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Xhosa to English: The Language of Nelson Mandela

Xhosa to English: The Language of Nelson Mandela

Media

Nelson Mandela was a great man. While he has passed, his legacy, as we all know, will continue to live on. In addition to his incredible achievements in life, which include freeing and uniting an entire people, while simultaneously inspiring millions of disenfranchised souls around the word, Mr. Mandela also brought some global recognition to his native language of Xhosa, which was fairly obscure to people living outside of Sub-Saharan Africa before he came onto the scene.

If you think you’ve never heard of Xhosa, or any Xhosa to English translation before, you just might be mistaken. One of the most famous nicknames for Mandela is his Xhosa clan name of “Madiba.” And, of course, you’ve probably seen pictures of the former South African president in one of his signature Batik, also known as “Madiba,” dress shirts. His colorful style was a breath of fresh air among the rather drab fashion scene prevailing among the suit-and-tie movers and shakers of the global elite. It also seems that at least a few native speakers of Xhosa have and had a great sense of things to come. Nelson Mandela’s given birth name of “Rolihlahla” in Xhosa to English translation means “troublemaker.” How did his parents know, with one look, perhaps, that their baby boy would cause so much distress for South Africa’s ruling party? This small child, already labeled as a troublemaker, grew into the man who would eventually help bring an end to the oppressive policies of apartheid. Any soothsayer worth his or her salt would have given an arm or leg for such powers of prescience. If you’re ever in the market for English to Xhosa, or Xhosa to English translations someday, you’re in luck. While the Bantu language of Xhosa isn’t spread across the globe, more than seven million people speak Xhosa as their native tongue. Most Xhosa speakers also know English, which increases your odds of finding an educated translator or interpreter (through a reputable service, of course) significantly. Xhosa, like Chinese, is a tonal language, but unlike Chinese, clicking vocalizations are thrown into the mix, creating a unique sounding language with a long and proud history, spoken by one of the most important human beings every to walk across the soils of Africa, and travel this vast Earth. Xhosa, while not widespread, is a language that should be around for a long time to come.

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Note-taking in Medical Interpreting

Note-taking in Medical Interpreting

Caitlin Nicholson

Many interpreters take notes to remember key ideas. In medical interpreting, the use of notes must be especially efficient.

Translators write, and interpreters speak — right? The formula above is basically true: translators render a written version of material in a foreign language, while interpreters produce an oral “translation.” However, some interpreters do carry a pen and notepad — and make good use of them. Simultaneous interpreters, of course, do not have enough time to take notes. But consecutive interpreters often use notes to recreate the structure of a speech or dialogue. Interpreters develop their own techniques, with some relying on symbols and drawings while others note key words. The main purpose of these notes is to help them remember the structure of what has been said so as not to forget anything. Memory is still very important to bring out the details of the content. In medical settings, it can be difficult to break all utterances up into short chunks. A doctor may want to make a relatively long explanation of a diagnosis, for example, without constant interruption. In cases like this, it is essential for the medical interpreter to take complete and efficient notes so absolutely nothing is left out. Some interpreters even use note-taking in dialogue interpreting, for example while interpreting a short conversation between a patient and a staff member. In general, note-taking skills are important for any type of consecutive interpreting, not just speech and conference interpreting.

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Global Marketing Spotlight: South Korea

Global Marketing Spotlight: South Korea  

Caitlin Nicholson

Diversity 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. Occasionally, we like to shine a spotlight on a different global market. Earlier this year, Bloomberg released their 30 Most Innovative Countries. Guess who took #1? That’s right, South Korea.

Here are some things to look out for when focusing your global marketing efforts on this East Asian nation: The Language True or False, Korean is linguistically similar to Chinese and Japanese. If you say “False,” then you are correct! Here is some recommended reading: “Korean introduces new challenges to localization,” featured in the July/August 2014 issue of MultiLingual magazine. In it, the author describes Korean as a loner: a language isolate. While Korean vocabulary is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, the structure of the language is very different. Also, Korean has its own alphabet, called Hangul. Using native speakers to translate content in Korean is very helpful for localization. They will be familiar with the language and its unique characteristics, as well as the appropriate tone to use so that your content is presented to your end users in a respectful, friendly, and effective manner. Adopt “Koreanness” Any time you enter a new market, it is important to account for cultural differences. If you align your products to suit the needs of your target customers, then you will find success. It is important to identify with the culture. The Korean population is connected, well-educated, urban, and homogeneous. Korean interest in foreign brands has taken off since the late 1980s. If you ignore Korean culture, you will end up like Wal Mart, which closed their stores in 2006. Take a page out of Starbucks’ book. Did you know that Seoul (the capital of South Korea) has the most Starbucks locations than any city in the world? Starbucks partnered with Shinsegae, a Korean company, to help with marketing and product development. Tea drinking is preferred in Asia, but Starbucks has become a status symbol and a luxury brand. They also set up their locations as places to hang out. Get Connected The South Korean population is very digitally connected. They are near the top of the world in smartphone usage. If you have a [Korean] website, make sure it is mobile-friendly! Also, on the web, make sure your site is set up for ecommerce. Will you ship directly to consumers, or can you partner with a third party vendor to ship your products?

