Will Brexit Weaken the Presence of English in Europe?

18 07 2016

The European Union currently has 24 official languages, one language chosen by each of the 28 member countries. All enjoy equal status, a founding belief being that every citizen has a right to know what is going on in their name and to play an active part if they wish to.

English was chosen by just one country: the United Kingdom. Ireland chose Gaelic, and Malta chose Maltese, in spite of the fact that English is in everyday use in both of those countries. The existing structure of the EU dictates that if the UK leaves the EU, so does English as a member language.

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One of the practical consequences of that for the UK and other English-speaking nations that trade with the EU, would be that EU documents would not be produced in English by the internal EU translation entity, DG Translation. All translation would have to be done by the foreign, English-speaking companies or governments, at their own expense. Another consequence is that English is currently one of the three EU “working languages” used to apply for EU Patents, among many other processes, giving English-speaking researchers and corporations an edge over competitors who don’t work in English, French or German (the other two working languages), and that advantage would be lost.

The three working languages account for about 70 percent of material that is translated in the EU, according to Europa.eu, the EU’s official website. The other 30 percent is comprised of legislation and major policy documents, which are translated into all 24 official languages.

What is the linguistic future of the EU? As the UK begins to execute its EU departure, opinions vary as to whether English might be kept on as a working language, and there are strong comments from EU commissioners both for and against. The process could take up to seven years, European Council President Donald Tusk has warned, and the question of language is only one of many – but it’s one that cuts deeply into the emotions of Europeans all over the map.

Skrivanek has been providing translation services to the European Commission, Translation Centre for the Bodies of EU, European Parliament etc. since 2003, and in that time has delivered over 1,000,000 pages in 14 languages, including English, covering a wide range of subject matter. We will be watching developments closely, and our clients both commercial and institutional can rest assured that we will track changes and new requirements in order to provide exactly what is needed.

J. McShulskis





What’s the Rush? – what you’re paying for when you pay rush fees

1 07 2016

rush fees

Trust fosters good relationships between LSPs and their clients, and that trust is built through the successful execution of projects. Project managers at LSPs work with their clients to set up timelines that everyone follows, and in turn the translation team gets translated text completed on time and delivered where it needs to be with the highest possible quality. Clients pay for this service in a timely manner, and trust grows.

But what if an unforeseen need arises and there is more or different text required by the client within the same time frame, or a quicker turnaround becomes essential? It certainly happens, and while sometimes an LSP can fit the extra work into its schedule without taking extraordinary measures, often enough there are urgent alterations required, so “rush fees” are common and necessary.

The rush fees that are usually charged in such cases might more accurately be called “inconvenience fees,” because what they compensate for is the rearrangement of schedules and plans. Rush fees aren’t surcharges tacked on to take advantage of heightened need; in fact they don’t result in extra profits for translators, but rather they’re an attempt by language service providers to recoup extra costs incurred.

This is because there are many elements involved with any translation job. When you ask for, say, overnight turnaround of 15,000 words from English into Chinese, you are not asking for something along the lines of an increased number of people to pack more boxes. The whole “LSP machine” has to be adjusted, and that machine is quite complex.

For instance, LSPs might have to ask their individual translators to process a stressful number of words per day (1,500 – 2,000 is considered an average per day output, sometimes lower, sometimes higher), and the likely scenario is that to do so, those individuals will have to work over weekends or late into the night. Specialists and translators may have to be kept on-call and paid retainer fees if it’s uncertain how many people will be needed to properly process the work on time. And translation jobs always consist of steps that must be completed in order.

Additionally, the “rush job” often interrupts other jobs in the queue and borrows resources that were supposed to be available for other clients (such as computer systems and automations). In other words, the organization required for the smooth and orderly processing of translation is shoved off to the side, and an “emergency room” type structure is put in place – for you.

Rush jobs probably shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, and if a company finds that they frequently have something Due Right Now that they haven’t arranged to have done, it would be wise to take a look at internal organization. It could be that strict, early deadlines for those departments creating content will save a lot of hassle and cash at the translation/localization phase. Other times problems arise because of last minute additions or changes by the client’s client, and that conflict might best be dealt with by educating those clients about the processes involved and the kind of obstacles and costs that untimely changes create.

