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“Food” for thought – consider translation when exporting


Translation is a key process for any company that wants to ‘go global’ and those in the food and drink industry are no exception. The value of British food and drink exports continues to rise year on year and, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), 2016 export figures were in excess of GBP 20 billion. For anyone looking to sell their products outside of Britain, localisation will be an important step along the way.


UK food industry export figures


Recognising the need for professional document translation services in the food industry, Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) has recently been attending a number of food and drink industry exhibitions. One such event was the recent Welcome Italia, held in London in November, where we had the chance to meet a host of Italian food manufacturers and distributors looking to break into the UK market. The event welcomed a wide range of exhibitors who had brought their culinary delights to British shores, so as to champion authentic Italian food and drink, including wine, beer and cheese.


STB Project Manager Amey Higgon (right) at Welcome Italia
STB Project Manager Amey Higgon (right) at Welcome Italia


Another event attended by STB earlier this autumn was the Allergy and Free From Show. As we all know from the wealth of lactose-, dairy- and gluten-free options now available in our supermarket aisles and restaurants, free-from food is hot property. Although, at its heart, it’s a market that caters to specific dietary requirements, the appeal is widening to an ever-broader global audience. In fact, brands like Naturelly have been introducing their healthy products to various overseas markets, with support from companies offering professional translation services.


“STB translated the content on our product packaging into six different languages, opening doors to many different markets for our business. They were very efficient and offered helpful advice on which services would suit our requirements. We look forward to working with STB again.”


Dean Dempsey
Director, Naturelly (Healthier Brands Limited)


So how can YOU stand out in such a busy market, and what are some things to think about when exporting your food and drink in terms of translation?


Website – first impressions count

Your website will be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy and the first port of call for many customers or business partners, so why not ensure it is accessible to your target market? Having a website that is localised to the target language will create a positive first impression – make your page easy for your customer to navigate and you will keep their interest. A localised website also shows that you appreciate and respect the language and culture of the country you are exporting to. SEO translation is an add-on service that works to help you move up the all-important search engine rankings in other countries, and could prove to be that extra boost that pushes your company on to overseas success.



Packaging – follow the rules

The importance of packaging should be viewed from both a legal and marketing standpoint, as your labels should be both attention-grabbing and accurate. It is therefore essential to make sure your food labels and packaging are translated by an industry professional. Allergy information is vitally important information for the consumer, not only in the free-from food sector, but throughout the entire food industry. A translator will be aware of the legal requirements for the country of distribution when translating.


Food packaging


“STB offered us the peace of mind that everything is correct. It’s not something we can do on our own and, like other things in the business it makes sense to get experts in to do the job. It’s also a fast, efficient and friendly service which really helps to take the stress out of a potential minefield.
They translated lists of ingredients for us which, if incorrect, could cause legal issues, especially around allergens and special dietary requirements. It’s really not worth the risk to do it any other way.”


Simon Allison
MD, Solid Chocolate Company


Menus – stand out for the right reason

If you are in the restaurant business, a poor menu translation can have a negative effect on both your brand image and your customers’ appetites. The translation mishap below is an example of what can go wrong when using a non-native or inexperienced translator:


Chinese translation fail


When exporting your produce there can be lots of different steps to consider along the way; working with a translation agency can take some of the pressure off. Here at STB, we turn around polished translations for you leaving you to focus on the other aspects of your business.


If you’d like more information on how we can help, please get in touch on +44 (0)1252 733 999 or by email at


Written by Amey Higgon

Speaking louder than words: theatre and translation


There’s an adage that says the words we use only make up seven per cent of communication and occasionally I think there’s something in it, especially when I’m at the theatre. Millions of us study Shakespeare at school – whether we like it or not – and, by the time we leave, we can usually read it aloud fairly confidently, even if we’re not always entirely sure what he’s waxing lyrical about.




However, in the metaphorical hands of a great actor like Sir Ian McKellen, who recently played the lead in King Lear at Chichester, Shakespeare’s hard-to-decipher words are transformed into a powerful depiction of humanity in its many guises. There are many unseen elements to this: research, rehearsal, direction, even McKellen’s experience of playing Lear in a previous production, but these aspects are manifested in the physical presentation of the words.


