Right Back at You, Buddy: American Hand Gestures in Translation

Like a picture, a gesture is worth a thousand words. When travelling internationally or planning creative content for a global campaign, you may be compelled to use a seemingly innocuous gesture of approval, like a thumbs-up or OK sign. Watch out, though, as the thousand words you get might not be the ones you want. Here's a quick guide to common hand gestures and their various global perceptions.

Acclaro President Discusses Retail Localization

Are you a retail company looking to go global? Acclaro President Michael Kriz provides some pointers to navigate international cross-channel marketing and create an optimal customer experience…no matter where (or how) your customers interact with you.

Kraft Foods: A Lesson In Global Marketing

Kraft Foods created the name “Mondelez International” for a portion of their international snack business. Unfortunately, part of that name carries a, shall we say, decidedly NSFW meaning for Russian speakers. How did Kraft negotiate the slip-up? Read on to find out.

Colors and Cultural Connotations

Can you translate colors? With the variety of connotations for colors worldwide, meanings aren't fixed. Maybe you're savvy; you might know that white is the color of death in China and sorrow in India but associated with peace and marriage in Western countries. Or that red can mean everything from danger to love to luck to mourning, depending on where you are in the world. But do you know about other connotations of colors like orange and purple? When it comes time to reach out to global markets, knowing color associations can ensure your message doesn't get lost in psychological color translation. Ready to see how color connotations translate across cultures?

May The Fries Be With You: Burgers, Star Wars, and Translation

January 12, 2012 by Acclaro
Category: Marketing, Language Translation Services

In the world of translation, even fast-food gets into the act. Take, for example, the "Dark Vador" (no, that’s not a typo) burgers that are so popular right now in Quick fast-food resturants in France. As explained in this article from the Christian Science Monitor, these black-bunned burgers are being marketed in sync with the release of "Star Wars: Phantom Menace 3D". Bun aside, you may be wondering why Darth Vader’s name has changed. Well, young Jedi, it’s as much what you say as how you say it.

Capitalizing on Global Ecommerce

If you're like us, you much prefer shopping on your favorite store's website at home in your bunny slippers (don't judge) than fighting the crowds at the mall. And you're not alone...Cyber Monday resulted in $1.25 billion dollars in online sales in the U.S. alone, according to an article on ITProPortal. While Cyber Monday is traditionally a follow-up to the post-Thanksgiving "Black Friday" event in the U.S., global ecommerce is following suit.

Doing Business In China: Three Easy Steps

We have three easy steps to breaking into the rapidly growing Chinese online marketplace:

Step 1.  Read our newsletter article on preparing your social media launch

Step 2.  Check out this article from Fast Company to get your statistics need-to-know cultural considerations, and

Step 3.  Continue reading this blog post (click "Read Full Post" below) to find out how these elements interact.

Global SEM, Explained: Our Guest Article in AMA’s Marketing News

October 4, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Marketing

ISEMIf you’ve been thinking about going international with your search engine marketing efforts, make sure to read the latest piece by Acclaro president Michael Kriz, right here on our site. We’re also proud to say that it was originally published in the September 2011 issue of the American Marketing Association’s subscription-only MarketingNews.

Localization Gone Bad: Marketing Missteps

September 27, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: Marketing, Website Translation Services, Culture, International Business

uh ohIt’s often said that language and translation are two of the biggest obstacles to successfully launching and managing a brand in global markets. Many businesses spend millions to create beautiful campaigns in their primary markets, and then those funds — and sometimes the company’s reputation along with it — go down the drain because they skimp on localization when they roll out their campaigns globally. From the poorly translated menus and signs to major mishaps that cost companies millions of dollars, the examples are many — and embarrassing:

  • American Airlines introduced its new leather first-class seats in Mexico with a literal translation of their tagline “Fly in Leather”, which in Spanish means “fly naked.”
  • The Coors slogan “Turn It Loose” became “Suffer from Diarrhea” in Spanish.

Is Multilingual Blogging Right For Your Company?

ice creamTranslating your website goes a long way towards establishing your local presence in a global market. A local-language blog can take you another step further, with marketing benefits that equal that of your English-language blog. But is this the right step for your organization? Get the scoop on what we mean, take a minute to answer these questions, then read on.

  • Do you already have a corporate blog in English?
  • Is your website translated into other languages?
  • Do many of your website visitors speak a language other than English?
  • Do you want to connect with a target audience outside of the U.S.?
  • Does your company already have an international presence?

Bing and Baidu team up for Chinese web searches

Baidu mugDue to the prevalence of English-language searches in China, a unique partnership has formed between the Chinese search giant Baidu and the American "decision engine" Bing. Baidu users searching for English terms will see a selection of English search results alongside Chinese results in their browsers, providing access to an additional layer of information.

Bilingual search results, still a relatively new technology, show how the quest for information on a global scale overcomes regional language barriers...or perhaps caters to an increasingly polylingual group of internet users who are comfortable searching in one or more languages.

