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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!


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.


Transcription: speaking volumes


When you mention translation to someone from outside the industry, they may well initially think of real-time translation of spoken content, or interpreting as it is known, as is familiar from the European Parliament, for example. Their second thoughts –often after being corrected! – may then turn to the translation of written documents. But one often-overlooked activity within the field combines aspects of both written and spoken translation; I’m referring here to transcription.


Put simply, transcription involves converting speech, predominantly from a recording, into a written document. Although it may be quicker and more efficient to use an interpreter who can orally ‘translate’ there and then, you may want to think carefully before putting your hand in your pocket as this can prove a somewhat expensive and complex process. Transcripts are useful as they serve as a means of written reference for what was said during a recording.




Whether you work in the media industry or in a field of research, transcription can prove vital in making effective use of your recordings. Our suppliers can transcribe what has been said and subsequently translate it. This means we can save you time, money and, perhaps more importantly, avoid the hassle of having to organise interpreters!


“So, how do your transcription services work?” I hear you ask! For any transcription project you may have – no matter the size – it will undergo two stages. The first step of the process will involve transcribing the source document; the second involves us providing you with a translation of that very transcript. Whether your audio/video recording is of an interview or a business meeting, our transcribers will make every effort to produce an account that is accurate and true to the spoken content.



Depending upon the end purpose of the transcript, you have two options to go for:


Smart transcription
This is an intelligent form of transcription, which excludes disfluencies such as ‘uh’, ‘like’ and ‘er’ and also unnecessary prompts or disruptions. This is relevant for business meetings where you want to keep the transcript professional.


Verbatim transcription

Sometimes transcription isn’t the final product, but part of a process like editing of a recording. It can be useful to get a verbatim transcription, where every sound in the recording is noted down. This way the editor will know which sections to cut out and which ones to keep.



Most companies offering transcription services will also add time stamps in the transcript for your reference. The time stamps help you to identify different sections of the recording. When your recording is in a foreign language, you might also consider asking the agency to add time codes, which involves inserting audio or video timings (hours, minutes and seconds: normally in the format 01:06:40) into the transcript at regular intervals or when a new speaker begins talking.

Transcription at Surrey Translation Bureau

We are happy to transcribe any of our supported languages and charge based on the time taken to accurately record all the data in writing. We work with many languages including but not limited to Spanish, French, Korean, Finnish, Dutch and Chinese. As a rough guideline, it can take up to an hour to transcribe five minutes of recorded content.



If you have any questions regarding how to go about transcription or would like us to give you a quote for one, please email us today at or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999. We look forward to hearing from you!

Export marketing – Developing a plan that won’t get “lost in translation”

No matter where you stand in the great British Brexit debate, there is one thing we can all agree on: the pound is taking a real hammering in the currency markets.


This isn’t necessarily great news for everyone. A family holiday in Dubai currently costs around 25–30% more than it would have a few years ago and, if you’re an importer, the chances are your costs have significantly increased, whether buying in from the EU or elsewhere in the world.


As the saying goes, however, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and in this case the good news is that we have become a cheaper prospect for those abroad – cheaper to buy from, cheaper to visit and cheaper to do business with. This means EXPORT.


Now is without question the right time to invest time and energy into exploring some of those hugely lucrative foreign markets; not only to take advantage of the low pound, but also to help secure an international future in whatever post-Brexit trade landscape we are left with.


Doing business abroad can go wrong all too easily. That’s why it is important to develop a plan that takes into account the inherent differences involved; differences in language, people, politics, world views, geography, and myriad other factors that can impact a business venture when it’s removed from its cultural comfort zone.


Marketing yourself to potential foreign clients will be an important aspect in your success. So, here are some quick tips on how to ensure your message doesn’t get lost in translation.


1. Invest time in research


Would you throw yourself off a diving board without knowing there was some water below? No? So why do the same when throwing yourself into export? There is a market for you out there somewhere; the trick is to locate the best market for you, i.e. the most profitable, the quickest to market or the easiest to set up. This understanding only comes with proper research. Spend time familiarising yourself with potential markets, their practical challenges, marketing practices. Learn as much as you can about the people, politics, economy, media and current affairs in the region.

2. Analyse the competition



An excellent way to better understand a new potential market is to watch what your competition is doing, whether domestic or international. If there are domestic players in your market, analyse their route to market and how they promote themselves. Examine their goods/services, and get a sense of any potential gaps in their offering. Similarly, if you have seen other foreign companies break into a new market, scrutinise how they did it and what made them successful. Learn from others, adjust and improve; always keep an eye on your own USP and how best to convey it.

