Google Translate adds handwriting input for 45 languages

From Google Translate Blog, 24/07/2013

Last year we brought handwriting input to Google Translate for Android. Earlier this year, we updated Google Input Tools on desktop by adding new virtual keyboards, input method editors, and transliteration input tools. Today, we take our input tools one step further, by bringing handwriting input to the Google Translate homepage.
Handwriting input lets you translate a written expression, even if you don’t know how to type the characters. For example, suppose you see the Chinese expression “饺子” and want to know its meaning in English, but have no idea how to type these characters. Using the new handwriting input tool, you can simply draw these characters on your screen and instantly see the translation.

Once you have chosen your input language, you will see the input tools icon at the bottom of the text area. Click the input tools icon to switch to handwriting in the drop-down menu. You can then begin drawing your text on the main panel of the handwriting tool. You can draw multiple characters at once.

We currently have handwriting support for 45 languages, including Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Handwriting input is also available in the Google Input Tools Chrome extension. Other text input tools in Translate include virtual keyboards, input method editors, and transliteration. They are also available in other Google products, including Gmail, Drive, Chrome, and Android.” (…)

Source: Google Translate blog

Social Media Marketing for translators: a must or a should? – replay now available

SocialMediaThe video replay of my last webinar “Social Media marketing 2012 for translators – a must or a should?” conducted with ProZ.com is now available!
If you attended the live webinar, you have free unlimited access. If you did not attend, you can purchase access to the video.
Click here to view the on-demand replay page. Note that you need to have a ProZ.com account (member or non-member) to access the video.

Some feedback from attendees:

“Excellent webinar, highly recommendable” – Carolyn Gelsomino

“The webinar was really interesting and helpful.” -Jana Novomeska


View a list of all past and future webinars and training sessions from the GxP team (with links to replays when available) here.

Social SEO basics for freelance translators: replay now available

The video replay of my webinar “Social SEO basics for translators” is now available online!
If you attended the live webinar, you have free unlimited access. If you did not attend, you can purchase access to the video.
Click here to view the on-demand replay page. Note that you need to have a ProZ.com account (member or non-member) to access the contents.

Some feedback from attendees:

“It was very interesting. Anne explained to us how important it is to know more about keywords, traffic, activity, and backlinks. SEO is a very powerful instrument of marketing – if you know how to use it… Fascinating and full of hands-on advice.” – Dr. Tilmann Kleinau

“Excellent webinar, highly recommendable” – Carolyn Gelsomino

“The webinar was really interesting and helpful.” -Jana Novomeska


View a list of all past and future webinars and training sessions from the GxP team (with links to replays when available) here.

Translators: 5 tips to make your Google+ Page a bit more SEO-friendly

Here are five basic tips that are easy to implement to help make your G+ Profile or Business Page more search engine-friendly.

1 . Use keywords

Keywords are king when it comes to SEO. You’ll need to identify or decide what yours are: think about what keywords a potential client would use to search for you and find you. An SEO-friendly profile is filled with your keywords (translator/interpreter/localizer, languages, specialty, etc.). Basically, the more you repeat a keyword, the higher your search engine ranking. Remember that the goal is to be found in a Google search, that is to say, being listed at least on page 1 of the search, preferably among the top three results, so be sure to enter all your keywords in your Google+ profile. So, what are your keywords? Well, first of all, everything that sets you apart from the competition is one. Each translator is unique – you are not just a “freelance translator”: your languages, background, field of expertise, specialty, etc. define you and are keywords. Clients rarely do a Google Search “freelance translator”, but they search “English to Italian legal translator”, for example. The language pair and the specialty are already two keywords. Then of course, any concept, type of document, etc. linked to your specialty field should be in there as well. Let’s stick with the previous example. Let’s say the same client may actually need the translation of a text on labor rights (which is exactly one of your top domains) and refine his search by entering “English to Italian translator specialized in labor rights”. How will he ever find you if haven’t entered anywhere in your online profiles and pages that you actually specialize in labor rights and laws? So, take the time to imagine as many potential Google searches as possible that should lead to you and that can be performed; these are your keywords.

2. Make sure your Profile/Page is public

Obvious, right? If you want to use Google+ to help boost your Google ranking, then your page needs to be public, otherwise it won’t work. You can check and edit this setting under “Profile discovery”.

3. Use meta description fields

These are your best friends when it comes to boosting your SEO, so use them! Enter your main keywords (ex. “translator”, “interpreter” language pairs, specialty fields). Again, think about which keywords a potential client would type into a Google Search to find you and use these keywords.

4. Use as many links as possible

Each link directing visitors to your website (or ProZ.com profile for example) is a so-called backlink. These are little helpers for optimizing your website’s ranking. To simplify to the extreme: the more backlinks a given page or website has, the better it is. The “Introduction” field in the Google+ profile updater is prime real estate for both keywords and backlinks, so do not hesitate to integrate links in your text (for example : “Click here to see clients’ feedback” and integrate a link to your website’s clients referrals page, and so on) . Within your “Introduction” field, you can put as many links to different pages of your website as you want – backlinks.