Whatever the situation, potential delays that can cause rush requests should be watched for and communicated to your LSP. Sometimes a heads-up, warning them that part of the job might need to be rushed, will allow them to prepare in a way that doesn’t require emergency measures.

Workers in any other industry get overtime to compensate for such excess demands, so if a client is interested in building a trust-based relationship with their LSP, rush fees should be expected for quick turnaround requests. Translation is an intellectually demanding process that simply takes the time that it takes, and for high quality professionals, sacrificing quality through shortcuts isn’t an option.

Skrivanek’s project managers are the cream of the crop worldwide, and they’re acutely aware that rush jobs must be handled with the same attention and accuracy that any scheduled translation job receives. Procedures and alternate workflow structures have been developed to meet every scenario the global marketplace can generate.

 

For more details, please refer to our website: www.skrivanek.com.

J. McShulskis





Is the Spanish of Argentina the Sexiest?

9 06 2016

6427241251_5dd2239c6e_b-kopie.jpgThe failure of European Spanish as a one-size-fits-all language for every Spanish-speaking country in the world is illustrated by a trend in the publishing industry. Independent Spanish publishers are seeking markets beyond Europe, in both the U.S. and Latin America, since financial recovery in Spain has been slow. Interestingly both the Spanish language used and the illustrations have had to be altered in order for children to identify with the tales.

From its European birthplace, the Spanish language has traveled and taken root as a dominant language in nearly twenty other countries. And as is always the case with vibrant languages adopted in varied environments, time, oceans, and myriad human influences have ensured that European Spanish evolved in different ways than did its cousins in Latin America and elsewhere.

Spaniards can speak with Mexicans or Argentines quite easily, but their languages are different enough to create moments of confusion. Different enough, too, to create philosophical arguments over which variation of Spanish is the most beautiful, the most pure, the sexiest. And as home to the Real Academia Espanola, which regulates the language, Madrid boasts the Spanish often considered ‘most important.’

From the marketing perspective, the variations are enough to cause disconnects between a company and its customers. A word or idiom incorrectly used, for instance, can be inaccurate at best, and offensive in the worst cases. “Coger” is a good example of the extreme: in Spain it means to “grab” or “take,” as in lunch or buses, but in most Latin American countries it is a crass way of referring to sexual intercourse. “Okay” as an affirmation is “vale” in Spain, and “bien” or “okay” in Latin America. The word “camión” means “truck” in Argentina and “bus” in Mexico. And the gap created by incorrect words frequently becomes a gap in trust.

In addition to vocabulary differences, there are a few notable pronunciation variations, including:

* In some parts of Latin America, the‘s’ at the end of words is sometimes ‘eaten’, most frequently with plural nouns, or for instance in the slang version of Buenos Aires.

* ‘C’ has a pronunciation like ‘s’ through most of Latin America, and often like ‘th’ in Europe.

* In Spain, the double ‘l’ is close to the ‘y’, but in the Buenos Aires region, it’s more like ‘sh’ or ‘zh’.

Grammatical differences include different frequency of the use of the three past tense forms, and a preference in Europe for the use of ‘vosotros’ when addressing a group as ‘you’, versus ‘ustedes’.

Whether it’s advertising or a child’s story, language is an intimate tool that can connect straight to the heart – but you have to get the details right. Skrivanek Group has over two decades of experience translating Latin American to European Spanish and vice versa, and from either one into dozens of other languages.

J. McShulskis

 

 





Skrivanek will be at CTIP – Clinical Trials Innovation Programme, Hamburg June 27th-28th 2016

11 05 2016

Clinical Trials Innovation Programme

Skrivanek’s newly appointed Global Sales Manager Jaroslava Ouzka will be representing the company at 5th CTIP event in Hamburg towards the end of June. Jaroslava has been with Skrivanek over 10 years and  has extensive experience of all aspects of the translation business. Most recently she has headed Skrivanek’s  division providing language services to major European institutions such as the EU and European Parliament.

“The CTIP meetings are always an excellent opportunity to hear about new innovations and trends, exchange experiences and of course network with a range of professionals from around the world” “I’m really looking forward to a busy two days” said Jaroslava.

