All posts by admin

STB training videos go live on the eCPD website


At Surrey Translation Bureau (STB), offering training opportunities to our freelance translators is something we take a great deal of pride in, and we are always looking for new and effective ways to pass on the skills and knowledge that our team here in the office have built up.


One of the perks we offer our translators is training at our annual summer event for freelancers in Farnham (read all about our latest event in this month’s ITI bulletin). We have now gone one step further and created a series of videos in order to pass on this training to freelancers who live further afield, and even to other professionals working in the translation industry. We are delighted to announce that STB webinars are now available via eCPD, a platform dedicated to training videos and webinars delivered by professional linguists, and specifically relating to the field of translation.


STB webinars on eCPD

As you may already know, CPD stands for ‘Continuing Professional Development’ and is a key aspect of any translator’s career. Not only is it important to keep an official log of your CPD if you want to become a member of a professional body like the ITI, but freelance life can often mean long periods of time working alone and fewer opportunities to learn from your peers; keeping up with your CPD by watching webinars or training videos is an excellent way to stay connected to the industry as a whole. Webinars can enable you to stay abreast of the latest trends in translation, to start building up knowledge in more specialist areas, or to learn to use a new piece of software. And the best thing (we think!) about our own training videos, is that they are delivered in a way that feels like you’re learning from a colleague, much in the way we all do here at STB HQ.


Our STB training videos deal with a range of topics, with the first set now live on the eCPD website covering formatting, OCR software and the quality assurance tool Verifika. There is more information on these videos below, and you can also find full descriptions on the eCPD website. The videos are perfect for newcomers to the industry, as well as seasoned professionals who want to add new skills to their repertoire.


Better translations with Verifika


In our video on Verifika, we explore some of the key functionalities of our quality assurance (QA) tool of choice. As well as picking up handy hints on building customisable profiles, you’ll see a live demo of Verifika in action. It’s perfect for translators looking to add that extra level of polish to their translations.


The Art of Formatting – Parts 1 and 2

stb webinar


In the first two parts of our formatting series, we explore some of the most useful functionalities of Microsoft Word as well as some of the best OCR tools on the market. It’s perfect for translators who would like to take on .pdf to Word jobs, or prepare .pdf files for use within the CAT tool environment.


We’ll be adding more videos to the collection over the coming months, so stay tuned for other ways STB can help you expand your skillset and increase your profitability. Call us on +44 (0) 1252 733999 or email for more information about these training videos.


By Amey Higgon

There is more to Surrey Translation Bureau than just… translation!


Have you ever gone to a printing agency and realised they provide more than just printing solutions – maybe design services or creative consultation just to name a few? Many businesses within the professional sector are now expanding their horizons to stay on top of the competition as well as to offer a one-stop shop to their clients.


We want to be able to offer every service that our clients need: this is what strives our passion for excellent customer service as well as our fantastic professional services, so much so that we’ve recently been shortlisted for the Surrey Business Awards in both categories!


Some of these additional services have been in our portfolio for quite a while, whilst some have been recently introduced to meet the growing needs of our clients. Here is a quick look into what else you can ask us for with your translation projects:





Accuracy is key. Once we have completed your translation, a second translator will compare your translated document to the original source to double-check that the terminology and style are spot on. This is an important add-on if your document will be used for external purposes.


Notarisation and legalisation


Pen and stamp for legal translation

A popular service amongst both our individual and legal clients; we can get your translation legalised or notarised, depending on your needs.



SEO translation


SEO translation

For businesses trying to reach an audience overseas, translating your website and SEO campaign may be an essential part of your export plan.


We will firstly translate your website content, keeping in mind factors such as culture, humour, context and local dialects.


Then, if you want the foreign language version to be optimised for search engines in the target market, we will research the top keywords and include them within the page content, meta descriptions, page titles and image alt descriptions.





Whether you are working on a film project, recording an interview for marketing purposes or just creating a video to explain the workings of your equipment, we can help by providing subtitles for your video in most languages, in turn making it suitable for an international audience.




Localisation US UK

Accessibility on a global scale is becoming essential for growing businesses, and that’s where translation comes in. But what about in the English speaking world? It’s still commonly thought that when it comes to English, everyone speaks and understands the same language, however, US English can in fact be very different to UK English or Australian English. That’s where localisation comes into the mix.


