Non-verbal Cues – When Words Do Not Matter

Some people are extremely ‘verbal,’ they have an ability to express themselves, explain their thoughts well without putting any effort, while others struggle to look strangers in the eye, let alone start a conversation. The world is filled with different people, the outspoken, the observers, the shy ones and ambiverts. However, there is one language that is perceived by different people differently. All of us are well aware of the saying, “action speak louder than words,” or as Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz clearly state in one of the songs written by them, “You say it best, when you say nothing at all.”


Non-verbal communication is important and anyone can form an opinion about you by looking at you from a distance. However, there are no set rules that you can learn to make correct first impressions on people through your body language because non-verbal communication and its meaning may differ from country to country. This post will help you understand the kind of impression you may be making on people of different countries.

While Americans smile freely at strangers, it is considered impolite to smile at people you do not know in Russia. For a lot of Scandinavians, a smile or any facial expression used to convey your feelings is untypical because you are considered to be weak if you show emotions.

Head Movements
In the Middle East and Bulgaria, the head movement for ‘yes’ is different from nodding your head up and down. If you are an outsider, it can be confusing for you to understand the response, hence, avoid using the words yes or no in Middle East and Bulgaria.

Hand and Arm Gestures
Some countries consider a handshake rude, and in the Middle East, it is always considered rude to hand an object to anyone with your left hand.

Sometimes, our body language and face may contradict with what we actually want to say. In fact, we can even offend some people without even realizing it. Make sure to understand what your actions and gestures may mean to others.

Have any interesting experience that you would like to share? Mention in the comments section.

Lost in translation? 5 German Words that you cannot translate in English

German is as complex as it is fascinating, and its vocabulary is no exception. However, a non-speaker may find it difficult to find exact equivalent of a few German words, you may be surprised to know that there are many words in the German language that have no English equivalent and can only be explained using a much longer paraphrase. Here are 5 German words that may make you feel like you are lost in translation.

  1. Fremdschämen: An interesting word with a fascinating meaning, Fremdschämen is a feeling of embarrassment or shame for something that someone else is doing. You may feel this way when your friend is creating a scene, or even while watching TV.
  2. Drachenfutter: This one is for the male species. Drachenfutter is a gift or any other form of offering a boyfriend or husband offers in order to appease their angry girlfriend or wife.
  3. Schadenfreude: It is possibly the most popular untranslatable word that indicates the feeling of happiness or enjoyment that comes after listening other people’s misfortunes.
  4. Ohrwurm: Ever had that feeling when a song is stuck in your head? Ohrwurm is a term used to describe that feeling.
  5. Fernweh: This one is for travelers. The literal meaning of the word is ‘far-sickness,’ which describes the longing for faraway places rather than one’s home. The term is somewhat similar to ‘wanderlust,’ another word that has a German root.

Have something interesting to say about language blunders, translation, or interpretation? Share your views in the comments section.

For any enquires about language translation services, or to know how we can assist you with your clients in Germany or any other country overseas, dial 888-670-3369.

International Boundary Blunders: Is Your Automobile Name a Source of Embarrassment

Advertisers and marketers do a great job of convincing consumers to buy products (often products they do not even require); however, through the accounts of history they have gotten things wrong, occasionally. Product naming is an imperative part of marketing and branding. This is where a lot of brands may make expensive mistakes if they fail to understand the local language and slang of the country they are planning to market their products. Here is a list of few such names that turned into international boundary blunders.

Mazda LaPuta (in Spanish: ‘the whore’)
The name is taken from the book Gulliver’s Travels written by Jonathan Swift, however, it is difficult for the brand to explain this to Spanish speakers. For them, the word means – ‘the whore.’

FITTA (in 3 Nordic languages: ‘Woman’s private parts’)
FITTA was ultimately renamed ‘the Jazz’ for the Scandinavian market after Honda discovered that FITTA is actually a colloquial term for woman’s private parts in around 3 Nordic languages.

PINTO (a Brazilian Portuguese slang meaning: ‘small male genitals’)
The carmaker Ford thought the better of this name as soon as they come to know that the word is a Brazilian Portuguese slang, which means ‘small male genitals.’ This is definitely not the image they were trying to promote. The car was renamed ‘Corcel’ afterword, which means ‘horse.’

Buick LaCrosse (in French: ‘masturbating teenagers’)
When Buick launched the ‘LaCrosse,’ they didn’t think that it may turn out to be an embarrassment. In French-speaking Quebec, the meaning of the word is ‘masturbating teenagers.’

Mentioned above are just few of the examples of car names gone wrong for international automobile lovers. When it comes to language, even a single word with incorrect meaning can harm your sales. Do you have any more examples of brand names gone wrong? Share in the comments section.

