iOS TOEIC Simulator — New Version

The first iOS based TOEIC Simulator has been used by more than 6000 TOEIC test candidates and English learners from around the world, especially from the USA, Germany, Thailand, Brazil, Japan and India. We are currently working on a new version which will be available through the Apple app store and iTunes by mid-April.

TOEIC-Icon-512-v6
The new version will have improved functionality. For example, you will be able to see what your actual TOEIC score in both sections — listening comprehension as well as reading comprehension will be. In addition, you can compare your level of English with other learners from around the world. There will be a host of exciting features so watch this space: iOS TOEIC Test Simulator by English-Team.

Actually, our new logo needs to have the ‘TM’ sign because TOEIC is a registered trademark by ETS: TOEIC-Icon-512-v6a

created at TagCrowd.com

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Speaking English for 20 seconds a day

Dear [FRIEND], every day I receive a dozen or so emails from people asking me just this one question: ‘How can I improve my speaking skills?’ Apparently, millions of people all over the world are unhappy with the level of their English skills and that’s why they are looking for a solution to this problem. Many people say their listening and reading comprehension skills are Long evening dresses quite good but they have difficulty speaking English. Now, there are a number of things you need to do to improve your speaking skills and one of them is this: Short cocktail dresses Start speaking English for at least 20 seconds a day. Record a voice message on our forum and share it with native speakers of English and other learners. Our forum is the only forum worldwide where you actually have the opportunity to record your own voice and listen to the voice messages from other other people.

how to get my

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Are you a winner?

Dear [FRIEND],

Are you a winner? In other words, are you happy with your English? Yes, the quality of your life depends directly on your level of English: the better your English, the more job opportunities you get, the more money you can earn and the more freedom you have. Since you live your life only once, your level of freedom is the most important thing. Freedom means a lot of different things: for example, it means that you can choose whom you want to work with. Imagine, you can select the people you deal with on a daily basis. Do you like your boss and all of your co-workers? Are you getting along well with all of your customers? If not, you should change something immediately. Don’t wait until your life is over. Don’t hope for things to change themselves. Take some action today. You can take full control over your life by starting to change your habits.

A couple of years ago I was facing the same situation as you. I wanted to learn how to speak English like a native speaker but didn’t know how. Through trial and error I finally figured out what it takes to learn English like a winner and I want to share my experiences with you, [FRIEND]. That’s why I created English For Winners for you. As of now, the information is available in English and English For Winners in Russian.

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First VOOMY COWORKING Event

The first event at VOOMY IT-Park took place on March 12 and below you can read an article about it.

Dear residents and friends!

Tuesday, March 12 saw the first presentation of the start-up companies hosted by VOOMY COWORKING.

Each team had 3 minutes to talk about themselves as well as their project:
What is the idea, what kind of tasks is the start-up completing, at which stage is the project? After that, the VOOMY jury and the audience could ask questions and give their feedback.

So here are the teams that took part:

Mash.ua – offers complex services for sales, social networking and Red cocktail dresses training aimed at Ukrainian handcrafters and marketing experts of handcrafts.

Pics.io – a system that processes photos and images in the cloud. Pics.io allows any owner of a digital photocamera to access a powerful set of tools taking photo processing to its next level (ease of use, reliability, co-working and co-operating, photo quality). With pics.io you can edit and manage large image files (RAW, DNG) direclty through your browser.

Traffic Control – an interactive web service with mobile apps for drivers, providing precise Long evening dresses directions by using GPS and information of other drivers’ behaviors.

Plan B – a mobile social networking app for anyone who visits such places like cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc. helping users find other people to join them on their visits. Plan B uses a search algorithm that is based on a variety of profile criteria ensuring the app finds your perfect match.

In addition we heard of an idea for which we still need a project name. It’s a visual site editor for users who want to create websites without having a lot of technical know-how and web development skills. It allows anyone to quickly and easily create and manage a website about themselves, their services or their companies directly through their browsers.

The participants and guests at the event experienced a pleasant surprise when they saw a virtual presentation by Vitaliy Stavropolskiy, founder of VOOMY IT-Park, who could not attend physically. Via video conference he introduced his guests to his latest start-up company — VOOMY.BIZ which is one of the elements of the large VOOMY project. VOOMY.BIZ is a web service that provides any start-up entrepreneur with the necessary tools to start their business while they are still working as full-time employees for their current employers. Most start-up entrepreneurs need to keep their 9 – 5 job while they are creating their own company.

The first event by VOOMY COWORKING was a huge success and most of the participants stayed on after the official part to continue sharing their experiences and discussing questions related to their start-ups.

