Infographic: How translators can market themselves online

Infographic: How Translators Can Market Themselves Online

In our field we work with literally 1000’s of translators, sometimes they come to us directly, but often we need to go looking for specialists with linguistic skills in specific areas like document localisation or website translation. It’s here where we noticed a problem, a great many translators aren’t making themselves visible to potential online customers anywhere near as much as they could. Some of the very best translators we have on our books don’t have any kind of online presence, which made us think, maybe we can help.

Being a freelance translator is a competitive business, even more so if you are just starting out. To make sure you have the best chance of getting work in from clients, you absolutely must make sure those clients can find you. More and more people are using the internet to research and buy translation services and you really don’t want to be left behind as this trend shows no sign of slowing. It’s not enough to set up a profile on Proz.com and wait for the jobs to roll in, thousands are already doing exactly that… you need to start taking a proactive approach and make sure potential clients have the best chance of finding you vs. your competition, how do you do that? Well besides being great at what you do, marketing yourself effectively online can help enormously. Read more

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scififantasy scenes

3 Iconic Science Fiction/Fantasy Scenes That Gave Translators Fits

When translating, one does not simply swap one word for another. Writers choose their words carefully, combining characteristics like sounds, sentence structure and meaning to create different effects. Often, what works in one language simply doesn’t work in another, and translators have to come up with creative solutions that preserve the impact of the original words.

Here are 3 iconic moments from fantasy and science fiction that probably gave their translators fits:

Game of Thrones: Hold the Door!

**SPOILER ALERT**

You may have seen this collection of images floating around the interwebs this week.  It shows how Game of Thrones translators dealt with the death of everyone’s favorite gentle giant, Hodor.  Just in case you missed it: it was revealed that Hodor was originally an intelligent, articulate stablehand named Wylis. An accident of time travel gave poor young Wylis a vision of his eventual death in the show, fending off undead long enough for his young charges Bran and Meera to escape. The vision caused a seizure that left Wylis brain-damaged, endlessly repeating “Hodor!,” a contracted version of “Hold the Door!”

Obviously, this was not an easy scene to translate, as the equivalent words for “Hold the door!” do not necessarily sound like “Hodor!” in other languages.

For example, the Dutch translators had it easy: DRVuUJB

The Italian translators had to get a bit more creative, changing “Hold the Door!” to “Block the horde!”:

2nuEORs

Read more

translation at the 2016 Olympics

7  Fun Facts About Translation at the Olympics In 2016

Since the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1894, the event has grown from a mere 24 countries to over 200. As you might have guessed, the linguistic challenges involved are tremendous. The Games are in full swing in Rio de Janeiro right now. To celebrate, here are 7 fun facts and interesting stories about translation at the 2016 Olympics.  Enjoy!

The 2016 Games Have 3 Official Languages: English, French and Portuguese

The Olympics always have two official languages: English and French. Other official languages are assigned based on the languages spoken in the host country. This year, that’s Portuguese, a Romance language with 215 million native speakers and the only official language of Brazil.

This Year, As Always, the French Are Watching

Manu_dibango1Pity the Francophiles! Unless the Olympic Games are being held in a French-speaking nation, the French language seems to get the short end of the stick when compared to English and the language of the host country. Every year, the International Organization of la Francophonie observes the games to make sure that the French language  gets its due. They also appoint a language watchdog called le Grand Témoin, which translates to “the Great Witness.” This year, le Grand Témoin is jazz musician Manu Dibango of Cameroon, pictured at left.

Rio De Janeiro Sought Out 8,000 Volunteers for Translation at the Olympics

Translation at the Olympics is always a huge concern, and this year was no different. In preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro sought out 8,000 volunteers with language skills to act as interpreters and translators for athletes, delegates and the press.  Read more

uber localization strategy

The Uber Guide to Localization: 6 Strategies Worth Stealing

Ready to take your business global? You can learn a lot about localization strategy from studying other business’ efforts. Case in point: ridesharing service Uber. Founded only 7 years ago in the USA, Uber is now available in 65 countries, 450 cities and 32 languages worldwide. How did they do it, and what can everyone else learn?

