Category Archives: Blog

The best ally in K-12 Student Assessments

Designed for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, K-12 Student Assessments are one of the main tools used by local governments to evaluate educational programs and by educators to help determine what works in learning environments. The results provide a complete picture of what teachers and students are doing in the classroom, however, language and cultural barriers could stand in the way of this goal in case of non-native speaking English students.

At Human Touch Translations we specialize in K-12 Assessments, with highly qualified interpreters to make sure the exams results accurately reflect the learning experiences of all kids, regardless of their background. Our ultimate goal is to ensure a better future for all multi-lingual children across the US by working at the state and local government levels, in several school districts and universities.

Since these assessments are periodically updated and reviewed, if students are unable to comprehend examination instructions or questions simply because they are not native English speakers, the whole process becomes flawed with misleading results. Language barriers also arise to deaf and hard of hearing students who face challenges when trying to communicate their concerns throughout the examinations.

Thinking of better ways to overcome these challenges, we have created the Students Without Barriers Program entirely dedicated to addressing this matter when partnering with school districts. When it comes to finding adequate professionals, we have a pool of highly qualified and experienced interpreters, many of whom have extensive background in education and understand the process both from the teachers’ and students’ perspective.

Interpreters at Human Touch Translations work in over 150 languages pairs and have undertaken rigorous training, possessing the background and experience necessary to interpret in an educational setting, especially in K-12 Assessments. In addition to offering Sign Language Interpreting for K-12 Student Assessments Programs, we also offer American Sign Language (ASL) services for daily learning development in the general education setting.

Romina Lago, Senior Project Manager in charge of arranging the ASL program at Human Touch Translations, explains: “Especially with sign language, since interpreters work with young students, even if all academic requirements are fulfilled on the part of the interpreter, we need the ‘human factor’ to work as well. If the interpreter and the student do not ‘bond’ or connect, the entire process fails, and miscommunication and frustration are the obvious consequences”.

How does Student Without Barriers Program work?

Human Touch Translations’ interpreters stay in the exam room with the students and help them throughout the process with a high level of professionalism while never forgetting the human touch. The personalized and human aspect is what differentiate us, allowing students to focus on the subject matter of the assessment examinations and reducing the stress level they naturally experience in these settings instead of struggling with the language barrier.

Children under special education programs are also covered by Human Touch Translations’ services. Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are a key component designed to meet every child’s unique educational needs. It describes the specific learning needs for each case, the services a school will provide, and how progress will be measured. Our team of highly trained linguists regularly translate IEP documents and provide interpreting services for IEP meetings.

To find out more about how Human Touch Translations help governments achieve their goals, please contact us here.

Even James Bond could not elude a Cyberattack

According to a recently published article, by the Associated Press the producers of the James Bond films say an early version of the screenplay for the new movie Spectre is among the material stolen in the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Although the company warned that they will prosecute any person using any material from the story, the unfortunate truth is that the damage has been done.

When you send your  documents to a translation service provider, are you certain that the latter has taken every step to protect the documents from being hacked?  Although in some cases we may fail to realize the possibility that financial, personal, medical or legal information sent out for translation could suffer a cyberattack, the costs to all parties affected can be monumental.

That is why at Human Touch Translations, we have taken all of the steps possible in today’s world to protect your confidential information during the translation process.  In addition to the numerous security steps we have undertaken, Human Touch Translations even has a cyber security insurance policy that our clients can be covered under.  Find out more.

Reach Out To Your International Audience With Transcreation

Globalization has allowed many businesses to reach out to wider audiences. The largest companies now have customers in several countries and many business owners will tell you that there is only so much you can accomplish by limiting yourself to a national market. Reaching out to an international audience comes with its unique challenges, including the language barrier but also a cultural divide.

There are many humorous stories about marketers failing to do enough research about the culture of the country where they are launching a new campaign. For instance, Honda released its Honda Fitta in Scandinavian countries without realizing they were advertising a car named after a slang term used to refer to the female anatomy. The Honda Fitta quickly became the Honda Jazz but not before Nordic customers had a good laugh.

