Your Circus, Your Monkeys

Your Circus, Your Monkeys

Are you feeding your donkey sponge cake?

Are you letting frogs out of your mouth?

Providing a language service isn’t just a matter of translating words on a page. It’s a matter of establishing intentions and conveying them, sometimes in vocabulary far removed from the original text. The idioms of different languages open our eyes to some of the entertaining linguistic quirks we find from country to country, and highlight the value of intelligent, intuitive language service technology.

In Portugal, the phrase “to feed the donkey sponge cake” (alimentar um burro a pão-de-ló) refers to an elaborate treatment being given to a person who doesn’t need it.

In Finland, “to let a frog out of your mouth” (päästää sammakko suusta) is to say something inappropriate, a pitfall that translators and interpreters all over the world will be all too familiar with.

In Poland, “not my circus, not my monkeys” (nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy) is an inventive way of telling someone “this is your problem, not mine.”

And that brings us to an important point about service providers. What exactly is their definition of service? One of the key benefits a partner can offer is the assurance that your problems are their problems. The assurance that they will help you overcome whatever linguistic and cultural barriers stand in your way, so when you map out a growth strategy, they’re investing in your success with a smart localization strategy and even smarter technology. They’re selling you something worth buying.

At XTM International, we believe professional sales can be summed up as helping people buy something they want. We’re not interested in making a quick buck at someone else’s expense. We’re here to find the win-win scenario. And in the same spirit, professional service can be summed up as helping a partner get where they want to go. Taking ownership of a problem, taking responsibility for its resolution and taking pride in that partner’s success. The launch of XTM International Partnership Plus this week marked the next stage in that commitment, and the customer service message for our partners could not be clearer. If it matters to you, it matters to us.

It may be your circus. They may be your monkeys. But it’s our problem. And together we’ll solve it.


Have you received excellent customer service that won your loyalty for life? Or was there a time when someone got it so badly wrong that you vowed never to buy from them again? We all have our stories. Let’s share them and learn from them.