4 Language Services Myths Debunked

When I chat with friends about the language services industry, it becomes clear that there is little mainstream knowledge about the subject. Often, my friends will make broad blanket statements about what they think they know about the industry. In hopes of disseminating some quality information on the subject, I will now debunk 5 myths about the language services industry.

Myth 1 – Translators and Interpreters are just people that speak two languages

This is probably the most prevailing myth about the industry. Some folks think that just because you can speak two languages, you are automatically qualified to become a translator or an interpreter. Those in the know, however, are aware that this is just not true.

Beyond speaking two languages, interpreters and translators are highly skilled scholars. Generally, they have a degree in linguistics followed by a number of possible certifications (CILISAT, ATIO, RID, AVLIC for example). These translators and interpreters take course upon course in order to become proficient at skills such as terminology recognition and CAT tool usage, simultaneous and consecutive interpreting skills, presentation skills, as well as a host of other applicable skills that are required of language professionals.

Myth 2 – Google Translate means the end of human translation

I’ll admit it, I often copy and paste into Google Translate to get a quick and dirty translation of an email or article that I’m reading in a different language. Google Translate has come a long way. It is more sophisticated than ever. But, with globalization and the importance of global business partnerships, Google Translate just won’t cut it. It is ultimately unreliable. It uses complex algorithms to process a source language into a target language. The results can be muddled at best. Google Translate cannot compete with the quality and certainty of a professional translator. When it comes to contracts, marketing material, and technical documents, it is still VERY unwise to use Google Translate.

Beyond all of this, Google Translate has opened the public’s eyes to the importance of multilingual communication. This has forced consumers to look at ways to incorporate language services into their business models.

Myth 3- Language Service Providers are mostly Mom & Pop shops

This is a huge misconception. Generally, if you are a full-service multilingual provider, you employ a large staff of professional project associates, admin staff, marketing and sales, as well as IT professionals in order to offer your clients a range of possible solutions. You will also work with 100s if not 1000s of language professionals in order to offer every service in multiple languages.

Able Translations and others have put together proven success models that allow their companies to grow beyond basement start-ups.

Myth 4 – Aren’t bibles really the only thing that gets translated?

How many times have I had this conversation:

Friend – So, where are you working right now?

Me – I work for a large language service provider that does interpreting and translation

Friend – Oh, like…bibles and stuff?

To be honest, I don’t know that we’ve ever translated bibles here. Maybe? We specialize in more technical documents but I think the public takes for granted that most documents are just “written” in all languages at once. Generally, they come to use with a source language and are translated from the original document into other languages while retaining the original messaging.

Well, there you have it. 4 common language services myths debunked.

Are there more? Comment below with your most commonly heard misconceptions about the language services industry.

The Chinese Economy According to a Language Expert

English to Chinese translation services

“WASHINGTON – China’s economy is likely to surpass the United States in less than two decades while Asia will overtake North America and Europe combined in global power by 2030, a U.S. intelligence report said on Monday.”
(NBCNEWS)

“The reality is that China is unlikely to witness those astronomical growth rates, at least for some time. We may never see them again.”
(Time Business)

The above shows two conflicting forecasts of the future of the Chinese economy. Some economists suggest that the only way the Chinese market will continue to grow is by limiting foreign investment and shifting the Chinese economy from a producer to a more balanced producer/consumer model. Other economists suggest that the Chinese economy will continue to grow owed to increasing technological activity.
Of course, there are always opposing views when it comes to emerging economies. Everyone likes a good debate.

Admittedly, I’m not an economist. I’m not really going to throw my hat into the ring as to which paradigm is the correct one. I do, however, follow trending in the language industry and if these trends are in any way indicative of the way the Chinese economy is going to swing, my bet is on growth.

According to Global by Design, traditional Chinese breaks the top ten for both the most popular language category as well as the fastest growing. This is both for English to Chinese translation services as well as Chinese to other languages. Additionally, according to Google trends, English to Chinese translation variants are both “breakout” and “rising” search terms. Now, this data isn’t definitive but it still points to current growth in China’s economy (at least for now).

I can say that in my experience, I’ve seen a major leap forward in the English to Chinese translation services market. Businesses are partnering, employing, and manufacturing multilingually and owing to the continuous growth (whether short-term or long-term) of the Chinese economy, China is seeing a lot of this action.

For those that are doing business in China, it is absolutely imperative that you partner with a english to chinese translation services company that has experience in the Chinese market.

Some documents you will need to seek out an English to Chinese translation services company are:

• Internal documents
• Technical manuals
• Contracts (this is very important)
• Proprietary software
• Marketing collateral
• Websites
• Emails

Before doing business in China, gather information from us on English to Chinese translation services.

Also, be sure to check out these posts:

Translation Rates – What you need to know

7 Steps Toward Managing Diversity

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online

31 Amazing photos to remind you how beautifully diverse our world is

Translation Rates – What You Need to Know

ROI Translation Rates

Crank Your ROI to the Max.

I get asked a lot of questions but the question I answer most often is “what are general translation rates?” or “how much does a translation cost?” My answer is always “Well, it depends…”

Translation Rates Depend on…

What does it depend on, you ask? First it depends on what you mean by “cost”. Do you mean the price? I’m sure most people do. What I push people to understand is that the “cost” of purchasing translation services is far below the “cost” of not doing it or purchasing inferior quality work. I want translation services purchasers to think of translation as an investment. With any investment, you need to calculate an ROI (return on investment).

