Azoogma: Helping Clients Expand Communications to International Markets

When it comes to thinking outside the box, GlobalWrites partner Azoogma has figured it out. Creative, business savvy content, design and AZ Translationtranslation are the result of the collaboration between Yannick Nelson, Kirby Kana, Michelle Auerbach and Mylene Vialard. The unique name for a team of very interesting people provides insight into who they really are. A “zeugma”, from the Greek word for yoking or bonding, is a figure of speech in which a word, usually a verb or adjective, applies to more than one noun, sometimes blending together grammatically and logically different ideas. Yannick Nelson, already aware that she respected the talents and work ethics of Kirby, Michelle and Mylene, envisioned a collaborative venture marrying their unique skills and qualities. She became the zeugma who brought them together and who provides overall strategic direction and business acumen for their projects and clients. Coming from a project management and business consulting background she was the perfect catalyst for Azoogma’s launch. When the four founders agreed to join forces, the word not only fit their collaboration but it expressed their personalities and the sense of fun and adventure that they bring to their work, and to their clients.

One distinctive focus that has come out of the joined expertise that they bring to the table is translation and localization. When mid-sized companies find that it is time to expand internationally, they are in the right position to take advantage of Azoogma’s services in this area. Yannick has found that “many clients don’t realize how beneficial it is to plan for translation efforts from the beginning. It is one of the biggest challenges and one of the biggest opportunities that we face.”

Although the actual translation often occurs at the end of a project, it is better to plan for it up front because it impacts the tone, the graphics and the technology of the content. International audiences react differently to marketing messages, images, and even colors, than American audiences. A classic example would be the use of sports analogies using American Football. These fall flat on most European and Asian audiences. Colors and images may need to be adjusted for international audiences and the technology must be considered when content is translated. For example, Asian languages call for double byte character encoding, which English does not. Kirby Kana’s experience with graphics has given her the expertise to know that she will need to address not only colors and images, but spacing. Western European languages can occupy up to 25% more space than English, while Asian languages tend to utilize approximately 10% less.

Azoogma has the ability to work modularly on pieces of a branding, content, design and translation project or to conduct and manage all of the moving parts required to complete a full project. These like-minded professionals who care deeply about what they do and enjoy a collaborative work style engage clients who seek to make a difference in the world. Yannick’s favorite part of the Azoogma collaboration is the large variety of projects that the team is exposed to over time. “It is rewarding to support and bolster people who are really passionate about what they do.”

A perfect example is the work that they have done for As with many of their clients, the Azoogma team became an integral part of the client’s project team and worked together very closely to bring the brand, the language and the vision to life. sought to reach the Hispanic population in the United States. It was necessary not only to convey the message in Spanish, but to address the Hispanic culture and carefully craft content to best communicate with US based Spanish speakers. The updated site not only met the goals of reaching out to the Hispanic community but has garnered significant international attention, helping to spread the message about breast cancer prevention, treatment and awareness.

Azoogma guides their clients in their translation endeavors, whether they wish to communicate specific targeted messages to different groups (localization), or craft a uniform message for all audiences (globalization).  Careful attention is given to selecting the right translator for the project; Azoogma linguists are well qualified professionals who speak the target language natively and are often located in an area where that language is spoken. This ensures that translations are not only technically correct, but convey the right tone, voice and style. Because many clients aren’t aware of the complex technical and design issues that arise during translation projects, the Azoogma team assures their clients, “We are always open to questions. Translation is a much broader conversation and this information just scratches the surface.”