Language Localization

The Translation Confusion Surrounding King Charles New Title

translation confusion king charles new title

translation confusion king charles new title

When Queen Elizabeth passed in September, the entire world went into a period of mourning. She ruled for an astonishing 70 years and 214 days, making her the longest-ruling British monarch by a sizeable margin.

Now that her son Charles has taken the throne, countries across the planet are having to figure out what they should call the new head of the British royal family in their own languages. This has led to some confusion, which has delivered some interesting insights into how foreign countries translate the name of foreign rulers.

We’ll dive into it below.

Three Approaches

There are three main approaches that a country can use when translating the name of a foreign ruler.

  1. Translate both the royal title and the ruler’s name
  2. Translate just the royal title
  3. Translate just the name

Every country does things differently. For example, the Germans called Queen Elizabeth Die Queen while the Czechs called her Elizabeth Alžběta.

You would think that each language has its own rules that it follows every time regardless of the king or queen in question. For example, since the Germans called Elizabeth Die Queen, you might imagine them calling King Charles Der King.

But we’re seeing in real-time just how non-uniform languages can be in their application of various rules of translation – which has frustrated countless language learners and translators across the globe.

The King Charles Translation Dilemma

Language speakers across the planet seem to be figuring out what to call King Charles in real-time. Their various approaches to this have been rather interesting to track.

For example, we’ve seen King Charles be called Karel, Karl, and Karol by the Czechs, Russians, and Poles, respectively. But the Bulgarians (who also speak a Slavish language) are calling him Charles – without translating the name at all.

Some members of the Czech media have been calling him král Karel III, while others have called him král Charles III. The country’s language institute recommends calling him Karel III but also acknowledges that some people are using Charles III.

What This Says About the World of Translation

The reason why this confusion is noteworthy is that it offers some interesting insights into how language groups assimilate foreign names and titles into their own cultures.

What seems to have happened is that media members and everyday speakers began using whatever translation for King Charles felt most natural to them in the immediate aftermath of his mother, Queen Elizabeth’s death.

In the early stages of this, several translations were often used interchangeably with one another, as shown by the Czech example we gave above. Then, over time, a favored translation tends to emerge and this becomes the standard moving forward.

It all shows just how messy the concept of translation can be. Even when a historical precedent for a type of translation is in place, it doesn’t always mean that it will be followed in the future.

It’s a major reason why companies, organizations, and people need to stay up-to-date with a culture’s evolving language practices if they wish to translate documents and materials in that language.

Iconic Bottles and Jars – The Translation Company

When The Translation Company discovered that the unmistakable Coca Cola contour bottle was celebrating its 100th birthday, we suddenly couldn’t help noticing all the other iconic bottlesand jars that have embedded themselves in our everyday life. From our breakfast table to our nightstand, the world’s most recognisable bottles are often sitting right under our noses – and now they’re also on our very own infographic.

These bottles and jars have been so instrumental in defining the quality of a brand that companies have often been quick to patent their valuable designs. For multinational companies this means lawyers and translators getting to work ensuring these bottles are properly protected in countries all over the world, the designers at least can sit back and relax – the bottles speak a universal language.

Of course if you dig a little deeper you’ll see that there’s much more to these bottles and jars than meets the eye. Did you know for example that the designer of the humble Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser, the late Kenji Ekuan, went on to design a Yamaha motorcycle and the Tokyo bullet train? Or that the Absolute bottle was the inspiration for over 1,500 advertisements ran from 1981-2007? Or that Heinz tomato ketchup that leaves its bottle at more than 0.028 miles per hour is rejected from sale?

If you have any favorites or can think of a bottle that we should’ve included why not let us know in the comments below.

Iconic Bottles and Jars

Twitter Puts a Stop on Bing Translation


Not too long ago, the users of the Android and iOS Twitter app had an option to use Microsoft’s Bing translation engine for the purpose of translating tweets. This wasn’t noticeable in the stream of tweets, the possibility of translation appeared only after clicking on a particular tweet and that tweet was individually displayed on the screen. Unfortunately, using the Bing translation engine is no longer a feature that is available and reasons for this are still unknown. Since nobody gave feedback as to why Bing translation was removed, we can do nothing but speculate what were the reasons behind such a move.

Bing translation was unreliable

One of the reasonable explanations for the disappearance of this feature is that the foreign language translations provided by Bing were unreliable or inaccurate. However, we all must admit that finding a reliable translating software which is solely based on AI is impossible. All of the translation services that are swift and accurate usually use machines to gain the first draft of the translation and, afterwards, people step in and rectify the text.

