What you can learn from e e cummings

What you can learn from e e cummings

a great

man

is

gone.

Tall as the truth was who; and

wore his

… life

like a …

sky.

The above is a poem written by e e cummings (not E E Cummings). Cummings was an American poet, playwright and artist who was famous for denouncing accepted grammar, sentence structure and spelling.

He used verbs as nouns and played around with punctuation and capitalization. Despite this rebellion against the status quo, cummings enjoyed a very successful career and was described as the ‘eminent voice of 20th century literature’.

And today he would’ve turned 122.

While cummings’ battles against convention may have resulted in the creation of some pretty prolific poetry, it also aided him in establishing a very memorable persona. But just because Cummings could get away with an eclectic approach to spelling and grammar, doesn’t mean that your business can adopt a similar approach.

Studies show that just one spelling error on a website can halve a company’s online sales. Spelling mistakes can account for thousands of dollars worth of lost revenue. Incorrect sentence structure and sloppy spelling put off customers and can cause them to question the website’s credibility. And it’s not just spelling that people notice, it’s grammar too.

Here are a few techniques you can implement to keep silly errors to a minimum:

Don’t just rely on built-in spelling and grammar checks

Spell check programs may pick up obvious faux pas but that doesn’t mean that they’ll catch all your mistakes. They also tend to have a rather limited dictionary, meaning that certain words, which are actually spelled correctly, will be flagged as incorrect. Especially when one considers that new words are constantly being added to the dictionary. Basically, a spell check is a great starting point, but this doesn’t mean that a stringent read through is not required.   

Map mistakes to prevent errors in the future

Most writers will have specific words that become a part of their writing style or they may struggle with the spelling of certain words. It can be handy to make lists of common mistakes so that writers can refer to the list when they are trying to decide if something has or hasn’t been written correctly. ‘Their’, ‘there and ‘they’re’ tend to get muddled up, so adding advice on how to avoid these tricky typos can make everyone’s jobs easier.

When you proofread, do it later

Before you publish something or hit send on that important customer email, wait a moment, walk away and then come back and proofread the content one more time. Waiting some time between writing the content and editing it generally means that you’ll be better at spotting errors. When you write something and immediately proofread it, you’re likely to rush through and miss things because the copy is still fresh in your mind.  

While ee cummings may have made a name for himself by leaving out capital letters and commas, you don’t want bad spelling and grammar to be something your business is known for. Partnering with an expert document translation services is a great way to ensure your content is error free. Contact us for more information about our services.


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Have You (Really) Got a Handle on Document Control Procedures? [Quiz]

Have You (Really) Got a Handle on Document Control Procedures? [Quiz]

The role of a document manager is a hefty one. Monitoring the usage, production and editing of technical documents requires a level head, love of protocol and iron-clad document control procedures. That said, not everyone is equally adept at running a tight ship. We know you have countless considerations that keep you up at night, and probably have little time to think about anything else, which is why we’ve put this fun little quiz together so you can a) do something that’s not work related, but is; b) firmly put those doubts to rest, or c) adjust your processes so that you’ll never have to take this quiz again.

If your document control procedures were a TV series, they’d be:

a) Game of Thrones – Your document control procedures are overly complicated and mired in outdated tradition. You’ve been known for dramatic outbursts upon discovering a staff member has taken the initiative and implemented a new process. Despite (or because of) your adherence to convention, you often have no idea what document belongs to House Lannister and what belongs to House Stark.

b) The Great British Bake Off –  All staff are meticulous perfectionists, following your document control procedures to the letter, no matter how hot it gets in the proverbial kitchen.

c)  Better Call Saul – Cowboy-esque tactics prevail. Your motto is “just make it happen – whatever it takes”. Needless to say, cutting corners and last-minute amendments are a common occurrence.

You view a translation memory as:

a) Equally, if not more important than oxygen.
b) Vital to your department’s efficiency.
c) Something to add to your list of “NB: find”

Your first reaction when finding a duplicate version of a file is to:

a)  React with shock, immediately consolidate the two, then fire the person responsible.
b) That would never happen to me.
c) Not another one!

Your indexing system could best be described as:

a) Second only to the Dewey Decibel System. It may be complicated to use, but it’s been around for the last twenty years. If something’s not broken, why fix it?
b) Streamlined. Logical. Efficient.
c) A work in progress.

To monitor document usage, ownership and editing history, you make use of:

a) A written log that has to be signed off by yours truly.
b) An online document management tool, accessible to all relevant parties.
c) An honesty system.

True or false: “My department conducts regular reviews of all master documentation”.

a) False. I’ve been known to do this frequently, even if some of my staff complain that it’s more disruptive than useful.
b) True.
c) False. We try to schedule regular reviews in, but we don’t always get around to it.

Once a document has been edited, it’s signed off by:

a) At least five department heads. (One can never be too careful.)
b) The head of each relevant department – no more than three role players.
c) Whoever has a moment to spare.

