Five Chinese Festivals Worth Remembering

The Internet is bringing the world closer, and international corporations are doing business in all of the global times zones. If you do business in China, or with Chinese companies, understanding their culture can assist in improving both your business and social relationships. To impress your Chinese colleagues, invite them to celebrate these traditional Chinese holidays with you.

Dragon Boar Festival

On the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar (this year it is June 9), the Chinese celebrate the renowned poet Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 BC). Although much beloved by the people, he was banished by the local king. He committed suicide by throwing himself into the Miluo River; the villagers chased his body down the river in their (what are now called) dragon boats.

Dragon boat races have been held in China for over 2,000 years, although the Chinese government only recognized them as a sport in 2008. Today, thousands of people in more than 50 countries annually race their boat after their “poet.”

Children’s Day

Children’s Day is celebrated on June 1 in China and many other nations around the world. It began in Switzerland in 1925 when 54 international emissaries gathered to discuss the welfare of the world’s child population. This “World Conference for the Well-being of Children” passed the “Geneva Declaration Protecting Children,” which called on countries to protect their child populations from poverty, child labor practices and diminished educational opportunities.

Arbor Day

Although this traditional celebration of the tree began in Nebraska (United States) in 1827, the Chinese adopted it in 1927. In 1914, a ranking administrator at Nanking University submitted the idea for a National Celebration of the Tree to the Republic of China ministers, who initially rejected it. After Dr. Sun Yat-sen died, the idea was resurrected, and the holiday was established as a tribute to him because he was such a staunch supporter of forestation projects.

In 1981, the People’s Republic of China embraced the idea and declared March 12 to be its official Arbor Day holiday. On this day, millions of Chinese and international participants plant trees on personal and public property to beautify their cities and clean their air.

Qingming Festival

Early April (this year, it is April 4) sees the celebration of this Chinese springtime rite. The holiday is connected to both the emergence of spring and to paying respect to the dead.

Thought to have originated as many as 2,500 years ago, the holiday originally commemorated the loyalty of a deceased royal subject. When that reverent day also coincided with the blooming of spring, the two celebratory elements were combined.

To celebrate the spring aspect of the festival, festival goers enjoy kite flying, outdoor activities and riding on swings. “Tomb-sweeping” is the central element of the “respectful” festival. Ancestral tombs are cleaned, and their gardens are weeded and cleared of debris. The deceased’s favorite food and paper representing money are burned as offerings, to ensure they do not lack food or money where they are.

Lantern Festival

Perhaps the most beautiful festival is the Lantern Festival, which occurs each year on the 15th day after the first lunar month. This year it was celebrated on Feb. 22.

For more than 2,000 years, the Chinese and other Asian countries have celebrated the beauty of silk and paper lanterns. Originally used to honor Buddha, the lanterns became common after an ancient emperor decreed that all temples should be lit with lights. The Chinese have developed numerous presentations of lamps, including floating, fixed and flying lanterns. Many dances are also associated with the festival, including dragon and lion dances. During the festival, traditional Chinese imagery is highlighted on the sides of thousands of illuminated lanterns.

Doing business internationally requires an understanding of the culture of your colleagues. Your Chinese counterparts will appreciate and be honored by your knowledge of their traditional homeland festivals.

At MI Translations, our commitment to our customers is as unwavering as our dedication to providing accurate, precise translation services. We have been able to distinguish ourselves because of our team and the processes we employ to guide our work.

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Key Advantages of Businesses in Multilingual Markets

This day and age has seen the rise of a new type of small business, the micro-multinational. The internet and globalization have opened up a lot of possibilities for local businesses to expand their reach to cover a larger geographical area. Going global is no longer the sole purview of the “big boys.” There is an issue, however, facing all companies eyeing the global stage – the language barrier.

The role of language in extending geographical reach

Just outside the borders of the U.S., for example, you encounter two other major languages, French (in Canada) and Spanish (in Central and South America). Reaching geographically towards these countries is logistically very feasible. But, and it’s a big but, reaching out linguistically is another matter altogether.

