Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to craft ads in other languages


Advertising globally has been good to Jonathan Defoy.

The founder and CEO of BizTree, a Montreal-based business-in-a-box service, is running ads against about 100,000 search-engine keywords around the world.

BizTree’s focus is on one product: its $200 collection of 1,500-plus pre-written document templates covering everyday business transactions, and it sells most of them online as digital downloads. To get the word out, Mr. Defoy runs search ads that cater to clients in each market he’d like to be in.

“Don’t do one general campaign in English, all over the world,” he counsels. “It’s easy, but the bidding and the keywords are very different from one country to the other.”

The trick worked for him. Careful global targeting helps explain how he built his business into a 40-person operation, selling products in eight different languages to customers in every country in the world.

Globe-spanning platforms such as Google make international advertising look simple – perhaps deceptively so. In truth, it’s easy to send online ads around the world with a few clicks. Crafting the right ads is another trick entirely.

Here’s how to go about it.

Pick the right platform

Search-engine and social-network advertising is as appealing a prospect internationally as it is domestically. The same targeting features you use to determine whether a Google campaign will run in Victoria or Calgary can be used to send ads to users in Milan or Moscow.

Facebook, the master of fine-toothed demographic targeting, offers the same potential.
With that in mind, don’t assume those services are popular in every market you’d like to tap. (After all, Friendster – remember that? – is big in the Philippines.)

Google’s biggest blind spot is China – it ranks a distant second in the world’s most populous country behind Baidu, a homegrown competitor. Its foothold has been doubly precarious since its very public fallings-out with the Chinese government over cyber-security and censorship.

Baidu has launched a search-engine marketing tool that’s not unlike Google’s AdWords. However, while it’s making public-relations forays into the English-speaking world, Baidu’s software is none too friendly to anglophones.

In Russia, the leading search engine is a Russian-language site called Yandex, which controls the majority of the market. OnYoMo.com controls a sizable share of the Indian search market – though Google still dominates there – and across most other parts of Europe and Asia.

Plan the campaign

“You want to separate your countries,” Mr. Defoy says. “That’s extremely important.”
One thing he has learned, he says, is that languages and countries are not the same thing. An English campaign that works in Canada isn’t guaranteed to work in Australia, the United States or Britain. Consumers search for different terms in different cultures, and each has its own English idioms.
The same goes for French: Quebec French doesn’t play well in Paris, and vice-versa. (Mr. Defoy remembers discovering that the colloquial verb for saving money in Quebec – “sauvez” – was poorly received in France, where people say “epargnez.”)

Mr. Defoy suggests starting with one campaign, then copying it into other markets and adjusting it to fit as regional differences suggest themselves. Trial-and-error is a time-honoured part of the search-advertising process, and it’s no different when working globally.

Find the right terms

Search-engine advertising is all about clever wording. First, advertisers need to pick the keywords that their ads will appear next to when users search. Second, they must write pithy ads that are compelling enough to entice users to give them a click.

“Bid on the keywords in the local language as well as in English,” says Avi Goldfarb, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.

Even if you’re not planning to translate your entire web presence into other languages (and you shouldn’t, unless you can handle follow-up inquiries in that language), advertising in the local tongue will catch casual web searches, while English ads will attract users who are deliberately looking for services abroad.
Advertising in languages you don’t speak can be effective, but it’s important to flag in the ad the fact that the product is in English only, so as not to confuse buyers. An ad in Italian for books in English, for instance, might end with the words “available in English.”

Writing the ads calls for a native speaker, which can be found locally or through online freelancing sites. Translation software such as Google Translate can help you find basic keywords, and Google itself will suggest phrases you might want to advertise against. But fine-tuning the phrases and writing the ads is a task that requires a fine sense of tone and an awareness of cultural context, which only a native speaker can provide.

Reach out

Making yourself accessible is a critical follow-up to any advertising. If the website your ads point to is in English, and you’re hoping to reach a global audience, make sure the English is simple, straightforward, and accessible to an audience that will be speaking it as a second language.
A simple site layout and plenty of illustrations will help.

