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?

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!

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 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…

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 7 Reply

This is the seventh post in the ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Seventh strategy: Social networking

Online social networks are an excellent way to meet colleagues and keep in touch with them. They are also a great means to share industry news.

Language professionals should try social and professional networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn. These networks allow users to reach a wider market while promoting services and networking, if used as resources to set up a global business presence.

Many translation professionals have an active presence in these communities, with profiles reflecting their services, and share articles or news of interest to translators, promote their services or special discounts or surcharges, help promote translator events, and even pass jobs.

Translator blogs are also an interesting and creative option for networking, staying informed and advertising.

How can I meet colleagues in social networks through ProZ.com?

In ProZ.com Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter groups, professional translators can meet colleagues, highlight participation in industry specific discussions, share links to jobs or interesting articles, find clients and peers, and provide information on services offered, etc.

Join ProZ.com groups in social networks and start networking!

What other social networks do you know or use? Have they helped you to meet colleagues?

Next post in this series: Building an online presence. Check the blog in the next few days to learn more.

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 6 Reply

This is the sixth post in a ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Sixth strategy: Staying abreast of industry news and trends

Knowing about the latest translation industry trends and joining related discussions either on-line or in person allow professional translators to exchange information with colleagues and build a strong relationship with them, leading to job opportunities.

Also, if you have knowledge or news others would benefit from, don’t keep it to yourself! Sharing information on translation or business issues not only helps others and benefits the entire profession, but it is also a good way to promote yourself and your services.

How can I use ProZ.com to inform and stay informed?

At ProZ.com, there are several areas through which professional translators can keep up on current translation-related events and news, and share their own knowledge:

  • In the ProZ.com Wiki language professionals can start collaborative articles on relevant, industry related topics and contribute to already existing articles and discussions.
  • In Translation news articles, translators can post translation industry-related news, comment on, share and subscribe to items that have been posted.
  • In the Articles knowledge base, language professionals can read articles on topics of interest to translators, interpreters, and other language professionals, or post their own articles.

What other sources of translation-related news do you know? Do you have your own space to share news?

Make sure you check the upcoming post on Social networking. Stay tuned!

The voting phase of the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition will end soon Reply

Hi all,

As announced here the voting phase of the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition will end on May 29 (so soon!).

ProZ.com’s page on Facebook has been nominated for the category “Language Facebook Pages” and ProZ.com twitter account is competing in the category “Language Twitterers“.

The competition also looks for the best in these two categories:  Language Learning Blogs and  Language Professional Blogs. So if you would like to participate in the voting and help recognize your colleagues’ work remember to cast your vote before May 29,  23:59 hours German time.

And… if you like the content on ProZ.com Facebook page and Twitter account, this is your chance to show it!

Romina

Update: Both ProZ.com’s page on Facebook and ProZ.com twitter account have made it to the top 25.

@ProZcom 

ProZ.com http://www.facebook.com/prozdotcom