Culture Soup

A Blend of Translation, Culture, and Technology.

Do we need to localize?

Omni Intercommunications - Wednesday, August 09, 2017

For companies relying on a non-English speaking workforce, the decision to translate their training content is not always straightforward. Answering these 6 simple questions may help in the process.

Consider the following if you are unsure as to whether or not you should localize your training programs or at least some of them.

  1. Does your audience speak, or at least understand, English? Some foreign employees likely do, but the majority probably do not. So who are you trying to reach? Do not assume everyone speaks English.
  2. Is the majority of the content applicable, in whole or in part, to your target audience?  Note that this does not even have to involve translation since labor laws, customary usage, procedures, etc. are usually different from country to country.  It is common practice that some sections are adapted or simply removed.
  3. Do you have a legal obligation to provide the program in the local language?  Some countries, like Canada, require all materials (training, documentation, signage, etc.) to be in the official language(s).
  4. Do you have a legal motivation to provide the program in the local language? With safety training for instance, it’s likely that a course deployed in the non-official language would not be admissible in court in case of an accident.
  5. Does the size of the audience justify the cost of localization? Keep in mind that a given course does not have to be localized the same way across all the languages needed. An experienced localization company should be able to offer different approaches to fit various budgets. You may refer to this white paper on audio-video localization, an important component of localization cost.
  6. What image do you want to project to your foreign language speaking employees?  This final question may be the most important because even though many people speak English across the globe, most prefer to use their native language.  A localized training course is less susceptible to be perceived as a “Push from Corporate” and therefore more likely to be received favorably and adhered to.  As a side note to this point, all training development should involve the local personnel to some extent to give them a sense of ownership, as well as to give them the opportunity to provide feedback on points 2 and 3 above.

The next step: Some software is more conducive to localization than others. If you determine that localization makes sense, design your courses knowing they will be localized. This will save money and prevent headaches in the long run. Again, an experienced localization company should be able to assist you in the process.

For a more detailed discussion, give us a call at 800-777-2304.

Around The World In Twelve Months – October

Omni Intercommunications - Saturday, October 01, 2016

With October comes the last issue of our tribulations around the world.  It looks like regardless of our nationality or culture, we all like to celebrate the good things in life. Click on any event below to learn more about it.

Wouldn’t be nice if all the scary things could disappear with the night?

1 October – National Day – People’s Republic of China

The Central People's Government has chosen October 1st to celebrate the founding of the PRC in 1949, although the exact founding date is September 21st. This public holiday also marks the beginning of one of two Golden Weeks, a semi-annual 7-day national holiday, implemented in 2000. Expect delays around that time if you deal with the PRC.

2 October – Gandhi Jayanti – India

India’s most recognizable figure, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as the “Father of the Nation,” is exalted with one of three national holidays observed by all Indian states and union territories. Such a celebration of his birthday testifies to his paramount role in India’s independence from the British in August 1947.

3 October – German Unity Day – Germany

Note the use of the word ‘Unity’ since this day commemorates both the 19th-century unification goal and the actual 1990 reunification. This is a legal holiday for the Federal Republic of Germany.

3 October – Rosh Hashanah – Jews Worldwide

A High Holy Day for the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year, symbolic of the creation of Adam and Eve according to the Hebrew bible. It is customary to sound the shofar on that day to awaken listeners and alert those of the upcoming judgment, Yom Kippur (see below).

3 October – National Foundation Day – South Korea

South Korea celebrates Gaecheonjeol on this day to commemorate the creation of the first Korean state, Gojoseon, in 2333 BC. Although North Korea also celebrates that day, it is only a public holiday in South Korea.

9 October – Double Ninth Festival – China & Various Countries

Deeply rooted in tradition and spiritual iconography, this Chinese holiday takes place on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar. Since the number nine is considered to be a yang or negative number, by opposition to yin or positive (see yin and yang), this double-nine date is seen as inauspicious, and climbing a high mountain, incorporating chrysanthemum in both dress and drink, and paying respect to the graves of ancestors seem to be efficient antidotes.

9 October – Hangeul Day – South Korea

Just like American youngsters who learn their ABCs, Korean children learn their Hangeul. Few countries honor the creation of their alphabet as the Koreans do since October 9th has been a national holiday in South Korea since 2013.

10 October – Health and Sports Day – Japan

Set on the anniversary date of the opening of the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, this national holiday aims at promoting an active lifestyle.

10 October – Thanksgiving – Canada

Much like us, our Canadian neighbors celebrate the harvest and other blessings on Thanksgiving, or Jour de l’Action de grâce as it’s known in Quebec. It has been an annual holiday since 1879, set on the second Monday in October. So don’t fret if your Canadian colleagues ignore your emails on that day!

