You've got questions.
We've got solutions.


Get to Know the ATS Staff!

Each day this week we've shared how each of us at Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS) has come to work in the translation and interpreting industry. We hope this will allow you to get to know us a little better! Stephanie Lockman, Translation Project Manager While in graduate school at the University of Louisville (UofL) to obtain my M.A. in Spanish, I realized that I preferred the courses on translation more than any others. That same year, UofL began offering a Graduate Certificate in Translation, which was perfect for me!

In order to finish my coursework for the certificate, I needed to complete an internship in the translation industry. My adviser put me in touch with Madalena to help serve as a Project Manager for Accessible Translation Solutions. My internship was finished in 2013, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to continue working for ATS over the past 4 years!

Marvella Duarte Coon, Project + Vendor Manager

I started interpreting at the Findlay Court House while I was a student at the university, approximately 15 years ago. It was a rewarding experience because I helped people to communicate and understand their legal rights and life changes that they were going to experience. Then, a friend told me about Madalena and ATS. I was excited to get back into this industry, because I wanted to be part of a great company and continue helping others. I did some translations that gave me the opportunity to use my native language, Spanish, and work on interesting projects. I am a PM and enjoy seeking the best linguists around the world who can help us fulfill communication needs for our clients.

André Zampaulo, Linguist + Consultant

Languages have always fascinated me. From Portuguese grammar classes in elementary school to learning Spanish, English, German, and French as foreign languages when I was young, I always knew I wanted to study and work with languages. In college, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Translation Studies, specializing in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Having formal education and training in translation has helped me not only to become a better translator and be part of an exciting community, but also—and, perhaps more importantly—to reflect upon it as a linguistic, sociocultural, and commercial endeavor. As a linguist and consultant for ATS, I am very proud to contribute to the success of the company in delivering translation and interpreting services of the highest quality to our clients while also implementing best practices that help shape our industry.

Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Owner + CEO

My career in translation ultimately progressed from interpreter to project manager to translator to business owner. A local translation agency hired me as the interpreting project manager just as I was finishing my graduate degree at the University of Louisville (UofL). I was able to work directly with interpreters we contracted for various assignments in many languages, and I couldn't get enough. After moving from Louisville to Columbus, Ohio, I began translating for agencies and direct clients, and in 2010, I opened Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS). This work is the most rewarding work I could ever ask for. I look back at the past 10 years and how my roles have shifted along the spectrum in this industry, and I remain humbled and thankful for the opportunities I’ve received and for the clients we serve day in and day out. No two days are the same. No two clients’ projects are the same. These are the things that keep me motivated and inspired to continue to lead ATS as the agency our clients trust with their customers, with their patients, with their employees and with their brands.

Cheap Translation Services: Do You Really Get What You Pay For?

If you’ve ever been in need of translation services, or are currently looking into them for your company, chances are good that you’ve likely shopped around for what you consider to be the best deal while looking into the different options. You’ve spent a lot of money and time ensuring that your current brochure, form, website, etc. is perfectly crafted for your company and your customers. If you are looking to have the same translated for another audience, it only makes sense that you would like the best for them as well. If this is still fairly new for you, it can be a bit overwhelming and we understand wanting to find the best price for your company. However, that best price may not always come with the best quality translation, so if a pricing option seems too good to be true, it may be important to remember that you often really do get what you pay for.

If you do decide to use cheap, often unaccredited translation services, or even accept the help of a bilingual friend who may not be truly qualified to translate your text, you will end up with an initially cheaper service. However, you might compare it to the quality/cost comparison of just about anything currently on the market. Just as a $5.00 shovel may work well for a single yard project, chances are good it won’t last the entire season, and you will end up needing to replace the shovel again anyway. If you continue to purchase the $5.00 shovel, you will likely spend more money and time replacing it than you would if you had just purchased the $30.00 shovel to begin with.

Translation is similar. If you print a subpar translation on your brochures, your customers will notice. There will be errors, and although they won’t always be critical errors, if your customers can tell that it’s a translation at all, it impacts your reputation with them. The mark of a good translation is one you do not even realize has been translated. It should read smoothly and naturally so that the reader believes it was written with him in mind in the first place.

