In the language service industry, three variables usually dictate how a project will proceed: cost, speed, or quality. When prioritizing one factor, it is invariably at the expense of the remaining factors. A translation requiring a quick turn-around time will cost more and can jeopardize quality; a high-quality translation will cost more and have a longer turn-around time; etc.
Often, clients prioritize cost over speed or quality. This can be a dangerous gamble. Traditionally, the less expensive the product or service, the lower the quality level, and translation is no different. Quality Language Service Providers (LSPs) will charge accordingly, and you pay more for the assurance that the product is true to the source, linguistically solid, and semantically correct.
For it to have value, written content – in any language – must be correct. A company who publishes text riddled with errors invariably damages its credibility and reputation, and those are not easy to recover. If you are expanding into the global market, your new prospective clients expect high-quality written content if you hope to impress them.
If you aren’t convinced, check out the many horror stories about poorly translated materials that were widely published. While mistakes happen to even the best linguists, most issues stem from sub-standard translation standards. Do you want your business know for a comical – or worse – offensive translation? Let your product do the talking, with a strong, quality translation.
For many, however, choosing cost over quality is a necessity. Money is tight, and your budget may not allow you to pay for the linguist you prefer. If you’re in that position, here are a few tips to maintain quality on a tighter budget:
- Start with a high-quality, experienced LSP and get a quote. Don’t assume your dream company will be out of your budget: many completely affordable LSPs give exceptional work and can often provide better value than “cheaper” companies by creating efficiencies in the process, and not overcharging after each project is complete.
- Ask about your LSP’s vetting process for linguists. How much experience do they deem necessary to be a linguist? Do they require any certifications or references? Once you know the LSP’s expectations for their translators, you can make an educated decision whether or not to trust their quality.
- Don’t rush the project unless you have to. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your LSP to properly adhere to their translation process. A long turn-around time gives linguists the ability to research terms and edit their material properly.
Dynamic Language is participating in Supplier Connection’s February Supplier Spotlight contest, and we’d love your support!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Supplier Connection asked, “What is the sweetest way you show your employees that you support them? What do you do to build and maintain morale?”
You can read our full essay submission here, but here are a few of our favorite ways to support our employees:
- CASINO NIGHT: We recently began a tradition of hosting a yearly casino night, where employees can relax with some great food and fun games!
- CULTURE DOLLARS: In order to encourage a harmonious work environment, we give each employee a stipend called “culture dollars” to use within their department or to join forces with another department to celebrate working together. Employees then plan an event outside of work, such as dinner and a movie, or dining at a Japanese steakhouse, where they get to know one another without the pressure of work.
- VALUES VIP: Every two weeks we choose one of our six core values –responsiveness, courtesy, professionalism, congeniality, effort, or humility – and both management and employees nominate colleagues for demonstrating the chosen value. All nominees are identified in a company-wide email, and the winner receives a gift certificate and a reserved parking spot.
Voting is open until February 26th at 8 p.m. ET. Thank you for your support!
The creators of Memrise – a free, online language learning program – have recently released a wonderful app called CatAcademy. The app, which teaches Spanish through entertaining pictures of cats, is quite ingenious and definitely worth downloading for anyone wanting to learn the basics of the language.
CatAcademy’s key function is to associate an image with a word or phrase. This philosophy stems from Memrise, whose program was designed from studies that show that vivid, sensory memories will create a stronger connection in the brain. By this logic, linking language to relatable and unique phrases or images, called “mems,” should make memorizing a new language easier.
CatAcademy takes this idea and adds a little more fun. Cats are widely beloved, and have recently been a staple of Internet memes, and CatAcademy uses this to its advantage. There are plenty of amusing images of cats, paired with appropriate Spanish phrases, for users to learn. According to CatAcademy, “Cuteness has been shown by Japanese researchers to enhance cognitive function. It helps you relax, attend more closely, and it promotes theta waves – which aid concentration.”
