From the Editor
Welcome to our October edition of Language Lines.
In this edition of Language Lines, we'll discuss the importance of localized advertising in the United States, and how the use of language professionals is a key factor in successful export strategies. We've also included an article about a newly signed order by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, to provide vital forms and instructions in six foreign languages, and we'll discuss a new translation tool that Facebook has launched.
Language Translation, Inc. is your translation service expert and we look forward to doing business with you. Please contact me with any questions you may have.
When we think of localization, we usually think of international advertising and websites. But localization can also be used to reflect regional differences.
Localized advertising is actually used quite a bit within the USA. Of course, a lot of translation and localization activity targets the US Hispanic population, but even a major city may merit a particular approach to advertisements.
In one example, writer Scott Vandenbroucke explains how Pepsi adapted its new advertising campaign to the Chicago market:
“By using localized copy, shown in the “Chi Town” bus wrap photo [visible in the article], Pepsi is proving they aren’t just using the same generic ads in every major city. It gives us Chicagoans a sense of pride in our city, which in turn, we feel when we drink that next can of Pepsi at a Chicago event.
Pepsi’s “Refresh Everything” campaign effectively evokes copacetic feelings in Chicagoans with a brilliant mixture of jingoism, political hope, humorous and localized copy, and strategic placement at “CHI-TOWN” events. Overall, this campaign works wonderfully in every aspect and is essentially limitless in terms of how many advertisements can be produced.”
Extract from ‘How Pepsi’s new advertising campaign works” by Scott Vandenbroucke, Chicago Advertising Examiner, July 26 2009.
International localization can involve the same concepts, but usually a foreign language translation is included. At Language Translation, Inc. in San Diego, we offer both software and Website localization services. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about your language translation, interpreting or localization projects.
For companies that export, it’s important to have foreign language speakers on staff – but they can’t cover all your bases.
Results of 2007 research are currently being used to bring home the stunning cost of poor foreign language skills to British businesses.
According to Cardiff University’s 2007 study “Costing Babel,” British companies lose out big (about 18.5 billion dollars) due to the workforce’s lack of language skills, as well as companies’ ignoring language as an element in export strategy.
“The Forum of Private Business is warning that poor foreign language skills cost British businesses £21 billion per year [about $18.5 billion] leaving them behind large companies which are increasingly investing in multilingual staff,” explains an article on the business resource sitefreshbusinessthinking.com.
However, the article points out that having multilingual staff is just one element of a successful international strategy. In fact, 4 aspects of language management are linked with export success: “having a language strategy, appointing native speakers, recruiting staff with language skills and using professionally qualified translators or interpreters.”
And, of course, in an ever-growing export world, it can be very difficult to have staff on-site to speak every language your company must work with.
providers for certain key tasks and projects.
ALBANY - New York's non-English-speaking immigrants will soon have an easier time dealing with state bureaucracy.
Gov. Cuomo Thursday signed an executive order requiring all state agencies that deal directly with the public to offer vital forms and instructions in six foreign languages.
The agencies will also have to provide free interpretation and translation services designed to help roughly 2.5 million New Yorkers who do not speak English as their primary language.
The foreign languages to be offered are Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Russian, French and French Creole - the six most common non-English languages spoken in New York, based on census figures.
Cuomo said making it easier for immigrants to access state services could be a matter of life and death in some cases.
"We are proud that people from all around the world call New York home," Cuomo said. "This executive order ensures that non-English speakers receive equal access to programs, services and opportunities offered by their state government."
The state has also contracted with a translation company that can help with callers who speak other languages.
Federal funds will cover the bulk of the costs, with the state kicking in roughly $1.5 million, Cuomo said.
Among the state agencies that will be offering the multilingual services are the Office of Children & Family Services, the prison system, the health department, motor vehicles and welfare agencies.
Lawsuits and legislation for decades failed to address the problem, so Cuomo decided to do it himself.
"For many, many years, we assumed in New York State government that it was up to the person to figure out how to communicate with government," he said. "It's government's responsibility to figure out how to communicate with the person."
Immigrant groups, Mayor Bloomberg and Hispanic state lawmakers hailed the decision. But critics gripe it's a disincentive for immigrants to learn English.
"There was a time in this nation that immigrants were encouraged to learn English as fast as possible so they could assimilate in our American culture," said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long.
Facebook has quietly introduced a new tool that makes instant inline language translations appear with a single click.
This is different from Google’s translation tool — this opt-in service is powered by Microsoft Bing and works on individual posts on Facebook Pages, including comments. For example, if you’re an English speaker reading a Facebook public Page and encounter a comment in Spanish, you’ll see a Translate button next to it, letting you click to see it translated into a pop-out window in English.
For even better accuracy, the Translate feature lets bilingual users enter a human (and often more accurate) translation in that pop-out window. If enough other users vote positively on the accuracy of a human translation, it will replace the one from Bing each time the Translate button is clicked. The human translations can be managed by page administrators using a “manage translations” link underneath posts on pages they manage.
Facebook Journalist Program Manager (and former Mashable community manager) Vadim Lavrusik says the new feature works now on Facebook Pages, but not on Facebook Profiles yet. According to Ampercent, if you’re a page administrator and want to enable this feature for your multi-lingual users, go to “Your Settings” and click “Allow translations from Admin, community and machine translators.”
Update: To see this new translation feature in action, please go to this post on our Facebook page, and see the Spanish comment there — you’ll have a chance to translate it. For some reason, it’s not offering to translate a French comment, however.