Translation and Language Industry Observations

I just got an email from a translation company that I never heard of, wishing me Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Now I am not Irish, and otherwise may not have known that it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. And even now that I do know it, who cares? Will I drink green beer? Nah. Will I learn some Irish sentences to commemorate the holiday? Nah. Will I send holiday wishes to my Irish friends? No, because I do not have any Irish friends. I have nothing against Irish people of course, but that’s just the way it is. Should I send holiday wishes to my Irish colleagues and clients? It’s a thought, but will it get us extra business? Or ingratiate the GTS Translation company in the eyes of potential Irish buyers?

My short answer is NO. In fact, sending phony holiday wishes may be a transparent act of insincerity and a phony attempt to commercialize a meaningful day with religious roots.

What is Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland (Wikipedia)

What’s the connection between Saint Patrick’s Day and the localization industry?

About 25 years ago, the Irish government introduced incentives for software companies, in an attempt to create software jobs in Ireland. These incentives included significant tax breaks. As a result, many large tech companies like IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Microsoft opened up development centers in Ireland. This program was very successful and created thousands of new jobs. Up to this day, Ireland is a bustling center for the software industry. Software localization was especially targeted and Ireland has a very strong presence in the software localization segment.


Which holidays do spammers like most?

The mother of all holidays is Christmas and New Years. Anyone who lives on this planet knows how commercialized the holiday season has become and getting through the phony wishes each year can be challenging. But nearly every day is a holiday in some part of the world, which means that spammers can make a living out of sending holiday greetings. There is a “New Year” in almost every month of the year.

Is Irish an important language?

Irish is an official language of the European Union. Which means inter alia that the EU will maintain some communications in Irish; and EU patents can be filed in Irish. But otherwise, Irish is not a widely spoken language: In the whole world, there are an estimated 1.2 million speakers of the Irish language. Of this number, only about 170,000 speak it as a first language.

Bottom Line

Limit your holiday wishes to your personal contacts and do it with sincerity-or don’t do it at all. Wishing your clients Happy Holidays can be done for the major holidays, but it is recommended to use it judiciously and sparingly.


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