In other words, saying that the translation engine is unreliable for the purposes of translating tweets is just stating the obvious. All of the translation engines are unreliable in the context dependant text area and, since Twitter users mostly tweet about fresh topics, leaving hashtags, etc. Translating tweets only ruins them, meaning that the possibility of gaining a new followers based on a translated tweet is null and void, since the spirit of one’s message usually disappears.

This feature is obsolete 

Let us assume that the translation engine can at least transfer the main idea behind one’s tweet, and that, in the process, all of the sarcasm and humor from it are removed… then what? The main idea behind Twitter is that users follow one another and share (retweet) witty tweets. One user chooses to follow another user based on the written content of that person, so why would someone follow a user whose tweets needs to be constantly translated. Tweets contain slangs, metaphors of one language, also their content is connected to the events happening in a particular town or country (of course, not all of them…

When a worldwide event is taking place, the majority of tweets have the same topic. What is implied here is that Twitter users usually have target audience who live in the same area or speak the same language, since it is much easier to express themselves in that manner. It is hard to believe that there is a Spanish user who seeks Japanese profiles and translates them via translation engine for the sake of deciding whether he or she wants to follow that individual.

A possible use for this feature

It would be false to say that this is a completely useless option, since people who have the largest Twitter audience are globally renowned celebrities. Indeed, there are individuals who use their accounts in order to find out what are celebrities doing during the day. Sometimes, they tweet in their native tongue so the translation option could come in handy, and also, there are users who do not understand English and want to know what a particular tweet was all about. So, it is understandable why removing this feature can cause disappointment.

Another reasonable answer to the question “What happened to Bing translation?” is the following. Social networks are constantly trying to improve their services, which means that, by removing this translation engine, we can expect a better version of it in a foreseeable future. Twitter announced the arrival of some new features, like shopping services, for the sake of alluring new users. Twitter is constantly experimenting with these sorts of things, which could mean that the translation option was only an experiment without positive feedback.

All things considered, this was certainly not a feature that hindered the use of this social network, therefore, there was no good reason to remove it in the first place. One must admit that this only suggests a return of the translation service with a note of improvement… Perhaps the Twitter translation center will hire a team of people responsible for translating tweets on request. Despite the fact that the majority of users do not need this item, it can only be useful if it remains.

Skype calls with an automatic multilingual translator


While the English speaking part of the online community may seem that users with no English knowledge are nonexistent, this is far from the truth. Actually, English and Chinese speaking users are the most numerous two, comprising somewhere around 52% of the online community. What about the other 48% and their needs? Moreover, what about the lost business opportunities due to sheer the inability to communicate with each other? In the 21st century?

The global online business market is facing all kinds of language barriers on a daily basis. They can cause misunderstandings, mistakes and complete breakdowns in business relations. While larger businesses can afford to pay a translator when they need one, an average startup looking for business opportunities to expand their contacts can really hit a wall on account of a language barrier.

Skype, as one of the most used communication tools in international communication, has recently announced that they are working on a piece of software which will allow live translation for voice calls. This isn’t the first attempt to achieve this software commodity but the results thus far have been less than satisfactory.

A healthy dose of skepticism


Translation software has been around for quite a while now, the most popular one definitely being Google Translate, but there are very few voice based translation software solutions and most of them will give very frustrating and unreliable results. This is hardly something that can be used for business purposes since both parties need to be on the same page, no exceptions. This means that, if instantaneous voice translation software is to be produced, it would need to operate with tremendous precision. This is especially true for the 300 million Skype users, a large part of which use this software to cut costs on international business calls. The expectations are high and the end result would have to be spot-on in order to be considered useful. There is no room for misunderstandings and no time to be lost in translation.

The details


This news was announced by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella at Code conference. This feature of Skype might be offered on a pay-to-use basis and is currently functional enough to function as an intermediary between an English speaker and a German speaker. According to the presentation, the Skype Translator will be using “deep learning” based on a computerized neural network, which will allow the software to get deeper insight into the complexity of a language. Furthermore, it will be able get better at one language by learning another similar to a human being. The reason why this phenomenon occurs with both humans and software is still unknown, but it is definitely a fact that the positive effects of this type of learning are there. The beta version of this software is going to be released later this year, so we can get a taste of how the voice translator does its job, so it might be good to contain our skepticism until then. There are people who have had the chance to witness the Voice Translator work while it was still in development and they describe it as a venture worth pursuing.

