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Think like a fish. Translate.

Have we taken leave of our senses? You might think so, but there is method in the madness. As a creative and entrepreneurial company we always look for new ways to keep pushing ourselves to be bolder, brighter, and better at what we do. Find out what we’ve been up to this week, and how it all relates to delivering a better service for our customers…

Carpe Diem

Yesterday staff in the Edinburgh office downed tools for an hour for one of our monthly “surprises” – breaks from daily activities to try something new and inspiring. On this occasion it was singing: we became a choir for an hour. While some thrived and shone during the experience, others were clearly out of their comfort zone – but all soldiered on and the group managed to master the simple song taught to them by the end of the session.

In our office in Timisoara this week we also launched a brand new training programme for some of our staff, encouraging and inspiring them to think in new ways, and embrace their individual skills and attributes.

Be extraordinary

Why are we sharing this? Well, in the famous film Dead Poets Society (which celebrates its 16th birthday in a few weeks) teacher John Keating (played by the late Robin Williams) encourages his students to seize the day and be extraordinary. There is ripping up of text books, parading around outside and even standing on desks. And it’s all in the name of viewing things differently and discovering individuality. While we’re not English teachers in an American prep school for boys, we do think there are some parallels to our business.

Doing things the same way never led to significantly improved outcomes. So we mix it up, we try new things, we take a different view that actually puts our customers first…

Think like a fish…

You may well be familiar with the traditional story of the fisherman who was very successful in his trade, which he put down to one key strategy – thinking like a fish. By getting into the mindset of his target (customer) he was able to lure them in and keep his numbers high. This parable is still used in teaching today, and is a simple reminder of the importance of knowing what customers want, and adapting your product or service to meet this.

Whatever your sector, there will be research out there indicating what it is that your customer base thinks and feels, and what their key pressures and priorities are. You may even be conducting your own. But how well is this integrated into what you do? And are there any quick wins you can exploit to show your customers you understand them?

… and translate!

In our industry, we know that online consumers want to buy in their own language. Properly localised websites yield more customers in each country so, it’s a no-brainer that translation should be a top priority for businesses looking to expand overseas.

But effective localisation should go one step further. It shouldn’t just translate the words, but recreate the intention of the words and be culturally relevant to what consumers know and care about. And to do that sometimes takes a little bit of thinking outside the box. Or standing on a desk. Or being a choir for an hour. O Captain! My Captain!

*Photo credits: Mopic /

Steve Griffin

Steve Griffin edits and writes for the Lingo24 blog. After studying Drama at Exeter University and completing a postgraduate diploma in Management at Durham University, he worked in Marketing & Communications in a global recruitment company for five years, before spending some time as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant. Steve enjoys bringing his creative flair to writing and marketing projects, and has always been a passionate student of language.

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