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When translation is the key to success

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows part 2 has just been released worldwide by Warner Bros and marks the last instalment of the most successful film franchise of all time.

Harry Potter books have been translated from the original English into 67 other languages and in April 2011, worldwide sales were estimated to be at around 450 million copies.

The success of this story has been made possible largely because of the work of translators: the high profile nature of the product and its global demand dictated the need for a great deal of care in carrying out the task of translation. In Italy, for instance, the first book was revised by the publishers and issued in an updated edition in response to readers who complained about the quality of the first translation. In countries such as China and Portugal, the translation was conducted by a team of translators to save time. Would Harry Potter have been so successful if the books had been poorly translated?

The series presented many unique challenges to translators. There are rhymes, acronyms, dialects, riddles, jokes, invented words, and plot points that revolve around spelling or initials, as well as nuances of British culture which are unfamiliar to international readers.

Such things require careful and creative translating. In business, like in literature, it’s not only what you say but also how you say it that determines your success. If you don’t want your message to lose strength in foreign markets, make sure you go for a quality translation.

By | July 18th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Back to the future: what’s new on the news?

After the phone-hacking scandal involving the News of the World, it’s time that the press asks itself how news is made and circulates in the era of the internet. This is exactly what The Economist investigated this week in a special report.

Today everybody can be a journalist. By using websites such as YouTube and social networks like Twitter and Facebook people share information in real time.

However, the situation changes outside the West. Can you believe that Facebook, loved by Westeners, is very rare in Japan, South Africa, Brazil and India? In China, where all news is screened before it reaches the public, it is completely blacked out. Instead the Chinese use Renren.com, 17 million Japanese access Mixi from their mobiles, South Africans have MXit and Brazilians and Indians like Google’s Orkut. In the meantime, in these countries the circulation of paid-for daily newspapers is increasing, contrary to Europe and the US.

We can say that a more participatory and social news environment is on the whole a good thing, but we are in a way overwhelmed by information; the transparency of sources nowadays may therefore count more than objectivity. This is probably the reason why Fox News, a conservative American cable-news channel famous for being opinionated, makes more profits than its less strident rivals, CNN and MSNBC, combined.

To sum up, we can say the current news environment is closer to the coffee houses and the conversational culture of the era before mass media and we can enjoy it, but we have to pay attention to the reliability of the information we are exposed to.

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By | July 18th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

The Journey of Colour


Michel Pastoureau, a French specialist in medieval history who worked on the history of colours, stated that colour is a cultural phenomenon, which is perceived differently depending on time, society and culture.

Did you know that for the Romans, blue was a negative colour, associated with the enemy and with a feminine attitude in men? Today blue is the favourite colour of the West, and is used to symbolize the male gender extensively.

Nikki Burton, the head of colour marketing at AkzoNobel, the world’s largest paints company and owner of Dulux, is an expert on the culture of colour. Being aware that colour in an environment influences the way people think and feel about the space they are in, the Dulux team painted schools, streets, homes and squares in vibrant colours in Brazil, France, the UK and India.

“Colour artist” Sophie Smallhorn has been working with architectural consultancy Populous as a consultant on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. “We have tried to create the sense of a journey of colour as you move through the stadium”, she says. “It’s a bold use of colour on a huge scale: it’s life-affirming and has a sense of coming together”.

When translating marketing documents, such as websites, brochures, leaflets and banners, don’t underestimate the power of colour. Although colour preference is always a subjective matter, picking the right colour will always cultivate a more positive response. Conversely, overlooking the issue of colour and cultural sensitivity when translating and typesetting your documents may go so far as to offend your readers.

Further reading on colour preferences:

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Just 2 steps to get the cost of translation for your certificates. We translate documents in any format. Click to find out the cost of translation. Interpreting Service for legal, business and community interpreting

By | July 15th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments
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