10 October – Double Tenth Day – Taiwan

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911, hence the double ten moniker. This uprising would eventually lead to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty that had been ruling since the mid-17th century and the founding of the ROC on January 1, 1912.

10 October – Columbus Day – USA

Although Christopher Columbus discovered America on 12 October 1492, the US celebrates this event on a fixed day, namely the second Monday in October. This federal holiday is an excellent opportunity for US bank, education, and government employees to explore ubiquitous retail sales.

12 October – Yom Kippur – Jews Worldwide

After the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, Jews have a few days to reflect, repent, and become righteous before the final judgment of Yom Kippur. On this Day of Atonement, the holiest day in Judaism, it is customary for Jewish people to fast for a 25-hour period and be immersed in intense prayer.

12 October – National Day – Spain

The Fiesta Nacional de España coincides with the anniversary date of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. It has been a national holiday since 1981 when a royal decree established the Día de la Hispanidad, or Day of the Hispanic Community.

17 October – Sukkot – Jews Worldwide

During this seven-day holiday in Israel (eight outside Israel), work is forbidden on the first day (second day elsewhere).  This “Feast of Booths” commemorates the 40 years the people of Israel spent wandering the desert and marks the end of the harvest and agricultural year.

23 October – Republic Day – Hungary

When the Third Republic of Hungary was proclaimed in 1989, the date of 23 October was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the student uprising against the Soviet Union occupation on that date in 1956. Hungary would stay behind the Iron Curtain for another 30 years.

24 October – Simchat Torah – Jews Worldwide

Immediately following the end of the Sukkot holiday, this “Rejoicing with the Torah” is the only time of year when the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark to be read, a joyous occasion when worshipers leave their seats in the synagogue to sing and dance, sometimes for several hours.

24 October – King Chulalongkorn Day – Thailand

This day commemorates the passing in 1910 of King Chulalongkorn, aka King Rama V, who led several major reforms in Thailand encompassing the educational system, some military affairs, the railroad, and the liberation of slaves. Government institutions are closed, but most businesses remain open.

28 October – Ohi Day – Greek Communities Worldwide

Ohi, the Greek word for No, is allegedly the answer given by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas to an ultimatum given by his Italian counterpart Mussolini on 28 October 1940. It was this refusal to let the Italian forces enter the Greek territory that drew Greece into WWII.

30 October – Diwali – Hindus Worldwide

This “Festival of lights” celebrates the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair, and knowledge over ignorance. The date of this five-day celebration is calculated so that the last night, or night of Diwali, coincides with the new moon. Millions of lamps and lanterns are lit in addition to lavish gifts to oneself and offerings of sweets and regional delicacies to friends and family.

31 October – Halloween – USA and Other Countries Worldwide

Halloween falls on the eve of the Western Christian feast known as All Hallows' Day, thus its name. The modern day take on this holiday involves kids dressing in scary costumes, trick-or-treating for candy, carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and the occasional scare which is hopefully all in good fun.

 

Around The World In Twelve Months – September

Omni Intercommunications - Thursday, September 01, 2016

It’s September and our exciting summer vacations are but a memory. We hope everyone is ready to get back to work, school, and football. Click on any event below to learn more about it.

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake. -- Confucius

2 September – National Day – Vietnam

French and Vietnamese relations can be traced as far back as the 17th century, but WWII saw the start of a power struggle instigated by Ho Chi Minh, eventually leading to independence on September 2, 1945. French influence is still very much present today in Vietnam since it was a French Jesuit priest who helped Vietnam transition from a Chinese-based writing system to a Latin-based alphabet.

5 September – Labor Day – USA, Canada

Known as the “unofficial end of summer,” Labor Day is celebrated by both the US and Canada on the first Monday of September. An official public holiday since 1894, it honors the American Labor Movement.

6 September – Unification Day – Bulgaria

A long and complex process started by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, which divided the newly formed Bulgarian state from Southern Bulgaria (to be returned to the Ottoman Empire) culminated in the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War won by Bulgaria.

7 September – Independence Day – Brazil

Known in Brazil as “Sete de Setembro,” the 7th of September commemorates the Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves in 1822. The capital Brasilia usually holds a military parade attended by the President… and yes, there is one!

11 September – Eid al-Adha – Muslims Worldwide

This sacred holiday honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son to prove his obedience to God, a sacrifice that was timely withheld by the angel Gabriel. The meat of the Halal animals killed on that day is usually divided into three parts – a third to the family, a third to neighbors and friends, and a third to the poor or needy.

