Communication

Igaming language

For the past one and a half year, I’ve been doing translations within the igaming industry. This has given me a great insight in and knowledge of the world of igaming, games and sports. However, it has also made me a bit of a nerd, when it comes to finding/seeing translation mistakes, as it can be quite amusing to see other’s mistakes.

Typical mistakes

The typical mistakes that you see in both slots, letters, promotions and on the website are mistakes in stock phrases, words that are used in a wrong context, word division and wrong sentences order. These mistakes often occur, because the sender uses non-native speakers of the target language or persons that do not have good linguistic knowledge of languages to translate the text.

I some cases it might also be machine translations – which I’d only recommend you use, in case you find yourself facing some text that are written in a language foreign to you and you need to get a quick overview of the content. Don’t use it as a cheap solution to get your text or homepage translated for professional purposes.

Image is everything

When communication to your target audience always remember, that the small details counts towards the big picture. It’s not always good enough to have the latest and most beautiful slots or graphic. When sending e-mails about term & conditions, promotions and offers it’s always good to makes sure that the above mentioned mistakes do not occur (stock phrases, context, word division, sentence order).

Mistakes in the games

The two images attached show examples of word division and words used in wrong content, respectively. The images are examples of translations from English to Danish.


Fruity Friends_orddelingIn the first image you see the word “Gevinstoversigt” (Pay table) – here divided ‘Gevinstov-ersigt’, which isn’t correct and makes it harder for the reader to understand – it should have been divided ‘Gevinst-oversigt’. A mistake that could have been avoided, if the slot itself was proofed after the translated terms had been adapted to the Danish version.

Drej vs spil

The mistake in the second image is the word “Drej” (turn) – it could be argued that the word is actually okay here, seen as the wheels do turn. However, the more common used term in Danish is “Spil” (play) or the adopted English term “Spin”, which are the two I would go for.

I also question the translation “Indsats En” (Bet One) – as this is an unnatural word combination in Danish – instead I’d suggest; “Sats én”.

Written language

When it comes to communicating to the target audience, it is also very important to make sure that the written language is fluent; without wrong stock phrases, spelling mistakes and wrong sentence order. The receiver might perceive this as unprofessional or as a scam. I would most certainly think twice before depositing any money.

Native speakers

If possible, get a native speaker of the target language to translate or at least to proof your text. This way you avoid stupid or embarrassing mistakes, which in some cases can damage your image. See also my post on translations gone wrong.

Free translations?!

Don’t deny it, at least once you have visited a free translation tool such as Google translate or Bing (see also my post on translation tools). Even as a professional translator I’ve been there – I often find myself using Google Translate, when I have to figure out what a certain word is called in Greek or what a Greek word means.

However, when it comes to creating a good image or website in multiple languages, then you have to think twice, before using a free translation tool to translate the context.

Good or bad Language?language

First of all, if you want to look professional, then don’t have pages with bad language. By bad language I refer to incorrect use of words, sentences that don’t make sense to a native and language that obviously has been translated directly or by a machine.

How often have you come across a homepage or email, where the language was so bad, that you immediately lost all trust in the sender, because it seemed unprofessional or untrustworthy?

Yes, we all make mistakes, you’ll most certainly also find minor mistakes on my homepage, but there is a difference in how the mistakes come across. If it’s just a few typing errors or general bad language. Even in the newspapers you can find typing errors. Some people even make a sport of finding errors in papers.

A good image might cost a littleimage

Secondly, if you don’t posses the language skills yourself, get a professional/native to do it or at least proofread it. It might cost a little to get a job well done, but in the end your image will benefit.

Just have a look at my post on translations gone wrong, I sure hope these mistakes haven’t been made by professional translators! A good translator isn’t one that only knows the language in which they translate between, but also the culture, habits etc.

Not just a spoken/written language

Thirdly, all professional translators have to go through a wide range of topics in order to earn their degree. It’s not just enough to know the language as such, as already mentioned above. Just to name a few topics; politics, culture, economy (both inland and for companies), law, knowledge of businesses and what is included herein.

