July 24
Be Mindful of Cultural Boundaries

With the increase of globalization, it has become more important for businesses to understand the culture they are entering. Localizing to that culture is very important to business’ survival. You wouldn’t want to offend someone in another country, just like you wouldn’t in your own country.

Marketing internationally is not just about translating words on a page or any other medium that is being used. You could have every word translated perfectly, but your approach or message of the marketing piece might be offensive to a particular country. Your marketing efforts would be wasted because you didn’t consider the culture.

There are many languages and even more cultures. Languages may be the same, but the cultures within them are different. For example in the U.S, using the term “quite good” means that something was very enjoyable.  However, using the term “quite good” in the UK, means something was average and could be better. This would be important to localize because you wouldn’t want your company or product to be “quite good” in the UK.

A picture paints a thousand words; therefore it is also extremely important to localize images.  For example in the Muslim culture the sole of a person’s shoe is considered extremely dirty and unclean. Thus, showing the sole of your shoe to someone is considered an insult. Similarly in Muslim cultures, an image showing the sole of shoes will not be met with a positive view. Localizing the image to one without the sole showing is a simple way to bring about a more positive response to the content.

Let’s look at another example of image localization in the Arabic culture. If you have a picture of a woman who is just wearing a Bikini, it would be seen as very offensive in that culture and the marketing would not be successful. This is because the picture was not localized. While the image may be seen as acceptable in the U.S, it would not be acceptable in conservative Arabic culture.

There are more detailed parts to localization that you might not always think about, such as hand gestures. An example of a hand gesture that should be localized is the American “peace out” sign. In the U.S. it is seen as a normal gesture. However, using it in the UK is near equivalent to sticking up a middle finger in the U.S. It is swearing and the British won’t respond well to it.

Localization to other cultures is essential in today’s world. There are many differences from culture to culture that require more than just the translation of languages. Phrases might need to be localized, as do images, colors, and even signs. They all must be checked to avoid offending someone in another culture, which is the last thing you want to do. Remember- you are trying to attract them to your brand and products or services but in another language.  Take a moment to think of your experiences in other cultures and you will understand the importance of localization.  Mindfulness of cultural boundaries is especially important in translation of marketing material.

July 10
Millennial Consumer Behavior: A Trend to watch

E-commerce is playing a big role in consumer behavior.  Ask yourself- “how often do I make online purchases”?  Even if your answer is “I do not make online purchases”, chances are you’ve spent time web surfing for prices of your favorite electronic gadgets, necessary office supplies, clothing or even furniture.  This cyber-oriented consumer behavior is becoming rampant among the Millennials- a group consisting of all individuals whose birth years fall between the 1980s and early 2000s.  This group currently consists of 80 million people compared with the Boomers’ population of 76 million in the U.S, and their purchases are expected to generate $18 billion in new revenue for traditional retailers this year (Bloomberg, June 25, 2014).

Behavior and expectations of Millennial consumers are different from that of previous generations, and companies must rethink their brand, business models and marketing strategies to appeal to this large and powerful group.  By 2030, the population of U.S Millennials will outnumber that of the Boomers by over 20 million (Source:  U.N., Department of Economic and Social Affairs).

We used to value the experience of in store shopping.  Being able to see, touch and try out products before buying as well as interacting with in store staff – were all advantages of shopping at physical stores.  Now, customer service champions of yesteryear like Nordstrom are losing their crown to online retail stores- Nordstrom’s customer-service rankings sank to 10th place behind Amazon, Zappos and Overstock in 2011 (Bloomberg, June 25, 2014).

Today, convenience and speed are among the most valued qualities for Millennial shoppers.  This comes as no surprise when looking at the socioeconomic status of this group, which consists largely of working college students, and young adults who’ve started families.  With several roles to juggle in so little time, “ordering online just makes more sense”- an apt statement made by 24 year old associate for Bridge Growth Partners LLC, CJ Chu (Bloomberg, June 25, 2014).  As a working student, I can attest to this- most of my textbook and software purchases have been made online.  In fact, I can’t recall the last time I set foot in my college bookstore.

