How to build a strong brand voice? The style guide series (Part 2)

In our previous article, we shed some light on the importance of having a style guide. We touched upon the differences between a grammar book and a style guide. Now, let’s get down to business. Your business.

What should you include in your style guide?

Your style guide should not contain error corrections and common mistakes. Your writers have grammar books for those. It should do what the name suggests: guide your writers through the maze of choices when it comes to creating content. Here are some must-haves.

Voice and Tone

Defining your brand voice helps your writers get a sense of how official or relaxed you want to be. It defines the rules on humor and colloquialism. In short, it defines your brand’s personality

Your Voice & Tone section can be a simple bullet list. Let’s look at Mail Chimp’s example:

“Mail Chimp is:

  • Straight-faced, subtle, and a touch eccentric
  • Smart but not snobbish
  • Weird but not inappropriate


Describing your voice and tone with the “this, but not that” approach is a good idea. It will help your writers understand just how far you’re willing to push some of the traits.

Sentences, syntax, and spelling

Grammar rules are stone-strong, but that doesn’t mean they don’t allow you to express your brand image. There is plenty of room for you to define a unique voice while staying safe before the Grammar Police. For instance, you can play with:

  • Sentence length. Do you want to go for crisp? Or do you prefer longer and syntactically more intricate sentences? Sentence length dictates your pace. Shorter sentences will be brisk and feel more conversational. Longer, syntax-complex sentences will be slower and more formal.
  • Active vs Passive. Do you want the subject of the verb’s action to be clearly defined? Put a stop sign on the use of passive voice in your style guide.
  • Narrative voice. Do you address your readers directly (second person) or indirectly (third person).

To each (channel) its own

Do you manage several social media accounts, have a blog section on your website, and an emailing list? You probably want to differentiate your content and the tone a bit between your platforms.

For instance, you could define that product news goes to Facebook, while your Instagram followers get to see some behind-the-scenes, or your life at the office. You might allow a few emojis there, but not in your LinkedIn posts. Be clear about the content type and these variations in your style guide.

Examples, examples, examples

Don’t limit yourself to dos and don’ts. Examples are the best teacher.

Telling your writers they shouldn’t use long, complicated words is one thing. Showing them is another. 

For instance:

When possible, replace a longer word that stems from Latin with a shorter, Anglo-Saxon synonym.

Sounds complicated? Detangle it with an example:

Our style: We can only guess.

Not our style: We can hypothesize

Wrapping up the Style Guide Part 2

Essentially, your style guide isn’t about your company as much as it is about your audience. It allows you to define how you want to address your customers and how to make sure they have a seamless experience with your brand across all your channels and platforms.

With your audience in mind, what happens to your style guide when you have to transfer it to another market? Is it ok to just translate it? If you’re curious, come back next week, where we’ll wrap up the series by discussing what happens when you have to localize your style guide.

 

 

 

 

 

How to build a strong brand voice? The style guide series (Part 1)

In one internet minute, we send over 450,000 tweets. We post more than 45,000 Instagram photos and perform more than 3.5 million searches on Google. In one internet minute, in the US alone, we gorb over 2,5 million gigabytes of data. 

The e-buzz keeps on growing, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get one’s message through. Having a consistent voice across channels and platforms is vital to grab attention and evoke trust. 

Today, content production is scattered across many writers—outside freelancers most of the time. How do you ensure your unique voice remains consistent? Enter style guides.

What is a style guide?

Your style guide is your number one tool for content creation. It’s your source of truth when it comes to editorial disputes. It tells your writers what tone you want to use with your customers and how this tone translates into words.

What’s the difference between a style guide and a grammar book?

Grammar books set out rules on writing, most of which are unambiguous. But there are many cases where grammar books themselves differ in opinion. 

Is ending a sentence with a preposition wrong? Some grammarians say it is; others are more lenient. 

What about starting a sentence with a conjunction? Our 5th-grade teacher would be furious, but the honest answer is: it depends.

Grammar books talk about rules, while style guides talk about options or choices. You need to define which ones to adopt and have your content team stick to them. It’s the only way to make sure a plethora of writers will produce pieces that convey the same brand voice.

Can’t I stick to established style guides like the AP Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style?

