Brexit: what does the future hold for exporters?

Last Friday the nation woke up to the news that the public had voted by a slim majority to leave the European Union. The shock waves were felt across the world instantaneously: the pound dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, the stock markets were in chaos and the political and social repercussions of a resounding ‘no’ to the European project raised questions for other member state governments.

Watching the political situation unfold over the past ten days has not always made for pleasant reading, and – as is customary for such an uncertain time – it would seem that almost everybody has put their two cents in. As an office we have strong links to Europe both through our multilingual projects team and international freelancer and client networks. As such, we couldn’t help but wonder what the future might hold for us as a translation company, and for the exporters we translate for.

As a translation company, we are not altogether worried for now. We work with a wide range of European and non-European languages, and recognise that the need for language services prevails even whilst trade lines are re-drawn. The languages we work with the most are those which are most widely used in eBusiness; these trends do shift, but not over night. A remote workforce also makes most translation companies less susceptible to economic uncertainties at home than others. So, to exporters. What will the next few months be like? (more…)

A sad day for Britain


To all of our European translators and clients – we are disappointed that the UK voted to leave the EU. We are proud to call ourselves European, and as a company we supported the “Stronger In Europe” campaign. You may have seen our name in The Times this week. The letter to the editor, including the list of signatories, is available on the Stronger In website.

“Britishness” is in demand around the globe

“Our research shows that 70% of British business do not consider exporting” – UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)

Why not? It’s so easy to have your website translated, allowing you to trade internationally. Different currencies don’t pose a problem, either. In Olden Times (the 90s!), businesses were required to make a substantial investment in order to explore a new market. Now you can test the waters quickly and cheaply.

At Web-Translations, we offer Microsite and Website localisation packages to help you launch globally. For as little as £395 exc VAT, you can create an international online presence.

“Britishness” is in demand around the globe…export to profit from it. British exports amount to £24.9bn, according to the Sunday Times*, however these numbers are in decline based on the previous year. Theories as to why confidence in the export sector has dropped include uncertainly about the EU referendum, preventing companies from starting new export plans, and lack of government support, as well as an economic slowdown in China.

If your business needs support, the UKTI may be able to guide you about foreign legislation, which products you’re allowed to sell, and what you need to include on product labelling, etc. If they can’t help you, they know who will. If a Brexit is the concern, consider localising for a range of countries, including those outside the EU.

Localising your website is the key to exporting successfully, and unlocking the potential of foreign markets.

*29.05.16 / Business section page 9

Buy Yorkshire 2016

Jenn and Jasmine_edited

In May, we exhibited for the first time at the Buy Yorkshire conference held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. As a Yorkshire-based company, we are proud of what the region has to offer, and were eager to take part in an event focused on the idea that “we are stronger together”.

At Web-Translations, we have no sales team, so we rounded up everyone from our MD to our Vendor Manager to come and talk about what we do at Web-Translations. In hindsight, we realise that a Sales Executive would be a great asset to the team – so if you’re interested in working with us, please contact us! We are a friendly bunch and don’t bite.

Over 5,000 people came to the conference, whether it was to see what Nigel Farage had to say, or to stock up on sweets at the Clear Workplace stand (@Clear Workplace: thank you – they were delicious, especially the gummy snake!). We enjoyed chatting with visitors and exhibitors, and we learnt a good deal about what local businesses are planning for the rest of 2016.

With over 20 seminars and workshops, there was plenty to keep delegates busy, so we would like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with us. Thank you also to the Yorkshire Mafia – it was a brilliant event!

Boost your multilingual SEO with hreflang tags

Multilingual website? Make sure you use hreflang tags to indicate to Google what language a page is in; proper usage of these tags can improve search engine positioning for your multilingual sites.

You can also mark content for a particular country.

The tags should only be used when the same content is available in more than one language. All of the languages available should be listed together as a complete set in the header. For example, on a French page you would not have only:


but instead:


Make sure that the pages you are tying together have the same content – although in different languages of course. Confusing Google with mis-matched sets of pages will hurt rather than help.

We use the WPML WordPress plugin, which adds the tags automatically so as to avoid any mis-matching. It also allows manual locale selection.

For more info on how WPML handles the hreflang tag, and for general information on how to use Google’s Webmaster tools to check that everything is working correctly, please read WPML’s developer information article on hreflang tags.

‘Czechia self’: what’s in a name?

Czech flag

By 9am this morning, the Czech Republic was trending in the UK, as news that the country’s parliament is discussing changing its name to ‘Czechia’ hit our media.

Proponents of the name change put forward a range of compelling arguments. For starters, ‘Czech Republic’ is a political term, reflecting constitutional changes brought about by the splitting of Czechoslovakia into two countries in 1993. Secondly, the length of ‘Czech Republic’ means that the shortened ‘Czech’ is already used for some sports team kits and other product branding; ‘Czech’, however, is a reference to the country’s people rather than its geographical location. Thirdly, other countries refer to the Czech Republic using a variety of unofficial shortened versions, which results in confusion. (more…)

Come visit us at Buy Yorkshire 2016!

buy yorkshire 2016

Web-Translations will to be exhibiting at Buy Yorkshire 2016 on 17th and 18th May at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

Come visit us at Stand 151 in the Royal Armouries Hall.

Buy Yorkshire is a terrific multi-format platform for innovation, conversation, business education, connecting and building better business relationships.

It’s a huge event built on a simple idea… that We are Stronger Together. When people come together to share ideas and build relationships, in meaningful numbers, we can really make difference to our own businesses and to our wider community…

Top 5 Twitter techniques


Is there a formula for writing a perfect tweet?

Composing a 140-character tweet, which must entice despite its brevity, requires some thought for anyone wishing to use Twitter as a marketing tool. Here are our top tips:


Why do we think that language affects personality?


One of the major misconceptions about languages and translation is the presumed presence of direct equivalents. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked ‘what’s the German word for …?’ and had to answer ‘well, there isn’t one’ or ‘How would you say … in German?’ ‘you wouldn’t – at least not in that context’.

Indeed, for anyone who speaks two languages it often becomes glaringly apparent that their two chosen vernaculars don’t allow them to express themselves in exactly the same way. Generally, this is a great thing; how dull would things be without variety? Yet this observation lends weight to a rather controversial argument: that languages may actually shape the way we see the world and the way we interact with it. (more…)

So, what do the Projects Team do?

The translation industry is extremely varied in nature. Huge multinational language service providers are contrasted with agencies home to less than 10 full time members of staff. Translators, reviewers and terminologists may work in-house, or freelance anywhere in the world. With skills required for various roles within the industry overlapping, very few people seem to wear just one professional hat. With this in mind, we created the following infographic to explain the various stages our Projects Team go through every day. We think this shows what a varied range of skills the job requires! (more…)

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.

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