By choosing a professional translator you therefore get a person, who possesses a wide range of knowledge and who knows, how to acquire the right information/knowledge in order to secure high quality. Many translators specialize within certain topics, either by choice or interest.

That being said, you might also come across some good autodidact translators, who either work within the field of the sought expertise or have a great interest in the subject.

The BIG picturebig picture

Finally, always think about the picture you want to send the receiver. Do you want to compromise quality and get a quick solution that might end up cost a lot more than expected?

Translations gone wrong

Advertisements Gone Wrong In Translation
translationgonewrong_1

I recently came across this post on advertisements gone wrong in translation, which I found worrying – Just think about the consequences a translation gone wrong can have, not only meaning-wise, but also image-wise. Read the examples below to see the mistakes, if not only to have a laugh:

  • Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from diarrhoea”.
  • Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into German only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “manure stick”.
  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.
  • In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan “finger-lickin’ good” came out as ” eat your fingers off”.
  • The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, “Salem — Feeling Free”, was translated into the Japanese market as “When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty”.
  • When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside, since most people can’t read English.
  • Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
  • An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I saw the potato” (la papa).
  • In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into “Schweppes Toilet Water”.
  • Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”, in Chinese.
  • We all know about GM’s Chevy Nova meaning “it won’t go” in Spanish markets, but did you know that Ford had a similar problem in Brazil with the Pinto? Pinto was Brazilian slang for ” tiny male genitals”. Ford renamed the automobile Corcel, meaning “horse”.
  • Hunt-Wesson introduced Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos. Later they found out that in slang it means “big breasts”.
  • Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate”.

    translationgonewrong

  • When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, ” it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. Instead, the company thought that the word ” embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”.
  • The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Ke-kou-ke-la”, meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “ko-ou-ko-le”, translating into “happiness in the mouth”.
  • A few years ago, in the American Midwest, some people decided to show off their new “real” Mexican restaurant, named Chi-chi’s to some visiting Californians. Upon seeing the name on the marquis, the Californians started to laugh. When asked why they were laughing, they explained that in Mexican Spanish, “chi-chi’s” literally means “titties.”

Communication: Saying yes or was it no?!

Hi again,

today you get a shorter and less nerdy blog post than the last few. It’s going to be all about communicating. Even though it’s over a year ago since I moved to Cyprus, I still smile and think about the language differences whenever I hear the Greek word “vaí” (nai) – meaning yes.

yesno

If you were in Denmark and heard the word “næ” (nai) it would have a very different meaning, namely no. Imagine which confusion this would create in a communication situation, if you automatically presumed it had the same meaning!

It’s not only words that can create confusion and misunderstandings, when communication with another culture and/or in another language. You always need to be careful, when doing business with other countries. It’s not always enough knowing the language, you also need to know the culture and not least the business culture.

Cultural differences

Some cultures uses their hands a lot when they speak, which is a problem if you only communicate online or via phone. It can therefore be a good advice to meet with the other part personally and beforehand make sure that you know how to behave and how to interpret the other part.

Some cultures, e.g. Finland often do business while socializing, whereas Germans like to separate the matters. There is no better way of doing business, it all depends on the eyes that sees and which custom we are used to. Therefore its always advisable to know the traditions and way of doing business are, before entering a partnership.

Learning by doing

After a very short time here in Cyprus I quickly learned that even though a Cypriot says that he/she’ll call you back, then don’t expect it to be true – in some cases you have to call them back your self, and that several times to make sure you have an appointment or to follow up on a matter. This mostly goes business wise – haven’t had any problems with my friends not calling back! You should think that it would be important to call a possible client back, if you want to make money, not necessarily in this culture.

Coming from a very structured culture, where timetables and deadlines are important and moving to a country, where things are more relaxed take time to adapt to – and vice versa for that matter! I do, however, enjoy the more relaxed way of living, just not when I need things to happen more quickly!

An example here of: A friend of mine opened a restaurant, but had to shut it down due to some legal issues, which she thought was taken care of. Then she decided to start all over. To open any kind of business in Cyprus you need a lot of licences a.s.o. She has, however, had a lot of difficulties getting everything ready in a short period of time, as you need to go many different places to have them done, then there are the limited opening hours (and not least the closing of most public offices in August) as well as the problem of time – it can take a lot of time just opening a business bank account, especially after the crisis hit Cyprus.

