Tag Archives: translation

Bear with us, while we toot our own horn…


Earlier this year, we boasted that another one of our in-house translators, Nick Ives, had attained qualified membership of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, joining Senior Project Manager and Translator Alison Healey, and now we have yet another team member who has earned the elusive MITI status! Our Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey (pictured with her certificate) has added this string to her bow and we couldn’t be prouder of our acclaimed team.


Our award-winning and highly-qualified team now has a grand total of 40 degrees between 23 of us, plus professional qualifications and software accreditations, not to mention our BS EN ISO 9001:2015 and BS EN ISO 17100:2015 quality certifications! As an expert, linguist-led translation agency, our team understands our clients’ needs and puts their training into action on each and every job request. We understand the translation process from the ground up and as a result, you can trust us every step of the way.


Here at Surrey Translation Bureau we are always striving to promote the highest industry standards and our beliefs in professional conduct and the provision of exceptional quality mirror those of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the UK’s only independent professional membership association for practising translators, interpreters and language service providers. Our newest accolade, a third qualified member of the Institute, spurs us on to continue to improve our service offering, through professional development and exemplary supplier and client care.


Interested in learning more about our team, our services and the translations we can provide? Then please get in touch via hello@surreytranslation.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!


Surrey Translation Bureau attends SDL Trados Autumn Roadshow 2018


STB’s Head of Translation Operations, Hannah Stacey, and Project Manager, Greg Hyne, attended SDL’s Trados Autumn Roadshow at the Cumberland Hotel in London at the start of this month, where they were invited to think creatively about the challenges facing the global translation industry and their own translation processes. The event offered a great opportunity to meet expert members of the SDL team and speak with fellow translation professionals. The event also featured an afternoon of product training.

The SDL team used Common Sense Advisory’s Localization Maturity Model (LMM) as a reference point to explain how technology can be used to meet the challenges facing the global translation industry. Over the course of the morning sessions, the speakers presented ideas to make us think about our own operations and how new technology could be implemented at STB in the future.


The morning also featured an interactive session where we were partnered up with other delegates and were tasked with putting our creative skills to the test to think about both our own personal and professional development and the professional development of fellow attendees.


After coffee and a networking lunch to get to know the other language service providers and independent language professionals in attendance, we sat down for an afternoon of product training. The SDL team walked us through the new features in their new release, SDL Trados Studio 2019. Updates to the software’s project management features were of most interest to us here at STB, but the SDL experts also talked us through updates to their GroupShare platform and the offerings made available from SDL’s ‘Language Cloud’.

All-in-all the STB team walked away with a wealth of new information and industry insights and we are excited to roll-out some efficient features to help us continue offering our clients excellent translation services.


Did you know? Our in-house project management and linguistic teams are all certified users of SDL Trados Studio! We pride ourselves on staying up to date with industry-specific technology, which we use to provide our clients with first-rate client care and a high-quality product. Want to know more about our workflow? Get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

Surrey Translation Bureau announce their star translator this quarter


Star translator award – congratulations to Sonia Clough!


So many of our freelancers deserve recognition for the excellent work that they do, and this award is our way of doing just that.


Sonia is a ES>EN, RU>EN and PL>EN translator who has been working with STB for around 11 years. She specialises in the translation of legal contracts and pharmaceutical documentation relating to clinical trials.



All STB project managers agree that Sonia is an invaluable member of our freelance team. She consistently delivers top-quality work and earned special praise this quarter not just from the in-house team, but also from other freelancers who called her translation ‘fluid’ and ‘flawless’. She also took on a tricky project that included handwritten medical notes and delivered in batches which allowed us to meet a tight deadline. Read on for a short interview with this quarter’s winner.


Hi Sonia, 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?
My favourite subjects at school were languages and English and I have always enjoyed the challenge of turning a text in another language into a piece of natural-sounding English. I was also attracted by the variety offered by the profession as there are practically no limits to the type of document you could be asked to translate.


