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ALC's blog is a window into the world of the language service company owner. The blog is an opportunity to share business challenges, nuggets of wisdom gained at conferences, and observations of the world around us. You’ll find new concepts and techniques, reflections following the ALC’s learning events, and colorful clips on language, history, and culture. So to current and aspiring members of the language community, and others who understand that language matters…welcome!

 

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In Honor of Bill Graeper

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on June 20, 2016)

 

Back in 2001, a small group of entrepreneurs in the language industry got together and formed the Association of Language Companies (ALC). Every one of those intrepid individuals did a great service for those of us who joined the ALC since then, and without exception, they represent the best of what it means to be a business owner, mentor and competitor. To stand out among a peer group like those Founding Members requires something more. Much has already been written about Bill Graeper and how he was so influential in many member’s lives, way beyond a mere business or association relationship. His willingness to drop everything and help people, whether over the phone or flying across the country, was just one hallmark of his character that made him so memorable. The duty falls on each of us to try and live with the spirit and zest for life, passion for the language industry, and desire to share with others that made Bill a legend.

ALC President, Doug Strock along with the ALC Board asked Sandy Dupleich, Partner at Dynamic Language in Seattle, Washington, to write a few sentiments as one of the founding members and friend of the Graeper family. He was known as Uncle Bill and he will be missed as a friend and a mentor and as the father of the Association of Language Companies.

In Honor of Bill Graeper
I first met Bill Graeper over twenty years ago while he was working with Maria Antezana, my mom and CEO of Dynamic Language on an advocacy project in Washington State.  I remember thinking at the time – “Why in the world would a language company owner from Oregon want to help companies in Washington?” Thirty years ago, in the early days of the language industry, there weren’t many options for language company owners to associate much less to gather and share ideas.  In fact, it was very unusual for competitors to look at each other with anything other than wariness and mistrust.

Bill baffled me because he was the exact opposite of what I had envisioned a competitor would look and act like.  Bill had this broad, infectious smile and boisterous laugh and underneath it all, he was all business.

We were invited to attend a conference in Oregon to meet other language company owners in the spring of 2002.  I reluctantly agreed to attend.  What happened during that first ALC conference was nothing short of a miracle.  For the first time in my career, I experienced what it was like to be amongst my peers.  We shared ideas, we shared the traumas and drama of running a language company, we shared laughs, created partnerships and over the years, we’ve developed deep and lasting friendships along the way.

Bill Graeper was truly a visionary.  He understood the simple truth that together we are stronger than we are apart.  His passion for our industry knew no bounds.  He gladly shared his vision, his knowledge, his experience and his boundless energy with anyone who was willing to listen. He was exceedingly generous in sharing his knowledge of worker classification issues and when so many of us were audited by various state agencies or even the dreaded IRS, it was Bill Graeper who unselfishly jumped on the phone or even on a plane and was there to coach you through it.

When our company was audited by the IRS, Bill made me believe that we could not only get through it but that we would win.  And we did.  He gave me the courage and the encouragement to fight for our rights to run a language business with an independent contractor model and thanks to him we are able to do just that.  I know many other ALC members who Bill assisted over the years.  Bill helped to pass legislation to protect businesses in Oregon who work with independent contractors and until his passing, he was a fierce advocate for our industry in Washington DC along with his daughter Kristin Quinlan and a great friend to our industry, Bill Rivers.

Of the many things that Bill taught me even into his final days is that the fight must go on.  He asked that we carry the torch and continue working together to advocate for our industry at both state and federal levels.  He asked that we continue to work together with other language associations for the betterment of our industry.

Bill believed that the success and longevity of our industry is critical.  In the end our companies offer our clients the ability to communicate and to connect in any language.

Communication matters. Words matter. Connecting with others matters.

When I last saw Bill at the ALC conference this year (2016), I felt as though there wasn’t enough time left to say all that I wanted to say to him.  He was my mentor, he was my friend, he was for so many of us, our Uncle Bill.  I feel very fortunate that I was able to see him one last time and get one last bear hug from him, too.  The next day I sent him an email sharing my gratitude for all that he has taught me over the years and for all that he’s done for our industry.  I later learned how significant that message was to Bill.

