Creado el: 31/03/2021
Creado por: Jacqueline De Marco

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.

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Creado el: 24/03/2021
Creado por: Jacqueline De Marco

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.

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Creado el: 17/03/2021
Creado por: Carolina Arriagada

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.

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Creado el: 09/03/2021
Creado por: Carolina Arriagada

What is Culturalization and Why Does it Matter on a Global Scale?

While at first glance, it’s easy to mix up the terms localization and culturalization, the latter term plays a different role than localization does in translation projects. Culturalization accounts for the geopolitical and cultural climates of the local markets where the content will be distributed after a translation project takes place. While localization centers around how to tailor content to the target audience by taking current events, local news, and regional dialect differences into account, culturalization goes a step further in order to create content that is culturally appropriate and meaningful to consumers of a specific target market. Let’s look at a few examples that illustrate this concept further. 

Video Games

While culturalization can have a vast impact across any type of creative content project, generally this concept is associated with video games. This is because video games can create richly detailed worlds where there is representation of culture, history, and religion, as well as the use of symbols, body language, and gestures. All of which are elements that may not translate across multiple cultures. Not to mention, there is room to offend a new target market if culturalization doesn’t step in to adjust for that market’s unique history, current events, and cultural preferences. Across the world, different markets have different perspectives on religion, politics, and current events. If a video game (or any other piece of creative content) doesn’t take these differences into account, then not only does the content risk performing poorly in certain markets, it may be banned. The video game Kakuto Chojin was banned in certain parts of the world because it was found to be offensive. 

Television and Movies

While Hollywood may be the film capital of the world, there are brilliant television and film makers from around the world that create content that reaches the far corners of the globe. For a film or television series to thrive in varying target markets, sometimes culturalization may be necessary to avoid offense or to make the same impact contextually.The point of culturalization is to support content, not disrupt it. If possible, adapting the creative vision in a way that will better fit with a new market can make an impact. For example, Disney / Pixar’s massively popular film Inside Out has a scene where a father struggles to feed broccoli to his toddler who is disgusted at the prospect of eating that cruciferous vegetable. In the United States, this scene is relatable and funny as many American children don’t like broccoli. So what’s the problem? In Japan, children don’t take offense to broccoli. Their scary green culprit is the bell pepper. So to make the scene just as impactful in Japan, animators swapped the broccoli for bell peppers in the version of the film released in Japan. Sometimes a small change during the culturalization process can make all the difference!

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Creado el: 03/03/2021
Creado por: Jacqueline De Marco

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.

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Creado el: 25/02/2021
Creado por: Carolina Arriagada

Localization: “Local Focus at Global Scale”

Going global is a big moment for any company. The day they cross borders and expand their products and services to new audiences introduces a whole new world of possibilities. It also introduces a whole new world of language challenges. The efforts required to bring a product or service to a new market goes far past simply translating the text in software, packaging, manuals, marketing campaigns, and other important assets. Culture, current events, and local idiosyncrasies also play a role. This brings us to localization

In order to successfully go global, you need to take a local approach to each market, taking into account the culture and the language variants. This requires research to confirm that the product or service will resonate with that target market. It also requires adapting the language you will present to customers in a meaningful way. Localization prioritizes making text both linguistically and culturally accurate to the region it will be distributed in. Localization goes a step further than a direct translation as that is often not enough to connect with a new audience. 

Follow these tips for going global successfully!

1. Research and Personalize

First things first, a high level of research is necessary when building out a product or service to bring to a market and when it comes time for the localization process. All markets have different language needs. For example, your company’s name may mean something totally different in the language of a target market than it does at home. In some cases that translation may be offensive or confusing. The same thing can happen with slogans, product names, and other key copy details. Just like you wouldn’t launch a product in your home market without doing your research, you should do the same due diligence when launching in a new market. 

2. Meet Local Peculiarities

When determining a localization strategy, doing in-depth research on the region and markets you plan to enter can make all the difference. Research what values a culture has, what their history is, and what their local dialect is like compared to the overarching language they speak. Major companies have spent millions crafting global campaigns to only find out that their slogans or campaign copy translate to something offensive or ridiculous.