A Website Localization Success Story

logoLinkedIn announced today that is has expanded its website languages to include Russian, Romanian and Turkish. 100 million members strong, with 25 million users in Europe alone, LinkedIn has become the uncontested online destination for business professionals.

LinkedIn got it right from the start. Soon after their domestic launch, they realized that going global fast would cinch their victory in a competitive online space. Their global business ambitions took shape in a strategy, and that strategy led to website localization. They undertook the market research, became versed in international regulations, such as the EU’s International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and then created a business infrastructure to support their global website. In tandem with the launch of the site in German, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, LinkedIn rolled out multi-language customer support, locale-specific payment processing and advertising. The selection of as one of TIME's top websites of 2010 is proof of their success.

Thanks to their quick reaction to shifting global trends for networking, exchanging ideas and recruiting talent, the LinkedIn platform is the social medium in Europe and North America, and is gaining influence daily in the Chinese, Japanese and Indian markets. Yesterday, LinkedIn crossed a major milestone of 10 million members in India.

Five Terrific Tips to Help Take Your Brand Global

May 2, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Marketing, International Business

globeReady to take your brand from domestic to international markets? Whether you're setting out on an all-out global brand launch, or tailoring your efforts to a few well-chosen foreign language markets closer to home, your best first step is a well-thought-out plan to set your strategy and make some realistic goals.

That way, you can streamline your efforts and do what gets you the most impact for your budget. In many cases, you can (and should) leverage your existing brand assets in new language markets. Done right, finessing and tailoring what you already own with localization and smart multilingual translation can be highly effective in making that all-important first impression in new international arenas.

To help get you get started on your strategy and goals, here are five great tips that can lead to smart, culturally sensitive localization as you move into new language markets.

1.  Do your research to find the best potential markets.

The fastest-growing economies (like Brazil, India, and China) may look like a sure bet for your brand. But with a little research, you may find that Eastern Europe is where your brand will find its greatest initial success. Think about your differentiator in new markets, unique trends, and how you might need to reposition your brand as you localize for a global launch. Surveys plus attitude and usage studies are excellent ways to take the pulse of the locals, too — get to know your target customers, their likes and dislikes, influencers, hobbies, and where they shop.

Getting to Know the Hispanic Market

March 10, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Marketing, Culture

Do you parquear your car? How about vacunar the carpet? If you're one of the 34+ million of Spanish speakers in the U.S., you may understand this mix of Spanish and English perfectly well. And you may even expect to hear or read this Spanglish in advertising.

The purchasing power of the Hispanic population is currently valued at $1 trillion (that's a lot of dolares). Read on to learn some tips on how to createspanish english words culturally-specific marketing campaigns for this growing market.

Learn about the demographic. Hispanics in the States come from 20+ different countries (although a majority, around 60%, are of Mexican origin). Culturally, they tend to be travel between two worlds — their native culture and American culture. Skim through Hispanic magazines, watch Latino TV shows and listen to Spanish-language radio. You don't have to speak Spanish fluently to get an appreciation of the look and feel of the advertisements that target this demographic.

Translating Wine: Part Two

February 10, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: Translator's Corner, Culture

wine bottlesEvery industry has its own unique culture, complete with an insider lingo and a clear definition of who the elites are. In the world of wine, the elites are the French. Look no further than the Napa Valley for proof of this. American wineries pay homage to the French all the time by adding words such as château or clos to their estate names (i.e. Château Saint Jean, Clos du Bois), or creating new labels with famous French expressions (Ménage à Trois, Vérité, Amuse Bouche Winery). The most popular grapes bear French names: Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Chardonnay (which is actually the name of a village in Southern Burgundy where the grape was first planted). French wines are associated with quality, tradition, breeding and good taste.

And because the French have historically dominated the international wine scene, “winespeak” is often derived from French. For example: it is common to hear words such as en primeur, cru, remuage or caudalie roll off the tongue of English-speaking wine tasters. Such high-class Franglais can seem a bit cheeky but it’s not frowned upon in wine culture – after all, any savvy wine aficionado should know a little French. So how does this particular industry jargon affect wine translation?

As with most translation, it’s all about the target audience. For French-to-English wine translation, the target audience is an English-speaking demographic that is receptive to the subtle qualitative messages French terms convey.

Let’s revisit the tasting notes from our first blog post and take a stab at adapting them for this particular audience. In French, we have:

Un vin blanc subtil et souple, aux arômes de pâte d’amande et de brioche. La bouche est ample avec des nuances de coing confit et des groseilles, se culminant en une finale qui est fraîche et persistante.

A literal translation would be:

A subtle and supple white wine with aromas of almond paste and French breakfast bread. The mouth is broad with nuances of candied quince and gooseberries that culminate in a long and refreshing finale.

