Chups or Chips? Deciphering Australian and New Zealand English

As a New Zealander traveling the globe, it must be frustrating and tiresome to constantly hear the question “which part of Australia are you from?” To those who can’t call the great country ‘down under’ or the ‘land of the long white cloud’ home, the difference between an Australian and a New Zealand accent is almost indistinguishable. But to those familiar with the rivalry between the two countries on either side of ‘the ditch’, there isn’t much worse than being from one and being labeled the other.

It is true, however, that Australian English and New Zealand English are very similar, helped in no small part by the close ties between the two countries, with more Australian tourists going to NZ every year than to any other country, and vice versa. The most noticeable difference, although surely to be disputed by almost all from outside the two countries, lies in the accent.

Australian English language speakers tend to position their tongue higher and more forward than their neighbors when producing the sound /I/. New Zealand English speakers, on the other hand, have a higher tongue position when producing /e/ or /æ/ sounds.

New Zealanders tend to lengthen the ‘e’ or /i/ sound in words, so while an Australian would say check, a New Zealander would say cheeck. The classic test to distinguish between the two accents has long been the pronunciation of ‘fish and chips’, as New Zealand English speakers substitute the ‘I’ or /I/ for a schwa, or /?/, leading to fish becoming fush and chips becoming chups. Another old favorite is that Australian would say ‘peck the pack of pickles,’ whereas their neighbors would say ‘pick the peck of puckles.’

Although both sides of the Tasman Sea share the majority of words, there are some lexical differences between the two. Those warm, summer days would likely see New Zealanders walking around in their jandals, whereas those in Australia would be off to the beach in their thongs (not what you think, although probably best not to Google it surrounded by people). While an Australian would consider doing a bit of bushwacking this weekend, a New Zealander would strap on their boots to go tramping. And finally, ask an Englishman how they are and they’re likely to reply ‘very well, thanks’, whereas an Australian may give you a ‘bonzer, mate’ and a New Zealander would probably confuse you a little, telling you everything is ‘a box of birds’. Things can get a little stir-crazy down there, at the very end of the world.

So next time you go to ask someone you’re sure is Australian which part of the country they’re from, ask them first what the most popular seafood takeaway is in their native land, and the next time a New Zealander asks for a ‘pin’, save yourself some searching time and just hand them a pen.

About the Author

Andrew Dunn is a professional blogger who in into travel, language and culture. He sometimes blogs about English language translation services.

Exploring the Markets of Vietnam

In common with most markets anywhere in the world, Vietnam’s markets are very colourful, vibrant places that teem with cheerful, enthusiastic vendors and savvy, bargain hunting buyers. The larger Vietnamese markets, as can be found in most large towns and cities, generally sell all manner of things such as clothing, shoes, hats, kitchen utensils, rolls of silk and other cloth. Of course, now souvenirs are also prominently displayed to specifically meet the perceived demands and requirements of the tourist.

Market vendors in Vietnam are very often extremely persistent and very persuasive almost to the point of hustling-especially when they catch sight of a Western face. Depending on your haggling skills, however, the price for that T shirt, pair of jeans, silk or exquisite piece of lacquerware can prove to be irresistible. Many of the vendors speak English, so getting around the negotiations should not be an issue for the English-speaking and western traveler.

As interesting as the tourist sections of the markets are for the discerning shopper, it is really the fresh produce and food sections that are the most fascinating in terms of Vietnamese culture. They are full of both mundane and exotic fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, flowers, spices and other foodstuffs. The vendors themselves are often very colourful characters who seem to spend all their waking hours selling their wares on the market in between bouts of conversation, laughter, snoozing and eating. Sometimes, they sit and stare, looking very bored when business is slow, but they are also frequently in animated conversations with either a customer or a neighbouring vendor. Often, it seems that they are involved in some form of ribald repartee which results in cackling laughter that reverberates across the market and spreads to the nearby stallholders like a Mexican wave.

