Summary of 2013

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Happy New Year!

Looking back at 2013 a lot has happened. Both Jensen Localization and the blog have had a busy year and therefore the first article of 2014 is a summary of 2013 to give you a recap of some of the interesting articles from our blog throughout the year.

Most companies have a website, either as a direct selling point or to stay on track with the Internet development. SEO and website localization are therefore very important if you want to get the most of your website and make sure you are found in your target countries. The article SEO and Website Localization is a short guide to understand the importance of both.

Speaking of guides, in February we created a three part series called Languages in internationalization, in which we talked about the use of language services for companies doing business abroad, from the translation of documents to the use of professional interpreters for important negotiations. The first part is The internationalization of a company. Part two is about Using interpreting services for business meetings and the last and third part covers the subject of Translation and localization for business management. In order to write these articles we counted on the help of experts in Business Internationalization and Interpreting, who talked about their experience with their clients.

Many people still do not understand the importance of localization or the actual meaning, which is why we created the articles Why do we need localization? and Understanding the localization process. Reading both articles will help you understand the process of localizing a product and why this is so important for companies wanting to become international.

Though understanding the importance of localization, many companies make the mistake of opting for cheaper alternatives. If you are thinking this way, then we suggest you to read the article Buying cheap can be expensive. Maybe this will help you think a little more about who does your localization before making any quick decisions.

For the translators reading, we know that translating is a job that requires concentration, inspiration and paying attention to details. However, translation can also be fun at the same time. Read the article Become a translator and have fun to see which translating requests can be the most exciting ones.

As a translator you sometimes receive translation requests that might go against your personal believes and values and require you to make ethical decisions in order to accept the job. In the article called Ethics in translation we cover the different subjects within ethics and give you some tips about how to work around these situations.

Of the many CAT tools available in the market, our translators showed their preferences in our Survey on CAT tools. Have a look at the results and let us know if you can relate with them!

The knowledge we share with our readers on our blog is something we have gained through hard work and dedication and many years of experience in the industry. Our blog covers many different topics within the translation and localization industry, but if you want more and are interested in anything language related, please feel free to contact us or head over to any of our social media accounts which we update frequently with links to articles, pictures and more from many different sources.

Meet our Staff (I). Hendrika Huisman, Assistant General Manager at our Dutch branch

Our blog contains many different articles about the translation industry and Jensen Localization as a company. But we want to give you a closer insight of our staff both professionally and personally. For this reason, our usual articles about languages, localization and international business will be collated with interviews with some of our colleagues.

This first interview is with our Assistant General Manager in our Dutch branch, Hendrika Huisman.Hendrika Huisman, AGM at Jensen Localization NL

What is your origin?

I was born in the Netherlands. Both my parents are originally from Friesland, a province in the North part of the Netherlands where people have their own language (Frisian). Though I never lived in Friesland myself, I was raised bilingual, Dutch and Frisian.

What did you study?

I have a degree (similar to Master) in English language and culture.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen as a coincidence?

It happened as a coincidence. When I finished my degree and started looking for a job I knew virtually nothing about the translation business. I did not even know agencies worked with PMs until I stumbled on a job opening for a PM at Jensen Localization.

How long have you been working for Jensen-Localization?

I just celebrated my tenth anniversary this past January. I have been with the team since January 2004.

Did you start working for JL right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I started immediately after finishing my degree. I had some prior working experience in some prior small jobs I did parallel to my studies, but nothing major and nothing that I did fulltime. To me, it was an advantage not having any experience in the translation business as it meant I could be trained from scratch without being hindered by previous experience or insisting things should be done in a different way.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

The pros are that the job is very versatile. Each project is different and requires its own approach. I really like the fact that our clients and freelance translators are located all over the world and that we get in touch with many nationalities. I like the challenge of difficult jobs, where you start off thinking “how can we ever manage this” and then pull it off anyway. I also like the fact that the industry is very dynamic and that we learn new tools on a yearly basis. I guess the con can be that the job can very stressful because of the many deadlines we have to meet every day. However, this is not really a con to me as it keeps my jobs challenging and interesting. I would probably get very bored in a job without deadlines.

What are your main tasks as Assistant General Manager?

As the Assistant General Manager I have the responsibility to keep the office in Groningen up and running. I am in charge of the production/workload handled both by PMs and in-house translators. I also handle the job interviews in case we need new staff and in addition to that I handle small tasks that come with running an office, like handling mail and answering phone calls. In addition to the assistant manager position, I also work as a PM. I think this is an absolute requirement for my position. I feel you cannot be in charge of a group of PMs without knowing and, more importantly, actually experiencing what their work is like.

What are your main tasks as Project Manager?

