Meet the Team – Rachel Jones

Meet the Team – Rachel Jones


I’mRachel blog Rachel, the new Project Coordinator at Web-Translations. I’m really excited to join the team and experience the world of translation from this end, having worked as a French and German freelance translator for a year. Prior to this, I completed an MA in Audiovisual Translation at the University of Leeds and a BA in French and German at University College London (UCL). My master’s in Audiovisual Translation focused on the creation of interlingual subtitles and also intralingual subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences. I also learnt a lot about CAT tools and localisation strategies, which has prepared me well for life as a project coordinator. (more…)

Why does Google Translate work better for some languages than others?

The quality of translations from Google Translate can vary from good to absolutely terrible, and some language pairs are much better than other language pairs.

So, why does Google Translate work better for some languages than others?

Translation fail! The translation should say 'We help YOU to become a customer-centric company'

Translation fail! The translation should say ‘We help YOU to become a customer-centric company’ instead of ‘We become a customer centric company’


Reflecting on Women in Translation Month

Women in Translation month is an intiative developed by The Reading Agency in order to appreciate women writers, including the writers whose works are translated, and the translators and publishers who transfer them into different languages. August was full of events and discussions around this theme, and our Client Services Director, Jasmine, attended an event in Sheffield arranged by Tilted Axis Press. The event featured Korean and Japanese authors, along with English translators who had worked with them. Some of the points raised left an impression and as a team with a real love for languages, it’s worth shining a light on them. (more…)

Meet the Team – Amy Forrester

Hi everyone,

I have recen10959696_10205023503298748_7147275264288063395_ntly joined the Web-Translations team as a Project Coordinator, having just finished my Masters in Applied Translation Studies at the University of Leeds. Prior to this I graduated with a first in Russian and Spanish, again from the University of Leeds. During my MA we studied a module on CAT tools which was geared towards preparing us for the world of translation and the language services industry. I particularly enjoyed this module; especially when we took part in simulated localisation projects which allowed us to mimic a ‘real life’ translation project and workflow. It was these projects which actually introduced me to the role of a project manager and piqued my interest in wanting to pursue a career as one. (more…)

Would your SMS be over the limit?

Ever contemplated a multilingual marketing campaign that uses SMS messaging to contact your customers? Or simply wanted to practise a bit of French with your latest foreign speaking acquaintance? Then you may want to have a serious think about size. Because when it comes to texting, it really does matter.

As English speakers, we are lucky enough to be given a grand total of 160 characters per text message. These days, our mobile providers generally allow us to exceed these limits and will concatenate multiple messages into one long message, billing us for the equivalent number of messages. UK mobile networks use GSM encoding, which supports a character set consisting of the Latin alphabet, numbers, many other symbols, and some support for non-English accented characters. ‘Extended’ GSM character sets are also provided in some countries and offer additional characters, but this can vary depending on the mobile provider and handset. Often, using these characters will also subtract more than one character from your precious 160 character allowance. In fact, even using your favourite smiley or salsa dancing emoji will instantly convert your message to Unicode and reduce your character limit to 70. And if you send a special character to someone with an incompatible handset, which is tricky to know beforehand, it may simply appear as a ☐. (more…)

Style. It’s not just for Versace…

I awoke this morning to find…

I woke up this morning and found…

When I woke up this morning, I found…

When I awoke this morning to find…

When writing original English copy, there are multiple options for conveying an idea. Similarly, there is almost certainly more than one way to translate a particular idea from another language into English.  The same is of course true when translating from English into other languages, to varying degrees.

You can probably think of other ways to express the idea of waking up this morning and finding something.  Imagine how many variations there are in a full sentence, a paragraph, or a page of text. (more…)

How to choose the languages for your international website

When you localise your website, there are hundreds of languages in the world to choose from, only a small proportion of which will be useful in the context of taking your business global.

Although you could just look at the most popular languages on the Internet, choosing the languages you localize your website into should be based on a combination of several factors, and take your business into account. (more…)

Web-Translations starts work for The Nadler hotel

Leonardo Gubinelli from The Nadler with Jonathan Power, W-T Sales Director

We like to stay in nice hotels, which is one reason we work with so many of the world’s top hotels…we keep our fingers crossed for a discount or free spa treatment!

