10 Reasons Why Website Translation Is Crucial

There can be no underestimating the importance of a good business website in a day when internet usage is at an all-time high – and growing. With huge numbers of people searching for products and services via the internet all over the world, a major competitive advantage can be achieved through the relatively simple act of website translation: presenting the information to people in their own language.

10 reasons why you should consider website translation:

  1. Increase your search engine ranking

It’s all very well having great website content, but you need to make sure the right people can find it! Search engines lead people to your website, and in many countries where internet usage is high (France, China and Japan) the default search engines are not necessarily in the English language. In fact, more than half of all Google searches are NOT conducted in English. Translating your website is key in making your company appear on search engines in the countries you are targeting and drive traffic to your website.

  1. Less English-speaking internet users

Seoul, South Korea skyline with Namsan Mountain and Seoul Tower.It used to be that English was the primary language of the internet, and English speakers were the main users of the internet. This is all changing as countries across the world show substantial increases in internet usage, consequently opening up the worldwide web to huge numbers of non-English speakers. Almost 70% of internet users are non-native English speakers, yet 57% of websites are available only in English: translate your website while the imbalance is evident and you will catch these new markets at the vitally important growth stage where opportunity is wide open.

  1. Increase your customers

Website translation will make your website available to thousands more people from all corners of the globe, and this in turn will bring you new and relevant customers.

  1. Gain trust

Offering your website in another language will earn you trust from speakers of that language, which in many cultures carries high importance. We cannot always assume that people across the world will feel confident enough in their English ability to use English-language websites – especially when they are located a long way away. Let them know that you speak their language and they are more likely to purchase from you.

  1. Understand cultural sensitivity

On a similar vein to trust, a multilingual website will help to overcome cultural barriers and portray the information in a way that is sensitive and relevant to the target culture. This will help the user to feel comfortable navigating your site and trusting your product.

  1. Portray a positive image

Before you even start reading a website, seeing that it is multilingual sends out an immediate and positive message that you are international.

  1. Beat your competitors

Give any non-native speaker the option of using a company whose website is in their language, compared with a company whose website is available only in English, and it is not hard to guess who they will choose. By translating your website you will be putting yourself a step ahead of your competitors and establishing yourself as the market leader.

  1. Make it easy for your customers

website translation laptopThe harder it is for visitors to read your website, the more likely they are to give up and leave your site. Make the journey for your customers as easy as possible by offering the information in their own language, and they are more likely to stay on your site and ultimately become consumers. A report by the Common Sense Advisory discovered that, even in our globalised world, 85% of consumers will not make a purchase if information is not available in their native language.


  1. Gain a valuable marketing tool

Website translation will not only enhance your sales potential, it is also a brilliant marketing tool. Having your website available in multiple languages is an easy and cost effective way of capturing new users, giving your brand a global outlook and marketing your company to a whole new international audience.

  1. It’s about them, not you

Finally, everybody likes to think they are important, and by translating your website you are telling your customers that you think they are important. Their opinion matters and their business matters. The simple act of presenting information in their own language is a great way to demonstrate that you value them, and this will make them want to do business with you.

Cactus Language Training is a leading provider of language training, translation services and cross-cultural training. Please contact us here or call 00 44 (0) 1273 830 960 for a competitive quote for professional translation. You can be sure of high quality and accuracy as well as prompt service and fair prices.


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Whether you are looking for a 10-week evening language course to fit into your working week, a private language course via Skype or face-to-face, a TEFL course to enable you to teach English the world over, or a language course abroad where you can truly immerse yourself in the language and culture, Cactus has the language learning solutions you need.




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How much language can you learn in one year?

New year is a great time to learn a new language, as it not only ticks off a worthy resolution but it gives you valuable skills to take forward. But the big question is – how much language can you really learn in one year?

Whether in preparation for an overseas business trip, to secure a deal with foreign partners or to maximise your employment potential, learning a language will put you one step ahead in the global community and bring you instant respect and admiration.

