Tag Archives: languages

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

Surrey Translation Bureau announce their star translator this quarter


At STB, we like to put the spotlight on our outstanding freelancers. This quarter our team has selected Beth Dennison as STB’s Star Translator!


Beth, a freelance translator residing in a tiny village in the peak district, completed her first job for STB in 2011 and has been supplying us with top-quality Chinese and Japanese to English translations ever since, specialising in medical and technical texts. Project managers appreciate Beth’s professionalism and lightning-fast replies to all requests, big or small. What’s more, Beth’s fearlessness in tackling complicated patent and medical translations is what makes her one of our top linguists – no PDF is too daunting, nor job too technical. Thank you Beth for your hard work! Read on to learn a bit more about our Star Translator.



Hi Beth, congratulations on becoming STB’s latest Star Translator! We’d love to learn a bit more about you, so can you first tell me what motivated you to become a translator?


I loved learning languages at school (French and German) and so decided at an early age that I wanted to make a career out of something I enjoyed. Then I started studying Chinese and Japanese because I thought they’d be interesting and useful, and they became my main language pairs.


French, German, Chinese and Japanese – that is quite impressive! What do you see as the benefits of speaking another language?


For me, personally, it has enabled me to work and travel freely in China and Japan. I was able to really immerse myself in the cultures and make many close friends for life. More generally, I think that speaking another language gives us an insight into other countries and perhaps makes us more open to different ideas and viewpoints.


What does an average working day look like for you?


I think one of the main reasons that I love being a translator and working from home is that I don’t really have an average working day as such. I tend to check my emails quite early in case a client in China or Japan has been in touch, but other than that I arrange my day according to my workload and other commitments.


And finally, do you have a favourite place that you’ve travelled to?


That’s a difficult one, but I think that my fondest memories are of places in China and Japan. I think I would maybe have to choose the scenery of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo in China, with its karst mountains; Mount Huangshan, also in China, because of its sea of clouds; and maybe the temples of Kyoto in Japan.


I think I’ll start planning my next trip now! Thank you for your hard work Beth!

“Speak My Language”: More Thought Required Regarding Accessibility and Translation Services

A woman holding a translation speech bubble at a professional translation agency
As a highly in-demand professional translation agency, Surrey Translation Bureau knows more than anyone just how vital translation services are in today’s increasingly multicultural society, whether they’re needed for personal matters or business transactions.

Following the findings of a recent report, councils have been urged to reassess the policies surrounding interpretation and translation, so that more effective services may be implemented across various public sectors. The report, undertaken by the Wales Audit Office, focuses on those whose main language is not English or Welsh, as well as deaf people who communicate using sign language, and states that many of these people struggle to access public services including governments schemes, Citizens Advice, or even health services due to language barriers.

Of course, this noticeably focuses on public sector companies, many of which are more likely to have policies in place for these situations, and most private businesses fall behind local authorities when it comes to matters such as language accessibility. That isn’t to say that the private sector fails completely; international businesses are more likely to be familiar when it comes to translation services, but even SMBs may want to consider options such as multiple language choices (with translations carried out by a professional translation agency) for their websites.

Ultimately, both public and private sectors need to familiarise themselves with the process of utilising translators and interpreters in order to best meet the needs of those using their services, and remove any language barriers that stand in the way of effective communication between different parties.

If you’re in need of a local professional translation agency with a team full of fully qualified linguistic professionals, then Surrey Translation Bureau is here to help! As an independent, family-owned business, we work with the qualified translators from around the world to ensure you get the best possible translation. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our various translation services, which also include extras such as localisation, transcription, and desktop publishing – simply call 01252 730 014, email hello@surreytranslation.co.uk, or fill out the pop-up form on any of our website pages.

“I need a French translator!” – A guide for the first-time translation buyer

The Eiffel Tower - a symbol of France and French translation

So, you’ve been tasked with organising the translation of some of your company’s marketing material or technical manuals into French. You’ve never handled a translation project before, and suddenly you’re in at the deep end. “I need a French translator! Ahhh!”

