We just published this article on Open2Export, the new service supporting SMEs in exporting.
We all know it’s SO important to have web presence these days, and if your SEO guys know their stuff it’ll ensure you real visibility.
BUT, there’s a caveat – it DOES want to be visibility of something GOOD. Crass, obviously “translated” text is a real turn-off and WILL lose you business.
“But surely as long as it’s close enough it doesn’t really matter?”
We’ve been translating for a German gas industry leader for over 7 years, and while researching a big project for them this morning I found myself on the “English” website of another German industrial giant. I was so moved by the appalling translation, I actually wrote to their Contacts page to point out some of the grossest bits – this MUST be losing them credibility, and with lost credibility goes lost sales… am I right?
The company concerned would like to sell in the UK – but having seen the poor quality of their website I’d now really question the quality of the product – and I certainly won’t be the only guy thinking: “If they can’t be bothered to look after their own global shop window, how can I trust them to look after me?”. It’s high-end expensive engineered product too – just one lost sale would have PAID for that proper translation…
All the SEO in the world won’t compensate for laugh-making website translation, and what’s worse is that it can negate ALL the other money you’ve spent on promotion in that market as well.
And that marketing campaign may have cost tens of thousands – so PLEASE don’t screw it up by scrimping on getting your own “shop window” translated PROPERLY. It’s really not expensive – a typical 10-page SME website from a reputable provider may be as little as a few hundred pounds. Of course you’ll want to get several quotes – but please remember cheap language is cheap for a reason. Remember too the MoJ’s translation experiences…
It’s worth adding that while the Brits are generally forgiving – within reason – of clumsy language, most European managers are far less so. They’ll expect a professional website for a professional product – and will assume the reverse to be just as true. You may make the best widget in the world, but if the website translation makes it a laughing stock, you’re still screwed.
There’s more useful info on our own website translation page – and if you’re considering getting some translation done, there’s also a friendly helpful downloadable Guide on there on how you can help yourself get the best product – whichever provider you choose.
I’ll close with a recent “emergency rescue” website re-write we did a few months ago for a client who – luckily for them – found us on Google just in time. A UK SME had a product they’d told the French media about, and the French media loved it. Loved it so much, they did an editorial in Le Monde about it promoting the soon-to-launch French website!
4 days before the editorial was due to hit the street the client had that existing French website translation checked – and yes, it was awful. And I mean, really, REALLY bad. A brief panicky Google later they’d found us and we’d started the re-write, which went live about 1 hour before Le Monde hit the street. Now THAT really was just-in-time…
Missed updating last week, sorry! Anyway, THIS week we’re having lots of fun…
- Rescued a (very embarrassed) new client’s website – they’d machine-translated it via the web, launched it in country, and had terrible feedback (surprise!) just DAYS before a national newspaper published their advertorial. We had only 3 days to re-translate the pages into proper French before stuff hit the fan for them – we did of course, and a happy client tells us they’re now swamped in enquiries!
- Delivered lovely big Health & Safety project – 80000 words in 3 languages in 6 weeks for a global blue-chip
- Biscuits galore, with 8 new projects landing in the last week – busy generally on Food & Drink translation (including lots of typesetting) at the moment
- Hospital and legal interpreting all over the place (of course) – Urdu, Cantonese, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Bengali, Lithuanian and Gujarati (and that’s just today!)
- 13000 word proof reading project for an online portal in 5 languages
- Finishing transcription of a 5-day international conference in Finland – just in time for a 3-day one to land!
And updated our main webpages for Google’s new +1 widget – look forward to seeing the effects of that! We’ll shortly be firing up our web Guestbooks too – we’ll post and tweet when these are live of course
That’s far from everything, but probably enough for now – should post another update next week!
Welcome to our first weekly update! We’ve tried to tweet the major stuff before – and partially succeeded – but now there’s just waaaay toooooo much happening and you can’t say a lot with 140 characters. So instead, every week or so we’ll try to blog a round-up of stuff we’re doing that may be of interest and tweet THAT instead – but we’ll still be tweeting other good bits so don’t stop watching.
