The Linguist

The Linguist 59,4 - Aug/Sept 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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@Linguist_CIOL AUGUST/SEPTEMBER The Linguist 11 FEATURES Thebig idea Q What is Chameleon Reader? A It's a product for multilingual families: a reading pen that allows children to listen to pre-recorded audio of a book in multiple languages. It differs from other reading pens because parents and therapists can select books and record their voice in four versions. Q How did the idea come about? A When my husband and I decided to raise our son in English and Chinese (my native language), in the Netherlands, I started looking for a product like this and finally found it in Taiwan. I loved it and, after three months of use, I decided to turn it into a business. I learnt everything about running a business – including finances, how to list products on Amazon and marketing – online and by asking people for advice, and launched Chameleon Reader in August 2019. Q So the product already existed? A Yes. It was developed in Taiwan by therapist Zhong-Jie Jiang to enable the children with special needs he works with to listen to different family members narrating a book. It was not designed for multilingual families, so the concept is new. Q How does it work? A The product comes with 5,000 stickers: you put a sticker on the page, record an audio file, and when the Chameleon Reader taps the sticker, the recording will play. You can add four tracks per sticker – each one can be in a different language if you do the translations. There are separate stickers that can be tapped to change language. I record audio in English and Chinese, and also include narrations by native Dutch and English speakers, and use the My Music cards to add music. Q How did you approach Zhong-Jie Jiang for the rights to sell the product worldwide? A I messaged him on Facebook saying that I wanted to introduce the product to Europe. He was happy to collaborate as he had no ability to explore the international market. We co-own Chameleon Reader and his company, Love-Kids, takes care of the manufacturing. Q The user manual is available in four languages. How did you ensure accuracy? A We wrote and tested the English version first to see if the text and graphics could be understood easily and, after several revisions, we sent it to be translated professionally into Chinese, French and German. Q How did you re-brand the product? A We spent almost a year preparing it for the international market. I previously worked as a user experience (UX) researcher at Acer and I completely reinvented the product. With the help of engineers in Taiwan, we added new features to the pen. For the stickers, user Joie Yen explains how she created the Chameleon Reader brand – a multilingual reading pen for children manual, packaging and other items, I worked with a designer friend, coming up with the chameleon brand and colour tray. I did market and design research with parents to revise the designs. Then it was sent to the lab to ensure the product meets EU requirements. My husband and I financed this ourselves. Q Do you also run workshops? A Yes, I share my experiences of raising a multilingual child and demonstrate how Chameleon Reader can help. I cooperate with professional linguists and researchers, and international communities, so it's a good way to learn and develop a professional network. Q What's next for Chameleon Reader? A We are collaborating with local partners to expand the business to different countries. We are planning more accessories and stickers but we need to focus on marketing first. We do influencer marketing, so it's about finding the right influencers (parents/language experts).

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