As a PM I handle any jobs that clients send. This can vary from a very small job to be delivered the same day, or even very big jobs of thousands or even millions of words. Sometimes deadlines are good and sometimes tight. As a PM, I closely need to monitor budget, deadlines and quality. I select the translator and reviewer that are most appropriate for the job and make sure they deliver on time and that the quality is in good order. I run quality checks on my end and send reports back to translator/reviewer and have them fix the files. Part of the job is also to provide assistance to resources when they are facing issues. This could be specific questions about the project but also technical problems with the CAT tool. I always do my best to help them. If the technical problems are too complicated I can refer them to our IT team. Then there is also the administrative side to the job, as each project needs to be logged in our system so the resources working on the job can see their PO in our online system. A last task is making sure that we receive the correct PO from our client and log this in our system so the financial department can invoice the job.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I dedicate my spare time to my family. I have two young children asking for my attention when I am home from work. When they are finally asleep in the evening I like to read, practice sports or watch a movie.

How many languages do you know?

I am a native speaker of Dutch and Frisian and a near native speaker of English. In addition I have good knowledge of German and French.

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

To me the most crucial thing is to really listen to their needs and make sure their demands are being met. This goes for all clients of course, but in particular for new clients I feel it’s important that we get a feel of what kind of service they are looking for. We need to make things easier for our clients, so we need to make sure we have a good understanding of what is required so that we do not have to bother them with needless questions.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

To have an open mind and to be tolerant, flexible and dedicated.

Being a PM how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

This is crucial. Without good communication we would not be able to do a good job. We need to work in teams so the work can continue even when a PM is ill or on holiday. And good teams are nowhere without good communication. If a client has an important instruction or special requirement all team members need to be aware of this so we can work accordingly.

Do you communicate with the staff from the other JL departments?

Yes, and not only with the other PMs, but also with staff from the other departments, such as the in-house translators or members from the IT, marketing or financial teams. There is also a lot of communication on a daily basis between the offices in the Netherlands and in Spain.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

This is an interesting yet difficult issue. I have the feeling that in the next few years our jobs may change. Machine translation will probably get a more prominent role in the coming years. At the same time, I think machine translations can never fully replace human translations. For certain type of texts, I think machine translation is not an option. And even for texts that can be used for machine translation, these will always still need to be edited by real translators. So I think the industry will change, along with our jobs, but not fully disappear. Let’s hope I am not wrong.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

I like the big projects that are a real challenge. They can be very stressful but the feeling of accomplishment is all the greater if we manage to complete it successfully. In terms of topics I like medical translations, just because I think the medical world is very interesting.

We hope you learnt more of the busy days of our AGM. Keep checking in on our blog as we will post more of these interviews with different staff members in future posts, together with our industry-specific posts.  

Market Entry Strategies and Localization

Neither companies nor consumers are limited to do business in their home country. Both for companies that just want to export their products and for those that want to open a branch in a new market, there are many important factors to take into account before actually making the move. Among these factors, the knowledge of the local language and culture is important. In this article, written with the help of our Marketing Assistant, Helia Lavassani, we want to talk about entry modes and the barriers a company can have in a target country, including cultural barriers.

Entry modes

There are many different entry modes, all of which have different levels of engagement and risks.

If the market you are trying to reach is both geographically and culturally distant from the home country and you are not 100% sure if it is the right market for you, you might want to make use of low risk entry modes such as agents or distributors, to gain local knowledge and get a better inside feeling of the market. Note, however, that these entry modes imply very little control from your side, so make sure you have the right people around you.

Aiming global, international marketingMaybe you are sure about the market and want to enter but do not have the resources to go all in. In that case you might want to look into partnering up with the locals through joint ventures or franchising. These entry modes give you more control over the distribution of your products, but you share the risks with your partners. Again, choosing the right partner is crucial in order to reach your goals.

For companies who have the needed resources and are completely confident in the markets they want to enter, entry modes such as sales subsidiaries or off shoring will be ideal. These entry modes give you full control over your products, the production and the distribution. It is a high risk entry mode as you have to be really sure about the specific markets, but if done right this will give you closeness to the market, which in the end will lead to closeness to your consumers.

Barriers

Before deciding how you want to enter the new market you have to do a market research, especially for the markets geographically and culturally distant from your home country. When doing research, there are many important factors to look at. Here we will use the PESTEL model as an example of factors you might want to look into:

  • Political environment
  • Economic environment
  • Socio-cultural/demographic environment
  • Technological environment
  • Ecological environment
  • Legal environment

The above model gives you more of an understanding of the environment in the targeted country and what barriers you might meet.

When looking at the cultural environment in any given market you look at language, differences in business ethics, morals, etc. When you want to adapt your products to a new market, a local person will not be enough. Here you will need to look into the localization business. While translation helps you translate documents, websites, labels, etc. to the specific language, localization companies like Jensen Localization consider the cultural aspects as well. Localization companies know the differences in ethics, writing, culture, etc., which are important in order to get close to the market you want to reach. Locals want their products to seem as if they were created just for them, and localizing your products is therefore important to avoid misunderstandings and to reach the costumers the same way as local rivals do.

We hope this article has given you an overall understanding of the different things to consider when reaching new markets. To learn more about the importance of localizing your products, please read our older entry: Why do we need localization?.

