President John

Hey folks!

I’ve written a new short story which received some rave reviews from a literary group I belong to. So I thought I’d share it with my loyal followers here, before putting it out for the rest of the world to see.

It’s called President John, and it concerns a young boy being bullied at school. Please give it a read and leave your comments here or at the bottom of the page.

Hope you like it!

Literally Yours,

RST

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

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Be Diligent when Choosing a Translation Service

Translation Services,TranslationOnline translation tools are fun. But they can’t take the place of professional translation services.

We’ve all played with translation tools such as Google Translate and Bing Translator. They’re great for translating simple phrases, such as “how are you?”, that basically mean the same thing across most languages.

But when it comes to communicating important messages to a foreign-language audience, the overall meaning of similarly simple phrases can get lost when using the same technology.

Consider the common English phrase, “I’m going to catch a bus.” Most people in the English-speaking world who use public transit are familiar with what this means.

But you can’t always translate that literally. In French, for example, there are many verbs that might apply. Choose the wrong one, and your French readers might get confused. How can one actually “catch a bus”?

Translating the same phrase to Mandarin can cause the same issue. In Mandarin, the correct phrase translated to English reads, “I am going to follow the bus.”

This might sound strange to Western ears, but it’s completely understandable to those fluent in that language.

Have you ever used the Bing-powered translation tool on Facebook? I find myself still mystified as to the meaning of the foreign-language post after seeing the English “translation”.

Clearly, a lot of work went into these tools, but they can’t be relied upon for overall credible translation.

Using a freelancer might work, but if you’re not fluent in the language, how will you proof the work?

I heard a story where a marketing piece was translated from Japanese to Chinese, using traditional script. The piece almost went to press, but the client caught two lines of Japanese still in the copy just in time.

Can you imagine the fallout had the client not been familiar with the difference in script, and the piece had gone out as is?

Thousands of dollars wasted. Reputation? Gone.

So unless you want to take a Berlitz course to learn your target language,  you should consider hiring a reputable translation company that offers at least three levels of translation and proofing.

It’s an expensive undertaking, but poor translation can result in long-term costs that no business wants.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

The Evolution of Frankenstein

Hey everyone!

My latest speech is called “The Evolution of Frankenstein”, in which I discuss the book’s overall themes and how they translated into film.

Have a watch. Hope you like it!

See you out there…

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and President at The Editor’s Desk. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Corporate Storytelling

 corporate storytelling,copyediting,The Editor's Desk,business copy“Content…is an important component of sales and marketing in a company.” – Flavian DeLima, Corporate Storyteller

This week, copywriter Flavian DeLima explains to The Inside View why corporate storytelling is an important part of any business’ overall marketing strategy.

1)   Do small businesses have different challenges, in terms of content, than larger businesses?

Yes, the main difference is that small businesses often have several people performing more than one task. Small businesses have resource constraints and may not have systems and processes in place.

Regarding completing projects, when one person performs many tasks, it is challenging to meet deadlines. Deadlines get pushed back and quality often suffers due to lack of expertise internally. Today, customers expect quality content.

Content, whether a blog post, case study, article or white paper, is an important component of sales and marketing in a company. While large companies have internal communications people, they often outsource content creation and focus on other strategic initiatives.

Small businesses are busy and often less clear about content requirements. Their skills are often spread across various roles. When a company outsources projects to an outside writer, a higher degree of trust often develops. The writer works closely as a company expert and the company often views them as a strategic advantage of the company.

2)   How do businesses strike that balance between writing enough copy to keep a reader interested without overloading or boring them with too much?

Writing is about doing needs assessments and identifying the customer and what motivates them to buy.

When you listen and pay attention to a company’s customers, they tell you how they want to receive information and learn in order to help them make the best decision. The copy reflects the top customer personas and their preferences.

3)   What would you say is the single most important practice in copywriting for business, and why?

Pay attention to the customer personas. Customers want to engage with companies and want bi-directional communication. They will let a company know when they are happy and when they want improvement. Customers increasingly want the values of an organization to be in line with their own values. Customers also want to belong to communities, so it helps when SMBs are visible in the community as well as the having a presence on LinkedIn or other social media channels.

4)   Copywriting clearly doesn’t involve just sitting down and writing. What steps should a good writer take when preparing to write great copy?

It starts with the business and their customers. It is very important to always be talking to customers in person and by telephone. Email and surveys are not as effective to gauge customer needs and wants. The closer one can get to the emotional reasons that motivate a customer to buy, the easier it is to write the copy.

5)   Do you find that businesses tend to outsource their copywriting or do it in-house? Which would you say is a better practice?

Companies often try to do everything internally. If their business benefits from sharing expertise with prospects and existing customers, they recognize the value of outsourcing their copywriting.

A better practice is to have an objective external writer, who focuses on high valued content rather than writing sales oriented content. Objective quality content drives traffic to a website.

6) How would a business go about finding the perfect copywriter for them?

Successful business people believe in finding great people before they need them. One of the best ways to achieve this is to attend business and professional networking events. Meet people and follow them on LinkedIn and other relevant social networks. It will not take long for you to discover if you think alike and if you share similar values.

Questions about Corporate Storytelling? Send them to info@editorsdesk.net.

Reprinted from The Editor’s Desk series: The Inside View.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you

Author Richard S. Todd

Richard Todd is a novelist, screenwriter, and president at The Editor’s Desk. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.