Checklist for a Well-Translated Document

Standard practice in the translation industry is to review your work before accepting the final document. Usually, you have a limited period to re-submit the material for revisions or to raise any queries. Some clients might receive poor work unknowingly, especially if they are unfamiliar with the target language.

Although there are elaborate and sometimes expensive methods of evaluating a translated material, there are also soft reviews for any client. It helps to keep your quality checks even when you have a professional translator. In this article, we discuss seven elements to look out for in your final document.

  1. File format

Do you need your work in PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, XML, or plain text? Each of these files has different features, and compatibility might not work well. Elements such as tables and text styles are different for each type.

  1. Reference material and terminology database

The references in the original and translated order should match. Keep your translator furnished with such details.  Other crucial factors are terminologies and glossaries. Your professional company should also be aware of common databases in technical writing.

  1. Grammar

Spellings and typos are common grammatical errors in documents. Other mistakes such wordy phrases, wrong punctuations, word usage affect the flow of material. A quick run through a spellchecker could help you spot these anomalies.

Remember that you might need your translator to do manual editing. A document that is edited by a human eye gives a higher level of accuracy that a machine-translated one. That is why The Word Point (another review here) meets client needs comfortably by relying on human editors.

  1. Formatting

Unless necessary, your translator should keep the format close to the original material. This aspect makes the two documents comparable and easy to understand. Do not ignore changes in bullets, numbering, dates, or image alignment.

In some instances, changing the format makes the final document attractive. Instead of retaining a design that does not accommodate word expansions and contractions, your translator might play around with the layout. Allow such flexibilities.

  1. Sentence structure

A native person should feel that the material is in their original language. Here, specific rules and principles in linguistics should apply. A well-translated order should be void of the word-for-word translations and complex expressions.

Are you familiar with the translated language? Can you quickly tell if the text makes sense? If not, and when in doubt, seek a second opinion from a native speaker.

  1. Graphics and illustrations

Are the visuals culturally acceptable to the target audience? For example, a picture showing a male doctor attending to a female patient may be unacceptable in some cultures. Also, ensure that the graphics and illustrations are in context. Moreover, most importantly, the source and final document should have the same or near similar visual presentations.

  1. Content

Every aspect of retaining the originality of the source language primarily preserves the message. Both documents should convey the same message to different audiences. Ensure that you introduce no new content. Also, check for omissions and mistranslations.

However, there are instances when text can assume different meanings. Here, you should consider content cohesion. Where there is a dispute between you and the translator, let the translator use the right words as they are in their area of expertise.

  1. Consistency

Inconsistent keywords or phrases can confuse an audience. If your document is introducing new information, ensure that you do not lose the readers by using different texts.

Kudos! Getting your material translated is the most substantial part of the work. Nevertheless, you must do a review for quality assurance. Use the above seven tips at any level of language proficiency. If you are still dissatisfied, enlist a linguistic professional to go through your content before accepting the final document.

What Are the Best Translation Tools Available Online?

Luckily, we live in a day and age where the Internet is able of providing us with all kinds of helpful apps or websites. If you are looking for the best tools that will enable you to translate English to Kurdish, for example, then all you have to do is give this article a proper read.

The World Wide Web is able of offering you tons of options; however, you have to make sure that you are using the right ones. There are plenty of translation tools that aren’t that good at capturing exactly what the original language meant, and these may make you sound silly. Avoid this unwanted scenario by using these tools:

  1. Google Translate

We know that Google Translate might not have a great reputation, but you should know that over the years, there has been tremendous progress in the development of its translating capabilities.

Most people are probably already accustomed to this product. It is pretty ubiquitous, being linked with other tools from Google’s display of products. For example, Google Chrome has an included auto-translation feature that you can access when you enter foreign sites.

Also, there are many Android apps that use built-in translation services for things like tweets or emails. These work together with Google Translate as well. This app also supports dozens of different languages and a great feature that comes incorporated with Google Translate is auto-detection, which enables it to figure out the language you need to be translated.

  1. Bing Translator

This one belongs to another giant; some say it’s the first that dazzled the world and it is also that saying ‘you never forget your first’. We are talking about Microsoft, and its product, Bing Translator. This translation engine is incorporated into Windows Phone.

A great feature that allows this tool to be distinct from Google’s product is the fact that it is the last one to offer a free API (Application Programming Interface). This feature allows developers to use it to include translation features inside their apps. Google, on the other hand, makes developers pay for such a service.