King lear


In the case of someone like McKellen, the impact is a lot greater than when we mumbled our way through ‘this sceptred isle … ’ or ‘to be or not to be … ’ in double English. Same words, different effect.


However, none of it has any effect without the foundation of the text. In the modern age, we are bombarded by visual or audio portrayals of the written word, from TV adverts to Hollywood blockbusters, comics to audiobooks, and the text always lies at the heart. After all, what would James Bond be without some carefully crafted one-liners?


The words are even more crucial when we talk translation: When a text lands on a translator’s desk, that seven per cent of the message being communicated is all that they have. They may have pointers from a client, or know it is a certain genre, but the 93% of body language, emphasis, facial expressions and the rest has been stripped away.


As such, these two industries, theatre and translation, have more in common that you might think. Both have at their centre a receptive audience, on whom there is a direct impact. Both industries’ main agents of communication are not, in fact, the primary producer of the source text, but those that give life to its content for their audience. Both hinge on the importance of the written word and its interpretation.


Theatre and translation


Gleaning extra details as part of the translation process, is therefore incredibly useful. In fact, in project managers, we have an industry role that largely focuses ensuring a client’s translation requirements are met. Their conversations with the client are just as important as the translation process itself, as they shape the approach of everyone involved with the project, much like a theatre director.


Throughout my internship at Surrey Translation Bureau, I have collaborated with enthusiastic project managers who take the time to understand their clients and what they want to say. This not only appeals to the linguist in me, but also shows appreciation of the importance of getting to know those you’re working with. No wonder they were awarded the Project Management Team of the Year at the recent ATC conference!


They understand that, while words are the most crucial part of the process, there is so much more to translation. If someone on a stage has ever asked you to lend them your ears, then I reckon you might just agree with me.


If you have any important document/s to translate, why not utilise the expertise of the award-winning Project Management team at Surrey Translation Bureau! Email or call 01252733999 to discuss your translation project with a member of their team.


Intern at Surrey Translation Bureau
Felix on his last day of internship at STB with Project Manager Ruth Bond

Felix studied Drama and German at undergraduate level, acting in and directing pieces as diverse as Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Brecht’s Pauken und Trompeten (in German), before going on to pursue an MA in translation. With experience as an occasional amateur performer and regular reviewer for A Younger Theatre, as well as various linguistic projects, Felix has a keen insight into these two surprisingly similar industries, where language is king.

STOP PRESS! Surrey Translation Bureau has won the Project Management Team of the Year award!



For many in the industry, the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) language summit is a highlight in the calendar and, needless to say, this year was no different. The summit provides an excellent opportunity for translation companies to get the lowdown on the latest and greatest technological trends, as well as recognising those who have made an invaluable contribution to the translation industry through the ATC’s UK Language Industry Summit Awards.


This year’s awards proved to be quite the roaring success for Surrey Translation Bureau (STB)’s Project Management team, as we fought off stiff competition from others in the industry to pick up the highly coveted Project Management Team of the Year award. Faced with making the nail-biting decision was a panel consisting of Liz Pryke, Secretary of the ATC, Rudy Tirry, President of the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies, Sarah Griffin-Mason, Chair of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting and Laura Brandon, Executive Director of the Globalization and Localization Association.

Surrey Translation Bureau wins award
Surrey Translation Bureau team receiving the ATC award

On the ATC website, Ruth Partington, ATC Vice-Chair and Chair of the ATC Conference Organising Committee indicated what the award-winning criteria would be: “The panel will be looking for entries which demonstrate not only excellence in customer service but also evidence that the nominee is committed to the quality agenda, details of notable achievements in the last 12 months and information which sets the nominee apart from all others.”


How did we make the cut? Our Project Management (PM) team prides itself on the fact that each member is a qualified professional translator. They are able to advise clients and freelancers alike, acting as a consultant or a sounding board. This expertise helps PMs to deliver a personalised service to their clients. PMs can also draw on their expertise to pick the right translator for each job, and constantly monitor the individual strengths of the freelance team. This helps to maintain high quality standards and ensure translators are working on suitable jobs.


team success


STB’s PM team also excels in sharing knowledge. In-house training is an ongoing process and is everyone’s responsibility. New knowledge of clients/workflows is shared on the company’s internal Wiki resource, and PMs constantly train each other on new translation tools, apps or software – this helps the team to grow together. There is also a monthly PM meeting for discussing best practices and lessons learned from unusual jobs.


