Intercultural Communication and Translation News
Archive for December, 2011
Kwintessential Relationship Manager, Phil Reynolds, took part in three Santa fun runs this month to raise money for the Children’s Hospice South West.
Phil Reynolds, 27, donned his red suit and beard to take part in Santas on the Run in Bath, Bristol and Wells.
He joined hundreds of people taking to the streets in each of these scenic cities dressed in Santa suits to raise awareness and much-needed funds for Children’s Hospice South West.
Mr Reynolds said Bath was his favourite as the Santas had a lot of encouragement from passers-by – with some even singing Christmas carols.
Some of his fellow Santas were running with dogs and some were even pushing buggies decorated in tinsel.
The 2k runs were no problem for Mr Reynolds who runs and also plays rugby, but he said the third Santa run in Wells was the hardest as he had been up most of the night with his five-month-old daughter Maggie.
He said: “Wells was the most difficult for me. I’d been up all night and I was convinced they’d made it longer.”
Mr Reynolds was representing his Crewkerne-based company Kwintessential which made CHSW its charity of the year.
The company has been fundraising for the charity with various events throughout the year and has so far raised more than £7,000.
Mr Reynolds added: “We went for a charity that was local and we could really get involved in. Many of us have got children so we can appreciate the work that the hospice does.”
Mr Reynolds said he was looking forward to running next year and he might even take on all six in the South West if they weren’t on the same day.
Sophie Crossman, events fundraiser for Children’s Hospice South West, said: “We are really grateful to Phil for all the support he has shown us throughout the year. He will certainly be in Santa’s good books this Christmas.”
So what’s wrong with Google translate? Well actually it’s great…depending on what you use it for.
We recently had to completely re-translate a local food company’s packaging due to them using Google to translate their ingredients, etc into Dutch. However, in the Netherlands they were scratching their heads wondering why the packaging stated that “May contain crazy”. The English original was “May contain nuts”. Yes this is 100% true….a real life example of what happens when you entrust your translation to a machine.
And here is a very basic, illustrated example, of why you should never entrust translations to a machine [no matter how good].
Let’s say I am a British manufacturer of men’s underwear – what we would call “pants”. I excitedly set up a little e-commerce site for the Shanghai market and use Google translate [because I am either trying to save money or I really don't know what I am doing]. I do my keyword translations using Google and voila – my keyword is 男装裤! I get traffic but absolutely no sales! Why? Because Google is telling Shanghai you sell trousers!
Did you really think a machine is going to know if you are British or American or Australian or South African? No! It’s a machine!
So if you are serious about whatever it is you want to sell abroad, have a human being who comes from that country, speaks the lingo and knows the shopping habits/terminology translate it for you.
by +Ben Lewis
I have used a tame example above as I didn’t want to shock anyone I could have chosen some funny ones (but they would have been a touch rude)
A report out today suggests that students in the UK are not what the country needs in order to remain competitive in the global economy. The Global Skills Gap report by the British Council warns that the “UK economy risks losing global competitiveness”.
Although the research is making headlines, including on the BBC, is anyone really that surprised? I’m not.
The report was compiled off the back of a survey of 500 business leaders. So what were their conclusions?
• Recruiting staff who can “think globally” is crucial for multi-national companies
• 75% of the leaders fear the UK is going to be left behind because of the lack of recruits with international awareness
• The UK is in danger of being taken over by countries such as China, India and Brazil who produce more ‘worldly’ recruits
• 74% warned that in the UK young people’s “horizons are not broad enough” for a globalised economy
• 35% of multinational firms find it difficult to recruit employees of the calibre they need
• Business leaders suggest that schools are too worried about exam results and league tables not “about the wider world beyond the school gates and beyond our shores”
• If UK students do not have the skills wanted by multinational employers then “highly skilled and highly paid jobs will be increasingly taken by young people in countries other than the UK”
• Young people in the UK risk being confined to low-paid jobs or being out of work
This is a massive issue for UK PLC. It should not be underestimated. School leavers and graduates from many countries leave with a good standard of education, speak another language(s), are conscious and aware of the outside world and appreciate the need to be competitive in every way. They are armed and hungry!
So what’s the solution? Well three very simple places to start are 1) language, 2) our immigrant population and 3) topics at school.
In the UK we are notorious for our appalling lack of language skills. The uptake at school and then at university has been dropping consistently over the years. There is a complete lack of emphasis on the importance of knowing another language. In order to produce young people that think and act global we need to start with language. The evidence is clear that learning a language broadens the mind in terms of cultural know-how, empathy, out-of-the-box thinking, etc. We should be demanding from our schools that each and every leaver leaves with French, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic or Japanese [and any others].
In addition to this, why are we not taking advantage of the languages spoken in immigrant homes such as Mandarin, Somali, Urdu, Arabic, Polish, etc? Immigration should be used to benefit the UK at home and abroad. These children hold massive potential in that they are naturally cross-cultural, they are multilingual and they do have something to offer us in terms of our position in the global economy. We are not capitalizing on this. Children are brought up thinking their food, language, etiquette and values are for “the home” and not for the global workplace. Wrong.
How many schools do you know that teach international business? How many school leavers would know what ‘BRIC’ means? How many appreciate how inter-reliant all the world’s economies are? How many are encouraged to be entrepreneurial, think globally, explore the international scene, etc? How many have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter as a platform to look at all the above? The answer is not many. The education system needs to catch up and catch up fast in order to ensure this generation have a voice.
In conclusion, the report reveals nothing of any surprise but what it does do is highlight the fact that if we are to remain globally competitive in the next 100 years, we need to address these issues now.
by +Neil Payne