Considering doing business in Spain? Verbio specializes in international trade, multicultural marketing, and multilingual communications, so we assembled cultural tips and trade info to help you explore new markets: Country: Spain Capital: Madrid Largest City: Madrid Currency: Euro (€) Population: 47,450,795 (2020) Languages: Castilian is the official language. Basque, Galician, and Catalan are co-official languages in some autonomous communities. Learn what other languages Verbio works with: https://verbiogroup.com/languages/ CULTURAL TIPS Arrive to the meeting on time and expect your Spanish counterpart to do the same. While there is a relaxed sense of time in many Spaniards’ social lives, punctuality is required in the world of business. This may not always be adhered to, but it is reasonable to maintain this expectation. Personal relationships play a large role in Spanish business culture. Third-party introductions are helpful as Spaniards prefer to work with those whom they know and trust. It is also preferred that people meet face-to-face as often as possible as this deepens the personal relationship between partners. Punctuality is not highly important in Spain. People can arrive half an hour late to a social function with no questions raised. If someone turns up late and apologizes, people are likely to respond with something like “no pasa nada” – meaning “It’s not that important”. Expect meals to be served at later times. Dinner is usually eaten between 9 pm and 11:30 pm. Do not leave immediately after a meal is finished. It is expected that guests stay for ‘la sobremesa’. This is the time spent after the meal that involves relaxed, fun conversations over coffee or alcoholic drinks. Most Spaniards take vacation during the month of August. At this time, their offices may close. A common casual greeting involves a kiss on each cheek, starting with the left. This form of greeting is especially common among women. Men may be more likely to kiss women hello and goodbye than to shake their hands. A firm handshake with eye contact and a smile is the appropriate greeting in professional contexts. Once people become acquainted, greetings become a lot warmer and Spaniards often prefer to embrace (abrazo). This may involve a hug accompanied with a pat on the shoulder or elbow (between men) In formal settings, you may refer to someone using their professional or personal titles – for example, ‘Señor’ (Mr) for men and ‘Señora’ (Ms) for women. However, it is rare for someone’s friends to address them using their title and surname. Spaniards move onto a first-name basis very quickly, even in professional settings. Spanish office hours can be confusing to people from the English-speaking West. Some businesses stay open continuously from 9 am until 3 pm. Others open in the morning from 9 am until 2 pm, then break for a few hours and reopen around 4/5 pm until 7/8 pm. These siesta hours (2 pm – 4/5 pm) can interrupt business engagements. How to say it: Hello: Hola Please: Por favor Thank you: Gracias Goodbye: Adiós How much does it cost?: ¿Cuánto cuesta? Olvera – town in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain Almeria, Spain Ridabesella, Spain Do you seek help with strategy and communications to identify and negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor? Verbio can help.ECONOMICS U.S. goods and services trade with Spain totaled an estimated $32 billion in 2020. Exports were $15.2 billion; imports were $16.8 billion. Exports The top export categories in 2019 were: cars ($34.5 billion), refined petroleum ($12.3 billion), vehicle parts ($10.6 billion), packaged medicine ($9.95 billion), and delivery trucks ($6.07 billion). It was also the world’s biggest exporter of citrus ($3.58 billion) and pure olive oil ($3.39 billion) Imports The top import categories in 2019 were: crude petroleum ($27.8 billion), cars ($21.6 billion), vehicle parts ($13.2 billion), packaged medicine ($10 billion), and petroleum gas($8.58 billion). Let’s make your vision for international business come true together! SPANISH CUISINE Whether you’re on a city break in Barcelona or Madrid, or you’ve plumped for a countryside or coastal retreat, Spanish food is full of flavor and character. Spanish cuisine is the set of cooking practices and traditions of Spain and is characterized by products found in and around the Mediterranean Sea. Grains, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables are the star players in the Mediterranean diet, considered to be one of the world’s healthiest eating plans. Apart from producing most of Europe’s fresh vegetables, Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, so naturally, it plays a big role in the country’s cuisine. It forms the base of many vegetable sauces, main dishes and is even used in desserts. Here is a list of dishes that we recommend you try when you visit Spain: #1 Paella – THE number 1 dish when you think of Spanish food. Originally from the region of Valencia, the word paella actually means “frying pan” in Valencian. This saffron rice dish can include any combination of chicken, rabbit, vegetables, and/or seafood and is the dish of choice when feeding a large group of people. In fact, most restaurants have a two-person minimum when ordering paella, so be sure to invite a friend! #2 Ajo colorao – Made with potatoes, red peppers and tomatoes, this puréed Andalusian dish is a flavorful alternative to the more common salmorejo and gazpacho. It can be served warm or cold and it is typically adorned with pieces of fresh cod. #3 Migas – It’s raining, it’s pouring, it’s migas time! Although popular no matter what the weather throughout most of the country, some southern regions in Spain save them for a rainy day. When that day finally comes, people flock to their favorite bar/restaurant for this simple dish of crumbs. Yes, you read that correctly. The base ingredients are bread crumbs and flour, fried in olive oil with chorizo, peppers, garlic and sometimes sardines or other fish. It doesn’t rain often in the Southeast, so this dish is a real treat for those in the area! #4 Pintxos – Similar to tapas, pintxos can have a variety of toppings, skewered to slices of baguette using long toothpicks. The most popular pintxos are up north in the Basque Country, with toppings like tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette), fresh cod, croquettes or stuffed peppers. Our favorite pintxo can be found in Vitoria-Gasteiz and is made up of mashed potato (spread paper-thin and oven-dried until pliable) enveloped around two pieces of bacon and egg yolk, then deep-fried until golden brown. Ikaragarria da! #5 Sangria – This delicious cocktail combines the best of summer by infusing wine, summer fruits, and soda water. Sangria’s origins probably date back to the Middle Ages, during a time when water was unhealthy to drink and drinking fermented beverages carried a much lower risk of causing illness. The word “sangria” is much more serious than the drink itself: it comes from the Latin word for blood, thanks to the original sangria’s reddish hue, a result of the red wine first used to make it. Sources: Observatory of Economic Complexity – Wikipedia – Food & Wine – Cultural Atlas “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ― Pablo Picasso Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and theatre designer. One of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. Would you like to schedule an appointment with Verbio to discuss how to do business in Spain? Contact us NOW!