Surrey Translation Bureau Project Management team
Surrey Translation Bureau Project Management team


Winning the award has only encouraged the PM team to continue providing the outstanding service they are renowned for and making great headway in ensuring the language sector carries on growing; after all, nothing succeeds like success!


If you have any documents that require translation, regardless of the language combination, we will be more than happy to assist in any way that we can. Simply email us today at or give our double award-winning team a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999.


Written by Ruth Bond

Engaged in international B2B marketing? Let’s talk digital content!


Our Sales and Marketing Manager Marya Jabeen recently gave a talk about digital content marketing at the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) Language Summit held in London.


Marya at ATC
Marya Jabeen, Sales and Marketing Manager, speaking at ATC Language Summit


The annual summit brings together language professionals from around the world to exchange industry knowledge, learn about the latest technology trends and get involved in both professional and social networking.


There was a wide range of talks and masterclasses on offer, focusing on various aspects of marketing from the perspective of those in the translation industry as well as its customers. For those engaged in marketing on a global scale, we had some interesting conversations around international SEOs and things to consider when selling your products or services in the Asian market, particularly China.


Today, language service providers are increasingly using digital platforms to administer their services, so it makes sense to market these services via the same means, i.e. using digital content. While Marya’s presentation focused mainly on the translation industry, a lot of the action points and tips she mentioned are very much relevant for any company operating in the B2B sector.


You can have a look at her entire presentation here.


If you are thinking about or are already involved in marketing for your international audience, then using digital content gives you a wider reach, sometimes at a much lower cost than traditional media and with a more targeted approach. It is far more effective, however, if your campaigns are multilingual.


Multilingual digital content


According to a poll conducted by Common Sense Advisory across 10 non-English speaking countries, 60 per cent mentioned they hardly ever buy products or services from English websites. For those with limited English skills, almost 80 percent said they would prefer content in their native language.


But language should not be the only ‘international’ facet of your marketing campaign. In her presentation, Marya also addressed some other key points:


  • Knowing your target audience and creating your content specifically for them

This is relevant for any international marketing strategy. If you are trying to market to China for instance, you need to identify the region and also the cultural nuances associated with your chosen group. What appeals to your UK audience, might be completely irrelevant or even offensive to those in the Middle East. Without losing the key message, make sure your content works for them. Your translation agency might help you in this area, with services like localisation and transcreation.


International culture


  • Think about SEOs at every step of the way

Your English content should be optimised with the keywords for a Google search in your country and other English-speaking ones. However, to optimise your German content, make sure you research and understand the popular search terms to integrate in your content for Germany.


Also, because many other search engines, including Baidu, Yandex and Naver, might be more popular than Google in your target country, you’ll need to have an understanding of their requirements.


Google SEO


Your SEO team can work with your translation suppliers to ensure your content is SEO-optimised across all languages you are using.


  • Remember the technical side of things

Look at the trends in your target region. What devices do the people use the most to access content? Do they have widespread access to fast internet? Are there any websites, search engines or social media channels that are not prominently used? Once you have the answers, make sure you create your content and distribute it in a way that it can overcome all these challenges. For instance, if the internet speed is quite poor in the region, using large images will hamper the user experience as it will be difficult to view or download them.



Trying to coordinate a multilingual content strategy is certainly not easy but can be achieved as long as you remember some key considerations and stick to a plan. Having the right team to support you will help you have a much clearer overview, take effective steps and conveniently measure the success of those steps.


If you are looking for a translation partner for your international marketing activities or would just like to receive more information, please get in touch with our friendly team at 01252733999 or email


Written by Marya Jabeen

O jogo bonito – the beautiful game (of football)


With the Premier League celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and next year’s World Cup in Russia fast approaching, we here at Surrey Translation Bureau thought we would cast our linguistic eye over what Pelé referred to in his native Portuguese as ‘o jogo bonito’, or ‘the beautiful game’.