3. Build the Right Team

Who is on your localization team will make all the difference when it comes time to make a splash in a new market. Your team will need the right skill sets and talents to launch in your specific chosen market. Hiring native translators who have the ability to transcreate is often necessary as they can understand local slang and vocabulary. A native translator will also be able to capture the tone and voice of your intended audience better. Transcreating steps away from direct translations and involves adapting and recreating marketing and other creative content by preserviving the original message, context, emotion, and tone. The right translators for your team will have not just a strong linguistic knowledge of your target market, but a deep cultural understanding as well.

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Creado el: 23/02/2021
Creado por: Carolina Arriagada

The Role of Translation in the Education of LEP Students in the US

The importance of education is something we at Terra feel strongly about. Education can open doors and provide invaluable opportunities to students. From art history to math to literature, there is no shortage of knowledge worth discovering. Everyone deserves access to a quality education, which brings us to how translation can improve the education of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students in the US.

LEP students face boundaries that students from native speaking families do not. Let’s investigate what the role of translation in the education of LEP students in the US is and how students and their families can benefit from it. 

The Role of Translation in the Education of LEP Students in the US

Every fall, families sit down with their children to pour over their orientation packets, class syllabuses, and schedules. The influx of important information doesn’t stop in the fall, it continues all year long. Which is why it is important that students and their families have access to these resources in accessible languages. 

Many families require vital education information be translated into their native language. In order to provide a fair and equitable education experience to LEP students, education translation services are of the utmost importance. By providing these resources, schools allow families to be informed about and to be actively involved in their child’s education.

Which Documents are Commonly Translated?

According to the U.S Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, schools are required to communicate information to parents with limited English proficiency in a language they can understand regarding programs, services, or activities that are called to the attention of parents. This information may appear in a variety of formats such as:

  • Enrollment and registration paperwork
  • Language assistance programs
  • Special education discussions or meetings
  • Parent teacher conferences
  • Parent’s handbooks
  • Student’s performance reports
  • Acceptance letters 
  • General communications via letters or emails
  • Testing materials
  • Brochures
  • Legal documents
  • Report cards
  • Schedules regarding the school bus or after school activities
  • Course descriptions
  • Class schedules

If schools do not properly translate documents such as those listed above, they risk harming a student’s learning or advancement opportunities.

How Students and Families Benefit

Both students and their families benefit greatly from translated materials. In the US, there are almost 62 million LEP students. Having access to education translation services can help students progress academically. These services assist families in navigating their children’s education and can aid them in understanding the academic needs and opportunities relating to their child, as well as the progress their child is making. A few example of the benefits of education translation services are:

  • Providing clarity regarding a student’s academic development
  • Enhancing educational experiences for students
  • Improving the student-teacher relationship
  • Making educational meetings more productive

Who Provides Translation Services for LEP Students and Families?

Legally, the school is the party responsible for honoring a parent’s request to receive language assistance. This can be in the form of having an interpreter present at a parent-teacher meeting or having access to the written translation of documents. It is the school’s job to ensure that these services are provided by appropriate individuals, such as a professional educational interpreter or translation agency. A professional translator who has experience translating educational materials, as well as being a native speaker of the parent’s language, is ideal.

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Creado el: 12/02/2021
Creado por: Jacqueline De Marco

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.

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Creado el: 02/02/2021
Creado por: Jacqueline De Marco

A Look at VR and a World of Possibilities Amid a Pandemic

Slowly but surely, virtual reality (VR) is starting to become a more noticeable presence in our lives. Especially in the workplace. When many people think of VR, they think of fun recreational applications, but they don’t expect VR to transform their careers. Companies are finding the current reality of VR and potential future applications can play an important role in the workplace. 

When it comes to integrating VR into the workplace, the possibilities are endless. However, there are a few key benefits that companies are currently experimenting with that are worth considering. 

Improving Corporate Training

One main benefit of using VR in the workplace, is that employee training and onboarding can benefit greatly from these applications. There are many ways VR can play a role in corporate training, from making basic training materials more engaging to allowing them to practice vital on the job skills in a safe environment. VR applications to e-learning can help increase information retention, can create low stakes practice opportunities, and can allow employees to fully visualize what certain work assignments and environments will look like. 

