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

 Contact us!

www.skrivanek.com

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

1 07 2016

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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





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.

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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

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

Contact us.





Global Planning needs Local Knowledge

17 11 2015

 

woman-world-of-clinets_508x480The reality of international expansion for any company is that the strategies developed for one country may be ineffective in another. The millions of people in untapped markets all over the world may in fact represent future customers, but there are unique and numerous obstacles presented by each distinct cultural group.  Specific local knowledge is required, and that means you need on-site specialists.

“Look at the highest performing companies in your industry,” Forbes Magazine author Josh Bershin paraphrases global economist Pankj Ghemawat.*  “They operate globally but in a local way. Success is driven by speed, agility, and optimizing your business for local markets.”

This suggests close study of the day-to-day lives, culture and consumer needs of a country’s people and awareness of their differences from people you have already marketed to elsewhere on the globe. Communication with them in their language will be both the first challenge and the first opportunity to begin identifying and bridging the inevitable gaps.

Seeking a language service provider (LSP), you have options that include companies centrally based somewhere who rely on long-distance contacts with scattered translators and other vendors; or you have the more unusual option of a company like Skrivanek who has built a network of 45 offices on-site in 17 countries. The advantages of the local vendor management that is possible for Skrivanek with such an extensive global-local network are numerous, and the overall result is generally a far more efficient and cost-effective success for your company.

On-site Skrivanek staff work with your target country’s local translators, interpreters, subject matter specialists, software technicians, governments – any support you require — to provide teams of professionals and solutions for your language needs that companies without local branches cannot possibly develop. Furthermore, these professionals are known and regular tested during the course of long-term working relationships with Skrivanek – an importance advantage over the last minute acquisitions of freelancers that companies without a local presence must rely on. Every stage of your project’s local management, from acquisition of the best linguists for your job to the final on-site quality assurance, ensures a level of quality impossible to achieve from a distance.

 

* a central theme of Ghemawat’s 2013 book World 3.0

Jacquelyn McShulskis

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

Contact us.

 

 

 

 





Skrivanek Opens New UK Office

16 05 2013

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Skrivanek’s London office doors are open, expanding our on-site language services into a region of high growth and demand.

“British business has always thrived on export and although the UK translation market is highly competitive we believe we have the expertise and experience to meet the needs of companies operating in a global market,” says Joe Atkinson, UK Key Account Manager for Skrivanek, who will head up the London office. “We believe it will be a great benefit to our UK clients both existing and new to have a local point of contact for all their language translation requirements.”

Best known for being the market leader in Central and East European languages, Skrivanek provides all major world languages to its clients around the world.

“We are proud of our roots in Central Europe and still operate an unparalleled branch structure across the region with all the benefits that brings,” says Pavel Skrivanek, founder and CEO of Skrivanek Group. “These days, however, we have a truly global reach with offices in Berlin, New York, Moscow and several other cities worldwide.”

Joe Atkinson reports that hundreds of clients across the UK have discussed their translation needs with him in his role as Key Account Manager. From small firms to global corporations, they want to be able to explain their needs to and receive feedback from a provider who speaks their language. 

Skrivanek has prepared thoroughly for a move designed to cement relationships with UK client links developed over 20 years, while also forging new ones through our competitive pricing and outstanding customer service.

Tel: 020 329 3256
Email: info@skrivanek.co.uk
Website: www.skrivanek.co.uk