International data quality – Is a football always a football?

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football 1High quality customer data have become the prerequisite for successful business decisions. In order to reach the intended data quality level, a lot of money is being invested in solutions for input control, file merging, data enrichment and duplicate identification. But do these investments guarantee high quality data and information? For example, are the data quality tools and processes equipped for the inevitable internationalization of our business community? Is a football always a football?

Natural language processing

Why do we know that William Jones International Logistics Ltd and W. Jones Int. Transport Co. are probably different notations for the same company? How do we determine that Leonard is a given name in Leonard Peters and a surname in Leonard & Peters? Without being all that aware of it, we are using methods such as pattern recognition, context analysis and other linguistic considerations. To answer the question ”what is what in customer data?” people will use their knowledge of language and culture to interpret the data they will encounter in daily life. Continue reading ‘International data quality – Is a football always a football?’

Chinglish – the most delightful side-effect of internationalization

little grass has life

An increasing number of companies have to deal with data from the world’s fastest emerging economy: China. And the big question in this issue is of course: How can we compare these “strange” Chinese characters with our own writing set?

Grammar and character set of our Western alphabet-languages (such as English, French, Dutch or German) differ tremendously from Mandarin Chinese (which is the language spoken by most in the People’s Republic of China and abroad. Mandarin is a tonal language with an ideographic character set. Almost all characters have a semantic and a phonetic component. The different pithch in the pronunciation eventually determines the signification

Complicated? Definitely. But what about the other way around? Have you ever thought about the difficulties the Chinese have to face when trying to convert their language into meaningful English?

This phenomenon is sometimes hilariously being illustrated by the many public signs in China used to inform foreign visitors or to help them finding their way around.

This is truly a delightful side-effect of internationalization. …. Continue reading ‘Chinglish – the most delightful side-effect of internationalization’

Toponymic confusion

via-dolorosa1Did you know that Urshalim, al-Quds, Yerushalayim and Jerusalem are four names for the same city? There is great international confusion over the names of countries, cities, streets and rivers which have been changing so frequently that postal services, health and rescue workers and transportation companies are struggling very hard to cope.

The UN’s expert committee on names is expanding standardisation efforts in order to to make it easier to find your way in an increasingly globalized world. The most prominent examples of these efforts are the change from Bombay to Mumbai and of Peking to Beijing, thus re-installing the correct names from a pre-colonial era. But the toponymic name battle still has some major challenges. Some examples… Continue reading ‘Toponymic confusion’