Localization and Maintaining Your Brand Globally

Localization for global branding

Localization for global brandingHandling Your Brand Worldwide When It Comes to Localization Changes

Maintaining the consistency of your brand can be difficult. Even within your own organization, it can be easy to miscommunicate or misinterpret branding ideas and goals. This is as true of large, multi-departmental businesses as it is small startups. When it comes to finding foreign localization solutions, things can get even more complicated.

Translating content and branding can totally change the meaning and presentation, and without dedicated localization staff in place, you could lose your established identity. In this blog, the Akorbi team looks at some of the factors at play in localizing content while maintaining a distinctive brand.

Keeping Changes to a Minimum — Especially Your Logo

Your company’s logo is more vital than you might think. It isn’t just an attractive design, it should function as a stamp. A good logo is simple and unmistakable, used as shorthand for your company’s name and the services or products you offer. Take a look at some of the most easily-recognized logos worldwide: Coca-Cola, Starbucks, KFC, Ford. What do they have in common? Two things: simplicity and consistency.

While all of those logos have undergone changes, those changes have been slow and minor. They also remain consistent globally. Obviously, the logo alone isn’t what has helped those companies to last, but it’s a vital factor in localization.

Your logo doesn’t need to drastically change between different global audiences unless absolutely necessary. The longer you can maintain a simple, recognizable logo at home and abroad, the more enduring it will be.

Colors and Styles

Along with a logo, many companies have specific colors associated with them that are maintained across international borders. To go back to our examples above, each one of those brands has a color palette that fits them. Coca-Cola is red, Starbucks is green, Ford is blue.

This is another factor that matters in localization, as color branding should remain consistent, along with logo design. Even when a color has a different connotation in a different culture, established, recognized branding tends to get around it via association with products or services the company provides. This is critical for good branding.

Look Back on Successful Branding Campaigns

If you’re struggling with a new branding strategy, especially if you’re looking to expand into foreign markets, take some time to look back on your company’s branding history. Look at what has worked for you in terms of branding in the past. If you’re working with a localization professional, bring these past materials to them. It can help to give them a foundation to build upon when re-working your brand for a different, global audience.

Keep Your Message Consistent with Professional Localization

If you’re looking for localization services or dedicated staffing solutions, talk to the team at Akorbi today. We have helped many large and small-scale businesses and organizations maintain their message while localizing content to fit with global markets. If you’re looking for globally-focused, multilingual solutions, you’ll find them at Akorbi.

Terminology Management and Translation Services

Terminology and translation services

Terminology and translation servicesWhat is Terminology Management and How Do Translation Services Help?

Akorbi offers a wide array of different translation services. Whether it’s translation and interpretation, website localization, over the phone interpretation, or direct staffing and learning services, we aim to provide the highest quality available. We also aim to help you understand how some of the processes work. In today’s blog, we’re going to take a closer look at terminology management, and what it means for translation services at your organization.

A Definition of Terminology

The word “terminology” is usually used to refer to a specific set of terms for certain things with a larger scope. For example, a particular type of science will have its own unique terminology, as will a genre of music or a particular industry.

A different culture will also have its own unique terminology, which means translation services will need to take into account terms that may or may not exist, or have totally different meanings, from one language to another. “Terminology” is also used to refer to the specific study of terms and nomenclature.

Why Manage Terminology?

You might already be able to see where this can get complicated. Keeping an index of terminology even for a single specific language or culture to be used in translation services can be difficult. Expanding this to a multi-industry worldwide context quickly becomes overwhelming. If a company chooses to handle its translation services in-house, there’s a much larger risk of spending too much time researching and cataloguing terms and phrases from one language to another, as well as misinterpreting important information. Keeping an index of terminology and being able to manage it is a full time job.

The Problem with Inconsistency and Outdated Terminology

The sheer volume of different terminology across industries and languages isn’t the only problem. Every language changes, evolving continuously and quickly, changing the meaning of terms or causing them to fall out of use entirely. Improperly managed terminology used in translation or interpretation is going to mean using outdated language or not taking into account the changes in cultural context.

