The Mission Behind Women in Translation Month

August is Women in Translation Month, and as a women-owned business that provides translation services, this initiative is very close to our hearts. Not familiar with what Women in Translation Month is and what it entails? We’re breaking down why this month exists, why it matters, and how you can participate this August and beyond. 

Behind the Initiative 

Women in Translation Month is a month-long celebration and movement that occurs every August and was founded by blogger Meytal Radzinski in 2014. This initiative aims to highlight how few translated literary works in the United States are written by women. Another purpose of dedicating a month to women in translation, is to track women writers’ representation in English-language magazines, newspapers, and journals.

In short, the goal of Women in Translation Month is to encourage and challenge readers to seek out translated texts that are written by women, with the hopes that this will increase the reach of female writers. According to Radzinski, female authors only write about a third of books that are newly translated into English. More specifically, the University of Rochester’s Three Percent blog found that in 2016, 33.8% of books translated into English were written by women, compared with 63.8% by men.

Where the Challenges Lie

Radzinski believes that the lack of translated books by female writers stems from a few different issues. She identified translation bias, a lack of reviews and publicity for books written by women, and cultural gender bias as potential sources of this problem. At the end of the day, no single party is to blame, but she believes that publishers play a large role in this problem. Female writers are not getting the attention or awards they deserve because men are dominating the literary space. This issue is compounded by the fact that books written by women are not being translated into English and made available to that valuable market.

How You Can Help

One of the best ways that the average consumer can help alleviate this gender issue, is by reading books written by women in their language or translated into other languages. Doing so is a great way to get inspiration, support female writers, and learn from them. After you read a book written or translated by a woman author or translator, don’t forget to share your latest find on social media with the hashtag, #readwomen. Reading texts written and translated by women is a great start, but encouraging your social network to do the same is a great next step. 

It’s important to remember that making these efforts this August is a fantastic way to make a difference, but keeping up with the mission all year round will make the biggest impact.


How to Implement Multilingual Customer Support Without Hiring a Team

While many businesses recognize the benefits and the potential revenue derived from localizing their website, products, and online tools to reach new markets, most struggle to envision how to execute customer support across multiple languages. Going global is an investment, but hiring the native speakers of all the different languages required to have a multilingual customer support team can be overwhelming and expensive. 

If having a multilingual customer support team is out of reach, there are other ways businesses can give their customers the support they need without having to hire a whole team. Before diving into how to implement multilingual customer support, it’s important to remember that “multilingual” doesn’t necessarily mean covering 15 different languages. Businesses can start small by prioritizing the markets they want to target and can add languages as they become more comfortable with the process. 

1. Utilize Chatbots

If you have chatbots on your website that can answer customer questions, it can be helpful to localize these chatbots to your key markets. Chatbots can provide support 24/7 and are less expensive to implement than hiring live customer support. Localization to your target markets is important, as direct translations may not be enough to get the job done and can cause you to run into cultural faux pas or awkward translations. These chatbots can customize your support offerings by collecting data about the issue the customer is having and assigning it to the right team member. This can help stretch your customer support resources farther.

2. Translate Your Knowledge Base

Many websites have helpful Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) pages that their customers can turn to when they have a quick question. If you can get ahead of the most commonly asked questions by answering them on your FAQ page you can save a lot of time and money on live support services. Translating the FAQ page to suit your most popular markets is a great way to offer support across different languages. This is one of the least expensive options for offering multilingual customer support. You can work with a translation team who has native speakers in the language needed on their team to perfect this page.

3. Provide Support Over Email

Phone support can be expensive and customers can get frustrated with long wait times, so it’s a good idea to consider offering email support in different languages where customers can ask questions or send requests. There are integrations that allow these emails to get machine translated so that the support team can understand what it is that the customer needs. They can then write a response and send it to an external translation team that only translates that personalized response. As these are usually short texts, the team can get the translations back very quickly and send it to the customer. By providing translated responses, communication will be improved and the customer will feel more confident that your brand can meet their needs. 

Implementing a multilingual customer support strategy can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember you can start small by tackling your top markets first. As your business and resources grow, you can always expand your multilingual customer support options!


