Thursday, December 1, 2011

INTRODUCING... Cap Global Language Services, LLC

SDOC's latest customer website has launched.  Tomorrow I review maintenance and final touches with my client and turn over the keys.

Cap Global Language Services, LLC is a translation and interpretation firm based in Marietta.  It is owned by Ms. Lucia Dogbeh, a lovely lady originally from Benin.  She is a native French speaker, and has a PhD in German language studies.  She is also adept at English and Spanish.  Ms. Dogbeh has provided language assistance to firms all over Western Europe and Africa and is now expanding her work in North America.

Cap Global's original website was never completed and was designed with older coding techniques that are very difficult for a website layman to update.  We decided to just start over from scratch.

First is the text content.  For a language translation site, it all had to be multilingual.  Initial setup involved programming where translations and basic language content could be installed.  This version starts with French, German, and Spanish, with English as the default.  As her team of translators and their language repertoire grows, more language capability can be added as needed.  While there's an incredible amount of detail that is addressed in multilingual mirror pages, it's a whole lot easier than it used to be when I had to consider multiple audiences in past projects.

The graphic design is a custom-built CMS theme that started with the existing company logo.  The goal is bright, engaging, and welcoming.  Again, the appearance has to appeal to multiple cultures based on their language.  You'll notice some subtle variations in text formatting, size, and color between the language mirrors.  My client requested those variations in order to appeal to certain Western European sensibilities.

Choosing and prioritizing content for a website has grown more complex in recent years.  Although the Internet was invented in the USA, its global reach has brought out the stark differences in how people of other nations and cultures are persuaded by a website's appearance.  Different elements, structures, and colors have different impacts on people of different cultures.  For a more dramatic example, check out Izumi Family Chiropractic, whose Atlanta office resides in the Dunwoody Point shopping center on Winter's Chapel.  I didn't write this site but I ran across it the other day.  Notice how different the Japanese-language version appears from the English-language site.  Someone paid a lot of attention to the cultural variation in their customer base.

The demand for other-than-English content has skyrocketed as well.  According to this report, the majority of users of YouTube are using languages other than English.  Any time you create a website or any online media these days, you have to consider the languages used by your potential audience.  Maybe your audience is only English-speaking.  Maybe there others to consider.  The point is, the question of language has to be asked and answered at the start of your project.

Finally, never, EVER rely on online automated translators to develop multilingual content.  Babelfish from AltaVista (now Yahoo!) was the first online translator.  Google Translate has come to prominence recently and translation algorithms with language detection are included in Google's Chrome browser.  These services are good for website visitors who need a quick-and-dirty view of "other language" content.  But there's always something wrong with the grammar or the misinterpretation of colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions.  Language is how people communicate, so when you're serious about a sales pitch or educational message, or other persuasion, make sure a person is doing the translating.  It makes all the difference in the world.

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