The number of languages on the internet is rising

Former German chancellor Willy Brandt is cited to have said that ‘Sie verkaufen und ich kaufe, sprechen wir Deutsch. Aber Sie kaufen und ich verkaufe, dann sprechen wir Ihre Sprache’ (If you’re selling and I’m buying, we’ll speak in German. But if you’re buying and I’m selling, then we’ll speak your language). You’d be hard pressed to claim that Brandt was alone in this sentiment; the positive effect that multilingualism can have upon a company’s global impact is something posited by the translation industry as a reason for our very existence. Yet there are some who would suggest that in the age of global communication, multilingualism online is becoming less paramount. Some would even go as far as to suggest that English is becoming the lingua franca of the web, rendering other languages as obsolete. We feel this couldn’t be further from the truth. (more…)

Nordic Noir: warming Brits up to the prospect of subtitled TV?

As an office of linguists, the recent TV viewing schedule has been a dream come true. We’re hooked on Channel 4’s Cold War spy drama Deutschland ’83, and can’t wait to see what happens next on French political thriller Spin. Thanks to creepy drama Les Revenants, French language productions have been making waves in the online streaming world too, whilst Colombian Spanish has found a wider audience with Netflix original series Narcos, tracking the life of Pablo Escobar.

Amazing foreign language productions are nothing new, but the reception they are getting in Britain is certainly something worth talking about. Famed as a nation who can’t (or won’t) learn languages to any reasonable level, imported TV shows and films have traditionally had a hard time making waves on this side of the Channel.

Perhaps we’re finally seeing a turning of the tide. But why? (more…)

Piano craze


Last year, Leeds-based Besbrode Pianos’ website “went into meltdown with enquiries from potential buyers in just one country”.

Their sales have more than trebled since then, all due to interest from the world’s biggest emerging market…


‘Most Valuable Translator 2015’ – The results are in!

2016 is already proving to be a busy one for the Web-Translations office. After a well-earned Christmas break, our Projects Team have now been hard at work for just over two weeks. We took some down time today to finally decide upon our Most Valuable Translators for 2015; each of us had a tough fight on our hands!

We’re extremely grateful to our network of linguists, whose extensive talents allow us to offer translation services across a wide range of industries. We’re lucky to work with a huge number of truly valuable translators; our MVT awards showcase just some of these. (more…)

One does not simply rely upon automated translation: users left wondering what Google are Tolkien about.

Google Translate caused a bit of a stir this week when some temporary irregularities with its Ukrainian into Russian translation functionality were revealed. For a short period of time, the word ‘Russia’ was translated as ‘Mordor’ – the evil region of Middle Earth controlled by Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. Other mistranslations included ‘Occupant’ for ‘Russian’ and ‘Sad little horse’ for Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov.

Whether you want to look at these mistranslations in isolation or in unison, they are undeniably politically charged. Google claim this to be the work of a bug in some of their algorithms; we consider here in a little more detail how this could be done. (more…)

The return of ‘Most Valuable Translator’!

Most-Value-Translator-2015We’ve had the Grammys, the Oscars and the Emmys, but before 2015 draws to a close, there is one more awards ceremony left to look out for… that’s right: after a short hiatus the Web-Translations ‘Most Valuable Translator’ awards are back! Here in the Projects team, we recognise the importance of our freelancer network to the continued success of our business; we’re lucky to work with some truly talented linguists! We value each and every freelancer that we collaborate with, but take the festive period as a time to give some recognition to those people that we felt really went the extra mile for us in 2015. Voting will take place over the next week; stay tuned for the results!

Merry Christmas from Web-Translations!


As the festive season approaches and 2015 draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on what’s been another successful year for Web-Translations. It’s certainly been an interesting 12 months, with plenty of changes and challenges.

In May we said goodbye to our Projects Director Dominic, who has moved on to pastures new after 3 ½ years with us. Another farewell came soon after in July, when we packed up our Queen’s Square office and moved to Cloth Hall Court. Our new position puts the city centre and its shops right on our doorstep, making stepping out for a tasty lunch every now and then that bit more tempting! The day of our move was also the day we welcomed Jennifer back from maternity leave. We were very happy to have her back with us; however, we’re not sure she was initially quite so ecstatic to see us: on the hottest day of the year, with plenty of heavy boxes to help carry!