By making it your goal to learn or improve a language in 2015, you can track your progress from January to December and see how much you’ve learned over the year. Be honest about the time you can commit each week to your target language and make realistic short-term goals; this is the secret to keeping focused and energised!

So how much language can you expect to learn in one year?

This depends on factors such as:

  • Your existing level
  • Your learning style
  • The amount of time you have
  • The amount of self-study you do
  • The number of participants in your group
  • If you can spend time in a country where the language is spoken

We can offer a general guideline to help you plan your language training. Let’s take the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which all Cactus courses are designed around, whereby A1 is beginner level and C2 is proficient.

If we take the most extreme case of wanting to progress from beginner level (A1) in January to proficient (C2) by December, you will need 375 hours of 1:1 class time* plus 255 hours of self-study.

That’s a one-hour class every day of the year – but of course, realistically, you’re more likely to study for a couple of hours at a time, and may put it many more hours on a holiday or business trip.

Let’s say you know the basics in a language and want to gain a bit more confidence, but there’s no rush. Transitting from beginner (A1) to elementary (A2) will require 45 hours of 1:1 classes, plus another 30 hours of self-study. If you do two-hours a week you will reach your goal in under six months!

Break it down into days, weeks and months and it’s easy to design a course that complements your learning style, suits your lifestyle and reflects your end goals. Whatever your language learning resolutions, your teacher will sit down with you at the beginning of your course to plan the content and make sure that you end the year on a linguistic high.

Bon nouvel an…feliz año nuevo…guten Rutsch…happy new year!

Cactus Language Training specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.


Business travel: why it pays to prepare yourself both culturally and linguistically

Business Travel: there are lots of good reasons why you should try to pick up some of the local language before you go on a business trip.  First of all, it will help massively with the practicalities of foreign travel – like getting from A to B, whether you’re asking for directions, for tickets or for maps for public transport. It can also be imperative when it comes to getting receipts – not something that many people think of prior to their arrival, but given that the accounts departments in many companies won’t reimburse the cost of anything that you don’t have a receipt for, it’s very important!

Secondly, being able to speak some of the language will go down well with your potential business partners. Being able to order your own food at a business lunch without relying on them will not only impress them in the sense that you’ve been committed enough to learn some of the language, but will also indicate that you are an independent, respectful and intelligent person…all good attributes when it comes to doing business.

Culturally-speaking, doing some degree of training, or reading up on, the culture of the country you are going to can be priceless. Not knowing the cultural norms of your foreign counterparts can lead to embarrassing situations, and sometimes even offence. Not a great start to any potential business partnership…

Some business associates that you meet may be accustomed to western ways, and may be more understanding when it comes to cultural faux-pas, but this cannot be said for all. Often people don’t realise the extent of the cultural differences that can exist between nationalities, or the importance that is placed on certain norms by people from other countries.

To highlight some examples, did you know that….

1. In Japan, the exchanging of business cards involves a degree of ceremony. The card is viewed as a representation of the individual, so should be treated with due respect. Before travelling to Japan, you should make sure that you have plenty of cards, and have one side translated into Japanese.

When exchanging, you should offer your card with both hands, and make sure that you hand it over with the Japanese side up. When accepting a card, always use two hands too.

2. In the Middle East, handshakes are the usual way to greet business associates, and they can last a long time! It should always be the right hand that is used. You may also find that your hand is held while you are led somewhere – this is common in the Middle East and doesn’t have the same connotations as in western cultures.

3. In China, physical contact is not something that is widely accepted – especially when doing business. Be sure not to slap, pat or put your arm around any associate’s shoulders.

Body language and movement are both areas you should be aware of when doing business in China. You should always be calm and controlled. Body posture should always be formal and attentive – this shows you have self-control and are worthy of respect.

4. In India, when negotiating, you should try to avoid high pressure, or aggressive tactics. Criticisms and disagreements should be expressed with diplomatic language as it is considered very impolite to say “no” in Indian society. Listen carefully to Indians’ responses to your questions – if terms such as “maybe” are used then they might be disagreeing.

