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.

Frankly, my dear, eso no me importa: The Art of Subtitle Translation

September 29, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: Multimedia, Culture

movie subtitle translationWhat’s the secret behind a film that’s able to make viewers laugh, cry, screech or sit in quiet reflection at the very same moment in theaters across the globe, irrespective of language and culture?

Besides blood, sweat and tears, the quick answer is: talented translators (and voice talents). Movie translators truly do make or break a film.

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.

The Top Five Languages of Web Surfers Worldwide

September 22, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Website Translation Services

webThink your company just might be ready to grow your business to the next level online? It might be time to take your organization from local or national to global, and there are five excellent reasons to jump into international markets that are right for you: Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and German – the top five languages of almost a billion people online around the world today.

We’ll give you a head start on your research with a quick peek into those global markets and languages that are experiencing the most growth online. For an even clearer snapshot, make sure to delve into our full article as well.

Chinese: 444,948,000 Internet Users

Infrastructure improvements have encouraged millions of Chinese to surf the internet, partly due to the increased popularity in online shopping and e-banking services. Almost one-third of China's population was regularly on the web by the end of 2010. The potential market for mobile apps has expanded by leaps and bounds, too.

Spanish: 153,309,000 Internet Users

Spanish is spoken in all its many idiomatic forms from Spain to Chile to Central America ­— and all over the U.S. by first-generation immigrants as well as their bilingual children. This market is complex due to each country having a different "flavor" of Spanish. Do your homework and determine your goals for your project before deciding how to tackle your Spanish translations.

Been There, Never Done That: Four Hours in Singapore

September 20, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: Culture

laughing buddhaThe meeting's over. You've got a little time to explore. It's your chance to get out of that hotel room, get off the beaten path, and experience the culture, the flavor, and the people.

Walking through Singapore, you’ll hear four official languages (English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil), and one unofficial patois known as “Singlish”. You’ll smell the delicious aroma of some of the best food in Asia.  And you can travel between the 63 islands that make up the Lion City. What you can’t do is spit, litter, chew gum, or jaywalk in one of the world’s cleanest and most orderly cities – they’re all illegal and punishable with fines.

We've pulled together some unique activities and places in Singapore, the ones most travelers don’t have a chance to experience. Next time you’re in town with a few free hours, check out our list and go home with your best stories ever.

Localization Management: The Hybrid and Decentralized Models

September 15, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Localization Tips, International Staffing

timezonesManaging a far-flung localization team can sometimes feel like governing a small country with five official languages and three time zones. But if you ask yourself the right questions and work with the right localization vendor at the start of your journey, you’re far more likely to choose the best road for localization management. A few weeks ago, we discussed the road that we find works best for many of our clients:  the centralized localization model. In this post, we’ll look at two other alternatives: the hybrid and the decentralized localization models.

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?

Translation Memory Never Forgets


Conventional wisdom has it that the best, highest-quality translation method is human translation and editing (as opposed to a rules- or statistics-based machine translation tool, à la Google Translate). Certainly when style and nuanced meaning are important, there’s really nothing that takes the place of the human mind for intelligent, effective, accurate localization. But there’s also a great tool that aids our linguists during translation, adding the power and speed of computers to the fluidity and contextual smarts of the human cerebellum.

That tool is translation memory, or TM, and it helps us create better consistency both within and across projects for our clients. Translation memory can also lower costs and speed up timelines for greater efficiency.

Back To School: La Rentrée

schoolkid crossingWhile we were all sipping pink wine this weekend, savoring barbequed tri-tip, taking a snooze in the hammock and generally shunning all forms of labor, the French were up to something quite different. Yesterday, the 5th of September, was a day of mass exodus in the hexagone (as the French refer to their geometrically-shaped country). Millions of impeccably groomed, sun-tanned French kids donning petit backpacks and perfectly shined shoes filed into the streets for their first day back to school. That’s right—millions. Back-to-school in the States is a season; it happens over several weeks’ time. In France, the vast majority of students head back to school on the same day, called la rentrée: the return, or the re-entry.

Get Streamlined: The Benefits of a Centralized Localization Model

August 31, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Localization Tips, International Staffing

Managing a far-flung localization team can sometimes feel like governing a small country with five official languages and three time zones. But if you ask yourself the right questions and work with the right localization vendor at the start of your journey, you’re far more likely to choose the best road for localization management. And what is that road? Well, in our not-so-humble opinion, that road is a centralized localization model.

