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Top Tips for Communicating While Traveling Abroad

Top Tips for Communicating While Traveling Abroad

It's summer vacation time! Check out our top 3 tips for communicating in the local language/culture while traveling abroad. 1. Get Friendly with the Locals. Begin conversations with people wherever you go. Before you leave, pick up one of those pocket-size phrase books that also has pronunciation tips inside.

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Did You Know? Working with Translators in Various Time Zones

Did you know that we have translators in so many times zones that we have to factor in this small, but very important, detail when we set up delivery deadlines with our clients? That's right! We find the very best translators and editors to work on our clients' translation projects. At Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS) we work directly with professionals all over the world, from Hong Kong to Kefar-Sava, Israel, from Montevideo to Kampot, Cambodia. Of course, we have many U.S.-based translators and editors, so we deal with at least four of the six U.S. time zones as well.

How does this affect our clients' delivery deadlines? Well, first we have to make sure we can take on a project from a client in the amount of time they specify. This includes the time it takes for us to manage the project from start to finish, allowing our translators and editors ample time to work on the job and giving ourselves enough time to perform the quality assurance step that takes place before we send the final deliverables to our clients. Time zones factor into this scenario because if a translator is in one time zone and the editor is in another, which is often the case, we have to ensure that the files are passed from the translation step to the editing step seamlessly and without delay. In our line of work, time is always of the essence. We know our clients need to receive their translation projects back in a timely manner, so we do everything we can to make sure our processes and timelines run smoothly.

If our translators or editors have specific questions about a text they are working on, we need to make sure that they receive the best information, straight from the client. This is why we make a point of discussing specific aspects of our clients' projects with them in as much detail as possible, and we relay that information as quickly as possible during our translators' and editors' working hours in their respective time zones. This may mean we are working with our Hebrew translators in Israel on Sundays instead of Fridays, as their weekends are observed as Friday and Saturday. All of these little details must be considered in order for us to ensure that we always meet our clients' deadlines!

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Get to Know the ATS Staff!

Each day this week we've shared how each of us at Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS) has come to work in the translation and interpreting industry. We hope this will allow you to get to know us a little better! Stephanie Lockman, Translation Project Manager While in graduate school at the University of Louisville (UofL) to obtain my M.A. in Spanish, I realized that I preferred the courses on translation more than any others. That same year, UofL began offering a Graduate Certificate in Translation, which was perfect for me!

In order to finish my coursework for the certificate, I needed to complete an internship in the translation industry. My adviser put me in touch with Madalena to help serve as a Project Manager for Accessible Translation Solutions. My internship was finished in 2013, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to continue working for ATS over the past 4 years!

Marvella Duarte Coon, Project + Vendor Manager

I started interpreting at the Findlay Court House while I was a student at the university, approximately 15 years ago. It was a rewarding experience because I helped people to communicate and understand their legal rights and life changes that they were going to experience. Then, a friend told me about Madalena and ATS. I was excited to get back into this industry, because I wanted to be part of a great company and continue helping others. I did some translations that gave me the opportunity to use my native language, Spanish, and work on interesting projects. I am a PM and enjoy seeking the best linguists around the world who can help us fulfill communication needs for our clients.

André Zampaulo, Linguist + Consultant

Languages have always fascinated me. From Portuguese grammar classes in elementary school to learning Spanish, English, German, and French as foreign languages when I was young, I always knew I wanted to study and work with languages. In college, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Translation Studies, specializing in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Having formal education and training in translation has helped me not only to become a better translator and be part of an exciting community, but also—and, perhaps more importantly—to reflect upon it as a linguistic, sociocultural, and commercial endeavor. As a linguist and consultant for ATS, I am very proud to contribute to the success of the company in delivering translation and interpreting services of the highest quality to our clients while also implementing best practices that help shape our industry.

Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, Owner + CEO

My career in translation ultimately progressed from interpreter to project manager to translator to business owner. A local translation agency hired me as the interpreting project manager just as I was finishing my graduate degree at the University of Louisville (UofL). I was able to work directly with interpreters we contracted for various assignments in many languages, and I couldn't get enough. After moving from Louisville to Columbus, Ohio, I began translating for agencies and direct clients, and in 2010, I opened Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS). This work is the most rewarding work I could ever ask for. I look back at the past 10 years and how my roles have shifted along the spectrum in this industry, and I remain humbled and thankful for the opportunities I’ve received and for the clients we serve day in and day out. No two days are the same. No two clients’ projects are the same. These are the things that keep me motivated and inspired to continue to lead ATS as the agency our clients trust with their customers, with their patients, with their employees and with their brands.

Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin

Expanding to a global market can be an exciting time for your business. Millions of Internet users speak a language other than English, and localizing your website to some of these specific target audiences allows your company the opportunity to reach a broader scope of people. Even in countries where English use is fairly widespread, consumers still prefer to seek out information in their native language, so having access to your content in that language will give your company an edge in a competitive market. Localization, which includes translation, also entails adapting your website’s content for other markets. Ideally, all aspects of your company’s website would be fully translated and localized for all target audiences you have decided to reach. However, it is not always within a company’s budget to localize the entire website at once. Knowing where to begin can be helpful in terms of adhering to your budget while still making your website more accommodating for your domestic or international market. We’ve prepared some ideas to help get you started.

Choosing your initial target audience(s)

If you plan to localize your content for multiple domestic or international audiences, it may be easiest to handle a select few first. Decide which languages and markets will be most beneficial for your company to reach. Not only will you have learned from the process of localizing the content for a few select audiences first, it will also allow you to spread out the costs of localization over time, which may be more desirable for your company budget.

Deciding which pages to localize

Localizing your website’s content can also come in stages. It is important to decide which pages are critical for your business, and which have messages that are important for your domestic or international audience. If you have a local events page or careers page, for example, these would not be of high importance to translate or localize, since they would only be necessary for your original English-speaking audience.

On the other hand, pages that are specific to your company’s brand, such as your mission statement or an About Us page, would be of higher priority so that your new customers feel connected with you from the beginning. Some other pages that may be important for your company to consider up front would be forms you need the customer to fill out like requests for information or pages with news about company updates.

Ultimately, what you decide to prioritize will depend on your company’s mission and vision for your domestic or international reach. We are always happy to assist you in deciding the best path to take when it comes to expanding to new audiences. Please feel free to contact us today for more information!

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ATS Client Feature: National Church Residences

Accessible Translation Solutions is excited to kick off a new blog and social media series with you! Welcome to our ATS Client Feature, where we will share a little information about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're delighted to feature National Church Residences. We love working with them and hope you will enjoy learning a bit more about what they do!

National Church Residences is an innovative leader in support services for seniors and their families. National Church Residences serves a diverse population of seniors from many different cultures and ethnicities, which is why National Church Residences has come to us various times since 2013 to have their tenant agreements and notices translated to Spanish and Chinese.

Special thanks to National Church Residences for being our first client to feature! Stay tuned to learn about our other translation and interpreting clients. We can't wait to share them with you! If you would like us to feature you in this series, please contact us and let us know.

The Value of Multilingual Employees in the Workplace

With the ever-increasing globalization of the marketplace, having multilingual employees in your workplace can be of great benefit. According to recent Census reports, the population of non-English speakers in the United States has continued to rise over the past 20-30 years. Having one or multiple employees who speak a language other than English can give your business a definite edge in a competitive atmosphere.

Top Five benefits of hiring a multilingual employee:

  1. If you are looking to expand your business to a new market, a multilingual employee can be a great asset. Let’s say this client base does not speak English natively. They may feel more comfortable speaking to someone in their native tongue, trusting your company more, as a result, and increasing your chances of gaining them as a client.
  2. Building a multilingual customer service department means drawing in a customer base who feels confident in their ability to do business with you. They know that if they do have any questions or concerns, they will be able to address these things seamlessly in their native language. When customers feel comfortable, they are more likely to buy.
  3. Someone who has taken the time to learn another language has often learned about the cultures where the language is spoken in the process. When working with clients and customers from other places, understanding a few nuances about their culture and what may or may not be important to them can make a difference in how they perceive your brand.
  4. A professional translation agency is key to handling translation and interpreting services, since it already employs translators and interpreters with the proper experience, education and training for these skill sets. An employee who knows another language will likely be able to assist with smaller language-specific tasks, but it is dangerous to assume that he or she is as comfortable in writing as in speaking. The two skills are quite different, and when your brand is on the line, it’s vital to ensure a professional translation. In addition to speaking verbally with clients and customers as previously mentioned, if you receive an email or mail correspondence in another language and need a quick understanding of the gist of the message, or if you wish to set aside time for an employee to review translated content through the eyes of your customers, multilingual employees would be quite effective.
  5. The benefits are not simply linguistic in nature. Studies from the National Institutes of Health and Northwestern University have shown that individuals who speak multiple languages typically have a stronger ability for both multitasking and processing information more quickly and efficiently than monolingual individuals.

What has your experience been like with your multilingual employees? We would love to hear about benefits you’ve encountered that we may not have mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment below!

Cheap Translation Services: Do You Really Get What You Pay For?