Offering a Large User Base Access to Consistent, Up-to-Date Resources

The major benefit of proper terminology management is in providing a reliable and up-to-date resource of information for those seeking translation and interpretation services. This is something only an agency like Akorbi, with a vast wealth of experience and professional translators, can provide. Terminology management is much more than just keeping a list of specific terms — it’s keeping those terms updated, making sure they’re accurate, and making sure they are used in the right context.

Contact Akorbi About Professional Translation Services

Terminology management is just one element of our comprehensive translation services. A lot more goes into translating and interpreting language and content, and we can offer you the expertise your organization needs to get it done. For more about translation and interpretation, detailed localization, or for multilingual staffing solutions, talk to the team at Akorbi today.

Localization Services: How Culture Affects Graphic Design

Localization services and graphic design

Localization services and graphic designLocalization Services and the Impact of Cultural Differences on Graphic Design

In previous blogs, the localization team at Akorbi has looked at the way in which regional dialects and entire languages depend on context to get your brand’s message across. But, as leading providers of localization services to multiple global, multi-lingual organizations, we know it’s not all about words.

In many cases, the branding of a company or organization may need to go through certain visual refinements or overhauls, depending on the culture of a particular marketplace. In this blog, the Akorbi team will examine the complex topic of graphic design changes in localization services and what it might mean for your business.

Not Every Language Reads Left-to-Right

You probably know that not every language is written to be read left-to-right. Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew are examples of languages that read right-to-left, while Japanese kana or Korean hangul can be read either horizontally or vertically, depending on the use. You might assume that this only matters for text, but you’d be wrong. If you’re used to speaking a language that reads a certain way, then you’ll likely read visual cues the same way, too.

The panels in a comic strip will read in the direction of the language, meaning the panels will be arranged differently depending on the written language being used. This means that any graphics or images used to illustrate ideas or express certain concepts need to be reconfigured to match the reading-direction of their associated language. Neglecting this can change the message entirely.

Colors and Connotations

We all associate colors with certain feelings or themes, even if we don’t know it. In western culture, red means “danger” or “stop.” Blue is typically associated with being “cool,” “cold” or “fresh.” What you might not know is that these ideas tied to colors are culturally specific. Take the idea of red meaning danger, for example: in China, red is associated with good luck. The right localization services can take these kind of visual factors into account and make sure you don’t use the wrong colors for the wrong message.

Historical Influences on Art and Graphic Design

Depending on the kind of site or content you’re seeking localization services for, you may also want to think about the historical context of art and graphic design of a region. Different cultures around the world have their own cultural aesthetic that influences their art, from music and movies to the graphic design used by companies or organizations. In localizing for a particular region, it can be useful to take the unique visual style of the culture into account.

However, this can also be risky. Without the right eye for design and awareness of cultural sensitivity, it can be easy to misappropriate certain cultural designs and end up creating something offensive or condescending. Localization is a lot more complicated than translating the text on your site, then coopting some cultural iconography in its design. This is why hiring a professional organization like Akorbi is essential.

Get the Best in Forward Thinking Localization Services

When it comes to providing the best in localization services, it’s important to look beyond the basics. Even by tackling a topic like subtle graphical changes between different global target areas, we’ve barely scratched the surface on how much detail is involved. Akorbi is dedicated to providing the kind of services you need to keep consistent branding, voice and presentation that appeals to any audience, whatever language they speak. For the best in translation and interpretation services, talk to Akorbi today.

Complications of Over the Phone Interpretation

Over the phone interpretation staff

Over the phone interpretation staffPotential Issues with Over the Phone Interpretation

Face-to-face interpretation service in real time comes with a long list of challenges. Taking away the key communication tools of facial expressions and eye contact during over the phone interpretation makes things even more difficult. At Akorbi, we provide a wide array translation and interpretation services, including over the phone interpretation. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the unique challenges presented by translation via phone along with some potential solutions.

