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Today’s world of Braille Language Communication and How to Access It

Since 1985, American Language Services has provided outstanding Braille translators and transcriptionists worldwide. Braille is a unique and important international language. It is vital to understand the general nature and specific idiosyncrasies of Braille. Most people would be surprised to know that Braille didn’t start as a language for the blind, nor—in fact—did it originate with its namesake. Louis Braille was blinded after an infection took hold of his eye. He was sent to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, where in 1821 he used his creativity to find easier and quicker ways for blind people to read and write through touch. He built on the ideas of Charles Barbier de la Serre, who was the first to attempt such a system, not as a means of communication for the blind but to try to create an unbreakable secret code for the military. The sighted soldiers who tried to learn his method found it too difficult to learn, but Louis worked with Barbier’s basic ideas and simplified it by using a method of six dots arranged in a cell. This allowed the human finger to “read” a cell without having to move the finger around. Unfortunately, Louis Braille’s system was not brought into wide use until after his death.

Today, in virtually every language around the world, Braille is the standard form used to read and write by the blind. Braille transcription is a unique process done simply by substituting the equivalent Braille Character for its printed equivalent. Different Braille codes are used for different things like mathematics and music, however, and many Braille characters have different meanings based on their context.

American Language Services ® (AML-Global) understands the importance of working in the Braille language. Recently we’ve completed key Braille jobs for Anthem Blue Cross, providing several medical forms for their Blind members. For Card Inc, a coordinator of agencies for disaster relief, we completed Braille assignments in Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese. An assignment in Los Angeles for Clark Construction Company involved translating English into Braille for signage and instruction materials. Our accuracy and expertise with instructional materials also led to a contract for the Orange Unified School District, City of Orange, CA for whom we completed a high school level Algebra textbook.

For over a quarter of a century, American Language Services ® has worked with the Braille language as well as hundreds of others from around the world. We offer comprehensive language services 24 hours, 7 days a week worldwide by providing Braille translation and transcriptions services along with hundreds of other languages and dialects. Our linguists are native speakers and writers who are screened, credentialed, certified, field tested and experienced in a number of specific industry settings.

CART “Translation”: A Common Misnomer

CART Service provides instantaneous translation of what is being said into visual print display so that it can be read (instead of heard). CART is also referred to as realtime captioning. CART Service is one means of communication access for deaf or hard of hearing individuals who read English fluently.

There has been some controversy over the accuracy of the term CART. Although CART is acknowledged as an acronym for “Communication Access Realtime Translation”, there is no actual translation included within the service. Skilled linguists transcribe the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and realtime software. The text appears on a computer monitor or other display. When spoken language is converted into written text, the service is called transcription. Translation is a service in which written text in one language is then converted into written text in another language.

Although Communication Access Realtime Translation may be a misnomer, the benefit of CART services for the hearing disabled community is undeniable. The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically recognized CART as an assistive technology which affords “effective communication access.” Communication access aptly describes a CART provider’s role, distinguishing CART from (for example) traditional stenographic reporting in a courtroom setting. A CART provider is sensitive to the varying needs of consumers and has training in conveying a speaker’s message, complete with environmental cues.

Onsite CART can be provided for meetings, classes, training sessions and events and requires the CART writer to travel to the event’s location. In this increasingly interconnected age, CART is now being provided remotely via the Internet or a telephone connection. Remote CART requires the CART writer to be in a remote or off-site location. The individuals requiring the CART services will only need a computer with Internet connection in the location of the event so that the text can be streamed directly to that computer. The delay time is generally less than 3 seconds.

The versatility of CART has proven to be very successful in a variety of settings. CART services can be used one-on-one or in groups of any size. CART equipment is easy to set up and easy to use for both the writers and the participants. American Language Services not only provides top transcription talent, but also rents CART equipment on a per-event or longer basis. The popularity of CART has grown at an exponential rate in the past several years and is one of the only services available today that allows those with hearing disabilities to be 100% involved and an active participant of an event through live captioning and technology.