Microlearning 101: What It Is and What the Benefits Are

With countless schools and offices having to operate remotely in 2020, and people spending more time at home than ever before, e-learning can provide invaluable education opportunities. Whether a college student needs to finish their course requirements, a retiree wants to pass the time learning a new skill, or a business wants to train their employees, e-learning can come in handy. Even once social distancing comes to an end, our very digital world can greatly benefit from e-learning tools. To make the most out of these tools, there are techniques like gamification and microlearning that course creators can take advantage of. Microlearning for employee training in particular has some benefits worth examining. 

What is Microlearning?

Before looking at the benefits of utilizing microlearning in training, it’s important to understand what microlearning is. Microlearning is a short format for content that is intended to drive a specific learning outcome. Most often, microlearning is seen in e-learning platforms hosted on smartphones, computers, and tablets. One of the goals of microlearning is to make the content learner-centric, easily accessible, and quick to consume. 

Essentially, this is an educational approach that focuses on providing small learning units that only include the necessary amount of information required to help the user meet a certain learning goal. 

What are the Benefits of Microlearning?

Before adapting microlearning techniques for e-learning content creation, you may want to know what the benefits are. The three main benefits are better engagement, retention, and saving time and money. 

Regarding engagement benefits, the numbers don’t lie. From the get-go, employees are more likely to be engaged in microlearning. According to Software Advice survey, 58% of employees stated they would be more likely to utilize online learning tools provided by their company if the content was broken up into multiple smaller lessons. 

When it comes to engaging with the content, shorter e-learning modules can help take advantage of an employee’s focus limitations. The University of California Irvine found that on average employees work for just 11 minutes before they typically become distracted by outside stimuli such as emails or phone calls. During those 11 minutes, employees tend to work on very short and quick tasks that last about three minutes. Microlearning can provide busy employees with the option of making e-learning work for their hectic schedules and environment. Not only can microlearning allow the user to engage fully in a lesson for a short period of time, but because the lessons are easier to complete, they can retain the content better. 

Saving time and money on e-learning content is a nice perk. According to the author of 3-Minute E-Learning, learning architect Ray Jimenez, PhD, microlearning can actually decrease development costs for training courses by 50% and can increase the speed of developing them by 300%. This is because this digital form of digestible content is much easier to reuse and refresh than more traditional in-person training. Another benefit of having shorter bits of content is that it can make it faster, easier, and more cost effective to localize your training to your employees’ native languages. Being able to adapt e-learning content to different languages and cultures through localization can create a better and more effective e-learning experience.


What is International SEO and Why is it Important?

SEO. Three little letters, a whole lot of potential. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is a super valuable tool for anyone who wants their website to be discovered by potential readers or customers. Many businesses have their websites and content SEO optimized, but when it comes to localizing a website’s content into different languages, it’s really easy to forget about carrying SEO optimization over into the newly translated version. A simple translation of the website is not enough, international SEO is necessary.

What are the Benefits of SEO?

There are many benefits of using SEO techniques, primarily working towards helping a website get as many eyes on it as possible. Some of these benefits include using SEO to:

  • Help internet users find the answers and solutions they are looking for
  • Increase website visibility and traffic, as well as brand discovery
  • Provide growth opportunities for businesses
  • Grow traffic and sales through targeted searches

Why Machine Translation Can’t Do the Job

Translating a website into a new language can give businesses the opportunity to vastly grow their audiences and brand reach. However, their efforts have to go past a straightforward translation and must take the proper keywords for each specific market into account. Even if the internet users are searching for the same thing, they may not search for it in the same way. 

While it may be tempting to use machine translation because it is time and cost-efficient, the truth is, it can not assist with international SEO needs in the same way a human translator can. Having a list of translated keywords is not always enough to gain the same SEO traction. To properly take advantage of international SEO, there has to be research into the target market and a high level of cultural insight in order to be truly effective. The ideal keywords can change greatly when working with a new language and location. In effect, translating SEO keywords is more similar in nature to transcreation, as you can’t directly translate keywords and instead need to come up with new keywords that suit the needs and habits of the target audience. 

