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Doing business in China

24. September 2012 12:31 by Susan Andrus, marketing manager in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
Are you currently doing business in China, or are you planning to in the near future? Consider this…
ü  The Chinese have the oldest known calendar that dates back to 2600 BC. One year is based on the phases of the moon, and a complete cycle of the Chinese calendar takes 60 years.
ü  Ice cream was invented in China around 2000 BC when the Chinese packed a soft milk and rice mixture in the snow.
ü  Long ago, silk making was a closely guarded secret in China. Anyone who tried to give the secret away or was caught smuggling silkworm eggs or cocoons was put to death.
ü  Each minority in China speaks its own dialect or language, and there are over 200 different ones recognized today. The most common are Mandarin, Cantonese, Shaghainese, and Kejia dialects.
ü  During the world financial crisis, 40% of all Chinese small businesses either crashed or went bankrupt.
ü  Despite its immense size, all of China is in one time zone.
ü  Exports from China to the United States total to about $200 billion. Both countries depend on one another for continued prosperity and success.
Did you know that China is the fourth-largest country in the world and is home to over 1.3 billion people? If you would like to take advantage of this enormous business opportunity, then pay close attention to these tipsthey can ether make or break your ventures.
Important tips
·         Personal relationships, known as guanxi, are very important in the Chinese culture. Relationships signify the commitment to help one another, not just to do business. Focus on building guanxi before jumping into corporate details.
·         Business cards are exchanged on an initial meeting. Make sure one side of the card has been translated (in Mandarin) and try to print the Chinese letters using gold ink, as this is an auspicious color. Mention your company, rank, and any qualifications you hold. When receiving a card, never place it in your wallet and then in your back pocket.
·         Meetings typically start with a nod or bow. Shaking hands is also common, but wait for your Chinese associate to extend a hand first. (An overly vigorous handshake can be interpreted as aggressive.)
·         Avoid making dramatic gestures or using exaggerated facial expressions. The Chinese do not use their hands when talking and become distracted by a speaker who does.
·         Gift giving is appropriate on certain occasions. Avoid giving anything of value in front of others; it could cause embarrassment and trouble. Acceptable and appreciated gifts include high-quality pens, gourmet foods, liquors, and stamps if your associate is a collector (stamp collecting is popular in China).
·         Red is considered a lucky color in the Chinese culture. In contrast, white is the national color associated with funerals and mourning.
·         Try and book meetings between April-June or September-October. Avoid national holidaysespecially the Chinese New Year.
·         Punctuality is vital when doing business in China; late arrivals are seen as an insult.
·         Meetings should begin with some brief small talk. Keep it positive and avoid anything political. (If it is your first meeting in China, talk of your experiences in the country so far.)
·         Always send an agenda prior to any meeting. Start with core issues and end with minor or side concerns.
·         Expect to make presentations to many different groups at different levels.
·         When entering a business meeting, the highest-ranking member of your group should lead the way.
·         It is not uncommon for the Chinese to supply an interpreter. If possible, bring your own interpreter as well to help you understand the nuances of the discussion.
·         Be patient and never show anger or frustration. Patience is the most important skill needed to do business in China. The Chinese are very good at figuring out when a foreigner is under pressure and will turn that into their advantage.
·         Never pressure your Asian colleagues for a decision. To speed up the decision process, slow down, start from the beginning, and work through a solution in a logical fashion. Then stand your ground.
·         Never argue or say “no” directly, as it is considered rude and arrogant.
·         The Chinese are known for being tough negotiators. They aim for concessions in negotiations, so you must be willing to show compromise.
·         Decisions will take a long time either because there is a lack of urgency or confidence, or because there are other negotiations taking place with competitors.
·         The Chinese expect the business conversation to be held by senior officials. Subordinates may speak when asked to provide data or comments, but in general, they do not interrupt.
·         You will probably be treated to at least one evening banquet. If so, you should always return the favor but never surpass your host in the degree of lavishness.
·         Never begin to eat or drink before your host does.
·         Expect your host to keep filling your bowl with food whenever you empty it. Clearing your bowl may be an insult to your host, because it can mean he did not provide you with enough food. However, leaving a bowl completely full is also considered rude.
·         Your attempts at using chopsticks will be appreciated. When finished, place them back on the chopstick rest. Placing them parallel on top of your bowl is considered a sign of bad luck. (Dropping your chopsticks is also bad luck.)
·         Serving dishes are not passed around. It is acceptable to reach over others to get the serving dishes. You should reach for food with your chopsticksbut not with the end you put in your mouth.
·         Generally, conversation during a meal is centered on the meal itself and is full of compliments to the preparer. Other suitable topics include Chinese sights, art, calligraphy, and the health of the other’s family. 
For your Chinese business document translation needs, contact McElroy Translation. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you and your company become successful in your international business ventures.
Morrison, Terri, and Wayne A. Conaway (2006). Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2nd edition. Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation.