At Jensen Localization we work with Marketing and Business Internationalization consultants. Together, we help companies make a successful entry in their target markets by adapting their products to local language and uses. If you want to learn how our language services can be of help to your international business strategies, feel free to contact us.

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The Internet of Things and Localization at the Mobile World Congress

Apart from the keynote from Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its last acquisition, Whatsapp, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona had many things to talk about. In our opinion, those that are more interesting for us are the Internet of Things and the discussion about the success of localized apps that took place in the congress official TV channel.

What is exactly the Internet of Things?

To put it simple, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the use of sensors in physical objects that makes it possible to gather enormous quantity of data (the famous big data) that is later analysed to help us create more efficient procedures, keep track and improve of our health condition or adapt our sales to customers’ buying preferences, for example.

Among its applications, the IoT is used in waste management, urban planning, environmental sensing, social interaction gadgets, sustainable urban environment, continuous care, emergency response, intelligent shopping, smart product management, smart meters, home automation and smart events.

In our meetings with companies from Denmark, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Spain, we have seen some examples of these applications. As an example, we had a meeting with a company developing a sensor that detects the amount of UV-radiation your body can admit, in order to avoid over-exposure. Not only is this great for people going to the beach, but also for people working usually outdoors, like builders, or sport professionals (and amateurs). Avoiding over-exposure prevents sunburns, skin aging and definitely helps to reduce the risk of suffering from skin cancer.

What is the use of localization in the IoT? Definitely, it is important to provide these apps with the local languages and uses. For example, the types, duration and time of the year of outdoor activities and jobs are not the same in Spain as they are in Finland, so the app will have to be adapted to such a use, and it is there where localization can help to provide a product in the target language and culture that is useful for that audience.

Related to this, it was great to see that localization was also tackled in the interviews and panels at Mobile World Live TV.  I had the occasion to be at home at the time MWLTV was broadcasting the panel with guests from Distimo, Flurry and Opera talking about the secret of success of local apps.

As proven by global brands, although the use of localized apps depends on the country, it is clear that English is not enough. In Asia, 50% of most successful apps are locally successful. As panelists mentioned, companies have to think global but act locally. Having a local developer team, a local website and a local support team will enable them to reach more markets and, therefore, have a global presence.

As an example, Opera browser is localized in 64 languages, so is the Opera app store. Apart from finding the apps in their local language, users will be able to find the apps that are more interesting for them according to their culture and habits, and also payment methods are adapted to each country methods, so users can pay in their local currency.

In order for an app to be successful in a local market, it is very advisable that titles, descriptions, icons and content in the app store is as local as possible. This way, the app will be taken more seriously by users, it will have a higher rank in the store and therefore it will be more promoted.

At Jensen Localization we work with companies having local teams that do not have neither the time nor the tools to localize their software and product documentation. For this reason, they trust us as their language team and they act as our in-country client review team, confirming our translations or asking us to adapt them to their marketing or other needs. Feel free to contact us for further information.

If you want to see pictures of our visit to the Mobile World Congress, visit our Facebook album.

Time is Money. And Communication too!

CommunicationIn the localization industry, as in many other industries, time is money. You are losing money every day the release of your product is delayed.

But at Jensen Localization we also say that the success of your Project is based on a very simple premise: Communication.

A lack of communication between client and vendor is one important reason for  delays in the release of a localized product, so communication is money too.

Recently, one of our clients sent us a job to translate. They sent both an Excel sheet and some links to their website. It is very common to send the text to translate in a separate file and then send the link to the source website so that translators can see the text in context, but still we asked the client if the website was sent for reference or if they wanted us to extract text from the website.

His reply was: You can see the text it refers to in the link to the website.

So, we assumed that the link was sent only as a reference and just translated the Excel sheet. Unfortunately, when we made the delivery, the client told us that there was missing text, i.e., the text from the website. We had to quickly send the missing text to translation, so the delivery of the full translation was not delayed too much.

Quite often, clients just want to know two things: costs and time. And it is difficult for them to understand why translators have questions, why we need to have the files in a given format or why we need them to provide us with reference material. At Jensen Localization we try to make sure our clients know from the very beginning what our procedures are and how we can adapt them to meet their needs.

But nothing will work if there is not an effective communication between both sides. What can we do to achieve effective communication? See some tips below:

  • Do not take things for granted. Make sure you understand and you are being understood.
  • In email communication, read your emails twice before sending them. Put yourself on the shoes of your reader and see if you would understand what the email says.
  • If you see a long thread of emails is being created due to this lack of communication, make a phone call. This will probably put an end to any confusion and you can always send an email to have a written confirmation of what was discussed on the phone. Despite all the technologies, it is always nicer to talk to people instead of writing them, don’t you think?
  • If you are not sure you understand what is being said, ask a second person to read it. As when editing a translation, four eyes can see more than two.
  • Written communication can also create conflicts if text is misunderstood. Before you have a nervous breakdown and want to ask the other person to **** off, relax. Read it again, try to see it from the distance, do not take it personally and take your time to reply.

What about you? Have communication issues affected your work? We would love to hear your tips to achieve effective communication, feel free to comment!