How Translation Can Assist During an E-Commerce Boom

Parisian chic was once only accessible to those lucky enough to find themselves in the city of light with a pocket full of euros. Nowadays, you don’t need to book a transatlantic flight to get your hands on that certain je ne sais quoi. The latest in French fashion and virtually any other product you could desire are now available right at your fingertips. As changes to stop the spread of Covid-19 encourage millions of people around the world to stay home, they have no choice but to do the bulk of their shopping online. This shift to at-home consumerism has been devastating for brick and mortar store owners, but provides new business opportunities for retailers with e-commerce presences. 

The Covid-19 E-Commerce Boom

Before Covid-19 forced consumers into their homes, online retail sales were already estimated to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023. However, those numbers could increase drastically due to stay at home orders and future safety regulations in place at in-person retail locations. E-commerce order volume increased by 50% in recent weeks compared to the same time period last year. Amazon has notoriously seen a huge surge in orders for essential items like household supplies, toiletries, and food, but they aren’t the only online retailer that is experiencing increased sales right now.

Global online sales across the fashion industry are up 63% since the onset of the crisis and consumers are beginning to redefine what the word “essentials” mean. Work from home supplies, fitness equipment, loungewear, beauty products, and childrens toys may now be considered essential purchases by consumers if they make their time spent staying home more comfortable. This shift provides opportunities for some e-commerce businesses who sell popular self isolation supplies to thrive. 

How Retailers Can Adapt

In order to attract customers who aren’t used to shopping online or who prefer to shop in brick and mortar stores, retailers may want to consider adapting their websites to improve the customer experience. Their products and content may have to work a little bit harder than normal to sell, especially since customers can’t make returns as easily as they may be accustomed to. 

Creating detailed product descriptions is a good place to start. Retailers should write more in-depth descriptions than usual and aim to answer potential customer questions or concerns. For example, a clothing retailer may want to describe meticulously how a garment fits, how to care for it, and what makes the piece special. 

Taking more photographs and videos of products may help too. Providing thorough resources regarding return and shipping policies can also help customers make purchases confidently. Last but not least, offering customer support that is easily accessible by phone, email, or instant message can help ensure customers have a positive shopping experience. 

Where Translation Comes Into Play

Business may be booming for some retailers, but most businesses can’t afford to isolate customers right now. E-commerce retailers who are looking to expand their customer base should set their sights globally. Translating their webpages, including product descriptions and customer policies, into multiple languages can make their products vastly more accessible to customers. Website analytics can provide vital information about what countries customers live in and retailers can begin by catering to those languages first. Later, they can expand their translated content to as many languages as they see fit in order to grow their reach and improve their customer experience.

A Remote Force Era is Coming

The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to control it changed the reality of many countries around the globe. In addition to the emphasis on healthcare and health systems, the pandemic put the spotlight on the concept of work. Globally, we realized the essential nature of some jobs and the value they have in a community. We also learned that other jobs, which were always placed in offices, can be carried out from home.

Offices on the move

During this critical pandemic period, the modality of remote work allowed a lot of companies to maintain their operations; hence, employees could preserve their jobs. Some industries were already offering days of home office as an employment benefit. Others operate under different levels of remote models, that include the localization industry, software development, gaming, graphic design and freelance content writing.

The need for applying social distancing policies extended remote working to other sectors of the productive sphere, proving it can be a reality for employees and employers. In fact, a recent paper from the University of Chicago estimates that one-third of the jobs in the United States can be done entirely at home.

Connected employees

Working from home impacts positively on the wellbeing of employees. They save time and money on commuting and, also, there is a boost in productivity (without the office distractions). Because of this, there is a higher rate of satisfaction in home office jobs, as research suggests.

However, some employees can find it difficult to adapt their jobs to the domestic environment. In these cases, they can initially benefit from a mixed model, partially on-premises and partially from home. This way, there is a gradual adaptation of working and domestic routines.

Managing online

Companies can take advantage of remote operations in many ways. First, in regard to Human Resources, the modality has an increased rate of employee retention. “It will make us more comfortable in providing more flexibility to employees, which, by the way, makes this a more attractive place for people to work,” explains Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon. Moreover, for Paul Estes, Editor in Chief of Staffing.com, these engaging conditions translate into attracting the best and brightest professionals.

On the other hand, when operating remotely, companies save in rent, electricity and other billings related to having physical installations as offices. Nevertheless, if this unprecedented experience leaves certain companies willing to try remote operations (under a mixed or a hundred percent model), it’s important to plan before executing. “Sustainability needs a firm foundation: the right investment, good operational plumbing, smart HR systems, strong soft skills, and outstanding communication,” underscores Jon Younger for Forbes.