To be or not to be


If they manage to produce something usable, the potential this application offers will mean a lot of opportunities for both business and private purposes. Nobody likes the feeling of not being able to communicate with another human being and it may even further expand the global market. It will also have a great impact on globalization, bringing the citizens of the World together. This is big news and you would have to forgive me if I’m a tad bit skeptical about its effectiveness.

Survey: U.K. retailers to see increased overseas growth

With the internet becoming a staple for consumers’ across the globe, businesses would be well-advised to take note and make concentrated efforts to meet their needs. Whether customers are searching online or are entering a real storefront, companies want to be sure that their product is accurately advertised.

Success Overseas

The success of overseas revenues was explained in a recent survey by OC&C Strategy Consultants. According to the results, United Kingdom retailers could see their overseas online revenues increase by £24bn by 2020. Furthermore, the number of customers outside of the U.K. who searched online for that country’s products increased by 46 percent between 2010 and 2012.

With such success through online sales, it would be a logical step for some businesses—in the U.K. or elsewhere—to want to set up a location in a new country. If this is the decision chosen by an owner, investing in professional translation services is advisable. That way, a company will not overlook any cultural or language issues when it moves.

This is especially important, as a survey from consulting firm Common Sense Advisory showed that 56 percent of customers find language to be more important than price. Essentially, shoppers feel more comfortable when they can read information about a product or service in their native tongue.

A localization company that specializes in business translation, and can help companies expand online as well as with brick-and-mortar stores, is a necessary partner to have. Globalization is a difficult enough process, and having to worry about whether a word was translated properly is one extra concern that entrepreneurs do not need.

Localization services can make all the difference

Even though different countries might not have a language barrier, there are often local customs and trends that entrepreneurs might not be aware of. To have a successful business, company leaders must be sure to account for such nuances, or else it could be more difficult to expand their existing customer base.

All marketing collateral, from advertising campaigns to a company website, needs to use a tone—and perhaps language—that the desired consumers understand and can relate to. Certain slang terms might not be well-known to foreign speakers, but this is where a translation services company can help.

With comprehensive knowledge and real people conducting the translations, organizations can ensure that no detail is overlooked. Prospective customers – and even employees – will know what is being sold to them and can see what they need to do to contact the company.

Michigan drug company moves to Ireland

One example where localization services might be needed is Michigan-based Perrigo buying Irish drugmaker Elan Corp. and then opting to move headquarters to Ireland. According to News Channel 3, a Michigan affiliate, the move was done in large part for Perrigo to expand internationally but also because of Ireland’s lower tax rates.

“The Ireland tax rate is about 12.5 percent in that rate, and so as we expand forward, it gives us a great platform to expand forward across the seas and be more competitive with that tax rate with other international entities,” explained John Hendrickson, Perrigo executive VP of Global Operations & Supply Chain.

While the acquisition is not yet finalized, it is expected to close within the next few months. Perrigo officials added that the company should save about $150 million in its first year of operating in Ireland.

Looking for professional translation services? We can help you.

Is ‘glocalism’ really that important for my growing business?

Globalization is hardly a new term, but the business world uses “glocalism” more often.

A recent Forbes article explains that glocalism is when a company is able to tailor its product or service to each location or culture in which it is sold. This is often a multifaceted approach, and organizations of all sizes must keep it in mind when working toward overseas growth.

The news source used McDonald’s and New York-based Rubie’s Costume Company as examples.

McDonald’s has often been known for having varied menus, catering to palettes based on location. India doesn’t serve the McRib, for example, but does offer a burger that features potatoes and peas.

“But it’s not just about local diets,” the article explained. “Glocalism is also about how companies can thrive—or not—depending if they have the true skinny on the local area.”

Rubie’s focuses on the dates, events, and characters that matter to particular countries. Halloween might be popular for about one-third of Rubie’s annual business in the U.K., according to owner Marc Beige. Still, Carnival is much more popular in Germany and France (check here our Business German and Technical French translation services). Beige added that Japan is entirely different, and in that country, Rubie’s will lean more on a centuries-old comic book culture.

International Translations

By partnering with a firm specializing in translation services, businesses can ensure they will account for local needs. Whether an organization requires website translation or needs human resources documents for foreign employees, a localization company will keep the process seamless. Products and services will be advertised properly, and customers will not be alienated.

