Merry Christmas in the Languages of Europe

Merry Christmas in the Languages of Europe


This is a nice looking map by Jakub Marian showing the way other countries write/say, "Merry Christmas." 

Wikipedia does a good job of covering all of the countires where Christmas is an important holiday and tradition.


Planting a Tree in Sierra Leone

According to the World Bank the average person in Sierra Leone earns the equivalent of $1,750 USD per year. Incomes like that don’t make attractive markets for the latest smartphones or computers or cars. Fact is there really isn’t a lot of reason for the global economy to pay much attention to Sierra Leone.

Unless it’s possibly the source of a virulent virus that has the potential to spread across the whole world and cripple global commerce. 

The Ebola outbreak is a serious reminder of how small and interconnected our world is -- and how it’s getting smaller. Increasingly easy communication and increasingly easy transportation of people and goods are fueling this. The areas where different cultures intersect are often areas of friction and misunderstanding but for people in business they are areas of opportunity.

No matter what business you are in, software, manufacturing, legal services, publishing, if you answer the right question or solve the right problem with your product or service you can open up new markets anywhere. But how do you solve a customer’s problem or answer their question when it’s being asked in a language you don’t understand? How does a consumer know you have what they are looking for if the words they’re using to search don’t exist in the language your website is written in?

A recent survey of 2500 consumers around the world showed that more than 50% would not buy a product whose packaging, website, etc... was not in their language. 

If you could speak another language to improve your business today, what language would you choose? 

Mandarin? Hindi? Arabic? Portuguese?

There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

There are markets and opportunities waiting for you out beyond your cultural comfort zone (And it can get uncomfortable if you have the wrong approach). If you’re ready now, or you’ve thought about it in the past and felt it was too difficult…we can help you understand those markets and help those markets understand you. 

And it’s not just all about China. Even markets like Sierra Leone have potential. Incomes there have risen about 250% since the year 2000. Where do you think that number will be in 20 years?

Maybe you should go plant a tree. (We’ll help you translate your website into Temne.)

The Success of Translated Novel "Another" Leads to Hardcover Release

Another, a novel by Yukito Ayatsuji, was translated from Japanese into English by Translation by Design

Congratulations to Yukito Ayatsuji and Yen Press (Hachette) on the success of the novel "Another" and for it's upcoming release in hardcover! We received pre-sale copies as a thank you from Yen Press for our work translating the book into English from Japanese. 

Another is a bit of a phenomenon in Japan having spawned a live action film in Japanese theatres, manga releases (Japanese Comics/Graphic Novels) and a 12 episode anime series. 

Translation of novels, particularly fiction, can be very challenging because the subject matter springs from the imagination of the author. For a novel like Another to be a commercial success in a different language you need a skilled and creative translator who can capture the magic of the author's meaning and imagination and recreate (translate or trans-create) it in a such a way that it makes sense and is appealing to the buyers in the new market.

Translation By Design has worked with publishers for over 10 years and we have a great team of translators across most of the major languages including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French and German.

The success of Another proves that good translation is an excellent investment. The ebook proved popular enough to justify producing a much more expensive hardcover for the printed release in the U.S.

Translation By Design provided the book translation from Japanese in to English for Another, Volumes 1 and 2. Volume 1 is being released in hardcover on October 28th, 2014

Translation Saves Lives. Thank You, Translators Without Borders.

Translators Without Borders reaches 20,000,000 word milestone. We are proud to be a Bronze Sponsor of Translators Without Borders.

Knowledge is power. It saves lives, lifts people out of poverty, ensures better health and nutrition, and it creates and maintains economies. But what happens when the knowledge that can help a struggling community is locked away in a language they don’t understand?

Translators Without Borders (TWB) steps in to help. Lives are improved. Lives are saved. 
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needed to get communities that speak languages like Temne, Mende, Maninka and Krio information about the on-going Ebola epidemic in West Africa, who came to their aid?
Translators Without Borders
TWB creates and manages a community of NGOs who need professional translators to volunteer to help communities in crisis. Since their founding, TWB has coordinated the translation of more than 20 million words in the areas of health, nutrition, education and emergency response.

Language barriers hold back the progress of humanity in the areas that need progress the most.
Translation By Design is proud to be a Bronze Sponsor of TWB and to encourage our translators to volunteer for this very important work ( From our team to yours, TWB, congratulations on crossing the 20 million word milestone. The positive impact you have had on humanity with those translated words, that knowledge cannot be measured.
Thank you for the work that you do.

- All of us at Translation By Design

15+ Years of Passion for Language and Translation

When Translation by Design CEO, Sandra DeLay, closed the chapter on an enriching life of service at the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Northern California, where she contributed to the success of the acclaimed book Laurel’s Kitchen, a new chapter opened in the field of language and translation. She didn't know that 15 years later she would be running her own very successful company. What she did know, however -- was how to put the needs of others before her own.

