5 Lessons You Can Learn From the World's Biggest Businesses

International Expansion: 5 Lessons You Can Learn From the World’s Biggest Businesses

Sometimes it can seem like the world is smaller than ever – that we live in a global village where international borders mean little.

However, when it comes to international business expansion, the importance of cultural differences cannot be underestimated. Indeed, many businesses have found out the hard way that what works at home can go down very differently in a foreign market.

Here, we present five lessons you can learn from some of the world’s biggest businesses’ most notable successes and failures. Read more

What “Alice” Can Teach Us About Translation 

Did you know that Alice in Wonderland is the 2nd-most-translated English novel ever? It’s been translated into 174 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. Only The Pilgrim’s Progress has been translated more times.

Alice in a World of Wonderlands, a new book that came out over the summer, brings together 140 of these translations, including back-translations of certain chapters. Readers are invited to compare, contrast and generally geek out over all the different versions of a familiar story. What can this teach us about translation and localisation? Read on to find out!


Names Don’t Always Stay the Same

Sometimes, a rose by any other name actually smells more sweet. Choosing a familiar name can help both protagonists and brands alike appeal to local audiences. As her story is translated into different languages, “Alice” doesn’t always stay Alice.  Some translators choose a local name instead. Here are some examples:

  • Hungarian (1935 version): Évike
    Russian (1879 version): Sonja
  • Russian (1923 version): Anja
  • Swahili: Elisi
  • Cockney Rhyming Slang: Crystal
  • Danish: Maries
  • Marathi:  Jaai

Deciding whether or not to localise a company or product name can be difficult. If you’re already well-known internationally, you may decide to just localise the spelling. Or, you might not want to change anything.  That said, even some of the world’s largest brands market themselves by different names in different countries.  This article from Business Insider has some excellent examples. Read more

5 languages spoken in surprising places

5 Languages Spoken in Surprising Places

You expect people to speak Welsh in Wales, but what about in Argentina? Would it surprise you to find out there are entire Welsh-speaking communities in Patagonia? It’s true! Read on to learn more about five languages spoken in surprising places. Read more

7 Language Learning Hacks: A Cheat Sheet to Learning a New Language Fast

Many people wish to learn a new language. Few actually do so (at least in the English-speaking world).  What do successful language learners do differently? We won’t lie; persistance and determination is key. That said, these clever language learning hacks can make learning another language easier.  Why not give them a try?

Tap Into Your Inner Child

Children’s books, children’s shows and children’s songs teach basic vocabulary in a fun, easy-to-grasp format. If it’s a story or song you’re already familiar with, you might be surprised at how many words you can decipher on your own.

David Bailey, the CEO of Spotnight, didn’t know how to speak French when he arrived in France to stay with a friend. 17 days later, he was able to hold a conversation. As part of his language learning endeavor, he read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in French. In a post on Quora, he said

“Reading the children’s books you read as a child is a great hack to learning new languages. Firstly, the language used is simple and secondly, knowing the story helps you to guess the meaning of new words and avoid using a dictionary. Surprisingly children’s books are more entertaining in a foreign language.”

Another bonus: children’s music tends to be ridiculously infectious.  I put on the Spanish version of “Bob Zoom” a couple of days ago for my toddler, and “Mi Pollito Amarillito” has been stuck in my head ever since. Read more

Language and Translation News: 5 Stories You May Have Missed

Busy month? Having trouble keeping up with the latest language and translation news? Let’s get you up to speed, then! Here are 5 language and translation stories that you may have missed.

Skype Releases Instant Translation (and K International Tests It Out On The Gadget Show)

On 1 October, Microsoft began rolling out real-time instant translation to Skype users. The service is available in six langauges: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin.

That means human interpreters will soon be obsolete, right? Not so fast. Quartz put it to the test here. The conclusion?

If you have a lot of patience and absolutely no knowledge of the language of your interlocutor, Skype will be a fun way to say hello or deliver a simple message. But for anything else, you’re still better off using broken English and body language.

Ouch. And they’re not the only ones to have tested it out and found it lacking.  Our very own  Monica Bloxam and Jochen Dehmel took on Skype on an episode of the Gadget Show. Get the details here. Read more

Website translation – person typing on a laptop

The Multi-Lingual Digital World: Why You Need to Translate Your Site

Image by Pixabay

The internet is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses. Since it first became available to the public in the late 1980s, it’s transformed the commercial landscape, allowing companies to easily market their products to consumers all over the world.

However, while the internet started out as an almost entirely English-language based resource, the volume of foreign language content, as well as foreign language users, has dramatically increased.

And with around 42% of consumers saying they would never purchase products or services in other languages, targeting these users, in their own tongue, clearly makes sense for businesses.

Here’s why you need to translate your site to compete in the global marketplace. Read more

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