Don’t panic! You’re reading this blog, which means you’re already in safe hands. Plus, organising a translation project can actually be a lot more straightforward than you might think. Just answer these 5 simple questions to make sure you get a fantastic translation.


1. What language do I need?

Now this might sound obvious, but when you get in touch with a translation company, you will need to know the language you want the document translated into. You should also consider where in the world you want people to read your text: though they may be neighbours, there are some differences between the variants of French used in France and Belgian French, for example. (Not to mention Canada and Switzerland!) This applies to plenty of other languages too, including English, so have a read of our language variants blog post to find out more.


2. What’s the purpose of the text?

If you’re new to ordering translations, then you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s as simple as taking each individual word and writing the exact equivalent of it another language. In reality, though, there are countless factors that can influence a professional translator’s choices during the course of their work, and the intended purpose and audience of your text are right at the top of that list. That’s why knowing the type of document and what the translation is going to be used for is absolutely vital.

Armed with this knowledge, a good translation company can select a translator whose experience and expertise perfectly match your needs. Plus, knowing the purpose of your translation is important when it comes to choosing exactly what service you require: here at Surrey Translation Bureau, for example, we offer a range of different service levels designed to suit the various requirements you may have.

Say you’ve received a letter and just need to know what it says for internal, information purposes; then the single professional translator and automated QA checks of our core translation service (Translation and Checking) will be best. Or maybe you’re preparing marketing material to accompany a product launch on a new market? Our Translation and Revision service, with two qualified, rigorously tested professional translators working on your text, will ensure precision.

3. How big is my text, and how soon do I need it translated?

This may seem like another obvious point, but it bears repeating: the longer the text for translation, the longer you can expect the translation process to take. Taking into account all of the necessary research, planning and careful consideration that your project demands, a professional translator can handle approximately 2000 words of translation per day. Add in a day or two for project planning and QA procedures and, so long as you know the size of your file, you can easily work out a reasonable timeframe for your project. Therefore, it’s always best not to put off organising your translation and start sooner rather than later. We can sometimes get your translation back to you more quickly if it is an urgent project.

4. What format are my files in?

Naturally, a builder is going to want to see your plans before quoting you on your extension, right? Well, a translation company will normally need to see your document before providing you with a quote for the translation too. (Confidentiality is standard practice at STB, but we can also sign an NDA if you like.) We use automated document analysis software to check your file to ascertain an exact word count. This will ensure you receive as accurate a quotation as possible, and could even save you some money. It really is worthwhile.

At STB, we’re able to work with pretty much every file format under the sun. To get the best results, though, it’s ideal to send your file in an ‘editable’ format, like a Word doc, a PowerPoint presentation, or an InDesign file. These formats facilitate the translation process and allow us to deliver your translation formatted identically to your original document. If you only have a PDF, a JPEG scan of a physical document or something else entirely, then don’t worry! Just get in touch and one of our team will be happy to talk through it with you.

In addition, if your company has style guides, any reference material or certain preferences for terminology, send these to us. This will ensure the translation reflects the style you are looking for.

5. What do I need to know about quality and pricing?

So you’ve answered all our questions and you’re ready to contact a translation company to make your project a reality. Great job! You still need to make sure, though, that you find a partner to work with who is every bit as invested in your project as you. When looking for a translation agency to request a quote, keep an eye out for certain distinguishing features, such as membership of professional bodies like the ITI or Elia, or accreditation to the quality standards such as BS EN ISO 9001:2008 or the translation agency-specific standard, BS EN ISO 17100:2015. These qualifications will give you peace of mind that your translation is being handled by professionals.

Once you receive your quotation, be sure to read through it thoroughly. It’s important to make sure that you’re all on the same page about what the scope of the project covers. Once you’re happy, you can confirm the translation project and then sit back and relax. You’re now safe in the knowledge that all of your translation needs are being taken into consideration. Phew!


Whether you’re looking to organise your first translation or your hundredth, whether you’re looking for a French translator or any other language, email us today at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or give us a call on +44 (0) 1252 733 999 for a quotation.

ELIA conference in Barcelona – in it together!