What you’ll see next explains everything:


Our commitment to you is what drives Translation by Design. As the company Sandra founded now enters its 10th year that commitment to service and passion for language and translation, is stronger than ever. We’re adding new team members and new technology to ensure your translation projects are handled efficiently, delivered on time and on budget. We’re constantly expanding our network of interpreters so that no matter in what city or country the assignment is needed, we can get someone there who is professional and certified in the language and subject matter required.

Additionally, as our world gets smaller and business communications between cultures become even more important, Translation by Design continues to be one of the few translation companies to offer Cross-Cultural Awareness Training. This training is indispensable for companies seeking to grow and succeed in a very competitive global society. It is invaluable knowledge vital to any executive and team to fully understand the cultural nuances of those countries with whom they wish to do business.

“This business isn’t just about translating words, it’s about creating understanding and effective communication between people.” – Sandra DeLay, CEO Translation by Design

From the team at Translation by Design: “Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve.”



What if there was an app that supported learning a new language, used the best technology of our times, and wouldn’t cost you a dime? Wait, there’s more - while you practiced your linguistic skills, you would be working on real world projects, not generic text; you would be participating in the real world by actually providing a service. At the same time, the app would be designed to perform much like a game where you could earn points and move up levels. It sounds fun, doesn't it?

Now let’s say you’re a business with actual translation needs and possibly a low budget. You have heard of the perils of Google Translate and you don’t want to risk an awkward PR situation with a poor translation. What to do…..

Meet Duolingo – an award winning app that allows users to learn a language free of charge and free of ads. Duolingo’s business model is supported by having the customer with translation needs pay for the service – not the learner. It’s an idea for our time, of our times – using technology to break down language barriers.

Sounds good, right? But how good is it – can it compare to a professional translator?  The following are a couple of issues that Victoria Livingstone notes in her article in,

  • Context and complexity

Duolingo provides level appropriate sentences to the users assuring that users aren’t asked to translate material well beyond their ability. However, because the user gets one sentence at a time they miss the value of seeing the sentence in context. Professional translators often spend considerable time and effort to understand the context and deeper meanings of what they are translating. They also access a wealth of resources to produce a quality translation. When translating out of context the possibility for errors and misunderstanding can arise, resulting in a poor translation.

  • Crowd-sourcing

Duolingo uses a crowdsourcing model where students evaluate and rate others translations. A problem with this is that the users are all students and not professional translators. Again, there is a risk of poor linguistic quality control.

At Translation by Design we believe that you get what you pay for. If you spent resources to create your source file, we believe you won’t want to lessen the value of that work with a weak translation. Translation by Design works closely with our clients to assure that we have the right subject matter experts and trained linguists to do the translation. We place a high value on quality translations.

Effective networking with the Chinese…

Chinese Investors meet European Luxury Designers

As the rise of globalization increases, so too does the opportunity to expand our social and business networks. This is especially true between Chinese and Westerners.

An important take away from the post “3 Ideas for More Effective Networking with the Chinese”, written by US-China business and cross-cultural specialist Sean Upton McLaughlin, is that the more time one invests in understanding culture and in cultivating relationships, the more one gets back.

“Overcoming differences in culture, language, and communication styles might initially seem like a simple proposition, but in reality can present a greater challenge.”

The belief that we are all human and therefore have more in common than not can be misleading and limiting when networking with those from other cultures. Ignoring cultural nuances may prevent you from making meaningful connections and expanding your professional and personal networks.

It’s Important to Actually Approach the Chinese

  • Fear is a common factor that strikes people from all over the world. No one wants to embarrass him or herself and this can lead to a lot of stress when breaking the ice with new people.

Try To Create an Emotional Connection

  • Following are some simple techniques McLaughlin suggests to help a Westerner immediately start to build a deep and personal relationship with their Chinese partner:
    • Offer more compliments than usual
    • Let your enthusiasm show through
    • Defer to age and seniority
    • Try out some Chinese

Know how the Chinese Think About Relationships

  • Yuanfen – is the Chinese concept that relationships are predestined. For younger Chinese, Yuanfen factors more in romantic encounters. However, traditional and older Chinese consider Yuanfen essential for all their important relationships. Find out what you have in common with your potential partner and you will immediately enhance your connection with them.

McLaughlin aptly states, “Someone has to take the first step, and why not you?”

China Ready Event

Thank you to everyone who attended our “China Ready” presentation at the Carmel Plaza last Friday. We wish to offer an extra special thank you to Thompson Lange at Homescapes Carmel and Martha Torres, Marketing Manager for the Carmel Plaza for encouraging us to bring the event to the Carmel Plaza. It was wonderful to see so many people interested in how their business can create more revenue opportunities by creating improved experiences for Chinese visitors that come to the Monterey area.

