Our team members blog about language, culture, technology, marketing, translation and localization, industry news and more.

Do bilingual people have a different perspective on the world?

Recent research by the university of Lancaster shows that bilingual people have a different view on the world than people who only speak one language (monolinguals). It is already known that bilinguals have all kinds of benefits, such as a cognitive boost, less chance of dementia (because of a larger white matter integrity in the brain) and a more flexible brain (as bilinguals switch between languages). According to the mentioned study, German-English bilinguals seem to analyze and process information differently than monolinguals. Researchers showed a video of a woman walking to her car to their test subjects. English subjects described the ‘’plot’’ as “a woman walking”, German subjects would describe it as “a woman getting” (walking) to her car. The English subjects seem to be more action-oriented while the German subjects would be more goal/objective-oriented. This difference in interpretation is caused by the difference in culture and language. Language and culture affects the way certain actions are analyzed and processed. The difference between the Germans and English subjects shows that they have a different perspective of the ‘’plot’’ in the video. The bilingual German-English subjects described both the action as well as the goal from the video; “the woman is walking to her car”. This shows that analyzing, processing and responding in multiple languages also affects their perspective on the world. This means that if someone is bilingual and familiar with multiple different cultures, you see the world differently compared to someone who only speaks one language and is familiar with only his or her own culture. Whether or not someone is bilingual, is subject to debate and depends... read more

Localization of the ‘World Wide Web’

Localization of the web is progressing at full speed. Online marketing and advertising, just like search results in general, are increasingly targeted to specific regions, both linguistic and geographic regions. I moved from The Netherlands to Boston three months ago, and the online experience is simply completely different – not just because the average internet speed is, interestingly enough, significantly slower in the US. When you are visiting another country you can get an idea of the differences, but when you change your country settings in all your accounts, the experience changes even more. Over the next few years more content and advertising will become local, even on the ‘world wide web’. We may be connected in a technological sense, through those mysterious cables on our ocean floors, but time zones, languages, cultural norms, geographic and environmental factors all influence human behavior. A sense of community is more important than ever for many people. Google’s Eric Schmidt wrote in his book ‘The New Digital Age‘ that the web could one day be like air space, where countries actively govern their own web and may get involved in international cyber wars and conflicts of interest. Of course, this is already the case to a large extent. In terms of marketing and customer service, however, this development can only mean that translation and localization will matter more than ever. It is the number one reason that translation is seeing the biggest job growth, according to Careerbuilder. Globalization and localization often go hand-in-hand, however contrary that may seem. Both large cooperations and small businesses need to explore ways to connect with their international... read more

Don’t hesitate to translate your marketing message

It can be intimidating to deliver your marketing message to other languages and cultures. You’ve worked hard to create a consistent, authentic identity – how do you even begin to translate your marketing message? How do you keep it up-to-date? Are you going to have to completely change your company’s strategy abroad? Translation and localization is not the hard part. It’s finding your voice and putting yourself out there – you’ve already done that! There are no shortcuts to putting yourself out there. A Twitter user proudly announced today that it would ‘promote your book to 157.000+ followers’. It sounds great, however, it’s probably not very effective. Many people want to be heard, they want their product or service to stand out. Many people also don’t want to do the work it takes. If you’ve worked hard to establish not only a product or service but also a voice, identity and a story, then the translation and localization of your marketing will be smooth and simple. All you have to do is give your language service provider a sneak peak behind the scenes of your company. Textcase finds a way to preserve your company identity while translating and localizing your marketing for another culture and language. We take our time to understand your business goals, we give free advice and we follow up to make sure you succeed. Read more about translating your marketing message and taking your... read more