15 September – Mid-Autumn Festival – Chinese & Vietnamese Worldwide

Chinese and Vietnamese people celebrate this festival on the night of the full moon which falls between early September and early October. The festival focusses on three core aspects: Gathering with friends and family, Thanksgiving for the harvest, and Praying for good fortune and material satisfaction. It is a public holiday in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and second only to Tết in Vietnam.

16 September – Mexican Independence Day – Mexico

On this day in 1810, a Catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave a stirring speech against the Spanish colonial government known as the “Grito” (or Cry) of Dolores, a small town in the center of Mexico. This grito is considered today as the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.

17 September – Oktoberfest – Germany

There is no greater homage to beer than Oktoberfest, a Volksfest held annually in Munich, Germany. During the 16 day long festival, over 2 million gallons of beer are consumed by more than 6 million attendees to help ingurgitate grilled fish on a stick, pretzels, bread dumplings, potato pancakes, and of course, sausages. Many Oktoberfest celebrations take place worldwide, but none compares.

18 & 19 September – Independence Day – Chile

Although often referred to as the “Dieciocho” (the eighteen), the Fiestas Patrias (Patriotic Holidays) officially last two days, but unofficially up to one week. The first day commemorates the proclamation of the First Governing Body in 1810, while the 19th commemorates the very first military parade in Chilean history.

23 September – National Day – Saudi Arabia

On this day in 1932, Abdulaziz, known in the western world as Ibn Saud, consolidated his dominions into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Starting with the discovery of oil in 1938, he made Saudi Arabia a major oil producer after WWII. Six of his 45 sons have succeeded him, up to the current King Salman.

28 September – Confucius' Birthday – Historical

Known to the modern world through the Analects written by his followers during the mid-Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), Confucius was a strong proponent of personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, and similar values present in current business codes of conduct. Taiwan fittingly celebrates “Teacher’s Day” on this date and regards the day as a public holiday.

 

 

Around The World In Twelve Months – August

Omni Intercommunications - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Much like in July, many countries celebrate their independence during the month of August, but it’s sad to see that freedom does not always come, and in any case stay, with that independence. Click on any event below to learn more about it.

Turkey, the bridge between Europe and Asia, will celebrate its victory over Greece on the 30th of this month. 

1 August – Swiss National Day – Switzerland

Switzerland’s National Day date comes from the Federal Charter of 1291, which took place in “early August” that year when three Alpine cantons swore an oath of confederation, eventually leading to the founding of Switzerland.

5 August – Victory Day – Croatia

It’s on this day in 1995 that the Croatian army captured the city of Knin from the Republic of Serbian Krajina, which would end the War of Independence from Yugoslavia. Today, this national holiday also honors all veterans.

6 August – Independence Day – Jamaica

Much like the UK which ‘brexited’ from the EU last month despite David Cameron’s best efforts, the Colony of Jamaica withdrew from the West Indies Federation on this day in 1962 while under the leadership of Chief Minister Norman Manley who had called for a referendum on the issue although he was opposed to it.

9 August – National Day – Singapore

Fireworks displays and an annual parade are among the many festivities celebrated on Singapore’s National Holiday. This date commemorates the day in 1965 when Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia aimed to end the ongoing racial tension and riots between Chinese and native Malays by expelling Singapore from the federation of Malaysia.

12 August – Her Majesty Queen’s Birthday – Thailand

Known as the Mother of all Thai people, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is the consort of the world’s longest reigning head of state. In 1976, Mother’s Day was befittingly changed to coincide with her birthday! Candle lighting ceremonies and fireworks displays take place throughout the country, but especially in Bangkok, the country’s capital.

14 August – Independence Day – Pakistan

This National Holiday in Pakistan commemorates the night in 1947 when British India granted self-governance to the Dominion of Pakistan. The transfer of power, which took place on the 14th at midnight, coincides with the 27th day of Ramadan, making it especially sacred. Read Freedom at Midnight for more details!

15 August – Assumption – Christians Worldwide

Due to its importance to many Catholic and Orthodox Christians, the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven” is a nationwide public holiday around the world, but mainly in Europe and Africa. It is one the 11 legal holidays in France. Who knew there were only eleven?

15 August – San Martin’s Day – Argentina

The third Monday of August celebrates the death of José Francisco de San Martín who is considered the founding father of Argentina. Along with Simón Bolívar, San Martín is responsible for liberating South America from Spanish rule.

15 August – Independence Day – India

On the 15th of August, 1947, India gained its independence from the British Empire, then separated into two parts, the Dominions of India and Pakistan. This scission along religious lines gave rise to riots, mass casualties, and the displacement of huge populations due to sectarian violence.

