Handling Expansion with eLearning Localization

german expansioneLearning translation and localization has many different components. In previous posts, we’ve provided a broad range of tips that touch on these different components for text, audio, video, and graphics. Recently, we noticed an issue happening client courses, and we wanted to help with this challenge: text expansion.

After translation of the source (English), there is usually a much greater amount of text. How much depends on the language combination. Here are a few examples:

  • Most Romance languages (French,Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian) expand 15-20 percent.
    • Example: Please = Se il vous plait (French)
  • Some Germanic languages (German, Danish, Dutch) are known for their compound words, where they combine several small words into a larger one.
    • Example: Motor vehicle liability insurance = Kaftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (German)
  • Some languages contract (character languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). Though the number of characters might decrease, the horizontal and vertical space needed may increase as characters themselves take up more space.

Expansion is tricky, but before it becomes a problem, let’s come up with a solution! Here are some options to help with this potential challenge:

  1. It is great to anticipate potential issues before the localization process begins and be proactive. We like to tell eLearning developers to create content with localization in mind. Anticipate that the course will need to be localized in the future. Therefore, when creating the course, add extra space in text boxes/text areas to allow room for expansion.
  2. If there is a lot to say about a particular subject, try not to cram all of the information onto one slide. A text-heavy English slide will be very hard to localize. Translated text might not fit! Remember the idiom “Two heads are better than one”? Think about this when putting together slides: two slides with less text are much better than one crowded slide for localization.
  3. Look at the font sizes used in your course. You never want fonts to be too small. A learner might not be able to read it! Therefore, there are limits to how small your course fonts can be. It is a great idea not to use your smallest font for your English content. Therefore, the font size of translated content can be reduced to make room for expansion. (Note, font size character languages might need to be a few points larger so they are readable!)
  4. Sometimes text is placed on top of images or graphics (example: buttons). Translated text may not fit. In this case, images can be re-sized or font sizes reduced (within style guidelines). These issues may be identified during the localization process. Recommendations will be made by the localization team, and we will work with the client to arrive at a solution.

There are a lot of nuances to the translation process. As a leading provider of turnkey eLearning localization solutions, LinguaLinx is here to help!

LinguaLinx at the 2015 HPBExpo!

hpb exhibitorSomething’s cooking next week in Nashville! Cue in the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue (HPB) Expo in the Music City, which opens on March 4th, 2015. Billed as “North America’s largest indoor-outdoor living showcase,” the expo is a great meeting place for industry manufacturers and suppliers to show their latest products and innovations and connect with customers.

Where does LinguaLinx fit into all of this?

“We’ve been warming up to the idea of exhibiting at the HPBExpo for the past few years,” says Jim Maziejka, Director of Sales. “LinguaLinx works with several leaders in this industry on translation, and this expo offers a great opportunity to establish and develop more relationships.”

So, we will be exhibiting this year at Booth #937!

Indeed, language is very important in all facets of communication from marketing materials to product packaging, manuals, assembly instructions and warning labels. If you are marketing or distributing your product internationally, quality language translation can help communicate your brand’s message, instructions and safety precautions in a language that customers understand.

Nicole Savage, Business Development Specialist, is one of the LinguaLinx team members attending the expo. “I work with a lot of my clients to help translate their MSDS, safety, and warning labels into a variety of languages. I hope to share my experiences with attendees at the expo and learn about how LinguaLinx solutions can meet their needs.”

Her teammate, Caitlin Nicholson, another Business Development Specialist, will be joining her. She agrees with Nicole and adds, “It is important, too, to not ignore language diversity in the United States when it comes to safety. Beyond this, from a marketing perspective, a lot of the products on display at the expo are new and innovative. We’re hoping to help companies market them all over the world with translation!”

Of course, both young ladies are excited to explore Nashville. As Willie Geist said on the TODAY show, “Nashville, man. That’s the place to be.”

See you next week!

Don’t Fail at Labeling and Packaging Translation!

only pukeYou’ve seen them. You’ve heard about them. You’ve laughed at them. Yes, we are talking about packaging translation fails. However, when it comes to translating your packaging and labels, it is no laughing matter. Bilingual packaging is now in demand with the growing Hispanic market in the US as well as the demand for products in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and beyond!

Accurate translation of your labels and packaging instructions can affect your business in many ways. First, presenting important information to your customers in their native language increases the appeal of your brand. Second, it helps with compliance. There are legal regulations in place for packaging and labeling. These vary from continent to continent and country to country. Here are three major examples:

  • Europe: Did you know that the European Commission issued a new Food Information Regulation (FIR) that introduced new stipulations that make food and nutrition labeling mandatory? [There’s a great Infographic that explains it for you here.] One important component is that information should be presented in a language understood by consumers. This may mean translating into one or more of the 24 official and working languages of the European Union.
  • Canada: The Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act (CPLA) outlines Canada’s labeling and packaging requirements. Highlights include providing certain information in English and French as well as converting units to the metric system. The Province of Quebec has additional mandates for bilingual labeling.
  • Mexico: By law, all labels on packaging must be translated into Spanish. The metric system is used. As of 2014, all nutrition contents and caloric content must now also be in Spanish on pre-packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Does this seem overwhelming? Cue in a language service provider like LinguaLinx.  We’re a fun and lively bunch, but we know how important it is to take translation seriously. It is important for the health and safety of your consumers and also for the integrity of your brand. We use in-country native speakers as linguists so they are well-versed with the laws and regulations for labeling and packaging in their countries.  We also have a desktop publishing team that works with whatever design file format you currently use.

Types of projects you might look to have translated include:

  • Care labels (for clothing items, etc.)
  • Retail packaging and inserts
  • Food and drink labels
  • Hazard or warning labels and important safety information
  • End user instructions, handling, and warranty information

Stay off of those “Translation Fails” lists and give us a call!

Tips for Finding a New Translation Vendor

switching LSPsThe New Year is well underway, and as you (hopefully) maintain your New Year’s resolutions, why not look at your relationship with your current language service provider (LSP)? Are you happy with your vendor, or have you thought about switching it up? Sometimes, a vendor becomes complacent. You’ll notice missed deadlines, poor translation quality, or lack of communication with your account manager. It is hard to make the switch – we understand! It’s like being unhappy with your job; you might not love it, but it’s easier than looking for a new one. Starting over with a new vendor may seem aggravating, but if your English content is important to you, it should be equally important to be satisfied with your translated content. Don’t let passiveness be an excuse. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and the end result will be an improvement.

Here are some tips for you when looking to make the switch. It is a great idea to get a relationship with your new LSP started on the right foot. Some topics you might want to bring up include:

  • What went wrong: It’s never great to dwell on the past, but letting your new vendor know about old issues puts your concerns at the forefront. Then, we can highlight and focus on these particular touch points. Your goals become our goals. We want those concerns to disappear!
  • Translation memory: Your translation memory (TM) is yours – you can take it with you wherever you go. You may not want to lose the leverage that you’ve built with your old vendor over time. If that’s the case, we can continue to use and expand upon your TMs.
  • Style guidelines and glossaries: If you have style guidelines in place for communication such as font sizes, margins, etc. and also a glossary of key terms used, supply them. We can continue to use and build upon these to keep consistency in your communication.
  • Quality control: Most of the time, organizations look to make the switch due to poor quality. We like to throw in this important disclaimer; apply this to the previous two bullet points! If quality was a key concern with your last vendor, it is beneficial to have us review your glossary and style guidelines. We can evaluate them and see if they need to be redone or updated. Of course, with these updates come updates to the TM to make sure these edits are incorporated into each project from now into the future.
  • Talk about the process: With each vendor, there is good and bad. (We try to avoid the ugly!) Talk about what worked and what didn’t work with your last vendor’s translation process. If one of your key issues was turnaround time, let’s assess how we can be more efficient, on the client side and the vendor side, to alleviate this problem.

Thinking about switching to LinguaLinx, but have questions? Contact us today. We’re ready to talk about it.

LinguaLinx at AHR 2015 Expo

“It was Chicago with its World’s Fair which vivified the national desire for civic beauty.”
– Daniel Burnham

Over a century ago, the world’s best and brightest converged in Chicago and brought their ideas and technology with them. Forty-six countries had pavilions at the fair, and historic firsts included the Ferris Wheel, plates for printing Braille books, a fully electrical kitchen with automatic dishwasher, and my personal favorite – Juicy Fruit gum!

Tough act to follow.

2015 AHR ExpoFrom January 26-28, Chicago will continue its tradition of attracting some of the world’s best ideas and technology at the 2015 AHR Expo held in McCormick Place. The world’s largest HVACR event has drawn 592 international companies and over 2,100 total exhibitors to introduce some of the newest and most exciting technology available.

As LinguaLinx exhibitor Caitlin Nicholson says, we’re very excited to exhibit at a show with such a rich international flavor. “I’ve read that the 2015 expo is already a record-breaking event, with more registrations and companies exhibiting than ever before. This is our first year, and Nicole and I are thrilled to be representing LinguaLinx at the world’s largest HVACR marketplace!”

Nicole Savage, who will be joining Caitlin, shares the same sentiment. “There will be a lot of companies in attendance that have an international presence, so the expo will be a great forum for us to network, meet potential clients, learn about their needs, and how we can support them with technical translations and other multilingual solutions.”

LinguaLinx brings translation capabilities in over 150 different languages wherever we go. Technology is also spoken here. Be sure to visit Caitlin and Nicole at LinguaLinx Booth #7457 in South Hall. We love to chat about communication needs and the unique challenges that technical material in other languages brings.

Great Tips for Graphics in Technical Communications

technical commIn technical communication, graphics and images play a crucial role. It is much easier to show how a complex, technical process or procedure works visually than explain it in paragraph form. Technical documentation is typically filled with screenshots, flowcharts, diagrams, drawings, etc. When it comes time to translate your materials, graphics need to be localized, too. As a language services provider with a multilingual desktop publishing (DTP) team, we wanted to provide you with a few tips on how to prepare and handle graphics localization.

1. Source Files

We always say to avoid embedding text in images, but in technical communication we see this quite frequently. To save our clients time and money, we prefer to have source files such as Photoshop or Illustrator files, rather than .gif, .jpg, or, .tif files as the text is not editable. Source files along with any fonts or style guidelines that you have for images are helpful. We understand source files get lost or are unavailable. If this is the case, we can recreate images or create text boxes to lay out translated text, but these steps add extra time and cost.

2. Screenshots

If screenshots are used in documents, we would need localized versions of the screenshots. It’s important that the text is translated correctly to match the various buttons and terms used in the software.

3. Linking Graphics

When you link, any change made to the image in Photoshop or another design program will automatically update wherever the picture is embedded. This helps when placing localized images back into the file and for future updates.

4. Text Expansion

Text can expand from 14-40%, depending on the language. This can create problems with layout, especially tables, charts, or other areas with spatial restrictions. These areas may need to be resized. If you allow for font size reduction, let us know what your guidelines are ahead of time. Or, you can use numbered callouts in your documents. Often, in the quoting process, the LinguaLinx team will point out potential areas where expansion may be a problem and will ask the client how you want this handled.

5. Listing Graphics

Providing a list of all graphics used in a document is extremely helpful. The list would include the names of the files, file types, if the image needs to be localized or left as-is, if the source file is available, page numbers, etc.

When working with an LSP on translation of technical materials, accuracy and timely delivery are of upmost importance. Graphics are an important part of this process, and any of these tips can be very helpful in saving time and money for you as the client.

Be Content with your Content Translation Process

contentAt LinguaLinx, we have our own processes in place for translation that we use to ensure quality and timely delivery of accurate translations. Our process is only a part of your process when it comes to translation of content. What do we mean by that? There are steps that you take as a client to create your content and get it ready for translation that start before meeting with a Language Services Provider (LSP) and happen after we deliver your files. All of this planning can help ensure a smoother process and a much more satisfying result!

Part 1: Meet Your LSP

Your LSP will be your partner for translating your content. Your content is important to you as it will be distributed to your target demographic and will broadcast your message, whatever that message may be. Identify and clarify your message before meeting with your LSP. Then, express this to us! A successful relationship between a client and a vendor involves great communication. What is the purpose of your content, and what are your goals and objectives with translation? What are your deadlines? What are you expecting for deliverables? The more we know, the better. It allows us to plan and also better meet your expectations.  We can also work with you to help advise and establish your objectives.

Part 2: Getting Ready to Translate

Sometimes, translation is thought of as an assembly line. Develop content, take that content and have it translated, deliver translations, process complete. However, more planning is important. What file types are you sending your LSP? Source files including text and images will greatly reduce cost and turnaround time. Do you have source files? If not, recreation might add onto the project.  Will you be sending all files for a project at once or in batches? Do you want all files delivered at once, or on a rolling basis? Another important question to ask: is the content final? Changes to the source content when the project has started will disrupt translation workflow.

Part 3: Content in Translation

This is our part. We have our own processes in place including translation, editing, and proofreading, post layout review, and internal quality assurance (QA). Your LSP may have questions during the process about clarifying items within the source content. Once completed, content is delivered.

Part 4: Let’s Review

Your files are back from your LSP. What’s next? Will your content be reviewed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)? In a previous post, we talked about reviewers and potential pros and cons. This is worth checking out. Whenever you have compiled feedback from your reviewers, send that feedback to your LSP who will take this into consideration in making revisions for final, approved content. If necessary, dialogue between reviewers and linguists can be facilitated to ensure a common language for future projects. After all, the content is yours, and you want to make sure content speaks your message, style, and tone, no matter what language.

Part 5: Distributing Your Content

Your content is back. It’s been reviewed. It’s (almost) perfect! Now, what do you do? There is a reason, or multiple reasons, why you had your content translated, and now it is time to put those into action. Will it be distributed to your employees via email, memo, or mail? Will marketing materials accompany a new product launch? In a way, this step goes hand in hand with pre-translation and your objectives. Why are you translating? Who are you trying to reach? How will you do it?  This is the action phase of your translation workflow process.

LinguaLinx Returns To CES in 2015!

CESMEME2015 (2)“Explaining CES to someone who hasn’t attended is like explaining particle physics to a house cat.”

This quote flashes on banner at the top of the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) website. Indeed, it is very hard to explain CES in 25 words or less, but after our experience at the show last year, the decision to return was quite simple!

“Last year was our first time at CES. We didn’t know quite what to expect.. and our experience definitely met and exceeded our expectations,” said Jason Beach, a Business Development Specialist at LinguaLinx. “We were surrounded by many representatives from companies eager to demonstrate their new products, and participants were equally excited to view them. We made a lot of valuable connections who were looking for a global marketing, translation, and localization partner.”

On January 6th through the 9th the curtain opens on the “Global Stage for Innovation” in Las Vegas, Nevada. It may be dry in the desert, but CES is an oasis for creativity, technology, and inventive new products.  The show is a great fit for LinguaLinx as it draws professionals in the consumer electronics (CE) industry from around the globe who want to showcase their latest products and technology. It’s all about networking and developing new business partnerships with innovators that have a global presence or aspirations!

Colin Melanson, a fellow Business Development Specialist, will join Jason to represent LinguaLinx at Booth 73874 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. They will be meeting and speaking with professionals in the industry to talk about how our multilingual services can help them thrive in the global arena.

“The consumer electronics industry is one of the largest and fastest-changing in the world today. Think about it, people spent more money on consumer electronics this past holiday season than any other gifts,” said Colin. “It’s extremely competitive, and we want to be able to help companies gain an advantage by helping them target a global market.”

Indeed, a lot of localization needs to be done. There is actual localization of websites, devices and software (UI, help, and documentation) as well as the translation of all materials and collateral.  We’ve got all of this covered!

The buildup to the conference has been great, from the Twitter backchannel (#CES2015) to the countdown on CEA’s blog. Now, it’s time for the show to start! Keynotes by Presidents and CEOs of Samsung Electronics, Mercedes-Benz, Ford Motor Company, Intel Corporation, and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will set the tone for each day of the conference. Catch up with us after the show to hear about how everything went, or follow LinguaLinx on Twitter (@LinguaLinx) or Instagram (lingualinx) to see a play-by-play.

Reasons to Localize Your Mobile App

iphoneDid you know that cell phone ownership among adults in the United States has surpassed 90 percent? Let’s take it a step further. The Internet and American Life Survey by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of these adults have smartphones. By 2017, 60 percent of Internet users in North America will own tablets, according to a Forrester report. But these trends are global, too. According to eMarketer, 2 billion consumers worldwide will have smartphones by 2016!

What do all of these facts and figures mean for you? The mobile audience is growing, and so, too, is the demand for localized apps. Here are some quick tips to localize your apps for an international audience.

  • When creating content, begin with the end in mind. The demand for localized apps is there; anticipate that your apps will be localized eventually. Therefore, write interface text with this in mind.
  • Let’s stick to talking about content. Text expansion is important, especially when translating content for an app. For example, text expands by 25 percent when going from English into Spanish. With an app, the space on the screen is often small. As with any source layout, white space is your friend. It will help to account for text expansion later on.
  • Also, when creating your app, think about your choices in graphics and images. What is culturally acceptable in one culture may not work in others. Some factors to consider are sensitivities surrounding religion, politics, or government. Poor choices of colors, icons, gestures, or maps may offend international users.
  • How will you export your content for translation? Then, once text is translated, how will your import it? Make sure you include all content that is part of the app (error messages and other pop-ups).
  • Is your software internationalized? Meaning, can it support foreign language characters, vertical text, left-to-right text, right-to-left text, local dates, times, and currencies?
  • Support materials also need to be translated such as online help instructions, product documentation, terms of use, and support.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to advertise! This includes marketing materials as well as app descriptions. For marketing content, transcreation might be the best route to make sure nuances in creative content are not lost in translation! (Pun always intended.)

When localizing your app, look to LinguaLinx as a partner. We can work with you to make sure your content is culturally appropriate for your target market, whatever country or region of the world. We will make recommendations on any changes that need to be made and will also perform linguistic and localization testing to make sure that the app is functional and the user experience is more than satisfactory!



Arabic Website Localization Tips

arabicThe top five languages of the Internet are as follows – English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese. There are over 135 million Arabic-speaking users. What makes this statistic extra significant is the growth rate; a 5,296.6% increase from 2000-2013! Yet, very few websites are directed toward the Arabic-speaking market. There are challenges associated with Arabic website localization, but with over 367 million users worldwide, you may want to accept the challenge.

Speak the Language

Like many other languages, Arabic has many dialects. Which one do you choose? Modern Standard Arabic, MSA for short, is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and is also taught in schools and used in printed matter. Twenty-seven countries list Arabic as their official language or co-official language. When looking at the linguistic component, translating your website into Modern Standard Arabic is probably the best way to go for reaching as many web users as possible. However, if you would like to reach specific regions, take it a step further and focus your marketing and advertising efforts using the colloquial Arabic spoken in that particular region.

Right to Left

Arabic is a right-to-left language which poses challenges in print layouts, and of course, in this case, web layouts, too. This affects the layout of the webpage and the user interface (UI) as well. Website text needs to flow in the proper direction, and elements of the web page need to be flipped. For example, navigation bars, headings, table columns, calls to action, and flow charts. It is important to make sure layout is fully localized. Arabic text also expands. Allow for this in your template so there is enough space in tables, buttons, and dropdown menus for functionality. An important step in this process is localization testing. After text is translated and the layout complete, have an Arabic linguist go through the site before it is live and test it for functionality and accuracy.

Image Selection

When localizing your website into any locale, it is important to take inventory of colors used, logos, and images to make sure they are culturally appropriate. There are several topics in Arabic cultural that are sensitive: religion, gender, sexuality, politics, and food. The Arabic world is very diverse, and some countries are more sensitive or conservative than others. Cultural consulting applies, as recommendations by native Arabic speakers can help decide what images to use or not use.

There are many components involved with successful Arabic website localization. We’ve only scratched the surface! It is important to find a localization partner who understands the culture, language, and technical components involved. Do you have questions or interest in Arabic localization? Contact LinguaLinx today.