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.

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.