Meet Joshua! Verbio Group – Localization Project Manager 1.What language(s) do you master? How did you become bilingual? I was very fortunate and grew up in a bi-cultural household, so I’ve been speaking English and Italian ever since I could speak. Once the time came for me to learn a language in school, I decided on Spanish. My ability to speak Italian made it extremely easy to pick up on it. Although learning Spanish in a classroom setting was a great place to start, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Ecuador that I truly felt fluent in the language. 2. Tell us a little about your background in other industries before working with Verbio I don’t really have much of a background in other industries prior to my time with Verbio. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and a minor in Spanish Language & Culture in 2018. I then took a gap year to explore possible career options before attending the Middlebury Institute of International Studies where I received a Master of Arts in Translation and Localization Management. Besides my educational background, I’ve spent time working in the sports world as a referee, in the restaurant industry, and I even interned for a local Congressman in Monterey. 3. What attracted you to collaborate with a language services firm? For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in language and culture. That stemmed from my travels at a young age and through my upbringing. I always thought that being able to use my knowledge to enable communication and services throughout the globe was an amazing thing, especially nowadays when companies continue to expand their global outreach. Language is such a beautiful thing that bridges cultures together and helps us communicate in order to get a better understanding of one another. Cortina d’Ampezzo 4. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I was born in my mother’s hometown in Italy. It’s a small town in the Dolomites called Cortina d’Ampezzo. Because of this, I’m fortunate enough to be a dual citizen and have 2 passports. 5. Recount an incident when language barriers played a big role in the success/failure of one of your projects? Thankfully, throughout the duration of my Master’s program, I never ran into any issues on projects because of a language barrier. Now that I’m fully immersed into the translation/localization industry, it’s inevitable that I will encounter language barriers that will lead to the success/failure of one of my projects. 6. What would the title of your autobiography be? Don’t Worry, Be Happy. When I was a teenager, I made a promise to myself to live every day of my life being as happy as I possibly could. Obviously, there are days that the level of happiness isn’t as high as others, but I always try to stay optimistic and find the beauty in life. 7. What’s the weirdest fact you know? Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world (tied with China for 1st). 8. What is one type of souvenir you always try to collect when you travel? I’m not much of a souvenir collector when I travel to be honest. I have a fairly large soccer jersey collection, so maybe I could add to it by purchasing a jersey in every country that I visit from here on out. 9. If money was not limited, what country would you visit next? I don’t have many things on my bucket list, but the one at the very top is to attend the World Cup. In terms of countries that I’d like to visit, the top of my list is: Greece, Croatia, and Morocco. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few islands in the Caribbean; I would love to explore more tropical islands around the world. 10. What’s a trip that changed you, and why? After graduating from high school and before attending university, I took a gap year and studied abroad with Rotary Youth Exchange. I was sent to Ecuador for a year, where I lived in a small town south of Quito called Latacunga. That was the most adventurous and different thing I had ever done in my life at that point. I was only 17 living in a country where I didn’t know anybody and lived with a host family. The experiences I had and the memories I made there will last a lifetime. I met lifelong friends there and was able to travel throughout the entire country. I grew up so much in that one year and it played a major role in shaping me to be the individual that I am today. Latacunga, Ecuador 11.You spent part of your childhood in Italy. Give us a taste of that experience. Pick a favorite dish, pastry, history, local language or culture to share. As I mentioned previously, I was born in Italy but I grew up and lived the majority of my life in the U.S. Some of the fondest memories from my childhood were during the summer and winter. I was fortunate enough to be taken out of school for a couple of months during the winter to go ski in Italy and spend time with my family. On the contrary, during the summer, I would spend almost the entire summer vacation in Italy. Half of that time was spent in Cortina d’Ampezzo (in the mountains), while the other half was spent in Rimini. Rimini is a beach town where my mother’s sister lives, so we would spend the majority of our days out in the sun and in the water. As an Italian, family and food are extremely important (as is the case in most cultures). The simple act of preparing a meal with the entire family and enjoying it all together is something I hold near and dear to my heart. 12. What’s your favorite dad joke? Everyone has heard of the historical figure, Karl Marx. But no one remembers his sister, Onya, who invented the starting pistol. 😂 13. Who would you invite onto your talk show and why? I would invite Bob Marley. I’m a fan of his music and have seen documentaries about his life, but I want to learn more about him as an individual. I would love to pick his brain about his personal experiences and his upbringing. This interaction during an interview is so powerful to me and I would love to discuss more about his life and how he viewed the world. I’m a people pleaser, so I also think it would be received very well by the audience. Interviewer: “Are you a rich man?” Bob Marley: “When you mean rich, what do you mean?” Interviewer: “Do you have a lot of possessions, a lot of money in the bank?” Bob Marley: “Possessions make you rich? I don’t have that type of riches. My riches is life forever.” Left to right: First day of school for Joshua and brother; mom, dad, brother, and Joshua – La Famiglia (the family); Joshua and brother wearing Italian jerseys the day Italy won the 2006 World Cup; Joshua and his brother in Rimini, Italy at their aunt’s house (it was karting day); another first day of school for Joshua!