He was so proud of his ALC family and all that we’ve accomplished and he shared with me his vision for our industry. Please join me in making a pledge to carry forth Bill’s legacy into the future.  Beyond the worker classification advocacy he firmly believed in bringing together all language associations so that we can learn from each other and continue to work together no matter what issues or challenges we might face in the future.

Thank you Bill for all you’ve done and will continue to do through us – your ALC family.

Sandy Dupleich
Dynamic Language

Closing Remarks by Kristin Quinlan, Certified Languages CEO

There were few things Dad was prouder of than the ALC.  His vision for an industry association where businesses could meet each other, share ideas, and maybe even collaborate, has had such a significant impact on so many.

He loved to unify people.  He almost had a childlike vision; boundaries just didn’t make sense to him.  There was NOTHING we couldn’t do if we worked together. He was so incredibly happy that he was able to make it to San Diego for the ALC Conference this year.  He had an absolute ball seeing all his BFF’s.  He passed away, quite suddenly, just four days after he returned.

 

A lively panel discussion at the 2016 ALC Annual Conference, San Diego. From left to right, Kathleen K. Diamond, Bill Graeper, Kristin Quinlan, Lexie Casie, and Bill Rivers. May12, 2016.

Dad left his legacy in all of us to do more, be more, and support each other individually, in our businesses, and our industry associations.  His light will always shine.  I will….we all will…miss him deeply but I know we will continue to make him proud.

Kristin Quinlan
Certified Languages CEO 

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ALC CEO Roundtable in Argentina

Posted By Gabriela Lemoine, Friday, July 29, 2016

(Originally Posted on June 17, 2016)

 

Last week I had the pleasure of organizing the second ALC Round Table hosted in Córdoba, Argentina. I have to admit I was a bit nervous… Well, I’ll start from the beginning.

As you know, the Association of Language Companies (ALC) gathers many member and non-member companies for the annual conference, and the unconference, the main events. But members may also hold their own smaller, local events. They may get together for networking, to discuss a topic of interest, to listen to a speaker, and have a great time in the spirit of networking and collaboration for the furtherance of the language industry. This is called a CEO Round Table.

Last year, I missed the conference in Nashville, and it suddenly dawned on me I could do a CEO Round Table here in my hometown. There are about 20 language companies in Argentina -that I know of- of various sizes and backgrounds, and conference after conference in the US or Europe, I always found myself thinking how come I meet several peer company owners from my own country, and even my own city, abroad, but we never meet back home! I live in a city with a metropolitan population of 2 million, and Buenos Aires is about 13 million now, and they are only 500 miles away. There have to be more companies here that we don’t know about.

So last year, I contacted the ALC about this. Doug Strock, currently ALC President, walked me through the very simple process of picking a restaurant, a topic (or no topic), and emailing guests. The ALC staff also provided a list of possible companies in the region. So I did all that. I even wrote a personal email to everyone on the list. I also added my own guests who were not listed. And we came to be 5 companies having dinner together. To my surprise, 2 of them were from different cities! I appreciated it very much that one CEO drove about 8 hours, and another CEO flew 1.5 hours… to have dinner in Cordoba! On a weekday!

So this year, I did it again. And this time, last Tuesday, there were 10 CEOs, and 5 of them came from over 500 miles away! This time we had a speaker, a special guest, and a topic that has been in the air for a few years now: Civil Associations.

So, I can’t help but wonder: Is there enough mass to think of a local language industry in Argentina? And if so, does it have enough momentum to think of a formally incorporated local company association?

Tags:  Roundtable 

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ALC Member Awards 4-Year Contract

Posted By Richard Brooks, Friday, July 29, 2016

(Originally Posted on April 26, 2016)

 

K International (my company and a long standing ALC member) has been awarded a 4 year 250 language contract by the UK Government to provide language and transcription support services. The contract is called RM1092 and helps all local and central Government to meet their language goals and service the increasingly diverse UK population.

