A great product can take your brand global. But a great product doesn’t become a great global product without a lot of hard work. That’s why localization is critical for any company that believes there should be no such thing as a ‘foreign market’.
Businesses around the world need to sit up and take notice of the new wave of Chinese companies that have reinvented themselves for global markets. What makes these companies different from their older peers of even a decade ago? And what will it take for Chinese companies to flourish abroad?
By and large, those of us in the localization industry are multi-cultural and multilingual, traveling the world, celebrating the diversity and power of language. We are interested in languages, culture, and language technology, and how they influence and shape our lives. Many of us also cross over from linguistics and language to the technical side of things.
If your company has been operating in Spain, you may be considering adding Catalan to your language repertoire based on the developments in the last couple of months. Whether or not you actually add the language will depend on the political developments and market requirements.
Voice search is coming in fast and furious. Voice queries (both on websites and through virtual assistants) will soon dominate search behavior—globally. They're incredibly convenient. They're faster. They may even be safer—it beats typing as you drive.
Global enterprises have their sights set on Africa. The facts are clear: Africa is the next frontier for worldwide commercial growth. It’s a trillion-dollar market. Ten of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. And that growth will happen online: 350 million people are active online today—a figure that is growing daily as more and more people get internet access through smartphones.
From a global perspective, the worlds of content creation and localization are symbiotic. Effective communication simply can’t happen on a global scale without both disciplines completely aligned.
Companies invest a lot of money into making sure that they are meeting the cultural requirements of their audience. We’ve all seen horrible examples where translation or image usage has been offensive.
As you may have noticed, localization into Indian languages is becoming a hot topic. With greater volumes of Indian-language speakers accessing the internet and using mobile phone apps, companies are perking up and finding ways to reach out to this large population of potential consumers. And Microsoft is one of the frontrunners.
TAPICC is a pre-standard initiative—sponsored by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)—that seeks to tame the wild frontier of today’s CMS/TMS integration landscape. Moravia is “all in” with this initiative. Let me explain why.
Reverie Language Technologies from Bengaluru recently released a report on Indian-language app use by smartphone users in India. The report is based on usage data compiled from the Swalekh Flip app—an Indic keyboard provided by Reverie—between January and June 2017. Here, we share some key data points from the report. And we couldn’t help but notice this is the second such report on Indian languages to come out in the space of a few months. Go figure.
In the world of software, app, and web development, functional testing is critical. It ensures that your product functions as designed and without unexpected results, errors, or other bugs that can cost you sales, customers, and your brand reputation.
We had the chance to sit down with Professor Dan Baack, PhD. He’s the Program Director in the Department of Marketing at the University of Denver and an expert in digital advertising, brand management, and international marketing.
You’ve killed it in your home market. Now you’re ready to bust more borders and take advantage of the massive opportunities of global expansion. But before you start investing in global marketing, you need to do some critical thinking. (Gut feelings and instinct have no place here.) How do you evaluate your potential in new markets?
A picture may speak a thousand words, but are we really sure which thousand words those are?
Dàjiā hǎo! (大家好; Hi everyone!) Microsoft’s AI language app “Microsoft Learn Chinese” helps you to, well, learn Chinese. Which is not to say it will interpret for you, translate for you, or communicate for you. What it does is listen to your attempts at speaking Chinese, use Artificial Intelligence to figure out what you’re trying to say, and point out how you can improve. It doesn’t replace you. It makes you better!
Technology and trade are both expected to skyrocket in Africa over the next decade. And by 2050, Africa’s population is projected to be double what it is today.
We all know our traditional annual holiday video—Moravians wishing all the best for the coming year in various ways, from songs to the trending mannequin challenge last year. This year, we wanted to do something different.
When a blog post is popular, it means it struck a chord with readers: it exposed a business problem, proposed a novel way of thinking about something, or described a new way of doing things. Ten of our blog posts in 2017 soared above the rest. We’ve gathered them into this list so you can check out what you might have missed.
India, China, and the 10 countries comprising Southeast Asia present the perfect market conditions for the ride-sharing business. The region is the world’s largest internet market and is growing rapidly, propelled by young, middle-class consumers eager to spend. Predictably, the ride-sharing business is at its most competitive in this region, making innovation a necessity. What can its counterparts around the world learn from what’s happening here?
When you’re going global, translating your campaigns is a given—global marketers don’t even give this a second thought anymore. But the problem is that too many brands are getting the rest of it wrong.
Anybody who visits Japanese websites will be struck by their loud banners, dense text, multiple columns, lots of tiny images, and an overall busy, crowded look. There are many articles explaining the reasons for this phenomenon, and I agree with them…but I also believe there is something deeper that continues to keep Japanese web design this way despite years of progress.
Localization as a Humanitarian Effort: The Wondrous Vision of the Virtual Assistant Circle [Podcast]
Language localization isn’t just about business. It’s also about people, and sometimes its humanitarian benefits far outweigh any contributions to the bottom line.
We all know that video games have universal appeal—and that games must be customized per market if the game developer wants to experience high-volume global growth and outstanding customer experience. Yet the process of localizing games is complex: extract the text from the code, translate the often casual, slang, or humorous language, build the localized versions of the game, and test to ensure a smooth player experience. But first, you need a localization strategy to select the languages and locales that would level-up your market presence. Andy Johnson of NSI, Inc., shared his experience and advice to make the effort happen smoothly and effectively.
Adapting a campaign for multiple new locales is a hugely different proposition from creating a campaign in your home market. We have some help for you in the form of a checklist, but first, let’s clear up some misconceptions.
A language is difficult enough to master with all its nuances. It’s even trickier if you want to come up with complex rules describing its behavior, and it becomes quite a challenge if you want to use those rules to put the right words together to convey the intended meaning. Now expand that from a single language to a few hundred, and you have the perfect playground. A playground where linguists, hackers, and data enthusiasts can get together and create some cool new things.
It’s not uncommon for an enterprise with a maturing localization program to deploy Machine Translation (MT)—in fact, here at Moravia we believe that MT has a role in every large or growing globalization program.
In our “always on” content and development worlds, where the term “digital marketing” is essentially redundant, content shelf life is a fraction of what it only recently was, and “sim-ship” concepts have essentially been replaced by continuous development. To keep up in all your markets, your localization needs to be just as agile as your development.
You know how sometimes when you look at something, it makes you think of something else? Well, that happens when I see the short film/music video Shelter. After getting past the impact of the story, this piece always gets me thinking about the enormous reach of collaboration and localization. Maybe it will for you, too—if you have marketing on the brain.
This past year has been one of huge changes in the language industry. The aggressive expansion of Neural Machine Translation. The continuing rise of remote interpretation. The increasing importance of long-tail languages. The unprecedented advancements in artificial intelligence (AI).
For ecommerce businesses that want to expand to several markets, a localized digital experience is vital. It’s how you make sure your website is doing everything it can to turn all of your browsers into buyers. It’s simple: with every lost conversion, you’re potentially leaving revenue on the table.
It’s a fact: the shift of software and content development from lengthy waterfall release cycles to continuous release models has been accelerating, and it’s becoming increasingly vital that enterprises quickly publish updates to all supported languages.
Visual content is a critical way to reach your global users.
Our clients often call Moravia the “best-kept secret” in globalization. They are amazed that we are so good at what we do—collaborating with them to achieve and exceed their globalization goals—but they’re also stunned that not every global enterprise knows about us yet. While we may be a secret, it’s our unique differentiators that have helped us grow an annual average of 33% in recent years.
No one wants to offend someone unintentionally. But when you’re a global company that sells to multiple markets worldwide, an unintentional insult in a single region can literally cost millions of dollars in lost sales.
Have you ever wanted to race to conquer obstacles involving tunnels, 20-foot walls, nets, fire, ice, electricity, and mud? You can do just that in a Tough Mudder event. The Tough Mudder challenges are maybe a bit sadistic—and gleefully so as you might judge from the passion of the participants—but people sign up in droves. For example, there's an obstacle called the Augustus Gloop in which competitors climb up a plastic shaft through cascading water. Electroshock Therapy—probably the event’s signature challenge—has participants running through a gauntlet of dangling electric wires. (The rest of us are fascinated, but we will stay in our armchairs, thank you very much.)
Languages are enormously complex, and scripts, the written forms of language, are both a method of communication as well as an art form. Despite our always-connected world, some scripts are becoming extinct. Tim Brookes aims to change that.
The other day, when I installed a Kannada keyboard on my mother’s smartphone, it took her about two minutes to get annoyed with it. A native Kannada speaker, she asked me to switch the keyboard back to English.
It’s old news that customer experience (CX) is one of the biggest differentiators of our times. Ever since the digital revolution opened up international markets to pretty much anyone with a computer, businesses have had to step up their game to win global buyers. As a result, CX has moved to one of the top spots on the priority lists of CMOs everywhere.
Being a (successful) Japanese person requires certain soft skills. The Japanese language, and Japanese society, are highly contextual, so you need to be sensitive to what’s being said as well as what’s not being said. It’s not uncommon for Japanese folks to go that extra mile without being asked to. Unfortunately, positive characteristics like those can be the root cause of unexpected problems. If you work with Japanese linguists, this short list of traits can go a long way in helping you avoid trouble.
Our industry is one-of a kind, sitting at the crossroads of culture, linguistics and language, and IT. It’s a weird place where language nerds and technology geeks meet. Most people in localization come from the disciplines of business, technology or linguistics, but rarely all three (or even two). So who among us, when we were new to localization, wouldn’t have loved a book explaining the industry?
Traditionally, interpreters have interacted with people, not computers. In fact, dating as far back as the Nuremburg Trials, interpreters have often shared the spotlight with some of the most important leaders and decision-makers in the world.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT), Adaptive MT, Forward-Thinking, Advanced Leveraging, Zero Shot Translation…all these new technologies made me wonder what our translators are thinking. They are the ones who should be most concerned about tools that can impact their daily work. Are they using MT? If so, where and when? How is their productivity impacted?
In my blog post Is There Such a Thing as a Foreign Market? I elaborate on one of the key assertions made in the article “Sound and Vision,” published in the September issue of MultiLingual magazine. In both pieces, I suggest that the concept of the “foreign market” may be approaching the end of its useful life. In this post, I’d like to elaborate on a second key assertion from that article: Your content does not equal its form.
For B2B companies, content marketing has proven to be a hugely successful strategy. It’s based on a simple idea: create a regular flow of valuable content that helps your audience understand and tackle their business issues—and keeps your brand top of mind for when they’re ready to buy. But getting that content right in your own market is challenging enough. How do you replicate the approach in markets you’re less familiar with?
You don’t become the world’s #1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform without the ability to build close customer relationships yourself—no matter where those customers are or what languages they speak.
Technology is shaking up the language industry. Tools are getting better and better at the things only humans used to be able to do—and this is deeply uncomfortable for us. We all recognize that our species has limits, but tools can’t do everything either. So how do businesses leverage the best of both? And how do they help humans get past the struggle with change?
Since early last year, when partial international sanctions on Iran were lifted, the country has figured prominently among the new markets global companies plan to enter. After all, it’s one of the biggest economies in the Middle East, yet no one had much access to it for several years. What does it take to do business in Iran? What should you be mindful of as you step into this rapidly urbanizing country?
After reigning atop the World Competitiveness Rankings for half a decade between 1988 and 1992, Japan’s global ranking slipped—way down to 26th for 2017. It’s still the third largest economy in the world, but its economic engine seems to be stuck in idle. End of story? Hold on, let’s take a look at what Japan Inc. is doing to get un-stuck.
If you’re a reader of MultiLingual magazine, you may have caught the article I wrote for the September issue dedicated to the theme of audiovisual content. (If not, I’d encourage you to check it out!) In “Sound and vision,” I describe what I see as the collision of two trajectories that’s resulted in a crisis: the tradition of multimedia being largely excluded from globalization programs, and multimedia’s meteoric rise as a dominant communication channel. Traditional localization, I assert, is not designed to bridge this gap at all.
Let’s be honest: traditional localization and marketing operations have never consulted each other much. In most companies, they operate in departmental silos, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that they need one another.
Do you know the difference between the East Sea and the Sea of Japan? Well, there really isn’t an official one if you live in the western hemisphere. They’re just different names for the same body of water. Unless you happen to be Korean or Japanese.
Translators have been the staple of the translation business for decades. Linguistics, multilingual communication, and quality of language—this is their domain. They are grammarians and often self-admitted language nerds.
When marketers roll out international digital campaigns—in completely different languages and cultures—the questions soon begin to pile up. How do you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns in different markets? How do you interpret results from a culture you don’t fully understand? And how do you make well-informed decisions about where to invest for the best return?
The price and perceived value of any good or service is an eternal debate that, because of personal preferences, cultural differences, and socioeconomic factors, will never be settled. So how can language service providers (LSPs) and localization buyers agree on pricing language-related services? Anne-Marie Colliander Lind, a localization industry veteran, co-organizer of the Nordic Translation Industry Forum, Marketing Manager at LocWorld, and founder of consulting company Inkrea.se, joined the Globally Speaking podcast recently to discuss how both parties can win the price war.
I’ve got to start with a confession. There’s no silver bullet for international social media. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The right strategy for your business will depend on the countries you’re targeting, the kind of audience you’re aiming for, and what you actually want to achieve. It also depends on what you’re using social media for—whether marketing campaigns, brand building, driving engagement, customer service, or a mixture of all of these.
Virtually everyone in the language industry knows how important technology is in helping translators deliver high-quality translations efficiently, cost-effectively, and perhaps most importantly, in multiple languages at accelerated speeds. But that doesn’t mean everyone agrees on the role technology plays—or even should play—in language localization. In fact, just the opposite is true.
There are all sorts of reasons to care about getting digital user experience right.
You’re doing business with Japan. You found a great partner there, the contracts are all signed, everything’s legit, and you're ready for success. But to avoid any unnecessary snags along the way, take that extra step to make sure all parties involved are speaking the same language, even if they're not.
Mirko Plitt has always been a technology guy—a language technology guy, as he would put it. After a long stint at Autodesk, a couple of years ago he co-founded Modulo Language Automation, a Machine Translation (MT) solution provider. Last year, he put on another hat—that of the Head of Technology at Translators without Borders (TWB). TWB is a nonprofit that works to provide translation, subtitling, voiceover, and simplification services, often in underserved languages, to humanitarian and international development efforts. We were curious about how a tech guy has influenced and shaped TWB’s work. We sat down with him for an hour-long interview. Here are some excerpts.
Daniel Sullivan, the director of localization at Tableau Software, knows more than most people about the challenges of transforming critical data into actionable insights on a global scale.
We’re beginning to see a lot of content coming up around the localization industry. In the past, we reviewed a book on globalization, and now there’s a massive open online course (MOOC) on localization. It can’t be anything but good news for the industry—we need as much attention as we can get. Localization Essentials has a lot going for it, given that it’s offered by Google. Its celebrity status aside, the course, hosted on Udacity, has many nice touches, light humor, insider insight, and some hands-on learning, too. Overall, this student enjoyed it and learned quite a few new things.
Language technology lovers have cause for celebration this week. Microsoft announced that its conversational speech recognition technology has actually surpassed parity with professional human transcribers. With a 5.1 percent error rate, it is a 12 percent leap in error reduction over just last year’s measurements, sets a new industry standard, and is expected to be a boon to a wealth of Microsoft business services, including those in the translation space.
Japan Inc. A monolithic society with people of the same ethnicity, sharing the same language, the same values, and wearing the same business suits. That might be your image of Japan, but take a closer look and you’ll see a gaping crack right down the middle.
As language-industry professionals, we hear a lot about endangered languages and how the number of spoken languages keeps dwindling worldwide. But what about language writing systems? With roughly 6,000 languages throughout the world, there are surprisingly only about 120 to 140 written language scripts and alphabets. Many of these are disappearing as well.
How much should you translate? For which locales should you adapt your content? Which languages should you prioritize? These localization decisions appear with increasing frequency on a marketing manager’s radar as a company goes global.
Despite the global nature of localization, it’s an industry few people know exists. One magazine, MultiLingual, has been the only kid on the block providing updates, trends, and insights into localization, and they’ve been doing it for over 26 years. We were able to chat with the publisher of MultiLingual, Donna Parish, about the magazine’s, and the industry’s, past and present.
In a previous article we talked about how you can leverage manga comics for your marketing in Japan thanks to the country’s love of toons. Today we’ll look at music as a way to give you the advantage. And, no, it’s not the catchy pop tunes you might expect, but rather the not-so-new genre of Jazz.
Pricing is always a touchy business issue, in the localization industry as in any other business sector. But the challenge for LSPs and others in the language industry is that translation purchases are typically a fourth-level buying decision in the organization.
In my article Is It Time to Kiss the Digital File Goodbye?, I cite the XLIFF OMOS (“XML Localization Interchange Fragment Format Object Model and Other Serializations”) initiative as an example in support of the assertion that a file-less future is achievable in the localization industry.
We don’t think it’s radical to say that content is unstoppable in its move towards digital, and it’s getting more and more complex every day: there’s an explosion in the amount of online content, it’s being delivered in a huge array of formats and channels, and print is being left far behind. And if that online digital content doesn’t perform in all languages and markets, then you’re sunk.
For translation and localization services to be successful, the buyer must be knowledgeable and informed. No matter the money you’re ready to pour, no matter if your translation company is an A player—if you, the buyer, are clueless about what is required for effective translation and localization, your global expansion is bound to hit hurdles.
Netflix’s bold globalization move in early 2016 got heads turning and the localization industry talking. Every company needs to do more faster and cheaper, but what about releasing your localized product into 130 countries at the same time? That’s a stunning scale. We sat down with Katell Jentreau of Netflix’s globalization team to figure out how they did it.
Buying by the unit—whether by the hour or by the word—might be out of date, and can do a disservice to your enterprise by setting traps for you along the way. Yet many enterprises still buy this way, hoping it will bring maximum savings, control, and ease of financial measurement.
Speech-to-Speech (S2S) technology seems to have finally stepped out of the realm of science fiction, yet it’s not ready for prime time. In their report published earlier this year, the Translation Automation User Society (TAUS) recognizes this as the paradox the technology currently finds itself in. The report outlines the current status, future directions, challenges, and opportunities of speech translation. It also includes interviews with 13 people who represent institutes and companies researching and working in this field. We present highlights from the report.
Your job, as a technical or marketing writer, is to make every word you write count. So if the content you are writing will be localized—whether it’s user assistance, web content, online help, or marketing material—then writing with localization in mind can add substantial value to your work.
We’ve always known it—and now we have the facts to back it up. A just-released report from KPMG and Google on Indian languages provides much-needed critical data to back what we’ve always said: you need to localize into Indian languages, despite the seemingly all-encompassing English proficiency.
A thousand translators. Millions of words. Turnaround times in hours. And more than 100 languages. That’s a complex program, and there’s even more—it changes all the time. So how do you manage a localization program of such scale and complexity?
Gone are the days of print-based marketing. Messaging and content types, channels, and processes have all changed in today’s digital marketing world. And then you go global and multiply it by any number of languages, and localization is now a part of marketing, rather than an afterthought once the campaign goes live.
In an era when so many of the world’s people can agree on so little, it was a joy to learn that the United Nations General Assembly on May 24th adopted UN Resolution A/71/288, recognizing “the role of professional translators in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development.” The same resolution also officially recognized September 30th as “International Translation Day,” so be sure to mark your calendars.
One thing is sure: your future language technology stack is going to be different from what you use today. But how? We got together our solutions architects (Erik Vogt and Jon Ritzdorf), a technology researcher (Jim Compton), and an international growth manager (Michael Stevens) to discuss just this. We’ll share the top six insights and predictions that came out of this meeting of the minds.
What marketer can’t stop talking about the Millennials? Brands around the globe are grappling to reach this generation by understanding what inspires and drives their attitudes and behaviors. (Hint: it’s vastly different from the generation before).