Professional linguists do not and should not have the cheapest rates around, so if you are quoted an extremely low price compared to others, it’s likely that the linguists used are not the most qualified, or perhaps, the agency uses shortcuts to keep the price so low (using machine translation to begin with, and only using a human proofreader to review that text, for example). A reputable translation agency will have strict measures in place to ensure the quality of your product. A translation should always be handled by at least two separate qualified linguists to both translate and proofread/edit the text, and then undergo the agency’s own quality assurance measures to avoid any issues from the onset.

If you are truly interested in saving money, have the translation handled correctly the first time to avoid costly mistakes down the road. ATS is proud to say that we do not take shortcuts with your projects and always use professional translators and proofreaders who are qualified to handle the content of your project. If you would like more information on a current project you have, or would like to request a free consultation, we would love to hear from you!

Why do I need to provide language access to patients, clients and customers?

Being able to communicate effectively in the language of your patients, clients, or customers is extremely important for your relationship and essential to your brand's success. If you receive federal funding, providing adequate language access options also protects you from violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. This includes providing language access to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEPs). Your company's customers will also feel more attracted to your brand if advertising and customer service options are provided in the language in which they are most comfortable.

A hospital, for example, should always have on-site or on-call interpreters available for LEP individuals. This will help eliminate medical emergencies or poor care caused by the individual's inability to communicate effectively with health care providers. It is extremely important that both doctor and patient understand each other completely to avoid these potentially grave errors. The same holds true in legal settings. Miscommunication between parties can be the difference between improper sentencing and an innocent person being set free. Communication in their native language also ensures that each party understands all legal implications associated with an action, protecting everyone involved.

Not only does closing the language barrier protect you from violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it also goes a long way in improving your brand image. If you are able to provide advertisements in the native language of your intended audience, these customers will be more likely to feel appreciated and attracted to your company. If you provide customer service options in other languages (either via a live bilingual operator or telephonic interpretation option), these customers will continue to feel appreciated and are more likely to interact with you if needed. This communication can help ensure their needs are met so they remain loyal customers for you.

If you find that you would like to provide language access for any target demographic, we will be glad to assist with the steps along the way. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or for a free quote.

The Importance of Language Services during Disaster Relief Efforts

When a city or country is hit by a natural disaster, such as the recent earthquakes in Nepal, many volunteer agencies send people and groups to assist with providing aid and relief to those who are coping with the aftermath. These groups are instrumental in providing food, water, shelter, clothing, and other basic necessities for those affected by the disaster. However, they are not always equipped with the basic language skills to communicate effectively with these individuals, which could hinder the relief efforts immensely in certain cases. For that reason, volunteers assisting with language translation and interpretation can be just as important as any other volunteers assisting in providing aid. Communication in the native language of those suffering from a disaster is crucial. Many victims could already be disoriented and panicked during the aftermath, and trying to understand instructions, documents or alerts in the language of first responders could prove either extremely taxing if the person has a limited grasp of that language, or completely impossible if not. On-site or even remote video or telephonic interpretation can help tremendously if someone is available.

Every interpreter is extremely important in these situations. It could truly be a matter of life and death, and the difference between someone being administered emergency medication that he is allergic to versus one that is safe for him. It could also have an impact on whether doctors are treating the correct symptoms, as an interpreter will be able to correctly convey what the person is experiencing instead of relying on limited communication capabilities between patient and doctor.

However, in the wake of a disaster, especially one of a large scale, it may not always be possible for an interpreter to be available for everyone’s needs. Translators can also step in to ensure proper translation of alerts and emergency documents for those in the disaster area. Translators Without Borders (TWB) is one example of a nonprofit organization capable of providing such linguistic support during a disaster. After receiving word of the recent earthquake in Nepal, for example, TWB immediately requested volunteer translators to help assist with things such as translating documents issued by the first response teams, as well as first aid documents. They have also provided translation services for the Red Cross to assist with their missing persons program, translated Twitter messages with crucial information and updates, and have even created a text-to-speech tool that the first responders have been able to use to communicate with those they are aiding.

