How to translate your business for the world

Are you looking into translating your website? If you are, you need to consider this question: Are you selling anything with it? If the answer is yes, chances are you don’t need translation, you need localisation.

Translating a website is something a lot of businesses do. Most of them turn to machine translation and are fine with the poor translations MT yields. But when you are trying to reach out to a different culture, you need to pay attention to a few details.

Studies have shown that online buyers are more likely to make a purchase in their own language. To get the most conversions out of a website, you need to localise it.

Localisation covers more than just translation. It takes into account everything related to a culture. For instance, if your home website was made for the U.S public, you will need to do a lot of changes to it to appeal to the Chinese public. The theme of the website, this includes pictures, color schemes and even architecture, has to be familiar to the Chinese public. In a way, you are not looking to translate the text on the website, you are looking to translate the whole website.

A localisation expert, who should be native to the targeted culture, knows how to translate a text to make it sound familiar to the foreign reader. Many say that translation is an art, due to the fact that you are not simply translating words, you are translating the message, the tone and the feel of the text.

If you’re looking to make an instructional manual available in other languages, you translate it. But if you want to make a product available in other languages, you need localisation.


What’s the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

Companies that require language services usually ask a very important question – What is the difference between an interpreter and a translator? On a quick glimpse, these two profession might seem similar, as both of them help other people understand different languages. While that is true, there are some very important differences between an interpreter and a translator.

How they work

The settings in which they work is different. Translators work with the written language while interpreters deal with the spoken language.  In addition, translators only work in one direction. For any given text, they can translate from one to another, for example from English to French. If the same document needs to be translated back into English from French, another translator is generally used. This is because translators usually translate into their native language, as the results are always better that way.

In the case of interpreters, they usually work in both direction. The same interpreter can translate from and to the same language either way. A good example is court interpreters. They normally work alone and translate both ways.

Types of translation and interpreting

These two profession are also different in the type of services they can perform. There are many types of translation, from word-for-word translation to literary translation and to website translation and other, more technical, types of translation. Each of them have their own terminology and require specialised training in order to translate accurately.

Interpreting, however, has only three types – consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting and sight translation. Consecutive interpreting is used to translate paragraphs, so a person talks for a while then pauses to let the interpreter translate what he said. Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter talks almost at the same time as with the speaker to translate in real time. If a document is shown during such a meeting, the interpreter will translate it on the go, that is sight translation.

Working with them

One important difference between a translator and an interpreter is working with them. A translator doesn’t have to meet his clients. They can just receive the files to be translated and maybe exchange some phone calls. An interpreter, however, works surrounded by people in environments that can become stressful. A meeting with a lot of people who talk fast would make anyone nervous, or a court hearing where cases are discussed the whole day, back to back. So an interpreter must not only be proficient at his job, but he must also have the right state of mind for the job.

For the sake of simplicity, here is a visual representation of the clearest difference between a translator and an interpreter.

The difference between a translator and an interpreter

A List: The ‘Funny, Uplifting’ Arabic Novels in Translation

Looking for some Arabic humor? Take a look at these.


A reader in Washington, D.C. said that a number of her students have asked where the funny, uplifting Arabic novels are in translation:

drama-masks-300x2381There is certainly no shortage of humor in Arabic writing, from the earliest poems to the present. Indeed, Egypt’s signature regional export has been humor. But funny is a difficult thing to translate. What is hilarious in one context is often head-scratching in another. Jonathan Wright, for instance, admitted he simply removed a joke from his translation of Khaled al-Khamissi’s Taxi because he couldn’t find a way for it to make the leap into English.

He got rid of the Viagra joke, he said, “because I couldn’t see a way to convey the pun on the two aspects of wuquuf, stopping and standing. [The joke] referred to a warning on the packet that read: wuquuf mutakarrir [makes frequent stops], the warning they put on the back of buses.”

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Jobs you can do at home

Work as minute-takerLooking for a job that you can do from home? If you’re good with taking notes, you could work as a minute-taker. If you’re a professional minute-taker or close to that, why not apply for Global Lingo?

Freelance minute-takers for Global Lingo

Global Lingo is a professional language services provider and is constantly looking for freelance translators, transcribers and minute-takers. They are pushing for minute-takers now as the holiday season is over and more work is coming in.

If you want a reliable agency that offers steady work with great rates, use the above link.

Misinterpretation of address leads to $3 Million suit claims

The United States of America has hundreds of languages that are used every day by large percentages of its population. The most widely used language besides English is Spanish. The U.S. has had trouble providing translation for non-English speaking people for years, but in the case of Spanish, things did improve. But this was not the case 3 years ago.

On April 12, 2011, a 9-1-1 call came in from a person saying that their wife, a 25-year-old woman, was having trouble breathing. The person who called was speaking Spanish so an interpreter was added to the call. The caller gave and address and an ambulance was dispatched only to arrive at the wrong destination. The medical team called to confirm the address and only then did they receive the correct address. The emergency team arrived at the scene 26 minutes after the first call was made.

The medical team found Elidiana Valdez-Lemus, mother of three, on the ground and not breathing, she hasn’t been breathing for 14 minutes. Three days later, the woman died and the family made the decision to take her off life support.

The family has opened a suit asking for $1 Million for “pre-death” suffering and also a maximum of $2 Million for the suffering and loss of the family.