Mr. Defoy also suggests tactics that have helped bring his web presence closer to his international clients, especially once a firm has the staff available to work in different languages. Registering a local web domain (for instance, .co.uk in Britain, or .de in Germany) helps to appeal to locals, and improve ranking in local search engines.

Skype lets you purchase a local number in another country, and it will redirect the call to your own office.
“That way,” he says, “those customers have the feeling you’re serving them locally.”
It might be a Google earth, but it’s still up to business owners to make the connection.

More related to this story

Source: The Globe and Mail

Monday, April 25, 2011

Search Tools for Translators

by Marie-Pierre Lessard

Terminological research is undoubtedly the most time-consuming and least profitable task for freelance technical translators. Since most of us are paid a fixed rate per word, the faster we can find answers to our questions, the better! Search skills and specialized tools are therefore playing a crucial role in our work.

1. Major terminology databases

Quick to consult, funded by governments and professional organizations, they are often the most complete and reliable resources at hand.


2. Other terminological works

If your favorite term bases fail to provide an equivalent, the next fastest step is to consult smaller lexicological resources: paper and CD-ROM publications, specialized dictionaries and terms banks available on the Web, etc. Since individual consultation of each resource is almost impossible in a real work situation, we resort to a variety of computerized search tools.

2.1. It is advisable to build an authoritative library of works on your hard drive, indexable with full-text search tools like LogiTerm and dtSearch. Focus on collecting terminological documents in your areas of specialization, for instant search and retrieval during most frequent jobs.

2.2. In order to build this library, you need good leads. The following directories can be helpful.


3. Leveraging the World Wide Web as a public corpus

If your trusted references are still leaving you at a loss, the following tools might accelerate your Web search. Not all languages are covered. However, the most computer-savvy among you might be able to create new tools, similar in concept, but even more adapted to specific techno-linguistic needs. You can also congratulate the authors for their good work and ask for a translation/customization of the interface.


4. Google snippets and ranking algorithm

Thanks to Google's snippets and ranking technology, a simple keyword search often bears highly relevant results, which can be surveyed at a glance. Google snippets are often sufficiently clear and complete to provide a defining context or even a definition extracted from an online glossary.


5. A look into the future

The interesting thing about Google is that it gives a high ranking to listings in "authoritative" directories like the Open Directory Project. Since I began as an editor, I have noticed that my listings actually influence my own Google search results... In other words, the more we submit quality sites to widely acknowledged directories like the ODP, the more we are likely to find answers to our terminological questions in Google and probably other search engines.

As you might already know, search engines and directories do appreciate the input of information professionals like ourselves in the Web republic. High-quality link collections, blogs, and the like are instrumental to them.

While the creation of a specialized full-text search engine for linguists seems to be utopia (for financial and practical reasons), we can realistically hope that our contributions to Web directories in general, and the ODP in particular, will increase the efficiency of our work.
About the author: Through working in various technical and semi-technical fields, this Canadian French native has learned to be a terminologist as much as a translator. She is acutely aware of the limitations of current technology and constantly looking for new ways to go further, faster.

Source: www.translatorscafe.com

Developing Your Own Translation Software

Most companies at a certain stage in their development start looking at their options for implementing Information Technology systems that support their management, production, workflow, and other processes. This scenario applies to virtually any economic sector, and the translation industry is no exception here. Relatively often, a company’s managers are the ones who embark on creating such software on their own, confident that it is the most flexible and cost effective solution. Actually, they cannot be more wrong.

I decided to write this short article after many hours of conversations with managers and owners of translation agencies. Many were mesmerised by the vision of developing software that ideally suits their workflow processes and addresses all of their company’s needs. Moreover, the people I talked to were positive that creating your own system would be markedly cheaper than buying it, and that it could keep their company independent of third party suppliers. Admittedly, the prospects of an ideal and cheap solution are tempting, but are they achievable? Let us have a look now at a few aspects that need to be considered prior to embarking on any software development work.