Premier league


Football, footy, footer, or soccer – as our friends across the pond insist on calling it – is the world’s most popular spectator sport, and one which transcends language barriers the world over. The sport’s universal appeal, plus the global popularity of England’s Premier League, have seen players from a huge array of countries come to these shores over the last 25 years, with 62 nationalities currently represented in our top division. Although many of the players have a good grasp of the English language, one can only wonder what those still learning the ropes must make of some of the unusual phrases thrown around in the football world. From favourite clichés such as ‘sick as a parrot’ or ‘it’s a game of two halves’ to more mystifying examples (‘squeaky bum time’ anyone?) the footballing lexicon is nothing if not rich.




This is not merely a one-way process however, and perhaps it speaks volumes about our continental neighbours’ more technical approach to the game that many foreign terms have made their way into common usage in English. From the Italians’ defensive catenaccio (literally ‘door bolt’) style, to Spain’s hugely successful short-passing style tiki-taka, through to Holland’s game-changing totaalvoetbal, the sport is awash with loanwords. Indeed, one recent import to the English game, Liverpool’s charismatic German manager Jürgen Klopp, even brought his own trademark term with him, in the form of Gegenpressing, roughly translating as ‘counter-pressing’. He even provided a ready-made translation for this high-energy style, presumably to aid the monolingual English fan’s understanding: ‘heavy metal football’.


Playing football


Herr Klopp is, of course, not alone in his mastery of the language; in fact, it is not uncommon to hear German fans chanting in English at matches. Much like their Liverpool counterparts, fans of Borussia Dortmund can be heard singing Gerry and the Pacemakers’ ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before home games. England fans will also cringe when recalling how the German fans sang The Lightening Seeds’ anthem ‘Three Lions’ having knocked them out of the European Championships on their own soil in 1996. Pure Schadenfreude. Perhaps, then, languages are simply another area where, in the famous words of Gary Lineker, “… at the end, the Germans win.”?


Here at STB, we see translation as our very own beautiful game, so why not let us take care of your translation needs – we’re sure you’ll be ‘over the moon’ with our service!


Written by Nick Ives


Patent translation – a patent-ial headache!


Those of you who are fans of BBC’s Dragons’ Den, known by an array of different names across the world such as Die Höhle der Löwen in Germany and Shark Tank in the US, will be familiar with the format where contestants pitch their business ideas to several entrepreneurs. The contestants are then faced with fielding somewhat probing questions from their potential investors, the ‘dragons’, some of which may touch on the issue of ‘patents’.




This year marks the 400th anniversary of the official grant of Britain’s first ever patent. But for those of you who are a little late to the patent party and want to know how they can help drive your business forward, listen up! Inventors can apply to the government for patents in order to prevent other competitors from bringing a similar invention to the market without permission, albeit for a restricted period. If successful, i.e. if patent protection is granted (by the Intellectual Property Office or IPO in the UK), the invention becomes the ‘property’ of the inventor.


Intellectual property


If you are aiming to take the overseas markets by storm with your invention, it might be worth considering safeguarding of your intellectual property rights to the invention by applying for a European or global patent. In most cases, non-English speaking jurisdictions insist on patent applications being in the language required for examination and approval by the local patent office, meaning you will need to have your application translated.


Patent application


Should you find yourself in this position, look no further as Surrey Translation Bureau might be just the answer to all of your patent-related prayers! Here at STB, we understand the ins and outs of filing patents so regardless of whether you need a description of the invention, an abstract or even a set of claims translated, we have a pool of highly specialised translators on hand to assist. Rest assured that we will go the extra mile to help you gain that all-important stamp of approval!


If you have any questions about patent translation, we will be more than happy to answer them. Why not email us today at or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!

Learning new skills at Surrey Translation Bureau- Hannah Minns



While studying for a Masters in Translation prepares you for a career in translation, completing an internship gives you invaluable experience in a professional context. Earlier this summer, I started a six-week internship at Surrey Translation Bureau. I thought I knew lots about being a translator and about good translation practice, but having completed my internship, I think I’ve learnt more in these six weeks than in the year of my MA!