With websites for Plaza Athénée and Le Meurice in Paris, as well as for The Dorchester Collection and General Hotel Management Ltd in our portfolio, Web-Translations has localised quite a few top hotel sites into various languages, such as French, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.

We are happy to announce that we will be working with The Nadler in London to localise key pages of their website into 10 languages.

Our Sales Director, Jonathan Power, recently had the pleasure of staying at The Nadler, which offers affordable luxury within the heart of London. Jonathan enjoyed the added extras The Nadler has to offer, including a Nespresso coffee machine, GHD hairdryer and the best shower he has ever been in!

“I’m pleased we have been instructed to carry out the translation of The Nadler Group – I’m sure the concept of which will prove a huge success with international visitors” – Jonathan Power, Sales Director

W-T celebrates World Environment Day

World Environment Day was started in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly, and is commemorated every year on the 5th of June. The aim is to increase awareness of environmental issues on a global scale, and to promote and encourage action that can be taken to safeguard the planet’s future.

At Web-Translations, we take our commitment to the environment seriously. Of the staff in our Leeds headquarters,

This totals 100% !

We also have permanent staff who telework, and every year we work with hundreds of freelance linguists from around the globe – most of whom work from home. Technology allows us to collaborate virtually, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for transportation.

Pushka Knobs goes international…

E-merchant Pushka Knobs offers unique door and cupboard furniture through their .com e-commerce site. After four years of successful online retailing in the UK, Pushka chose to work with Web-Translations to promote their online boutique in the Netherlands. We created a microsite for the Dutch-language marketplace which acts as portal allowing overseas customers to purchase items directly from the UK shop.

Pushka Knobs opted for our International Blast service, which offers a bespoke microsite, including on page and off page search engine optimisation, all for only £295+VAT. After launching less than a week ago, the Dutch site already appears on the first page of results for the keyword ‘kristallen knoppen’ (crystal knobs) and on the second page for ‘glazen knoppen’ (glass knobs). With such amazing results after less than a week, we can’t wait to see how the Dutch Pushka Knobs site performs over the next few months!

BananaFingers climb their way into overseas markets

With the help of Web-Translations’ skilled web project managers and SEO team, BananaFingers have just launched new microsites in Swedish, Japanese, Italian, French and German.

Acting as portals to their English e-commerce site, the localised pages will target visitors in foreign markets looking to purchase climbing equipment.

BananaFingers opted for Web-Translations’ International Blast service as an opportunity to test different markets, and thanks to our helpful follow-up reports, they will be able to track numbers and locales of visitors. This service will help to determine the most profitable international markets for BananaFingers so that when they decide to expand into new markets, they do this with an understanding of the demand for their products.

If only Tesco had used our market testing services, they might not have had to pull their operations from the US market after deciding that America wasn’t ready for them!

Vidyo’s multilingual sites created and maintained by W-T

In January 2011, Web-Translations localised Vidyo’s Japanese site. Since then, we have localised and maintained WordPress installations for a further 8 languages.

“We have been really happy with the quality of the translation and the level of support and guidance that you have provided on our projects.”

Debbie McDermott, Marketing Manager – Vidyo

Meet the Team – Robert Knowles

Project Coordinator - Web TranslationsHi everyone,

I joined Web-Translations as a Project Coordinator in April 2013. I am a recent graduate of languages and translation, and was looking for a career either within the translation field or within administration/project management, in particular with an international outlook. It was for that reason that I applied for the position as it matched perfectly with my aspirations, as well as with my skills and qualifications.

Originally from the East Riding of Yorkshire, I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2011 with an MA in Applied Translation Studies, having received a BA Hons (2:1) in French and German from the University of Hull in 2011. I also hold a Certificate of Higher Education in English Language and Linguistics from the University of Leeds and 4 A-Levels. During my undergraduate studies, I participated in the University of Hull’s Year Abroad programme, living in Osnabrück, Germany and Lyon, France. In addition to improving my linguistic competence, it also greatly improved my self-confidence and enhanced my cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Prior to joining the team, I had been working as a freelance translator, translating most text types, including but not limited to: legal, business, technical and administrative texts. I also worked in retail for nearly 8 years, during which time I rose to a supervisory role. This allowed me the opportunity to deal with both customers and clients, to resolve their enquiries and to fulfil their requests, all of which taught me how to adapt my conduct to suit the situation.

