"Spot" on Language

High-Quality Japanese Translation for Your Business

japanese umbrellas

English-to-Japanese translation is in demand as American companies vie for mindshare in one of the world’s leading economies. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the intricacies of the Japanese language and recommend an approach to the translation process that will produce stellar results, both linguistically and economically for your business. 

Occupied Languages: The Story of Lithuanian

Lithuanian castle

Lithuanian is considered an "old" language by linguists, as it's one of the closest European languages to Proto Indo European. But how did such a small country manage to preserve its language over centuries of occupation and foreign rule? In this blog post, we'll explore the story of an occupied language that triumphed over history.

The Many Facets of Chinese Translation Projects


Based on headlines alone, China seems to swing between topics of political censorship and economic growth. And it’s true — there are turbulent social, political, and economic forces at work in China today, especially as the middle class rises and the “Great Chinese Internet Firewall” becomes increasingly porous. For both reasons, China should be on your radar if you have international expansion plans for your business.

But how much do you know about the Chinese language? If you want to serve Chinese customers, which written version is right for your website, and what about the optimal spoken dialect?

In this article we’ll talk about all of these choices and take a look at what Wikipedia has learned since launching Chinese Wikipedia in 2002. It might be just what you need to inform your strategy in China.

The Struggle to Preserve Endangered Languages

September 24, 2013 by Acclaro
Category: "Spot" on Language, Language Translation Services

In the next hundred years, about half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken around the world will disappear. With a current world population of seven billion people it would seem that there are plenty of languages to go around. However, 87% of the world's population only speaks the 85 largest languages. That means that the 3,500 smallest languages have only 8.25 million speakers total. But not all endangered languages are vanishing. Read on for an inside look into how preserving these words is helping more than just the people who speak them.

23 Words That Survived the First Global Warming

July 11, 2013 by Acclaro
Category: "Spot" on Language, Language Translation Services

A team of evolutionary biologists headed by Mark Pagel of the University of Reading in the UK have traced back some 100 known regional languages through the seven basic Eurasiatic tongues. The team came up with 23 “ultra-conserved” words whose sounds and associated meanings would likely be understood by our ancestors back 15 millennia.

Americanized English: Why Uncle Sam's Slang Won't Cut It in the UK


Here in the States, you’re getting ready to celebrate the 237th anniversary of independence from King George and his redcoats. Before you light up the grill and set off the fireworks, let’s take a look at how far American English has diverged from the English of its former ruler and my home country. We still share a common tongue, but many words have grown in opposite directions, meaning one thing in the States and quite another in the UK. And nothing highlights the differences between American English and British English better than slang.

Fast Facts on the Irish Language

June 18, 2013 by Acclaro
Category: "Spot" on Language, Language Translation Services

The Irish language is much more than just Éirinn go Brách ("Ireland forever"). With a unique word order, a strange lack of irregular verbs, and no words for "yes" or "no," this language boasts a history just as rich as the people who speak it. Ready to learn more about Irish yourself? 

Celebrating Father’s Day with Three Fathers of Language

Kemal Ataturk

What do Turkish, Esperanto, and Serbian have in common? With Father’s Day coming up, we wanted to celebrate dads of the world by looking a bit more closely at the “fathers” of these modern languages. From alphabet reforms to language revivals, these men have done quite a bit more than just use Pig Latin when your mother is not around.

Ready to learn more about how a single father can change a language spoken by thousands, if not millions? Read on for our celebration of language fathers from around the world.

The Varieties of Spanish

April 2, 2013 by Sandra De Luca
Category: "Spot" on Language, Language Translation Services

Spanish is an extremely varied language, spoken in at least 20 countries and even differing among regions within the same country. Finding an easy way to express yourself with a single Spanish translation can be a challenging, but not impossible, task. Knowing your specific regions and working with good in-country resources or a translation agency can help make sure you avoid using the wrong term in the wrong area. 

Haute Cuisine: Why Is French the Lingua Franca of Cooking?


You don’t have to be a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu or a fan of Julia Child to know that French dominates the language of cooking. Words as familiar to English speakers as restaurant, gourmet, and cuisine all came to us from French. And if you are a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, or any other cooking school, you may have noticed that almost the entire culinary vocabulary is French, no matter what country you’re in or what language the instructor speaks. From au gratin to zest(e), French is the lingua franca of the kitchen. So how is it that French became so inextricably linked with the culinary professions? 

12 Untranslatable Words for 2012

March 20, 2012 by Acclaro
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture, Language Translation Services

Do you ever find yourself searching for a word that's not there? Perhaps it's a term you're sure should exist, a certain feeling, or an adjective that you just can't quite pinpoint. If you know more than one language, we know you've searched for a term in one, only to come up short in another. With all the richness of words in the world, there are certainly some words and expressions that are untranslatable when it comes to English. Because language and culture are so closely intertwined, it's no wonder that we cannot fully render all words into all languages. Read on to find out the meanings behind mysterious words like jayus, tartle, and prozvonit.

Translating for the Arabic-speaking World

How do you begin to market to 300 million Arabic speakers worldwide? Is there such a thing as standard Arabic? The short answer is yes; the long answer is yes...and no. An understanding of Arabic's history may help raise your voice in and help define your global business strategy for this huge linguistic region.

Speak 12 Languages Instantly This Holiday With Our Card Creator

December 8, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture, Language Translation Services

The best thing about our Go Global Holiday Card Creator is that you (yes, you!) get to send free e-cards with holiday greetings to friends, family, business associates and/or parole officers around the world, in any one of twelve languages. From a secretary in Shanghai to an uncle in Umbria, put a smile on someone’s face in a different time zone.