It would be easy for this app to rely on cute pictures and call it good, but it actually implements solid language learning techniques as well. Throughout their studies, CatAcademy gives quick grammar lessons, delving further into the study of the language. In addition, users study in five unique learning styles: practicing the initial phrase, answering multiple choice questions, typing or spelling the phrase, listening to the phrase, and choosing the best response for conversation.Each of these styles is very helpful in learning the language, and the multitude of studying options ensures that a student really has the knowledge down pat. The ability to “converse” is the most appealing feature; while it isn’t a substitution for live, natural conversation, practicing the various ways one can use a phrase in specific situations is still very beneficial.
The app does have its limits: you’re aren’t going to become a fluent Spanish speaker with your cat companions. CatAcademy is best utilized by those brand new to the language, hoping to establish some basic skills. Considering CatAcademy is completely free, it’s a fantastic deal! (Accelerated Spanish courses will cost an additional fee, however.)
For all the cat lovers out there, we have another exciting treat! Dynamic was given a few fantastic CatAcademy Ambassador t-shirts to give away to our readers. To be eligible to win a shirt, please leave your name, e-mail address, and a small comment on why you’re excited to try the app by December 31st, 2013. Once the New Year hits, we will randomly choose winners from the comments!
TACOMA, WA (Dec. 11, 2013) – Tacoma Community House (TCH), a 103-year-old nonprofit serving the Puget Sound region, and Dynamic Language, a Seattle-based language industry leader for over 28 years, announced today a definitive agreement to transfer the operations of the nonprofit’s interpretation and translation business – a social enterprise known as The Language Bank – to the privately owned company through a contract of sale agreement effective January 1, 2014.
Through the terms of the sale – which includes an undisclosed pricing structure that will help support the operations of the nonprofit for two years – former, current and future Language Bank customers are guaranteed current pricing through December 31, 2015. Language Bank customers will also receive enhanced offerings from Dynamic Language, including 24/7 access to certified interpreters and translators that support more than 150 languages throughout the U.S., hearing and visually impaired services, transcription services, localization services and machine translation services for high-volume content.
“This is a decisive move that accelerates our strategy to advance our mission and positions us to win by offering even greater value to our customers, program participants and our other partners,” said Liz Dunbar, TCH’s executive director. “Through this strengthened partnership developed with Dynamic Language, customers of The Language Bank will receive the same high-quality services as before, only now they will have access to an abundance of new service offerings using the latest technologies with access to over 100 new languages while still supporting the programming we provide to nearly 3,000 immigrants, refugees and low-wage earners throughout the Puget Sound region.”
TCH has operated The Language Bank since 1989, with its largest customer being the state’s Medicaid program for much of that time. In July 2012, after the Medicaid program’s decision to use a single statewide provider for future interpretation services, business revenue declined for the social enterprise by half. Contracting with a business consultant to study The Language Bank’s competitiveness, TCH’s board determined from the study findings that it was not possible for the social enterprise to remain competitive without significant investments in technology and staffing beyond those already being developed for the organization as a whole.
“We are 100% committed to helping our customers succeed, and are excited to partner with Tacoma Community House in bringing new services and technologies to customers of The Language Bank,” said Sandy Dupleich, a Partner with Dynamic Language. For more than 28 years, Dynamic Language has provided language translation, interpretation and localization services to customers around the world. The company is certified as a woman- and minority-owned business, with a reputation for delivering exceptional quality services. Starting as a small language service company in 1985, Dynamic Language has since grown to become one of the largest translation companies in the Pacific Northwest. The company earned its ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System certification in 2012.
More information about Tacoma Community House, including The Language Bank, can be found by visiting www.tacomacommunityhouse.org.
For more information about Dynamic Language, please visit: www.dynamiclanguage.com
Language learners are blessed with a plethora of wonderful, online resources for studying. Today we are taking a brief look at three of the most popular sites: Mango Languages, Duolingo, and LiveMocha. Each program was tested by spending about ten minutes on an introductory Spanish lesson.
OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? Mango Languages offers over 50 languages to choose from, many of which are available in ESL format as well. The system is beautifully designed and easy to navigate. Students are introduced to both grammar and cultural notes as they study. Mango also uses colors to distinguish words in sentences, which proved to be helpful when learning terms for the first time.
AND THE DOWNSIDE? MangoLanguages is not technically a free service, although many can access the program for free through their local library. (You can check here!) In addition, although users can record their pronunciation, you are speaking to a computer. Many language programs provide communities for users to speak with native speakers, which Mango cannot offer.
OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? Duolingo is a crowdsourced text translation platform designed so that, by learning a new language, users inadvertently provide translations for documents. Because of this, Duolingo is completely free! It helps with the translation process as well: along with practicing your reading and speaking comprehension, by re-typing translations, it forces you to use proper spelling. Like Mango Languages, grammar is also subtly integrated into the learning process.
AND THE DOWNSIDE? Unfortunately, Duolingo only offers five languages to study at the moment: Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, and German. Users are also unable to be judged on their speaking skills, and although you can create a profile for yourself, there seems to be little to no community to practice with.
OKAY, SO WHAT MAKES IT GREAT? LiveMocha is the most-used of the three programs, and it shows through its extended abilities and large community. Users can choose from over 35 languages and a variety of styles to study: vocab, reading and writing, reading and speaking, listening and writing, listening and speaking, etc. What really sets LiveMocha apart is its huge community – users are encouraged to help one another practice, which rewards them with points.
AND THE DOWNSIDE? Since we’re on the topic of points… it’s LiveMocha’s biggest issue. While users can do many activities for free, unlocking new lessons costs “points.” You can purchase points if you need, but by correctly answering questions or helping others, LiveMocha rewards you with free points to use. It’s a bit confusing, and rather unnecessary, considering how easy it is to achieve points. As for the learning style, it felt a little quick, which was a struggle at times.
CUT TO THE CHASE: WHICH SHOULD I CHOOSE?
All three are excellent programs, but if money isn’t an object, we have to recommend LiveMocha first. Being able to talk with native speakers is a huge benefit when learning a language, and LiveMocha’s large community is something to take advantage of. However, if you’re casually studying, consider DuoLingo if your language is one of the few they offer. Otherwise, if used through a local library, MangoLanguages is a great, free resource as well.
Do you agree with our ranking? Know of a better language program we should review? Let us know in the comments!
Conventional wisdom tells us that immersion is the best way to learn a language, however not everyone has the opportunity to live or study abroad. Thankfully, technology has welcomed a few spectacular solutions to those stuck at home, and TuneIn Radio is a prime example.
TuneIn Radio is a free, online source for audio content from across the globe. If you would like to expand your cultural knowledge, or are simply craving some new beats, consider browsing through the many foreign music stations. For those who have been studying a language and are looking for more organic practice, pay special attention to the Talk and News sections. These sections allow users to immerse themselves in the language’s natural surroundings, without even needing to be in the country at all!
The Talk section features individuals discussing various topics of your choice, such as Arts & Culture, Business, Entertainment, Food, Public Radio, Religion, or Travel. Once you have chosen your topic, you need only choose a station, sit back, and hone your language skills! You are sure to see improvements in your fluency when given access to these interesting topics, as opposed to the stiff, unnatural dialogue often found in text books.
The News section is self-explanatory, however the benefits of listening may outrank the Talk section. Reading the newspaper is a long-suggested studying technique, but it gives language learners a small crutch. You can read as fast or slow as you like, pausing to look up words or re-read phrases – unrealistic if you’re aiming to be fluent. Listening to the news offers the same benefits as reading, but forces the listener to decipher at a naturally spoken rate.
