World Refugee Day: 5 Shattering Statistics and 3 Ways the Translation Industry Can Make a Difference

20 June is World Refugee Day. This year, it’s an especially solemn occasion. Crises around the world have sent record numbers of people fleeing their homes and their countries for an uncertain life elsewhere. Here are 5 heart-shattering statistics about the refugee crisis…and 3 ways the translation industry can make a difference.

Last year, 65.3 million people were forced to flee from their homes.

That’s a new record- it’s never been higher than 60 million since the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees began tracking it. It’s also more than the entire population of the UK, and more than the number of people displaced after World War II. According to the latest UN report, “If these 65.3 million persons were a nation, they would make up the 21st largest in the world.”

Here’s how that 65.3 million breaks down:

  • 40 million internally displaced.

  • 21.3 million living as refugees

  • 3.2 million waiting on asylum claims.

Every minute, another 24 people around the world are displaced.

They flee their homes, leaving almost everything behind in search of safety.

Although lower than it was in 2014, the rate of displacement is 4 times higher than it was a decade ago. And the dangers the refugees face along the way have increased, as well. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi:

More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too.”

More than 50% of Syria’s population has been displaced.

4.9 million Syrian refugees have fled the country since the war began. Most of them end up in nearby countries like Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon. Read more

Nonverbal Communication Across Cultures: How to Offend And Confuse People Around the World Without Saying a Word

Everyone knows it takes more than words to communicate effectively. In fact, more than 65% of social meanings are translated nonverbally, according to anthropologist Edward T. Hall. Think nonverbal communication is universal? Think again! Here are 5 ways to offend and confuse people around the world without saying a word.

Nonverbal Communication: Your Hands Are Talking, but What Are They Saying?

Gesturing is a great way to ensure you’re getting your point across, right? Sure… but choose your gestures carefully! For example, consider the “OK” nonverbal communication AOKsign. Seems innocuous enough, unless you’re in France or Belgium, when it might mean “0” or “worthless.” Or in Brazil, Germany, Russia, Tunisia, Greece, the Middle East and parts of South America, where it’s a crude insult. In the Arab world, it can also be used as a curse.

And what about the “thumbs up” sign? It might seem like an easy way to signal approval, but in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America, Afghanistan, Iran, and parts of Italy and Greece, you might be unwittingly inviting your conversation partner to “Sit on it!” How awkward.

Meanwhile, the “V” for victory sign is another gesture with many meanings, some of them obscene. It could mean “victory,” it could mean “peace,” or it could mean “up yours.”

What about pointing? Not in Malaysia, where’s taboo to point with an index finger. Use your thumb instead!

Making lots of grand sweeping gestures is almost a necessity in countries like Italy, where people “talk with their hands.” But in other countries, like Japan, it’s considered rude.

If you’re just about ready to sit on your hands to keep them out of trouble, well… don’t worry, I’m sure that’s considered unpardonably rude somewhere as well! And don’t even think about putting them in your pockets if youre somewhere like South Korea.

The best advice is simply to ask a trustworthy local if there any obscene gestures you should avoid making. Read more

9 Quirky Summer Festivals From Around The World In 2016

Summer is almost here! Do you have holiday plans yet? To help out all you procrastinators, we’ve handpicked 9 interesting and unusual summer festivals  from around the world. Why lie on the beach and get sand stuck everywhere when you could be attending one of these instead?

Summer Festivals 2016: World Bodypainting Festivalsummer festivals WBF-2012_Ulf-Scherling_026

When: 1-3 July 2016
Where: Lake Wörthersee, Austria

Bodies and Beats, otherwise known as the World Bodypainting Festival, is a three-day celebration of the art of bodypainting. The festival features music, bodypainting workshops, and some seriously surreal painted-on costumes.

The main attraction is the “Body Circus” Ball. According to the festival website, the ball includes “Painted bodies, fire-breathers, burlesque dancers, freaks plus the finest club sounds.” 

Summer Festivals 2016: Wife-Carrying World Championshipssummer festivals wife carrying

When: July 2016, Dates TBD
Where: Sonkajärvi,Finland.

Wife carrying is a Finnish sport with an old and storied (if not exactly honorable) history. It was inspired by a legendary gentleman by the name of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen. Rosvo-Ronkainen was much like Robin Hood, only without the heart of gold. He and his band of robbers lived in a forest and regularly pillaged the surrounding villages, stealing women along with food and other items.

No women are stolen in modern-day wife carrying, fortunately. In this sport, men carry their female partners in a race around an obstacle course. The winner gets the woman’s weight in beer, among other prizes. Despite the name of the sport, participants do not have to be married to each other. Read more

11 Thought-Provoking Social Media and International Marketing Statistics for 2016

For businesses, social media is an opportunity to connect with existing and potential customers around the world. But do you know enough to use it effectively? If you think a “one country fits all” social strategy is enough, think again. Here are 11 statistics about social media around the world to fuel your international marketing campaigns:

Asia now has more internet users than Western Europe and North America put together.

International Marketing Takeaways:Planning to market your business in Asia? The internet is your friend. Localised social media should be part of your marketing strategy. That means targeting content to local languages and preferences. It may also mean developing a presence on local social networks.  These networks can rival or exceed Western giants like Facebook in some markets.  Read more

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