On top of the nuanced SEO requirements that Machine Translation can’t handle, Google recently updated their Quality Guidelines to state that using automatically generated text that is translated by an automatic tool is no longer allowed unless it undergoes a human review before publication — a process known as post editing.

How a Linguist Can Help

A linguist can step in where Machine Translation cannot thanks to having a diverse skill set and a deeper understanding of cultural context and the target audience, as well as SEO and marketing best practices. A linguist with a strong grasp on all of these elements can research which search engines are most popular in a target market, they can complete a detailed keyword analysis, and they can leverage SERP analysis and the ranking factors search engines utilize. 

Alongside understanding the needs of international SEO, linguists specialized in this field also have web writing skills and can create content that is engaging for the audience and utilizes SEO keywords to their advantage.


The Translation of Humor and Its Challenges

Whether you want to admit it or not, most of us love a good pun. Puns can be hilarious. In fact, we even frequently use the word “punny” to describe puns that make us chuckle. While this made up word may be hilarious to fluent English speakers, it would leave countless people around the globe scratching their heads, even if it was translated into their native tongue. This not-so-funny issue brings us to the translation of humor and its challenges. 

Why the Translation of Humor Is So Difficult

Humor touches many areas of our lives. From entertainment to advertisements to business relationships. Because movies, products, video games, and educational tools can have a global reach, the translation of humor is often necessary. 

Humor presents a challenge as it is often tied to very niche cultural and linguistic contexts. Some humor is universal, but some is very culturally dependent. This can leave translators with the task of translating humor that is impossible to translate without risking reducing the intended meaning of a joke. 

The Top Challenges

Word play is one of the main challenges that translators face, as many jokes rely on it, yet word play can be lost upon translation into a different language. As mentioned earlier, puns present a particular challenge. Puns use words that sound or are spelt similar, but may have different meanings to humorous effect. For example, the below pun is funny to native English speakers, but would be lost in translation as the word “knights” is being replaced for the word “nights”. In another language, these two words may not have a similar enough spelling or sound to make this joke work. 

Q: Why was King Arthur’s army too tired to fight?

A: It had too many sleepless knights.

There are four types of puns that can cause difficulties in the translation of humor. 

  • Homonymy: identical sounds and spelling
  • Homophony: identical sounds and different spellings
  • Homography: different sounds and identical spelling
  • Paronymy: slightly different spelling and sound

Puns are not the only roadblocks translators may encounter. Allusion, verbal irony,  subtle uses of humor, and cultural references can all fall flat after being translated. Cultural references can cause particular difficulty as pop culture figures, books, movies, or everyday phenomenons may be misunderstood by a foreign audience, making a direct translation not the most advantageous path forward. 

How Translators Overcome These Challenges

For translators tasked with translating humorous text, there are steps they can take to get the job done well and keep the laughs coming. When it comes to jokes that have a cultural divide, a translator may invent jokes that cater to the new target-culture. This can be more effective than simply translating the original joke. Similarly in cases of word play humor, a translator may have to rewrite the wordplay in a way that works in the target language. To successfully translate a joke, it is more important to capture the essence of the original joke than to directly translate it. 

The translation of humor is not a quick and simple task. It can require multiple drafts and countless edits to nail the intended tone and effect of the original jokes. However, it is the role of the translator to bridge differences between cultures and languages. With the proper skill set and work ethic, translators can get their job done and elicit a laugh or two in the process.


Blind Résumés: a Lot More Than Meets the Eye

As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, because the way those parts relate with each other also constitutes the final outcome. The good thing about sayings is that they can be applied to many different situations, and Language Service Providers (LSPs) are no exception. The skilled linguists that participate in a project are not the only factors that can add value throughout the translation workflow. How the elements interact with each other also makes a difference. This includes managing times, human resources, budgets and IT tools, encouraging a culture of teamwork, supplying clients with prompt and accurate solutions, articulating clients’ needs and expectations with the production team. These are only a few of the actions that can contribute to successfully tackle a translation project.

