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.

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

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

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

5 Random Thoughts about Language

1) What if EVERYONE spoke a different language?

Would we have evolved if there was no shared language? If everyone spoke a different language, I don’t see how society could have formed together under a veil of shared meaning, norms, and morals. Just thinking about the organization of work and the necessary efficiencies, I don’t know that we could have coordinated ourselves in a way that made farming possible let alone the complex tasks of today’s workforce.
…imagine what Facebook would look like?

2) What if EVERYONE spoke the SAME language?

I know, I know, pretty similar to the first question. But, think of the ramifications. Imagine how quickly the world could have evolved if everyone spoke the same language and was able to share ideas right from the start. On the other hand, because language is so closely tied to culture (and vice-versa) would we lose out on all the wonderful things that stem from language diversity?

We would lose awesome phrases such as “Bon Appétit” or “Al Dente”. Basically, nobody would wish us a good meal as we eat our mushy pasta.

3) Why is it fairly easy for humans to define most words but we struggle and debate over the meaning of the word “I”?

Studying sociology, I spent a lot of time in heated debates over the social significance and social definition of “I”. Symbolic interactionists contend that “I” is our internal self that we piece together through our understanding of how other people see us.

Looking Glass Self

What?

“I” isn’t like toaster or car seat. For some reason, we have a hard time grasping something that is so central to our existence. It is a word we just can’t define properly.

4) Why does a word start to sound funny and lose meaning when you say it over and over again?

Not much to say on this one but say the word “tree” 20 times and tell me it doesn’t make you laugh.

5) The mystery of organic palindromes

Do you know what a palindrome is? A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same forward as it is backwards.

Example:
-Race Car
-civic
-Kayak

When I refer to an “organic” palindrome, I’m speaking about a word that has evolved in a natural way not for the purpose of creating a palindrome.

What I wonder is HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE! What are the odds that this could even happen?

I’m astonished.

Brand Internationalization Strategy for Small and Mid-sized Companies

Taken from:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Brand-Internationalization-Strategy-for-Small-and-Mid-Sized-Companies&id=7269280

I know I shouldn’t, but I’m going to. After all, I’m a rebel. If you follow the literature on social media, you’ll see that most experts recommend starting online articles with a personal story. But I’m not going to. To be honest, I wracked my brain for a personal story on brand internationalization and finished the day with a blank page. Surprising, right? So, I thought to myself, “Why don’t you just fabricate a story?” And I did. Boy, did it sound disingenuous. Instead, I’m going to approach the subject of brand internationalization from the orientations that I feel most comfortable with, fairy tales and sociology.

A Long, Long Time Ago in a Kingdom, Far, Far Away…

There lived a sociologist, Emile Durkheim, who coined the term “collective consciousness”. Without bombarding you with technical mumbo-jumbo (mumbo-jumbo, being the technical term for boring filler), I’ll skip to the point.

Emile Durkheim suggested that societies are bound together by shared beliefs, values, and attitudes. This was characteristic of groups of people living within a limited proximity. When he coined the term at the end of the 19th century, Durkheim was mainly looking at the beginnings of industrial society, a far cry from the social arrangements that characterize the 2000s.

The Goose That Laid the Global Egg

The internet has blurred borders, both physical and cultural. We live in a global society but because of the spread of information, Durkheim’s perspective still rings true. There are some basic ideas and attitudes that are universal. These universals have become central in brand internationalization.

Enter, the Big Brand Wolf

big brand wolf
He’ll Huff and He’ll Puff and He’ll GROOOOOW Your Brand

Small and mid-sized organizations that haven’t taken steps to internationalize their brand are actually in a position to do so in a more effective way than organizations that have already built up a concrete brand image. You have the luxury of forethought.

Let me explain. There are two major schools of thought when it comes to internationalizing your brand. You can:

a) Re-brand in every market you enter

b) You can choose a universal appeal (remember the global collective conscious?) and make small tweaks in each locale.

Option (B) is cost-effective and efficient at creating a recognizable brand but it involves thinking ahead. You have to decide on a universal value or attitude on which to base your brand before you make your debut on the international stage.

The Seven Dwarves of International Branding

After reviewing your marketing demographics and finding your target market, you’ve got to think a little bit about what makes them tick on a personal level but think big picture. Do they value family? Friendship? Saving money? These are your universals. Your long-term branding strategy should be based on this. The seven dwarves will help you make the brand locally appealing.

Meet the seven dwarves of brand internationalization:

Disney got here first
…Disney got here before you did

Language – this is a given, all marketing material must be distributed in the language of the target market. ’nuff said.