Localisation involves adapting your text to a country or region where there can be significant differences in vocabulary and grammar. When we localise your text, we also consider cultural sensitivities, currencies, date format, addresses and phone numbers, plus any idiomatic and slang expressions.


Desktop publishing


Desktop publishing

You’ve had your brochure translated into Arabic for use in the Gulf market, but the formatting of the text is all wrong?


We can provide desktop publishing (DTP) and typesetting services, where we set the translation into your document template. The final PDF will then be checked by the translator or reviser to ensure that the end product replicates the original document.


We would highly recommend this service for languages which use non-Latin script, such as Arabic, Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali.





As companies become increasingly global in nature, the need to overcome cultural and linguistic challenges to advertise products or services in different countries becomes more apparent.


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


Transcreation entails adapting a brand message for a different language whilst retaining the same impact as the original. When a slogan is transcreated, for instance, the aim is to produce a translation that has the same effect as the original, and not necessarily replicate the original wording, unlike ‘normal’ translation.


Post-editing of machine translation



If you have had your document machine translated and are confident of its overall quality, then we can offer ‘light’ post-editing to make it clear and accurate, which in some cases, can be the most efficient and cost-effective solution.


The post-editor will check that no text has been left untranslated, added or omitted, and that the translation accurately conveys the original meaning and ensure that any glossaries provided have been adhered to.


Having a skilled and diverse team, which is passionate about languages, enables us to give you more options when you come to us. Translation will always be our core offering, but any related requirements then also become a part of our services. So rather than, going to three different agencies for a single project, talk to us to see if we can deliver you a complete package, making the whole process quicker, more efficient and possibly more cost effective.


If you want to find out more about the services we offer or have a project in mind, please get in touch with our multi-award winning team at or call +44 (0) 1252 730014.


Written by Marya Jabeen

Meet Central Europe 2019: Presenting, learning, networking and more!


Our Head of Resource Management, Allison, recently attended the second annual Meet Central Europe Conference, held in Prague, Czechia from 9–11 October 2019. The conference saw Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) make its international presentation debut as Allison spoke with attendees about our Internship and University outreach programme.


Meet Central Europe Conference 2019

This is the first time STB has attended the MCE conference and it did not disappoint! As well as meeting many new faces, Allison also had the chance to catch up with some long-standing clients. Meeting in person and putting a face to an email address is an important part of building trusting relationships with our clients and the conference Gala dinner provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. Held at the world-renowned ‘Dancing House’ by the Vltava River, it provided striking panoramic views of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle – the perfect setting to relax and catch up with colleagues!



While there was ample opportunity to network and speak with clients, the primary focus of the conference was on resource management processes. In other words, best practices for recruiting and maintaining relationships with freelance linguists and agency suppliers. Qualified, talented and passionate linguists are the foundation of our high-quality translation services, so developing a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with our freelance translators lies at the heart of our work in STB’s Resource Management department.


Allison’s presentation, ‘From Student to freelancer: how agencies can support new entrants’ focused on how translation agencies and academia can work together to bridge the ‘skills gap’ that students often experience when first entering the translation industry. She discussed STB’s very own university outreach programme and our internship, seminar, training and feedback initiatives which have been rolled out to more than five universities across the UK, and the positive returns we have seen since starting the programme in 2014. Here at STB we feel that investing in student training and university outreach is the best way to ensure new entrants are prepared for the world of commercial translation, and we hope that the talk inspired other universities to give back to the industry in this way!


Allison giving her presentation

Our first experience at Meet Central Europe was certainly one to remember! Beautiful Prague was an idyllic setting for this year’s conference and our Czech hosts made us feel right at home. The conference in 2020 will take place Innsbruck, Austria. We look forward to seeing everyone in the Alps!


Get in touch with us to see how the knowledge we gain at these events manifests in the quality of work we offer you. Call us on 01252 730014 or email


Written by Allison Spangler

Our thoughts on the ATC Language Industry Summit 2019


For many in the industry, the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) Language Summit is a highlight in the calendar and, it goes without saying, this year was no different. The event provides an excellent opportunity for translation companies to get the lowdown on the latest technological trends and connect with new faces and old friends.


