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).


Word of the day – bounce!

tiggerWe all talk about bounce rates, but it seems that many people don’t fully understand what a bounce is. Simply put, a bounce is a one-page visit.

It doesn’t matter which page it is, how long the visitor spends on the page they visit, or if they click on a link on that page which leads them to a different site. It doesn’t matter if they come to you via a search engine or type in your URL. What matters is that they only visit one page before the specified session-timeout occurs.

If you’d like to learn more, Wikipedia has detailed formulas for calculating bounce rates, and Google has tips for improving them.

Using a blog to attract international customers

blog-1242038Now that you have a shiny new e-commerce website in a different language, how do you drive international traffic to it? One simple answer is: a translated blog.

Blogs on eCommerce sites help to optimise a website in several ways:
• Increasing the number of pages and content
• Increasing the text to code ratio
• Creating internal links back to the main website


Meet the Team – Francesca Riley

gmail_image_franHi everyone,

I have recently joined the Web-Translations team as a Project Coordinator, having just finished a Masters in Applied Translation Studies at the University of Leeds. During my Masters I particularly enjoyed the modules relating to CAT tools and Machine Translation, and it was in these fields that I focused a lot of my time. Working as part of a PM team during our CAT module’s team projects lead to an interest in this part of the translation industry, so the vacancy I found at Web-Translations seemed an ideal starting point for my career. (more…)

Are UKTI trade services in danger?

image courtesy of UKTI

image courtesy of UKTI

If you are involved in export, chances are you have consulted UK Trade & Investment or made use of their resources. The UKTI is a non-ministerial government department which helps businesses, including many Web-Translations clients, export profitably.

UKTI works with UK based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports. We encourage and support overseas companies to look at the UK as the best place to set up or expand their business. – UKTI


Does a second language open the door to business success?

Following news that the popularity of language learning is declining year on year (The Telegraph), it’s clear that less young people are considering modern foreign languages to be an important consideration for their future careers. Yet ongoing research consistently suggests that this doesn’t match up to the needs and expectations of UK Business.

Back in 2013, the British Council published a report in which they pinpointed ten languages that would be crucial for the UK’s long-term prosperity, security and influence, using various indicators such as export trade, emerging markets and diplomatic concerns. The results were as follows (in order of importance):

1 Spanish
2 Arabic
3 French
4 Mandarin Chinese
5 German
6 Portuguese
7 Italian
8= Russian
8= Turkish
10 Japanese

The report found that 75% of the adults polled were unable to hold a conversation in any of the languages highlighted, and the British Academy declared the UK to be trapped in a ‘vicious cycle of monolingualism’ whereby Brits would become excluded from international negotiations and business opportunities. (more…)

How to Avoid a Branding Blunder

Following the decision of a Judge in France to prevent parents from naming their baby girl ‘Nutella’, this has sparked debate over words that should be deemed suitable, and indeed unsuitable, to be used as a name. In this case, the French courts deemed that the name would ‘lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts’ (BBC News) due to its association with the popular hazelnut spread.

This certainly isn’t the first case of its kind, but brings to mind an interesting point regarding our word associations and the power held within language. There are few instances where this becomes more apparent than in the translation world. (more…)

Will 2015 be the Year of Instant Translation?

Back in November 2014, Skype launched a preview of Skype Translator, which will aim to provide real-time translation of conversations in over 40 languages. Hot on its heels, Google has now updated its own app to include an instant interpreting function using voice recognition, as well as an impressive translation feature which utilises a phone’s camera to automatically translate text viewed through the lens.

Long gone are the days of trying to decipher the unusual looking dishes on foreign menus – now all you have to do is hover your phone above the page and receive an instant translation. Here at Web-Translations, we’ve given the app a quick road test using three major tourist preoccupations: warning signs, tourist information and those all important menus. Take a look at how we got on below. (more…)

Why use CAT tools?

catLast year, a Proz poll indicated that 88% of professional translators use a CAT tool. For the 12% of you who don’t, here are some reasons why we think CAT tools are essential: (more…)

Watch out when using Google translate!

While using Google translate to double check my understanding of an email I’d received in German, I noticed that all was not as it should be. My German is a little rusty, and so I often use free online translation tools as a backup, to verify my understanding.

I know the limitations of machine translation, and as I was only using it to double-check my understanding of the message, I wasn’t so bothered about the incorrect word order and questionable grammar in the translation Google produced:

Google_Translate_FailHowever, the incorrect translation of “Donnerstag” as “Friday” definitely caught my attention!

Lucky for me that I have the German for days of the week firmly imprinted in my memory, but other people who don’t speak German who rely on Google translate wouldn’t have been so lucky and would have missed the deadline!

Be careful! Machine translation tools are very useful, but are no replacement for a fluent human being, especially if you’re trying to make a professional impression.

If in doubt, get in touch with us – we are always here to help!

International SEO: Is server location important?

Blank business diagramManaging a successful international web strategy would be much simpler if one hosting company
could host multiple local domains on local servers through a single control panel. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

If you have purchased unique domains for the different languages of your website, you can:

  • host all of your languages/domains in one country OR
  • host individual languages/domains in the target countries


6 resources every translator should use

Contrary to what some may think, not all translators sit alone in a dark room, typing furiously, using only a dusty old dictionary for reference. Translation has moved on!

It is more than just one opinion, one draft, one dog-eared dictionary. Translators, like lawyers, refer to myriad sources to select the best terminology, cite examples of similar contexts, delve into background information, and so on.


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