American Language Services’ CART Services can be provided for meetings, classes, training sessions and events that require the CART writer to travel to the event’s location. This can include all manner of transactions, such as corporate training, conference calls/Video Conferencing, web conferences & seminars. Public events as diverse as government meetings, retirement communities, religious services, ceremonies, and funeral services have called on CART transcription. In the legal arena, hearings, courtroom appearances, depositions, or meetings at lawyer or public notary offices may require CART services. Medical professionals may seek help communicating information about doctor appointments, rehabilitation centers, and counseling. CART applications in entertainment and the arts include theater, cultural events and concerts.

Although many factors come into play with dealing with transcription projects, there is one thing that remains constant. Transcriptions should be done by experienced, professional transcriptionists with the proper and necessary equipment to ensure the best quality transcription service possible. We at American Language Services have provided just that for over 26 years. AML-Global is happy to assist you with your CART needs. Please contact us at the numbers listed below for more information or to schedule your next event.

Different Formats of Written Languages

One of the oddities of human language is the number of ways that words can be written down around the world. It’s well known to most people that some languages, like Chinese and Japanese, can be written right to left, and sometimes even top to bottom vertically, but the variety goes much deeper than that. Other major world languages were originally written in various directions but eventually settled on one direction. Ancient Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and the oldest Latin could be written in both directions. Both Arabic and Hebrew, and the non-Semitic languages using the Arabic or the Hebrew alphabet, such as Farsi and Yiddish, are written from right to left (except for their numbers!).

Until the 1980s Korean was usually written from right to left in vertical columns. Since then writing from left to right in horizontal lines has become popular, and today the majority of texts are written horizontally. Japanese can be written from right to left in vertical columns or left to right in horizontal lines. Horizontal writing was first used during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) in Western language dictionaries of Japanese. Today both orientations are used.

Chinese can be written from right to left in vertical columns, left to right in horizontal lines, or occasionally right to left in horizontal lines. In Taiwan, it is often written vertically, while in China and Singapore it is usually written horizontally. In newspapers and magazines with vertical text, some of the headlines and titles are written horizontally right to left across the top of the main text. If you’re a top level scholar of languages, there’s even Boustrophedon, one of the rarest of them all, written in horizontal lines running alternatively from right to left then left to right. The name comes from the Greek words for “ox” and “to turn”, because it resembles the path an ox makes when plowing a field, turning at the end of each row to return in the opposite direction.

Why some languages are written in one direction and others in another direction is still a much-debated mystery to scientists and historians. It might have something to do with the writing surfaces and implements originally used locally, the preferences of the creators of the writing systems, (or the left or right preference of the current king) or other factors.

You may never have to deal directly with the fascinating enigma of how world writing systems became so diverse, but in today’s interconnected world it’s important to have a knowledgeable guide to language services. American Language Services® has a large collection of expert linguists that provide top quality local service in all areas of the country and the world. American Language Services ® believes in providing real value to our clients. All of our work is performed consistently and with the highest quality. Our language experts are located in hundreds of countries across every continent, covering every time zone. These highly skilled professionals are recruited, screened and tested to ensure that the quality of our work is at the highest level. Call us for a quote.

Success Stories from American Language Services

American Language Services (AML-Global) has a long history of customer satisfaction. Since AML-Global has no shortage of satisfied clients, we’ve decided to share a few success stories directly from our clientele to you.

Recently, we filled an assignment for a Lao interpreter for our long time client of 20+ years, The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

For those unfamiliar with the Lao or Laotian language, it is a tonal language of the Kradai language family, which is found most commonly in southern China and Southeast Asia. It is the official language of Laos, and has also known to be spoken in certain regions of Thailand.

