You’re just back at your desk from a meeting, motivated, full of energy, and inspired by this new assignment you’ve been given. As part of its efforts to enter new markets, your company is planning to set up a German version of its existing English-language website. Great responsibility, high visibility… but you lack experience. As a client, you’re familiar with the general process of having documents translated by a contracted agency, but this is the first time you need to deal with a website. All you have is a URL address and no clue about how to kick off this project.
No Word file, no worries
First, you need a quote for the work, a timeline, and then someone to help you set up an action plan. The first question of any professional language service provider will be the volume. Who can tell how many words there are on the umpteen subpages of a website? In your mind’s eye you already see yourself copy-pasting the contents of the website into a Word document. The good news is that you can spare yourself the trouble. Contact your IT people or website developers instead and ask for the XML files of those pages you need translated into German. There are several other file formats translation agencies can work with, so if XML is not available, all is not lost. XML files allow your translation partner to generate an analysis of the translatable volume with a click of a button.
One small step in the right direction
Once you know how many words need to be translated, it’s easier to estimate how much time the linguistic work will take, including preparation, translation, proofreading, and an in-house quality check. When creating a timeline, however, it’s recommended to allow for a few extra days and to have an additional step in the process. Instead of completing the entire translation phase in one go, you might want to check a smaller batch – let’s say a few pages – first to make sure the quality, style and wording of the translation meets your expectations. If you’re happy with the taster, you can move on to the full menu. Remember: a company website can include as many as 50,000 words!
The proof of the pudding
XML files contain translatable text along with other types of non-translatable content. Translation tools help the linguist separate the two, and while the English text is replaced by German during the work, all the other content remains unchanged. You can be safe in the knowledge that you receive the translation in the same file format from the agency. This makes developers’ life a lot easier – posting the new language version is as simple as a file import –it saves you time and, most importantly, money. Before publishing the new pages, don’t forget testing! Functional testing doesn’t require language skills, but it’s something you shouldn’t skip. During linguistic testing the proofreader checks the pages for typos and out-of-context issues and makes necessary amendments such as shortening a caption if it doesn’t fit.
Are we there yet?
When you think “Finally, we’ve got it!”, it’s not yet time to celebrate. Depending on the new audience, you may have to adapt pictures, colours, symbols or even the website layout and site navigation to be culturally appropriate for your new viewers. And what’s the point of having a great website in multiple languages if your customers can’t find you? A successful online presence is unthinkable without SEO translation.
Written by Anita Salát, Communication Manager at Eurideas Language Experts Connect with Anita on LinkedIn
In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev presented his version of the periodic table of the elements, and this event fundamentally changed the course, not only of chemistry, but of all the natural sciences. To honour the 150th anniversary of this ground-breaking innovation, the United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO declared 2019 to be the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.
While the history of the periodic table – like so many things in our culture – harks back to antiquity, the great boom in the discovery of the elements – and, at the same time, the definition of the notion ‘element’ – came in the second half of the 18th century. The first complete list of the elements known in the era was written in 1789 by Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, who first introduced the distinction between metals and non-metals. At the beginning of the 19th century, the scope of discoveries widened and there was a need for an organised overview of the discovered elements. The keyword was periodicity, all the proposed systems tried to find some similarities by which the elements could be catalogued. It was Mendeleev’s system, however, that not only managed to highlight the periodically repeating nature of elements arranged according to their atomic mass, but also succeeded in predicting with great accuracy the position and the attributes of some missing elements that were discovered later (e.g., gallium, germanium).
Nevertheless, the periodic table is not a static idea, as scientists are still working on discovering further elements while predicting new ones based on the regularities of the periodic table. Most of these new elements (like the most recent one, tennessine) are discovered in laboratory conditions and cannot possibly be found in nature. While, at the moment, the element with the largest atomic number is oganesson (118), scientists are looking for new methods (including quantum mechanics) to further expand the table.
The nomenclature of the elements is another interesting aspect of the periodic table. Many names are of Latin and Greek origin (e.g. helium, neon), but surprisingly we can find names with either Arabic (boron), Egyptian (natrium, i.e. sodium), or Anglo-Saxon (lead) roots. Many recently discovered elements are either provided with geographical names (berkelium after Berkeley, California) or names honouring scientists (curium). In the case of new and undiscovered elements, temporary names are regulated by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which are derived from their atomic number. For example, element 118, oganesson, was once called ununoctium. Nevertheless, all the discovered elements have now received their permanent names and symbols, thus this systematic nomenclature is only relevant for undiscovered elements beyond oganesson.
