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On With the Series … About The Wondrous ≈ Sign

I must admit, using the ≈ sign in our blog titles and posts probably does(n’t) (do) wonders for our search engine ranking.

I’ve mentioned this before – when we kicked off our series on how translation is often a combination of ≈ and =, and rarely about = alone.

In that previous entry, I showed a screenshot of how a Google search for ≈ yields a goose egg (or, nothing, if you will.  Or a donut.  Zero.    Cool?  Cool.)

This time, how about a Google image search for ≈?

Here it is:

Screenshot of the (lack of) results from a Google image search for ≈ on 12 March, 2013.

Screenshot of the (lack of) results from a Google image search for ≈ on 12 March, 2013.

And, for a bit of time-stamping, heres a screenshot of the date and time at which the screenshot was taken:

Date and time of when the above screenshot was made.

Date and time of when the above screenshot was taken.

How’s that for both proof of ≈’s lack of place in the (internet search) world?  And, how’s that for redundant redundancy?  I love, love redundant redundancy, a lot – a lot.  No, I don’t love it – I love identifying when it is used, particularly, unwittingly / unknowingly (see how I did that?).  A screenshot, and then, a screenshot of the screenshot’s time stamp, and then, a paragraphical paragraph rife with redundancy.  Lovely.

Also, I think if I keep doing screenshots of screenshot image file titles, we might create optical feedback, like this:

Video feedback, featuring Adam Savage.

This would create redundantly redundant redundancy.  Or, would it?  It might create a void into which all our blog posts get dragged.  We don’t want to find out.

The point being, ≈, which is so important when understanding translation, still, yields almost naught, in search terms.

So, to continue with our series, here’s a couple of nice lists about what we’ll address in upcoming posts.  Really, of all that there is to consider when embarking on a translation project, a short list would include:

(From our last entry)…

  • Who is seeking localization? (e.g What company?)
  • Why is it sought? (e.g. Marketing, Sales, Instruction, Information?)
  • Who will do the localizing? (e.g. What professionals?)
  • Who will review the localizations? (e.g. An in-house team of the client’s employees?)
  • Who will view the finished product? (e.g. Employees, stakeholders, clients, everyone on YouTube?)

And, for our series on ≈, we’ll discuss:

  • VeraLanguage Services List:
    • Translation
    • Transcription
    • Interpretation
    • Voiceover & Professional Audio
    • Subtitles
    • Design & Desktop Publishing
    • Proofreading
    • Consultancy

And, these aspects of linguistics and nonverbal communication:

  • Selected aspects of linguistics
    • Grammar
    • Stylistics
  • Selected aspects of nonverbal communication
    • Subject Position
    • Posture
    • Clothing
    • Gestures
    • Engagement
    • Genetics
    • Tone
    • Voice
    • Gaze
    • Haptics
    • Kinesics
    • Proxemics
    • Chronemics
    • Semantics

And, with the stage set thusly, we’ll keep the posts a-flowin’…



Grandpa Ghostbuster Goes to Sea ≈ …

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

(See why here.)


Never was there a better opportunity to emphasize the ≈ in the concept of translation and international marketing / communication. Also, any time we can reference Wes Anderson and Bill Murray, we will.

Thus – our blog series on localization takes us to an examination of the art form of translation, with the help of some of the greatest artistic representations known to man. (Mmm hmm).

First off, this isn’t a commentary about ‘bad’ translation or ‘wrong’ translation. Yes, there are plenty instances of mistranslation out there (or, Lost in Translation, if you will) – but, this is a note about translation as localization, or trans-creation, rather than apples to apples, word-for-word translation. The most accurate translation isn’t always a exact word for word translation.

Of all that there is to consider when embarking on a translation project, a short list would include:

  • Who is seeking localization? (e.g What company?)
  • Why is it sought? (e.g. Marketing, Sales, Instruction, Information?)
  • Who will do the localizing? (e.g. What professionals?)
  • Who will review the localizations? (e.g. An in-house team of the client’s employees?)
  • Who will view the finished product? (e.g. Employees, stakeholders, clients, everyone on YouTube?)

In the case of marketing a product – those who understand more than one language will tell you that between languages, there is a lot of word-for-word, but there is just as much (often more) room for interpretation and new creation of text. Simply put: it’s not always as simple as taking source words like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and translating them word-for-word.