Here is the basic formula:

ROI= Gain from investment – cost of investment/cost of investment

For example:

You have an English to French translation, let’s say a brochure, and it costs you $300 to translate.
You send them to your French customers and receive $5000.00 in orders.

Your ROI is: ~1 566%

Now, for all you purists out there, the equation really is more complicated than this. You have to factor in the cost of printing your brochures, mailing, etc. But this is just an example that I’m using to get my point across.

Translation services are an investment in growth, customer service, and worker satisfaction.
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s talk about translation rates.

Translation Rates – Region to Region

Translations rates vary significantly from region to region. A 1000 word English to French translation done in Quebec, Canada might be significantly cheaper than that same document translated by a company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That’s a factor of supply. The company in Albuquerque may not have access to a huge roster of French translators.

Translation Rates – Qualifications

Aside from availability of translators, you also have different qualifications of the translators. If you have a legal document translation or a technical manual translation, the translation rate would vary compared to the translation of a birth certificate or non-technical marketing material. This is because the qualifications of someone that is translating an affidavit would have to be much higher than a typical translator owing to the fact that the legal sector has specialized terms. Beyond this, the consumer needs to guard against the potential risk of poor translation when it comes to highly technical documents.

Translation Rates – Translation Memory

Finally, the availability of translation memory factors in to your long term translation rate. Translation memory is basically a database of special terms from your previous translation projects. If you work in a highly specialized sector with niche specific terms, those terms will be stored in your translation memory. Your translation rate will decrease as time goes on because our translators can draw on your previous projects instead of having to re-invent the wheel.

So, the long and short of it is this: translation rates vary significantly. You are best off actually submitting a document for quotation versus trying to find an online list of pricing. Pricing listings do not take into account the complexity and nature of your translation projects.

11362548-roi--return-of-invertelment-concept-in-word-tag-cloud-on-white-background

I don’t care what you call it as long as you’re measuring it.

If you’re looking for a general guideline, translation rates will vary anywhere from $0.15-$0.40/word depending on type of document, rarity of the language, and time frame. For translation projects that involve graphics, the translation services provider may offer desktop publishing at a rate of $60-$80/hour.

Able Translation’s translation services fall at the bottom end of the spectrum in terms of price but that is because we have access to an extensive pool of translators and have on-staff desktop publishers and web developers.

Submit a document and we’ll get in contact with you immediately.

For more information, check out these resources:

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online)

How to Recover from a Bad Translation (and come out on top!)

How to Choose a Language Services Provider

…Wish I Had an Interpreter

For the majority of us, needing an interpreter might not come up daily. I get that. Although I’ve seen many-an interpreting sessions and have even “tested” a couple out just so I could get a handle on the process but I’ve never had to use one myself. So, today I thought “where might I, average Joe Copywriter, need an interpreter. Here’s what I came up with.

1) A Hospital Abroad –

So, I’m sitting on a beach in the Dominican Republic, drinking a fruity drink, and enjoying the sun.

“Boy am I relaxed”, I think to myself.

Turns out, I’m a little too relaxed. I fall asleep and wake up with a terrible sunburn and near sunstroke. Off to the hospital I go.

One of the first questions the doctor asks me is: “¿Es usted alérgico a algo?”

“huh” I reply.

Turns out he’s asking if I’m allergic to anything. Wish I had an interpreter…

2) A Foreign Police Station

The doctor ends up treating me, although it took longer than it should have. I’m feeling a bit woozy. I stumble out onto the street and begin to make my way back to my resort. I figure the day can’t get much worse. I realize it can as two police offers handcuff me and throw me into the back of a police car.
It turns out that the final “instructions” I was given by the doctor was not “try and take it easy until you get back to Canada”. He was actually telling me to pay at the receptionist’s desk, which I did not.
Sitting in a small room at the police station, passport confiscated, shoe laces removed, my mind wanders.

“Why on earth am I here?” I think out loud.

“¿por qué no pagar?”, an officer replies.

“Did he just respond to me?” I wonder…

I begin to speak, “Can you please tell…”

“Yo no hablan Inglés”, the officer shouts, cutting me off.

…Wish I had an interpreter.

3) Lost in a Foreign City

Alright, my fine is paid and I’m released from the police station, only to find myself lost on the streets of Santo Domingo.

“tweeeeeeeet”, I whistle for a cab.

I get in.

“¿a dónde?” the cabbie asks.

“not this again” I mutter under my breath.

…Wish I had an interpreter.

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (Part 3)

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles

In 7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce part 2, we learned about forming a community outreach, flexible holiday schedules, and the open door policy. Part 3 of this series focuses on translation work as well as evaluating your diversity planning.

If you missed it, you should go back and check out part 1 and part 2 of the series before moving on. They can be found here:

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (part 1)
7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (part 2)

Step 6 – Translations

In order to facilitate communication, important company documents should be translated into several languages that will meet the needs of your employees. The languages you choose to have documents translated into should close match the demographics of the company. Furthermore, they should also be reflective of local language laws. This becomes even more crucial when the same documents are used in foreign-operated company offices.

To minimize risk, translations should be accurate and complete. Be sure to use a qualified translator from a reputable company like Able Translations. The company you choose should have experience in the translation of technical manuals. Additionally, look for a company that offers cultural consulting to ensure that your company documents are reflective of the cultural nuances associated with the target language.

