E-learning courses: 5 reasons why your company can’t do without it

E-learning, also known as CBT (computer-based learning) is an umbrella definition for all types of training performed through digital mediums. The increasing speed of the internet has made e-learning gain a lot of traction–for all the right reasons. Here are a few of them.

1. E-learning saves time (ergo money)

All the recent studies have pointed out that e-learning saves more than 50% of the time compared to traditional classroom-style education. Since training happens within employees’ paid time, your company needs to cash out less time on employee education.

2. E-learning courses are student-centered

Ever gone through training, where half of the students were clearly ahead of the learning curve? That’s right: half the audience was dozing off, making the other half lose motivation and gain less from the training. 

Grouping people by their subject-matter proficiency is costly, so classroom training is bound to prove efficient only for a part of the group. E-learning, on the other hand, solves this issue nicely. Students who are ahead can skip through the training content they are proficient in and focus on the novel subjects. This ramps up everyone’s learning efficiency.

3. E-learning is scalable

Organizing classroom training is always a hassle. Too few people and your training cost pro-capita skyrockets. Too many, and the training yields less effect because it becomes too impersonal. E-learning solves this before you say Jack Robinson. Each student—or group of students—access the training whenever and wherever is most convenient for them and their line manager.

4. E-courses use more mediums, raising the level of training success

Start off with an intro video. Add an interactive module. Test your employees with a gamified quiz during their coffee-break.  All this and more can be done easily with modern e-learning platforms like Lectora Inspire, Adobe Captivate, and Articulate Storyline. While standard classroom training relies solely upon the educator’s level of preparation and charisma, e-learning uses all the different mediums and senses to make the training varied and interesting to follow.

5. E-learning unlocks the power of analytics

Calculating ROI on training has always been a grey area. With classroom training, you can’t pinpoint whether an increase in your employees’ KPIs is due to the educator’s super-power or the training module itself. E-learning removes this barrier. You can measure the effectiveness of a training session by analyzing the dropout rates at any step of the module. This insight will allow you to improve your courses quickly and painlessly. You could also split-test two different approaches with two groups, and see which one brings a higher yield in the target KPI.

And if you need to translate it?

This is where things can get tricky. Employee experience is as important as customer experience for your company’s success. But different cultures require different training approaches. At the same time, you want to make sure that your company culture’s tone and style remain as uniform as possible. Put shortly, what you need is localization, not translation. 

Luckily, there’s LingPerfect. Not only we make your life easier by working directly in the e-learning platform of your choice, but we also help you create glossaries, style guides, and manage the implementation of your localized e-learning courses. Send us a message to request more information, and we’ll be glad to walk you through the process.

Translation Memories: better, faster, cheaper translations

Have you ever wondered how a translator can get through a 20,000-word user manual and make sure that 500 occurrences of Turn on the computer always translate into Encienda la computadora and not once in Prendé la compu? Meet Translation Memories, a translator’s—and your—biggest allies.

What are translation memories?

A translation memory is a database of previously translated segments with the help of a computer-assisted translation (CAT) software. 

When a source text gets imported into a CAT tool, the software breaks the content down into segments or strings. These strings are usually sentences, but can also be clauses, phrases, or titles. When the translator writes the translation of a source string, this source-target pair gets stored in the translation memory. 

If a similar or equal source string appears later in the text, the translation memory will prompt the translator with the previously saved string as a possibly reusable match. 

There are three types of translation memory matches: 

  • A context match, also known as a 101% or 102% match. This type of match means that the source string is equal to the one previously translated and that the strings before and after it are the same, too. There is a high chance that the translation can be reused.
  • A 100% match. This string is the same as the one already stored in the translation memory, but the preceding or the succeeding strings are different. The linguist can rely on its accuracy but should pay special attention to whether the new context still warrants the same translation as before.
  •  A fuzzy match means that the source string is similar to a previously translated one, but not the same.  For instance, there is a translation entry for The summers are hot in Tampa. A few pages down the road, The summers are hot in San Diego appears. The software recognizes the second string as a fuzzy match. Depending on the context, the translator might reuse some of the already translated text. The level of fuzziness can be anywhere from 99% to 0%. Fuzzy matches below 70% are generally useless, and the linguist will translate the string from scratch.