Features that make getting translations a whole lot easier!

27. August 2012 09:57 by Susan Andrus, marketing manager in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

McElroy provides a variety of services to corporate legal departments, patent libraries, and research & development teams that are enhancing the translation experience with increased processing ease while reaffirming a dedication to high-quality translations.


Your online toola one-stop shop for everything! 

Our customer portal provides you direct access to everything you need!

ü  Access to past projects and invoices dating back to January 2010

ü  Access to our patent machine translation engine

ü  Access to our PDF word count tool

ü  Real-time status information on current projects

ü  The ability to submit and receive orders

Check out this quick presentation to see how easy it is to get started!


Patent Machine Translation Engine 

McElroy’s machine translation engine is specifically built for translating foreign PDFs into English.

ü  Translates 32 languages into English

ü  Can handle low-quality PDFs that were previously scanned

ü  Recognizes Asian 2-column formats

ü  Trained by thousands of public patents

ü  Simple to use. With your subscription (which includes a free trial period!), you can log on to your online tool, upload your documents, and receive the translations in minutes.


Automated Word Counts for PDFs

The process for obtaining word counts from foreign language PDFs can be daunting, especially when those PDFs are scanned or of low quality. McElroy provides its clients with access to an online tool that provides word counts automatically—no human interaction is required.

ü  Performs character recognition

ü  Separates format

ü  Provides word count analysis


Highly Responsive Customer Service

Your account will be assigned to a single individual responsible for making the translation process a snap! Your representative will

ü  Process your orders

ü  Respond within 2 business hours

ü  Provide status updates as needed

ü  Answer any questions regarding your online tool’s features



Certified ISO Quality Management System

Quality is no longer subjective! We measure our quality through our ISO 9001:2008 certified quality management system which tracks our key quality objectives in real time. Our executive team monitors these objectives on a weekly basis. Quality objectives include:

ü  Project accuracy rate

ü  On-time delivery

ü  Project satisfaction survey results

ü  Estimate accuracy

ü  Client retention

Quality Policy: McElroy Translation is committed to delivering quality translations while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. To ensure quality and continuous improvement, McElroy Translation has established a quality management system that is certified to ISO 9001:2008 in order to provide superior customer service, on-time delivery, and verified order accuracy.


Doing business in Sweden

27. August 2012 09:12 by Susan Andrus, marketing manager in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Doing Business in Sweden


Are you currently doing business in Sweden, or are you planning to in the near future? Consider this…


ü  Sweden is home to the oldest known company in the world. At more than 700 years old, Stora Kopparberg began as a medieval copper mine and has since evolved into a forest products firm called StoraGreat.

ü  Swedes were some of the first Europeans to own cell phones, use the Internet, and invest in technical gadgets.

ü  Sweden is the homeland of Germanic culture. The Goths, Suevirs, and Norses (Vikings) all trace their origin back to Sweden. In the ninth and tenth centuries, Swedish Vikings invaded and settled in parts of eastern Europe and founded the first kingdom of Russia. All the tsars of Russia up until Nicholas II were of Swedish Viking descent.

ü  In 2006 Sweden was the most generous country in the world regarding foreign aid to poor countries. It is the only nation where donations exceed 1% of GDP.

ü  Sweden has not participated in any wars for almost two centuries.

ü  The official language in Sweden is Swedish with small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities.


When it comes to business practices, Sweden is very different from other European countries. With its expanding economy and unique culture, Sweden offers desirable business opportunities. If business in Sweden interests you, make sure you are prepared and follow these tips for building great business relationships.