15 August – Liberation Day – Korea

Although known by two different names, "the day the light returned" (Gwangbokjeol) in South Korea and “Liberation of the Fatherland Day” (Chogukhaebangŭi nal) in North Korea, this day commemorates the liberation of the Korean peninsula from Imperial Japanese rule.

17 August – Independence Day – Indonesia

On this day in 1945, the Indonesian Independence movement declared the beginning of diplomatic and armed resistance to the Netherlands, a date which was not officially recognized by the Dutch until 2005! Today, the Proclamation is proudly printed on the 100,000 Indonesian rupiah banknote.

24 August – Independence Day – Ukraine

Although the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was issued in July of 1990, Ukraine would not officially celebrate its independence until the Declaration was issued one year later. The Ukrainian flag, two horizontal bands of yellow and blue, is prominently displayed countrywide along with parades, festivals, and sporting events.

29 August – National Heroes Day – Philippines

On the last Monday of August, the people of the Philippines celebrate and honor their men and women who have shown themselves to be heroes of their country. Most workers nationwide celebrate with a day off to enjoy parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, fireworks displays, and some time with their loved ones.

30 August – Victory Day – Turkey

Also known as Armed Forces Day, this national holiday celebrates the decisive victory over the Greeks in the Battle of Dumlupınar, thus ending the Greco-Turkish war in 1922. This day also honors Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey as a secular republic in 1928. The main festivities and ceremonies are held at the mausoleum of Atatürk. Until when is anybody’s guess.

Around The World In Twelve Months – July

Omni Intercommunications - Friday, July 01, 2016

This month, let Freedom ring! Not only does July see the United States celebrate its independence, but many other countries worldwide do that as well. Like with fireworks, buy one, get many free! Click on any event below to learn more about it.

1 July – Canada Day – Canada

Previously known as Dominion Day, this national holiday which commemorates the enacting of the 1867 Constitution Act is often referred to as “Canada’s Birthday.” A fitting name, considering that on this day in 1867 the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Province of Canada joined British North America, giving birth to modern-day Canada.

 

Happy Birthday, USA!

4 July – Independence Day – United States

Also known as the “Fourth of July,” Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Continental Congress, representing the thirteen original colonies, declared to the British Empire that the United States of America was a new nation. The National Day of the United States is celebrated annually with firework displays, parades, barbecues, and many other displays of patriotic freedom.

6 July – Eid ul-Fitr – Islam

Also known as the “festival of breaking of the fast,” this day marks the end of Ramadan, and thus the end of the month-long fast for Muslims. In addition to a specific Salat (Islamic Prayer), the day is marked by gatherings of family and friends, traditional dishes, sweets, and gift giving.

6 July – Jan Hus Day – Czech Republic

Jan Hus was burned at the stake on this day in 1814 in Prague for preaching opinions diverging from those of the Catholic Church. The religious reformer, whose death spurred new ideas in Europe for religious thinking, is honored annually in the Czech Republic with traditional bonfires and what has become most associated with his legacy, a day off from work.

6 July – Anniversary of the Coronation of King Mindaugas – Lithuania

The unification of Lithuania can be traced back to the coronation of King Mindaugas on this day in 1253. Lithuania’s first and only King sought the help of the Teutonic Knights who ruled the southeastern Baltic region for protection against outside attackers. To honor these knights, Mindaugas converted to Catholicism, thus bringing Christianity to Lithuania.

9 July – Independence Day – Argentina

Happy 200th birthday, Argentina! The overthrow of Spanish King Ferdinand VII by Napoleon in 1810 allowed early Argentinian settlers to form their first government. Six years later, with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the newly established Argentinian government united the surrounding provinces and officially declared independence on July 9th, 1816.

14 July – Bastille Day – France

Known to English speaking countries as Bastille Day, ‘La fête nationale’ or ‘La fête du 14 juillet’ celebrates the storming, by the French Revolutionaries in 1789, of a medieval castle and prison known as La Bastille. More symbolic than strategic, this day marks the end of the monarchy in France and is pivotal in French history. Modern day festivities include military and civilian parades, spectacular fireworks, and flag displays.

17 July – Constitution Day – South Korea

Although the Korean peninsula was liberated from Imperial Japanese rule in 1945 at the end of World War II, it wasn’t until 1948 that an election established the National Assembly that would create a constitution and enact a presidential system in South Korea.

18 July – Marine Day – Japan

Known to the Japanese as Umi no Hi, meaning Sea Day, this national holiday gives thanks to the bounty of the ocean for its importance to the island nation. Many Japanese take this day as an opportunity to visit and enjoy the beach.