There are so many exciting aspects of the periodic table that cannot be explored within the framework of a blog entry. The year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the periodic table, however, provides many different viewpoints in order to discover the long-lasting effect of Mendeleev’s innovation, from scientific conferences to online quizzes and art projects.
When a language dies, a way of understanding the world dies with it, a way of looking at the world. (George Steiner, After Babel, 1975)
Despite their indisputable value, languages around the world are disappearing at a worrying pace. Indigenous languages – the majority of today’s estimated 7000 spoken languages – are the most endangered, as they face challenges relating to migration, educational disadvantage, illiteracy, assimilation, enforced relocation, and other human rights discriminations (UNESCO, 2019). Taking action to raise awareness of the significant contributions Indigenous Languages make to the world’s cultural diversity, in an attempt to ‘mitigate’ this alarming trend, the United Nations recently declared 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019).
Sharing the same concern about the rapid loss of “endangered languages”, the European Union has joined the UN in this endeavor, following up on a 2018 European Parliament Resolution calling for states’ commitment to IY2019 its commitment to promoting less widely used European languages as a contribution to multilingualism, the EU’s support to this initiative is grounded on an understanding of languages as the most direct expression of culture, as part – and constitutive – of “our universal cultural patrimony and of our individual cultural identity”. Respect for linguistic diversity as set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Art 22) is a core value of the EU; one that goes hand in hand with respect for the individual, mutual tolerance and acceptance; one that underlies the founding principle of post-war Europe, unity in diversity, and makes it a Community with a shared heritage – where cultural specificities, customs, and beliefs come together exalting each other, rather than being overshadowed.
With 24 official languages and over 60 regional or minority languages (RMLs) spoken by some 40 million people – e.g. Basque, Catalan, Frisian, Saami, Welsh and Yiddish – the EU considers the protection and promotion of RMLs central to constructing a Europe based on democracy and cultural diversity, as recognized in the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. To that end, besides its ‘advocacy’ efforts, the EU has engaged in a number of projects. Among these are education-related initiatives – both in terms of access to it and of research facilitating the production of RML teaching materials, RMLs in cyberspace, and support to RMLs media dissemination.
With the Council of Europe declaration of 2001 as the “European Year of Languages”, the “European Day of Languages” also started being celebrated annually on 26 September, in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of linguistic diversity, plurilingualism, and lifelong language learning for “understanding each other […] and to embrace other cultures and ways of life” (Jagland, 2018). The potential embedded in languages for building inclusive society – which is linked to their impact on crucial domains such as education, social and cultural life, economy, science, and technology – is what ultimately makes them essential to human development, sustainable development, good governance, peace and reconciliation, as noted by the UN. Sensitization and appreciation in this regard are still much needed – even more so, at a time where the EU faces a number of challenges that threaten to split partnerships forged over more than half a century.
As the face of international business changes, so do the languages used to communicate. From professional networking and academic collaboration to transport and traveling, the business world requires business owners to use different languages in order to scale up their companies. Even if you’re a small company and aspiring to sell your services and products to different linguistic backgrounds and cultures, you need to take its content to the next multilingual level.
There are more than 6,000 languages worldwide, and it seems difficult to pick the most critical languages in order to impact your overall earnings. When you think about the languages you would like to learn for your business, your first assessment should be looking at your macro level business goals, core target audiences and think about how you see yourself in the coming years.
Your approach also needs to consider global connectivity and how you manage your global content as you devise a globalization strategy. As a matter of fact, languages such as Russian, French, English, Mandarin, and German have dominated the global landscape for doing business.
But these might not be the only important languages in the future. It is imperative to understand which languages are the most important and useful, which will open pathways for securing the most significant return on investments, and which ones will lead the way in the next 50 years.
If you need help deciding the most important languages for your business, we’ve compiled a handy list of the top 10 languages that will help you in initiating global growth for business and marketing content translation.
#1 English- The Language of Globalization
English is the most influential language of academia and the business world, occupying the top in the field of languages, and spoken by over three-quarters of the world’s population. It is used in 94 countries by 339 million native speakers, and it is the de facto language of the United States and an official language of Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and several other countries, making it an essential language for business owners.
