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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

Celebrating 10 years at Surrey Translation Bureau


Hannah Stacey


Our Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey, has just reached a fantastic milestone at Surrey Translation Bureau, having been at the company for 10 years! With August being Women in Translation month, we take this opportunity to ask her about her career growth, her thoughts on industry changes and if she had any secrets for success…


I: Thanks for your time, Hannah. Let’s start from the beginning. What prompted you to join the translation industry?


Entering into the language industry was an easy choice for me – from the word go I was fascinated by other languages and puzzle-solving: I think the geek in me always saw translation as code-cracking! Pure enjoyment of modern languages at school led to a BA in French and Italian with German on the side. My BA had some elements of translation, but I didn’t really have a clue on what the translation industry had to offer. I spent a year working in Sydney and fell into a role translating documents on Venetian Renaissance architecture for a Faculty Dean. I loved the combination of research and study, and using my language skills in that way was both motivating and challenging. That led to my signing up for more study and an MA in Translation and Linguistics at Westminster. From there I would have taken any job with languages offered to me. Lucky for me that job was here, as a Project Manager at Surrey Translation Bureau back in 2009.


I: But that’s not your role now…


No, I worked from the ground up, although when I joined the Company there were just three PMs (now 9) so the Company and I have grown and evolved together. From project management I forged the resource management role (now team), before becoming what would equate to our Head of Project Management now. Since 2013 I’ve been in my current role as Head of Translation Operations, managing day-to-day operations of the Company related to our translation output.


I: So, what has been your biggest professional challenge?


Remaining ambitious and maintaining drive – you have to be patient in a small business environment! Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say and spreading out expenditure plays a huge part in strategic decisions. Likewise, decisions carry a lot of risk; for the Company and for the team members themselves; making them isn’t always easy when you work metres from each other.


I: And your experience as a woman in the translation industry?


My experience has always been that women are in the majority in the language industry and as such I’ve never felt like my personal development, growth, position or place has been limited or threatened. That said, I haven’t ever felt that I needed to stand out to be heard, as I’ve never been afraid to say what’s on my mind or call others out if needed. What’s more, I think the industry as a whole is perfectly set up to complement the life of a working mum, what with freelancers choosing hours to suit, the ability to work around different time zones to match your working preferences, and remote work being so dominant. In returning to work from maternity leave I put together a proposal that worked for the Company and for me and my new priorities. I have heard awful stories about how women are mistreated in returning to work, but I’m pleased to say it has not been my personal experience. That said I’d advise any women to be prepared to fight for what they want from life and if they are in the right company, things will work for you.


Hannah and Chloe


I: What would you consider your biggest achievement professionally?


I’m not sure I could put my finger on one thing specifically, but when I attend freelancer-focussed events and our extended team tell us we’re doing something right, I’m pretty proud. There aren’t many translation agencies out there that see all translators as such a highly valued part of the production chain. Perhaps it’s because our Company make-up stems from qualified language degrees, or perhaps it’s our family-focussed management, either way, I think it makes us stand out from the crowd and I wouldn’t want it any other way.


I: Sounds like you have a great system! So, what’s on the cards for you next?


Surrey Translation Bureau is going from strength to strength and I intend to help embrace and consolidate that. This year we presented at the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) Conference on post-editing, won a Corporate Member award and implemented translation management software, Plunet BusinessManager, to streamline efficiency, so we have a lot to build on. We have our first ever international presentation coming up at Meet Central Europe in Prague in October and a rebrand in the making, so we have some aces up our sleeves. You could say we’ve stacked the deck for success!


I: Thank you so much Hannah, I wish you and the team success for all your future endeavours.


If you would like partner with a translation company that has an award-winning team of experienced, qualified and professional linguists, get in touch with us at or call +44 (0)1252 730014.

A-level results and Brexit: Au revoir to French, but hola to everyone


Yesterday’s A-level results showed that Spanish has overtaken French as the most popular language studied at A-level for the first time, while the number of students taking German and French has fallen by 41 and 36 percent respectively. With Brexit looming in two months’ time, there are question marks over the UK and its future relationship with the EU, with many believing that European languages will become less valuable after 31 October. However, the British Academy warns that decreasing numbers in modern languages could harm the chances of the UK “achieving its strategic goals”, a view that all passionate linguists will agree with, particularly those working for a professional translation agency like Surrey Translation Bureau.




Boris Johnson’s statement earlier this week that “the single biggest deal we need to do is a free trade agreement with our friends and partners over the Channel” shows that the need for professional linguists will not suddenly disappear on 1 November – there will be a period of readjustment, no doubt involving contributions from both translators and interpreters, which will certainly maintain the need for proficient speakers of European languages at least in the short term. Depending on the results of these discussions, this need may even increase.