18 July – Constitution Day – Uruguay

Brazil and Argentina officially recognized the independence of Uruguay in 1828. Two years later, on July 18, the first constitution came into effect in the capital Montevideo, establishing the country as a republic and implementing a two-chamber general assembly.

19 July – Asahna Bucha Day – Thailand

One of Buddhism’s most important festivals, this day commemorates the first sermon given by Buddha following his enlightenment, laying out the sacred four noble truths to his first disciples. Buddhists around the world celebrate this holiday by visiting their ancestral home and attending ceremonies at their temples.

21 July – National Day – Belgium

Inspired by the French Revolution (see above), the southern provinces of the United Netherlands seceded from the Dutch to form the Kingdom of Belgium in 1831. On that day, Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg, became the first King of Belgium by swearing allegiance to the new constitution. This national holiday involves a Catholic ceremony as well as parades and a review of the Belgium army by the ruling king.

24 July – Simón Bolívar Day – Venezuela

Simón Bolívar, or ‘El Libertador’ as he is known throughout South America, was born into a wealthy and respected family. He was educated in Europe and spent his early years traveling through Spain and France. Upon his return to Caracas in 1810, he aligned himself with the anti-colonial movement, which he would go on to eventually lead, liberating many countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela. It is these countries that annually honor his birthday with patriotic parades and celebrations.

28-29 July – Fiestas Patrias – Peru

These Peruvian National Holidays commemorate Peru’s independence from Spanish rule. The two days of celebration recognize July 28 as the day José de San Martín won independence, while July 29 honors Peru’s Armed Forces and the National Police. It’s a very important time of the year for Peru as it sees an increase in tourism with travelers arriving to join in the celebrations.

Around The World In Twelve Months – June

Omni Intercommunications - Wednesday, June 01, 2016

 

Don’t forget Dad this month!

The one-size fits all last minute gift of a neck-tie has always been the go-to gift for Father’s Day. Do him a favor this year and skip the ties, socks, or pleated pants... all Dad really wants is to know that he’s needed! Click on any event below to learn more about it.

2 June – Republic Day – Italy

Known to Italians as “Festa della Repubblica,” the annual event commemorates the fall of fascism and the end of World War II with a historic vote to create a republic government over the reigning monarchy.

5 June – Constitution Day – Denmark

In 1849, the signing of the Constitution gave birth to Denmark as a constitutional monarchy. Expect almost all workplaces and shops to close at noon on that day which is ripe with celebration, as it is also Denmark’s Father’s Day!

5 June – Jerusalem Day – Israel

This day commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem and the establishment of Israeli control was over the Old City in June of 1967 after the Six-Day War. While this day has lost some significance with secular Israelis, the religious Zionist community still very much commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem. This is a day for parades and extra prayer.

6 June – Ramadan – Muslims Worldwide

One of the Five Pillars of Islam, Ramadan is a month of fasting commemorating the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad. Fasting from dawn until sunset for all adult Muslims is mandatory and it also calls for a refrain from smoking, sexual activity, and any sinful behavior. The only exceptions are for those in adverse circumstances related to age, illness, and pregnancy.

6 June – D-Day – USA and Western Europe

Codenamed Operation Neptune, the Normandy landing of the Allied Forces during World War II was the largest seaborne attack in history. Although eventually considered to be the turning point for liberation of Northwest Europe from Nazi control, it cost at least 10,000 lives on the Allied side and 1,000 on the German side.

6 June – Memorial Day – South Korea

The National Cemetery in Seoul annually hosts a memorial ceremony to commemorate the men and women who lost their life in the Korean War and other military wars and battles. In addition to flying the flag at half-staff, a moment of silent prayer is observed while sirens are heard countrywide.

6 June – National Day – Sweden

The creation of modern Sweden can be traced back to 1523 with the election of King Gustav Vasa, signaling the end of the Danish-ruled Kalmar Union. This day became a national holiday in 2005, replacing Whit Monday, thus leading to fewer days off, much to the disfavor of some Swedish unions.

9 June – Dragon Boat Festival – China

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar... which explains why it’s also called the Double Fifth Festival. Typical activities include drinking realgar wine, eating sticky rice treats wrapped in bamboo leaves, and of course dragon boat races.

10 June – Portugal Day – Portugal

The official holiday commemorates the death of Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580. Camões is one of Portugal’s greatest poets and is known for his epic poem, “Os Lusiadas,” which focuses on prominent 15th-century Portuguese exploration. Each year a different city is chosen by the President of the Portuguese Republic to host the official celebrations, which often involve parades, military ceremonies, and concerts.