Other features are similar to what Google Translate offers. We are talking about dozens of available languages and auto-detection. Bing Translator can translate web pages. Also, if you want to translate a personal file, then you can upload it and let the magic happen.

If you are satisfied with what you got, then you can use its voting system to let others know how accurate it has been.

3.    Linguee

With this tool, we are bending the rules a little bit. This one is not exactly a translation service. To be fair, it is more of a translation dictionary and search engine all piled up together.

Linguee doesn’t offer translation for web pages or personal documents. However, if you encounter something in an unknown language, then you can type it in and see what it means or how to use it in the right context. It also supplies you with documents from the World Wide Web to show you how to correctly use that unknown word.

As opposed to Google Translate or Bing Translator, Linguee doesn’t offer a spoken word feature to let you know how that word sounds like. However, if you have some texts that you want to translate on your own or you want to learn another language, then this product might be of use to you.

4.   WordLens

If we were to be precise, we would include this one among Google’s products since it is a recent addition to their portfolio. However, we must mention its creators, the people from Quest Visual.

If you remember, WordLens made some noise all the way back in 2010. That’s because this app, featured in iPhone’s or Android, was among the first that offered a camera-based translation that happened in real-time. This meant that all you had to do is hold your camera over an unknown language and let the app do the work.

At that time, it was something so fresh and useful that many were left positively impressed. Today, the app still works as well as before. While it may be far from perfect, this app is tremendous to use when you travel in order to obtain a translation for street signs, menus or other forms of foreign indicators.

Conclusion

Hopefully, we managed to offer you some of the best ways of transforming unknown words into more familiar sentences. However, you have to remember that nothing works better than a trained human being that has studied for years a certain language and it is accustomed to different sayings and interpretations. That’s why you may be best advised to try the best translation website on PickWriters in order to obtain great results.

Top Five Sydney coffee hotspots for caffeine addicted travellers

On a road trip around Australia?  Having the best time of your life exploring this magnificent continent? Excellent!

Does that mean you have to give up your daily caffeine fix in exchange for a wild experience down under?

No sir, it doesn’t!

When it comes to brain juice, Australians know all there is to know about it, having embraced the black bean more wholeheartedly than most countries in the world. The right amount of flavour, the bitterness, the exoticness of the beans in right sized cups; yes, you’ll find it all in the lucky country.

While Melbourne has long boasted the title of Australia’s coffee culture capital, Sydney is chasing it down as we speak. The reason Melbourne took an early lead is because it embraced the culture of its European migrant earlier than the other capitals. Sydney’s coffee culture, however, is thriving. Coffee has become entrenched in its way of life, with cafés being realised in more imaginative, refined and personal ways. Sydney no longer pulls mere shots of coffee for its patrons – now, it’s all about the detail, the elegance of the experience and their sense of community.

With a climate that is perfect for outdoor eating and drinking you can enjoy a coffee at café tables on urban laneways and on strikingly beautiful beaches and parks staring at the uniquely Australian blue skies.  Here are some of the best spots for you to get your rocket fuel in glorious Sydney town.
Top Five Sydney’s Coffee Hotspots

  1. Surry Hills and surrounding suburbs

The epicentre of Sydney’s bustling coffee scene, Surry Hills is dotted with endless number of cafés within a stone’s throw of each other. This once sleepy inner south suburb adjacent to Sydney’s Central train station, is now a bustling coffee mecca offering everything from big-breakfast old faithfuls to first-rate baristas experimenting with top-class beans and commune-type coffee sanctuaries.

Cheeky, bold, rebellious, Surry Hills’ warehouse-turned-galleries/cafés/shops are all impressively trendy without losing their sass and their sense of community. Its many now renowned cafés pride themselves on offering local and hyper-local produce, in-house preparation techniques, and nose for the kind of coffee and fare their customers want.

Not to be missed in Surry Hills is the ten year old ‘Boulangerie’.  Queues consistently spill out onto the footpath at this little corner bakery. A slice of Paris in Bourke Street, this is where you’ll get crispy croissants, mouth-watering tarts and decadent artisan breads to accompany your world-class coffees.

While Surry Hills is the most striking example of the new coffee culture emerging in Sydney, the surrounding inner city suburbs of Summer Hill, Dulwich Hill and Newtown are also seeing a strong café culture taking root.