You may have people who already speak French or Spanish. These people, though, will probably still be homegrown Americans with an American mindset reflecting an American “meaning” underlying their use of these languages. This difference in “meaning” that underlies usage can potentially cause damaging miscommunication that lead to damaging misunderstanding. The result, instead of opening a door, you are closing it.

On the other hand, culturally appropriate communication sends an entirely different subliminal message. It says to your would-be customer that you care enough to go to the trouble. It says you care enough that you are willing to spend resources to be clearly understood. It says you want to talk to them on their terms, not just yours, in a meeting of the minds.

Breaking the language barrier is not an overnight thing

Getting your message across cannot be done “overnight” through simple, straightforward translation. It is a process, which has to be repeated with each local culture and local language or dialect you are pointing your business at.

You either hire someone who knows both your culture and the target culture from the point of view of a native, or you could get a proven third-party expert in this field, such as Multilingual Connections. The next step would be to tailor your company’s branding, message and image so it “translates” accurately into the local culture and language. This means the words and the portrayal may appear different but the core and the intent is a mirror of yours in your language and culture.

Then comes another critical juncture, key personnel need to be trained in the quirks of the target language and the local culture using it. This knowledge should also be allowed to gradually seep in into your whole table of organization. If you have a satellite infrastructure or organization already in place in your target market, they need to mirror that process but with your culture and your language as the subject of internal education.

Language is a key differentiator

Reaching beyond America’s borders has never been more possible than it is today. However, extending your geographical reach effectively means addressing the language barrier effectively, too. It is a major long-term investment that entails the participation of everyone in your organization, especially for key people and the rest to some extent or another as you might deem necessary. It will ultimately differentiate you from your competition. Just imagine all the other little things clear communication brings with it.

As marketers in a digital world looking to reach a global market, the fact is that a large portion of your international audience does not speak English, and many of those who do are still not looking for content in English but rather in their own native languages. Offering your content in the languages you are targeting, as part of your international marketing efforts, will translate far beyond just delivering a larger volume of international visits: It will also help develop closer, more engaging relationships with your customers and drive greater direct business results.

At MI Translations, our commitment to our customers is as unwavering as our dedication to providing accurate, precise translation services. We have been able to distinguish ourselves because of our team and the processes we employ to guide our work.

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Expats Move To Hong Kong For An Exquisite Experience

Hong Kong is one of the pioneering and astounding cities that calls for travelers and expats from all around the world. Being christened as the ‘Fragrant Harbor’ this city surely entertains millions from both near and far destinations. Hong Kong is part of two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the People’s Republic of China, the other Macau. As on date HK has its own governed rules with no link or rule of authority from mainland China. If you are planning to visit Hong Kong the best season to experience and enjoy the city’s amazing view is during the winter seasons between January and March when the weather is less humid and pleasant to meander around the city. Apart from this, the city has a lot to offer for expats looking for a home as this city has plethora of fun and awesome cityscapes.

Once you decide to relocate to Hong Kong you will surely be mesmerized to find hassle-free relocation companies overseas for end to end packing, moving and settling-in services. As part of professional services, one can also avail city orientation services for an exquisite experience in the city. Wanting to explore the city? One can visit the Victoria Peak and get a glimpse of the sprawling city. The Peak Tower which is a huge tower in the shape of a wok makes this possible. This peak has its shopping mall, restaurants and a world-famous Madame Tussaud’s museums to entertain all its visitors’. Expats visiting the city for the first time are fascinated and excited to the global statue laid in the famous wax museums. Apart from these the Hong Kong Museum of History is a much-deserved museum to be explored by travelers and residents alike. The temple street holding the Ten Thousand Buddhas statues is worth exploring too if you get stressed from the hectic work-life. Apart from the steel jungle this city exposes its nature freely to its guests with its natural scene, nothing can beat the Lantau Island which itself is most of the times responsible for people opting to move to Hong Kong. Holiday makers seeking an escape from their vivacious city lives often run off to the HK to seek the detached ambiance of the tranquil and cerulean crystallized beaches. Sight the renowned pink colored dolphins known as the Chinese White Dolphins and exhilarate in the adventures of the most engrossing theme park; Disneyland Park. The fun and excitement offered at the island is simply inexpressible if you are settling down in HK and want a stress-free life.