12 June – Shavuot – Judaism

Representing one of three pilgrimage festivals, Shavuot is also celebrated as the day when God gave the Torah to the Israelites on Mount Sinai. Modern day observances vary, but often involve decoration of synagogues and homes with greenery, festive meals, recital of Aramaic poems, consumption of various dairy products, as well as readings from the book of Ruth.

12 June – Independence Day – Philippines

On June 12, 1898, the flag of the Philippines was raised for the first time and the Philippine Declaration of Independence was signed, freeing the archipelago from Spain. On this national holiday, it is typical to see fireworks displays, parades, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

12 June – Russia Day – Russia

Often incorrectly identified as Russia’s Independence Day, Russia Day in fact celebrates the enacting of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, marking the beginning of constitutional reform for the Soviet state. Although considered by many to be just a “day off,” it can conjure up resentful memories of severe unemployment brought about by the fall of the Soviet Union.

19 June – Father’s Day – Worldwide

Although celebrated in some countries on June 19, by and large the worldwide day to celebrate fathers and fatherhood is the third Sunday in June. Not officially celebrated in the US until the 20th century, Father’s Day was made official to complement Mother’s day and to honor male parenting.

19 June – Juneteenth – USA

Galveston, Texas, in 1985, was the site where “General Order #3” was read, announcing the total emancipation of slaves. This day is honored by local celebrations across the nation; it is a day of remembrance and appreciation for the long and unfinished road to equality in this country.

20 June – National Flag Day – Argentina

In addition to honoring the flag of Argentina, this holidays also honors the flag’s creator, Manuel Belgrano, who died on that day in 1820. The city of Rosario hosts the official celebrations, with a non-working day for administrations and schools.

24 June – Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day – Quebec

Brought to Canada by early French colonists, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day honors the Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus in the Jordan river. This day is a public holiday in the province of Quebec where it is common to hear church bells ringing, and see firework displays and parades.

Around The World In Twelve Months – May

Omni Intercommunications - Thursday, April 28, 2016

April showers bring May flowers and no one deserves them more than Mom. People in well over 80 countries celebrate her in May. Flowers, chocolates, cards, or just a phone call… don’t forget her because no one loves you like your Mom does. Click on any event below to learn more about it.

1 May – International Workers’ Day – Worldwide

Also known as May Day or Labor Day, International Workers’ Day is a celebration of the working class around the world, when workers’ rights groups march or protest to raise awareness of their grievances. In the late 19th century, May 1st was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre which occurred in Chicago on May 4th, 1886. May Day is a holiday in many countries around the globe.

2 May – Early May Bank Holiday – United Kingdom

The first Monday of May is a bank holiday in the UK. Associated with May Day in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, it probably originated as a Roman festival honoring the beginning of the summer season in the northern hemisphere. More recently, it has been as a day to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights.

3 May – Constitution Day – Poland

This day is a Polish holiday celebrating the declaration of the Constitution in 1791. Mostly ignored during the times of the People’s Republic of Poland, it was reestablished after the fall of communism. It is the most important civil holiday in Poland since it regained independence in 1918 and is as important to the Polish people as July 4th is to Americans.

4 May – Greenery Day – Japan

Also called “Japanese Arbor Day,” it is a time to commune with nature and to be thankful for blessings. A national holiday in Japan, Greenery Day grew out of the celebration of Emperor Shōwa’s birthday on April 29 during the Shōwa era.

5 May – Coronation Day – Thailand

Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned Rama IX of Thailand on 5 May 1950, making him the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty. This national holiday actually takes place over three days beginning on the 3rd when Buddhist monks hold a service in the Grand Palace, followed the next day by the reading of the official proclamation of the coronation. The actual coronation ceremony takes place on the 5th, celebrated by a 21 gun salute at noon.

 

Don’t forget Mom this month!

8 May – Mother’s Day – Various Countries

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, and in general, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. More than 80 countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, while Mexico and may parts of Latin America celebrate it on the 10th  and France on the 29th.

8 May – Victory in Europe Day – Europe

V-E Day, or simply V Day, commemorates the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, effectively ending World War II in Europe. When it does not fall on a Sunday, it is a national holiday in France (Fête de la victoire) as well as several other European countries.

12 May – Independence Day – Israel

Yom Ha’atzmaut is the national day of Israel commemorating the establishment of the State of Israel by future Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on May 14th, 1948. An official ceremony held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem includes a speech by the speaker of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, artistic performances, and the ceremonial lighting of twelve torches, one for each of the Tribes of Israel.

15 May – Pentecost – Christians Worldwide

A Christian holy day celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus Christ. For this reason, Pentecost is considered by some Christians as the “Birthday of the Church.” The Monday following Pentecost Sunday is a public holiday in many European countries.

