or coming up with the perfect tagline or logo is not easy. Even within your home market, you need to consider whether the proposed product name has any other meanings or particular associations that you may not have initially considered. This becomes an even greater challenge when it comes to marketing products internationally, as you contemplate the impact of the name in other places around the world and in other cultures.

Questions to consider are:

  • What is the meaning in other languages and countries?
  • Is it easy to pronounce?
  • Does it have any positive or negative cultural implications?
  • Do your color choices carry any specific connotations across the world?

Failure to take these questions into consideration could result in embarrassing blunders, costly corrective measures and even irreparable damage to your brand.

What are the pitfalls?

There have been numerous examples of embarrassing blunders such cases over the years, now infamous in translation and marketing lore. One of these involved the Rolls Royce company which planned on naming a new model “Silver Mist” until they realized that “mist” meant “dung” or “manure” in German. “Silver Dung” was not quite the impact they were looking for! Rolls Royce renamed the model “Silver Shadow.” A liquor producer was not quite so careful and ended up marketing their product in Germany as “Irischer Mist” or “Irish Dung” as it translated locally. Perhaps not quite the image they were looking for.

Why carry out a linguistic and cultural assessment?

So, how can you avoid such embarrassing mistakes and ensure a product name will be accepted around the world? While it is probably not possible to completely eliminate the risk, it can be drastically reduced by carrying out an impact assessment to analyze the linguistic and cultural connotations of the brand name in the target countries and regions where the product will be marketed. This will help to determine whether the brand name has any meaning in the main local languages, whether it is easy for people to pronounce and whether it has any positive, negative, or other associations through its meaning or its sound.

Which language for which country?

This can sometimes be more complex than you might think as more than one language is spoken in some countries. For example, India has two national official languages, Hindi and English. You might then think that an assessment of your product name in these two languages will be sufficient for the Indian market. However, this only scratches the surface of the complexity of language in India. While the central government uses Hindi and English for official purposes, there are actually an additional 22 languages which are official languages at the state level and about 30 languages spoken by over a million people each. In fact, less than half of all Indians speak Hindi. The official language of the state of Maharashtra, for instance, is not Hindi but Marathi. Any company looking at India as a potential market could not afford to neglect assessing the suitability of the brand name in the Marathi language as this is spoken in Mumbai (Bombay), the largest and most prosperous city in India – as well as its business and financial capital.
Is the same language applicable in all countries?

Another complication arises where a particular language has several regional variants spoken in different countries. This is the case for French, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish – and also English of course – which are all widely spoken in numerous countries around the world. You may think it is safe to market a product under an established American brand name across the English speaking world but the many varieties of English as spoken internationally may lead to some unintended results. The common “fanny pack” for instance is known as a “bum bag” in Great Britain where “fanny” has quite a different meaning than in American English (look it up if you don’t know what it means!).

Do Language and Culture Impact Slogans and Taglines?

Slogans and taglines often use informal language or slang, sometimes coupled with humor or double entendres. Any translation for these needs be done very carefully and sensitively, not only with regards to linguistic meaning, but also taking into account cultural perceptions and associations in the target country. Humor in particular can be very difficult to translate and a bad translation may result at best in confusion to the audience and at worst a major gaffe. One such case took place when the KFC slogan “Finger Lickin’ Good” was translated into Chinese as “Eat Your Fingers Off” in the local lingo.

Do Colors Have Implications?

A single color can have many different meanings in different cultures. In Asia red represents blood, passion, self-sacrifice and strength, while in the US it is a color of warning, safety rescue, hot and spicy. There are traditional meanings associated with colors in various cultures, like those linked to birth, weddings, funerals or even the color of the mailbox.


The bottom line is that companies need to tread carefully when extending their reach internationally, do their homework and seek expert advice on the suitability of their plans before taking the plunge.

For further information or to make sure your brand makes a good impression, contact us at: 412.261.1101 or contact us.

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It is great that you are planning to translate your website into one or more languages to better communicate with your customers and stakeholders. As you do this, it is worth giving some thought to how you will reference those additional languages for your non-English speaking visitors. It all starts with the language dropdown menu.

Here are four common ways the dropdown is handled – and a fifth, which is the only one you should consider!

    1. Incorrect: Using “Select region and language” written in English – to indicate the website is available in other languages. Stating you are a global organization committed to people and facilities around the world, then only using English to ask visitors to select a region and language seems contradictory. Frustrating a user is a sure way to deter them from doing business with your company. There are many creative ways to communicate visually to direct users on where and what to do.

  1. Incorrect: Using flags for the language dropdown menu. Some languages are spoken in several countries. There is no unifying flag that can be used without creating confusion, being offensive, or politically incorrect to one or more of the target countries. Some countries speak several languages. The Swiss flag may represent neutrality, but in Switzerland, there are four national languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh. You either would need to select one language to be represented by that flag, or have an additional dropdown menu for the language choice. It gets complicated.

    Exception: If your company only conducts business in one particular country (and only in one language spoken in that country).

    By Tschubby,

  2. Incorrect: Using the name of a country for the language dropdown. Again, this could be inaccurate and you may inadvertently insult your audience in one country and create the same issues as using a flag.

