The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

Translation of food labels

Revere's (Massachusetts, USA) diverse community has given rise to a number of ethnic restaurants and grocery stores brimming with international products from countries such as Cambodia, Lebanon, and Thailand.

revere usa


While these restaurants and stores provide a taste of home for immigrants, they may be confusing for residents who want to try new things but cannot read foreign-language packaging.

This was one of the arguments used by City Councilor George Rotondo when he asked, by way of a council motion, that Revere stores that sell products in a foreign language provide an English translation.

"I embrace diversity. I live it," said Rotondo, whose wife is from Colombia and who can speak or read five languages. "Unfortunately, I believe it's unfair that you go to a store and see something there and don't know what it is, and have to rely on someone telling you what it is."

His colleagues on the council last month approved the motion, which then made its way to Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino's desk. There it met a speedy death.

"The council passed it and the mayor vetoed it," Rotondo said. "He thought it was 'silly'; he wrote that in a letter to me."

"I just thought it was kind of foolish," Ambrosino said in an interview. "First of all, I don't think we have the authority to have private companies translate their products into English. And I don't think it's an effort in which we ought to be expending our efforts."

Read more > Revere 
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Mills & Boon to commence Polish translations

W H Smith is to introduce Polish versions of some of Mills & Boon's most popular titles according to the press today. Libraries are also tipped to bring in copies for an increasing Polish customer base. The publishers already prints romances in a huge number of languages but until now finding a Polish has not been on the list.

W H Smith is now looking to launch about a dozen Polish titles in the spring with the possibility of more to follow.

"Our aim is to offer our customers choice and we will be looking to launch these translations in at least 20 stores where there is a large Polish community," said a spokesman.
Read more > W H Smith
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Mills & Boon to commence Polish translations

W H Smith is to introduce Polish versions of some of Mills & Boon's most popular titles according to the press today. Libraries are also tipped to bring in copies for an increasing Polish customer base. The publishers already prints romances in a huge number of languages but until now finding a Polish has not been on the list.

W H Smith is now looking to launch about a dozen Polish titles in the spring with the possibility of more to follow.

"Our aim is to offer our customers choice and we will be looking to launch these translations in at least 20 stores where there is a large Polish community," said a spokesman.
Read more > W H Smith
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Increased arrests of immigrants puts strain on police translation costs

The increasing number of foreigners in the UK is resulting in police forces strething to "bursting point." This according to leaked memos reported in the press today.  One chief constable commented his force had been "underfunded for years" in its battle to cope with a growing number of immigrants which has left resources strained. Police also note that extra translation and bureaucratic costs are resulting.

Read more > UK Police 
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Understanding the transcultural consumer

Press Release, San Francisco, CA, January 06, 2008 :

“The more than 100 million multicultural consumers in the US, are not just multi-colored or multi-lingual but cross-cultural and transcultural as well. They are rapidly evolving and challenging the definition of “ethnic” or “multicultural” marketing,” says Valerie Romley, Chief Research Officer and author of "Beyond Translation; The Marketer's Field Guide to Understanding Today's Transcultural Consumer".

“What was effective yesterday is no longer relevant and what is effective today may not resonate with tomorrow’s moving targets. It’s time for marketers to go beyond relying on translation and color and language based segmentation and understand the roles that culture and context have in influencing beliefs and attitudes and driving consumer behavior.”

Read more> Beyond Translation 
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