21 May – Vesak – Buddhists Worldwide

Although the exact date differs from country to country, Vesak commemorates the birth, enlightenment (nirvana), and death (Parinirvana) of Buddha, an ascetic and sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. Some ways of celebrating are through meditation, observing the Eight Precepts, partaking of vegetarian food, giving to charity, or “bathing” the Buddha.

23 May – Victoria Day – Canada

Victoria Day, celebrated on the last Monday before May 25 in honor of Queen Victoria's birthday, is a federal statutory holiday, as well as a holiday in six of Canada's ten provinces and all three of its territories. It has been observed since 1845.

25 May – First National Government – Argentina

The First National Government Day is a public holiday in Argentina that commemorates the May Revolution and the creation on that day in 1810 of the “Primera Junta,” considered today as the first independent government of Argentina.

30 May – Spring Bank Holiday – United Kingdom

Whit Monday, as it is also known, originally started as a bank holiday on the Monday after Pentecost. However, following a trial period that took place from 1965 to 1970, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 moved it to the last Monday in May.

30 May – Memorial Day – United States

Set as a remembrance of the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day which celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. It is a federal holiday in the United States.

Are Language Services Taxable in Texas?

Omni Intercommunications - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Although there are no easy answers to tax questions, a buyer can help determine whether the language services being purchased are taxable or not* by answering three simple questions – What? Where? and Why?

1. What am I buying?
  • Some services, such as translation (involving only word processing) and interpreting, are not taxable while others, such as graphic production, audio-video production, and equipment rental, are taxable.
  • When taxable and non-taxable services are combined, the key issue is whether the services are itemized on the invoice. Let’s consider for instance the production of a Chinese brochure. If the invoice itemizes each service, namely translation and production, then the sales tax is only applied to production. Translation remains non-taxable. However, if the service is invoiced as a lump sum, the whole amount is taxable.
  • Some customers prefer to pay the sales tax directly to the state (remember that sales tax is imposed on the end consumer of the service; the seller is merely required to withhold for the state). In this case, the customer should provide a Direct Payment Exemption Certificate  to the seller.
2. Where is the end product being shipped?

A taxable service delivered outside of Texas generally is not subject to sales tax, and the seller does not have to charge this amount. Note: Do not confuse sales tax with use tax, as the customer may still have to pay a use tax in his/her state.

3. Why am I buying the service?

If the buyer is not the end user of a taxable service, but instead intends to resell it either as part of its own services or as a broker, he/she may provide the seller with a Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate  instead of paying the tax. Note: If a service is taxable and the tax is not collected, the seller is ultimately responsible for the tax.

If you are unsure about the taxable status of the service you are purchasing, ask the seller to clarify.

*Disclaimer: This summary addresses the application of the sales and use tax for services under Texas law; however, its principles may apply to other U.S. states that impose sales and use taxes. This summary is not tax advice and should not be relied upon. Please consult with a licensed tax professional.

Around The World In Twelve Months – April

Omni Intercommunications - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What is there to say of a month bringing together All Fools’ Day and the deadline to file your federal tax return?  Sweet and sour?  Click on any event below to learn more about it.

1 April – April Fools’ Day – Worldwide

If there is unity in the world, it may be on April Fools’ day when pranks are everywhere. While the origin of the custom is unclear, it certainly goes back as far as the 16th century. The French call the day Poisson d’Avril, or ‘April Fish.’ People tape a paper fish on to the back of their friends and wait for them to realize while everyone is making fun of them.

The bagpipes will sound this month in Scotland and abroad.

6 April – Tartan Day – Scotland and countries with Scottish diaspora

In 2008, President George Bush signed a presidential proclamation making April 6th National Tartan Day. It is a celebration of Scottish heritage on the date the Declaration of Arbroath, or declaration of Scottish independence, was signed in 1320.

6 April – Chakri Day – Thailand

Commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty, the current ruling royal house of the Kingdom of Thailand, and the founding of the capital, Bangkok, in 1782. Some people take advantage of this national holiday to run 5k and 10k races.

7 April – World Health Day – Worldwide

This year, the World Health Organization, or WHO, is focusing on diabetes - a largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers in many countries, most dramatically in low- and middle-income countries. Click here to learn more.

13-15 April – New Year – Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand

On the Khmer New Year in Cambodia and the Thai New Year (Songkran Festival) in Thailand on the 13th and the Lao New Year in Laos on the 14th, people will clean their homes and illuminate them with candles. There are a lot of similarities between these events, with celebrations lasting a few days. Most businesses will be closed.

15 April – Emancipation Day – Former British colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the US

The Slavery Abolition Act ended slavery in the British Empire on August 28, 1834. This year, Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday is being observed on April 15 instead of April 16, which is good news for procrastinators (see below).