Culture – Get a consultant! Some cultures consider some topics taboo, favor a particular selling environment, or aren’t buying what you’re selling (think winter hats in Morocco)

Graphics – feature local talent, use colors that represent your message (these change by region), and ensure translated text will fit in your logo.

Idioms – For an international message, stay away from English idioms. They don’t translate well.

Content flow – The often forgotten Dwarf. Your text layout should follow local customs.

Software/website – You need to localize your software and website. This means changing the date/time/currency formats/measurements, text field lengths for phone numbers and addresses, as well as everything else that has been mentioned.

Regulations – consult an expert on local regulations. Do they require a specific format on your product labels? Do they have different language and accessibility laws in place? All your work will be for not if you don’t meet local laws.

These points are critical in reaching your target market. You can use a generic marketing message but then you won’t be leveraging your communications.

Live Happily Ever After

Here are the takeaway points:

• Think globally and pick a universally appealing brand value or attitude

• Tweak your message according to cultural nuances and standards

• Avoid generic marketing messages when going international

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7269280

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 Difference between Simultaneous Interpreting and Consecutive Interpreting Services

Interpreting comes in two basic forms, simultaneous and consecutive. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The one you choose is based on the situation in which it will be used but it is also largely personal preference.

Let’s take a look at the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting.

Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous is like the Lamborghini of interpreting. If interpreting was a spaceship, it would be the Millennium Falcon. If it were a couch, it’d be that sweet black leather sectional you saw at the Brick on the weekend. It’s the Big League Chew, Michael Jackson, Coca-Cola, Peanut butter and jelly sandwich of interpreting.
That's right, I referenced Big League Chew
But…I digress.

Simultaneous interpreting involves converting your message into a different language in real-time. A team of interpreters, in special sound booths, hear you speak through headphones and immediately deliver your words in another language to audience members with headsets. This allows you to speak freely and at a natural pace.

Essentially, the process works like this. The speaker will get a few words into his sentence and then the interpreter will start interpreting with a small lag. As the speaker orates, the interpreter listens and speaks at the same time, converting one language into the other.
The amount of mental energy and concentration these interpreters have is, to completely understate it, magnificent. To give you an idea of how mentally taxing simultaneous interpreting is for the interpreters, they generally switch on-and-off every 20 minutes or so.

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is like the all-terrain-vehicle of interpreting. The setup isn’t nearly as extensive as simultaneous interpreting but it allows for a conversational approach to interpreting.

Consecutive interpreting is as awesome as a Batmobile ATV
Simultaneous interpreting is generally done at conferences when the exchange of information is one-way whereas consecutive interpreting can easily allow two or more people to converse.

Consecutive interpreting has you speaking first, pausing, and then the interpreter interprets. Essentially, your speech or conversation would be divided into chunks, usually by idea, and then delivered by the interpreter.

Which One Should You Choose?

Simultaneous is great for large events and conferences. It allows the speaker to orate naturally, giving a more candid feel to the presentation. With the addition of multiple sound booths, a speech could be interpreted into many different languages to accommodate a highly diverse audience.
Consecutive interpreting is great for business meetings, court hearings, grass roots meetings, and other conversational situations.

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Man Vs Machine…Translation

Welcome to the Ring

In the red corner, standing 5’8” and weighing in at 165lbs. He types 80 words per minute and speaks three languages. He has remained undefeated for HUNDREDS and hundreds of years. I give you…THE HUMAN TRANSLATOR.

And in the blue corner, standing…well…it doesn’t really stand and weighing…um does computer code weigh anything? It can translate a document of any size into any language in seconds. He’s the newest challenger in the industry but seems to be unstoppable. Here is…MACHINE TRANSLATION.

The Blow by Blow

Human translation and machine translation both have their strengths and weaknesses and their usefulness depends on context. Let’s take a look at what makes both translation strategies unique and explore some of their benefits and drawbacks.

The Human Translator

The human translator is exactly what it sounds like, a human doing the translating. Now, keep in mind, we aren’t talking a pen and paper process here. Technology does play a huge role in human translating. Aside from word processing, projects tend to use project management workflow software to keep everything on track. Human translators can also use what is known as “translation memory management” systems. Essentially, this is a database that stores translatable “units” (sentences, headings, even paragraphs of text). It helps a project with more than one translator become one cohesive output. This software is especially popular with very technical translations (think machine operating manuals). You need to have processes, instructions, or machine parts defined in the same way. Translation memory helps you do that.