Uber’s campaign for world domination hasn’t always been a smooth ride, and they recently sold their business in China to their chief competitor. That said, the company’s localization strategies are worth studying for businesses with international ambitions.

Pablo Picasso is reported to have said that “bad artists copy, great artists steal.” Here are 6 localization strategies that have fueled Uber’s global expansion. Steal them, customise them for your business and make the world your oyster:

Steal This Localization Strategy: Localize Your Visuals

Did you know that Uber’s logo is different for different countries? Sometimes, it’s even customised for different cities in the same country.  When the Uber team rebranded the app earlier this year, they came up with a design that was easy to customise for different markets.  Then, they localized the imagery accordingly. According to a story in Wired:

Amin and his team decided to create colors, patterns, and images that were specific to each market, allowing Uber employees more autonomy in crafting messages for their own cities. The designers mocked up mood boards for individual cities, regions and countries, piecing together images representing architecture, textiles, fashion, and art, among other things.

The app interface varies between markets as well. For example, in China, “People’s Uber” cars are shown in Communist red.

Steal this Localization Strategy: Localize Your Products


Ride-sharing and other on-demand services are the glue that holds the Uber brand together. But the products Uber offers are different in each market. For example, in India you can use Uber to hire cars, but you can also use UberAuto to hire a rickshaw. In Turkey, a few taps on your smartphone can summon an UberBoat to pick you up on the seashore. Read more

pokemon go

The Language of Pokémon Go (and Why It’s Taking Over the World)

It’s official:  Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm. A week after release, it had more active users than Twitter and more engagement than Facebook. Players are walking off cliffs and walking into traffic.  Those of us who don’t play are thoroughly confused, by both our friends’ behavior and by the incomprehensible babble coming out of their mouths.

“Pikachu?” “Gesundheit, and I’ll thank you to cover your mouth next time you sneeze!”

Why does everyone love Pokémon Go? Would you be surprised to learn that language has a lot to do with it? If you’ve been scratching your head in confusion, your wait is over. Let’s unravel the mystery of the language of Pokémon Go, and why the game seems to be taking over the world.

Pokémon Go: Nostalgia That Cuts Across Cultures

 

In the late 90s, Pokémon was kind of a big deal. The little “pocket monsters” (and their associated games, cards and other merchandise) spread from Japan to the US and everywhere in between.

It should come as no surprise, then, that 25% of Pokémon Go players are between the ages of 30-40, and 46% percent are between the ages of 18-29.  A substantial chunk of those 2 age groups would have been kids in the late 90s/early 2000s. Pokémon mania created a common touchpoint for people around the world who were kids at that time. So, the game taps into feelings of nostalgia that cut across cultures.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, there will be more of these common cross-cultural experiences to bind us together, and more opportunities for businesses and brands to create and harness them. Read more

Translation gone wrong

Translation Gone Wrong: 7 Big Translation Fails from 2016 

2016 is over halfway gone. Let’s look back at some of this year’s best examples of translation gone wrong  (so far).  This year, we have a little bit of everything, from menu translations that will kill your appetite to translation gaffes from major political candidates. Here are the biggest and funniest translation fails of 2016!

Translation Gone Wrong: In the Darkest Depths of Mordor Russia..

mordor

Who knew Led Zeppelin’s 1969 hit Ramble On was actually an ode to Russian girls? Well, you might have thought so, anyway, if you’d been using Google Translate to translate from Ukrainian into Russian in January 2016.  A glitch caused the service to translate “Russia” into “Mordor,” the fictional home of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings.

According to the BBC, the error came about due to a flurry of internet chatter following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Online commentators in the Ukraine began referring to Russia as “Mordor,” and  Google Translate picked up on it.

Translation Gone Wrong:  Fashion Brands Monkey Around in China


2016 was the Year of the Monkey, and Western fashion brands tried hard to cash in with special monkey-related merchandise. Unfortunately, some of their efforts got lost in translation. Consider, as seen in Business Insider, the “creepy” gold-finished and rhinestone-studded monkey necklace offered by Louis Vuitton, or the cartoonish red-and-gold monkey keychain offered by Dior. Both were trashed on Chinese fashion blogs. So was a Givenchy “Year of the Monkey” T-shirt which featured what Chinese fashion blogger Gogoboi called “orangutans” in eyeshadow. (I think it’s actually a pair of baboons, but his point still stands. Traditional Chinese monkeys are usually macaques or gibbons. Baboons live in Africa.)