AML-Global was able to fill LAUSD’s Lao assignment with very little notice. Although this was considered rush scheduling, AML-Global selects only professional and highly experienced interpreters for every assignment. Because of this, the result was extremely positive throughout the duration of the assignment.

The client’s comments reflect just that:

“I just wanted to extend my great appreciation for your services in our meeting yesterday. The translator you provided us was excellent. He was professional, on time, and provided the family with complete translation of the meeting, truly facilitating the threat assessment process. Thank you so much for expediting this service in such a short period of time.”

Conference Assignment:
Prior to LAUSD’s assignment, AML-Global assisted a new client with an annual conference they hold in Marina Del Rey, CA each year. We were able to provide a specific skilled set of Japanese conference interpreters by meeting all the client’s requirements. We also provided a full array of equipment including: encapsulated sound reduction booths, wireless headset & receiver sets, and technical support including full set up and strike.

AML-Global was able to fully meet our client’s needs by asking all the pertinent questions and gathering all the necessary information to help us provide the client with exactly what they requested. We were able to select interpreters with the proper credentials, background and experience to ensure comprehensive, accurate and professional interpreting services.

This is what our client had to say regarding the event:

“Just a quick note to express my gratitude for your assistance in our event last week. You were very thorough, responsive, and patient. I appreciate everything you did and I will certainly keep you in my files for any future needs.”

Whether it is a long standing relationship or a first time client, American Language Services strives to provide each of our clients with outstanding language services. Our exemplary customer satisfaction ratings over the past 26 years are a testament of American Language Service’s dedication to meeting our client’s needs and exceeding expectations.

Sign of the Times

In the world of interpretation there is one special language–highly requested language–that stands apart from the rest: it has no written words, and it is never spoken. So what is this mystery language that has no written alphabet and is never spoken? The language is ASL or American Sign Language and is utilized by many of the world’s hearing impaired communities.

ASL came about largely due to the efforts of Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., who opened the first permanent institution for the hearing impaired, American Asylum for Deaf-Mutes (now known as the American School for the Deaf). It was there that attempts to reach out to the hearing impaired community were fashioned into what we now know as American Sign Language.

Sign language, in the western world, gets its roots from France, from what we call Old French Sign Language; although many American settlers witnessed the use of similar “signing” techniques in the indigenous communities of the Plains Indians, it didn’t influence the European settlers version of the same idea. Reverend Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., at his institution, is credited with crafting American Sign Language into what it is today—the most widely-spoken version of sign language in the world.

ASL, though now the most commonly-used version of sign language in the world—including the non-English speaking sector of the world—is a prominent and respected language now, but this has not always been the case. During the latter half of the 1800’s, debates within and around the “deaf” community sparked concern on whether or not signing should be used. Manualists (pro-sign language) and Oralists (anti-sign language) debated on whether or not the hearing impaired community should continue to sign, or assimilate into mainstream society by learning to lip read and vocalize. It was not until William Stokoe, a respected college English Professor at Gallaudet University, studied, analyzed, and dissected ASL; and through rigorous articles and documentation, legitimized the language for the world in 1955, over one hundred years after its incarnation.

Today American Sign Language interpreters offer services in a varieties of fields, catering to each and every need of the hearing impaired community—job interviews, funerals, weddings, legal matters, school classes, and Vegas shows are just some of the various times when ASL interpreters are utilized to facilitate communication with the hearing impaired.

Sign language, since it is not spoken, is in a class unto itself. The interpreters train rigorously, and must keep their hands and arms well-rested and toned in order to keep their performance sharp, and their muscles agile. Sign language interpreters often work in pairs to allow for frequent breaks so they do not develop carpel tunnel syndrome or other, various hand cramps, muscle spasms, etc. Sign language interpreters are also, often very visible and recognizable within their local hearing impaired community, and have a special notoriety and reverence given to them for their work.