The force is strong with Google

Last week Google Translate unveiled a new language option to supplement its other recent additions, which have included various Central and South East Asian and African languages. The difference being that this latest language in fact comes from a galaxy far, far away. In line with the hype surrounding the new Star Wars film, Google have decided to offer translation into and out of Aurebesh.

Aurebesh is the written format of Galactic Basic, the most widely spoken language in the Star Wars films. Its alphabet corresponds to the Latin alphabet; featuring the standard 26 letters along with some digraphs, numbers and punctuation.

We’ve used Google to translate some well-known quotes from the films; take a look at how they turned out:


Fun with language: Germany chooses its ‘youth word’ of the year

To the older listener, it can sometimes feel as if young people are speaking an entirely different language. But like it or loathe it, the language of youths contributes to the development of a country’s language and culture as a whole. Germans celebrate these contributions annually with Langenscheidt’s Jugendwort des Jahres (youth word of the year).

This competition invites young people to nominate and discuss their favourite new word of the year on their website The most popular are then put to an open vote, before the top 10 are whittled down to just 1 by a panel of judges. A similar set of criteria are used as would be for a standard dictionary entry, with added emphasis on creativity (of course).


Marcoms – an introduction

alienMarshmallow sitcoms?

Martian intercoms?

Sadly, ‘marcoms’ aren’t as exciting as that. ‘Marcoms’ are simply ‘marketing communications’ or ‘marketing and communications’. Marcoms can be adverts in magazines, telemarketing, websites, flyers, social media, branding and much more.

At Web-Translations, we specialise in eMarketing and marcom translation. We can help you test a brand or strapline in your target markets, and help you choose keywords or translate PPC ads. We can translate brochures, websites and product packaging.

Contact us for more information.

Proud to work with Boots, the Eden Project, Patrizia Pepe and Sony

Visit our Portfolio to read our newest Case Studies:


Boots Case Study : An internationally renowned health and beauty retailer with over 2,500 UK stores, Boots also has a well-established eCommerce website.

Eden Project Case Study : Located in a reclaimed mining pit in Cornwall, the Eden Project has over a million visitors every year who come to see the famous biomes and learn about the ongoing research.

Patrizia Pepe Case Study : A high-end Italian fashion brand with a bricks and mortar shops, Patrizia Pepe also has a thriving eCommerce business.

Sony Case Study : Selling a range of consumer and professional electronics, Sony Europe is an internationally known brand.

Thank you to our amazing translators who have worked on projects for these clients; your dedication helps us to provide excellent service to industry-leading clients.

Translator identity theft: don’t let it happen to you


We recently received an email from a translator, alerting us to the fact that she’d had to update her personal details after being the victim of online ID fraud. In a highly competitive industry based almost entirely on the internet, one bad review can really affect a translator’s ability to get work; as an agency looking to place jobs quickly with skilled linguists, we unfortunately do not have the time to investigate a poor score or give a new translator the benefit of the doubt. In light of this we investigated: how can translators protect their identity and reputation online?

Read this before adding new images to your website!

mountainsLast year, a Web-Translations staff member uploaded a photo to a blog post which she found on an a public domain web gallery with what purported to be open license images. We thought nothing of this until a letter from Getty Images appeared in the post. The letter contained screenshots from our blog and stated that we owed them £600 for image theft.

We were shocked, to say the least, as we would never have uploaded the image to our blog if we had not believed it to be a royalty-free, non-copyrighted image. The image was immediately removed and we explained the situation to Getty Images. It seems, however, that even though we used the image in good faith, we were still at fault. We have had an iStock account since 2005 and have spent nearly £2,000 with Getty Images, but this didn’t help our case either.

A fine was paid, and we have learnt our lesson. We will try to use more of our own photos and drawings going forward, so we apologise in advance if some images are lacking in artistic merit!

Please don’t let this happen to you. If you have used a web designer who put images on your website, or if you found images in a “free” image gallery, you are still liable for them. The copyright owner can use the image’s metadata to track the image to your site and if you don’t hold a valid license, fine you. In our case, the image was uploaded over 10 months before Getty Images contacted us, so please don’t assume your site is fine simply because you haven’t been contacted.

