Synnöve MT.

Synnöve MT.

Former Services Specialist

Having spent almost all her professional life within language services, she has been involved in most aspects of the industry. She has worked as a specialist for translation services.

Posts written by Synnöve MT.

Having described internationalisation, we will now look at localisation. The general definition given for localisation is usually something like:the process of culturally adapting a product or a service from one language to another.

What is BCS?

The abbreviation BCS is often used as a collective name for Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. This is because the languages are very close to each other, and information can be communicated in BCS and understood by speakers of all three languages. This is an effective and convenient way for authorities to reach out to speakers of these languages, but there are of course similarities and differences between the individual languages.

Alphabet soup

I once started to learn Russian, and everyone said: “It’s so difficult with this strange alphabet!” I don’t remember how terrified I was by the Cyrillic alphabet (АаБбВвГгДдЕеЖжЗзИиЙйКкЛл…), but I do remember that the alphabet was the least of the obstacles I encountered when learning Russian. 

One of the most common questions asked by our project managers when customers request translations is:

Do you want British or American English?

Sometimes the customer answers straight away, as there’s no doubt about where the translated text will be used: “American! We’ll be using the brochure at a trade fair in Houston.”

There’s no doubt that emojis have become a common feature of our everyday lives. Most people use them, and even if we don’t use them ourselves we come across them on a daily basis. We use them to abbreviate text – as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words – and also to improve communication by giving a better idea of what the writer is trying to say. But does that mean that we can and should always use emojis, in all types of texts and for all audiences?

For many of us, the internet has radically changed our working conditions and opportunities. We can work remotely for longer periods, or just for a day or so when the need arises. One enormously positive effect is that we can work in virtual teams with colleagues from other offices, or even in different countries.

Having an interpreter physically present may not always be practical, economical or appropriate, for various reasons. In certain circumstances we can provide a telephone interpreter, but this isn’t always ideal. And traditional video interpreting can sometimes be difficult to arrange due to the availability of the necessary equipment. But we have created a smart and very simple solution for these cases… (drumroll):

Many years ago, while on his travels, my grandfather met a group of weavers in a remote part of Asia. He was fascinated by the number of patterns they wove, and asked one of the weavers how many patterns he knew. The weaver replied that he had no idea – he simply plucked them ‘from his stomach’.

In contrast to internationalisation and localisation, globalisation includes every step required in order to reach a global market. The general definition given for globalisation is usually something like:a process that involves linking the countries of the world closer together.

The terms localisation, globalisation and internationalisation are often used within language services. Let’s start by describing internationalisation, a term used within many different fields and that can have many different meanings depending on the context.

We are often asked about the difference between interpreting and translation. Although the difference may seem obvious to us, this is a fair question as both translators and interpreters work with languages and the process of transferring meanings from one language to another. In purely concrete terms, however, translators and interpreters work with different aspects of problem-solving: translators work with written languages, and interpreters work with spoken languages.

When translating materials, it’s not always enough to just localise the text content – visual content may also need to be localised. Here are some practical tips for dealing with text that relates to images and checking that image materials are culturally appropriate.

Consistent, carefully chosen terminology strengthens a company’s profile and brand, whatever the language. It also makes it easier for the reader to understand the material. When it comes to producing original text and translations, using consistent and relevant terminology will save money since many steps in the process will be faster if you can avoid dealing with things that are unclear and questions. Despite this, terminology is often a neglected area for many companies.

A translator uses various types of glossaries, terminology databases and other tools on a daily basis to get help with specialist terminology within various subject areas, but many others could also benefit from these tools. Many of us sometimes read or write about things outside our field of expertise, or read materials written in foreign languages. In these cases, a terminology database can come in handy.

We often use colours in written and spoken language, both to describe things and to evoke a particular feeling. Most of the things around us have colours that create associations or are purely practical. Something that we might not often think about is that colours can have different ‘meanings’ in different languages.

A number of surveys have shown that we assimilate information in our own language to a much greater extent than in a foreign language, even if we believe that we have good knowledge of the foreign language in question.

Reviewing which languages you use online is just as important as reviewing your company’s strategies, positioning and target groups from time to time. After all, this can be crucial when it comes to reaching your growth targets.

It has often been shown that multilingualism is an important factor when it comes to economic competitiveness. Multilingualism doesn’t simply mean providing texts in the local language plus English, it’s more a case of providing texts in the intended reader’s native language.

Today, websites are an important shop window for businesses and organisations. In fact, they are often the main – and only – point of contact. It’s worth bearing in mind the old saying You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

More and more of us are using the internet to look for anything and everything. Sometimes we search for specific information, while at other times we’re just browsing around and window shopping. When your potential customers visit your website, you obviously want to create the best possible impression.

It may stem back to the mountain cottage of my childhood, right next to the Norwegian border. Or it may just be that I’m an avid bookworm with a fascination for morbid subjects. Whatever the reason, I’ve always been a big fan of the Norwegian tradition of reading crime fiction at Easter time. After all, what could be better than taking time off work, heading to the mountains or the countryside – ideally with sparkling snow, spring sunshine, melting icicles, snowdrops and evenings spent in front of a roaring fire – all with a gripping detective novel or two?

Research has shown that both small and medium-sized Swedish companies use fewer languages in their customer communication that the corresponding companies in other European countries. German and Danish companies use an average of 12 languages and French companies use eight, while Swedish companies rely on just three.

The world has become both smaller and larger in recent decades, and this trend is continuing. We’re online for more of the day and do most things both locally and globally, and this is of course particularly true of our work lives. This is more obvious for some professions than for others.

Idiomatic phrases and sayings constantly surround us. So it’s not particularly surprising that many of these relate to language, since language is such a central part of our lives and our identities. Here is a selection of my personal favourites from around the world. I hope you enjoy them too!