Are spelling mistakes that funny? 5

spel_it_rite2Of course sometimes it may be funny –and even rewarding– when someone else misspells a word and you find it. You spot the error, you open your mouth so as to express surprise, but laughter comes out instead, and a “must-tell-someone” eagerness arises. But have you ever thought that the unfortunate error may actually cost a fortune to someone? Or that a misspelled word may even destroy someone’s reputation? Or cost lives? It would not be that funny then if that happened to you, right?

Last year, the American politician Mitt Romney launched an iPhone application that gave users the chance to post pictures of themselves under different slogans, with one of those slogans featuring an incorrect spelling of the word America: “A Better Amercia.” Though this error may not have had a direct impact on Romney’s campaign, some may still be wondering what happened with that application developer and his/her job.

In late 1962, the United States made the first attempt to send a spacecraft to Venus. The spacecraft –known as Mariner 1– experienced some difficulties shortly after launch that made steering impossible and directed it toward a crash. According to the Post Flight Review Board, the omission of a hyphen in coded computer instructions in the data-editing program allowed transmission of incorrect guidance signals to the spacecraft, causing the computer to swing automatically into a series of unnecessary course corrections with erroneous steering commands which finally threw the spacecraft off course. Total research, development, launch, and support cost for the Mariner series of spacecraft (Mariners 1 through 10) was approximately $554 million.

While sometimes spelling mistakes may cause someone to lose their reputation or job, it may give others the chance to make money at the same time. In 1995, Argentina issued a series of one-peso coins with the word “PROVINCIAS” (‘Provinces’ in English) spelled wrongly: “PROVINGIAS”. Since then, people have been hoarding these coins in the hope their value rises, while some are already selling them online for over twelve pesos (way more than their actual value). A similar mistake was noticed in thousands of coins issues in Chile in 2008, where the country name was spelled as “Chiie”. Still, these mistakes resulted in a good number of people losing their jobs.

An analysis of website figures made in 2011 by Charles Duncombe, an on-line entrepreneur, shows a single spelling mistake can cut on-line sales in half. So no wonder why a spelling mistake may turn into a tragedy. Duncombe says that sales figures suggested that misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility and that –believe it or not– poor spelling is a serious problem for the on-line economy.

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes – I know I do. However, proofreading should be a must for anyone publishing. In the end, there is always the possibility to spellcheck twice or three times, while businesses, reputations or lives may not get a second chance.

How about you? Do you spellcheck everything you publish (your social network content and comments, information you share in social and professional profiles, your e-mail messages?)

Do you know any other famous spelling mistake?

Applications open for the ProZ.com moderator class of 2013-2014 1

ProZ.com moderators are volunteer site members who have benefited from ProZ.com and have chosen to give something back by playing their part, in turn, in a system put in place to ensure fair play. Moderators monitor forum and KudoZ areas to extend and protect the pleasant, results-oriented atmosphere of the ProZ.com translation workplace by:

  • Greeting and guiding new participants, and helping them to properly use and benefit from what is available to them at ProZ.com.
  • Enforcing site rules in a consistent and structured manner to maintain a constructive environment.

As previous moderator classes, the class of 2012-2013 is a perfect example of the role. Thank you mods for your cooperation!

The rotation of the current moderator class is scheduled for August. So, if you are a ProZ.com member and would like to volunteer for a one-year term as site moderator, please visit the ProZ.com moderator program area (http://www.proz.com/moderators) or contact site staff through the support center.

Haven’t decided whether you want to join the next moderator class or not? See what past and current moderators say about their experience with the program »

Looking forward to receiving your application!

Lucía

What’s in a good business name? 5

As a  recent ProZ.com poll shows, while the majority of translators offer their services with their own names (68.5%), there are still professionals who choose to do business with a completely different name (22.4%) . Some may go for an invented name, others may simply add the words “Translations” or “Language services” to their real names. Still, it seems that coming up with a good business name requires some thought and time, especially if you are just starting out in the business and still building up your professional identity.

If you are in the process of naming your business, here are some tips for you to choose a memorable and winning business name:

  1. Define your client:  decide the type of client you would like to attract (clients in a given field, clients in a given country, etc.) and think about what you want your client to understand from your name.
  2. Check competitors’ names: navigate the web and familiarize yourself with business naming trends and requirements. Would you need to add “Inc.” or “Ltd.” (or none!)? Would you call your business a “Bureau”?
  3. Use short, but powerful and descriptive words: make sure the word(s) you choose for your business name are descriptive enough and that the entire name is easy to spell and to pronounce.
  4. Check for name availability and similarity: confirm that the name is not already in use or that there isn’t a similar name that may be confused with yours. Check social media for profiles that may be using the name you want and possibly taken domain names.
  5. Check for possible translations and connotations: confirm that your name has the same connotation in other languages and that it is not considered offensive or vulgar in other countries or cultures.
  6. Narrow your options: try to come up with a list of 5-10 names and then narrow it down using the criteria listed above until you choose one name, a business name that you will have to use for the rest of your business life.