During our time at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition last month in Chicago, we were hit with the wide array of e-technologies presented and workshops dedicated to streamlining online processes- all serving as vivid reminders of how quickly things have evolved.  As consumer needs change, technology must change to fit those needs.  This requires companies to fully adapt these technological changes as part of their strategy to create customer satisfaction.  Remember that customer satisfaction of today is a question of convenience.

Is your company willing to establish an e-commerce website to encourage consumers to make purchases?  Answering yes is only the first step to fostering customer loyalty and driving business growth.  There are further steps to take when considering the business trend towards globalization: Steps towards creating a multilingual e-commerce website.  Consideration for developing multilingual e-commerce websites is especially critical if you know you have a global client base that has potential to grow.  Be on top of the trends!  Look at the rising wave of Millennial consumers, and analyze the multilingual opportunities that can serve your business model well.

April 4
Back from the 2014 Globalization and Localization Conference

The GALA Conference is an incredible treat to attend every year. This year, Istanbul made the Language of Business even more spectacular and memorable. The mix of cultures, history and languages in this Turkish city created the perfect setting for the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and future visions for the language industry.  Istanbul welcomed 350 attendees from around the world, most of whom were from Europe, with perfect spring weather and sunshine.

The keynote speaker for the Monday opening was a Turkish successful businessman, Mr. Fikret Orman, president of Besiktas, one of Turkey’s football teams. He added more fans to the team after giving each of us a football shirt. His gesture added fun and relevance to his presentation about effort and team work in an international setting. There was a large media group covering the event.

The conference at a glance:

  • Monday’s tracks were about localizing unusual languages, the state of the language industry in African and Asian markets, the impact of technology in the world of interpretation, and sales development for translation companies.
  • Tuesday was about technology implementation and interoperability.  That was my favorite day, as I am always searching for more efficient techniques and solutions for complex projects and better approaches for content and website translation. Quality measurement and the CRISP program (Collaborative Research, Innovation and Standards Program) were discussed at length.
  • Wednesday was Knowledgefest, an event that provided collaborative learning sessions for different areas of interest. The annual Association meeting was also held.
  • Every day, technology suppliers presented demos and made presentations throughout the conference. It was an incredible display of tools that support the localization industry by allotting more time for the creative process of translation.

We attended the welcome reception on Sunday and a colorful Monday dinner full of folk dances and traditional Turkish food. We mingled with new colleagues and old friends from the language sector, and exchanged ideas and experiences we’ve had in different countries and different languages. After the Monday dinner, there was a great display of culture with Turkish  rhythms.  On Tuesday morning, we all had several cups of Turkish coffee to wake up our brains.

GALA never ceases to amaze me in the way it provides an incredible venue for networking, dialogue and exchange of learning and experiences.  We left the conference full of new ideas to further investigate. We are energized and ready to apply leading technologies and latest trends in localization and translation technology.

Lessons learned

  • Technology has and will continue to propel  the language industry
  • Machine translation is here to stay
  • Interoperability continues to be a challenge for the translation industry.
  • Standards are essential and we all need to keep working on them.
  • We must increase the US Government’s awareness of the Importance of  Languages.








We are already excited for and anticipating GALA 2015 In Seville, Spain. Ole!!!

March 20
Globalization Conference in Istanbul

JR Language is eager to attend the upcoming annual GALA Language of Business Conference starting on March 23rd. This year the Globalization and Localization Association conference will take place in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and one of the most populated cities in the world.

Istanbul is one of the few transcontinental cities in the world, occupying both Europe and Asia. The location of Istanbul, between Europe and the Middle East, fostered years of trade and cultural interaction. This historic and cultural city is an ideal backdrop for 2014’s gathering of the largest trade association for the language industry.

GALA’s main objective is to promote Globalization, Localization and Interpretation as vital elements to achieve success in a global marketplace of 500 language pairs.  This year’s conference will focus on the growing interpretation services sector with several presentations geared toward the importance of interpretation as part of language services. There will be presentations on interpreting, translation and technology, as well as new technologies, and systems to aid the translation and interpreting service cycle. We also look forward to learning more about new trends like transcreation and Google Helpouts.

Participants travel from all over the world to attend GALA’s conferences. The organization has members from 40 countries and all continents represented.