Meet Nabil! Verbio Group – Project Manager 1.What language(s) do you master? How did you become bilingual? Being from Algeria, Arabic is my mother tongue, and for historical reasons, one may say that I’m also a French native speaker. Since I was a kid, I always loved languages and diversity and that’s thanks to my dad who was quite a traveler when he was younger. Every now and then we would sit together looking at his old pictures taken in different places of the world and, of course, each one of them had a story. So, I grew up with the will of traveling and learning about other countries and their cultures. At a young age, I started learning English at school, but it was limited and I felt that it wasn’t enough for me to be able to speak it. So I started learning by myself and worked hard on finding people I would practice with. Spanish and German I learned by traveling and making friends, but my Spanish is way better than my German even though I can read German perfectly. I also learned some survival Italian, which I always wanted to master but never got the time for, unfortunately. 2. Tell us a little about your background in other industries before working with Verbio I have been very lucky as I was able to try different jobs in different fields, from working at my uncle’s produce store when I was a kid, to working in diplomacy as the translator and interpreter of the South African mission in Algeria and Laayoune. I also worked in the telecom field where I learned a lot about project management and dealing with B2B customers. For a year, I worked as an information assistant at the US consulate in Algiers, where I learned a lot about consular affairs and American diplomacy in Algeria. Throughout my professional experience and for over 13 years, I had a second job as a language trainer (general English, business English, English for specific purposes…etc) for adults wishing to live, work or study in an English-speaking environment. This experience taught me a lot and allowed me to meet great people from different backgrounds and different professions, some of them I became close friends with. 3. What attracted you to collaborate with a language services firm? As I mentioned before, I have always loved languages and how they not only allow me to communicate with people but also learn about their culture, customs and way of living. As Mark Twain said once: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” 4. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. In college, I started an engineering degree to become an Aeronautics Engineer, which had nothing to do with Languages. 5. What would the title of your autobiography be? How Languages Changed My Life! 6. What’s the weirdest fact you know? There is a phobia called Anatidaephobia, which is “The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.” 7. What is one type of souvenir you always try to collect when you travel? Small things like a bus ticket, shopping receipt from a certain store, a map or even a brochure of an event I attend. These little things always remind me of how I felt in that particular moment at that particular place. 8. If money was not limited, what country would you visit next? Not a fair question for someone who loves traveling, but before going anywhere exotic, I’d like to go to Mecca for the big pilgrimage and for my religious history. Then, it’s got to be either Patagonia or New Zealand. One can’t get enough of raw, tough nature where there’s still less human influence. 9. What’s a trip that changed you, and why? It was in the Sahara by the Algerian and Malian border. We were driving in the middle of the dessert and then saw a woman and her baby walking under the sun. We stopped and the driver was our Tergui interpreter, so he said that she needed help getting back to her village. Her baby was sick and she walked to the closest “clinic”, which probably took them a whole day, and found it closed, unfortunately. So, we drove them back and when we got to what was supposed to be her village, it turned out to be a tent where she and her in-laws lived by themselves. The men of the family were away for a few weeks working as shepherds and the women were left alone with the kids. Not only that their way of living marked me forever, but also the fact that they thought that we were from the U.N. and started asking us for medication made me realize how silly and selfish my “needs” were compared to theirs. Even though we lived in the same country, our lives were certainly different. 10. What advice would you give to your teenage self? Relax and enjoy every moment, it will all come when it is meant to come, and you are going to have a Great Life! Oh, and work out more for God’s Sake. 11.You spent part of your childhood in Algeria. Give us a taste of that experience. Pick a favorite dish, pastry, history, local language or culture to share. I was born and raised in Algeria where I lived my whole life until 5 years ago when I moved to the US. Algeria is a wonderful country and its people are as Mediterranean as they can get, warm-hearted and sometimes quick to anger. Our generosity sometimes means sharing whatever food you have with whoever knocks on your door. The fact that Algeria doesn’t have a lot of tourists makes it hard to localize on the map. I always have to tell people it’s right next to Morocco by the Mediterranean Sea for them to know where it is. Again, our cuisine is similar to Moroccan food, different kinds of Couscous, cooking meat is a culture and traditional sweets are influenced by the Arabs, Turks and the Moors (Andalusian). Algerian Baklawa is a lot different from the middle eastern or Turkish one, everything is homemade and our mothers take pride in making it with their top-secret touch. Berbers (aka Amazigh) are the indigenous people of North Africa and the Canary Islands, but throughout history, Algerian people were mixed with Arabs, Turks, Spanish and most recently, French people. This diversity made Algerian Arabic so unique that it is very hard for non-Algerians to understand due to some foreign words that became part of our Daridja (colloquial Arabic), which makes it easy for us to learn different languages as ours has all the sounds one can think of. 12. What’s your favorite dad joke? What do you call a cute door? A-door-able… 😂 13. Who would you invite onto your talk show and why? It has to be my mother. I have a lot of admiration for her and how she took care of 5 kids. My dad has always been the provider of the family and she was the one doing everything else at home from cooking to cleaning while making sure we were doing good at school and not getting into any trouble. Even though my mom only did 3 or 4 years of schooling, she was good at keeping us on track and helping us with our studies when we were kids. So yeah, definitely my mom. Left to right: Nabil as a kid in Algeria; Nabil with his nieces in Algeria; Nabil and his wife; the newest member of the family Prince; Nabil and his sister.
Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month Verbio specializes in international trade, multicultural marketing, and multilingual communications, so we assembled cultural tips and trade info to help you explore new markets: Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month started in the 1970s. The month of May is reserved to honor the history, culture, achievements, contributions, and influence of this diverse group of people in the United States. AAPI make up a significant percentage of the population in Oregon, the greater Pacific Northwest, and the US West Coast in general. Below are some interesting facts about this group. HISTORICAL MIGRATION OF ASIANS TO NORTH AMERICA The earliest Asians to migrate were Filipinos sailing from Manila to California as part of the Spanish East Indies Galleon trade in 1587. These very early migrants were followed by immigrants to Hawaii and the mainland West Coast from China, Japan, Korea, India, and the Philippines. The first major wave of Asian immigrants arrived between 1850 and 1917 during the California gold rush, a time which saw great expansion and development along the Pacific coast of the United States. Between 1848 and 1852, Chinese immigrants grew dramatically from 400 to 25,000 people. A series of political changes across the Pacific region led to a greater immigration of Pacific Islanders right around the beginning of the 20th century. Guam was ceded to the US in 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the US in 1900, and American Samoa was ceded to the US in 1920. The second major wave of Asian immigrants began after the 1965 immigration Act. At that time, Asians represented 0.6% of the American population. After the end of the Korean and Vietnam Wars plus the conflicts in Laos and Cambodia, new waves of migrants arrived from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia seeking political asylum. Chinatown in San Francisco Chinese immigration was primarily from Taiwan and Hong Kong. There were ver few migrants from mainland China until after 1977, when the Chinese government lifted restrictions for college students and professionals. In 1997, the United Kingdom restored sovereignty of Hong Kong to mainland China. This also triggered a significant increase of Hong Kong migrants to North America. By 2000, immigrants from India nearly doubled in population to become the third-largest group of Asian Americans. Currently, Indians, Chinese, and Filipinos make up the three largest Asian ethnic groups migrating to the United States. Do you seek help with strategy and communications to identify and negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor? Verbio can help.DEMOGRAPHICS Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a very diverse category. Asia is home to about 4.46 billion people speaking about 2,300 languages (Source: WorldAtlas.com). Additionally, there are approximately forty Polynesian languages; the most prominent being: Tahitian, Samoan, Tongan, Māori and Hawaiian (Source: Wikipedia). Samoans and Tongans are the most rapidly growing minorities in Washington State. Indeed, it’s a common misconception that Asian Americans are from the Far East. Indeed Asians come from 48 countries and 3 Chinese territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao). Western Asia comprises cultures and ethnicities that many North Americans label as “Middle Eastern,” such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Several countries, like Turkey and Russia, have a territories that span the dividing line between Europe and Asia. Here are some statistics: 59.51% of Earth is Asian (2021 Statista) 6.2% of the population of Oregon is Asian (2019 Census Bureau) 5.7% of the population of the United States is Asian (2019 Census Bureau) 9.2% of the population of Washington is Asian (2019 Census Bureau) 10% of the population of the United States is expected to be Asian by 2050 (2019 Census Bureau) 15.5% of the population of California is Asian (2019 Census Bureau) 1/3 of all Asian Americans are in California (2021 Statista) Let’s make your vision for international business come true together! THE ASIAN AMERICAN INCOME GAP Asian American labor statistics have changed dramatically over the years. Early immigrants found work in mining, industrial and railroad expansion. In more recent decades, there was a heavy emphasis on food and restaurant, farming, cleaning and personal care or health and beauty. The technology revolution of the past few decades has brought more and more attention to education and computer sciences, which have, in turn, propelled a larger percentage of Asian Americans into the technology, medicine, health care, and engineering sectors. However, this upward trend has not been universal amongst all Asian subgroups. There is a broad economic divide between various groups of Asian migrants (Pew Research 2020). High-income Asian Americans earn roughly 10.7% more than those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. College-educated and English-speaking Indian and Taiwanese are typically near the top of the economic spectrum with a median household income of over $100,000 per year, while Nepalese and Burmese household income medians trend toward the lower end of the spectrum of between $46,000 and $63,000. SOCIAL TRENDS The past decade has seen a huge growth in Asian cultural visibility. Asians have enjoyed growing cultural influence via the entertainment industry, in the form of films, television, video games, social media, music, podcasts, and pop culture in general. Asian stars in and outside of the US have become increasingly popular. and Asian social figures have climbed to prominence in the worlds of art, business, politics, and science. The growing food culture has expanded the American palette and has welcomed a variety of Asian dishes into the mainstream. Here is a list of some popular dishes in Asia and the Islands of the Pacific that we recommend you try when you visit: Breadfruit #1 – is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, grown throughout Southeast Asia and most of the Pacific Ocean islands. Its name is derived from the texture of the cooked fruit, which has a potato-like flavor, similar to freshly baked bread. Bibimbap #2 – Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish. The term “bibim” means mixing, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul or kimchi and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang. Burmese tea leaf salad #3 – a combination of textures and savory, salty, mildly sour flavors. The key ingredient is the fermented tea leaf dressing, which makes the salad savory (plus the leaves are full of nutrients and antioxidants), and the crunchy mix contains peanuts, yellow split peas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and garlic chips and is full of flavor. Mai Tai #4 – cocktail based on rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. It is one of the quintessential cocktails in Tiki culture Sources: Wikipedia – Foodb.ca Not all changes have been progressive. American politics and the growing power and influence of China, have brought persistent anti-Asian sentiments to the forefront of American culture. There has been a backlash against Chinese-made goods and software, including Huawei and Tik-Tok, and overall scrutiny of the supply chain. The political unrest and protests in Hong Kong as well as Chinese repression of Uighurs have unnerved many average citizens and politicians. Politics surrounding the ongoing COVID pandemic coupled with a divisive social environment in America, have contributed to an increase in violence against Asian Americans. Acts of violence against Asian Americans have been increasing as well as media coverage of it, on mainstream news and social media. All of these factors have contributed to greater Asian American political activism and action. ASIANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN OREGON It’s clear that Asian American and Pacific Islander populations are growing across North America and specifically along the West Coast. Asian and Pacific Islander population has grown in Oregon by over 30% since the 2010 US Census. This growth in Oregon has resulted in the governments of Japan and Federated States of Micronesia each establishing formal diplomatic offices or Consulates General in Portland. The diversity of Asians and Pacific Islanders means that many of these populations speak a wide range of languages. Asian and Polynesian languages spoken in Oregon and translated by Verbio: Arabic Bengali Cantonese Chamorro Chuukese Gujarati Hawaiian Hindi Hmong Ilocano Khmer (Cambodian) Korean Kosraean Laotian Malayalam Mandarin Marshallese Nepali Palauan Persian (Farsi) Punjabi Russian Samoan Tagalog (Filipino) Tamil Telegu Thai Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese Yapese “In a time of destruction, create something” ― Maxine Hong Kingston Chinese American author and Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. Would you like to schedule an appointment with Verbio to discuss how to do business or communicate with these communities? Contact us NOW!