How to Avoid eLearning Culture Clashes

August 24, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: Training & eLearning, Localization Tips

elearningCultural differences are a consideration in almost every localization project. Tackling the various perspectives on sounds, colors, graphics, dates, times, money, humor, poetry, and more is what keeps things interesting for us!

Mastering those cultural differences when it comes to localizing eLearning content can be especially tricky. Depending on the course material, local culture could have a big effect on how your localized product is received in your new foreign markets. A bold, aggressive approach (for example) may work well in some countries but could be complete turn-off in others.

It’s critical to go beyond mere translation and delve deep into cultural norms when you’re providing training in soft skills like management and sales techniques. Even with eLearning related to product training, paying attention to the nuances of each locale you’re entering can really pay off.

Here we offer a few questions to ask to help make your translated eLearning a hit rather than a miss. For some great in-depth details, we invite you to read the full article in our newsletter.

What kind and level of interaction is right for trainees in your markets? Will they respond better to a interactive course full of tasks and quizzes, or something more factual and info-driven, available with a single click?

Celebrating Ramadan

August 18, 2011 by Stephanie Engelsen
Category: Culture

Ramadan prayerMuslims around the world are in the middle of observing Ramadan, a period of spiritual daily fasting from dawn to dusk.  Determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan lasts around 30 days. This year, it happens to fall in the entire month of August, the hottest time of year for many Muslims around the globe – appropriate, as the word Ramadan alludes to intense heat.  Both the heat and long daylight hours for those in the northern hemisphere are especially trying, since Ramadan requires abstention from food and drink during the daytime. Those who are sick or pregnant are not required to fast, but they do have to “make up” the days later.

Aside from the physical travails, Ramadan is a very spiritual time when the faithful are encouraged to think good thoughts, do good deeds, read and study the Qur’an, and give to charity.  During Ramadan, business hours, even at vital government offices and banks, are shortened, and the midday business closures, normally reserved for eating lunch and resting a bit, are now replaced by naps and visits to the mosque. Experiencing Ramadan in a Muslim region is unforgettable.

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.

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.

Is Machine Translation Right For You?

Language is a fluid and dynamic means of communication. Historically, translation has been best performed by human beings who can accurately adapt and express this fluidity and dynamism in the face of the logical contradictions and irregularities that most languages present. However, in recent years, “machine translation” (or MT) has started to come into its own, as its once-stoic technology – the realm of 0s and 1s – catches up to human adaptability.

Ora Solomon, vice president of sales and operations at Acclaro, describes how machine translation can complement human translation in an article for Marketing Profs:

1. Human Translation


A professional linguist (most often, an in-country native speaker) reviews your project and, using guidelines agreed on beforehand, translates it to the language you require. The goal is to speak to your audience in the most natural, effective way. You can expect human translations to be free of idiomatic errors and to flow naturally and fluently.

The First Three Steps of Software Localization

July 28, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Software Translation, Localization Tips

The First Three Steps of Software Localizationlocalization

Now that you’ve decided to enter into the rich global software market (after internationalizing your product, of course), what’s next? Well, it’s a fascinating – and fairly complex – process. You’ll definitely want to partner with a localization company that’s skilled and experienced in adapting software to make it easy to use and appealing to your future customers around the world.

Let’s take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at your vendor as they localize your software. We’ll sketch out the first three steps below. And if you’re serious about your pending software localization project, we invite you to read our more thorough explanation here, complete with all six major steps.

Step 1: Preparation and Analysis
The first step is to identify the source files that contain the localizable text, zip them up and send them off. Your source files may be in formats such as java properties files, .net resx files, traditional windows resources, xml or even just text or table formats. Your agency will prepare them for translation, carefully locking down the non-translatable code to ensure that the localized software functions exactly as it does in English.

Localization Cost Savings, Part One: Away with Words

piggy bankIn Spanish they say, “Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno.” The good, when brief, is doubly good. Brevity is considered a virtue in most communication circles. In the world of translation, however, brevity is even more: it’s a money saver.

The first thing any localization vendor will tell you about the cost of translation is that it's a direct function of word count. The more words your document, brochure, program, app or website contains, the higher the cost for translating it. Rather straightforward, right?

