Language facts: Bosnian
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina officially has three languages: Bosnian, Croatian and Serb. All three languages are mutually understandable. For various reasons, Bosnian is in wide use throughout the Balkans. The Serbo-Croatian concept, as well as the separate variants of the language (Serb, Croatian, Bosnian), was in fact based on the most wide-spread dialect in the area, the Shtokavian one from Eastern Herzegovina.
Bosniak is (not) Bosnian
Internationally and within the language and translation industry, as well as here at idioma, the recognized name is Bosnian, though.
Not interested elites, no codified language
A B C Č Ć D Dž ĐE F G H I J K Lj M N Nj O P R S Š T U V Z Ž
a b c č ć d dž đ e f g h I j k l lj m n nj o p r s š t u v z ž
А Б Ц Ч Ћ Д Џ Ђ Е Ф Г Х И Ј К Л Љ М Н Њ О П Р С Ш Т У В З Ж
а б ц ч ћ д џ ђ е ф г х и ј к л љ м н њ о п р с ш т у в з ж
REPORT: idioma @ DMS 2018 in Tokyo and Automatica 2018 in Munich
At the end of June, both the Japanese and European sales teams of idioma went out to the world to talk about our translation services.
idioma @ DMS 2018 in Tokyo
Our Japanese sales team managed our booth at the 29th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo (DMS) in Tokyo. Held inside Manufacturing World Japan 2018, DMS is Japan’s largest exhibition gathering all kinds of IT solution providers and attracting professionals looking to buy IT solutions for their business. This year, both the number of participants and visitors increased in comparison with the previous year. We talked to many people who were interested not just in translation and QA services, but also in our terminology management solutions, and free online services such as the language query portal Ask!, Stream for instant translation estimates, and NextDoc for convenient text reuse. And just as the year before, we handed out plenty of candy :)
There was so much to talk about. If you would like to continue the discussion, or to ask just about anything relating to our translation services, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
idioma @ Automatica 2018 in Munich
Meanwhile in Munich, our European sales team attended the leading exhibition for smart automation and robotics – Automatica 2018 – an interesting exhibition with lots of companies, both big and small, most of whom are growing quite fast. This year it was the most international Automatica since its beginning, and indeed, we met with companies from all over Europe.
Would you like to know more about our translation services or discuss you translation needs in person? Please contact us at email@example.com, or meet us from 18th to 22nd September at AMB 2018 in Stuttgart!
Language facts: Thai
Thai, also called Siamese, is the official language of Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia with a population of 63 million people. However, only about 20 million of the people in Thailand are native speakers.
Thai is a tonal language. Different tones give different meaning, which makes it quite difficult to learn the language in the beginning. In spoken form, Thai is very similar and in fact mutually intelligible with Lao (the language of Laos). Both Thai and Lao belong to the Kra–Dai language family that covers dialects in the area of southern China, northeast of India and parts of Southeast Asia.
There are various dialects of Thai used in Thailand and while scholars and linguists consider these to be separate, albeit related languages, the native speakers tend to perceive it as one language with regional dialects.
‘Corruption’ in Thai vocabulary
Thai vocabulary consists of many foreign expressions, and paints a picture of historical development in the region. The Chinese influence, mainly until the 13th century when the Chinese script was replaced with Sanskrit and Pali scripts, caused there to be a good deal of words from Middle China. Trade relations with the West has also influenced the language considerably. Notably, basic trade-related and religious words were taken over from Portuguese, as that was also the first European nation to arrive in Thailand in the 16th century (words such as padre for a priest, carta for paper or real for a coin, etc.). English has become the most influential language since the 20th century, mainly when it comes to technical, scientific and modern society terms (such as computer, graph, government, technology, visa, taxi, diesel, and even corruption and wreath).
Alphabet includes tone forms
The Thai alphabets were first introduced in the 13th century by an ancient great king. Over time, the characters have changed in appearance. Today the language contains 44 consonants with 42 that are still in use, and 21 vowels in 32 combinations.
Thai words are often – although not always – composed of characters. That means in one single column, there may be up to three characters including consonant, vowel, and tone composed together.
When it comes to transcription of the Thai alphabet into Latin, there is no universally accepted method to follow, resulting in Thai words being transcripted differently. In fact, an ISO standard for Thai-Latin transcription exists since 2003 and is even used by Google Translate, but yet not very common in daily use (e.g. in textbooks or instructional texts).
For this reason, it is highly recommended to learn the Thai script in order to master the language itself.