Translation right on our doorstep: Leeds Station’s piano


With an office full of linguists, it’s not surprising that we here at Web-Translations have a keen eye for spotting foreign languages in our daily surroundings. Leeds City Station’s free-to-play piano has recently captured our attention. Placed just outside McDonald’s, the piano offers a moment of light relief from the otherwise drab morning commute and has attracted some truly talented players amongst those passing by.

In a bid to make the piano accessible to all, Northern Rail have gone to the trouble of translating an instructional “play me” into 25 different languages (below). While we’re all for the promotion of multilingualism, we couldn’t help but notice some errors here. Perhaps someone got a little Google Translate-happy? (more…)

Reviewing – invisible but important

2349632625_4eba371b56_zReviewers are to translators what editors are to authors – a very necessary part of the process without which the text would not be ready for publication.

Reviewing is not re-translation, but rather a form of editing. Reviewers don’t focus on subjective stylistic amends, but instead look at what needs to be improved to increase a text’s fluency, understanding and accuracy. It is a balancing act; a translation must accurately convey the meaning of the original whilst not sounding ‘translated’.

Language service providers know that revision is their most powerful Quality Assurance tool for delivering the best possible translation. We often refer to it as ‘proofreading’, and although it is itemized separately on our quotations, revision should only be considered optional if the text is intended uniquely for internal company use, or for the client’s own information.

Reviewing is a crucial value-adding step in the translation project. More information on types of revision, the Web-Translations revision process and the limits of self-revision can be found below.




How many companies out there don’t have a sales team? Probably not many…

It has now been over a year since Web-Translations employed a salesperson, so when you contact us, you will speak directly to an experienced Project Manager.

Our Project Managers all hold Masters degrees in translation, and are website experts to boot! We can help you to work out what is needed, and the best way to go about it, right from the start. All members of our team provide vital consultancy to help your business thrive in today’s global economy.

We understand translation. We understand websites. We can help.

Pre-localisation preparations


Before localising a website, there are several key things to consider:

If your site runs off a popular CMS, or if you have static HTML, localisation will be straightforward. Bespoke systems may also have been designed with localisation in mind.
• Consider whether all the elements of your design are editable. If you have images with embedded text that you have created in another program, the same program and file will be needed to create localised images.
• Ask yourself if the design is going to work if you don’t translate all parts of your website, or will there be an empty space on the French site where the “online chat” function is in English?
• Look for other potential spacing issues, such as the insertion of a dropdown language menu or currency selector.
• Find out if you can export/import content for translation. If not, would you prefer to provide us with access to your site, or would you handle all the content yourself?
• Can you provide server access to an external IP should this be necessary?


Summer sale!

iStock_000003914278Medium20% Off Orders at Web-Translations!

For a limited time only, we are offering 20% off all translation projects. If you’ve been thinking about translating any type of file, document or web content, get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation quotation!

What can we offer you?
• A Dedicated Project Manager – one point of contact
• CMS Expertise (EPiServer, WordPress, OpenCms, Drupal… & more)
• Preferential translation rates
• Flexible payment terms

We’ve got a great track record working for clients in a wide range of industries. Please visit our Portfolio for further details.

Get in touch with our experienced team and find out what we could do for you.

Facebook and Twitter – how do they help?

fbtwitterMany of our clients tell us they don’t see any benefit to tweeting or maintaining a facebook page. The perception is often that social media is better for B2C businesses than B2B, and for companies selling a product as opposed to service-based companies.

In all honesty, the majority of our Web-Translations Twitter followers, and those who like us on facebook, are translators – our suppliers – and not customers. So if most people we connect with are not going to buy from us, and Google says the number of Twitter followers and facebook likes don’t affect SEO, why bother?


Is it a pain parisien or a baguette?

tesco bread

Using little-known foreign words in advertising can make a product appeal to a certain clientele who understands the word or at least associates it with a particular culture. It can distinguish the brand as global and trend-setting.

Languages incorporate ‘foreign words’ all the time. At first, the use of a new word may be only between speakers of the source language who know the word, but at some point they begin to use the word with those to whom the word was not previously known. To these speakers the word may sound ‘foreign’. At this stage, when most speakers do not know the word and if they hear it think it is from another language, the word can be called a foreign word. There are many foreign words and phrases used in English such as bon vivant (French) and Schadenfreude (German), as well as many types of foreign food, such as pain parisien (French).


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