How to Start a Blog

This blog post tells you how to start a blog as opposed to how to write a blog. That is, it explains the background work you need to do to start a blog. Also, this blog does not include the details about using any one platform.

If you want to start a company or corporate blog, typically it is published on your company website. Company blog posts have to observe strict guidelines. This post helps you start a personal blog.

Choose a Topic

There are two paths you can follow. If you want to publish your thoughts and impressions online, you can do so. 

Or, you may want to choose a particular topic, say, SaaS (Software-as-as-Service). You can discuss a wide range of sub-topics such as SaaS technologies, SaaS marketing, SaaS apps, SaaS Analytics, SaaS training, SaaS startups in town, and so on.

Pick a Name

Once you know what you want to write about, choose a name for your blog. If your blog is about your personal impressions, you can very well name it after you. Else, choose a name that reflects the topic of the blog.

Choose a Blogging Platform

You can use WordPress, Blogger, or any other such platform. These platforms provide a virtual space to publish your blogs. It is similar to setting up a shop. However, there are both free and paid platforms. Technically speaking, this is called hosting your blog. (The platform hosts your blog.)

If you are new to blogging, the best place to start is Google’s Blogger. Once you gain some understanding about what it takes to blog and how to use a blogging platform, you can explore WordPress. You can get a lot of helpful content about WordPress at wpbeginner.

Understand Keyword Research

Keywords or key phrases are the words or phrases people type into search engines to find information on the Internet. When your blog uses those very keywords or phrases, it appears in the search results.

However, understand that appearing in the search results and appearing on the first page have vastly different value propositions. After all, you want people to read your blog. It is unlikely that people will find your blog unless it appears on the first page and more importantly, in the first 3 places. Since only 3 results can occupy those 3 slots, competition is intense. That brings us to the aspect of blog distribution.

There are many tools, both free and paid, for keyword research. Type “free keyword tools” into the search bar. You shall find a plethora of sources.

To know more about keyword selection, read Keyword Selection for Websites and Blogs.

Distribute Your Blog

Distribution helps your blog reach a wider audience. Also, note that whether you use keywords or not, you need to distribute your blog.

  • After you write a blog, copy and share the link on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media pages. A word of caution. If you are writing about funny cats, avoid LinkedIn since the audience prefers professional content and not content that entertains. In a nutshell, respect the content preferences of the audience.
  • You can post the blog link as your WhatsApp status.
  • Create an account on Medium and import your blog.
  • Add the blog link to your email signature. (Don’t include personal blog links in your professional email. It’s a big no-no.)

Time to Act

Once you set up the above, set aside some time to write regularly. When you write regularly, and about a chosen topic, people know what to expect and choose to return.

Blogs attract comments if you enable the comments facility for your blogs. They generate interaction with your readers. Enable comments when you think you have the time to respond to comments.

Publish Your First Blog Post

Even after one or two edit cycles and assurances from your friends that your blog post is good to go, you may have butterflies in your stomach to push the Publish button for the first time. This is normal and you will overcome this feeling very soon.

Resources

Here are some pointers to develop your blogging skills.

To know more about keyword selection, you may want to read the article: How to Select Keywords for Websites and Blogs.

How to Write a Cover Letter

More and more companies are asking for cover letters from job seekers. So, we decided to bring out a blog on how to write a cover letter.

To write a cover letter, you got to devote time and do a bit of research. This blog tell you how.

Why Should You Write a Cover Letter

While some companies mandate writing a cover letter, some make it optional. However, we suggest that you make it a habit to write a cover letter. If nothing else, it shows that you care about the application process.

Cover Letter Format

There is no fixed format. But you need to include some or all of these sections. Mandatory sections are marked as (M) and optional sections are marked (O). Don’t have to title each paragraph.

  • Salutation (M). Start with “Dear Mr. <insert complete name here.>,” or “Dear Ms.” This is formal addressing.
  • Introduction (M). Introduce yourself. Remember. Your introduction makes the first paragraph (1 to 3 sentences) of the cover letter. Keep this concise and professional (not boastful). The intent here is to establish that you qualify the minimum hiring requirements and launch the reader to smoothly into reading the rest of the email.
  • Thanking. (O). If you have already spoken to an HR professional or the email recipient, thank him or her first for the time on the call.
  • Reason for Application (M). Talk about the job you are applying for and why you make a great fit. Before, you start writing the cover letter go through the employer’s website and show, through your writing, that you understand the employer’s needs. If you can write with poise, you can create a great first impression.
  • Something More (O). Everyone likes a bit extra! Every employer feels good to hire a candidate with a specialist qualification or with unique work experience. If you have special education or experience that is directly relevant to the job, bring it to the employer’s notice. Or, if you are in the process of obtaining a certification that will be useful for the employer, do indicate.
  • Special Needs (O). A job requirement may need you to relocate or travel. Sometimes recruitment aims to recruit certain sections of people. If you must fulfill those needs, mention that you do.
  • Conclusion (M). Conclude your letter saying that you look forward to their response.
  • Thanking. (M). Thank the organization for the opportunity to apply.
  • Sign off (M). Sign off with “Best regards,” or “Regards,”.
  • Also, include your contact information as part of the signature.