If you caught my colleague Jon Ritzdorf’s webinar, What Blows Our Minds About the Latest Translation Tech, you may recall that one of the things Jon was excited about was the melding of TM (translation memory) & MT (machine translation) technologies, specifically in the forms of Predictive TM and Adaptive MT.
The recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has once again shined a spotlight on the role translation plays when disaster strikes a linguistically isolated population.
How Rakuten Achieved in Less than a Decade What Took Centuries of British Colonial Rule: English Literacy
In March 2010, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani stood before 3,000 of his mainly Japanese employees in Tokyo (and many more viewing remotely) and announced that English would be the company’s new lingua franca...to many a jaw hitting the floor. And in less than a decade, Rakuten has become fully functional in English—with an average employee score of over 800 on the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).
The global marketing mindset is shifting. Gone are the days of creating all your company’s content in your home office, and translating it word-for-word for all your target markets. These days, it’s all about inclusion and collaboration, and no one can better explain this paradigm shift than Pam Didner, author of the bestselling book Global Content Marketing, who recently joined us for our Globally Speaking podcast.
Everyone has different ideas when it comes to the quality of a translation. If you ask five different people to judge the quality of a piece, you will probably get five different answers.
Unsure of the right terminology to use? Gearing up to build a style guide for your app or website translation, but don’t know where to start? Always admired a global company’s content style and wondered how they pull it off?
Music may be the universal language, but all listeners aren’t created equal. Neither are their tastes. Different cultures and regions often have widely differing preferences, and localization often plays a pivotal role in adapting music to harmonize with diverse markets. But how does localizing musical content differ from localizing language?
The sharing economy—where individuals exchange, rent or share goods and services with their peers—has gone global. Airbnb, for example, operates in almost every country in the world. In this episode of Globally Speaking, we discussed the sharing economy with Dan Hill, Director of Product and Growth at Airbnb. Here are the main takeaways.
If your job involves SEO, chances are you already know a lot about how Google ranks websites, and how to optimize your site accordingly. But in China, where Google exited in 2010, the search engine you need to optimize for is Baidu. So do you need to learn a whole new set of rules?
Digital files have served us well, having helped bring us the digital age. But now that we’re older and wiser, do we still need them? And should they be allowed in our content programs? In this post I propose that the digital file—with its inherent limitations—may now be more burden than boon.
Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company, is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world. Most of Xiaomi’s users may not be aware that they actually call themselves a mobile internet company—not that it would matter to them or to Xiaomi. What matters to the users is that they possess a phone with many features that would usually only be found in phones that cost around twice as much.
Plan. Produce. Promote. Perfect. On the surface, these four stages in the global content marketing process might seem self-evident. Or maybe even easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Japanese is spoken by about 125 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It’s nowhere near the reach of a language such as Chinese, but in the localization world, you ignore it at your own peril. Japanese customers have some of the highest localization quality expectations. They also command some of the fattest wallets online. What can you know about Japanese that would save you from tripping up and never be forgiven by Japanese customers? We sat down with expert linguists Ayako Okuno, Ayako Jun Maekawa, Tatsuya Hirai, and Mariko Tokashiki—all from Moravia Linguistic Services—and Doug McGowan from our Marketing team based in Tokyo.
Language must be a big thorn in the side for science fiction writers, no? It’s tough enough to grasp the way human languages behave, let alone attempt to create alien languages, even if they are just for fiction. In this post, we take a look at how language has been used or portrayed in science fiction, what purpose it serves, and how that in turn shapes the popular perception of translation.
Your organization develops a variety of content types to drive your business: web content, technical documents, blogs, knowledge base articles or FAQs, marketing materials, software/UI, and legal content. Add ever-increasing amounts of customer-generated content like reviews, and the sheer volume of content—and the velocity with which it’s created—can be overwhelming.
Would you let a stranger who doesn’t speak your language spend the night in your home? Now, thanks to the global sharing economy, millions of people worldwide are doing just that every single day.
The Portuguese spoken in Brazil (pt-BR) varies on many counts from that spoken in Portugal (pt-PT) and in other Portuguese-speaking countries. But that’s not the only thing localization professionals need to concern themselves with. So we sat down with Paula Barreto de Mattos, our Linguistic Services Manager, to know more about the intricacies of localizing into Portuguese (Brazil).
All content is marketing content. Every piece of content your business produces is crafted with the intention of selling, educating or increasing customer loyalty. There is a flood of new digital content spurring growth and the velocity can be dizzying. How does this impact localization? How can localization move at the speed of digital?
There’s hardly a company out there with global ambitions that doesn’t localize into Chinese. This language holds the key to one of the most important and biggest markets in the world. But what are the nuances of localizing into Chinese that you should be familiar with? We sat down with our Linguistic Services Managers based in our Nanjing office, Frank Yu and Emma Bian, to learn more.
Travel portal Expedia recently released a tool to help its clients make sense of User-Generated Content (UGC). After all, what’s a hotel manager to do when 80 hotel guests say the free breakfast is “fine,” nine say it’s “awful,” one says it’s “awesome,” and 14 say it’s “something else”? Expedia’s tool is sensible for sentiment analysis, but here’s the catch: It can only process English-language reviews, at least for now. We don’t know for sure if Expedia will introduce a multilingual version of this tool further down the road, but if it doesn’t—or until it does—here’s what its users will miss.
Airbnb just became more Chinese: it renamed itself to Aibiying and joined a long list of companies that have made a similar move in the past. Companies do this to try and become more authentically Chinese—and thereby win customers’ wallets. It also becomes necessary because of the Chinese language, in which each character is a word. The characters used to spell a company’s name in Chinese may actually form words that are very far from the meaning conveyed by the original name. But not every company has renamed itself similarly. What are the important renaming practices for China? Which one makes sense for your company to use?
The numbers are staggering: Between Apple iOS and Android, there are 4 million apps for smartphones and tablets The number of mobile phone subscribers globally is near 5 billion 90% of activity on mobile devices occurs in apps
Amazon has announced its decision to buy Souq.com, a Dubai-based ecommerce portal nicknamed “the Amazon of the Middle East.” Souq offers a catalog of 1.5 million products to customers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. This may augur well for ecommerce in the Gulf Arab states and North Africa.
Localization in the gaming industry is no easy game to play. Diverse brand loyalties, distinct player preferences, cultural differences, hard-to-spot subtleties, and a host of other issues make it essential to approach gaming localization as strategically—and accurately—as possible.
Have you ever been frustrated at having to find and audition narrators for each language, and book the recording studios, only to have an unexpected revision require re-recording at a later date? For e-learning and training videos, the solution may just be Text-to-Speech (TTS). And for languages other than English, that solution might best be sourced from a local entity that really knows the language.
A few days ago, I wrote about how sometimes companies complain that their translated products are finding no takers. I listed a few reasons in that article for this seeming translation fail. However, there’s one more reason, at least in the Indian context: Sanskritization. What does that mean? How does it affect the success of translation? Let me explain.
Professional translators take pride in their linguistic expertise and ability to match a certain tone or voice in their target country. They know the culture, the language, political situation, what’s in or out, and how to address different audiences like developers, administrators, new users, and teenagers. But with all the hype about NMT, combined with perpetual cost and deadline pressures, is the profession of the traditional translator dying?
Startups usually don’t have to be convinced about the “why” of translation and localization. When you’re born in the cloud, you come to terms with the realities of global business much faster than businesses from a decade ago did. However, in our experience, we do see that jumping right into localization can be overwhelming at times.
You’ve got consistency problems. Your documentation and website use different terms for the same things. Your translators don’t really understand the tone and voice of your brand, so it’s getting diluted and is now indistinct from competitors. You don’t reuse the translations that are already QA’ed and approved. All this is slowing product adoption in your new markets, you get lots of support calls because people are confused, and your in-country partners are always noting errors.
Few other languages enjoy the high volumes of localization as German. There are 95 million native speakers and, of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, Germany is the European Union’s largest German-speaking marketplace. Foreign businesses looking to market themselves to the country’s consumers have some language localization work to do. But with increasing digitalization and globalization, Germany and the language requirements of its marketplace are changing rapidly.
Accuracy in the Life Sciences field is one of the most challenging areas for professional translators and LSPs. And there are several reasons why.
Older customers are becoming ever more relevant for companies worldwide, for three simple reasons: There are more and more older people in the world. Many older people have high spending power. They are more demanding when it comes to service and the user experience. Companies around the world are getting creative in redesigning products and services to cater to this demographic. What do you need to know to better serve this demographic globally?
Undeniably, the most familiar and accessible Neural MT (NMT) engine is Google Translate. You probably use it quite often. And the results look really good. Sentences read very fluently, without the telltale signs of machine translation. Herein lies the biggest pitfall of NMT—it just looks so darn good.
At tcworld India last month, I heard a familiar refrain: “We translated, but there were no takers.” This particular complaint emerged from the Indian travel e-commerce sector, but it could have come from any part of the world where emerging or long-tail languages are spoken.
Startups and global growers often jump into localization quickly—their markets demand it. A+ for enthusiasm! They are achieving success in their new markets by offering in-language content. But they may not have a quality plan, vendor management approach, technology vision, or workflow strategy.
In my webinar, What Blows Our Minds About the Latest Translation Technology, I shared exciting developments in multilingual content management, localization business analytics, as well as developments in machine translation technology. In this post, I tackle the latest plug-and-play website localization tools.
It’s an everything online world. It's a universal truth that multilingual digital marketing is the best way to reach buyers, open up new markets, and drive revenue. The need for marketing localization has never been greater. But often, marketing teams aren’t focused on the product, and localization folks aren’t focused on digital online content. What advice can we share with both teams so they can get on the same page? Here’s our experience.
Willy Brandt, then chancellor of the now former West Germany, was quoted as having once said, “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.” Perhaps no other quote has come to typify the localization industry. No surprise, either, that it is so fundamentally German—a culture known, at least stereotypically, for its pragmatic and direct approach to business.
Marketing copy often falls victim to being mistranslated into other languages, as creative colloquialisms and cutting edge slogans unintentionally get lost in translation. A quick search on the web will yield lots of examples of marketing translation fails, such as KFC’s iconic “finger lickin’ good” being translated as “eat your fingers off” in Chinese. But without being so spectacularly embarrassing, the way you handle your source text can result in translations that just don’t get the job done.
If you’ve ever investigated or deployed Machine Translation (MT), you know that quality is often a moving target. Everyone has different expectations, and a common misconception is that raw MT can be publishable as human quality. Humans still have to get involved—post-editors—to bring the quality up to snuff. And you most often hear about light versus full post-editing. But questions abound like: who is best suited to post-edit? What training do they need? What is the right level to hit defined quality targets?
Most of us are so busy we can’t fit in our hobbies and interests. Maybe we’ll do these things when we retire or when our kids go off to college. But my colleague, Andrés Ravello, wants us to do these things now, and he’s written a book about it called Be Truly Productive: How to Take Control of Your Life in a Distracted World.
Poland claims the sixth-largest economy in the European Union. Polish also happens to command lower per-word translation rates than the traditional FIGS quartet. Whatever your reason may be for choosing to offer your products and services in Polish, what do you need to know about Polish localization?
SEO is SEO, right? When Google indexes your site or your blog, it’s basically the same process whether it’s in Japan or elsewhere. Your quest for the most effective long-tail keywords is also the same whether your language is English or Japanese. Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Analytics are valuable tools for you in Japan as they are in other markets. So if you know how to SEO for your home country, does that mean you’re ready for Japan?
Two recent news items caught my attention: one has been the protests over the qualifying exam for medical colleges in India not being available in Indian languages. The other was the decision of a national body on technical education to offer courses in Indian languages.
You’re adding more languages all the time and the volume of your content is exploding. There’s an urgency to release more products, faster, and in more markets. If you’re a global business feeling this pain, you’ve likely added more vendors to handle these growth challenges.
What's in store for the language industry? Can we really predict what lies ahead?
All too often, developers who are native to Western languages approach Japanese as if it was just, well, another language. Source strings get translated, target strings get sorted, and everything falls to pieces. In this article we’ll take you on a journey through the complexities of sorting Japanese text — so you won’t learn about it the hard way.
Perhaps no other topic in the translation industry today is hotter than neural MT. The emergence of neural MT isn’t just the next step in machine translation; it’s a legitimate paradigm shift that that has the potential to affect—and challenge—virtually everyone in the language service industry.
How does one forecast the future? Is it possible to plumb the depths of our language industry to predict what lies on the business seas ahead? What is clouding our crystal balls?
Spanglish—it’s a complex but fluid combination of Spanish and English, spoken at various levels and in various ways throughout the United States, Spain, and Latin America. It often shows up anywhere two or more young Hispanics gather for a conversation. They may be primarily Spanish-speaking, English-speaking, or equally fluent in both, but sometimes the Spanglish word just expresses the idea better than the English or the Spanish (semi) equivalent.
I don’t usually read books about self-improvement or how to increase your productivity. Not because I think there’s nothing I need to improve on, just that I believe that each individual’s life experiences, context, and goals need to determine what we do with our time and ourselves.
Throughout time, humanity has wanted to communicate, using whichever tool it had at its disposal. But these tools grew to be something more, as they helped us express emotions and spin memories. A messaging app — the modern communication tool — has the potential to invoke similar sentiment in its users. Like LINE does with its stickers.
Sometime between 2014 and 2016, India became one of the top five countries in the world to download the highest number of mobile game apps, according to App Annie. Given India’s growing smartphone population, this development should be of potential interest to anyone working in game localization.
No one in the translation industry has a crystal ball. Not even the hosts of Globally Speaking. So what did they miss, I hear you ask?
It’s the year 2020 and you’re in Japan. This is your first meal of the year, and your AR vision suddenly lights up with a cornucopia of warning displays — they’re pun alerts! It’s time to discover and savor the punny side of New Year’s in the land of the rising sun.
You may already be using chatbots but not know it. Have you ever sent a text message to get an instant bank balance or a weather report?
Watching video games is estimated to be a $3.8 billion business. Around 500 million people are thought to be the consumers of “gaming video content”. Six of the top 10 most viewed YouTube channels in the United States are focused on gaming. In fact, the most popular person on YouTube is PewDiePie, a Swede who films himself playing video games. He has more than 45 million subscribers. That’s more than Justin Bieber, who has 21 million.
Many a translation failure has little to do with the translation itself. In fact, a translation tries to imitate the way the copy was written in the first place. These ‘upstream’ errors, though, can be easily avoided if content writers know who the ultimate consumers of their work will be — worldwide. If that's not always possible, at least some coordination can and must be arranged between content writers and translators.
The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) is a global, non-profit trade association supporting the language services and technology industry. We often hear from professionals seeking advice on selecting a translation provider from among the many vendor companies in the global marketplace. Even companies with dedicated and experienced procurement staff face challenges in understanding the complexities of supplier types, services, subcontracting relationships, and specializations.
Me: OK, Google. Can you tell me how text-to-speech technology is being used today? Google: Sure. You’re listening to one example of it right now.
We’re dealing with hard times. Daily reports of violence and suffering crowd our social media feeds and top our television news reports. When it all seems so overwhelming, it’s hard to know what to do.
At this time of year, so many enterprises may have money left to spend, but it’s “use it or lose it” before the new year. How can you use leftover money to your advantage? Remember, time is of the essence, and often finance requires delivery before the end of the year in order to pony up. Below we offer you some suggestions for spending that budget, whether you have a lot to burn or just a little.
The language industry is buzzing this week about HIG Capital’s purchase of Lionbridge. And no wonder. When a major private equity firm buys the largest publicly traded translation and localization company in the United States, it’s big news for everyone in the language business.
Much as you wish to be ensconced in your world of code, the truth is, the product you build is for human beings in the real world. And for that to happen across the globe, the code, product information, and a ton of other content has to be translated into a multitude of languages. Some of it, like code and user interface text, has everything to do with you, the developer.
As your business grows, you may need to support additional functions like a helpdesk, a content development group, a functional testing team, or even your localization management team. Critical divisions supporting your core business such as these deserve your full attention, as they can make or break your customer experience.
Kathrin Bussmann, the founder of Verbaccino and host of The Worldly Marketer Podcast, offers her second behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to succeed in Canada. Check out also the first part, Marketing in Canada: Officially Bilingual, Proudly Multicultural.
No LSP has a crystal ball, but our Globally Speaking hosts do have some very strong opinions about what lies ahead for the language industry in 2017. And some of them might surprise you.
The 2016 US presidential race proved that social media is an important marketing tool. And unlike China, where social media exists in its own unique ecosystem, Japanese social media is similar to the western world — with some important differences.
Hike Messenger is one of a select group of Indian startups to recently join the unicorn pack — companies valued at at least $1 billion. In the last round of $175 million funding in August, it was backed by the big names of messaging like Tencent, owner of WeChat, and manufacturing firm Foxconn. Hike is also perhaps the fastest Indian company to become a unicorn, and certainly the only one among its peers to not yet have a monetization model.
We all know Kathrin Bussmann as the founder of Verbaccino and host of The Worldly Marketer Podcast, where she invites expert guests to talk about global marketing issues. But since that podcast series is produced in Canada, Kathrin offered up a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to succeed in that officially bilingual, proudly multicultural country.
Hospitality could very well be the ultimate global industry, and with 5,700 properties in 110 countries around the world, Marriott International is among the world’s most recognized and respected global hospitality brands. A good part of Marriott’s globalization strategy is based on the real-world experience, testing and insights that come from Sonia Zamborsky, who oversees the company’s multilingual websites and is responsible for the quality of Marriott’s digital content translations.
This is the second post in our language series, sourced from our experts at Moravia Linguistic Services (MLS). Read on to learn some fun facts about the evolution of the Swedish language and how they affect localization.
When considering a new Asian market to enter, it seems all eyes bypass Japan and focus directly on China. With its double-digit growth and rising incomes, it makes sense, right? But let us remember that Japan still remains the third largest economy in the world, with some major buying power bolstered by a resilient currency that refuses to stay down. So if you have something interesting to sell, looking at Japan can be well worth your while.
17,000 islands, 700 languages and dialects, 300 ethnicities. That’s Indonesia for you. The country’s geography and ethnic and linguistic diversity should give you some inkling about the complexity of marketing there.
Continuous localization is the only way to meet the needs of a market that demands that a localized product be released at or near the same time as the core product.
The world of B2B marketing virtually revolves around content today. In fact, content marketing is even considered by some to be the new name for B2B marketing itself.
Ever wonder about the buyer profile of your global consumer? What type of shopper he or she is, what are the factors they typically weigh before making a purchase, etc.? A recent report from Euromonitor delves into this exact topic, and also explores the global shopper types in some select countries. I knew that would catch your eye. Read on.
Startup meccas are springing up all over Europe. But not all startup scenes are created equal. In fact, there are just a few that are actually hot enough to be called hotspots — those cities that provide (like the Bay area’s Silicon Valley) established and maturing technology and financial ecosystems that truly support entrepreneurial activity.
The State of Inbound 2016 report from HubSpot was released last month. More than 4,500 respondents from 132 countries took the survey. What are these international marketers’ challenges and how do they propose to resolve them? We provide a few key points.
One of the most useless questions I can ask a new client is, “Is your localization program growing?” Of course it’s growing! And if it isn’t, you certainly aren’t going to admit that to me (go ahead and let me know in the comments section, I dare you!). The more important questions are how you are growing, what is driving this growth, and what your plans are to manage this growth. Some clients grow quickly, and some evolve more gradually over time. Of the clients I’ve worked with who have successfully managed their growth, I have noticed that they all have some of the same practices. Growth is never easy, but if you learn from these experiences, it doesn’t have to be painful.
This is the 32nd LocWorld conference, a journey which started in Seattle back in 2003 and led to turning LocWorld into the most popular and recognized event in the localization industry. After 10 long years — a significant amount of time in the ever-changing localization industry — LocWorld is returning to the world-class city of Montréal, Canada.