Using the huge economies of scale associated with a deal like this the contract delivers savings year on year, security cleared personnel, secure exchange of documents 24/7/365, dedicated account management, real-time management information and services in 250 languages.

It’s an interesting time for our industry. With the current negative press coverage around the UK Public Sector Language Services Industry I’m pleased that we’ve been given the opportunity to improve the service. We’re continuing with our plan of continuously innovating the service, adding value and investing in the language industry as we move forward.

Our Government Translation Services are presently used by the majority of UK Government Departments and this deal is a natural extension of our current corporate strategy.

The contract is valued at around $14.5M.

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Patent Filing in Japan: Legal Translation Services Required

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on November 6, 2015)

 

When something new is invented in America, most people know they should file a patent to prevent anyone else from copying that idea and using it to sell products and make money based on that idea. What many people might not know is that their U.S. patent gives them no ultimate protection outside the United States of America.

To fully protect a new invention, it is necessary to file additional patents for any countries outside the U.S. in which you plan to market the product. There are some treaties in place that make this easier, but it is important to know the rules for each treaty and each foreign country in order to stay protected.

How To Protect Your Invention Internationally

There are two main treaties that govern international patents. The Paris Convention allows 12 months for U.S. patent filers to file for patents in any of the member countries (which include most industrialized nations). Each country has its own laws about the language of filing.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, streamlines the foreign patent application process by allowing a simultaneous initial filing, in English, to all participating countries at one time. This must be done between six and 12 months after filing for the U.S. patent, but offers protection from the date of the U.S. filing and allows up to 30 months for actual patents to be filed in any of the member countries.

  

Japan has specific requirements for filing a patent within its borders.

Patent Filing in Japan

Japan is a party to both the Paris Convention and the PCT, which means initial filings under these conventions can be done in English. When it comes time to file the country-specific patent in Japan, however, all Japanese Patent Office (JPO) filings are conducted in Japanese.

When the country-specific patent is finally filed in Japan, it may initially be in English, but a Japanese translation must then be filed within two months. Although minor grammatical changes may be made, it must fundamentally be the same as the patent filed in English. And although the date of the initial English filing will be observed as the official filing date, the Japanese language document will be the one examined by the patent office. There are additional fees associated with filing first in English and then in Japanese.

JPO applications are filed electronically, with extra fees being charged to input paper applications. PCT applications are not filed electronically, however.

The JPO has agreements with the EPO (European Patent Office), so if the patent was originally filed there, the electronic transfer system already in place will take care of making sure the JPO gets documentation.

Some level of detail is required in the patent application itself. Although no specific format is required, the explanation must be detailed enough that a person of ordinary skill in that area could carry out the invention. In general, it’s better to give more information, since the JPO does not typically allow any new information to be introduced after the application is filed.

Japanese applications generally use a format like this:

  • Field of application
  • Prior efforts
  • Problems the invention is intended to solve
  • Means of solving the problem
  • Description of the invention
  • Effects of the invention
The steps to protect your invention globally can be complex. Services provided by professional translation agencies can help you sort through the processes and translation requirements of the legal systems in countries outside of the U.S.

Tags:  legal 

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First Birthday Traditions in China & 5 Other Places Around the World

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on November 3, 2015)

 

A baby’s first birthday is a special milestone. Parents around the world go to great lengths to celebrate this special day with different traditions.

First Birthday Traditions in China
The Chinese aren’t big on having birthday celebrations every year; instead, they focus on the 1st, 10th, 60th, and 70th. For a child’s first birthday, friends and relatives are invited to come for lunch. Long noodles called “longevity noodles” are served as a wish for the child to have a long life. The tiger is thought to protect children, so friends and family often bring tiger-themed gifts including clothes, toys, and books. Other gifts include money in red envelopes.

Zhuazhou is a first birthday tradition in which many different objects are placed on a cloth in front of the child. Traditionally, Zhuazhou was a specific ceremony where particular objects were used. These objects included stamps, Chinese philosophy books, pen and ink, paper, an inkstone, abacus, coins, jewelry, flowers, food and toys for boys, as well as cooking utensils, ruler, scissors, thread and embroidery items for girls. Now, parents may choose more modern items. Children are put before the items, and it is said that whatever they grab for first will determine their future career and life interests.

