Unlucky Numbers Around the World

For localisation professionals there are many things that have to be considered when changing content. Often, translations take up the majority of the time and effort but you are not finished there. One thing that can often be overlooked but can have a big impact on the content in certain countries is numbers. Many cultures consider at least 1 number to be unlucky and some take it much more seriously than others.

#4      First of all the number 4 in China, Japan and some other East Asian countries is seen as extremely unlucky, it is pronounced ‘shi’. The number is considered so unlucky by some that it is left out in things such as seat numbers, floors and sports teams. The reason for this is down to the pronunciation, in Mandarin and Japanese the word for death is very similar in pronunciation to the number 4. This superstition is known as tetraphobia.

#7      Although in the west 7 is considered lucky in many countries, in the east particularly China, Thailand and Vietnam it is considered unlucky. The reason for this is that the 7th month is the ghost month! The month where hell is open and ghosts can rise to visit earth.

#8      The number 8 is considered lucky in the far east, however in India it is considered unlucky. It is said to be related to the three stars of Saturn or ‘Sani’ in Hindi. It is said to be a relationship breaker and peace breaker and many catastrophes have happened on the 8th or on dates related to the number 8 such as earthquakes, tsunamis and terror attacks, these have all enhanced this theory.

#9      Another unlucky number in Japan is the number 9, pronounced ‘Ku’. The reason for this is very similar to the number 4 except instead of sounding similar to death it sounds similar to torture or suffering.

#13    Probably the most common unlucky number across different countries particularly in the west. There are a few theories for this, most relating to religion. Firstly, the last supper has 13 people and it is said that Judas the betrayer of Jesus was the 13th to sit at the table. Furthermore, on Friday 13th October 1307 King Philip of France arrested and tortured the majority of the Knights Templar, this is where Friday the 13th got its bad rep from. Another theory is linked to full moons, monks responsible for calendars had problems with years with 13 full moons instead of 12.

#17    In Italy the number 17 is seen by some as unlucky. The reason for this is that the Roman numerals for 17 are XVII and when these are rearranged they spell VIXI which means ‘my life is over’ when translated from Latin.

#39   In Afghanistan this number translates to ‘morda gow’ which means ‘dead cow’. This is a well-known slang term for a pimp and as a result is highly undesirable in Afghanistan, so much so that number plates with 39 in them are almost impossible to sell or are often covered up.

#666 Another commonly known number amongst Christian countries because it is the number of the beast (the devil). This is referenced in the bible by John and is therefore considered unlucky amongst Christians.  However, recently scholars believe that the number was mistranslated in the King James bible and is actually 616, but the debate remains open on that.

Have we missed any unlucky numbers from around the world? Or do you have an unlucky number of your own?

Mercedes E350e owners review

Finally got the car on Thursday the 6th of April. Model E350e premium, but was it worth the wait

E350e

First impressions; very nice, extremely comfortable, very smooth and it even smooth’s out the potholes, much better than my old E300 hybrid. As usual with a new car at first you don’t understand why they changed things that you thought were OK before, but after looking at YouTube videos etc., I basically got the car to where I am happy with the controls.

Couple of niggley things such as when cancelling unwanted travel updates instead of cancelling just the travel news the button on the steering wheel silences the station completely so you have to hit it twice, and the cup holders are still a pile of c***p, does anyone know how to keep a small bottle of water upright in these things? They just fall over and rattle around alot . Also sometimes when I unlock the car and try to remove the charger it’s still locked in place so I have to relock and unlock the car.

I’m still getting to grips with the various engine modes but for the moment I just leave it in Hybrid/comfort mode for now.

Usability of the Hybrid system (is it any good?)

I’m still assessing it as I have only had the car a month or so but to date here is what I have found.

My house to the motorway M1 Junction 37 is 0.6 miles. The fully charged car says it has  between 14 to 16 miles (sometimes it says 18) by the time I have gone the 0.6 miles to the M1 the electric meter says I am down to between 9 to 11 miles. Wow a loss of 50% in under a mile. But I have learned to ignore that.

The motorway journey to Junction 34 is just over 12 miles and from then it’s 4.7 mile to my office in S1 through stop start traffic. Total journey to the office is 16 miles. To be honest the car sometimes runs out of electricity and by this I mean the ‘plug the car in’ icon appears about a mile before the office but it will still work using the electric motor but not at any great speed.