I was delighted to be accepted onto the University of Leeds’s Applied Translation Studies course, one of the most prestigious Master’s courses in translation and one which provides training on a vast number of CAT tools as well as training in localisation. During my postgraduate studies, I gained significant experience working within various multicultural teams and took on the responsibility of being the project manager for one of the assessments. In this role, I was responsible for the successful completion of a multilingual translation project involving seven translators. I was also able to pursue my interest in business by attending the Managing Business across Cultures module, through which I learned about business etiquette across cultures, the use of culture in advertising, business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The MA was the prefect training ground for my role here at the company, and I look forward to working with my fellow team members and hope to continue developing my skill set during my future career at Web-Translations.

New office…coming soon

We are looking forward to moving into our new office later this month. We won’t have far to go – only across the square from number 20 to number 16! If you find yourself in central Leeds, feel free to stop by and say hello.

If Jeremy Clarkson says it, it must be true…

Jeremy Clarkson often comes across as arrogant and opinionated, so although I usually disagree with him and his attempts to turn cars into spacecraft and otherwise waste my TV license fee, I will have to admit that I agree with him about one thing…

“When I see a sign advertising CD’s and DVD’s, I become so angry that my teeth start to fall out”

– Jeremy Clarkson as quoted in Monday’s Metro

However, I’m not sure whether overuse of the apostrophe is actually worse than eliminating them altogether, which is what the Mid Devon District Council did earlier this month when it officially banned them from street names. Also, the current BBC drama Prisoners’ Wives is correctly listed as such on the iPlayer, but when you watch the opening credits, the apostrophe disappears! Tsk tsk.

As a Project Manager, I have often found that translators whose native language is not English are excellent grammarians and do a fabulous job of spotting errant apostrophes (and other mistakes) in English texts. Perhaps we can hire translators to teach English in our schools, to work for the BBC, and to work for our councils!

Get the best translation possible

One of the most recognised truisms in the translation industry is that good source content yields a good translation.

Glossaries and style guides can certainly help, but what matters most is that the original copy is well-written.  When text does not flow logically, is difficult to understand, inconsistent or contains errors that can make it difficult for non-native speakers to even grasp the intended meaning, it takes a good deal longer to translate.  During a recent project, a translator asked me what sort of fabric ‘shiffon’ was and what exactly ‘broidrais anglais’ was.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that the text should be ‘chiffon’ and ‘broderie anglaise’, but I’m sure she had already taken time to search in a few dictionaries before asking me.

Translators charge by the word, so when portions of text take longer to translate, the translator needs to make time savings elsewhere.  Yes, good translators will do what is necessary to make the translation as good as possible, but realistically, they probably have a deadline that they accepted based on the principle that the source text was of an acceptable quality, and another job lined up ready and waiting. This extra time may be time that they would prefer to spend reviewing their translation or researching the client’s product.

Not only does it take longer to decipher the source text and even longer to produce a good translation, poor source text can also be very discouraging to a translator.  At least on a subconscious level, translators must wonder “why am I spending so much time and effort to make this text read well, when the client is clearly satisfied with substandard copy?”.

Project Managers realise this and so we do our best to ‘pre-localise’ text before we send it for translation, which most often includes running a spell check and reading through the file to fix any obvious errors.  We hope this improves the translator’s impression of the quality of the text, and in turn results in a better quality translation. It can also reduce ambiguity, aiding the translator’s understanding of the source text, which results in a more accurate translation.

By taking the time to edit your text prior to sending it for translation, you can achieve a translation that is of far higher quality and much more appealing to readers of the target market.  Ask yourself if the copy is consistent and accurate, if the tone reflects the message you want to convey, and if there is anything that is unclear or might otherwise be misunderstood.