First Birthday Traditions in Other Countries

Korea
Korea also does a ceremony similar to Zhuazhou. In addition, children are dressed up in traditional Korean dress, and guests eat sweet rice cakes.

Japan
In Japan, the custom of “isho mochi” involves putting a rice cake (mochi) weighing almost 2 kilos (close to 6 pounds) on the baby’s back and having them carry it around. While baby carries it, parents are supposed to gently push baby down to prepare the baby for going out into the world and to show that life is not easy and has many ups and downs.

 

Mexico
Mexican families serenade babies with lyrics full of blessing on the morning of their first birthday. A piñata full of sweets is hung above the baby’s head and cracked so that the contents fall on the baby to symbolize God’s abundant blessings to the child.

India
Hindu families shave their babies’ heads on their first birthday to cleanse the child from any past-life wickedness and refresh their souls. Babies are taken to a shrine and prayed over as well as blessed. The birthday meal is curry with chutney, with seasoned rice pudding for dessert.

Nigeria
On the 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th birthdays, a feast is given for everyone the family knows, with an entire roasted pig or cow as the meal. Another special dish that is served is jollof rice, which is made with rice, red peppers, onions, tomatoes, and local sweet potatoes.

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A Response to: The Rise of Invented Languages

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on October 19, 2015)

 

I love languages. It’s that simple. I love everything about languages and the idea of language. I’ve been studying languages and linguistics for most of my life. I first noticed and started studying sociolinguistics when I was twelve years old. Then I started studying Spanish and Japanese when I was thirteen. As a teenager, I bought well over 100 language learning books. And I chose my university based on their Linguistics program.

But what many don’t know about me is that I am also a conlanger.

The word conlang is short for “constructed language”, another way of saying artificial language. I began creating my first artificial language 25 years ago. I have developed over 20 different languages. Some were very limited, with only perhaps a few hundred words and basic grammar. My most extensive constructed language has a fully fleshed out grammatical system, two dialects, three accents, a full ethnological history tied to its historical linguistic development, a now extinct first millennium orthography, slang, colloquialisms, and a lexicon currently at over 7000 root words, most of which have an etymological explanation. (To put that in perspective, Klingon has tens of thousands of language learners, and over 100 fluent speakers, but it has less than 1800 words in its lexicon.)

So when I read Rich Brooks’ post “The Rise of Invented Languages”, I had some opinions. (more…)

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The Rise of Invented Languages

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on October 16, 2015)

 

We recently completed a multi-million word financial translation project for an international consultancy. It was (obviously) full of financial terminology, some of which were specific to that client and her customers. It seemed like an invented language. This gave me the inspiration a blog post, so let’s explore the rise of invented languages.

Are there really that many? A pedantic person may say that all languages are invented. There are certainly a lot of constructed languages that are known as International auxiliary languages. These provide communication amongst a significant portion of people without necessarily replacing native languages. However, those are not the languages we are interested in. Here are a few completely invented languages—see how many you recognize.  (more…)

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Legal Translation Services for Discovery Support

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Friday, July 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on October 12 2015)

 

Legal cases in other countries present difficulties with language.

In legal proceedings, the discovery process is the way each side finds evidence and obtains information that the other side will be using in their case. Attorneys use various procedural devices during the discovery process including investigations and subpoenas.

The discovery process can be important in narrowing the issues of a lawsuit to only what is relevant to the case and proceedings. Discovery can also lead to the settlement of the lawsuit before the trial once both sides see the evidence and information the other side has in its possession. It often doesn’t make sense to proceed with the lawsuit or defense of it when you know that the other side has a stronger case than you do.
The Need for Legal Translation Services in the Discovery Process

For lawsuits in another country where language is a barrier, legal translation services are always necessary. Even if translations are provided by the opposing counsel, they may be biased toward that side and can’t be fully trusted. Using a legal translator to verify the translation is the only way to make sure things proceed fairly.