5. In Italy, hospitality plays a key role in business culture. Invitations to lunch and dinner should be expected when doing business there. Normally, the most ‘important’ guest will sit at the middle of the table or on the right of the host; the host always pays; it is not considered acceptable to take any phone calls at the table.

Cultural training courses are a great way to learn about the cultural etiquette and norms of the country that you’re going to. Programmes can be tailor-made to suit your specific needs, and offer great value for money. To find out more, or enquire about prices please visit the Cactus Language Training website.

Language opens the door to new markets: the increase in Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish and Korean

Diversifying into new markets is a smart way for businesses to survive in hard times; having the appropriate language skills is key to tapping into these markets and forming long-term partnerships.

A few years ago we spoke about the increasing importance of Arabic, Russian and Mandarin as languages that were opening the door to valuable, developing markets – markets that were less affected by the latest global recession and which had the ability to maximise the earning potential of traditional western economies. These languages have indeed proved to be key in establishing successful business relationships with Russia, China and the Arab world, investments that will reap long-term reward.

It is now time to turn our head towards new markets that may for the same reason represent a smart business move in the current economic climate.

Brazil: Brazilian Portuguese

A prime contender here is Brazil, home to Brazilian Portuguese, and host country to major worldwide sporting events including next year’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. This vast South American country may have experienced a slight decrease in growth over the last year, but with the world’s eyes set on Brazil for a good few years to come and its status as one of the advancing BRICS economies, it is unlikely to lose its place in the spotlight. Brazilian Portuguese is certainly a popular language at Cactus, with students taking evening courses mostly for work reasons – a positive sign of commercial investment in the country and recognition of the need to communicate in the local language rather than relying on our own. With Brazilian Portuguese being spoken by nearly all of Brazil’s 200 million inhabitants, and the language rated as Category 1 difficulty for English speakers to learn (Category 1 being the easiest, Category 3 the most difficult*), that makes a lot of extra people you can do business with, relatively easily.

Turkey: Turkish

Second on our list of markets to watch is Turkey. A rich historical land sitting on the European-Asian divide, it is Turkey’s imminent accession to the EU that promises a significant leap in business potential. As has been witnessed with other member states, the country can expect increased overseas investment and access to economic development aid, both of which should drive economic growth.

It’s fair to say, however, that Turkey has been enjoying something of a transformation even before their EU membership comes into effect. Slowly appearing amongst Istanbul’s extravagant Ottoman mosques and exotic bazaars are ultra-modern shopping malls, fashionable bars and sleek art galleries, all frequented by a young and culturally diverse crowd who have money and time to spend it; in turn, this makes Istanbul an attractive city break for foreigners, bringing in additional foreign currency.

Turkish is a language with over 63 million native speakers and is generally classified as a language of Category 2* difficulty for English speakers. For a country such as Turkey with strong cultural traditions and deeply rooted beliefs, the ability to communicate on a personal level through knowledge of Turkish gives anyone considering doing business here a distinct advantage.

South Korea: Korean

Finally, our look at emerging markets turns to Asia. While China’s growth shows signs of slowing, its trading partner South Korea last month (July 2013) boasted its fastest growth rate in over two years. This is partly thanks to the country being home to some of the world’s most successful hi-tech and manufacturing corporations – Samsung and Hyundai Motors among them – which contribute to South Korea’s buoyant export figures. As a language to invest in, Korean is rated at Category 3* difficulty for English speakers so more time and money is required to achieve a proficient working knowledge of the language. That said, the effort to speak the local language is rarely more appreciated than it is in Asia, especially in the business environment. Add to this the fact that linguistic training invariably includes an appreciation of the relevant social and cultural contexts and building bridges with a new market such as South Korea becomes far more feasible.