Most food markets are open at some ungodly early hour but often stay open into the afternoon. They are usually divided into different sections such as meat, fish, dry goods, fruit and vegetables, and can be covered or uncovered. Often where there is a designated covered market, stalls and vendors spill out onto the surrounding streets trying to catch buyers both arriving and leaving the official market area. Towns and cities have many markets but, at times, it seems that if a piece of ground is cleared, then a makeshift market will very quickly appear. Just like everyone else, the Vietnamese love a bargain and where better to find that elusive bargain than at the market?

Soak in the Colours of the Fruits and Vegetables

The fruit and vegetable section of the market is usually the most colourful with pink dragon fruit vying for space with red and yellow fleshed melons, green pomelos, yellow bananas and not unsurprisingly, orange oranges, although even some of these are green! Of course, there are more exotic Asian fruits less familiar to Westerners such as custard apple, durian, guava and rambutan. There is also the ubiquitous and delicious mango in both green (unripe), which is used in salads, and yellow (ripe) dessert varieties. The vegetable stalls are almost as colourful with green cucumber, white cabbage, red tomatoes, purple eggplant, orange carrots yellow Japanese pumpkins and a large number of vegetables of all shapes and sizes the names of which I have no idea. Many of the vegetables to the Western eye are unusual to say the least – exceedingly long green beans, knobbly looking cucumbers, strange looking globes in different colours and bunches of leaves with and without stems.

Fish Galore

The fish section is, as can be imagined, rather a wet, smelly and slimy place. But it’s also home to some captivating sights. Live catfish from the rivers can be seen splashing around and occasionally jumping out of their confinement to wriggle and slither across the floor in a desperate attempt to escape. There are live crabs, claws restrained by elastic bands with jet black eyes on stalks twitching and seemingly pleading for help. Live eels blissfully writhe around in ignorance of their fate. There is a huge variety of fish – tuna, mackerel, sea bass, mullet, grouper, tubtim, sardines and many others, some of which are colourful and some which are rather scary looking specimens. Molluscs too are there in numbers – squid, octopus, mussels, scallops, cockles and clams together with the crustacean family of lobster, crayfish, shrimp and prawns in addition to the already mentioned crabs in their different guises.

Watch out for the meat

For the Western visitor more familiar with meat sold from sanitised, refrigerated counters at the butchers, or in the supermarket, the sale of meat and poultry from open stalls in 30 degree-plus heat with no refrigeration in sight is a somewhat sobering thought. Despite the many health precautions and regulations surrounding meat in Western countries, there are still cases of food poisoning, and in Vietnam, there would appear to be few rules to prevent bacteria from infecting meat and poultry to the ultimate cost and discomfort of the consumer. In some cases, some of the potential problems are obviated by the selling of live chickens and piglets. However, the sight of so much blood and raw flesh being chopped in some of the larger markets is perhaps not for the faint hearted, especially as the Vietnamese predilection for dog meat can be rather shockingly displayed.

Of course, the other classic ingredients of Vietnamese cuisine are much in evidence, from sacks of rice and noodles, to fish and soy sauce, to a profusion of the herbs that are so commonly found in Vietnamese cuisine such as mint, coriander, lemongrass, basil not forgetting the usual oriental spices such as ginger, chili, turmeric and cardamon.

All the markets are generally busy and there is lots of hustle and bustle with vendors cajoling their customers and announcing the qualities of their wares. Customers jostle for position as porters impatiently huff and puff as they haul or push their laden baskets and trolleys around the place delivering produce. Invariably, cyclos wait on the edges of the markets, their languid drivers waiting patiently to ferry customer and purchases to their destination.

No visitor to Vietnam should miss a trip to the fresh produce and food markets, or wet markets as they are frequently known in order to gain an insight into Vietnamese culture and daily life. These markets exist for the benefit of the locals and not the tourists and as such remain largely unsullied of tourist considerations and are indeed representative of the true Vietnamese lifestyle as has been practised for centuries.

Click here for information on Vietnamese translation services.

Chinese Translators take Coronavirus in stride

The coronavirus could not have come at a worst time. During the Chinese New Year, many people take to the roads and railroads, sometimes traveling up to three days to be with family. The outbreak of the coronavirus forced many people to stay at home for the holidays.

