ASAP – As Soon As Possible indicates that the person needs it fast. It seems that this is added to every request in the modern world, but especially so when it comes to language translation services.
However, ASAP can cover a multitude of situations and may also be dependant on the clients level of understanding of the process. For example, ASAP could mean ‘a total realistic timescale’, ‘a totally unrealistic timescale’ or ‘a very easy deadline’. This is why ASAP must also equal dialogue between the translation service provider and the client.
This dialogue will be to: 1) understand the clients circumstances. In some cases they have also been asked ‘ASAP’ and they will also need to define this with the person who gave them the request.
2) communicate the projects translation time requirements.
3) Considering (1) and (2) a deadline and solution will then need to be agreed.
This step/dialogue is important as you are guessing until you have a deadline or better understanding of the actual requirements. The client is guessing when they get it back – but it will be as soon as possible. You are guessing when they need the translation – but you are assuming that your ‘ASAP’ is going to be agreeable. This is gambling with assumptions.
So……..ASAP in language translation may still mean ‘As Soon As Possible’ but it also means dialogue to avoid confusion.
August 3, 2011 | Language Translation | No Comments »
Recently I travelled through Brussels airport and the choice of imagery on the site of a vending machine caught my eye. It was not the translation of an advertisement, but rather the images and how they might be understood by the viewer.
If I think of an advertisement for a fruit flavoured drink I generally expect to see pictures or images of fruit or tropical settings. If it is a drink focused on sports I might expect to see pictures of runners and cyclists. On this occasion they presented an image of a small boy urinating while standing on top of a bottle!
What might the viewer think or believe? That the drink contains pee?
However, it is all about the location. These vending machines were placed in Brussels Airport and one of the most famous landmarks is a statue named the ‘Manneken pis’.
With this knowledge we can understand that this is imagery of Brussels landmarks and that we might expect the Eiffel tower on equivalent vending machine in Paris. However, I know Brussels pretty well and have seen the statue, but I was still amazed by the choice and wondered if they might not have at least excluded the swish of pee hitting the bottle. I suspect that they would not use such imagery for a swimming pool!
So I also wonder if the choice of imagery included an intentional shock element. Lady Ga Ga might be able to sing and create a catchy song, but how much of her success is down to her continuous efforts to shock us? I believe so as if the choice was only based on landmarks then where is the Atomium?
I should also add that I was only transferring through the airport and many travellers may therefore not know about Brussels attractions and the statue. Many might just see a boy standing on a bottle have a pee.
These images show how difficult and subtle advertising translation can be. We must think outside the box, how the translation might be perceived and if the correct translation might not be appreciated by the target market. We also enter further into the arena of stylistic choice; where one viewer might think that the Nike logo ‘Just do it’ is a little too suggestive even though it has been very successful.
So what do you think? Did this choice of advert increase your thirst and make you want to buy a drink? I can say that I did not even buy a coffee in the airport (which might have been by coincidence) and wonder if drink sales have changed on the vending machines or the airport as a whole.
June 15, 2011 | Language Translation | 1 Comment »
I am pleased to announce that we have just updated the list of Italian recipes with 12 new dishes. Each recipe was written originally in Italian and then an English translation was provided. We will also have added some tips.
The recipes are all good and include such Italian dishes as ‘Sgombro in salsa aramatico’ or ‘Mackerel in an aromatic sauce’. However they can also be useful for those looking to improve their language skills. Cooking is a part of life and so terms with practical applications are used.
So, check out our Italian recipes, in Italian or the English translation, and please let us have some feedback.
June 10, 2011 | Business Translation | No Comments »
Thousands of languages and dialects are spoken in the world today, but this number is declining each month. Local dialects and languages are increasingly ceasing to be of use in favour of the major languages of the world.
How does this occur? Lets look at the Italian language for example. Historically Italy did not speak Italian, but a mixture of languages and dialects. Many of these dialects may still be in use today, but they are declining at varying rates. The Italian language is in fact one of these languages that was selected to be the national language.
