UK export advice: how to sell more abroad

Great news for both the UK economy and those of us who spend our days providing translation – or, more loftily, helping global communication. Britain’s trade gap with the rest of the world narrowed more than expected in July, driven by record exports to countries outside the European Union, reports the Telegraph (Good News Britain: UK trade deficit narrows in July)

In fact, July is the third month in a row that exports to countries outside the EU has been higher than exports to eurozone countries. Continue reading “UK export advice: how to sell more abroad”

Translating luxury brands into global success

Chinese website tranlsation: Rolls-Royce

The last month has seen more diamonds of economic news than there are in Cullinan mine. While British retail remains patchy, UK and other European companies selling “luxury” have done phenomenally well on the global stage. They have reaped dividends of promotion in emerging economies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, targeting High Net Worth Individuals or those aspiring to perceived luxury.

Translation plays no small part in this global success: research has shown that the majority of consumers will only buy from websites with information presented in their language. This effect becomes more pronounced the higher the value of the product or service. (see Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters, Common Sense Advisory)

A few news snippets illustrate the trend:
Continue reading “Translating luxury brands into global success”

Is this the new ‘age of translation’?

This year has seen literary translation hit new prominence on the news and feature pages. Earlier this week the BBC marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, noting how its turns of phrase have permeated everyday English:

The Sun says Aston Villa “refused to give up the ghost”. Wendy Richard calls her EastEnders character Pauline Fowler “the salt of the earth”. The England cricket coach tells reporters, “You can’t put words in my mouth.” Daily Mirror fashion pages call Tilda Swinton “a law unto herself”.

Now today’s Observer is going even further: it carries a full page article proclaiming “This is the age of the translator”. Continue reading “Is this the new ‘age of translation’?”

Does foreign language have a place in translating literature?

It sounds a mad question, but “Does foreign language have a place in translating literature?” Put differently, when translating literature, how many words should be left in the original language? Should “foreign” words in English-language texts convey a sense of a culture, or be used as a last resort for the “untranslatable”?

These questions are interesting in their right, but are also far from academic considering the recent success of some novels translated into English. After all, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy are predicted by some to become the three top-selling novels of all time in Britain, overtaking Dan Brown’s paperback, The Da Vinci Code, which sold 4.5 million.
Continue reading “Does foreign language have a place in translating literature?”

Oh! What a lovely translation design

I came across this picture gallery of classic movie posters, as part of a recent Guardian article called ‘The Story of O’, a diverting little piece about the letter O in type and design.

Designers would probably start thinking how about how the ‘O’ cleverly combines textual and visual representation to deliver a single message, as with this poster for The Simpsons Movie:

English poster for The Simpsons Movie

We, on the hand, tutted knowingly, Continue reading “Oh! What a lovely translation design”

How do you spell Portuguese?

Handwritten word Portuguese in Portuguese
How do you spell Portuguese? In English, many people forget to put in that second ‘u’, but Portuguese speakers across the world, whether in Portugal, Brazil, Angola or Macau, are likely to spell it correctly: português.

One reason it’s easy to get correct is because Portuguese spelling, unlike English, is largely phonetic. But what happens in the cases when it’s not? And what happens when words have alternate pronunciations? Continue reading “How do you spell Portuguese?”