My run this morning to the office: It’s a Thursday before the bank holiday so traffic was a little lighter than normal but not a great deal. As usual lost 30% ish of electricity in the first 0.6 of a mile arrived at the M1 with around 11% left. Travel on the M1 to junction 34 very smooth, checked the miles per gallon and nearly fell out of my seat 99.9 miles it said. Very impressed. Then Junction 34 to the car park S1 in slow traffic brought me down to 84 miles per gallon not so bad. BUT I have seen it as low as 50 mpg just depends on traffic and my right foot.

Also yesterday our office car park with my charger in it is out of bounds due to a broken garage door, on the way home with no charge I got just 30 miles per gallon.

Weekend usage, just went shopping 3 times each day, no more than a couple of miles each time but did go up some steep hills. Car functioned in electric mode no usage of the motor even on the steep hills. Got 99.9 mpg all weekend.

Took the car to York for the Easter break. Basically got 50mpg on the way there and on the way back. 

Charging the car on while away.

1st time had to find a charging point, rang Chargemaster who had given me a card with the charger when installed only to be told the card was no longer valid as they had changed their rules, but he said not to worry just call them and they would sort it on the spot when I get to the charger. I even told them the charging point I was going to use as it was close to the hotel. Got to the charging point in York and rang Chargmaster only to be told that it’s not on their system and therefore they could do nothing, plonkers. I called the number on the charge point and they connected me via my Chargemaster account in a matter of seconds. Mmmmmmm.

Some mileage figures

Tuesday 18th April.  Back to work and tried something different this time. Put the car into sports mode to travel the 0.6 mile to the motorway got there with 16 miles left on the electric charge, switched to hybrid and got 62 mpg on the way in to work.

Wednesday to work 58 mpg – home 62 mpg

Thursday 20th to work 65 mpg – home 61 mpg

Friday 21st (still school holidays traffic very light) to work 88.2 mpg –

Car at the dealers trying to find the buzz sound have a C250 as a replacement and got 41 MPG on the way to work.

Conclusion so far

The car: Based on the loaner C250 I have today the E class is vastly superior in ride and comfort and just about everything else. The boot is smaller than the standard E class but thats not been a problem for me, nore is the smaller petrol tank.

Usage: If your wanting a car for long journeys, business trips etc I would say get a standard E220, if on the other hand like me it’s used for commuting between 16-20 miles on a single journey a day then it’s perfect. The main reason I got this car was the low tax I have to pay on it as a company car, the Mpg is interesting but not the main reason I got it. I also get the smug green feel of not having a diesel engine that everyone seems to hate at the moment.

 

Localising printed materials – tips and advice

Adelphi has been localising printed materials for over 20 years here is some advice on the do’s and don’ts when making the English version.

Often, we find that designers are not aware that their work will be localised further down the line, and even if they do, do not necessarily know how to adapt their work to make the process easier later on. Below are some examples of the most frequent mistakes we encounter. Avoiding these can save you a lot of money and can ensure that your work is completed in the quickest possible fashion with the minimum of fuss.

Some designs simply fill the page with text, leaving no room for text expansion. Most languages (with some notable exceptions) run longer than English and some of them run much longer. This causes the localised versions to have to make some sort of compromise: either text becomes smaller or a condensed font is used, or some material is completely cut out for brevity. Neither scenario is ideal, so it is much better to consider this aspect of the task at the design stage.

Overuse of text formatting features like coloured text, bold text and italic text etc. can slow down the localisation process, as the formatting needs to be applied to the precise word or phrase in translation that is equivalent to the English. Sometimes, this does not work at all if the target language has a dramatically different word order.

Embedded, non-editable text in images require extra attention or can be impossible to edit, and can slow things down dramatically, especially when over the main part of the image. Where possible, the text should be made available for editing in InDesign. If not, we will require all of the PSD files to work with.

Avoid designing paragraphs or “word clouds” with mixed font sizes that look good in English but have no chance of being replicated in the target language: quite often they do not have the same impact when localised and can often be “lost in translation”. Furthermore, due to word order difference, key words in English at the beginning of a sentence might end up in the middle or at the end of the sentence when translated.