Newtown runs along Sydney University’s western boundary. Once a student-and-immigrant ghetto, it is now one of Sydney’s funkiest suburbs, with a mix of sub-cultures that keeps things vibrant to say the least. Newtown’s traffic-clogged King Street is home to an extraordinary array of stylish furniture and interior shops; retro goods and pop-culture collectibles; and a virtually-unmatched collection of eateries.

Cafés, too, are part of Newtown’s creative lifestyle tapestry, many of them exhibiting the work by local artists. Professionals, students, emos and punks all sit side by side enjoying what artisan bakers and master baristas have to offer in Newtown.

2. Leichardt (Little Italy) and surrounding suburbs

Travelling down the congested Parramatta Road that leads to Leichardt will make you wonder whether the trip is worth the effort. If superb coffee is what you are craving for, don’t turn back because superb coffee is what you’ll get in the headquarters of Sydney’s Italian community. That, and a lot more.

Just 5 km from Sydney’s CBD, Leichardt has seen a constant influx of Italian migrants since the late 1950s and now boasts a thriving creative culture and food lovers’ haven. Today, the aroma of freshly roasted true original coffee will hit you as you wander through Leichardt’s workers’ cottages and warren of charming tree-lined streets.

Visit Little Italy on a weekend, sit down on any of the á-la-italiana no-frills coffee shops in Norton Street and be treated with a colourful performance by Leichardt’s inhabitants doing what they do best – eating, drinking and just catching up on the gossip.

  1. Manly

Until recently, Manly was best known for its surf, the many athletic bodies pounding the pavement daily, its not-so-flash Ocean World and for the very enjoyable ferry ride from Circular Quay. These days, though, Manly is fast becoming “the place” where to enjoy the world’s best beans in style.

There’s a lot happening in Manly and it’s all good for young tourists in search of a good swim and a caffeine boost. The Northern Sydney beach town now welcomes roasting houses and laneway cafés where coffee lovers can sample beans originating from different estates around the world and learn about different brewing methods. The old dollar-dazzlers are giving way to welcome funky café spaces with high pressed-metal ceilings and vintage furniture, recycled timbers and exposed weatherboard walls.

  1. Bondi-Bronte

The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is a must in Sydney whether you are caffeine-dependent or whether living without high octane is not a realistic option for you. In either case, put on a pair of running shoes and enjoy some of the best views you’ll ever see. If you prefer to take it all in from a trendy café, though, both the Sydney Eastern suburbs of Bondi and Bronte have a number of outlets offering some of the best beans in the world.

Never has Bondi Beach been so alive with the smell of ludicrously delicious things. There is a multitude of beach-side cafés located on Campbell Parade, Bondi’s main strip serving exactly what you need before tackling the lovely Bondi to Bronte walk – from experimental coffee milkshakes with home-made syrups and artisanal ingredients to queue-worthy espresso and white-chocolate shakes.

Coffee Tours in Sydney

If you’d rather hold the hand of a coffee expert to savour Sydney’s café culture, there are numerous coffee tours offering coffee connoisseurs and lovers a look into the city’s coffee secrets. You’ll find out the type of coffee beans that were first imported into Australia, Sydney’s historic coffee brewers and, most importantly, you’ll get to taste the finest coffee in the city while you learn about its progression from the rainforest to the retailer.

The following companies offer a diverse range of Coffee Tours in Sydney. Add them to the splendour of this city and you are guaranteed a complete sensory experience you’ll never forget:

Espressos and Exotic Chocs Extra Special Tour
Cupcakes, Convicts & Coffee Walking Tour Of Sydney

Chocolate Delectable Delights Walking Tour

Coffee compulsion satisfied.

You may now continue your tour down under.

And remember – Stop, Revive, Survive. You can fuel up anywhere in this vast continent.

(Note: I have in no way been rewarded by the mentioned companies).

I’m a Noob and I can now say “Amazeballs” to my “Fandom”

If you’re like me,  trying to keep up with the vertiginous speed of change of the English language is quite the struggle.

Thankfully,  the good people at the Oxford Dictionaries, the arm of the Oxford family that focuses on current English, are working to put it all in black and white for us.