Twitter moves execs overseas to expand international presence


As businesses work toward successful global expansion, it is important that organizations understand that intricacies and subtle nuances within foreign countries exist. Language is key toward drawing in new customers and even future employees. A lack of proper paperwork—either for worker documentation or otherwise—could hinder growth prospects.

Partnering with a certified document translation firm could ensure a smooth transition. Whether financial papers need to be filled out properly, or even if a website must be translated, it is wise to have experts assist in the process. That way, nothing will be overlooked and a business can guarantee that its message is being advertised correctly.

Twitter is one such company that continues to look toward overseas growth. According to AllThingsD, the social media business is sending three top executives to foreign locations. The news source explained that the move is likely due to a desire to improve international presence, leadership and also prep U.S.-based leaders for future upward movement in the organization.

Brazil and Japan

Katie Jacobs Stanton, vice president of international growth, will move to a European location. AllThingsD reported that she already helped open offices in that continent, along with Brazil and Japan.

“She works more on the consumer side, speaking to high-profile folks of the region and explaining why they should be all over Twitter (which, in theory, leads to trickle-down growth from fans and followers of a particular influential person),” the article explained.

Regardless of a company’s reasoning for moving overseas, it is crucial that officials account for all aspects of such a transition. With proper document translation services, a business can take care of all details, no matter how minute or insignificant they might seem.

Denmark looks to Nebraska to further business’ growth

The Midwestern part of the United States is generally not thought of as a hub for growing businesses, but Denmark is looking past all those fields of corn for the next opportunity for business expansion.

The Danish Parliament

As reported by The Omaha World-Herald, earlier this week, members of Denmark’s Parliament and the Royal Danish Embassy visited the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area to learn about U.S. business.

“We were looking for where in the U.S. was doing very well in creating growth and jobs,” committee chairwoman Eva Kjer Hansen told the news source. She also mentioned that Google searches showed Nebraska’s less than 4 percent unemployment rate and the state’s incentives for prospective businesses. “It was obvious we should go to Nebraska,” Hansen added.

According to the World-Herald, the visitors were supposed to gather information and report back about how to attract industries and spur innovation in the U.S.

US and Denmark Ties

There are already several ties between the Cornhusker state and the European country. One being that the Denmark-based Novozymes, an enzyme production plant, already has a location in Blair, Nebraska. Fred Reikowsky, general manager of the plant, explained that part of the reason that location was chosen four years ago was because of the cost savings from joining already-clustered facilities.

Also, Nebraska has low utility rates and places companies in close proximity of corn-producing states. The Blair plant makes producing ethanol more efficient, Reikowsky said, and Novozymes is the largest supplier of enzymes to the U.S. – about 60 percent of the market share.

Legal Translation Service

As companies across the globe look to expand their business’ outreach, it’s important that they operate correctly in their new markets. A legal translation agency can be very beneficial, as a company may run into legal troubles very easily when not meeting the local market’s laws and requirements. With translation services for websites, for example, an organization can ensure that local customs are accounted for along with any language nuances.

Toyota alters business plan to push global growth

Globalization & Localization

Toyota announced last week that it had appointed three outside board members for the first time – a huge shift in the Japanese company’s management practices. According to Business Insider, Toyota had previously adhered to the tradition of promoting individuals up from within its ranks.

With the change though, non-Japanese CEOs would be appointed in the United States, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

“Toyota’s leadership changes portend a new era,” James Post, an expert on corporate governance at Boston University School of Management, told the news source. “New directors, drawn from beyond Japan’s shores, will help develop a truly global view at the top.”

President Akio Toyoda told Business Insider that he wants to build a corporation that has a good feeling for what is happening throughout the world. He added that he hoped the management change would help push a recovery, following the 2011 tsunami, which was especially devastating to production and sales in Asia.

Toyota’s Localization Plans

The news source reported, though, that 2012 was already a more profitable year for Toyota, strengthened in large part by key Asian and U.S. markets.

By using people who understand the language of different countries, Toyota is further proving the importance of having a human aspect in order to achieve a strong global outreach. As companies try to expand into new markets, it is crucial to take into account local customs and how customers might respond to various sales tactics.

Using a machine-based translation, for example, will not be able to account for some of these aspects. However, by partnering with a localization company that specializes in website translation services, a business will be able to reach a wider array of new consumers.

Globalization might be the way of the future for many organizations, but without accounting for a localization aspect, it will be more difficult to successfully break into foreign markets.

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