Impact on Accuracy

The most obvious potential difficulty that could arise from over the phone interpretation is a loss of accuracy. Interpretation depends on a lot of factors, including the visual cues, body language and context of a particular situation. Not only that, but use of the phone is likely to mean background noise and difficulty hearing everything with total accuracy. This combination of factors can have a big impact on the overall accuracy of interpretation.

The key here is to have phone-based interpretation staff who are properly and regularly trained. There are a number of different things a contact center interpreter or translator can do to combat the issues outlined above, such as breaking up a conversation in order to translate smaller sections. Full training from an agency like Akorbi will involve being prepared for the possible factors that can lead to a reduction of accuracy.

Technological Issues

We’ve already mentioned problems with background noise having a negative effect on accuracy, but the technology being used can also be a major factor. Cellular networks, landline networks and VoIP capabilities all vary by region, and over the phone interpretation is frequently being carried out over long distances. It’s frustrating enough to encounter these problems in a regular conversation, but trying to translate or interpret becomes a nightmare with tech-related glitches.

The solution here is having access to a multilingual service that also has an internal infrastructure in place to tackle issues caused by tech problems. This infrastructure is in place to allow the call to go smoothly and to prevent any technical issues on the part of the service provider. Of course, it’s still up to you to make sure your smartphone’s battery is charged.

Potential Security Problems

The security of our personal information is more important than ever. From what we post on social media to what we send in our emails and what we say over the phone, it’s important to keep security in mind. Interpretation over the phone frequently involves financial transactions or sensitive personal information, such as health-related details.

Being certain that private or sensitive information is being properly handled can be difficult, and anyone seeking over the phone interpretation needs to be confident about the security of their call. Using a trusted and established agency like Akorbi is the safest bet when it comes to translation and interpretation of personal or important information.

Let Akorbi Provide Over the Phone Interpretation

There are plenty of reasons to seek professional service for over the phone interpretation beyond some of those outlined above. Having a translation and interpretation agency like Akorbi handle your linguistic needs, whether it’s translating content or creating a consistent, multi-lingual brand, is a wise investment. Take a look at the different services we offer, or talk to the team at Akorbi today.

Akorbi Explains: The Isolation of the Basque Language

Landscape in Basque country

Landscape in Basque countryAkorbi Linguistic History Series: The Isolation of Basque

In our fourth Akorbi linguistic history series blog entry, we will discuss one of the most unique languages in the world — Basque. With around 750,000 Basque speakers, it is neither a widely-spoken language, nor is it in danger of extinction.

However, the history and development of Basque is a controversial topic that is still debated by linguistic scholars. Today, the Akorbi team will discuss Basque and what it is that makes it perhaps the most unique language in Western Civilization.

The Prehistoric Origin of Basque

Among linguists, Basque, or Euskara, is known for possessing some unique linguistic features and a mysterious origin. Basque is what is considered a “language isolate.” It is surrounded by French and Spanish speakers but does not share an origin with them. In fact, linguists believe that Basque is the oldest language in Europe. It is considered a “pre-Indo-European” language, meaning it developed in prehistoric times.

Basque could actually be the closest example we can experience to what Neanderthals may have sounded like. Unlike the prehistoric neighbors of the Basque, such as Celtiberian and Aquitanian, the Basque language and culture was able to resist much of Rome’s cultural influence and reliance on Latin as the common language.

So, how did the language survive? The truth is, historians are unsure. It may have to do with the mountainous terrain of the Basque-speaking regions or simply disinterest in Roman culture by the Basque people. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Navarre emerged as the political power of the area. In the Kingdom of Navarre, the elites largely spoke Latin, Spanish, or French. It was actually the peasants of the area who we can thank for keeping Basque alive and thriving among the people of the region.

The Sense of Nationalism Among the Basque People

After the Kingdom of Navarre gave way to Spanish rule over the entirety of the Iberian Peninsula, the Basque people had lost all autonomy and right to self-rule. Centuries of suppression and prejudice by the ruling Spanish elite caused the population of Basque-speakers to shrink substantially.