This is the fifth in our blog series on clichéd terms and phrases often used by LSPs (language service providers). We hope that you, the buyer, will stop when you hear one of these, ponder what is actually meant, and ask the right questions that will help avoid painful misunderstandings.
International inbound marketing is dead without localization: that should be obvious enough. (If not, read our blog post on why translation is crucial to inbound marketing.) But what are some of the most important things that you, as an inbound marketer, need to know about translation and localization? Here’s a quick list.
Localization data is at the very heart of making smoother entries into new markets, asking for a bigger budget, and raising company-wide awareness. If you’re a localization data junkie, you already know this. But if you aren’t yet measuring how much you translate, how you translate, the time it takes, and so on, this post arms you with four solid reasons why you should have started on it yesterday.
This is the fourth in our blog series on clichéd terms and phrases often used by LSPs (language service providers). We hope that you, the buyer, will stop when you hear one of these, ponder what is actually meant, and ask the right questions that will help avoid painful misunderstandings.
While expanding into multiple foreign markets brings a new set of opportunities, it also leads to a wide variety of challenges — one of which is how to localize in ways that truly define a global-centric enterprise. But what’s the difference between companies that merely localize their content and those who truly globalize their communications and marketing programs?
Today’s guest contributor is Toos Stoker, Digital Marketing Director for TAUS. As the TAUS Annual Conference and the TAUS QE Summit are fast approaching, she takes us on a journey from TAUS’ beginnings to their cutting edge Human Language Project, and encourages us all to participate in the shaping of the language industry.
As I scrolled through the day’s news on my phone the other day, one story caught my eye. It was about yet another “instant translator”. I cringed as I clicked through to the story, expecting the worst. I wasn’t disappointed. There was much ooh-ing and aah-ing about the next big thing in human communication and yet at the core it was still good old machine translation.
Most articles on global marketing talk about how to conquer Asia, Europe, etc. And why not? Those articles are written usually for American marketers trying to take their company overseas. But it’s not just the markets in Asia or Europe that are tough or exotic. And it’s not just American companies that want to expand internationally.
If you hear “agile” one more time you might be caught rolling your eyes in a meeting (good thing you work remotely). And for a good reason. Agile is one of those words that people throw around without really thinking about what it means.
In this blog series, we discuss terms and phrases often used by LSPs (language service providers) that form common industry parlance on both the buy and supply sides. Note that these are not specific to any LSP, nor is it our purpose to put down our peers and claim high ground (indeed, I am guilty of these myself more often than not).
Our excellent linguists from Moravia Linguistic Services (MLS) help us translate into over 170 languages, opening many new markets for our clients. During conversations with them, we learn a lot about the wonderful world of languages. In this series, we discuss some interesting facts about individual languages and how you can avoid mistakes when localizing into them. Today we’re looking at the land that gives us mobile phones, electronics, cars, and K-pop. Read on and discover!
With technology making it easier than ever to distribute products all over the world, the marketing and localization industries share a critical bond. Digital marketing professionals must have a strong sense of the cultural norms, symbols, values, and perspectives of the people they are working to reach.
Machine learning is a hot topic, much discussed in conference rooms and intellectual forums by futurists, inventors, and disrupters — in other words, TAUS attendees.
Today the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) officially launches its German chapter. We spoke with one of its co-founders and German mobile marketing expert, Daniel Rieber of adsquare, about the opportunities and challenges of mobile marketing for the German market.
In this blog series, we discuss terms and phrases often used by LSPs (language service providers) that form common industry parlance on both the buy and supply sides. Note that these are not specific to any LSP, nor is it our purpose to put down our peers and claim high ground (indeed, I am guilty of these myself more often than not).
In my career, I have been an interpreter, a trainer, and a business executive in the language services industry. A year ago, I returned to my alma mater, the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, as a Career and Academic Advisor specializing in the translation and interpretation programs. As a parent and Career Advisor, I care deeply about helping our young professionals reach their career goals in the language industry.
It’s been six years since Rakuten “Englishnized”. This ambitious Japanese ecommerce company with stakes in businesses as diverse as Pinterest and Lyft, as well as other ecommerce firms, launched mandatory Englishnization in March 2010.
I have the privilege of working with lots of new clients at Moravia. This means that I can find myself talking to people with decades more experience than myself one day, and the next day talking to a green marketing manager who is trying to get their head around this whole localization thing. In my experience engaging with clients large and small, experienced and inexperienced, I have noticed that there are some terms or concepts that are inevitably discussed, but which are either consistently used incorrectly, or not fully understood.
Inbound marketing pioneer HubSpot held its “Grow with HubSpot” event on September 8th as part of its Tokyo office grand opening inaugural celebration. HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan was there, reenacting a sumo bout that took place years ago to express his future hopes for change in marketing practices in Japan. Will it happen, or will the status quo prevail as it often does in the land of the rising sun?
This is the first in our blog series of mini marketing guides for different countries. In this series, we’ll explore a variety of market conditions related to demographic profile, industries or companies that are doing well (or not), consumer preferences and how they affect localization, and more. Today, we’re looking at Vietnam.
In just the past two weeks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines with surprise visits to Nigeria and Kenya — his first to sub-Saharan Africa. He met with senior political officials (for which he shed his characteristic t-shirt and jeans for a suit and tie) …
Digital money can be local as well as international. Domestically, digital money or digital wallets are used to make payments at your local store, paying bills, or sending money to friends or family living in different parts of the same country. The latter crosses borders mainly for three reasons: remittances (money that immigrants send back home to their families), payments at merchant sites, and payments for professional services.
Great news! It’s finally time for the language sector to give a great big THANK YOU to our buddies in Hollywood. Arrival, the latest sci-fi (“oh God oh God, we’re all going to die”) drama, will land at the 73rd Venice Film Festival today. The movie — which stars Academy Award nominees Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and winner Forest Whitaker — places language translation and interpreting front and center on the public stage. Woot!
Natural disasters can bring out the best in people through the worst of situations. When a super typhoon struck the Philippines and a massive earthquake leveled Nepal, volunteers from around the world dropped everything and rushed to these emergency sites, offering everything from medical care, to food, to assistance finding loved ones.
Probably not, since Crowdsource wasn’t advertised or anticipated in any way. TechCrunch was one of the first to report that Google had sneakily released their new crowdsourcing app on August 29, 2016.
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.
For those of you who have ducked into a local Kentucky Fried Chicken during travels abroad hoping for familiar food, you may have been surprised or even disappointed. Kentucky Fried Chicken, like other brands who have successfully sold their products worldwide, have changed their offerings over the years for new markets — matching local preferences and, in doing so, deviating substantially from the original.
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.
High-resolution, low-context English is already the preferred pivot language for multilingual localization. But recent advances in computer science and linguistics now enable us to get much more out of the English language — and thus help improve automatic natural-language translation and speech recognition.
Journalists. We rely on them for the inside scoop on everything from the economy, to the environment, and even the day’s light-hearted headlines. But when it comes to delivering the facts, most journalists only rely on sources in their native languages…not on professional translations.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, shoppers must feel confident in the plans they book from afar: they won’t buy what they can’t fully envision, let alone find online. So how can travel and hospitality companies optimize the purchase journey for savvy online travel planners who bring diverse cultural expectations to the experience?
Anna Schlegel is perhaps one of the most qualified people to write the book that she did: Truly Global (The Theory and Practice of Bringing Your Company to International Markets). From her multicultural upbringing, to her extensive experience working in companies that excelled in taking their products global, to the fact that she led the globalization teams in some of those companies — this book was waiting to be written by her.
As humans, we are constantly learning. Your customers want to learn about the features of your product or service. Your sales team wants to get up to speed about the latest innovations in your new release. Your company’s support units need to know your product inside-out to deliver great service to customers. Finally, your employees may want to familiarize themselves with the new systems you are implementing.
There are the big name disruptors, and then there are those who disrupt them. This is what makes the world of business fascinating: that you can’t stop learning and that you will never know for sure what works where. Small, local businesses often find it difficult to compete with multinational companies, but sometimes they score, too. In this post, we try to explore what local businesses can teach their global counterparts? What makes a local or national company hold its own against the Goliaths of international business?
Irrespective of which industry you belong to, every company today is a publishing company. And, when you start going global, so must your content. This is where localization steps in, and this is why Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) need to understand localization.
Unconferences are not only popular among LSPs, some translators say they actually prefer them to traditional conference formats. Started by the IT community in the 1990s, unconferences have no structured agenda, no keynote speakers, no sponsors, no exhibitors and no call for papers.
Regular readers of our blog know that we like to do a recap now and then. But this time, we wanted to go deeper and dig up our best stuff for some mid-summer reading. The result? Our 15 most popular posts of all time, ranging from pure localization matters to global marketing to translation technology.
Imagine not being able to use your smartphone all day, either because there’s no coverage or because the battery has run out. And this is not just one day, but for days or weeks on end. Now imagine you’re in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, fleeing Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan, headed to a temporary safe haven somewhere in Europe. This is how most people from these countries start their lives, once they flee home.
Recently, I read an article in which Alan Packer, director of engineering for Facebook’s language technology team, talked about the use of neural machine translation (MT) by his company. One of the things he said was that they needed to build their own MT engine and not use a third-party service because people spoke differently on Facebook. It got me wondering if that were indeed true, and brought to mind a few relevant questions. How does our social media communication affect language? And how does it affect translation?
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is big. It’s the reason Ray Kurzweil joined Google. It’s the reason Elon Musk sounds a warning. It’s the reason Masayoshi Son chose to remain at the helm of Softbank and say goodbye to Nikesh Arora instead.
TED started as a conference for Technology, Entertainment and Design in 1984 and is now very popular for their talks that cover a wide spectrum of topics. Who hasn’t been inspired by a TED talk? So we thought, what better way to spend a summer weekend than to dig into TED talks related to translation, language and culture?
Every marketer understands that brand awareness and reputation are critical, but the irony is that many (maybe even most) marketers have no agreed-upon definition of what a brand actually is, or how to establish a successful brand-building strategy. No single branding model exists. And when you add in all the complexities and issues that come when the word “global” becomes part of the branding process, the marketing challenges (and confusion) can grow exponentially.
Finally, Pokémon Go is coming to Japan (yes, as incredible as it may seem, it’s currently available in over 30 countries but in Japan we were kept waiting). With the launch imminent, I took the opportunity to think about the Nintendo magic, past, present, and possibly future.
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.
Last week, Facebook rolled out a new feature for its users: they can now type a post in their language and choose to have it automatically translated into multiple languages. The multilingual composer, released for Facebook Pages earlier this year, is currently available only on the desktop site. Facebook has always used language as an instrument of growth. Instant translations of Facebook posts have been available for quite some time now. So what does this new feature change? What does it tell us about Facebook's ambitions?
For most companies, localization isn’t a strategic priority from the very beginning. It usually doesn’t become an issue, or even a consideration, until after a business has already established a solid track record in its own, home market. Only after building a strong footprint in its home base, management is typically convinced the next step is to expand its offerings into global markets. Translation and localization services then become catalysts to make global expansion happen.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to grow quickly or making the most of what you have. In fact, these are laudable qualities in a fledgling company. But I do wince a little every time I see free machine translation (MT) and some other shortcuts being listed as "translation hacks". These may serve a company in its initial content creation and customer acquisition stages, but they simply won't scale and could even upset customers. At best, these translation "tricks" should be temporary until you can get professional services. So if you must employ hacks, you should at least know the risks you are taking.
With more and more global companies employing local talent, the need to make training globally understandable and relevant adds to the list of concerns that keeps Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) up at night. Ever since Jack Welch, then CEO of General Electric, made GE the first company to have a CLO in the 1990s, hundreds of organizations have followed suit and have tackled the training issue in many different ways. Localization is the obvious solution for making training relevant globally, but what do you need to know about the process so that you can optimize your efforts? Here are some pointers.
Different cultures shape consumer expectations and preferences for the online purchase journey in different ways. But there’s one universal truth: if savvy shoppers can’t find it, understand it, or relate to it, they won’t buy from your site.
LinkedIn did it. Facebook does it. And so do other top global brands. Some of the world’s leading companies are leveraging the linguistic abilities of their massive global networks to translate and localize their worldwide communications. But does the cost-saving convenience of crowdsourcing outweigh the problems that working with non-professional translators can cause? What are its advantages and limitations? When should crowdsourcing be — or not be — the localization solution of choice?
Chinese social media is huge, fragmented, and tends to change fast. Staying on the right side of the government and taking censorship seriously are givens, but there are a ton of other things you need to keep in mind for success on WeChat, Sina Weibo, RenRen and their peers. Here are some of the essential rules of engagement on Chinese social media that can make — or break — your success there.
Persado made news recently when it received $30 million in funding for its artificial intelligence-driven copy writing software. Immediately, it set off animated discussions on whether this would mean the end of human content writing as we know it. Yet Persado is not a pioneer. Quill from Narrative Science has been churning out stories from data since 2010.
This year’s Mary Meeker slides are out. I always love going through them to see what macro Internet trends she has uncovered. But there’s another interest, too: I delight in discovering how each new driver of Internet growth is inevitably tied to translation. This year was no different, so I list below four ways in which language can impact or has already impacted the macro Internet trends that Meeker has identified.
At Moravia, we cheer every company that discovers sooner rather than later the relationship between international growth and translation. Especially when it’s a startup. Because that means they’re growing right and starting right — and as a result, avoiding all the pain and hiccups that come with delayed, last-minute or decentralized localization. When our client and hot Australian design startup Canva began its localization journey, we were happy for a number of reasons. Canva has made some very intelligent choices in translation, and there could be a lesson or two for other startups here.
Speaking of Travel: Real-time Reservations are Driving Demand for Localized Content on a Global Scale [Podcast]
In the third episode of Moravia’s Globally Speaking podcast, we’re joined by John Jimenez, Portfolio Director of e-Commerce for Interstate Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s leading third-party hotel management companies.
Social media in China tends to change very fast. Not so long ago, Sina Weibo was the last word when it came to connecting with the Chinese people. Now, it’s WeChat, though Weibo still has a major stake. However, it’s not just the platforms themselves that you need to keep up with, but also the way your competitors and your target audience are using them.
English words have become more and more a part of the Japanese language. Oftentimes they are in katakana script, but can also appear in alphabet form. The Ninja — the sly ENglish in JApanese — can be a problem.
On last count, there were more than two dozen Translation Management Systems (TMS) of various sizes and shapes in the market. It does make your head spin. One thing’s for sure: your company’s choice of a TMS can no longer depend on someone’s whim, a Google search, or what a language services provider (LSP) is lobbying for.
Japan has had a long and amicable relationship with robots going back to the 17th century. So when SoftBank announced that the “brains” for its Pepper robot would be supplied by IBM’s Watson, people rejoiced. There was no Terminator-driven angst, even though the combination of robots and AI threatens to make many human jobs obsolete.
In this episode of the Globally Speaking podcast, we sat down with Dino Pick, former Commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, to discuss how Monterey became known as the “language capital of the world.”
The partial lifting of international sanctions, earlier this year, on doing business with Iran has dramatically increased the importance of and demand for translations to and from Persian. As the Middle East’s second-largest economy, and one that has suffered years of major underinvestment, Iran holds huge promise for many businesses.
We’re all doing our jobs with passion. But it’s that passion that can lead to clashes between the development and localization teams. When that happens, both sides need to step back and think about what’s really important.
What’s not to love about translation memory (TM): cost savings, productivity increases, unified brand presence… Yet, our hero is not infallible. A TM’s value can and will degrade over time, irrespective of how well you may be maintaining it. This is not a doomsday scenario, though, and you are not required to go TM-free. In some cases, TM value degradation is normal, even expected.
In a recent NPR news piece Uber Plans To Kill Surge Pricing, Though Drivers Say It Makes Job Worth It, Jeff Schneider, engineering lead at Uber, describes how they are using machine learning to hack the problem of supply and demand.
This is the first episode of Globally Speaking, a new podcast for everyone interested in translation, localization, globalization and global content issues. Every two weeks, we’ll sit down with a remarkable guest and discuss topics that matter to everyone and anyone engaged in global communications. Our goal is to educate, inform and challenge listeners, generate some great conversations and bring up new ideas and thought-provoking perspectives.
On its 10th anniversary a few days ago, Google Translate released some interesting data. It said the translations most commonly requested through its service were between English and Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Indonesian. This is of course very limited data, yet this one-sentence revelation has some juicy pointers for global enterprises seeking to understand which languages they should add next or continue to support, and why. We’ll break them up by language.
Translators all over the world are becoming more and more connected, creating more opportunities for direct translation from any language to any language. Does that mean English is on its way out as a pivot language?
You thought the toughest part of your job was over once you convinced your boss about the need for a localization program and got it off the ground. Well, yes and no. It was the first battle that needed to be won. Securing a sizeable budget, maintaining it, or increasing it are other battles along the way. How do you win them?
A few years ago, the Pepsi-Cola company adjusted their brand name “Pepsi” to “Pecsi” in Argentina to reflect the natural pronunciation of the name in Argentinian Spanish — a language lacking the sound combination “ps”. The goal of this campaign was clear: to get closer to consumers by adapting the brand name to the way it is often pronounced in the country. The campaign was so successful that Pepsi replicated it in Spain and Mexico later on.
According to TAUS, we are headed toward the Age of Convergence, where translation memories, machine translation, leveraging tools, and search tools will converge into a cohesive user experience across devices. With so much evolving technology, what is the future of lifelong linguists and transcreators like me?
European startups may not enjoy as much publicity buzz as their counterparts based in Silicon Valley — but they are no less exciting. The whole startup scene in Europe is on a mission to catch up with the technology hotspots in the US. Some of the unique features of European companies, such as their multicultural and multilingual backgrounds, act as advantages when it comes to scaling up globally.
Style Guides, which companies use to drive consistency and clarity of translation, come in different shapes and sizes. In addition to the obvious language-specific, tactical guidelines on things like how dates, times, numerals, phone numbers and currency are expressed in that language, more subtle style elements must also be covered. While you probably already have all of these style concepts laid out for the source market, too often target market Style Guides address only the mechanics of the target language — something that experienced translators should already well understand. So what turns a tactical guideline into a fully-fledged market-specific Style Guide?
Translation memory (TM) is an established language technology known to save costs and time, and it usually improves quality, but not all organizations are able to leverage translation memory to the fullest. Why does this happen?
Thanks to the cloud, many companies today are born global, even if that may not be their intention. In other cases, the shifting centers of business growth have made “global” a hard-to-ignore source of revenue. You know all this. You also know that translation and localization are inevitable for international growth. But how do you get localization off the ground? How much is it going to cost? What are the things that you must know about localization at a high level?
A year ago I had never been to Japan, and since that time I have traveled to Tokyo twice. The most recent trip was for LocWorld30, which ended just earlier today. The past few days have been wonderful, and getting to experience the city with so many other professionals in the industry has been a privilege.
We have all heard the arguments about how translation memory (TM) can result in savings and improvements in translation quality, and they are all true. But today we’re going to play the Devil’s advocate and talk about situations in which using a translation memory may actually be counter-productive.
As a solutions architect with 15 years’ experience in the industry, I often work with organizations trying to evolve their localization programs in order to try to achieve the trifecta of reduced cost, increased quality and improved TAT.
To those of us who started writing on the web more than a decade ago, WordPress will always remain the true leveler of the Internet playing field. While it was not the one to introduce one-click publishing — there were predecessors like LiveJournal and Blogger — it certainly was the content management system (CMS) and blogging platform that many of us fell in love with for its ease of use, clean interface, and availability in many, many languages. No wonder over 20% of websites globally now use WordPress.
I still remember the day I was browsing Moravia’s webpage and applied for a Localization Project Manager position. Back then I had no idea what “localization” meant, but decided to apply anyway. As the job advert promised, “The candidate will be responsible for all phases of the project delivery life cycle, which begins with project formation and initiation, and completes upon project closure.” That is exactly what I did in my previous job, so switching from the IT industry to localization shouldn’t be too difficult — or that’s what I sincerely believed.