To say that American Sign Language is unique and special in relation to the other languages provided by American Language Services, is an understatement—it is a necessity to help a community of people live and function in the mainstream world. No other language is so unique; and as languages come and go in the modern world, one language is sure to stand the test of time—of the times—American Sign Language.

Editing a Translation Project

The editing process is one very crucial step involved in completing a translation project.. After a translator completes a translation, the document may be sent to a separate expert for editing. Editing is especially used for documents that need to be “print-ready” at the completion of the project so every step must be taken to ensure a near perfect translation. Editing is normally charged per hour whereas translations are generally charged per word.

The main function of an editor is to fix errors such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, missing text, formatting, and they revise any awkward-sounding translations. The editor does this by checking for accuracy of the document translation by comparing source document to target document.

Just as the translator must be a native speaker in the target language, the editor also must be a native speaker to ensure grammatical or contextual errors are virtually non-existent. In other words, the editor needs to be a native speaker for the same reason the translator does. A good editor must have a keen understanding of grammar, context, writing conventions, cultural diversity, and style of the language he/she is working with.

It is also key for the editor to be an expert in their field. Not only does the editor need to understand the language conventions thoroughly, but he/she also needs to be well-versed and experienced in the subject matter. If the editor is editing a medical translation document, it is absolutely vital that the editor also have a background in the medical field.

Many editors find it helpful to use the Track Changes function in Microsoft Word to assist them in the editing process. Many other software types are used to assist editors in their task, but Track Changes is usually the most widely used among the community because of the simplistic nature of this feature. It allows the editor to make the changes he/she wants by inserting, deleting, or moving text or graphics. Formatting can also be changed using this feature.

Editing is yet another option the client has at their disposal while submitting a translation request. Review the specifications and requirements of your project and decide if editing is the right option for you.

Professional Transcription Services

We’ve discussed translation and interpreting in length, but there is one type of service that we have yet to tackle. Professional Transcription services. Transcription is the conversion of spoken language into written, typewritten or printed form. The spoken-language source usually comes from a recording in DVD/CD format, audio cassette/microcassette or digital files. The content on the recorded audio can range anywhere from legal, law enforcement, entertainment, medical and market research, just to name a select few. American Language Services has professional transcriptionists available that specialize in a countless number of fields and proficient in hundreds of languages.

Transcription projects are often under-estimated in the sense that many do not realize there are several factors that go into quoting a transcription project as well as putting the project into production. When first analyzing a transcription project, one of the very first things to be taken into account is sound quality. Are the speakers on the audio audible? Is there static or background noise that makes the speech hard to understand? Will the audio need to be filtered to properly interpret the context? Next, what format is the audio in? We at American Language Services understand that several different types of recording devises are used based on the individual’s preferences. We have the equipment and capabilities necessary for extracting audio from a variety of different formats. Some other things such as how many speakers are on the audio or what type of terminology is used may come into play as well. When there are more speakers on the audio, the greater the likelihood of speech overlapping, which can greatly affect the audibility of the audio and in turn, affect the quality of the final transcript. Finally, it needs to be noted if the terminology used on the audio is technical or complex. If technical language is used, it is essential to find a transcriptionist with the necessary experience and background of that particular field to ensure accuracy of spelling, grammar and overall context. After the initial analysis is complete, several other preferential aspects need to be addressed. Would the individual like the transcript time coded? How should the speakers be labeled and identified? Is there a specific template the individual would like used? Should speakers entering/leaving the room be noted in the transcript? These are just a few.

Although many factors come into play with dealing with transcription projects, there is one thing that remains constant. Transcriptions should be done by experienced, professional transcriptionists with the proper and necessary equipment to ensure the best quality transcription service possible. We at American Language Services can provide just that for over 26 years.

Native Speakers

Generally speaking, a native speaker is classified as a speaker of a particular language who has spoken that language since earliest childhood. A native speaker of a particular language should understand the subtle and the not so subtle nuances of that language and culture. In order to provide our clients with the best possible translation, a translator who is a native speaker in the target language (or the language the document is being translated into) is vital to producing a fully comprehensive translation.

