These Sign Language Translation Gloves Won a Prize, But Can They Really Translate?

2 US students just won a prize for inventing the SignAloud gloves,  a pair of gloves that translates American Sign Language to speech. But can these sign language translation gloves translate in the real world?

The idea of a wearable device that can translate sign language is certainly not new. Over the years, we’ve seen prototypes for everything from jewelry to gloves that promise to make it easier for deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate with the hearing world.

Every so often, someone will announce an amazing new invention to make sign language translation easy, automatic and convenient. The press gives them great coverage. Then, the excitement dies down, and the products go nowhere.  So where are the sign language translator wearables? What are the obstacles that have kept them from mass production, and will these new sign language gloves make it out to the real world any time in the near future? Read more

8 Hilarious “Google Translate Sings” Videos You Should Watch Now

Bored? Looking for an excuse to procrastinate? We’ve got you covered! These 8 brilliant “Google Translate Sings” music videos are guaranteed to brighten up your workday. Hopefully, they’ll also make you think twice about using Google Translate for your business needs.

For Princesses of All Ages — Google Translate Sings “Let It Go”

This is the first-ever “Google Translate Sings” video, the one that started it all. The most memorable song from Disney’s Frozen, mangled beyond recognition by machine translation. If you’re not familiar with how “Google Translate Sings” works, here’s a quick primer: Song lyrics are translated from English into multiple other languages using Google Translate. Then, the song is translated back to English, again using Google Translate, and Vassar student Malinda Kathleen Reese does her best to keep a straight face while singing the results.

In this case, Google Translate turns what should be an empowering song about embracing your own abilities into something more nihilistic: “Give up! Give Up!”

This one is perhaps best enjoyed after your little Disney princess is in bed, possibly with a glass or more of wine. Read more

12 Fun Facts About the English Language for UN English Day

Today is UN English Language Day, a day set aside by UNESCO to  “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.”

Not coincidentally, it’s also William Shakespeare’s birthday. So, in honor of UN English Language Day and the Bard, here are 12 fun facts about the English language.

1) Need to buy a vowel?

The most common letter in the English language is “e.”

2)  Speaking of Shakespeare, he added a lot of words to the English language.

Some sources say 1,700. Other sources say not so much. But he did coin quite a few words and phrases that are still in use today. Some of his (probable) contributions include:

  • Gloomy
  • Lonely
  • Fashionable
  • Jaded
  • Watchdog

3) The oldest words in English are thousands of years old.

They include personal pronouns and numbers: I, We, Two, and Three.

4) The newest English words were added to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary just yesterday.

They include:

  • TMI- too much information
  • FOMO: Fear of missing out
  • Hella: “a lot of” something. They’re about 10 years late on this one.
  • Dox: to publicly identify or publish private information about [someone] especially as a form of punishment or revenge.

Read more

Study foreign languages

6 Reasons More Students Should Study Foreign Languages 

Why should students bother to study foreign languages? Doesn’t everyone speak English now anyway? And where are our universal translators? They should be coming along any day now, right?

The British Council’s 2016 Language Trends Survey is out, and the results are generating the usual (and justified) wringing of hands and clutching of pearls. Apparently, it’s become so unpopular to study foreign languages at A-Level that the subject has become “financially unviable” for some state schools to offer.

Meanwhile, STEM subjects like maths and science are all the rage. Foreign languages are seen as less important, less of a priority. Students don’t see the benefits and the exams are notoriously brutal.

What to do? As Vicky Gough, Schools Advisor for the British Council, wrote on The Huffington Post:

[W]e need to recognise that languages aren’t a waste of time – they are good for young people, good for business and good for life. Parents, schools and businesses can all play their part in this respect and while we may have a long journey ahead of us to get language learning back on track, it is an important journey to make.

So, in the spirit of doing our part, here are 6 reasons young adults should study languages:

Study Foreign Languages Because…The UK Economy Needs You

According to the report, the UK’s lack of foreign language expertise is already hurting the economy. It turns out English is not, in fact, the only language for business across the entire globe. In fact, as Mark Herbert, British Council schools programmes head, told City AM:

“The country’s current shortage of language skills is estimated to be costing the economy tens of billions in missed trade and business opportunities every year.”

That’s quite a chunk of change. Can you help fill in the gap?

Study Foreign Languages Because…Your Bank Account Will Thank You9677552435_f8ba203b7d_b

Want to make more money? Speaking another language can help. It depends on where you work and what field you’re in, of course. But the opportunity is certainly there. For example, according to one survey, 2/3 of all business executives speak more than one language. Meanwhile, studies have shown differences in pay rates for bilingual employees that range from 3.6 percent  to a whopping 20 percent more than employees who only speak one language.