How do you benefit from translation memories?

Here are a few ways in which you benefit from translation memories:

  • Consistency

With translation memories, language experts can process a lengthy document without going willy-nilly with repetitive strings. The same string will always be translated the same way, ensuring a high level of consistency throughout the content.

  • Quality

All the stakeholders in a translation project (the client, the agency project manager, the linguist, and the reviewer) work on one single source of truth. This makes sure that everyone is aligned with brand guidelines, tone, and style.

  • Price

It’s standard practice that repetitions and high-percentage fuzzy matches are discounted. You might wonder why they don’t come free of charge. The reason is simple. Even a 100% match still needs to be proofread to make sure that the previously translated target language equivalent fits the new context. But usually, this revision comes at a fraction of the cost you pay for a new segment.

Do all types of content benefit from translation memories?

To put it shortly: no. User manuals, guidelines, product specs, and contracts are the most fitting group because they are repetitive. 

Creative writing like marketing collateral, hero copy, and social media contain little repetition. By consequence, they yield little to no optimization from translation memory software.

So the translation memory is an ever-growing translation tool that needs no maintenance?

If only that were true! In reality, as a translation memory grows, so does the need to keep them nice and tidy. Over time, you might have done changes to your content style guidelines. You might even have launched a new business line where you address a different audience. If your translation memories do not reflect these changes, the translator will face dilemmas when finding different matches for a given source segment. So instead of speeding up work, it will lead to wasting time trying to figure out which entry is the more relevant one. 

Translation memories help defy the Triple Obstacle Triangle. They make things cheaper, faster, and better—all at the same time. And the more they grow, the more value they bring.  But only if they are kept clean and updated. 

Not sure how? Give us a call, and we’ll tell you more.

How to get more bang for your localization buck?

We recently wrote about why localization is important. But let’s say you have a ton of web content and a limited budget. You can’t localize the lot, at least not in the first round. Which parts should you localize first? Which sections will benefit your business when adapted to the cultural differences of your new audience? Follow these tips to improve your localization ROI.

1. Define your website’s content categories

Website categories are sections that talk about specific aspects of your business. They can be divided int distinct subdomains or scattered across various pages. What is important is the function they serve. Grouping your content into these five sections will help you define where to start with website localization:

  • Legal content: terms and conditions, disclaimers, etc.
  • Technical content: manuals, how-to guides, product specs
  • Branding: about us, mission & vision 
  • Marketing: all pages that help sell your product or service: product descriptions, reviews, blog posts, etc.
  • Functional/system content: addresses, contact details, time & date, measurements

2. The categories you should localize first

Yes, your hunch is right. The first category you should localize is your marketing section. But there are two more categories that you should include: 

  • functional content and 
  • FAQs

With functional content, it’s a no-brainer. Localizing measurements, addresses, and currencies will mean the world to your customers. You’ll spare them the headache of having to do the math on their own. But FAQs? Isn’t that an after-sales section?  Not really. Research shows that customers visiting your FAQs are actually very eager to buy. But they have some concerns or objections that prevent them from hitting the checkout button. Think of it this way: FAQs on your e-commerce are doing what a salesperson is doing in a physical store. They both handle customer objections.  That’s why minding the specific cultural rather than linguistic aspects in your FAQs is vital for your sales conversion.

3. And the rest?

Legal disclaimers, manuals, and technical specs are things you can include in a future round of localization. Translating them into Universal Spanish as a first step should not harm your sales performance. And branding content? This one is tricky. The best thing is to draft your source branding to ease its internationalization. Using neutral images and versatile taglines will save you tons of time and money when you’ll need to adapt them to your new market.

4. Last but not least: website localization for SEO

A category that gets often ignored is your language-local keyword strategy. Website localization isn’t just about finding the most accurate words for the target cultural context. It’s about: 

  • digging out the words people use for a specific search intent
  • finding keyword alternatives that will be easier to rank for

Two seemingly equal keywords might hide completely different search intents. If you’re into e-commerce, you don’t want to rank for keywords people use when looking for how-to blog articles. Another important point is keyword alternatives. Using the plural or a semantic equivalent might make it much easier to rank better.  