A New Office

Textcase USA is now up and running in the city of Boston. Laura Pepitone manages the Boston office but she’s also still working on projects for European customers. If you are a translator, you’ll continue to hear from her on a regular basis – most likely in the middle of the night because of the time difference. In Utrecht, project manager Rachel Vermeulen is coordinating the other half of our projects and our team is supported by interns. We are expecting to hire a junior project manager this summer. In the early 1970s, Textcase started in Groningen, in the north part of The Netherlands. Language students at the University of Groningen became the foundation of the Textcase freelance network. When Koert van der Scheer became the owner of Textcase in 2003, he moved the company first to the media capital of The Netherlands: Hilversum. In 2008, Textcase moved to its current location at the lovely Begijnekade in Utrecht, in the historic city center. In Boston, Laura Pepitone joined a co-working community where hundreds of small companies and freelancers work in the same space. It’s a great environment for Textcase to get started on the American market. Our office is on Atlantic Avenue in Boston, in the financial district. See a photo gallery of our new office here. In the US, we have already acquired several customers, including a company that captions hundreds of hours of videos weekly in many different languages. Therefore, we are looking for people who are interested in captioning videos (for instance English language videos that need English captions) in a user-friendly online environment on a regular basis. Contact Laura Pepitone... read more

Translator Reviews

Translator reviews are important for any translation agency. The translation business can be a bit messy: anyone can start an agency and anyone can become a translator. Ratings and reviews on websites, therefore, are more important than ever. On the most popular translation community, www.proz.com, translators have rated Textcase over the years and we’re proud to have a 4.8 out of 5 score! See our rating here. The Proz Blueboard has long been the place to go for translators to share their experiences about the agencies they cooperate with. At Textcase, we are looking for close and longterm relationships with translators, editors, copy writers, online marketers and other international communication professionals, even though they may live in faraway countries. Our project managers are connecting everyday with people who are passionate about translation and localization. At Textcase we believe that personal connections are important. Some professionals have been working with our company for more than 15 years – that’s something we’re proud of and we appreciate the dedication of our freelance colleagues to both the translation profession and our... read more

First weeks in Boston

Exactly two months ago I arrived in Boston to open up Textcase USA. One of the first things I learned after my arrival is how to accept that there are only so many hours in a day. There’s an incredible amount of fun and interesting things to do around Boston, so prioritizing is important. Yet by far the most important lesson for me these past weeks was getting to know the American way of doing business. The journey began, obviously, with a lot of basic administrative tasks: getting my personal immigrant paperwork in order (the famous green card), finding the right office, getting to know my way around, buying a bicycle (of course!), registering our new location with search engines, improving our .com website, setting up a bank account, finding out about legal entities, and much more. The most important thing during these first weeks, however, was learning how to speak the American language of business and social interaction. Harvard Business Review published an insightful article about this last week. Even though I’m married to an American and I lived in the United States as a student, I had never been to Boston and I hadn’t lived in the United States for more than five years. I’m making an effort to observe the ways in which people interact and communicate, and I’m trying to add my own style into the mix. As an existing company, Textcase has to change its ways a little bit in order to connect with American customers – especially in marketing, sales and customer service. Finding the right path isn’t easy, but it will become clearer as we... read more

Impression of our Boston Office

On April 1st we officially moved into our brand new office on 711 Atlantic Avenue in Boston. We’re enjoying a shared workspace called Workbar. Hundreds of startups, freelancers and companies are located here, creating a vibrant and inspiring environment for Textcase USA. 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue Atlantic Avenue Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic Avenue 711 Atlantic... read more

Breaking the language barrier

New York City teenager Tim Doner speaks more than 20 languages. When he is invited by media outlets to discuss his impressive ability to learn languages, it becomes clear that most people are only interested in hearing Chinese tongue twisters and other ‘exotic’ sounds. Tim’s impressive talk, see below, shows that there are no shortcuts to getting to know other languages and cultures. He also explains that we can translate and carry little travel dictionaries around all we want, but that true meaning is a completely different layer that takes lots of time and effort to... read more

