From the Editor
Welcome to the May edition of Language Lines!
This Language Lines brings you a quick and clear definition of the complex process of localization. We also report on the importance of language translation and search engines, and how children are being used to help translate for their parents.
As always, we conclude with “Language Laughs” – a humorous look at some of the confusing situations that come up in the world of translation and languages.
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Adriana Nevin | Corporate Sales Manager | firstname.lastname@example.org
It's translation and more; it's the key to international business success; it's a complex process. But what exactly is localization?
There are varying definitions in the language services business for the term localization. It is generally used to refer to translating software or web pages into other languages. Yet localization, known in the business as "L10n," goes beyondtranslation by taking into consideration the culture of the country or region in which the localized product will be used. For example, a localized text may be changed significantly in order to better appeal to its foreign target audience.
LISA, the Localization Industry Standards Association defines localization as follows:
Localization involves taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold.)
The localization process, therefore, includes many more stages than just language translation. Target market analysis, software engineering, software testing and desktop publishing (DTP) all come into play in a localization project, which must be carefully managed every step of the way.
At Language Translation Inc., specialized project managers oversee our ten-step localization process to ensure accuracy and client satisfaction every time. "Let us show you how good localization can be."
/ Betty Carlson
In order to successfully reach out to foreign customers, language translation must take into account both linguistic and cultural factors.
An unfortunate number of American businesspeople are unilingual, which may prevent them from understanding the complexities involved in language translation. While most marketers recognize that word-for-word or machine translation won't do the job, some do not realize the importance of cultural factors in carrying out a successful commercial translation.
An April 10th article entitled "Web translation about more than words" reminds us of the crucial role of culture in translation. "Most companies don't bother to understand their audiences when they translate websites," explains Montreal Gazette journalist Roberto Rocha. "Sloppily made multilingual sites either turn off international clients with bad translations or don't show up at all in Web searches."
So, business translators need to master the language they are translating to, but also the consumer culture of the target country. This element of cultural comprehension is the key to successful language translation, and is taken a step further in the process of localization.
At Language Translation Inc., located in San Diego, we've been in the translation business since 1989. Our professional translators are not only experienced and bilingual, but they work only on projects related to their experience and expertise - so they can also advise our clients on vital bicultural, business and technical issues. "Let us show you how good translation should be."
/ Betty Carlson
A recent article points out that medical institutions are turning to children for interpreting help when hospital staff don't speak the patient's language.
Undoubtedly, plenty of US youngsters speak two languages: English and a parental language, such as Spanish, Korean or Laotian. According to an April 2nd article in the Fresno Bee, some of these children are being asked to provide language interpreting for family members in medical situations.
The lack of doctors who speak Spanish and Asian languages forces medical institutions into this "any port in a storm" dilemma. "Children continue to serve as interpreters at medical appointments [in California] when doctors are not fluent in Hmong or other southeast Asian languages," reports Barbara Anderson. The problem is, of course, that children cannot understand and communicate the gravity of a medical condition, and may not be able to explain it reliably to medical staff.
Could telephonic interpreting be a solution to this problem? Not necessarily, partly because of the physical nature of medical consultation. But one can't help but think it would be better than counting on an 8-year-old's mastery of medical terms in two languages.
In the business world, at any rate, telephonic interpreting can be the perfect solution for improving your communication with overseas business contacts. Language Translation Inc. now provides this service. Called SpeakEasy, it is especially useful for speaking with business partners overseas or with customers who do not master English. "Let us show you how good language interpreting should be."
/ Betty Carlson
Cross-cultural communication can bring about amusing errors and misunderstandings. Share a few language laughs with us.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
We must polish the Polish furniture.