More specifically, if the purpose is to market a product – and if the absolute, stripped-down purpose is to turn a profit – perhaps a different title or tagline altogether is necessary. Perhaps the translator will give you something that only slightly resembles your source text. It’s not always this drastic, but, any translation is always a version of this concept.

Hence, the use of Grandpa Ghostbuster Goes to Sea as the title to market The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in another country and language. Want to read more fun titles like this? Check out this website, also linked above, for translations of Wes Anderson titles in multiple languages.

Why such a different title than the original? To understand why, we must consider why the source title makes sense in the first place. Considering that this film was made in and first marketed in the U.S., it makes sense that the title can be artistic. Quirky. Whimsical. Catchy. Fun. And, given the genius and success of Mr. Anderson, the title does what is intended: it disperses a brilliant piece of artwork to an audience who will understand and appreciate (and also, consume) it.

Task number two: selling the film in other countries, to speakers of other languages. The translator, in this case – as in any case – must ask the client: what is the purpose of this translation project? If it’s to be whimsical and artistic, and not to care about the bottom line – then great, we’ll translate the title into something whimsical.

If the goal is simply to turn a profit – then, we’ll give you a title that will sell. We’ll consider that our audience remembers Ghostbusters, and will recognize the lead character from his role in that enormously popular film. We’ll note that he’s now grandpa-aged, and that, well, the movie has something to do with the sea (which is less sellable than the chance to see a beloved Ghostbuster again).

In the end, we may not know the details behind this particular translation project, but, those who understand translation will understand that this title may not just have been a Fail Blog entry waiting to happen; rather, it could have been the best way to market a U.S. movie abroad.

What to do? Watch Wes Anderson films. And, try not to get lost in translation, or worse – get lost thinking all translation must be word-for-word in order to be perfect. Ask yourself: do you want to be artistic, or profitable? Both can be important. Only you know which will be more important for your translation projects. Of course, that’s what we’re here to do – to help you determine which witch is which. Or which Ghostbuster is where. (And so on…)



And, we’re off…

…for 2013.  

Whether or not 2012 seemed like it flew by, 2013 is off to a flying start.  New projects, new clients, new, new, new.  

What’s the same?  (Or, better…?)  Our level of expertise, our commitment to quality, to providing enjoyable and reliable service, and continually expressing our gratitude for … you: our clients and friends.

So, without further hiatus – our blog series shall soon resume – with the next post in the series describing the art of translation, previously referred to as the ≈ rather than the =.



Season’s Greetings 2012


A big stack of Season’s Greetings cards must mean these are in circulation.  Coming your way, my friends…

What a year it has been for all of us at VERALANGUAGE INTERNATIONAL.  We couldn’t be more grateful for your business and friendship.  It has been a year filled with translation, transcription, audio & voiceover, multi-media, interpretation, design & DTP, consultancy … all over the world.

We’ve worked with many of our long-time friends, and made great new clients and acquaintances along the way.  Thanks to all of you, we are where we are.   As always, we know we are here for and because of … you.

May you have a great season … and, may 2013 bring you joy, safety, and success.



And . . . We Interrupt. (Again.)

That’s right – we interrupt this blog series yet again, to announce the arrival of the new banner image – complete with each line item rightfully checked off.  New website?  Yep.  It’s fully up.  No more 99%.  

And with that, we’ll dive back in to our blog series on localization … shortly.



We Interrupt This Blog Series…

… to bring you this sneak peek at our new website and re-brand:

Without further ado… (yes, ado – not ‘adieu’, as it is often erroneously written.  Linguistic note: ‘adieu’ means ‘goodbye’ in French – so I guess you could say ‘without further adieu’ if you’re lingering in a doorway, saying too many goodbyes, but, I digress..)

… here is a look at what we’re up to web and brand-wise:

And / or

Yep, the screenshot comes complete with not only a look at our upcoming site, new logo, etc, but, you also see my Safari browser.  Tabs left open: Apple (Steve Jobs’ memorial video on their homepage today – wow).  All Products: IKEA (Yes, we need a bit of strategic office furniture.  Care to guess what?  Riveting, I know.)  Add New Post < VeraLanguage: The Blog… (Self-explanatory?) … and so on.  That’s what I was up do whilst the notion to write this blog post didst hit me.  Why close ‘em?  Truth in advertising?  And, where are my bookmarks?  (PS CS6…But, I digress.  Again.)