Some documents that could be translated to meet your diversity needs can include:

Employee manuals
• Worker safety information
• Request for time off forms
• Application forms
• Employee application forms
• Policy books
• Employee welcome packages

Beyond the translation of company documents, if your company uses proprietary software (software built specifically for your company), you may want to get it localized. Localized software would allow the user to change the language used on the user interface. This could result in improved usability for multilingual staff.

If you’d like to get company documents translated, Able Translations offers free quotes. You can call us at 1-800-840-5370 or email us at info@abletranslations.com.

Step 7 –Assessment

Assessment is a critical step in managing a diverse workforce, one that is often overlooked. It is imperative that you take accurate measurements of every diversity and inclusionary initiative you take. These measurements are used during the assessment phase. During this step, you review all of the initiatives you have put in place to ensure that they are operating as expected.

There are three basic ways to assess the effectiveness of the programs and policies you have put in place.

Surveys:

Surveys are a great way to find out the opinions of others. They could provide valuable insights into whether your diversity/inclusion initiatives are effective. In order to set up a proper survey, you must first think about what you would like to find out. In general, surveys that use a rating system (on a scale of 1-10) provide the most useful data for statistical analysis. However, when evaluating initiatives that involve an affective component, it is best to use a combination of open-ended questions and rating systems.

Tip: find a neutral person to hand out the surveys. Having a supervisor give them out could bias the surveys. I.e. the participants may feel obligated to be positive about your diversity strategy if they feel it may affect their supervisor.

Pre-test/post-test:

The pre-test/post-test is the simplest method for evaluating the effectiveness of your initiatives. It requires that you have some data from before you begin your initiative and some data collected at a milestone. You compare your past information with your current information.

Example:

Number of employees that applied for promotions in 2011 = 10
—————————–Mentorship program started Jan. 1/2012————–
Number of employees that applied for promotions in 2012 = 17

Of course, you would have to control for other factors such as turnover and recruitment. If you’d like to look deeper into the relationship, you could survey employees and find out if mentoring was a factor in their decision to apply for a promotion.

Time-series Analysis:

In a time series analysis, is a little bit more difficult to do but well worth it. I highly recommend that your time-series be set up by someone familiar with statistical analysis. The idea behind it is that you have data points arranged according to time. You should have several data points for before the initiative was implemented and after. This allows you to see how things are changing over time and gives you insight into any trends that may be occurring.

For the best possible data output, use a Box-Jenkins time-series. It is the standard in program evaluation.

Final Thoughts

Planning and implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy takes a great deal of time and forethought but most of all, it needs to be genuine. To implement these initiatives because it is “standard practice” or a passing interest will lead to lack luster results.

My advice is to:

• Get excited about celebrating the things that make us unique;
• Get other passionate people on board;
• Listen to the needs of others instead of making assumptions;
• Plan, implement, measure, and re-plan
• Start today

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

First Call Revolution: The one surefire way to increase your first call resolution metric

First Call Revolution:The one surefire way to increase your first call resolution metric

Knowledgeable customer service reps have always been the cornerstone of the first call resolution call center metric. If your reps can answer questions quickly and accurately without leaving a customer dangling or having to call back, you’re golden. A lot of call centers excel at this but the world is changing, you’ve got to go a step further.

Your Customers Don’t Always Speak English

The two major types of call centers are sales centers and customer service centers (usually with a soft sell component). First call resolution is critical in both centers. Because of immigration and adherence to language laws, call centers are typically serving customers that speak a variety of languages. In order to achieve an amazing first call resolution rate, you’ll need an interpreting service backing your call center. I’ll explain how this would work in two styles of call centers.

Sales Centers and First Call Resolutions

The objective in a sales call center is, quite obviously, to make sales. In this context, a first call resolution is making a sale on first contact with the consumer.
You have customers (I assume) that want to speak in their own language. They must, if they think that is more important than price. In order to resolve the call on the first instance, you’re going to have to speak their language, explain things in terms they understand, and reply to all of their objections…and you have to do this before they can rationalize not using your service.

In “sales” call centers that deal primarily with Anglophone populations (if there are any left), you would only need to employ English speaking customer service representatives. Since we know that it is unlikely you serve only English speaking consumers and I also know you want a stellar first call resolution rate (why else would you be reading this article?), you would need to deploy a telephone interpreting backend to your call center.

Here is how this would go:

John, a customer service representative at your call center, places his call to the phone number that has been pulled out of the customer database for him. He dials the phone cautiously while trying several different pronunciations of his potential customer’s last name. A man picks up the phone. John stumbles through the customer’s last name only to find out his pronunciation was way off. After a few exchanges, John realizes that unless he gets an interpreter on the phone, this sale will be lost.

John asks the customer to hold for a moment so he can dial in an interpreter. After dialing the 1-800 number, he is connected to an operator who helps him diagnosis which language he needs. He is then transferred to an interpreter.

The exchange goes much smoother from herein out. John makes the sale on first contact, becomes top sales person in the company and is sent on a Hawaiian vacation (note: I added this last part for effect. Vacation destinations may vary from company to company).

Service Centers and First Call Resolutions

Service call centers are a bit different than sales call centers (think over-the-phone banking, CAA or AAA). They are usually inbound, people that call are usually already customers, and a first call resolution isn’t a sale but a solved issue.

I’ll tell yeah, easy issues become major problems when the lines of communication are blurred by an inability to overcome a language barrier. Your customer service rep’s responses may not be exactly what the customer was asking for which will likely result in that customer calling back again to have the same issue resolved (hopefully once and for all).