Unfortunately, the user interface is not ideal for the News section. If you’re in the Music or Talk section, you can sort radio stations to what country – and sometimes even city – you’re interested in. For News, however, this option is not available. Your first choice is to sift through a long list of stations around the world – frustrating, especially when it allows you to only see seven stations at a time. Otherwise, you can hit the “By Location” option from the start, choose your location, and sift through all genres. Thankfully, once you’ve found a show you like, you can save it to your Favorites, or type the name into the Search bar to pull it up.
Despite this setback, TuneIn Radio presents a very sturdy product. Now anyone can learn about another culture – language, music, sports, and more – without leaving the house. (Although we hope that, sometime soon, you get to practice your new language skills in that native country as well!)
Forward: For those looking to start an international SEO campaign, this post details tips on the localization aspect. If you have yet to start a local SEO campaign, it is important to being this journey with an established and successful local campaign first.
You’ve established a successful SEO process and are looking to start an international campaign. Fantastic! We must warn you: this may require more work than you did for your original campaign. To be successful, you must research and create content for every country you target.
Ready for the challenge?
We assume you have already analyzed and chosen the areas you’d like to target. It is extremely important to thoroughly research each of these unique populations in great detail. Focus on the technical side first: know your target area’s most popular web hosting locations, domains and sub-domains, country codes, URL structures, search engines, and social media websites. The last two are of particular importance.
Odds are that your current SEO plan is tailored toward Google. Luckily, Google is the top search engine in most countries, but not all. Check the most visited websites of your country, just in case. Social media, however, is its own beast. We’ve touched a bit on the varying social media platforms before, but each country has its own favored sites. True, many use Facebook and Twitter, but do you recognize Naver? What about VK? Seznam? If you want to reach the largest audience possible, you need to use the sites with the greatest hits. Be safe, and do the research.
Once you’ve established where you plan to target your audience, next comes creating your content. In your local campaign, you likely chose your search keywords from your company’s blog posts, news articles, info graphics, etc. You should follow this process for your international campaign as well, with one huge exception: don’t use the same content and keywords.
While it may be tempting to simply translate the content you’ve already created, we advise against it. What one audience responds to can be vastly different to another; cultures differ, and inevitably part of your established content will be ineffective for the audience you’d now like to capture. Before creating your content, yes, research first. Know what your audience responds to and incorporate these factors into new content, and pull keywords from it.
If you have a native speaker able to create this content in house, know you are the envy of most. For everyone else, enlist the help of a translation expert. Some SEO programs – such as Google’s Global Market Finder – will offer to translate your keywords for you, likely using their own MT program. This is not the time to rely on a machine translation program. Even the most subtle of differences between two words can have a big impact once translated, and your efforts are in vain if you pull the wrong audience.
We stress the importance of using a trusted translation service for your heavier content, as well. Great SEO campaigns run best with thoughtful, informative blog posts or articles. Although you may pull in visitors with properly translated keywords, they may not stay if the rest of your content is indecipherable.
Although it may seem daunting, creating an international SEO campaign is highly beneficial to any business expanding into the global market. We encourage you to take up the challenge – the rewards are worth the work!
Brian McConnell, a writer for the Globalization & Localization Association, wrote a wonderful piece entitled “Choosing The Best Translation Technology For Your Company.” In it, McConnell wrote the following:
I generally recommend that customers avoid the big three companies unless they are going to generate six to seven figure annual budgets. The reason isn’t that the big translation companies are bad, it’s just that their incentive is to focus on large accounts or accounts that might grow quickly. You’ll get more attention and better service from small and mid-sized companies… (McConnell)
Being a smaller company, we agree with Mr. McConnell’s conclusions, and thought this would be a good opportunity to provide a more in-depth look into the potential advantages of working with a smaller agency.
The main advantage of engaging with smaller agencies is the superior level of customer service. At Dynamic, our first step in personalizing the experience is in how our project managers interact with their clients. Each of our clients have their own, personal project manager who has an extensive knowledge of their company and work history. Being on the smaller side has given us the luxury of forming real relationships with our clients.