The British Foreign Office has recently re-opened its language centre and is dedicating more funding to linguistic training, believing that senior diplomats working abroad command much greater respect and credibility when they can speak the language of the country where they work. The same goes for businesses wishing to expand into new markets; having a workforce who can communicate with the locals in an overseas posting puts them streets ahead, not only in terms of business success but also on a more personal level of settling into a new territory should they be relocating.

* International bodies including the British Foreign Office and the US Foreign Service Institute grade languages according to their difficulty, assuming that students are native speakers of English: Category 1 (most similarity to English; mostly Western European languages); Category 2 (siginificant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English); Category 3 (exceptionally difficult, primarily due to the complex writing system).

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

Language training for the legal profession

Cactus has been designing and implementing language training programmes to a wide range of industries – including global corporation, SMEs and individuals – since 2000. Here, we look at our experience working with legal organisations in Europe and worldwide.

Over the years Cactus has organised language courses for individuals and groups all over the world, catering to all needs and interests. One of our great strengths is designing courses that cater to specific industries, delivering business-specific course content to firms in sectors as diverse as marketing, fashion, technology, mining and relocation. We understand that each of these industries requires language training in order to communicate more efficiently with colleagues and clients, but that the vocabulary, etiquette and business environment that go with this may be vastly different for each different sector.

It is here that our clients reap the benefit of our extensive network of qualified, native speaker trainers, who between them cover a multitude of skills and experience. This gives us the ability to match a trainer to a specific training request, no matter how niche the industry. In other words, we can always find the right person for the job.

One area in which we have had particular success with language training is Law. Our courses have covered sectors of the legal profession from corporate law through to intellectual property law, equipping employees with the precise skills they need to meet the demands of their legal roles head on – from articulating complex ideas to high level audiences to understanding the nuances of written and verbal communication within their industry.

The implementation of a training programme

Whether training is to take place on an individual or group basis, the first step will always be for Cactus to take time to find out more about the exact role, current legal projects and language ambitions of the invididual(s) involved. A training programme is then devised with course participants contributing ideas as to what they would like to cover, such that they are involved in their own course design from the outset and remain motivated throughout. The resulting course may be 1:1, group, in-company, online, full immersion or blended learning.

First-hand experience with law firms

A long-standing client for us in the UK is international law firm Olswang, for whom we are currently providing tuition in French, Spanish and German, while in the US we have provided Mandarin language tuition for San Francisco-based Cooley LLP. Our team has also provided language training to the legal counsels of some of the UK’s top financial institutions including Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Standard Chartered.

Having spoken more in depth with the Training Coordinator at Olswang, it is clear that delegates at their London office have enjoyed benefits from their language training both inside and outside the work place. Not only have classes been an ideal opportunity to network within the firm and meet people they wouldn’t have otherwise, they also provide valuable skills to enhance communication with overseas offices and international clients. Classes are set to continue into the future and expand to other areas as we continue to listen to and fulfill their language training needs.

Anyone within the legal profession wishing to discuss how language training can work for them can contact Cactus at either our UK or US offices. Please email contact@cactuslanguagetraining.com or call us on 0845 130 4775 (UK) or +1-888-577-8451 (US toll free). You can also Request a Quote or complete a Needs Analysis & we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. Our expertise in the field of face-to-face tuition is second-to-none. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

Language training via Skype

For those wishing to learn a language the most flexible and economic way possible, language training via Skype is the ideal option.

At Cactus Language Training, Skype is fast becoming a popular and effective means of delivering language tuition to corporate and private clients who require results fast. Doing away with the need for a classroom, Skype, or video conference, requires no more than a computer, web cam and good internet connection – and for this reason it allows lessons in almost any language to be delivered to any location worldwide, any day of the week and any time of day, with no price variation.

Prospective students may be forgiven for thinking that they are missing out by choosing a computer-based course over a traditional classroom setting, but to the contrary. The feeling of learning via Skype is almost identical to being in the same room as the trainer. Your trainer is right in front of you, virtually, and the picture and sound quality is usually excellent; the optional use of headphones and a microphone makes listening and speaking even clearer.