So THIS week we have…
- Halfway through a massive Health & Safety project in Polish, German and Spanish
- Medical interpreting in Polish, Romanian, Italian, Czech, German amd Urdu among others
- Filtering out the bugs in 30,000 words of Spanish water treatment
- Helping an expat with a flooded property in France
- Various legal & insurance interpreting
- Superbly technical German-English translation for an Austrian partner – material science for carbon fibre structures. Cool!
- More food + hazchem translations than we’ve space for here – including lots of multilingual typesetting
- Trying to track down an elusive Chinese dialect for a client – there’s 286 languages in use in China so it’s not easy!
- Another week’s interpreting on-site in France for a training course
… and more. Plus, this week we’re at the UK National Conference of Business & Professional Women – this is a leading international women’s organisation, with Consultative Status at the UN. This year the event’s in Chester, and BPW NW region are proud to host this excellent networking forum. This follows their International Conference held in Helsinki.
But, busy = good!
Back next week with more… if we get time!
How many language companies do you know with a fully-qualified LLB (Law graduate) on their team?
Linda, our mother-tongue French Project Manager, graduated today from UCLAN with flying colours – amazingly she did her final year while working 2 days a week for us, which shows REAL commitment. I know there’s no way I could have done that during MY final year!
Many congratulations to Linda – having worked with us part-time for a year she’s decided that we’re more fun than legal work (we agree!) so she’s been here full-time since finishing her studies in July. We’ve not only gained a really nice, and excellent, PM but we also now have serious legal expertise on our team for all our own legal translation, as well as excellent mother-tongue project management for our French translation and French interpreting work
Here she is, with Lynn our MD, in all her graduation finery (Linda, not Lynn – Linda’s the one on the left. Sorry, bit obvious I s’pose!)
We have a different business model to most – we believe nice guys really can win! With 21 years successful language translation service delivery under our belts, we find clients are tiring of the “what’s in it for me” model many suppliers follow and are increasingly buying-in to the friendly supportive translation Lifeline provides.
As part of that we’re proud to announce the addition to our website of our new free, downloadable Really Helpful Friendly Guide to Language Translation – language translation which you don’t have to get from us! The guide gives you lots of helpful advice on what to watch for and how to prep jobs to obtain the best translation, whatever translation provider you use. You can download it from the link above, from our main Language Translation page, or from any of our Language pages such as the French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish ones.
Here’s a funny thing – did you know anyone can start a translation agency in the UK? They actually need no language qualifications or translation ability whatsoever, so sourcing translation really is a case of caveat emptor – which is why our Guide and FAQ page offer helpful advice on seeing beyond the marketing hype to spot the genuine translation providers.
Also coming (very) soon are our Guides on language voiceover and language interpreting, to be followed by helpful Guides on language transcription and multilingual typesetting. You’ll also be able to download our infosheets on Medical Interpreting and Insurance Translation and Interpreting. All these will be the subject of new posts – watch this space! We’ll be building on and extending these so stop back occasionally.
Onward & upward! Lifeline is pleased to announce the addition to our team of Fran, who joins us today as Linguist Project Manager. Fran comes to us with an MA in Translation, and brings German, Russian and some Croatian along with subtitling skills, further enhancing our multimedia capability.
Fran will be joined in March by our new Translation Manager Eva, a German national and conference interpreter who also brings an MA in Translation. In adding such highly qualified academic and practical language capability to our already comprehensive in-house resources, Lifeline continues to invest in the future and in the language services we offer our clients.
Lifeline is 21 this year, and as a Coming-of-Age pressie we treated it to a funky new website so please check out the cool new www.lifelinelanguageservices.co.uk – we look forward to seeing you there! The website provide full details of our range of quality-assured language services in over 150 languages, as well as helpful FAQs, language info, fun stuff, and useful downloadable guides.