10 gift ideas for Christmas


Still not finished your Christmas shopping? We’re here to help! Skip the icy high street with its mad crowds, and shop online this year – great selection from around the world, at your fingertips! Here are our top 10 suggestions for filling those Christmas stockings:



Black Pearl Bracelet from Zenzhu
With a silver rose clasp detail, the sumptuous ebony pearls in this classic black pearl bracelet are sure to make someone on your list happy! Available for £80 from Zenzhu’s freshwater pearls.
Champagne Tea at The Dorchester
Champagne and French pastries? Yes, please! Treat her to Champagne Tea at The Dorchester in London. From £57.38, The Dorchester’s Champagne Tea packages include a chilled glass of Dorchester Rose champagne served in the stunning surrounds of The Promenade. This also includes a choice of delicious finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and French pastries, accompanied by your choice of tea or coffee.
Childrens’ Batman Dark Knight costume from Party Delights
Does your little superhero want to be Captain America or Batman? Santa will be very popular when he delivers a Batman Dark Knight costume, £19.99 at Party Delights.
Exotic South African holiday from South African Airways
Today’s weather in Leeds: icy and 3°C. Today’s weather in Cape Town: sunny and 32°C. Give the gift of sunshine! South African Airways offers daily non-stop night flights to Johannesburg and other cities in South Africa. With special tariffs for groups in Economy as well as in Business Class, treat your family to a South Africa holiday. Or, leave the kids with Grandma and enjoy a comfortable night in Business Class’ 61 cm wide completely flat skybed with excellent cuisine and wine, as well high-tech on-board entertainment.
Vintage Cognac from Brandy Classics
Earn that thank you note with a Cognac Hermitage 1975 Chez Richon Grande Champagne, on special offer for £143.70 throughout the Christmas & New Year season from Brandy Classics. With flavours of pineapple syrup, walnuts and spices, this cognac is a holiday treat.
Barts Kamikaze hat from Snow+Rock
It’s cold enough outside to wear your duvet as a coat, but an even better idea is the Barts Kamikaze hat from Snow+Rock, at £34.99. It’s available in lots of different colours and patterns, so there’s sure to be one that he will like!
Turquoise Necklace from The Jewellery Channel
The 2012 Christmas Premiere Turquoise Necklace from The Jewellery Channel is beautiful, and incredible value for only £32.99. With 3 strands of pearls, and 500ct of turquoise, it will be her favourite present.
Luxury hotel stay in Oman from General Hotel Management Ltd
Dolphin watching. Need we say more? At the stunning Chedi Muscat, a luxury hotel in Oman, enjoy an “Explore in Style” package that includes two nights’ accommodation, a city tour of Muscat and a dolphin watching trip in the Gulf of Oman. Treat her to a Deluxe Club room and it even includes airport transfers in a limousine! Packages start at OMR 470. General Hotel Management, Ltd (GHM) offers “Explore in Style” packages across the range of luxury boutique hotels.
Silent Computer from Quiet PC
Treat someone special to the A43 IcePipe Silent Computer, a 100% silent PC with revolutionary IcePipe cooling technology from Quiet PC (£855 inc VAT). This high-specification machine doesn’t compromise on performance and comes with a two-year fully inclusive warranty.
Nike Golf Glove from Golf Online
For the golfer on your list, how about a new glove? The Nike Mens Tech Xtreme IV Golf Glove 2012 combines mastered comfort fit with incredible grip. Available in a range of colours for £9.95 from Golf Online.


What to do if you want one of these goodies for yourself? If you like something we’ve listed and you have been good this year, here are some hints: leave the webpage up on your screen, tweet it, like it on facebook and cross your fingers that someone will buy it for you!


Olympic Gold Website Package – Fit for London 2012

Get Fit for London 2012 with the recently launched Olympic Gold Website Package by Web-Translations.

The 2012 London Olympics represents a great sales opportunity. As mentioned in the Getting Fit for the Olympics blog post published last week not everyone is capitalising on this sales opportunity. Do you want to go for Gold in the 2012 London Olympics?