GALA membership distribution follows:
- Europe: 60%
- North America: 28%
- South America: 5%
- Asia: 4%
- Africa: 2%
- Australia: 1%

Vendor demonstrations often serve as some of the most influential segments of the conference. We are excited to see our friends from Kilgray and Plunet, and to develop new alliances with providers of technology for the language industry. We are interested in learning more about Machine Translation providers to help us evaluate and compare different engines and see the evolution from last year’s offering.

Don’t forget to check our next blog post about lessons learned at Gala 2014, which will be published after the conference in April as an early spring gift to propel your multilingual audience.

March 4
JR Language is going back to Gala: The Language of Business

JR Language will attend GALA’s 5th annual conference at the end of March 2013. GALA’s acronym stands for Globalization and Localization Association.

We are looking forward to this conference after the fantastic experience we had last year. From Monaco 2012 we got new partners and providers, as well as a myriad of new ideas for the growth and development of JR Language in 2012. Overall we came back energized, and with new technologies to improve quality and the specialization of our translation services.

After checking the conference schedule, we are looking forward to get more insight on the maturity and new developments in Machine Translation; we have big plans for this technology in 2013. We are especially interested in post-editing techniques and measurements for TM.

GALA brings together a diverse and interesting group of people from all areas of the translation industry, among them: language technology developers, translation agencies, localization providers, consultants, and clients. Presentations will continue to focus on the tag line of the organization: “The language of business and the business of language”. This year the keynote speaker is stressing the importance of embracing technology, in general but, particularly in localization and translation services.

We are also interest in the updates on localization standards and connectivity between applications and translation tools.

Stay tuned for JRL’s summary of this important conference, which gathers representatives and players from all industries and countries of the world.

August 1
Lost in (Olympic) Translation

After reading Sophie Pitman’s blog post about the 2012 London Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, I can’t help but wonder: What went wrong (and what happened to Elton John)? On her post she explains how amazed she was after receiving many emails from her American friends who were totally lost by some elements of the ceremony. Maybe this is the reason why China decided four years ago to give the world a pyrotechnic show instead of one filled with historical references.

Although the United State and the United Kingdom share the English language, they do not share the same historical evolution, which creates a significant cultural gap. For this reason and, as Pitman points out, NBC should have had a British commentator to explain the elements that could have seem obscure to the American audience. Obscure as the giant baby born before our own eyes; maybe some of us did not take advanced English Literature and did not read Paradise Lost (if you read John Milton you realize that Cruella De Vil and Lord Voldemort were completely appropriate).  What surprised me the most was that her friends did not recognized Kenneth Branagh! Most of us have  read and watched countless versions of Shakespeare’s plays; I am sure the younger generations recognized him as Professor Lockhart from Harry Potter.

The Opening Ceremony was not the occasion to globalize but the perfect one to localize; after all the whole idea was to highlight what is intrinsically British, the good and the bad (very moving the commemoration of the War to End All Wars) but also, a local perspective would have helped understand what was happening.

Sports inspire universal values: Unity, Friendship, Equality, Patriotism and, maybe, this is where the Ceremony failed. Maybe they were too patriotic; maybe they failed at conveying a more global message that not only gave the world an in-depth vision of the United Kingdom but made the world feel welcome and part of it.

Fortunately we, at JR Language, know the difference between globalization and localization, and can help in deciding which is best for each situation so that our clients can benefit from it and prevent their copy from getting lost in translation.

March 6
JR Language To Attend Globalization and Localization Association 2012 Conference

JR Language Translation Services Inc.  will be attending the 2012 GALA Conference in Monaco from March 25th to the 28th. GALA 2012 is the fourth annual Language of Business conference hosted by the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). GALA promotes communication between its members, 275 companies in 50 countries .The conference will be a great forum to display multilingual strategies and proven tools to aid  global business efforts.


The conference will be covering important subjects  for the Language industry, some of the relevant topics of the gathering are: Machine Translation, Localization Standards, Globalization and content development, Quality in Translation, Multilingual and International SEO Strategies, cloud-based and server-based translation technology among others.

Jackie and Sergio from our company will participle in the CEO Forum, will go to the conference workshop “TAUS” Open Source Machine Translation Showcase on Sunday and will attend the 3 days of sessions.

If you are interested in meeting up with someone from JR language Translation Services during the conference, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]