3. Respect cultural differences


There is much more to culture than whether to shake someone’s hand or bow. Cultural differences can cause havoc when exporting if not given due consideration. Values, buying habits, marketing channels, colours, logos, and even how your product or service functions, can and will differ when operating in a foreign market. Carry out a full cultural audit of your offering before jumping into any market to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

4. Localise your language


It is well documented that consumers are much more comfortable buying something sold to them in their own language. Language creates trust; it is therefore crucial to make sure that the language you use is tailored specifically for your target audience, i.e. localised. All marketing collateral should be translated and localised by a professional who is familiar with the target market and sector to ensure that your company, service or product is positioned correctly.


5. Look at local marketing channels


Social media
Just because Facebook and PPC advertising works in your domestic market, there is no guarantee that it will in your export market. Marketing channels differ from country to country. In one country, search engines and SEO may be the quickest way to market; another may rely on printed catalogues and mailing lists; others may rely on newspaper advertising. Be flexible and open minded when it comes to how you market yourself.

6. Prepare your sales team

sales team

One of the biggest mistakes many exporters make when entering new markets is to plough all their time, money and energy into breaking into the market. They tend to forget about dealing with actual customers and processing sales. If you export to China how will your team deal with that first email or phone call in Mandarin? If your sales team are not trained, prepared and equipped to deal with the market there is little point.

7. Travel and build relationships




If you think you will be able to sell to a new market successfully without visiting it, think again. Much of the business world outside of the West tends to prefer dealing with people face-to-face; trust and personal relationships are very important. Accordingly, it’s worth investing time in travelling to the country to meet potential clients and the competition, and attend trade fairs, etc. The more time you spend in and with your market the more insight you will have; the more insight you have the greater your chance of success.


This is a guest blog by Neil Payne.  


Bio: Neil Payne spent 10+ years working in translation and localisation before setting up Commisceo Global, a training company specialising in cross-cultural training and consultancy which helps clients gain access to and work in the global marketplace.

Why ask for creative translation of marketing materials?



Original: ‘Finger-lickin’ good’
Chinese translation: ‘We’ll eat your fingers off’







Marketed its ‘Pinto’ model in Brazil, where ‘pinto’ is a slang term for ‘tiny male genitals.’







Original: ‘Turn it loose’
Spanish Translation: ‘Suffer from diarrhoea’




These examples might sound funny to us, but spare a thought for those behind these creative mishaps. They would have had to scrap million-dollar campaigns and invest further time and money on fixing the negative image created by these translation blunders.

There is a valuable lesson we can learn from these mistakes – never forget the intention of the original message and research your target audience.

As companies become more global in nature, the need to overcome cultural and linguistic challenges to advertise their products or services in different countries is growing.

This is where creative translation or ‘transcreation’ comes in.



Transcreation means adapting a message from one language to another without losing its intent, style and context in translation. When a slogan is transcreated, for instance, it holds similar implications and evokes the same emotions for the target audience as it did in the original language.

Transcreation requires the original text to be translated accurately, keeping in mind other factors like culture, humour, context and local dialects. Your marketing material will not have the desired impact if the content lacks the understanding of local cultures, beliefs and values.




Why is transcreation important?

Because it will help establish your reputation as a truly global company and boost your revenues


‘Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline’; The Chinese translation of this famous tagline for American cosmetics company Maybelline moved away from literal translation. The slogan was transcreated as ‘Beauty comes from within, beauty comes from Maybelline’.



The translation for the word ‘Maybelline’ can be broken down into three characters/words, which mean beauty, treasure and lotus respectively. So the tagline emphasized the idea of beauty and also portrayed the brand as a treasure of beauty. The Chinese word for ‘beauty’ also sounds like the English word ‘may’, thus adding an extra layer of meaning to the translation, retaining the tone of the source message and conveying it elegantly in the target language.

Because you will be able to maintain the uniqueness of your brand and make it relatable for the target audience

When Xbox entered the French market, they didn’t go for a literal translation of the tagline ‘Jump in’; instead, they transcreated it to ‘Lance-toi’, which means ‘Launch yourself’. This way they still conveyed the unique message of Xbox while keeping the tagline snappy for their young French audience.

What to consider when translating marketing copy?

1. Idioms, humour and metaphors
Never underestimate the challenge of translating something that is funny in one language into another. Hilarious jokes can fall completely flat if translated literally. Similarly, for wordplay, metaphors and puns, it’s better to go for transcreation that takes into consideration the target culture and idioms. The result may differ considerably from the original text when taken literally; however, it will convey the intended message in the context of brand guidelines and local sensitivities.

