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.

Now is the time to get ready for your new global market

These are unprecedented times for all of us. With the economy giving no signs of a quick and steady recovery, business is becoming increasingly hard to predict. At least that’s what the experts say.

In reality, what they mean is that business-as-usual is becoming increasingly challenging to predict. Because your customers are still out there, and so are their needs. What is changing is how they make their buying decisions and how (or where) they enjoy your service or product.

The current situation has produced an unseen peak in online content consumption across the globe, driving an increasing number of interactions from offline into the online realm. The Internet has become a significant business delivery channel even for industries traditionally bound to physical presence – think yoga studios or museums, for instance. We wager that this trend will continue long after the movement restrictions have been lifted.

So what does this mean for your business? 

Well, it can mean good news. With more and more of life’s activities consumed remotely, your business is less bound to be physically present in the local market. Therefore, it’s a perfect opportunity to reconsider your customer geography – who will your business be targeting after the slowdown. Now more than ever, it’s time to plug into that The World is My Market mindset.

In this new reality, there are some new ground rules you should consider, however. A more global audience means having to deal with a variety of new cultures. The key success factor will be your ability to address customer needs and create value around your brand locally. Having your corporate or e-commerce website in English will not be enough. Pitching your prospects with marketing collaterals that don’t resonate with the local culture will result in fewer leads and fewer sales.

In other words, you need to walk the walk in the local culture, or else your message will get lost amidst the plethora of content out there.

If you want to be ready for this new reality arising after the slowdown, you need to start investing in creating localized content now. Translating and culturally adapting your marketing and sales materials should become an integral part of your business strategy, not a nice-to-have marketing perk.

Luckily, you won’t need to set up regional teams or offices to help you create your content locally – we’ve got your covered there. With our global team of expert linguists and content strategists, we take your message and recreate it so that it gets heard and acknowledged in the local culture. Drop us a line or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to walk you through the details.

TO ALL OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS

LingPerfect cares: during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, our top priority is the health and well-being of all our employees, linguists and partners around the globe. Your health, safety and welfare are important to us. LingPerfect wants to assure you that we actively monitor the progress of the virus, communicating daily with many of our customers and working together to address this serious challenge. We will continue to be an active partner for you in your preparation efforts and in the event of a pandemic.

What we do: we are implementing active safety procedures. Due to the person-to-person spread of the virus we are introducing safety measures which are designed to minimize direct personal contact. In this time of crisis, we have implemented a set of processes to ensure business continuity for our employees and customers around the globe. All our project management work will continue seamlessly 24/7.

IT’S TIME FOR BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING

What we offer: a highly qualified global list of remote distributed interpreters – our network provides access to distributed points of service and allows uninterrupted operations.

Contact us to ask how to:

  • move your face-to-face interpreters over to video remote interpreting (VRI),
  • access/set up interpreting by phone,
  • deliver American Sign Language interpretation by video,
  • integrate video remote interpreting-on-demand directly into existing platforms or workflows,
  • improve online meetings (GoToMeeting, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and others) with interpreters using API or phone.

Because the best time to prepare is now, LingPerfect has set up a special team to address any queries related to your business continuity planning. Please contact us directly at sales@lingperfect.com as soon as possible for more information and to schedule these programs.

Thank you for your continued trust and partnership with LingPerfect. Stay safe and be well.

Global Technical Skills: Keeping the Secure, Secure in Localized Government

Security is important for everyone, but for those working in government organizations, it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Intelligence agencies, military intelligence, and government agencies deal with highly secure information on a daily basis and each person with access to this data constitutes an additional risk to the safety and security of the information they are accessing, and to the lives of the people they need to protect. In an international environment, where content is translated to and from English with language pairs all over the world, there is an even greater risk of leaks unless those in charge of security take measures to protect the information. This blog will give recommendations on protecting your data security, especially when you are working with outside resources to manage your content translation.