We swear by them and keep them on our work desks, too. These reference style guides are a great way to start. They will help you set the foundation: Things like the punctuation style, capitalization, and dates and numbers. 

But to get your unique brand voice through in your writing, you need to add your own guidelines on top of them. Will you allow the use of emojis? What will your humor be like: tongue-in-cheek or deadpan? These are things no reference style guide can decide on your behalf.

What else should I include in my company style guide?

We’ll help you with that. You have a few days to fetch that dusted Chicago Manual off your shelves and have a go at it. Come over next week, when we’ll show you how to compile your brand’s style guide.

 

If you want to know more about localization, check out our recent posts HERE.

The recipe for superb localization? It’s in your source content (Part 2)

Welcome back to cracking the code to great localization. Last week, we shared with you our tips for your writers. But content isn’t just words. In localization, imagery, layouts, and navigation bear an equal role to penmanship.

Let’s look at some things your design team should consider when crafting the source content.

Use images. But do it with localization in mind

You probably think this one goes to our detriment. Fewer words means fewer things to translate. But we are the first ones to agree that a picture is worth a thousand words. And our job is to make your localization project a success, not a hefty expense.

One point of attention, though. 

An image doesn’t say the same thing across all cultures. Symbolism changes from culture to culture. 

Imagine a picture showing a bunch of friends in a pub, laughing over a pint. To some, it might evoke feelings of and familiarity or friendliness. Post it on next to your Arabic localization, and you’re up to trouble.

Either go for neutral images or ask your creatives to prepare localized versions for all your website versions.

Allow space in your designs

Remember Mary from our previous post? Let’s say she’s indeed a person and not a baby chicken. Let’s say Mary went to the mall to buy a pen.

In German, the above sentence would be:

Mary ging ins Einkaufszentrum, um einen Kugelschreiber zu kaufen.

Mary bought a pen in English with 34 characters and 10 syllables. In German, it took her 64 characters and 18 syllables to get it. That’s almost double the length.

It’s not just German. Many other languages expand up to 30% when translated from English.

Another thing your designers should keep in mind is script direction. The layout and navigation have to work for both left-to-right languages and vice versa. Like Hebrew or Arabic, for instance.

Make sure your designers allow enough space to accommodate these specifics.

A final note: does localization kill your creative flair?

Keeping things easy and simple doesn’t mean being redundant. It means sticking to what’s essential. In fact, most authors will tell you that it’s one of the hardest things to do.

There’s more to creativity than idioms and synonyms. Rhythm, syntax, punctuation — all these elements project personality and a distinctive voice. 

If you really feel that your English lacks that oomph by sticking to these few simple rules, try doing one thing. Write your content in simplified, localization-friendly English first. Then, “translate” it into a spicier, edgier version for your English-speaking market.

Tweaking a localization-ready English into a nuanced version will cost you much less than having to correct dozens of versions localized in other languages.

All the best with your next content assignment.

 

 

The recipe for superb localization? It’s in your source content (Part 1)

Mary is a sound chick. 

Is she a sound engineer? A damsel with healthy values and good judgment, perhaps? Or did it just hatch out of an egg?

It’s a blown-up example, for sure. But it serves to show you one thing. With localization issues, nine times out of ten, you have to look upstream to find the problem’s root. Your source content. 

Writing with localization in mind means you shouldn’t look at content creation and localization as two separate streams. The way you write will have a direct impact on the localized version. The clearer the source content, the fewer issues and back-and-forths you’ll have.

Ask your content team to stick to these few easy postulates, and you’ll see your localization quality skyrocket and your costs decrease.

In this first part, let’s look at localization tips for your writers.

Minimize localization pitfalls: avoid slang, jargon, or anything too culture-specific

The example above, where Mary ranged from being a sound engineer to a bird might. Here’s another one:

“Look at Jack. He’s full of beans this morning!”

A British person wouldn’t think for a second that Jack had a sizable portion of legumes the night before. In the UK, full of beans means being lively, energetic. But would it be so evident for linguists working on localizing your content?

We know what you’re thinking: “Well, a good linguist can surely get the meaning from the context.”

And you’re right. But consider this. Localization projects are often handed to linguists in the form of excel spreadsheets or other formats that don’t provide any context. 