So, here she is.  Vera’s new site.  It’s a bit hard to hide our affinity for clean, clear, sharp, simple, bold.  (Apple, we love.  Cluttered, we don’t.)  We’re happy.  Vera is happy.  We’re almost done, and, all’s well that ends well.  Much Ado about Nothing.  Much adieu precludes nothingness.  (Shakespeare references?  Again…digression.)

Thanks to all the helping hands and minds who contributed.

We are here for and because of … you.




Who’s up for a blog series kickoff which starts with a nice Google search screenshot?   I know I am.  

So, without further adieu, to start our new series on localization, here’s a screenshot from a Google search which sums up real nicely what this series is all about:


(Yes, this screenshot is relevant.  Wait for it.)

(No, this blog series will not always feature almost completely blank / white screenshots at the beginning.)

(Or, will it?  We shall see…)

Why the ≈ symbol?  Again – wait for it.

To be brief and upfront: the concept of localization is widely unknown and misunderstood.  To use a more known term – the concept of translation is just as widely unknown and misunderstood, and particularly so in areas which are predominantly monolingual.

For the most part, in monolingual societies, the belief is that there can always be an = between languages.  Apple = mazana, blue = azul, etc.

This belief is, however, erroneous.  There is a much more appropriate symbol for ‘localization’ – and one which, though extremely important to this field, yields little results in … Google.

Google search results: say no more.  You Google it – you get results – you’ve found artifacts which have become relevant in our modern spheres.  These are human creations, to which we have lent enough energy as to deem them ‘findable‘ and ‘attached‘ – and therefore, relevant – to the human experience, whether in the past, present, or future.


You Google it – you get “Your search ______ did not match any documents.”  Aha – what have we here, mes amis?

This is different from when Google tries to correct our mistakenly-entered or mis-spelled search queries, and offers would-be solutions, such as: Showing results for __________.  Or, sometimes Google gives us the suggestive “Did you mean __________”?

So, what tiny artifact – what bit of text, have we entered, which yielded no results in Google?  A made-up place name?  No.  A mis-spelled word?  No.

A simple, mathematical symbol, which comprises almost the whole of the concept of localization.  (Cease waiting now):

Yep, that’s it.  The ≈ symbol, otherwise known as Unicode 2248, which is also related to symbols ≃, ≅, ~, and ≒.  These little, significant symbols represent the key concept to understanding localization and translation: approximation.

In this blog series, we’ll explore that symbol, and the concept of ‘approximately equal’, as keys to understanding localization.  It is our primary focus that language is a human connector, used for reducing uncertainty and increasing connection between living things.  As such, it’s not our intention to be strictly mathematical.  In fact, the strict focus on math alone is one of the main reasons for which monolingual societies misunderstand translation and localization.  Hence the ≠ symbol.

As it is, localization ≠ translation.  Translation is a part of localization – not a synonym for it.  And, in this case, part does not equal the whole.  Ever.  Translation alone is never enough.

So, we’ll become friends with ≈ as we endeavor in this new blog series.  Themes such as translation, transcription, grammar, stylistics, tone, nonverbal communication, voice, gaze, haptics, kinesics, proxemics, chronemics, and semantics will be explored in order to take us from = to ≈.

= ≠ ≈.  Translation ≠ localization.  Blue ≈ azul.  The art of localization.  And so forth…

Who knows – with enough posts to this series – we just might get some results from Googling ≈.  It could happen.  Wait for it …



The International World of VeraLanguage

And … here it is:  The VeraLanguage International blog.

The ice is officially broken, and the blog posts just won’t stop.

Company updates?  Here.  Industry musings?  Here.  Client spotlights & thank yous?  Here.  All things VL International?  (Here.  There.  Everywhere.)

For our first post, we provide a great photo of Earth … from space.  (Or, it is Earth 2?)  The International world of VeraLanguage has ties and influences which reach out to … the entire world.  Every country, every language, every people – everywhere.

So, the image of Earth … from space:  it’s about perspective.  It’s all about perspective.  Our perspective: this blog starts and ends because of you – our clients, partners, and friends – worldwide.  Thanks for your patronage – thanks for your support – thanks for your business.

We are here for and because of … you.