I attribute my storied career in localization operations to two basic truths: First, humans are social animals who communicate to survive and thrive. Second, there are a plethora of ways for communication to go sideways — especially when translation is involved. In other words, I stay busy troubleshooting all the ways communication gets skewed, and that has led me to the wholly original invention I like to call “Tucker’s 4-Part Communication Model.”
Companies may encounter a variety of different pain points regarding linguistic quality. Some may be acute, others can be more chronic and tarnish your reputation. And while every company is unique, there are several common noticeable symptoms of linguistic quality process issues. Let’s look at the seven most frequent — and what you can do about them.
Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came up with a proposal to make Indian language support mandatory on all mobile phones sold in India. TRAI, the independent authority on telephony in India, has said that this proposal will become mandatory six months from now.
The first thing I do when I get to the MultiLingual office is take my shoes off, so I can pad around all day in wool socks, so I can cross my legs at my desk and work on my flexibility as I type. I work buttressed in by raw-brick walls and shelves of books, green plants by the window. I keep a jar of coconut oil on my desk, as a catch-all hand moisturizer and energy booster.
This communication may contain proprietary information, some or all of which may be legally privileged. It is for the intended recipient only. If you are not the intended recipient who has not caught up on ALL episodes of Season 4, you must not use, disclose, distribute, copy, or print this communication.
Are you controlling who is translating your creative content and how they are doing it? If not, your brand is likely at risk. You have to maintain your brand — your intent, style, voice and tone — as much as possible, but your content also needs to resonate in each target market. The process of getting this highly-branded, inventive content localized correctly — what we call marketing localization — has become a lot more sophisticated over the past few years. Here are the 10 steps that in our experience lead to successful marketing localization.
Last week we discussed the business needs that would drive a technical writing department towards implementing a Component Content Management System (CCMS): decrease time to market, maximize re-use, or single-source “chunks” of content into multiple outputs. While the process may initially be clear and effective for content creation, there are some shortcomings related to localization. In this blog post we discuss these issues and how to overcome them. The challenges are not insurmountable; they simply require strategic foresight and a collaborative approach between content creators and LSPs at every step of the release cycle.
There is a lot that can go wrong in any project, but unexpected rush projects are especially dangerous because there is no margin for error. If anything goes wrong during a rush project, I am either losing money, damaging my reputation with my client, or both. I would like to take a moment to discuss more about why rush fees exist, which will lead to a reflection on some of the inherent issues with rushing projects, and then summarize by discussing what we can all do to avoid them so that I never have to charge you rush fees again!
Managing global teams is hard. You are dealing with possibly hundreds or even thousands of team members located in dozens of countries across the globe, sitting in different time zones, speaking different languages, and coming from different cultures. How do you get such diverse groups of contributors to come together and form a truly cohesive global team?
Old-fashioned content production workflows manually research and extract content from the output of one project - say, a chapter in a user manual paper - for reuse in a new form - perhaps a white paper, a blog post, a web page, or an FAQ document. From start to finish, it might take 6-12 months to craft original content and rehash it in all the required formats, but that was perfectly acceptable back when software release cycles averaged 18 months. But the realities of today's development environments have pressured content managers to find new ways to reduce manual work, boost productivity and consistency, and accelerate multi-channel content production. We'll explore modern approaches to content authoring in the first post in our series on Component Content Management Systems (CCMS).
If your marketing or technical translators are also handling your legal materials, such as agreements, contracts, or compliance documentation, then you have cause for concern. These documents are both legally-binding and comprised of content full of jargon, so it is critical that the translations are carried out to the highest level of fidelity by specialists. This is the only way to make sure that all parties involved understand the contents without any room for confusion or misinterpretation.
Things are easy when you’re big in Japan… or so go the lyrics of the 1984 hit from the German band Alphaville (remember, anyone?). The same holds true for enterprises. Yet achieving success in the Japanese market does not come easily, as many global companies have learned the hard way. All the more reason to cherish the fact that the next LocWorld conference will take place in Tokyo, April 13-15, 2016 — the first major localization event to take place in the country after more than a decade. So what are some of the things you need to know if you want to succeed in Japan?
Global marketing and localization may now be the best of friends, and that’s a good thing. The investment that goes into localizing and adapting pre-sales content — web presence, local social media, blogs, online advertising, multilingual campaigns, etc. — is staggering and increasing. But what set of data should marketing and localization professionals use to speak the same language and understand the impact that localized pre-sales content makes? Let’s look at some of the main metrics.
Much of it may go under the radar, largely unnoticed, but it is amazing how many organizations have already successfully embraced various models of engaging local communities in order to improve their localized products and increase local product acceptance. And yet, while the community-based model has been used and developed for more than a decade now, many myths still exist about what such communities do and how they are built and maintained. Let’s clear up some of the most frequent myths, one by one.
Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” has been one of the most inspirational TED Talks and ideas ever since the publication of his book “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” back in 2009. This idea is universally applicable and the language services industry is no exception. Understanding why you’re entering a new market should come first. This should then shape your go-to-market and localization strategies, and help define “how” and “what.” So let’s talk about the six most common business reasons for entering a new market, and how companies make the go/no-go decisions.
When it comes to localizing your website, how do you select the markets and locales that have the highest potential and offer the highest ROI? What numbers do you or your boss need to make the go/no-go decision? Here is a potential sequence of steps you can take, and a selection of useful tools you can use along the way.
Products aren’t developed in one-year cycles or multi-year cycles anymore. Work is done in multiple small spurts rather than in one big version change. Agile development is a reality and translation must keep pace with product development. It doesn’t follow a release — it accompanies it. Simultaneous, immediate release in multiple languages is becoming a commonplace requirement. But how exactly do you achieve this while reducing time to market? What is a sensible way of dealing with agile for large enterprises that have a global presence?
These are exciting times for the translation and localization industry, and the world is taking notice. It was listed among the seven fastest-growing industries for investment in 2016. Forbes and Entrepreneur magazine alike have listed translation services among the hottest industries for starting up a business. So a lot is happening, and some of the newest developments got recently reported by Slator, the language industry intelligence platform established just last year. We caught up with Slator’s founders Florian Faes and Andrew Smart to tell us about themselves, their plans, and how they keep their finger on the pulse of the language industry.
The role of a marketing department within an organization is to create content about a brand that engages the target market in ways that boost brand loyalty and sales. However, different target markets will not react in the same way to the original marketing campaign as the original intended audience would.
Dutch is easily one of the most frequent languages that enterprises localize into, and has been for decades. At Moravia, we translate over 10 million words into Dutch annually, and the language regularly features among our top 15. Here are some of the facts and insights to consider when it comes to localizing into Dutch.
Enterprises with growing localization programs often grapple with how best to staff their translation teams. Choices include a dedicated, named translation team, a flexible resource pool with a large number of translators, or a combination of the two. Most multilingual LSPs support any of these approaches, so how do you choose the right model for you?
Moravia has recently become one of the first companies to achieve the ISO 17100:2015 certification, via the company’s Life Sciences division. We sat down with Andrea Tosovska, Moravia’s project manager who managed the preparations for the certification as well as the audit, to find out about what lies behind this new standard, and how difficult it was to meet the standard’s requirements.
From Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego, Spanish is the dominant language of Latin America, followed not-quite-closely by Brazilian Portuguese. Unsurprisingly, given the vast size of the region — which stretches over 6,000 miles — there are numerous national varieties of Spanish, including the variety spoken in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, plus a range of regional dialects. The costeño (coastal) dialect of Colombia sounds markedly different than the porteño spoken in Buenos Aires (full name, El Puerto de Santa Maria del Buen Aire).
At its essence, sentiment analysis is basically large-scale, real-time, real-world product testing, where the resulting data is entirely user-generated, and therefore features inconsistent processes and reporting in multiple languages worldwide. Making sense of this data requires close cooperation between global brands and translation companies, but the resulting insights are almost always worth the effort.
Whenever you learn another language, you’re bound to mess up sooner or later. Gone are the days of learning by rote, and language apps are all about having conversations instead of parsing sentences. What that means, though, is that there are plenty of grammatical pitfalls to be wary of, especially when trying to learn a language as rule-bound as Spanish. You might be able to trill those “r’s” like the most nimble mariachi guitarist, but if you get the grammar wrong, you’ll sound more like Tarzan dubbed in Spanish.
It’s perhaps easier to understand the importance of a localization strategy when we realize what happens without one. The reality is that many companies that do localize don’t have a clear, written-down strategy — however brief — in place. This is just like the all-too familiar situation where companies create content without having a real content marketing strategy. In this blog post, we discuss some of the symptoms of myopic localization, what the broad goals of a strategy should be, and what the strategy should include.
As you plan new year’s resolutions for your localization program, a glimpse at last year’s top headlines often yields insights into the trends informing the priorities of your peers. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of our most popular blog posts in 2015. Ranging from best practices, case studies, and humor to industry forecasts and philosophical manifestos, our list covers topics in transcreation, translation proxy services, machine translation, Twitter, and talent credentials. In short, there’s something for everyone: so be sure you skim the list and catch up on any headlines you’ve missed.
Localization is one industry that relies on agility, dedication, and creative thinking. As the world evolves, localization professionals are constantly challenged to anticipate issues, invent new solutions, and keep complex programs on track. Here’s a glimpse of how Moravians stay focused and nimble by feeding our passions outside of work. For every unique view of our video, Moravia will donate to Translators without Borders.
It has been another eventful and exciting year for the translation industry, and definitely so for us here at Moravia. We continued our double-digit growth, building on the revenues of $100 million reached a year ago, welcomed new investors, and added our thousandth employee (and continue to add more beyond that) — all huge milestones for us! We also opened a new office in Beijing and our Life Sciences team did us all proud by getting ISO 17100 certified.
It’s that time of year again. You need to plan and budget for translation to support your company’s international expansion. Incidentally, you plan to launch your company in many multilingual markets, but somehow your localization budget hasn’t grown much, or at least in a way that corresponds to the number of markets being added.
End-user feedback is easily the lifeblood of innovation. Which company wouldn’t give its metaphorical right arm to know what its customers love about its product, what they hate, and everything in between?
With markets going global, companies have had to deal with increasingly diverse, multicultural, and multilingual teams distributed around the world. Talent retention and employee engagement problems remain, but they get a whole new, global scale.
Time is of the essence in any content localization that’s tied to a product release. Agile methodologies and continuous updates are relentlessly compressing release cycles, which in turn accelerates expected turnaround times for localized files.
Some of the most popular global high-tech companies have their fingers in almost every conceivable pie today, and not only in their domestic markets but also internationally. It’s also hard to exclude any vertical from their future interest — as digital technologies become the game-changer in just about any industry, from retail, fashion, travel, and hospitality to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. So, what is it they do right and what can you learn from high-tech companies to not only survive but also thrive?
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?
The numbers are all in favor of providing live chat: it not only contributes positively to lead conversion but also increases existing customer satisfaction. But how do these apps fare when it comes to supporting multilingual websites? After all, the support chat cannot afford to be the disruptor in the in-language user experience.
Thankful people in the United States give gratitude and celebrate life’s abundance with a grand meal on the fourth Thursday of November every year. This tradition started the fall of 1621, when Pilgrims celebrated their first successful crop after a long period of struggle and hunger. Yet while you may think that Thanksgiving is a uniquely North American celebration, other countries and cultures have similar days of thanks.
It’s usually the other way round: we hear about how even behemoth companies can learn this little growth hack or that new-fangled management approach from startups. But, when it comes to localization, startups may learn a few important lessons from global brands.
The translation and localization industry is worth more than $38 billion and inspires roughly more than a dozen start-ups a year. But you wouldn’t know that from the news coverage. When we tried to assemble a list of some major Twitter accounts to help you track the industry, we came woefully short. Clearly, there’s some territory for the right news organization to claim. That’s why we included some popular accounts of industry organizations and individuals focused on translation-related news and information. Following this list will get you connected to the rest of the translation community on Twitter.
The 12.2 billion-dollar purchase of Starwood Hotels by Marriott is dominating the business media this week, and rightly so: the acquisition will create the world’s largest hotel conglomerate, comprising 1.1 million rooms in 5,500 hotels spanning 100 countries. Here are the trends that are likely to influence the combined entity’s global marketing strategy.
Commercial language courses would have you believe theirs is the only “right” way to learn a language, but people learn in different ways — and depending on your situation and goals, one approach may suit you better than another. In my experience as a language learner and a language teacher, there are four primary ways to learn a new language. Let’s take a deeper look.
Often, even when executive buy-in for translation exists, the significance of centralizing the function is somewhat lost on stakeholders. They understand the importance of translation in their global marketing efforts, but they fail to connect the dots between a centralized translation function and improved quality and productivity.
Design and translation have this in common: the return on investment for both is somewhat hard to measure. Because success has many fathers, when a product does well in international markets, you cannot pin it down to a particular factor. But design that doesn’t quite get the local markets and translation that is flawed can easily push a product to the brink of failure. Design and translation can often make or break your global marketing. In this post, we look at some examples of how companies localized or tweaked product design for global markets and the rationale behind it.
¿Hablas español? Well, according to a recent report by the government-run Spanish language organization Instituto Cervantes, as reported in the Guardian, the United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country — after Mexico — with 41 million native speakers, plus another 11.6 million who are bilingual. According to U.S. census figures from 2014, Hispanics accounted for 17 percent of the total population, some 55 million people. These statistics are important for many reasons, including the fact that Forbes estimates Hispanic purchasing power to be $1.5 trillion in 2015, with the market growing larger every year: the overall Hispanic population in the U.S. grew a full 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2014.
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.
At first glance, machine translation appears to be the answer to every localization program manager’s dream of translating more content more quickly and more cost-efficiently. But it may not be fast, simple, or inexpensive to implement — and after all that, the results might not be exactly what you expected. Before you jump in headfirst, make sure the whole effort will be worth your time and give you the outputs you need. Will machine translation meet your quality expectations for all languages, or only a few? What levels of editing will get you to the desired level of quality, and how does that affect your expectations of budget and time to market?
So you’ve already weighed the costs and benefits of vendor consolidation strategy, you’ve decided to consolidate vendor companies and you’ve taken the necessary actions to select the vendor that is best suited to your needs. As the third installment of our series on vendor consolidation, it is time to transition the work from multiple vendors to a consolidated vendor model. Buckle up: it’s a bumpy road ahead, but these tips will help you avoid the pitfalls in any vendor transition.
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.
If you run a travel website, or any B2C-focused website, you already know how valuable customer reviews are to you. In fact, they may be even more important than your own content: studies have found that people tend to trust user reviews more than they trust the sales talk of travel professionals. But when you expand your business to international markets — and travel is, by definition, a global business — how do you handle multilingual reviews? How do you encourage your international visitors to leave the reviews in the first place?
I was recently asked if Moravia uses any translation proxy technologies. The short answer is no, we don’t, for two main reasons. First, we don’t see translation proxy as the best technology for website localization. Secondly, our customers don’t really use or demand that technology. In fact, an increasing number of organizations approach us to help them migrate away from a translation proxy as their needs have outgrown their initial setup and thinking. Now for the longer answer…
At some stage, most global companies reach a point when they find that too many localization vendors render consistency, cost-control and effective program management difficult. But how can you get stakeholders to agree on which vendors to retain when they may have their own personal favorites? Following our earlier post about the reasons why global companies consolidate, here are our observations about how organizations approach vendor consolidation.
While you’re planning a new market launch, staggering amounts of content are accruing in your home market. Translating everything all at once is a sure path to getting overwhelmed, especially when you have limited time and resources.
I can tell you that I speak French (and I stand by that claim as long as there are no French speakers in the room), but how do you know what that means? Do I maintain a well-read French language blog analyzing Victor Hugo in the original, or did I get the gist of “Amélie” without reading the subtitles? Self-evaluation is an unreliable indicator of translation credentials, so I’ve developed this handy guide to help you decipher the most common claims about language skills.
It always starts innocently enough: a product manager or a local distributor hires a local vendor to translate the user interface for one new market. Maybe another team repeats that process for the next new product or market. Maybe volumes start to exceed the first vendor’s bandwidth in each market and overflow vendors are engaged. Globalization programs can easily become saddled with too many vendors, which restricts consistency, cost-control, and effective program management. In the first of our series on vendor consolidation, let’s look at how programs wind up with too many vendors — and how to justify the shift to a short list of approved partners.
Leaving quality reviews to the end game is a risky move, and that’s why localization best practices call for multiple checks throughout the process. Computer-aided translation (CAT) tools offer automated checks that accelerate the path to consistency and quality, but too many automated checks throughout the translation process can generate more lag than they’re worth. Let’s explore how that happens.
When you were off on summer vacation, we were publishing some of our most popular blog posts of the year, on topics ranging from website translation fails, Spanglish, program centralization, and insights for global retail — plus many others. Don’t bother digging through your inbox: we’ve assembled all the hottest links right here.
Regional offices, subsidiaries, and distribution partners are often highly motivated to spot translation quality issues, and sometimes they’re only passionate when something goes wrong. If you’re lucky enough to have in-country stakeholders ready and willing to participate in language reviews, how can you channel their support to improve localization quality without introducing delays or sacrificing control over your localization strategy? Having made many of these mistakes in my career, I invite you to learn from my past pains and avoid these pitfalls in your own program.
Globalization strategies are the topic du jour of most corporate board rooms. Yet the pressure to enter many new markets simultaneously is the easiest way to derail your efforts to build a scalable global foundation. In the rush to “go to market,” mistakes are made, investments are not justified, and returns are not realized, creating frustration for senior management teams and institutional investors. Our advice? Go global in stages, especially if you are starting out with localization.
Technical innovation drives new concepts that require new words, and popular usage dictates which words take root. When English terms express concepts that have no Spanish equivalents — or when the Spanish equivalents are too cumbersome — Spanglish terms are born. But proper Spanglish usage — and even spelling — varies across Spanish-speaking markets. Here’s what you need to know to use Spanglish correctly in your translations.
A few years ago, American journalist Joshua Foer went to the Republic of Congo to research some of the world’s last hunter-gatherer societies. In order to embed himself to the degree he thought necessary, he decided to learn Lingala, a language spoken by several million in the Congo basin. And in just 22 hours, spread out over ten weeks, he did it, with the assistance of an app called Memrise. He then completed his research, successfully communicating with people in ways that would not have been possible had he had to rely on an interpreter.
Program complexity is the natural byproduct of successful globalization. Increasing volumes reveal the pressure points of unscalable processes, while stakeholder requirements become more exacting for each content type as experience uncovers what doesn’t work. Fear not: your localization service provider (LSP) staffs advanced specialists to help you manage increasing complexity and keep your growth on track.
As with most success stories in fashion retail, brand perception is central to the rise, fall, and resurgence of Uniqlo — Japan’s answer to the world’s leading casual brands like Gap, and H&M.
Successful localization programs always get more complicated: More content volumes, content types, and target languages. More distinctions among corporate and individual product brands. More client-side stakeholders and reviewers. Increasingly aggressive turnaround times. Managing a larger, more complex program is not simply a matter of increasing the number of resources — it’s about augmenting your core localization vendor team with support from specialized localization professionals. In part two of my LSP Who’s Who blog series, let’s review four of the localization roles tasked with supporting complex programs.
Many well-funded companies succumb to the lure of soup-to-nuts localization technology solutions well before they have the market experience or personnel required to deploy the sophisticated features they’re buying. Localization technology is like any infrastructure investment: buying more than you need robs budget from the services required to put that investment to use — and that dampens the revenue growth you’re counting on to propel your global presence.
