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multilingual transcription helping fight climate change

Multilingual Transcription: Helping Fight Climate Change

It came out of the blue. A crack in the ice and then a surge of water rushing at 400m3 per second down the slopes of the high Andes towards the remote village of Keara in Bolivia. The sudden flood swept away crops, farm animals and pets, but spared the human population on the whole. The surge also destroyed the only road, leaving survivors cut off for several months. But what caused this unexpected disaster?

Helping to Prevent Disaster

Known as the Apolobamba glacial outburst flood of 2009, it was the direct result of climate change. As glaciers in the Bolivian Andes recede (they have shrunk by 43% since the 1980s), meltwater forms lakes on loose piles of sediment that can prove unstable. If a rock or ice avalanche disturbs the lake waters, deadly floods can kill those living in the valleys below. Perhaps surprisingly, multilingual transcription can be an effective tool in helping prevent such climate disasters. Read more

audiovisual heritage

How Transcription and Translation Preserves Our Audiovisual Heritage

Did you know that 27 October was the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage?  The goal of this observance is to “raise general awareness of the need to preserve and safeguard important audiovisual material for future generations.” “Audiovisual heritage” can include anything from movies to TV to radio broadcasts. UNESCO calls these “the primary records of the history of the 20th and 21st centuries.” However, these records are more fragile in some ways than the journals, letters and newspaper articles of years past. For example, UNESCO notes that “sound recordings and moving images can be deliberately destroyed or irretrievably lost as a result of neglect, decay and technological obsolescence.”

Around the world, digital archivists look for strategies to preserve these pieces of our shared history. Much of the work involved is technical- trying to find ways to keep original media intact and accessible or copying it into a digital format. However, translators and transcriptionists also have a crucial role to play in preserving these materials.

Transcribing Audio

Transcription is one way to preserve the content of an audiovisual resource.  Digital transcriptions also have the advantage of being easily searchable. However, transcriptions are no substitute for the original content. Nor is transcription a replacement for proper storage and digitisation. The magic of actually hearing voices and seeing images from the past is irreplaceable.

That said, transcription is still an essential part of the preservation process. For example, the US nonprofit organisation LYRASIS recommends that all recordings be transcribed and indexed, with multiple copies of the transcription saved in different formats.

Translating Content for Wider Distribution

Translation has always played a vital role in the preservation of knowledge. For example, Arabic translators helped preserve the work of ancient Greek philosophers when Europe was stuck in the Dark Ages. Likewise, translating audiovisual content can help ensure its survival. Even more important, translation makes the content understandable to a wider audience. As UNESCO notes in its publication on Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles, “preservation is never an end in itself: without the objective of access it has no point.”

UNESCO also notes that there’s an opportunity for translators to help make both audiovisual resources and media scholarship available worldwide:

[T]his wealth of knowledge is not equally available to all. To the extent that much of it is written in English, non-English-speaking professionals are at a disadvantage.

Clearly, translation has an important role to play in making this knowledge more accessible to everyone. Read more

Salty Language from the Dalai Lama?

Pop quiz time: Which of the following statements is NOT an accurate quote from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama:

  1. “Love is the absence of judgement.”
  2. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
  3. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
  4. “Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.”
  5. “Just F@!# it!”

If you selected quote number five, you win. Give yourself a cookie!

However, students at Brown University of Rhode Island who rely on closed captioning might have come away with a different impression of the spiritual leader, after an error in transcription for his speech there last week. According to the Brown Daily Herald, after delivering a speech about the importance of peace and breaking the cycle of violence, the Dalai Lama “turned to humour again in his conclusion, urging the audience to spend their time thinking and discussing — or, if they had been unaffected by his words, “just forget.”

Unfortunately, perhaps due to his accent, the person transcribing the speech misheard that last bit, typing  it instead as “just f@#! it.”

Obviously, when transcribing videos for closed-captioning, it’s important to pay close attention to what you’re hearing. especially when the speaker has an accent or speaks another language. While amusing, this incident also underscores the importance of using a reputable company for captioning and carefully proofreading transcriptions before publishing them.

Of course, this was a live video, so there wasn’t a chance to proofread. And we should spare some sympathy for the transcriber, as apparently he’s not the only one who misheard. According to NBCNews:

“Some in the audience also believed the Dalai Lama, who has a strong accent, had used a profane phrase. Questions have arisen previously over the same comment in other venues.”

Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by *christopher*

transcription services for the vulnerable

The Vital Ways Transcription Services Help Improve the Lives of the World’s Most Vulnerable People

Headlines around the world have been dominated by the humanitarian crisis provoked by the sheer numbers of refugees fleeing war and conflict in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

As governments and NGOs try to work together to manage the situation at every stage, rapid, accurate and reliable transcription services enable authorities to share information gathered, collect information about the situation on the ground, and deliver international aid as effectively as possible.

Whether this is achieved by transcription of local investigations, through transcribed video or voice interviews, or by sharing transcribed minutes of meetings or conferences, accurate, reliable and secure transcription helps governments to make informed decisions that positively impact the lives of refugees.

Reliable multilingual transcription is particularly valuable, as it enables government departments and NGOs to work in partnership internationally, allowing them to understand the experiences of refugees and aid workers. Transcribed materials such as videos and interview notes can be vital to effectively train staff to meet the emotional, cultural and material needs of refugees. At the same time, these valuable resources help governments and NGOs to communicate the reality of the situation to a much wider audience, gaining greater public support. Read more

How secure transcription will help post brexit

How Secure Transcription Will Help Shape Post-Brexit Britain

One of the biggest challenges for the British government and its departments in the months and years following the triggering of Article 50 will be the negotiation of an independent trade agreement.  The goal for this agreement will be to enable the UK to prosper and grow outside the EU. Whatever agreement is reached will shape the economic and political landscape of the UK for at least a generation. A clear negotiation strategy will be key to the success of any talks, which is where secure transcription comes in. Read more

Audio Transcribers at MK Job Show

K International at the MK Job Show

We are recruiting and training a team of Audio Transcribers to join our busy transcription operation. You can come and talk to our team on stand 128 at the MK Job Show on Friday 27th and Saturday the 28th of January in thecentre:mk. We would love to meet interested candidates and we’ll have experts on hand to provide all the information you need about our free audio transcription training opportunities.  Read more