A picture of Barcelona, where the Elia Together Conference 2015 was held


This February, two of our staff attended the Elia together conference in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Our STB jet-setters were Hannah Stacey, Head of Translation Operations, and Nicola Porter, Senior Translation Project Manager. Surrey Translation Bureau is a member of Elia, the European Language Industry Association. Elia is an organisation which encourages relationships between businesses and promotes ethics and quality standards in the translation industry. Hannah and Nicola had been looking forward to the Elia together event for some time because the conference focused on positive freelancer-agency relationships. At STB, we place great importance on building good working relationships with our freelancer translators as well as our clients. These relationships help us to continue delivering consistently good translations.

The conference programme lived up to our high expectations. It was divided into three sections: relationships, growth and technology, within the conference’s theme ‘Developing our Connections’. We predominantly attended the ‘relationships’ talks and were eager to see what our peers had to tell us. The over-arching theme was that translation agencies and freelancers are stronger when working together – we couldn’t agree more! We learned a few freelancer bugbears, which confirmed that we’re doing a lot right. Namely, we listen to our translators’ and clients’ needs.

Over the course of the talks, we heard the role of the project manager at a translation agency being described as a sponge – ready to soak up any potential stress from both the client and the translator to ensure the translation project goes smoothly. That’s certainly true and our project managers will definitely appreciate the acknowledgement! Since all our project managers at Surrey Translation Bureau have a highly-qualified linguistic background, we are able to see both sides of the freelancer-translation agency coin. We’re always looking for how we can improve upon what we offer our freelancers and our clients with our strong production team.

Robert Sette’s talk entitled ‘Keys to effective relationships between agencies and freelance translators’ was of real interest to us. Robert reminded us about the importance of taking cultural differences into account which can affect a working relationship. These include the pace of work expected in different countries or simply working hours and differing time zones.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Morris and Lloyd Bingham discuss not airing your dirty laundry on social media with their talk ‘Mind the gap: overcoming strife in the translation industry’, which covered upholding professionalism in the industry and promoting a positive industry image. As a Corporate Member of the ITI (Institute of Translation & Interpreting), we, like our freelancers, adhere to their code of professional conduct, which not only covers honesty and integrity, but also client confidentiality and trust – vital elements of our agreements with our clients.

Lastly, Karen Tkacyk told us what high-end successful freelancers want to see from their agency clients. We were pleased to hear that we are already practising a lot of Karen’s advice. However, we made a few notes on things we can improve or consider further.

One important point Karen made is to make sure that everyone in the translation chain – the client, the translation agency and the translator – knows what the purpose of the translation is. Without this clarification the translator cannot possibly deliver the right product for the client; Is the translation for publication in a magazine and hundreds of people will see the brand’s advertising campaign? Perhaps the document only needs translating to meet legal requirements and will only sit in a filing cabinet? Will the translation be used for a court case and the words chosen could affect the outcome? This information is essential to do a good job and deliver a translation that’s appropriate for the client. We will endeavour to convey the importance of this to our clients and pass this information onto our translators.

The conference also allowed us to do some networking with like-minded freelance translators and agencies and it was great to have the chance to talk to so many people who are on the same page! We hope that some of the new contacts we made will become long-lasting partners, whether in the role of a client or a freelance translator. We’re certainly looking forward to it!


Would you like to know more about our affiliation with Elia or the ITI? Please feel free to drop us a line at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

The German translator at STB

A German flag spotted by STB's team of German translators



At Surrey Translation Bureau we are very fortunate to have an in-house translation team! This is a huge advantage for us. Our in-house translators can respond to urgent translation requests quickly and advise our project managers on linguistic queries.



From very early on at Surrey Translation Bureau, German to English and English to German translation have been two of our core language combinations, and still are today. That’s why it’s so useful to have one English to German translator, and two German to English translators in house. In addition, two of our project managers fit German to English translation jobs around their busy schedules. For any translation, it is important to have it written by a native speaker. This ensures that all the nuances of the original document are carried across, and that the translation sounds natural.



Our fantastic team of full-time, in-house translators at STB have many years’ experience – 18 years between them! They usually translate documents covering technical documentation, marketing material and financial, legal and medical documents. However, they have also worked on less standard material, from parasites in farm animals to material for a golf tournament to charity aid reports.