The strategic shift to a remote workplace must include a proper investment in technology and broadband services to guarantee the best performance. It’s also fundamental to set a new structure of communication and leadership, that has its differences compared to on-premises strategies. Furthermore, it’s important to monitor productivity to assess the effectiveness of the shift.

From localization to beyond

Language service professionals operate remotely more than any other industry, in a 68 percent rate. Terra Translations’ staff is included in this percentage, and the company has the experience and the proper infrastructure to do it efficiently.

Maybe, after the COVID-19 outbreak and with the required strategic planning, moving the office to home will emerge as a possibility for many other industries and companies. Both employers and employees of different fields will be able to experience the pros of this productive model; from sustainability to profitability, from saving time to an increased sense of personal welfare

The Translation of Discharge Information 101

If only an apple a day kept the doctor away. Dealing with any type of medical issue, big or small, can add stress and discomfort to a patient’s life. Even worse though is when a patient can’t understand their discharge information, which is a vital part of physician-patient communication. When a patient has a poor understanding of their discharge instructions, they may be negatively affected after leaving the hospital. This information is imperative for properly managing their diagnosis, medications, and follow-up appointments. Oftentimes non-English speaking patients (or those without high literacy levels) are the ones who struggle with understanding discharge information. The proper translation of discharge information can help provide patients with the best possible level of care. 

The Dangers of Misunderstood Discharge Information

When a patient can’t understand their discharge information, confusion and less than desired medical results can ensue. Even worse, this lack of understanding can lead to death. In 2015, a patient in Houston, Texas was discharged from a hospital and experienced a stroke. According to the lawsuit against the hospital, the stroke was caused because the hospital did not translate the patient’s discharge instructions into a language that the patient’s caretaker could read. Not only did this lack of proper communication harm the patient, but if the hospital loses the lawsuit they can expect to pay more than $200,000. One way or the other, both parties have been harmed. Because of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), healthcare providers are forbidden from discriminating against patients because of their “national origin”. Which means healthcare providers generally have to provide proper translation for patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

The Lack of Translation of Discharge Information

How common is a lack of proper linguistic access to discharge information for non-English speakers? More than it should be. A study by the University of California, San Francisco learned that patients with limited English proficiency demonstrated a weaker understanding of their discharge information regarding medications than their English-speaking counterparts. It was also found that only about half of hospitals translate discharge instructions properly. 

Some hospitals only provide select access to discharge materials in languages aside from English. They may translate standard discharge instructions for a few common illnesses, but the materials aren’t personalized for each patient. Which means the discharge materials aren’t addressing those patients’ individual needs such as medication dosing or accounting for a combination of health conditions. While some hospital staff interpreters will provide patients with oral discharge information, they don’t necessarily provide written instructions the patient can reference at home. Only professional translators should handle written translation as they specialize in that skill, it is not something an interpreter is trained for. 

Why the Translation of Discharge Information is So Difficult

Generic discharge information handouts are not the solution and neither are oral instructions. Medical facilities should provide access to written hospital discharge instructions in the language spoken and read by the patient. Most hospitals have a written translation policy for select hospital documents like consent forms, but discharge instructions are not guaranteed at every hospital. 

Machine translation is another flawed solution. Machine translation options, such as Google Translate, that may be available to medical professionals can lead to errors. Complicated instructions and medical jargon can be difficult to translate properly using machine translation. Only a skilled medical translator who is familiar with both languages can safely translate this type of medical information. 

It is possible for hospitals to partner with a translation service provider. While they won’t work from the hospital premises, hospitals and translation service providers can come to an agreement that guarantees quick turnarounds. Time is generally the most pressing challenge of translating discharge information, as a patient can’t wait for their discharge information, so it’s important to arrange a translation timeline that works for both parties

Terra Passes ISO Audit Amid Challenging Times

There’s no question that the world is undergoing troublesome times. Even amid a global pandemic, the Terra team has managed to band together to continue our commitment toward providing quality work for our clients. This promise for quality is demonstrated through our recent accomplishment of passing the annual ISO audit. 

What is ISO Certification and Audits?

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization that provides the framework to certify quality management procedures. This Quality Management System (QMS) improves the development of tools for process control, organizational performance evaluation, and continuous improvement. The formula has proven to generate a virtuous circle of continuous improvement through planning and verifying. In addition to ISO 9001 certified (process-based), we achieved ISO 17100 certification (requirement-based) in April of 2019. The rigid standards of ISO 17100 indicates an even further dedication to quality and timely translations.