If no translation is given, a legal translator can provide the translation, but be prepared for challenges to the translation from the other side if the lawsuit proceeds to trial. Translations of documents procured during discovery, depositions and even motions filed in foreign courts may need to be translated by a professional.

  

It is important to understand all legal documents and proceedings in different languages.

Issues in Overseas Discovery Procedures

There are several issues that must be considered when it comes to lawsuits in foreign countries. Each country has different laws regarding discovery, and it may even be considered illegal according to some countries’ laws to give information to someone of a different country that aids in a civil lawsuit against someone of that country.

The laws of each country regarding discovery are complex, and expertise is required to understand and comply with them fully. Some translation services may be needed to translate the laws so that they can be understood in your native language. Acting contrary to the laws of a country in which you are pursuing a civil lawsuit may cause your lawsuit to be thrown out of court and may get you in legal trouble instead. The Hague convention governs many international discovery laws and can be a place to start to find information.

Another issue is the cost of discovery. When questioning someone in a foreign country regarding a lawsuit, travel and accommodations can be expensive. The party attempting to discover information must bear these costs, which can become prohibitive to pursuing the case in some instances. If the lawsuit is pursued and won, it may be possible to recoup some of these costs, but this is not always the case.

Serving Subpoenas Internationally

In order to have a successful discovery process, your attorney may need to serve subpoenas to parties in the country of the other side in the lawsuit. Often, this process requires the notification and permission of local judicial authorities. Letters Rogatory may be required to satisfy this process for countries not covered by the Hague Convention (non-treaty countries).

Tags:  legal 

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How to Say Excuse Me in Spanish and 13 Other Languages

Posted By Rick Antezana, Thursday, July 28, 2016

(Originally Posted on October 6, 2015)

You can say excuse me to get someone's attention.

When visiting different countries, it can be difficult to talk to the natives when you don’t know the main language. Many people in other countries may speak some English, but some don’t, and others may look down on visitors who don’t bother to learn their language.

Whether you bump into someone and want to apologize, or want to get someone’s attention for whatever reason, one phrase that often comes in handy is “Excuse me.” Often there are both formal and informal ways to say “excuse me,” depending on the situation. Here’s how to say “excuse me” in Spanish and other common languages around the world.

Spanish— ¡Perdòn! or ¡Perdone! or ¡Discùlpe!

German— Entschuldigung! or Entschuldigen Sie! or Verzeihung!

Italian— Mi scusi! or Scusa! or Scusami! (last two are informal)

French— Excusez-moi! or Pardon! or Pardonnez-moi!

Norwegian— Unnskyld! or Unnskyld meg!

Brazilian— Por favor! or Perdão! or Desculpa! (informal)

Portuguese— Com licença! or Perdão! or Desculpa! (informal)

Turkish— Pardon, geçebilir miyim? (to get past) or Pardon, bakar musiniz? (to get attention)

Zulu— Uxolo!

Cantonese— Chèngmahn (to get attention) or Mhgòi (to get past) or Sàtpùih (used when leaving for a while)

Mandarin— Qǐngwén (to attract attention) or Duìbùqǐ (asking someone to move)

Hawaiian— E kala mai ia’u!

Japanese— Sumimasen!

Korean— Shillehagessumnida

Using these phrases to say “excuse me” will help you be polite and even get information you may need to get along in a different country. Saying “excuse me” might even help you avoid a conflict that might be hard to resolve with a language barrier, like when you bump into someone on a crowded street.

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Leadership & Business Podcast

Posted By Jeyin Lee, Thursday, July 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(Originally Posted on October 2, 2015)

I spend a lot of time in the car and am always looking for a good podcast. I’ve tried several from the well-known business schools but they always sounded like they just got a student to put them together. The College of William and Mary just started one recently so I thought I’d give it a listen. It’s hosted by Dean Ken White and the production value is excellent. I have a hard time being unbiased toward W&M (MBA, ’15) but this is really much better than other similarly themed business podcasts I’ve found so far. Check it out!

http://mason.wm.edu/programs/cce/podcast/index.php

 

Tags:  business 

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