One of the most frequent issues we encounter is incorrect and inconsistent usage of style sheets, in particular where one style has been used but in some instances bold text, italics or even different fonts have been changed manually. This can cause the most significant delays of all, and is the biggest source of small typos we encounter during internal QA.

Sending the artwork to be typeset BEFORE it is signed off by the client is never a good idea, and neither are new design changes after we have already started the work. We can do nothing in situations like these where significant changes are requested mid-project but start again and present new figures for the work, delaying work and incurring further costs for the client.

Localisation from English to right to left languages

These include languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish and Pashto.

Right-to-left languages require that the documents have their alignment flipped. This takes longer the more complicated the design. We recently had an English design that the designer went to town with angles, images with 45 degree angled sides, text boxes with 45 degree angles. It was obvious they had no idea that it was to be localised into Arabic because when flipped all the angles were reversed, that’s ok if the image is large enough to accommodate this but in 90% of cases this does not happen. Therefore it took us twice as long to set this document as normal costing the client twice as much.

Right to left languages also do not have uppercase, this is a problem we often come across as the English has uppercase sentences or uppercase words for effect. With Vidal Sassoon we agreed that where the English had uppercase we would substitute a bold font. Not quite the same but it gave emphasis where required.

Traditional (Cantonese) and Simplified (Mandarin) Chinese

Both Mandarin and Cantonese refer to spoken languages whereas Traditional and Simplified donates the writing systems. Mandarin is the official language in mainland China and Cantonese is used in Hong Kong, Macau and the province Guangdong.

chinese samples

Chinese is one of the few languages which takes up less space when translated from English. Both Traditional Chinese (Cantonese) and Simplified Chinese (Mandarin) DTP therefore requires an understanding of the layout of Chinese and the ability to modify the design of the document to avoid large spaces and unsightly gaps in the translated Chinese document.

Chinese fonts

Legally to print your materials for use in the PRC you must be using fonts that are licensed for use in the PRC, otherwise you will be breaking the licensing agreement of the font manufacture. Adelphi has over 100 fully licensed fonts for use in the PRC. To see a list of our Chinese fonts please click here

Font problems
It is very important that the diacritics are correctly lined up otherwise the word meaning can change. The correct font must be used to display the diacritics in the right position.

 Correct Thai  Incorrect Thai
Thai Thai-incorrect

Care has to be taken with some Hindi fonts, as occasionally they are not all mapped to the same keyboard layout, this means that some Hindi fonts cannot be swapped with another Hindi font, as some characters will corrupt. This means that the translator must use a standard professional font that can be used in the typesetting application, also some Hindi fonts do not have bold or italic options.

Line spacing in languages such as Burmese when the text has much taller characters than Latin text, because of this Burmese and other languages such as Cambodian, Hindi etc., often requires more vertical space between lines.
burmese_fp

Text expansion can be a problem

For Instance in German typesetting text expansion can often be an issue. There are often very long compound words in German, which can create problems. This can produce untidy line-breaks when placed in narrow columns and so being able to hyphenate the text in the correct place is important.

Julian, unser Auszubildener,
kam zu uns während eines
Studienpraktikums,
so hat er es sehr schnell
begriffen.

In some German compound words, the first word serves to describe the second word in more precise detail, for instance die Zeitungsindustrie (the newspaper industry.)

They even have awards for the longest German word of the year! In 1999 the winner was: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. The monster word consisted of 63 letters, 20 syllables, and ten individual words—all to express a law having to do with British beef (Rindfleisch) and the so-called “mad cow disease.”

Data required

We need the English original data for us to adapt it into a foreign language this is usually supplied by the design agency as a “collect or package” which includes all images, fonts and links (images) to the document. Without these we cannot create a print ready PDF as the deliverable.

To see typesetting samples go here

Adding Subtitles to YouTube

SRT and YouTube

Many companies now host their videos on YouTube and add subtitles by uploading a translated SRT file. This is a very cost effective way of having your videos subtitled. There are limitations as you do not have control of font or position etc.