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5 Top Advantages of Promotional Tents for Events

Business Can Be Taken To Different Locations

Most companies conduct business and engage with potential customers by means of showrooms. However, the problem is, traditional showrooms are rigid and inflexible. If they want to let more people from other places know about their brand, it is best to rent or purchase a marquee tent, which is available at local event companies.

All they need to do is set up the pop up tent at trade shows, community fairs, markets or wherever their customer base is located. They will have their own space and use customized branding so consumers will remember their business.

Boost Engagement Using a Standout Display

Companies can network and engage with prospects at trade events. However, it can be hard to get the people’s attention when there are lots of other businesses around. Therefore, they need to do something to let their company stand above the rest of the crowd.

They can customize their event tents with colored walls of their choice and canopies. They can also print their branding in full-color text complete with graphics. High quality tents can draw more customers and provide them with an opportunity to market their brand and products.

When businesses participate in trade events on a regular basis, a marquee event tent can help a lot.

Tents are versatile and User-Friendly

A number of the biggest companies join extravagant traveling road shows that feature modified trucks and campers. This can be cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses. On the other hand, a tent can be a versatile and cost-efficient solution that offers most of the several advantages given by a motorized showroom.

Modern tents are not only safe; they are also easy to assemble using uncomplicated tools. Basic marquee tents can be assembled by only a few skilled team members, reducing costs in the long run.

Marquee Tents are Effective for Sponsorship

One of the effective ways to develop a brand is by engaging with a community. When a business entails some sort of sponsorship, it would be a great idea to rent a marquee tent for a single event or invest in a customized one to use for a long time. This can be used in community functions, sports events and local farmer’s markets, to name a few. When businesses are active in their community, using a tent with clear, visible branding can provide people with a shaded area during events.

They can optimize their marketing by means of creative brand exposure at sponsored events.

Promotional Tents Are Cost Effective

To minimize costs while keeping their business lean and agile, companies can rent or buy a commercial/event tent from their local event tent company. A marquee tent allows them to set up wherever they are, when they are hosting an event on their property or heading out on the road.

The features of versatile marquee tents include interchangeable canopies and walls, mounting solutions for decorations and lighting plus connecting structures that can create a bigger complex of tents for projects like trade shows.

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Important Factors to Consider When Creating a Website

Purpose of Creating the Website

When a website is built with a purpose in mind, this will let businesses have clearer goals that will enable them to improve the whole planning process. Website projects have different goals including building traffic and improving communications between a brand and its target audience.

Prior to developing a website, it is crucial to know the exact purpose of the website. Businesses should also know the best way to set goals and create a website that meets this ultimate purpose. These important things to consider will help them create a focus and support the whole project.

Web Design and Layout

The way a website is designed, in terms of UI and UX, psychologically affects the way people respond. There is nothing better than a remarkable online user experience. When a website is being developed, one vital factor to keep in mind is creating an appealing design. Clean, quality designs allow viewers to focus on valuable content displayed and the brand’s essence.

Typography

It is very important to understand the typography fundamentals for a website. Texts that are extremely big or small can have an effect on the viewers’ response to them. Fonts should be given close attention, choosing one that directly draws the target audience without compromise to the brand’s purpose.

Security

A lot of websites fall prey to hackers either because of ignorance or poor maintenance. Any website can become a victim of several threats including malware and viruses, among others, particularly due to the latest advancements in technology and constant updates that make websites open to many, different risks.