Last year the largest ever campaign by a national tourist board was launched by VisitBritain; the £100 million GREAT Britain You’re Invited campaign. Primarily fronted by five major global celebrities who agreed to film TV ads and help promote Britain overseas.

As VisitBritain’s Mark Di-Toro says, “Now is the time to wave the British flag”. Thanks to the GREAT campaign a global audience of billions will have their eyes firmly set on Britain like never before. Will you be profiting from this interest?


Rapid growth in Turkish eCommerce

Taking a bite from the Turkish delight will reap sweet rewards for online retailers

Turkish e-commerce transactions reached an impressive $12.3 billion in 2011, representing an increase of 57% on the previous year according to the Interbank Card Center. Combine this upsurge with the 12% per year e-commerce growth Forrester Research Inc (FORR) predicts for European growth over the next 5 years, and it becomes obvious that it’s time to pay attention to Turkey.

Impressive statistics, but what’s going on?

Half the population of Turkey is under 30 years old. This young society has been quick to adopt technological innovations and they now spend more time online per week than the worldwide average. This tendency translates into a high responsiveness to social media – 89% of Turkish Internet users are on Facebook and they are the 11th most active country on Twitter.

95% of the Turkish population are expected to have a mobile phone in 2013, with global corporations such as Telecom Italia having already entered Turkey to take advantage of this.

Furthermore Turkey has a credit driven economy, with a 62% credit card penetration among consumers. All of this has led to a positive environment for the development of Turkish e-commerce.


Brazil’s eCommerce market expands by 26% in 2011

E-commerce is booming in Brazil. Supported by a growing middle class, Brazil’s e-commerce total revenue for 2011 was over $11 billion; that’s an increase of 26% compared to 2010 ($8.4 bn). In total, 32 million consumers in Brazil bought at least once via the web in 2011, and the eCommerce market is estimated to be worth around $12.7 billion this year.

So what do Brazilians buy online? The most popular categories reflect the needs of Brazil’s new middle class:

Online shopping is also popular with people in the lower income bracket, however – as Western shoppers already know, the internet is where the best bargains and deals can often be found. Daily deals websites are very popular in Brazil, and social commerce could very soon become another interesting trend.

Despite this steady growth, many Brazilians still avoid shopping on the internet out of concern about the security of online transactions. The same goes for Internet banking. 26% of Brazilians don’t use online banking, according to a recent survey, and 58% gave the reason that it felt unsafe. The next few years should see a shift in this perception, as banks and etailers work together to improve security and ease of use, and consumers become more familiar with ecommerce and online banking.

Meanwhile, Brazil has developed solutions to overcome these obstacles. One of them is the boleto bancario, a small slip like a proforma invoice that customers can print out and pay at a bank. This is a very common option, which helps to solve the problem that most Brazilians don’t have a credit card. In fact, 55% of the population still receive their salaries in cash, especially those in manual jobs such as housekeeping and construction workers.

All in all, this adds up to a market with huge potential for those companies willing to adapt and make the necessary concessions to make Brazilian consumers feel at ease.

To find out how to launch your website in Brazil and other overseas markets, contact Web-Translations: sales[at] / +44 (0) 113 8150460.

US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google

Following on from our recent post discussing Google’s popularity, concerns have recently been raised about just how Google maintains such a high number of users, and the legitimacy of their methods.  At the end of last month, the US Federal Trade Commission notified Google that they would be conducting a “wide-range investigation”. (more…)

Mr Prawo Jazdy

You would think that, with all the resources they have at their disposal, the police in Ireland would be able to translate text in the blink of an eye, to ensure no embarrassing mistakes are made. It would seem, however, that such mistakes are not always avoided…

Back in 2007, police in Ireland took note of over 50 people with the name “Prawo Jazdy”. A popular name in Ireland? A common name among Poles who have emigrated to Ireland? Or, alternatively, the Polish translation of “driving licence”?

It is, of course, the latter. “Prawo Jazdy” was originally believe to be the name of one person who had repeatedly committed offences, until it became clear that the same name had been used on numerous occasions in order to refer to a number of different people. As a result, the police system contained over 50 people with the name “Prawo Jazdy”. Finally, upon investigating this seemingly unlikely occurrence, police discovered that this is actually the Polish for “driving licence”.

