Small-business owners and freelancers talk, and worry, a lot about pricing: how to charge a decent rate without frightening potential clients away. Price is certainly  important, but it’s not the only factor motivating clients. I had confirmation of this recently from a new client. An Italian company had contacted me  for an urgent translation of documents […]

If you run a business, cash flow is vital. Delays with payments have a pernicious effect: if you don’t get paid, you can’t pay your bills or your suppliers, and the chain-reaction can have a crippling effect on business, not to mention the wider economy. In the words of the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate: […]

Time for a poll, I think, what with David Cameron throwing the gatto among the piccioni with his planned referendum on membership of the European Union. For some of us, EU membership is a business/market access issue, for some it’s all about annoying rules and regulations, and for others it’s emotional — we feel European. A […]

GIGO stands for “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. According to Wikipedia, the term was coined by George Fuechsel, an IBM technician/instructor in New York (but see also Michael Quinion’s version, at World Wide Words). Interestingly (well, it’s interesting if you’re a translator), Wikipedia’s definition of GIGO used to include the following: Non-computer-related use of the term The term […]

Product naming is an important part of branding and marketing, and one where international businesses can make costly mistakes if they fail to understand local language, slang, and all the connotations of a given word. Here are a couple of potential branding disasters in the car industry, courtesy of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s […]

It’s been a while since I wrote about my (and your) favourite or least favourite words. But at Glasgow’s State of the City Economy Conference last week (9 Nov), some of the buzzwords and -phrases used by the speakers set my teeth on edge. And then I read a Macmillan Dictionary blog post on nouning and verbing, so […]

I attended Glasgow’s 15th State of the City Economy Conference today. There was a lot of talk about the importance of global marketing, exports, tourism, international financial services: international business, in short. There was talk too about education, training and skills, from school to college to university to apprenticeships. But not one word about the […]

Why do some business people go to such great lengths, on social networking sites, to avoid telling people who they are and what they do? Or to convey such a whimsical image of themselves on serious business platforms? I’ve just been up-dating my profile on KILTR, a social networking site for Scots or people who […]

Radio Scotland news recently featured a hotel booking mix-up. A group of French tourists turned up at the Jura Hotel, on the Isle of Jura (off the west coast of Scotland), saying that they’d booked rooms there. The hotel owner had no record of a booking, and the hotel was full. When he checked their […]