That’s why building a well-researched keyword strategy is fundamental for your business success. At the end of the day, you can adapt your images and your tone to suit the local culture. But if you fail to rank among your audience’s search results—your localization efforts will be in vain.  

Reach out to us to find out more about our SEO-optimized localization expertise.

ISO 9001: What is it and how can your translations benefit from it

Trust is the glue of life, they say. Working with a translation company is no exception. After all, you’re trusting your language partner to convey your message in another language faithfully and mistake-free. But, is there a way to be sure you’ll get the quality you deserve? There is. And it has a name: ISO 9001.

What is ISO 9001?

The ISO 9001 standard focuses solely on quality. As defined by ISO itself, the guiding principles behind ISO 9001-compliant quality management are:

— customer focus

— leadership

— engagement of people

— process approach

— improvement

— evidence-based decision-making

— relationship management

The ISO 9001 standard focuses on the processes, not the final product. This makes it applicable to any industry, product, or service. 

Why is ISO 9001 important for your translations?

An ISO 9001-certified translation company must follow strict procedures covering the entire cycle: from quotation to final delivery. This workflow must be fully documented. At any given moment, anyone requesting to review a step must be able to access it. Documenting and updating these guidelines is vital for continuity. If there is a change of staff in the translation company, there will be no gaps or glitches in delivering the same quality of translations. Another major point is continuous improvement. A translation company wishing to get ISO 9001 must prove that it has set up methods that allow identifying the root cause of a mistake. By eliminating the source of the problem, there is a lower chance of the same bug presenting itself again.

Watch out: ISO-certified vs ISO-compliant

You could fast-track the ISO 9001 process by a self-certification or getting an “ISO-compliant” stamp. We didn’t take that route. To get our ISO 9001 seal, we hired a renowned external auditor and went through a rigorous inspection. With LingPerfect, you can be sure your translations are handled according to the highest standards set forth by the ISO committee.

Website localization: why you can’t afford to ignore it anymore

Say you liked Indian food and decided to try making a dish at home, on your own. You search for a paratha recipe on the internet and find it on an Indian blog. Perfect, it’s in English, so you don’t have to google translate it. A scroll and a swipe later, you stumble upon the ingredients list. Wait, what? Two hundred ounces of flour? No, that’s grams. You keep on scrolling through the list, your despair growing with every line. At the sight of two deciliters of milk, you shut the laptop lid and grab the phone. That’s it: you’re ordering in from your favorite Indian takeaway. 

Now you know how your customers feel when they land on your unlocalized website. Still think website localization is useless?

Website localization: how does it affect your revenue stream?

We’ve recently covered the topic of mistranslations and how they hurt your business. Not localizing is no less harmful. Granted, it won’t lead you to massive lawsuits, but it does erode your revenue stream slowly and steadily— with every missed click of the checkout button.

A study by Common Sense Advisory in 2014 found that over 75% of respondents prefer buying from a website if the product or service is in their native language. Fast-forward six years, and we bet this figure has grown even higher. With an increasing amount of content out there, customers have become even pickier about who they buy from.

You’re targeting Latin America. Should you save money by localizing into Universal Spanish?

Localizing your website means more than just translating the text. It’s about adapting the visuals, the layout, the currency, and the tone of voice. All these items work together to resonate with the cultural context of the market. When looking at the localized content, it should feel as though it was created from scratch in the target language. 

The nuances of each Latin American Spanish variant start at grammar level, but they touch vocabulary choices, too. You’d use banano if you were targeting  Colombia, but you’d be bananas if you used the same word when targeting denizens of Mexico, Cuba, or Peru (where they call it plátano). 

That’s why skirting localization by translating your website into Universal Spanish won’t do the trick. While this variant is understood by all Spanish-speaking Latin America, it won’t convey the specific tone and style you desire. Nobody uses Universal Spanish in everyday communication.

Does your localization partner know your website CMS?