Мы благодарим всех выступающих, гостей и экспертов, которые внимательно слушали, задавали правильные вопросы, тем самым давая пищу для новых размышлений над проектами наших резидентов. До новых встреч!

We want to thank all presenters, guests and experts who took an active part in the first VOOMY COWORKING Event. See you all next time!

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Why any IT company needs to run their own forum

If you offer IT services, especially web development, SEO, graphic design, dVintage prom dresses atabase management, eCommerce, etc. you need to run your own forum. Why? Very simple: because the web and the Internet all are about sharing information and what better medium can there be than a forum? Many web development companies use their own sites for self-promotion so they write things like “We are the best web development company” or “Red cocktail dresses We offer great IT solutions” or “We have proudly served clients from all around the world since 2002″. Who cares about what you have been doing and how great you are? Your customers will always be primarily interested in how they can solve their own problems. They don’t google phrases like ‘the best IT company in the world’ or ‘IT outsourcing’. What their employees google daily are very specific questions such as ‘how to re-size the WP window’ or ‘what are the advantages of Google App Engine’ or ‘how to monetize an app?’.

As a matter of fact, these examples are still rather general requests but I think you get the drift: people are rarely interested in reading about another company’s successes. In most cases people are looking for a solution to their own problems. That’s why as an IT company you simply can’t afford not to have your own forum where your developers, programmers and project managers discuss problems, share ideas, ask and answer questions and simply provide information and support. There should be different sections in your forum: one for programmers and IT specialists, one for existing clients, one for prospective clients, etc. For example, if a potential client wants to know what existing clients think about your services, they should find the answers on your forum.

Most Ukrainian IT companies are afraid of sharing information. The reason for this is because, especially in Ukraine, you simply don’t talk much about your success as a company because this attracts racketeers who force you to pay as much ‘protection money’ as they can possible squeeze out of you. That’s why on Ukrainian IT companies’ websites you usually don’t find any information as to who owns the company, even if the site is in English and caters to American and British clients. However, a few Ukrainian companies have started to give their clients more information about how they work and learn, which is a vital step towards growth. If you are in the web development industry your level of success largely depends on how effectively you manage and share information.

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<!–:en–>First Event at VOOMY Park Kharkov<!–:–>

The first event at VOOMY COWORKING BETA takes place on March 12 at 9pm. There will be several teams of entrepreneurs and start-up companies representing their projects. Each team is going to be given 3 minutes to introduce their members and answer questions from the jury/audience.gogoexam
After that, each team has 5 minutes to talk about

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their projects and ideas. Then there will be a study case that shows how to promote SaaS. The purpose of the event is to get to know each other better and to understand what kind of projects the existing teams have already been working on. You can either do a pitch yourself or just watch the presentations. Here is the location: VOOMY Park, Khkarkov, Ukraine, ul. Kosmicheskaya 21, at the Kyivstar office on the 7th floor.642-832

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<!–:en–>Interview with HR representative <!–:–>

Dear [FRIEND],

If you want to work in the United States you should listen to and read the following interview by Michelle of English-Team:

Interview with a Human Resources Representative

Hello English language learners, this is Michelle with English-Team and today I’m here with Julie. Julie, how are you doing today?

- I’m good, thank you.

- Well, Juli can you please tell me a little bit about yourself?

- Sure, my name is Julie, I was originally born in Michigan, but moved around a lot as a child, lived in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, finally settled down into Florida and I’ve been in the Central Florida area for about ten years now.

- Ah, that’s a long time.

- Eh, yes it is.

- So Julie can you tell me what you do for a living?

- Sure, I work in the human resources department at a company, I’m human resources records manager.

- OK, can you explain to me what a typical day is like for you?

- Well, a typical day, there really isn’t such a thing as a typical day because you really never know sometimes what you’re gonna be walking into but the normal thing is that in the records department we approve a lot of job actions so if somebody is going to be hired or if somebody is going to get a pay rate change, or somebody is leaving the company, we then have to go through and approve these job actions.

- OK. So now I’d like to ask you a few general human resources questions. Is that OK with you?

- Sure.

- OK. The first question is what documents does a person need to provide to a company to legally work in the United States?

- Well, whether you’re a US citizen or an international employee you have to provide proof of identity and authorization to work in the United States. So for international employees there’s usually documents that they’re provided whether it’s an unexpired foreign passport or the arrival document, and then there will be some type of work authorization document if they’re an international student it’s usual an I20, if they’re coming in the United States in different statuses they would have a different type of work authorization document.

- OK, can you tell me what the current minimum wage is?

- In the United States it’s $7.25 an hour but then there’s also state minimum wages and since I live in Florida it’s $7.79 an hour.

- OK, can you tell me what are some company benefits and how does one qualify for them?