Shortening the leash on the use of idioms and double-entendres will save you from having to correct the localized content, not from one source document, but from seven, ten, or twenty localized versions.

At the very least, it will save you the hassle of countless back-and-forths with diligent translators asking for details and explanations.

Save on your localization budget: reuse your content

In other words: (slightly) suppress your creative juices and park that thesaurus for a while. Especially in repetitive content like product specs or interface widgets.

Localization is charged by the number of new strings to translate. Writing “a great fit,” “an amazing fit,” and “a perfect fit” might seem the right thing to do to give verve and color. But it will turn in a lot of fuzzy matches in your word count. Fuzzy matches have to be translated, while a 100% match has to be revised. Guess which one is cheaper.

Reduce back-and-forths with your localization partner: give context

We can’t stress this one enough. In localization, context isn’t king. It’s the Emperor.

Add info whether that Start sitting alone is a verb on a button or a noun in a label.

Share reference material. Give linguists access to UI wireframes so they can see where that CTA will be sitting.

If you’re using Excel for your localization projects, add a column with context info. For content done in text-based code files, use the handy ‘code comment’ function.

Content is more than words. Stay tuned for more tips

In localization projects, issues can arise from more than just wordsmithing. Pop by to read the second part of this article, where we’ll give you some tips on how to design in a localization-friendly way.

 

 

 

Mind the platform: are your online meetings GDPR-compliant?

Do you have $23,4 million to spare? How about bidding farewell to 4% of your last year’s global turnover? No? Setting up your online meeting via Zoom or Skype is fast and easy. But if you do business with the EU, your online platform must comply with GDPR. Or else—well, $23,4 million.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is an EU law and stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It was implemented in 2018 to regulate how companies working with anyone from the EU must safeguard their data. It defines principles on data protection and privacy rights of EU citizens. It requires any organization to implement technical and organizational measures to protect personal data, e.g., by encryption.

But GDPR is an EU law. My business is in the US.

GDPR is a law on data protection of EU citizens and residents. So the fact that your company is not registered in the EU bears little importance. As long as you process personal data of people from the EU, you must comply with GDPR. 

Bear in mind that “processing” and “personal data” are broad concepts. For instance, tracking visitors on your website already means you’re processing their personal data. You might be based in Houston, Texas, and do business mostly locally. But if someone from Germany lands on your website, you’re breaching the law if you’re not GDPR compliant.

By analogy, the law extends to online meetings. Let’s say a few attendees from your online meeting hail from the Old Continent. Their names, eye color, and opinions are shared via an online platform. You’re processing their personal data.

How can LingPerfect help with GDPR?

Minding international regulations is bread-and-butter for us. We set up online interpreting sessions daily for our clients doing business with the EU on a daily basis. So when GDPR came into force, we knew we had to find a compliant solution. 

While others played with twisting Zoom or Skype into an interpreting-ready scramble, we took things more seriously. We offer our clients an online interpreting platform that is easy and intuitive. But most importantly, it’s secure, and 100% GDPR-compliant. 

Care to give it a test ride? Get in touch and we’ll show you how it works.

 

 

5 easy tips to prep your business interpreter

Business interpreters are savvy beings. They marry language skills with the art of negotiation, diplomacy, and etiquette. They can help you ace your meeting objectives like strike a new deal or negotiate better prices. 

Are you in charge of organizing your next multilingual business meeting? Follow these five simple steps, and you can put the champagne in the icebox. We guarantee your meeting will be a success.

1. Talk to your participants

“Lost in translation” doesn’t happen when you have an interpreter in a multilingual meeting. It happens when you ask non-native speakers to express themselves in a language other than their own. 

Give your overseas  participants the chance to speak in their language with the help of a business interpreter. You’ll be surprised to see how many people will accept the offer. Better still, compile a list of language variants. Your business partners from Montreal most likely use a different business jargon than they do in Paris.

2. Plan for extra time

With simultaneous interpreting, the timing remains unaffected. If you use a liaison interpreter, your meeting will take twice longer. Sometimes, the language expert will need to reword or clarify. Especially if you express a concept that isn’t easy to explain in the target language. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing your participants disconnect in the middle of a great discussion just because you underestimated the time needed.