The decision that is to be made on whether to create your own software should be preceded by a thorough analysis, e.g. for identifying the costs and stages of the process. The first and most crucial requirement is to develop very detailed documentation with lists of all the required solutions, functionalities, scoping for the system, etc. This exhaustive specification is the basis for the subsequent work that is to be performed by the programming team. It is also the reference for technology choices, user interface layout design, and workflow processes. Importantly, the specification should not be an outline of just a few pages, with vaguely formulated requirements. It should total more than 100 pages of detailed descriptions of all the components and methods for carrying out the subsequent workflow stages. Roughly speaking, the specification development work takes a few to several weeks.

The next thing to consider is who will run the project and be the interface between the client and the project team. The role of the designated person, who is to be the project manager, is to translate the initial vision into a structured system, and then into a set of components that are gradually carried out by the team. It should also be remembered that IT professionals use a highly specialised lingo and, therefore, the project manager also needs to translate requirements and functionalities that are agreed upon with the system concept owner into IT speak, which can be understood by those who are involved in writing the software code.

The next step in the project is the choice of technology. We should now start looking for an expert, usually charging high rates, who is experienced in the solutions available in the market. This person should, in line with the formulated needs and expectations, propose a technology that is not only good for the specific point in time, but one that also enables free development and software modifications in the future. Here, we should consider how the company’s expectations might evolve over time, whether the environment and market requirements are likely to change, and whether modifications or extensions are likely to be needed in the future. Mistakes in the technology selection stage may thwart the company later on in the project, and involve additional costs.

Programming team
Now we can move on to building a team of programmers. We need experts who have hands-on experience in the selected technology and can reliably carry out the subsequent stages of the project. It may not appear so, but this stage is quite difficult and risky. Just as in any other domain, the risk always exists that we may recruit people who do not meet our expectations. We need to be aware that although many may declare that they can do the job, they may in fact lack in the necessary experience and skills. The consequences of poor recruitment are dire for the company in the first place. Therefore, we need to come up with an effective method of candidate review and accept the costs involved along with the time needed to build a good and creative team.

Development process
When we have the necessary human resources in place, we can then proceed to the project delivery, which is the practical details of "code writing". The time needed for this stage depends on the level of complexity of the system that we are designing and the size of the programming team. We can expect, for the software that is used to manage translation departments and agencies, the period to be from a few to several months. This is also the period for the hours of consultations, fine-tuning of individual matters addressed by the initial specification, and searching for optimum solutions to problems as they emerge. Clearly, the more extensive and accurate the initial specification, the less time that should need to be spent on interaction with the project manager.

After several months of work, when the system is becoming fully formed, we can embark on the testing task. The new product is uploaded on test servers and its operation is simulated so that all the functionalities are within the tested scope. These tests are usually run at both the programming and user levels, so that they require the full commitment of the company’s staff. The testing is usually a painstaking and time-consuming process, and it may even interfere with the usual operations of the company. Still, we need to remember that the more accurate and meticulous we are at this stage, the easier and smoother the final go live will be.
The output of the testing work is a detailed list of components that require improvements. The product comes back to the programmers, where all the bugs are removed, and the expected changes implemented. This is how the next version of the software is developed, and the process is again followed by the same testing procedure. After a few such cycles have been repeated, we finally arrive at the system that makes the client happy and moves us to another stage, namely implementation and staff training.

Technical support
Finally, there are two aspects to be taken care of here: technical support and ongoing assistance to the staff, as well as the expansion of the system and the addition of new functions and capabilities that are deemed necessary as the work and company development progresses. This means that, after the system is implemented and all the work appears to be over, we still need to maintain a team that will solve the current problems as well as improve and further develop the software. The project becomes a continuous process, rather than a one-off effort.

In a nutshell, this is what the production of an office management system involves. Is it scary enough? Obviously, when approving a project of this magnitude, we should consider that both the costs and time needed to develop and implement the system are from a few to several times the time and cost of purchasing a ready-made solution. The company must increase its staff head count, be committed in terms of resources and time, and provide the conceptual input in the subsequent stages of work so that in some undetermined future (a year or two) it can use its own, not necessarily perfect, product. Above all, it should be remembered that the decision as to whether to create one's own system primarily involves risks, e.g. that the resources and funding for completing the project run out, and that the final product is quite different from what we first conceived.