“Skrivanek has a division exclusively dedicated to Life Sciences and Medical translations with experts delivering top quality translations across the sector from packaging and product information through clinical trials and research findings to medical device manuals and marketing materials. We are proud to count companies such as Abbott, GE Healthcare, Siemens, Worldwide Clinical Trials and many others among our clients. We deliver high quality Life Sciences translations that allow clients to successfully communicate and compete in global markets. Our Life Sciences translators are among the best specialist linguists in their chosen field, and they are guided at all times by Skrivanek’s stringent quality assurance and best practice policies to ensure that all statutory, legal and moral obligations are met.”

So, as a leading supplier of translation services to clinical trials organizations worldwide Skrivanek regards the CTIP as a “don’t miss” event and although Hamburg is still some weeks away we would like to invite other attendees who would like the opportunity to meet Jaroslava and discuss how they might benefit from Skrivanek’s expertise to contact us as soon as possible to arrange an informal meeting. As we all know from experience schedules fill up quickly and time flies at such events!

 

If you would like to contact Jaroslava prior to the event:

Phone: +420 605 235 691

Email: jaroslava.ouzka@skrivanek.net

 

See you in  Hamburg!

J. Atkinson

 

 





High Volume, Short Notice, Quick Turnaround, Specialised Terminology- The Perfect Storm of Translation!

24 02 2016

As the market leader in Central and East European languages Skrivanek is often asked to deliver translation projects for clients worldwide which involve a large wordcount or urgent delivery these are usually coupled with a requirement for knowledge of specialized terminology. Skrivanek’s 20+ years experience and extensive resources means that we are able to take these things in our stride and deliver on time, on budget and to the highest quality standards. That’s what a leading LSP (Language Service Provider) does in its sleep right?

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However, just once in a while the “perfect storm” develops of all the above factors at once plus short notice availability of the source documents and delivery on a rolling basis thrown into the mix just for good measure!

Skrivanek has successfully handled this potentially challenging scenario twice in recent years with the same international law firm as client; in 2014 translating into English from Slovak and in 2015 into English from Czech.

The documents concerned were intended for use in international commercial arbitration proceedings in the energy sector.

For this type of project the major task for the project manager is to set up teams of suitable linguists who are equipped to deal with legal documents which need to be part or fully translated often at short notice and to an exacting high standard as they will be put to immediate use by the client.

The project manager and linguists also need to be extremely flexible and aware of the client’s needs. Documents may be sent from various sources within the client’s organization, instructions and or deadlines may be changed during the translation process, extra documents added and of course the translated text  “ready to go” at the required time (or earlier 🙂 ).

In addition to the linguistic requirements a project of this type also involves being able to deal with documents delivered in a variety of formats; editable documents such as Word, more likely uneditable ones such as PDF or scanned documents plus the localization ( into the target language) of any graphics such as graphs, tables, PowerPoint presentations etc.   As a result having suitable DTP (desk top publishing) resources in place is equally as important as having high quality linguists. It may be a graph or chart not translated text which is crucial in court the next day!

Each of the projects involved many thousands of words, dozens of files and same day or next day delivery as the norm (only 10% of the documents for translation had a turnaround time of more than 2 days). Just to put this into perspective a single professional linguist can usually translate around 2,000 words per day which means that for this type of project a team of translators and reviewers are required (8 translators and 2 reviewers in this case). This is done in such a way as to ensure the highest quality standards are maintained.

As well as putting together a team of linguists these projects also involved extending our project management coverage to 7 days a week as the client was also working on and sending documents during the weekend.

The peak activity period for both of these projects was around 1 month.

Of course Skrivanek has had projects with bigger wordcounts (the 2013 1.5 million words from English into Slovak comes to mind 🙂 ) and with more specialized terminology requirements but put all the factors outlined above together and you need your team to be really on top of its game.

Were we successful? Here is the client’s feedback….

“We were exceptionally impressed by the Skrivanek team.  The group managed our extensive and lengthy project seamlessly. Always responsive and a pleasure to work with, they turned around work very quickly (often overnight), meeting all required deadlines as well as our client’s budget requirements. We certainly plan to use Skrivanek for any similar work we require in future, and we wholeheartedly recommend them for any comparable translation projects.”  

DW, Legal Assistant (at Client)

“Being able to handle this type of project is mainly down to long-term planning of both human and technological resources, identifying and training suitable resources in terms of project managers, linguists and DTP specialists and making sure such essentials as quality assurance procedures and the right technology are in place. In short having everything ready for when this type of project comes up” says Jan Hirs, Project Management Team Leader at Skrivanek IPMC.