Content is at the heart of inbound marketing — an increasingly prevalent methodology that empowers buyers with useful information to support every step of their journey as a buyer — and translated content is at the heart of globalization. Yet many companies that have mastered inbound marketing in their home markets ignore the crucial role of translation in global inbound, and so they stumble in new markets. Let’s look at three ways translation has become mission-critical to global inbound marketing.
Style guides are indispensible tools that help translators recreate your global brand voice in local markets. They ensure consistency within a given brand, such as the corporate brand or disparately branded product lines. So how do you create a document that does all that?
Any successful localization program owes itself to the resources involved in running it. While the names for these positions will vary, your Language Service Provider (LSP) likely has four core roles driving the day-to-day program work. These are your primary contacts, and they're highly specialized and experienced localization professionals who ensure your program runs smoothly. In the first of this blog series, we’ll cover those core roles responsible for getting your files translated in accordance with your quality standards, and getting them ready to be deployed.
Growth and change are the inherent byproducts of successful localization. A trickle of global revenues quickly queues up interest in controling the spigot, and that means localizing for more markets, more languages, more volume, and more content types. Most localization program owners eventually find the in-house infrastructure that gave rise to early successes can no longer support the demands of a larger, more complex program. But outgrowing your in-house model doesn’t have to mean abandoning the intimacy, convenience, and control that propelled your program to success.
Intimacy and convenience are two of the biggest reasons global companies like having an in-house translation team — at least until the program becomes too unwieldy for in-house translators to manage. But does that mean you have to sacrifice what you love about your in-house program? It shouldn’t have to. In the first of a two-part series, let’s explore the five key reasons why most global companies eventually turn to localization outsourcing.
There’s no way to predict the effectiveness of your own multilingual strategy without some insight into what your competitors are doing — and how that’s working out. Thankfully, the Internet offers a treasure trove of competitive research data for those who are willing to invest the time (or the interns) to collect and analyze it. Here are five easy ways to begin gathering competitive intelligence.
Imagine landing at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport. As soon as your flight lands, a timer on your smartwatch counts down the minutes until your bag is delivered to the luggage carousel. A self-driving, English-speaking car pulls up to the curb with your name in lights, which you automatically hailed when you scanned your biometric passport at the immigration kiosk.
Cantonese has been spoken for centuries in south central China, and it’s the native tongue for most who live in and around the Guangdong province. In Hong Kong, adjacent to Guangdong, 96 percent of ethnic Chinese residents are native speakers of Cantonese. So why might you consider Mandarin when you’re localizing content for Hong Kong?
Replicating your brand’s look, feel, and overall vibe in each target market is an essential way to cement your global corporate identity and provide a consistent customer experience. But how do you apply your brand voice and tone across all markets? How do you make sure all translators are crafting content within a consistent style?
Investing time, money, and energy in website translation isn’t enough to capture customers in new target markets, especially when you fail to give global visitors a clear path to the site in the languages they require.
Brazil has 190 million Portuguese speakers, versus mother country Portugal's 10.5 million, and it is Brazilian soap operas and game shows that dominate media in the language. Still, much like the national varieties of English that exist around the globe, Brazilian Portuguese has more than a few vocabulary distinctions that raise eyebrows in the streets of Lisbon.
Companies embarking on their journey to global markets sometimes complain that their website translation has failed. But you’ll never hear global veterans griping about translation — they certainly have pains, but rarely those concerning the efficacy of translation. Why is that?
After all the exciting campaigns are launched and new customers converted, product support is often treated like an afterthought: an unfortunate but necessary cost center. While you may not notice its effect on the bottom line in your home market, after-sales support is the difference between lifelong customers and brand disasters in global markets. Will your customers feel like a member of your global community and become a brand ambassador? Or will they feel frustrated, let down by your sales promises, and ignored when they have questions?
When you think about localizing multimedia content, what kind of voice do you want narrating the translated script? If you get stuck after “a nice one,” keep reading: you need this blog post. The voice behind your narration can be the most powerful link you have with your audience. Depending on the type of video content, the actor you choose may become the voice of your brand. Will your brand and voice sound credible?
This week, Theodore Geisel's estate has released “What Pet Should I Get?” — much to the delight of kids and parents the world over who’ve fallen in love with the characteristic sing-song nonsense style.
It started with a colon and a parenthesis. Maybe a hyphen, for the detail-oriented, or a semicolon instead of the colon, for when you felt playful. Then, the humble smiley multiplied into a range of expressions, and someone somewhere dubbed them “emoticons.”
Are you taking care of your customers after the sale?
At a certain point, global enterprises with many different types of content, many stakeholders, and frequent projects abandon their decentralized localization models in pursuit of the cost efficiencies, consistency, and time-saving benefits of program centralization.
With Paris tossing its hat in the ring, the fight for the location of the 2024 Olympic Games continues to heat up. Of course, the clock is now counting down to the next Games, which will be held in Brazil’s marvelous city, Rio de Janeiro, in 2016.
Let’s assume you have a strong brand voice in your home market — one that’s designed and carefully managed to tell your target audiences, “Hey, we get you.” But does that tone come through in your marketing translations? If not, here are a few ways to tighten up your global brand voice.
Mary Meeker’s yearly Internet Trends 2015 report is out, and its 196 pages carry a clear message. Smart businesses have access to potential customers around the world, and one of the gaps they must bridge is language difference.
The Tour de France is big business. This year’s Tour is the competition’s 102nd edition, and as of 2013, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, the Tour was viewed by 1 to 3.5 billion people in 190 countries (article in French). One of the French teams’ sponsors told Le Monde that in 2011, for an investment of €8.3 million, it received the equivalent of €63 million of publicity. To the uninitiated, cycling may seem like an individual sport. After all, when a big race like the Tour de France concludes, one victorious rider’s name and photo is all over the front pages.
Your Translation Memory (TM) could really be holding you back. It could be introducing quality issues that impact user satisfaction and brand perception. Your TM should be your best linguistic asset but, if it’s old, it may not be the friend you want it to be.
On 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake ripped through Nepal, killing nearly 9,000, injuring 23,000, and displacing an estimated 450,000. Among those responding with support and expertise internationally was a team of Nepali language experts, who have been partnering with government, global businesses, and international aid organizations since the quake and the many aftershocks. We spoke with linguist and anthropologist Mark Turin about his projects in the region, his collaborations with communities in Nepal, and what is still to come.
“The Search Giant has just released one of the most emotional Google Translate commercials we have seen,” reported Android Authority. We agree. While marking an impressive milestone — 100 billion words translated daily — the video is also a powerful reminder of how translation and translation tools have shaped how we connect with friends, family, and colleagues around the world.
In the context of a holistic quality management program, marketing translation errors are remarkably easy to identify, monitor, and analyze for actionable insights. Evaluating transcreation, on the other hand, is nowhere near as tidy. It’s like finding errors in an apple by comparing it to a banana. Where do you even begin?
As your translation volumes grow, so do your translation memories (TMs): and exponential program growth often generates massive, unwieldy TMs. What content is lurking in there? Has it been audited for quality? Could your TMs be responsible for quality issues like terminology inconsistencies or the use of obsolete product names? If your translation memories have not been inspected for quite some time, they probably need a thorough cleanup. Go find your latex gloves, and let's walk through the process.
If you have a growing, global brand, you probably have a sizable community of product users and brand advocates discussing your brand and interacting on social media. You can leverage these enthusiastic product experts to help you get closer to new potential buyers: have them help translate your product concepts for your target market. Contrary to common knowledge, this approach is available to a wide range of organizations, not just to the “cool” lifestyle brands that attract a huge following.
Engage Prague 2015, the world’s largest marketing summit happened in Prague in late May. We at Moravia had a chance to attend and to listen to some of our favorite speakers talk on the power (and limits) of social media engagement in the growth of global brands. Thanks to the fast work of the Engage 2015 team, videos of the presentations are already online to share. Here are some of our favorites.
Got Android? Prefer writing with a pen to typing with your thumbs? Google has released an app that could free you from the constraints of tiny touch-screen keyboards. Best of all, it’s available in English, en français, auf Deutsch, and more.
As a sponsor of Translators without Borders, Moravia understands the value of translation in meeting the critical needs of communities in crisis worldwide. Last week, we took an opportunity to speak with Asi Burak, the president of Games for Change, a social innovator that helps spur the creation and distribution of social impact games to aid in humanitarian and educational efforts worldwide.
Of the world’s many thousands of languages, only a handful dominate global industry and commerce. Mandarin, Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Arabic might be the world’s most-spoken tongues, but indigenous languages such as Zulu in South Africa and Quechua in the Andes of South America are being given a major technical assist by software giants, which are offering search engine and communications services in an increasing number of ethnic languages and dialects.
With an estimated 50 million people of Hispanic/Latino origin living in the United States, representing an estimated $1.5 trillion in buying power according to market statistics reported by Google, advertisers are falling over themselves to get a slice of the torta.
From Silicon Valley to Shanghai, companies attempting to reach customers worldwide face a common problem: language barriers. The holy grail of language solutions — immediate, error-free interpretation of human speech in multiple languages — remains undiscovered. But even as researchers reach into the future, global business demands solutions that are available today.
Content flows around the world. How do you manage it all while honoring the “voice” that is your brand?
The world’s most successful companies localize their products and services into the languages of consumers worldwide. There. Tell that to your boss. Emphasize the prospect of increasing revenue streams by several orders of magnitude via loyal relationships with international buyers. But if that’s somehow not enough to convince your executives that the return is indeed worth the investment, here’s some more evidence showing translation and localization may be your company’s best bet for success on the global stage.
Travel and hospitality is one of the most fiercely competitive spaces in the e-commerce world, with one of its notable characteristics being the number and variety of parties that sell exactly the same product for the same price. In this environment, advantages other than price point can make a significant difference to performance, and this post aims to explain how high-quality localization can provide one such effective advantage for B2C sales channel in this industry — and in many others too.
In my last post, Localization Metrics 101: A Crash Course in the Basics, I proposed that tracking basic indicators like on-time deliveries, average language quality scores, and throughput were vital to establishing a solid localization program. Once you have gotten these basics down — especially narrowing your focus to the metrics that are important to your own unique strategy — you can turn your attention to Level 200 issues.
If you think transcreation is the domain of only the trendiest consumer brands, think again: we’re seeing a spike in transcreation demand from a number of giants in business-to-business technology and life sciences, let alone consumer sectors like retail and hospitality. Between the heightened transcreation demand and the evolution of marketing localization in recent years, it’s time to share a few insights that should help you identify and source the right talent for your program.
Welcome to this month’s translation technology roundup, in which we enjoy the joys of the world’s firsts — ooh, a multilingual robot! — alongside news of exciting language developments in the tools we already know and love. Read on ...
It has been over 14 years since the Agile Software Development Manifesto was published. At its heart were a set of values that, while still guiding the software development space, have changed the ways that many industries do work. The manifesto called for an end to the heavy, document-laden, slow bureaucracy-driven processes in exchange for light, dynamic, and consumer-driven approaches to work. And who could argue with that?
What is a dashboard? As it is commonly understood, a dashboard is a panel on which important information is visually presented. When you’re in the driver’s seat of your car, that dashboard tells you, among other things, how fast you’re driving, how much fuel is in the tank, and whether or not there is sufficient oil pressure to protect the engine. The dashboard provides key information at a glance so that you, as a driver, can enjoy a smooth and safe ride to your destination.
The term m-commerce has been around since at least 1997, when the very first Global Mobile Commerce Forum was held in London. The Forum brought together representatives of major mobile telecom service providers, cell phone manufacturers, credit card companies, and retailers to form collaborations for the provision of goods and services sold via wireless technology.
For nearly two months, webmasters, SEO specialists, site owners and web marketers have been buzzing in anticipation of April 21, 2015, now commonly known as “Mobilegeddon,” or the day Google began considering a site’s mobile-friendliness in its search rankings. On February 26th, Google announced this monumental shift by highlighting the global impact: “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” So what does this change mean for localized websites? How can you ensure your multilingual sites are highly ranked on Google?
Increasing the quality assurance budget sounds like the antidote to linguistic quality problems, but let’s play devil’s advocate. Every dollar you spend on linguistic quality assurance (LQA) is a dollar you can’t spend translating content. Lower volumes, fewer content types, fewer target markets: is localization quality a bigger problem than lost revenues?
The quality measurement field has a saying: “What gets measured gets done.” There’s a lot of truth and complexity in this seemingly simple statement. It’s both a guide and a warning. If you measure the right thing, you will know that it is done. If you don’t measure it, you won’t know.
Crowdsourced translation has been with us for almost a decade, and has become a viable option for many companies including AirBnb, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Hootsuite. Many fast-growing companies look to crowdsourcing as a fast, low-cost way to launch in many locales simultaneously. But is crowdsourcing the best way to accomplish translation? The answer depends on the nature of the crowd, and the nature of the project.
Data is everything. Data is the source from which you draw all of your statistics, the foundation upon which you base your facts. Data is there in all of your tables, your spreadsheets, and your system reports. But data does not equal metrics. And, despite a considerable amount of public confusion, metrics are not indicators. So when we are talking about key performance indicators, what exactly do we mean? Let’s start with a story.
No one disputes that procurement professionals have tough jobs: they must find a vendor who will understand their business, charge a fair price to do so, and execute their work optimally over time. However, they must also decide whether one vendor will suffice or if several are necessary — and this is an important question.
As we are reminded today to consider our massive energy footprints, wasteful water usage, and the accelerating rate of extinction, let's take a moment to celebrate Earth Day from another perspective: how lucky we are to have the opportunity to travel the world and get to know its diverse beauty and cultures. We've collected four creative tourism videos to infuse your Earth Day with appreciation for the planet — and perhaps a bit of wanderlust.
"Best practices" is starting to become one of those terms we skeptically tune out during the sales process: we've all experienced transactions where the supposed "best practices" have zero basis in the vendor's operational reality. But we're among those who believe joining the words “best” and “practice” can actually connote an ideal process, and thereby become something meaningful and admirable. In the spirit of reclaiming the term from those who dismiss it as a meaningless buzz phrase, let’s take a moment to define what "best practices" should mean.
Consumer products like Apple Watch, Microsoft Band, Nest, FitBit, and Amazon Dash grab all the headlines, but IoT is quietly revolutionizing the way most industries compete, interact with buyers, and manage product lifecycles. As “products” increasingly become Internet-connected devices whose fundamental appeal is the 24/7 services they enable, what are the implications for language services?
Let me state the obvious first — localization is one of the most important strategies of global online retailers looking to connect with and gain loyalty from international consumers. But it is not just about language translation — it is about creating a native or near-native experience that recognizes local consumer buying habits, accounts for local cultural cues, adapts to regional technical requirements, and delivers on the highly personalized and always-on promise of a modern online marketplace. So content translation is merely a small part of creating a native shopping experience. Consider the following 7 golden rules for creating a truly local e-commerce experience:
Online auction tools like Ariba take the hairiest sourcing decisions and reduce them to a tidy comparison of checkboxes, numbers, and 200-word content chunks. But when it comes to localization sourcing, hidden behind those tidy rows is a black hole of missing context that obscures any true apples-to-apples comparison. Let’s take a look at why people gravitate to Ariba, where it fails when it comes to sourcing localization services, and how globalization program owners and procurement reps can collaborate to use Ariba effectively anyhow.
Doing more with less. Getting it right the first time. Learning from your peers. Our blog audience has spoken, and those themes stand out in our list of the top blog posts so far in 2015. Did you catch all these headlines when they first came out? Did your favorite posts make the list? If not, please share in comments below!
In any discussion on which localization model to adopt — specifically the various factors that will lead organizations to choose between in-house localization, single sourcing, and outsourcing to multiple suppliers — there is no avoiding the language quality question. While quality is not an entirely objective value, there are nevertheless ways by which you can determine what quality indicators are important to your project goals and which supplier model will best deliver that value. So which localization model is your best bet for approaching premium quality?
Apparently the idea of setting aside a whole day for pranks is universal. Short-sheeting beds, replacing frosting with toothpaste, and baking a cake with salt not sugar…. it’s all about tricking your friends so you can laugh at their expense. (There — I’ve given you a few ideas).
Localizing for leading global markets is like running a marathon: an arduous journey, no doubt, but at least the path is well-paved by the “lessons learned” of many global giants. Long-tail market localization, however, is more like being a contestant on “The Amazing Race”: an adventure spanning foreign territories with unexpected challenges and a partner who will either support you or slow you down.
Remember Google Translate for Animals? With April Fool’s Day fast approaching, we can be certain that the major machine translation platforms will deliver more than the standard fare of news on developments in the translation and localization technology space. In the meantime, we can nevertheless be tickled by news that Tokyo’s menus will speak more languages and that a translation app will be released with the Apple Watch to help you with ordering great Belgian beers worldwide. Read on …
Implementing a Translation Management System (TMS) is a crucial part of optimizing and scaling your globalization program to handle fast and imminent growth. Yet without deep, in-house TMS expertise, it’s hard to know where you stand. What are you missing out on that could centralize and streamline your localization program, saving you time, cost and improving quality?
There’s no question that global enterprises require some kind of translation management system (TMS) to support mature localization operations. But do you need to buy a TMS? Many companies make that decision without considering how the choice constrains the ongoing localization effort. My colleague Pavel Soukenik has already written about the advantages and disadvantages of building a localization platform from scratch (see parts 1, 2, and 3 here). Let's discuss the pros and cons of owning a TMS in in-house, single-sourcing and multi-vendor localization models.
Building out multilingual versions of a global website almost always requires a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Multilingual SEO ensures each localized site ranks highly in the target market’s dominant search engines under relevant search terms, or keywords. The industry-standard term “keyword” can be confusing for localization managers who have deeper experience working with glossaries. Since glossaries already contain key terms and their translations, can’t they serve as keywords for multilingual SEO?
The world’s top companies have multilingual websites that help consumers in distant markets easily discover and interact with their brand, whatever languages they speak. While a significant part of the challenge is presenting content that is relevant to local markets and delivered in the local language, an important and often overlooked part is website configuration for multilingual search. We’ve written a lot about multilingual SEO, and that may be why we find articles on how brands get it right (and wrong) so compelling. Take a look, for example, at last week’s article on how Nike and Adidas websites are configured for search on Search Engine Land, a leading web resource on the A-to-Z of the search engine sector. What are the two major takeaways?
Lately, we have been hearing a lot of conversation in the translation and localization industry space about single sourcing and multi-vendor localization models. While we at Moravia comfortably work with both, we think it might be high time for some commentary about what this means for clients.
Getting someone to love your brand is great. Getting someone who loves your brand to leave the computer screen and get other people to love your brand is a million times better. Fostering a more active, public experience allows your fans to bring others along for the ride. How can you convert passive brand enthusiasts into active brand ambassadors? Here are a few ways to create buzz, personalize a brand experience, incite conversations, and activate brand ambassadors.
China’s unfavorable climate for Western social media has prompted some of the world’s strongest players to find novel ways of reaching Chinese consumers and companies. Facebook, which has been reaching across the Great Wall from Hong Kong since 2011, is competing with Google for Chinese advertising spend via direct contacts, regular visits and, just recently, getting Mark Zuckerberg on the board of a major Chinese university. It comes as no surprise, then, that Twitter has taken its own first step into the market fight — with the opening of a small office with a single employee on Tuesday.
Half the fun of shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey is observing rigid social protocols that seem foreign to modern Western audiences.
Barbie celebrates her birthday today. And while looking remarkably youthful for a woman of 56, Barbie can count on many years as a woman of the world to teach us all about the realities of international markets. But as Mattel losses in the toy market mount, will her venture into the Chinese market be the final chapter in a worldwide success story?
The European Patent Office just published their annual report for 2014, and it makes happy reading. Patent filings reached a record breaking high of over 274,000. Medical technology remained the top technical field, while Samsung remained the top applicant in 2014, followed by Philips, Siemens, LG, and Huawei. The US maintained their crown as the top country of origin for new patent filings.