This is a fundamental point. Translation is usually done in a translation management tool. Which one–it’s really not your concern. You send the text to your language agency, and they send you the translated text back. Whether they’re using Trados, Memsource, or any other tool doesn’t affect you in the least bit. Website localization works differently. It has to be done directly in your CMS, or else you risk ending up with distorted layouts and unrecognized special characters. So apart from language and market knowledge, your localization partner must have a great technical know-how of your website’s CMS.

Wrapping it up: website localization is a key success factor

You’ve spent time and bucks perfecting your marketing campaign and your product specs. It would be a pity to throw all that hard work away because you failed to convey the power of your message in the local culture. The good news is that with LingPerfect, you can localize your website for any LatAm country, and we can do it in any CMS software: Drupal, WordPress—you name it. Give us a call to find out more.

Phone vs video: which remote interpreting service is better for you?

One of the side effects of the recent turmoil has been a roaring shift of business towards the online realm. The cyberspace has provided a safe haven for many businesses, securing them with at least some level of business continuity. Interviews have become phone calls. Team meetings have turned into zoom videos. Naturally, interpreters have started to work remotely, too. But when it comes to remote interpreting, we’ve noticed our clients have some trouble choosing between phone and video remote interpreting. Which one is better? Keep on reading to find out their pros and cons, and our final verdict.

Phone Interpreting

What is it?

Over-the-phone interpreting, or simply OPI, is essentially a conference call between two parties and the interpreter. Usually, over-the-phone interpreting is done in consecutive mode. 

Pros of Phone Interpreting:

  • Availability. This type of remote interpreting is most readily available because it only requires a phone connection. In fifteen seconds, it can you can get connected to over 200 languages. How is that for breaking language barriers?
  • Price. Of course, interpreting rates depend heavily on the language combination you’re looking for. But as a general rule, phone interpreting rates are lower than video remote interpreting. 

Cons of Phone Interpreting:

  • You can’t rely on body language. In some situations, non-verbal communication can be critical for an accurate interpretation service. Apart from the tone of voice, phone interpreting can give little insight into what else is being said with posture or facial expression.  
  • Not suitable for the DFHH community. If your audience consists of people with a hearing impairment, phone interpreting is not an option.

Video Remote Interpreting 

What is it?

In video remote interpreting (VRI), the parties connect through an online platform that provides both video and audio support, so all participants can hear and see each other. 

Pros of Video Remote Interpreting:

  • You get visual support. This makes it the closest alternative to on-site interpreting. It’s particularly useful in stressful situations like medical interviews, or tough business negotiations. 
  • It suits all segments of the population. Because of the visual component, VRI is your go-to remote interpreting service when you need to communicate with a Deaf or Heard of Hearing person. 

Cons of Video Remote Interpreting:

  • Price. Mind you, compared to on-site interpreting, it’s still a significant saving. But compared to phone interpreting, it does come at a slightly higher price tag. 
  • Internet connection. VRI needs a stable high-speed internet connection. If the setting you’re in can’t guarantee it, avoid it. A bad connection is worse than no connection at all.

OPI vs VRI: The verdict

Both types of remote interpreting services come with their advantages and shortcomings. There isn’t an all-time winner. Instead, it’s the context of your meeting that should define which option to go for. 

To sum up, here is what we recommend:

Go for phone interpreting when:

  • It’s last-minute. You’re in hot haste and need a language expert within minutes? Phone interpreters are more readily available than video interpreters. 
  • You’re unsure about internet stability. Don’t risk ruining the meeting with frozen screens and sound cut-offs. If one of the attendees has a weak internet signal, go for phone interpreting. 
  • There is an established relationship between the attendees. In a medical context, it will be challenging to discuss a first doctor-patient meeting via phone. In that case, VRI would be a better choice. However, once the is an established relationship, switching to OPI will save time and money.

Go for video remote interpreting when:

  • You need a sign language interpreter. Make sure to ask in advance if anyone attending has a hearing impairment.
  • The gist is not in the words. First medical appointments, delivering a tough diagnosis, a heated business negotiation… Everyone will benefit if they see each other rather than just hear each other.
  • You can ensure support from IT. For important meetings, it would be good to make some VRI tests beforehand and have IT back up on-site if anything goes south.