ถ ท ธ น บ ป ผ ฝ พ ฟ ภ ม ย ร ล ว ศ ษ ส ห ฬ อ ฮ ก ข ฃ ค ฅ ฆ ง จ ฉ ช ซ ฌ ญ ฎ ฏ ฐ ฑ ฒ ณ ด ต
ะ ั า ํ ิ ่ ่ ่ ุ ู เ โ ใ ไ ็ อ ว ย ฤ ฤๅ ฦ ฦๅ
Tone forms: ่ ้ ๊ ๋
idioma @ the 29th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo (DMS) in Tokyo
DMS is Japan’s largest exhibition gathering all kinds of IT solution providers and attracting professionals looking to buy IT solutions for their business. This year, the number of exhibitors is expected to reach 2,600.
At our booth we are planning to exhibit our various translation services, latest trends in technical translation, and introduce our 3 international standards including ISO 18587 on post-editing of machine translation which was newly acquired last year.
If you plan to visit this exciting event, please feel free to contact us in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your entrance ticket.
Held inside Manufacturing World Japan 2018
Our booth: E26-40
Dates: June 20th (Wed) – 22nd(Fri), 2018 10:00 – 18:00 (last day until 17:00)
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight
We are looking forward to seeing you!
Language facts: Finnish
Finnish is a member of the Finno-Ugric language family (Uralic languages) and is closely related to Estonian and Saami (also known as Lapp). It is one of the two official languages in Finland (the other being Swedish) as well as one of the official EU languages. Additionally, it is used by Finnish-speaking minorities in Sweden and Estonia. The majority (more than 90%) of Finland’s population speaks Finnish, while the remainder speaks Swedish and Sami. Overall, Finnish is spoken by a little more than 5 million people.
Thanks to the existence of Nordic Language Convention, Finnish-speaking citizens can interact with governments and official bodies in other Nordic countries in their native language.
A language with a few relatives but many phonemes
Finnish is related also to some other of the few Uralic languages (such as Hungarian for example) in many aspects, including shared morphology, similar grammar, as well as basic vocabulary. The origin of Uralic languages is not entirely clear even today, but the most widely accepted theory is that this branch originated in the boreal forests around the Ural mountains and around the middle Volga river. Actually, Uralic languages, such as Finnish, are believed to be the proto-language of the area.
The Finnish language gained its official status no sooner than in 1863, after the rise of the Finnish nationalistic movement. The first Finnish writing system was, however, created already in the 16th century by a Finnish bishop Mikael Agricola, who wanted to translate the Bible, and thus needed to standardize the Finnish dialects into a comprehensive system. He failed to do so, as he wasn't able to unify the signs with different phonemes (the intent was for each phoneme to have a corresponding one letter). Later, Finnish actually lost several phonemes from the standardized language due to this unification.
In the Finnish alphabet, 'Å’ is carried over from the Swedish alphabet and is redundant in Finnish; it is merely retained for writing Finland-Swedish proper names.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z Å Ä Ö
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v x y z å ä ö
We wish you a successful new year!
Our production center runs no matter what.
If you fight with end-of-the-year deadlines, our language factory is open for you even between the Christmas and New Year's festivities.
We will help you with last minute changes to your multilingual 2018 catalog or website and of course also with any express translation need.
Are you an LSP with a need to cover more volume or delicate language combinations? We can provide full LSP Back-office services for you.
Justgo to our e-shopthat runs 24/7.
Thank you for meeting idioma @ 27th JTF Translation Festival in Tokyo
We would like to thank everyone for visiting our booth at the JTF Translation Festival 2017 in Tokyo on November 29. idioma introduced its core ISO:17100, ISO:9001 and ISO:18587 certified translation services. We enjoyed meeting you and were happy to greet visitors, both new and old, some of whom we haven’t seen in a while.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have questions or would like further information.
idioma sponsoring Translators without borders in 2018
Tokyo/Prague, (November 7, 2017) – idioma, an international translation services provider based in Tokyo since 1980, is pleased to announce that it has once again pledged its support to help humanitarian translations reach more people around the world by becoming a bronze sponsor of Translators without Borders.
Translators without Borders (TWB) strives to provide people access to vital, often life-saving, information in their own language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of professional translators, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. The organization has responded to urgent crises by using its Words of Relief model, working with partners, to provide vital information in the appropriate languages to those affected by the European refugee crisis, the Ebola crisis and the Nepal earthquake.
