New Year's Eve Around The World

New Year’s Around the World

It’s official: 2016 is drawing to a close. While New Year’s celebrations around the world almost universally involve fireworks and drinking, many places have their own intriguing local traditions as well. Here’s a look at some interesting ways that people around the world are welcoming in 2017:

Scotland: Hogmanay

The Scottish New Year’s celebration is called Hogmanay. This is an ancient festival with roots that go back to the pre-Christian era. Many Hogmanay customs are designed to provide celebrants with good luck in the coming year. For example, the “first-foot,” or the first person to enter the house after the clock strikes midnight, brings gifts for the household. In some regions, this person is believed to bring good or bad fortune depending on their physical characteristics, with “tall, dark and handsome” men being preferred.

Fire is another traditional part of Hogmanay celebrations. For example, in Stonehaven, people build fireballs by wrapping chicken wire around flammable substances like paper. Then, they run through the town to the sea, swinging the fireballs over their heads until they go out or until they reach the water’s edge.


According to Travel + Leisure, one popular Danish New Year’s tradition is for everyone to jump off chairs at the stroke of midnight. Per Wikipedia, it’s also traditional to throw old dishes at your friends’ houses on New Year’s Eve, but according to this article that tradition is no longer practiced. Any Danes want to weigh in? Read more

12 Festive Christmas Songs From Around the World

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Christmas Eve is almost here!

Are you excited yet? Frantic? Both? Soothe your stress and get in the Christmas spirit with this collection of the top Christmas songs from around the world:

Christmas Songs From Around the World: “Petit Papa Noël” (French)

This French Christmas classic was originally recorded by Tino Rossi in 1946. It’s currently the best-selling French single ever, and it’s been covered numerous times by other artists. Here’s the original version.

Looking for something a little heavier and more irreverent? Check out Trust’s cover, here. 

Alternately, if the news lately has you ready to forget the holidays altogether and curl up in a ball to wallow in despair . ..  well, here’s a punk version of Petit Papa Noel that might appeal to you.

Christmas Songs From Around the World: La Fiesta de Pilito (Spanish)

El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico is a Salsa music orchestra that’s been called the “most popular Salsa music group that has ever existed.” The group has been since 1962, but the lineup changes frequently as new up-and-coming salsa musicians join and others strike out on their own.

“La Fiesta de Pilito”  is all about putting your problems aside for the holidays and enjoying the festivities . . . and the rum. Read more

An International Marketing Cheat Sheet: Color Meanings Around the World

When you see the color black, what do you think of? Death? Funerals? Johnny Cash? The answer depends, in part, on where you’re from. And that means the colors you use on your website and in your advertisements can affect the message your international audience receives, in ways you might not intend.

How well does your business color scheme translate? Find out with our international marketing cheat sheet to color meanings around the world:


Red: Color Meanings Around the World

It’s the color of blood, the color of wine, and the color of rubies. In any culture, red is an attention-getter, and there’s probably a reason for that. According to the BBC, “Wearing red can change your physiology and balance of hormones and alter your performance in a football match.”

But what kind of attention will red attract for your business? That depends in part on where you’re marketing.

  • Western Cultures (The US and Western Europe):  Love, passion, and danger. Red is a youthful, energetic color.
  • Eastern/Asian cultures: Most Asian cultures associate red with luck, long life, and happiness. Brides often get married in red dresses to ensure a happy marriage.  In India specifically, it also brings to mind purity, love, beauty, wealth and power.
  • Middle East: Danger and caution, but sometimes with threatening overtones.
  • Latin America: In Latin America, red means passion, but can also symbolize Christianity when used alongside white.
  • South Africa: In South Africa, red also represents sacrifice and mourning.

Read more

transcription services for the vulnerable

The Vital Ways Transcription Services Help Improve the Lives of the World’s Most Vulnerable People

Headlines around the world have been dominated by the humanitarian crisis provoked by the sheer numbers of refugees fleeing war and conflict in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

As governments and NGOs try to work together to manage the situation at every stage, rapid, accurate and reliable transcription services enable authorities to share information gathered, collect information about the situation on the ground, and deliver international aid as effectively as possible.

Whether this is achieved by transcription of local investigations, through transcribed video or voice interviews, or by sharing transcribed minutes of meetings or conferences, accurate, reliable and secure transcription helps governments to make informed decisions that positively impact the lives of refugees.