Benefits:

  • Human translators strike a balance between the words you use and the ideas you are trying to get across. This leaves you with a cohesive, error free project
  • Human translators are bound by significant quality standards thus your project is handled very carefully
  • Human translators can verify information and give recommendations to improve your project

 

Drawbacks:

  • Human translators are not available for free download
  • Their output isn’t instantaneous
  • They consume all of the coffee in the office

 

Human translators should be consulted when handling large, complex projects that require high quality translations (ecommerce websites, marketing material, software localization, books and ebooks, movie subtitles, etc).

 

Machine Translation

Google has done a superb job in their creation of machine translation software. They provide near instant translations, regardless of word count. Their algorithms have improved significantly since their beta-launch. Machine translation approaches a document from a word-for-word point of view. It looks at individual units of language, not the totality of meaning, sometimes with hilarious results.

Benefits:

  • Extremely fast
  • Extremely inexpensive (often free)
  • Near endless options for language availability
  • Conveniently available from any computer

 

Drawbacks:

  • Will not contextualize the translation, which often leads to some pretty funny translation errors
  • Will not proofread. If you’ve made a mistake, it will translate it anyways
  • Some English phrases and idioms cannot be translated with the same meaning, machine translation doesn’t notice.

 

As you can see, machine translation software is pretty awesome if you need to quickly translate something. Say, if you’re emailing your Korean pen pal or your Romanian grandmother sent you your favorite recipe (at least that’s what you think it is…). But because it can’t contextualize your words and it won’t alert you to an error if your thoughts won’t be expressed as intended, you should avoid using machine translation on projects associated with your business or organization. It’s risky. Some companies have had PR nightmares from poor translations.

 

IT’S A TOTAL KNOCKOUT!

The human translator retains its title. Well, maybe I fixed the match but I truly believe there is no replacement for human translation.

 

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Proud to be Canadian

Before celebrating the accomplishments of our Canadian competitors, Able Translations just wants to take a moment to congratulate every Olympic athlete on their performance. Top three finish or not, you’re all champions. You represented your country beautifully and you should be proud.

                As in every Olympics, our Canadian athletes showed the world the true spirit of our nation. They exhibited dedication, poise, and sportsmanship. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our athletes’ accomplishments at this, the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

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Our first gold medal was aptly awarded to Rosie Maclennan of King City, Ontario in the Trampoline event. No, no, this isn’t the “backyard tumbling” we’ve come to recognize as trampolining. Olympic trampoline is a highly skilled form of gymnastics involving bounces up to 10 meters high and forces up to 10gs upon impact. Ms. Maclennan, a fierce competitor, edged out Chinese athlete Shanshan Huang by a miniscule 0.575 points. Way to bounce ahead of the competition, Rosie. Sorry about the pun.

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Both our woman’s eight and heavy weight men’s eight pulled out all the stops to secure silver medals in Olympic rowing. One of the most physically grueling events in the Olympics, rowing is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. Our athletes dug deep and came away sporting some Olympic hardware. You guys sure can row, row, row your boat…

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Ryan Cochrane (the swimmer, not the Olympic kayaker) and Brent Hayden claimed Olympic silver and bronze, respectively. Cochrane left nothing in the pool as he sprinted the last 50m in the men’s 1 500m freestyle but fell short to China’s power-house swimmer, Sun Yang. Hayden, who was suffering from back pain before stepping onto his block, fought hard in the men’s 100-metre freestyle and finished with a respectable time of 47.80 seconds winning Canada our first medal in swimming.

ImageCanada hit a stride in Olympic synchronized diving, with two of our women’s teams being awarded bronze. Both our 3-meter team (Heymans and Abel) and 10-meter team (Benfeito and Filion) performed flawlessly. Their grace and skill was only outshined by their connection and dedication to each other. Absolutely amazing

ImageOne of our toughest athletes (I mean that in the truest sense of the word), Antoine (Tony) Valois-Fortier, took the bronze after two difficult repechage bouts. Demonstrating that his iron will is just as strong as his iron jaw; he beat out American Travis Stevens to steal the Bronze. This is nothing short of amazing considering Valois-Fortier had fought four bouts in about five hours. 

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In a Canadian Olympic first, Christine Girard from British Columbia finished third in Olympic weightlifting. Competing at a mere 63 kilos (138.6 pounds), Christine lifted a staggering 103 kilos (226.6lbs) in the snatch and 135 kilos (297lbs) in the clean and press. Just to give you some idea, that’s like lifting the equivalent of a full-grown male lion over your head!   

We’ll get the rest of these amazing graphics posted as soon as we can. Good luck in the closing days of the games, Canada.

-Able Translations

Translations Toronto