Commenting on idioma’s decision to become a sponsor, Steen Carlsson, the managing director of idioma’s Production center, said:
“Having worked with languages all my life, in my job and privately, I know what the difference of even the most rudimentary translation can mean to a person unable to communicate. When those you communicate with do not understand what you say, or what you need, or why you behave the way you do, there is only despair. Translators without Borders is a concept we are happy to support and it is my sincere hope more people in need will benefit from their help.”
idioma is proud to be supporting Translators without Borders in this work.
More about Translators without Borders
Translators without Borders envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by partnering with humanitarian organizations. Originally founded in 1993 in France as Traducteurs sans Frontières (now its sister organization), Translators without Borders translates more than five million words per year. In 2012, the organization established a Healthcare Translator Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information and to volunteer or donate, please visit the TWB website or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
Autumn at idioma: Czech Republic
People are different, but we share many customs, as we observe daily also in our multinational company. Localization obviously affects cultural customs worldwide, but one thing is in common – we all like to stop and celebrate on many occasions and for many reasons. One good reason, for example, has historically been the advent of autumn and harvest.
Wine and the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic usually enjoys a nice and mild mid-European autumn atmosphere featuring beer and mainly wine festivals as well as grape harvest feasts in the romantic fall settings with beautifully colored leaves... during this time, usually there are no inversions or freezing drizzle. There is a number of mainly regional and local events (often with traditions that are centuries old), featuring folklore arts and lots of food and, as is pretty common in the Czech Republic, plentiful to drink – mainly new young wine called "burčák" (tastes like sweet grape juice, but already contains a fair share of alcohol, so one should be careful to regulate the intake).
Autumn is doubly significant to Czech people as the very first Czech nation state gained its independence from Austria in autumn 1918. October 28th, when the Czechoslovak Republic came into existence has since been celebrated as the most important national day of all.
Lights on the ground
Another important event but, in this case, a religious feast that also has become a secular tradition – in the otherwise highly atheist Czech nation – is All Saints Day on November 1st. On this day (and usually the two weekends surrounding it), Czech people visit cemeteries and light little candles on the graves of their dead, as well as on memorials. Graveyards turn into nostalgic sites with dim, yet magnificent light shows, and the event is, although a little melancholic at its core, considered a social event and a time for family members to meet.
Conveniently enough, the two autumn national feasts are close to each other in the calendar, therefore they are frequently used for holidays by quite a number of Czechs.
Piece of Japan in Prague
Even in the Czech Republic, there's also a Japanese community that shares the Japanese culture and traditions with locals at various feasts and events. On October 4th, the "Aki Matsuri" 2015 autumn festival took place in Prague, organized by the Czech-Japanese Association. The event, focused mainly on families with kids, offered a peak into Japanese martial arts and food, and it had even organized origami or kendamu workshops and Japanese games. With a beautiful weather and a temperature nudging close to 25°C, everyone could enjoy.
Languages of Spain's separatist regions: Basque and Catalan
Over the course of history, languages and their evolution have proven to be an accelerator of brawls between nations, as language happens to be the one common denominator for different groups inhabiting the same area that we actually call a nation. Language is an identification mark of affiliation and there are still languages in Europe that bear the nation-building agenda, even in 2017. Examples of such languages are those of Basque and Catalan, the Spain's rebellious regions.
Basque is a language spoken by people in a geographic area in northeastern Spain stretching into parts of southwestern France. Over the past centuries, this region has contracted. Recently, as a result of the Basque nationalistic movement, the language has made a slight comeback. Basque is, in fact, a rather interesting language, as it is an isolated language and is not even remotely similar to any known existing language in the world. Presumably, Basque happens to be one of the few pre-Indo-European languages, the only one remaining in use in Western Europe.
Several dialects of Basque exist, however, the main dialect is Euskara Batua, a standard introduced in the 1960s that is generally taught in Basque schools. Basque is spoken by a little less than one million people. The language has co-official status in the Basque regions of Spain, but has no official status in the French regions.
During the era of Francoist Spain, the language was reluctantly tolerated in the Basque regions that supported the uprising of Franco, yet frowned-upon in those regions where the uprising gained little support.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Ñ O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n ñ o p q r s t u v w x y z
Catalan is a Romance language with somewhere between 9 and 10 million speakers, but not necessarily native. It is the official language of Andorra and enjoys co-official status in a few Spanish communities, mainly on Spain's east coast, among others in Valencia, where it is called Valencian, or in the Balearic Islands. Similar to Spanish, Catalan also originates from Vulgar Latin. It reached its golden era in medieval times, particularly the Low Middle Ages, when it spread through the Mediterranean. It was used as an official language even in Sicily (until the 15th century) and Sardinia (until the 17th century), while the city of Alghero in Sardinia still tends to use Catalan until the present day.