Here is how it’s done:

How to upload subtitles and closed captions

  1. Visit your Video Manager and click the drop-down menu next to the “Edit” button for the video you’d like to upload subtitles or closed captions for
  2. Select Subtitles and CC
  3. Select the original spoken language of the video from the drop-down menu (157 languages)
  4. Click the Add subtitles or cc button and select the language of the subtitle or caption file you want to upload
  5. Select Upload a file (Details below)
  6. Choose the language at the top of the screen
  7. Choose the type of file to upload
  8. Click the Choose file button and browse your computer for the file
  9. The file will auto-populate and let you know the timing of each subtitle or closed caption

you can turn the subtitles on by clicking the captions icon at the bottom of the video. Depending on your location, the captions icon will look like one of the following: or

SRT-example

VO Test for social media

Introducing Muneer, Arabic voice artist at Adelphi Studio
Professional voice artist
Professional voice artist

Muneer is a Syrian-American voice-over artist who is proficient in North American English, Modern Standard Arabic and also Syrian dialect.

Muneer’s voice can range from professional for corporate videos, to fun and zany. He has a versatile voice suitable for any number of projects.

His voice can be described as warm, friendly and high energy.


Introducing Asma, Arabic voice artist at Adelphi Studio

Professional voice artist

Asma has a great love for voice-over work and certainly loves her job.

Her voice can range from deep and rich to high and child like, she is very versatile.

She is experienced in recording commercials, IVR messages, narrations, eLearning projects and also language learning guides in Arabic.


 

Foreign language voice-overs – Common problems and solutions

When a company is looking into having voice-overs recorded for their videos or learning materials, there are common problems that they may face. Below are some of them and the solutions to make the process simpler:

Communication is paramount
Before starting the project, all parties should agree on the precise workflow and schedule. This should include the division of tasks in the project, what services the suppliers are providing and in what format the deliverables will be produced. 

Solution

  • It is always a good idea to establish communications between the voice-over production company and whichever party is going to produce the end result of the project. There may be specifications or aspects to the task that you had not considered, and collaboration between technical experts helps identify these early.

Be 100% sure of the languages required
Make sure you know your target audience and their spoken language, e.g. Spanish is spoken in Europe and also in South America and so is Portuguese; there are a multitude of varieties of spoken Chinese. Recording the wrong variety of the language can be a costly and embarrassing mistake.

Solution

  • Find out from your client or the end-users of the voice-over which country it is going to be used in or get advice from a voice-over company first. A good localisation company will be able to guide you through the process and give you suggestions as to the questions you should be asking your client.

Spoken cues to match visuals
If you would like your translated voice-over to be time-synced with an original video, you need to consider that many languages have different grammatical structures and where your cue word might be at the beginning of the English, it could be at the end of a translated sentence.

Language length
Sometimes the translated language is much longer than the source language, and the voice-over artist may have to speed up their reading speed. If this is not possible, either the script will need to be simplified and cut down or the original visuals will need to be edited to match the length of the foreign-language voice-over. Trying to get an intrinsically longer language to fit into an un-editable video or presentation is one of the biggest issues we come across as an e-learning localisation company. Here are some examples of text expansion:

English Original
As a global company, we must comply with all local and international laws.

Russian Translation
Будучи международной компанией, мы обязаны соблюдать как местное, так и международное законодательство.

French Translation
En notre qualité d’entreprise mondiale, nous devons respecter toutes les lois locales et internationales.

voice samples

Solution

  • If you need a target word spoken at an exact time, allow for manoeuvrability within the script in some way to allow this to be matched. Communicate this with your voice-over provider.

Time coding
When producing voice-over for a video, voice-over scripts need to be time coded, otherwise the audio can be out of sync with the video. This must be done accurately or someone will have to redo it further down the production process.

Solution

  • If time-coding yourself, find out if your format is suitable for the script. You can ask the voice-over provider about this.
  • If the script is not already time-coded then this can be done before translation.

Keeping these in mind for your next e-learning project can help to avoid common problems and mistakes.

Localisation tips – Working with Advertising and Design Agencies

Adelphi has worked for advertising and design agencies from all over the world localising their print materials, creating subtitles and dynamic on-screen text for video as well as recording and publishing voice-overs

Having material localized can often present a learning curve for design and advertising agencies. Often, we find that designers are not aware that their work will be localised further down the line, and even if they do, do not necessarily know how to adapt their work to make the process easier later on. Below are some examples of the most frequent mistakes we encounter. Avoiding these can save you a lot of money and can ensure that your work is completed in the quickest possible fashion with the minimum of fuss.

