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Why the Increased Demand for Interpreting Should Interest You

In the language services field, translators and interpreters play similar but different roles. Translators deal primarily with the written word while interpreters work with the spokenImage of Interpreter Helping Customer word. Both are integral to bringing people of different languages and cultures together, but more recently the interpreting function has gained increasing traction. The trend is one you should pay attention to.

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When Translating Measurements, Think Metrics!

Did you know that 90 percent of the world uses the metric system? In fact, only Myanmar (Burma), Liberia and the United States use a different form of measurement. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. That means for virtually any translation or interpretation project that involves measurement—like length, mass, volume, area, even temperature—you need to be extra careful about how they are communicated.

In some cases, you might want the conversion to be an exact translation, but not always.

image of metric rulerWhen it comes to translating measurements, first consider how precise you need to be. For example, when warning consumers to store a gas cylinder at least “three feet” away from an open flame, you probably would not want to use a literal translation. Three feet actually equates to “0.9144 meters,” so in this instance, rounding off to say “one meter” would be acceptable. Those few tenths of a millimeter won’t matter in this situation, and the smooth flow of your copy will be preserved.

On the other hand, measurement units for tools and machinery need to be very specific. Wrench, nut and bolt sizes are a common example, and we frequently see this mishandled in amateur translations. When a 5/8” wrench is required, that’s exactly what must be communicated in any language. Specifying only 1.5875 cm (or much worse, rounding it to 1.6 cm) leaves the user not knowing which tool is required, or possibly stripping the nut because of a misleading conversion in the translation!

All of this is relative to the scale, and the significant digits in the original measurement. When providing high-altitude recipes for cookie batter at 3,000, 5,000 and 7,000 feet, it doesn’t make things any “clearer” to the audience if you specify 914.4, 1,524 and 2,133.6 meters in your French translation. On other hand, when a component is only several centimeters long in the first place, fractions of a millimeter can often be very important.

Sometimes you might want to include both English and metric measurements—either to ensure that units used in the original situation or component are retained, or to provide approximations that help your audience get a sense of the sizes, weights or distances involved. In translation, as a general rule the common measurement units of the target language appear first, followed by the original equivalent (within parentheses, for example). Again, the translation team must have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter—and common sense—to know when a word like “approximately” is called for, and the appropriate level of precision for each conversion.

However, there are exceptions to this default order, like the wrench example cited in the previous section, or where the product itself is supplied in English units—spools of cable in lengths of 100, 500 and 1000 feet, for instance. When documents are directed towards non-English-speaking populations within the U.S., it is also common to use English measurements—sometimes followed by their metric equivalents if that will provide additional clarity.

So when it comes to communicating measurements across countries, use common sense in deciding when to be exact and when to be “close enough.”

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10 Tips to Ensure a High Quality Translation from Your Translation Services Provider

Using a professional language services provider will guarantee an accurate translation, but there are steps you can take to ensure that your project is completed quickly and within budget. Here are 10 Tips to ensure a high quality translation:

Target Local image

1. Identify the specific target audience for your translation so the appropriate language dialect and associated word choices are used. It’s not always enough to know which language to use. Just like in different parts of the United States, the vernacular may change depending on the regional location of your target audience. The more your message is localized, the better.

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Take a Lesson from Schools: Translation and Interpreting Often Required by Law

For regular readers of our blogs and newsletters, you know we often highlight the legal regulations that organizations should be aware of when it comes to providing translators bigstock-Law-Icon-Flat cropped 1a2and interpreters for clients/customers. Various federal and state laws are in place to make sure that businesses—especially those receiving government funding—meet basic requirements for providing translation services and interpreter services to people who don’t speak English well or at all (commonly referred to as LEP, or Limited English Proficiency).

Recent cases in Massachusetts underscore our point perfectly. Continue reading

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Love is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Traditions from Around the World

February 14—Valentine’s Day—is celebrated by couples, lovers and friends around the world, not just in the United States. It’s certainly a global experience.

The origin of Valentine’s Day remains unclear. One of the most popular legends, as best Image of a box of Valentine chocolatesdescribed by the International TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Academy, involves the Roman priest Valentine (or Valentinus) who lived during the third century: “When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with families, he outlawed marriage. Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret, causing Claudius to order he be put to death…. It is also told that Valentine sent the first Valentine’s Day greeting. Yet another legend says Valentine fell in love while imprisoned, perhaps with the jailor’s daughter who visited him. Before his death, he is said to have written her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine.” Continue reading

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Translation and Interpreting: How to Best Communicate with Foreign Language-Speaking Customers

Willy Brandt, the former West German Chancellor, once famously said: “If I am selling to Asian interpretationyou, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen (then you must speak German).”

The quote underscores a point we continue to emphasize more broadly to businesses and organizations today: the most effective way to communicate with clients, consumers and your own employees is in their own language.

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Speaking the Many Languages of Mexico

Map of MexicoDespite the political rhetoric that sometimes surrounds relations between the United States and Mexico, one thing remains certain: interactions between our two countries—economically, culturally and socially—will continue to play significant roles in our mutual growth and success. Our geographic proximity and our shared interests mean we will remain active partners far into the future.

Many of our translation and interpreting clients understand this reality and come to us to strengthen their communication efforts in Spanish. This runs the gamut from entrepreneurs looking to do business in Mexico to companies and non-profits trying to better serve their Mexican customers living in the U.S. But we find a common misconception among many of our clients, and that is: Spanish translation is a one-size-fits-all proposition. Continue reading

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Understanding Russian Cultures and Customs

Image of Moscow Red Square

Red Square – St. Basile

The Russian Federation has a thousand years of history. Its growth and expansion over the centuries has resulted in a country rich in diversity—in culture, customs, language, religion, politics, art and more.

As we highlighted in our last blog, Russia’s vast expanse across two continents—Europe and Asia—makes it uniquely attractive to business seekers and leisure travelers. In fact, its footing at the crossroads of diverse cultures and people gives it a combination of western and Asian influences that naturally make it a prominent player on the world stage.

As part of our ongoing blog series, this week we’re taking a closer look at Russian cultures and customs and what you should know if you plan future travels there. Continue reading

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Big View: Interesting Facts About Russia’s Sizable Landscape

When you think of Russia, you probably think of big. From a purely visual standpoint any map shows it extends over much of Eurasia – the combined continents of Europe and Asia. In fact, Russia is the largest country in the world by land mass, consuming 10,610,161 Russia Mapsq. miles and covering more than one-ninth of the Earth’s land area. It is 1.8 times larger than the total size of the United States. Even more out of this world, Russia has more surface area than Pluto’s 10.3 million sq. miles!

But land isn’t the only thing the Russian Federation—its official name—has in large supply. Not surprisingly, a country with so much space is bound to have other associated “big” attributes. Below are some other interesting facts about Russia that underscore its sizable reputation. Continue reading

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Multilingual Subtitles and Captions Can Expand Your Video Views

Marketing and promotional videos are more popular than ever in this age of digital media. It used to be that only big-budget businesses could afford the cost of producing a slick marketing video touting all the advantages of their products or services.

Not anymore.closed caption image

Today, many organizations have their own in-house video production teams equipped with low-cost but high-quality cameras and editing software that almost anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can use. Even more appealing to cost-conscious marketing managers is the array of social media sites that feature videos produced inexpensively on mobile devices and shared easily across multiple user platforms. A study by Cisco estimates that by 2020, video will account for 75 percent of all mobile data traffic! (Our previous blog highlights more fully the impact and opportunities of video marketing.) Continue reading

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