You Say Cocomero, I Say Anguria: Italy and Her Dialects

November 22, 2011 by Alessia Petrucci
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture

Alessia Petrucci, Acclaro's Translation Director, oversees translation and language related processes as well as vendor recruitment. Originally from Tuscany, Alessia has a degree in Translation from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and has worked in the translation department at Microsoft and J.D. Edwards before joining Acclaro. Antonella Masters, Project Coordinator for Acclaro's San Francisco office, is a Roman native and has worked for Chevron and BASF in Italy, as well as for the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Scuola in San Francisco.

Cocomero and anguria both mean watermelon in Italian, except Romans will be more familiar with the former term and most everyone else will know the latter. While this may seem odd, "modern" Italian is actually relatively new. Prior to the unification of the country 150 years ago, centuries of division and foreign rule (Austrian, Spanish and French) have meant both cultural and linguistic diversity, as evidenced in the development of the multiple dialects used all along the Italian Peninsula.

Why and How To Learn Russian

November 1, 2011 by Guest Author
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture

Russian, ostensibly full of complicated grammar and vocabulary that can seem unfamiliar to other languages, has gotten a bad rap as far as learning languages goes. With the right techniques, though, it's not as bad as it seems. A little working knowledge of Russian can go a long way, as it is either the primary or secondary language of some 300 million people, according to Wikipedia, a large majority of which are located in growing global economic centers. Susanna Zaraysky demystifies the process and provides some great techniques to get you started. Next stop: Novosibirsk!

Let Your Portuguese Flow Like Honey

October 20, 2011 by Guest Author
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture

Susanna_ZarayskyAbout guest author Susanna Zaraysky: Susanna is a speaker of seven languages and author of Language Is Music (El idioma es música, in Spanish), a short and easy-to-read book on how to learn foreign languages using music and the media. Find Susanna on her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Picasa, and on YouTube.

Brazilian Portuguese has a mellifluous (sweet sounding) sound to it. It flows like honey. If you are going to Brazil for business and you want Brazilian reais to move your way, like bees to honey, then you need your Portuguese to be sweet, smooth and melodic. The closer you sound to native, the easier it is for people to understand you and accept you. In all my travels, and I’ve been to over 50 countries, I saw that the better my accent was, the friendlier and more accepting locals were of me. People like to be around others who sound like them. Here are some helpful hints to get there:

Spreading Slang Via Social Media

August 3, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: Technology, "Spot" on Language

social media mapWe all remember the way new slang, idioms, and hand gestures rapidly spread from kid to kid through high school. But that’s nothing compared to how quickly social media transmits regional slang and unique words and spellings both within common languages and around the globe.

During most of human history, new words and idioms traveled slowly from different regions of a country, and entered common usage at the same rate. The same stately pace applied to words borrowed from foreign languages.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Orkut (Facebook’s main rival in Brazil), Foursquare, and perhaps most importantly, Twitter have changed all that.

Top Tips for Japanese Localization

June 24, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Localization Tips, "Spot" on Language, Translator's Corner

The Acclaro blog entry below is featured today on the Japan Intercultural Consulting Blog. Japan Intercultural Consulting is an international training and consulting firm focused on Japanese business. 

Translating content into Japanese presents a variety of challenges, most notably capturing the natural flow and tone of Japanese sentences. In American business, writing tends to be more informal, yet if translated into Japanese, it would seem too casual and possibly even rude. Translating English content, which is more than likely not in the appropriate tone for Japan, into Japanese is challenging, but not impossible. Read these tips to achieve high-quality, natural Japanese translations when working with a translation vendor. Also refer to our tips for preparing for any translation project, no matter what the language.

Our recommendations for translation into Japanese:

  • Supply approved text samples in Japanese. Before you begin translation, give your translation partner examples of Japanese text that has a tone, style, and voice approved by your Japanese management. This is essential in order to speed up the translation and review process – and should save you time and energy (and maybe even costs) in the long run.

The Best-Traveled Language in the World

June 15, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: "Spot" on Language

When our clients ask us to translate or localize into Spanish, the first question we ask is "Which kind of Spanish do you want?"

That’s because Spanish is the official or de facto language of 23 countries, from the obvious (Mexico) to the surprising (Antarctica — the Argentinian and Chilean sections, that is).  It’s spoken by half a billion people on five continents. Yet those 500 million speak many different varieties of this most diverse Romance language, from the original Castilian and Andalusian of Spain to the distinctive trade route Spanish of Cuba and Puerto Rico.  

puerto rican day parade

Español traveled from the ports of Spain along with Spanish explorers, spreading out all over the world to Mexico, Central America, and most of South America (the exception is Brazil). The language even arrived in Equatorial Guinea.  Along the way, Spanish grew and changed in unique ways with every culture it encountered, adapting to a multitude of indigenous tongues, each country creating its own unique vocabulary and accent.

Musings on Romance Languages: Multilingualism on the European Soccer Field

June 9, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: "Spot" on Language, Culture

ZidaneHave you ever wondered how some European soccer players so effortlessly transfer from club to club, country to country, without spending at least a semester in intensive language immersion? France’s Zinedine Zidane, for example, played for Cannes and Bordeaux, then Juventus, in Piedmont, Italy, and later Real Madrid, in Spain. In crucial moments of the game, was he able to come up with the right translation for, “Pass the ball now!”, without a split second of hesitation?

If you’ve watched any post-game interviews, you know the answer to this. These professional soccer players are not only amazing athletes; they are also gifted language learners. Several of the Brazilians who play for Spanish teams, for example, have only the slightest accent as they recount the critical game plays to the Spanish press. How do these world-class players have time to study the language of their club? The secret to their quick language acquisition in this case is the Romance language advantage.

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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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