Of course, this could be avoided if your call center has an interpreting company on the backend. For a first call resolution, as soon as the customer service rep finds that communication is hampered by a language barrier, an interpreter can be brought on to clarify the customer issue and respond with the best possible advice (as dictated by the customer service rep). That’s how you get a first call resolution.

Telephone Interpreting Company

To summarize:

-Both sales and service call centers should deploy an interpreting company on their backend
-This will help raise your first call resolution rate as well as sky-rocket customer satisfaction scores
-Using the interpreting backend is as simple as conference calling your language service provider at a dedicated 1-800 number, requesting the language you need, and then speak to your customer through the interpreter.

Able Translations’ telephone interpretation service can be your call center’s multilingual backend. We will set up your account, hook you with the 1-800 and aid you in training your staff to use the system. We do this for free. No set up fees, no monthly minimums, and low rates. Sign up by calling us at 1-800-840-2253.

For more information Check out:

Interpreting Services in Hospitals

The Difference Between Simultaneous Interpreting and Consecutive Interpreting

How To Choose a Language Services Provider

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles (part 2)

7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce: a series of workplace diversity articles

In 7 steps toward managing a diverse workforce part 1, we learned about forming a diversity committee and starting a mentorship program. Part 2 of this series focuses on community outreach programs as a teambuilding exercise as well as way to shift your corporate culture toward engaging with community groups that foster an ideology of inclusion. We will also take a quick look at flexible holiday schedules which in recent years has become a popular way to manage your diverse workforce. Finally, we will discuss the “open door” policy. This policy is really the cornerstone of managing a diverse workforce.

Step 3 – Community Outreach

Community outreach or partnerships is a great way for your company to show commitment to managing a diverse workforce. It is also a teambuilding exercise that can unite colleagues in an effort to make the community a better place.

In order to integrate a community outreach strategy into your diversity planning, there are four questions that you should be asking:

Does the organization foster the same inclusive values as your company?

It is important to find a community partner that has mandated and implemented a strategy for inclusiveness and diversity. In their strategy, are their end goals similar to yours? For example, if an organizations goal was to provide skills training to community members to help them access hiring paying jobs and one of your diversity goals is to provide extra training to those that would like to take on a larger role in your organization, I would say that the match is quite good.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule but it gives your organization and your community partner a common thread and a deeper understanding of each other’s mission.

Is your community partner a religious affiliate?

When choosing a community partner, choose a secular organization. This way, all of your colleagues can get involved without feeling like they have to subscribe to a particular religion.
Is the community partner representative of the diversity of your company?
When choosing a community partner, you should make sure that its structure and the community it serves closely resembles the demographics of your company. Lean towards community partners that employ and serve men and women as well as people from all cultures.

Has Anyone Objected to the Partnership?

After you have chosen a community partner, be sure to reinforce that you have an “open door” policy. That is, any employee should feel welcome to speak freely about any concern they may have with the community organization partnership. Should a diversity-related issue arise out of this partnership, it should be reevaluated to ensure that your team members feel included and represented.
Answering these questions will allow you to commit to a community partner that allows everyone to participate equally. Doing this will help increase company unity and a deeper understanding of each other.

Step 4 –Flexible Holidays

Holiday observances can vary from culture to culture. To ensure that every employee can observe the holidays that they wish, flexible holidays could be offered. For example, employees could swap December holidays with the holidays that are more in line with their culture. If this is not possible, due to business cycles, your holiday policies could be reviewed and revised to allow some flexibility during times of religious celebration.

The take home message here is that employees should be allowed some choice in their availability during religious holiday observances. This shows the company is in-tune with cultural diversity and the needs of their employees. Additionally, it can serve as a way to celebrate the diversity of your company through recognition that not everyone celebrates the same holidays.
Here is an example of a policy addition that can be used when implementing accommodations for religious

holidays:

Religious Accommodation (flexible schedule)
[Your Company Name] offers floating holidays to accommodate various religious observances. Should you require time off during a specific time period due to religious observances, you may do so in lieu of the standard holidays as listed in this document.

Some companies offer additional personal days for those that celebrate various religious holidays. The difficulty with this is that it is not an “inclusive” solution. Those that choose not to take time off or who are not affiliated with any religion may feel that they are being excluded from additional time off. Flexible holiday schedules give every employee the opportunity to organize their holidays according to their preferences.

Step 5 – Open Door Policy

The open door policy has been used successfully by many of the biggest companies in the world. Originally stemming from the idea that managers keep their doors open to encourage other staff members to come in, it is now a wide-spread communication strategy that can be used to enhance your diversity strategy.
The implementation of the open door policy is fairly simple in new companies but can be difficult in established ones. It takes a shift in company culture to successfully implement this policy. In companies where “doors” have been shut for a long time, encouraging senior and non-senior staff to open up lines of communication will take a great deal of time and trust.

In order for the open door policy to be successful, all employees should feel like they can approach senior staff with new ideas, solutions to old problems, and questions and concerns they may have. They need to feel like they can communicate openly without reproach. The most successful open door policies have some general guidelines. For example, communicating a problem should be accompanied with a suggested solution. The solution can be as simple as “I think [employee name] might have some good insight into this problem, we should ask him what he thinks”.

Here is an example policy directive that could be added to your policy manual:

[Your Company Name] recognizes that in any company, issues and improvement opportunities will arise. [Your Company Name] is always open to suggestions and encourages employees to communicate these opportunities with management.