Why résumés are not all

It’s a common practice across the industry to ask for résumés or blind résumés of the professionals that will be part of a project. This way, clients can evaluate the assets and check if they are suitable for the task. Of course, qualifications and experience are a mandatory part of the profile of any translator or editor, according to ISO 17100.

Vendors with a solid background are crucial for quality-driven projects because they bring their experience, expertise and domain mastery to any task. However, sometimes résumés don’t properly reflect that worth. For example, translators may be remarkable linguists, but not that skilled when it comes to preparing an impressive résumé or detailing their vast experience. Because of this and other reasons, the value of the services an LSP offers shouldn’t be measured in terms of résumés only.

In the search of quality

There are other roles within an LSP that bring value to the equation and enhance the potential of their language professionals. For example, project managers schedule deliveries that allow translators to work comfortably while meeting clients’ deadlines. They also assess the need for linguistic resources, such as style guides or termbases, that can be decisive in maintaining consistency within a project. Furthermore, PMs take the best advantage of technology choosing the tools that can automate steps of the process or ensure quality through their features.

But also the contribution of vendor managers is vital because they recruit and evaluate talents. On their end, account managers and business development managers nurture the relationship with clients, whose trust is the headstone of any job. Lastly, language leads attend to linguistic queries and perform quality assurance checks.

So, how to assess value?

It’s true that the managing footprint is less tangible than the written qualifications listed in a résumé. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be tracked. The communication established via emails or meetings, the detail in a project proposal or the information available on an LSP’s website, for instance, can hint at the strengths of the team. With all these considerations in the spotlight, we can see there is more to evaluate than résumés when choosing a translation partner.


Why Mobile Learning Works Well for E-Learning Courses

It’s no secret that we live in a society that values convenience and flexibility. We are accustomed to moving quickly, learning to adapt, and making the most of the time we have. This is why mobile learning can provide invaluable opportunities for e-learning courses. This accessible and advantageous platform for e-learning has benefits for both the creators and users that are worth investigating further. 

What is Mobile Learning?

The term mobile learning, also known as m-learning or mLearning, refers to educational content that the user can access on a mobile device like their smartphone or tablet. This may be a blog post, podcast episode, or a full blown e-learning course.

Mobile learning has so much potential, the convenience and ease of access being one of the main benefits for consumers. There are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world, which means that mobile learning resonates on a global scale. 

Mobile learning works well in tandem with microlearning. This technique can offer both formal and informal educational training. Where does the micro in microlearning come into play? Microlearning presents smaller blocks of content, which allows the user to quickly and easily access information. This is an ideal format for those utilizing a mobile device. Microlearning can come in the form of a video, social post, email, or any type of content that is quick and digestible and easy to access on a mobile device. 

The Benefits of Mobile Learning

Before diving into the benefits of mobile learning, take a look at some interesting statistics. 72% of mobile users reported increased engagement, 45% of smartphone users completed their courses faster than those who used a computer, and 70% of people felt more motivated to learn when they were able to utilize mobile based learning. 

These numbers are pretty impressive, so let’s break down the benefits of mobile learning further:

  • Convenience: The user can access their e-learning materials anywhere at any time. 
  • Engaging: Creators can personalize content interactions in a way that is motivating and engaging for users. 
  • Collaborative: Users can utilize online communities to communicate with other learners.
  • Digestible: When using microlearning in tandem with mobile learning, the information presented can be digestible and easier to retain.

Why Design Matters

When it comes to mobile learning, proper design is of the utmost importance. When creating e-learning content, it’s key to design the content using a mobile-first approach. It’s no longer enough to make it mobile friendly or mobile responsive. It has to feel like it was always meant to be consumed from a mobile device. A course with faulty buttons or media that doesn’t work properly could have a counterproductive effect. Mobile users who try to consume content that was not designed specifically for mobile devices can get frustrated and may drop the course altogether.