ATC Language Summit 2019


This year’s summit was held at the stunning Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich on 20th and 21st September and focussed on the theme “Business. Community. Evolution”. Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) was represented at the conference by our Director, George Cooke, Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey, and Sales Manager, Craig Howell, each one coming back with invaluable insights from the presentations and a host of business cards from the new contacts!


STB team


One of the most engaging topics from the first day was on mergers and acquisitions, both within the industry and outside. It was refreshing to know that despite the current climate of uncertainty, the UK has been consistently involved in a high number of cross-border deals, still staying on top as an attractive market for the global translation industry. The focus for rest of the day shifted from going global to selling local, stressing the value of having a thorough knowledge of the market in your immediate working vicinity. Day one of the conference closed by addressing another crucial topic that most people in the room could relate to – the challenge posed by late payments and what to do when the situation occurs.


The opening session from the second day was presented by Judy King from BBC Monitoring and proved very popular. Judy gave an interesting insight into how BBC monitoring works with a large team of skilled linguists to make sense of the news stories coming from around the globe. The session revolved around the use of automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine translation (MT) to analyse and filter data to assist linguists. This session was followed by a forum-type discussion on Brexit, with presentations on keeping your staff motivated and a thought-provoking sales case study after lunch. The event closed with the much-anticipated report from ATC Language Industry Survey 2019, as evaluated by market research consultants Nimdzi. The audience in the room were pleased on hearing about a healthy 17% year-on-year growth in combined revenue of language service providers!


ATC conference


The conference certainly met our expectations:


“There were some new and enthusiastic association members at the conference, and I was pleased to see the ATC giving them the opportunity to get involved right from the word go.”– George Cooke, Director, STB


“The conference provided an excellent opportunity to network with similar and like-minded individuals from the industry and uncover potential avenues for collaboration.”– Craig Howell, Sales Manager, STB


Industry conferences such as those organised by the ATC, ITI or Elia serve as a one-stop shop for information on the latest technological trends, industry news and external factors that impact the language market. The events are also excellent platforms for meeting colleagues and existing suppliers, finding new ones and getting our own services out in front of the larger agencies, which otherwise would be hard to reach out to.


Get in touch with us to see how the knowledge we gain at these events manifests in the quality of work we offer you. Call us on 01252 730014 or email


Written by Marya Jabeen

Plunet: An exciting new change!


At the start of this financial year, Surrey Translation Bureau went live with its strategic goal of implementing new and exciting translation management software called PlunetBusinessManager. The software helps to monitor and track our translation projects from start to finish, right from a quote request through to invoicing and account management. We pride ourselves on offering efficient and knowledgeable project management and we believe PlunetBusinessManager will assist us in ensuring our customers receive excellent and punctual deliveries, all whilst meeting their individual requirements. Here are just a few ways that our new tool will benefit you, our clients:


Plunet dashboard


  • Improved project tracking

Plunet’s dashboard allows our team to keep a watchful eye on what’s what, in order to guarantee you get your files on time – if not before!

  • Upgraded sales history recall

When a client is on holiday, ill or has left the company, we often get called up by their colleagues who are left in the dark as to what to do with a translation request. They may not be aware what service has been previously provided and under what terms. Fear not, we can help! We store previous sales and language pairs offered, so we can ensure that even if you aren’t quite familiar with the process, you can trust that we know what we’re doing!

  • Precise translator history

Our project tracking means that we can check who translated your previous projects and select them again and again to ensure your brand message and documentation is translated consistently. It’s important that if our translators ask questions about a project, that you don’t have to keep repeating yourself too, and by tracking our translator usage carefully, we can be sure that the translator working on your project already has all the answers.

  • Documented GDPR compliance

PlunetBusinessManager offers strict options for monitoring and adherence to agreed retention periods for data collected from quotes, orders and invoices. What’s more, all changes related to client entries are tracked, with strict user rights groups to ensure that staff can only view content relevant to their job.