Important tips

·         Swedes value egalitarianism highly and view everyone as equals. When doing business in Sweden, you will notice the lack of blatant signs of hierarchy and status.

·         The communication style in Sweden is very direct and open. This can come across as abrupt but is not meant to be so. Interrupting one another is not a common practice; Swedes take turns speaking to offer different opinions. When conversing, be sure to listen intently to anyone speaking and not to interrupt.

·         There are high levels of English-language competence in Sweden. Do not, however, confuse a high level” with absolute fluency. There are still possibilities for misunderstanding and confusion.

·         Handshakes are used in Sweden for greetings and goodbyes and are conducted in a firm, swift manner (it is a lot lighter between men and women). Men are expected to wait until a woman extends her hand first. Gloves should be removed before shaking hands.

·         Swedes respect one another’s personal space and tend to stand apart while conversing. Do not backslap or embrace them and avoid speaking with your hands in your pockets as this is considered bad manners and will be looked down upon. A person’s space is private, so it is imperative to avoid touching unless a handshake is appropriate.

·         Gift giving is not a common practice when doing business in Sweden. The country’s anticorruption legislation makes gift giving problematic; a gift must not be interpreted as a bribe.

·         A strong separation is made between work and private life, and private time is guarded zealously—especially in the all too few months of summer when Swedes are vacationing and spending time with family.

·         It is important to say hello and goodbye to employees in stores and restaurants.



·         Swedes make business appointments two weeks ahead of time. Refrain from scheduling meetings in June, July, or August, as well as late February through early March. These are very popular times for Swedes to go on holiday. During the Christmas holidays many Swedish businesspeople are unavailable or will not deal with business matters.

·         Punctuality is extremely important whether you are doing business or participating in social events. Never be late; this is seen as poor etiquette and will reflect badly on you. If you must be late for any reason, it is absolutely crucial to phone to let someone know.

·         Swedes set aside specific hours of the day dedicated to business meetings. They are usually from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. A well-planned day is considered very important in Sweden, and any last-minute changes will not be appreciated.

·         Relaxation is valued in Sweden. Don’t try to rush a Swede who is taking a long coffee break or an even longer lunch break, even if you are inconvenienced by it.



·         Before doing business in Sweden, make sure you do your research and go into negotiations with an abundance of knowledge and experience. Swedes are very detail-oriented, and any proposal or presentation should be meticulously planned and logically organized.

·         Unlike in many other countries, Swedes do not need private meetings to make business decisions. During a negotiation, they prefer to achieve a nonverbal consensus. This is often very subtle, and most foreigners do not even realize an agreement is taking place. Instead of a formal vote, Swedes establish their decision through eye contact, slight nods, and murmurs. Therefore, do not concentrate on only impressing the high level executives as they often look to middle and lower management for consent.

·         The first meeting with Swedes may be low key and very matter of fact, and they will never make a decision right away. The purpose for this initial meeting is to evaluate you, your company, and your proposal. All details will be smoothed out and all questions will be answered only after several meetings have taken place.

·         It is important not to show any kind of emotion during negotiations. Always remain cool, calm, collected, and controlled when speaking. Outward displays of emotion are found to be distasteful, even when they are positive reactions. For instance, sales techniques that use hype or high enthusiasm are generally not as successful in Sweden.

·         Small talk is kept to a minimum.

·         Most Swedes consider humor to be inappropriate in a business setting. Reserved and even slightly shy manners can leave a positive, lasting impression.



·         Although they consider their colleagues to be good friends, it is not common for Swedes to socialize with their coworkers after work.

·         To show good manners, wait until your host says “skoal” before touching your drink. (Skoal is the Swedish word for “cheers.”)

·         Swedes have more formal toasts than any other country in northern Europe. Allow your host and your seniors to toast you before you propose a toast to them.

·         If you are seated to the left of the host as the guest of honor, you may be expected to make a speech.

·         A smorgasbord is a Swedish buffet (hot and cold) served year-round, but especially during Christmas and Easter. The cold dishes are generally eaten first; then guests progress to the hot dishes. 


For your Swedish business document translation needs, contact McElroy Translation. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you and your company become successful in your international business ventures.