But for most translators, business is usual since many translators work at home anyway. Work has so far not been impacted, and many of the Chinese translators that work with GTS are optimistic that the Chinese government will be able to contain and solve this outbreak.


Rongjun Qing

This pandemic caused by new coronavirus has spread across China and there is an increasing number of people being infected by this virus. At present, the war of defeating coronavirus is at the hard stage. In response to a call from Zhong Nanshan, the leader of this war, almost all people in China are currently being isolated at their own homes to minimize the chances of coronavirus spreading.

I have bought a lot of food including rice, cooking oil, noodles and flour in order to avoid going outdoors and minimize the risks of being exposed to coronavirus. People must wear masks if they have to go outside for shopping or other purposes. Additionally, the people in China, especially, the medical workers who are striving to save the life of the infected, are in urgent need of medical masks, goggles, protective coats and other protective equipment. My wish is that this pandemic will come to an end soon.

Currently, food supply is normal. Supermarkets are open as usual. The streets are very quiet because most people are staying home. I can hear the publicity agent outside reminding all people nearby of staying at home and putting on masks if they have to go outside. The Internet works well and I can work properly.

Caiyun Hong

The outbreak indeed impacts entire China,including the suspension of public transportation and daily routine of Chinese people. The WHO has declared it a PHEIC. Both the government and civil society have been committed to pooling resources for prevention and control. China has confidence to win the battle. We hope we could end the battle as soon as possible so that the virus will not impact us in the long run.

Kevin Shi

I am not impacted by this coronavirus as i am working at home, and I am in Guangdong Zhongshan, which has not been impacted in a serious way, just a few cases of the virus. My output is normal  and I can take jobs as usual.

Jiang Xia

As far as I know,the coronavirus has little negative impact on the daily work of freelance translators. Most of us bear the same opinion that staying at home is the safest thing to do, since we are not encouraged to go out. Some of us are prepared to take on even more translation projects in order to pass the time spent at home in a more meaningful manner.

Get to know your customers. Localizing your website for Latin America.

This post provides valuable insight into the mindset of Latin American customers, to help you optimize your website localization efforts.

Social scientists have studied cross-cultural communication for decades, and some of their findings can shed light on what should and should not be done when trying to appeal to foreign markets.

This article explores some crucial peculiarities of Latin American cultures. Most of them seem to evolve from the region’s Hispanic heritage, so they might not apply to Caribbean countries with a strong influence from West Indian cultures. The below must be taken not as indisputable norms but rather as reflecting widespread cultural practices. In other words, this should work simply as a general guide to adapt marketing strategies to Latin American cultures and craft messages that stay persuasive across cultural divides.

The Importance of Family and Community Values

While many European countries, as well as the United States, tend to value independence and individuality, Latin Americans tend to see themselves as a fundamental component of a wider social group. Daily life centers on the family and the community, not on the individual. Moreover, the concept of “family” extends well beyond the close-knit group of parents and siblings to encompass distant relatives.

This cultural trait is so strong in Latin American communities that almost every activity, including shopping, revolves around one aspect or another of family or community life. If a person lives alone but has a big family, and needs a new saucepan, they will more likely buy the biggest size available “in case my family comes over and I need to cook for everyone.” The emphasis on family values has also shown a consistent impact on consumers’ responses to advertising. As expressed in this article by Harvard Business Review:

An advertisement for a detergent product was [found to be] consistently more appealing to audiences from individualistic societies when presented as ‘cleans with a softness that you will love.’ However, audiences from more collective-focused societies responded more positively to the message ‘cleans with a softness your family will love.’

The implications of Latin America’s collectivist nature on cross-language communications is that, for optimum results, localization for a Latin American audience will require adapting the source text’s content, grammar, and syntax to make the copy more culturally appropriate. This might involve getting rid of individual references (“you”) in favor of collective ones (“your family”). Similarly, the translated copy might need to highlight the collective value that the brand’s product or service provides. Whatever the adjustment, the linguist should work side by side with the marketing team to come up with strategies that will help overcome this cultural barrier.