Guidelines

If you are applying for multiple jobs, don’t use the same cover letter. Instea, modify the letter based on what the job description is asking for.

Spellcheck and verify that you have spelled the name of the person you are writing to.

Keep your language simple, straightforward, and business-like.

If you are not sure about the tone of the letter, write in the most polite way possible. You will not hurt anyone when you are polite.

Click Send and you are done.

We hope that this blog benefits both fledgling and experienced job seekers alike.

How to Search the Local Language Content

Google helps us at two levels to search the local language content.

  • Google can search content published in Indian regional languages.
  • Using Google’s Input Tools, you can use transliteration and avoid the laborious typing in a local language.

What is Transliteration-based Search?

Transliteration allows you to type a phonetically similar word in English and turns it into the corresponding word in the local language.

How is Transliteration-based Search Helpful

  • Transliteration lets you skip typing in a regional language. The Indian regional languages are phonetic in general and the typing needs a high accuracy to get the right content. Therefore, transliteration saves the typing effort.
  • Also, you can minimize typos.

The Need for Searching the Regional Language Content

Regional language search is of great help:

  • Many local events are elaborately reported in regional languages. However, only some of them make it to the headlines in the press in English. Therefore, anyone interested in a regional happening can find many sources in regional language.
  • Also, some state governments post content such as laws and policies in the local language. They also release news bulletins in local languages. To find this content, you need local language search.
  • How about searching for a YouTube video?

As of this writing in June 2019, the Google Input Tools help you search the regional language content on the Internet, YouTube, Gmail, and Google Drive.

Also, Google Input Tools enable transliterated input in Search, Chrome, and Chrome OS in 20 languages.

To know more, find the relevant help topic by searching for “transliteration Google Input Tools”.

Prerequisites for Regional Content Search

Install Google Input Tools. To know how to install and enable Google Input Tools, read the help article from Google.

An Example of Regional Language Content Search

This video demonstrates how to search for “Namasthe Telangana” using transliteration:

Notes

It is possible that there are other ways to search the local language content. If you know any of them, please write to us at sales [at] lotustech [dot] online. We will publish your inputs with credits.

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English to Telugu Translation – Challenges and Solutions

According to Prof. Vemuri of University of California, Davis, about 75 million people speak Telugu the world over. It belongs to the Dravidian family of languages that are about 21 in number. Telugu has heavily borrowed from Sanskrit. Other languages that contributed to its development are English, Urdu and Persian. Telugu is extensively used in government, media, law, and other walks of life. It is also the medium of instruction in many government schools and colleges. Aspirants to government jobs can appear for the qualifying examinations in Telugu.

English is a universal language spoken across the globe. Translation of content from English to regional languages seems to be a natural requirement for many customers. Therefore, we came up with this article to support translators and customers who seek English to Telugu translation. This article discusses some of the challenges in translation, some solutions and resources.

The Structure of English Vs. The Structure of Telugu

English’s mechanics are different from those of Telugu. English lets you play around with the placement of subject or object at the beginning of the sentence. However, if we imitate the same in Telugu, it reads avoidable.

Here is a simplified example.

  1. ‘Ram beat Somu.’ (Subject + Verb + Object)
  2. ‘Somu was beaten by Ram.’ (Object + Auxiliary Verb + Verb + Preposition + Subject)

In Telugu, writing the second alternative, even if we want to emphasize the subject, reads very colloquial at best and meaningless at its worst. Telugu has many alternatives.

  1. ‘Ram somuni kottadu.’ (Subject + Object + Verb)
  2. ‘Somuni ram kottadu.’ (Object + Subject + Verb)
  3. ‘Somuni kottinavadu Ram.’ (Object + Verb + Subject)
  4. ‘Somu Ram chetha kottabaddadu’ (Object + Subject + Verb). This is the literal translation that follows the flow of the English sentence in II. Here, not only do we increase the number of words used, but comprehension beats a quick retreat. This is even more true of complex sentences.

Note 1: I am not showing the case or other inflections for the sake of brevity.

Note 2: Probably the above examples, and the argument above goes for the other Dravidian Language (Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam) translation.

