We’re all aware of the large number of dialects that make up our spoken languages around the world. But with many ignorant of the fact that separate forms of sign language exist in different countries, there’s even less education on the different dialects that populate specific sign language families.
Black ASL Origins
Take American Sign Language, for example. The Washington Post tells the story of Carolyn McCaskill, who in 1968 enrolled with nine other Deaf black students in a newly integrated school for the Deaf. From the Post:
“When the teacher got up to address the class, McCaskill was lost.
“I was dumbfounded,” McCaskill recalls through an interpreter. “I was like, ‘What in the world is going on?’ ”
The teacher’s quicksilver hand movements looked little like the sign language McCaskill had grown up using at home with her two deaf siblings and had practiced at the Alabama School for the Negro Deaf and Blind, just a few miles away. It wasn’t a simple matter of people at the new school using unfamiliar vocabulary; they made hand movements for everyday words that looked foreign to McCaskill and her fellow black students.”
Today we know that McCaskill grew up using what is now called Black American Sign Language. This form is known for using more two-handed signs than American Sign Language, with Black ASL featuring a higher location of signs (at the forehead level) and a larger space used compared to ASL.
Joseph Hill, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, explains and demonstrates the differences in ASL and Black ASL here:
Sign language is not universal. The different dialects need to be studied independently, just as one would study spoken languages. We can help spread this message by supporting education on the subject, such as the Black ASL Project. Another great resource is this interview conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education with Joseph Hill, who hopes awareness will make sign language a bigger part of the linguistics community.
Yuchi (Euchee) is a unique language spoken by the Yuchi people, who were forcibly relocated from Tennessee, Georgia and other neighboring states to Oklahoma in the 1800s. As of 2014, the number of first-language Yuchi speakers has dwindled to just four, and all of those speakers are above the age of 80.
A Unique Language
Yuchi is a fascinating language. It is not known to be related to any other language on the planet, and there was no written alphabet until the 1970s. There are 49 phonetic sounds (38 consonant sounds and 11 vowel sounds), which is twice the number of most Indigenous languages from the Southeast.
It also has different speeches for males and females, and today the number of first-language male speakers is down to only one. From Yuchi.org:
“The language more than has gender – in fact it is very nearly two different languages – a men’s speech and a women’s speech. The way something is said in these two variations is often quite different. Further, Yuchean not only has tenses, but it varies its structure according to whether a Yuchi is talking or a non-Yuchi is talking, preserving contexts of time and circumstance. All these variations can add a number of complicating layers to the grammar and the effort needed to master it.”
Efforts to Save Yuchi
The short documentary above is a beautiful look at how the community is attempting to keep the language alive by fully immersing young people in the language at the Euchee Language Project in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Also of interest is their site dedicated to the non-profit, where you can donate, listen to audio and learn more about the Yuchi language.
“What we want, what we need in our communities, what our goal is, is to keep alive our languages so our young people will have breath-to breath knowledge of their traditions, of their ceremonies, of their medicines, of the stars.” – Dr. Richard Grounds
“A bigger company doesn’t always mean a bigger commitment to quality.”
“Just like in every other industry, you get what you pay for.”
We’re all here to help the end client get everything from a focus group that they can, which means we’re partners in this. So talk to your project manager. Give them a template, if you have one that you prefer. Don’t be shy about asking for changes. Just as a moderator needs honest feedback from group participants, so too does a transcription partner need to know any changes that need to be made to ensure the highest quality possible.
For English speakers, sometimes we forget that the whole world doesn’t speak our language. Or if they do, that doesn’t mean that they can understand all of it. Heck, even a lot of native English speakers find the language confusing, and who can blame them?
It can be a daunting task, but in today’s world you need to be able to reach the most people you can, and that means translation is key. Here are some reasons why it might be time for you to find a translation partner to help.
Getting Into New Markets. Thanks to the Internet, the world is getting smaller… or, at least, our ability to connect with others in far away places is becoming easier. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean getting our message across in one language is becoming easier, too.
The population in non-English speaking countries is growing. But more than that, studies show that 75% of consumers in those countries prefer purchasing from sites in their native language. An even more impressive statistic is that 60% of those surveyed claimed they rarely or never bought from English-only sites. That is a huge amount of the world’s population one misses out on if they only provide information in English.
You’re Spending Too Much Time Lost in Translation. A common comment we hear in the midst of working with a new client is, “I wish I had done this sooner!” Frankly, many don’t realize just how much time they’re wasting by trying to translate materials themselves or trying to find ways to engage non-English speakers without using translation.
We know your time is valuable. So is ours. That’s why it’s important to partner with a capable translation agency to take on some of your load. Check out the agency’s credentials. Speak to those they’ve worked with in the past. Ask for samples. Do what you need to do to feel confident that this agency is dependable and will provide an accurate translation by native speakers to put your own mind at ease.
Google Translate Isn’t Cutting It. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sometimes Google Translate is sufficient for your needs. If you just need the gist of something translated, your language pairs are popular, and accuracy is not paramount, then using machine translation might be all you need.
But if accuracy and context are important to your project, then machine translation could end up causing you major issues. Bad translations can be extremely damaging to a brand or business, and it can destroy your credibility. If this is a worry for you, then it’s best to find a partner to allay these fears.
In the end, the only person who can decide if it’s time to find a partner is you. But remember that human translators are better at accuracy, context, localizing to different markets and cultures, and adapting to your needs than machine translation, and remember that you need to be able to trust your partner to provide these needs.