Meet Remi! Verbio Group – Europe Operations 1.What language(s) do you master? How did you become bilingual? I speak French, as my native language. I speak English, having studied in the US. I also speak Italian, after living in Rome, and some Spanish and German. I love the richness of local languages, “patois” in France, “dialetti” in Italy. 2. Tell us a little about your background in other industries before working with Verbio I have worked in high-tech industries, as an export manager, in something around 100 countries. 3. What attracted you to collaborate with a language services firm? The opportunity came when a few years back, I met with Virginia (Verbio’s CEO) during a business trip to Toulouse. She told me everything about her experience living in France, and how she wanted to get closer to European businesses. We started drafting an action plan and decided to collaborate. 4. Recount an incident when language barriers played a big role in the success/failure of one of your projects? Hard to forget my first trip to Russia, immediately after the country “opened”. We had a contract with a customer in Siberia, so we traveled during the month of February. We used the services of an interpret for our meetings, which definitely helped create a great atmosphere of trust and understanding. At the end of the week, we were invited to the “datcha” for dinner, by one member of the group that had the role of being the “toastmaster”, launching the toasts. As was the custom, the person who is visiting Russia for the first time becomes a special target for the toastmaster. He would fill your glass with vodka, continuously, and as you guessed it… I was naturally his target that night. Once dinner was over, we walked back to our rooms shoulder-to-shoulder, which helped with bonding and take our business relationship to a different level. I have fond memories of that moment we shared together, in where the services of the interpret were not needed, as the unspoken connection was already there. Needles to say, the project was a fantastic success. 5. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I had the opportunity to swim next to whales in the Mediterranean ocean. It was fun and exhilarating! 6. What is one type of souvenir you always try to collect when you travel? Sometimes I come back with a piece of driftwood, a museum ticket, a book. There is no clear will before I go, it happens spontaneously with a special emotion. 7. If money was not limited, what country would you visit next? Argentina and South Africa. These two aggregate a fantastic track of historic places, history, nature, and fun places to go. 8. Give us a taste of Toulouse! Tell us what is distinctive about La Ville Rose (The Pink City) Toulouse and Occitanie as compared to the rest of France. Pick a favorite dish, pastry, history, local language or culture to share. I was born in Toulouse, and so are my kids. Toulouse is at the center of everything, equal distance from the ocean, and mountains. Historically Toulouse has hosted many important groups, from the Visigoths who established their kingdom to the Cathares, and closer to us the Spanish during their civil war, or the European aerospace community from Germany, UK, Italy. The Cathares are worth mentioning because women were equal to men some 8 centuries ago! Toulouse is “home sweet home” for me, the city has a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Let’s talk about food now, without a doubt that the 12 hours lamb or gigot a la cuillère – can be carved with a spoon, hence its name – is my favorite dish to eat, roasted for 12 hours in very low heat, and with lots of spices, that will give you the most meltingly tender roast lamb of your life. My favorite dish to cook is garbure a mountain hearty rustic soup made basically with any vegetables you have available, some fèves (fava beans) and duck confit of course. Great meal after hiking or skiing. Toulouse’s most popular dish is cassoulet, a rich, slow-cooked stew made with white beans, local sausage, and duck confit. My favorite dessert is canolli, a Sicilian pastry consisting of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling.
