ISO Certified Translation Services: A Commitment to Quality

Working with a professional translation service can open up a new world. For truly global access, you need to work with a translation service committed to providing you with the highest quality assistance. Your business deserves accurate and timely service. But how do you know, before spending valuable time and money, if a vendor will provide that for you?

The Benefits of ISO 9001

If you choose to work with ISO certified translation services, you’ll know you’re working with a service provider committed to client satisfaction and constant improvement. ISO 9001 is an in-demand quality management system. So in demand, that 70% of our customers consider it very important that we’re certified in ISO 9001:2015. We aim for high quality standards and a constant pursuit of excellence. Which is why our team worked tirelessly to become an ISO certified translation service. Not to mention the fact that ISO 9001 maintains international standards designed with input from 159 national standard institutes across a variety of industries.

Why This Certification Matters

The ISO 9001:2015 standard guides organizations in the design of a process based Quality Management System (QMS). The set of requirements that make up this certification improves the development of tools for process control, organizational performance evaluation, and continuous improvement.

There are eight principles that makeup ISO 9001’s strict quality management principles. These principles allow companies to create valuable products for their customers.

1.  Satisfying your customer’s quality requirements.
2.  Helping leaders create consistency and unify their team to serve their purpose.
3.  Keeping employees engaged and productive through clear communication, respect, and recognizing their achievements.
4.  Defining a process that allows a business to run smoothly and communicating how employees fit into that system.
5.  Encouraging leaders and employees to continuously look for areas they can improve upon and give them tools that allow them to innovate.
6.  Learning how to use data to make decisions that can be relied on.
7.  Nurturing strong relationships with the companies that help a business run smoothly, such as suppliers.
8.  Implementing a successful system approach that aids in achieving your goals in an efficient and organized way.

Our Experience with ISO 9001

Terra Translations has seen first hand how beneficial offering ISO certified translations can be. We found that process based management was essential to growing our organization. It generates a virtuous circle of continuous improvement through planning and verifying.

Being ISO 9001:2015 certified allows our team to benefit from the system’s tools by providing high quality service to our customers. As our mission is to provide high quality translation and localization services, this quality management certification has served us well since adopting it in 2017.

A Commitment to Progress

Choosing to work with a brand that adopts ISO certified translation services standards ensures your business will evolve. ISO standards are generally updated every five years, with 75% of their world network required to update their processes. This goal of progress is one that Terra Translations embraces. We make continuous improvement to our work system and methodology that maximize our efficiency in every area of our business. We are also certified by IRAM, which represents the Argentine Republic in ISO. Working alongside the government, industry, consumers, and technology, IRAM studies technical standards and makes quality recommendations. We credit our commitment to improvement to our entire team, but especially to our quality assurance managers who are responsible for meeting our strict quality standards.

 

Spanish Voice-overs: How to Get it Right

Spanish is one language with a shared basic core. However, colloquialisms, dialects, and even grammar can greatly vary from region to region. Spanish spoken in Latin America differs to the Spanish spoken in Europe. Even Spanish spoken across the U.S. differs due to the migration patterns of people from various Spanish speaking countries and where they settled in the states. These unique dialects make this dynamic language more complex and translators must keep every difference in mind when translating voice-over scripts.

Biggest Spanish Voice-over Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is recording a voice-over with an individual who has a strong accent and dialect that does not reflect the target market (unless otherwise stated in the creative brief). For example, utilizing talent from Chile would be extremely disruptive for an e-learning course in Mexico. The speed and emphasis on syllables differs tremendously between the two Spanish-speaking regions. An equivalent to this would be British talent recording a voice-over for an American literature e-book. The British accent and pronunciation differences would be an unnecessary distraction to a U.S. audience.

There are 20 countries where Spanish is the official language, as can be seen in the map above, but there are other territories where Spanish is widely spoken, like the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Argentina, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, etc. all have very unique sounds. Even those Spanish regions that sound similar may have different ways to refer to the same action, attribute, object, etc. Language nuances such as these can severely impact understanding and even credibility. Poor voice-over works can destroy campaigns, confuse audiences, and even go viral for its unintentional hilarity.

Improving Spanish Voice-overs

To minimize issues, one solution is recording the voice-over as neutral as possible. Neutral voice-overs abstain from slang and incorporate expressions that are well known to most regions. This will allow brands to create one deliverable for multiple projects. The upside to this method is that it lowers costs. The downside is that the expressions and vocabulary can be viewed as “watered-down” or too generalized for audiences.

For an optimal translation, it’s best to localize the voice-over to the region of the target language. For broader scopes of work, another option is hiring several talents from various regions to record multiple versions of the copy. When scouting for voice-over professionals, talent will often specify the Spanish regions they represent.