The decline of Catalan, that in fact still continues, can be traced back to a specific historical event, the union of Castille and Aragon crowns in 1479, which caused an increasing influence of Spanish in the region. Yet another blow came in 1659, when the northern parts of the Catalonia region was ceded to France. Not only did the language come under the influence of French, it was even drastically prohibited from public use, with efforts to revive Catalan literature coming no sooner than in the half of 19th century.
The language was banned in use yet again during the Francoist era and has been recognized as an official language only after Spain's transition to democracy.
Nowadays, there are efforts to revive the language, among others by the French General Council of Pyrénées-Orientales (who introduced Catalan as one of the official languages of the department), to further promote it in public life and education. This seems to be necessary, as statistical research showed a quite dramatic decline of the population in the Catalan region that self-identifies primarily with Catalan (from 44.3% in 2003 to only 36.4% in 2013), which is believed to be caused by immigration, mainly from Arabic-speaking countries. A share of Catalonia's annual budget is poured into promoting the use of Catalan and integration of newcomers. Another issue is that the Catalan-speakers are actually becoming extinct and outside Catalonia itself the language is being replaced by the stronger national languages such as Spanish, French and Italian.
Catalan uses the Latin alphabet and uses acute accents (é, í, ó, ú) as well as grave accents (à, è, ò).
A B C Ç D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
a b c ç d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
ISO 18587: What it means for translation providers
Quality is one of the most crucial factors within the translation industry. Responsible providers not only know that high translation quality is an ongoing sales pitch, but that the perception of quality throughout the entire industry is important for all players involved.
The evolution of machine translation (MT) is a game-changer in how the industry itself (and subsequently the public) considers the quality of translation services, and what is a translation service as such in the wake of machines assisting with translation.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) together with translation industry professionals have addressed the development by issuing two translation-related international standards, namely:
- ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services – Requirements for Translation Services that was based on the already well-known previously issued EN 15038 standard, and
- ISO 18587:2017 Translation services – Post-editing of machine translation output – Requirements, a brand new standard issued only this spring that establishes a framework and requirements for editors of MT output.
So, what is new with ISO 18587 and what should translation providers and clients alike pay attention to?
Translators and reviewers become post-editors
The norm deals chiefly with the term "post-editing" and focuses on "post-editors" instead of translators. In a strict sense, whenever input text passes through an initial CAT tool check or any computer-assisted pre-translation analysis or content processing, it becomes machine output.
Defining full post-editing vs. light post-editing
Moreover, the ISO 18587 standard distinguishes between “full post-editing” as a product comparable to a product of human translation in the final result, and “light post-editing” that provides results of "merely comprehensible text without any attempt to be similar to human translation" (as defined in Annex B of the norm). Obviously, in terms of the current perception of "quality" within today's translation industry, only full post-editing meets the quality standards as it delivers a professionally impeccable result.
However, as long as “the final text is not intended for publication”, the norm clearly states what requirements need to be met to establish light-post editing that could, in fact, be turned into a service. It's up to discussion whether this approach of post-editing output quality will be feasible in the near future.
Post-editors need the same qualifications as translators
In ISO 18578, post-editors are considered translation professionals in the exact same sense as in ISO 17100, therefore an LSP needs to provide evidence that its post-editors either:
- obtained a linguistic degree that has required significant translation training from a recognized organization, or
- hold a degree from a field other than translation, while the subject can prove two years of professional experience in translation or post-editing, or
- can prove an experience of 5 years of full-time translation or post-editing
Training of post-editors for machine output required
As translators transform into post-editors in this type of service, and because machines are heavily involved in the translation process, editing of MT output requires special knowledge of CAT tools and an understanding of how translation and terminology management systems interact with MT and MT systems. Post-editors need to be thoroughly trained to use the post-editing tools, recognize common MT errors, assess whether it makes sense to even edit the MT output in terms of effort and time spent and to become familiar with the difference between the full and light post-editing processes and the eventual outcome.
To maintain a high regard for the players in the translation industry, and especially for the companies that rely on the use of translation memories and other translation resources and workflows including MT, we would highly recommend getting familiar with the ISO 18587 standard and also consider their third-party translation suppliers' quality approach in the context of post-editing MT output.