Common Language Translation Mistakes That May Cause Huge Problems and How to Avoid Them

Understanding two or multiple languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate like a native speaker. Translation is a unique skill that professionals spend years to develop. Apart from creating an embarrassing situation, minor translation mistakes may also cause huge problems such as sending incorrect information, and breaking business deals, among others. Even if you call yourself a polyglot – an individual who can communicate in two or more languages fluently – you may still say things that a native speaker would avoid. Here are some common language translation mistakes that may sound unnatural to a native speaker.
English – German
English and German belong to same family, which makes the process of translation easy. However, you may face a situation where word-by-word translation would be wrong, even though it sounds correct.
Example: English word ‘so’ is often used to connect sentences such as ‘He woke up late so he missed the school bus.’ The word ‘so’ exists in German as well, but is used in a different manner. Instead of saying ‘Er war spät,so hat er den Bus verpasst’ the correct usage of the word would be ‘Er war spät, also hat er den Bus verpasst.’
This case shows that knowledge and practice is important.
English – French
The stats clearly show that France has always been a significant business partner to English speaking world. For organizations that are dealing with French companies, it is important to have a basic knowledge and understanding of French. However, basic mistakes may happen even if you speak French really well.
Example: In English, most of us start an official letter by addressing someone with ‘Dear Mr. or dear sir or madam.’ The French translation for the same would be ‘Cher Monsieur ou Madame.’ However, a native of French would be surprised to read the word ‘dear’ at the beginning of a business letter. In French, the proper phrase to use is ‘Madame, Monsieur.’

Strategies to Overcome Language Barriers for Immigrants – Professionally and Otherwise

“The limits of our language means the limits of our world.”

-Wittgenstein, 1922
Increased globalization is forcing a growing number of organizations to interact across linguistic boundaries. Since, language affects almost all aspects of everyday life, it is important to focus more on communication barriers. In a multi-cultural organization, simply expecting all employees to communicate in one common language decreases the potential of international talent and leaves monolingual employees ill equipped.

Over the last few decades, a lot of countries worldwide experienced increase in the population of immigrants, which makes language barrier a common challenge in international business settings. Use of strategies below will help you overcome the language barrier and ensure that you are not putting-up your own roadblocks while communicating.

How to Avoid Language Barrier
Avoid Idioms
Business language is usually contextual, and hence, culture specific. As a general rule, if the phrase you are using needs knowledge of other information – be it a metaphor or a game such as baseball- remember that this may make your communication a little more difficult.

Be Careful of Jargon
If you are using abbreviations or other organizational words that may have different meanings, it is important to provide a description, so that others may learn to use the same words that you do. You may also avoid use of such words completely.

Be Patient
Cross-cultural communication may require patience. It may improve with time but you cannot expect your communication to occur with the same speed as when you are communicating with someone in your own country.

Regardless of whether you are communicating with someone professionally or otherwise, it is important to demonstrate sensitivity.

Have you ever experienced language barrier, or have tips for overcoming such barriers? Share your views and experiences with us in the comment section.

Why Procure Professional Transcript Translation Services?

The world at large is becoming smaller by the day. Increased accessibility and easy communication have opened new avenues that allow people to travel, work and live in foreign lands to shape their lives as per their dreams. However, those who leave their nest to find success and solace in another country often face the need to translate and transform their expressions into locally familiar phrases, and in such scenarios, there is always the risk of the essence of the information getting “lost in translation”, or even worse, getting a completely different meaning.

To better understand, sample this:

An elevator in China had the following sign hung outside, written in Mandarin

“Work in progress”

Sparing a thought for the foreign guests, the next line was written in English, a strict translation at that

“Execution in progress”

Fortunately for the workers, the doors were open and the guests could see them mopping the orange juice stains from the floor rather than blood!

However, when dealing with official or academic documents, accurate and empathetic transcripts translation services assume a much greater role. The content needs to be clearly structured and must focus on the logic as well as the context in which it was written. Professional translation service providers employ expert personnel who have a thorough grasp of different languages and the regions of their origin, both of which they leverage to carry out translation work.

This is one the main reasons to hire a professional to do the job rather than using a software solution that may have the aptitude to provide a word-to-word translation, but has no vision to see the context, thus rendering the document meaningless, and establishing the need for accurate and understanding translation services.

The great philosopher and logician Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” The world has become limitless, and through correct translation services, even inhibitions of communication will be fully eliminated.

How to Shortlist the Translators for Legal Document Translation Services

Finding a good translator for the translation of legal documents can be challenging, particularly because it becomes difficult to judge their acumen of the second language. Here are a few ways that can help you identify and select the best translator for legal document translation services –


While selecting a translator for legal services, it is important to ensure that they have some legal knowledge. Your selection should depend upon the kind of work for which you need translation. If you need translation of legal documents, then it is best to hire a native speaker. A reputed translation company can also help you find a reputed translator.


If you want the best services, then you must look for Language service provider experience (LSP) and ISO certification.   This shows that the company meets all the requirements and is licensed to provide translation services.


Experience is a great way to ensure that the team at the company knows their job. How much experience and what kind of experience does the company have makes a lot of difference in the kind of quality you will get.

Regardless of whether you need translation of your legal documents or driver’s license translation, consult for all sorts of translation needs.