From getting to grips with computer aided translation (CAT) tools, to working with freelance translators, to invoicing and learning about time management, my time at STB has taught me much more than I expected. Surrey Translation Bureau has an open and involved office, with team members working in all sectors of the translation industry. In the office, there are in-house translators, revisers and editors, project managers, the sales and marketing department, and the resource management team.


One of the main activities during my internship was shadowing project managers and learning about project workflows. The PM team members at STB all work at 100 mph, logging and placing jobs, finding translators, checking projects, liaising with clients — when I first started I didn’t know how they managed it! During my time working here, I got to know each stage of the process, and after a week or two I was involved myself. Getting to grips with the translation software was an invaluable part of the internship; I was also involved in logging jobs on the company database, finding translators and revisers for jobs, and setting up projects. I also worked with the translators, and learned some important and interesting lessons from such experienced and competent professionals. Everyone works incredibly hard to ensure that all staff in the office — as well as the freelancers — are supported, and that the client receives exactly what they wanted.


STB team


I would highly recommend an internship in a translation office to any students and prospective translators like me. I’ve learnt so many useful things from my time here, and even gained my SDL certification! A particularly useful aspect of my internship was seeing what makes a valued freelancer; internships don’t just teach you how to work in an agency, but also how to be a successful freelance translator. Students who aren’t sure where to start in the professional world will definitely benefit from a period working with a translation agency. You can gain not only practical skills such as time management, but also more confidence in your translation skills.


Aside from learning about the translation process itself, I also gained experience from the other sides of a translation agency. I got to attend a sales networking event with Marya Jabeen, the Sales & Marketing Manager, where I saw how companies can make connections in the real world and expand their business. It was interesting seeing how a translation agency builds links with clients and how Marya finds new business; it’s a necessary skill for freelance translators too.


Another great experience was helping organise the annual freelancer barbecue. I was heartened to see how enthusiastic the team at STB are to get to know their freelancers, and the barbecue is one of many cool things that are organised throughout the year.


BBQ party


The company is enthusiastic about making sure everyone feels welcomed and valued, which — as someone just getting started in the translation industry — is wonderful to see. After my time spent at Surrey Translation Bureau, I feel so much better prepared for starting my career as a translator, and hope I’m lucky enough to work with the team at STB again in the future.


Has Hannah’s account of her STB experience encouraged you to find out more about us? Why not email us at or call 01252 733999?

Market Research: Where language matters!


According to a review conducted by PwC, the market research industry has seen steady growth globally since 2012. The UK industry alone grew by 62% between 2012 and 2016. As such, with more organisations operating on a global scale, there has been a rapid rise in market research activities worldwide.


Thorough market research can help businesses gain an understanding of the characteristics of their market and evaluate the inherent challenges and opportunities. This is also an essential tool for measuring your own actions and successes against those of your competitors. Organisations are using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to understand their consumers and competition, and evaluating and adapting their marketing strategies accordingly.


Market research


Thanks to the growth in technology and infrastructure, businesses are now able to reach a much wider audience, and market and sell their products anywhere in the world. This is why it has become absolutely essential not only to speak to your target consumers in their language, but also to be aware of their cultural sensitivities. This is where multilingual translation comes in.


With the help of technology and translation, businesses have been able to conduct market research far and wide, so they can identify their consumers wherever they are and gather valuable information.


Ideally, they would involve a multilingual professional translation agency in the initial process of questionnaire design.


Translation companies can work with researchers to identify what target languages are required, suggest suitable glossaries and look at cultural sensitivities. Their main objective here is to anticipate any potential problems and draft questionnaires that are more appropriate for the target population. For instance, if you are preparing a questionnaire about using VOIP services, you will have to remember that a lot of them are banned across the Middle East and China.


International culture


In most cases, however, translation only comes into the picture once the questionnaire has been finalised in the source language.


Translation of questionnaires


A common problem that researchers face in international market research is having the questionnaire translated into the target language. This is because there may not be an appropriate equivalent for a concept used in the source questionnaire. Also, it can be difficult to transfer idioms, colloquial specifics and syntax.


A common problem that researchers face in international market research is having the questionnaire translated into the target language. This is because there may not be an appropriate equivalent for a concept used in the source questionnaire. Also, it can be difficult to transfer idioms, colloquial specifics and syntax.