Meet Virginia! Founder, Owner & CEO of Verbio Group 1. What language(s) do you translate/interpret? My professional, working languages are English, French, Spanish. I am a Sworn Translator for the Consulate of France. I also have modest level proficiency to read or listen to other Romance languages and German. 2. How did you become bilingual? Or how did you become involved in the translation/interpreting industry? I have always had an aptitude for languages, and I grew up in a densely multicultural setting in California. My earliest memories include learning basic Spanish, French, and German words from people around me. I began formal studies in French by age 12. Several trips to Mexico enticed me to jump into Spanish 2-Honors during my last year in high school. At Linfield University, I majored in French and minored in Spanish and European Studies. This degree included a year at the Institute for American Universities (IAU) in France, immediately followed by an intensive term at Forrester Instituto Internacional in Costa Rica. All along the way, I soaked up my classmates’ German textbooks, my Japanese roommate’s tongue twisters, and basic phrases in many other languages from everyone else. How did I elect a career in translation? An alumna from IAU gave a guest-lecture at my school in France. She outlined her path from the school in which we sat, through Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) to a senior position in the US Embassy. This path intrigued me, especially as I considered the focused offerings at MIIS: translation, interpreting, international politics, and international business. Alas a Masters Degree was not a realistic option. I soaked up all the practicum learning about translation that my Linfield professors could offer – including introductions to several of my very first clients. Upon graduating from Linfield, I pursued a strategic career path in a series of multilingual job settings to build my experience and business knowledge. In parallel, I cultivated my own translation clientele in a side-hustle. By August 2001, I left my last employer (a translation agency) and dedicated myself fully to building my own business. 3. Tell us about a job/assignment that really stands out in your memory. This could be a long list of the curious and strange… One poignant project around 2005 was for an NGO fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria across Latin America. The NGO had interviewed some AIDS patients – what their lives were like and how they struggled to access health care. I was entranced by a particular Peruvian chef’s scrumptious descriptions of the cuisine and how he maintained optimism in the face of a persistent and deadly disease. Over the span of a few years, I translated a half-million words on the topic of health care infrastructure across Africa and Latin America to control HIV and malaria. 4. What career would you have if you weren’t a linguist? October will mark my 25th year in the language services profession. I can’t even imagine doing something else. The only other path that intrigues me involves international trade consulting for an economic development agency. 5. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I worked at a broad variety of jobs from agriculture to retail and heavy manufacturing to cutting-edge high tech when I was young. My translation career only broadened that exposure. So it’s hard to narrow the field, but here goes… In 1998-99, I was employed as a bilingual corporate trainer at one of the nation’s large horticultural nurseries. My responsibilities included learning, then teaching, Deming’s principles of Total Quality Management (more commonly referred to today as LEAN or Agile) to 700 employees in 2 languages. Obviously, this theme was broken into many lessons and modules and different hands-on applications for each job function across the nursery. As part of training myself so I could train others better, I spent a block of time each week in the field learning each step my co-workers performed, what they measured, and how they might document or improve their processes. I absorbed a little of everything from wholesale sales, propagating new plants, spraying, inventory management, labeling plants on the docks, manually loading semi-trailers (OMG, that’s hard work!)…. I was also responsible for booking college professors to come to the jobsite and teach English and Spanish classes, Spanish literacy, basic computers, and arithmetic. Plus, I provided translation and interpreting for a broad range of settings. Although I ultimately outgrew my container at Monrovia, I still have a profound respect for that company and how it grows its craftspeople in addition to its plants. 6. What is one type of souvenir you always try to collect when you travel? Postcards to add to my scrapbooks. About 3 years ago, I started collecting flag pins from the countries I visited. The first ones were friendship pin gifts from various diplomatic personnel. Nowadays, you’ll often see me sporting a hat featuring these flag pins. 7. If money was not limited, what country would you visit next? Tough decision. I have business reasons that I ought to return to Spain and France soon. But if this is a vacation… you would find a world atlas in my living room filled with post-notes marking all the places we want to travel. The challenge is that I have already visited the parts of the world that my spouse has not visited, and vice versa. 8. As the CEO of a proudly woman-owned business, do you think that LOVE has a place in business? Any thoughts on “Good Business Means Engaging from the Heart, Not Just the Head”? I revisited the Greek words for love to address this point (philia, eros, ludus, agape…); none of these seem to fit in a business setting. Instead, I find that it’s very valuable for one be passionate about her job. If one isn’t passionate, she won’t push herself harder to do her best. Compassion is also essential because this deeper sensibility helps one step out of her own position to understand her customers and her teammates better. Passion and compassion are not the same as love, yet one needs to know love to have passion and compassion. 9. Why do you personally care about embedding inclusion and belonging in our culture? All humans have different life experiences, this equates to different ways of perceiving and interacting with the world. Some of those distinctive interactions contribute to innovation and efficiency and more positive engagement between people, the environment, and economics. I never know which new ideas will help me be a better person or a better business leader, so I try to live out a willingness to receive new ideas and improvements – both in my personal life and in my business. 10. How can our community be a better support system to the female business- owners in our lives? I will repeat the importance of compassion. Structurally, U.S. society needs to make childcare more accessible and affordable so women do not have to choose family versus career. The Equal Rights Amendment (and pay equity) need to be systemically promulgated. 11. If you have the ability to mentor another woman, where would you start and why? I do participate actively in a number of online discussion groups for women entrepreneurs. First priority is to listen. Let her tell me where she is in her journey, where she dreams of going, where she is stuck. Everyone needs something different for different markets, different stages of business, different industries…. When an entrepreneur is stuck and asking for help (not simply letting off steam), I try to offer a distinctive angle that helps her see the situation in a new way that helps her create the answer for herself. For example, when someone asks “what’s the best project management software,” I don’t drop the name of the tool that works for me. Instead, I recommend that the entrepreneur first define the MUST-HAVE and Nice-to-have features that she needs in the tool.
Meet Sol! Spanish to English Translator 1. What language(s) do you translate/interpret? Spanish to English 2. How did you become bilingual? Or how did you become a translator or interpreter? I’m a native speaker of Spanish and I learned English as a child. I studied translation at university in Argentina. 3. Tell us about a job/assignment that really stands out in your memory. Well, there are many wonderful job memories that I could share with you, but one that comes to mind right now is a vaccination campaign that I had the opportunity to work on, which was designed to make children less afraid. The play upon words, rhymes and cartoons were particularly challenging but definitely rewarding. 4. What career would you have if you weren’t a linguist? Because of my love for languages and helping people communicate, I would have most likely been a speech therapist. 5. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. l love sailing and dream of one day sailing the world and living on a boat when I retire. 6. What is one type of souvenir you always try to collect when you travel? Probably keychains, because once you get back home, they remind you of your favorite trip every day. 7. If money was not limited, what country would you visit next? Iceland has been on my radar for some time and would love to visit because of all the natural wonders, and the Northern Lights in particular.
