You know how it is – all nationalities have their unique stereotypical traits. With Germans it’s all to do with hogging the sun loungers on holiday while the Brits just can’t get enough of queuing. The French are snobby about food and Italian men fancy themselves as irresistible Romeo-type figures. When it comes to South Africans one stereotype concerns gender differences ie the men are masculine and the women oppressed.
Mostly stereotypes are complete generalisations and nowhere near the truth – as a visit to any of the countries mentioned above will testify (except maybe Britain since the Brits really do love a good queue from time to time).
But what about the habits of we Saffas? What are the things we do here in South Africa that other nationalities simply can’t get their heads round? Here’s some of them right here:
Protesting and prancing
When we say ‘prancing’ we mean dancing. In other countries when people protest about politics, wage cuts, factory closures etc, they march and chant. In South Africa we dance and sing. To other nationalities that’s a concert and a fun day out!
Loving the left hand side
In South Africa we’re so used to sticking to the left and passing on the right when we’re on the road, going up escalators and getting around in general – to the extent other nationalities who visit can become a cropper even just taking a jaunt down a busy street.
Having a variable vocabulary
All nationalities have idioms and specific turns of phrase that mean certain things which aren’t immediately obvious. And South Africa is no exception. Our use of the expression ‘now now’ when we mean something to be far into the future rather than immediately is one of them.
Bringing the house to the beach
Yep, we like to be comfortable when we head for the sand and sea. And why not? Often though it involves a good hour to get ready. Well, by the time we get our collection of deck chairs, small fridge, music accessories and food for throughout the day, we’ve pretty much filled the car boot – and the back seat.
Setting up a salad
When preparing a salad we South African’s hardly blink an eye when it comes to adding a few carnivorous touches to our greens. But in other countries adding meat to lettuce, carrots, beetroot etc is just unthinkable. That’s because a salad should contain only fruit and vegetables; adding meat is a big ‘no no.’
Red light waiting on the road
In South Africa we stay sitting at the traffic lights when they turn green because taxis travelling in the other direction have permission to drive first under the ‘early red rule.’ Not so in other countries. We’re just waiting for the foreigner-driven car smashes…
Silly about sex
We really don’t like engaging in the old ‘horizontal loving’ during the day. Well, some of us don’t anyway, according to stereotypical thinking. That’s the way animals behave. We’re fine with boozing and other pleasures during the day though…
Our culinary skills with caterpillars
In Britain they bring out the cheese board after dinner, in Germany it’s apple strudel in South Africa it’s…. deep fried caterpillars. That’s not a custom that’s been picked up by the rest of the world, strangely….
Loosening up the language
Here in South Africa it’s not uncommon to switch languages and dialects three times while conversing with someone. Other nationalities wouldn’t simply just not understand what was being said, but they would find the whole process extremely bizarre.
Aptitude for apology
By this we mean the way we say ‘sorry’ all the time – even for something that’s not our fault. It could be because your friend is having to work late or they have stumbled and twisted their ankle. Yes, we didn’t cause the unfortunate incident, but we do feel ‘sorry’ for them and it’s our way of saying so.
There are many more South African traits that foreigners just can fathom and we’re sure you can come up with some yourself. In the meantime, if you’d like help with understanding other languages and cultures for your business then do get in touch. At AfroLingo in Cape Town we provide a range of translation and localization services for international businesses looking to get a local hold on their market. This includes Software Localization, Mobile Localization and Transcription. We also cover a range of different languages such as AfroLingo include Afrikaans, Swahili, Somali, Zulu, Setswana and Twi, amongst others. See www.afrolingo.co.za for more details and to see what we can do for your business today.
These days it’s easier than ever before for businesses to have a global reach – and why not? The world has certainly shrunk, thanks to communications technology and logistics.
But marketing internationally isn’t just about the latest IT software or physical know-how. Much more important is getting the language and culture right so that you can connect with – and appeal to – this new audience. In order to do this getting a good translation service on board is crucial.
One such translation service is Afrolingo. Operating in what has been tipped as the continent to have the largest working population by 2034 (1.1bn – no less). The country is also undergoing rapid urban expansion to the extent that the United Nations predicts the number of Africans living in cities there will reach 187 million by 2026.