About the author: Andrzej is a co-owner and managing director of LIDO-LANG Technical Translations of Krakow, Poland. One of the inspirers and authors of the translation company management system (XTRFTM Translation Management Systems – http://www.xtrf.eu/.)

Source: http://www.translatorscafe.com/

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Mystery of Language

by Pocholo Peralta

‘Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own.’
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

‘Accent is the soul of a language; it gives the feeling and truth to it.’
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Language is a vast field of study and I think that is so because it’s a mystery. You’ll have an idea of what I’m trying to convey as we go on. We’ll dwell more on language as a general concept rather than specific languages e.g., English, Chinese, etc. The Bible tells us that there was only one language before God punished the Babylonians and made them speak in multiple languages ‘to confuse them’. That is what Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, might be proving inadvertently (his study is scientific and non-religious).

His study suggests that the world’s 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. His study is also consistent with the prevailing view of the origin of modern humans, known as the “out of Africa” hypothesis.
According to the LOTH thesis, ‘thought and thinking are done in a mental language, meaning, in a symbolic system physically realized in the brain of the relevant organisms’. I don’t want to get philosophical here so go to 123HelpMe.com if you’re interested:

Kinds of Languages

I. Auditive or Spoken
There are approximately 3000-6000 languages that are spoken by humans today.

II. Visual Languages
The Written Language

Have you realized that the written language is more active now than the spoken ones? Technology is causing that. As days go by, more and more people are using the Internet, mobile phones (texting), and other hi-tech gadgets for correspondence rather than talking in person. As a coincidence and cause, people are getting more separated so the situation is somewhat being forced. Tunku Varadarajan’s suggestion in the Daily Beast illustrates this point by suggesting that the next G20 meeting be done by eMail!

a. Programming Languages

These are the languages used by computer programmers -and ironically now it seems, by ordinary netizens and people. Most netizens use their self-made codes for personal messages, specifically in phone texting and instant messengers, so we could say that their own language was programmed.

b. Sign Language

There are sign languages for the handicapped, sportsmen, military, and who knows what else.

Mind Language

There’s also the mysterious language called mind-reading. It’s a known fact that some people can communicate with eye contact only. I sometimes do. I remember an incident where I noticed a street vendor was staring at me with terrified eyes. I knew that he was trying to tell me something which I didn’t get. I just knew that I should shut up. After about a minute, he told me that the person passing by was a dirty undercover cop. Then I got it. The vendor thought that I was looking for street drugs and he was afraid that the undercover will hear us talk! I laughed and told him I wasn’t looking for ‘stone’ (street drug) anyway and thanked him for his effort.

There are still lots of mysterious correspondences which I’ll try to write about. Do you know of any?

Death of Dialects and Languages

Another Case of a Dying Language

The Mexican language of Ayapaneco is another one at risk of extinction. Only two people can speak it fluently now but they refuse to talk to each other just because of mutual avoidance! What a tragicomedy.
The dialect of the Philippine province of Zambales is Ilocano and I believe it’s dying. I handled a public computer shop there and the children playing video games aren’t speaking their own dialect anymore -they’re speaking the national language Tagalog instead so what can we expect is that the children of these children wouldn’t be speaking their dialect at all anymore.

And I wonder how many more provincial dialects are dying this way.

The Degeneration of Language

In the Philippines, we use a corrupted version of English we call ‘Taglish’ (tagalog-english). It was alright with me until the phrase ‘wait lang’ began to be used. ‘Lang’ in Tagalog (the Philippines’ national language) literally means ‘just’ as in ‘just a minute’. So if we translate ‘wait lang’ literally, it would mean ‘just wait’. The upper-class of Philippine society was where that phrase originated and that was acceptable until illiterate and street people started using the phrase. Even their children say that to them!
I might sound hypocritical but I don’t think illiterate and impoverished people should pretend to be ‘class’ by using that phrase. In the first place, wouldn’t it be more polite to say ‘wait please’ instead of saying ‘just wait’?