What do you like most about being a freelance translator?
Although working alone can be stressful, I take a lot of pride in the fact that everything I translate has been completed by me alone and there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from producing a piece of work that you are proud of, especially when you receive positive feedback from a client. Finally, I really value the flexibility of being able to fit my work around life with two small children and one very elderly cat.


How did you find yourself specialising in legal and pharmaceutical texts?
This is primarily due to the high volume of work in these areas, but I do really enjoy working in these fields. Both legal and pharmaceutical texts tend to be written by people who are experts in their field and are designed to be as clear and accessible as possible, which means that they are normally very nicely worded – a lack of ambiguity is always appreciated as a translator!


Moving on to outside of work, do you have a favourite book in any of your languages?
My favourite books in Spanish are the Shadow of the Wind series of novels by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which are real page-turners, full of mystery and they paint a really atmospheric picture of Barcelona in the 1940s. My favourite book in Polish would be the hauntingly sad but beautiful The Pianist by Władysław Szpilman. In Russian, I enjoy a good crime thriller by Aleksandra Marinina.


Finally, if you could hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you travel?
Tough question and I can’t choose just one place! I love a city break and my top five cities would have to be: Istanbul, Prague, Edinburgh, Copenhagen and New York.


All excellent choices – I think I’ll go plan my next holiday now! From all of us at STB, thank you for your hard work Sonia!

Keeping on top of translation industry trends: our team at elia events in Europe


Our team have been busy jetsetting over the last few weeks in association with one of our professional memberships, elia (the European Language Industry Association). First our Project Manager, Amey Higgon, hotfooted it to Porto in Portugal for some professional networking with other project managers and then our Senior Compliance Officer and Project Manager, Ruth Parkin, waltzed over to Vienna to exchange perspectives on the latest translation industry trends.


Amey Higgon


Amey Higgon (pictured above), NDfocus Porto 2018: focus on project management

The elia NDfocus event in sunny Porto was specifically tailored to project managers, and it was a great opportunity to meet other PMs in the industry.

The conference was split into two parts, with presentations given on the first day, and the second day reserved for group workshops in which we discussed the speakers’ points in more detail in small groups. The presentations gave insight into a variety of topics, including addressing client concerns and workflow bottlenecks, how to be more assertive in everyday interactions and how to make sure every client receives a tailored service, just for them.


I gained invaluable advice from my peers as we all chipped in to try and solve a range of scenarios. Through workshop discussions and chats during coffee breaks, I found that even though the translation agencies that the other attendees work for vary greatly in both size and location, we all encounter similar issues every day at work – this event was an excellent way for us all to share our knowledge and tried-and-tested solutions with each other.


I particularly enjoyed the keynote speech on the future of the industry by Tucker Johnson. As we quickly found out, Tucker is no futurist and could not predict exactly what will happen in the world of translation. What he could do however was provide us with tips on how best to adapt to whatever comes next. After all, we don’t have control over what will happen with the industry, what matters is how we react to it.


Ruth Parkin, NDVienna 2018

Earlier this month, elia celebrated its 22nd ‘Networking Days’ event in Vienna, where language industry experts and language service providers alike came together to share their knowledge through presentations and discussions with the goal of expanding and building on their networks.


The event takes place every October over two days and this year the event was divided across six tracks: IT, business success stories, GDPR, soft skills, interpreting and business strategies. This year’s programme was specifically designed to address a range of business challenges, allowing delegates the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the ever-changing translation industry. With so much on offer, reaching a decision on which talks to attend could prove quite the challenge for some; however, as Compliance Officer here at STB, it made sense for me to follow the GDPR track.


SDL’s Sabina Jasinska (pictured below) presented on ‘Digital marketing in the time of GDPR and ePrivacy regulations’. Sabina was an engaging speaker and it was great to see that STB is on the same page as an industry giant when it comes to compliance with data protection regulations.


