XTM Advent Calendar Day Fifteen – The Right Words
What do women and men look for in a partner? There’s no uniform answer, and sometimes we don’t know until we find it, but research by dating site match.com suggests that one thing most of us prioritise is basic literacy.
While personal hygiene is the number one concern for both genders, number two is grammar. Three quarters of all men and almost 90% of all women care more about correct use of language than they do about a person’s level of self-assurance or even their teeth. Research has thrown up multiple examples of men and women dismissing potential “dates” on grounds of bad grammar.
It’s been suggested that this linguistic sloppiness indicates not just a general lack of attention to detail but also a poor work ethic, so it’s not surprising that anyone looking for a serious relationship would have doubts about transgressors. Does bad grammar make someone unreliable? And by extension, does bad grammar on a website make an organization unreliable?
Enterprise organizations communicating across oceans and borders know the value of precision, and they know the smallest errors can cost reputations and livelihoods. Research by online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe has demonstrated that a single website spelling mistake can cut online sales by as much as 50%. And spelling is only part of the story. Changes to the structure of a language in translation can be obligatory or non-obligatory. Obligatory changes result from differences in grammatical structure between one language and another. Non-obligatory changes can be less obvious, and they’re triggered by differences in culture and style. Failure to recognise these non-obligatory changes can cause offence and torpedo a relationship before it even begins. Don’t be surprised to see your overseas clients – your potential economic “dates” – swipe right past your profile and never look at it again.
Happily, there are many examples of relationships starting off on the right foot. Just as the right words can open a potential partner’s eyes to our better qualities, accurately translated content can attract client attention for all the right reasons. And automated translation has reached new levels of sophistication and user-friendliness in 2021 with three new releases of XTM Cloud.
Emoticons are now preserved as untranslatable words in bilingual term extraction and alignment files, making these universally recognizable visual triggers understandable to any target audience.
Visual Mode enables linguists to see a translation through the eyes of its target audience. When translating a marketing message, for example, the linguist will see their choices appear in the target language in real time, side by side with the source text, and will get an immediate feel for its suitability and persuasiveness. It’s the definition of instant feedback.
And the Grammar Checker we’ve added to the XTM Cloud QA mechanism adds a layer of automatic scrutiny, ensuring that the basic building blocks of language are firmly in place, and that speed is always balanced with control. Users prioritizing grammatical accuracy in translation can rely on XTM Cloud.
Ben Zimmer, who writes on linguistics for the Wall Street Journal, has argued persuasively that informality and “dumbing down” of language among some social groups takes nothing away from the importance of accuracy for others. Simple eloquence is persuading customers in China, Brazil and Saudi Arabia to spend their money with foreign partners, just as it’s persuading the online dating community to take a chance on hopeful strangers. Even if their teeth may leave something to be desired.
Looking for a lasting partnership? With a few well-chosen words you might just find it. And if it’s commercial partnership you seek, XTM Cloud is the language technology provider you can trust. We’ll help you find the right words.