Along with this, the English language also retains the number one spot as the most commonly used language by 53% of websites and internet users with 949 million users. Hence, there is no denying the fact that English is the language of globalization, and crucial for those entrepreneurs who want to thrive on the global stage.
#2 Mandarin- The Language that’s Dying to Spend its Money
The Chinese language is the new boss in town, with the most significant number of native speakers (approximately 983 million speakers), while more than 1.2 billion people understand the Chinese Mandarin dialect. It’s the one that you just can’t miss while talking about the best languages for business, as it is the second most popular language among internet users. If Asian markets continue to expand their internet usage, Chinese could be expected to supplant English as the most widely used internet language soon.
The rationale behind this trend is mainly due to the enormous economic shift that China has gone through in the past three decades, from national trade to international trade ties and cross-border treaties to huge leaps in the field of science and technology. And if this trend continues, analysts predict that China will become the world’s leading economy by 2050.
#3 Spanish- The Language of the Fastest Growing American Market Segment
Believe it or not, the United States has recently been cited as the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, where an estimated 37.6 million people speak it as their first language. There is no denying that English is the primary language that comes to mind for the USA, but its 50 million Spanish speakers and their small and large businesses might remind you that it’s not the only language spoken in the country.
As the US has the world’s largest economy and the Hispanic population in the US is projected to double by 2050, this makes Spanish enormously important. If you are willing to start your business in the US, or indeed anywhere in the Western hemisphere, Spanish needs to be one of your chosen languages.
#4 German- The Language of European Industrial Strength
With the advancement of technology and networking opportunities, the German economy proves to be one of the strongest and stable within the European Union, with a GDP of over 2.4 trillion Euros. In fact, being able to speak German provides a significant advantage to anyone wanting to pursue international business. The German language is the fourth most used language by nearly 95 million native speakers and a total of 210 million speakers worldwide.
Not only is Germany one of the most populated countries within Europe, but there are also a large number of German-speaking people within the nearby nations of Belgium, Austria, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. It is also estimated that the ability to speak German could come with a wage increase of about 4%.
#5 Portuguese- A Continent of Opportunity
Portuguese is one of the top 10 most spoken languages in the world and the second most spoken language in Latin America behind Spanish. Portuguese is spoken around 215 million people in Portugal, Brazil and some parts of Africa. As per the statistics, the Portuguese blasted forward with 6% share growth after several flat years and managed to come in fifth, with a whopping 154.5 million speakers.
For professional business owners, Brazil is the main attraction for doing business. Being the most widely cited science base outside the G8, Brazil has many opportunities to capitalize on scientific cooperation and collaboration, including in the areas of pharmaceuticals and energy.
It’s the largest economy in Latin America, and there are some indicators that recovery is on its way in the next year or so, which means business opportunities there will only continue to grow. Portuguese is also gaining popularity in Asia due to the region’s great diplomatic and economic relations with Portugal and the Lusophone countries. So, if you are aspiring to increase your sales and expand your business globally, learning the Portuguese language will be your best choice.
#6 Arabic- The Web’s Fastest-Growing Language
As the official language of many Middle Eastern countries where business opportunities are growing fast, learning Arabic can be a big plus for business owners. The Arabic language is spoken by 295 million speakers worldwide, and it’s the official language of 28 different countries, including many dynamic, growing economies in the Middle East and Africa. In fact, in the UK’s top 50 export market in goods, six Arabic speaking countries appear with a combined value to the economy that surpasses that of China, Italy and Spain. This is why in a report from the British Council, Arabic ranks as the second most important ‘language of the future’.
#7 French- The Former English
French is the official language of over 29 countries throughout the world, and it is the second-most widely spoken first language in the European Union. The colonial history of France has helped spread this language throughout the modern world in the same way as English. This has led to a situation in which there are more non-native French speakers than native speakers.
The French-speaking world also includes Africa, which is proliferating and rich in natural resources. The top 5 fastest-growing African economies include Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cote D’Ivoire, which French is an official language in 3 of them. While it’s not as prevalent globally as it once was, there’s no question that France will remain one of the United Kingdom’s most important trade partners. French language skills are both necessary and essential for businesses here, and it remains one of the top languages to learn.
Another Asian language with a bright prospect is Japanese with 130 million native speakers and an equal number of non-native speakers spread out in the world. It’s also the sixth language for internet users with e-commerce sales of $88.06 billion. Being the world’s second largest investor in research and development, Japan is one of the most technologically advanced and integrated nations in the world.