Whilst this mishap may have occurred a few years ago, it is a story that we can all learn a valuable lesson from – translation is vital!

Thinking of Japan

Japanese is one of the languages most often requested by our clients, and so Web-Translations naturally has many connections with Japan, with translators, designers, typesetters and web developers alike.

Our thoughts go out to our friends and colleagues suffering the terrible effects of the recent earthquake and tsunami, and we hope that they and their families are safe. We hope they are soon able to rebuild their lives and country.

You can make a donation and get involved in the appeals that have been set up by the following charities to help with the disaster in Japan:

British Red Cross

Save The Children

Global Giving

One year on – Helping Haiti

In an effort to do what we can to help Haiti one year on from the devastating earthquake that claimed more than 100,000 lives and left 2 million people homeless in January 2010, we’re cutting the cost of our translation service.

We’re offering translation into Haitian Creole and French (the nation’s two official languages) at cost for organisations involved in helping Haiti rebuild its infrastructure and economy. This includes charities, aid organisations, those working on healthcare programmes, education programmes, and so on. We can translate any type of document: medical, legal, public information,

If you are working with an organisation involved in the Haiti recovery effort, please get in touch to discuss your translation needs – we’ll charge any translation undertaken at cost, so the price won’t be marked-up. All we’ll add is a 10% project management fee to cover our administration costs.

Let’s hope that 2011 is a safer and better year for all Haitians.

What makes so good?

Founded in 1999, is perhaps the internet’s leading online multilingual dictionary. It will be familiar to anyone who uses more than one language, from schoolchildren to professional translators. It offers dictionaries in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, as well as Arabic, Japanese, German, Polish, Russian, Greek, Chinese and more. But what makes it so great? (more…)

The British English vs American English debate continues…

With a Texan in the office, the British English vs American English topic is one that comes up relatively frequently.

These discussions not only cover spelling and grammar (offence vs offense, organisation vs organization and so on), but also various terms that are used widely in one version of the language, and not so much in the other.


Enhance your eCommerce sales figures this holiday season

According to eCommerce experts, October 15th was the deadline for implementing strategies that would help increase your sales this Christmas. However, there are a few tips that Practical eCommerce magazine have suggested that can easily be put into practice to enhance your sales figures in the build up to Christmas…

1. Offer Free Shipping – this will encourage online shoppers to buy more
2. Extend Guarantees – removing or reducing the risk for the customer will have them reaching for their credit card.
3. Add value to Gift Vouchers (e.g. pay £20 for £25 voucher)
4. Accept More Payment Methods – it’s very frustrating for a customer to get all the way to your checkout page to discover their preferred method of payment is not accepted
5. Offer Gift Wrapping (even better if this is free!)
6. Give them suggestions – this can be based on any previous purchases, or the pages they have recently browsed
7. Offer a variety of delivery options – some shoppers are happy to wait a bit longer if it means a cheaper delivery charge
8. Help a Charity – show customers that you will do your bit by donating a % to charity, you could even offer a choice of cause at the checkout

There are also other ways to increase sales this holiday season. A well-structured, focussed Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign can work wonders. Creating adverts for specific products; identifying popular products with social media; and regularly analysing your results can all contribute to high winter sales figures.

Furthermore, translating your site into several languages will attract more and more customers – after all, only 5.4% of the world’s population speak English as a mother tongue. Think of all those people who are missing out on your products and services simply because they can’t understand what it says on your website.

Christmas may only be a couple of weeks away, but there is still time to make a difference to your online sales figures this year.

Goldman Sachs to help Web-Translations prosper

 Web-Translations is pleased to be part of the Goldman Sachs Business Growth programme. This unique business education scheme has been organised by Goldman Sachs to support small businesses throughout Yorkshire and the Humber. It is run by the Business Schools of Leeds and Oxford Universities, who also devised the programme.

Our founder and managing director, Daniel Rajkumar, is one of the 25 entrepreneurs selected from 150 applicants to be invited to attend business management courses and receive mentoring and support from a senior member at Goldman Sachs.

