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Taking Assessments Global

August 22, 2013


As the economy becomes more global, our assessments also get to take a trip around the world! This means that we’ve had the opportunity to translate our assessments into many foreign languages. Translating can get complicated because it’s not as simple as just finding the word in the other language and replacing it. There are a lot of subtle nuances in languages and we really rely on our translation vendors to help us find the proper translations. Localization, cultural relevance and context are key factors when translating anything, especially employment assessments.

Some clients have asked: “Why can’t you just use one of those free online translation services?” Well, those may be a great option for everyday conversational needs, but not for more complicated media (such as employment assessments). Free translation sites tend to do a literal word-by-word translation of the sentence provided.  Certain colloquialisms or phrases are likely to lose their meaning when translated this way. It’s very important to have a professional bilingual, native speaker do the work. These individuals will pick up on any nuances in the language and make sure the translation is 100% culturally correct.

A couple of fun examples:

Taking Assessments Global

Did you know that the American English word marshmallow has several different Spanish translations? The word “marshmallow” in Spain is “nubes,” while in Mexico they are called “malvaviscos.” In Guatemala they are known as “angelitos,” and in Costa Rica they just call them “marshmallows.” It’s amazing how one simple word could have so many different translations depending on the country. Also, interestingly, in Argentina they don’t have marshmallows, which I now know thanks to our professional translation friends!

The phrase “knock me up” means “wake me up” in England. As you probably know, it has a completely different meaning here in the United States! We sure wouldn’t want to get those two things confused!

The above examples are just two reasons why we use a professional translation vendor. Given the importance of the assessments (typically for employment screening purposes) that our clients use, we do all that we can to make sure our translations are culturally relevant and comprehensible to the candidates who take them.

¡Gracias por leer!

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Amber Tipton Amber Tipton is a Marketing Specialist based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She loves research, is a grammar ninja, and is a passionate curator of company culture. Amber has a B.A. in Communications from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.