Babies and Birth Language

Birth Language









by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Research, recently completed by Dr. Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, shows that babies gain knowledge of language in the first few months of life. The study featured Dutch-speaking adults adopted from South Korea who were asked to pronounce Korean consonants after a brief training class. The participants exceeded expectations at Korean pronunciation, even though Korean consonants are extremely unlike those in Dutch. Any professional translator (Korean or Dutch), or any company that offers translation services, can testify to just how dissimilar the two languages are.

This study is the first to show that early experiences of adopted children in their birth language gives them an advantage decades later, even if they think their birth language has been forgotten. The study concluded that useful language knowledge is established very early on in life, and can be retained without additional learning—only being revealed after the onset of re-learning.

This research reinforces the fact that the language learning process starts extremely early, even when the child is still in the womb. Dr. Choi emphasizes the importance of trying “to talk to your babies as much as possible because they are absorbing and digesting what you are saying.”


Source: Briggs, H. (2017, January). Babies remember their birth language – scientists. BBC News. Retrieved from

English-Only Websites Miss Big Sales

Website Translation









By Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manager

Research by Common Sense Advisory, the research company focused on global business and commerce, found that when consumers aren’t confident in their English reading skills, they spend less time on English-only websites and complete purchases at a much lower rate. In fact, they found that English proficiency determines how long people stay on a website and people who spend more time on a website are more likely to make a purchase.

55 percent of consumers prefer to buy only in their native language and 53 percent of consumers are more comfortable buying in their native language. What does that mean, exactly? It means that if you have an English-only website, your organization is missing out on about half of all consumers who’d prefer to make purchase in their native language.

On a related note, post-sales support, user reviews and navigation were the most important to localize. 74 percent of consumers were more likely to make a second purchase if post-sales support was provided in their native language, while 72 percent of users want to see reviews in their native language. Translating these sections on your website and providing international customer support will help you increase sales.

Tolerance for English-only sites will decrease as the rest of the world comes online. It’s critical for any organization looking to do business internationally to localize their online content with business translation services. We can help. Contact ICD today to learn more about our website translation services.


Sources: Common Sense Advisory. (2014). Survey of 3,000 Online Shoppers Across 10 Countries Finds that 60% Rarely or Never Buy from English-only Websites [Press release]. Retrieved from;
Unbabel. (2015). Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: How Localization Increases Sales Worldwide. Retrieved from

Six Things You Need To Know If You Are New To Translating

New to Translation








by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing


  • Translation is usually priced by the word. It is less common, but not unheard of, to charge per page, hour, or flat rate. A translation memory (TM) of words and phrases is built and stored in the cloud to use on future projects. TM is priced at a lower rate and will save you time and money, while increasing consistency and accuracy.
  • Your TM should be easily accessible. Using a cloud-based translation management system, you should be able to access your translation memories and terminology at any given time. Ask the Language Service Provider (LSP) what their policy is on TM access and how long they store it for you.
  • The most accurate translations are done by humans. The most important thing when translating is to keep the original meaning of the source text. Native-speaking, professional translators understand the unique nuances of each language and culture, as well as the complexity of industry terminology, allowing the original message to be maintained.
  • Documents should be returned the same way they are given. Once complete, desktop publishers should be able to format your translated content so it mirrors the layout of your English source file. You should not have to worry about formatting foreign language content after translation.
  • It’s important to plan ahead. In order to save time and money later, you should start planning for translation before the document is produced in its native language. Remember to leave enough white space in your document for text expansion. Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese) are usually about 25% longer than the English source text. Important table tip: tables should be formatted in columns and not inline, especially if they contain numbers that will need to be converted.
  • The estimated turnaround time depends on the size and complexity of the project. It’s typical for a translator to average 2,000 words per day and it’s reasonable to expect at least a few more days for desktop publishing, proofreading, and editing based on the size of the project. Additionally, ask the LSP about quote turnaround time. Most translation quotes should be turned around in 24 hours or less.

Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas

Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas









by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Imagine this. You’re eating lunch with a potential customer from a foreign country. You use the wrong fork when eating. You don’t realize it at first, but halfway through lunch, it dawns on you. You hope your potential customer doesn’t notice. You hope you don’t lose the sale because of this silly mistake.