[Your Company Name] will make every effort to make sure that:

1. Every employee has the opportunity to speak openly with their supervisor or to anyone else in authority, when an issue arises, with the assurance that it will not be held against them by their supervisor or anyone else in authority.

2. To provide an open door at all times for all employees to discuss with upper management any decision they feel affects them.

One of the main goals of the open door policy is to let every employee know their input is important and to make sure they have a way to be included in the “conversation”.

In Managing a Diverse Workforce part 3, we’ll wrap up by talking about translations and the assessment of your programs.

For More Information on This subject visit Able Translations atTranslations Toronto

7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce: A series of diversity in the workplace articles

Thank you for reading

Toronto Translators’ 7 Steps toward managing a diverse workforce.

In this series of workplace diversity articles, you will find 7 steps that can be taken in any organization in order to foster an environment of inclusiveness and diversity. We all want to feel safe, secure, and welcome at work. So, we should all learn how to manage diversity in the workplace.

Generally, diversity planning falls on the shoulders of upper-management but in actual fact the responsibility of being inclusive is everyone’s. Inclusion starts with our own attitudes. We show our attitude toward inclusion in the things we say (and don’t say) and our actions in the office or break room. We need to be mindful and sensitive to the feelings of others at all times.

This series of diversity in the workplace articles is not only for the management team of your organization. It is for anyone that would like to take steps toward improving the workplace environment for the betterment of all employees, as well as themselves. Ultimately, some of the steps in this book should be implemented by management level employees but this series will give anyone that background information as well as some insights in order to make sure that everyone can be part of the conversation so you can take steps toward better managing a diverse workforce.

In this article: Our first article in our series of workplace diversity articles focuses on starting a diversity committee and implementing a mentorship program. Let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1 – Start a Diversity Committee

Implementation

A diversity committee is a great way to gain insight into the diversity issues faced by you and your co-workers and is the first step toward better managing a diverse workforce. Everyone should feel welcome to attend the first diversity committee meeting. After the initial meeting, short interviews should take place to determine interest and dedication to the goals of the committee. The committee members will be chosen according to these factors, along with company demographics to make sure every group is represented.

Electing a chair should be the first job of the committee. For the first committee meeting, usually referred to as the “ad hoc” meeting, a neutral chair should be used. It should be someone everyone will feel comfortable with. After the ad hoc meeting, when the committee is fully formed, members can volunteer to be the chair and from those volunteers, the committee can democratically select one to chair all future meetings. Additionally, a member should be designated to take meeting minutes, that is, notes about what has been discussed and decided on by the committee.
Setting Goals

During the committee’s early stages, short-term and long-term goals should be decided on. These goals should be specific, realistic, and measurable. It is the only way you’ll be able to really measure your improvements in managing a diverse workforce. Here are two examples:

Example 1:

We should make sure that all employees feel represented in all management decisions

Example 2:

By this time next year, we will have all employee manuals translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.
Which example best represents a “specific, realistic, and measurable” goal? You’re correct, example 2 does. Let’s talk about why.

In example 1, vague statements are made about employees feeling represented, no timeline is given, and it is unrealistic to expect the management team to consult all employees every time a decision needs to be made. Beyond all of that, how do we know when we have successfully completed this goal?

Example 2 takes a far different approach. First, there is a timeline; one year. Second, it specifically mentions that employee manuals need to be translated. Finally, it states three languages, presumably the ones voted as most needed, into which these manuals should be translated. You know you have reached your goal if by next year you have every employee manual translated into French, Spanish, and Tamil.

Creating Action Plans

After establishing the main goals of the diversity committee, you can create subcommittees to focus on different goals and their completion. Using the example above, you could create a subcommittee in-charge of the translation of company materials. That subcommittee would than create an action plan.
The action plan would consist of smaller milestones which eventually lead to the completion of the subcommittee’s task. For instance, the subcommittee in-charge of translations might first review all company manuals to make sure they are up-to-date and consistent with the changes that have been made in the company since they were first published. That would be the first step in their action plan. From there, they would have to make the necessary updates, find a language service provider, have the manuals translated, review the translations, and put the new manuals into production. These steps would all be part of the action plan. Of course, action plans need to be revised along the way to make sure they are compatible with new information that arises.

Along the way

As the committee forges ahead with its goals, you will undoubtedly face setbacks, including the loss and replacement of members, disruptions and postponements due to work fluctuations, and the like. These are all to be expected. What is important is that you keep your long-term goals in mind and find ways to achieve them.

Step 2: Mentoring

Mentoring is about helping empower all employees. It builds self-confidence, a solid support system, and encourages all employees to make use of their abilities. Although it can be time consuming, it is an amazing investment in you and your coworkers. From an employee standpoint, it can help traditionally underrepresented groups move up in the company by giving them an opportunity to learn from more senior members, build the confidence to go after promotions, and help them become part of the conversation about diversity issues. From an organizational standpoint, it helps make sure every employee is able to use their talents to help fulfill the missions of the organization.

Integrating a mentoring program takes planning, especially in established organizations. The most difficult aspect is the “buy-in” from senior staff. The senior staff members have to see this as a worthwhile initiative and must be willing to give their time to help mentor and develop employees. These mentors should apply to the program, be screened, and then trained using a professional mentor training program. The remaining staff members also have to “buy-in”. The easiest way to maneuver with current employees is to offer mentorship as an “opt-in” initiative. Never force anyone to join the mentorship program. The value of this type of program only reveals itself when both the mentor and the mentee are fully committed.