If you’ve ever been in need of translation services, or are currently looking into them for your company, chances are good that you’ve likely shopped around for what you consider to be the best deal while looking into the different options. You’ve spent a lot of money and time ensuring that your current brochure, form, website, etc. is perfectly crafted for your company and your customers. If you are looking to have the same translated for another audience, it only makes sense that you would like the best for them as well. If this is still fairly new for you, it can be a bit overwhelming and we understand wanting to find the best price for your company. However, that best price may not always come with the best quality translation, so if a pricing option seems too good to be true, it may be important to remember that you often really do get what you pay for.

If you do decide to use cheap, often unaccredited translation services, or even accept the help of a bilingual friend who may not be truly qualified to translate your text, you will end up with an initially cheaper service. However, you might compare it to the quality/cost comparison of just about anything currently on the market. Just as a $5.00 shovel may work well for a single yard project, chances are good it won’t last the entire season, and you will end up needing to replace the shovel again anyway. If you continue to purchase the $5.00 shovel, you will likely spend more money and time replacing it than you would if you had just purchased the $30.00 shovel to begin with.

Translation is similar. If you print a subpar translation on your brochures, your customers will notice. There will be errors, and although they won’t always be critical errors, if your customers can tell that it’s a translation at all, it impacts your reputation with them. The mark of a good translation is one you do not even realize has been translated. It should read smoothly and naturally so that the reader believes it was written with him in mind in the first place.

Professional linguists do not and should not have the cheapest rates around, so if you are quoted an extremely low price compared to others, it’s likely that the linguists used are not the most qualified, or perhaps, the agency uses shortcuts to keep the price so low (using machine translation to begin with, and only using a human proofreader to review that text, for example). A reputable translation agency will have strict measures in place to ensure the quality of your product. A translation should always be handled by at least two separate qualified linguists to both translate and proofread/edit the text, and then undergo the agency’s own quality assurance measures to avoid any issues from the onset.

If you are truly interested in saving money, have the translation handled correctly the first time to avoid costly mistakes down the road. ATS is proud to say that we do not take shortcuts with your projects and always use professional translators and proofreaders who are qualified to handle the content of your project. If you would like more information on a current project you have, or would like to request a free consultation, we would love to hear from you!

What If I Just Use the Google Translate Button on My Website?

It’s not uncommon to hear someone ask about using Google Translate (or another free machine translation tool) for their translation needs. Those in the language industry probably hear this question fairly often, especially since there is a Google Translate button on many websites, both personal and professional, prompting users to translate a website into the language of their choice with just the click of a button. Although those in the language industry will have immediate reservations about using free, automated machine translation professionally, it is not difficult to understand why many would feel this is a good option. After all, Google provides some amazing services, many of which are free. If you have grown to trust Google for these other services, it might stand to reason that you feel comfortable trusting Google for a free translation, as well. Trust us, we completely understand! However, your organization’s brand and your website’s accuracy may be at stake if you are relying on this method to translate content for your visitors.

The ability to correctly maintain both the meaning and the intended impression of your website’s subject is something, at least at this point in time, that can only be accomplished with professional human translators. These translators are able to dissect the content of the page, understand the intention of its message, and then convey that same message and intention in another language.

Automated machine translation such as Google Translate is unable to identify all of the nuances of a language, and often makes errors involving both the grammar and vocabulary of the target language. If you have ever used the Google Translate button to translate a non-English website into English, it was likely very obvious that the translation was automated and not done professionally by a native speaker. This type of translation does not capture the true original message, even if we can make out what the proper words should have been, some of the time.

If your organization values its branding and professionalism, it is important to have your website translated professionally. A professional translation agency will ensure that a native speaker of the target language who specializes in the subject matter translates your content. The translation will also be reviewed by a proofreader or editor to ensure the quality of the final product. This helps to maintain the professionalism your company conveys through its branding, and it can also keep your company out of legal trouble in certain cases, should your information be translated incorrectly. If you are a food vendor, for example, and your website mistranslates allergy warnings, this could have major legal ramifications for you if one of your customers falls ill.

Even if there are no legal implications, native speakers of a target language will know when a website has been translated through an automated system and may look to your competition for a company that will better communicate with them. After all, good communication is a form of good service.

The process of taking your message, breaking down its intended meaning in all places, understanding the nuances of your ideas and messages, and putting it all back together in another language is complex. Although we completely understand the appeal, we urge you not to rely on a seemingly free service to do this. Just as other aspects of your business are handled by their respective professionals, we recommend doing the same for your translations to help prevent potential mistranslations and bumps down the road.