Meeting customer expectations is the first step toward generating user satisfaction and its close cousin, brand loyalty. When it comes to product support, people look online before they pick up the phone. What does that mean for global brands? Put your support content online. Make that content painless to access. Support the product in the language you used to sell it. But how?
Most brands know that building a successful, cohesive, multi-channel marketing campaign requires a tight relationship with the creative team, a strong creative brief, and multiple rounds of client feedback. Yet, somehow, people expect to hand the carefully-crafted campaign off to the translators and get equally effective collateral in their target markets — despite vast differences in language, culture, demographics, and style. The result is a muddy global brand. How can you manage the process and save your voice?
LinkedIn has added Arabic to its platform, becoming the latest of the major social media players to make a stronger bid for users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Arabic boasts 295 million native speakers and it’s one of the six official languages of the United Nations. LinkedIn is not the world’s largest social media platform, but it is the world’s largest platform for its niche users: professionals. Every part of the platform is geared towards bringing the advantages of social media to professional networking: from its focus on users’ professional and educational backgrounds to its recommendation engine model, by which users are encouraged to tag their network members based on their professional skills set. What can we expect of LinkedIn’s MENA expansion?
Try picking up a pen with your non-dominant hand and signing your name backwards. That’s how it feels for someone who’s accustomed to right-to-left (RTL) orientation to encounter an improperly mirrored web experience. User disorientation and functionality issues are the two big risks for globalization professionals targeting content to markets that use bidirectional (BiDi) scripts.
Mobile, social content provokes global audience engagement. That’s the whole point. When you deliver fresh, interesting content via the channels your markets use, you can build brand awareness, attract customers, generate loyalty, empower users to resolve issues, and drive direct sales. But the more you engage your audience, the more content your audience generates. How can you manage the community’s tone and message?
Before diving into the final part of the series on How (Not) to Build a Localization Platform, let us take a quick look at the key points of the previous articles and pay a tribute to the newly Oscar-decorated films as we do so: In the first part, my goal was to paint a sufficiently painful image of what it takes to create "Yet Another Localization Platform" to convince you to stick with open, interoperable standards and to adapt available and suitable modern TMS and CMS systems. If you have an unequivocal cost-benefit analysis proving a fully customized system is required, and you have the resources to build one, you should still consider the question Michael Keaton's character was asked in Birdman — "Do you really think you'll be ready for opening tomorrow?" — and his answer.
The Games Developer Conference, which will be held this year on March 2 to 6 in San Francisco, is the world’s largest for video game industry professionals. Launched in California in 1988, the event has since expanded into GDC Europe and GDC China, and spurred the creation of the International Games Developer Association (IDGA), the Independent Games Festival, and the Game Developers Choice Awards, which is kind of like Hollywood’s Oscars but without the “who wore what” fashion controversies.
Is your translation project management as mindful as it could be? Earlier this month, on the Art of Manliness blog (which has tips for all humans alike), writers Brett and Kate McKay shared with readers their tips for developing ninja-like situational awareness for everyday life. It doesn’t have to stop with back-to-the-wall defense from perceived threats. Indeed, Situation Awareness (SA) is a well-developed business approach as well — practiced techniques for relying on solid information that is evaluated in a timely manner to anticipate risk and avert danger. How can we apply the same techniques to translation project management to keep our work on the right track?
For the earliest stages of localization, most companies rely on email to manage stakeholders and vendors, and spreadsheets to manage glossaries and TMs. This ad hoc framework is ideal for cautious global explorers: it uses existing technology investments, it requires little to no special training, and it’s fairly manageable for a one-time project with a few target languages. Yet any hint of global success quickly whets the organization’s appetite for localization. More products! More services! More types of content! More target markets!
As you may have seen earlier this week, we were delighted to announce that Clarion Capital Partners, LLC has acquired a majority interest in Moravia. After 25 years of guiding the company in various positions, I will remain a minority but significant shareholder in the new Moravia and will continue to work closely with Clarion on setting the company’s direction. Here’s why we are taking this step and what you can expect from Moravia.
If you use Machine Translation (MT), you know how human intervention can make all the difference in achieving the right quality level, and chances are, you've used either light- or full post-editing as described here. Yet, post-editing is not the only human intervention that you can implement. There is another kid in town: pre-editing.
House of Cards is not your typical blockbuster U.S. television show.
Did you know bidirectional (BiDi) languages have no upper or lower case? Do you know when to omit a vowel from BiDi text? Even for multilinguals who know both left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) languages like English and Japanese, bidirectional languages have unique characteristics that might surprise you. As the second post in our “crash course” on bidirectional languages for localization professionals, let’s discuss these differences — and their implicit pitfalls for globalization managers.
The web was all abuzz in December when a scoop by Android Police showed screenshots taken of a new version of the Google Translate app that integrated Word Lens’s image translation technology. No longer a scoop, it's here — the details and demonstrations show that, happy hype or not, the Google Translate app with Word Lens functionality was well worth the wait.
In this month’s news from the translation tech space, we’ve got everything from teaching our computers facial ticks to teaching our kids language tricks. There’s also news from the giants, of course — Twitter, Google, and Facebook. Read on!
With the publication of its annual report, Facebook received praise and critique from all sides. The company’s claim to have added $227 billion to the world's economy and to be responsible for 4.5 million jobs in 2014 was a bone of contention, generating some particularly sharp-tongued commentary from the likes of the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal. While the report draws its share of love and hate in fairly equal measure each year, Facebook’s success in driving consumer engagement is undeniable and remains a considerable source of marketing inspiration for brands worldwide. No surprise then that the report titled “Facebook’s Global Economic Impact,” commissioned by Facebook and prepared by the consulting firm Deloitte, has plenty of lessons for globalization managers interested in mimicking the company’s marketing success for their own brands. Here’s just three:
I was recently invited to join a few industry colleagues on a webinar sponsored by Memsource, a cloud-based CAT platform provider. As Moravia’s senior project manager, I spoke about the use of cloud-based translation memory and term base tools. Why do such tools represent a good investment for strong localization programs? And what are the minimum requirements to make any implemented solution a winning one?
As Central Asian and Middle Eastern economies improve, forward-thinking globalization directors are starting to target a special group of culturally diverse markets that share a distinct linguistic form: bidirectional writing systems, or BiDi for short.
Recently, Moravia joined some of the best and brightest of the language services industry for a GALA webinar called Translation Trends for 2015. Sponsored and moderated by Memsource, a cloud-based CAT platform provider, the session’s focus was on the technical aspects of workflow engineering and what translation tool users and buyers can expect in the space. Chris Wendt is Microsoft’s Group Program Manager, responsible for planning and design of Microsoft's machine translation services, including Microsoft Translator, Bing Translator, Skype Translator, and translation features in Office and Internet Explorer. In his presentation on the relationship between MT and post-editing workflow, he surprised the webinar audience with this: “Publish first, then do your post-editing.”
At Moravia, we love the language industry and we love sharing our experience. (Mum’s the word, we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year.) We always hope that our articles, webinars, and presentations will help the great become even greater. We also hope to help newcomers avoid the painful mistakes others have made. So here is an overview of the most frequently downloaded and viewed educational materials we published in 2014. Have you missed any? Use the links below to get your own copy.
It is a mythic story. The company of humble local beginnings that grows to national dominance before then flourishing on the international stage. The celebrated growth is nevertheless troubled by infuriating challenges, hurdles that have to be leapt one after the other in the rush to a winning finish. The realities for many companies are far different from the stories we tell ourselves. Missing from the gold-medal narratives are the real-life experiences of many companies: daily operational headaches, the unforgiving demands of diverse consumer groups, and the call for an ever-increasing ROI from stakeholders.
It’s not a question anymore of whether businesses need to take advantage of online social conversations through media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The questions now are how and when. For companies who do this incorrectly, their social media efforts can fall flat. There is no use putting content out there into the cloud if no one reads it. For those who succeed, social channels can increase click-through rates, create brand ambassadors, lower support costs, and increase product sales.
There is no conversation about globalization that does not involve technology. And there can be no conversation about globalization that does not involve translation and localization. But in the same way that translation alone is not always the right solution for your globalization projects, some technology choices can be wrong for your globalization efforts.
Now that 2015 is in full swing, it's a great time to look back on 2014's hottest localization blog posts. These posts generated the most clicks and shares in 2014, so if you missed them the first time, now's your chance to join the conversation about top localization trends. We're flattered to say the top two posts were our translation / localization industry forecasts for 2014 and 2015. So naturally, we want to know: how well did our predictions hit the mark? Please take a look and share your comments.
Like any freelancer, translators may find it hard to fill up their schedules and balance their workloads — especially during startup mode. Sure, you’ve got the language skills, but busy translators need to acquire skills like self-promotion, networking, pricing and even gaining confidence in your experience. Without the soft skills, you might wind up sitting in your armchair counting the days you can survive between paychecks. The Global Translation Institute’s Rafael Albuquerque published a translator training video discussing 5 rookie mistakes translators often make: taking on too many assignments, lack of cultural knowledge, being generic, stretching the truth and forgetting about your community.
You do not have to be a globalization genius to otherwise understand the value of strategic localization investment. With so many language markets and so many content choices, not only would a poorly coordinated effort be a punch to your bottom line, it would likely come back to you as damning feedback from consumers worldwide. In this age of social media, who can afford that kind of blow to their brand’s reputation? So having made the commitment to language localization, how can your company win the kind of return on investment as seen by the world’s best global brands?
Localization program management has always been a particularly dynamic, multifaceted career choice — what, with the range of global stakeholders, the infinite variety of local preferences to anticipate, and the constant shuffle of cost, time and quality constraints. Increasing demands for real-time, multi-channel multi-lingual content means the job is only getting more intense. So how do the top global brands structure localization programs for success? What best practices can your company adopt to optimize translation and localization program investments?
The social-driven Internet continues to provide opportunities for global companies to deliver increasingly personalized and targeted content to consumers worldwide. While offering multilingual content is the most obvious choice, you can wrest far more value from your website translation investment by matching it with strategic Multilingual SEO.
Fast-growing rising stars are innovators and, as such, they rarely take the exact same path to global markets. But that doesn't mean every global company needs to innovate its own unique translation style, tone, and voice. It's almost never worth the time and budget investment to create terminology and style from scratch — especially since pioneering tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google have made their standards available to the public.
If you launch with a mediocre product, you’d expect low sales and high support costs, right? Well, when you enter new markets with mediocre language quality in your user support or marketing materials, you get the same results — even when your product is impeccable. Language quality is how your target customers discover and experience your solution. Poor quality at best leaves your customers confused — at worst, it irreparably damages your brand — and in all cases, it demands expensive rework to publish corrected content later.
December was a quiet month for localization and translation technology news, undoubtedly caused by more pressing interests in last-minute gift shopping and the discovery of recipes for Christmas roast beast. (Please pass the green eggs and ham, thanks.) Nevertheless, Skype’s voice-to-voice translation innovation managed to capture plenty of media attention, and even a translation pen project Kickstarted itself into coverage. We have much to look forward to in 2015. Let’s get started.
Let’s face it, the days in which our clients were responsible for linguistic quality are over. With 80 languages and simship realities, few businesses can afford the financial cost of maintaining an in-house linguistic quality assurance team. Time-to-market turnarounds also have made in-house LQA increasingly prohibitive. Is that bad news for language services providers — a blame game shift for when things go wrong — or the good news on how we are finally doing things right?
Some globalization managers are tempted to hire bilingual translation and editing staff as a translation strategy instead of partnering with a localization vendor. As the theory goes, dedicated in-house translators and editors can be more accessible for urgent projects, or build specialized knowledge of key topics to boost translation quality over time.
Years ago a friend of mine challenged me to define the year gone by with one word. At Translators without Borders we usually think in thousands, or even millions of words, like the 800,000 words we translate every month, or the 22 million words we have translated since we developed the TWB Workspace almost three years ago. But never one to shy away from a challenge, I would sum up 2014 for Translators without Borders with the word Build.
It is that time of year when all of the major news publications are coming out with their best of lists. Best nonfiction of 2014. Best films of 2014. Even Google has published its best of YouTube 2014 video of the year. So of course we had to make one of our own — a nod to the multilingual treasures of the world’s brands. Who knew that so many would make us want to weep into our morning’s cereal bowls?
Moravia’s work with the world’s top brands gives the opportunity for a bird’s-eye view on the major drivers that are shaping the translation and localization industry. We see three that will be setting the pace for 2015.
Lately I’ve been blogging about super-fast-growing companies that are ready to move their home successes to new markets. Specifically, I’m writing about key attributes of roles in the three-way partnership responsible for taking the company global: the globalization manager, the rising star company itself, and this week: the localization vendor.
After many years of investment and improvement, globalization is now really part of the DNA of today’s global brands. We are seeing buy-in on localization’s priority from different parts of the organization; localization has even become a central function or a shared service in some of them. Most of their localization processes are now standardized. Financial oversight and centralized budgets are in place to address the KPIs for supplier management. And QBRs — quarterly business reviews — are a regular feature of business. The catalyst for all of these changes to the localization business environment is the reality of continuous publishing and the resulting continuous localization model. How has it changed us?
As experienced globalization professionals, we have all acquired “tribal knowledge” around our industry through shared anecdotes and personal experiences. Yet, how much of what you know about translation is really true? Translators and language service providers often face an uphill battle with clients who have misconceptions about translators and the translation profession. After nearly 15 years in the industry, I have collected eight widely held misconceptions about translation and want to set the record straight.
Last week I kicked off a series breaking down the pivotal roles required for a super-hot company to go global and go big. My first post focused on key attributes of a globalization manager who has what it takes to bring a rising star to new markets. This post describes qualities of the rising star that must be present for the role to be effective.
I sometimes have conversations with clients regarding their investment in translation memories. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Each year building upon another. But by the time they have brought the result of that investment to us at Moravia they have discovered that they have been simply carrying forward a damaged legacy. This is the result of content that has been handled by a lot of different language services providers over the years, each with different levels of expertise and domain knowledge.
Moravia Video Lite is an innovative method for designing professional quality business videos that can be then produced and localized at a fraction of traditional costs. In a previous post, we talked about what Video Lite is and why it’s a boon for marketing departments that understand the impact of video but might otherwise shy away from the higher costs of producing standard video. But do the cost-reduction strategies in Video Lite production generate other “costs” in quality? We answer your questions!
This month’s news from the translation tech space takes us from Turkey to India and on to China. Whether you’re looking for your newest translation app or are ready to try out voice tech through beta testing, there’s a little something for everyone. Read on ...
Businesses trying to globalize their brand care a lot about whether their brand “works” in local markets. Do potential customers feel an affinity for the brand? Are they compelled to read the verbiage that describes the brand experience and keep clicking on to a purchase?
In my career, I’ve been lucky to work with a number of entrepreneurial companies on the fast track toward impacting people around the world with a game-changing product or service. These companies often have aggressive goals for international growth: Projects with high content volumes, short TAT and many target markets. Structural changes to the program, such as new tools or processes. Innovative new tactics.
In the first part of the series, I tried to convince you that there were more compelling reasons to not build a tailored localization platform than there were to do so. But what if you have carefully analyzed your situation and concluded that, if you were to build your own platform, it would bring improvements that — taken across the volume of your localization work — would outweigh the cost of building and supporting it? Congratulations, now you should start worrying about how to build your own platform!
Every time that one of the big firms in the translation technology space demonstrates some rather impressive innovation, the technology media makers restart the Universal Translator / Babel Fish fantasy machine.
When it comes to products and services, localization buyers are no different than buyers in any other marketplace: quality matters to them. But quality is a big word. In localization especially, quality means a lot of different things to different people and in different stages of the company’s development. We here at Moravia have put a lot of thought into the quality issue, making it one of our core competencies. We like to take a big picture approach — we look at quality as an ecosystem with many interdependent parts. But maybe it’s time to dig deeper into what you mean when talking about linguistic quality and how you can build a solid program.
Enterprise procurement teams periodically mandate that corporate buyers investigate how vendors are doing in order to shuffle work to the best-performing vendors. How does a localization manager evaluate program vendors? How do vendors show their clients that their programs have been effective?
In a decision certainly to be lauded by patent filers, Advocate General Yves Bot of the Court of Justice of the European Union has asked that the court reject Spain’s actions against the unitary patent protection regulations, including the regulation governing its translation arrangements. This is the latest rebuke in a battle that has been waged for more than a decade, with the latest salvos launched by both Spain and Italy in 2012. With millions at stake, there is just one question that remains: Will the Court end this war once and for all?
Is successful localization really just about how companies wrest more return out of their investment in the processes and tools of localization? Say what you will about translation management systems, file formatting standards, and quality assurance processes, I will continue to insist that global companies cannot win at internationalization without rooting themselves in a people strategy. Here’s why:
Ready to reach the next level? Your start-up is not just off the ground, it’s winning praise and serious revenue in your home market. You already know, though, that the big money is abroad — you’ve had your eye on the larger players in your sector so you’re well aware that there’s more to winning in this competition than only playing on your home field. That said, while you know that there’s business to win in foreign markets, you nevertheless have a huge question mark hanging over your head: How do we do it?
After a blockbuster, history-making IPO in September, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba continues to show why it has everything it takes to be the world’s premiere eCommerce marketplace. It has already pulled out all the stops for this year’s Singles’ Day holiday in China. This morning’s earliest reported results showed that just one hour of sales topped what the company achieved in some nine hours on the same day last year. So why is it that Alibaba, with more than 80 percent of the Chinese B2C market, should be paying close attention to Chinese-market relative upstart Amazon.cn?
A woman walks into a bar, orders a drink, and receives poor service that compels her to post a complaint on the bar’s Facebook page. If her post gets ignored, she’s likely never to go back to that bar — and she may share her story to discourage friends from going there. But if her post gets a timely response, like an apology and a voucher for a free drink and appetizer, she’s happy and returns with her friends the next week. People like to talk and share experiences in-person and — more powerfully, with higher visibility — on social media. Companies that listen and engage in their customers’ conversations have an opportunity to surprise and delight consumers in ways that transform individuals and their social networks into brand supporters, or even brand ambassadors.
Translation technology can be framed as friend or foe. Here, on the one side, is Deutsche Welle stating that all translations will be accomplished by machine translation engines by 2027, sending all translation professionals to the unemployment line. Here, on the other, is a report of a machine translation error, in which a major retailer published, in Welsh, that it was offering “free erections” at its cash machines. (How do you say “oh my!” in Welsh?) Of course, there is plenty more of interest in the translation and localization technology space. Read on, language friends!
As the title of this series suggests, I have set out to write about the how of building a platform. There is, however, a far more important matter that this direction avoids, a question that should be asked first — one that when answered, paradoxically, might cause most of you to skip reading the rest of the articles. This question will come naturally to many of you localization buyers because it makes pragmatic business sense. So before you tackle the how of building a platform, ask yourself this: Why should you build your own localization platform or tools?
“The world is your oyster,” goes the saying. The advent of the Internet seemed to suggest so. The moment you announce your product, it is the world’s news. And your product can be made available to anybody, anywhere. Or, at least, that is how it appears to be on the surface. The reality is far more sobering.
Just last week, I led a webinar on how a smart investment in localization could translate into a company doubling its revenue. This was not an exaggeration: there’s already plenty of evidence that companies that have accepted the business case for localization have realized considerable revenue from foreign markets. And this doesn’t even get to how international sales tend to be significantly more profitable than domestic ones. Having made my case over 45 minutes, we opened the webinar to participants. The very first question was surprising: If you had a million dollar budget for localization, where and how would you spend it?
After saturating major target markets, top global brands look to emerging markets as the next big revenue driver. But what languages do you need to consider, how should you evaluate emerging market potential, and what do you need to know? Localization into emerging markets involves tough decisions and process hurdles. So, before you set aside your localization dollars or euros, you need to do some critical thinking. Here are some of the main things you should consider.