As the Czech saying goes “winter will ask what you did in the summer” and to successfully survive the perfect translation storm you have to be well prepared!

 

Joe Atkinson

Key Account Manager

Skrivanek Translations

+44 20 3239 3256

joe.atkinson@skrivanek.com





Dutch & Flemish – Equal but not the Same

5 02 2016

Flemish Dutch

Spoken mainly in Netherlands and Belgium by about 23 million people worldwide, Dutch is an important target language for marketing. Reaching into this combined global market with your products and services opens your business up to a GDP of over 1 trillion USD.

But not all Dutch is exactly the same. For example, Flemish Dutch is a variant that is spoken by 5.5 million people in Flanders, a region of Belgium that includes the provinces of West and East Flanders, Brussels, Flemish Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg. There are hundreds of words used in Flemish Dutch that are not used in Netherlands Dutch, and pronunciations and word order are also not always identical.

As an example, there is a formality maintained in Flemish in more instances than in Netherlands Dutch. While such characteristics may be more apparent in spoken Dutch than in the written form, the best practice for reaching Belgian Dutch markets is to have translations reviewed and edited by a Flemish translator.

One reason to take care in handling the differences is the long-standing sense the Flemish have had that the Dutch they use is considered inferior. The main Dutch dictionary, Van Dale, for instance has in the past referred to Flemish words and pronunciations as if they were deviations from the “correct” Netherlands Dutch forms. This is changing.

The Dutch Union, referred to as the “Taalunie”, was established in 1980 by the Treaty Concerning the Dutch Language Union, which stipulates that the participating countries “will set joint policy with respect to the Dutch language.” Their publication most commonly called the Green Book is an official dictionary-style guide to the spelling, plural forms and grammatical use of words, most recently revised and released in October of 2015.

But just to be sure of getting the right spellings and usage for your particular audience, you might want your translator to refer also to the “White Book,” created by Dutch mainstream media because of their objections to aspects of the Green Book. Both are in use for Flemish dialects as well as Netherlands Dutch, and while the differences are mostly subtle, they are often quite noticeable to those who care.

Skrivanek has a branch in Belgium where Dutch linguists of both Belgium and Netherlands can assist you in the right choice of tone for your translated materials.

J. McShulskis





Unicorns, Bubbles and the Placement of Dots – Financial Translation

29 01 2016

There are financial terms with origins a few hundred years old that still ring through our conversations about money. And although their roots were idiomatic, some – like “stock”, “invest” and “bubble” – are so old and familiar now that English speakers in capitalist economies know their financial implications instantly.

Financial translation

Take “capital” itself, for instance: its Latin origin is “caput,” the word for “head,” which may have become established as a term for wealth because of the common use of livestock to assess a family’s prosperity.* That word was born several eras ago — today new words flow into the financial lexicon constantly from different industries, cultures, and business and technological trends.

“Unicorn,” for instance, refers to tech start-ups valued at over $1 billion but manifesting negative cash flow, two conflicting qualities that suggest such start-ups are illusions. In Chinese will the English word “unicorn” be borrowed and used as is, or will “kirin” (a similar creature) be employed? Does a “kirin” imply fanciful unreality? On the other end of the poetic spectrum, “intraday momentum index” is the relatively new term for “a technical indicator used by day traders to signal when a stock is trending up or down….”** an awkward phrase to pin down in another language.

The greatest challenges inherent in financial translation, however, come with the high stakes around errors. A single misunderstood and wrongly assigned number or decimal point can destroy the meaning of a report. Presentation and formatting of numbers and the symbols associated with them must also be flawlessly consistent or content can become incomprehensible.

For many countries, the terminology used must comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the IASB, the International Accounting Standards Board, and endorsed by the EU. Translation memory and glossaries help translators stay current with IFRS changes, which they must legally do.

The nature of communication about money means that deadlines will often be super tight, and yet there cannot be any shortcuts taken when it comes to the confidentiality of financial translations. Data must be protected by signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) with top-notch security systems in place for all transfer of information. You must implicitly trust your LSP when it comes time to translate financial content, and be sure that, like Skrivanek, their expertise extends deeply into financial concepts and the trending jargon.

J. McShulskis

*The Devil’s Financial Dictionary, by Jason Zweig

**Investment News, Top 10 Financial Terms of 2015