Containing your localization budget through reducing word count at the pre-translation stage requires a challenging time investment on your part, as no one can really perform an “audit” of your resources in your stead. To execute this effectively, you need either to distinguish between must-have and nice-to-have content through a complete content review, or pare down all of your source texts across the board through avid and diligent editing. It would definitely be easier to simply send all of your files to your language partner and hope for the best.

Yet when implemented, this phase of content review will ultimately pay off two-fold: it will save you a good sum of money on translation across all target languages, and it will make your end product better, since content that has been reviewed with a global audience in mind can be rendered more accurately.

Here are a few ideas for reducing your content as you go global with your program or product.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

What are some ingenious ways to do away with words in the context of your product? You may have the ability to substitute appropriate imagery, for example. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take the example of the Apple iPhone OS. English has the wonderful benefit of offering two practical and short words for the settings buttons: on/off. But in most languages, the translation would occupy the whole width of the phone screen and result in what we call TVA: total visual awkwardness. Here is what Apple did to solve that problem:

Learning A Language On The Go

July 21, 2011 by Acclaro
Category: Technology, Mobile, International Business

Mobile Language Apps for the Very Mobile Traveler

Calling all business travelers and international frequent flyers!  Don’t have time to study your foreign-language phrase book or get to a class before you take off? These days, it’s easy to take along a plane app iconlanguage-learning app and hone your language skills while you’re on the go.

In most languages, a basic vocabulary of just about 100 words will get you by quite nicely – and that’s a very doable goal that a mobile language app can help you reach.

Whether you just want to learn to say hello and order a meal in Norwegian, ask directions to the museum in Dutch, or buy some souvenirs in Japanese, there are loads of apps (both paid and gratis) for your smart phone or your laptop. Right here we’re going to suggest a few free mobile apps that can help you learn to speak up in almost any language. 

1. Byki – For multiple destinations and simple phrases
Quick, essential phrases in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Taglog are at your fingertips with this app. In three easy steps, you can master everyday cordialities that will take you across Europe and Asia. Byki also offers a database of vocabulary around themes. Want to know how to order a beer in every country you visit? This is the app for you.

NetApp Achieves Global SimShip with High-Quality In-Country Review

July 19, 2011 by Guest Author
Category: Client Successes & Acclaro News, International Staffing

netapp in-country reviewAbout guest author Liesbeth Matthieu: Liesbeth is the manager of the Linguistic Quality Program at the Globalization Programs Strategy Office at NetApp.

The Background

The in-country review process occurs at the tail end of the localization process and is often a bottleneck to a timely and high-quality multilingual launch. Even at a larger company staffed with localization veterans, linguistic review is a time-consuming task that distracts internal employees from doing their regular jobs, leading to reviewer frustration and unintentionally delaying localized marketing campaigns. This was happening at my company, NetApp.

NetApp, a four billion dollar Silicon Valley powerhouse, designs and manufactures storage systems and provides operating systems, data management, and content delivery software. The company sells these products in more than a hundred countries around the globe; in fact, 50% of NetApp revenue comes from countries outside of the United States.

Yet, before 2010, NetApp rarely released all of their localized product marketing and support material at the time of the actual product launch. Some markets did not receive localized marketing materials months or even years after launch. Potential profits were being lost because overseas markets could not promote and sell the product in the local language.

The Solution

To address this challenge, the NetApp Localization Team reviewed our localization structure and quickly learned that one of the major bottlenecks was the in-country review process. We decided to look at alternative models to improve in-country review, allowing us to have input into the review but at the same time freeing up local staff from time-consuming review tasks.

Bastille Day Fun

July 14, 2011 by Alyssa Paris
Category: Culture

french flagEven if you don’t speak a word of French, you can still get into the spirit of Bastille Day. The quatorze juillet, or la fête nationale française, commemorates the fateful storming of the Bastille (a prison for “enemies” of the monarchy) and the beginning of the French revolution. But more than the individual events that occurred on July 14th, 1789, the ideals behind this popular uprising are important to remember; many lie at the heart of current day rebellions.

Bastille day commemorates the victory of the voice of the people against tyranny, absolute power, injustice and oppression. It’s a celebration of three fundamental French values that we hope will be universal some day:  liberty, equality and fraternity for all people.

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