If, on the other hand, the UK’s ties with its European partners become less relevant in the future, it will need to increase international trade with other non-EU countries. If these countries are in South America or Africa, for example, proficient users of Spanish, Portuguese and French will be required. With this year’s A-level performance and the continued reduction in the overall number of students studying languages, one positive aspect is the increased number of job opportunities, both in the UK and abroad, for the few who do.


Equally, Brexit may create a demand for non-EU language combinations. According to fft education datalab, entries in other modern languages (which includes Italian, Russian and Chinese, among others) have overtaken entries for French, German and Spanish since 2016 – an exciting prospect for linguistic diversity among language enthusiasts.


A'level entries in French, German and Spanish


Even during the first week of my internship at Surrey Translation Bureau, I was surprised and delighted to discover the vast range of language pairs required by their clients for modern international trade from English to German to the more unusual request for English to Brazilian Portuguese.


Learning languages is hard as it requires perseverance and commitment, but doesn’t that make it more rewarding? At any level of study, a language will open up new worlds to you, for both personal enjoyment and for business. The current uncertainty surrounding Brexit means that no one can say which languages will be most sought-after for business in the future, but one thing is certain: in the multicultural professional world and our diverse modern society, learning a language will never be a waste of time.


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 (Intern at Surrey Translation Bureau)

The languages businesses speak (online!)


Whether you are just starting out or already have a global business, your online presence plays a vital role in taking your products and services to the right audience. The value and reach of your message increase the moment you start to make use of the global platform that is the internet. Your website, your social media posts and all other online avenues that carry your brand name are now the biggest influencers for your customer. However, with increased competition and changing consumer behaviour, customisation is key if you want to stand out from the crowd. This includes delivering your message in the language of the consumer.


“The Web does not just connect machines, it connects people” – Tim Berners-Lee.


According to a survey, consumers around the world prefer content in their native language, with around 60% of online consumers rarely buying from English-only websites.


The question is, which language/s should your online content be in? Even though it usually depends on your specific target market, the question becomes far more pertinent if you want to venture into the global marketplace. Logic might dictate going for the most spoken languages across the globe, so your products and services get the most coverage. According to Statistica, Chinese is the most spoken language in the world with English taking the third spot. So, why don’t we have most of our content in Mandarin (Chinese) first and then think about English?


Native languages


Because English remains the language of globalisation!




Used in 94 countries by 339 million  native speakers, and being the main language of the United States and an official language of the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa, to name a few, English is still the essential language for business.

English also still ranks highest in the list of the most commonly used languages among internet users at nearly 25%. Here is a look at this list:


Languages in the internet


However, having once being the lingua franca of the internet, English’s share of digital space has diminished somewhat, with Chinese, Spanish and Arabic all pushing into the list of top online languages. These languages dominate the internet, making up roughly 82% of the total online content.


Chinese (Mandarin)


Closely following the US economy, China has witnessed significant growth and expanded its reach across the world market, whether it’s for pharmaceuticals, engineering, technology or consumer goods.

Also, with the largest number of native speakers, you just can’t ignore the language in the digital sphere. By March 2019, China had topped the list of countries with the most internet users, with well over double the amount in the United States!




Spanish is the official language of 20 countries and the native tongue of 460 million people across the globe. With over 37.6 million native speakers, the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Along with other Spanish-speaking countries, such as Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, it offers a whole gamut of business opportunities.

There are currently 344 million Spanish-speaking internet users in the world, a number that is expected to grow with the predicted growth in purchasing power of the Spanish-speaking countries.




The Arabic language is spoken by 319 million speakers all over the world and remains the official language of many growing economies in the Middle East and Africa.

Internet access has continued to grow in the Arab-speaking regions. According to the mobile network operators’ global trade body GSMA, an estimated 65% of people in this region will own a smartphone by 2020. Also, with trade initiatives such as the ‘Digital Silk Road’ between Saudi Arabia and China, there is growing demand for digital content in Arabic.


Arabic language



There were around 140 million internet users in Brazil in 2016, making it the largest internet market in Latin America and also the fourth largest internet market overall. Recent trends predict that the internet penetration rate will grow to 61 percent by 2021.  Here is an interesting statistic: In 2018, 58.51 m users shopped online in Brazil!


Indonesian (Malay)


While e-commerce sales currently only account for five percent of Indonesia’s total retail sales, this figure is expected to rise to somewhere in the range of 17–30 percent in the next five years. According to McKinsey, the value of the e-commerce market is expected to reach USD 55–65 billion by 2022, having been just USD 8 billion in 2017. This gives you an indication of the growth of the digital economy of Indonesia, further adding to the importance of Malay as a language of world wide web.