If your meeting agenda compiles to an hour’s worth of discussion, plan double.

3. Choose an business interpreter with experience in your industry

Good business interpreting isn’t just about knowing two languages well. Healthcare industry, automotive, insurance sectors: they each contain a plethora of industry-specific terms. That’s why many interpreters specialize in a few fields over time. 

Ask your language partner to find a business interpreter with subject-matter expertise. That way, you’ll both be concentrating on the important stuff: the meeting’s objectives, not the glossary.

4. Prep your business interpreter

We can’t stress this point enough. Even if you get an interpreter who knows your business well, spend some time on prepping. Send your language agency the agenda and any presentations you will use during your meeting. Explain your objectives. Share insights on the history of your relationship with your business partner. Answer any questions you might be getting from the interpreter. 

Your business interpreter is your aide, not a talking box.

5. Meeting’s online? Here’s some extra advice

Most of our meetings have switched to remote in the last few months. Is yours happening over a video call, too? Pen these few tips down:

  • Ask the attendees to join from a quiet place. Your business interpreter has a tough job to do. Trucks in the background won’t help.
  • Ask everyone to turn on the camera. Gestures, eye movement, facial expressions often reveal more than the words themselves. Give your business interpreter the chance to catch these non-utterances.
  • Make sure everyone has a good internet connection. Don’t let freezes and cutoffs sink your meeting.
  • Keep your business discussions confidential. Choose a secure interpreting platform. Don’t know which? Head over here. Or call us to learn all about our secure online interpreting platform.

 

 

 

 

We’re ATA members now. What’s in it for you?

It’s good to dip one’s feet out of one’s comfort zone, they say. Spend time with people outside your picket fence. It freshens perspectives. Brings new ideas into life. But there are times when peer support brings fresh ideas, too. When flocking together with birds of a feather means exchanging good practices, learning new things. And why not—raising the bar of the trade that unites you. But you need to choose your peers wisely. Aim for the best. We did. We became members of ATA, the American Translators Association.

ATA members: much more than just translators and interpreters

ATA is the largest and one of the longest-standing associations of translators and interpreters in the States. 

Brought to life in 1959, it grew to reach over 10,000 members today. Its band goes well beyond American language experts. Currently, ATA members come from over 100 countries.

ATA members are not just translators and interpreters. There are educators and software developers. There are agencies, government offices. Even hospital representatives. This mix of professions proves translation is so much more than just knowing a foreign brogue.

ATA members have access to a myriad of webinars and workshops. They can also get ATA-certified in more than 15 language pairs.

But ATA’s most notable event, however, remains the ATA Annual Conference.

ATA members’ annual conference: the language industry’s finest mob

The ATA Annual Conference is a three-day event attracting language mavens from all four corners of the world. Participants can choose from over 100 different sessions with top-notch panelists and industry experts. We don’t discuss theory. There’s a lot of practical knowledge shared. Here’s a quick bite of a few topics from this year’s program, which will be exceptionally held online, for you-know-which reasons:

  • “Translating for the Pharmaceutical Industry and Language Access”
  • “Localization for Applications on Voice Assistants”
  • “Legal Translation: How Hard Can It Be?” (sarcasm intended)
  • “Terminology Management”

ATA + LingPerfect: what’s in it for you?

The easy answer would be: we can certify our translations with ATA’s rubber stamp. This seal means a lot when you need official translations from us. But that’s just a nibble.

It should be clear by now that ATA is not a trade union. With peer members, we discuss the recent developments, share new technologies. We put our heads together to solve the language industry’s biggest conundrums. We do this to deliver better, faster, and smarter language services to you

If there’s anything new and exciting in the language market, ATA members get to know it first. So you are first in line to benefit from it, too.

 

 

Remote Interpreting Services

The recent world events have moved a lot of our physical communication into the online realm

But thanks to the increasing quality of software and internet connection, remote interpreting services have become an excellent solution for your meetings, bringing you a reduction of costs, ease of access, and safety.