You might notice the headline this week is a statement and not a request or suggestion. While usually here at Atomic Scribe we’re (kind of) gentle about our perception of the language services industry, this is a topic that we can 100 percent say without hesitation: you need to localize your app content to reach more people worldwide.
Because, simply, the app industry is worldwide, and it’s only going to grow in the coming years. While apps were previously most associated with gaming (which still commands a large part in the industry), with every passing day it seems to become so much more than that. Now apps provide a way to bank, shop, exercise, connect to coworkers and employees, talk to your doctor, video chat, get directions, find a place to eat, and on and on.
Given that 46 percent of app users report having paid for their apps, that’s big money, too. By 2017, it’s expected that over 268 billion downloads will generate $77 billion worth of revenue. —Entrepreneur, August 26, 2014
Users Prefer Native-Language Content
There are an estimated 400 million native English speakers worldwide, mostly in the United States and United Kingdom. Adding in secondary speakers, that number grows to a whopping 1.2 billion… but that still leaves out 6 billion people, or over 80 percent of the world’s population. That percentage could grow as the populations of India and French-speaking Africa increase more than any other region, as is predicted.
Those 800 million secondary speakers are also more likely to use an app or browse content in their first language if it’s available. According to a study conducted by Common Sense Advisory, 75 percent of participating consumers stated they prefer to buy products in their native language, and 60 percent claimed they rarely or never bought from English-only web sites. That is a huge amount of people one is missing out on by not translating content.
But here is the great news: it is incredibly easy to translate and localize your apps for new markets. Better yet, you don’t have to keep paying or pay per customer. You just pay for a translation once, and that’s it. As the revenue your app will generate by reaching millions of new people should make the initial investment worth it in no time, it’s a simple decision to make.
So many different industries and individuals take advantage of audio and video content today, and that number will grow at extraordinary rates in the next few years. But the work doesn’t end when you have the audio or video in your hands. You need to go one step further and create transcripts for your material. Reasons for this include:
It’s Useful. The amount of time it takes to read text is usually less than watching a video. Also, many people absorb information better through reading rather than audio or visual learning.
Use Text. The text from the transcripts can be copied into anything you want – reports, blogs, e-mails, web sites, study guides, newsletters, etc.
Deaf Accessible. There are almost 40 million Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals just in the United States. That’s a huge number of people who don’t have access to your material without added text.
Storage. A transcript is much less data to store on your computer, site, or database than audio or video files.
SEO and Keywords. Your text can be used in searches to help bring more visitors to your site. You can also use keywords to help search throughout the text, which can’t be done with just audio and video.
Translate. Transcripts can be more easily and accurately translated into other languages.
So, now you’ve decided that transcription really will help you. Which company do you pick to help you? Here is where an old business adage comes into play: you can have good, fast, and cheap services… but you can only pick two of these qualities and not all three.
That’s very true in the transcription industry. The cheaper the prices, the lower the quality. For some projects, that might be okay, but it’s not for most. That’s why at Atomic Scribe we think the most important element is quality and that paying for a service is useless without it. We promise 98% accuracy or more, and we do so with fair rates and turnaround time.
Interested in transcription services? Get a quote!
The United States has long had an intense fascination with athletics, but until recently that largely excluded the world’s most beloved sport. While soccer (or football, for most everyone else) has captivated hearts worldwide for decades, it’s only just now taking root in the U.S. and becoming a big part of the sports landscape. A lot of this is due to the Internet and Americans having much more access to matches than ever before. Gone are the days you’d have to scan a newspaper in the hope of finding the Premier League scores; now NBC shows over 300 matches a season live through Internet and television.
What’s evident is that while soccer is itself a kind of language, there are still a lot of areas where the existence of multiple languages is causing issues. As you’d expect with the number one sport in the world, leagues and teams are made up of players from different countries with different native languages and cultures. In fact, many teams in the Premier League in the United Kingdom have more non-native English speakers than English speakers. Chelsea Football Club, for example, has first team players from Brazil, Nigeria, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, and more.
And it’s not just English-speaking leagues that are popular worldwide. Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga are also watched by millions and growing at extraordinary rates. In the United States, MLS is becoming known for talented foreign players, such as Thierry Henry and Kaka. The sport is growing everywhere, and so are barriers that different languages can create.
Bayern Munich Takes on English
A good example of teams reaching new markets is Germany’s biggest club, Bayern Munich. The Bavarian club has recently opened an office in New York, and they provide much of their online content in English, including their official site and a separate Twitter account for English speakers. Their site can be translated into Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish as well.
Bayern Munich is the second most commercially profitable club in the world, having made almost €250 million in 2013, ahead of immensely profitable clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. Their commercial revenue helps them provide low ticket prices, which is considered a commodity that makes the Bundesliga so appealing to match-going fans and viewers alike.
Soccer clubs operate as worldwide businesses nowadays, and Bayern knows this. While the United States is seen as the next big moneymaker in the sport, there is also lots of potential in China, India, and in the countries of Africa for expanding the game. But to do this you need to be able to communicate.
How Translation Helps the Sport
The opportunities for using translation to reach current fans and new markets is endless. You can translate interviews, press releases, match reports, press conferences, news articles, players’ or clubs’ web sites, and so much more. Best of all, you pay for a translation once and then it’s yours forever, which means recouping the cost is much easier than with time-sensitive commodities.
Atomic Scribe can help. As passionate as fans are about soccer, that’s how we feel about translation. Both are arts, and both are best at the highest quality. The world’s biggest game also delivers the biggest audience, and we can reach them together.