  • Refined account management

We value regular contact with our clients and we place great emphasis on making sure that we continue to offer you the most appropriate service to meet your translation requirements. By using its client relationship features, PlunetBusinessManager helps us to monitor client discussions and support account management transparency for all parties working on your project. This ensures our team are all on the same page when it comes to your translations!


We will keep you informed of any changes or updates that may affect you, but if you want to know more please feel free to get in touch via and one of our team will get back to you.


Written by Hannah Stacey

Lessons from teaching English as a foreign language


Welcome to the third and final blog in our native English series. So far, we’ve touched on our favourite parts of teaching English as native speakers, as well as the aspects we found most challenging. In this final edition we’ll discuss the lessons we learnt as teachers, and what we brought back with us into our studies or work.


I think it would be fair to say that everyone at STB who taught English as a foreign language learnt that it’s a very difficult profession. That being said, the rewards definitely made the hard work worthwhile.


Here are some of the things our colleagues brought back with them:


“Colloquialisms can demonstrate the depth of language knowledge a student has and make their English sound natural. By the same token, localisation and adaptation of culture-specific items when translating is crucial for making the target text suitable for the target culture and, most importantly, fit for purpose.”


“Although you may have lots of experience with a language (these students had already spoken basic English for many years), it’s never too late to learn more or get a fresh perspective.”


“Even when students were really good, it was often the case that they would interpret some English expressions too literally or miss some nuances and cultural references, especially when they’d never lived in an English-speaking country before. This made me realise that there’s a very good reason why the standard in the translation industry is to only translate into your native language, especially when it comes to marketing or creative texts!”


Language is such a diverse subject that you really must be prepared for every situation you go into. The same stands for translation projects – every project needs time set aside for research and fact-checking, as well as quality assurance before delivery.


At Surrey Translation Bureau, we’re able to provide the highest quality of translations into English, both US and UK, performed by native speakers working in-country. Our collective experience has taught us that there is no substitute for a native speaker, and our translations are always performed to this standard.


Please contact us at or on +44 (0)1252 730014 for more information on the services we offer.


Written by Jessica Truelsen

Give your financial business a global voice


For those working in the finance sector, it is essential that all documents are comprehensible, clear and accurate, including those translated into foreign languages. Specialist knowledge and writing skills are both key to producing a high-quality translation of the original documents.


Financial documents


Globalisation has meant rapid growth among multinational corporations, and operating globally means there is always a need for business plans, audit reports, fact sheets, commercial presentations, sales forecasts and reports in either the language of the local offices or the country where the company is based. Whether it is an investment bank, mortgage firm or finance company, the protocols differ depending on the country. It’s best to opt for a translation partner that not only understands the subject, but also the specific financial terminology used in the country the documents will go to.


financial sector

Need for privacy and confidentiality


Financial documents often contain company trade secrets so there is an increased need to maintain confidentiality and privacy when translating such sensitive documents.


Data privacy is of the utmost importance if you have proprietary content that needs to be translated, so you may want to rethink using an automated machine translation service in this case. For Google Translate specifically, the following clause states that you are giving Google the right to use and share the content you translate using their service:


google terms


A professional translation company will take GDPR seriously and have confidentiality as an integral part of their business processes. For instance, Surrey Translation Bureau has a dedicated GDPR compliance officer, and confidentiality and data privacy are covered under its BS EN ISO 17100:2015 certification. Furthermore, all staff and translators have signed contracts with the company to ensure client data is protected.


Regulatory requirements


Whether it’s the business contract, companies’ terms and conditions, financial transcripts or safety regulations for employees, professional translation can protect companies against massive lawsuits, profit losses, PR nightmares and baseless controversies. An example of how things can go wrong is a 2011 case in China, where a contract between a local and a foreign company mistranslated “dry docking” as “tank washing,” and another policy had domestic “service” wrongly translated as domestic “flights.” This led to conflicts between the two parties about their rights, obligations and the share of costs.


financial document

A professional agency will:

  • – ensure the translation is correct and comprehensible, by using qualified translators who are native speakers, specialise or have experience in that specific branch of finance and are conversant with the relevant financial terminology
  • – offer quick turnaround without compromising on the quality of the translation to ensure deals or contracts are not delayed in the process. At STB, we often deal with urgent requests for our clients.
  • – make sure the translation is valid in the country concerned and for its stated purpose, by staying up to date with the current regulations
  • – give you peace of mind about the confidentiality of your critical documents. Most professional agencies comply with GDPR regulations and are also willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement with clients.