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5 Common eLearning Localization Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

5 Common eLearning Localization Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

Caitlin Nicholson

The purpose of eLearning localization is to make sure that courses you develop can effectively reach a broad target audience. As a leading provider of eLearning localization solutions, LinguaLinx is using our experience to put together this list of common eLearning localization mistakes and how to avoid them. Trust us, it makes your job (and ours, too!) much easier.

1. Cutting Costs Where You Shouldn’t Every course has a budget for development. It may seem expensive to localize eLearning in-house, but this may not always be the case. There are too many factors involved that make it easier – and cheaper – to outsource. We gave reasons in an earlier post “Why You Should Outsource Your Translations.” It is also important to use local subject matter experts (SMEs). They are trained eLearning professionals who can help decide what can be included or omitted. SMEs also review translated content to make sure that it is not just culturally relevant, but that terms used are preferred for the company or organization. eLearning localization costs don’t have to be expensive. We offer tips on saving money (and time) during the localization process in an earlier blog post “6 Tips for Cutting Cost and Time for eLearning Localization.”   2. Not Using “Translation-Friendly” Content When writing content for your e-Learning program, it is best to begin with the end in mind. Anticipate that the content will need to be translated and localized. As always, make sure your writing is clear, concise, and consistent. Avoid being too wordy and using complex sentences. Then take it a step further by avoiding slang, idioms, or acronyms that whose meaning may be unclear in other languages. Providing a translation agency with a glossary or a term base will help with consistency and accuracy of content. This can also cut down on the number of unique words in your translation, which will, in turn, cut down on cost.   3. Not Making Room for Expanded Text Keep “language expansion” in mind. Many languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese can add 20 percent or more to the word count. Make sure your course is designed to handle this expansion. White space is your friend. Text boxes, frames, and other potentially-restricting areas are not. Areas to be cautious about are navigation bars, drop-down menus, and links. We cover this more extensively in our blog post titled “Handling Expansion with eLearning Localization.”   4. Embedding Text in Images and/or Not Providing Source Files Embedding text in graphics is a mistake. The text cannot be extracted for translation. A desktop publishing department would have to recreate a new layered image file, with the text as its own layer. This may also call for retouching of a graphic or photo. The result is added cost. A way to avoid this would be to provide editable source files such as PSD, INDD, or TIFF files; a JPEG is not an editable source file.   5. Putting Too Much On Your Plate “Go Big or Go Home!” is a saying that might work in sports, but not with eLearning localization. Have one version of your eLearning completed before localizing. It’s a lot easier to change two paragraphs of text one time rather than in 3,4,5,6 or more different languages! Also, keep in mind that each course needs to be tested, and most of the time, reviewed by subject matter experts. Then, courses also need to be published. The process is a lengthy undertaking. Reach out to your partner LSP for help. We will work together with you to set deadlines and help manage these projects in the most efficient way possible so that each localized course is an A+!

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6 Tips for Cutting Cost and Time for eLearning Localization

6 Tips for Cutting Cost and Time for eLearning Localization

Caitlin Nicholson

If your course is going to be used by learners in different countries, than it might need to be localized now or sometime in the future. Localization means translating text, making sure content is culturally appropriate, providing multilingual voiceover narration or subtitling for audio/video components, and making sure the course is understood and meaningful in each different market. This is where eLearning localization comes in.