What is video remote interpreting and 3 ways you can benefit from it

Video remote interpreting (VRI) is an interpreting service that has been picking up in recent times when social distancing and lockdown measures have thwarted physical gatherings. The main difference between traditional on-site and video remote interpreting is basically one: the interpreter’s location. But there are some other perks that come with it. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?

1. It’s cost-effective 

With VRI, you can cut down costs considerably on interpreting for two reasons. First, with video remote interpreting, you eliminate travel and interpreting equipment costs. The interpreter is working from remote, either from home or from the translation agency. 

Second, there is no minimum of half-day or daily rate. Video remote interpreting is usually charged by the hour, sometimes even by the minute. So you can forget about having to book an on-site interpreter for a whole morning when you know your meeting will last only one hour.

2. It’s flexible

With on-site interpreting, you need to book the linguist well in advance. Sometimes, the language combination you need might not be available in your home area. So you might even have to reschedule your meeting to fit the interpreter’s availability. With VRI, these physical barriers are taken away. You can request an interpreter on the VRI platform as soon as a few hours before your meeting.

3. You can still rely on non-verbal language

There are sensitive settings in which a lot of what is said is conveyed non-verbally. This applies especially to legal or medical situations in which stress plays an important role. With VRI, the interpreter can still pick up on body language.

Final thoughts

The pandemic has moved a lot of our physical communication into the online realm. At LingPerfect, we believe this shift will linger on even after the restrictions have been eased. 

In the past, video remote interpreting has often gotten a mauling for being unreliable and inefficient. But with the increasing quality of software and internet connection, things have changed. Today, video remote interpreting services are an excellent alternative for your meetings, bringing you a reduction of costs, ease of access, and safety.

New Words in English: how the Coronavirus is Changing our Vocabulary

Language is not something we consume passively. Our experiences define the words we use. By consequence, every significant social change always brings changes to our language, too. It’s simple: we need new words to express new concepts and how they affect our lives. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. In a few short months, our everyday vocabulary got infected by many new words. And the changes were so drastic that they even warranted an unplanned update of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in April.

But are these words freshly-minted vocabulary entries? And what is their impact on translation? 

So many new words, right?

Well, not exactly. It might come as a surprise, but the OED registered only one new word in its special edition coronavirus update: COVID-19, a clipping of coronavirus disease 2019. All the other words that permeated our vernacular have existed in our dictionaries for a long time. What changed drastically was the frequency of their use

Coronavirus, for instance, dates back to the Sixties. But until recently, it’s rarely been seen or heard outside scientific circles. In five decades, newspapers have printed it less than two hundred times. 

An then came 2020. Between January and March, the frequency of coronavirus saw a nearly 20-fold increase. In fact, it became more frequent than the use of time – one of the most widely used words in the English language.

True, there’s also social media, giving us new words like upperware, infits, and rona. But it remains to be seen whether any of these coinages will stand the test of time and mature into fully-fledged members of the English dictionary.

Old words, new meanings

Another exciting aspect is the shift in meaning that the pandemic produced on old dictionary entries.

For example, self-isolation was first recorded as early as 1834. But at the time, it was used to describe countries that detached themselves economically or politically from the rest of the world. Flash-forward two hundred years and its OED description reads as follows:

“self-imposed isolation undertaken in order to avoid catching or transmitting infectious disease, or as part of a community initiative to inhibit its spread.”

Here’s another old friend in a new vest: social distancing. In the 1950s, it meant an attitude rather than a physical term. It was used to describe people who decided intentionally to withdraw themselves socially. Now, it means to physically distance oneself from others to contain the spread of the virus.

How do these new words (and meanings) affect translators? 

One thing worth noting is how different language variants are reacting to these vocabulary shifts. Lockdown is widely used in the UK and Canada, but in Singapore, they seem to prefer the term circuit breaker. The same applies to other widespread languages, such as Spanish. 

In short, the pandemic is making the gaps between language variants grow wider. Now more than ever, what we need is localization, not translation.

Here are a few things translation agencies will need to do if they want to cope with localizing new words:

– build and update glossaries for each language variant

– research existing language variant corpora 

– increase scouting for variant-specific translators 

– build robust quality checks to ensure consistency

The latest entry about medical interpreters is here

To learn more about how we manage localization in different language variants at LingPerfect, drop us a line or use the contact form below.