As we’ve discussed previously, a good translator must have a keen understanding of grammar, context, writing conventions, cultural diversity, and language style of the two languages. People often believe that there is always a simple exact match between different languages, but that is almost never the case. A good translator must determine proper terminology based on his or her comprehension of the languages, subject matter, and cultural/colloquial meanings. Native speaking translators can provide just that because the knowledge of their language is inherent.

The purpose of a translation is to relay a message in a smooth and effective manner and a native speaker can project the intent of the message, address cultural awareness of their audience, as well as understand specific nuances in various language combinations.

A translator who was born and nurtured (or possibly just immersed for many years) in a culture as they learned their language skills,will have an unconscious advantage over a non-native speaker. They will have more phrases to draw from in their vast vocabulary and be better at picking the right word, phrase or attitude depending on the message, tone or situation. A native speaker will have a much better grasp on the basics of the language as well as the nuances that will really help drive your message home.

A translator who has a firm grasp on both the culture and the language of the source and target languages has an even greater ability to provide a spot-on translation. A truly bilingual individual should understand the way to phrase things appropriately for each language. For instance, using English and Spanish as an example, if an English script uses colloquialisms or slang, you want someone who can replicate that in Spanish by using appropriate and corresponding phrases. The key is to use someone who effectively translates the message in context, not just the words, verbatim.

Many different locations have different slang and mannerisms. That is why we have translators all across America in many metropolitan areas including Washington D.C, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and many other cities with diverse language populations. We provide translation services to to a wide variety of cities including San Francisco, Las Vegas and also cities like Irvine, San Jose and New Jersey. Our superior resource of translators located across the United States and all over the Globe make us the most efficient and reliable translation services.

Successful Business Translation

You need translations that communicate as accurately and effectively as your original documents. American Language Services translates your documents into the native tongue of your clients and business partners not only shows respect, but it also helps to improve the decision making process. Poor communication is responsible for a multitude of problems from system failures to bankruptcies. You simply cannot afford to convey the wrong message if you want to maintain strong international business relations.

At American Language Services, we believe accurate translation requires attention to detail in combination with an acute understanding of cultural differences. You’ve probably heard translation horror stories from the world of advertising, where one false move can lead to a major miscommunication. Take for example a hotel in Mexico where a sign was translated into English to read, “We are pleased to announce that the manager has personally passed all the water served here.”

This blunder may be humorous, but mistakes like these can lead to lost business, broken partnerships, and even lawsuits. At American Language Services, we believe in respecting cultural differences by translating and localizing your text on a case by case basis. Even if you need last minute translation services, our native speaking translators are just a phone call away. Call us at 1-800-951-5020.

We provide Translation, Interpreting, Transcription Services to all cities in the United States including major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Irvine.

Interpreters in the Courtroom

New research has found that untrained interpreters can cause unjust verdicts in court cases involving people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

A study by the University of Western Sydney shows that the speech and mannerisms of interpreters influence the way in which witnesses and defendants are judged.

Associate Professor Sandra Hale told David Crisante, interpreters often lack courtroom experience and need specialist training to ensure the accuracy of their work.

Since 1992, American Language Services ® has provided legal interpreters in every major market and most other markets in the United States as well as around the world. AML-Global interpreters are experienced, knowledgeable and highly effective in a legal environment such as a courtroom. Our interpreters speak over 240 languages, and are highly accomplished in both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. Our depth of local talented certified, qualified and experienced interpreters is crucial in reducing our costs by eliminating expensive travel, hotel and other logistic arrangements. AML-Global interpreters are a talented group, consisting of credentialed professionals who are experienced in all types of legal settings.

We have a vast resource base of legal interpreters located around the county and a skilled and friendly staff to help you promptly and cost effectively fulfill your request. Please contact us for a quote or to place an order today.