The moral of this story? Don’t think that designing to make a cultural reference will generate enough goodwill amongst consumers that they won’t care how ugly your merchandise is! Read more

15 Translation Resources for Retail Organisations

15 Translation Resources for Retail Businesses

Thanks to the close relationships we have developed with commercial brands, we have engineerd a set of proven localisation services specifically for the retail sector. Over the years we have gained an indepth knowledge of the retail sector and their translation requirements when it comes to getting products on shelf abroad.  While translation may only be a small part of the global sales process when viewed in isolation, its overall importance to the success of an international retail project cannot be underestimated . Here you can find 15 of our most popular retail translation focused resources, guides and articles that have been produced over the past few years. They will help to give you an understanding of the process of localisation and the role it plays in developing an international commercial business. Read more

translation is important (1)

Why Translation is Important In A World Where English is Everywhere

In a world where English is everywhere, is translation still important? Is it even necessary?

English is the third most widely-spoken language in terms of native speakers, of which it has at least 330 million. But if you count the people who speak it as a second language, it’s the most popular language in the world. So, why is translation so important? Here are 5 reasons why translation is important and will remain so, despite the growing ubiquity of English.

Translation is Important Because Not Everyone Speaks English

Sure, English is the most commonly spoken language. But that doesn’t mean you can overlook all the people who don’t speak it! Even England is home to significant populations of foreign and minority language speakers. 

And just because a person can speak some English, that doesn’t mean they can speak it well enough to cope in all situations. For example, a 2012 survey from the European Commission found that only a quarter of Europeans were able to understand English well enough to follow an English-language news broadcast. Holding a basic conversation is one thing. Easy and effective communication is another.

Translation is Important Because People Prefer Their Native Language

English is the most-widely spoken language. But, that’s only if you take second-language speakers into account. And therein lies the rub.  Almost without exception, people respond better to the language they grew up speaking.

To effectively sell to people, it’s not enough to speak a language that they understand (especially if their understanding is limited). You must speak to them in the language their heart speaks.

Dale Carnegie may have been right when he said “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” But the next sweetest sound is their native language. Babies as young as 5 months old have been shown to recognize and prefer it.

Adults prefer it, too. A study from Common Sense Advisory found that  75% of customers  “prefer to buy products in their native language.” And a study from  Indian market research company JuxtConsult  found that “almost three-quarters [of Indian consumers] prefer and seek out content in their first languages.” Read more

Translating for luxury brands

Localizing Luxury Brands

China is now the world’s second largest consumer of luxury goods (USA is first, Japan is 3rd). As the world economy grows the centre of gravity of the global middle class shifts eastwards, with this shift your customers are changing, managing a luxury brand is not what it used to be.

The key to marketing a luxury brand is the considered and precise use of language to ensure that the target market is reached. Translating existing content with a full appreciation of the colloquial and cultural implications of the text is therefore vital to an effective expansion strategy.

The style and register is always paramount – never more so than when seeking to influence the purchasing intent of foreign markets. After all, if it was as simple as running the words through Google Translate there would be little need for a strategic multi-market plan. Irrespective of the product, service or demographic, in order to effectively promote on a multinational platform, it is therefore vital that the textual content is translated with a complete linguistic understanding of each specific market. Read more

Packaging regulation after Brexit

Translating packaging in a post-Brexit regulatory environment

After a stormy few weeks, the dust following the UK’s vote for Brexit is starting to settle. However, with the form that Brexit will actually take still unclear and much wrangling over the TTIP deal with the US still ahead, international trade is facing a period of uncertainty.  For industries as diverse as food and drink, pharmaceuticals and cars, this lack of confidence in what the future holds is affecting investment and, naturally, feeds into business decisions on launching products into international markets. Read more