Measuring the success of your mentorship program is critical. One of the simplest ways to do this is to track internal movement within the company. If you find that those enrolled in the mentorship program are more likely to apply for promotions or take on extra responsibilities, I’d say your program is successful. You can also track dropout rates from the program as well as survey for participant’s attitudes toward the initiative. Any of the above methods will work, just make sure that you do take the time to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make changes where necessary.

In 7 Steps Toward Managing a Diverse Workforce (Part 2), We will discuss community outreach and Flexible Holidays. Follow our blog to make sure you don’t miss it.

Have any tips for managing a diverse workforce? Share them with us.

If you require cultural consulting, you can return to Toronto Translators to grab our contact details or visit www.abletranslations.com for more information

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online)

Translate Tweets to reach other markets

First, if you aren’t on Twitter, get on it! The beauty of Twitter is your ability to have open conversations. You don’t need to wait for friend requests or “likes”. You just tweet and the world can hear you. Ok, I’ll wait while you finish your twitter registration.

Now that you’re all done registering for Twitter, we can talk what you need to do to translate tweets and auto-tweet them. Auto-tweeting is a way for you to automate tweets. You can upload a batch of 140 character messages and they will be released on a schedule. I recommend using TweetDeck. To reach target markets that speak a different language, you should write 6 -12 months worth of Twitter messages and have them translated. You would than slowly release them to the public during hours that you know your target market is online.

I’ll explain why you should do this. Firstly, 72.1 percent of the consumers spend most or all of their time on sites in their own language. When you translate tweets, you’ll start to engage the population that prefers to browse in their own language. Secondly, 56.2 percent of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. What does this tell you about consumers? What I hear is that people feel more engaged and willing to do business in their first language.

Basically, here’s the deal. The old marketing adage is this: people buy emotionally and justify with facts. You could totally machine translate facts but the emotional component will get lost without someone personally translating your tweets. Beyond that, twitter is built on human interaction. Using machine translation to translate tweets defeats the purpose.

I’ll break this process down into steps.

  1. Write several months worth of tweets.
  2. Send them to Able Translations to professionally translate tweets for you.
  3. Upload the translated tweets into TweetDeck.
  4. Schedule the release of your translated tweets.
  5. Get a bigger wallet to hold all the cash you’ll make.

Pro-Tip: Open a Facebook business page for several different languages and link your twitter and facebook accounts. Your translated tweets will populate on your Facebook page as they are released.

For more information on multilingual internet marketing, check out these posts:

Search Engine Optimization for International Companies

Brand Internationalization Strategy for Small and Mid-sized Companies

Man Vs Machine…Translation

or head back to Toronto Translators

25 Christmas Traditions from Around the Globe

Christmas Day falls on the 25th of December. In celebration, here are 25 Christmas traditions from around the world.

The List:

25. In South Africa, Christmas is a summer holiday! All the schools are closed and camping is a popular Christmas tradition

24. A popular offering to carolers in Alaska is Maple dipped donuts!

23. Brazilian Folklore states that Father Christmas comes from Greenland.

22. In Labrador, Canada, Turnips from the summer harvest are saved and given to children with a candle
inside.

21. In China, the children await the arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren which translates to “Christmas Old Man”.

20. In the Czech Republic, if a young girl puts a cherry twig in water on December 4th and it blossoms by Christmas, it is a sign that she will marry that year.

19. In England, folks enjoy mummering, a tradition which became popular in the middle ages. People called “mummers” put on masks and acted out festive plays.

18. Ethiopian Christmas is celebrated on January 7th.

17. In Southern France, a log is burned in people’s homes from Christmas Eve until New Years Day.

16. In Germany, the children believe in Christkind – a winged angel who flies to windowsills to drop off presents.

15. Some British Children throw their letters to Santa into the fireplace so they will float up and fly to the North Pole (if the letter burns, they must re-write it).

14. Christmas trees are unpopular in Greece.

13. In Greenland, Christmas is organized and implemented by the man of the house. The women spend their time relaxing and being taken care of by their husband.

12. Children in Holland believe in Sinterklaas, whom lives in Spain.

11. Naughty Children in Hungary beware, if you are bad, St Nicholas’ companion will hit you with a twig!

10. In Ireland, Santa enjoys not milk and cookies but mince pies and Guinness.

9. In Italy the children wait until Epiphany, January 6, for their presents.

8. In Pakistan, 25 December is a public holiday it is however in memory of Jinnah the founder of Pakistan.

7. In the Philippines, fireworks are extremely popular at Christmas

6. In Russia, Christmas is slowly being replaced by the Festival of Winter.

5. In Slovakia, a traditional Christmas dinner is sauerkraut soup, and fish and potatoes salad.

4. In Syria, Children receive presents on New Years Day.

3. The Roman festival of Saturnalia, which culminated on December 25th, was celebrated around the winter solstice and included feasting and gift-giving.

2. In Sweden, the Christmas festivities begin on December 13 with St. Lucia’s Day, which celebrates the patron saint of light.

1. Every year in Italy during the festival of Epiphany an old witch known as “La Befana” walks through the village streets giving gifts to children.

Comment below with YOUR traditions. Any corrections? Comment below.

Happy Holidays from Able Translations.

Search Engine Optimization for International Companies

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is hard enough as is. Throw in multiple languages and different locales and you’re in for a REAL treat. I’m going to talk to you about SEO for international companies but I’m working on the assumption that you know what SEO is and you have an SEO strategy. If you don’t know what SEO is, check this out: http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo. It’ll give you the basics.