One of the first questions you need to ask when you are working with a translation project is what level of security does it require? For the most secure documents, many organizations will source translations internally, which means if there is a staff translator who is a native speaker of the target language and can translate the document accurately and on secure internal networks, this work will be done at the office. In most cases, these individuals will need to have security clearances, so make sure you know who is touching your content and what clearances they have. When the security needs are not so extensive as to require an internal resource or security clearance, you will want the assurance that the translation service provider you choose takes appropriate precautions to keep your data safe.

            There are a number of ways to investigate the security of your supplier. One is to ask who, both among the employees of their company and the contractors, will have access to your data and where this access will take place. You can request that the translators and the project manager work in specific offices with network security, even onsite at your location, and that there is no way for data to fall into the wrong hands. Another tip for people concerned about security is to request that all contractors or employees who work with your content sign NDAs or umbrella NDAs which specifically reference your project and any extra security requirements. Lastly, you will want to make sure that the translation service provider has taken quality management precautions as certified by the ISO 9001 family of certifications:

“This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. These principles are explained in more detail in the pdf Quality Management Principles. Using ISO 9001:2015 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn brings many business benefits.”

Source (https://www.iso.org/iso-9001-quality-management.html)

LingPerfect Translations has been ISO 9001:2015 certified since 2013. We would be happy to discuss the details of the certification with you as well as any security issues you may have with your content translation services.

Localization in our World: Language Interpreting in the US and Globally

As the volume of global content grows in private and public sector, the volume of written translation naturally increases. This is measurable and is undeniable. Translation refers to written words that are transformed from one language to another. Spoken language, when transformed into another language, is referred to as interpretation. Language interpretation takes place all around us, all the time, when you have someone who helps 2 or more people communicate more effectively by being an intermediary. In less formal environments, this might happen in public, at events or in private spaces. In more formal environments, like business, government or conference settings, you typically hire professional interpreters. 

When asked if LingPerfect Translation does interpreting as one of our services, we respond with a definitive “YES”. However, there are often many questions that follow when our client wants to engage with us. The initial questions of which language and what dates and times are typically easy. We also delve into content as well as preferred interpreting structure of flow. 

The 4 main types of interpreting are consecutive, simultaneous, whispered and Over-the-Phone Interpreting (OPI). 

Consecutive interpreting is when the interpreter speaks after the speaker has conveyed a message, either in the gaps of pauses in speech or at the end of a longer statement, using notes. Consecutive interpreting typically takes place in a live environment. Simultaneous interpreting is where the interpreter speaks while the original speaker is still speaking. Typically, this will be done in larger events or conferences where there is access to interpreting equipment, like headsets, for the interpreter and the audience. This isolates the languages so that the original language can be spoken in its natural flow and the interpreted language can come across in the headphones. Whispered interpreting is a form used in person, without headsets, where the interpreter whispers or interprets in a very low voice as to not disturb the speaker. Typical venues for interpreters are legal, medical, conference, broadcast media and for business escorts or 1-on-1 meetings. We are seeing much more interpreting work in the public sector all over the world to support individuals who have immigrated and need support to access schools, public services and jobs. Over-the-Phone interpreting is one of our most popular interpreting services. OPI is exactly what it sounds like, interpreting that occurs over the phone. It is a cost-effective and flexible way to access interpreting services regardless of your location, time-zone or urgency. OPI can be set up for immediate needs as well as projected, future needs and many times, the typical minimum charges that apply to in-person interpretation do not apply. Of course, there are also no travel fees for OPI interpretation so costs are definitely more affordable. 

As we can see, interpreting is happening all around us at all times. If you are interested in a career in interpreting, there are interpreting certificate and degree programs offered in many universities as well as professional certification through local associations and larger ones like the International Association of Conference Interpreters, or AIIC or the China Accreditation Test for Translation and Interpretation, short for CATTI. If you are interested in learning more about interpreting services provided by LingPerfect Translations, contact us here