Why China?

Because China presents the largest growth opportunity over the next 10 to 20 years.

Peter Fordos, MIIS Professor and Translation by Design’s (TBD) cross-cultural trainer, went over the economic opportunity and facts behind the growing Chinese tourism market:

China has 1.4 Billion people with the largest emerging middle class in the world. 300 million middle class Chinese now have money to spend and California is their #1 U.S. destination for travel, spending 2.2 billion in California alone in 2012.

Also during the presentation Darren Novak (TBD’s China Liaison) and Weihao Zhang explained the value Chinese visitors will find if you and your staff make even small gestures of cultural understanding such as using basic Chinese phrases and translating a brochure, product information, or signage. We’ve recorded some common greetings and encourage you to use and practice them with your staff. Click on the image below to listen to the recordings on soundcloud (


Our goal is to improve the overall experience of international travelers to California by approaching them through the lens of language and cultural understanding. By partnering with us, your business will attract the wealthy Chinese who desire to visit, shop and invest in California.

It only reinforced our belief about the wealthy Chinese investors when we read an article in the Thursday, April 3rd Monterey Herald called “From China, with Cash: Investments”. Frank Gallagher, MCAR Director told agents they need to be China Ready because the wealthy are investing. He said, "I think it is important for agents to walk in their clients' shoes and understand what some of these cultural differences are." And Allain Pinel reaffirmed by saying, “agents need to think globally by finding wealthy buyers in China and India.”

The Chinese were the top international real estate buyers in CA last year making up 32% of foreign sales.

Let’s keep in touch. There are exciting things on the horizon!

(In fact we can do more than just keep in touch…initial consultations of how Translation By Design can help your business address your intercultural communication needs are free... contact us or call 831.655.9588 anytime.)

Voiceovers: Look Who's Talking

I am the Lorax. I speak (in five different languages) for the trees!


If you or your kids are big Dr. Seuss fans, then you know The Lorax arrived in theaters last week. You may not know that Danny DeVito, one of the stars of the animated film, is also lending his voice to the Italian, Spanish, German and Russian versions.

Mr. DeVito doesn't speak these languages, so he worked with voiceover actors (the people who would normally be doing the recordings themselves) and other experts in the various languages to learn lines and practice pronunciation for each one. 

This is an unorthodox approach to movie dubbing.  As with interpreting, native speakers are considered the best bet when it comes to delivering voiceovers.  Intonation, timing, pizzazz, and the myriad other components that make for a well-done acting job are infinitely easier to accomplish in a language you speak with total comfort.  These factors are even more vital in an acting situation than an interpreting one, since entertainment, as well as information, are key. 

While TBD hasn't had any famous movie stars in our office recently, we do know a thing or two about dubbing and subtitling.  It has to be done just right to engage, not distract, the viewers.  TBD recently completed a translation and recording of 36 scripts into Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish for the City of Monterey to enhance the experience of visitors from all over the world.

From your perspectives as translators, interpreters, or even moviegoers, what do you think about this approach to voiceovers?  Would knowing that George Clooney was playing the lead character in another language make you more likely to see a film in Russian or Italian, for example? Will this prove to be a viable approach for movies to come?  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this new method.  

Will Your Valentine’s Day Be Bitter or Sweet?

Hey, at least you've got a box of chocolates all to yourself!

Valentine’s Day tends to bring out strong emotions: generally, you really like it or dislike it, for any of a whole range of reasons.

Nobody's even sure how Valentine's Day originated. Consequently, unlike most other holidays, nobody quite knows why we celebrate it. There are many theories, but few known facts. Other holidays may have strange traditions, like eating 3 days' worth of food in an hour on Thanksgiving, but at least we know what all the fuss is about.

We were pleased with Adam Wooten's recent article offering anecdotes and suggestions on holiday-related concerns, which can help anyone with international dealings to avoid potential cross-cultural pitfalls. After all, who wants to turn pink from embarrassment or have their colleagues go red in the face with vexation because their customs weren't taken into account? 

Translation by Design (TBD) is well aware that knowing what holidays are observed (and how) in different parts of the world is important for anyone with associates, clients or contractors in other countries. TBD’s translation and cross cultural experts use resources such as these to ensure that all your international negotiations and business dealings have sweet outcomes - whether it's Valentine's Day or not.

Since we can't send you a cross-cultural expert to help navigate this tricky holiday, allow us to at least suggest that, since nobody knows why we commemorate it, who's to say how we should celebrate? We hope this broader interpretation of the holiday helps you turn it into your best Valentine’s Day yet!

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