Hello PureFluent!

As I write this, we’re just about two weeks away from “go live” – the point where we complete our rebranding from aatranslations to PureFluent. I suppose that many people would assume that this is just a marketing exercise for us, but in reality it’s much more than that. I’ve been in this industry, on and off, for more than 10 years, and I’ve seen a lot of challenging translation projects. We’ve got good at dealing with those challenges.

But the more I have talked to our customers, the more I began to understand that translation was part of their challenge, not the whole thing. You can have a great translation, but what if it takes you months to get your content live because you’re struggling with an ancient monolingual CMS? What if a translation of your English content into German does not suit the German market? What if you simply don’t have the time to get all of your content translated because your content changes too frequently, and there’s too much of it?

These are the wider challenges our customers face. Hence our rebrand project – and our new mission, to help you “reach your audience”. I hope you’re going to like the new website, but more importantly, I hope we’re going to be able to make a real difference for your business by helping you tackle more of your challenges.

When 5 words are not 5 words

We had a conference call today with one of our customers whose website we just translated into French. A dating portal. Thousands of words, but what we eventually discussed on the call with the translation team for half an hour broke down to 5. Well, no, let’s count precisely. Education level question: 3 words. Claim: 5. 8 words in total.

But these 8 words were crucial.

3 words: Within the dating website you had to tick your level of education. What if the German system hasn’t got anything to do with the UK, the French, Spanish or US system? It doesn’t, I can assure you. Will we leave the lonely hearts out there because they don’t know what to tick in this section? No. We need to make a decision.

Similar but not the same for the claim which appears on the landing page. It has to be catchy, respresent the target audience, they have to feel at home here.

We provided 5 examples with the back translation and one of our options convinced the customer. As it was targerted to the right generation, wasn’t a direct translation but conveyed a romatic feeling of the past. That was it. 5 words.

5 words of transcreation. According to the reasearch done by CSA, 15 years ago, only 3% of the translation buyer had heard of this concept. Today, about 43% are aware and embrace the idea of transcreation as a service. © CSA – Reaching Markets Through Transcreation

Oh Spanish…

As a Latin American living in Spain I am often asked many questions about my accent and the words I use when I speak Spanish. A good friend of mine makes fun of me because even the tone of my voice changes when I jump between English and Spanish. The truth is that while there are differences between the varieties of Spanish, we Spanish speakers can all understand each other; the differences in vocabulary are no greater than those between British and American English.

The differences in pronunciation fascinate me. Down in the south the ‘S’ is not always pronounced, some syllables go missing, the classic double-l in Argentina usually pronounced like the y in yellow or the s in measure. Some say Colombian Spanish is the most beautiful one, other say Spanish spoken in Madrid is the most important, some say that Argentinian Spanish is the sexiest. The difference that strikes me the most is perhaps the “lisp” that is common in Madrid and some other parts of Spain. Legend has it that it all started with King Ferdinand’s lisp that was copied by the Spanish nobility. Blows my mind! A speech impediment changing the way a language is pronounced.

However, it is not all that clear-cut when it comes to translating, say for instance, sales training materials for 10 Latin American countries. Let us not mention Mexico here, which is a complete different world, positively speaking, of course. I have seen the same translation being used for several countries, say for instance, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay, I guess the criteria used was that they were all located in the south tip of the continent? Not sure about that, but if you ask me, I would say you should aim to go as specific as possible, your target audience will thank you for it.

In Latin America Spanish has many different variants or dialects depending on the zones where it is spoken, mainly because of the vastness of the territory and different history. I have seen Latin American being broken down into geographical areas: Amazonian, Bolivian, Caribbean, Central American, Andean, Chilean, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican, Northern Mexican, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Puerto Rican and Argentinian Spanish.

Food for thought…

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