In fact, Japan is renowned as a significant contributor to UK prosperity, both as a substantial investor and an export marketer by the British Council. Although the economy of Japan has revealed some signs of stagnation, it’s pertinent not to dismay the ingenuity of Japanese businesses, where, like Germany, Japan has a reputation for excellence in the science and technology sectors. Japan remains at the forefront of cutting-edge electronics scene and robotics, and speaking Japanese is ideal for many opportunities in these fields.
#9 Russian- The Language of Trade and Diplomacy
With 160 million native speakers throughout central and Eastern Europe and in Russia, it’s the ninth most common language in the world and the second most used in website content after English. Due to the historical power of the Soviet Union, Russian is an official language of the United Nations and cited as the most influential Slavonic language in history. The Russian language is also widely used in many of the post-Soviet states, which provides access to new and up-in-coming business potential.
Russian’s importance is not only due to its large number of native speakers but also to the undeniable political and economic power of Russia. With a deep oil and gas reserves and rich culture, and enormous potential for real estate investment, Russian is one of the best languages to learn for anyone who wants to grow their business into one of the most powerful countries on Earth.
Last but not the least, Hindi is the tenth most-spoken language in the world, with 270 million native speakers. But you must be curious why would Hindi be one of the top languages for your localization strategy and business translation? Although India is home to 126 million English speakers, around 85% of the population doesn’t speak English well, and it’s been outpaced by the use of local languages. According to CSA Research report, Hindi increased a massive 67% on the latest on the Top of 100 online languages, mostly due to investment by the government, mobile web penetration, and other initiatives on the subcontinent. All this has set the pace for Hindi on the global stage.
Whether you are hoping to manage a business, improve your international business relations, or just set yourself apart from the mob, learning any one of these languages can give you the competitive edge needed to develop your plans. So what are you waiting for? Optimize your business results with global audiences and gain the first market advantage by learning different languages.
If you have only read the news headlines about Greta Thunberg, you might have thought she is just another teenager with a romantic vision and over-enthusiasm to change the world. But what is it about her that makes her climate protection message get through?
The Swedish butterfly-effect
Greta Thunberg has just turned 16 but she’s already among the biggest names in climate protection. The Swedish schoolgirl first made the headlines with her three-week school-skipping protest in front of her country’s parliament before the general elections on September 9, 2018. This solo call-to-action, aimed at Swedish politicians with a concrete demand to meet the carbon emission targets of the Paris Agreement, has since evolved to worldwide school protests. It has also earned her a seat at the table at events like the United Nations’ COP24 climate change summit in Poland and the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.
Natural born climate warrior
Although the most resonant in the media, the parliament protest was not the first and far from the only attempt of Thunberg having her voice heard about climate issues. In May 2018, she has won a prize with her debate article on the topic in Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and was nominated for Children’s Climate Prize by Telge Energi. Interestingly enough, her family heritage includes a Nobel Prize winner, Svante Arrhenius, who was acclaimed for his work discovering the warming effects of carbon dioxide to the Earth’s surface temperature.
Thunberg has earned worldwide respect among top global decision-makers as well as climate activists, not mention her own generation, for a reason. She is speaking up as boldly as a 5-year-old, yet has the depth of thought and means of expressions that match those of the 65-year-olds. “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is” she expressed her conviction at the UN climate summit in Poland. Meaning: the “responsible adults” are procrastinating about making painful decisions to save the planet. While it comes handy explaining Thunberg’s boldness and perseverance with her confirmed condition of Asperger’s, her voice is also strengthened by a zeitgeist of empowerment movements and a purposefully used social media toolbox.
Change is coming
Putting a question mark to many common beliefs that exist only to comfort the welfare societies is never an easy task. Nevertheless, Thunberg has stepped up and become a leader of a generation that is considered passive and self-immersive. She challenges the leaders of her country, Sweden, that is considered a preeminent green economy. She is speaking up in a loud background noise of climate-change denial, dominated by US President Donald Trump. We are yet to see if Thunberg’s movement will be able to have a greater impact than the People’s Climate March at the 2014 UN summit but, if the consistency of the currently ignited protests is of any indication, she has a great chance to succeed. A peaceful army of teen activists all around the world has been taking action in Finland, Australia, France, and most recently in Belgium. They are here to let us know that “change is coming, whether you like it or not.”