The situation in North America is also of interest. Of approximately 165 indigenous languages, only eight are now spoken by 10,000 or more people. About 75 are spoken
only by a handful of older people and seem to be heading towards extinction.
Television has also played it’s part. TV companies would find it impractical to cover all their programs in all the potential languages and dialects and so have favoured the majority. This has decreased interest in the other languages.
So, while we cannot calculate how many languages there are, we can say that the number is decreasing.
June 3, 2011 | Language Translation | No Comments »
The Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) Ethnologue Survey (1999) lists the following as the top languages by population:
(number of native speakers in parentheses)
1. Chinese* (937,132,000)
2. Spanish (332,000,000)
3. English (322,000,000)
4. Bengali (189,000,000)
5. Hindi/Urdu (182,000,000)
6. Arabic* (174,950,000)
7. Portuguese (170,000,000)
8. Russian (170,000,000)
9. Japanese (125,000,000)
10. German (98,000,000)
* The totals given for Chinese, Arabic, and French include more than one SIL variety.
However this is a little out dated as more than 10 years have passed. A more recent list changes the order slightly
German has now been replaced by Punjabi which will be related to difference in birth rates.
May 29, 2011 | Language Translation | No Comments »
How many languages exist in the world? Ask this question on the street and you will receive a range of answers. From my own experience the answers were in the hundreds, but the answer is actually in the thousands.
However, there is currently no exact count of the number of languages. The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language states that estimates of total living languages in the world vary from 3,000 to 10,000.
Part of the problem is with the definition of a language as there are also many dialects and variations of the same language. Another problem is that parts of the world have not been explored in enough detail to ensure all languages have been counted.
May 25, 2011 | Language Translation | No Comments »
Can the installer or the user really understand the technical manual? Can they understand the person providing the training? If not, expect trouble and this might be a health and safety issue that a translation service could avoid.
Incorrect use of equipment can create accidents, decreased life of an asset, void warranties, increase running costs and damage property. This can easily occur if the user does not know how to install/run/maintain the equipment.
On some occasions the manual may be available in other languages. Otherwise the translation of a user manual is best discussed before purchase as you may be able to insist that it is included in the sales price.
May 20, 2011 | Language Translation | 1 Comment »
Under English law a person is deemed to have read something if they have signed it. But surely we enter a grey area if the person can obviously not read in the language? Unfortunately not everybody is honest in this world and there are even situations where a person can deny they speak the required language shortly after an incident. This can alter the nature of a claim and we now live in a claims culture.
The only true way to protect your business is to consider translation of documents as part of the initial employment cost of migrant workers and as part of the health and safety audit. It can be considered part of your insurance cost as it is in fact another form of protection.
If you cannot be sure that your employee can read documents related to the health and safety parts of their job you will need to have a translation available in their language. If you would like to protect against their denial of language abilities you still need to translate the documents into their language.
At the very minimum, it is recommended that each migrant employee should be given a covering document to sign ‘before starting work’ that has been translated into their language. This should be presented with all the documents they should understand and include a confirmation that they have received the documents listed and that they can understand them, they can understand all the safety signage in the work place and that they possess the ability to speak the native language of a good level to be able to understand instructions given. This should also include a procedure for situations where they have reached a language barrier.
Insurance companies may not have asked you how you deal with language barriers in the work place or migrant workers, but it is only a matter of time. Remember, a translation service can protect your employees, your assets and keep your insurer happy.
May 19, 2011 | Business Translation | No Comments »
Never before has the job market been so global and this means that more work places have employees working in a second language or a language in which they are not entirely proficient.
On this basis language translation can be important to ensure the employee understands the safety procures and how to perform their job in the safest manner. The person may be qualified and experienced, but might come a place where health and safety is less important.
For their safety and the safety of their co-workers, translation of key documents may be important.
May 15, 2011 | Language Translation | No Comments »