Textcase Boston opening March 1st

Translation Agency Textcase will officially open its Boston office on March 1st, 2015. Manager Laura Pepitone will work closely with the existing team in Utrecht, The Netherlands, to manage translation projects for the North American market. A short video pitch summarizes Textcase’s services: The Textcase office will be located on Atlantic Avenue 711 in Boston from March 23rd onwards. Textcase already creates translations for New York City based geomarketing company Yext. Having offices in The Netherlands and Boston will make communications with both translators and customers worldwide even smoother. On top of that, a growing US translation market forms a viable business opportunity. Read more about Laura’s experiences opening the Textcase Boston office or find out more about the translation and localization services that Textcase offers. REQUEST A... read more

Reading Translations

Most of us in the translation and publishing industry have heard of Ann Morgan and her Reading the World project. In 2012, she read 196 books in translation, one from each independent country in the world: one book from Swaziland, one from Argentina, and so on. Her initiative received much praise and attention. Last week, she wrote an article for the Financial Times reporting that the amount of foreign literature translated into English is about 4.5% (slightly more than the often quoted 3%).  Morgan states that it’s still difficult to track the development of book translations, but that it’s a promising sign that a relatively high number of foreign authors such as Jo Nesbo (Norway) and Elena Ferrante (Italy) are bestsellers in Anglophone countries. We’ll continue to follow Ann Morgan’s work,  and if you’re interested in reading translations, here’s Ann’s top ten: Albania – Ismail Kadare Broken April Canada – Nicole Brossard Mauve Desert Czech Republic – Bohumil Hrabal Too Loud a Solitude Mongolia – Galsan Tschinag The Blue Sky Myanmar – Nu Nu Yi Smile as they Bow Pakistan – Jamil Ahmad The Wandering Falcon Serbia – Srdjan Valjarevic Lake Como (limited availability) Sierra Leone – Ismael Beah A Long Way Gone Tajikistan – Andrei Volos Hurramabad Togo – Tete-Michel Kpomassie An African in Greenland See more about Ann Morgan’s project here: In the U.S., Ann Morgan’s book The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe will be available in May... read more

The Most Important Languages

Yesterday we published a blog about how AdWords can be a great way to test the market potential of foreign countries. One of the questions it didn’t answer was which languages are the most important. A few weeks ago, The Economist wrote about the most important languages. Scholars from various universities looked at the connections between languages and how many celebrities speak a certain language. They looked at Wikipedia editors, Twitter users and book translations. The results do not imply that these are the most important languages for business, but they do provide a unique insight into international communications. Russian connects languages from Asia to the Middle East, Chinese connects many Asian languages. Hindi and Arabic also played a big role. To find out which languages are most important from a commercial perspective, read our blog Which Languages Matter Most... read more

Internationalization with AdWords

You can’t start internationalizing your business before you’ve tested the waters. Many companies invest in multilingual AdWords campaigns to assess the amount of interest in their services in a particular country and to connect with potential customers. They do so long before they start offering their service or product. Testing international markets with AdWords campaigns has proven to be an effective technique. The costs depend on your niche market and the competition in a certain region. What exactly do you need to get started? A successful existing AdWords campaign You’ll only need adjust it for internationalization. You can probably leave parts of your AdWords strategy out, focus solely on getting your name out there and connecting with potential customers. A Google Partner localization agency / translation agency Find a localization agency that thoroughly reviews your existing AdWords campaigns, that understands your goals and that thinks with you to make your AdWords effective in the target countries. Marketing and translation increasingly overlap: there is an urgent need for language professionals who understand online marketing and commercial communications. A few excellent landing pages Someone clicked on your German advertisement. Congratulations! Now you need to have a page that offers them what they are looking for: information, a way to sign up, a way to stay in touch, anything that suits your goals. These texts are obviously written in superb German and completely customized for your target customer. After some time, you can assess the level of interest and the potential the region has for your business. Internationalization with AdWords is probably one of the most controlled and affordable ways to make your first steps... read more