Developing designs that adapt to a variety of device sizes may take more effort upfront, but the rewards will be worth it if you can attract users on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Creating content that is compatible for mobile devices will allow the users to access the e-learning content whenever and wherever they please and will give the creator the opportunity to take advantage of gamification techniques and video-based content.Another step worth taking now rather than later is to create content with internationalization best practices in mind. If the course will be later localized into multiple languages, course developers should follow internationalization best practices from the get-go to prevent having to do extensive work later on. Internationalization falls under globalization and can help adapt a product to a new market with ease. Similar to keeping design in mind up front, internationalization should be prioritized early on as well.


Globalization & Internationalization: What Role Does Each Play?

We live in a complex world. One where almost 7,000 languages are spoken. Thanks to collaborative efforts and new technologies, there is no reason that language barriers need to stand in the way of scientific, medical, or cultural progress. The translation industry in particular has stepped in to help expand borders and break down barriers. Two such ways this is accomplished is through globalization and internationalization (i18n). These two terms are easily confused, but each holds an important place in the translation industry and across almost all other industries. 

What is Globalization?

The term globalization has not one, but two meanings. On one hand it can refer to the globalizing economy or business activity. However, in the field of translation and localization, globalization centers around business activities that relate to marketing either a product or service in various regional markets. Globalization can take a local or regional phenomena and transform it into a global one. 

The globalization process stems around bringing cultures, economies, and people from different regions closer together. This allows organizations and businesses to connect stronger with their consumers or business partners from across the globe. Consumers can benefit from globalization as much as companies can, as it can provide them access to transformational advances. 

When it comes to the translation industry, globalization focuses on the product development cycle. A few examples of where globalization is applicable are:

  • Date and times
  • Currency
  • Calendar months
  • Decimal separators
  • Cultural connotations

What is Internationalization?

Internationalization (also known as i18n) falls under the general umbrella of globalization, as does localization. The process of internationalization helps adapt a product to a specific market easily. Internationalization is a strategy used in business to make a product or service adaptable so that entering different national markets is more seamless.

In order to go about the internationalization process properly, subject-matter experts, technical experts, or people with a level of international experience may be called upon. In general, any products intended for use by consumers across multiple languages will undergo the internationalization process. Some areas of product development and usage that internalization can apply are:

  • Time zones
  • Currency
  • Addresses
  • Postal codes
  • Social Security and social insurance formats
  • Telephone formats
  • Assembly instructions

The Main Differences of Globalization vs Internationalization

When it comes to differentiating between globalization and internationalization, it is important to remember that internationalization is covered under the umbrella of globalization. Internationalization is typically viewed as a strategy, not as a task to undertake at a later date.

Put simply, globalization is a process used by a company to bring its business to new locales, whereas internationalization refers to the act of designing a product or service in a way that makes the expansion into international markets a simpler process. 

Globalization and internationalization go hand in hand. Both should be used if a business plans to expand a product to multiple national, and sometimes even regional, markets. Ideally, a business will plan for these processes before a project begins, which will allow them to design products or services that users across different cultures and languages can utilize.


Mission Accomplished: A Case Study Review at Terra Translations

Whatever hurdle the Terra team faces will eventually become another milestone along the way. This is exactly what happened in the middle of summer 2020, when the team led by Operations Lead Julieta Trovant had to tackle a very large and complex project. The challenge began with the request of a special client. The IT startup needed its entire mobile application translated, including user interface, content, videos and voice tracks. First, the team analyzed the required actions and guided the client in deciding what was the best localization solution for their needs. 

However, translating a mobile app implies linguistic and technological challenges, such as establishing stylistic guidelines, setting file processing protocols or managing videos and subtitling formats. All these factors immediately put the whole team in motion.


In order to manage the project successfully, Julieta believes that teamwork played a crucial part. “We worked alongside vendor managers, business development managers, the human resources department, project managers and a large team of vendors,” she explained. This articulation helped them choose the right profile of professionals. “We were in the need of highly skilled translators and subtitlers. Vendors had to be open to changes, suggestions and catch immediately the desired tone for the app,” she said. With this assistance, Julieta’s team found the translators who perfectly fit the project and were enthusiastic about it.