Here’s a question for musing: did moral degeneration and technology (textese or mobile lingo) cause language degeneration? Keep in mind that I’m not talking about any native language but language in general.
Poch Peralta is a freelance writer and gives unique news and tips on Social Media and Technology at his website on http://pochp.wordpress.com/

The Birthplace of Human Language is Africa

Is Africa the birthplace of human language? That's the claim made in a new paper by a University of Auckland evolutionary psychologist who traced the evolutionary origin of human language to Africa - the continent that also happens to be the place where humanity got its start.

Linguists have faced myriad challenges tracking the evolution of languages as they spread around the globe. The most common tack has been to investigate and compare differences in the development of word and grammatical structures. But the paper, published by Quentin D. Atkinson in the journal Science, instead focuses on the study of consonants, vowels and tones - phonemes - which form languages. In doing so, Atkinson claims to have found repeating themes within the 504 languages that are currently spoken around the world.

As he sought for a way to unlock the puzzle surrounding the origin of human language, Atkinson said there were a couple of clues that convinced him to look at phonemes.
In an email interview with CBSNews.com, he pointed to a 2007 paper that appeared in the journal "Language" showing that small populations tend to have fewer phonemes, which is what is required to generate a serial founder effect. He also was influenced by work done by other researchers who examined computer models of cultural evolution which predicts the same effect.

What he found was that as our ancestors began to migrate from sub-Saharan Africa, it affected the number of distinct sounds that got used. The upshot: the greater the distance that humans traveled out of Africa, the fewer number of phonemes were detected in the languages they spoke. So, for example, English has about 45 phonemes, while some African languages have twice as many.

Atkinson's sleuthing places the so-called mother tongue that would have been spoken by people in Africa sometime between and 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. That would coincide with a concomitant burst in human creativity, which expressed itself in the development of cave art as well as the use of more advanced tools to hunt animals. Although Atkinson doesn't go that far, it does suggest a link between language and the emergence of symbolic culture in Africa, such as the appearance of beads, ornaments, patterns scratched into rocks.

To the extent that language can be considered an example of cultural evolution, Atkinson's paper notes that the findings "support the proposal that a cultural founder effect operated during our colonization of the globe, potentially limiting the size and cultural complexity of societies at the vanguard of the human expansion."

Unfortunately, there's not enough evidence to to zero in any further on the geographic "ground zero" where language might have first originated in Africa.

"The method can only really point to sub-Saharan Africa in general," according to Atkinson.
Source: http://www.macedoniaonline.eu/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Koreans Embrace e-Learning

A recent survey by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the National IT Industry Promotion Agency showed that the government's efforts to promote e-learning are already beginning to bear fruit. Since 2004, when the government first established a legal framework to nurture the e-learning sector, the field has grown at an average rate of nearly 10 percent. In 2010 it was worth 2.25 trillion won, a 7.4 percent year-on-year increase.

The number of businesses operating in the e-learning sector posted a 13.2 percent increase to 1,549. In particular, many publishing companies are looking to e-learning as a lucrative opportunity and are putting more and more textbooks and reference books online. The number of employees in the e-learning sector rose 3.5 percent to record 23,468; however, 43.6 percent of all businesses surveyed cited a labor shortage as an obstacle to business activities in this area. This suggests training programs are needed.

Of individual respondents aged 3 or older, 49 percent had taken advantage of e-learning programs in 2010. E-learners accounted for 74.4 percent of the primary and secondary students and 41.2 percent of the respondents in their forties-this last figure was up 9.5 percent from 2009. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents used e-learning to study foreign languages, and the Internet was the most popular method of delivery as opposed to broadcasting or mobile devices.

Of the businesses in the survey with at least 300 employees, 62.8 percent had made use of e-learning for a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent. Businesses used e-learning mainly to educate their employees about job duties (90.5 percent). Of those businesses that had adopted e-learning, 55.1 percent reported a cost savings.

The number of educational institutions that use e-learning increased slightly to 81.4 percent. These now include 88.7 percent of primary schools and 79.7 percent of middle schools. Meanwhile, 77.6 percent of government and public agencies had adopted e-learning as of last year, including all Korea's central government ministries.

In March MKE announced a revised plan to promote the e-learning sector. The new plan aims to improve the business environment, advance the technology, nurture skilled personnel, encourage the wider adoption of e-learning, and open up overseas business opportunities.