When you work with a professional translation company, you can be sure that your translation is being done by linguists who are experts in both the source and the target language, have experience of translating surveys and questionnaires, and also have in-depth knowledge of the target culture.


There are two possible approaches when translating the source questionnaire into the target language(s):

Literal translation


You can translate your questionnaire directly from the source language to the target language without any cultural and linguistic considerations, which may adversely affect the intended meaning. This may be a cheaper approach as you can opt for machine translation, use a translation app or go for an amateur translator. But this is certainly not recommended, especially where diverse cultural groups are involved.

Literal translation


Creative translation


With this approach, the underlying meaning of each question is still retained but the translators can use their creative prowess to modify the question to ensure the target population can comprehend it as easily as the source audience. Similarly to the field of advertising, where the meaning and the cultural appropriateness are more important than the words used, creative translation/transcreation identifies and takes into consideration semantic, cultural and conceptual differences.



Back translation


To make sure none of the intended message is lost in translation, questionnaires are often back translated. This means, once translated into the target language, they are translated back into the source language.


This process helps in checking whether the original translation was accurate and the client requirements and tone have been taken into account. However, back translation will not highlight any errors within the original translation. Therefore, choosing a revision service might be a better option.



Most translation companies will recommend you have the translation revised by another native linguist. A skilled reviewer would compare the source document with the translation to identify any mistranslations and ambiguities, and fix them.


Translation of collected data


When an international survey is conducted with the market information collected in different native languages, the data gathered has to be translated into the source language so the market researchers can collate and analyse the results.




It is important to remember that the social and cultural behaviours of the target audience would have affected the survey results. Often, the fact that certain words don’t have an equivalent in different languages is less of a challenge than some concepts that don’t transfer across cultures.


You also need to take care with handwritten responses as there is a possibility of misinterpreting certain words or phrases. In such cases, getting a reviser to look at the translation is again quite useful.


Lastly, with a digital survey, it is best to have all supporting materials, including all correspondence, translated for context.


A translation company used to working with the market research industry should also be able to offer you transcription services to record on paper and translate (if necessary) any information gathered through audio and/or video interviews and focus groups.



Final thought!


If you are working on a tight budget, some translation companies can also offer you an alternative solution to getting your survey results translated. They can have a linguist go through the results instead and put together a summary for you. For instance, they can give you a list of how many answers were positive, negative or neutral. You’ll be charged an hourly rate for this service, which can be considerably lower than the cost of translating the entire document. But if you want more in-depth analysis, this option is not advisable.


You might also be tempted to have your market research questionnaire and responses translated through some of the free channels available – after all, the translation process can be an expensive one. However, as many have learnt in the past, the cost of this is nothing compared to the potential consequences of mistranslation!


If you would like a free consultation session about using translation in your market research project or simply want more information, call us today on 01252 733999 or email!

Machine translation = Google Translate?


In a previous blog post, we had a look at the dangers of using Google Translate for your documentation, and you don’t need to look very far to see examples of why this isn’t necessarily a great idea. However, the field of machine translation is much wider than this, and that is what we’ll be looking at in this article.


Google translate
When we say ‘machine translation’, Google Translate is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, just like any commercial service, machine translation is no one-size-fits-all product. Its sophistication varies, and there are even translation companies out there with such faith in their MT engines that they will charge for the texts that their machines churn out.


The reason for this difference is that MT engines can ‘learn’ to specialise. While Google Translate has learned from a broad range of texts, an MT engine can be fed content produced in a specific field or even by a specific company, meaning it learns better which terms are used in which contexts. It can also learn to improve its work by being sent human corrections of its translations. However, millions of words in the specialist field and hundreds of thousands of words of corrections are necessary to make a noticeable difference in quality.


Another way of improving the content produced via MT is to have it reviewed by a human translator. This process is called ‘post editing’. The human translator will focus on making sure that the MT is understandable, terminologically sound and accurate; for example, MT sometimes misses crucial words, such as ‘not’.

This post editing service does have its place. Imagine, that you’ve just received hundreds of pages of documents for a big tender with a foreign government agency. You need it quickly, you want it as low-cost as possible, and really you just need to know what it says. This is where an MT and post-editing service comes into its own. You sacrifice quality and style; but if all you want is to understand the technical details of the tender, it’s a great fit.