Things can get complex quickly when translating content from English to Telugu. Here is a sentence I picked up from a white paper:

“Growth of the Industrial and Services sector is critical (a) to achieve the 12-13% overall economic growth (b) to create employment and (c) to increase per capita income. (d)”

The translation reads best in Telugu when we bring (b), (c), and (d) to the beginning of the sentence. Here, I am presenting both literal (1) and ideal versions (2):

  1. Parisramalu, sevala rangala abhivruddhi (a) 12-13% vruddhi retuni saadhimchadaniki (b) udyoga kalpanaku (c), thalasari aadayam penchadaniki (d) keelakamayindi.
  2. vruddhi retu (12-13%) saadhimchadaniki (b) udyoga kalpanaku (c), thalasari aadayam penchadaniki (d) Parisramalu, sevala rangala abhivruddhi keelakamainadi.

To rearrange each sentence as in 2, the translator should make a considerable cognitive effort. The more complex the sentence, the more the effort. When the writing is ambiguous, the cognitive load is further enhanced.

Idioms and Sayings

Idioms in English (for that matter those from any language) sparingly lend themselves to translations. A translator should find something close enough in his language or write in such a way that the writing comes close to the original. The same argument goes for sayings in English as well.

Vocabulary

Lack of terms can be a huge hindrance. English is enriched every day with words from the world of technology, economics, science, politics, and so on. However, the regional dictionaries have no way to cope up with the pace. The regional versions of these new words are either unavailable or, are a far cry from the original. Even when the regional versions are available, they don’t have the ‘vibe’ of the original.

  • For example, the word ‘transformation’ can be used as a very positive word in English. However, in Telugu, the closest is ‘roopantharam’ (రూపాంతరం) or ‘roopantharamu’ (రూపాంతరము). In Telugu, it is mostly used in science to indicate ‘metamorphosis’. Another alternative ‘Parinamamu’ (పరిణామము) also indicates evolution. And both words are a far cry from the positive vibes of ‘transformation’. In such cases, translation pales despite the best efforts of the translator.

Complex Original Text

When a single sentence in the original runs into 2 to 3 lines, or contains 15+, or sometimes, 18+ words, you are staring at complexity in terms what is being said, and your understanding of the same. (The writer must be a master of his trade to write long sentences and communicate precisely.) That is two levels of complexity. Such overly loaded sentences can attract mistakes in proximity leading to incorrect comprehension.

Regional Names and Words

The mistakes in regional names or words have two sources.

When a non-native speaker writes about a regional happening in English, it is likely that the writer is unaware of the meaning of the regional word and makes a mistake.

For example, the word ‘Veena’ is pronounced with a distinct nasal sound by a Telugu-speaking person, whereas, in English, it is written as ‘Veena.’ Merriam-Webster’s phonetic description for the word is vīṇā. According to the International Phonetic Alphabet, this is [ɳ], the voiced retroflex nasal.

However, it should be noted that content rarely includes pronunciation. Such text, when translated into Telugu, will lose the sound and translate into vīnā, where ‘n’ is pronounced as the voiced alveolar nasal (as in ‘none’) rather than the voiced retroflex nasal.

Another source of mistakes occurs when the English version is written by a writer who doesn’t speak the regional language, (here, Telugu). When he must include the regional names, he is likely to make mistakes.

Spellcheckers

With the Telugu language pack installed, I noticed that MS Word could point out a mistake, only when the word doesn’t exist in the language.

However, if you write two unrelated words that are meaningless together but are meaningful separately, MS Word doesn’t recognize that the pair is awkward or wrong. So, the onus of finding such mistakes is on the translator.

How to Minimize the Challenges in Translation from English to Telugu

Three steps that you should take for content that reads just right:

  1. Selection of a professional translation company is of the highest importance. Professional agencies come with a wealth of knowledge, training, and troubleshooting capabilities that don’t let the project slip on its KPIs.
  2. The translator should be fluent in English (the transcribed language) and the target language (Telugu).
  3. Ask the agency for a typed script rather than a manuscript. If you handover the typing job to a typist or a desktop publishing company, the scope for mistakes skyrockets. This is so because the person who is typing may have minimal training in language.

Disclaimer

It is possible that I haven’t seen all the tools available for translation into Indian languages. If you know of any, please send a mail to sales@lotustech.online. I will be happy to update this blog post with credits to your inputs.

Resources

I am adding this section on 30 March, 2019.

When I contacted Dr. Vemuri to thank him for his class notes, he graciously provided more resources to help English to Telugu translation:

Another useful resource is Andhra Bharati. The dictionary section is a store house of translation terms. It shows entries from various renowned English to Telugu dictionaries.

Dr. Vemuri, thanks a ton for your support.

Articles on Translation Around the Web

I came across some amazing articles on translation around the web. Here is the first among them:

Mr. James Peterson of steelecht GmbH writes about how to “Get better translations – 5 tips for companies“. Thank you Mr. Peterson for the permission to link to the article.