French is the official language of over 29 countries throughout the world and the European Union as a whole. This automatically makes it a vital business language for the UK, considering in 2018 around 46.6% of UK exports by value were delivered to the European Union.

Also, most French-speaking countries, including France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg have seen a consistent rise in e-commerce. In France alone, revenue from the e-commerce market amounted to USD 49,929 m in 2019 and is expected to see healthy growth of 7.7% by 2023.




Japan is one of the fastest-growing online markets in the world. This could may be due to the single-language culture, steady economy growth rate, and a predominantly urban population.

In 2017, Japan had an estimated 82.59 million online consumers. By 2021, this number is estimated to rise by 6.33 million. With 93.3% of the population using the internet, Japan offers massive opportunities for e-commerce and digital marketing.


Japanese language



The historical influence of Soviet Union has ensured Russia remains an official language of the United Nations. It is also commonly used in some of the post-Soviet states that are now growing economies and offering many business opportunities.

Morgan Stanley projects online retail sales of physical goods in Russia will grow to USD 31 billion in 2020 from USD 18 billion in 2017, and could reach USD 52 billion by 2023. But despite the digital growth, Russia still has one of the lowest English proficiency levels in Europe.  This means that, to tap into the country’s e-commerce market, your business should be conducted in Russian.




Germany has one of the largest economies in Europe with a massive online presence. In terms of domain endings, Germany’s .de is the second most popular domain extension with 13.05 million websites registered. Furthermore, total online sales of goods and services in 2016 for Germany stood at around EUR 66.8 billion.

Many other countries with developing/developed economies, such as Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland also have German as an official language. So, having your content in German will open up a large market for your products and services.


If you are thinking about having your website content, marketing collateral or business documents translated in any of the above languages, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our award winning team!


Written by Marya Jabeen

The tennis lingo!


The Wimbledon tennis tournament is nearing its climax and this year’s tournament has given us a couple of interesting neologisms – ‘Murrena’ and ‘Serandy’ anyone?


As we wait for these to be added to the official vocabulary, let’s have a look at how this game with French origins captured the essence of so many different countries with its unique language.



Love: Even though this is a word we all hope to hear frequently, it doesn’t have quite such positive connotations for tennis players out on the court. In tennis’ scoring system, ‘love’ means zero points in a game. One popular theory is that it came from the French word l’oeuf, which literally means ‘egg’. Seems plausible – egg, zero, similar shape.


Deuce: ‘Deuce’ is derived from the old French word deus, meaning two, or from à deux de jeu, meaning two points are still required for either player to win the game.


Saudi Arabia

Racquet: Let’s cross continents for the origin of the word ‘Racquet’. This comes from a centuries-old Arabic word that translates as ‘palm of the hand’. This is because early tennis players actually used to use their palm to hit the ball. Thankfully, they wore gloves!



Let: The English influence on tennis is not just limited to Wimbledon. The word ‘let’, used when the ball hits the net and the point is played again, comes from the old English word ‘lettan’, meaning to block or obstruct.



Grand Slam: The phrase Grand Slam can be traced back to the 1930s when a famous Australian player had taken home all the three major titles and was in the running for the US Open. John Kieran, an American sports journalist, wrote that Jack Crawford had “nearly won something that didn’t exist,”, a ‘Grand Slam’. He took the term from the card game bridge. Ever since then, winning the Grand Slam has been the pinnacle of achievement all tennis players aspire to.


Ace: Americans can also take credit for the term ‘ace’, which was coined in the early 20th Century. It was sports writer Allison Danzig who first used the term to refer to a serve that is not returned by the opposing player.


Whatever the origin of the various terms used in tennis, they have certainly added flavour to the game. There are also many other terms in tennis which, despite being English, wouldn’t really strike you as being sporting lingo, fancy a ‘bagel’ anyone?


Give us a call on 01252730014 or email if you want to serve an ‘ace’ with multilingual content for your international market!


Written by Marya Jabeen

Being a freelance translator with Parkinson’s


I first joined Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) in September 2007. I was thrilled to officially enter the translation industry after graduating with my MA in Applied Translation Studies and quickly felt at home with the in-house team of linguists at STB. I stayed for three years before moving on to work in the city for a further five, ultimately going freelance in 2015 following the birth of my first child and a diagnosis of Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29.


Fast-forward several years, and I am flattered to have been approached to assist with some ad-hoc freelance project management cover at STB, especially given some of the unique challenges I sometimes face as a young person with Parkinson’s.


Although I’m six years post-diagnosis, I am still actively working, alongside raising two young children and volunteering, so I am very lucky to be afforded the flexibility of a freelance career. Being a self-employed linguist can sometimes be isolating, so I welcomed the opportunity to once again work in an office environment, and STB is an understanding employer that values my expertise and experience and sees past my medical condition.