- Well, every company is different but most of the time if you are hired into what’s called a ‘line benefited position’ you’re usually offered things like health insurance, dental, life insurance, there’s usually some type of retirement plan, whether it’s a 4O1K or a 43B and usually on your first day of hire or your week, the first week you’re there, you sign up for all these different types of benefits.

- OK. Can you also tell me what an EIN is and a taxpayer ID and how they’re different?

- Sure, an EIN an employer identification number so when you start a company, for tax purposes you have to acquire one of these numbers and it’s usually done through the IRS. Now the taxpayer identification number, that’s usually when you’re talking about international individuals who are coming over and they need a tax number for different tax purposes but they don’t qualify for a social security number. So that’s basically the difference.

- OK, so besides of course US citizens paying taxes do foreign nationals have to pay taxes?

- The majority of foreign nationals will pay taxes, now, there’s two types of taxes: You have your federal taxes and your FICA taxes and FICA taxes is what we call social security and medicare. Now, for international students such as F1 students or J1 students, for the first five years they don’t have to pay social security and medicare or FICA taxes. For your J1-none students, your researchers, your professors, for the first two years they don’t have to pay it either. After that, they do have to pay the FICA taxes but there’s also something called federal taxes. The majority of foreign nationals will have to pay federal taxes unless there is a tax treaty which exempts some of your income.

- OK, are there taxation differences between US citizens and foreign nationals?

- There really isn’t a difference in taxation so if a foreign national doesn’t qualify for a tax treaty they would normally pay the same rate of taxes as a US citizen.

- OK, well going back to the tax treaty, can you tell me a little more about it?

- Sure, a tax treaty basically if there was a tax treaty agreement between the United States and the country in which the foreign national resides prior to coming to the United States. So, it’s not actually based on where you were born, it’s based on where you last resided. It’s, so, usually, within the country there’s usually a tax amount that you can be exempt from so for instance, for some foreign, national, international students it’s usually for a set period of time and there’s a dollar amount, so maybe it’s 5000 dollars, so the first 5000 dollars you’re not taxed on but after that you’d pay taxes. Or, if you’re coming in as maybe a J1 scholar, a J1 research scholar, H1B individual, it could be for like two to three years and you’d be exempt from all your income, so say you made 80000 dollars a year, you wouldn’t have to pay any taxes on that for the first couple of years but it’s very specific to your status in the United States and what country you last resided in.

- OK, just one question: What is an H1B?

- An H1B is for foreign workers who come over and work with their companies so maybe you’re an engineer and want to come over to the United States and work for a couple of years, so it’s employer specific meaning if an H1B petition is done by your company that you want to work with, you can only work at that company and usually it’s for about three years and it can be extended for another three years normally.

- OK. Again, going back to tax treaties. Can you explain to me what publication 901 is?

- Sure, publication 901 can be found on the Internal Revenue Services website www.irs.gov and basically it tells you all the countries and all the potential tax treaties and the specific countries, tax amounts, how many years, and of the different caviats, who can have it or who can not have a tax treaty.

- OK, can you explain to me what ‘equal opportunity’ means?

- Equal opportunity means that everybody has the same playing field meaning that you can’t be discriminated for a job or pay rate change or promotion based on, you know, your gender, your race, your age or any of this type of protected statuses.

- OK. Alright. And Julie, the last question, OK?

- Hmm.

- Unfortunately, some people view the human resources office in a negative light and why do you think that is?

- Well, unfortunately for human resources we’re in compliance meaning we have to make sure that we do what the IRS wants us to do, the US Department of Labor and all these different agencies and the majority of the human resources’ job is that we need employees to complete paperwork and sometimes it’s lots of paperwork and sometimes people do not like to complete all that paperwork.

- Right, I know what you mean. OK, Julie thank you so much for your time today, I really appreciate it.

- OK, thank you.

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<!–:en–>How do Ukrainian IT companies find clients in Germany? <!–:–>

For Ukrainian IT companies, Germany is one of the most important markets. Germany's GDP is about 40 times that of Ukraine's. The Germans generate more than 4bn euros in online sales per year while Ukraine's eCommerce industry is still in its infancy. With domestic demand extremely low, Ukrainian IT companies can survive and grow only if they sell their services abroad, especially to the US and EU.

So how exactly can you as a Ukrainian IT company start attracting German clients? The first step you need to take is to make sure you have the right reasons why you want to do business with the Germans. This might look like a no-brainer given the fact that Germany's IT industry is within the EU but if you tell your potential clients on your website that you just want a piece of the huge German IT cake, it will be very difficult for you to succeed. You should ask yourself these questions: What exactly are our goals? Why do we create software systems? Do we just enjoy programming and developing websites or is there more we want to do? Attracting large rich clients from Germany might be one of your goals but you have to think beyond your immediate needs if you want to succeed. Develop a keen interest in anything to do with Germany and the Germans. What do you know about the country and the people you want to sell your services to?