All translation services by idioma are performed in compliance with ISO 9001:2016 (reg.no.:10.711.365), ISO 17100:2015 (reg.no.:7U426), as well as ISO 18587:2017 (reg.no.: RI004) standards.
Language facts: Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani, also known as Azeri (or Azeri Turkish), belongs to the Turkic language family and is spoken by some 25-35 million people. There are two variants of the language, North and South, and it is used by the Azerbaijani people in southwestern Asia (also referred to as Transcaucasia, or the South Caucasus region).
North Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan and is spoken mainly in Azerbaijan, southern Dagestan and along the Caspian coast. South Azerbaijani is spoken in East and West Azerbaijan and in parts of Iran and Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria and Asian Turkey.
Azerbaijani is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai and Turkmen. There are various levels of mutual intelligibility between each of the named languages. Turkish and Azerbaijani speakers are actually able to communicate with each other quite easily, not only due to historical reasons, but also due to being exposed to each other's cultures via radio and television.
Lingua franca of Transcaucasia
From about the 16th to 20th century, Azeri served as a lingua franca of the Transcaucasia region, which could also be a reason why it adopted so many loan words and expressions from the Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Russian languages. After the region was conquered by the Russian empire in the 19th century, there was a split in the development of the language, as the Azeri-speaking community was divided between two states (Russia – later the Soviet union, and Persia – now Iran). The Soviets, albeit promoting the language development, made two significant changes to the language by changing its script two times in a relatively short period of time, from the Persian script to the Latin script and later to the Cyrillic one. The Azerbaijani community in Iran kept using the Persian script. Azerbaijani did not become an official language until 1956.
The country decided to abandon Azbuka and switch to the Latin Script after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1990's. The language and its variants are practically still using 3 writing systems: Latin, Cyrillic, and Perso-Arabic. The North Azerbaijani use both Latin and Cyrillic scripts, while South Azerbaijani have adopted the Perso-Arabic writing system.
This is the Latin alphabet:
A Ə B C Ç D E F G Ğ H X I İ J K Q L M N O Ö P R S Ş T U Ü V Y Z a ə b c ç d e f g ğ ı i j k q l m n o ö p r s ş t u ü v y z
Benefit from a long-term translation relationship
It's been a long time since translation involved a typewriter, a printed dictionary and very skilled translator. The process of translation, as well its quality standards are taking leaps and bounds forward thanks to modern technology. Today's advanced language service providers (LSPs) utilizing computer-assisted translation tools (so-called CAT tools) have turned translation from a one-off, ad-hoc service, where only the initial price is a decisive factor, into a long-term sustainable client-supplier relationship.
Translation services: A love story
Let's explain the latter thought further: thanks to employing a combination of human translation powered by IT, considerable value has been added to translation services nowadays. There are numerous tools to ensure this, such as creation and maintenance of translation memories (read more here) or glossaries (read more here) and machine-powered quality analyses with subsequent final human input in the form of proofreading, while every single intervention is recorded and stored on clients' account. In fact, the more data and text segments (phrases, sentences, expressions) that are collected from previous translations as a result of creating glossaries, translation memories and understanding clients' specific terminology, the less content needs to be translated in future translation projects. And, as the phrases and segments used in clients' materials meant for translation tend to be repetitive (especially in technical translation and documents like catalogs, user manuals, etc.), many of them have already been translated and recorded in memories and glossaries. Eventually, this leads to a clear equation: the longer and deeper relationship with your language service provider you maintain (and the more material you have translated) = the lower cost of translation you get.
Invest in your translation healthcare
Maybe you have never thought of it this way, but an investment into your translationresources is similar to those into your health. The more you maintain an active lifestyle and a good health, the more you guard against future medical outlays. Keeping your translation resources in good condition and error-free is very similar, while it significantly and visibly pushes down your future translation costs. To achieve this, you need to find a suitable LSP that has means to clean, update, convert and store your resources. Here at idioma, we're ready to offer you such services on a whole different level, upgrading mere translation to a smart and efficient service with a long-term benefit for our clients and truly added value.
To learn more, please visit www.idioma.com or contact us about our SMARTER translation services.
Manage your very first translation project like a pro: Where to begin?
If you are new in a company and are suddenly assigned with also handling translations in your role as product manager, office manager, marketing manager, documentation manager, etc., or you are simply the type whom everyone turn to for help when they are stuck, this blog is a must-read.