So now, when you feel too exhausted to pronounce the  “z” in Crazy and share with me that You had a “cray” day, I’ll know that your day was not in any way comparable to a day in the life of a poor crustacean, but that you’ve just gone through some seriously hectic 24 hours. And then I can proudly reply with a YOLO (and face the consequences, as us noobs always have to).

So, here is a selection of Oxford Dictionaries’ new entries:

acquihire (n.): buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff.

adorbs (adj.): arousing great delight; cute or adorable.

air punch (n.): thrusting one’s clenched fist up into the air, typically as a gesture of triumph.

amazeballs (adj.): very impressive, enjoyable, or attractive.

anti-vax (adj.): opposed to vaccination.

binge-watch (v.): watch multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession.

bro hug (n.): a friendly embrace between two men.

clickbait (n.): (on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.

cray (adj.): crazy, but without that time-consuming extra syllable.

Deep Web (n.): the part of the World Wide Web that is not discoverable by means of standard search engines.

doncha (contraction): don’t you.

douchebaggery (n.): obnoxious or contemptible behaviour.

e-cig (n.): another term for electronic cigarette.

fandom (n.): the fans of a particular person, team, series, etc., regarded collectively as a community or subculture.

fast follower (n.): a company that quickly imitates the innovations of its competitors.

5:2 diet (n.): a diet that involves eating normally for five days out of a seven-day period and greatly restricting the amount of food eaten on the other two days.

FML (abbrev.): (vulgar slang) f— my life! (used to express dismay at a frustrating personal situation)

hate-watch (v.): watch (a television program usually) for the sake of the enjoyment derived from mocking or criticizing it.

hot mess (n.): a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered.

hot mic (n.): a microphone that is turned on, in particular one that broadcasts a spoken remark that was intended to be private.

humblebrag (n. & v.): (make) an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.

hyperconnected (adj.): characterized by the widespread or habitual use of devices that have Internet connectivity.

ICYMI (abbrev.): in case you missed it.

listicle (n.): an Internet article presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.

live-tweet (v.): post comments about (an event) on Twitter while the event is taking place.

mansplain (v.): (of a man) explain something to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

mud run (n.): an event in which participants negotiate a course consisting of obstacles filled or covered with mud.

neckbeard (n.): growth of hair on a man’s neck, especially when regarded as indicative of poor grooming.

Paleo diet (n.): a diet based on the type of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans.

second screen (n.): a mobile device used while watching television, especially to access supplementary content or applications.

sentiment analysis (n.): the process of computationally identifying and categorizing opinions expressed in a piece of text.

side boob (n.): the side part of a woman’s breast, as exposed by a revealing item of clothing.

side-eye (n.): a sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt.

smartwatch (n.): a mobile device with a touchscreen display, worn on the wrist.

SMH (abbrev.): shaking (or shake) my head (used to express disapproval, exasperation, etc.).

spit take (n.): (especially as a comic technique) an act of suddenly spitting out liquid one is drinking in response to something funny or surprising.

subtweet (n.): (on Twitter) a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism.

tech-savvy (n.): well informed about or proficient in the use of modern technology.

time-poor (adj.): spending much of one’s time working or occupied.

throw shade (phr.): publicly criticize or express contempt for someone.

vape (v.): inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

WDYT (abbrev.): what do you think?

YOLO (abbrev.): you only live once (expressing the view that one should make the most of the present moment).

No, video marketing is not just for the tech-savvy – Video marketing is for everyone

Ari_videographer_FBKWith 6 billion hours of video being watched each month on YouTube, there is bound to be someone out there, interested in what you have to say or sell.

The cool thing about YouTube is that it transcends borders and budgets. In fact, you can come up with pretty awesome videos with a touch of creativity and a good sense of humor. No matter how far-fetched your product or how uninteresting it may seem to most, YouTube is sure to find you an audience.

Not confident about that?

How can YouTube help me sell, a professional eye massager?, I hear you ask.

Well, a lot more uninteresting stuff has been sold with great success in YouTube.

Take, Blendtec©.

The company started its Will it Blend?” series of videos when then-new Marketing Director George Wright decided to shoot a video of its team’s testing operations and posting them online. With a $100 budget, Wright invested in the basic supplies and convinced CEO Tom Dickson to blend up a few strange things on camera. And so he did. In his first video, Tom asked the now infamous “Will it Blend” question and proceeded to blend an iPhone 3G. Did it blend? It sure did!