Around 50 percent of Africans to have smartphones by 2020
Technology has its grip too. East Africa is a world leader when it comes to the mobile payments industry while although in 2010 just two per cent of Africans were using smart phones, more than half of people living there will own one by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum on Africa. As a result, Africa is definitely a market companies interested in a global influence should ignore at their pearl.
The term localization strategy is one marketers use when they talk about targeting particular areas (or countries, such as Africa). It means getting to understand the consumer habits of the people who live there together with how they think and what makes them tick in general. It means understanding not just the language to a high degree, but also the idioms, slang and alternative meanings of words and phrases. In other words, it’s being with someone who is immersed in the culture and everyday life of your targeted place.
What happens when you don’t have a localization strategy?
We’ve all heard the hilarious, fabled anecdotes about companies, many of them huge multi-nationals, who used their standard marketing strategy – and disaster ensued. There was, for instance, the US beer company Coors who translated its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, which is a colloquial term meaning ‘to have diarrhea’. More shocking still, another US firm – this time Gerber – marketed baby food in Africa with a gorgeous baby on the tin, unbeknownst to them that lack of literacy there at the time meant companies always put a picture of the tin’s contents on the label….
These days, of course, a localization strategy doesn’t just end with the poster, packaging and stapling. No, software, websites and apps are what most companies are focusing on today anyway. If you already have an app don’t think twice about changing its name if it sounds a bit ‘dodgy’ in your new market place.
Think images too. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing the poster of a glamorous American couple with perfect teeth and coiffured hair selling a product in a third world country where the majority of inhabitants are dark-skinned and scraping to get by. Not only can’t your market not show with it, they’ll probably find it galling too. Images can prove offensive to the extent they’re almost illegal. You wouldn’t want to publicise a woman in a bikini in the Middle East where the Muslim faith is for women to be covered, or instance – unless, that is, you happen to be seeking death threats from certain quarters.
SEO and Website content crucially always needs revision
When it comes to SEO, translation is crucial. You’ll definitely have to reconsider your keyword strategy due to the varying meanings of words in different cultures. And it’s not all about Google either; in other countries Yahoo is popular while in Russia and China you’re talking Yandex and Baidu.
Then there is the fact that some languages take up more space than others – something that’s particularly important when it comes to website content. Did you know, for instance, that the French and German languages took up 30 per cent more space than British or American? Nope, we thought not.
There’s the whole price thing too. It’s important to find out what your product or service typically sells for in the country you hope to target. You’re certainly not going to get as much in the Ukraine as you would in California, for instance.
To find out more about how your company can expand into new horizons with a targeted and effective localization strategy then get in touch with AfroLingo today. This South African translation and localization company based in Cape Town specializes in services such as Translation, Software Localization, Mobile Localization and Transcription. Languages covered by AfroLingo include Afrikaans, Swahili, Somali, Zulu, Setswana and Twi, among others. See www.afrolingo.co.za for more details.
In the world today, everything crosses borders, from news to websites. Apps, mobile phone applications, get shared worldwide in minutes. But there’s a problem: Your app can’t talk to the people you want to use it.
The Limited App
The fastest way to let your app, and all the hard work that went into it, wither on the vine is to only have you app available in just one language. You might not care if the language that it’s in is a large one, like English, Arabic, or Mandarin, but if you wrote your app in a less widespread language, you might be limiting your reach.
Getting your app translated into multiple languages can increase your market and your market share. You might be able to grow your market from a few million to a few billion just by adding new languages.
Localization vs. Translation
Localization is a term that is more precise for the needs of an app designer. By having your app localized, it is able to appear native. Cultural references can be adjusted, every item on the app can become part of the new locale, and the app will feel more comfortable to the end users.
Translation, as in the kind that is often done by machines, doesn’t offer the subtlety that a native speaker is able to bring to the project. It’s not just words, but the feel and structure of an app that might need to be adjusted and addresses. For example, if the language changes from a left to right to a right to left language, there might be structural changes that need to be addressed to make the app feel natural.
How to Get Your App Localized
The trick to getting your app translated, or localized, is having a professional how can make each part of the app appear native. While it’s rarely evident after all the work is done, there are dozens of error screens, small bits of text and other places where the language and structure needs to be addressed and corrected.