Collaborating in Interactive Virtual Rooms 

Remote teams can greatly benefit from the connection potential that VR can offer. With more and more employees working remotely than ever before, they may be struggling to communicate in their new digital environment. For example, some employers are embracing collaborative and interactive virtual rooms that utilize 3D visualization features enabled by VR to provide a better replica to in-person meeting experiences for remote employees. These rooms use spatial computing technology to help foster staff collaboration in a more realistic office environment and can allow them to perform more typical in-person teamwork activities, such as writing on a virtual whiteboard like they would in a real life conference room. 

These 3D conference rooms can give employees the option of adding photos, videos, sticky notes, and text to a virtual white board in a way that feels collaborative and engaging. In these virtual rooms, employees may be able to see a 3D representation of an upcoming product design and they even have the potential to add notes directly to the 3D model in real time. These are just a few examples of how VR can make certain aspects of remote working feel less remote.

Creating Virtual Events

With countless in-person events cancelled in 2020 and with so much uncertainty about the future of large gatherings, VR provides a unique opportunity to overcome social distancing barriers. Those who run professional conferences in particular are eager to resume operations and VR can allow them to convert an in-person conference into a fully interactive virtual event. 

Virtual avatars allow attendees to network digitally in a way that feels personal but also doesn’t require physical social interaction. Panelists can host sessions from simulated, 360° rooms where viewers watch and submit questions from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Conference hosts and guests can host in-depth technical tutorials, can present new products, and can initiate thought provoking conversations all with the help of VR.

Satisfying Social Needs

While working from home has its perks, there is no denying that it can get a bit lonely from time to time. VR provides a socially receptive environment for employees to interact with their colleagues by providing the possibility to feel like they’re in the same room together, even though they are in different locations. For most, the biggest struggle to adjusting to working remotely was missing the consistent social interaction a job can provide. Luckily, VR is ready to rise to the challenge of making working remotely feel more social.

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Creado el: 28/01/2021
Creado por: Carolina Arriagada

Does Translation Quality Mean Different Things to Different People?

Quality is subjective. The old adage is true, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Chances are, no two people will agree on the quality of every single meal, movie, piece of clothing, or electronic device they encounter. The translation industry is no different. When it comes to creating quality translations, all clients have varying standards. These standards may even differ from what the translator considers a quality translation to look like. This begs the question, does translation quality mean different things to different people?

Standards Vary

There is an expected set of quality standards that top translators aim to meet, such as ensuring that the final text of a translation project reflects the meaning of the source text, delivers the intended effect, and meets all project parameters. Avoiding any errors and accommodating cultural differences are important as well. That being said, clients may have their own idea of what quality means in regards to translations. 

In a sense, quality is accomplished when the client is satisfied with the work. Clients who work in more sensitive fields, such as the medical industry where a mistranslation can lead to fatal misunderstandings, may expect the final text to be perfect. Some clients may feel that a below par translation can damage their brand. Other clients may simply require a translation that is decent enough to convey the overall meaning of the source text. For example, if the text won’t be customer facing or serves internal purposes. They just want to get the gist of it. Because of the time and resources required to perfect translated text, some clients may have lower standards than others. Before commencing a project, it can be helpful to define quality standards with the client. 

Machine Translation and Human Intervention

For most linguists the idea of quality means that the translation has no errors in meaning, is free of typos and conveys a message very accurately while keeping in mind the culture of the target language. Some translators feel it is inconceivable that clients may be content with a complete machine translation output. When asked to perform post-editing and improve the text quality, many translators find it very difficult to just correct serious mistakes and avoid a complete rewrite of the translation.

While machine translation is a very helpful tool that can save both time and money, human intervention can help avoid mistakes in a translation project and can make capturing the meaning of the source text in a natural and intuitive way easier. However, if perfection is not the goal, a client may find that MT and MT+ post-editing processes meet their needs. 

The Takeaway

Unfortunately, there are no official metrics or benchmarks that translators can follow to achieve quality, as a one-size-fits-all approach to translations can’t universally meet the needs, purposes, and budgets of every client a translator will encounter. The goal of service providers should be to ensure the client is satisfied and to be mindful of their expectations of quality. If the expectations of qualities are clear at the beginning of the project and ultimately met, then both parties should be satisfied with the service provided.

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