The idea behind the project is to help small businesses in the region achieve their maximum potential, and also to help create job opportunities, in order to alleviate the effects of the current economic crisis. As the main focus of the programme, the entrepreneurs will undertake a four-month business and management course which will have an emphasis on real-life practical experience, allowing the participants to implement the ideas and strategies they learn as they go.

Daniel says of the scheme: “The Business Growth Programme has been excellent so far. The topics covered have given me a better strategic understanding and practical skills to aid the decisions I make in the business. I’m learning to step back from the day-to-day activities of running the business, which allows me to work on my overall business vision and direction. I’ve had the chance to learn from the experience of 24 other successful entrepreneurs, and have met inspirational leaders and been taught by some leading business lecturers. I would recommend it to other business owners.”

We all look forward to seeing Web-Translations expand and flourish thanks to the support of Goldman Sachs.

The best translation agency (part 2)

We at Web-Translations are experts in the language industry.

Regular readers of this blog may remember our proud announcement that we had become members of the Association of Translation Companies back in March of this year.

We’ve also won an impressive collection of prestigious awards, right from the beginning of the company… (more…)

Web-Translations has moved

Web-Translations has moved to Leeds!

You can now find us at:

20 Queen Square



T: 0113 815 0460

All email and web addresses remain the same.

We look forward to meeting, networking, socialising and working with lots more local people now that we’re here, so give us a call or drop us an email to get in touch!


Is machine translation making a comeback?

Now, before I get shot down by a flurry of irate translators, hear me out.

There’s been an increase recently in the use of post-edited machine translation for some projects where the volume of content is so huge, and the time window so short that human translation, and then proofreading and subsequent editing of the text, would just not be practical. We at Web-Translations are observing this trend with great interest. (more…)

Making the case for Multilingual SEO

SEO is just as important for your foreign language sites as for your English one. Simply translating content and putting it online unfortunately does not mean that any of your potential customers will find the pages you have created for their benefit.

As Nataly Kelly of the Common Sense Advisory says:

“It just doesn’t work to assume that a target audience who has been linguistically underserved in the past will miraculously show up at your site in the months following the launch of your new content. […] you need to publicize your new content and drive your target audience to the new site. Just as with your source language website, expect the traffic to build over time.” (more…)

More goals than you can shake a spear at! Actually, no…

International sporting events always generate lots of opportunities for work in all sectors, from supply of equipment to provision of accommodation and entertainment during any competition or tournament. There are usually plenty of opportunities for language service providers too, but this year’s World Cup in South Africa has created more work than ever in this arena…sadly none for Web-Translations. Oh well, maybe next time…

Written translations are needed for not only the 11 official South African languages, but then of course the 22 standard official languages of the 31 nations whose teams have qualified, before even taking into account regional variations of some of these, such as Brazilian Portuguese, Swiss German or Mexican Spanish.

In addition to this, there have been other barriers besides language to overcome. This is almost certainly the first World Cup where regulations have prohibited not only motorcycle helmets and umbrellas inside the stadium, but also Zulu spears and shields!

We look forward to an exciting, multinational and multilingual competition. Good luck everyone!

Or should I say: Geluk!

Web-Translations voted top language blog for second year running

We did it again! Thanks to your eager voting, we were ranked in the Top 100 Language Blogs this year for the second year running!

See the full list

Thanks to all of you who voted for us, we really appreciate your support!

Top 100 Language Blogs 2010

qTranslate – multilingual plugin for WordPress

qTranslate is a plugin for WordPress that makes the job of managing multilingual content easy – so you can concentrate on creating great content.

Reach more visitors and show that you care about them by displaying your blog posts in their language. qTranslate makes the creation of multilingual content as easy as working with a single language.

Check out some of the features:

Many languages come as standard – English, German, Simplified Chinese…

How do I get started?