Sabina Jasinska


As well as the welcome reassurance that we are doing things right, I also enjoyed putting my networking skills to the test, rubbing shoulders with several of the industry’s key players, but also learning how strategic planning may be key in growing STB and its future. Watch out world, here we come!

If you’d like to hear more about our membership of elia, these specific events, or our range of professional translation services, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch via hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.


Complex Texts Translators Have to Work With


We have a whole host of fully-trained professionals here at Surrey Translation Bureau ready to provide you with high quality translation services for a variety of industries and sectors depending on your needs. Our highly skilled team can all too often make their work look easy, but that rarely is the case when it comes to translation! Some documents are much more difficult to translate than others for a myriad of reasons, the least of all being demanding time frames and the handling of confidential personal data – but that’s not all!


Medical Documents


Medical documents contain highly sensitive and critical data, and the cost of any mistakes made during the translation of such texts can be disastrous for all parties involved. Of course, the vital information contained is exactly why careful translation is so important, and translators must not allow the risks to prevent them from helping those in need.



Due to context cues and synonym use in various languages, medical documents lend themselves to a greater probability of being misunderstood; only translators with a qualified medical background should attempt these kinds of translations, to allow for greater understanding of common terms and shorthands that general translators may be unfamiliar with. It should be noted that in a study by the American College of Emergency Physicians, ad hoc interpreters have an error rate of 22% in medical documents, which drops to 12% for professionals (in turn, this drops again to a mere 2% for translators with over 100 hours of experience).



Legal Documents


Like medical documents, legal papers are full of jargon and specialised language which may be unfamiliar or even completely nonsensical to those without adequate training and background knowledge of the legal field. And again, the consequences of incorrectly translating these documents can have devastating consequences for an entire case and the people involved.



Legal translations also have the added difficulty of cultural barriers, in that legal systems differ from country to country, and what may be standard legal practice in one place may be an alien concept to the recipient of the translated documents. This obviously requires that translators be knowledgeable not only in the legal system of their own country, but that where they are translating the documents from!



They may be difficult documents, but we have team members with vast experience in the medical and legal fields able to offer highly accurate translation services for you here at Surrey Translation Bureau. Talk to us today to explain your translation needs in greater detail by contacting us on 01252 733 999 or hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

The difference between translators and interpreters: Which do I need?


As a trusted translation company in Surrey, the team at Surrey Translation Bureau have noticed a lot of people getting rather mixed up when it comes to translators and interpreters; many simply do not know the difference between the two, and will often end up using the terms interchangeably (much to the chagrin of translators and interpreters alike!).


So we thought we’d take the time to quickly explain what each entails – which should hopefully make things easier next time you need linguistic assistance!


Translation and Interpretation are closely linked linguistic disciplines, but each requires a distinct skill set and offers a particular service to those who need it. To put it most simply, the biggest difference between the two is that of their medium: translators work with the written word, and interpreters with the spoken word (including sign language).


Of course, things do go deeper than that. Due to this main difference, you’ll see translators and interpreters hone different sets of skills and approach their work using specific methods.


Translators are not concerned with exact “word for word” translations of texts, due to the nonsensical results of attempts that aim for such things, and instead take the time to try and make the translated message as accurate to the original texts as possible, whilst still remaining understandable, as well as pleasant and easy to read. Translators usually have a more extended period of time to work their magic, meaning that certain turns of phrase can be debated upon and other texts and sources (including style guides, glossaries, and thesauruses) can be consulted to help shape the final translation.



Interpreters, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of time and are in the position of having to translate in real time situations, such as during speeches, appointments, legal situations, and more. Interpreters need to be able to immediately translate what is being said in order to relay the gist of the message to the involved parties, in a way that is clear and understandable. Sometimes interpreters are not present face-to-face, but rather translate over the phone, making listening skills, clarity of voice and public speaking skills even more important for them.


