From the Editor
Welcome to the January edition of Language Lines!
As 2008 gets underway, Language Translation Inc. wishes you and your company a happy and successful new year. Our most important resolution is to continue to offer you the best in language services: translation, interpretation and localization.
In our first newsletter of the year, we will bring you newsworthy information about the strong links between language services and marketing methods, including search engine optimization. We will also give a quick summary of a major research firm's business model predictions for 2008.
And don't forget to take a look at our latest monthly feature: "Language Laughs," which you will find at the end of the issue.
For more frequent updates about language and technology in the global marketplace, feel free to subscribe to our news blog.
Your suggestions and comments are always welcome and can be addressed to email@example.com
Translation is, of course, a necessary element in a company's international marketing strategy. But is it enough to break into new markets worldwide?
With commercial success being linked to search engine optimization, it is essential for companies to undertake translation and localization projects. Localization is the process of combining language and technology to produce a product or communication medium that can cross cultural barriers.
"A simple translation does not take into account cultures, customs and preferences specific to various countries," writes Matt Naeger in a recent article published on BtBonline. "Additionally, a simple translation loses targeted keywords."
Sometimes, as Naeger points out, language and culture can play a role even when countries speak the same tongue. For example, Americans use the word "candy" whereas the British refer to "sweets." The implications for search engine optimization are clear - especially if you are trying to market candy products internationally.
The variations apparent between British and American English also apply to the two cultures. For example, when an American sees a picture of fireworks, he or she is likely to imagine the 4th of July. The fireworks may thus even instill a somewhat patriotic reaction. For British citizens, on the other hand, the picture may conjure up images of Guy Fawkes Night. Never heard of it? I think I've made my point.
If such differences can exist between two cultures sharing the same language, imagine the cultural and linguistic factors that separate speakers of totally different languages - and how these factors can influence their search engine use.
The world's major companies are already starting to consider translation, localization and SEO as integrated elements of a new approach to marketing, rather than isolated strategic decisions. This line of attack can, however, represent a complex process, and it is best to be guided by language service professionals every step of the way.
While huge global corporations combine localization and multi-lingual SEO strategy, smaller domestic companies should start reaching out to more potential customers by translating material into other languages spoken in the USA - especially Spanish.
For example, US real estate agents and bankers are finding that English is not enough to sell homes and offer loans to Spanish-speaking clients. In order to reach the growing number of potential Latino home buyers, American real estate establishments are seeking to hire agents who speak Spanish. Loan and title documents, which are a challenge even for native English speakers, are often being translated into Spanish.
Although some cultural aspects must be taken into account, in these cases the target clients do live in the USA and share many aspects of American culture. Simple but accurate translations of documents such as brochures and posters can help to reach out to members of the US Hispanic population, and, eventually, to other ethnic communities living in the US.
Although multi-cultural marketing is an important consideration for companies hoping to expand across borders, many small businesses have needs right at home that can be met by translation services. At any rate, today's translators are keenly versed in the culture or cultures associated with the language they translate into - - so working with highly-qualified translators from a professional language services provider guarantees results that are both culturally and linguistically correct.
Common Sense Advisory, a major language service and software research firm, has released its predictions for 2008. Take a look at what the future may hold.
The impact of the dwindling dollar topped the company's list of technology and business model predictions. Far from being totally disastrous for US translation agencies, the low dollar could spell opportunity for those who deal with overseas markets enjoying stronger currencies. The weak dollar could also mean a rise in U.S. exports, with an ensuing need for more translations.
However, US LSPs (language service providers) will struggle to pay their European translators in euros; some are even considering billing their US customers in the continent's currency!
Technology and terminology will continue to make the news as machine translation companies race to attract more traffic. In fact, 2008 could be the year where terminology experts come into their own as companies start to work more with content and translation management software.
"Companies at the third and fourth level of the Localization Maturity Model will begin paying for full-time terminologists," explains CSA in its January 2nd 2008 press release. "In fast-moving companies, Wiki technology and other collaboration tools will move terminology from a fervent hope to more of a mainstream function."
A quick look at the firm's past predictions shows them to be reasonably accurate. Will the same be true in 2008?
Cross-cultural communication can bring about amusing errors and misunderstandings. Share a few language laughs with us.
After overdoing it on holiday feasts, calm your appetite with some dishes available from translated menus worldwide:
- Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion. (Poland)
- Three cute prawns suntanning on the rice. (China)
- Our wines leave you nothing to hope for. (Switzerland)
What do you imagine could top a recent list of British women's fantasies for 2008? Beauty, romance and world travel?
Diva TV recently published such a list after taking a survey. Rather surprisingly, learning a language came in at number three in the "Top Fantasy" category, after world travel and founding a successful company.
And to think of all those language professionals and teachers who didn't know they were living in a dream!
We can't say it enough: machine translation can be a useful tool, but in the immediate future, there is no replacement for the human touch when rendering efficient and correct language translations. Do you have any idea what these examples are talking about?
"When there is no value and trivially it is potato, many people to consider, being afterwards, the details that are interesting shallow fleetingly theory was produced very regarding the game finely."
I sure wouldn't had I not found the quotation myself! But I must admit the passage presents a certain surreal sense of poetry.which is clearly not what companies are looking for to convey a professional image!