As people in the language business know, FIGS stands for French, Italian, German, Spanish, long considered “The Big 4” when it comes to translation. Traditionally, when people wanted to localize their content for new markets, they turned to these four languages first. After all, they are spoken in many countries, some of which have the largest economies in the world.

But as the world continues to globalize and the internet brings together people from all over the planet, have other languages become more valuable? Some say that the FIGS will be replaced by BRIC—Brazil, Russia, India, China, which account for 40% of the world population. Some say CJK is the next frontier—China, Japan, Korea. (They really missed the mark on the catchy acronym there, didn’t they?)

When you work in sales or operations, it’s critical to think of ways to create a rapport with your customers. Even seemingly simple touches – such as using a client’s native language in certain communications – can go a long way. Trust us, your customers will appreciate and reward your effort with loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals and, most importantly, sales.

Later, as your business grows, you can enlist the help of translation services in localizing your content. For now, a few small touches are all you need to do. With that in mind, here are some basic terms for communicating with your German customers.

Christmas is a pretty straightforward holiday — or so you might think. But with the myriad of international communities that celebrate Jesus’ birth, there’s a bevy of seemingly strange and even frightening traditions that happen every year in late December. Thanks to translation services making the world just a bit smaller and easier to understand, every year we’re learning more and more about our cousins — and their traditions — around the world. Here are five surprising Christmas traditions! Happy Holidays!

 Facebook is localized into more than 70 languages, including upside down English which I tried and regretted immediately!  But, they missed something: a indomitable, untranslated string, below my username. Unlike the other UI texts, “edit profile” is not Portuguese. I know because I am Portuguese. And slightly OCD about these things. I found a localization bug on Facebook! 

Grand Central Station in New York City. NYC inhabitants represent hundreds of different nationalities. Many people consider it the most diverse city in the world. It’s also a home to around 800 languages.

You’re excited to take your business international, but you know that step is a big transition from operating domestically. Your marketing department may be well suited for connecting with your current audience, but you need to know whether they can adapt to the marketing expectations of different cultures. When you’re looking at your marketing department to figure out who should head up your international marketing efforts, here are five key characteristics to look for.


We all work hard to deliver compelling messages to our target audience. But are we doing it in a way that really speaks to them? Creating a connection with your customers is the simplest way to inspire loyalty, which in turn drives word-of-mouth recommendations and of course, sales.

The best way to connect with your international audience is to speak their native language, but if it’s too early for you to localize your content, even making a small effort in your international customer support emails will show your customers that you care about them and their business. They aren’t just another anonymous user to you. Just the fact that you’re making an effort will make your customers really happy—we know from experience! It truly goes a long way and usually people are really excited that you’re going out of your way, even if it just takes you a few seconds.

If you have a repertoire of terms you can use, adding this small touch will just take a second. So, we thought we’d provide you with some basic terms in Brazilian Portuguese.

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve released the feature you’ve all been asking for. It’s now easy as pie to find that document or snippet you’re trying to find. Yep, we’re talking all-powerful search.

Whether you need to find an order or just find a word deep within a text, it’ll just take a second. You can filter by date, target or source language, and in progress or completed orders.


Unbabel (YC 14) is a quickly growing, fast paced startup whose goal is to make communication seamless in any language. Unbabel combines artificial intelligence and crowdsourced human translation, resulting in speedy, top-notch quality translations. Our headquarters are in San Francisco and Lisbon. We are backed by top investors, including Y Combinator and Google Ventures. We have strong ties to Instituto Superior Técnico and the University of Lisbon.

We’re enabling companies to connect to customers all across the world, and we want someone great to join us on our mission.

This position is for a Natural Language Processing Engineer, based out of our Lisbon office.


Shoko is one of our senior translators for Japanese and English. She’s gained the admiration of everyone at Unbabel not only for her exceptional translation, but for helping to improve our technology and our community by providing feedback for our machine translation tech, and our new translators. She also is great at recognizing which translators have potential, which helps us guide them through and support their training.