German IT companies have German customers so you should study their needs. Learn the language. Yes, it is true — quite a number of executives and even developers in German IT companies have a decent level of English, which means you can communicate with them in English. However, if you want to attract new German clients you need to at least make an effort to also communicate in German. As a Ukrainian IT specialist your English should be at least at B2, otherwise you won't be able to keep up with the developments in your industry. Since English and German belong to the same language family, it should be possible for you to reach at least A2 in German.

The Germans are at least as proud of their nationality and language as you are. Show your potential partners and clients that you are not just interested in their euros but also in their culture and way of thinking. You can do that only by learning German. It's not enough to just employ a few marketing or sales staff who took some German lessons at university. Someone in your company's management needs to speak German, because if you want to do business with German companies, you have to be able to express your thoughts in German and understand legal and technical documents written in German. What's more, your company needs to have a subsidiary in Germany. It's almost impossible for you solely as a Ukrainian company to sign a contract with a German client, because most Germans would never transfer any amount of money into a Ukrainian bank account.

Doing business with a foreign company requires an enormous amount of trust from both parties. If you don't have at least a subsidiary registered in Germany, no German company will purchase any services from you. When Germans think about Ukraine and Ukrainians, the first things that come to their minds are still negative: corruption, prostitution, AIDS, political instability and organized crime. Even German IT managers have rather negative connotations when it comes to Ukraine. It's a rare case that you meet a German business executive who knows that Ukraine is also an exporter of IT services. There are quite a number of reasons for this. First of all, Ukraine is a rather young IT export nation. When US IT companies started outsourcing their programming jobs in the early 70ies, they chose India because it was the only country where they could access cheap IT specialists.

The Soviet Union did already have a large pool of IT talent but it was not available for western companies because of the Iron Curtain. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union nobody in the west knew that East Europeans also had highly qualified IT specialists. And after the Soviet Union crumbled, an enormous brain drain started during which many IT professionals, especially from places like Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Omsk and Ukraine, got hired away by IT companies based in Silicon Valley. The vast majority of those IT specialists from the Soviet Union who left the country went to work in the United States. Only a handful went to Germany because the Germans are much more conservative and inflexible when it comes to immigration than the Americans. The Americans focus on opportunity while the German focus on risk. When it comes to IT outsourcing and off-shoring, a German company will always see all the risks first. Their way of thinking goes likes this: “If we hire a Ukraine based company for our IT jobs, we will put our security at risk and become dependent on Ukrainians who are not to be trusted by nature. We might save some money in the beginning but later on we will have to pay for this decision several times as much as we had planned to save initially”.

Do all German business executives think negatively about Ukrainian IT companies? Certainly not. There is a certain percentage of Germans who see the benefits and advantages in outsourcing parts of their IT tasks to Ukrainian companies. Your goal as a Ukrainian IT company should be to find those German clients. Let's say 5% of all German companies are willing to hire a Ukrainian IT company. That's more than enough business for you. Your job is to find just those 5%.

Is it possible for you to pick up a few German clients without having a German subsidiary? It certainly is. Here is an example. The Kharkov based IT company X1Group has created an online shop system, apps and other web sites for the following three west German companies: SALE Onlinemarketing GmbH, meetOne GmbH and IDGV GmbH. I asked Valeriy Bykanov, CEO of X1Group how he was able to sign up those German companies and he said that it was by accident. One of the companies had posted a job on Elance and selected X1Group as the provider. Valeriy doesn't speak any German, all communication was in English as is usually the case on Elance. Since X1Group did a good job, the German client recommended Valeriy and his team to another German company and as result X1Group was able to provide services to 3 German companies. Can this approach produce sustainable results? Well, check X1Group's portfolio from time to time to find the answer.

Most Ukrainian IT companies do want to attract German business but the vast majority of them hope to sign up German clients without having a German subsidiary. They reason like this: “We first want to pick up a few German clients to make sure our German operation is profitable, then we might think about creating a German company”. This is the same approach as going to the bank and asking for some money without having made a deposit first. You as a Ukrainian IT company expect the German client to trust you although you have not yet opened a German office? This means that you yourself don't trust that your expansion into Germany will be successful, otherwise you would register a company in Germany first. In other words, you want your German clients to cover the risk of your German expansion. This is called 'the-poke-it-with-a-stick-approach'. You poke the pig with a stick and to see if it moves. If it doesn't, you simply give up. If you are sure you can provide a better service to German companies than local providers, you need to set for yourself the goal of establishing a company in Germany.

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