Find the Right Translator

When you have a translation project, how do you select the right translator or language service provider? How do you make sure the quality matches your standard and how can you check the quality if you can’t read the language? Many marketing and communications professionals struggle with outsourcing translations. They often enlist the help of multilingual colleagues, either in their office or overseas, or they enter bits into Google Translate and see if there’s somewhat of a match in meaning. Materials like press releases, product descriptions for webshops, AdWords campaigns or SEO texts need to be top-notch. It is essential that the translator understands what you need, that he or she understands the culture of both the source and the target language and has excellent linguistic and communicative skills. Finding the right translator is easier said than done. Everyone can decide to start working as a translator tomorrow and the vague certifications in the industry provide few guarantees. On top of that, many scammers are pretending to be translators: they steal the identities of real translators and offer their services via fake e-mail addresses. Everyday I meet translators from all over the world, in almost any language combination. It is a wonderful part of my job as I get to talk to them about anything from their business to their newborns. We connect via LinkedIn, networking groups, translator communities, Skype, Gchat, our website, e-mail and face-to-face at events or at our office. I can distinguish professional applications from unprofessional ones and I have specific tests to assess linguistic knowledge. Also, I get to know everyone’s hobbies, interests and areas... read more

Translate this Book

Book translations open up worlds, cultures, connections. They spread information across linguistic borders, which empowers people, they improve understanding and bring people together. The financial crisis and structural problems within the publishing industry have put a strain on book publishing in general and book translation specifically – partially because it can be relatively costly and time consuming. Only about three procent of books in the United States are translations (if you care about increasing this number, check out the 3% initiative from literary translation promoter and publisher Chad Post). An overview made by English PEN, a global literary network, shows a promising list of recent and upcoming translations in 2015. What does it take for us to translate more books? Mostly, it’s willing and daring publishers and self-publishers, government grants, non profit initiatives, technology platforms, international cooperations between publishers, marketing savvy authors, internationally-minded authors, professional translators, editors and project managers, and, of course, curious readers. Get excited about the power of translation and watch writer Chris Bliss’ TED Talk: Comedy is... read more

Internationalization as a Growth Strategy

Could internationalization be the way for your business to grow? New markets are usually within reach and it doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. As a marketing-oriented translation agency, we work with many businesses – small and large – to offer their service or product in other countries. Our Project Managers roughly take the following steps in our localization and translation services: * Familiarize with the existing marketing strategy. * Discuss targets and time frames. * Consult with both marketers and linguists who live in the targeted countries. * Identify challenges or changes that need to be made to the marketing strategy. * Agree on which changes can be made. * Start translation and localization process. * Solve any unexpected challenges or act on new ideas and improvements. * Make sure the new marketing texts resonate with the target audience. * Monitor results. Textcase is practicing what it’s preaching: we are opening up our brand new Boston office March 1st 2015. It is our very first office in North America and because of this experience we understand the challenges that arise in offering a service or product in a foreign region. Whether you have a specific plan in place or you’re simply considering internationalization as a possible growth strategy, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to sharing our experiences, solving problems, seeking out possibilities for multi-lingual customer service and much, much... read more

Creating Better Content

In the early 1990s the internet was a big empty space waiting for people to fill it. Today, there still is a need for new content but the need for better content seems to be growing faster. One of the challenges that online initiatives face is the contradiction between being a publisher and being a platform. A publisher works to gain trust through professional selecting and editing whereas a platform gives a voice to the crowd. This Harvard Business Review article explains this dilemma in detail. When I interned at Time Inc. in 2009, CEO Ann S. Moore proclaimed that the world would desperately need more editors to channel the stream of content. In a way, that has turned out to be true. At Textcase we work with both publishers and platforms and we’ve been observing the tension between them up-close. Publishers are experimenting with creating platforms as new business models while platforms often underestimate the costs and expertise of publishing tasks. In any type of selected content, online or in print, committed and professional editors prove their long-term value time and time again. Simultaneously, user-based platforms are admirable because they make information flows more democratic. Yet the selection and creation of high quality content demands professional attention. We believe that the care that goes into creating valuable content will become a higher priority and that the purpose of both publishers and platforms will crystallize during the next few... read more
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