Intel avoided a costly mistake by changing their “Sponsors Of Tomorrow” slogan into “In Love With The Future” for the Brazilian market. Research showed that once translated into Portuguese, the slogan suggested that Intel would not fulfill its promise until tomorrow while the English slogan did not have this connotation. Intel used a technique known as transcreation to come up with a new slogan that was more relevant for the Brazilian market and conveying the image of a brand that looks towards the future – without delaying its promises until later.

If you are in the process of launching a marketing campaign in a foreign country, you should seek help from transcreation professionals as well as translators. While translators are qualified to translate content and are knowledgeable about the culture of the country where you want to market your product, they may not have any knowledge of marketing. On the other hand, transcreation experts have years of experience in marketing and can advise you on how to develop your campaign abroad.

Transcreation experts can help you translate slogans, puns, idioms, promotional messages and create an image for your brand. While a translator would simply repeat the slogan in another language, a transcreation expert can rephrase the slogan so that it is culturally relevant for your target audience while conveying the same ideas. Your slogans or promotional messages will be slightly different but the nuance, tone, meaning and effect will remain the same.

We at Human Touch Translations can help you with your international marketing campaign. Please get in touch with us for more information about our services and about what we can do to make your campaign relevant globally.

Localization Tips

Globalization is a phenomenon that’s been bringing the world closer through the exchange of goods and products, information, knowledge and culture. There is plenty of evidence that offerings adapted to local language, requirements, and tastes are much more successful. To do this, many companies utilize localization, which is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market. For organizations having a global presence, the aim of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been created for the target market and to eliminate, or at least minimize, local sensitivities.

The following are a few tips to optimize your localization efforts.

• Thinking about localizing during the entire process of developing your original content can mean less cost, and a greater potential for reuse. Whether content is displayed in a software interface, on a website, or in print, the product design must make allowances for the target market requirements. This will ensure your design concept is more easily internationalized.

• History, culture, ideals and propriety, as well as language are greatly varied across the world. Therefore, do not assume your local market reflects the characteristics of the global market.

• Avoid using slang and colloquialisms. Messages that are word-crafted purely for the domestic market can be lost in translation. Also, be certain your product supports different calendars, date and time formats, as well as ensuring your design accommodates displaying characters beyond your alphabet. For the best results, writing simple, active-voice sentences works best.

• If done right, graphics can be a great tool for communication. Graphics are a universal language which require no translation and are understood by everyone regardless of location.

• Always make allowances for text expansion in dialog boxes. Often, alphabets and text expands up to 20% when translated from English.

• Avoid making changes to your original content once you begin the localization process. A single word change in your source can mean many, many changes to cover all the target languages. This can cause delays and increase cost. According to a study by Common Sense Advisory, you limit yourself to one third of a potential $45 trillion economic opportunity if your websites are only available in English. Don’t forget that localization means building bridges to other people, places, and cultures. The above tips are simply a few ways to make this process easier and less time consuming.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Human Touch Translations. We would be happy to help ensure your message is translated effectively across cultures.

Accurate Translations are Critical to the Legal Industry

Free trade agreements are critical to ensuring the economic health of countries, creating jobs and adding much needed business capital to spur growth. That was the case in 2011 when South Korea and the European Union were busy hammering out such an agreement. Both sides were, they thought, scrupulous in their examination of each section of the agreement, and, satisfied that their interests had been appropriately addressed, signed the agreement that year.

That confidence was shattered when a South Korean lawyer, Song Ki-ho, fluent in both English and Korean, discovered some glaring inaccuracies which had resulted from inaccurate translation. Specifically, whereas the English translation required English architects only to pass a straightforward examination to receive their licenses, the Korean version necessitated in addition no less than five years of architectural experience, as was the case for South Korean architects. The translation mistake which Song discovered had actually made it more difficult for citizens of South Korea to be licensed than for their European counterparts.

Distorted Priorities


The EU/South Korean free trade agreement snafu is just one example of the need for accurate translation in the legal industry. Such translations require not only a deep understanding of the language (particularly legal terminology) of each participant to an international business transaction, but also a thorough grounding in the legal systems of the countries involved.

Business transactions of this magnitude can put millions of dollar at risk, and participants to those transactions are typically willing to spend huge sums on travel, legal staff, and postage to mail reams of documents across borders. All too often, however, they try to save money when it comes to securing competent legal translation services, sometimes relegating that work to any staff member with only rudimentary translation skills.