Unless you have been living under a rock, the Internet has been all abuzz to learn that Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg spoke Chinese in China to Chinese students of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University. Let’s repeat that: He spoke Chinese. In China. To Chinese students. (I’m shocked! Shocked!) What’s maddening about this being news is not that Zuckerberg speaks Chinese. The man has been on the record as a Chinese-language learner since 2010, is married to Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking Chinese-American Dr. Priscilla Chan since 2012, and has strong business ties in the country since well before that. So why all the hoopla?
Metrics are the way to evaluate two fundamental aspects of your language services program: How well you are satisfying global buyers in their unquenchable thirst for multilingual content — and more specifically, how well your brand is perceived in foreign markets. How well your language services provider is delivering on the ROI front — are you getting what you pay for? Are you getting all that you can hope for? Of the three key variables — time, cost, and quality — it’s no wonder that the Internet age has driven time-to-market turnarounds to the forefront of practically every conversation about metrics. Trends like Agile Localization and Information Orchestration require LSPs to deliver translation, transcreation, and original copywriting in pace with the high-volume production of global players targeting diverse language markets.
Businesses that are selling products and services in far flung markets are generally experiencing the same phenomenon: they are having to produce far more multilingual content than ever before to generate the same level of brand loyalty enjoyed by the companies of yesteryear. Producing more content is not enough, however. It only takes one highly visible marketing error before you find your brand linked to a #FAIL tag on Twitter.
Localization is a fast-growing, highly specialized industry uniting language and technology expertise, yet there are surprisingly few degree programs training people for a career in localization. (But le's give a quick nod to the Monterey Institute's MA program in Translation and Localization Management, the University of Washington’s Localization: Customizing Software for the World certificate, or the University of Limerick’s Multilingual Computing and Localisation MSc program!) Professionals with experience in the business of translation, localization engineering, or linguistics can all be successful — but that experience does not guarantee success. What factors beyond coursework and love of technology, affinity for language, and experience abroad signify a good candidate for localization careers?
Producing video for global marketing is a hot commodity in localization these days because: Video is easier to consume than text, especially on mobile devices — phones and tablets — without all of the pinching and expanding gestures. Video conveys messages visually, which captures declining attention spans. Video boosts search engine optimization and attracts traffic.
You have a translation program and are beginning to think about how to systemically measure and control quality. As we’ve described in other blogs, quality management has to be an integral part of your localization program. You have to control your reviewers, define quality, and establish a feedback loop. There is lots of talk about quality…and there should be. Releasing a product with poor linguistic quality damages your brand, fails to convince potential buyers to commit, and increases customer support costs due to misunderstanding. But do a search on “quality control” or “quality assurance” and you get different definitions. We need to get our terms straight. These phrases are often used interchangeably — both in the business world and in the sphere of translation. Then you have “quality improvement,” which is generally understood to comprise the bigger picture, but everyone’s understanding of this one also varies. Regardless, the goal of each one is to make sure your localized product is as good as it can or should be.
Earlier this month, I attended the Brand2Global conference, which is, in my opinion, a must-attend event for global marketing professionals and their partners in the localization industry. I wrote earlier this week about what I considered to be the biggest themes of the event, and what presenters from brands like Lenovo, SAP, Lego, and others defined as the key to-do tasks for global brands looking to engage — authentically, consistently, and successfully — with customers around the world. Today, I want to talk about what this means for those of us working with these brands as localization partners. What has changed for our work in the social media marketing space, for example? How are we aiding (or failing) our partners in achieving their goals? The growing importance of Marketing Resource Management (MRM) systems for managing global campaigns. And what’s next for us all?
Translation and language technology continues to fascinate. In this month’s edition, we travel from a Mali market, where the promise of local translation is transforming the mobile phone market, to a university language lab in Austria, where scientists are working to synthesize dialects into other forms of communication. Join us for the journey!
We just finished two fantastic days at Brand2Global 2014, an annual event for global marketing professionals. There were so many great speakers at the event it is difficult to capture the full history of the program. The biggest disappointment of the conference was that it is impossible to attend all the events. Outside of that the networking opportunities, the side discussions, and debates really provided an opportunity that Moravia would like to see become a regular one for all multilingual agencies helping global companies expand their brands across countries/regions. So how do global brands engage with customers around the world? And how do they do it so that they can avoid the pitfalls inherent to marketing in foreign locales? The answers may surprise you.
Another quarter just came to a close, and that means it's time to catch up on our Top Ten blog posts of the last three months — plus a BONUS 11th post that was just as popular with our readers. Take a look and catch up on anything you may have missed.
After my recent webinar, one of the participants asked how Moravia’s take on Information Orchestration works in cases where the client does not have a working content strategy. My first response was that, well, the very thing driving the need for Information Orchestration was the need for such. That is, most organizations are not even close to having the kind of well-working content strategy that we industry folks are talking about in our meetings, events, and conferences. And, you know what, proprietary translation technology is a large part of the problem.
We’re at the brand2global 2014 conference today, a conference that we’re sponsoring to highlight the critical role that localization industry partnerships play in strategic and successful global marketing initiatives. While we’re excited to participate — both for the chance to support our business partners and to hear our colleagues speak on everything from localization QA to multilingual mobile marketing — we’re also hoping to hear some critical conversations on some of the challenges that continue to plague marketing localization. Three specific challenges readily come to mind: the matter of absentee leaders, budget sink, and how soon is now. For what we mean by that, read on …
It’s pretty frustrating to keep getting reports of the same types of errors occurring over and over again — especially when you’ve got a review process in place. If you don’t figure out what’s going wrong, whoever is reporting repetitive errors is going to get discouraged and stop trying to help. There are several common points of failure in a linguistic review program, and they all boil down to the same thing: communication. The good news is that the steps in an effective linguistic review loop are a well-worn footpath, not a hike through the rainforest.
Let’s jump right into it: Localization is no longer a single transaction in software and content development. What we had before — a system in which translation worked away in a disconnected, black-box process — is gone. And because agile development has transformed translation from a per-word product piece to a comprehensive service suite, it is time, too, that we changed our expectations about procurement.
Remember when localization was a single transaction in the overall process of software and content development? Well, that’s yesterday’s news. Now that we have agile production environments, continuous publishing, social and mobile media distribution, the expectations of enterprises and consumers have completely changed. And what that shift entails has significant implications for our localization industry and our jobs.
We wrote back at the start of the year that Big Data and mass personalization were going to be the newsmakers of this year and, by golly, we weren’t the only ones to feel that way. And nobody is surprised by that, right? So let’s talk a bit about Chris Morton. If you somehow missed hearing about him, he’s the brains behind rising star fashion eCommerce marketplace Lyst, which he and co-founder Sebastjan Trepca built back in 2010. To say that Lyst has influenced the fashion industry is an understatement in the vein of, oh, mentioning that Airbnb might have people rethinking their hotel bookings.
WordPress, the superstar web content management system behind 20 percent of today’s web sites, has been published in version 4.0, nicknamed “Benny” for jazz great Benny Goodman. The latest release, led by Helen Hou-Sandí and backed by 275 contributors worldwide, includes among its newest features a simple language selector at installation, foregoing the previous need to manually upload installation files.
Back in 2003, a man turned to his wife and said, Do what you love. Simply take one of your hobbies, something you already enjoy doing, and see about earning a little money with it. At the time, his wife had a small collection of Hello Kitty items so when she asked — Hello Kitty? — he encouraged her. It was only in hindsight that he realized what a huge mistake that was.
Highly branded marketing collateral and web content are designed to evoke specific reactions or emotions from the buyer. We know that what resonates with one market may flop with buyers in another culture or locale. Enterprises want localization companies to create messages appropriate for the new market, maintaining intent, style, voice, tone and context as much as possible.
Do you have your secret decoder ring ready? Because reports from the security sector monitoring nefarious activities revealed that our beloved online tool, Google Translate, is up to far more than translating foreign travel menus. Not that we didn’t know that already!
With the announcement that Magento Go will be closing its doors in February 2015, eBay Inc. has declared that it will be focusing eCommerce superstar Magento on bigger fish, via both its enterprise and community editions. For some 10,000 small- to mid-size Magento Go users, however, this announcement means that important decisions are ahead regarding platform migration — no easy undertaking when eCommerce content management systems (CMS) vary so dramatically.
One of the biggest and most common mistakes companies make in marketing localization is simply translating marketing copy and expecting it to win new customers. Didn’t they just spend a small fortune researching the competition, documenting key buyer demographics, designing logos and carefully-worded taglines, and interviewing focus groups about the campaign materials? Why would anyone assume the same materials will be just as impactful in a new locale, just by translating the words?
Earlier this month, OASIS XLIFF Technical Committee approved the XML Localisation Interchange File Format (XLIFF) version 2.0 as an OASIS standard following several rounds of public reviews. XLIFF 2.0 replaces version XLIFF 1.2, which became an OASIS standard back in 2008. This is a pretty big deal for the localization industry. While techies are likely already studying the new standard, we’ve developed a short backgrounder summarizing what every non-techie localization professional should know about this new standard and its potential implications for their localization processes.
The debate in the translation and localization industry regarding the trifecta of price, quality, and speed of delivery continues to raise heat. Does this have to be the case? We all know how markets work: there’s buyers and sellers and … Okay, wait — maybe we really don't know how markets work but nonetheless we play along as if we do. And maybe that's because, despite all the formal studies, there is no tried and true way of predicting human behavior.
Many companies dismiss the notion of customizing US content or products for the specifics of the UK market and the UK audiences because the languages are so close. But appealing to the specific tastes and needs of British speakers may offer a major advantage — a fact that has not gone unnoticed to many savvy companies. As the Brits might say, the penny has dropped.
Back in 1984, Arnold Schwarzenegger crouched naked and muscle-ripped next to a chain-link fence in the darkness of Los Angeles. He had just arrived, a machine sent back by other machines from a post-apocalyptic future to destroy the human resistance movement before it could ever begin.
The free, online machine translation service that we know as Google Translate has been with us since 2007. Nevertheless, the tool is as subject now to misunderstanding by ill-informed users as it ever was, mainly because what we want it to do (just translate!) remains as complex a task for computers as it does for humans.
Considering the intense pressure to maximize corporate localization budget utility and speed products to foreign markets, it is no surprise that Machine Translation (MT) often comes up in our business conversations. It is well known that an MT engine can translate more quickly: tens of thousands of words overnight. Also, there is no doubt that MT can get translation done more cheaply; with no human intervention, the only cost is that of the engine. However, with no human touch, the linguistic quality and degree of faithfulness to the source text is suspect at best.
In the wake of the social media revolution, the pace of content publishing has gone from daily to minute-by-minute. By the time the first on-the-ground news has been tweeted from the likes of a Ferguson, a Cairo, or a Kabul, the rest of the formal news publishing world is playing catch up.
As the world grieves the loss of Robin Williams, one of America’s most beloved comedians, I have been thinking about laughter. A master of finding and exaggerating the absurd, Williams’ first TV role — the wacky space alien Mork — served as a warped funhouse mirror reflection of American culture. Despite being the butt of the joke, American audiences loved him.
Without too much publicity, ISO 17100, the new international standard for translation services, has made it to one of the last pre-approval stages, after a journey which effectively started in 2011. It is set to be released later in 2014 or in 2015. Is this standard going to shatter the current way of providing translation services into pieces, or is this going to be just a blip without any major impact? Here’s what you need to know about ISO 17100.
Thanks to the Internet, we can switch between terminology databases, dictionaries, glossaries, and instant translation tools in just a couple of hyperlink clicks. We also have a wide range of professional resources — the translation and localization sector enjoys an abundance of generalists and subject matter experts as well as supporting technology in countries around the world.
Let's face it, not everyone is cut out to win at the localization game. For every smart localization buyer that is successfully navigating their brand through the intricacies of the translation process — impressing customers and competitors alike — there are another three who are miring their brands in the muck.
Few things are taken as seriously in the localization industry as the issue of translation quality. Sure, there has been some debate within the community about whether “quality” is an absolute or a moving target. And, yes, we have learned to concede ground to the “good enough” offerings of online engines such as Google Translate and Bing Translator. But among the industry’s buyers of translation, localization, and testing services — and, frankly, among the localization sales and marketing teams that target them — quality remains as persuasive a factor as ever. So let’s say that you are looking for a vendor who can do more than merely whisper the magic word. What questions should you be asking to determine whether this language service provider versus another is actually going to deliver on the promise of quality? Do they hire native speakers?
Japanese translation projects have earned quite a reputation in the translation and localization industry. It is too time intensive, say some. It is far costlier than other language projects, say others. And Japanese clients are notoriously fussy about that ever-moving-goal called “quality.”
The Internet was still exciting and new for many back in 1996. See just the first minutes of this video, Discovering the Internet, which was produced that year.
Renato Beninatto is Moravia's Chief Marketing Officer, with more than 25 years of executive experience in localization. Just like other Moravians, he has a great passion for the industry and all things multilingual and multicultural. We caught up with him recently to get his personal confession on why he loves the localization industry so much. This is what he had to say. See how his thoughts and observations resonate with yours.
The promise of entering a new foreign market will be tempered by the realities of localizing your products and services for local consumers and partners. One of those realities is that you have to answer this question: How will you protect and extend your brand’s reputation in a new market without sacrificing the quality that your domestic buyers and partners know and love?
Translating your company's website is like so many other good business decisions — it is best made when your team is ready, when it is right for your customers, and when it will contribute to your company's long-term success.
Medical device translation is a big deal. In the European Union alone, the medical devices sector is worth 95 billion euros in annual sales and employs some 570,000 people. We’re talking about a region that has 24 official and working languages that cover 28 member states, 9 outermost regions, and 21 overseas countries and territories. It’s no wonder then that the standards that cover the sector speak also to the translation of all of its materials.
Everyone realizes that starting up a localization program is not as simple as putting files into production; it is not just a flip you switch. A key element of any localization program proposal is the program onboarding plan. Whether the vendor is starting a new program from scratch or transitioning an existing program from internal or third-party teams, they need to understand how the vendor plans to take them from the status quo to all the benefits described in their proposed solution.
Looking for a place to stay on your first trip to Rome? For many, the dream vacation has a dream budget that in no way reflects the reality of their bank account. So they have taken to the net and their own networks to unlock the mysteries of the budget traveler.
Google has again shown how far it is willing to go to bring its product suite to a global customer base. In public presentations and small, unannounced rollouts, the search giant has added more languages and more translation automation features to its most visible products.
There are many reasons why companies care about quality. In some industries — for example, life sciences — translation errors have life or death consequences. For some companies, such as those with sales based on strong brand loyalty, it’s important not just to be understood, but to sound like a native. For others, a translation that gives the general idea is good enough. Still others care about quality as a way of controlling costs: linguistic errors logged as bugs can cost money and time to resolve.
Preferential changes are vexing gremlins, often confusing linguistic teams and disrupting the whole language QA process. On a typical language quality scorecard, there is not a category for "preferential" changes.
We decided to look back at the most popular articles on the Moravia blog. Just this year, we've published some 75 articles, and the Moravia blog readership has grown by more than 40 percent. Thank you for reading, sharing, linking to and commenting upon our blog posts — that's what keeps us going!
This month, we have translation tech news from mobile app pioneers to expanded translation services for government bureaucrats. There are also rumors — er, strong evidence — that Apple is hiring personnel to further localize iOS Siri's suite of languages. Check it all out below!
Just last week, LinkedIn announced the availability of its site in Traditional Chinese. This follows the much-publicized February release of its China-specific site in Simplified Chinese, Lingying.com — making the professional networking platform available in 23 languages in total, 8 of which are Asian.
YouTube has become the launchpad of many a cat video, singer-songwriter career, and teen girl fashion wannabe, but it’s also where the world discovered its insatiable thirst for how-to videos. I know that when I am trying to figure out how to use something or solve a problem, I am happy to watch a short video — much happier than if I had been forced to slog through a User Manual, looking for the 2 sentences I needed.
Just earlier this week in Santa Rosa, California, St. Joseph Health, a healthcare network serving residents in California, Texas, and New Mexico reported that they had suffered a catastrophic loss. The worst case scenario had happened: a small USB drive containing the backup of some 33,000 patient records — with specific personal data and services provided — was stolen from the locker of one of the company's personnel. The information was being migrated to another data system when the theft occurred, but brought readily to mind a different security breach, also with St. Joseph Health, that affected 38,000 patients in 2012.
If you thought a quick glance at the pricing section would help you plow through that stack of RFIs, think again. Unless you were extremely specific about what the per-word rate should include, you probably won’t have an “apples-to-apples” comparison on pricing alone — and you may wind up buying a translation service that doesn’t include everything you need. That’s because every LSP has its preferred way of pricing localization services depending on how the work is done. Let’s unpack the types of services that may be included in the per-word rate. Translation plus edit (T+E) Translation plus edit and proof (TEP) Translation only Machine translation (There is an excellent article in the June 2014 issue of the MultiLingual magazine called ‘What’s behind the curtain of translation’?) Project Management. Though most often project management is presented as a line item as a percentage of total project costs, I have also seen the PM/coordination charges baked in. Projected TM matching. This is an interesting way to reduce the per-word price point and is perhaps the trickiest one to understand and evaluate. It requires projecting the percent of each match type that the translation memory will yield, and then weighting the translation rate depending on that. It’s a tricky math problem that can be hard to understand and that might not represent actual leverage and final pricing.
With just Google's acquisition of Quest Visual and the Word Lens visual translation app and Microsoft's enthusiastic demonstration of Skype real-time voice translation, there was plenty of recent excitement in the translation technology space. But wait, there's more! The space saw other noteworthy acquisitions, tests, and platform roll-outs. See it all below.
Last year, an article started circulating among translation and language circles about words that defy simple English translation. It included words like the German term schadenfreude, an idea that enjoys so much play in U.S. news reporting that it stands tall, untranslatable, on its own two feet.
Clients often ask us whether we charge a rush fee if their files require a fast turnaround time (TAT). Quick TAT is typically needed for urgent content like alerts or recalls, or changes that need to be implemented immediately to make a product release. Occasionally there’s a heads-up that a rush job will come, but usually no certainty as to when it will come. Working within these parameters is understandably more difficult but does “challenging” equal “higher cost?”
Recently, Moravia sponsored a networking event that was co-hosted by GALA and the University of Washington’s continuing education program in software localization, bringing 85 people together for networking and presentations by several international program managers with Microsoft.
The tech world welcomed last year's Google announcement that it was developing prototype devices to provide real-time, instantaneous voice translation to its Android mobile platform users. But Google's vice-president of Android product management Hugo Barra conceded that the company was probably a few years away from any kind of public release. Well, Microsoft has just announced that it will release a real-time translation tool for the Skype platform by the end of this year. Is this just the latest play in the real-time translation war or Microsoft's checkmate?
You’re a procurement manager sending out a Request for Information (RFI) to gain insights from various localization vendors. You’re looking to understand their service offerings, their pricing, and what it’s like to work with them. As a solutions architect, I have a lot of experience responding to RFIs, which are often the first step in a larger conversation with a prospective client. I can see how valuable RFI responses could be in summarizing key details that help you narrow down the field of partner candidates.
While Western users continue to dominate, Twitter's aggressive expansion in Asia is already yielding newsworthy results. According to a newly released forecast by digital marketing research agency eMarketer, Twitter's Asia-Pacific strategy will see users in that region representing a whopping 32.8 percent of the company's active users this year. And by 2018, Asia is forecast to have more than double the number of accounts in North America. India and Indonesia, for instance, are set to become the third and fourth largest Twitter populations this year, and Japan is also rapidly becoming much more prominent.
Don't let anybody fool you: For all our industry's talk about translation quality, there's plenty of missteps and mishaps. Some are simple enough. CAT tools have nothing to do with felines (sorry!!!), so not knowing the source language well can lead to some pretty funny but harmless mistakes. Some errors are not so simple, though. They are, instead, outlandishly bad that whole nations have almost come to blows over the error.