If you would like to discuss the translation of your financial documents, please contact our award-winning team at or call 01252 730024.


Written by Marya Jabeen

University, office and back


As a languages graduate, I have already used my language skills for work, both in the UK and abroad, but the internship at Surrey Translation Bureau was my first proper experience of the language services industry and my first insight into the kind of work I could be looking for after finishing my Masters next September.


Internship in translation

Having not yet started the masters in Interpreting and Translating, I am still unsure whether I will prefer or even be better at translating or interpreting. Nevertheless, working at STB has not only reassured me of the variety of work for linguists, but also of the supportive nature of the industry. I enjoyed the in-house office environment as you can be part of a team you enjoy working with which, more importantly, provides numerous opportunities to learn from those with more experience and to support those with less (just as they have done for me throughout the last month).


As a student at the start of her career in the language services industry, it is very reassuring to see so many women at different stages of their career working and thriving. The flexibility for employees to work part-time or from home not only accommodates for personal preference of work style, but also for young children and any personal or familial situation – a modern workplace!


I have had the opportunity to shadow a variety of roles during my internship, including translation, revision, proof-reading and localisation, as well as project and resource management, GDPR compliance, and roles in sales, marketing and accounts, some of which I had only ever heard of in passing before now. The wide range of jobs available in the language services industry not only allows for personal lifestyle, but also evolving professional interests. Even if you are unsure whether you would like to be a full-time or freelance translator, I would highly recommend an internship at a translation agency as this will give you the experience of other roles that involve daily contact with translation and international clients. You can still take on the occasional proofread, edit or localisation if desired to keep your interest and passion for languages and cultures alive.



I have had such a fun and enlightening month gaining news skills and knowledge at STB. There is such an inclusive and (dog-)friendly work environment in their office in Farnham – their summer BBQ and charity sports month which included hula-hooping, welly-wanging and egg and spoon races being just two examples of the workplace fun. These kinds of activities clearly boost morale and the enjoyment of work so that, when trickier projects arise, issues are resolved not only by fellow colleagues, but by friends.


I am finishing my time at STB feeling better-informed to investigate every opportunity during the MA and am ready to find my niche within an industry I already cannot wait to join!


If you are interested in internship opportunities with Surrey Translation Bureau, please send your CV and a cover letter of what you would hope to gain from the experience to our intern coordinator, Amey Higgon, at


Written by Natasha Craig

Challenges of teaching English as a foreign language


Welcome to the second blog in our native English series. We’ve been exploring the value in learning English from a native speaker, and how using a native English translator can really affect the quality of your translation. In this edition, we’ll explore the aspects of teaching English as a foreign language that our colleagues found challenging.



English is a notoriously tricky language to pick up, mainly because we have a fair few rules (all with exceptions, of course), oddities and a lot of idiomatic phrases that aren’t used anywhere else.


Idiomatic language


The first hurdles were vocabulary and turns-of-phrase. Idiomatic language plays a huge part in demonstrating the depth of knowledge of a language, but it can be a very tricky thing to learn, as well as teach, as the concepts are often so deeply embedded in culture. A perfect example was, “trying to explain why a task will be ‘a piece of cake’ to a Polish student who doesn’t quite find it ‘a roll with butter’, as they’d say at home!” Although challenging, one of our colleagues found this aspect really rewarding – if a student can use idiomatic language appropriately and confidently, it shows a real command of that language, and helps them understand some of the culture surrounding it.




As English is generally considered to be the international ‘lingua franca’, a lot of our colleagues found themselves teaching students who had been learning and using English for many years already. Sometimes, this meant that the teachers had to undo years of bad habits and try to retrain the students to think about their use of grammar and ‘faux amis’ (or false friends, that is to say a word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person’s native language, but a different meaning). More often than not, bad habits evolve from using English vocabulary in the same grammatical construction as the speaker’s native language. For example, many French speakers will say ‘I have 30 years’, in an attempt to tell someone their age. In English, we use the verb ‘to be’ when discussing someone’s age, so a speaker would say ‘I am 30 years old’, but the French phrase ‘j’ai 30 ans’ uses the verb ‘avoir’ (to have).