There are two types of remote interpreting services: over-the-phone and video remote interpreting.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting (OPI)

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

Pros of OPI:

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

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

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

Advantages of VRI:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Here are 4 reasons why LingPerfect Remote Interpreting Platform is right for you:

I. It’s easy to use
No need to download software or read complex manuals.
You can choose between 3 simple ways of connecting:

  1. From a computer through a web browser
  2. From a smartphone or a tablet via our LingPerfect app
  3. From a landline or cell phone by dialing on our dedicated interpreting line

NEW: From now on, you can even connect with our interpreters directly through Zoom .

II. It’s secure
Your meetings and your conversation are 100% safe with us:

  1. Our data centers are located in the US
  2. All the data is fully encrypted
  3. Our infrastructure providers are ISO 27001 certified

III. It’s ASL compliant
We are American Sign Language (ASL) and ADA compliant.

IV. Last but not least – the price

With our LingPerfect Remote Interpreting platform, there are no fixed costs and no minimum charges. And we charge by the minute.

Want to request a demo or have additional questions? Send us a message by using the contact form below.

 

 

Looking for translation services in Chicago? Look no further

Winds of change are blowing across the Chicago translation services scene. 

It’s been some time in the making, but it’s finally here. We are proud to inform you that we opened our new branch office in Windy City.

Chicago is the biggest city in the Midwest and the third largest in the US. It’s also an international hub for finance, commerce and industry. Several Fortune 500 companies have settled their headquarters on the shores of lake Michigan. Among the prominent names, we find Boeing, Exelon, and United Airlines.

This diversified industrial hub has been ranking as one of the most productive areas in the world for years. In 2018, the Chi-town area generated a whopping $689 billion of gross domestic product (GDP).

What will we bring to the Chicago translation services landscape?

Expanding our reach to the Midwest came naturally. We’ve had a major growth in translation services for engineering, legal, and finance industries. And many of our clients have their headquarters in Chicago.

Our focus on quality and technology brought shorter turnaround time. Our clients like that we listen to their needs and structure our development along their own strategic axes. So we diversified our portfolio of services, too. A good example is our recent boost in growing our remote interpreting services.

Our localization expertise is yet another benefit we bring to the Chicago businesses. Launching an e-store in Colombia? We can do it. Localizing it for Chile? Sure. Need to tweak your UI to fit with the new locale? No problem there, either.

We are a one-stop-shop who can assist large corporations with localization projects across their global footprint. This is key to streamlining projects and cutting down turnaround time. 

And it’s not just technical text translation we are known for. Across years of work experience, we helped many of our clients with translating marketing collateral, as well. Product pitches, landing pages, video subtitling need a creative approach. Our expert linguists will make it feel like it was written in the target language originally.

Want to schedule a meeting to discuss your translation and localization projects? Our team is here to help you ace your next translation project. 

To get in touch with our Chicago team, hop over here.

 

Zoom meetings: Interpreters are joining you on your beloved video platform

We wrote extensively on OPI/VRI services. Not because it’s a new tech craze. During the pandemic, our businesses, schools, and social life moved on video. And among them, one place in particular: Zoom meetings.

One thing the pandemic didn’t solve was the language barriers. So the need for remote interpreting naturally arose. And sometimes, remote interpreters even saved lives.

One of the problems with remote interpreting was the lack of immediacy. To connect the interpreter to your meeting, it was you who had to access the interpreting platform. 

You had to make sure attendees had downloaded the necessary app and that they had a go at the new interface. At least locate the mute, video, and screen sharing buttons.

Not anymore. 

As of now, our interpreting platform has fully integrated with the video conferencing’s darling, Zoom

Your zoom meetings are new interpreter-ready.

What does this integration with Zoom meetings bring you?

Ease of access

It’s not you who has to access the interpreting platform anymore. You can invite the interpreter directly into your Zoom call.

Our provider’s routing engine will call up the appropriate interpreter into your Zoom meeting within seconds.

Your participants connect to your meeting and listen to the interpreter directly through Zoom.

 

Multiple interpreters at once

You are now able to connect multiple interpreters to the same Zoom meeting. This will prove helpful for long sessions when interpreters need to take turns. 

 

Security

The interpreter listens to your zoom call and translates via our interpreting platform.  The language service is therefore covered by an extra level of encryption provided by our platform.

 

Next time you need to schedule a multilingual video conference, call us. We’ll show you how easy it is to set it up.
Do you have any other questions or concerns? Please let us know and we will try to help.