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Bilingual Solutions for Contact Tracing

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, contact tracers are working to reach out to those who have been infected, to isolate the risk of spreading the virus. Recently, a lawmaker in Virginia made news by calling on the governor to employ more bilingual contact tracers due to almost half of the COVID-19 cases in Virginia occurring in the Latino community.

According to a recent census, in the metro Atlanta area alone, there are an estimated 146 languages spoken, with 17% of the population over the age of five speaking a language other than English at home. In larger cities, it is not unusual to have concentrations of non-English speakers, nor is it unusual to see spikes in COVID-19 cases in more densely populated areas. It is necessary to utilize bilingual contact tracers to disseminate and gather accurate information, though this is probably easier said than done.

As an alternative, developing a bilingual script or creating flash cards for the contact tracers to use may be sufficient and more cost effective. With this option, the user can point to the text on the flash card and communicate with people who cannot speak or understand English.

Another option is creating a video with subtitles or voice over that the contact tracer can show from their cell phone.

World Translation Center can help with creating flash cards and bilingual scripts, as well as adding subtitles and voice over to video in many different languages! We offer translation services in over 150 languages, as well as in-person interpretation. We are happy to assist with your COVID-related projects.


Newsletter Summer 2020

Click the link below to view our latest newsletter:

Summer 2020 Newsletter


COVID-19 Informed Consent

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, over 63 million people in the United States speak a language other than English at home. Of these non-English speakers, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnam, Arabic, French, and Korean have over one million speakers each. With a large number of non-English speakers, how can doctors and researchers ensure that patients and research participants are given the same right to informed consent as their English-speaking counterparts?
With Coronavirus clinical trials currently recruiting participants, it is critical that researchers provide comprehensive informed consent for their non-English speakers. Because of social distancing and quarantine regulations, some studies may permit participants to consent via phone, video chat, or email. This presents its own challenges, as the ability to ensure each non-English speaker understands the literature diminishes due to a lack of in-person interaction. It is an accepted practice to allow a short form document and/or a verbal representation of informed consent to be given to a non-English speaker during clinical trials; yet, this presents the same problems.
A 2018 study sought to identify potential issues with translating informed consent materials from English to Spanish, encountered three major problems: the introduction of complex language, the reduction of clarity of information, and changes made during the translation that affect the meaning of the information presented.
Four companies were hired to translate the informed consent materials from English to Spanish, while the Spanish-speaking research team did their own translation. Back translations were completed to compare the translated Spanish to the original English. The results show that the translation firms used longer, more complex sentence structure and technical terminology, sometimes incorrectly translating important terms in the process. Another discrepancy was the omission of the word “please” from the documents, altering the tone of the documents. One company eliminated the word “health” from health insurance, changing the meaning of the phrase, which could have legal ramifications for those giving the informed consent. In all instances, translations completed by the research team were more accurate.
To ensure accuracy of information and correct tone, the researchers suggest employing translators who not only have a firm grasp of the target language, but also a contextual and socio-cultural understanding, as well. It would be an added benefit for the translators to work closely with the researchers to ensure optimal results.
With an expected increase to the already high number of non-English speakers in the United States, it is more important than ever to ensure patients and research participants have access to informed consent materials that are easy to understand. With clinical trials for potential COVID-19 vaccines in the works, it is vital for these materials be available in as many languages as possible, as soon as possible. As always, World Translation Center is available to assist with your translation needs, with many translators who specialize in medical and scientific translation.

The Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Time on your hands? Learn a new language!

Because of COVID 19 quarantine measures, many of us find ourselves thrust into a new role of working from home, perhaps while homeschooling our children at the same time. However, if you find you have extra time on your hands, why not take up a new hobby, like learning a language?

Multiple multilingual studies show that learning a second language improves cognitive ability and development, increases memory skills, improves the ability to switch between tasks, and may even aid in the prevention of cognitive loss due to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. While all of these are fantastic reasons to learn a second language, there is a more tangible, lucrative reason to learn another language- more career options.

In our increasingly globalized and multicultural world, speaking a second language could be your ticket to higher earnings or at the very least, more diverse career choices. In 2017, New American Economy published a report detailing the projected growth of companies who seek bilingual employees. Between 2010 and 2015, job postings that specifically request bilingual applicants more than doubled. Particularly, the health care and education sectors seek out bilingual candidates. With so many companies opening businesses in other countries, being able to speak another language could open the door to international travel or living abroad.

