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Vietnamese translation service market heating up

The phrase “dich may” (translating with machine) cannot be found in the Vietnamese dictionary yet. However, the machine translation market has been heating up in the digital era.

The group of computer programmers – the authors of the Bocohan software

A group of scientists intended to celebrate the 66th Vietnamese National Day September 2, in a special way: debuting the machine translation market. This is the group of computer programmers, born in 1982-1987, who wrote a special software piece – Bocohan. Dr Nguyen Ai Viet, the head of the group, called the software Bocohan to make the day the product was completed – December 30. On the same day in 1408, Vietnam won in the glorious fight against the Ming Dynasty’s army.

Part 1: Demand increasingly high

 

 

  A student of the Hanoi Medical University said that she has to look for the reliable translators who can help translate medical professional documents from English to Vietnamese. Every member in her class has been assigned to translate a page of a book. And when all of them finish translating, the lecturer will have a book which updates all the latest healthcare achievements of the world.

However, translating healthcare documents proves to be a difficult task for many people, including students. Therefore, the medical students may pay up to 10 dollars per page to translators. However, it is very difficult to find reliable service providers.   In general, it is very costly to translate documents from English for special purposes (ESP). One would have to pay 20-30 dollars per page for translating legal documents. The translation of World Bank’s legal documents can be paid up to 60 dollars per page.

Therefore, though the translation market in Vietnam remains a fledgling, the total turnover from translation service in 2010 was still high at no less than 30-40 million dollars, according to Dr Nguyen Ai Viet, Director of the Information Technology Institute under the Hanoi National University.

Non-machine translators can’t get contracts

A question has been raised regarding who can obtain lucrative translation contracts. Viet said that the biggest piece of the cake, estimated to be worth 40-50 million dollars in 2011, falls into the hand of foreign translation companies. Why?

One may thing that foreign companies are more advantageous than domestic ones because they have more qualified translators. However, experts have affirmed that the biggest advantage that helps foreign companies inferior to domestic ones is the support of translation machines or translation software pieces.  

Dr Dao Hong Thu, a well known linguist, said that the pretax profit of the global machine translation market of big translation companies alone was 13 billion dollars in 2010, while the figure is expected to be double this year.

In the digital era, translators not only use their heads in the translation work. Nowadays, most international translation companies only recruit the translators who can use the translation software pieces. Translation machines prove to be the efficient supporters who help translators increase their translation speed by 3-4 times.

“The number of translators who can use translation software account for no less than 83 percent of the total professional translators worldwide,” Dr Viet said.

Meanwhile, the non-machine translation market in Vietnam has been steadily growing with increasingly high turnover. Phuong Nam Company, for example, translates eight books a year and earns the profits of no less than 10 billion dong. However, the turnover from manual translation market proves to be too small if compared with that of the machine translation market.

The Vietnamese translation market is believed to be worth no less than 200-300 million dollars a year. However, foreign translation companies have jumped into the market for the last many years, who have obtained big contracts with big organizations and economic groups such as Samsung, Toyota, Panasonic, WB. Technique or legal documents of the institutions have never been assigned to Vietnamese groups of translators, because the groups cannot meet the requirements in quality and deliveries.

In other countries, the pay is made based on the numbers of words, while in Vietnam, the pay is calculated based on the number of pages. The Ministry of Finance is now paying 45,000 dong per page for the translation from English to Vietnamese, and 50,000 dong per page from Vietnamese to English. For the last many years, a lot of government agencies and institutions cannot find good service providers because of the overly low pay they offer.  

Cambodian singers "steal" songs of Vietnamese colleagues

Some Vietnamese singers and bands like My Tam, Duy Manh, Nhat Tinh Anh, Khanh Ngoc, group 365 have suffered from plagiarism in Cambodia.

My Tam’s three hits “Can Only Be Love," "Rain of the Past" and "For the Love" were blatantly copied by her Cambodian colleagues.

Two out of three songs were among the top hits in Vietnam more than five years ago, but until now Vietnamese netizens discovered that they were copied by Cambodian singers. It's not "selectively absorbing" because even normal people who know nothing about music can realize the similarity between these Cambodian songs and My Tam’s songs from the first notes.

The beat of the three songs of My Tam was exactly aped by Cambodian singers. For the lyrics, which is in Khmer so it is not defined whether they are translated from Vietnamese or not.

The Cambodian singer who stole the songs of My Tam is Tep Boprek, a famous singer in Cambodia. Born in 1993, Tep Boprek has had an admirable career. She is currently an exclusive singer of Reaksmey Hang Meas and just released an album called Reach Boprek. She is also considered a leading dancer in Cambodia.

Many fans of My Tam have expressed dissatisfaction about the discovery while My Tam has not raised her voice yet.

“Get on the Floor,” a hit of the 5-member boy group 365 that was launched last December was used by a Cambodian male singer. The incident has just been discovered.

The song of 365 was translated into Khmer language and the melody is up to 95 percent similar to the original song. Even one who listens to the songs for