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“How Do You Write Jedi Knight in Vietnamese?” – Translation Complexities in Focus [Product Update]

August 31, 2022
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In this product update, Diversity Atlas’ Cultural Attaché, Quincy Hall, introduces the two new languages our survey platform is now translated into.

This month sees some great new features for our survey platform participants, most notably, the availability of two new languages – Greek and Vietnamese, which means we now have 12 languages on offer. 

The selection of these two languages in particular came about for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are quite compelling (in and around cultural diversity) but there were also some less reasonable but equally compelling factors we took into account.

At the very top of the list was taking a fresh look at Australian Census results. Our survey can be taken in languages such as French, Spanish, and German, which is great, but we’re an Australian company and we need to take into account not just the global community we both serve and represent, but also our local communities. Looking at the ‘Top 10’ we see Vietnamese at 4th and Greek at 7th. Meanwhile, both French and German are not in Australia’s Top 10 most spoken languages. We hope one day to have the whole Top 10 available, but there’s a fair bit of work to be done to lay the groundwork.  

We do in fact already have ‘Chinese – Simplified’ as an option, but one day we’d like to have definitive Cantonese and Mandarin options. Likewise, Hindi and Arabic are the next two on our wish-list, but as Arabic happens to be a right-to-left written language, we first need to create the architecture for this. Once that happens, Hebrew and Persian will be on their way as well. 

And one day… one day in the future… how amazing will it be if we can offer Diversity Atlas in one of the many hundreds of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander languages from Australia? For now, it remains an ambition / goal, but we will make it happen one day. 

Long-term, we would of course want many more languages, but for now, we’re taking it one or two at a time. It’s not as easy as just translating questions such as ‘What is your country of birth’ and answers like ‘Yes’ or ‘Bachelor Degree’ or ‘Catholic’ into other languages – we have over 45,000 fields to translate, including our almost 9,000 people-group dataset. What is ‘Wurrundjeri’ in Greek?  What is ‘Gender Non-Conforming’ in Simplified Chinese? How do you say Syro-Antiochian Maronite Catholic Church in Vietnamese?  Well, our translators can answer all of those questions (thankfully) but they have 45,000 fields to keep their eye on. 

Note to our customers: NEVER trust Google Translate. If you need something properly translated, go to a translator, or give us a call and we can recommend some people. Google Translate is like Wikipedia in that it is awesome, and handy, and incredibly well run, and a beautiful free gift to the world; but would you really stake your reputation on a product that (for instance) once translated ‘Disability’ into one language as “Has no ability”? 

Finally, did the fact that our CEO Peter Mousaferiadis is Greek have any influence on our decision to add Greek?  What about our dataset manager My Linh Le being Vietnamese – did that have any bearing on our choice of Vietnamese being added? 

Of course not! 

Total coincidence! 

Well… somewhat a coincidence.  Heh.

PS: Jedi Knight is Hiệp sĩ Jedi

About the author

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Quincy Hall has had a 30 year association with Cultural Infusion, and is the Diversity Atlas Cultural Attaché Quincy also takes a keen interest in the development and management of our database - the world’s largest commercially available (and most accurate) database of world cultural groups. He lives in Colac, Victoria and in his spare time is the lead singer of a pirate-punk band

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