Trust, Respect, and Brand Reputation

Latin American societies tend to regard elderly people as wise and experienced.

Another Latin American trait—and which is probably an offshoot of the region’s high regard for family values—is a reverence for the elderly. Latin American societies tend to regard elderly people as wise and experienced. Age commands respect. This inevitably impacts any marketing strategy, as age is for companies, too. Therefore, the more established the company is, the higher its reputation will be and the more likely it is to succeed in Latin American markets. In Lawrence Tuller’s words:

Age also refers to companies. Relatively new companies that do not have longevity in their home markets will have a harder time marketing anywhere in Latin America than will companies that have been around a long time. No one wants to do business with the new kid on the block.

So how does a young brand go about penetrating Latin American markets? Well, it is all about building trust in consumers. In most cases, Latin Americans do business only with those they respect, like, and trust. Because of endemic corruption and high levels of economic and political instability, Latin Americans show high degrees of distrust and uncertainty avoidance. Therefore, if a firm cannot rely on its longevity to convey trustworthiness, brand messages will need to be localized in such a way that they reassure consumers. Through a well-orchestrated localization strategy, consumers need to feel that the brand is committed to serving their needs in the long term.

Some strategies to achieve this goal through localization include the following:

* Make sure that the tone of voice addresses readers with deference. Being too informal or overly friendly when the brand lacks market longevity might prove counterproductive.
* If you are targeting older people, avoid excessive repetition and lengthy explanations as they may sound patronizing or condescending. Allow space for subtle cues as a sign that you trust their wisdom, intelligence, and ability to read between the lines.
* Use testimonials, case studies, and reviews where older people describe their positive experiences with the company. Your target audience is more likely to trust you if they see older people are happy with what you offer.
* Portray the brand’s ideal consumer as someone older and wise; someone with whom consumers will want to identify.

National Pride

Latin Americans prefer local products. Foreign products must emphasize higher quality as the main value for the consumer.

Another trait of Latin American consumers impacting purchasing behavior is their sense of national pride. If we consider that feelings of patriotism are usually stronger after political turbulence, this comes as no surprise. Although most consumers have a generally positive attitude towards foreign products, nationalism makes individuals more likely to perceive the quality of domestic products as higher than that of foreign products (Han, 1989). This is especially true when consumers have little knowledge about a product’s attributes: they are then likely to use indirect evidence, such as country of origin, to make inferences about quality.

So, if local brands play with an advantage, how can foreign brands increase consumer receptivity of their products or services? The answer is simple: emphasizing higher quality as the main value for the consumer. Every message the brand sends to its target audience must put the focus on the products or services being of higher quality or more customized than those manufactured by local firms. Presenting the product as newsworthy and innovative has also been proven to work very well to generate more receptivity.

Localization efforts are essential in executing the appropriate marketing strategies to counterbalance the Latin American preference for local products. Communicating the product’s or service’s value must become the main goal of every brand message, which might involve the implementation of significant content changes with respect to the original messages written in the source language. As usual, a trained localizer specialized in marketing will be the ideal person to provide cultural consultancy in this regard.

Final Thoughts

Any business looking to penetrate Latin American markets will start by investing in Spanish translation services, which makes total sense. However, when it comes to marketing products or services abroad, simply transferring content word-by-word from one language to another is not enough. To succeed in this century’s global economy, where communications reach people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, understanding how culture influences consumer behavior is crucial. In other words, cultural illiteracy in international marketing could trigger strong negative reactions among local consumers.

For that reason, investing in localization—or culturally sensitive translation—and in cultural consultancy is essential to win any consumer’s heart and achieve the highest chances of success in a foreign market.

About the Author

Based in the UK, María Scheibengraf is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (UK), of the ICO (UK) and of the ATA. She helps businesses sell their products and services to Spanish-speaking audiences through expert marketing and IT translations, and transcreation.



Brazilian Portuguese is a widely spoken language, but what exactly is Brazilian Portuguese? A mix of Brazilian and Portuguese? It is not quite that simple. Fortunately, for those of us who cannot seem to get our head around the complexities of Brazilian Portuguese, there are plenty of brilliant Brazilian Portuguese Voiceover artists to help solve our language quandaries.