5. Make (relevant) posts public

Google+ has an awesome feature: Circles. They allow you to mix it up completely in terms of contacts in your one account (business, personal and complete strangers) and choose precisely and extremely easily who sees what, plus the option of making posts “Public” – public posts being indexed by Google, obviously, which is not the case with “Limited” posts (that is, any other posts visible to only one or more of your Circles – if you make a post visible to your G+ business contacts Circle, only people in that Circle can see it and the post is marked as “Limited” and is by no means public and thus not indexed by Google). This means that you have to pay attention to the visibility audience of each new piece of content you’re posting, and if material destined for public consumption, make sure to mark it as “Public”. By “public material”, I mean any content that you can use for marketing and online reputation purposes: if you’re a financial translator and have written an article for a financial magazine for example, this is definitely something you’d want potential clients to see. The same applies to content you’re sharing. If you’re specialized in, for example, automotive, any piece of news from the automotive industry that you share on your G+ should be public: a Google search will associate your name with these contents, which is precisely what you want – to come across as an expert in your specialty field.

New series of webinars – autumn 2012

I’m happy to announce the freshly baked new webinars for translators for this upcoming second semester of 2012!

October 24th, 2012: Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is now the most powerful ally of freelance businesses in general – it is an amazing shop-window. But how to sell yourself there? How to make that shop-window attractive so that potential clients and partners look at it and open the door to the shop? Your LinkedIn profile is where it all begins and in the web 2.0 era where everything goes so quickly online, you only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention. Get some keys in this webinar to boost your LinkedIn profile and mak it one of your best online shop-windows!

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 7th, 2012: Social SEO basics for translators

In the jungle of Web marketing today, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become a must when doing business via the Internet. SEO is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” – or un-paid, search results”. In other words, as a freelancer, how can you make your potential clients find you before they find your competition on a Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. search? By making sure to rank among top results in given searches.
Social SEO is the art of using social platforms and social media to help boosting your Google ranking. Without entering into too technical considerations (we are not all Web developers!), this webinar will cover the basics of social SEO for freelancers.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 21, 2012: Social Media Marketing for translators 2012: a must or a should?

An overview of the state of Social Media Marketing in 2012 in / for the translation industry and keys for attendees to take a better enlightened business decision: investing in Social media Marketing or not.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


Remember that on-demand replays of some of my previous training courses for translators are still available as follows:

Social Media Marketing for translators: Do’s and Don’ts
view course feedback
watch video

Why you should seriously consider Google+ and Facebook marketing
view course feedback
watch video

Boost your use of Twitter
view course feedback
watch video

LinkedIn good practices for translators
view course feedback

watch video

Workshop: Harness Social Media Marketing for your business (160 minutes)
view course feedback
watch video

Barcelona conference presentation – Social Media Marketing for translators : why, what, how…

Last weekend I attended the ProZ.com International Conference 2012 in Barcelona. It was really fantastic seeing old friends again and making new ones, and to finally have a chance to see some of the wonders the city of Barcelona has to offer.

The conference was also the opportunity to give my presentation on social media marketing and online reputation – 1 hour is terribly short to cover the topic, but some basics were thrown at the audience and hopefully all attendees got something to chew on. The purpose, as outlined in the introduction, is not to make anyone a Social Media expert (and in an hour, that’s impossible), but rather to help translators in the decision-making of investing in that marketing strategy – or not – by giving them as many elements, pros and cons as possible to help them decide whether it’s something their own business could use/need  – and of course, for those who decide it may be something for them, make them curious to find out more and take the next step.

The presentation felt relaxed and was quite interactive. I don’t like to push the Q/A at the very end, attendees can just interrupt me if they want to rebounce on something I just said. IMO it is simply more comfortable and informal that way. Hopefully people feel this as well, because it not only creates a relaxed atmosphere, but it also makes the presentation more lively and ultimately (hopefully) fun. And well, egoistically, I have to admit it’s much more fun for me as  it makes each presentation different from the previous one and the audience has often really interesting, original and unexpected questions, comments or experiences to share. So, no routine. As always, I wish it could have gone on for another 3 hours – and hope attendees do as well!  ;)

A really big thank you to all of you for our attention and patience, I hope you all left the room with a clearer idea of this wide Internet marketing world and some (more) elements at hands to make your decision – if that’s the case, then I did the job in Barcelona (if that’s not the case, feel free to contact me via e-mail and shout at me ;))

An interesting thing happened during the session and in the plane back from Barcelona – or at least I consider those thoughts interesting. It occured to me that, compared to a year ago, I was focusing less on actual Social Media and always more on SEO, online reputation / online presence – that was the case at the Germersheim University a few weeks ago when I gave that same presentation and, to an extent, at the conference in Warsaw in April. This is definitely material for a future article (and sooner than later), but for the past 3-4 months, it seems social networks themselves are loosing the importance they had a year ago in online marketing – they are still important, no questioning that, but SEO and online image in general seem to grow more and more important. Social sites actually always were SEO and online reputation tools but this was maybe not always clear, or hidden behind the WOW factor of social sites. I have this feeling that perspectives are changing – client don’t ask “How can I be on Facebook for my business?” anymore because it’s Facebook and it’s hype. They ask today “Why would I be on Facebook for my business?”.