Translators and interpreters alike have specialities and areas of expertise, which you should always check before hiring either – for example, you would want to hire a translator with legal experience to work with legal documents, or an interpreter with business expertise to assist with board meetings.


If you have realised that you don’t need an interpreter, but instead require the services of a translation company in Surrey who you can trust, Surrey Translation Bureau is here to help! Our team has experience in a broad range of languages, and you’ll be able to count on us whether you require search engine optimisation for Chinese audiences, something transcribed from Finnish, or something else entirely! Contact us today for more information, by filing out our contact form, phoning 01252 730 014 or emailing hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

There’s more to English than US v UK


Globally over 80 countries recognise English as an official language, with current estimates stating that nearly 1.5 billion people speak some level of English. Although, theoretically, we should all be able to understand each other, certain variations are so different that they could be considered a new language. We sometimes forget that there are many distinct variations other than British and American English, such as Australian, Irish and South African. A country’s geography, history and the other official languages have a huge impact, as does social media. Since we have already tackled US and UK English in depth in our three previous blogs, let’s take a closer look at some other variations…


Australian English: you don’t want to sound like a ‘great galah’!
In 2012, Australia had 16.5 million native speakers of English and a further 3.5 million who spoke English as a second language, a number which is only growing! There are many languages which predate the British colony belonging to three groups: Australian aboriginal, Tasmanian and Torres Strait Island. While these have had little grammatical impact on Australian English, they end their syllables with a vowel sound which has transferred overtime and softened the accent, giving it a singsong quality.
Australia was colonised by the UK in 1788, over 250 years after the USA! It’s no surprise then, that it bears more resemblance to British English, especially when it comes to spelling. Like Brits, they use “-re” endings instead of “-er” (for example ‘centre’ not ‘center’) and “-our” endings instead of “-or” (for example ‘colour’ instead of ‘color’). They also spell words with ‘s’ instead of ‘z’ (for example ‘organisation’) and use double ‘L’ in words like ‘marvellous’ and ‘travelling’. However, although British and Australian English have their spelling system in common, when spoken Australian English is a lot more informal. You’ll find Aussies abbreviating words such as ‘afternoon’ to ‘arvo’ and ‘barbeque’ to ‘barbie’ and in some cases, words take on completely different meanings in the other: flip-flops become thongs, countryside becomes bush, a soldier becomes a digger… When translating documents for Australian companies we ensure that the grammar and spelling is consistent to the target audience using quality management software and an expert localisation team. So don’t worry, we always do a ‘bonzer’ job of it!



The luck of the Irish and the best way to avoid ‘malapropisms’
The official language in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is English, but a large majority in the Republic of Ireland also speak Gaelic. Gaelic has had such an impact on language in Ireland, that now the two languages blend together in many cases, for example “having the craic” means having fun, which could cause confusion for non-Irish folk!
The term ‘malapropism’ describes when you replace something in a sentence with a similar sound, creating an amusing effect. For example, if you are singing Elvis Presley’s ‘You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog’ and accidently sing ‘You Ain’t Nothing But A Hotdog’! The term comes from Irish playwright, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 play ‘The Rivals’, as the character Mrs Malaprop does this often to comic effect.
Another fun fact about Irish English: it is not very common to hear ‘yes’ and ‘no’. For example, a typical response to a yes/no question in Ireland, such as “do you speak another language?” would be “I do” or “I do not”. There are also differences in prepositions, as actions are done ‘on’ someone, (for example “the car has broken on me”). These are just a few differences which we would consider at Surrey Translation Bureau while localising the document to Irish English. Our localisation team is grand!



South African English: it’s beter bang Jan, as dooie Jan
There are eleven official languages in South Africa and so blended phrases like the one in the title above are more difficult to understand than in some other English variants. This is a cross between English and Afrikaans and means “better to be safe than sorry”; something strongly recommended in the world of business! Whether you prefer your document localised into South African English, or the other way around, we would be happy to help. Unlike other variants, as well as internal influences, there seems to be a balance between British and American English influences, as in South Africa they follow British English grammar rules, however use Americanised words, such as “chips” not “crisps” and “jersey” not “jumper”.