Source: MKE

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Localize your website for a global audience

In this four-part series, we'll look at the steps involved to create a global website for your business
So you’d like to bring your business to the world – and the world to your website. It’s a tempting proposition, alright: On one hand, there’s an increasingly wired world out there, waiting to do business with you. On the other, there’s a whole micro-industry of services that specialize in “localization” – the art of taking a website, and customizing it for a foreign market.

Of course, it’s never quite that easy. Translating a website involves more than simply translating the text, and navigating the woolly world of translation services can be a bracing experience. But it can be done – if you keep a few points in mind to start with.

Translation ain’t what it used to be:
These days, localizing a website has as much to do with the website’s technology as its words and pictures.
“Everybody assumes it’s going to be easy,” says Emre Akkas, one of the founders of GlobalMe, a Vancouver-based company that specializes in tailoring websites for global audiences. However, he says, the translation business has become a lot more complicated than it was when it dealt primarily in passing documents back and forth.

Some businesses try to do localization on the cheap: Taking the text of their website and handing it off to a translator, in the hopes of plugging the finished text back in. But not all languages make this a straightforward process. For instance, languages like Arabic and Hebrew read from right-to-left – and it’s a matter of hitting the right-justify button on a word-processor: The entire layout of the page needs to be reorganized. Translated text can also take substantially more space than the original, says Mr. Akkas, which can further complicate the task of laying out a page.

One critical question is whether the website is built on a content management system (or CMS) that supports multiple languages. Some popular CMS systems, like Drupal and WordPress, support localization, but other, older legacy systems do not. If the software that underpins a website doesn’t gracefully accept multilingual content, the task can quickly become nightmarish.

Also, remember that localization doesn’t just mean languages: “It’s also taking into account people using all these smart phones,” says Tim Richardson, a professor of marketing at Seneca College in Toronto. “All e-commerce is m-commerce.”

Other markets – especially in Asian countries – have an even higher rate of mobile adoption than the west, says Mr. Richardson. Especially in those markets, it’s doubly important that a localized website be mobile-friendly.

Translate with care: In global cities, perched on a small world, it’s not hard to find people who speak the language you’re looking to translate into. This is a double-edged sword: An abundance of native speakers can make spotting a qualified translation service that much harder. The advent of the Internet, which collapses geography, only complicates matters.

(One call to a translation firm, whose website listed a number and address on Toronto’s Queen Street, was patched directly through to China, according to the baffled-sounding employee who answered the phone.) In Canada, translators are frequently freelance operators, who work either on their own, or in networks or with agencies. For instance, GlobalMe, Mr. Akkas’ firm, employs a core staff of 8, and uses a trusted network of translators as they’re needed for different projects.

Canadian translators and agencies are certified – and sometimes referred to clients – by groups like the Language Industry Association, or AILIA, which certifies its members’ credentials. The acronym, fittingly, is bilingual. Its chair, Ann Rutledge, says that members can usually provide references to vouch for their quality, but, as a matter of professional practice, tend not to divulge their clients or want to appear to benefit from their intellectual property.

The time-honoured practice of following word of mouth is widely recommended as a way of finding a proven translator. Whether to trust native-speaking friends and colleagues with translation tasks is another question, though. Native speakers are no more guaranteed to be good translators than every anglophone is guaranteed to be a good copywriter.

“It’s a very competitive field, and there’s a lot of nonprofessionals out there,” says Ms. Rutledge. “Bilinguals are not translators.”

Others are more gung-ho. Mr. Akkas suggests that friends and colleagues who speak the language you’re looking for are useful for double-checking finished products. And Prof. Richardson, who teaches courses on global marketing to learners from around the world, enthusiastically recommends international university students as a resource to draw on.

Should you localize in the first place?
Before you get out the English-Mandarin dictionary, consider one important caveat: Businesses should think twice about appearing to promise more than they can deliver.
“If your website’s in a different language, then you need to be able to service people in that language,” says Avi Goldfarb, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.
After all, a customer reading a website that’s written in, say, Korean, would be forgiven for assuming that the website’s owners would be able to respond to e-mails and answer telephone enquiries in Korean as well.
Translating a website can be a pricey proposition, running from between 7 and 20 cents a word, with full localization running anywhere from the mid-hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, especially if you’re looking at multiple languages.