18 April – Deadline for filing personal tax returns – United States

Not the 15th?! Due to the shift in Washington D.C. Emancipation Day (see above), 2016 tax day is on Monday the 18th. A few tidbits: According to the IRS, 88% of individuals now file electronically so the extended opening hours in the main post offices is quickly becoming a thing of the past. A family of 4 earning the median yearly US income of $75,000 typically pays more in payroll taxes than in federal income tax.

18 April – Patriots’ Day – Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin

An official holiday in these 3 states, it commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. The biggest celebration is the Boston Marathon which has been run since 1897! Note that as a result, the IRS extends the filing deadline by one more day (19th) in Maine and Massachusetts.

19 April – Independence Day – Venezuela

On July 5, 1811, a congress of Venezuelan provinces made the decision to separate from the Spanish Crown in order to establish a new nation based on the premises of equality of individuals, abolition of censorship, and dedication to freedom of expression. They may be due for a renewal.

22 April – Earth Day – Worldwide

Now celebrated in more than 192 countries, Earth Day aims at supporting environmental protection. This year, the theme will be Trees for the Earth. Did you know that one acre of mature trees absorb in one year the amount of CO2 produced by the average car driven 26,000 miles?

22 April – First day of Passover – Jews Worldwide

The Jewish people celebrate Passover, or Pesach, as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. In Israel, Passover is a seven-day holiday, with the first and last days observed as legal holidays.

23 April – 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death – Historical

Coincidently enough in view of the current situation in Europe, the only Shakespeare’s manuscript still in existence today is a speech that imagines Sir Thomas More, an English lawyer, social philosopher, Renaissance humanist, and councilor to Henry VIII, addressing the rage of an anti-migrant crowd in England around 1603. A tough and everlasting issue.

28 April – Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work – United Sates

This year, even the White House got involved. Listen to President Obama encouraging all employers to participate in the event. Question: When is the Take-The-Trash-Out day and the Take-The-Dog-For-A-Walk day?

29 April – Orthodox Good Friday – Greece and Orthodox Worldwide

Although both Catholics and Orthodox celebrate Easter, and by extension, Good Friday, they do it on a different date. Two factors cause this conflict: The issue of the calendar (Julian vs. Gregorian) and the adherence by the Orthodox to the early practices of the Christian Church. It’s a public holiday in Greece.

Around The World In Twelve Months – March

Omni Intercommunications - Monday, February 29, 2016

Maybe with the exception of Caesar, a couple billion Christians, and some Irish and other beer lovers, everyone will agree that March is pretty much uneventful around the world compared to the past few months. Click on any event below to learn more about it.

8 March – International Women's Day – Worldwide

The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York. Today, the IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. But progress has been unequal across the globe. Make a Pledge For Parity.

13 March – Daylight Savings – United States

The Uniform Time Act was signed into law in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson, the idea being to save energy by taking advantage of the daylight hours. Many countries around the world are adopting this practice, although on different dates.

14 March – Commonwealth Day – Worldwide

Held on the second Monday in March, the Commonwealth Day is the celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, and normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II who delivers an address broadcast throughout the world. This year’s theme celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than two billion people.

15 March – Ides of March – Historical

The Romans did not number days of a month sequentially from the first through the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones, the Ides, and the Kalends. The Ides of March became notorious with the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day – Go Green!

17 March – Saint Patrick's Day – Worldwide

Although only a legal holiday in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated throughout the world with the prominent display of the color green, numerous parades, and heavy (green) beer drinking.

21 March – Benito Juárez's Birthday – Mexico

Benito Juarez' Birthday is celebrated every year in Mexico on this date and is a national holiday. Benito was one of the most respected leaders of Mexico, a liberalist and a reformist. His birthday is celebrated for his contribution towards establishing the foundation for modern Mexico.

23 March – Ta'anit Ester – Jews

The Fast of Esther (Ta'anit Ester) is a Jewish fast from dawn until dusk on Purim eve. Purim commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman who was planning to kill all the Jews. The Fast is observed on the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Adar.

25 March – Good Friday – Christians

Good Friday is a Christian religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is a public holiday in countries such as the US, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, etc. See Easter Monday below.

27 March – Easter – Christians Worldwide

Even more important to Christians than Christmas, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion (see Good Friday above). It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. In many countries, children receive chocolate eggs or bunnies.

28 March – Easter Monday – Christians

Although the Friday before Easter is a holiday in some countries, this is the Monday after Easter which is celebrated in others, such as in France, Poland, Germany, etc. So don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from a European contact on that Monday.


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