To get a self-maintaining multilingual blog, simply:

1. Download & activate the WordPress plugin qTranslate from:
2. Configure the plugin for the languages of your choice
3. Register your account with Web-Translations
4. Login to your Web-Translations account and buy pay-as-you-go wordcount credit
5. Make a note of your user ID and password
6. Within the admin area of your WordPress plugin, input your username & password
7. You are now ready to submit posts for translation, simply click the professional button
8. Make a contribution to Qian as a thanks for writing the plugin

If you need any help, just give us a call on +44 (0) 1924 360460.

Are Chinese people forgetting how to write?

When foreigners learn Chinese, they often struggle getting to grips with writing the characters. There are around 50,000 characters in modern written Chinese, but in order to be considered literate, an adult needs to know only 3,000-4,000 (a 1,000-2,000 character vocabulary would allow you to comfortably read a Chinese newspaper).

However, more and more Chinese citizens feel they are losing the ability to write by hand, and many are signing up for exams to try and combat this.

The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi – literally Mandarin level exam) test was originally aimed at foreigners learning Chinese, but was introduced for Chinese nationals in several cities and provinces in 2007. Because so many people use computers in their work and hardly ever pick up a pen, their written literacy skills are in decline – this is true all over the world, not just in China.

When typing Chinese characters rather than writing them by hand, a person types the sound of the character (a bit like spelling a word out) then the computer suggests possible characters for that sound from which they choose the appropriate one:

It’s a bit like multiple choice, whereas if you were writing the same word by hand, you would have to think of the character yourself.

The Shanghai Language Commission conducted a survey among university students, which found that while many know what the characters should look like, they are unable to handwrite them.

A very similar thing is happening with English usage online – setting aside the international variations in spelling, we are seeing more and more instances of incorrect spelling in all types of published text. People just aren’t sure how words should be written anymore, and the auto-correct spelling functions built in to computers can often send us down the wrong path.
Perhaps the future will see more relaxed rules around spelling – take this example which has been doing the rounds on email and social networking sites over the last couple of years:
Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Are grammar and spelling still as important as they once were? What is your first thought when you see a typo or spelling mistake? Is handwriting becoming a dying art?
Let us know what you think.

Friday fun – 84 Fun, Useful and Ridiculous Online Dictionaries

  Here’s a link that we were sent earlier this week that we thought we’d share: 84 Fun, Useful and Ridiculous Online Dictionaries  –

One of my favourites is the “The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form“, which gives definitions of English words as limericks. Here’s Peter Sheil’s definition of automatic translation:

The translation I got from my test
Was “Invisible idiot”. Guessed
The source you might find?
“Out of sight, out of mind”!
Automation leaves meaning compressed.
Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Web-Translations exhibiting at Internet World

Web-Translations will be exhibiting at Internet World next week – from 28-30 April.

Alongside all the expertise and information you’d usually get by speaking to our staff, we’ll also be running some demonstrations, and showcasing recent work that we’re proud of.

Come and see us at stand E3001, just to the left of the main Earl’s Court 2 entrance.

You can register online to attend Internet World for free at

See you there! It’s going to be a great show…

SEO Quiz – Are you an SEO Deity

How much do you really know about Search Engine Optimisation? Are you an SEO Master, or maybe a King?

This quiz has certainly given me some areas to work on!

World Class Website Workshops launched!

Web-Translations are celebrating the start of their fourth year trading with the launch of a series of workshops to help businesses really make the most of their online presence.

Web-Translations has teamed up with the Regional Language Network who are based in Sheffield, to help Yorkshire businesses profit from their website and achieve international trade success-even in new markets!

If you asked five years ago what the language of the Internet was, the resounding reply would have been English, and indeed it was, as 75% of websites were then in English. However, today the answer would be very different.

Increasingly businesses are finding that being a ‘dot com’ is not actually enough. More and more advances in technology and marketing expectations mean that people expect companies to make an effort to communicate their sales message in their own language. Now, almost 70% of all Internet traffic is from non-English speaking countries, with only 25% of websites written in English and a massive 75% in other languages.

Winning business in foreign markets is more important today than ever before but the message and strategy must be right.  A simple translation is often not enough.  Businesses need to know what appeals to international customers, what wins them over and what makes them buy time and time again.  Web-Translations’ workshops will teach attendees all this and more; ensuring business success abroad.

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