The language you choose to learn may be for professional growth (Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic are highly sought after according to the New American Economy report), or for personal reasons. Maybe you want to delve deeper into the philosophical musings of Camus, so you begin learning French; or you learn Hindi so you can sing along to your favorite Bollywood films. Perhaps it is a lifelong dream to throw a coin into the Trevi fountain, so you learn Italian for your bucket list trip. Whatever your reasons, learning a language can be a fruitful, rewarding experience.


Localization in the Language Translation Industry

Most people are capable of typing a few words into Google Translate and getting the meaning in another language or thumbing through a bilingual dictionary to find how to translate a word from English to Burmese. These are great resources for learning how to order a soda in Spanish while you are on vacation but not a reliable means for translating large amounts of material into a foreign language or developing a website for your global business. In order to achieve optimal results, localization is required.

Localization goes beyond simply translating words, it translates culture. It takes into consideration the cultural importance as well as the meanings of words and provides an accurate translation. It is geographic-specific. To ensure accuracy, it is important to utilize the expertise of a native speaker, especially in the review process.

During the review process, the finished translation is proofread by a native speaker who will scrutinize the text for linguistic mistakes as well as ensure the translation paints a relatable picture of the culture and place being represented. This helps eliminate ambiguity and confusion for the reader.

For example, if you were to write a children’s book where the main character is a dog who speaks, you would want to localize the name of the dog so that it appeals and makes sense to your target audience. In the United States, Spot is a recognized and familiar name. In France, however, Bonbon may be a better choice. The key is to understand your target audience and their particular symbols.

A professional translation company, like World Translation Center, will understand the importance of using a native speaker for translation and review, so that you are guaranteed an error-proof, relevant product.

Working From Home During the Coronavirus: Tips for Success

With employees across the globe in quarantine, many businesses are moving to a remote work model. For someone who is accustomed to the hustle and bustle of commuting and the social atmosphere of their workplace, remote work can be challenging at best. Some of us have children at home, making this transition even more difficult. If you are going stir crazy or struggling to adjust to your new routine, here are a few tips to help you stay sane:

  1. Develop a Routine. When you go into the office, you likely have a set routine you follow every day. Clock in, check e-mail, make a to-do list, etc. While you are working from home, attempt to set and adhere to a routine. Not only will it help you stay focused, it will prevent simple tasks from slipping through the cracks, while helping you to maintain a professional mindset.
  2. Set Up a Workspace. Whether you have an entire room set aside, or a small niche in your bedroom with your computer set up, it is important to designate an area for your “office”. This is your professional space, where you can focus on completing work tasks. Having your own space helps you to maintain focus and shift gears into professional mode. If you choose to do this in your pajamas, well, I won’t judge you.
  3. Communicate. Stay in contact with your co-workers, customers, etc. We are all adjusting to these changes, and it is important to keep in touch with the people you normally conduct business with. It shows that they are not out of sight and out of mind and helps to continue building those relationships that you have worked so hard to develop. For you social butterflies out there, Skype and Facetime may be crucial to your success during this time.
  4. Take Breaks. I applaud you for wanting to power through everything, but you will eventually burn out. If you typically take breaks while you’re at work, don’t stop now. Get up, walk around, stretch. Go outside, if possible, and get some fresh air. Run around the block, shoot a few hoops in your driveway, anything to get you moving.
  5. Go Easy on Yourself. This is a new experience, there will be an adjustment period. There will probably be hiccups in the beginning as you learn how to successfully maneuver through this new situation. You’re not alone, there are millions of others out here who are also working from home. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have a job to do, a job that your boss thought you were the best candidate for. You will succeed. Just cut yourself some slack.

The Coronavirus, or Covid 19, has thrown millions of lives off balance. For those of us fortunate enough to continue our work from home, it is a huge adjustment that can take a while to get the hang of. Sometimes it may feel like it’s an impossible feat, but we will all persevere, and who knows? You may decide that you prefer working from the comfort of your home, with no commute, and no shoes required. If this is the case, World Translation Center is available to assist you with your online training brochures, webinars, and translation needs.