Plus, you could always work in the translation industry. Demand is booming and wages are rising!  Read more

RM1092 Award

K International Awarded Government Framework RM1092

22nd April 2016

Language Services
Framework Agreement Reference: RM 1092
Crown Commercial Service

We are pleased to announce that K International have again been awarded a place on the government Framework Agreement, now designated RM1092, for Written Translation, Transcription and Ancillary Services by the Crown Commercial Service. This reflects over 10 years of our commitment to delivering a quality, reliable and secure linguistic service to all government departments.

“This agreement is for the provision of translation, transcription and ancillary services and can be used by UK public sector bodies including but not limited to central government departments and their agencies, non-departmental public bodies, NHS and local authorities.”

Crown Commercial Service

Benefits to public sector bodies

  • Translation into over 250 languages
  • Secure exchange of documents made 24/7/365
  • UK based translators to ensure confidentiality for Homeland Security
  • Security cleared personnel
  • Real-time management information available free of charge
  • Dedicated project management and account management
  • Fixed pricing model
  • No further competition requirement aiding speedier resolution
  • Comparable pricing toolkit

More information about all of our government translation services can be viewed via this link.
A specific set of information for local authority language services can be viewed here.


Yours sincerely,

Gemma Lloyd - K International Government Account Director

Gemma Lloyd

Government Account Director

Warning: 3 Surprising Reasons Emoji Translation is So Difficult

They’re everywhere: Text messages, Facebook statuses, emails, Twitter, even McDonald’s Happy Meals. Smiley faces, frowny faces, cartoon piles of poop. They’re emoji, and they’re taking over the world. But are they really helping us communicate, or is emoji translation more difficult than it seems?

According to researchers from GroupLens, a research lab at the University of Minnesota, that clever emoji you just sent your friend may not mean what you think it means. Here are three reasons why emoji get lost in translation.

Emoji Translatio Across Platforms

Emoji Translation Across Platforms

Emoji look different on different platforms, and this is perhaps the most common source of confusion. As GroupLens researcher Hannah Miller explained on the GroupLens blog:

To your smartphone, an emoji is just like any other character (e.g., lower-case ‘a’, upper-case ‘B’) and needs to be rendered with a font. Since each smartphone platform (e.g., Apple, Google) has its own emoji font, the same emoji character can look quite different on different smartphone platforms. This is why when a Google Nexus owner sends Google's grinning face with smiling eyes emoji to a friend with an iPhone, the iPhone owner will actually see Apple's grinning face with smiling eyes emoji.

So although they’re the same symbol, one looks like it means “I’m so happy!” while the other looks like it could mean “I’m trying to pretend I don’t hate you!” Or perhaps just, “I need to eat more fiber!” Either way, that’s a significant difference.

In the GroupLens study, participants were shown pictures of different emoji, then asked to describe and define them. Test subjects also rated the emoji on a 10-point scale based on whether they perceived the emoji as positive or negative. On average, the sentiment rating for the emoji in the paragraph above varied by 2.04 points when it was sent across different platforms.

In fact, Apple users rated this particular emoji as “mildly negative,” while users of other platforms saw it as positive. Read more

4 Localisation Strategy Secrets from the World’s Most Popular Arabic Website has gone from “just an idea” to the top Arabic-language website in the world in only six year’s time. But what are the secrets of the site’s success? Are there lessons that can help your own organisation design a killer localisation strategy?

In 2010, two medical students from Jordan were hanging out in a cafe. As they discussed the lack of quality Arabic-language content available online, they decided it was time to do something about it. Mawdoo3 was born.

The site, which is an Arabic version of popular English sites like, and Wikipedia, has skyrocketed in popularity since then. In February, it had 23 million unique users. That makes it the most popular Arabic-language website in the world, according to

Expanding into international markets is exciting but can be fraught with difficulty. Here are 4 essential lessons in localisation strategy from the rise of to help you take your business global.

Localisation Strategy Secret #1: Find a Need and Fill It

Read more

Xerox Easy Translator: Behind the Hype 

Press “Scan” to translate! Can it really be that easy? According to Xerox, the answer is “Yes.” Last month, the company released Xerox Easy Translator, a new feature for some of its multifunction copiers and printers.

Here’s how it works: Insert the document you wish to translate, select one of 35 available languages, hit a button and wait for the machine to spit out the translation.

Tech news sites were duly impressed.  For example, The Next Web called Xerox Easy Translator 

“[J]ust another cool thing that shows how far in the future we live. We might not have flying cars, but we can feed bits of paper to a machine and have them come out magically in another language, which is amazing.”

Meanwhile, in a press release, Bertrand Cerisier, Xerox VP of global marketing for the Office Solutions  Business Group, credited the technology with “bringing an innovative capacity for localization to organizations both large and small and in all countries” by making it easier to upload documents for translation using multifunction printers and smartphones.

But how innovative is Xerox Easy Translator, really? And should you use it for your business? Read more

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