Performance and Speed

Even if websites have great content, visitors can be discouraged when they are slow due to functionality errors. An optimized website that functions fast can benefit from the following: increase in returning visitors/customers, higher search result ranking (that has an effect on traffic) plus efficient mobile performance. These should always be considered before building a website to make sure of an overall effective performance.

Target Market

It is also important for businesses to know their target market and customers’ requirements to build a website that addresses their needs. For instance, a website designed for fashion enthusiasts is far more different than a site built for engineering professionals. A clear understanding of the market specifications will give a clearer picture of the web design, colors, style theme, layout, call to action and content strategy.

SEO and Important Plugins

SEO is among the most important aspects of a website. Even with great content and other smooth functionalities, everything will be pointless if SEO is not given importance. Creating a website that has a clean SEO code will make it easier to be visible to the target audience.

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6 Elements of Web Design That Are Crucial to Success

1.Call to Action (CTA)

Customers get encouraged to engage with a business when there are calls to action (CTAs) on its website. For instance, words like “Contact us today” shows that a business wants to build a relationship with its customers. However, businesses should make sure that CTAs are relevant to a visitor’s level of engagement with the company.

When visitors are only starting to learn more about a brand, the company can ask them to subscribe to its email newsletter. On the other hand, loyal customers will probably like to join a brand’s loyalty rewards program. No matter what companies want visitors to do at their site, they should add a call to action on all their web pages.

2.Short Loading Time

Whenever people search information on the web, they like the loading time to be as quick as possible. Otherwise, they will leave the website at once. Testing their website beforehand will allow them to determine loading time problems, which can be addressed in time for the site’s release.

Providing customers with a great user experience will increase customer retention so it is best to evaluate a site’s loading time the moment it has launched. With short loading times, customers get the information they need when they need it. When a website fails to deliver, it will be left behind by competition.

3.Active Blog

An active blog enables customers to remain updated on the company’s events, most recent products and other industry-related info. It is an effective way to stay connected with them, particularly if the things that companies post encourage viewers to engage with their brand.

Updating their blog on a regular basis lets customers know more about their brand’s values and willingness to encourage communication. When they deliver fresh, relevant, engaging content to users, their brand becomes recognized, which makes them an authority in the industry.

4.Clean, SEO-Friendly Code

It is crucial for companies to have a clean, SEO-friendly code when they are creating new web pages or optimizing those that already exist. Improving a site’s code can boost the overall ROI (return on investment).An SEO-friendly code give a clean picture of a site’s content to guide search engine spiders.

WordPress and other CMS services offer plug-ins that can make the process of boosting search engine rankings and cleaning up code easier. Since WordPress does not require much knowledge on coding, it is a viable solution for companies that struggle to drive traffic to their sites.

5.Compatibility with Different Browsers

With the progress of technology comes the steady growth of internet browsers. It can be challenging to keep up with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox, to name a few. In designing a website, it is a must to make sure that a website can be reached from different browsers.

A site should register well on the major browsers as well as the older versions. Ignoring this important step may disregard a big percentage of a company’s customer base. It can bring about unnecessary expenses to a developing business.

6.Navigation

When customers find it hard to navigate a website, they will leave and move on to other sites. To make navigation more appealing and efficient, businesses should review their site and look at it in the eyes of a new visitor. They should only choose sensible navigation streams.

Including a site map is an effective way to allow visitors to navigate more easily and search engines to crawl a site. In addition, streamlining navigation by removing pages that are not needed or do not perform can reduce load time, which in turn improves the quality of a brand’s online presence.

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Should You Go for Mobile Sites or Responsive Sites

According to statistics, using mobile devices to conduct searches online has considerably grown in the last two years. As a matter of fact, about 95% of mobile device users depend on their gadgets to look for local products and/or services. For this reason, businesses have to make sure that their websites register well on all kinds of devices to reach this increasing number of mobile users.