186 videos later, Blendtec’s retail sales reported a 700 percent, with its YouTube site reaching over 700,000+ subscribers and winning the .Net Magazine’s 2007 Viral Video campaign of the year bronze Clio in 2008 (Interactive category) for their interactive efforts.  Overall, the Will It Blend? series has accumulated more than 100,000,000 hits, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon.

Well, so much for blenders.

How about something even less interesting, like shavers. How much can you glamourize a plain, old shaver?

Believe it or not. A whole lot.

Michael Dubin, founder of Los Angeles-based Dollar Shave Club, stepped into new territory with his almost nonsensical script and his irreverent “Our Blades Are F**king Great”slogan.  Michael and his team told us a story through a visual narrative with the brand/product as a thread in the talking point.  Only forty eight hours after the video debuted on YouTube and $5,000 later some 12,000 people signed up for the service. Besides some Google ads, the business had not invested in any other form of marketing. Three months after their great debut, it racked up 4.75 million views–thanks in large part to shares on social media sites. Today, over 15 million people have watched Michael and his team.

So, to answer your question – can you sell a professional eye massager on YouTube?

Without a doubt.

Even with a small budget, YouTube lets your customers see you, hear you, and connect with you. It’s the best place to bring your business to life.

How much does an interruption cost you? – Seven apps that will force you to focus

time lost_FBK

This week I’ve written approximately 60,000 words – blog posts, auto-responders, company descriptions, website copy, social media posts, video scripts, eBooks and more. To make matters worse,  I had to switch from copy in Spanish to copy in English and vice versa

Don’t ask me how I’ve done it. It all feels like a blur.

One thing is for sure. It’s damn hard.

No, I’m not talking about the writing. I love it!

What drives me insane is how every five minutes my whole body begins an orchestrated attempt at surfing on the Net without asking for my permission.

It just goes ahead and does it.

My hand automatically wonders to a social media page or another, or somehow I get this urge to search for the latest in MH370, or for one of Tony Abbott’s latest blunders or for a post on adorable talking dogs.

So to get through the 60,000 words I had to submit this week, I had to pull out all an arsenal of tools to prevent myself from getting distracted. I thought you might find them useful as well, whatever your endeavours.

Obtract is an extremely clever app that helps you identify your main distractions. When your mind craves them and wants to access them, Obstact creates complicated intellectual obstacles to access them. The only problem is that for those who love intellectual and math tasks, it can become a new form of procrastination!

FreedomIf online distractions kill your productivity, Freedom could be the best 10 dollars you’ll ever spend.

Selfcontrol, a free and open-source application for Mac OS X (10.5 or above) that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites–even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

Cold Turkey, an app that will temporarily block you off of social media sites, addicting websites, games and even programs!

Unstuck, is a free app for iPad owners, with a very interesting concept, which helps you to figure out HOW you procrastinate and what exactly you do to avoid doing tasks. The app helps to figure out what type of procrastinator you are and suggests ways to deal with it.

MeeTimer is an add-on for the Firefox browser and is a perfect app for self-conscious people. It doesn’t block anything, but instead just calculates the time that you spent on every single website throughout the day and gives you all the statistics, including percentages of your time spent on specific websites. It is designed to make you feel guilty about all the wasted time on the “wrong” tasks.

Anti-Social is a program which will block all social websites. It’s quite nasty – it only lets you bring them back if you reboot your computer.

Stop Disctrations is a simple app for Windows that just blocks your worst enemies! An alternative app, which runs on Google Chrome, is called Procrastinator.

Tere: Hey you, tell me, how do I capture your attention?

Yes, you – the reader, the buyer, the user, the prospect, the audience, the observer, the stalker (may be not you), the spectator, the player, the onlooker. Tell me what’s going to take to stop you from clicking that button and moving away from me. You, heartless run-away. How do I get you to listen to my sob story once and for all? What is it going to take for you to watch my dog running around my home annoying my cat with its adorable friendship? How will I share with you my latest piece of newfound wisdom if you refuse to stop by? How do I get you to read a story that forty years ago would have made it into a best sellers’ list but today is lost in this virtual universe among millions of competing stories?

What do I have to do to get you to notice me?

make me care_FBK

You: Look me in the eyes and Make me care.