Rather than translate your whole website, Prof. Goldfarb suggests that the best approach is to focus on advertising in different languages using Google’s AdWords. Online ads can affordably catch a customer’s attention in their first language, then direct them to an English-language website. Written in accessible language, and plentifully illustrated, an English site doesn’t promise more than your business can deliver. Attracting clients while projecting realistic expectations is good business for everyone.

The series continues next Monday. Other Stories can be found on the Web Strategy section of the Your Business website.

Source: The Globe and Mail

by Ivor Tossell
Special to Globe and Mail Update
Last updated

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wordfast Anywhere Now Features Support for Scanned PDFs

News Facts
  • The world’s second largest provider of translation memory technology announced support for scanned PDFs in the latest version of its web-based TM tool, Wordfast Anywhere.
  • Wordfast Anywhere is the industry’s largest and fastest growing FREE and confidential web-based TM tool with over 10,000 registered users worldwide.
  • Utilizing server-side OCR technology, Wordfast Anywhere users are able to upload and convert scanned PDFs to RTF format for translation.
  • Wordfast Anywhere is now the only major professional TM tool on the market to support scanned PDFs.
Supporting Quote
Kristyna Marrero, Wordfast’s Director of Sales and Marketing, stated: “We are extremely excited about this new release of Wordfast Anywhere, which gives our users the ability to handle a source format previously not supported by commercial CAT Tools. We would like to thank all of our users whose continued support and feedback is what drives the development of our products.”

Supporting Resources
About Wordfast
Wordfast LLC is the world's second largest provider of translation memory software solutions. The company currently has over 25,000 active customer deployments in the marketplace. Driven primarily by the positive reviews of users and industry experts, Wordfast's client base has grown to include leading organizations such as the United Nations, NASA, McGraw-Hill, and Nomura Securities, a wide array of educational institutions, and thousands of independent translators. For more information, please visit http://www.wordfast.com/


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Does Facebook Really Help Business?

There is no shortage of hype around social media, especially for the space’s most dominant player, that 500 million user-strong behemoth called Facebook. For businesses of all shapes and sizes, the need to jump on the social Web bandwagon is pretty much a given at this point. Indeed, more than 70% of small businesses use Facebook, according to a recent Merchant Circle survey.

While the perceived urgency of getting on board is clear, what’s less obvious to businesses is whether or not social pays off. Of course, the question of what social media ROI even means varies across different types of businesses, all of whom have different goals in mind for their social marketing strategies.

For most e-commerce-based businesses, the use of Facebook is not translating into cash, at least according to a recent report from Forrester. Of the 24 companies interviewed, only 7% cited social networking as one of their most effective sources of customers. Affiliate programs, organic search traffic and even offline advertising scored higher than social. By far the most effective channel was paid search marketing, which 90% of respondents put in their top three biggest sources of customers.

Is it just a matter of time? Not so fast. As the report points out, paid search marketing was viewed as effective pretty much from the beginning. Seven years in, shouldn’t Facebook be driving e-commerce by now? The businesses surveyed reported a 1% click-through rate on Facebook posts, which pales in comparison to the 11% average click-through rate seen with good old-fashioned email marketing.


Some Hope For Small Businesses

The report leaves hope for certain types of businesses, who it says may be in a better position to make money from their Facebook presence. Among them are what they call “small pure plays”, small businesses for whom “Facebook is the 2011 version of Yahoo Merchant Solutions or eBay ProStores.”
Because the online sales of these sellers are often generated by their own word-of-mouth advertising and because Facebook is essentially their eCommerce platform, it is not uncommon to hear of 100% of the online revenues of such sellers coming through Facebook.”