As a partner for eLearning developers, we want to make sure that the localization of your courses runs as smoothly as possible to deliver a course that meets and exceeds the above expectations. We also want to be able to help our clients save time and money. How does this happen? Plan for localization in the course creation stage. How can you do that? Keep reading. We want to share some tips with you based on our experience. 1. Text Content With on-screen text, less is more. Commonly translated languages such as Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, and Spanish can expand up to 20 percent. Also, text from English into character languages such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean can contract up to 15 percent. Keep this in mind for font sizing and restricted space such as buttons or text boxes. Being aware of expansion and contraction will help save money and time on translation and formatting.   2. Graphics and Images Images are great for learning! If your course has images with text embedded in them, hang on to those source files for localization – we’re going to need them later. Any time we can avoid recreation, time can be taken off of desktop publishing hours. This saves money for you. Quick tip for screenshots for eLearning localization: Is the program that the screenshot is showing translated? If so, providing a screenshot of the translated program is helpful.   3. Audio and Video Content Remember text expansion? This affects more than just on-screen text; it affects audio and video content, too. Which technique, voiceover narration or subtitling, is better for you? Subtitling may be more cost-effective in some cases, but there may be instances where voiceover narration best meets your needs. Quick tip for audio/video eLearning localization: If you have a script for your content, let us translate the script first and have your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) review it. Approving the content and having a locked script will cut down on rework later on.   4. Numerical Values Many times, this applies to monetary values and measurements. Will your learners be able to understand the values presented in the course? Or will they have to be converted? Keep this in mind when creating content; it will have to be converted and localized.   5. Acronyms  Acronyms in one locale might not make sense in another – for example different government organizations or national regulatory laws. The letters change when translated into different languages. Clarify if you want these acronyms translated or if you would like them to stay as is with an explanation within the content.   6. Reference Materials  Some clients provide glossaries of preferential terms. After all, Eskimos have 50 words for snow, and while term preferences might not be as superfluous, if your client prefers a certain term, let us know! A glossary is also a great place to put terms that are to stay in the source language or any other notes to pass along to a linguist.

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Why You Should Outsource Your Translations

Why You Should Outsource Your Translations

Caitlin Nicholson

"The most dangerous phrase in the language is 'we've always done it this way.'" - Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

This quote really resonated around our office – change is not always bad. It is good to accept change and make sure that you adapt to what is happening in the world around you, especially as it relates to your industry and your business. Embracing change is important for any business or organization. This quote also reminded us of a frequent phrase that we hear in the translation and localization industry: “We handle translations in house.” This really resonates, too. While this might be something that looks more cost-effective on the surface, this might not always be the best approach. Looking at outsourcing your translation services could be a change that you make that will be more cost effective and efficient in the long term. More Markets Equals More Linguists Let’s put it in context – you are a United States-based company and you have just expanded into Mexico. You have a team in your Mexico office that handles all of your Spanish translations. Things are going well, so you decide you want to move into China, Brazil, and maybe Russia. Hiring internal translation teams might prove to be costly in this case as the demand for more languages increases. Speaking of demand, you might not always need someone on staff full time for German translation or Finnish translation. Agencies have an extensive pool of freelance translators that they can align on demand to help your organization best meet its needs. Finding the Right People Handling translation internally might mean having employees in Brazil translate documents into Brazilian Portuguese or having a bilingual employee in the marketing department translating documents into Chinese. This doesn’t always mean the quality will be up to your standards. Linguists are in-country speakers with subject matter knowledge of the content. In other words, they are professionals. An LSP should also have a vetting process for their linguists to ensure quality. When You’re In A Hurry When deadlines are tight, it is hard to scramble for resources. Due to a linguistic vetting process, a translation vendor will have quality linguists readily available. Think of your vendor as a resource. A good journalist has their sources that they can call upon when writing a story on deadline; this is somewhat similar. For Large Projects Then there’s volume… compounded with time. The average linguist translates about 2500 words per day. Sure, this statistic applies to an internal translator or a freelance translator, but an LSP can have multiple translators working on a project. How? The wonders of technology! Translation memory and CAT tools like MemoQ allow for more efficient workflow which means consistency, time efficiency, and cost effectiveness. It makes more sense to see this claim in practice. Why not read one of our case studies on a large-volume project that we recently completed? There is one theme that is present throughout the key points above: be proactive. If going global is part of your growth strategy, or even if your domestic client base is multilingual, taking the time to carefully select a vendor and weigh your options is much better than being reactive on a short notice. It’s like when you’re in college and know you have a long-term paper coming up – start researching now for when the deadline approaches. The task will seem much less daunting then!

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