Once you pick a business name, it’s time to let the world know that such business exists. Register your domain name and get your website running, get a logo and some business cards, invite clients and colleagues to network with your business. Choosing a good business name is one of the most important branding strategies you will have to apply when creating your business image, business presence is what comes next.

More on business naming and branding:

Do you have a business name? Please share it below!

Summary of the 2013 ProZ.com international conference in Porto Reply

The 2013 ProZ.com international conference in Porto in over, but its spirit still seems to be in all and each of the attendees to this event. With hundreds of Tweets, Facebook posts, feedback comments, pictures, videos, reports and whatnot, this conference seems to have reminded professionals of the importance of networking and learning in professional development.

Careful planning and detailed organization were evidently the secret ingredients for the success of this event. The three session tracks offered led to a good variety of presentations to choose from and the different social options available –sightseeing tour, wine taste, powwows– helped attendees to make connections more quickly and easily.

In sum, this is what this event offered to attendees:

  • Thirty different sessions, divided in three tracks.
  • Two  powwows, one at Restaurante Commercial, one of the most iconic restaurants in Porto, and a second one at Restaurante BibóPorto, a restaurant that offers exquisite traditional Portuguese dishes.
  • A sight-seeing tour around the city.
  • A wine taste at Burmester Cellars, where we had the chance to taste the most famous port wine.
  • A gala dinner also with great food and wine.
  • A one-day workshop on “Negotiation”.
  • The chance to meet fellow translators and promote themselves among peers.

As a ProZ.com staff member, I must say that I’m not only proud of being part of this amazing community, but also honored to have had the chance of spending these amazing days with new friends. Thanks Paula Ribeiro, Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos for working tirelessly over the past year to bring this wonderful event to life. Also, thanks speakers for sharing your time, energy and expertise. And, above all, thank you attendees for making this event possible!

Here is a video summary of the event for you to watch and share:

Hope to see you all soon at the next ProZ.com event!

Lucía

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News from the 2013 ProZ.com conference in Porto 2

This year’s ProZ.com International Conference is being held in the World Heritage city of Porto, Portugal, and I am having the pleasure of being one of the attendees, together with staff members Maria Kopnitsky and Jared Tabor, and more than 200 members! With 28 speakers and 30 sessions scheduled, this conference is one of the largest ProZ.com events organized in the last 5 years.

Attendees, as they arrived, getting ready for the opening session.

As the conference goes by, the organizers, Certified PRO Paula Ribeiro and members Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos, are working together with other language professionals to find the answer to a question that appears to be a major concern within the translation profession: “What are the new demands of the translation industry?” To address this concern, presentations on personal branding, SEO, the state of the industry and translation technology were offered earlier today. Sessions on meeting and keeping clients, CAT tools and ethical practices are reserved for tomorrow, Sunday 9th.

The social side of this event included so far: a photo tour, the visit to a cellar, a pre-conference powwow and the presence of Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, author of the MOX series, who was kind enough to take a couple of hours to autograph his books (thanks Alejandro!).

Alejandro autographing his books, “Mox” and “Mox II”.

Just a few hours ago, there was a gala dinner at Burmester Cellars, a cellar located in one of the most beautiful places of Vila Nova de Gaia. The food was great; the wine, exquisite; and the company, the best! Now getting ready for Sunday sessions and a post-conference powwow at Restaurante BibóPorto.

Click here to see what’s going on in this event in real time.

Congratulations organizers and attendees for this outstanding event!

Lucía

Web marketing for translators (part two) 3

Daniel Freedman, web strategist for LinguaLinx, concludes his two part series by discussing how translators can best use the Web to establish themselves as professionals who solve business problems.

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In the first part of this series, I provoked some lively discussion with the provocative suggestion that translators should reject much of the conventional wisdom about web marketing.

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The advice was to de-emphasize Facebook, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). My contention was that if you are a translator, your attention should be focused instead on just two key things:

1. Establishing yourself as a translation expert
2. Making sure you have a website that proves your expert status

Let me begin with a personal anecdote.

In a previous life, I was an executive at a prestigious and well-funded NGO in New York. A colleague knew that I was an Anglophone from Quebec. She had heard me speaking French to a French diplomat at a conference, and had evidently been impressed. She therefore leaped to the entirely unwarranted conclusion that I should be the person to translate an important letter to a French government minister.

More…

Web marketing for translators (part one) 18

Daniel Freedman, web strategist for LinguaLinx, writes today’s guest blog post, the first in a series on web marketing for translators:

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Do you hate marketing? Are you overwhelmed with contradictory advice from so-called Web experts, none of which seems to have much to do with translation? If so, this blog post is for you.

I’ll offer some surprising advice on a few of the highest priority, do-it-yourself things you can act on right away to get more business – without spending much money.

I’m going to advise you to disregard generic advice that doesn’t apply to you and to focus instead on just two key things:

  1. Establishing yourself as a translation expert
  2. Making sure you have a website that proves your expert status

Is your priority doing great work? Does marketing feel like a burden that gets in the way of that? If so, you’re in good company.

More…