“Being ISO 9001 and 17100 certified is so much more than a piece of paper for us,” explained Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations. “Our team is truly invested in the continuous improvement of our processes and making sure we are always exceeding our clients’ expectations.”

In addition to the meticulous certification process, we must undergo annual ISO audits and recertify every three years. These certifications ensure our teams align with solid processes that meet international industry standards. These systems hit the needs of all key stakeholders that include our organization, collaborators, customers, and suppliers.

Passing ISO in a Global Pandemic

Our ISO audit was especially unique in that it occurred at the height of the quarantine and self-isolation. Until nearly the final hours, the Terra team did not know if an audit was possible. The certifying body and powers that be made an unprecedented decision: to conduct an audit completely virtual. Upon notification on the updated methodology, we quickly established the team that would participate. As a fully remote team, we were agile enough to quickly pivot.

The audit lasted two full days which is typically based on the size of the organization and scope of the services to be certified. Traditionally, the auditor surveys the data and verifies that the organization complies with the certified standards. In Terra’s case, the certified standards under review were ISO 9001 and the ISO 17100 fundamentals specific to translation services. According to procedure, the auditor must set meetings with various members from the organization and ask specific questions on daily processes and compliance. The auditor will provide suggestions for improvement according to his or her experience. For Terra’s unconventional audit, the auditor adapted perfectly to the rare situation. Overall, the entire experience was both fluid and dynamic. 

Passing the certification has only provided further confidence in the Terra team on the ability to provide outstanding service, even in arduous circumstances. 

“It is a great responsibility that becomes an enjoyable task because I am part of such a committed and continuous improvement oriented team,” said María del Carmen, Accounts Payable for Terra. “I have been working with quality standards for 11 years and it is a subject with which I feel comfortable. With the day-to-day management solid and orderly, I believe that the certifications provide additional value to every project.”

With our credibility recognized by the translation industry’s highest authority, our clients can trust in us. We take every audit as an opportunity to learn and improve our practices.

“My experience in ISO audits is extremely important to me. I have gained extensive knowledge and self-assurance from my participation in reviews over these three years,” said Natalia Atab, Account Manager for Terra. “I am truly proud to be part of this certification, now more than ever.”

How the 2020 Boom in Streaming Affects Audiovisual Translation Needs

I stream, you stream, we all stream everything! Across the globe people have come together by staying apart in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing can limit our entertainment options to ones we can find easily in the home which has led to an uptick in relying on streaming services to pass the time. Let’s take a quick look at why more people are streaming than ever before and how this affects audiovisual translation needs.

The Need to Stream

During past U.S. crises, we’ve seen television usage increase by 60%, according to Nielsen data. It’s no surprise that a crisis that has forced millions of people into their homes for extended periods of time is expected to increase that percentage. From television shows to movies to news broadcasts, entertainment as well as vital updates come straight from streaming services. Streaming was already on the rise before the pandemic and will likely remain that way after life resumes to normal. Before social distancing began, Americans consumed just shy of 12 hours of content each day through media platforms.

Global Content is a Must

Thanks to the massive success of foreign television programs and movies, like Academy Award winning movie Parasite, consumers are becoming increasingly receptive to viewing foreign content. It’s fair to assume that with more and more time on our hands at home, viewers will be even more open to widening their horizons and exploring content from foreign creators. Due to cinema closures and film delays, experts are estimating that the film industry alone may experience $5 billion in losses. In order to increase revenue, content creators should consider upping their audiovisual translation game to cast as wide of a viewer net as possible for potential streaming purchases. 

Where Audiovisual Translation Comes In

Audiovisual translation helps transfer the verbal components of audiovisual works, such as movies and television programs, into another language. Theatrical plays, web pages, and video games also utilize audiovisual translation efforts. Audiovisual content is intended to be both seen and heard simultaneously which brings unique translation challenges to the table. Not to mention, cultural references and wordplay often require a skilled translator to deliver the intended original meaning in a culturally correct context to the audience. Whether that be through subtitles or dubbed content. 

In order to best bridge the gap between not just languages, but cultures, entertainment producers will want to work with talented audiovisual translators who can help their story come to life clearly and appropriately for audiences who not only speak a different language, but who live in different cultures. To do so, they will want to work with a transcreator who can maintain the original message, context, and emotion of the source content. Transcreated content is customized to adapt to the culture, slang and dialect of the target audience. Taking these extra steps can increase access to content across the globe, which is something that benefits everyone.