New Year, New Rubric!

New Year, New Rubric!

Welcome to our brand new website, built especially with you in mind. We hope you enjoy exploring it. But before you look around, we’d like to give you some background as to why we’ve decided to roll out a new, improved version of Rubric. As you may have guessed, it’s not just our website that’s had a facelift; we’ve taken a new direction too. Fear not, our revamped offering is built on all the things that brought us to where we are today.

Our mission has always been – and continues to be – to equip our clients with the tools, guidance and knowledge to ensure their success.

We know that a localization project – no matter the size – is daunting. The fact that your localization and translations determine whether you sink or swim can be downright terrifying. We want to make this process as stress-free as possible, which is why we’ve revamped our website to demonstrate the fact. Our clients are an integral part of the localization process, and thanks to our virtual workspace used by both clients and our team, all parties are involved from the get-go. This close collaboration has myriad benefits: you’ll have an in-depth understanding of the process, be able to successfully navigate future projects much more quickly, and do this in a more cost-effective way to boot.

We view the localization process as a partnership.  

We aim to demystify the localization process, which is why we work hand-in-hand with our clients, guiding them as to the best way to localize their offering. Succeeding in a global marketplace means delighting your clients, and we want to be the engine that drives that delight. This infographic explains each step of our process, which culminates in our end goal: an enhanced experience for your customers.

We want to make the localization process as simple as possible for you.

Along with our new easy-to-navigate, information-packed website, we’ve custom-built a content library of case studies and eBooks designed to help you familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of localization. Find out who we are, what we do, and how we’ve helped our clients effectively communicate with their customers.

We hope you love our new look as much we do. If you have any thoughts, comments or queries, you can contact us here.

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How to make the most of your marketing messaging toolbox

How to make the most of your marketing messaging toolbox

The days of using a television ad to punt your brand are over. Marketing today is all about conversing with your audience; less shouting, more listening, and hopefully, conversation. Drawing your target market towards you relies on having a well-equipped marketing message toolbox at your disposal. As consumers move online, they’re bombarded with content.

In order to make your marketing messaging stand out, you have to make sure that you’re using the right combination of marketing mediums.

The wrong combination results in a diluted, non-cohesive message; the right combination, however, can combine to form persuasive marketing magic. Remember that your marketing messaging has to work in unison in order to translate the emotional appeal of your product and ultimately get people to invest in your brand. We’ll look at the tools that make for a powerful marketing toolbox. Here’s what you need to equip yourself with if you want your marketing messaging to be effective:


The love affair between your consumers and video content is a passionate one. So much so that video is reported to increase the time a visitor spends on your site by a mammoth 80% (as reported by Mist Media). Video is able to convey far more than an image or written content – and much more powerfully at that.


Our time-starved daily lives mean that culture – on the whole – is far more visually-driven than ever before. A picture can convey a message in an instant, and is able to evoke an emotional response far quicker than a blurb can. Today’s consumers don’t have the time to wade through pages of text; in order to get your marketing messaging across as quickly as possible, you’ll need to embrace the use of images in all of your marketing touch points.


While images and video are increasingly important, the copy you use remains a crucial aspect of your marketing messaging as a whole. The words you use to woo your audience need to be instantly understandable, clear and most of all, facilitate an action that will encourage them to purchase your product or service. Verbose, convoluted copy is akin to a bad date: it makes the wrong impression, has consumers itching to leave as soon as they’ve arrived, and then lives on in their memory as an experience to be avoided at all costs.

Tone and Voice

Just as important as the words you use is the way your put them together. There are countless ways of saying the same thing, but not all of them are effective.  The way your construct your copy will determine whether or not it appeals to your audience on an emotional level. Aim to convey the personality of your brand, as well as the way your product or service can benefit someone who’s reading your copy.

Learn more about winning over the hearts (and wallets) of your target market by downloading our brand new, free eBook, ‘The Psychology of Marketing Messaging’.

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Marketing messaging guide

Film translation faux pas see Hollywood put their global marketing in jeopardy

Film translation faux pas see Hollywood put their global marketing in jeopardy

The saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is pertinent advice for first encounters with new acquaintances (as well as when deciding which paperback to pick up from Barnes and Noble), but as far as films go, their titles play a vital role in their success. A film’s title is someone’s very first interaction with a movie, which means that it has to accurately encapsulate the essence of the film. Unfortunately, inadequate film translation means that something that’s pretty self- explanatory in the English language often ends up as mystifying foreign audiences when faced with titles that have almost nothing to do with the original.

Examples of incorrect film translation abound, most of which are garbled interpretations of the original at best.