South Africa was first colonised by Great Britain in 1815 after previously being colonised by the Dutch Empire, meaning that, of all the variants discussed, this is one of the newer English versions, and so outside influences, like the USA, also have an influence. Due to the variety of languages used officially in South Africa, it is therefore important that when conducting business in English, that the language remains consistent and professional.




It is incredible that so many people from so many countries can communicate with each other in their own mother tongue with little difficulty. However, in written communication, while spelling and grammar may still be understandable, if the information you are producing is highly target market-specific or if professionalism and appropriateness is vital, we recommend localising your content to really meet the requirements of your target audience.


At Surrey Translation Bureau, we offer localisation services, meaning that, as an expert English Language Service Provider, not only can we make sure that the language used in your documentation is high-quality, consistent and culturally appropriate, but we can additionally ensure that all references and figures used are tailored to the demands of your target market. We hope that this series of blogs has helped highlight the importance of choosing an English language specialist for your English translations. If you would like to know more about what we could do for you, please get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk!

Brits love to complicate things


Give Me Liber-tea or Give Me Death! (I’m Sure that’s how the Saying Goes)

The differences between our common language (English, in case you missed blogs one and two) started a long time ago. You see, Americans didn’t throw tea into Boston Harbor for nothing. We were sick and tired of being told what to do (taxation without representation!) and wanted political AND lexical independence. Not only did we beat the red coats, but we developed our own (dare I say it, better?) way of speaking and spelling too, as a matter of protest. And for the record, please don’t ruin my tea by putting milk in it. Actually, I’ll have coffee instead.



Localization Not Localisation

We Americans are very logical people, so we decided that words should be spelled just as they sound. This led to unnecessary letters being dropped from words leading to favorite, program and jewelry, for example. They changed s’s to z’s and ended words with -er instead of -re. I think we can all agree that this just makes life easier. I mean, come on guys, the word “program” doesn’t need any extra letters, and the double l’s (like in travelling) are just excessive.

But does it really matter if you write “colour” or “color”? The answer is, of course, “Yes!”, and not only because one of these is clearly wrong (I’m looking at you, colour), but also because the differences between American and British English are far more complex than just spelling.


Brits Love to Complicate Things…

Not only do Brits add needless letters to their words, but they insist on making their grammar rules more complicated too by adding “t’s” to some past tense verbs instead of “ed” so that will be burnt instead of burned and learnt instead of learned. These are supposed to be REGULAR verbs! Brits are also fans of using “have got” instead of just a simple “have”. In British English you might hear “I have got to put some petrol in the car.” While in American English we’d say “I have to put some gas in the car.” Speaking of cars…do you have a driver’s license? (US) Or have you got a driver’s licence? (UK) Even some nouns are spelled (note, not spelt!) differently. I hope you all LEARNED something here.


Do You Want Fries with That?

If the spelling and grammar differences aren’t driving you crazy yet, then just wait until you order food at a restaurant. Of course there’s the obvious differences that most people understand like chips vs. fries and crisps vs. potato chips, but why are there cookies called Digestives that don’t have anything to do with your body’s digestive system?

If you order flapjacks for breakfast, don’t expect to get the golden fluffy goodness that you’re used to, just expect to be thoroughly disappointed. And good luck ordering lunch! What is a butty and why are there so many words for sandwich? “What would you like for your tea?” is “What do you want for dinner?” to an American. The confusion related to food is endless! If you’re really hungry, don’t just order an entrée because you’ll most likely be left starving due to small portion size. Go ahead and order a starter as well as a main. Oh and don’t worry, they don’t only serve pudding for dessert! At the end of your meal, don’t forget to order the bill.

