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

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.

Creating Translation-Ready Documents

creating-translation-ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Below are some suggestions that can help your writers make the translation process as seamless as possible. We suggest planning for translation before the document is produced in its native language, and even go as far as creating a multilingual template. Developing a multilingual template can result in lower translation costs, faster turnaround times and more culturally acceptable target language documents.

To develop translation-ready documents, we also recommend:

  • Write in active voice using short, clear sentences
  • For acronyms, spell out the full phrase the first time it’s used
  • Eliminate regional colloquialisms or other informal terminology
  • Work with your translation project manager to compile glossaries of terms and notes that can serve as reference guides for translators
  • Discuss measurement and conversion requirements with your translation project manager in the early stages of project planning
  • Include enough white space as text expansion may cause formatting problems during the desktop publishing phase of the project
  • Use easily understood icons and illustrations
  • Make sure that all text in graphics or illustrations are live that can be edited
  • Only submit “clean” documents to your translation project manager for translation by turning off track changes and accepting or rejecting all revisions

Planning and preparation can make a huge difference in the price and quality of your translations. Contact us today to learn more about how you can make the translation process even more efficient!

Benefits of Centralizing Translation

benefits-of-centralizing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manger

Going with the cheapest vendor for each of your translation projects might seem like a good idea. Project by project, you’re saving money, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

The centralization of your translation needs entails giving all of your translation projects to one translation agency. Why is this the way to go?

First, a centralized translation process translates into more efficient project management and reduced turnaround times. Because your translation project manager handles all aspects of the project, there is less administrative burden on your side. Plus, if one agency handles all of your materials, they are able to collaborate with you to produce materials that are ready and optimal for translation, which means you get your completed translations more quickly.

Second, using one translation agency allows you to grow your translation memory more rapidly and with more consistency. With effective translation memory management, you eliminate the need to translate from scratch content that you have already translated. Plus, the words and phrases that are already translated in your translation memory are charged at a lower rate, saving you even more money!

Third, a centralized translation process increases the consistency of your translations as the same translators are working on your materials again and again. That way, the translators are familiar with the unique style, voice, terminology and nuances of your materials, which means increased consistency and higher quality translations.

Please contact ICD Translation to learn more about centralizing your translation and localization projects!

History of Chinese Currency

history-of-chinese-currency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The history of Chinese currency spans more than 3,000 years. Cowry shells were the earliest form of currency used in Central China during the Neolithic period. In 118 BC, the Chinese designed the leather bank note, which many scholars believe to be the first bank note used by any nation. Made from white deerskin, these notes were larger than the paper money used today—one square-foot pieces of leather—and were painted with bright colors. The Chinese exchanged these notes for goods in one of the earliest systems of commerce.

Around 210 BC, the first emperor of China abolished all other forms of local currency and introduced a uniform copper coin. Paper money was invented in China in the 9th century, way before European nations began to accept the bank note. In fact, explorer Marco Polo mentioned Chinese paper currency in his 13th century writings. The uniform copper coins were used as the main form of currency until the introduction of the yuan in the late 19th century.

As the Communist Party of China began to take control, its People’s Bank of China began to issue a unified currency for use in Communist-controlled territories in 1948. Currently, the renminbi is the official currency of the People’s Republic of China.

If you’re interested in more than Chinese currency, like potentially traveling to China or if you’re in need of Chinese translation services, you ought to look for language localization services or travel agents in your area.

Musical Training Enhances Language Processing

musical-training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Recent studies have shown that musical skills can enhance language processing. Music appears to change the brain to improve the connection between sound and meaning, which is how babies learn how to speak. In other words, music sharpens the nervous system’s response to sounds, which is essential to the understanding of language.

The benefits of musical training could also expand to the learning of a second language. Researchers speculate that musical training prolongs the window of time in which the brain is developing and is able to deal with complex auditory input, resulting in easier second language learning, especially for people who may otherwise struggle.

Do you know how to play an instrument, read music or sing? If so, you could have an easier time learning a second, or third, language. Give it a shot! You just might be speaking or singing in French like a native in no time!