All master documents are backed up and stored:

a) In a physical hard drive, locked in a safe in my office.
b) On a central server that’s updated hourly.
c) We really should get around to that…

When handing documents off to a document translation service, your first thought is:

a) I hope they’re able to understand our indexing system.
b) The documents are accurate and ready to go.
c) Oh dear, I sent them the wrong version.

Ready to find out just how much control you really have over your firm’s’ document depository?

Your approach to document control procedures can best be described as:

Mostly as – You take your role incredibly seriously, preferring to rule with an iron first instead of flexibility. While an aversion to errors – human or machine – is a crucial role of the job, you (and your team) may find it helpful to introduce a little leeway in your approach to document control procedures. Being open to technical advancements, and the added convenience and ease it can offer your team, will benefit all involved.

Mostly bs – You’ve got a firm, (yet flexible), hand on your team’s document control procedures. Your understand that technical documents are living documents, which is why it’s crucial that the way you store and manage them make this process as easy as possible for all stakeholders, while ensuring accuracy at the same time.

Mostly cs – You tend to let the stress of the job get the better of you. You – and your department – stand to benefit from a thorough review and consolidation of all master documents, as well as an intelligent indexing system and usage log. Once you’ve done the necessary recon (so to speak), keeping a firm handle on document control procedures is a lot easier (and less stressful), for all involved.

(We’d like to assure you that no document managers were harmed in the making of this quiz. Our sentiments therein are intended as tongue-in-cheek.)

Need assistance with your document translation? We’ve got you covered.

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Five traits of a quality Localization Service Provider (and how to spot them)

Five traits of a quality Localization Service Provider (and how to spot them)

Finding a Localization Service Provider (LSP) is a lot like online dating. You know the right one is out there, but chances are, you’re going to have to sift through several less than stellar options before finding ‘the one’. That said, both endeavors can be a lot less stressful – and time-consuming – if you know what you need (and want) to get out of a potential partnership. As far as finding a localization service provider goes, settling for anything less than your perfect match has consequences far more dire than a couple of dollars wasted on a cringe-worthy date.

While it’s tempting to opt for a LSP who seems ‘good enough’, if your relationship sours, you’ll be left with far more than some regrettable memories.

Many companies are wooed by LSPs that offer low cost solutions. Their services may be cheaper in the short run, but will only end up costing far more further down the line. Besides wasting a substantial amount of time and money, opting for services that essentially increase your total cost of ownership is foolish. In fact, the resources spent on rewrites alone may end up costing your entire localization effort as a result.

Without further ado, here are the five traits of a quality LSP:

  • They view the localization process as a partnership.

The localization process is one that requires close collaboration. By working hand-in-hand with your LSP, you’ll both benefit: you’ll be able to help them to gain an in-depth understanding of your requirements and localization goals, and they’ll be able to guide and advise you as to the best way to go about your localization needs. Ultimately, besides providing you with localization services, they should also be able to act as a mentor throughout the process.

  1. They offer end-to-end project management.

Successful localization is just as much about project management as it is about translating and localizing your various assets. Much like a conductor leads a symphony orchestra, your LSP needs to be attuned to the tiniest of nuances, developments and potential wrong notes. They need to be able to carry the entire project, instrument by instrument, without leaving the woodwinds behind while the percussion plays to a different tempo. In other words, the localization process is incredibly intricate. If even one ‘note’ is off key, the entire process can be jeopardized. Your LSP should be able to perfectly orchestrate the entire project – while keeping you up to date throughout.

  1. They prioritize the end-user’s experience.

Many localization service providers strive to please only their clients, without factoring in the experience of their clients’ customers. Your experience is definitely an important one, but what really counts is how your customers relate to the end product. There’s no use being delighted by your LSP if your target market is left confused – or worse – misunderstood by your localized assets. Besides prioritizing the end-user’s experience as the ultimate goal, you LSP you should help you to understand your customers – wherever they are in the world. They need to have extensive experience in localizing and translating assets in a way that keeps cultural sensitivities, nuances and practices in mind. What’s more, they should be able to educate you on why they’re doing what they’re doing in a certain way.

  1. They enable you to reduce the total cost of ownership.

When it comes to localizing assets, it’s neither the cost per word, nor the cost per hour that counts. Instead, your LSP needs to provide you with agile localization solutions that lower the total cost of ownership. This should include consulting with you as to the best way to approach your specific projects, advising you along the way, and the implementation of software and systems that will allow you to reduce the total cost of ownership.

  1.  They provide a personalized experience.

A quality LSP knows that no two clients are the same. They’ll take your unique business objectives, budget, philosophies and localization goals into account from the very beginning of the project. This ability to deliver a human-touch to an often incredibly technical process can be the difference between a localization process that’s a nightmare and one that’s a dream. They’ll prioritize your needs – however small or large – and provide you with an agile solution that sets you up for long-lasting success.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can provide you with an all-encompassing solution that includes document translation, software translation, voice-overs, sub-titles and more.

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