For small businesses, using Facebook for their e-commerce needs frees them from some of the administrative headaches of hosting their own solution, not to mention the lower cost of entry (free). Indeed in the Merchant Circle report we cited above, nearly 37% of small businesses named social networking profiles as their most effective marketing method, second only to search engine marketing.
“For such small businesses, it can be more cost-effective to direct customers to one’s fan page on Facebook rather than invest in setting up one’s own website,” the report said. “Local businesses or offers are particularly suited to Facebook as well because individuals often have other local friends in their online social networks.”

Source: Facebook is Great, But Does It Make Businesses Any Money?

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  2. Social Commerce And The New Rules For Local Businesses
  3. Facebook the Most Dangerous Social Tool For Businesses
  4. Easier Online Marketing for Local Small Businesses with Wishpond
  5. Survey Finds Local Marketing Dollars Go To Facebook Places Over Foursquare, Groupon

Friday, April 1, 2011

Japanese Earthquake Highlights the Need for Multilingual Communications

No matter how well-prepared a country is, and no matter how advanced its infrastructure and technology, no nation could have anticipated the devastation wrought by the recent tsunami and series of earthquakes in Japan. In the race to respond to urgent needs in the aftermath of a disaster, communication across languages is critical.

When disaster strikes, there is always a need to communicate across languages both for internal and external purposes. Within a country’s borders, relief workers must make sure that critical safety instructions can be understood by members of linguistically diverse populations. Like many economic powerhouses, Japan is a “pull country” for immigrants. More than two million foreigners – hailing from countries like Brazil, China, Korea, Peru, the Philippines, the United States, and Venezuela – live and work on Japanese soil. Whenever a disaster takes place, individuals in other countries begin trying to reach their loved ones in the affected location, generating an influx of communications in other languages.

Given the need for language services support, the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) is serving as a central point of contact for requests for interpreters and translators.  The JAT is also welcoming volunteer interpreters to contact them.  Even if you don’t speak Japanese, if you speak one of the languages of the countries listed above, you might be able to help.  In times of emergency, “relay interpreting” is quite common.  In this type of interpreting, a Spanish<>English interpreter renders the words of a Venezuelan worker in Japan into English, whereupon an English<>Japanese interpreter transfers the information into Japanese. In some cases, the second interpretation might not even be needed – for example, if a Japanese doctor speaks English and has a Korean-speaking patient, a Korean<>English interpreter might be sufficient to assist with critical and potential life-saving language support.

Communication with the outside world also depends heavily on the availability of language services. Government officials count on interpreters to communicate with points of contact in other countries, and journalists rely on interpreters and translators to convey updates from government spokespeople.  Due to dangerous travel conditions, interpreters cannot easily be dispatched to the scene, which makes people resort to creative techniques to communicate the information. A journalist from ABC news this morning was unable to secure an interpreter in order to interview people on the ground.  So, even though she spoke minimal Japanese, she carefully pronounced phonetic versions of the translations out loud to the victims she was interviewing, then sent the recordings back for translation of their responses, so that the responses could be provided in English in time for the show to air.

With the wide array of language technologies available – including iPhone apps to easily access interpreters via telephone from anywhere in the world – language services are easier to obtain than ever before, from a computer, a telephone, or even a handheld device.  However, governments must seek these services out in the development of their disaster preparedness plans. Language service providers must also step forward to make these possibilities known.

As a country that is home to many large companies that export their products throughout the world, Japan has a very important role in the language services industry.  Japan is also home to 594 translation and interpreting companies. If past charitable giving and relief efforts in Haiti are any indication, translation and interpreting suppliers will no doubt come forth to support their Japanese customers, vendors, and colleagues. What can you do today to help Japan?  Contact the JAT, donate to the Japanese Red Cross, or contact your charity of choice.

  • The Japanese Association of Medical Interpreters (JAMI) has set up a call center specifically to help out in the disaster.
  • The International Medical Interpreter Association (IMIA) has built a Disaster Relief Database. This international effort lists interpreters in many different language combinations and sends the information periodically to 20 non-profits around the world, including the Japanese Red Cross.
  • Translators without Borders announced that it is ready to assist with requests for translation related to the disaster from humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Source: Common Sense Advisory Blogs
Posted by Nataly Kelly on March 14, 2011  in the following blogs: Interpreting, Translation and Localization