On the other hand, if you don’t have any experience playing a musical instrument, you can always rely on a language service provider offering human translation for your language processing needs.

Customer Service Around the World

customer-service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manger

There is no universal definition of good customer service. The meaning is different depending on where we are and the culture we’ve grown up with. For example, in Europe, the idea of equality is very highly valued which is why it’s considered normal for a server to tell you to “hold on,” or “can’t you see I’m busy!” Everyone is treated as an equal, regardless if you are the one taking the orders or the one placing the order.

In America, on the flip side, the customer is always right, no matter what. The level and style of service is completely different, but it all comes down to tips. Tips play a big role in the American service industry, as opposed to Europe and Asia, where tips are not expected.

In Asia, making customers happy is the first priority, and most importantly, service staff doesn’t expect tips. Interestingly, a cultural difference is noticed when one uses a bit of attitude and raises their voice—you can find you can get more than you were first told. There are customers who take advantage of this cultural difference and often raise their voices to see how far they can get. Because of their commitment to making their customers happy, Asia is home to airlines, hotels and airports that are consistently rated the best in the world.

If you’re traveling to another country for business, it’s good to be aware of cultural nuances such as these. Foreign language translation services or language localization services are always a great place to start in acquiring the cultural competency one might need while traveling abroad.

9 Writing Tips for Easier Translation

9-writing-tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Dany Olier, ICD Translation General Manger

Below are some suggestions that can help your writers make the translation process as seamless as possible. We suggest planning for translation before the document is produced in its native language, and even go as far as creating a multilingual template. Developing a multilingual template can result in lower translation costs, faster turnaround times and more culturally acceptable target language documents.

To develop translation-ready documents, we also recommend the following:

  • Write in active voice using short, clear sentences
  • For acronyms, spell out the full phrase the first time it’s used
  • Eliminate regional colloquialisms or other informal terminology
  • Work with your translation project manager to compile glossaries of terms and notes that can serve as reference guides for translators
  • Discuss measurement and conversion requirements with your translation project manager in the early stages of project planning
  • Include enough white space as text expansion may cause formatting problems during the desktop publishing phase of the project
  • Use easily understood icons and illustrations
  • Make sure that all text in graphics or illustrations are live that can be edited
  • Only submit “clean” documents to your translation project manager for translation by turning off track changes and accepting or rejecting all revisions

Planning and preparation can make a huge difference in the price and quality of your translations. We offer translation services produced by certified language translators who are experts in their field. Contact us today to learn more about how you can make the translation process even more efficient!

8 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

8-benefits-of-learning-a-foreign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

People across the world choose to learn a foreign language for a variety of reasons, while some people grow up learning two languages. No matter how you become multilingual, the mastery of two or more languages has distinct advantages, both personally and professionally:

  • Boosted brainpower: Your brain has to understand complex new rules, structures and lexis when learning a new language. As your brain determines meaning, skills such as critical thinking and problem solving emerge.
  • Improved memory: Learning a new language gives your brain a workout. Multilingual people are quicker when recalling names, directions and facts.
  • Better ability to multi-task: People who are adept at moving from one language to another, as well as thinking in different languages, are better multi-taskers.
  • A sharper mind: Multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings, especially when it comes to discerning misleading or irrelevant information.
  • Mastery of your first language: Learning a language makes you more aware of the grammar, sentence structure, nuances and vocabulary of your native language.
  • Improved academic performance: Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized tests, including the ACT and SAT, and also increases the ability to hypothesize in science.
  • More career options: Multilingual employees add value to companies and employers realize that. Foreign language speakers also have an increased ability to network with people across different cultures and countries.
  • Easier world traveling: Knowing a foreign language increases your vacation destination possibilities. Traveling through a foreign country is easier if you are familiar with other languages, and is also a great opportunity to practice your new foreign language skills!

If you don’t have time to master a new language, there are language service providers that can certainly give you a professional edge. Whether you’re vacationing in a foreign country, attending a business meeting, or simply would like to reach a new market, a translation agency with access to professional translators and certified interpreters is a great place to start!

Sources: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; Eton Institute