Earlier this month, the New Yorker published a profile on the latest work of American photographer Reed Young, who had turned his lens on the dubbing industry by staging and photographing Italian voice actors in recreations of the American films they had dubbed. There's Luca Ward as Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. And Cristina Boraschi as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It is possible that latest moves by Internet streaming media giant Netflix might make of these voice actors what talkies did with silent film stars: that is, make them jobless.
Word Lens app creator Quest Visual has announced its acquisition by Google with a limited-time offer of a free download of its visual translation app and its six language packs currently available. By integrating the app's features into Google Translate, Google will make it possible for smartphone consumers to use their built-in video cameras to translate printed words in real time without the need for users to be online.
Over 20% of people in the U.S. over the age of five speak a language other than English at home. Spanish is the nation’s second most frequently spoken language, but I bet you did not know that Vietnamese is second to Spanish in Texas, or that Russian is big in Oregon.
The decision to sell your products to customers abroad was perhaps made hastily. News about your brand's innovation had trickled abroad and inquiries from customers living in cities far-flung from you were trickling back in. Happy with an emerging global demand for your goods, you started shipping overseas. But, uh oh, news of Chinese copycat products are starting to reach your ears. You are now rightly worried that your brand positioning could be weakened by a flood of competitors.
How many of you have visited YouTube after a recent web search? YouTube is the second largest search engine — bigger than Bing!, Yahoo! Ask, and AOL combined. And it's useful for many. Whenever possible, consumers prefer video watching over reading the manual. And it's because a three-minute video will help you complete the task or solve the problem much faster than reading a PDF file.
If you are new to localization, or if you consider yourself a non-technical localization professional, then this blog series is for you. Today’s topic is about when, why and how to create a terminology database.
Translation technology continues to deliver some of the world's most acclaimed successes. But as Slate notes, there's still many roadblocks to clear in our very human processes before we reach the Universal Translator future. In the meantime, take pleasure in the experimentation, iterations, and innovation of players from LinkedIn to Microsoft. Read on and enjoy!
In the movie Minority Report, the year is 2054 and John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, is a police captain in PreCrime, a specialized division that has the power to predict future crimes and stop them by apprehending criminals before they act. In the YouTube clip inserted below, we watch John Anderton walk into a mall.
In part three of Moravia's webinar Global Staffing: Finding and Managing In-country SMEs, we talk about how SMEs could bring insight and ROI value in a number of business cases.
In this recent blog series on testing I have explained the basic concepts of functional, localization and linguistic testing, all of which are meant to catch any problem that is going to impact the adoption or function of your product in market. In this blog I will cover what you need to know about accessing your localized web or software deliverables for linguistic testing within the final (or semi-final) builds.
Presenter Renato Beninatto is Moravia's Chief Marketing Officer. In his webinar, "The Next Wave: Content Curation, Mass Personalization, and Voice," he answered questions on content creation as one of the main drivers of market intelligence.
Just as the mind functions best after a good night's sleep, we workers need to make time for the reboot, whether that's a holiday weekend or an extended vacation. So out of town we went for what promised to be a day of nothing but self-indulgence, but we managed to get lost in the middle of an entertainment park.
We hope those of you that are new to localization, or who are non-technical localization professionals, have been enjoying the blog series on testing.
In part two of Moravia's webinar Global Staffing: Finding and Managing In-country SMEs, we talk about the challenges of global staffing in five critical areas: finding, vetting, contracting, managing and paying SMEs. External Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) help global businesses enter new, foreign markets by providing them with both industry- and locale-specific knowledge that can shape how these businesses enter the market, interact with their consumers, and position their brands for success.
Moravia's recent webinar Global Staffing: Finding and Managing In-country SMEs explained what Subject Matter Experts are, what they provide to global businesses, and, specifically, the role external SMEs play in meeting translation and localization standards for diverse industries working in foreign markets.
If you are new to localization, or if you consider yourself a non-technical localization professional, then this blog series is for you. Any type of testing in localization is a fundamental step meant to catch problems that will impact the adoption or effectiveness of your software product or website in market.
When Translating Your Website is Like Making a Deal with the Devil Localization people are notoriously wary of any proposal that requires IT involvement. That’s because localization is important enough to be recognized as a core requirement, but not important enough to get priority resource allocation. Between that fact and the understandably conservative nature of the average overworked and under-budgeted IT department, IT’s answer to localization requests for new tools, special configurations or access privileges is often a resounding “No.”
In my blog about endangered world languages I wrote that there are nearly 6,800 languages on our earth (give or take 200) and that one language dies every two weeks. Experts predict that more than half of them will become extinct by 2100. There are a couple major reasons for these deaths:
If you are new to localization, or if you consider yourself a non-technical localization professional, then this blog series is for you. First, testing in localization is meant to catch any problem that will impact the adoption or effectiveness of your product in market. It’s one of the fundamental steps of localizing websites or software products, and it’s especially important in the age of PCs, mobile phones and tablet devices.
Western interest in China's marketplace continues to be strong. With 1.4 billion residents and the world's biggest online population, China draws global businesses which are eager to promote their brands, products, and services to the country's consumers.
Are translation and interpreting services vital to comprehensive medical services? A growing number of medical care facilities, officials, and government advisory bodies seem to believe so. Moreover, advances in mobile technology — specifically with the rise of smartphones and tablets — have given rise to an impressive cottage industry of developers focused only on providing multilingual apps as an answer to the medical industry.
In a blog published last week in the Harvard Business Reviews Blog Network, Dr. Connson Chou Locke, a leadership researcher and assistant professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, says to readers that it's time that we stop asking the question of whether leaders are born or nurtured into their roles. While scientists point to characteristics and HR professionals point to training, both fail to understand complexity and context in the leadership picture:
If you are new to localization, or if you consider yourself a non-technical localization professional, then this blog series is for you. Here we explain the basic concepts behind multilingual desktop publishing (DTP), or creating the layout and formatting of a document and graphics using DTP software.
Game developers with independent and major gaming companies are in San Francisco this week for the Game Developers Conference. Because game localization is a vital part of global demand for gaming the conference annually hosts the Localization Summit. During the full day's intense sessions, gaming translation and localization professionals discuss the how, what, and why of multilingual game publishing.
As you regular readers of Moravia Blog know, there's a lot of interest among global brands in optimizing their websites so that consumers can discover their products and services among the incalculable brand marking sites worldwide. (If you haven't already signed up for our upcoming webinar, hey, consider this a nudge to do so.) Marketing ourselves – self promotion in work and personal relationships – also requires a bit of optimization. But how, exactly, should we approach our own Personal Engine Optimization?
Wikipedia defines content curation as "the process of collecting, organizing, and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest." While media mogul Sumner Redstone is rightly credited with coining the phrase "content is king" for its dominance across diverse media channels, we should credit Bill Gates with framing content curation as vital to the identity and growth of the Internet specifically. His visionary 1996 statement on the issue seems almost prescient today:
The acronym itself means “subject matter expert,” a specialist in something specific, such as civil engineering, network security, clinical trials management, artists of the Renaissance, and so forth. Many of our clients require SMEs with even more specific specializations, such as tax laws in Sweden, consumer marketing in Venezuela, radio listening habits in Munich, search patterns used by Romanians, teen social media usage in Canada, and so forth.
After a surprisingly brief and mild winter, Berlin is enjoying its first days of spring. Berliners practically worship the season. Just yesterday, for example, the city's Görlitzer Park was filled with hundreds of people — my friends and I among them — who eagerly shed their coats and cares to lounge on cafe benches and on the lawn to sip on drinks and soak up the sun.
Facebook's grab of WhatsApp was really the hottest tech news of the month for those mindful of the role that mobile development is having on multilingual communication. Click here to read our write up on the details and its impact on the language industry. But there's more to multilingual tech developments than Facebook. Google's back, of course, with more additions to its own multilingual tools. Microsoft makes sure there's no Bing left behind. Then there's nation-specific initiatives making the language tech news.
What do Pinterest, LinkedIn, Zagat or Fab.com have in common? Aside from their phenomenal growth, they all use content curation to attract and engage new users – constantly feeding their communities with highly personalized content.
Have you seen this viral video making fun of what we’ve all grown accustomed to in online conference calls? I have nearly half a dozen online conference calls each day. I work from home, and I have no colleagues in my state or even my timezone. Unless I’m traveling, all of my work interactions are remote. It’s a big challenge: the environment seems to make me lose focus, restrict me from jumping in to speak, multitask inappropriately, and my brain totally craps out after 20 minutes. Many of us who work for international companies have a few additional challenges to overcome.
Occasionally, there comes a time when it is important to open up the your mind to the seemingly far-fetched. To welcome in possibility. To place aside doubt. In organizations large and small this time is usually attached to a brainstorming session. I can almost hear the collective groan. Come on, does brainstorming even work?
With 75,000 attendees and keynote speakers that include Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Mobile World Congress 2014 has proven itself to be the hottest, must-attend trade show for the mobile industry. Of course there's mobile tech innovation on display, but the event is just as driven by the conversation about the challenges of a mobile world. What about access in developing nations? What impact will mobile have on industries like agriculture or issues like urban living? And what about bandwidth and Net Neutrality?? Trade shows, amirite?! That's all fine and good but let's lighten up a bit. To wit, here's the tweets that gave us a belly laugh for being on point about the wackiest and the wonderful of the event. Enjoy!
Moravia has a strong reputation for customizing our business to our clients’ global needs. The only way we can do this is with excellence in leadership at the strategic level. This entry in our “People in Production” series provides a little more insight into the services we provide and the individual people who drive this goal. I interviewed Jeff Steele, our Director of Managed Services, to learn more about managed services, what his work is like, and what challenges he faces.
Ever watched Olympic curling and thought how in the world it became an Olympic sport? But hey, let's face it, the world is filled with stranger examples. Now that the 2014 Olympic Winter Games are over, we can look to what comes next. The imagination runs wild with possibilities! To wit, we present our tour of our favorite oh-please-it-would-be-great-but-it's-not-Olympic world sports.
Facebook, the global social media behemoth, rocked the tech and business spheres with news that it had laid down a record $19 billion USD to acquire WhatsApp, a giant in the mobile messaging space. With both players now joined in their pursuit of the world's mobile marketplaces, it's time for a quick roundup on WhatsApp — what it is, what it offers, why it is essential for Facebook's global market strategy, and how they went about localizing their app into 35 languages.
Last month Common Sense Advisory put out an excellent report on web-based translation portals, identifying key features based on an in-depth review of two dozen sites. The subtitle was “How Technology Facilitates Better Service Delivery,” clearly advocating the use of these tools – despite the fact that tool deployments and changes are often tricky.
Presenter Jon Ritzdorf is Moravia's Solutions Architect and a global SEO expert. He also teaches translation technologies and localization fundamentals at New York University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the University of Chicago. In his webinar, "Steps to Effective Global SEO: Off-Page Factors," Jon discussed the challenges of multilingual content management for brands working in global markets with an eye to best practices that improve site ranking.
When I was 13, I joined the U.S. Air Force. Sort of. Kind of. That is, my U.S. high school was one of those schools that had what's called JROTC, or Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. Because my home region in southern Virginia has a large military presence — naval shipyard, air force base, army training camps, and a whole host of others — many of my fellow classmates had family that was either in the military or working in related construction contracting.
The recent flap about Coca-Cola's multi-ethnic, multilingual Super Bowl ad has us thinking. Maybe we language professionals need to do a better job of promoting ourselves. I mean, there's a lot to love about the language industry, language as a career, and a multilingual world that needs us. Is all that love just our navel gazing? No, the world is made better by all of its linguistic diversity. And, here to prove it, we offer you our top 5 reasons why languages really do make the world go 'round.
If you are new to localization, or if you consider yourself a non-technical localization professional, then this new blog series is for you. The series will explain basic localization concepts, give you what you need to know about each, and help you not get lost in the acronyms and the technical aspects of the industry.
Not since the fall of the Wall has Berlin gotten so much press. News reports of Berlin's start-up sector have been popping up ever more regularly in the Guardian, the New York Times, and other journals of note. Even Germany's own conservative paper, Die Welt, joined in on the speculative fun, running an editorial — nay, a declaration — entitled Warum Berlin das nächste Silicon Valley wird or Why Berlin will be the next Silicon Valley.
So you have a project that you know you cannot use Google Translate for. You were smart in that respect. You read through our Complete Idiot’s Guide to Google Translate and figured, yeah, not this time. Maybe you have already gotten some leads from colleagues and friends on some translators. But how can you be sure that you are hiring the right translator?
Seeing The Matrix at The Uptown in Washington, D.C. on its opening night in March 1999 is one of my most treasured memories. A self-proclaimed sci-fi junkie, I had gathered up a sizable number of friends, badgered everyone to get into the waiting line as early as possible, and hustled us all into the theater and up the stairs to prime seats in the second floor's balcony section. We were breathless from the effort and the anticipation. Thankfully — as record-breaking sales, critical awards, and countless numbers of knockoffs tributes went on to show — the film was more than worth it.
We're back with this month's translation and technology report. No surprise, we've got news of yet more Google investment in the language processing field and social media interests in multilingual mobile apps. But we've also got an important update from the U.S. military's language front, which we've reported on before, as well as news on what's sure to become standard in any foreign-film lover's toolbox.
Presenter Jon Ritzdorf is Moravia's Solutions Architect and a global SEO expert. He also teaches translation technologies and localization fundamentals at New York University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the University of Chicago. In his webinar, "Steps to Effective Global SEO: Off-Page Factors," Jon discussed the challenges of multilingual content management for brands working in global markets with an eye to best practices that improve site ranking.
I don't know of a translation industry professional who doesn't love when global brands show off their multilingual commitment. So HURRAH to the Coca-Cola marketing team for using Monday night's Super Bowl show to highlight the linguistic diversity of the United States. If you haven't seen it, here's the ad in all its many-languages-one-country glory:
My partner and I boarded the train on our way to Berlin main station. I was on my way home. He was on his way to his next client. He travels a lot for business, unlike desk-jockey me, so before taking my seat I asked him if he had a seat preference. I wanted to know: was he one of those who wanted to always sit facing forward, looking ahead to all that was approaching, or was he one of those who took whatever seat was readily available?
It’s sometimes hard to convince bosses that translation is a necessary and important part of a global sales and marketing strategy. In some technical industries, English has so become the lingua franca that some bosses may even get testy about the translation budget item.
Video is a ubiquitous medium, capable of increasing product awareness, sales, and consumer satisfaction. We have seen the explosion of video on the internet precisely because it works so well for these purposes. It comes in bite-sized pieces, easily digestible by our attention-challenged world. Videos reach a large audience: a data-filled article in Synecore reports that 84.5% of the U.S. internet audience watched online video.
In 2004, three British cabinet members filed an official complaint with Pascal Lamy, the director general of the World Trade Organization who was then serving as the European Commissioner for Trade. According to the Guardian, the letter was the result of an increasingly heated and damning set of accusations regarding the European Union's translation of patent documents, particularly those related to a new patent law that would allow cheaper generic drugs to reach poor nations. The document had not yet been translated into all of the at the time 20 official languages of the European Union. "One senior minister said it was 'scandalous' that children were dying of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as a result of bureaucratic failure," reported the journal. "We believe this translation should be a priority."
Let’s face it - there are some silly buzzwords used in many industries and the translation and localization industry is no exception. Most buzzwords are ridiculous sounding and overused, but even worse, unclear and ill-understood. What is “dynamic collaborative interface” or “innovative value-add”?
... at least according to those who keep laughing at how "cute" my German is. As you know from my previous posts, I am studying German. Perhaps “studying” is an overstatement — an expression of where I want to be rather than where I am or a minor linguistic exaggeration that I use to keep myself motivated. A lot is said in the self-help books on the importance of goal setting. Whether you set short-, intermediate-, or long-term goals, says the popular wisdom, it’s at least important to have goals at all. Mine? To keep going.
In another embarrassing development for the Obama Administration, U.S. Hispanic and Latin American advocates have charged officials with failing to properly translate the Spanish-language version of Healthcare.gov. The result, they say, is a travesty of justice for the nation's 53 million Spanish-speaking health care consumers.
A couple of days ago, a colleague sent around a link to an online map. Check it out, he said. So I did, being a dare-to-click, curious type. Well, someone who was pretty clever with the Google Translate API had set up a map so that a site visitor, typing in no more than a word or two, could quickly see how that word translates into the other languages of the world. Check out the screenshot below. Cool, right?
In "How QuarkXPress became a mere afterthought in publishing," Dave Girard, a long-time graphic designer and art director for magazines, penned a lengthy and, of course, graphically documented treatise on the downfall of QuarkXPress, the premier desktop publishing tool of the 1990s. With more than 250 comments already posted since Tuesday's publication on Ars Technica, Girard has clearly touched a nerve. While he provides a detailed list of the performance elements that launched Adobe InDesign past QuarkXPress to rise from industry disruptor to industry leader, his far more compelling story is not in the application toolset but in the business mindset.
We at Moravia are admittedly a little biased. We speak English ... and some 178 of the world's other languages. We are the "little engine that could" behind a number of the world's best global brands. So when we talk on and on about the importance of translation and multilingual marketing to your company's international success story, sure, we are sharing our expertise in a bid to win your business.
Given Moravia’s unique position supporting the world’s top brands in technology and life sciences, we get deep insight into the trends shaping our industry. We’re seeing and hearing three key topics driving conversations about global growth in 2014.
Just as Santa’s gifts, wrapping paper, handwriting, and method of entry may vary greatly from one child’s household to another, so varies the Santa “brand” from one country to the next. Check out this infographic celebrating Santa as a global phenomenon and a case study in localization. Just remember, tempting though it may be to claim any given tradition as the one true version of Santa, such inflexible thinking may land you on his “Naughty” list and make Santa’s delivery to your household less reliable. From all of us at Moravia, wishing you all the magic of this holiday season and a happy year ahead!
We talk a lot about perfect translation quality here at Moravia. We have a different take than most. Namely, we believe that the quest for perfection is a quixotic one, a target that hidden in the mist of marketing mumbo jumbo leaves most clients and users in the dark about how imperfect human resources using evolving tools and working under ever-accelerating deadlines nevertheless produce content that gets the job done.
It is around this time of the year that I get pretty thoughtful about what I achieved of my New Year's resolutions and what I will want to achieve in the year ahead. It is not something that I fear doing, thankfully. (Here's the moment where I want to stop to thank my mother for instilling a fairly healthy ego. Thanks, Mom!) Nevertheless, my enthusiasm for what I can achieve is almost always far more optimistic on January's scratch pad than it ever is in the months that follow. Perhaps one can distill that into a mathematical equation:
This year, Moravians worldwide gathered in their free time to raise their voices in support of humanitarian efforts around the world - and simply by watching and sharing this video, you can too! Just as we did last year, for every unique view of our holiday video – “What a Wonderful World,” performed by Moravian vocalists and musicians – Moravia will donate to Translators without Borders, a volunteer organization supporting NGOs with knowledge transfer across language barriers.
The delayed roll-out of the U.S. government's healthcare website has been a public relations nightmare for the Obama Administration. Adding to the woes is the late launch of the Spanish-language version of the site. CuidadoDeSalud.gov is more than two months behind the English-language launch, Healthcare.gov, and just two weeks before the also-delayed deadline for January 1 coverage. Was a translated website even warranted?
The last-minute panic that drives December's Christmas sales is now upon us. For you too? You're not a bad person for it. Even given eleven other months to prepare, most don't bother until December rolls around. Whether for consumer electronics, jewelry, clothing or other holiday favorites, sales surges during this month. And with more products available than most human brains can calculate, it is also no wonder that there are plenty of consumers who suffer meltdowns in the middle of the mall. If you are still wondering what you should purchase for the more difficult ones of your list, let the wondering be over! Sure, we may be biased, but we believe that there is no other present as easy or as thoughtful to deliver as the gift of language learning.