Interesting shift in perspectives here – but again, this is material for a future article.

In the meantime a big thank you to Patricia for the organization of this great conference, and a big thank you to all – it was simply fantastic being there with all of you. See you next year at the Porto 2013 Conference!

Translation Tools Could Save Less-Used Languages

Tom Simonite – Wednesday, June 6, 2012, Technology Review (published by MIT)

Languages that aren’t used online risk being left behind. New translation technology from Google and Microsoft could help them catch up.

Sometimes you may feel like there’s nothing worth reading on the Web, but at least there’s plenty of material you can read and understand. Millions of people around the world, in contrast, speak languages that are still barely represented online, despite widespread Internet access and improving translation technology.

Web giants Microsoft and Google are trying to change that with new translation technology aimed at languages that are being left behind—or perhaps even being actively killed off—by the Web. Although both companies have worked on translation technology for years, they have, until now, focused on such major languages of international trade as English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Microsoft and Google’s existing translation tools, which are free, are a triumph of big data. Instead of learning as a human translator would, by studying the rules of different languages, a translation tool’s algorithms learn how to translate one language into another by statistically comparing thousands or millions of online documents that have been translated by humans.

The two companies have both departed from that formula slightly to serve less popular languages. Google was able to recently launch experimental “alpha” support for a collection of five Indian languages (Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu) by giving its software some direct lessons in grammar, while Microsoft has released a service that allows a community to build a translation system for its own language by supplying its own source material.

Google first realized it needed to give its system a grammar lesson when trying to polish its Japanese translations, says Ashish Venugopal, a research scientist working on Google’s translation software. “We were producing sentences with the verb in the middle, but in Japanese, it needs to go at the end,” Venugopal says. The problem stemmed from the system being largely blind to grammar. The fix that the Google team came up with—adding some understanding of grammar—enabled the launch of the five Indic languages, all used by millions on the subcontinent but largely missing from the Web.

Google’s system was trained in grammar by giving it a large collection of sentences in which the grammatical parts had been labeled—more instruction than Google’s translation algorithms typically receive.

Venugopal says that, so far, the system can’t handle the underserved languages as well as Google’s existing translation technology can handle more established languages, such as French and German. But, he says, offering any support at all is important for languages that are relatively rare online. “It’s an important part of our mission to make those other languages available on the Web,” he says. “We don’t want people to have to decide whether to publish their blog in their own language or in English. We want to help the world read your blog.”

Microsoft is also interested in helping languages not in common use online, to prevent those languages from being sidelined and falling from use, says Kristin Tolle, a director at Microsoft Research. Her team recently launched a website that helps anyone to create their own translation software, called Translation Hub. It is intended for communities that wish to ensure their language is used online.

Using Translation Hub involves creating an account and then uploading source materials in the two languages to be translated between. Microsoft’s machine-learning algorithms use that material and can then attempt to translate any text written in the new language. Microsoft piloted that technology in collaboration with leaders of Fresno, California’s large Hmong community, for whose language a machine translation system does not exist.

“Allowing anyone to create their own translation model can help communities save their languages,” says Kristin Tolle, a director at Microsoft Research. Machine translation systems have been developed for roughly 100 of the world’s 7,000 languages, says Tolle.

“There is a lot of truth to what Microsoft is saying,” says Greg Anderson, director of nonprofit Living Tongues, which documents, researches, and tries to support disappearing languages. “Today’s playing field involves a digital online presence whether you are community or a company—if you don’t have a Web presence, you don’t exist, on some level.” Anderson says that sidelined languages making a comeback are usually those from communities that have embraced online life using their language.

Margaret Noori, a lecturer at University of Michigan who works to preserve the Anishinaabemowin or Ojibwe, a native American language, agrees, but adds that preserving a language involves more than the Web. “There is a reason to be online in today’s world, but it absolutely must be balanced by songs sung only aloud and ceremonies never recorded.”

Microsoft’s Translation Hub is also aimed at enabling the translation of specialist technical terms or jargon, which general purpose online translation tools do not handle well. Nonprofits could, for example, use it to translate materials on agricultural techniques, says Tolle, and the technology can also be useful to companies that wish to speed up translation of instruction manuals or other material.

“Companies often want to have their data available to them privately and retain their data—not to provide it to someone else that will train a translation system,” she says. Volvo and Mercedes have expressed an interest in testing Microsoft’s Translation Hub, says Tolle.

Tom Simonite – Wednesday, June 6, 2012,
Source:  Technology Review (published by MIT)