However, as the twentieth century began, a sense of Basque nationalism began to emerge, with a focus on preserving their language. But with the rise of General Francisco Franco in Spain, many Basque nationalists were round up and imprisoned. Franco used government repressions and assimilation policies to thwart the rise of Basque speakers.

It was only after the death of Franco in 1975 that the Basque people were able to continue the process of reviving what may be the oldest existing language in Europe.  

Contact Akorbi for Your Language Services

If you are interested in obtaining professional language service assistance, whether it’s translation, interpretation or localization, contact Akorbi today. You can call Akorbi directly at 1-877-425-6724.

Akorbi Explains Tonal Languages

Person speaking

Person speakingAkorbi Lessons: What are Tonal Languages?

All languages have their own complexities that can be difficult for second-language speakers. English speakers, for instance, will have a tough time understanding the nuances of tonal languages. In English, tone can help convey sarcasm, excitement, questioning, and much more. While tone plays an important role in English speech, it doesn’t make English a tonal language. What constitutes a tonal language? Today in the Akorbi blog, we’ll explain what a tonal language is.

What is a Tonal Language?

A tonal language is defined as a language where different words with different tonal inflections will convey different meanings. For example, a single word could be said with four different tones, and each of those tones will change the meaning of the word.

You may have also heard of pitch accents, which are different than tonal languages. Japanese, Swedish, and Norwegian are examples of languages that use pitch accents. This is when stressing a different syllable can change the meaning of a word. Pitch is not the same as tone.

Examples of Tonal Languages

Tonal languages are common for many Asian languages. Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai are just a few examples of tonal languages. These languages are typically perceived to be some of the most difficult languages to learn.

The Difference of Tonal Language

For instance, the vocabulary and grammar for these languages tends to be much simpler than many other languages. While it’s true that a certain word in Chinese can have eight different tones, you also have learned eight new words once you get the tones down.

These languages also tend to not have verb tenses, gender assignments, or verb conjugation. As complex as it might sound, if you’ve ever wanted to learn a tonal language, give it a shot before assuming it’s too difficult! They’re beautiful languages to learn and can be very useful.

Translation and Interpretation Services with Akorbi

Not everyone has the time to learn a new language, especially if it’s dramatically different than their first language. Akorbi has your solution. We provide various translation and interpretation services for tonal languages such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, and many more.

In fact, we offer our professional services for over 150 languages. Akorbi staffs a team of highly qualified experts, so you know you’re in good hands when you choose us for translation or interpretation services.  Contact Akorbi today for more information about our services or to set up a free consultation.

The Importance of Human Interpreters

Interpreter at Work

Interpreter at WorkWhy We Use Human Interpreters

There’s been a revolution in the interpretation world. New headphone technologies,  like Google’s Pixel Buds, allow instant interpretation in 40 different languages. While this is great for bringing the world closer through the power of communication, it certainly doesn’t mean the end for human interpreters. Today in the Akorbi blog, we’ll explain why machine interpretation technology won’t replace humans anytime soon.

Context and Non-Verbal Cues

One of the most important things that a human interpreter does is translate a close approximation of the meaning behind what the speaker wants to communicate. Tone, facial expressions, and much more need to be considered when providing accurate interpretation.

Right now, machine interpreters aren’t programmed to read facial expressions and other non-verbal cues. Without this, a lot of context and meaning could be lost in translation. For important meetings and sensitive communications, you can’t afford for this to happen.

Lack of Programming

Another issue with machine interpreters is the fact that they don’t contain every language you may need. Google, who is leading the charge, only has 40 languages programmed at the moment. Akorbi, on the other hand, offers interpretation services for over 150 languages.

It’s also important to keep in mind that language is constantly changing. It will be very difficult for these machines to keep up with the natural evolution of spoken languages, whereas humans are constantly learning and paying attention to the evolving nuances in the languages they use. This makes a big difference when it comes to important meetings and other events where you’d use interpretation services.