Printed Materials

Some designs simply fill the page with text, leaving no room for text expansion. Most languages (with some notable exceptions) run longer than English and some of them run much longer. This causes the localised versions to have to make some sort of compromise: either text becomes smaller or a condensed font is used, or some material is completely cut out for brevity. Neither scenario is ideal, so it is much better to consider this aspect of the task at the design stage.

Overuse of text formatting features like coloured text, bold text and italic text etc. can slow down the localisation process, as the formatting needs to be applied to the precise word or phrase in translation that is equivalent to the English. Sometimes, this does not work at all if the target language has a dramatically different word order.

Embedded, non-editable text in images require extra attention, and can slow things down dramatically, especially when over the main part of the image. Where possible, the text should be made available for editing in InDesign. If not, we will require all of the PSD files to work with.

Avoid designing paragraphs or “word clouds” with mixed font sizes that look good in English but have no chance of being replicated in the target language: quite often they do not have the same impact when localised and can often be “lost in translation”. Furthermore, due to word order difference, key words in English at the beginning of a sentence might end up in the middle or at the end of the sentence when translated.

One of the most frequent issues we encounter is incorrect and inconsistent usage of style sheets, in particular where one style has been used but in some instances bold text, italics or even different fonts have been changed manually. This can cause the most significant delays of all, and is the biggest source of small typos we encounter during internal QA.

Sending the artwork to be typeset BEFORE it is signed off by the client is never a good idea, and neither are new design changes after we have already started the work. We can do nothing in situations like these where significant changes are requested mid-project but start again and present new figures for the work, delaying work and incurring further costs for the client.

Arabic or other right-to-left languages require that documents have their alignment flipped. This takes longer the more complicated the design. To see more typesetting samples go here

Subtitling

The most usual problem we find when subtitling a video is that the original film has been edited precisely to match the English. This causes the same problem as explained above with typesetting: the translation runs longer than the original English and the resulting text either does not fit the same time slot or is too long to be read at a comfortable pace. We can improve the situation with tweaks after we have finished the work, but it is always better to take expansion of text due to translation into account and add more pauses in the original video.

We see another common issue particularly in animated or explanatory videos: important graphics are placed in the area where subtitles would normally be run (mid-bottom region of the screen) where they can end up being obscured. In the past we have been able to work around this issue by slightly scaling down the video and adding a border around the video while keeping the resolution of the video the same: this allows us to add the subtitles without interfering with any important graphics. To see more subtitling samples go here

Voice-overs

As with subtitling, timing is often an issue here if it turns out that no allowance has been made for languages that are longer than the original English. If we are then asked to sync the voice-over to the video, the timeslots given are insufficient as they stem from the timing of the English and don’t take into account natural text expansion due to translation. Therefore, where possible, it is best to add a few seconds of space before and after each portion of script. This allows our voice artists to be able to deliver their lines as faithfully to the original as possible without being rushed to fit into a specific time slot. This does depend on the language and some languages are shorter than English when spoken. It’s best to ask us in advance, letting us know the languages you require so we can advise the best method for that language.

Another issue that we have encountered in the past is the backing music or score to a video. Sometimes clients like to turn down the volume during speech and then turn it back up afterwards. We occasionally see this in marketing videos, where the sound mixer will lower the volume of the music when someone on-screen is talking. This is a great dynamic effect for the original version but for voice-over it can cause problems: the artist may need to rush the delivery of each line in order to finish it before the volume on the original video turns back up. If your video has this feature then we can replicate it in our localised version, but we would need to receive the background music on its own with no volume tweaks, so that we can adjust it ourselves. To hear our voice artists samples in over 75 languages go here

To Translate or Not to Translate

In many cases company names, product names etc. remain in English, but sometimes these terms have already been localised into the language required, or have an agreed foreign pronunciation for voice-over. We need to be told about these, though often we do our research before recording to see if there are indeed any such pre-existing localisations. If you have had material translated before, no matter what it is, it may help us get the translation just right.

In short, asking Adelphi before you design or start filming can save you time and money. No matter what your project is, if it is going to be localised into foreign languages just let us know and we can advise you.