The material to be translated is not so important. You could end up having to find someone to translate a data sheet, a press release of a new product, brochure or even a web site. Based on our experience, it's not that uncommon that companies have no workflow or protocol in place when it comes to the occasional need for translation, especially for new languages or exotic ones. Imagine having to find someone to translate your company’s English company intro into Maltese or Hebrew…
It is a fact that all translated content published by a company speaks to potential customers in new international markets and therefore should be considered as “weapons” to gain new ground. And because of this it's quite surprising how often companies lack a conceptual approach to their documentation and translation management. Often this area involves unwritten know-how that leaves the company with the person who has been used to handle these tasks.
If you are the lucky one assigned to manage, say, translation of an annual product catalog, and you have never managed any translation project before, here are some important tips how to deal with it like a pro:
- Search for translation resources. You could save a lot of effort.
- Map the suppliers thoroughly. The difference is night and day.
- Document your company's language management.
4. Establish a translation management workflow in your company.
Let's break it down a bit more, point by point.
1. Make a search for translation resources. If none are available, create them for the future.
'Translation resources' doesn't refer to the actual document you need to translate. But what’s important is that when translating content that is similar or basically an update of something already translated (e.g. a catalog in this case), there is a good chance some or even a lot of the volume has already been translated and saved in the form of a translation memory, preferably together with a glossary – most likely at your previous translation supplier. So you don't need to translate that again.
Translation resources and the knowledge of them are important and make up a valuable resource:
- If you have no translation resources at all, you will pay the full price for translation. This is a cost issue. And here's the deal: Having access to already pre-translated content reduces both the translation cost and delivery time.
Creating and preparing translation resources for future savings on translation expenses is a common service included in the price of translation by professional agencies that work with special translation tools and software.
- If you have translation resources in your hand, your company has most likely already cooperated with a language service provider (LSP) at some point in the past. Try to find out the details of this cooperation, and if you gain positive feedback, you have a hot candidate for translation supplier.
More importantly, if you do not have the resources, but know an agency has built them, your company is the legal owner of the resources, and you can request if from your agency any time.
And here we get to the next point – mapping and choosing a translation supplier – explained in our next blog --->
Emoji translation: New field in the localization industry?
What an emoji translator does for a living
Businesses who target younger consumers obviously tend to customize their content to the likes of their potential buyers. The increasing business usage of emojis is visible mainly on social media, delivered by administrators of an age similar to the targeted customers. Emojis are, after all, very simple and straightforward pictures used to express non-verbally in written communication, so what's there to translate, you ask?
One level of the occupation is to actually transform regular human speech into attractive emoji strings. It's not always easy to express the original meaning correctly and mainly to invoke a certain type of "feeling" to the text.
The other level is that not all the devices where the communication is viewed are the same. Different smart devices and different operating systems do not have a common protocol for how an emoji displays, which lays ground to a number of unforeseen faux pas when it comes to brand communication on social media. The job of an emoji translator is also to customize the content for the devices first, in order to convey the correct meaning and desired emotion to the reader. Emojis do not display the same way across different devices, and the developers tend to upgrade the looks and design of their emojis, sometimes to an extent that even changes the nuance and contextual meaning of the emoji (e.g. when Apple changed the regular gun emoji to one with a water pistol).
Your emoji use can show your background
Cultural differences and social development are also a huge factor here. Emojis of gestures common in the West, such as a thumb-up, might be considered offensive in the Middle East, while another common Western OK-hand gesture translates offensively in Latin America. Similarly, certain emojis have gained alternative meanings while being around online, which makes their business usage rather unfeasible (e.g. such as the emojis of an eggplant or a peach, which according to Emojipedia research conducted in December 2016 on a sample of over 570 tweets referred to the actual fruit only in 7% of cases).
Another research conducted by Swiftkey suggests really interesting cultural differences in the use of different types of emojis as well. For example, Arabic speakers tend to use much more heat and sun-related emojis than any other language. French overuse the heart emoji, using it four times more than any other speakers. In Australia, the usage of alcohol-related emojis is twice the average, while drug-related emojis rate 65% over the average. The most used emoji overall is, however, still a set of smiley faces (44.8 % of all usage).
With the revolution in communication around and behind us, it is really fascinating to watch seemingly unrelated factors to combine and create new job opportunities and trends, also in the translation industry. Looking to the future, let's hope people won't forget to use the actual written words. :)
*Emojis are sets of different icons or images that display certain emotions, ideas, objects, etc. The first set of emojis was developed in 1999 in Japan and contained 176 icons. Nowadays there are over 2,000 available icons (taking skin color and gender variants into account).