Take these for example: In China, ‘The Full Monty’ was translated into ‘Six Naked Pigs’, and the Jack Nicholson classic ‘As Good as it Gets’ ended up as ‘Mr Cat Poop’. The Japanese translation of ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ was ‘I’m Drunk and You’re a Prostitute”, and the French film translation of ‘The Matrix’ resulted in the mouthful ‘Young People Who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses’. As funny – and perplexing – as these film translation are – they demonstrate that the meaning of the film titles literally gets lost in translation – with the end result being worlds away from the original.

This article from The Economist discusses the major role that foreign audiences have in the success (or failure) of blockbusters produced on US soil.

“In the past decade total box-office spending has risen by about one-third in North America while more than doubling elsewhere” the article reported. Warner Brothers made $2.93 billion off movies including the Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes franchises and the film Inception. As DVD sales decline at a rapid pace – thanks no doubt to more in-demand services like Netflix and Hulu, Hollywood is now more dependent on foreign audiences than ever before. The Economist cites three key factors as influencing the success of American films in foreign countries: “a cinema boom in the emerging world, a concerted effort by the major studios to make films that might play well outside America and a global marketing push to make sure they do.”

As studios clamor to gain the attention and buy-in of foreign audiences, accurate film translation is more crucial than ever.

Determining whether diminishing returns on home ground will be bolstered by overseas audiences relies on films that are accurately localized – titles included.

The average cost of marketing a Hollywood feature film is between $40 million and $50 million.

As Adweek reports, Hollywood studios spend an eye-watering sum marketing their films annually. The cost of professional film translation is a fraction of that amount, yet too often, it’s not even budgeted for.

The examples of sub-par film translations are the result of lax translation that’s the opposite of professional.

Whether the result of turning to Google Translate, another automated translation app, or the bumbling efforts of an English speaking employee, film titles are mangled often, indicating a larger problem. The use of professional translation services, rendered by experts with extensive knowledge of localization best practice is crucial.

Find out more about globalization best practice by downloading our free eBook, ‘The Psychology of Marketing Messaging’’, here.

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Marketing messaging guide

Product localization vs. product globalization: what to consider

Product localization vs. product globalization: what to consider

Companies expand into different territories for a number of reasons – each as valid as the next. Whether due to an unstable economy, a saturated market or increased competition, countless companies set their sights on greener pastures. The allure of entering a brand new market has seen Ikea set up shop in Shanghai, Zara open its doors in South Africa and McDonalds sell burgers on every single continent bar Antarctica. These brands owe their successful global expansion not to product globalization, but to product localization. Before you set foot on new soil, you’ll need to decide the best way to go about tailoring your business and product offering to a new market.

First things first: what’s the difference between localization and globalization anyway?

Countless definitions abound, and many of them are conflicting. Here’s the down low: Globalization refers to the overall strategy of how a company develops and launches products and services globally. It involves everything that has to change in the business to optimize its chances of international success. W3C defines localization as: “The adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market.”

Deciding on the best way to adapt your product to a new market depends on several factors:

Your budget

As the catchy pop ballad goes, “It’s all about the money”. Your budget plays a massive role in deciding whether to localize or globalize your product offering. Both require a substantial investment of not only capital, but time and skilled staff too. If you’re expanding into several countries – or several territories in the same country – you’ll need to make sure that you have enough budget to localize your product to several different markets. If cash-flow is tight, choosing to globalize your brand would be the financially-savvy option. You’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of each. If you spend money on product localization for each and every target market, how much will be left over to support everyday operations, such as marketing your business? On the other hand, if you choose to globalize your product, what are the financial implications of a brand that’s not accurately aligned with the unique cultural and societal qualities of each and every market?

Your product

This consideration is just as – if not more – important than your budget. Before investing any capital in your planned expansion, examine whether your product is suited to the markets you’d like to enter into, and what needs to be done to make this undertaking viable. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole’. If you’re in the business of selling software, for example, your entire offering will need to be translated into the language of the market in question. If you sell clothing, however, the only brand touchpoint that will need to undergo product localization will be your marketing and advertising campaigns. All brands require some degree of product localization; being able to cater to a new target market requires an objective examination of your product offering in order to determine the extent of product localization you’ll need to invest in.