Morrison, Terri, and Wayne A. Conaway (2006). Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands, 2nd edition. Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation.


Machine Translation FAQ Sheet

25. June 2012 11:06 by Susan Andrus, marketing manager in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Our clients vary quite a bit, as do their translation needs. If you have a high volume or content that’s repetitive in nature, you may already be well acquainted with translation memory, otherwise known as TM. But if not, you may wonder “what exactly is this and do I need it?” This discussion is for you!

What is Translation Memory (TM)? TM is a database that stores segments of translated text.

How does TM work? When you submit a file in an editable format (e.g., a Word document or InDesign file as opposed to a PDF), the content of the file is extracted into the TM software, then analyzed for repetitions (exact matches) and fuzzy matches (similar but not exact matches). Before translation begins, matches are suggested by the TM software, which can then be accepted or overwritten by the linguist working on the text. As your TM expands, segments can be translated faster and at a lower cost.

Are repetitions free? No. Just because the segment is identical, doesn’t necessarily mean that the context in which it is used is the same. Linguists must edit these segments and occasionally retranslate them to ensure they flow correctly within the entire sentence. However, there are price breaks depending on whether the segment is a new, fuzzy, or repetitive match.

What is a fuzzy match


Who owns the TM from my projects? You own your TM; your translation provider maintains it.

Can I move my TM from one company to another? Your previously created TM is portable to the agency of your choice. Just be sure to check that the new vendor has the capability to utilize the TM.

Is TM software- or version-specific? There is an array of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools out there; the most commonly used options are TRADOS, MemoQ, Déjà Vu, and Wordfast. Regardless of the technology your agency of choice is using, TM can be exported into a .TMX file, enabling the exchange of memories between specific tools.

How does TM differ from MT? Translation memory (TM) is a tool used by translators to store the text segments of human translations for reuse. The segments that are reused are specifically from each client’s previous documents, establishing better context parallels and higher quality per segment. Machine translation (MT) is automated, nonhuman translation that isn’t client or subject matter specific. With MT, your files are uploaded into software that generates an output into whatever language you choose. MT lacks context and quality controls.

How can I learn more? Visit our website to read more about our translation memory capabilities, or ask us directly at

Quote and Estimate Accuracy: Never have to apologize to purchasing again!

29. May 2012 09:55 by Susan Andrus, marketing manager in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)


Have you ever sent out a bid to multiple vendors only to have all of them provide you varying word counts? Have you ever checked the word count yourself and come up with yet another completely different number? It’s a perplexing phenomenon which I will touch on in this blog, but the larger issue at hand is how accurate the quote is compared to the final invoice. Word counts are key in how an agency quotes a project. If you go with the company that has the smallest word count, and that word count was derived from Microsoft Word, you may be quoted for thousands less than you are invoiced. And no one enjoys explaining that to their boss or having to request a new PO from purchasing.

To better understand why word counts vary from agency to agency, it is important to understand how word counts are determined, as well as the various software used in this process.

For more on this, view our webinar: Translation Word Counts – Why are they all so different?

Once you understand how your agency is finding the word count, and thus developing the quote, be sure to ask how the cost on their final invoice is determined. Is it based on the initial analysis, or is it based on the final document? Additionally, you should inquire about the agency’s metrics regarding quote accuracy, as well as how they measure and monitor those metrics.

At McElroy, quote accuracy is a key quality objective that we measure and monitor weekly. Our quality objective requires us to maintain above a 90 percent quote accuracy rate. Over the last 6 months, we have averaged 95 percent. The ability to consistently provide our clients with accurate quotes stems from the tools we use to analyze the files that are translated into a foreign language. This is done at the quote stage and then we bill based on that analysis. In rare cases, discrepancies occur due to the submission of updated files from the client side or embedded files that were missed during initial analysis. In either scenario, the client is notified immediately and a new approval is required.

Your agency’s ability to appropriately set expectations regarding the costs involved in your project is central to building trust and developing a lasting relationship. By asking the right questions, you will no longer find yourself in a situation where a vendor undershoots the quote to win a bid.

McElroy Translation

McElroy Translation has 41 years of industry success helping clients meet global language needs by providing medical, legal, technical, and business translation, as well as software and website localization.

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