What on Earth is Localization?

Alright, I feel comfortable making the assumption that you know what SEO is but localization is a completely different story. Unless you work in a specific industry like the language services industry, it’s unlikely that you’ve come across this term before. So, let’s dive right in!

Localization involves taking content written for one locale and tailoring it to meet the needs of another.

For Example:

You have an online store that sells, oh I don’t know, custom floor mats for cars. So far, you’re dominating the Canadian floor mat market and you see an opportunity to break into the Japanese market. To carve your niche, you start adding your website to online Japanese floor mat retailer directories.

Six months pass and not a single order has come in from Japan. Time to pack it up, right? Wrong! You need to localize. So, you hire a company to translate all of your text to Japanese and you’re off to the races.

Make Sure You:

• Adjust your website layout to account for an increase/decrease in text. Some languages add up to 40% more characters per body of text

• Update measurements, currency, and date format to fit with local customs

• Update photos to feature places and people that represent your new market’s culture

This is Just the Start…

Translating your text to the language of your market is only the first step in SEO localization. You need to do the exact same things you did for your English website SEO. Let’s review those steps and I’ll explain the localization strategy.

Link Building

You’re going to have to build links that are relevant in your new market. Where does your new market look for your product (directories, blogs, twitter, facebook)? Make sure you’re there and speaking their language. Connect with social media influencers in your target locale.

Keywording

This is where you’re definitely going to need a professional. You can’t just ask someone to translate keywords that are popular in your current location and expect them to be popular in a different country. In Canada, we may search for “social media marketing agencies” but in a different country that string might be useless. The prevailing term for social media marketing in a different country might be “internet advertising companies” in which case you haven’t used any of those words.

I guess this is the perfect time to explain long-tail and short-tail keywords because this will be the most difficult part. In some languages, depending on the context, the form of a word might change (context-sensitive spelling). So a singular keyword planted throughout your content might be useless because people often search using long-tailed strings.

Website Design and Usability

Your website has to reflect the way users navigate your website. Look at other websites in your target locale and find best practices. Where do they prefer the menu? Do they use “bread crumb links” or navigation side bars? Do they mostly share using Facebook or do they use Twitter? Ultimately, sharing your content will help you leaps and bounds so you need to set sharing features up in a way that your target market is most comfortable with.

This is just a taste of what you’re in for when you decide to do SEO localization. If you have any questions visit Abletranslations.com.

For more on international marketing check out:

Translate Tweets to Explode in the Twitterverse (and make more cash online)

or head back to Toronto Translators

The World’s WORST Interpreting Advice

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Now, onto the show…

It’s hump day and to make it more palatable, I decided some humor was in order. I read a lot of advice blogs because, quite frankly, I’m not good at a lot of things. I need all the advice I can get. I am, however, an expert in doing this WRONG. So heed this warning:

The Following Interpreting Advice Should Not Be Used Under Any Circumstance.

You have been warned…

Tip #1 – Give the “gist”

Doctors, lawyers, and insurance brokers are often in a hurry. Time is money or so the saying goes. Do them a favor. When interpreting for one of their clients only relay the gist of the conversation. Details are not as important as you may think.
Example – If a patient tells you “I think I’m having a heart attack and I can’t breathe” save the doctor, the patient, and yourself sometime by giving the gist –“I am not feeling well”.

Tip #2 – Always Be Late

As an interpreter, you don’t want to look overeager! Arrive fashionably late. Not only will you look cool but it’ll also give your clients some extra time to sit in awkward silence. If you can, arrive with latte in hand. It’s a signal to everyone that coffee was more important than being on time. You’re an interpreter rock star.

The only thing cooler than being late is…

Tip#3 – Don’t Show Up at All

Supply and demand! This is basic economics people! If demand is high and there is little supply, you can charge a premium. But don’t wait until the scale tips naturally, give it a nudge by giving the impression that you’re too busy to take on new clients. If they really want you, they will cough up the extra dough.

Tip #4 – ABT

Everyone has heard of the acronym ABC (Always Be Closing). It’s a classic sales tip that reminds you that everything you do in sales is to put you in a position to close (strike a deal). ABT is similar. It stands for Always Be Texting. People LOVE gadgets and with the iPhone 5 recently debuting, your clients will surely be impressed when they see your fingers a-flyin’ across that remarkable device.

Tip #5 – Fake It ‘til You Make It

This is my last piece of advice to interpreters. If you don’t know the equivalent of the word in the target language, make something up. Don’t forget, you’re a professional. If you skip a beat or have to pause to think of the word, you’ll look amateur. Besides, neither of your clients will know that you switched a word. After all, you’re the only one in the room that knows both languages!

There you go folks, straight from the horse’s mouth. As a connoisseur of doing things poorly, these must be the WORST pieces of advice that I could give to interpreters.
Now get out there and interpret!

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How to Recover from a Bad Translation (and come out on top!)

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Before he knew it, phone calls were coming in droves. He stopped checking his email because his inbox was becoming unmanageable. How on earth was he going to explain this one to his boss?

John, a copywriter at a well known advertising agency, had just released (or rather unleashed) his latest ad for a major Japanese electronics manufacturer and to his dismay (and the dismay of many), the ad featured some rather awkward (read: inappropriate) copy. It turns out the translation company he hired used machine translation and neglected to proof read, as did John.