It’s possible to find talent that can record in several different Spanish variants, however, you should proceed with caution. Often times these multi-regional talents make mistakes such as mispronouncing a regional word or not picking up on the local cadence of conversation. Audiences can hear the doubt in the talent’s voice when these moments arise. There are many different elements to an accent, therefore, it’s very difficult to sound like a native in different Spanish variants.

Keeping up with Globalization

Rapid globalization created opportunities for businesses of all sizes to reach international markets. More than half of all U.S. companies (58%) have some foreign market involvement according to a survey by USForex. Layered on top of this trend is the growth of Spanish speakers around the world. An estimated 754 million people will speak Spanish by 2050 accordingly to a 2017 study from the Cervantes Institute.

Translation service providers are quickly adapting to this change by fine-tuning their strategies to fit the global needs of their clients. This means that companies will need to ensure that all elements of a voice-over align with the audience it’s intended for. Terra Translations specializes in translation and voice-over of all forms, including e-learning courses, institutional videos, and audio books.

european spanish

Latin American Spanish vs. European Spanish

From spellings to accents, there are notable differences between English in America and English in Britain. Similarly, Spanish differs from Latin America to Europe. Because the distinctions are not monumental, both regions can still easily communicate with one another. However, the differences are important to understand, especially within the translation industry where it’s critical for accurate localization to reflect the target region.

Let’s take a look at how European, specifically Spain, known as Castilian Spanish is different from Latin American Spanish.

Vocabulary

While there are vocabulary variances across Spanish speaking countries around the globe, there are distinct differences between the vocabulary of Latin America and Spain. One example of this is mobile phone. In Spain, cell phone is translated móvil while in Latin America mobile is celular. Another example is coche in Spain versus carro or auto in Latin America. A commonly used word that diverges is computer which is ordenador in Spain and computadora in Latin America.

Tú/Usted/Vos

The forms of addressing a person vary between regions. In Spain, to address one person as you, the Spaniard would use for informal use or usted for formal situations. This rule is shared throughout most of Latin America. However, where it differs is in Argentina and Uruguay where vos is used for informal situations. This illustrates that variants exist across Latin America itself and that there is not necessarily a standardized Latin American Spanish.

The pronoun and vos could be used interchangeably, but there are other changes associated with this as well such as verb conjugations.

For example:
You must study.
Vos tenés que estudiar.
Tú tienes que estudiar.

Vosotros vs. Ustedes

The use of the third person plural pronoun is another difference between European Spanish and Latin American Spanish. In Spain the word commonly used is vosotros and in Latin America you will often hear ustedes. Vosotros is never used in Latin America. Spaniards recognize ustedes but it’s considered extremely formal.

The differences are illustrated not only in the personal pronoun but also in the possessive pronoun.

For example:
You know how important it is to study another language.
Vosotros sabéis lo importante que es estudiar otro idioma.
Ustedes saben lo importante que es estudiar otro idioma.

How many of your friends study another language?
¿Cuántos de vuestros amigos estudian otro idioma?
¿Cuántos de sus amigos estudian otro idioma?

Leísmo

Throughout Spain, an acceptable practice known as leísmo is recognized. This refers to the use of the indirect object pronoun le instead of the correct direct object pronoun lo or la. This is only grammatically recognized when referring to male persons. Leísmo is not applied when referring to a female or using plural forms.

For example:
I did not see Santiago yesterday.
A Santiago no le vi ayer. Here leísmo is used as the indirect object pronoun.
A Santiago no lo vi ayer. Here standard Spanish is applied and the direct object pronoun is used.

Pronunciation of Z and C

One of the most obvious incongruencies is in the way Spaniards pronounce specific letters compared to Latin Americans. For example, in Spain the letter Z has the pronunciation similar to the English sound of TH, almost sounding like a lisp. Similarly, the letter C before I and E, also has the sound of TH. In Latin American countries, Z and C before I and E always have the sound of an S. For example, zapato in Spain is pronounced TH-apato. In Latin America, zapato is pronounced S-apato. Spaniards pronounce cinco as TH-inco and Latin Americans say S-inco. Not using the TH pronunciation is described linguistically as seseo. In addition to pronunciation differences, some Latin American countries will often drop the s when it’s at the end of words entirely.

Ultimately, especially for the translation and localization industry, it’s highly essential to be aware of these key differences. By understanding and properly addressing the language nuances of the target market, the translations will be more impactful and better resonate with audiences. Failure to properly localize to the appropriate Spanish region will create a disconnect and even cause an unnecessary distraction away from the translated content.