On the source of the article, you can see the entire timeline of the events, which goes as follows:

–          Call came in at 4:43 a.m. on April 12, 2011

–          Husband said that: “My wife says she cannot breathe”

–          Interpreter told the 9-1-1 call taker that the person said: “My wife is short of breathe”

–          When asked for an address, the caller said: “2601 111th Avenue”

–          Interpreter said to the call taker: “2600 101st Avenue”

–          Seven minutes later, the medics arrived at the wrong address at 4:50 a.m.

–          At 4:55 a.m., the woman stopped breathing.

–          At 4:58 a.m., medics got the correct address.

–          At 5:09 a.m., they arrive at the correct address.

The attorney representing the dead woman’s estate said the death was completely preventable.

This tragic story only adds to a large number of similar stories where lack of proper translation and interpretation lead to families being torn apart.

There are professional interpreting services and translation services for a reason. The reason is that we, as humans, need to be able to communicate efficiently. When we cannot do this because of circumstances or language barriers, there are people out there willing to help and make the connection possible.

U.K. government spends millions on translation for convicts

Legal Translation ServicesThe English and Welsh prisons now have over 10% of foreigners. In order for them to receive legal aid and access to a fair trial, the U.K. government has to provide them with translators. With the percentage of foreigners being so high, translation costs are higher than ever. An overwhelming amount of translation requests were made last year for Irish, Jamaican and Polish inmates, requests that cost the taxpayers over 1 Million British pounds.

What is intriguing is that the percentage of foreigners in the U.K prisons isn’t the highest ever, the highest was in 2006 when it was 14%, as opposed to the 12% now. Even so, the translation costs keep getting higher, amassing to £994.000 in the current year, a small amount from the £15 Million that was spent on translation in the English legal courts.

Despite the vast amounts of money that was paid for the legal translation services, the results have not been perfect. There have been countless disruptions to the translation services provided due to inadequate personnel and confusion. Which is quite a common problem in law courts because of the very nature of legal translation.

Translation can be general or technical. Legal translation is a technical branch, which requires great deals of experience from the translator, both in the legal profession and in the targeted language. Because legal translators deal with ordinary people, they have to both struggle to understand what their client is saying and also convey that information in the proper lingo. Translating legal terms has to be perfect, as any differences, even the slightest, can change the outcome of any proceeding dramatically.

eLearning is taking off – Are you on board?

eLearning stands for everything that is learning, outside of schools. Other terms are Online learning and electronic learning. In the past couple of years, this type of learning caught a lot of traction. One major factor in the sudden increase in elearning are children who prefer technology over traditional content mediums, like books or classes.

A recent study proved that students in college and pre-college prefer the electronic medium over anything else. Here is a look at the student online higher education experience.

There are roughly 21.6 Million students who plan to go to college in the U.S. and there are 4.495 degree granting institutions. This means that each of those institutions will capture the interest of 5.000 students each year. They divide into two major groups.

The prospective student – This is the high-school junior/senior who is researching colleges to see which one fits them best. They try to get an idea of what life will be like for a certain university.

The college student – They use the college website to keep in touch with academic news, keep an eye on classes and grades and also stay in touch with fellow students.

This is how they use websites:

Top 3 Ways Prospective Students
This is what they usually look for in regards to colleges:

For the prospecting students, a college website is the most influential resource. By watching images of the campus and getting a feel for the college life there, they will make their decision. Family and friends are the second and third most influential resources. Among these, 65% of the future students said that a bad website experience will make them change their minds about a specific college.

College students use the college website a lot. 90% of them said that they connect to the website on two or more devices. 63% said that their opinion of the college improved when they were able to connect to the website from various platforms.

How do they engage with a school:

Both prospecting and current students will use technology a lot to keep in touch with their schools. If a college does not have a flexible, up to-date and working website, they will lose a lot of students.

Now that we settled that students use technology to decide on future education and during school, it is time to see why eLearning is important to them.

How eLearning improves education

One of the biggest problems people have with education is funding and the lack of flexibility and customisation. Those downsides can be taken care of by using eLearning. There are enough online courses on the Internet that students can use to become proficient in any area of study they wish to pursue, but actual schools have their benefits, so elearning should be used together with traditional learning methods.

Here are just a few ways in which elearning improves education on several levels:

  • Increased access to resources and educational experiences
  • Fully customisable learning resources to suit the needs of every individual
  • Improved time management for both students and teachers for routine tasks
  • Reduces costs for materials and utilities because resources can be reused and the studies are conducted remotely

Public institutions realised this, because 89% of them offer online courses, while only 60% of the private institutions have online courses.

The students also love the idea of elearning. There is a very apparent increase in popularity for online courses among students.

Students Who Took Online CoursesWhich is only obvious since students do like to keep in touch with technology. In addition to the increasing number of students who take completely online courses, there are also many who find online courses more engaging than the traditional courses.

Student opinions on elearning

These numbers will grow as students today are more inclined to use technology for everything, including education. There is a study that shows that students learn statistics online about 50% faster than those in traditional courses.

Since elearning is taking off, you can count us to help you with any elearning translation you might need. Because this form of education is global, language barriers will be a problem. Not only will courses be open to anyone, but if they come in more than one language, a lot more students will be able to use them. That, in turn, will give future students a massive source of courses which they will use to educate themselves more efficiently.