Ease of Access

It’s also important to keep in mind that, although these technologies seem convenient, they can also be expensive. For instance, if you need interpretation services for a 200-person conference, you need the resources to provide everyone with a set of headphones. This isn’t necessarily feasible for everyone’s budget. A human interpreter is the clear solution in a situation like this. For now, the limitations of this technology outweigh the benefits.

Human Interpreters with Akorbi

For the time being, these headphone technologies are amazing for things like traveling to other countries and interacting with locals, but they’re not practical for business applications. If you’re in need of an interpreter, choose Akorbi.

We offer a wide variety of quality translation and interpretation services in over 150 languages to meet your needs. Our team is made up of highly trained experts in translation and interpretation, along with design and localization for websites and more. Contact us today for more information and for a free consultation.

Interpretation Services: The Difference Between Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation and When to Use Each

Interpreter in Meeting

Interpreter in MeetingWhen to Use Consecutive or Simultaneous Interpretation Services

When you’re using interpretation services in person, you generally have two options: consecutive or simultaneous. Depending on the type of interaction you’re having, one may serve you better than the other. Today in the Akorbi blog, we’ll give you a brief recap on the difference between these two interpretation services and which situations would suit each one best.

What is the Difference Between Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation?

Find a brief recap of each of these services below, or visit our site for an in-depth discussion of each.

Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation is when your interpreter waits until the speaker pauses or finishes speaking to translate the message to the other person.

Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation is when the interpreter translates for the speaker as they speak.

Both of these methods have their own pros and cons. Let’s delve a little deeper.

Which of These Interpretation Services Do I Need?

Now that we know the differences between these two interpretation services, let’s talk about which situations call for each one.

Consecutive interpretation services are beneficial because one person isn’t talking over the other. Although this method can take more time, it allows the interpreter to take their time to clearly convey what the speaker is trying to get across. This can break up the flow of a meeting, but it can also be worthwhile. Consecutive interpretation works best for interviews, meetings with small groups, or one-on-one meetings.

Simultaneous interpretation is much faster, with little delay between the speaker and the interpreter talking. Interpreters will need to focus in order to make this work without losing any of the context or meaning in the process. Typically, simultaneous interpretation services are used in bigger conferences or presentations where a lot of information is being communicated at once. These types of events would not flow as well with intermittent interruptions for consecutive interpretation.

Translation and Interpretation Services with Akorbi

Akorbi offers a full range of translation and interpretation services. All of our interpreters are trained in both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, which we offer in over 150 languages. We take pride in offering the highest quality services through the expertise of our staff. For a free consultation or for more information about any of our services, contact us today.

Akorbi Explains: The History of the Romanian Language

Romanian flag in front of mountains

Romanian flag in front of mountainsAkorbi Linguistic History Series: The Curious Case of the Romanian Language

As we discussed in our previous Akorbi Linguistic History Series entries, Latin had a major influence on a number of modern languages. One of the Romance Languages that is often overlooked is Romanian. Romanian is a Latin-derived language closely related to Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Despite being a Romance language, Romanian is often left out of Romance language degree programs despite its interesting history and beauty.

Romanian is the only Romance language that developed in Eastern Europe. Surrounded by Slavic languages and influence, Romanian managed to stay relatively Romanized over their long history. In our third Akorbi Linguistic History Series entry, we will discuss the history of the Romanian language and why it’s such a curious example of linguistic development.

Roman Occupation of Dacia

To understand the language, it is important to understand the history of the people who spoke it. In the second century A.D., the Roman Emperor Trajan conquered the Dacian people in what would later become modern-day Romania. After Dacia was conquered, the Romans successfully colonized the area with settlers from all over Rome who intermarried and settled with the local population.

Unlike many other territories near Dacia, the local population Romanized very quickly and accepted Roman culture as their own. Interestingly, historians are unsure of how or why this process occurred. In fact, most of the information regarding the development of Romanian remains a mystery, as there are no existing texts in Romanian before 1521. Regardless of how it happened, one of the results of this Romanization was the spread of Latin as the preferred language of the Roman Dacians.