One reason why German to English translation constitutes a sizeable chunk of the translations we do for clients – and why it’s important to UK industry – is because Germany exports many products to the UK. These products range from white goods, such as Bosch washing machines, to cars, such as BMW and Volkswagen. These brands may seem a very clichéd idea of Germany, but you just have to look around your house and on your street to see how prevalent these items are in British society.



STB’s ties with Germany don’t just extend to our German clients who often require translation into English, French, Chinese or Hindi…, or our clients from the UK who need a German translator to reach new markets. We are also a member of the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce who hold regular networking events.



Although German translation is important at Surrey Translation Bureau, we can’t forget the other 100+ languages we translate. Export relationships are expanding from the traditional partnerships, such as England and Germany or England and France. We are seeing increasing demand in languages across the board; not just into English or out of English, but other combinations, such as German to Chinese, or Japanese to French.



In addition to our in-house and freelance translators, our project managers all have a Masters degree in translation. As a result, they are able to thoroughly check and sometimes complete linguistic work from French, Spanish, Swedish, German, Italian, and Portuguese to English, and from English to Finnish and Chinese.



If you want to know more about German translation or any other language combinations, ‘Schreib uns eine E-Mail’ to hello@surreytranslation.co.uk or call 01252 730 014. 

Going Global – from the UK to the rest of the world


A picture of a globe, ready for going global


This December, Surrey Translation Bureau exhibited at Going Global 2015. Hosted by London Olympia, it was perfect for companies looking to expand internationally, export products or set up overseas operations.

This is one of the first exhibitions we have exhibited at as a company, especially on such a large scale. We prepared carefully in the months leading up to Going Global. Although we didn’t know exactly what to expect, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting new potential clients and talking to the other exhibitors.

Going Global took place alongside three other exhibitions; The Business Show, Business Startup and Techpreneur, in the impressive building that is London Olympia. The four exhibitions showcased a host of interesting businesses from start-ups who had designed innovative apps to larger companies such KPMG and Hewlett-Packard. It was great to have such large brands exhibiting alongside SMEs. Everyone was very friendly and keen to talk about their brand. It was the perfect atmosphere to network and meet new contacts!

The show was attended by about 33,000 visitors, which made for two extremely busy days. At the STB stand, we met many interesting contacts from wine exporters to logistics companies through to tech companies. Many visitors complemented our stand, which we’d decorated with the word ‘hello’ in multiple different languages. They were impressed to hear that we translate into most world languages. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to companies who were taking the first steps in expanding internationally. It was great to explain how they would go about requesting translations with us to help their business grow.

Over the two days, we ran a competition which gave our contacts the chance to win £200 worth of translations for their first order with Surrey Translation Bureau after exchanging business cards with us. This opportunity was taken up by many and was just about as popular as the purple STB-coloured chocolate éclairs we offered to visitors! Coming back with a stack of cards, we drew the winner earlier in the week. Airport2lodge was the name out of the hat – we look forward to delivering their first translation.

​As well as a vast array of exhibitors, there were some informative seminars. These were targeted at helping companies, particularly SMEs, to lay the foundations for expanding their business internationally. Speakers offered advice on entering markets such as Eastern Europe and BRICS (Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa). There were also talks on the importance of social media in helping customers to recognise your brand. It’s important to have the resources to maintain these networks, to answer customers’ questions and update clients on your company’s developments.

If you needed a reminder that the world is becoming ever more connected, Going Global was the perfect illustration. As many more companies enter international markets and businesses step up the number of countries they are operating in, the need to communicate with clients in their own language is increasing dramatically. We took a lot of requests for website translation when talking to visitors during the exhibition. A great way to reach clients is identifying certain countries where there is potential growth for your company.

After two very successful days at London Olympia, we packed up our stand and headed back to Farnham, delighted to have met so many businesses keen to expand internationally. We’re looking forward to quoting and preparing translation proposals for some of these new and diverse contacts.

Do you want to follow in the footsteps of the clients we met at the exhibition to help your company go global with translations? Contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk today to request a no-obligation quote.