Medical Interpreters: Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against COVID-19

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s who the real heroes in times of crisis are. Medical workers, supermarket employees, delivery drivers. Our hearts are filled with gratitude towards each of them–and rightfully so. But there is another group of people contributing to saving lives, often unnoticed: medical interpreters.

In the United States, more than one in five residents speak a language other than English at home. With COVID-19, getting the message across to non-English speaking communities has become more critical than ever.

So what are the hidden battles our language heroes have been facing during the COVID-19 crisis? 

Rebooting the “top-of-mind” medical terminology 

A timely medical translation can save lives. But building a “split-second-memory glossary” takes years of practice.

Before COVID-19, respiratory diseases were not among the top five causes of hospital admissions. Most medical interpreting revolved around heart conditions or diabetes.  

The current pandemic changed that. The medical terminology of the respiratory system became the new norm. By consequence, medical interpreters are called to reboot their off-the-shelf medical vocabulary. In record time. 

Refreshing hundreds of medical terms is difficult, but their job goes much further. There’s a high chance that to a patient, the target-language term is as obscure as its English analog. Hence, interpreters must also learn how to explain the situation in layman’s terms. 

A loanword or a “proper” word? Medical interpreting in a fast-changing vernacular 

A word might have a matching counterpart in the target language. Still, it doesn’t mean people use it in everyday conversation. This is especially true when we experience dramatic social changes. We adopt new words to define our new realities. But these new words are heavily influenced by many external factors. 

A medical interpreter might aptly translate lockdown into cierre de emergencia. Would it resonate with the Hispanic community of New York City as much as with someone from Colombia? Could it be the former group chose to adopt the English loanword instead? 

The covid glossary isn’t available in books yet. Medical interpreters must look for it in the streets, where it’s being shaped and sharpened as we speak. 

Remote: the new standard for medical interpreting 

The lack of protective wear has removed medical interpreting from the hospitals. This has brought a shift in paradigm for doctors, patients, and linguists alike. With, over-the-phone interpreting (OPI), one must make do without reading body language or facial expressions. This is a major shortcoming in situations where a smile or a pat on the back can mean a world. 

From our experience, video remote interpreting (VRI) proved to be a better choice in an intimate, doctor–patient situation.

We learned how to adapt our medical translation services to this new reality. Give us a call or send us an email. We’ll be happy to share more insights.

A mistranslation can cause serious damage. Learn how to avoid it.

Why Mistranslation Matters More than You Think

We’ve all had the pleasure of laughing at a funny translation fail. Like the time when a restaurant owner served Language in Sauce on his menu. A very witty Google Translate suggestion for translating of Lengua in Salsa in English. 

But if you think mistranslations are harmless mistakes that cause an occasional giggle, think again. 

The real cost of mistranslation

A faulty translation can end up in devastating lawsuits and losses, too. There are glaring examples of million-dollar hospital lawsuits due to a wrong diagnosis. We’ve also seen cases of large corporations losing hundreds of thousands in marketing costs. The main culprit? A mistake in translation. 

A mistranslation might be eroding your revenue stream more subtly, too. With the exponential growth of information, our attention span is decreasing. So your customers are becoming pickier about their purchase decisions. A poorly translated message can become a tipping point for a customer. Why? The low quality of your content does not evoke trust. And if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

Saving on translation services looked like a wise move. But in reality, it could be costing you tenfold in the sales you lose.

How to avoid mistranslations?

Speaking two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. Translation requires skill and training. Another vital part of ensuring quality is inherent to a well-controlled process. It includes certified translators, translation memories for consistency, and proofreading. Something only a serious translation agency will provide.

If assurance fails, there’s insurance

Translation is a human process. So there is a slight chance of something going South even with the best processes in place. If that happens, a good translation agency will have business liability insurance to cover potential losses arising from a mistranslation. This is something that freelancers rarely offer because the cost of such insurance is high.  

With LingPerfect, you can rest assured and insured. We have a rubber-stamped quality management process (ISO 9001:2015). And on top of it – best-in-class liability insurance. 

Learn how medical interpreters are adapting to help fight COVID-19 and read our latest post.