This might be considered a cultural faux pas. The fear that you may damage a relationship with a customer by ignorantly and innocently committing a faux pas permeates the atmosphere of many business meetings. Relax. A faux pas is not the end of the world. Really.

The simple truth is that, if you act in a respectful manner and treat your guests with common courtesy, no one will interpret your mistake as a deliberate act of rudeness. If you are still worried about committing a faux pas, you can reduce your chances by:

  • Researching the country: Knowing basic history and understanding current events can help you steer clear of potential taboo discussion topics.
  • Learning some phrases: Start with hello, please, and thank you. It goes a long way.
  • Determining appropriate greetings: Shake hands? Kiss on both cheeks? Only one cheek? We recommend smiling, inclining your head slightly and waiting for the other person to initiate the interaction. You can then respond in the appropriate manner.
  • Striving for good communication: Don’t be embarrassed to ask for clarification and don’t blame others for your lack of understanding.

These are only a handful of tips that can help you gain confidence when visiting foreign countries on business. Just relax, be yourself and most importantly, be a good person. The rest should come pretty naturally. If you’d like additional professional advice on navigating cultural interactions, many language service providers, are a good starting point. While primarily offering professional translation services, a translation agency, also can provide insights into working through cultural barriers.

Source: Guren, L. (2017, January). Don’t use that fork! – The myth of the cultural faux pas. TCWorld. Retrieved from

Why Translate Your Website?

Website Translation









By Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manager

Although English is the most dominant online language, research has shown that consumers prefer to buy products and services that are presented in their native language. In fact, 90 percent of users in the European Union always choose to visit a website in their native language, even when given a choice of languages, including English.

While English might seem to be the most cost-effective online language, it’s actually more efficient to translate your website into 12 languages because you are able to reach 80 percent of the world’s online audience. In fact, global communications think tank, Common Sense Advisory, recommends that organizations translate into a minimum of 13 languages, including Swedish, Russian and Arabic, just to stay competitive within the online marketplace and not lose out on major market shares.

The fact that half of all Google searches are in a language other than English reinforces the need for organizations to translate their websites. If your website is only in English and half of all searches on Google are not in English, you can imagine how many potential customers and sales you are missing out on. Contact ICD Translation today to learn more about how we can help you translate your website so you can further your global reach. ICD Translation is a translation agency that offers language localization services that will help you break into the growing global economy.



Sources: Reynolds, C. (2015, July). The Benefits of Translating your Website into other Languages. Tech.Co. Retrieved from

Sargent, B. (2012, June). ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012. Common Sense Advisory. Retrieved from /tabid/74/ArticleID/2899/Title/ROILiftstheLongTailofLanguagesin2012/Default.aspx

The Five Top Languages to Learn in 2017

Top Languages









by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

  • Mandarin: Already the most spoken language in the world, the demand for speakers of this language will only increase in the future. Mandarin is also one of the most popular languages online, second only to English. For English speakers, Mandarin is difficult to learn, taking approximately 2,200 hours to master.
  • Arabic: As the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world, Arabic is the main language of many rapidly growing countries in the Middle East and Africa. Because of the overall instability in these regions, the demand for Arabic speakers has grown, especially in the fields of intelligence and diplomacy. Along with Mandarin, Arabic is also considered a difficult language to learn, with more than 88 weeks of class needed to become proficient.
  • Spanish: As the second most spoken language in the world, Spanish is spoken in Latin America, Spain, and the United States, among other areas. Spanish is relatively easy to learn for English speakers; learners need only 600 hours (less than six months) of classroom time to achieve proficiency.
  • German: As the strongest and most important economy in the European Union, the demand for German speakers is higher than ever. Like Spanish, German is relatively easy to learn, and takes about 900 hours to master.
  • Portuguese: Spoken by more than 215 million people in Portugal, Brazil, and some parts of Africa, Portuguese is an important world language, especially because Brazil is a big country and an even bigger market. Because most Brazilians speak little to no English, it is critical to speak the language if you want to do business there. Similar to Spanish, Portuguese is pretty easy to learn for English speakers.

If your company is looking to get involved in any of these target markets, you ought to consider a translation agency, such as ICD Translation, that offers Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, German, Portuguese and other top language translation services.


