Monday, July 30, 2012

Social Media Translations

Many companies are still contemplating whether to create a company Facebook or Twitter, but those that have already made the decision to do so are moving on by translating their social media content into other languages. These companies are using social media translations to better connect with their customers. Offering content in their local language helps them identify better with the company’s brand. Many top brands already do this. Burt's Bees, one of our clients, has a dedicated Facebook page for their French-speaking clientele:

According to Eric Mora, PLG's Business Development Director, companies that have an international base should definitely look into translating their social media content. "Oftentimes translations are required to complete a contract or requirement, but many times multilingual materials are presented because they allow the marketer to double or triple their exposure. By adding more languages to your marketing mix, you are able to capture foreign audiences. Social Media translations are no different. Some of the most innovative companies have even launched foreign language social media sites, such as Pepsi Mexico on Twitter (exclusively in Spanish) and HP France on Twitter (exclusively in French). If your business has an international capacity, you should definitely be utilizing multilingual materials to fuel your communication efforts," says Eric.

According to Semiocast, a Paris-based social media research company, most Twitter users do not speak English as their native language. While the largest amount of twitter users is found in the United States, only 28.1% of those are U.S. based. While significant, the percentages from other countries continue to grow. Brazil has recently surpassed Japan as having the most Twitter users, placing in second after the United States. Yet according to Simiocast, the Japanese post more tweets than the Brazilians, thus making Japanese the most active language after English. Other top twitter languages include Indonesian, Spanish, French and Dutch. Arabic is the fastest growing language on Twitter.

On Facebook, the trends are a bit different. Twitter users tend to be younger and more technologically savvy while Facebook users include a wider type of people and age group. According to Inside Network, the top Facebook languages are English and Spanish, which hold a combined total of over 65%. The remaining percentages include French, Turkish, Indonesian, Italian, German, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic.

Some challenges do exist when translating social media, however. Some languages, such as Spanish and Hungarian use more characters than English. Chinese has an advantage: a 78 character tweet in English is 24 characters long in Chinese.

Social media includes blogs, online newsletters, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and video content for sites such as YouTube. For more information about PLG's multimedia translation services, which include audio and video, please visit our multimedia localization page.

Languages of the Olympic Games

The only two official languages of the Olympics are French and English. Announcements are made in both languages and the language of the host country, but because the Olympics are being held in the UK this year, official announcements will only be made in French and English. But with over 14,000 participants from 205 different countries, you can bet that there will be a lot of languages heard at the games this year.

Why French?

The French language is an official language of the Olympic Games because other than being an influential language worldwide and an official language in 29 countries, it was a Frenchman, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who brought the games back to modern history 1,000 years after it's last event in Olympia, Greece. The first modern Olympic games were held in Athens Greece and the first winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France. Also, the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are in Lausanne, Switzerland, a French-speaking city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Announcements are generally made first in French and in English second. When the Olympics are hosted in a country where neither of these languages is spoken, announcements in the host language will be given last.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Learn a New Language: American Sign Language

While not a spoken language, American Sign Language is still an important and effective communication tool, used in the United States and much of Canada. In the United States, it is the fourth most commonly used language. As mentioned in our “Career Profile: The Interpreter” article, there is a growing demand for sign language interpreters. More and more television programs are using sign language in their advertising. Colleges around the nation are recognizing sign language as a language requirement and are mainstreaming their deaf or hard of hearing students. Companies and government agencies too are becoming more aware of the need for sign language speakers.

Below are some links we have found regarding the learning of American Sign Language:

University of Rochester: Why Study Sign Language?

Career Profile: The Interpreter

First, let's get the most common question out of the way. What is an interpreter? Is it the same as a translator? The answer is no; they are both different. Interpreters work in spoken language (with the exception of sign language), while translators work in written language.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the average growth rate for interpreters between 2010 and 2020 will be at 42%, much faster than the national average. The BLS states that the increase for interpreters is due to the broadening of international ties and by the large increases in the number of non-English speakers in the U.S.

Interpreters often work in courtrooms, hospitals, schools and conference centers. Translators on the other hand, often work from home or from translation agencies.

There are many types of interpreters, including health or medical interpreters, legal interpreters, sign language interpreters, conference interpreters, and guide interpreters. Demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to grow rapidly, as well as interpreters who work for government and the military.

Currently there are an estimated 60,000 interpreters and translators in the United States and there will be more than 83,000 by 2010.

For more information about the job profile at the BLS, please visit

To learn more about PLG's interpretation services, please visit

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