After all this, you’re going to need a vacation! I highly recommend you double check those flight dates, though. You’d be gutted to find out that 06/12/19 is December 6th, 2019! I heard the British Isles are a fantastic way to spend a fortnight…just don’t forget your mac!


If you, too, were surprised by how much British English we had to italicise to highlight the sheer number of US/UK differences here, then you might need our help choosing the right language variant for your needs! Get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

Surrey Translation Bureau promotes the highest industry standards


Our in-house translator Nick Ives recently attained the prestigious MITI status, which indicates qualified membership of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. Candidates for the qualification must have a minimum of three years’ translation experience plus a relevant degree (or six years’ without) and are also required to pass a challenging translation assessment. We’re very pleased that Nick’s hard work day-in, day-out has paid off in receiving this industry recognition and it reflects the importance we place on promoting the highest industry standards. Surrey Translation Bureau is already a valued corporate member of the association and our team’s hard work and dedication was also recognised at last year’s award ceremony when we become the first ever winner of the Best Corporate Member award. Nick’s achievement means we now have two MITI-qualified translators on our staff as well as an associate member and an affiliate member.



The Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) is the UK’s only independent professional membership association for practising translators, interpreters and language service providers. The organisation aims to ensure the highest standards are maintained among its members with the guidelines laid down in its code of conduct. The code sets out four ‘principles of practice’ for members covering the areas of honesty and integrity, professional competence, client confidentiality and trust, and relationships with other members.


Members are also required to adhere to certain professional values such as accurately and impartially conveying meaning when translating or interpreting, honestly representing and working in line with their qualifications and capabilities and continuing to enhance these through continuing education, as well as sharing knowledge with others.


The ITI also encourages its members to engage in 30 hours of professional development per year. This could include taking part in formal training courses, watching webinars or attending conferences, or in-house training and client visits. This is something we also feel passionately about at STB, encouraging all staff members to regularly take part in any training opportunities available.


Nick with his certificate
Nick with his certificate


When asked about the new feather in his cap, Nick said:


“Attaining MITI status is not only a great personal achievement for me but also a reflection on STB as a whole. We as a company always strive to meet the very highest standards in terms of quality and conduct, so aligning ourselves and maintaining close links with a prestigious organisation like the ITI makes perfect sense.”


If you’d like to hear more about our high standards and the services we offer, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk.

Our award-winning project management team strikes again!


On Saturday 16 June, our Project Manager, Katie attended the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) event: One Day In. Held in the heart of London at the historic Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, it was the perfect place to host a day of professional development, networking and to honour the Institute’s assiduous and dedicated members with the annual awards.



The engaging talks and networking on offer were interspersed with the annual ITI Awards. The awards are an opportunity for linguists of varying career stages and roles to gain recognition for their knowledge, skills, client relationships, research and best practice. This year, STB’s Project Manager Katie Magill received a special commendation award in the category of Best newcomer – employee of a corporate member. Katie was recognised for her dedication to continuous professional development in both project management and linguistic skills. Furthermore, her nomination was based on the excellent feedback she has received for client care, and the strong relationships she has forged with clients and translators. The annual ITI Awards set the standard for what professionalism and quality should look like, so here at Surrey Translation Bureau, we’re very proud of Katie’s achievements and that she has been recognised by the ITI.



On receiving her award Katie said, “It is such an honour to have received this award from the ITI. I think the annual awards is a fantastic way to recognise the hard work of translation practitioners from all sectors of the industry, as well as an excellent goalpost for new entrants to the industry to strive towards. Any initiative that makes professionals work towards high quality standards can only be a good thing.”


Surrey Translation Bureau became corporate members of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting in October 2013, and since then our membership has proven to be an invaluable asset. The ITI promotes adherence to high quality standards and sets out exacting standards in their Code of Professional Conduct. With this professional accreditation, clients and freelancer translators alike can feel confident in the quality and professional standard of our services.


If you would like to know more about our association with the ITI or have a translation project you would like our help with, please get in touch at hello@surreytranslation.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!