But what indeed makes Brazilian Portuguese so different and unique?

First. The distinctiveness in Brazilian Portuguese lies in its incorporation of both the Tupi and Yoruba dialect. Many place names have retained their original Tupi titles. Even native fruits seem to have reserved a right to remain Tupi. For example, the word for pineapple has remained a prickly ‘abacaxi’ and not conformed to become the Portuguese ‘ananas’.

Second. Pronunciation, pronunciation and pronunciation. Brazilian Portuguese speech sounds a little “lighter” than standard European Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese vowels have two variants: stressed and unstressed vowels. With stressed vowels, the stress falls on the second to last syllable.

Third. In Brazil, you don’t keep track of the past… That is to say; past, present and future tenses. Brazil thinks in infinities- sentences are structured by placing an a before the infinitive of a verb. Nice and simple.

But being Brazilian is more than just speaking Brazilian Portuguese… Brazil’s beauty lies in its diverse culture and customs. And one of the most fascinating aspects being that of Brazilian dance.


CAPOEIRA – Dance, acrobats or martial art, or a Brazilian blend of the three! Capoeira encompasses hypnotic movements, with sweeping kicks and beautiful balance. Although some may consider Capoeira to be a form of fighting – the music and singing transports Capoeira into a genre of its own.

 SAMBA – Probably the most famous Brazilian dance. Whether you choose to dance alone or with a partner, samba is a perfect sensuous dance. If you prefer company, then ballroom samba is the dance for you, but if you aren’t scared of going solo, then samba, samba, samba… all the way to the carnival. In fact, Brazil even has a Cidade do Samba or Samba City- a large creative workshop in Rio De Janeiro’s downtown which hosts the best samba schools and creates the most dazzling dance costumes!

Sesimbra, Portugal. February 17, 2015: Brazilian Samba dancers called Passistas in the Rio de Janeiro style Carnaval Parade. The Passista is one of the sexiest performers of this event

CARIMBÓ – One of the many native Brazilian dances and worth mentioning because of its’ sensuality. Carimbó is a sensual dance of opposite sexes- with a woman trying to cover a man with her skirt and the man trying to attract attention by picking up a dropped handkerchief. An act all carried out to the beat of the drum, or the Carimbó in Tupi. More recently, Carimbó has evolved into the new dance form of Lambada, which literally translated, means strong slap or hit… probably as a result of the spicy lyrics and dancing! In fact by the late 1980s Lambada had spread with the French song ‘Lambada’ creating global interest and amassing over 5 million sales. Not maybe the best hit but some good publicity for our Brazilian ‘ballet’!

 Needless to say, Brazil is a fascinating country with even more fascinating cultures and Brazilian languages. Brazil is well worth a visit and if you are lucky enough to be from Brazil – you don’t need us to tell you what is great about your language and culture!

Click here for information regarding professional Portuguese translation services.

Mayday? Or May Day?

Today is May 1st. Which may not mean much to some people. But in many countries May 1 is an official holiday which is commonly referred to as International Workers’ Day or May Day.  The list of countries in which May is a national holiday is very long and includes Germany, France, Russia, China, Spain, Italy and many more countries. If you are ordering translation services from GTS around May 1st, please bear in mind that slowdowns may result owing to the holiday.

Ironically, and even though May 1 is not celebrated in the United States, International Workers’ Day originated due to an event that took place in the USA: the Haymarket affair was a bombing in Chicago that interrupted a peaceful demonstration for worker’s rights. Despite this fact, the USA celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday in September. and May 1 is just another work day.

Much can be said for the United State’s way of celebrating Labor Day. Since it is always observed on a Monday, the disruption to the economy is minimized. And it can be said that the “long weekend” even stimulates productivity since people need a break now and then. But in countries that celebrate May 1st, the holiday is observed no matter what day of the week it falls on. In years like 2019, when May 1 falls in the middle of the week, productivity at workplaces is low in the first week of May.

If you are celebrating May Day this year, have a nice holiday. If you are not, then have a great day at work.