As for course content, remote learning brings with it distinct advantages. For a start, your trainer can be based anywhere at all, meaning that Cactus can choose from its vast network of trainers to find the very best person for the job, given your specific interests and requirements. This facilitates the provision of very specialised business or academic-specific language by native language experts located anywhere in the world. Furthermore, since there is no need for the trainer to travel to the student’s home or office, there are no additional costs such as trainer travel expenses, and the minimum lesson duration is 60 minutes as opposed to the customary 90 minutes for face-to-face training.

Once you’re up and running, both you and your teacher will work from the same course book and learning materials, which ensures access to the same texts, documents, exercises, grammar and vocabulary. In addition, Skype’s chat box or messaging facility allows your teacher to write corrections or suggestions during the lesson, without interrupting you as you speak. Your conversation in the chat box is then available at the end of the lesson for you to copy and paste into your own personal documents for subsequent self study – and, crucially, all these notes are specifically geared to you and no-one else.

If you would like to trial this smart new approach to language training and find out whether it’s for you, simply contact Cactus and request a ‘taster lesson’ at the standard hourly rate with no further commitment.

Cactus specialises in organising language courses for individuals and groups, having done so since 1999 for clients all over the globe and for diverse needs and budgets. With an extensive network of approved teachers and a strong in-house academic team, we are able to tailor a language course to suit your specific learning needs, anywhere in the world and whenever is convenient to you.

Corporate Training Experience: Italian tuition in Costa Rica

The Republic of Costa Rica is a small country located in Central America. It is bordered to the north by Nicaragua, to the south by Panama, and it is bathed by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the East and West respectively. Costa Rica is widely known for its pacifist tradition and democracy, along with its rich and exotic landscapes of mountains and beaches, that make tourism one of the most important industries in the country.

Its Spanish speaking population of 4.615.518 inhabitants is quite diverse. Especially in San José, the capital city, it is common to encounter people from all over the country. This diversity, along with the country´s level of education and good international relations, have made English and other languages very common in Costa Rica´s business world.

As a result of expanding their services in Europe, a large corporate Costa Rica-based company was faced with the challenge of providing their services to thousands of Italian customers in a rapidly-growing new market. Therefore, I and my colleague were asked to jump on a flight to San José, to train 20 customer service specialists to work directly with Italian speaking customers.

The challenge was to take this group of eager learners from a beginner to an intermediate level in 3 weeks of intensive training – a daunting task, considering that it normally takes months for a class to advance this much. This definitely required skilful time management and a lot of strategic and tailored planning.

As Cactus teachers, we approached this very ambitious goal with a carefully designed program that focused on their specific needs. We immediately recognized the need for a very strong language foundation, in terms of speaking, writing, reading and listening. Moreover, we constantly applied the relevant vocabulary used daily in their industry and in subjects they could relate to.

The students definitely stepped up to the challenge and did their part. Although it was really demanding to meet such a challenging target in a such a short time, students attended the course with enthusiasm and they thoroughly enjoyed it. After an intensive 8-hour daily training program, they were successfully tested and certified at Intermediate level. As a teacher, I found this experience amazing and incredibly rewarding, and I am really glad to have taken part in this exciting opportunity made possible by Cactus. Nowadays, constantly evolving business environments require adaptability, efficiency and accuracy: our own success story proves that Cactus incorporates all these skills into its language training.

Cactus is one of the world’s leading providers of tailor-made language training, providing general, business and industry-specific language courses in over 50 countries and in over 30 languages worldwide. All forms are training are provided, including 1:1, in-company, public group courses, immersion courses abroad and online courses.

Language learning – a response to redundancy?

If you’ve been made redundant, learning a language can both boost morale and enhance your career prospects.

In these times of credit crunch it is a sad fact that most of us know of at least one person who has been made redundant. As companies worldwide rein in their expenditure, job losses are becoming everyday news and unemployment is soaring. It is a bleak outlook for the economy and a worrying future for job seekers.