It’s with great pride we can announce that our MD, Lynn Everson, has now been awarded the degree of Master of Arts in Translation from the University of Bristol! This brings even more language expertise to the service of our many clients in translation and proofreading, and she will of course also be mentoring these additional language translation theory skills to our super team of Project Managers to enhance their own work. The MA, in French translation, was based around comparison of 2 French police authors and brought such delights as autopsies, drug busts and sex clubs – who says translation is boring?!
Watch this space for more developments…
Louise is one of our language PMs – as part of her CPD we recently sent her over to Dublin, to a style workshop run by the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) featuring 2 top translators. As she already knew, and the workshop reinforced, there’s much more to good translation than translation alone – Louise picks up the story…
As linguists it’s essential that we continue to develop our language skills, so when the ITI advertised a workshop focusing on improving writing style I decided this was an opportunity not to be missed.
The workshop was in Dublin and hosted by Ros Schwartz and Chris Durban, two translators whose workshops are always very well received. On arrival participants had a chance to get to know each other over coffee and biscuits before getting stuck into the course itself. Ros and Chris each gave presentations on the day, both of which were extremely useful offering hints and tips such as ways to approach potential new clients and how to prove it’s worth clients spending that little extra to ensure a quality translation.
The day focused on improving writing style and the ways translations can become more than just a copy of the original source text. The message that translations should be as good as, if not even better than, the original was repeated throughout the day and simple ways for improving translations were discussed.
During the workshop we worked in groups to review translations without sight of the source text to see whether we could improve the flow of the translation through simple techniques, such as making text more concise and to the point and adding explanation for things that, while self-evident to the author, may not have been immediately obvious to the target audience. Approaches such as these made the text read more naturally and organically, and less obviously translated.
Once each group had attempted their own improvements to the translations the new versions were read out and discussed by all at the workshop. This provided a great platform on which people could share their ideas and their processes for ensuring they produce good, solid translations.
The workshops are also great forums for meeting new suppliers and extending the range of languages we can handle, and this one was no exception. I met a number of interesting translators and we hope to add this talent to our database once we receive their CVs.
If this workshop runs again next year I’d definitely recommend it to fellow language professionals as a great way to pick-up new techniques and to meet others in the language industry.
Thanks Louise! We’ll be posting more of our team’s CPD in coming months, so to learn more about how we develop our people why don’t you drop in occasionally?
Don’t you mean “A Christmas Carol”?
Well, no - Christmas is a-coming… and the job file’s getting fat! It always goes a bit nuts near Christmas in the language world and this year’s no exception, with major projects in charity, food and chemical products typesetting, reams of technical and financial translation, interpreting jobs all over the country and a great big bilingual transcription project coming in. And that’s without all the regular stuff…
So what’s the “Christmas Creole” bit about? Well, this month’s cool language is Haitian Creole - we have a lovely translator for this and we’re looking forward to our biggest project so far in this one! Then we’re going to typeset it… the main issue will be space, as Creoles tend to be quite a lot longer than English (in which the source document was laid out). It’s a fascinating language too – there’s more info on the Ethnologue page, and an excellent Wikipedia article on Creoles in general is here.
Language translation is text; words on page or screen. Interpreting is spoken language translation. The most requested language translation combinations are Spanish, French, German, & Italian (“FIGS”) from and into English; other requested European languages are Greek, Portuguese, Dutch and Flemish, Hungarian, Polish and Czech. Indian languages such as Gujarati, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are booming, together with those of Eastern Asia – Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese & Korean. Scandinavian – Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic are in steady demand, while African language translation – including Amharic, Swahili, Lugandan, Sotho, Tigrinya and Xhosa – is growing rapidly alongside Middle-Eastern languages – Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Turkish & Hebrew. Language translation UK demand for the Central European, Former Soviet Union (FSU) and CIS languages such as Croatian, Serbian, Russian, Latvian, Estonian, Moldovan & Ukrainian is also developing fast.