Advertising Translation Gone Wrong

Advertising Gone Wrong








by Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manger

Accurate and culturally sensitive translation and localization is critical when trying to reach a global audience. These hilarious examples below of translations gone wrong demonstrate exactly why organizations should partner with a professional translation agency, which uses professional human translators, to handle all of their translation and localization needs.

  • Clairol introduced a curling iron marketed as the “Mist Stick” in Germany. “Mist” is German slang for “manure.”
  • KFC made Chinese consumers nervous when their slogan, “Finger Lickin’ Good” was translated as “Eat Your Fingers Off.”
  • Pepsi’s slogan “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” was introduced in China as “Pepsi Brings You Back from the Grave.”
  • The American Dairy Association brought its “Got Milk?” campaign to Spanish-speaking countries, but it was translated into “Are You Lactating?”
  • Puffs Tissues marketed its tissue under that brand name in Germany even though “puff” is German slang for a brothel.
  • Ford launched an ad campaign in Belgium that tried to say, “Every Car has a High Quality Body.” However, when translated, the slogan read, “Every Car has a High Quality Corpse.”

The Complexity of Baltic Languages

Baltic Languages








by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Baltic languages, consisting of Latvian and Lithuanian, are spoken to the east of the Baltic Sea. These languages are highly inflected languages and word order is relatively free. Both languages are based on the Latin alphabet and are supplemented with diacritical marks that differ. Although Latvian and Lithuanian belong to the same language group and are spoken in neighboring countries, speakers of both languages cannot communicate with each other.

On one hand, the Lithuanian alphabet has 32 letters and two dialects. The language and its writing system are mostly phonemic; each letter corresponds to a certain sound. Unlike English, Lithuanian letters keep the same sound regardless of their placement within the word. Lithuanian grammar expresses relationships between words and their role in the sentence through inflection.

On the other hand, the Latvian alphabet has 33 letters and three dialects. A fusional language, Latvian doesn’t follow a set rule for the formation of words. That aspect, coupled with the many other complex grammar rules, makes Latvian difficult to learn and to translate.

The highly inflectional nature of Baltic languages contributes to their overall difficulty when it comes to translation and localization. That’s why it’s so important to refer to a translation agency that uses professional, human translators, who are native-speakers, for your Baltic language translation and localization needs.

Do We Still Need Human Translators?

Human Translators?








by Catherine Deschamps-Potter, ICD Translation Vice President of Sales and Marketing

The most important thing when translating is to maintain the content’s meaning. In order to do this, translators must take into account many different aspects of translation: tone and style, cultural and contextual references, slang, nuances, metaphors, and specific local expressions — among many others. If the translation was done well, the reader may not even know that the translated text was originally written in another language. That’s the goal, especially when you are trying to reach a new, foreign audience.

In many cases, machine translation provides a literal, word-for-word translation of the text, without taking into account any of the aforementioned elements that are essential to translation. Big mistake. This is why utilizing the services of a professional human translator is critical, especially for highly complex technical content or extremely specific marketing material. Our translators are native speakers, which means that they are aware of their language’s unique nuances, expressions, and grammar. This helps to ensure that the original meaning and style of the text is maintained in the translation.

So, the answer to the question above is, yes, we still need human translators. They make all of the difference when it comes to translation and localization and are heavily relied upon by successful language service providers. When your organization is trying to break into a new market and spread your important message, make sure you partner with a reputable translation agency that uses professional translators.

Translation and Cultural Competence









By Dany Olier, ICD Translation general manager

Quality translation and localization isn’t only about choosing the most accurate direct translations (i.e. gato = cat in Spanish). What it’s really about is determining the most accurate translation while taking into account the context, culture and other unique nuances of the target language. It’s absolutely essential that translated content not only replace information from one language to another, but also convey the intended meaning of the original document.

That’s where cultural competence comes into play. What is cultural competence exactly? It’s the framework that we use to communicate, beginning with the realization and acceptance that customs, rules, ideas, values, religions, topic, symbols, gender roles, audience, occasion, and languages may vary from culture to culture. These differences are the foundation for the standards and tools that allow translators and localizers to effectively communicate with people from different cultures in other languages.

And that’s why it’s critical that organizations use professional translators, or reach out to a translation agency, to translate their materials. They’re the ones who have enhanced cultural competency, and because of this, know how to reach your intended audiences and help grow your international presence.