The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies, now in Persian


Make no mistake. The proposed deal between Boeing and Iran Air for 88 jets is a huge deal, not so much in dollars but in symbolism. Because there are many more Western companies lined up eager to strike similar deals in Iran.

While these deals are not without a fair share of risk, there was a time not very long ago when similar statements were made about Russia and China. And, of course, everything could fall apart in an instant (or an election).

Or we could look back a decade from now and wonder what the big deal was. I prefer the latter, which is why I’m pleased to announce that The Savvy Client’s Guide to Translation Agencies is now available in Persian and is for sale in Iran.

Iranian translator Mary Poorglavi translated the book and I recently asked her a few questions about the process and Iran. Here’s what she had to say…

About how long did it take you to translate the book?

You know translating and editing are two separate, but interdependent processes. Therefore, I first translated the book and then edited for three months. Since this was my first publishing experience after 15 years of working as a freelance translator, I did my best to produce a fluent but accurate translation of the book.

What were the most challenging aspects?

The book avoids complicated syntax; therefore, I had no problem in understanding the meaning. However, the most challenging part of the book was related to the cloud model! It was new for me, because in Iran, the traditional TEF (Translating-Editing-Proofreading) model is still used by the translation agencies. To the best of my knowledge, none of translation companies uses this system for localization services and most of them are not familiar with it. Moreover, many freelance translators in Iran do not use even translation memories and are not familiar with them. I think this part of the book should be expanded with more details for those who don’t know what the cloud-based translation system is or how they can use it.


What is the current state of the translation industry in Iran?

Generally, in Iran as a developing country, it is a slow-growing industry. Unfortunately, Iranian LSPs rarely use technology. Nearly all of LSPs in Iran focus on specialized translation and few companies provide localization services by emails! Some other companies use an automated system of registering the project, pricing, translating, and delivery with no use of term banks or translation memory integrated in their websites (or no use of cloud-based translation system management) and depend only on the knowledge of freelancers. However, recently, some associations and institutes have been established to organize  translation agencies.

Have you seen signs of translation industry growth over the past year as Iran has worked to open up its markets to Western companies?

After terminating sanctions, a very limited number of LSPs are slowly preparing themselves to offer services to global customers and get their shares of global market opportunities. In my idea, publishing books on introducing translation industry, academic papers focusing on translation industry in Iran, using the newest technologies, holding the conferences on translation industry and the importance of the presence in global markets, revising the related policies may help the industry to grow faster.

For those of us who would like to visit Iran, what sights do you most recommend visiting?

Iran is known as a four-season country with many attractions. In Tehran, Golestan Palace and Niavaran Palace are among many beautiful and charming attractions; in Isfahan, there is Naqsh-e Jahan Square known as Imam Square, and in Shiraz, Eram Garden and Persepolis are worth visiting.

Web Globalization Leaders in Life Sciences


As life sciences companies broaden their global sights to include new and emerging markets, their global (and mobile) websites have not always kept pace.

SDL recently commissioned a report in which I benchmarked a select group of 25 life sciences websites:

  • Abbott
  • Abbvie
  • Amgen
  • Astra Zeneca
  • Baxter
  • Bayer
  • Beckman
  • Coulter
  • Becton Dickinson
  • Boston Scientific
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Edwards Life Sciences
  • Eli Lilly resenius
  • Gilead Sciences
  • Hill-Rom
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen
  • Medtronic
  • Merck
  • Perkin Elmer
  • Pfizer
  • Sanofi
  • Sciex
  • Smith & Nephew
  • St. Jude Medical
  • Stryker

From languages to localized content to usability, this report highlights those companies that have done the very best at taking their websites global. In addition, this report provides valuable best practices from which companies across all industries can benefit.

You can request a free copy of the report here.

And I will be presenting from the report on May 25th via webinar, also free. You can register here.

I hope you can join!




What’s the most multilingual website?

I often point to Wikipedia as one of the most multilingual websites on the Internet.

Which is a major reason why Wikipedia finished in third place in the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.

But Wikipedia is not the most multilingual website.

For that, I’d have to point toward the Jehovah’s Witnesses website.

As only partially illustrated by the screen grab below, the Jehovah’s Witnesses site supports nearly 600 languages, up from 400 in 2010.


In comparison, Wikipedia supports only 271 languages.

Google supports only 125 languages.

(It feels odd to write “only” and “125 languages” in the same sentence)

I should be clear that I’m using a liberal definition of “supporting a language.” Most of the languages supported by the Jehovah’s website are represented by very little content — about a dozen or so web pages. This is also static content — the stuff that doesn’t require monthly or even annual updates. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny that 600 languages is a notable achievement.

Here’s a sample page in Marathi:

jehova's witness global


I want to highlight the global gateway: The menu includes all available languages (displayed in the local languages). And, equally important, a global gateway icon is well positioned in the upper right corner of every web page, as shown below:

Jehovah's Witness global gateway


I prefer a globe icon as the one used here says “translation” more than global gateway.

So how does the website compare with other religion websites?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports an impressive 115 languages, up from 40 a few years ago.

And the website has made great strides in improving its global gateway. Shown below is the language menu:

LDS global gateway


And here is the globe icon used to highlight the gateway:



The Holy See supports a mere 10 languages, which, to its credit, is an increase from five years ago.

Holy See global gateway


I also visited the Christian Scientist website, which has made progress over the years–up to about 20 languages.

Christian Science home page


I reviewed a handful of other religion websites but found nothing beyond English and Spanish.

While I doubt anyone is going to come close to challenging Jehovah’s Witnesses soon in languages, I’d love to see more competition. So if I’ve overlooked any website, please let me know.

Chinese marathoners suffer from lack of translation

soap china

According to People’s Daily, a number of runners in a South China marathon suffered from more than simply lack of hydration.

Try lack of translation.

The bar of soap shown above was included in each runner’s swag bag — apparently a number of runners thought they were energy bars. Yes, folks, translation does matter!

And even in English, that package does not look like soap. After 26 miles I might have done the same thing.

Chinese drawing even with English on global websites

Over the past decade Simplified Chinese has grown to become one of the most popular languages on global websites, second only to English.

According to the Web Globalization Report Card, which has long monitored languages supported by the world’s leading brands, Chinese was seen on only about six out of ten websites in 2006.

Today, it is seen on virtually every global website.

chinese language growth

That’s not to say languages such as French, German and Spanish aren’t important as well. In fact, French is right on par with Chinese, followed by German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Here are the top 10 languages overall:

top 10 languages

I should also note that Russian has seen a significant rise in usage over the past decade. In 2006, Russian was seen on only 42% of all global websites and now it’s up to 87%.

But there are language gaps still remaining. Arabic, for example, is spoken by more than 240 million people but only half of all global websites support it (so far).

And Hindi, with more than 260 million speakers, sees a paltry 4% of global website support — many companies cling to the hope that English will be sufficient for India. Perhaps for today but not for long. Consider that companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have embraced Hindi, as well as other Indic languages, foreshadowing a time when other companies will be compelled to follow their lead.

To learn more, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.

To learn more, check out the 2016 Web Globalization Report Card.