Reliable multilingual transcription is particularly valuable, as it enables government departments and NGOs to work in partnership internationally, allowing them to understand the experiences of refugees and aid workers. Transcribed materials such as videos and interview notes can be vital to effectively train staff to meet the emotional, cultural and material needs of refugees. At the same time, these valuable resources help governments and NGOs to communicate the reality of the situation to a much wider audience, gaining greater public support. Read more

What Language Does Santa Speak?

Santa sends toys to children all over the world, or so the story goes. But what is his native tongue? Where does Santa live, and what language does Santa speak?  Since we can’t ask the big guy himself, let’s take a look at the evidence. Here, we examine some of the possibilities.

 The North Pole: English or Inuitnoaa3-2006-0602-1206

Every American kid knows that Santa lives at the North Pole. But where is that, really? In real life, the geographic North Pole is a barren wasteland of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. It would be quite difficult to set up a workshop, and feeding all of those reindeer would take significant expense and trouble.

And in a couple of generations, there might not be any sea ice at all. Santa would need an underwater workshop!

The nearest inhabited area to the geographic North Pole is the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada.

Here, people mainly speak Inuit languages like Inuktitut or English.

But the geographic North Pole isn’t the only “North Pole.” For example, there’s also North Pole, Alaska, where you’ll find Santa Claus House. Santa Claus House is an old trading post turned into a Christmas gift shop that also issues “letters from Santa” to children around the world.

Obviously, if North Pole, Alaska were Santa’s headquarters, he would speak English. Or possibly a native Inuit language- if he’s immortal, that would mean he was there before the Canadians and the Americans showed up, right? Read more

merry christmas 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

As another year draws to a close, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers & everyone we’ve worked with in 2016. It’s been an exciting year for us at K International and we couldn’t have done it without such great clients and all the exceptional linguists that worked with us. We look forward to building new partnerships throughout the New Year and continuing our commitment to delivering the best services in the industry.


We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Enjoy the Holidays!

Read more

The Top 10 Foreign Books Translated to English In 2016

Is your holiday reading list looking a little bare? Add some translated books for a global perspective! Only about 3% of published fiction books are translated into English from another language. However, publishers like Amazon are making more of these books easily accessible than ever before. Here are ten of the best foreign books translated into English in 2016.

Among Strange Victims,  Daniel Saldaña París

Translated by Christina MacSweeney, this is the first of Daniel Saldaña París’ novels to be published in English.
Among Strange Victims takes readers to Mexico on an absurdly surreal journey into the life of a 20-something good-for-nothing named Rodrigo. It has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and NPR calls it “a classic slacker novel, a shaggy-dog story about breaking free from the tedium of daily life and finding some sort of aim if not meaning.” Read more

multilingual transcription helping fight climate change

Multilingual Transcription: Helping Fight Climate Change

It came out of the blue. A crack in the ice and then a surge of water rushing at 400m3 per second down the slopes of the high Andes towards the remote village of Keara in Bolivia. The sudden flood swept away crops, farm animals and pets, but spared the human population on the whole. The surge also destroyed the only road, leaving survivors cut off for several months. But what caused this unexpected disaster?

Helping to Prevent Disaster

Known as the Apolobamba glacial outburst flood of 2009, it was the direct result of climate change. As glaciers in the Bolivian Andes recede (they have shrunk by 43% since the 1980s), meltwater forms lakes on loose piles of sediment that can prove unstable. If a rock or ice avalanche disturbs the lake waters, deadly floods can kill those living in the valleys below. Perhaps surprisingly, multilingual transcription can be an effective tool in helping prevent such climate disasters. Read more

How secure transcription will help post brexit

How Secure Transcription Will Help Shape Post-Brexit Britain

One of the biggest challenges for the British government and its departments in the months and years following the triggering of Article 50 will be the negotiation of an independent trade agreement.  The goal for this agreement will be to enable the UK to prosper and grow outside the EU. Whatever agreement is reached will shape the economic and political landscape of the UK for at least a generation. A clear negotiation strategy will be key to the success of any talks, which is where secure transcription comes in. Read more

Slang Through the Ages: Can You Guess What These Slang Words Mean?

“All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.” – Gilbert Chesterton

When it comes to English slang through the ages, how hip are you? Can you guess the meanings of these historic slang words from the past and present? Take this quiz and find out! Who knows? You might just “take the egg!”

Answers are below the fold. Read more

Blog Posts

Available Pages


Archives by Month: