A Visitor From Hungary at LinguaLinx!

Gabor (center) our visitor from Hungary, pictured here with Sean and Courtenay, two wonderful members of our Production Team, at Brown's Brewery, one of our favorite spots in Troy, NY.

Gabor (center) our visitor from Hungary, pictured here with Sean (left) and Courtenay (right), two wonderful members of our Production Team, at Brown’s Brewery, one of our favorite local spots in Troy, NY earlier this summer!

One of the great things about working with in-country linguists is that they are native speakers of the target language, and they have knowledge of cultural nuances that can help guarantee the most accurate translations possible. On the flip side, this means we don’t get to see each other in person on a regular basis. We use a variety of communication methods to work around the clock, across time zones and bodies of water to ensure that projects are completed accurately and on time.

Just recently, though, LinguaLinx headquarters had a visit from one of our favorite Hungarian linguists, Gabor. He was in New York City for an interpretation assignment, and did not want to miss the opportunity to drive a few hours up the Hudson River to visit us here in Troy!

Gabor works closely with one of our project teams that handles a large, multinational, direct selling client. Our relationship with this client began a little over 4 years ago and we handle about 20 languages for them on a regular basis, but sometimes more! We caught up with Gabor to hear his thoughts on the United States, upstate New York, and working with LinguaLinx while he was here.

In his time here, Gabor was able to explore New York City, New Jersey, and the Albany, New York area. His first impression of the United States was that it is much more colorful, well-organized, and bigger than Europe in a sense. From what he saw, he’d like to have the opportunity to explore more parts of the country. He enjoyed the views of the Hudson River in upstate New York, as well as the historical atmosphere of Albany and Troy. But of course, most of all, he enjoyed meeting the team members he interacts with on a daily basis.

“From now on, we can put a real person behind an email address, which makes this relationship more personal,” Gabor says. After all, our business is built around our passions: words, languages, people, cultures – and bringing all of that together!

Global Marketing Spotlight: Canada

Global MarketingDiversity is the language of commerce, and an increasing number of the world’s consumers are now located outside the United States. At LinguaLinx, we know that marketing to a global customer base may prove challenging, but definitely rewarding. Each month, we like to shine a spotlight on a different global market. Since we share a border that is 3,987 miles long (excluding Alaska), why not focus on Canada, our neighbor to the north? Here are some important key points to take into consideration when looking to market in Canada.

A Bilingual Nation

Because everyone speaks English, so it’s easy, right? Wrong. Canada has two official languages – English and French – as part of the Official Languages Act. Bilingualism is practiced at the federal government level, and both French and English have equal status in federal court. French and English are taught in schools. French is the official language of the Quebec province. A recent report by eMarketer titled “Focus on French Canada: Using Digital Channels for Marketing in Quebec” focuses on this topic. It is not a good idea to ignore French-speaking Quebec if you want to achieve marketing success in Canada. To really reach this demographic, it is important to translate your materials and localize them into French Canadian. It is a great step in building consumer loyalty for your brand. This should trickle down into your customer service efforts as well.

Everybody’s Doing It!

A lot of U.S.-based brands look to Canada as their first international stop due largely in part to proximity and preexisting awareness of the brand. Also, a lot of the population already speaks English. Global brands such as McDonald’s, Costco, and Wal-Mart have done very well. Lowe’s has been very successful since its Canadian expansion in 2007, as well as Crate and Barrel in 2008. Both brands were successful due to a slow but steady gradual expansion. If you are taking a look at Canada, do some research and see what brands are already there and what they did to be successful.

But Not Everyone Is Successful…

A recent example of a brand who has had a lackluster expansion north of the border is Target. After 18 months, the company has reported losses, but they remained committed to right the ship. Target is not the only one, either. Wal-Mart has been very successful in Canada, but they had to close their Sam’s Club stores, as they could not compete with Costco. When looking to do business in Canada, remember that it is a foreign country with its own regulatory requirements. Also, the cost of doing business is higher in Canada, with higher minimum wage and different taxes. Most importantly, consumer preferences are different in Canada. Each culture has its own nuances. Sometimes, expanding too quickly may also not work our in your favor. Target took a giant leap and opened 100 stores north of the border. It is important to be aware of this to make sure that your brand will be well received and wow a new customer base upon entry!

Lights! Camera! Video Translation!

Global MarketingVideos can be a very engaging way to reach potential customers. In a digital age, the need for multilingual audio and visual media is important to being competitive. According to YouTube, the site has over 1 billion unique users each month with 100 hours of video uploaded every minute. Here’s another statistic for you; 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US. What do these numbers mean for you? It means that video is a great medium to promote your brand to a global market.

Video is an important component for promotion, how-to videos, or eLearning and training courses. Did you know that there are over 7,000 languages spoken in the world today? Of those 7,000, over 100 are spoken in the United States! You’ve spent the time and the money creating these great videos – don’t let their meaning get lost in translation by other demographics! The spotlight is on you to make it happen.

Here are some options for you to audition:

Cultural Consulting

Will your video reach your target audiences in a culturally appropriate manner? As your translation and localization partner, an LSP will check icons, hand gestures, colors, symbols, etc. and make sure that these are proper in your target market.

Script Translation

If you have a video script, then this becomes super easy! We can translate each frame into your target language. Not only is the text translated, but localized, so that the tone is culturally appropriate for each market.


No script, no problem! We can transcribe your video content right down to the “umms” and “ahhs” (if you prefer.) Then, we can take that content and have it translated and localized.

Subtitle Engineering

Subtitle engineering is a great solution for video localization. Audio/visual programs become accessible to foreign language audiences without replacing the original soundtrack. Think foreign films at movie theaters! Your localization partner can take translated narration and place it into the video file. This also involves engineering for timing, as text expansion and contraction can mess with the timing of the source language.

Voice-Over Narration and Dubbing

Another option is to have your video dubbed with multilingual audio. Dubbing refers to the replacement of the voices of the actors shown on the screen with those of different performers speaking another language. You can help choose the right voice from a selection of samples, and then, with some time synching to match the English, you’re ready to go!

That’s a wrap! If you have any questions about how LinguaLinx can help you with your video localization solutions, contact us today. We’re ready for our close up!

Gaming Localization Part I: Translation vs. Localization for Gaming

Global MarketingThese two terms are popular in our industry; they are related, but not interchangeable. Translation involves expressing the sense of content (words, texts, etc.) into another language from source to target. Localization takes it a step further. It takes material created for one locale and makes it appropriate for another locale.

In terms of gaming, the goal of localization is to prepare your games for new locales. This involves many components. I’ve caught up with some of our translators to put together a comprehensive list of all of these components so that you are aware of what goes into localization.

  • Linguistic and cultural localization involves translating text and cultural references in such a way that the overall feel of the game remains the same, but it is still appropriate for each locale. This involves everything from the text on the box of the game, general marketing and PR materials for the game to spoken dialect of the characters through dubbing or subtitles. This involves script translation and also finding voice talent.  Some languages, such as Arabic, are read from left to right, so things like menus may need to be reformatted to read properly.
  • Hardware and software localization involves making sure hardware and software is compatible for each locale. Such things to consider here are color encoding systems; does your target locale use PAL, SECAM, or NTSC? There is also localization of the user interface and remapping of hot keys.
  • Legal localization comes into play since each country or world has its own age rating systems.  For example, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) regulates ratings in the United States and Canada while countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Oceania all have their own video content rating systems.
  • Graphics and music localization are always important. Graphics may contain characters in one language that may need to be localized into another. A lot of games allow players to choose their avatar, and these options might need to be localized to different regions to allow them to do so. Music preferences also vary across different regions of the world, as trends are different from place to place.

We’ve only scratched the surface! Stay tuned for a Part II: How to Ensure Gaming Localization Success.

25 Language Facts That You Might Not Already Know

Global MarketingLanguage is all around us. From birth, we are taught to speak the language of those around us in order to communicate. Some of us might learn another language, or several, later on in life. We spend our lives using languages day after day, but there are so many things about them that we do not know. While there are hundreds of facts about languages, some jump out as particularly interesting or very unique.

Since language is our business and our passion at LinguaLinx, we wanted to share some of these facts with you.

25. Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, has the largest alphabet with 74 letters.

24. The most translated document is Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by the United Nations. It has been translated into 321 languages and dialects.

23. In the United States, there is now almost 7 times the number of Vietnamese speakers there were in 1980.

22. Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken dialects of Chinese. Traditional and Simplified are written forms of the language.

21. South Africa used to have 2 official languages: English and Afrikaans. Now, there are 11: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.

20. The name of the Irish language is actually “Irish.” Gaeilge (Gaelic) refers to the name of the language in Irish. Irish is the name in English.

19. The Constitution of Bolivia recognizes 37 official languages, aside from Spanish, including the languages of Bolivia’s native indigenous nations. This is the most of any country.

18. The literal translation of the German word Kummerspeck into English is “grief bacon.” However, the meaning is the excess weight gained due to emotional overeating.

17. In Japanese, Tsundoku describes “the act of buying books and not reading them, leaving them to pile up.”

16. There are 381 languages spoken in the United States; about 169 are Native American languages

15. Persian is also the same as Farsi. There are so many former Iranian nationals and their descendants living in Los Angeles that it is sometimes nicknamed “Tehrangeles.”

14. In Vatican City, the directions for ATM use are in Latin: “Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundam cognoscas rationem.”

13. There is a single word in Russia, Zapoi (Запой) to describe a drunken bender.

12. Swedish was not the official language of Sweden until 2009. The usage of English became so prevalent that the government wanted to strengthen the status of Swedish!

11. It took the Greeks nearly 200 years to decide which official language – Demotic Greek or Ancient Greek (katharevousa) – to use. Demotic Greek won.

10. The popular phrase “Hakuna matata” (meaning “No worries”) from The Lion King is from Swahili.

9. Papua New Guinea has no less than 832 different languages!

8. The number 5 is pronounced “ha” in Thai, so 5555 is Internet slang for LOL.

7. In Indonesian, “Jayus” is a slang word for someone who tells a joke that is so bad, that you laugh because it is so unfunny. Such a word does not exist in English.

6. The word for turkey in Turkey is Hindi, which is an official language in India.

5. David Peterson, inventor of Dothraki and Valyrian for HBO’s Game of Thrones, is known as a professional ‘conlanger’- someone who has been hired to create languages.

4. There are 6 official languages of the United Nations.

3. Pope Francis tweets in 9 different languages.

2. There is no official language of the United States.

1. There are about 7,000 languages in the world.

Interpreting Interpretation

sign languageInterpretation is the oral form of translation. There are several different types of interpretation from consecutive to simultaneous to over-the-phone to video. What do they all have in common? LinguaLinx offers all of them. What makes them different, and which option is best for you? Keep reading.

Consecutive Interpretation

Think of consecutive interpretation as a conversation – both start with “c.” The interpreter waits until speaker is done speaking before relaying the message to the listener in the listener’s language and then back to the speaker in their language. Consecutive interpretation works best in small group settings or in one-on-one type situations. Common types of events include parent-teacher conferences, student testing, HR meetings, interviews, medical consultations, court depositions, and client-attorney meetings.  The downside to this type of interpretation is that it can take a long time when going back and forth between speaker, interpreter, and listener.

Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation happens as the speech is in progress, hence the term “simultaneous.” Have you ever watched a speech being given by a public figure on television with someone standing off to the side signing? That is an example of simultaneous interpretation. This type of interpretation works best for formal or large group settings such as courtrooms, employee trainings, diplomatic conferences, lectures, presentations, tours, or business and board meetings. (Usually when there is one person speaking to an audience.) Equipment such as wireless receivers, headsets, and microphones are typically involved to help the interpreter relay the message to the audience.

Over the Phone Interpretation (OPI)

The first two options we talked about are great for face-to-face events or events that are planned in advance. What happens when you need an interpreter in 24 hours or less? Some examples of these instances might occur if you have a conference call with an international contact or an ER patient in your hospital that you need to communicate with. We offer this service in over 100 different languages. The advantages to this type of interpretation are that it’s on-demand, no equipment to lease, set-up fees, travel expenses, etc. The disadvantages are that since the interpreter is not present in person, things such as context or speaker expressions might get construed.

Video Remote Interpretation (VRI)

This type of service uses devices such as web cameras, videophones, or other services such as SkypeTM to provide interpretation services for sign language or spoken language interpretation. The interpreter is usually offsite, hence “remote,” while the other two parties are located at together at a site. How does it work? This involves audio and video connectivity. In the case of American Sign Language (ASL), the interpreter would listen to the hearing participant and then convey the message to the deaf person via signing and vice versa. This also works for emergency room settings and on-demand situations, and cuts down on travel costs for interpreters.

It is important to make your message available in whatever language, no matter which method you choose. Interpretation can help ensure information is conveyed accurately and appropriately from one party to another.

Global Marketing Spotlight: India

global marketingAs you will read later on in this article, quite a few global brands are entering India this year. As a BRICS nation with the world’s second-largest population and ample room for growth, India continues to be a destination for brands looking to expand their borders. At LinguaLinx, we know that marketing to a global customer base may prove challenging, but definitely rewarding. That’s why we like to shine spotlights on different global markets. This month, we chose India. Why India? Here are a few reasons…

The Economy

India boasts Asia’s third largest economy and the tenth largest in the world. EY surveyed 500 foreign investors as part of the 2014 India Attractiveness survey and found that 50 percent planned on expanding their operations in India over the next year. They cite factors such as local labor cost, domestic market and availability of educated workforce as reasons for continued investment. They also feel that the outlook is good in this emerging market, as India’s economy will continue to grow and be a top manufacturing destination.

Big Brands Expanding Into India

Five global brands including Burger King and Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) are planning to enter India starting in 2014. In addition, PepsiCo’s Global Snacks Group, Lay’s, launched their largest integrated global marketing campaign ever in June 2014 starring globally recognized soccer (or football) star Lionel Messi. India is one of the targeted countries, and the campaign offers consumers the chance to engage with the brand by voting on new “Football Flavorite” flavors for a chance to win prizes.

An Increasingly Connected Population

India’s total number of Internet users increased by 37 million from 2011 to 2012, bringing the total to 137 million. The penetration rate is currently only 11 percent; imagine the possibilities as this increases! WeAreSocial points out that even with this low rate, India’s Internet population is still the third largest in the world behind China and the United States! Over half of India’s population is under 30 and most of their Internet users are under 35, meaning that the social media boom there is underway; there are over 60 million social media users! What does all of this mean for your business? India presents one of the largest (and fastest growing) online marketplaces in the world. It is a good idea to reach out to potential customers in India via your website and social media.

But it might not be that easy…

To say that India is diverse would be an understatement. There are up to 780 languages spoken in India, according to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI). Hindi is the official language of the government while English is used a lot for business. Each state in India has its own official language and regional languages as well. Six major religions are practiced there.  When talking about India, localization is key. As mentioned, most people speak English, which is an advantage, but not everything translates perfectly. If you target specific regions of India, pay attention to what languages are spoken there and translate accordingly. Also, be aware of the large number of religious holidays in India. Keep this in mind when planning business calls, meetings, or travel there.

The McDonald’s Example

A great example of a major global brand that is localizing its product and message would be McDonald’s in India. The fast food chain saw India as more than just another place to sell their product. They did their homework and figured out that it was better to invest time to eventually make money. The cow is sacred in Hinduism and Jainism, while Muslims do not eat pork. Much of the population in India is vegetarian. Most of McDonald’s menu in India, about 50 percent in fact, is vegetarian. In 2012, they opened their first vegetarian-only restaurant.  Their rival KFC has been in India for 18 years, and has just started to launch India-exclusive products, such as a potato burger, in order to compete. Both chains have also paid attention to the price sensitivity of India’s market and have rolled out value menus.

Lesson learned: Brands that tailor their products to Indian cultures and customs do very well. It is also important to pay attention to such things as spending habits.

We’ve only scratched the surface on India. For all of the diversity and challenges, there is also opportunity there as well. If you need help with your global marketing efforts in India, LinguaLinx has you covered. Contact us today.

Voiceover vs. Subtitling: Which to Use for eLearning Localization?

global marketingIt’s time to localize your e-Learning course. You have on-text and audio components. The text part seems pretty straight-forward, but what do you do with the audio? There are several considerations when localizing the audio component of your e-Learning course. As a leading provider of e-Learning localization solutions, LinguaLinx has solutions for you. Do you choose voiceover recording or subtitling? Let’s start by explaining the difference between the two and then looking at the pros and cons of each one.

Voiceover means re-recording the audio files into your target language. Subtitling involves adding subtitles to the narration of the course, and then replacing these subtitles with another language.

Pros and Cons of e-Learning Voiceover Recording

Adding multilingual voiceovers makes your localized course look and sound complete and professional. It is a great option when your course has a lot of on-screen text or multiple speakers in your audio files. There are also three different voiceover options to consider: off-camera narration, UN-style narration, and lip-synching (dubbing). Off-camera narration is most common in corporate training, and, along with UN-style, is the much more cost-effective than lip-synching. Lip-synching provides the most relatable audio component, but it also requires more work with timing and engineering, meaning more time and a greater cost.

On the other hand, though, voiceover recording is more expensive than subtitling your eLearning materials and you may want to match your studio-quality English recordings with similar quality for your localized versions. Also, voiceover recording involves translating a script. If the text expands, so might the length of the recording, which might make the voiceover talent have to speak faster. All of this affects audio synching and timing.

Pros and Cons of e-Learning Subtitling 

Subtitling is cheaper than voiceover production and does not affect the original audio track of your training course. Also, your learners may be able to understand the original audio, but they may not be able to read it – subtitling helps with this.

While it does not affect the audio track, however, subtitling affects the course visually in terms of screen space. Therefore, you have to try and keep the subtitles at about two lines apiece. Language expansion might make this more difficult. A lot of languages expand when translated from English, so while your English script might meet special requirements, the translation may not. Subtitling also becomes increasingly difficult with lots of onscreen text and multiple speakers as timing becomes very tricky.

Which is best for you?

Consider the following: expectations, budget, and quality. If your budget is lower, then you may want to look at subtitling. Also, look at the course itself. If there is a lot of on-screen text, voiceover might be a better option. How many speakers do you have in your course? When you start getting into 2, 3 or more voices, then subtitling becomes a challenge.

If you have a need for voiceover or subtitling for your e-Learning courses, contact LinguaLinx today.

Another version of this article ran on eLearning Industry. Access this version here.

Avoid Kinks In Your Translation Quality

watering hoseIt’s that time of year again – summer is here! Everything’s in bloom and the sun is shining. But the heat is on… to make sure your translation projects are completed accurately and on time! Translating your materials into different languages is a big step in planting the seed for your global marketing initiatives to help grow your business overseas. As a client, you might have concerns for your vendor about quick turnaround time, large volume projects, and accuracy. We have some tips for you to avoid these small obstacles so they do not become larger ones. Think of these obstacles as kinks in the hose as you water your garden; they can easily become unkinked! Here’s how:

1. Teamwork for quick turnaround time

The average linguist can translate about 2,000-3,000 words per day. That’s great – but what happens when you have a large volume of words that you needed yesterday? You have your own deadlines to complete a project for publishing, distribution, release, or general use.  As your multilingual solutions partner, LinguaLinx works with your deadline. Therefore, it is important that we collaborate to make sure projects are completed accurately and on time.

How do we do so? The short answer is planning – on both ends. As a client, communicate with your account manager ahead of time when you think a large project is in the pipeline. This allows us to align our resources. It is always good to be proactive, rather than reactive. In order to turn around a project quickly and efficiently, communication between the client, account manager, and project management team is key!

For a real-world example of a large project with a tight turnaround, check out our case study on how we translated 2.4 million words in 20 days!

2. Many linguists equals many voices

We already mentioned translator capacity. What happens if you need 20,000 words completed in 2 days? We would have to put together a team of linguists to complete this. Don’t fret about consistency. We know that every person has their own style and voice, and your brand’s style and voice should not be lost because of this. How do we un-kink?

First, it is always great to have up-to-date, relevant reference materials. Recently, a team of linguists had some questions about business terms during the translation of materials for a first time client. The issue was that certain economic terms can mean different things in different contexts. The client was able to provide us with reference material in a timely manner to make sure we used their preferred terms. Providing this up front will help, too.

Second, translation memory (TM) not only helps reduce cost, but also helps to ensure consistency and efficiency over time. MemoQ picks up things such as grammar and punctuation. Translation memory is updated real time, so a rich database of terms is constantly being built. Eskimos have about 50 ways to say snow, and we want to make sure that we have the right way. Once a correct term is used, it will continue to be used until you say otherwise!

Third, your work is not just translated, but edited and proofread by another linguist. We try to use the same proofreader for consistency. It’s like writing an article yourself, and then having another trusted colleague read it for accuracy, grammar, etc. before publishing. It’s often hard to proofread your own work!

3. Is that your final answer?

This saying was made popular by the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” But it applies here, too. Make sure that the version of the source you provide is final. Any updates to the source while the translation stage is taking place will put a kink in workflow. As always, if a change occurs, let us know as soon as possible, so we can make the change on our end as soon as possible.

Do you have a project coming up? Contact LinguaLinx today.

LinguaLinx at ASSE 2014

LinguaLinx at ASSE 2014Communication for the health and safety of your employees is very important. Quality translation services can help keep members of your organization safe and sound – literally. At LinguaLinx, we are fresh off the plane from the ASSE Safety 2014 Professional Development Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. Kayleigh Gratton and Nicole Savage of the LinguaLinx business development team exhibited. The feedback was very positive.

“The goal of the conference was to bring safety, health and environmental (SH&E) professionals together to talk about, discover, and share the best ways to keep people safe,” said Kayleigh. “Our goal was to stress the importance of language translation for the safety of multilingual employees. The conference provided a great platform for us to do that.”

Indeed, there were a variety of companies of all sizes present displaying their products and equipment from clothing to ladders to training software and more. Most companies were US-based, but there were several from the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and Canada. The linguistic diversity in the United States played a major role in the conversations Kayleigh and Nicole had with people throughout the conference.

“Besides looking at all of the cool equipment,” Nicole said, “A lot of people shared stories with us about instances where accidents happened in the workplace due to a language barrier. While people might speak English as a second language, providing information for them in their native language would help them to understand better, and perhaps prevent any accidents.”

Extending beyond just employees, providing multilingual safety information is essential for any product. Think about it – when you purchase a product whether it is a television remote or a microwave, the instructions are given to you in 5 or more languages. The companies that make these product are committed to consumer safety – and doing business internationally! Do you want to do the same?

LinguaLinx can translate MSDS’s, manuals, instructions, product catalogs, or safety trainings. We already work with ASSE, the host of the conference, on translating their materials and can help you do the same.

Overall, Kayleigh and Nicole enjoyed their time at the conference and met a lot of great people who were passionate about safety and how their organization can help keep other organizations and other people safe. For tips on multilingual safety information, take a look at one of our earlier posts. If you have any questions on how translation can help with your safety efforts? Contact us today.