Now John, a relatively unknown copywriter, is out of a job (big deal!). The real damage done was to his client, the Japanese electronics manufacturer. As the executives of the manufacturing facility sat in the boardroom trying to figure out how to bounce back after this PR nightmare, they read this very article:

How to Recover from a Bad Translation:

Step 1:

Take a deep breath (everything will be o.k.)

Step 2: Assess the Damage

Assessing the damage is easily done thanks to social media. If you’re a high profile company and you’ve made a “booboo”, you can bet it’s already on Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere. Do a keyword search for your blunder and see what comes up.

Step 3: Respond

Again, thanks for social media, you can respond quickly to those who have expressed concern over your, for lack of a better phrase, poor judgment. Apologize for the mistake! As viral as your blunder went, your apology will spread just as quickly.

Step 3: Turn a PR Nightmare into a PR Dream

I know it may feel like it but this isn’t the first time a company has released poorly translated adverts or, more generally, an embarrassing, under-thought out, advertisement. The most successful companies turn this bad press into a chance to do something fantastic.

Think of a way to get the community involved. Could you have a contest that has people Re-caption the advertisement? Probably! Could you poke a little fun at yourself on Youtube? I’ll bet you can!

Be creative.

Final Thoughts

In the age of social media, everything you do is a chance for you to engage with your customers. In years past, you didn’t have that option. You made a terrible marketing decision? YOU LIVED WITH IT UNTIL SOMEONE ELSE MADE A BIGGER MISTAKE. Now, you can get right in there! Apologize, mend fences, and have a little fun.

For more information on how to choose a language service provider that won’t EVER put you in this position, visit www.abletranslations.com

Also, check out this articles:

How to Choose a Language Services Provider

Three Reasons to Stay with Your Language Services Provider

Do This, Not That: Public Speaking Tips for Interpreters

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To be a great interpreter, you need to be a great public speaker. Having done a little bit of research on the topic of public speaking, I’ve found that most of the basic rules don’t apply. Most of the foundational skills for public speaking involve skills that are based on being a bit candid. Storytelling and using humor, for example, can make you a great public speaker but they will make you a poor interpreter. As an interpreter, it isn’t your job to be funny or a storyteller (you know that!). It’s your job to relay the messages of someone else who is a great public speaker.

As I researched, I asked myself “what makes a great interpreter in a public setting”. Here are three general tips that I’ve come up with:

1. Have you ever encountered a speaker that was fidgety? I mean constantly moving, shuffling papers, or adjusting their clothes. Did it bother you? If you said yes, you are part of the majority. Generally, audience feels less engaged and more distracted when the speaker nervously fidgets.

Do This, Not That
Before starting to interpret, make sure you are comfortable and organized. Adjust your clothing and arrange your materials prior to beginning your interpretation. Relax, put your hands at your sides (unless you’re an ASL interpreter), and start interpreting.

2. Omit your “umms” and “ahhs”. Make a concerted effort not to make “thinking noises”. This is often distracting to the listener. You’ll come across very professional and prepared if you omit your “umms” and “ahhs”.

Do This, Not That
If you need a moment to think, pause silently. I know interpreting must be on pace but an “umm” takes just as much time as a pause but it is far less distracting. Cutting out thinking sounds will be difficult especially if it is habitual. You’ll need to work to cut it out of your daily communications and work toward cutting it out of your interpretations.

3. Dress professionally and you’ll feel professional. This is classic advice. This is the advice my father gave to me and his father to him. The reason it’s classic is because it is one of those things in life that just happens to be proved time and time again. Trust me; this piece of advice is the real deal. When you feel professional, you’ll be confident and that will show through your voice, posture, and mannerisms.

Do This, Not That
Everyone has a different opinion of how professionals dress but there is some consensus. For men, you can’t go wrong with a dress shirt, black trousers, and black shoes. It is pretty standard and inexpensive to purchase if you require a professional look. Women can often dress in more versatile clothing (and to be honest, I’m not about to give advice on women’s fashion. I’m pretty clueless in that department). If you need some advice, check this out: http://www.ehow.com/how_2064031_dress-womens-professional-attire.html.

So there you have it folks, three public speaking tips for interpreters. Have any more to add? Comment below! If we get enough, I’ll put them in another tips blog.

You Can Teach a Man to Fish…

You can market, advertise, and sell until you’re blue in the face and maybe you’ll gain some buyers. Maybe they’ll be loyal clients for years or maybe they will be fair-weather friends that will switch companies at the drop of a hat. That’s the chance you take in the business world. This might sound a little crazy but what you need less of are “clients”. What you need is a bigger audience. A group of loyal people, who may or may not buy from you, but will defend your company and spread your message. Build an audience and your client list will follow.

This is nothing new. However, the approach to gaining an audience has changed with the development of social media. We’ve gone from word-of-mouth to word-of-mouse but gaining an audience is still done in the same way. The best way to get people listening to you and your business is to teach them something. Not many people can do what your business does so sharing a couple tips here and there won’t put you in a precarious situation.

You might be asking yourself, “What can my business teach someone?” The answer is quite simple. Teach them how to use your product or service more effectively. For example, in the language services industry, we teach companies how to use translations and interpreting to reach global markets, maintain an international brand, and foster a corporate culture of diversity. Even if a company isn’t using our services at the moment, they still use us as a source of knowledge.

The other great thing about your company taking on a teaching role is that others will do your marketing for you. If you teach someone something really amazing, they are likely to share it with their connections. Now, instead of reaching your network only, you are reaching a much larger audience: your network’s network.