How much cheaper is it?

Well, that depends on the quality of output. A specialised and carefully trained engine translating a well-written French text will need much less post editing than an untrained or ‘baseline’ engine translating from a Japanese text containing typos. Most translation companies prefer to look at the MT and provide a flat fee or per-word quote. Sometimes companies will estimate the number of hours needed for the work. If the output is good and your requirements are unexacting, you may be able to get the post-editing for as little as half the price of a full professional translation.

However, even with post-editing, today’s machine translation is still far below the quality you can expect from a professional translator. For many texts, especially material that customers will read, a professional, human translator will always be the gold standard. There’s a big difference between language you can understand and language that is also engaging, precise and persuasive.

If you would like advice on whether MT and post-editing might be a suitable service for you, we’ll be happy to put our experience at your disposal. Please email us today at or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!

ITI Conference 2017 – An in-house translator’s view

The ITI Conference was an extremely exciting event for the five members of the STB team who attended, not least because we were presented with the ITI award for the best corporate member at the gala dinner as part of the ITI Awards 2017!

ITI Awards 2017

To be recognised by one of the industry’s professional bodies for our excellent relationships with clients and freelancers, our high standards and the role we are playing in our industry is a truly momentous achievement. We were really pleased to be able to bring this award back to our office in Farnham where it is now proudly displayed in our foyer.


STB ITI award at gala dinner


From start to finish, the conference was an inspiring and informative event with an extremely lively atmosphere. This year’s theme of ’Working our core: for a strong(er) translation and interpreting profession’ was consistently applied across three jam-packed days in Cardiff, as we developed our core skills of translation, editing and interpreting in mind-expanding and stimulating talks. There was also ample time for networking with old and new acquaintances from the profession, and let’s not forget the physical workout from fringe events such as running, yoga and singing!


Singing Translators
While I’ve been working as a professional translator for a number of years now, this was the first time I had attended the ITI Conference and it well and truly exceeded my expectations. My hat goes off to the organisers of the event for putting together such a fantastic programme! In these unsettled times of Brexit, it was reassuring to gather with such a talented group of like-minded professionals to discuss the future of our industry and languages in general. It is clear to me from my time in Cardiff that we are much stronger together and that we also have a common goal of raising awareness of our industry and raising standards.


For us, one of the highlights of the conference was the TED-style talk given by our very own Acting Head of Translation Operations, Richard Davis, on why translation agencies are a vital part of the industry. In his presentation, Richard made clear the responsibilities that agencies such as STB have to promote, strengthen and support our industry by utilising our collective in-house experience and knowledge, and ensuring that we use only qualified professional translators. This should aid us in furthering the work of organisations like the ITI in helping to foster professionalism and rigour in the language industry.

Given the shocking results presented by the organisers of a mystery shopper experiment for a marketing translation earlier that day, which revealed that not all agencies adhere to our high standards with the work they produce and the way they interact with clients, this was a useful opportunity to demonstrate our strengths as a language service provider and answer questions from freelancers and other agencies.


Richard at ITI


Speaking of our freelancers, we also had many fruitful discussions with freelance translators over the course of the conference. As an in-house translator, and having only worked on translation projects virtually with our freelancers, I enjoyed putting faces to names and making connections with translators who are keen to join our ever-expanding team!

Working in an industry where our currency is words, the keynote speech by Susie Dent, the renowned lexicographer of Countdown fame, was the perfect way to close the conference and the enrapt audience listened avidly as she took us through some of her favourite words and their meanings and history. Who knew that tree and truth share the same roots (if you’ll pardon the pun!) in the old English word ‘treow’ meaning steadfast?

Those of us who attended the conference couldn’t wait to get back to the office and share what we had learned– we came back with tips and tricks for best practice in translation and project management, new contacts for potential future partnerships and knowledge about the current trends in the industry, all of which will help to ensure STB stays at the top of its game.


By Chloe Jones

Call us on 01252 733999 or email if you would like to congratulate us on winning the ITI Corporate Member award or to discuss how we can offer you better service with the knowledge we gained from the ITI Awards conference.