Toasting Mexican independence this Cinco de Mayo? Not so fast.

Ready to toast Mexican independence over margaritas this Cinco de Mayo?  Not so fast. You can still have them on the rocks or blended, but first know why you’re drinking them.  And it’s not for Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16 (though you can partake then, too).  Even more surprising for some […]

The transcription agency owner goes barefoot

They say the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot…and similar could be said about the transcription agency owner.   Mixed metaphors aside, once upon a time, I was a graduate student in linguistic anthropology at UCLA. I was conducting ethnographic research among speakers of Judeo-Spanish, a language spoken by Sephardic Jews—descendants of the Jews that were exiled […]

Commanders and Chiefs of Multiple Languages

Multilingual World Leaders It’s common knowledge that US Presidents from past centuries are important historical figures, but American citizens may be surprised to learn several of these English-speaking world leaders were also multilingual. Forefather, Six Languages In addition to his native tongue of English, Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, the country’s second Vice President and third […]

Terms of Endearment to Swear Words – Best in our Mother Tongue

Regardless of fluency level, multilingual speakers tend to rely on their mother tongue when it comes to to expressing emotion. From terms of endearment to swear words, one’s first language is more intricately tied to gut responses. On the other hand (or lip!), multilingual people use a less emotional, more analytical approach when reading, speaking […]

Zica vs. Zika: Unfortunate Timing for the Launch of the New Zica Hatchback

Much has been written about poorly-researched brand names and marketing campaigns that cause embarrassment – if not negatively impact sales – on a global scale.  The auto industry is full of examples of car models whose translations conjure up quite a different image than originally intended, including the Chevy Nova (“doesn’t go”), the Nissan Moco (“booger”) […]

3 Big Tips for Small Businesses Reaching Multilingual Markets

The motto “the customer is always right” is a mainstay of mainstream business. This approach, first coined by turn-of-the-20th-century retailer Henry Selfridge, marked a dramatic shift from the less consumer-friendly caveat emptor – Latin for “let the buyer beware” Fast-forward 100+ years to the present for the next evolution in customer relations: multilingual services. In […]

The 4 M’s of Multilingual Marketing Online

Multilingual Digital Marketing Content is king when it comes to reaching online audiences, but is that monarch multilingual? For more than fifty percent of Fortune 500 companies, the answer is yes (or sí or 是 or نعم فعلا) since these businesses use multilingual websites to expand their cross-cultural customer base. In addition to company websites, […]

The Multi-Benefits of Being Multilingual

Benefits of being multilingual Obviously speaking more than one language can enhance your career opportunities, make you a versatile conversationalist, and let you skip those pesky subtitles on foreign films. But being multilingual has many more internal benefits since research shows it’s also good for the brain. That’s right, multilingualism can help you filter information […]

Technical Translation - Technology

A Multitude of Multilingual Industries in the US

Multilingual Industries in the US Once upon a time, translators were among the few professionals who used their multilingual skills for work. But that’s no longer the case today. The need for multilingual employees is expanding since more than 30 million people speak Spanish and millions more converse in French, German, Mandarin, and Arabic, among […]

Stars Widen Their Horizons by Being Multilingual

Advantages of learning a foreign language Audiences are accustomed to actors adopting an accent to suit certain characters onscreen. The knack for sounding foreign certainly was a charm for three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep. Yet being fluent in other languages off screen can be an even bigger asset. LANGUAGE OF LOVE When American movie star […]

The evolution of 20 words over 20 years

I recently wrote about Oxford Dictionary’s new slang words – among them, MacGyver, awesomesauce, butt dial and wine o’clock.  These are words and expressions that didn’t exist in the past (of course, MacGyver existed as a name – just not as a verb) but have become widespread enough in pop culture to be added to […]

Why export – and why translate?

I was invited to participate in a panel this week as part of Crain’s Small Business Week.  The panel, hosted by the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing and Women’s Business Development Center, was about how to ignite and grow your export potential. My contribution?  The importance of translation. Here are some highlights: Know your international audience Knowing […]