Egypt Is Heard

On Friday, January 28, 2011 the ruling government of Egypt cut off access to internet and cell phone services to its 80 million inhabitants. That’s the equivalent of shutting down access to everyone in California, Texas, and Florida. Yet, despite this, individual voices among the hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protesters are still being broadcast not only via traditional television news, but also via YouTube, personal blogs and Twitter feeds. Similar to the events that occurred in Thailand in 2010 and Iran in 2009, the "internet revolution" has transformed the 21st century civic revolution into a 24/7 newsfeed of insightful, real-time protester tidbits.

egypt twitter feed

Videos, blogs, and tweets are the new call to arms — instead of picking up pens, protesters now wield phones. Want to glean a bit of what’s being written by Egyptians but don’t speak Arabic? No problem. Check out Meedan, a service we profiled in a previous blog that translates various news items from Arabic into English, along with translated reader comments. Another similar website is Alive In Egypt, which adds English subtitles to videos, and Arabic transcriptions along with English translations of Speak2Tweet audio files. Speak2Tweet, launched by Google when the Egyptian protests started, allows anyone to leave a voicemail that is then placed onto Twitter with an #egypt hashtag.

The 411 of Global Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising is definitely here to stay. In fact, across all advertising media, it’s quickly emerging as the global dominator, second only to online video. How does mobile advertising work and which foreign markets offer the most promise for your mobile campaign? Here’s the 411:phones

Quick Facts

The figures will make your head spin:

  • Mobile advertising is projected to grow steadily at a rate of 19.4% between now and 2016. Advertising growth in general will average a mere 6.3% each year in comparison.*
  • U.S. mobile advertising is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2015 from $800 million in 2010.**
  • Global mobile advertising is projected to rise from $2.7 billion in 2011 to $6.6 billion in 2016.*
  • There are nearly five billion mobile phone users currently in the world.***
  • The average mobile user has a device with them 16 hours per day and 95% of text messages are read within three minutes of being sent.**

Cliché Got Your Tongue? Copywriting for an International Audience

January 18, 2011 by Guest Author
Category: Marketing, Document Translation, Localization Tips

Guest author Christine Kent is an editor with the Content Bureau, a full-service copywriting agency.

The process of transcreation requires writers and translators to come up with alternatives for the idiomatic and casual language often used in marketing campaigns, particularly for consumer products and advertising. However, for some marketing pieces, the transcreation process can be made vastly shoes clicheeasier by simply writing clean, usable copy from the very beginning. In other words, assume that your text will need to be translated down the road, and from the get-go, avoid piling on the clichés and idioms.

(Whoops, I’ve already broken this rule in the line above: “down the road,” “get-go,” and “piling on” would not make life easier for writers doing a transcreation. Lucky for me, we’re not planning to get this blog post translated!)

This “think before you write” approach makes sense for some, not all, marketing pieces. Ad campaigns usually demand highly colloquial language, especially for taglines—better to write them in the fashion required for the initial audience, then recast the copy into another language using idioms that convey the same idea. However, product brochures, fact sheets, and white papers likely don’t require the use of much untranslatable wording, so it makes more sense to tone down the casual lingo in these documents.

Bring Local Flavor to Your Marketing Campaigns with "Transcreation"

January 7, 2011 by Stephanie Engelsen
Category: Marketing

The Acclaro blog entry below is featured today on the Content Bureau Blog. The Content Bureau is a full-service copywriting agency that creates custom content for business, consumer, and technical audiences.

You and your team have spent hundreds of collective hours and thousands of dollars on the launch of a great marketing campaign in English. Along the way, everyone gained a few new grey hairs. Whew! You’re done, right? Bring out the Champagne, bonus checks and hair dye. Not so fast…your boss wants to take that campaign into eight new language markets. Now you need a great global campaign.

How do you ensure that your campaign maintains the impact of the original without having to launch new creative in each market? This is where marketing “transcreation” comes into play. Transcreation is a freer form of translation, closer to copywriting. The result is a text that’s linguistically and culturally adapted for specific countries and/or regions, be it for Latin America, AfricaEurope or even local U.S. Hispanic markets.

Levi's Gets Adventurous Marketing to Young, Bi-Cultural Hispanics

December 16, 2010 by Acclaro
Category: Marketing, International & Global Translation Services

jeansThis past year we saw several examples of global brands that used cultural and linguistic differences to their advantage, taking a unique cross-cultural approach to marketing and advertising.

One of these was the iconic American brand Levi's and their Nuevo Pionero campaign.

In this campaign that showed a truly "adventurous" approach to catching the eye of the young, bi-cultural Latino market, Levi's took five young U.S. Hispanics on a journey this summer from Alaska to Argentina on the Pan-American Highway. This literal and metaphorical journey from North to South shows the five travelers fully clad in Levi's new Work Wear line, stopping in ten different cities and pitching in on work projects involving the arts. Their experiences were documented in a ten-week reality show, "Norte a Sur: Una Ruta, 5 Experiencias" (North to South: One Route, 5 Experiences), that aired in the fall on Discovery en Español.

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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