Fundamental Skills and Competencies

Legal translation is a highly-skilled profession, one which requires comprehensive training and a number of fundamental skills to ensure accurate transactions and agreements. Among the several competencies needed by legal translators, two are critical:

  1. Language Training: legal translators must possess an exemplary understanding of the languages involved. This includes not only the nuances of generic grammar, syntax and vocabulary, but also those elements of each language which specifically pertain to the law and to business.
  2. Legal Training: equally important, effective legal translation necessitates a deep understanding of the law as practiced in each of the countries. Mistakes which occur due to inadequate grasp of contract law, for example, can be as damaging as those related to sentence structure or the meaning of individual words.

Mistakes in legal translation are often costly, not only in terms of lost revenues, but also with regard to subsequent litigation. Competent legal translation requires a thorough understanding of both language and the law and a meticulous attention to detail. Considering the risk involved, securing competent legal translation services represents a prudent investment for business.

To learn more about the ways in which skilled legal translation can help your business, contact us today

How to make sure you convey your marketing message across cultures

The biggest and most common mistake companies who are starting to go global make in their marketing communications is believing that by simply translating their current marketing copy it will win customers in the new foreign market. Even though they made an important investment to create the campaign for their current market, including carrying out quantitative and qualitative market research on their logos, tag lines, packaging designs, product concept, competitors and demographics, many companies don`t realize that it takes the same amount of effort to convey that message in a new language.

Everything about your brand, and your brand experience will require that your communication program endure significant fine tuning. Unless you concurrently studied the culture of your new market while developing the main campaign, you are probably looking at an adaptation that will require the same level of work as the original one. Major global brands work around the clock studying their target market from country to country, looking for universal truths that they can use to assist them in developing an umbrella concept that will work worldwide. If you are not fortunate enough to work with an agency with these types of resources, then it is especially important to employ the strategies listed below.

1. There must be a stakeholder at the home office that will work with a stakeholder in the new country. The local stake holder is responsable for ensuring the perfect transition from the home office campaign to the local market campaign, and as such is probably a near native speaker of the source language and a native speaker of the target language. In general, Marketing projects commonly require a process known as Transcreation. This process ensures that every aspect of the message conveys the message to your new market in a way that will impact them as it did in your home market. So there is much more involved than simply carrying out a literal translation, which can, and often is, a disaster. A simple example of a lack of cultural consciousness can be found with the launch of the Chevrolet Nova in Mexico. A huge success in the United States, Chevrolet decided to launch the same car in Mexico, completely unaware that in Spanish “Nova” would be interpreted as “no va” meaning something that doesn’t go anywhere! Car sales were a flop and it was withdrawn from the market. It was later relaunched as the Chevy SS (Super Sport), which overtime became “Chevy”.

2. Transcreation is a different process. It is unlike translating legal documents, medical affidavits, or technical papers, where exact and precise word-for-word work is done. Many changes to may be required, including colors, and layouts, to localize according to cultural norms. All of which is necessary to present your product in a market that is unfamiliar with your brand. It will take numerous iterations, and potentially a team of linguists working together to achieve your goal.

3. Once you have your local stakeholder, and a linguistic team in place, provide them with your original communication brief. This is the best way to make sure that everyone understands the concepts, and brand experience to be transmitted. Make sure that you have local market research regarding the socioeconomic demographics of your target market, as well as an exhaustive analysis of the competitive brands, including positioning, pricing and packaging. All of this information is necessary to localize your message.

3. Test, test, test. Focus groups are the best way to measure if your localization has achieved its goal. Does it produce the same reaction? Does the target audience provide feedback that confirms they have heard and seen the message you were sending?.

4. Time and Resources. The transcreation process will take longer than the development of the original campaign. Remember that this is a new market, where you are launching a brand and product that was originally created for someone else, with different needs or different tastes. to be successful, you need to get it right the first time. A lot of tweaking may be required. It is possible that the word count will not respond to the conversion-contraction percent that a standard translation has. Expect to invest in proportionally what the home office spent (relative to exchange rates) It takes money to pool the right resources and reach your market objective. It wasn’t free for the home office either…