Flexible working hours can really make a difference for working age people living with progressive chronic conditions. I personally work around my kids’ nursery drop-off/pick-up times; however, employer understanding when it comes to flexible start/finish times and medical appointments can improve working conditions for people living with long-term conditions who may experience fatigue, amongst other things. For many people, the possibility of working from home can also alleviate the pressure of stressful commutes and therefore increase productivity.


Typing is the most problematic issue I face in my work – my main PD symptoms being tremor and rigidity in my left-hand-side – and translation project management can be typing-intensive. Whilst deadline-oriented offices are often geared towards conversing via internal chat systems, I sometimes find it easier to talk to my colleagues in person as the less typing I need to do, the better. Encouraging verbal communications can improve colleague relationships and reduce the volume of typing required. Speech recognition is often recommended to me but, unfortunately, at least in this line of work, it has serious limitations.



My tremor is the most unpredictable symptom I experience, and for this reason I decided to openly inform my colleagues about my Parkinson’s on temporarily re-joining their in-house team. Any high or low in mood can set off my tremor, and it is often misunderstood as being due to stress, but this is not the only cause. All said, six years ago I had no idea how my illness would progress. Today, I’m delighted to be working at STB again in an industry I love.


More about my story:


My blog:


If you would like to speak to a member of the team at Surrey Translation Bureau about translation, please call 01252 730014 or email


Written by Ellie Finch Hulme

The need for professional translation of legal documents


Perhaps one of the most famous examples of why the translation of legal documents needs to be accurate is the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1840, the British government made a deal with the Maori chiefs in New Zealand; however, both sides were signing different versions of the treaty. In the English version, the Maori were to “cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty.” However, the Maori translation stated they were not to give up sovereignty, but only governance. Decades later, the meaning of this treaty is still unclear.


Treaty of Waitangi (Source: Archive New Zealand)


What is legal translation?


Legal translation is the translation of text into a different language(s) for use in a legal context. Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) has been offering quality legal translation to professional organisations, public sector, corporate and individual clients for over 30 years:

  • Professional organisations and/or public sector

Professional bodies such as the European Union, trade authorities and the NHS are in constant need of translation for their regulations, contracts or processes. Any errors may damage their reputation and delay important decisions. For instance, in 2011, a free trade agreement between the US and South Korea was delayed due to major errors in the translation of the draft agreement. This came shortly after similar delays in another agreement between South Korea and the European Union due to a whopping 207 translation errors in the document.

  • Corporate clients

Whether it’s the business contract, companies’ terms and conditions, financial transcripts or safety regulations for employees, professional translation can protect the companies against massive lawsuits, profit losses, PR nightmares and baseless controversies. In a 2011 case in China, 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.

  • Legal sector and individual clients

Most law firms and agencies use trusted translation partners to ensure they have their clients’ documents ready in the right language and format for use in cases relating to immigration, divorce, lawsuits, property settlement and the registration of patents, to name just a few.



A professional translation company like STB will not only give you precise translation, but also ensure it is ready to use by offering additional services such as notarisation or apostilles. This is particularly useful for individual clients who either don’t have the knowledge or the right connections to get their documents legalised for specific purposes.


In the UK, a common-law country, translators can obtain independent certification (as STB has), and can take an oath in front of a solicitor or notary public, confirming that the document is a true and accurate translation of the original and that they carried it out to the best of their ability. In civil law countries, such as Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain and South Africa, translators are usually appointed by court or by the state.


How to choose a good translation partner for legal documents


“The aim of legal translation is not to erase linguistic and cultural differences, but to accommodate them, fully and unapologetically. The legal translator needs awareness of how the text functions in the source country’s institutional, political, and economic context.” Leon Wolff, The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies


There are various reasons why you should always work with a professional, skilled and experienced team of translators when it comes to your legal materials.



A professional agency will:

  • – ensure the translation is correct and comprehensible, by using qualified translators who are native speakers and specialise or have experience in that specific branch of law.
  • – offer quick turnaround without compromising on the quality of the translation to ensure cases 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 it is to be used in and for the purpose it is meant for.
  • – take the hassle out of legalising the translated text, whether it is notarisation, Apostille or certification, based on the requirements of its final legal purpose. This means keeping up-to-date with changes in legal requirements.
  • – 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.


“I started using STB’s services when another supplier was unable to turn around a piece of work for me within the required time. I have used them ever since. All of the staff have been a pleasure to deal with and every time my sometimes-slightly-unorthodox requests have been put to them, they have always made every effort to find a way to accommodate me.”

Kieran Mitchell

Solicitor, Travel Law, Penningtons Solicitors LLP


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


Written by Marya Jabeen