The second advantage that we see is improved quality! By knowing clients inside and out, our PMs understand the client’s ideal target audience, linguists they prefer, common terms and translations to use, past projects to reference, etc. Not only does this ensure that projects are consistent and accurate, but it enhances efficiency as well! Time usage is maximized by not having to explain and re-explain client needs to new people for each project.
Last, when working with a smaller company, customers have the assurance that they are each truly valued and important. While there are many amazing large companies that provide exceptional service to their clients, those clients are each one of their many, many customers.
In fairness, however, the advantages of engaging with a smaller company are not the only factors to consider. There can be times when choosing a large company might benefit client needs. As McConnell briefly mentions, it may be wise to use a large company for particularly large or expensive projects.
Keep these tips in mind next time you choose a language provider!
Recently Sandy Dupleich, our Executive Vice President, was asked to join the Board of Directors for the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center. KCSARC is a very reputable, well established nonprofit in the Seattle area, and it is a great honor for Sandy to be welcomed into the group!
Sandy’s new position gives us the opportunity for greater involvement between Dynamic Language and KCSARC.
The National Center of Victims of Crime estimates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse. Sadly, about 75% of these children were assaulted by people they knew, most often family members or trusted friends. KCSARC’s mission is “to give voice to victims…create change in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors about violence; and instill courage for people to speak out.”
Sandy first became involved with KCSARC about ten years ago. “I was at a point in my career where I felt that just coming to work and doing my job wasn’t enough,” Sandy said.
After coming across a volunteer request for KCSARC’s annual fundraising breakfast, Sandy seized the opportunity. She immediately offered her help, recognizing the importance of KCSARC’s work, saying, “They provide a very, very important link between kids, teens, and adults who have suffered from sexual abuse.”
She continued to volunteer her time, even involving Dynamic Language, “I think it’s so important for our company to maintain a strong connection with KCSARC, so that we can help communities that KCSARC might be unable to reach otherwise,” said Sandy.
One such opportunity occurred when Dynamic Language assisted in the “Dando Voz” campaign. “Dando Voz,” or “To give voice” in Spanish, was a campaign based around KCSARC’s tagline “End the silence.” The campaign encourages victims to speak up about their abuse, especially those in our diverse community who feel pressured to stay silent.
“In many cultures, women don’t have much status, and the children have even less,” Sandy explained. “So for a child to come forward and name the accuser that is a family member or a trusted friend of the family, most often they are not believed. Nobody ever hears about it, and certainly nobody is ever brought to justice.”
Now that Sandy is on the Board of Directors, her goal is to bring even more awareness to the organization, while also using her skills where they are most needed
“For me, this is just a huge honor, and I’m very grateful to have been nominated. I’ll do my best to be an active and productive board member,” Sandy promised.
Dynamic Language has had a fantastic year so far: along with receiving some wonderful accolades earlier in the year, we are very proud to announce that Dynamic has just been named to the Inc. 5000 honor roll for the sixth year in a row!
This year we made the list at #4631, which is no small feat for a 28-year-old company. We are thrilled with our 3-year growth of 47%, as well as the 11 new positions added!
Dynamic is honored to be on the list with many amazing businesses. In particular, we would like to congratulate these notable Washington State companies: BlackRapid (#1422), Cobalt Mortage (#1765), Nuun & Company (#1873), Gravity Payments (#2166), Madrona Solutions Group (#2536), Spectrum Controls (#3664), Dinerware (#3744), Perkins Coie (#4815), and Brenthaven (#4929). The Northwest has become one of the premier places to live and work, in great part due to all of you!
We would also like to take this moment to express our gratitude to two very important groups. First, we would like to thank our clients for their continued support and business over the years. Second, we are so grateful for our wonderful staff, whose commitment to excellence is the key to our high-quality services!
For more info on Dynamic Language, as well as links to the other companies, please visit the Dynamic Language profile on the Inc. website.