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Are There High-Resolution and Low-Resolution Languages? [Deep Dive]

Posted by Marina Pantcheva on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 @ 05:33 PM

Few people who’ve ever dealt with language have been spared from hearing the linguistic myth about the Eskimo language having a few dozen (or, according to some bold sources, up to a hundred) words for snow. Upon hearing this mindboggling and deeply wrong linguistic claim, non-Eskimo speakers, struck with awe at the number of conceptual distinctions Eskimos can allegedly encode into their vocabulary, scornfully frown at the pathetically all-inclusive English snow. Eskimo speakers, in turn, are most likely struck by their incapability to identify those dozens of words for snow in their own language.

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Topics: Deep Dive

Language as a Consumer Right in India? Yes, the Day Is Near [Deep Dive]

Posted by Vijayalaxmi Hegde on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 06:49 PM

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how companies are ignoring translation in India and thereby not tapping a substantial potential of the market — a market that continues to be wooed by international market leaders as well as one in which domestic startups regularly attract investment from Silicon Valley. A reader then remarked that the companies must surely know what their customers want. And, if by their market research, they found it wasn’t necessary to serve in the local language, they wouldn’t.

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Topics: Deep Dive

Long-Tail Language Localization for Africa: Not Meant to Be Easy or Given Up [Deep Dive]

Posted by Vijayalaxmi Hegde on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 03:40 PM

Translating for the African market can be overwhelming, not least because of the sheer number of languages. Usually companies start the first round of localization for Africa with high-demand languages such as French, Spanish, Arabic, and Portuguese, along with English, of course. However, huge swathes of the African linguistic landscape are still locked in by languages such as Swahili, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Amharic, to name just a few.

Which long-tail African languages should you be prioritizing? How easy or difficult is it to translate into them? Is it worth the effort? In this post, we try to summarize the answers to these questions.

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Topics: Deep Dive

7 Questions to Assess a Localization Program Quote [Deep Dive]

Posted by Tucker Johnson on Tue, Dec 01, 2015 @ 07:40 PM

Unlike buying, say, a toaster, sourcing a localization vendor boils down to buying a promise: a quote to deliver certain services over the course of time. If you choose a disappointing toaster, you can probably swap it out for a new one on the same day.

But by the time you realize your localization vendor isn’t meeting your expectations, you’ve already invested a significant amount of time and money with that vendor. So how do you evaluate vendor quotes to ensure you’re buying a promise you can count on?

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Topics: Deep Dive

Using Technology to Save Endangered Languages and Cultures [Deep Dive]

Posted by Tammi Coles on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 @ 02:25 PM

Have you ever heard of Southern Saami? How about Mikasuki? Ainu, anyone? Dahalo? If you aren’t a linguist or anthropologist, you might be forgiven for being unfamiliar with these languages. Sadly, according to the Google-backed Endangered Languages Project, they are all spoken by less than 1,000 people in communities being subsumed by the dominant language of their countries: Southern Saami has 600 speakers in central Sweden; Mikasuki speakers live mostly in the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida; Ainu boasts only ten speakers, all on the island of Hokkaido in Japan; and Kenya’s coastal Dahalo language has less than 400 speakers.

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Topics: Deep Dive

7 Localization Lessons from Asia’s E-commerce Giants [Deep Dive]

Posted by Vijayalaxmi Hegde on Wed, Oct 21, 2015 @ 07:00 PM

Asia is home to some of the largest and emerging e-commerce markets on the planet. E-retailers from all over the world, including homegrown leaders, are racing to get a share of the pie or to increase their share.

Interesting experiments are being tried out — some have worked while others haven’t. Some practices are related to localization and yet others have to do with adapting to local business practices. We list them below to provide inspiration and lessons for companies trying to make it big in Asia as well as elsewhere in the world.

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Topics: Deep Dive