Because of the critical nature of native-language communication during disaster relief efforts, providing language services during these times is just as important as providing many other types of aid during this time, to ensure the aid is provided correctly and efficiently.

Should you Localize your Smartphone Applications?

If your company has recently launched a Smartphone app, or even if you’ve had an app that’s been out for quite some time, you may be wondering if it would be worth your while to localize that app. Localization, in this sense, basically entails adapting your product to another market or set of markets. This could mean language translation, but it could also mean adapting some of the images or audio files within the app, or even the marketing materials you use to promote it. All of this would fall under localization.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “There’s an app for that,” then you may have an understanding of just how important apps have become in our society. People use them for just about everything. Having a Smartphone application puts your business, quite literally, in the palm of someone’s hand. If developed well, it’s convenient for the consumer to use and helps build brand loyalty and trust by delivering the information they need quickly and easily via their phone or other handheld device, just as they need or want it.


Users are most likely to be drawn to an app designed for their native languages. If your business markets itself toward different demographics, then it is important that these demographics be represented in all facets of your business, including in the use of your Smartphone app. In fact, according to a 2012 report from Distimo, The Impact of App Translations, a study of 200 iPhone apps that launched in different native languages saw a 128% increase in downloads the week following that launch, and a 26% increase in revenue from these downloads. Applications localized into Chinese, Japanese, and Korean saw the most growth from this update.

Although the US/English app market is still the most dominant market to date, other markets are growing at an impressive rate (namely the Japanese and South Korean markets, but there is also quite a bit of growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Since a user feels most secure reading something in his or her own native tongue, the potential to actively engage and reach these users through a properly localized app can increase exponentially. If a user is interested in your brand and has a basic understanding of English, he may download your non-localized application. However, if he cannot decipher the language of the app well enough to make purchases, he may become hesitant to use it on a long-term basis, like he would an app in his own language. This can easily cause one to delete the app and disengage with a brand entirely.

Users value content in their native tongue, and the above statistics help demonstrate the impact that localizing a Smartphone application can have both on your business’ visibility, as well as on your potential revenue. If you are actively working to expand into other markets and demographics, then Smartphone application localization is definitely something worth investigating.

You Need a Specialized Translator! And Here’s Why…

If you’ve ever seen a translator’s resume, you may have noticed that he or she has a section dedicated to specializations.  It may seem like a long list of specializations means that the translator is extremely qualified for just about any job out there. After all, if this person specializes in just about every field, it seems like a sure fit for your project. However, the opposite may actually be true. While this person may be an experienced translator in a good many fields, it is highly unlikely that he or she is a specialist in all of them. To be a specialist, by definition, is to be one who is devoted to a particular branch of study or research. A shorter list of specializations may often indicate that the linguist has been able to devote more time to these areas, and is therefore well versed in the terminology and complexities of the fields. Whatever your translation needs, it is important to choose a linguist who truly specializes in the field your project falls under, so as to ensure the best quality work. In language, there is a sizeable difference between general, day-to-day speech and specialized vernaculars. It is entirely possible to speak two different languages, but not fully understand the jargon you would hear in the Information Technology (IT) field, even in your own native language. If someone does not have a firm grasp of these terms in his or her native language, there is a great risk of translation error when trying to understand the term in another. Someone with a degree in IT who has also spent 10 years in the workforce working on computers and systems will have a much stronger grasp of concepts and terms within that field than someone who studied chemistry and has worked in a laboratory, for example. If your company is looking for a linguist who is well versed in the terminology your IT specialists would normally use, it makes much more sense to choose the person with a background similar to your needs, provided that he or she also shows a high level of competency in the translation field (experience, references, etc.).

ATS can also assist you with Desktop Publishing services to bring your translation to life with images, graphics and layout.

On the same note, if your goal is to translate several academic studies in various fields for your local university, you will not likely want the same linguist who translated a paper in the chemistry field to translate an engineering paper, or a paper about modern prose. Each of these subjects will require a translator who is competent in the specialized lingo of each subject. In addition, it is important to maintain the original tone of the document or article when translating. If the original reads as if it were written for professional biochemists with plenty of time spent in the field, the translation must also read this way. The jargon and terms used must be along the same lines. The article would lose its integrity within the academic community if it read as thought it were written for students taking an entry-level science course.

While the thought of finding a linguist who specializes in your particular field may seem overwhelming or daunting, we have already done this work for you. Gathering resumes and vetting qualified linguists who specialize in a vast array of fields, it is likely that we already have someone perfectly suited for your particular project. And if we don’t, we have the resources to quickly and efficiently recruit someone who is, removing the pressure from you. Allow us to help you succeed at what you do best by counting on us for what we do best.

Google Translate Steps up Its Game – Is It Enough?

While Google is no stranger to the translation application game, its newest updates help ensure that it remains at the top of the list for offered features and usability. Google Translate was updated very recently with two new features: it translates street signs and other images just by pointing your phone’s camera at the image (this feature is even available without a mobile data connection), and its conversation mode was updated to include automatic language detection, improving the flow of conversation between the individuals using it.

These features are not completely new to the application, but both have made significant improvements. In previous versions, the image translation software needed an Internet/data connection, and required the user to upload an actual photo of the image or sign. Google is now using Word Lens technology to instantly translate it just by pointing your camera at the image, no Internet connection or photo storage required. This feature is available in seven languages, but Google hopes to expand this list soon. Currently available: English ↔ French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. For users who do not have an international data plan, this is especially convenient, allowing the user to retrieve the translations in real time without running up data roaming charges on the phone bill. Google Translate’s conversation feature is also improving. Previous versions required the users to manually select the language between each use. However, this version automatically detects the spoken language during the conversation, which improves the fluidity of the conversation. Participants are now able to speak more freely with limited interruptions/delays from the application. This feature is currently available in 38 languages, with plans to add more. While Google Translate’s updates are certainly impressive, don’t expect it to replace human translation anytime soon. Reviewers agree that the application is certainly moving in the right direction, but it is not without error. Conor Dougherty with the New York Times agrees that it works fairly well, but that having to transfer the phone between two people speaking can be somewhat awkward, and says that it works best when the speakers use short, jargon-free sentences. Paul Reigler from the Frequent Business Traveler mentions that the app is easy to use and got the main message across, but indicated that the translations themselves were “reasonably accurate, although often not something a native speaker would have said”. While it seems as though Google’s updates are taking on-the-fly machine translation to the next level with its Word Lens technology and improved conversation features, professional translations should still be done by professional, human translators. While travelling abroad, however, Google Translate may certainly help you get around the city by translating maps and road signs and assisting you with asking a local for directions. It certainly seems worth the download, but take each automatic translation with a grain of salt!

Hiring Translators With Specializations Is Key For Any Industry’s Translation Needs

The texts your business produces are not all the same in content. Some may be meant for ads, while others are more technical for manuals or internal documents. Your industry may have very specific register, or terminology that is used only within your industry's setting. The common person may not have any idea what a “sidewall retainer bolt” is, much less know how to translate it into another language. The same can be true for terminology regarding advertising, human resource materials, website text, etc. Just as businesses specialize and operate in niche areas, so do translators. Therefore, it’s important to consider working with specialized translators for your documents and web materials in order to obtain the most accurate translations possible.

Consider a scenario in which your company’s legal department requires a service provider agreement to be translated into Spanish. You may have a trusted translator who handles your brochures and marketing materials throughout the year. However, the translator may not have the same level of expertise or linguistic knowledge in the target language when it comes to legal texts. In this case, it’s best to seek another translator with such expertise or hire an agency with the ability to place a professional legal translator on your project.

When receiving a resume from a potential translator that has areas of specialization in just about every field imaginable, we become very skeptical. Even in one’s own native language, it can be difficult to carry on a conversation with someone in a field with we don’t deal with daily. Even if a client requests a translation and adds, “It’s really not technical at all,” or “It’s pretty straightforward content,” we make sure to place it with the linguists who we know are specialized in the content area(s). One can never be too sure when it comes to accurate translations for their business. It could mean the difference between winning a contract with a potential client or never hearing from them again.