St. Patrick’s Day

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States took place in Boston in 1737, amidst efforts to preserve and celebrate the culture of Irish immigrants. With the increase of immigration through the 19th century, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations became more popular and widespread, with some of the largest parades taking place in New York, Chicago, Savannah, and San Francisco. Though originally a feast day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, it has evolved into a day when millions of people across the globe, regardless of ancestral roots, take part in the revelry. Sadly, because of the widespread Coronavirus outbreak, most celebrations have been cancelled this year to reduce the possibility of infection. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, whether raising a pint of Guinness or a dram of Jameson, or having a quiet evening at home, here are a few toasts that are quintessentially Irish to help capture the spirit of the day:

-May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

-For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.

-Always remember to forget the things that made you sad. But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.

-May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

-Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold beer and another one!



COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, is continuing to spread across the globe, prompting businesses to implement exposure risk management plans in the event of a significant disruption in the workplace. The coronavirus is highly contagious and easily transmitted from person to person, making the workplace a particularly volatile environment during times of outbreak. According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, most cases of coronavirus are mild, with some symptoms similar to those of the flu, though it can be dangerous for vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with underlying health issues.  One possible solution to decrease the chances of infection, is to allow employees to work from home.

Allowing employees to work remotely drastically decreases the chances of contracting and spreading the virus and, according to Forbes, employees who work from home are generally much less stressed and have fewer distractions than those who commute to work each day. There is also evidence of decreased overhead when more employees work from home. Currently, remote positions make up 23% of the workforce, with this trend expected to increase as advances in technology allow remote workers to stay connected, and to work more efficiently.

For clients who wish to educate their employees and implement company procedures in case of an internal outbreak, we offer a 10% discount for translating pamphlets and videos related to the Coronavirus.

World Translation Center has proven expertise in localization and translation in over 150 languages, and extensive experience producing e-learning and corporate training materials.

Caucus Word Origins

The Iowa Caucus indicates that election season is now in full swing in the United States. Presidential hopefuls are preparing for an exciting year of campaigning and competition. But what exactly is a caucus?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines caucus as, “a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction, usually to select candidates or to decide on policy.” That sounds straight-forward enough, but the origin of the word caucus has long been shrouded in mystery, since it first began to appear in the U.S. prior to the Revolutionary War.

The word appears as early as 1760 in the Boston Caucus Club, a members-only social and political club. In this instance, it is likely the word was taken from the Modern Greek, kaukos, meaning “drinking cup.” In 1763 the word is being used to describe a private meeting of party leaders or local voters, which is similarly how it is used today. In a private diary entry, a Bostonian man describes meetings of the Caucas Clubb as a group of locals who meet to drink, smoke, and decide leadership.

Similarly, caucus means “drinking vessel” in Latin, as well. Yet another possibility is that caucus is derived from the Algonquian word, caucauasu, meaning “counsel”. Interestingly, there is no direct translation for the word caucus in most other languages.

Malagasy, the Language of Madagascar

At 226,917 square miles, Madagascar is the fourth largest island on the planet. It is well known for its high-quality vanilla beans and diverse wildlife (it is one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries, according to Conservation International), including many different species of lemurs. Less diverse, are the languages spoken here.

The official language, Malagasy, is spoken by most of the population. Among the more educated population, French is also spoken (as a result of Colonialism). Malagasy is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian language family, making it more closely related to the languages spoken in Borneo, the Philippines, and Malaysia than in the neighboring countries of Africa. It borrows words from French, Swahili, and English (Madagascar was used as a base for English pirates in the 18th century!).

What makes Malagasy so fascinating, is that the spoken language barely resembles the written language. This is because of a 19th century Welsh missionary named David Jones.

Jones was befuddled by the Malagasy written language, which utilized an Arabic alphabet called Sorabe. As a result, he developed his own method of writing using the Latin alphabet and, as a result, successfully translated the Bible into Malagasy in 1823. The reason the written language differs so much from the spoken language, is because Jones incorporated many English-Welsh mannerisms into the written language. For example, the last syllable of a word is typically dropped, while unstressed syllables in the middle of words often disappear entirely. Simply put, the Welsh transcribers were spelling things how they would be pronounced with their own native accents.

Today, the Malagasy alphabet contains 21 English letters, excluding C, Q, U, W, and X. 93% of the vocabulary is Malayo-Polynesian, though most words related to animal husbandry are of Bantu (African) origins.

Malagasy is one of over 150 languages we translate at World Translation Center! For an example of how this beautifully unique language is spoken, check out the link below:

Native Malagasy Speakers


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