How do they do?

As the example shows then you need to get the right contacts in order to have everything done properly, also to save time and money – but everything takes time here. So if you consider opening a business in another country or even your own, it’s always good to get in contact with a professional business that knows what they are doing. It also doesn’t hurt for you to study the culture and rules regarding having a business in the chosen country, just to make sure everything is done right.

Luckily it’s a strong friend, who still believe in fighting for her goal. You never know when you get burned, but we all live and learn, and you never know if it’s the right solution until you have tried.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better” – Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)

Language Family & Similarities

Similarities

When going on holiday or learning a new language, we often spot similarities between our own language and the foreign language. The similarities can either be big or minor – but why the similarities?IndoEuroean language_map

Language scientists have found out that many languages are connected and bear similarities, why they have been divided into language families. There are more than 1000 languages in the world, but not all are spoken by more than a couple of thousands people and not all have a so-called written language. Because of the similarities the scientists have been able to relate the languages to each other and divide them into families. One of the families, which English, German, Danish, Italian, Albanian, Greek etc. belong to, is the Indo-European language family. As the name suggests, then the languages in the family are detected in both India and Europe.

Indo-European Language Family

The Indo-European language family is the most widespread and studied of the families. It’s believed to originate from north of the Black Sea and then around 3500-2500 BC to have spread as people migrated west to Europe, north to Scandinavia, east to India and south to the Mediterranean. The language then developed in different directions and transformed into the way we know them today.

The Indo-European family is divided into 12 branches, of which only 10 consist today.

The branches are: Germanic, Latin, Slavic, Baltic, Hellenic, Illyric, Anatolian, Thracian, Iranian, Indic, and Tokharian. (To read more about the branches go to: http://www.krysstal.com/langfams_indoeuro.html)

Where has the Indo-European language spread to?

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia.

This world map shows the approximate distribution of Indo-European languages around the world. Within the red borders, the IE languages are the predominant or official languages. In addition to the nations within the red borders, most of the African nations have an Indo-European language (chiefly English or French) as a second official language. The map is only an approximation, but it gives you a good idea of where IE languages are spoken on the Earth. There are, of course other languages spoken within the IE area, such as American Indian languages, Basque, Hawaiian, the Australian aboriginal languages, and many others. Also note (hard to see on the map) that there is a red border around Hungary which excludes that nation. Hungarian is not an IE language, although it is completely surrounded by IE-speaking nations. The same applies to Finland and Estonia. (http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm)

The Indo-European language Family Tree

Indoeuropean language family tree

This was just one of the many language families, of which can be explored further. I just wanted to give you a foretaste of the topic, so feel free to explore the topic even further.

/Sembach

Sources:
http://www.thisted-gymnasium.dk/klassiker/Sproghistorie.pdf
http://www.jensrasmussen.dk/sprogforstaaelse/familier.htm
http://www2.aasg.dk/asgaf/AP/03-Sproghistorie/index.htm
http://www.krysstal.com/langfams.html
http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/languagefamilyterm.htm
http://www.danshort.com/ie/ieworld.htm

Copy-writing and Plagiarism

One thing you should always bear in mind, when doing copy-writing is to be aware of not plagiarizing someone else’s work. Your content always has to be unique and stand out from the crowd – and if you do find your self copying text, images, ideas etc. always remember giving proper accreditation to the rightful owner.

Personally, I prefer creating and reading texts that are not like the 10 other texts I just read on the topic – of course this can at time be difficult, when some topics, things etc. just are as they are : 1+1=2. In this case you need to think out of the box and write/explain it in a different way: 

en2 +  en1   = two

How to…

I came across this article, which describes, how to check for plagiarized content! This also come in handy for the one’s being copied, if you want to check whether you are being copied.

http://www.itechcode.com/2012/08/05/top-10-ways-to-check-for-plagiarised-content/

Have a read through and let me know what you think on the matter!

/Sembach