Though daunting, redundancy can in other ways be looked on as a new start in life. It is a chance to re-evaluate what you do and where you want to go, and in this respect it can also bring with it opportunity and excitement.

One way to fill ‘empty’ time after losing your job is to put your mind to learning something new – not only will a new skill lift you when you most need it, it offers the double whammy of potentially increasing your career prospects too. None more so than learning a language; it has been reiterated over the years that employers are keen to hire people who speak more than one language, and with the job market becoming increasingly competitive it could be your way in where others fall.

As for a acquiring a new language in the first place, it need not be the impossible task it may at first seem. Even basic or conversational language skills can go a long way towards boosting your morale and convincing an employer that you have initiative as well as a potentially valuable skill. Some may even provide further training to develop your knowledge and make full use of your ability. In so doing, the natural knock-on effect of improved communicative and written, reading and listening skills, that come from learning another language, will not go unnoticed.

Of course, if you already have some language knowledge you are a step ahead already. It may be worth brushing up your skills by taking some private language classes, a refresher evening language course or a quick – but effective – week at a language school abroad. Consolidating what you know and feeling those words roll off the tongue again will give you the confidence to sell your skill in interview and use it, perhaps for the first time, as a real work asset.

If your language skills do go on to open doors that may otherwise have been closed, there may be no limit to your career prospects. Relocation abroad within your company becomes a viable option, bringing with it possible promotion and increased salary. Those who have dreamt of a life overseas may well have found their real passport.

Whatever language you decide to learn and to whatever extent, it cannot fail to bring a positive element to your life – on a personal or work level, or both. It is often in hard times that we realise our potential and are able to use this to our advantage for the future – however uncertain that may at times be.

Why there’s more to foreign relocation than practicalities and logistics

Whilst relocating to another country can be exciting and rewarding, you need to be fully prepared before you go to ensure the best possible experience.

By ‘preparation’, most people would assume that you mean packing up your belongings, booking your travel, arranging or confirming accommodation arrangements, organising school enrolments if you have a family in tow…in short, the practicalities of a move like that. And of course, it’s essential that these things are sorted before you depart.

Equally as important preparation-wise, though, is some thorough research into the language and culture of the country that you are headed to.

There are varying degrees of integration when in comes to foreign living, and often relocation can involve living in blocks or areas that are home largely to expats. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make an effort to learn some of the local language, and read up on the culture, though. Even if you are living in an expat environment, living your life in a foreign country and working in an office with domestic employees will demand that you have some understanding of how they live, and of their cultural practices and values.

If you are relocating through work, companies will normally pay for language lessons prior to your departure, which can be tailor-made to your needs and level. In larger organisations especially, you may find that you’re learning in a small group with other employees who are relocating. Anyone who has chosen to relocate independently of their work has lots of options for getting some basic language training, although one to one lessons or evening courses are the most common way to learn.

The learning doesn’t have to stop when you move either – of course, your linguistic ability will improve when you’re immersed in the foreign country, but you can continue to learn via one to one lessons. Often companies like Cactus can arrange for tutors living in your new country to teach you, although it is also possible to continue with UK, or US-based tutors via Skype and other distance learning means.

It’s also possible to combine your language training with cultural training sessions, which can be priceless when it comes to settling in to your new environment. On top of this though, it’s also important to do some research yourself into laws and regulations that may exist in your destination country. There have been several incidents that have attracted international attention of late whereby expats living in foreign (particularly Middle Eastern) countries have ended up in jail, or deported, because of not adhering to local law. Sometimes there can be a mentality amongst ex-pat communities that some local laws don’t apply to them – especially where drinking alcohol and showing public ‘displays of affection’ are concerned.

At the end of the day, ending up in a situation like this would not only end your foreign experience, but it may also cost you your job, so it’s worth finding out about the ‘dos and don’ts’ as soon as you arrive, if not before. The UK foreign office website and the US Department of State website are particularly good resources for this kind of information, as are guide books like Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

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