Tere: Make you care? That simple? You: Yes, that’s all I want. I’m sick and tired of not caring. I want you to grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eye and tell me to care. I demand you make me care with a good crafted story. Can’t take any more spelling mistakes. I hate  my language being tortured, shortened, abbreviated, played with. I want no more jargon, no gimmicks, no tactics, no ploys. I despise plagiarism and I can’t stand keywords “strategically” overloaded throughout the text (do you think I can’t really tell?) just to please an omnipotent virtual entity.
All I want is to care about what you have to say.
I want you to enthrall me with your words, with anticipation, with well-written intrigue so that I can stay in your page longer than ten seconds. I hate those ten seconds. I’m sick of swishing through the headlines without paying attention at what I’m being said. I despise myself for just looking at those

s and

s that supposedly hold the keys to all my answers.   All I want is to care about you, about your story, about the reason that brought you here; about the forest you see from your window while you write words that make sense to me. I want to see you wrap yourself up in a blanket while you write, make yourself a cup of tea and fill up a water bottle to put your icy feet on. So human. I want to see you through your words. Not through heartless keywords. Because I know there’s no one I wouldn’t learn to love once I heard their story. Their true story, not one enmascarated by keywords and strategies. You just have to give me the chance to care about yours. I’ll give you more than ten minutes in return. That’s all.

Why is letter X the great Unknown?

Have you ever stopped to think why on earth do we assign the letter X to anything and everything we are not familiar with? Mutants, files, factors, numbers, rays, and many other persons, animals, objects or entities of unclear description are classified as X. Why? Well, according to Terry Moore, director of the Radius Foundation, you can blame it all on the old Spanish scholars who attempted to translate Arabic texts into the Spanish vernacular. It seems that when the texts that contained the Arabic mathematical wisdom made their way to Europe via  Spain in the 11th and 12th centuries, translators found the task a lot more challenging than expected. As you would expect, some of the sounds in Arabic were not represented by the characters that were available in European languages and thus impossible to translate. The letter SHeen (below) being one of the best examples.

Sheen SHeen makes the sound we are accustomed to pronounce as SH — “sh.” It’s also the first letter of the word shalan, which means “something” , some undefined, unknown thing. In Arabic, it is possible to make this definite by adding the definite article “al”, and you’ll have al-shalan — the unknown thing.

So the mystified Medieval Spanish scholars who were tasked with translating this material found that the they could not render the letter SHeen and the word shalan  into Spanish because Spanish simply did not have that SH, that “sh” sound.

So what did they do?  They created a rule in which they borrowed the CK sound from classical Greek in the form of the letter Kai (below).

Kai

Imagined what happened next?

When this material was translated into other common European languages,  Latin for instance, translators chose to replace the Greek Kai with the Latin X. And once that happened,once this material was in Latin, it formed the basis for mathematics textbooks for almost 600 years.

So, there you go.

 Why is it that we assign letter X to everything that is unknown to us? For no other reason than the inability of some poor scholars in mediaeval times to pronounce the Arabic sound  “sh” in Spanish.

Shareable content is all that matters – for now.

The rules of content marketing keep on changing but, as we like to insist, CONVERSATION IS STILL KING.

talkingSo have participants at the Content Marketing World conference been told in Sydney today – the number of shares and likes a piece of content receives on the web are crucial in its efficacy as a successful marketing tool. Thanks to widespread high-speed Internet access and easy to use publishing platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, power and influence are seeing a shift on the web. The locus of power moves away from Robert Caldini’s six sources of influence – scarcity, likeability, reciprocity, authority, consistency and social proof to content that moves. In other words content that people share. For companies, social proof is incredibly powerful. People do look at numbers and prefer to read content with many likes and shares. Content it’s only good if it’s shared. So what you need is brilliant content that breaks the ice and gets the conversation rolling. Good news. The important thing now is to keep on churning quality content that is not just useful for marketing purposes. We also want highly informative content that, first and foremost, encourages healthy, peaceful communication among us all.

“Young People are Just Smarter” – Digital Immigrants vs Digital Natives

Noam Scheiber, New Republics Senior Editor, couldn’t put it any clearer – “Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America”. Yes, it seems Mark Zuckerberg’s premise predicated to an audience at Stanford back in 2007 that “Young people are just smarter”  is now the accepted creed;  that it’s better to be perceived as naïve and immature than to have voted (or have danced to Madonna) in the 1980s.