Additionally, given that the client was developing the app, the Terra team was always open to the changes they introduced, and flexible enough to adapt their workflows accordingly. This is where the business development managers played their part. Julieta explained that they worked side by side, because “they built the perfect relationship with the client, based on smooth and clear communication.” This really made a difference in the project as she puts it, since it allowed them to match the client’s expectations with the production capability of the team.

Managing and value

Sometimes the value that the operations team adds in the final deliverable is overlooked. For Julieta, this project was very insightful for both the client and the team, as they all realized how much worth comes from efficient management. Initially, they built a risk management approach, which helped them analyze potential problems and anticipate solutions. Also, the IT expertise was decisive in establishing the correct processing method of the translatable files. With all these actions on the table, the team delivered high-quality outputs on the agreed dates.

“We also had the chance to use our creativity to come up with innovative solutions tailored to the client’s needs,” Julieta said. For example, they developed a specific channel of communication with the client, in order to have an expert language lead answering linguistic queries. Furthermore, they needed to come up with a method to work between two different translation tools, while keeping format and compatibility. Thus, they assembled a unique workflow to properly manage the translatable files and run exhaustive quality checks. 

Look beyond

It is known that facing challenges and coming through them successfully unites any team. But as Julieta shared with us, it is also a step in continuous learning, because all the lessons learned are an asset that helps in future projects. “We are confident in our abilities and the integral solutions we can offer to our clients,” she explained. From planning to file processing, from risk management to vendor selection, we really look forward to putting them to work for the future projects that are to come.


How to go about ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifications

Client satisfaction should always be top of mind. As should the desire to consistently be improving the quality of work your team provides. ISO certifications are one such way to commit to these goals. ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 are two reputable standards that guide organizations in the design of a process-based Quality Management System (QMS). While both these certifications help ensure quality, they have key differences that are worth understanding. Below, you’ll find a video that illustrates the differences between these two standards.

Know the Standards

For those looking to pursue one of these certification processes, it is important to have a clear understanding of the concept of “quality”. A QMS needs to be designed as a system of continuous improvement. Designing this system requires a meticulous study of the processes that a company follows so that you can then evaluate the best strategy for applying the requirements of the standard. ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 are two different types of certification that serve different needs. 


In short, ISO 9001 is a type of certification that is not geared towards a specific industry. ISO 9001 generally regulates a company’s QMS, which includes a company’s regulation of responsibilities, processes, and workflows. The goal of this certification is to enhance customer satisfaction via the effective application of a set system. Unlike ISO 9001, which any industry can utilize, ISO 17100 is a certification designed for use in the translation industry. ISO 17100 establishes the requirements for language service providers and regulates the process that a team must follow during a translation project from beginning to end. The combination of these two standards leads to a quality-oriented translation service.

Find a Good Auditor

When pursuing ISO standards, it is important to find a good auditor to work with, either internally or externally. If you choose to work with an internal auditor for the internal audits, they will need to have first-hand experience of the organizational culture and its processes, as well as be flexible to recognize the application of the standard in the organization. 


If you hire an external auditor, you will need to take into account the knowledge of the auditor of the country of operation of your company. One option, worth considering is working with a consulting firm. You should aim to work with a firm that has experience in certifying ISO standards. Ideally, you will work with someone who is flexible and can help you create the QMS according to the standard while keeping the organizational culture in mind. Looking for a firm that has certified other language service providers in your area is a good place to start. 

Whatever path you choose to take, preparing an audit plan with details of every aspect that will be audited is a smart move to make. Having a good communication plan internally to report how the QMS is advancing prior to the audit, as well as information about results post-certification audit, will also be helpful. 

The Impact 

Adopting an ISO certification can make a huge impact internally as it enables you to organize all processes and make proper documentation. Doing so can also affect your team’s mindset when it comes to quality and processes. Clients will benefit from certification as well, as it shows your commitment to continuous improvement. These certifications can also serve as a selling point when engaging with potential clients. 

Adopt the Right Mindset

At the end of the day, pursuing any type of ISO certification is a team effort. Having a detailed communication plan to train your organization in the general knowledge of the standard you are pursuing, the quality management policy, and the impact of the QMS in the daily dynamic of the organization can help your entire team adopt the right mindset and put you on the path towards certification.