2. Audio & visual aspects
Much like the written text, sometimes even more so, visual (or aural) elements are vital in defining brand identity. If cultural sensibilities are not taken into consideration, promotional materials can lead to negative connotations or very confused audiences!

In Africa, since a lot of people cannot read, companies normally put pictures of what is inside the packaging on the label. Think about what image of Gerber people in Africa would have formed in their heads, when the company started selling baby food there with the packaging featuring a cute baby!

3. Cultural discrepancies
To give an example of what can happen when you don’t pay attention to your target market, a popular brand from US, ‘Puff’, didn’t really gain traction on the German market. It was only later that the company realised that ‘Puff’, in colloquial German, means ‘brothel’!


But these are not the only challenges of translating marketing materials. There are also technical aspects to consider.


Technical considerations

It may well be the case that your creative department or agency will not be comfortable or skilled in working with the languages into which you want your marketing collateral translated. Even if they have the translated text back, it can be daunting for them to typeset in terms of ensuring everything is in the right place.


If you are outsourcing it all, you need to make sure the translation agency or translator is competent in transcreation; equally important is being technically equipped to work directly with the design files or your website’s CMS (Content Management System).


With Surrey Translation Bureau, you can send us the artwork files, login details for the platform or just the hyperlink to your website and we’ll translate it all. We can upload the translated content directly to your website (with access) and deliver print-ready files for your marketing materials.

Call us on 01252 733999 or email to find out more.

How to market translation services to your potential clients?


Picture the scene: somebody needs a service which you provide and they simply arrive at your office and ask you to help. Sound unlikely? Well, that’s because this hardly ever happens.
For starters, a lot of companies don’t realise that to reach a global audience they need to have their commercial, legal and marketing materials in different languages. Even if potential clients understand how vital high-quality translation can be for their business, a translation agency needs to be aware they are not the only fish in the sea. With the buzzing and booming translation industry, you face fierce competition from other agencies, both big and small, and even freelance translators. To stand out, you need a marketing plan. Here are some tips to help you keep ahead of the pack:


• Know your competition – You can keep reassuring yourself that the smaller translation agencies have limited followers or an unimpressive website, or you can aspire to compete with the bigger players by researching what they are doing with a view to attracting clients. Knowing which companies are taking the biggest share of your market will help you to define the edge you have over them. It might be that personal touch with the client meetings you organise, or a long history in the language industry like Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) has.


• Aim for maximum exposure – Find out who your target audience is and try to reach out to as many people as possible within that circle. There is no harm in having a presence across all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram etc.); attending various networking events; joining different groups; writing plenty of blogs and articles for various websites and getting yourself featured in different publications. You never know when and where you will get noticed!


Social media
To give you a good example of this, one of our in-house translators, Jenny Mallinowski was on an Eagle radio show a couple of years ago. Very recently, another of our translators, Jonathan Wicks appeared on the Paul Miller Show on BBC Radio as a mystery guest, with listeners calling in trying to guess his profession.


Paul Miller show
These moments in the limelight translated into actual enquiries for us. One listener of the Paul Miller show sent us an email saying:
“The good thing is that I had no idea that such businesses as yours existed until I heard Mr Wicks on the Paul Miller Show last week and so if ever an occasion arises in the future where I want some translation done I shall know where to come.”
• Stand out as a company that knows the language business – From having your website in multiple languages, to writing for publications within the language industry; you need to make sure people know you are an expert in your field. Join organisations within the industry like ITI, ELIA and ATC and stay involved. Go one step further by joining panel discussions and holding talks about industry-specific topics.


ITI conference
STB is an ITI and ELIA member and regularly attends their events and seminars. We also contribute to the ATC blog and the ITI bulletin.
• Always remember SEO – Google is, and will be for the foreseeable future, one of your largest sources of new clients. That’s why, whatever you do in the digital world, you should always remember to include keywords. The higher your Google ranking, the greater your chances of generating new enquiries.


• Measure your success – With all your marketing measures, it all boils down to the objective of getting new leads to convert to actual sales. Take the time to go through analytical reports, keep track of offline enquiries and their sources, and invest in software that allows you to keep track of who is visiting your website and using what channel. Focus on the activities that generated the most leads, but keep revisiting the ones that didn’t work well by doing them differently the next time.


• Be bold, proactive and consistent – Experiment with new campaigns, reach out to your clients directly, react and respond to posts on social media.


Also, get involved with the community to create a positive image. For instance, STB joined hands with the non-profit organisation Translators without Borders in their ‘Simple Words for Health’ project (Read more about it here).


Translators without borders
Lastly, one very important rule is to always stay active, be on the radar at all times.


If you became aware of us from this blog and would now like us to demonstrate our linguistic capabilities, please email or call 01252733999.