One of the most confusing aspects of English is the large difference in meaning between seemingly similar words. One of our colleagues had a very difficult time trying to explain the difference between ‘close’ by (position) and ‘close’ (to shut) to their group of Spanish students – they really struggled to hear and replicate the difference between the s’s. More examples of heteronyms are ‘bow’ (tied with a ribbon) and the ‘bow’ of a ship, or ‘lead’ (for a dog) and ‘lead’ (metal element).




Another interesting hurdle we came across as teachers was tone. When one STB colleague was tasked with teaching English for a business setting, it became apparent that terminology wasn’t going to be the main issue – the students were struggling with “the British way of dealing with things”. By this, we mean lots of apologies, the ‘customer is always right’ attitude, and overly polite expressions that seem to dictate the way we communicate in a professional environment. Other cultures are much more direct, usually arguing why and wanting to explain, leaving no room for ambiguity or mistake. When communicating with a British client, however, the students were taught that they would be expected to explain why, but also offer a solution and most importantly, empathy and understanding. 


Next week will see our final instalment in this blog series – come back to find out the lessons we brought back with us and any advice we’d give to those in the industry. Please contact us at or on +44 (0)1252 730014 for more information on the services we offer.


Written by Jessica Truelsen

Fun of teaching English as a foreign language


At Surrey Translation Bureau, we’re very proud to be able to provide translations into English by UK-based, native UK English speakers. To highlight the importance of these two criteria, we’d like to share some of our own experiences with English as a foreign language.


Between our staff members, we have over 7 years’ experience teaching English as a foreign language in countries outside of the UK. Some did this through university or alongside studies or other work, and some started on their own, using their knowledge of their native languages to help others. It’s often said that teaching is one of the best ways to learn, and I think it’s safe to say that we all came back having learnt a few lessons of our own.


This is the start of what will be a three-blog series on our collective experience, illustrating the nuances of the English language and the importance of translating into your mother tongue.


Our Translation Project Management Team Leader, Katie Magill, pictured with her students in Sydney, Australia


To begin with, we have the fun stuff. The stories that still make us laugh today when we tell them to our friends and colleagues, and the aspects of teaching English that we enjoyed the most.




Location was definitely one of the most popular perks of the job. All of our collective experience happened outside of the UK, which was lovely, but also ranged from private tuition in Bologna’s finest coffee shops, to teaching vocabulary in a mechanic’s workshop! Learning a language really can happen anywhere and at any time. The more varied the better, as this brings up situations that wouldn’t necessarily occur to teachers in a classroom setting. It was also ideal for the teachers to see first-hand how the students could and would use their English skills.




A second perk of the job was seeing the improvements in students’ abilities. One of our STB colleagues worked with business people and academics to improve their workplace English, to help them with writing emails, using professional greetings and speaking in a meeting environment. Another colleague gave private tuition to students who already had a basic grasp of the language, but had picked up some bad habits along the way. Much to the teachers’ delight, the students came on leaps and bounds in only a few lessons, as they were able to imitate the way in which STB colleagues would naturally construct a sentence, without being affected by outside influences.




Another aspect of teaching English that brought a smile to our faces was the creativity involved. Some of our team used wacky ideas to engage their students and encourage them to use English in a way that felt different to their own native language. One STB project manager focussed on teaching phrases for selling and persuasion, so the class set out pretending to be from different planets and had been sent into space to convince other ‘aliens’ to move to their planet. Other colleagues wanted to give their students a look into pop culture and language, so one class of Spanish teens learnt the words to ABBA’s hit ‘Dancing Queen’ and choreographed a full routine! Nothing says fun like a 70s’ throwback. A group of French boys were also given a gap-fill exercise, that included listening to the best of Arctic Monkeys, the Beatles and good ol’ Wizzard (Christmas edition).


Come back again next week for our second instalment, and find out how we navigated our way through some of the trickier elements of teaching!


Please contact us at or on +44 (0)1252 730014 for more information on the services we offer.


Written by Jessica Truelsen