    Exception: If, however, you directly sell a product in a particular country like France and do not offer shipments to Madagascar, Rwanda or any of the other 29 countries where French is the official language, then the country name may be used.

  3. Incorrect: Using the name of the language or country with its English spelling in the dropdown menu. “Germany” is the English spelling of the country name “Deutschland.” If you took the time to translate the content, be sure to translate the name of the language and/or country so visitors can easily find the translation.

    Notes: Be sure it is correct. Other languages do not follow the same capitalization rules for language names. Additionally, if you have your site translated into two versions of a language, be sure to list both along with the version: e.g., español (España) and español (México).

So what is the best approach?

The simple solution is to have a globe of the world with no text at all. From there you can have your dropdown menu, map with regions to hover over, or any other visual or information. If your website is translated into just one language, then you can list just the name of that language, translated (“français” rather than “French”), in the upper right hand corner.

Take a quiz on what you learned:

  1. Which is displayed correctly?

  2. Which is displayed correctly?


    Answers:  1-A, 2-B

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we collect, interpret and analyze data and, in the process, the way we conduct business. This includes the global translation industry. Listen to the Podcast: Jim Moore on Tech Vibe. With increasing global access to technology, there has never been more content in the world. Recent research estimates that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. Combined with globalization and international eCommerce, this means businesses have a surplus of content—marketing materials, product descriptions and internal documents—that need to be translated. Advances in machine translation (MT) via artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning offer the potential for an efficient, cost-effective solution to this growing need. In the past MT was primarily a culling tool to get the “gist” of meaning from a large volume of documents, typically part of the discovery process in large cross border litigation. Relevant documents would then be professionally translated “from scratch” by humans. Until recently there was little value for MT in a corporate environment where you often see the translation of English source documents into upwards of 40 languages for product documentation, training or sales and marketing collateral. Now, with the improved output from “smart machines”, we are starting to see MT used for the initial translation with the human professionals taking on the role of “post MT” editors. These developments portend big changes both for companies that buy translation services and for language service providers (LSPs). For the former, it offers the potential for translating a higher volume of content faster and for less money. For the LSPs it means transforming their database of professional translators into professional “post editors” which is a much different skill set. And then there is the role of MT engines from industry giants like Google and Microsoft. In what circumstances it is OK to use a free, public source translation machine? What is the impact on the protection of confidential information? What are the alternatives to Google Translate?
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Trying to be creative when writing copy that will also need to be translated? When in doubt, leave it out. We often receive English content that cannot be easily rendered in other languages. For example, the copy may contain phrasing or imagery that, even when translated, may not make sense in another culture. Not all languages use the same manner of speaking. Below are some examples of creative content that can be challenging:
  • Catch phrases, colloquialisms, proverbs or idioms: “A piece of cake,” when translated literally, may make the reader hungry, but will not necessarily indicate that something is easy. The linguist will need to find an equivalent idiom or may need to come up with a less-creative phrase to express the same intent.
  • Slang or jargon: Jargon could be terms that are specific to a particular industry, which would need input from a local speaker in that industry or may be better off to leave in English. Slang words may not have the same meaning in another culture, and could be misunderstood.
  • Rhyming words: While words may rhyme in English, and might also rhyme in a particular language, this may not be the case in all languages. The translated text may not have the same or desired impact.
  • Sports analogies: It is best to stay away from sports analogies unless you are certain the sport is popular in a particular region. A marketing brochure cleverly based around baseball terminology—“rounding home,” “hitting a home run,” etc.—would be nearly impossible to translate for audiences in Europe, where soccer is the most popular sport. To have the same impact, the whole brochure should be rewritten using soccer metaphors.
  • Company taglines: These are often left in English. However, some companies may choose to transcreate equally impactful local taglines, which are then used consistently in the target languages.
  • Abbreviations and acronyms: Most acronyms, when literally translated, no longer spell out the same word in other languages. Character-based languages, like Chinese, do not use acronyms at all. When using creative acronyms, decide whether you want to keep the acronym in English (explaining the meaning in the translation) or develop an equally impactful acronym or term in the target language.
  • Imagery and colors: Besides the text, a native speaker of the target country should review any visual element. Certain animals or colors may be offensive in some cultures. Owls may indicate wisdom in the United States, but in Italy an owl sighting is a vision of the spirits of the dead. Some countries negatively view imagery with insects, because they are associated with disease. The color red can signify good luck in China, and danger and evil in the Middle East.
In a standard translation process, the translators are charged with translating the existing text accurately. They cannot take liberties and rewrite a client’s copy or stray from what is written in the source. For very creative projects, we may recommend that you rewrite the source to make it easier to translate. Or we may recommend transcreation, a blend of translation and creative writing. Translators and copywriters work from a creative brief, ensuring that nuances, idioms and phrasing will resonate with the intended audience in each locale. If you know that your messaging will eventually be translated, be sure to write it in a manner that that someone can understand anywhere in the world. Feel free to consult us early in the process. At Trustpoint.One, we work with our clients and provide tips along the way to help make the copy effective in any language after it is translated. We also review layout, photos, illustrations and color usage, and inform clients of issues that may arise so that the project can run smoothly from the beginning. For further information, to obtain a quote or to have a free analysis of your material, contact us today: 412‑261‑1101 or
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