Slavic Influence

Despite the Romans only remaining in Dacia for 165 years, the influence of their culture had a lasting impact on the people of the area. However, it did not develop without influence. Between the seventh and ninth centuries, the Slavic population of Eastern Europe migrated to the Baltics. This migration brought the Slavic language in close contact with the Dacians, resulting in a mutual influence of both people. To this day, Romanian uses many Slavic words and pronunciations, differentiating it from the other Romance languages.

Re-Latinization in the 1800s

During the 1800’s Romanian linguists attempted to re-Latinize their language. A famous Romanian author, Negruzzi, described the Slavonisms found in Romanian as a cloth that had been corrupted by ugly threads. However, the Slavic influence was here to stay. To this day it is estimated that around 10% of Romanian words have Slavic origins. However, Romanians today have begun to appreciate and embrace the unique beauty of their language.

Romanian continues to evolve today, borrowing from a long list of other languages. Thanks to Romania’s unique history and the circumstances surrounding the development of their language, Romanian remains one of the most unique languages around today.

Contact Akorbi for Romanian Language Service

Despite the small population that speaks Romanian today(~24 million), Akorbi can provide excellent translation services in Romanian, or any other language you need. If you are in need of professional language service, contact Akorbi today at 1-877-425-6724 to learn more.

Akorbi Explains: The Evolution of Latin into Italian

Stamp symbol of Rome-Italy

Stamp symbol of Rome-ItalyAkorbi Linguistic History Series: How Latin Turned into Italian

As we discussed in our previous entry in the Akorbi Linguistic History Series, after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin evolved via Vulgar Latin into the Romance Languages. The long process of change from Vulgar Latin into the dialects that eventually became the regional dialects in Italy happened over many centuries. But how did the Italian that we know today come about? Today, in our second entry in the Akorbi Linguistic History Series, we will discuss the events that took the regional dialects that developed from Vulgar Latin to the modern Italian that exists today.

The First Recorded Writings in Italian

The first documents we know of that were written in Italian vernacular are the Placiti Capuani. These documents discussed a land dispute among three Benedictine monasteries and a local landowner near Capua, in Campania. From the 10th century to the 13th century, most documents in the Italian region were written in these regional dialects.

Development of Regional Dialects

It is important to remember that “Italy” as we think of it now didn’t exist during much of the Middle and High Middle Ages. Different kingdoms and merchant lords have ruled different regions of Italy over time. The Carolingian Kings of the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantines, and the Normans had all controlled regions of the Italian peninsula for long periods of time. And by the 13th and 14th centuries, Italy was divided between the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, the Papal States, and Maritime Republics in the north. Without a single central state to regulate the development of an ‘Italian’ language, the people of the Italian peninsula naturally developed regional languages that differed greatly.

The Foundations of Modern Italian in Tuscany

From the start of the 13th century, large amounts of literature and poems began to be published in Tuscany, with authors and poets using the regional Tuscan and Florentine dialect in a concerted effort to develop an “Italian language.” One of the most famous writers in Italian history, Dante Alighieri, published his epic poems, The Divine Comedy, in his native Florentine. These works were published in a language that all educated Italians could understand and helped to standardize what later became the Italian language.

The Unification of Italy

Between the 14th and the 20th century, the debate over what form of Italian would become the official language raged on, regarding linguistic rules like the correct verb forms and proper pronunciation. After the unification of Italy in 1861, the country still remained divided about the question of language. During the unification process, it was decided that Tuscan would become the official language of the country.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Language is always in a state of change. Today, Italian continues to evolve with more adaption of regional terms and colloquialisms from Lombardy, Veneto, Naples, and Sicily than ever.

Contact Akorbi for Your Translation Needs

Whether you need a professional translation from Italian to English or any other combination of languages, Akorbi has the language service for you. If you are interested in learning more about our translation, transcription, and multilingual contact services, call Akorbi today at 1-877-425-6724.