Your new target market

We may live in a global village, but intrinsic cultural differences remain. Regardless of whether you’re aiming to expand into a country on the other side of the globe, or into a neighbourneighboring nation, accurate product localization is always required. Even the most negligible differences can have a massive impact on the success of your business. For example, a colleague who was on vacation in South Africa found herself in need of directions. Upon asking a passing local, she was more confused than ever before. The reason? The passerby had instructed her to “Turn left at the robots.” I can only imagine what her reaction was. Chances are, it went something along the lines of: “ROBOTS? Where are these robots?” As you can see, one word (traffic lights vs. robots) caused a lot of confusion. While the US and SA may seem similar in many respects, differences do exist. Avoiding costly cultural gaffes then, relies on product localization for every single new market – no matter how similar they may appear to be.

We offer both product localization and globalization consulting and services to leading brands. Find out how we can help you to tailor your product to a new market and ensure that your global expansion goes off without a hitch, here.

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Ten document translation tips top technical writers swear by

Ten document translation tips top technical writers swear by

As it is, the preparation of documents for foreign language markets comes with more than enough challenges. As you manage your content across product lines (not to mention grappling with multiple versions), deadlines seem to loom larger with every passing keystroke. Keeping the deadline demon at bay requires a strategic approach. By preparing your technical content properly before document translation begins, you’ll save time and money in the long run, all while ensuring high quality document translation that’s tailored to your new market. The good news? This process doesn’t need to have you breaking out in hives. Here are ten tips to help you prepare for any document translation project, regardless of the target language.

1. Follow technical document writing best practices

· Always write in clear and concise sentences. Use limited dependent clauses. Expressing only one idea per sentence will help translators and also increase your savings from translation memory matches. · Avoid using idioms. These are easily misinterpreted. · Steer clear of cultural references to avoid your message getting lost in translation. · Never assume a symbol will be universally understood – make sure the market you’re talking to interprets the symbol you’ve used in the same way you do.

2. Use automation

Automating menial tasks like drawing up a Table of Contents, assembling index pages, checking that you’ve referenced correctly and testing internal and external links can save you a lot of time (and keep your sanity intact). By using style sheets, it’s infinitely easier to automatically apply any updates or format changes.

3. Prepare for text expansion

Translated material can often be longer than the source, so always account for some degree of text expansion. You’ll need to consider how this might impact artwork, graphics and graphs. It’s also important to bear in mind that your documents might need resizing.

4. Link your graphics

If possible, it’s always preferable to link graphics over embedding them. This eliminates you having to replace content in localized versions or when updating future content. Using linked graphics instead of embedded images also means smaller file sizes, which is preferable when using document translation tools.

5. Provide thorough instructions

It’s vital to include detailed instructions and outline the scope of the project, tools and versions when sending files to your localization consultants. Ensure that you’ve clearly indicated any information needed for achieving deliverables, including the format of the document (PDF, docx, html etc.), image types (jpeg, gif, png etc.), as well as any settings that may be necessary.

6. Organize your file submissions

When submitting documents to your translation service provider, you should include all the relevant material for the translation of the document in working order. Organized folder structures help to prevent the processing of unwanted files or overlooking critical ones. Disorganized file structures can also result in projects taking longer to get off the ground, as well as technical problems like dead links, which could cause errors in the compilation process.

7. Plan your updates

Sticking to a tight schedule with your updates helps mitigate as much reworking as possible, saving you time and money. If you’re working with a technical document translation service provider worth their salt, they’ll be able to provide advice on the best and most cost-effective way to coordinate document updates in the future.

8. Create a translation glossary and style guide

Every industry has its own lexicon of buzzwords, and what works well in one language might not translate as effectively into another. This is where a translation glossary and style guide come in handy. This document should include company-specific conventions, including corporate or industry terms, abbreviations, as well as the terms that should remain in English when the document is translated. In addition, the style guide should detail the tone required to in order to ensure that messaging is uniform throughout. Lastly, your glossary and style guide should be regularly reviewed and updated.

9. Inform your translation vendor about the subject matter of the content

As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details’. When it comes to document translation, the more information you give your translation service provider, the better the result. By supplying them with all of the relevant information, you’ll make it much easier for your vendor to source qualified translators who have experience in the subject matter or have extensive experience in the industry at hand.

10. Insist on Quality Assurance (QA)

Before you hire a translation service provider, find out what editing process your translation vendor uses. The (inefficient) industry standard is to have content go through the sequence of translator, editor, and then proofreader. This potentially leads to the editor and proofreader rewriting half the content, which begs the question: why not get the proofreader to do the translation from the start? Rubric uses a tried and tested method where their reviewer provides a feedback loop to the translator in order for them to be able to incorporate any corrections. This is the key difference between our method and the industry standard one – one which consistently leads to higher quality translations, and happier customers.

Contact us today to learn about how our localization and translation consulting services can bolster your success.

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