What worries me most, though, is that I don’t think this mindset is restricted to the technologically gifted young crowd in the Bay area. I believe we are looking at a cultural revolution taking place all around us.  Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside everywhere in the world without a second thought as to where else in the workplace they could make a valid contribution. Scouring the useless job sites day in day out and spending endless hours writing ridiculously detailed cover letters to match even more ridiculously detailed selection criteria, does not help them but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because the are not “cool enough” (not lying, that’s happened to me)  and assumed not to be in touch with the latest technological trends.

Wrong.

Old ducks know a thing or two about the world. And we can be very cool too (if we put our mind to it!).

digital nativeAlthough a vast percentage of the global population is not a “digital native” (a term coined by U.S. author Marc Prensky in 2001) and did not grow up with the Internet, one cannot forget that they (we) have, in fact,  invented the actual technology that defines the digital native. And yet, many of us remain, as CNN’s Olivery Koy would have us called, “digital immigrants”,  “a relic of a previous time […] Old world-settlers, who have lived in the analogue age and immigrated to the digital world.”

Prensky insists the differences run a lot deeper than merely our typing speed. There is a significant difference in the way we process information, with digital immigrants taking it in linearly instead of switching from source to source at warp speeds as natives do.

Management Consulting Firm Deloitte quotes a 2012 study by Time Inc which, biometrically monitored both digital natives and immigrants for 300 hours to determine emotional engagement and visual attention. Interestingly but not surprisingly, natives showed a lower emotional response to content, because they experienced it briefly and simultaneously. Once boredom sunk in, they moved on.

“This study strongly suggests a transformation in the time spent, patterns of visual attention and emotional consequences of modern media consumption that is rewiring the brains of a generation of Americans like never before,” said Dr. Carl Marci, CEO and Chief Scientist, Innerscope Research, who performed the biometric monitoring for the study. And while this poses serious challenges for storytellers and marketers in this digital age when it comes to successfully engaging consumers, there is no denying that experience with technology can turn older people into digital natives.

And in fact, it already has. The generational digital gap is narrowing. In some places.

Recent research has shown that baby boomers comprise the fastest growing segment of smartphone owners in the US and they make up a third of all Internet users, with a third of those boomers describing themselves as “heavy Internet users.” Google’s study of more than 6,000 boomers and seniors confirmed that:

  • 78 percent of boomers and 52 percent of seniors are online
  • The two groups spend an average of 19 hours on the Internet each week, more than with TV, radio and magazines/newspapers
  •  71 percent of boomers and 59 percent of seniors use a social networking site daily (the most popular being Facebook)
  • 82 percent of viewers say YouTube is their preferred online video watching site with three in four online video watchers have taken action — such as searching on the Internet for more information — as a result of an online video.
  • 77 percent use their mobile device simultaneously with another screen
  • 82 percent of them use a search engine to gather information on a topic of interest,… and to broadcast their opinions not unlike these very savvy, very cheeky older internauts:

digital immigrants1 digital immigrants2 digital immigrants3And yet, that doesn’t seem to matter.

In the UK, the number of over-50s who have been unemployed for more than 12 months rose in 2012 from 11,000 to 191,000.  According to the research conducted by over-50s recruitment website Skilledpeople.com, 80% of over-50s have experienced age discrimination. Managing director Keith Simpson says it is high time employers stopped seeing older people as a potential burden and took a more enlightened approach. “Far-sighted employers should be cherry-picking the best over-50s now as an insurance policy for the future. These people need less training, are more reliable and less money-motivated,” he says. The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin also studied how more than 200 workers, aged 20 to 31 and 65 to 80, performed 12 tasks testing perceptual speed, episodic memory and working memory. The analysis showed that the older adults higher consistency in the workplace is due to learned strategies to solve the task, a constantly high motivation level, as well as a balanced daily routine and stable mood.

Plus, studies show that older workers use fewer sick days on the whole than their younger counterparts.  Professor Peter Cappelli, who directs the Wharton Center for Human Resources explains that health care costs are actually less for older workers because most no longer have small children as dependents on their health care plans.

However, I think it’s too late. Only a handful of employers realise that the older generations are highly reliable, punctual and take a lot less unexplained leaves of absence which, ultimately, makes them a lot more productive.

As I write, the website of ServiceNow, a large Santa Clara–based I.T. services company, features the following advisory in large letters atop its “careers” page: “We Want People Who Have Their Best Work Ahead of Them, Not Behind Them.”