Congo: Africa’s world war? The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is a vast country with immense economic resources and, until recently, has been at the center of what some observers call “Africa’s world war”, with widespread civilian suffering the result. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second-largest country in Africa and is both a major source of displaced people while also hosting several refugees from neighboring countries. In addition to the over half a million refugees living in the DRC, there are also 5 million people who have been internally displaced due to conflict in the country. Ever since the DRC won its independence in 1960, there has been ongoing fighting throughout the country. Despite the end of a civil war in 2003, violence continues to plague regions of the DRC and has forced millions to flee from their homes. The largest Congolese communities in the U.S. are Boston, New York City, and the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore area. There is also a significant population of Congolese Americans in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas, in of the state North Carolina, in North Texas, in Ohio, especially around the Columbus area, and in Iowa, where the Congolese community of DRC this growing due to sending refugees. There is also a growing population in Portland, Maine. Since 2001, many Congolese refugees of the DRC have been resettled in the United States. So, in 2013, it was estimated that more than 10,000 Congolese refugees of DRC living in this country, more than 3,000 of which arrived to United States in 2010. Verbio helps you communicate with diverse groups (migrants, minority cultures, etc.) within your own community. Country: République Democratique du Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) Capital: Kinshasa (largest city in central Africa) Currency: Congo franc (FC) Population: 101,780,000 (2020) Languages: French is the official language and is used in governmental activities. Lingala and Monokutuba are commonly spoken trade languages. Over sixty local languages and dialects are spoken, the most widely used of which are Kikongo, Sangha, and Bateke. A talking drum language developed in the villages as a form of long-distance communication. Specific beats are broadcast for marriages, deaths, births, and other information. *Many Congolese are multilingual, and the language used depends on the context. For instance, a government official might use French to set a tone of formality and authority with another official, use Lingala when buying goods at a market, and the local language when in his home village. **Recent immigrants can speak less English than the earlier Congolese migrants., and because of this, it has been more difficult for recent immigrants to adapt to life in the United States; the earlier immigrants were better-educated. Learn what other languages Verbio works with: https://verbiogroup.com/languages/ Officially known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country has a 25-mile (40-km) coastline on the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise landlocked. It is the second-largest country on the continent; only Algeria is larger. The capital, Kinshasa, is located on the Congo River about 320 miles (515 km) from its mouth. The largest city in central Africa, it serves as the country’s official administrative, economic, and cultural center. The country is often referred to by its acronym, the DRC, or called Congo (Kinshasa), with the capital added parenthetically, to distinguish it from the other Congo republic, which is officially called the Republic of the Congo and is often referred to as Congo (Brazzaville). CULTURAL TIP The Congolese take great pride in their appearance and manner of dress. Regardless of financial status, it is common to wear clean and pressed handmade garments. There is a certain formality in social interactions in both urban and rural areas. An inquiry must be made about one’s health and family to indicate the required level of respect. Older people are shown respect through physical gestures, and agreement with them is considered more important than frankness. HOW TO SAY IT: Hello: Salut (French) – Mbote (Lingala) Please: S’il vous plait (French) – Soki okosepela (Lingala) Thank you: Merci (French) – Botondi (Lingala) Goodbye: Au revoir (French) – Tokomonana (Lingala) How much does it cost?: Combien ça coûte (French) – Ezali talo boni? (Lingala) Do you seek help with strategy and communications to identify and negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor? Verbio can help.ECONOMICS In 2019, Congo (Kinshasa) GDP was an estimated $49.0 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was up by an estimated 4.4%; and the population was 98 million. Exports Congo (Kinshasa) was the United States’ 139th largest goods export market in 2019. U.S. goods exports to Congo (Kinshasa) in 2019 were $132 million, up 69.1% ($54 million) from 2018 and up 65.9% from 2009. The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: machinery ($22 million), vehicles ($16 million), meat (poultry) ($15 million), cereals (wheat) ($12 million), and electrical machinery ($10 million). U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Congo (Kinshasa) totaled $42 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: poultry meat & products (ex. eggs) ($15 million), wheat ($12 million), prepared food ($4 million), pulses ($1 million), and dairy products ($225 thousand). Imports Congo (Kinshasa) was the United States’ 156th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019. U.S. goods imports from Congo (Kinshasa) totaled $22 million in 2019, down 56.3% ($28 million) from 2018, and down 93.4% from 2009. The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: cocoa ($6 million), art and antiques ($5 million), precious metal and stone (diamonds) ($4 million), coffee, tea & spice (coffee) ($4 million), and wood and wood products ($696 thousand). U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Congo (Kinshasa) totaled $10 million in 2019. Leading categories include cocoa beans ($6 million), unroasted coffee ($4 million), essential oils ($216 thousand), snack foods ($2 thousand), and spices ($2 thousand). CONGOLESE CUISINE Cassava, fufu, rice, plantain and potatoes are generally the staple foods eaten with other side dishes. Less than two percent of the land is cultivated, and most of this is used for subsistence farming. Congo’s farmland is the source of a wide variety of crops. These include maize, rice, cassava (manioc), sweet potatoes, yam, taro, plantain, tomatoes, pumpkin and varieties of peas and nuts. These foods are eaten throughout the country, but there are also regional dishes. The most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil. Congolese meals often consist of a starchy ingredient, along with vegetables and meat in the form of a stew. The starch can come in the form of a paste or mash made of cassava or corn flour, called fufu or ugali. When eaten, the fufu is rolled into golf ball-sized balls and dipped into the spicy stew—often an indentation is made with the thumb in order to bring up a thimbleful of sauce. Fun fact: Apparently locals eat mayo with everything. A legacy of the Belgian colonial period is the overwhelming preference for huge blobs of mayonnaise on almost everything – meat, fish, fried plantains, manioc, peas, and salad are just a few examples. Many choose to mix it with the extremely potent local chili pepper sauce, known as piri piri, or pepper pepper in Swahili. This tones down the fieriness of the pepper and adds flavor to the mayo. Here is a list of dishes that we recommend you try when you visit Congo: Palm wine #1 – made from the sap of a wild palm tree, is fermented by natural yeasts, and gives an alcohol content of between five and seven percent. Sombe or Pondu #2 – boiled, pounded and cooked cassava leaves Fufu #3 – sticky dough-like dish made of cassava flour. This is a staple dish much as rice or potatoes in other countries. Moamba #4 – a sauce or a dish prepared with a sauce usually made from peanut butter. Sources: Brittanica – Every Culture – Wikipedia – The UN Refugee Agency – CNN – US Trade Representative “No matter how hard you throw a dead fish in the water, it still won’t swim.” ― Congolese Proverb Would you like to schedule an appointment with Verbio to discuss how to effectively communicate and connect with the Congolese community? Contact us NOW!