Featured Voice Artist on Adelphi Studio – Malay speaker Andrew

 

“I started doing voice overs for Adelphi in late 2016. Working for them has never been easier as the translated text from English to Malay language is ‘to a tee.’ This makes my job so much easier. Also, reading the file numbers as opposed to separating the voice-over files (which may come up to a hundred files at times!!) this speeds up the job, which is a good thing, as it’s all about turnaround. They also pay a professional fee and have a good payment term. Looking forward to working with them again.”

Language: Malay

Voice: Male, deep and authoritative.

Andrew is a Malay voice-over artist, who began a broadcasting career in 1995 and delved into VO’s that same year. He has recorded an array of jobs from simple reading for school kids to corporate videos. Among them, courseware for the Ministry of Education of Malaysia, Northport, Honda, Perodua, BMW, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Petronas, Bumi Armada, Ambank and RHB Bank. To hear more of Andrews samples go here

Professional voice artist

Play sample:

Video narrated by Andrew

 

 

Voice-overs vs subtitling – Which to choose for your e-learning project?

Whether to choose voice-overs or subtitles for your e-learning project can depend on a number of considerations, such as:

Budget

Subtitling is much cheaper than voice-overs, so if you have a limited budget subtitles might be the way to go. For voice-overs the cost will depend on the voice artist or artists you choose, studio time, editing of the raw audio and syncing to the video, all of which adds up. It can also depend if your voice-over is timed or not, if you require lip syncing or semi lip syncing which also adds considerable time and cost to the production.

Timing

Subtitles usually have a character limit of around 44 characters and 2 lines per subtitle but subtitling can be made to fit your video whereas voice-overs depending on the language, can be much longer than the source language. Resulting in the voice-over being too fast for the allocated time in your presentation or video.

voice samples

Projects delivery times

If you have a short delivery time or deadline for your projects then the time finding, choosing, recording, editing and syncing the voice-overs should be taken into consideration. Whereas subtitles if translated properly using SRT files, can take a fraction of the time.

SRT files are time coded documents that can be imported into the subtitling software which then puts the correct subtitle with the correct sequence, after this there is only a visual tidy up required.

Example of an .srt file

SRT translation

Adelphi Studio has added typesetting in over 120 languages to its website.

Our in-house typesetting department has been typesetting foreign language materials in over 120 languages for over 20 years. With clients like Disney, Jaguar Land Rover, Vidal Sassoon and hundreds of advertising and design companies worldwide. All our typesetting is carried out in-house and includes proofing. We also produce eBooks too.

Adelphi has been producing foreign language typesetting for over 20 years, in fact it’s how Adelphi got started, adding voice-overs, subtitling and our other services later as we looked to offer more localisation services for our clients. Up to now our typesetting services have been on a stand alone website but we thought it would be better to offer these services through adelphi Studio. We have many sample to look at and if we can help in anyway please get in touch.

Graphics localisation
We can also localise any graphics in the document using Photoshop or Illustrator, depending on the image we could require the original layered data with live text, not outlined text. We have the latest Adobe CC applications.

Data required
We need the English original data for us to adapt into your chosen languages using InDesign, QuarkXPress and other professional typesetting software, this is usually supplied by the design agency as a “collect or package” which includes all images, fonts and links (images) to the document. Without these we cannot create a print ready PDF as the deliverable.

Deliverable data
We can supply the finished document as a print ready PDF set to your specifications, if required we can also outline the text in InDesign so you can print from the InDesign file itself.

Get the most out of your typesetting localisation project

  1. Many languages will expand once translated from English, so we’d recommend you leave some space for this. If in doubt, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
  2. Your style can be central to your project, but sometimes simple really is best. Bold, italics, and even colours in the same paragraph can sometimes just not translate into your chosen language. By avoiding this you can also keep your costs down and speed up delivery.
  3. Drop caps and uppercase for emphasis can look great in English, but some languages don’t use them. This is where our company’s typesetting experience can help you.
  4. If you want to place text over an image, try to add it within the document rather than in the image itself. That way we can edit exactly what you need changing.
  5. As an experienced typesetting agency, we know our fonts and some languages have more restrictions than English. Our staff can show you which fonts work in whichever language you desire, right down to the different weights and condensed versions.