It is but wise for large companies with web presence to create a mobile-friendly website that can be clearly viewed from any device. So, when businesses plan to launch a new website, it is best to choose a responsive web design that is able to adapt to any mobile device.

Incorporated with Social Media

Nowadays, websites are required to be integrated with social media. Due to the latest technology, sharing information is now more convenient therefore; businesses that do not incorporate social media fail to benefit from the so-called modern day word-of-mouth marketing.

Social media paves a way for customers to promote a business’ brand, give reviews and be updated about the latest news on the company. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest make it easy for businesses to distribute their written and visual content like product images and brand videos.

Captcha Tests

Businesses that do not have ready captcha tests receive nothing but spam in their contact forms, website forms and comment sections. Such tests that come in the form of random letters and numbers typed before submission of a web-based form, spell the difference between humans and robots.

Including these short captcha tests in their contact forms will make sure that humans alone are able to utilize their site’s resources, which let them save both time and costs.

Efficient Security

As technology evolves, the latest, more advanced security risks have greater chances of compromising a website’s reputation. These include malware, viruses, malicious apps as well as the dangers posed by hackers. Websites have to prevent security breaches on the front and back ends.

Ecommerce sites and other websites designed to conduct online transactions require extra security measures to secure customer personal details. To reduce the possibility of browser-based risks, businesses should include SSL certificates in their websites.

While this is being developed, it is crucial to go over the security features added to the website’s framework and design. It is important, as well, to conduct security checks on a regular basis or else, hire the services of a provider for the job.

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials, just like offsite reviews, can be used to promote businesses. Including customer testimonials on a site will reveal more about a company’s products, services and customer commitment.

When companies have an existing loyal customer base, they can solicit some online reviews. In case these customers provide their recorded testimonials, this is the right time to make branded videos. The more sincere and detailed testimonials provide more chances of drawing new customers.

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Better Academic Outcomes In Small Schools

Small schools have great variety. We learned that we don’t need standardized schools — that kills the soul! In Chicago we saw fabulous small schools that were Afro-centric, schools that focused on phonics, fabulous small schools about whole language, small schools that are using the city as a place to investigate. Why? Because they were small, they were focused and they beat the odds on academic outcomes. Small schools are the single most powerful intervention that we can imagine for young people. And the evidence at high schools was even more powerful, as you’ll see in our report.

Learning Lessons

There are now data from 25 years on big mistakes we make when we’re reforming high schools. The data reveal these myths:

• Myth One: You can reform schools incrementally. Forget it. You never get to where you thought you were going. Despite your anxiety, work the hard issues up front; you cannot work your way into them. You cut too many deals if you ease off and make everybody happy in the beginning. And I see a lot of people doing that. I’ve seen too many schools start out saying we’re going to break big schools into small schools. They keep almost everything the same. And within three years, they end up with a couple of interdisciplinary classes. The bottom of the school — where failure is more evident — is never touched.
• Myth Two: You can keep the same infrastructure. We’re still going to have the principal, the 16 vice principals, all those deans for discipline, the boys’ deans and the girls’ deans. And department heads and counselors that are organized by an alphabet, and then classroom teachers, who are doing the real work. And what we’re going to do now, maybe, is take the department heads and make them the heads of the small schools. Forget it. This is a time for serious conversation. Where I’ve seen it done well, like in New York City, labor unions have been fabulously supportive. Yet, I keep hearing from management how labor won’t go for it, so they’re not willing to push the limits. You can’t keep the same infrastructure.
• Myth Three: You need a separate ninth grade. One lesson is don’t do a ninth grade school – a kind of vertical, horizontal thing. You just create another threshold, and then the students drop out after ninth grade. If you’re going to build a community, it’s nine-12. And you know what, the seniors do not molest the ninth graders. They help them!
• Myth Four: Veteran teachers are cynical. “Old” teachers can’t and won’t do what’s necessary, and their experience equals burnout. We have seen the limit of treating experienced teachers like they are dead wood. A bunch of schools in New York decided to hire young, excited, amazing young people from Brown and Wesleyan. And they’re all really, really smart. But it would have been nice to have some teachers who know something.
• Myth Five: Standards and standardization are the same. Standards are not the same as standardization. Small schools, by their nature, are very interested in being held accountable — which is one of the remarkable things about small schools. The parking lots aren’t empty at 2:00 p.m. Teachers hold each other accountable; they hold the students accountable; parents hold the teachers accountable; and everybody holds the parents accountable. Kids hold themselves accountable. Standards are not the same as being the same.
• Myth Six: Professional development has to happen from the outside. Teachers have an incredible amount of knowledge, if given the space to say what 20 years inside dysfunctional institutions has done to them. A relation between inside and outside expertise is fragile — and powerful.
• Myth Seven: Tokenism will solve the problem. Two more black faces in an AP class just doesn’t do it for me. You can’t just play with the top and color-coat. You’ve got to take on the whole thing. Whole-school reform is the point.
• Myth Eight: One of my worst nightmares is when people turn small schools into tracks. There was a school somewhere in America, where administrators decided that they’d have five small schools inside one previous big-school building. So one school was going to be the Special Ed school; one was going to be the Chapter One school; one was going to be the pregnant and parenting school; and one was going to be the language school, for the Latino kids. And then, one school was going to be the humanities school, to attract the middle-class white kids back to the school. That’s not what anybody ever meant by small schools. That is a fundamental distortion. Small schools are heterogeneous, and commit to figuring out how to bring the genius out in everyone.
• Myth Nine: The illusion that accountability means rules and surveillance of teachers and students. That is not accountability, that is oppression. Accountability comes from relationships and responsibility. That’s what small schools produce. You can’t hide. It’s a group of committed folks.

Accountability requires autonomy. A big mistake is not giving small schools the autonomy that they need to do the work that they need to do. Small school teachers, and parents, and community members are willing to be held accountable. But the only way they can be held accountable is if you give them the autonomy to develop the curriculum, to organize their time, to figure out their assessment system and the ways that they would measure student progress. We could always close down small schools if they don’t work. However, we don’t close down big high schools when they don’t work. Close small schools down if they don’t work, but first, give them time. Let them grow. Don’t make autonomy a gift that some schools can earn. That’s a setup. Make autonomy a beginning condition. Then put people under the light of surveillance if they screw it up. What we do now is put everybody under the light of surveillance, and it chokes them.

What’s Needed Now?

First, I’m very taken by this “metropolitanization” analysis. It’s a good idea, and very useful to document the space of injustice between what’s happening in urban areas and what’s happening just on the other side of the border. In education, we could easily do that. We could track who’s in Special Ed; who’s getting college-eligible courses; who’s in AP classes; what are the post-graduate outcomes; how much teachers get paid; what are the drop-out rates across our cities; and where are the certified teachers. And we could document pretty easily the redlining of public education.

Second, we need a theory of change. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine where we need to go. That’s not the mystery. How to get there is not so clear; and how to get there systemically is less clear. I’m tired of hearing small schools is not a systemic strategy. It could be a systemic strategy if districts figured out how to learn from small schools rather than crush them. So we need a joint strategy of internal-to-districts work, and external advocacy. There are teachers who are quitting because they won’t teach English only. There are teachers who are refusing to place kids in a bottom track. There are parents who are creating freedom schools in the South, and some of that is getting called home schooling. And not all of those people are our enemies. They are asking for inside help and external push. We need the combination of pilots and protests. We need the melding of internal reform and sit-ins. We need to be working both sides. This is what I mean by the politics of urgency.

Third, we need to offer support for teachers and parents and places not yet engaged in reform. Too many of our friends are teaching and working and committed to schools that haven’t yet done the work. What we can’t do is only go to the places where there’s sufficient energy for change or we will lose some of our most dedicated buddies and friends. I know many of us have committed to staying in places that are not “there” yet, and you’re doing God’s work. Thank you all.

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