Considering doing business in Brazil? Verbio specializes in international trade, multicultural marketing, and multilingual communications, so we assembled cultural tips and trade info to help you explore new markets: Country: Brazil Capital: Brasilia Largest City: São Paulo Currency: Real (R$) Population: 211,049,527 (2019) Languages: Brazilian Portuguese is the official language. One hundred eighty Amerindian languages are spoken in remote areas, such as Nheengatu, Baniwa, and Tucano. There are significant communities of German (mostly the Brazilian Hunsrückisch, a High German language dialect) and Italian (mostly the Talian, a Venetian dialect) immigrants or their descendants in the Southern and Southeastern regions. Learn what other languages Verbio works with: https://verbiogroup.com/languages/ CULTURAL TIP Shaking hands has become a more acceptable way of greeting someone, but don’t be surprised if you are kissed on the cheek once (in São Paulo) or twice (in Rio and elsewhere). Men do not kiss each other, but greet with an open hug, using one hand to shake hands and the other to grab the man by the shoulder. These greetings are not only used between good friends and family members but are also quite common between business acquaintances. In business settings, men are expected to wear full suits, even when the thermometer hits 43°C (110°F). Women will wear smart business suits (either a skirt or pants is acceptable). As informal and casual as Brazilians are in social settings, they can be strangely formal in a business situation: Titles matter, and hierarchy is followed strictly. Also note that unlike in much of Europe and North America, it can be nearly impossible to arrange anything over the phone. Most people do not have voice mail, and phone calls are often not returned. E-mail is becoming more common, but only as a follow-up. A personal visit is really the only effective way to get things done. How to say it: Hello: Olá Please: Por favor Thank you: Obrigado (male) Obrigada (female) Goodbye: Tchau How much does it cost?: Quanto custa isso? Do you seek help with strategy and communications to identify and negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor? Verbio can help.ECONOMICS U.S. goods and services trade with Brazil totaled an estimated $105.1 billion in 2019. Exports were $67.4 billion; imports were $37.6 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with Brazil was $29.8 billion in 2019. Goods exports totaled $42.9 billion; goods imports totaled $30.8 billion. Trade in services with Brazil (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $31.4 billion in 2019. Services exports were $24.6 billion; services imports were $6.8 billion. Exports The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($12 billion), aircraft ($7.0 billion), machinery ($4.9 billion), electrical machinery ($3.4 billion), and organic chemicals ($2.0 billion). Imports The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($5.2 billion), iron and steel ($3.4 billion), aircraft ($2.7 billion), special other (returns) ($2.5 billion), and machinery ($2.4 billion). Let’s make your vision for international business come true together! BRAZILIAN CUISINE Brazilian cuisine is the set of cooking practices and traditions of Brazil and is characterized by, European, Amerindian, African, and most recently Asian (mostly Japanese) influences. It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country’s mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences. There is not an exact single “national Brazilian cuisine”, but there is an assortment of various regional traditions and typical dishes. This diversity is linked to the origins of the people inhabiting each area. For instance, the cuisine of Bahia is heavily influenced by a mix of African, Indigenous, and Portuguese cuisines. Chili (including chili sauces) and palm oil are very common. In the northern states, however, due to the abundance of forest and freshwater rivers, fish, fruits and cassava (including flours made of cassava) are staple foods. In the deep south, as in Rio Grande do Sul, the influence shifts more towards gaúcho traditions shared with its neighbors Argentina and Uruguay, with many meat-based products, due to this region’s livestock-based economy; the churrasco, a kind of barbecue, is a local tradition. Here is a list of dishes that we recommend you try when you visit Brazil: Pão de Queijo #1 – A bread made of cheese, but cassava flour is used instead of wheat flour. Pão de Queijo is often eaten as a snack or served at breakfast. Feijoada #2 – One of the few dishes eaten the length and breadth of Brazil, feijoada is a hearty stew of black beans, sausages, and cuts of pork of varying quality – traditionally veering towards the lower end, with trotters and ears all going into the mix. Churrasco #3 – While in Brasil a must is to visit churrascarias (barbecue-style steakhouses). In the deep south, as in Rio Grande do Sul, there is a big influence towards gaúcho traditions shared with its neighbors Argentina and Uruguay, with many meat-based products, due to this region’s livestock-based economy; the churrasco, a kind of barbecue, is a local tradition. Cachaça #4 – Dating back to the 1500s, cachaça is made from fermented sugarcane juice and is best known as the fiery kick in caipirinhas – Brazil’s national cocktail. Sources: The World Bank – Frommers – Wikipedia “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ― Paulo Coelho Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist. Would you like to schedule an appointment with Verbio to discuss how to do business in Brazil? Contact us NOW!