Firstly, don’t use a machine to translate your app. While this might seem simple and inexpensive, a machine is not going to be able to handle all of the structural changes that are needed to make the native and natural.
Secondly, you will want to look for a localization company with experience and with the native translators and staff to be able to ensure that every aspect of your app is perfect. You need a team that won’t need a lot of direction and can handle making decisions well.
One important aspect is to make sure that your localization project has and experienced project manager. This will be the person who oversees your project to ensure that each element is handled in a timely and efficient manner. This single point of contact and responsibility will make your project run more smoothly and cleanly.
Localization is an important part of getting your app into more hands and creating an empire. The key to the process is to find a team that is able to keep your app looking and functioning will in every regional and locale.
You see it every day, but you probably don’t think about it. There are literally millions of items in the world that have been created with desktop publishing (DTP). Flyers, brochures, business cards, advertisements, you name it, it’s created with desktop publishing.
What Desktop Publishing Means to a Business?
A professional designer can create DTP items that are amazing. They work with images, text, and layouts that allow you to simply print the item out and it’s look amazing.
Not so long ago, to have anything created and printed meant that you had to hire a team. A designer would create it. A layout person would set it up. A printer would prepare it for offset printing. It was expensive and time consuming.
Today, a professional designer can use powerful programs and knowledge to create these same items in days, even hours, and have them delivered to you digitally. From there, you can simply hit print on the item and print out right in your office.
There are several reasons that the power of DTP is amazing for your company:
- Cost – Hiring a professional designer to DTP is relatively cheap. It requires that you just know a bit of what you want and hire the right person. What used to take a team weeks can now be done by one person for a fraction of the cost.
- Responsiveness – If the market or your situation demands, a DTP designer can create something for you that is timely and still very professional-looking. If the local football team wins a championship, a local school gets an award, or a local celebrity gets the big movie role, you are able to have marketing materials that capitalize on the news of the day.
- Professional – Rather than having something that looks like you put it together on your computer, you can hire a professional to design something that looks amazing and will impress everyone who sees it.
- Translation – At AfroLingo, we are also able to make sure that your words are translated well. Because our translators are native speakers, they are able to make sure that cultural references will hit the mark along with language that is perfectly translated.
Types of items that be created with DTP
There are literally hundreds of items that can be created. Here’s a partial list:
- Business cards
- Greeting cards
The world runs on software. Everything from our telephones to our homes run on software. If your software is to be used by individuals or companies, you need to have if made local so that everyone who uses it feels right at home.
What is localization?
Localization is the concept of converting a piece of software from one language and region to another.
Wikipedia defines it this way, “In computing, internationalization and localization are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional differences and technical requirements of a target market (locale).”
his definition speaks to the importance of adapting your software to each new language. It’s more than just language though. There is also culture and tone. These might seem like minor shifts, they are important if you’re the person receiving the software.
One of the most obvious examples is the difference between American English and British English. If you tell an American to put the box in the lorrey they will stand and stare at you. In the US, they are known as trucks.
A machine translation might or might not spot these differences, but a native speaker will spot them a kilometer (or kilometre or mile) away.
Finding the right localization team
There are several steps to finding the right localization team:
- Look for experience – Every day, a new company enters the field. They come in two types: The kind trying to make quick money and the kind that are made up of professionals. Look for the team that has experience, regardless of the age of the firm that they work for.
- A technical team – You will want a company that has a technical team that can understand all of the ins and outs of your software. They need to be able to find everything, from the main page to the error pages to the smallest page in your help files.
- Native translators – Native translators are the people who make sure that your software “goes native”. They can make sure that your software looks like it was written next door not on the other side of the country.
What to expect
The most important person for your needs is the project manager. This is a person who will assemble and guide the team that is localizing your software. They should speak both languages and understand the process. They don’t need to be programmers, but they should have a really clear sense of what your software does and what changes will need to be made.
The next thing you need is a plan. The company should provide you with a step-by-step plan. This will be the guide for what to expect.
Finally, expect to be a bit flexible. Nothing ever goes perfectly, so plan accordingly. Make sure, especially if your software is your ‘baby’ that you understand this simple idea. Otherwise, you might find the entire process far more stressful than you need it to be.