Swedish translation

Most of us are familiar with the popular Swedish flat-pack furniture company IKEA who have had stores in the UK since 1987.  That’s 25 years of getting our tongues around strangely named furniture items and must-have home accessories!  Well strangely named to us anyway, if you’re Swedish then these tongue-twisters make perfect sense and don’t pose a problem.

Translation servicesAccording to Wikipedia, IKEA has a special naming system for their products, which are mostly of Swedish origin.  This system was developed by IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad who found proper names easier to remember than product codes due to his dyslexia.

 

 

It’s a very straightforward and logical system:

  • Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage and doorknobs have Swedish place names
  • Beds, wardrobes and hall furniture have Norwegian place names
  • Dining tables and chairs have Finnish place names
  • Bookcase ranges are named after occupations
  • Bathroom items are named after Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
  • Some kitchens’ names are derived from grammatical terms
  • Chairs and desks have men’s names and fabrics and curtains have women’s names – can we overlook the sexism for great design?
  • Garden furniture is named after Swedish islands
  • Carpets are named after Danish place names
  • Lighting products are named with terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats and nautical terms
  • Bed linen, bed covers, pillows and cushions are named after flowers, plants and precious stones
  • Children’s items are named after mammals, birds, adjectives
  • Curtain accessories names are derived from mathematical and geometrical terms
  • Kitchen utensils’ names are derived from foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries and their functional description
  • Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames and clocks’ names are derived from colloquial expressions and Swedish place names

Certain ranges are aptly named too:

  • Effektiv which translates as effective/efficient in English is a range of office furniture
  • Duktig which translates as good/well behaved in English is a children’s toy range
  • Skärpt  which translates as sharp/clever in English is a range of kitchen knives
  • Dinrea which translates as to dine in English is a range of tableware
  • Kassett which translates as cassette in English is a range of media storage

However as many multinational companies discover, ‘one name certainly does not fit all’ when it comes to product names.  Often what works for one country is totally inappropriate (although amusing) for another. 

In IKEA’s case the following product names were not appropriate for English speaking countries and some had to be withdrawn:

  • The ‘Fartfull’ workbench
  • The ‘Jerker’ desk
  • ‘Fukta’ plant spray
  • ‘Lyckhem’ (meaning bliss)

If you need more Swedish language translation help than IKEA product names can provide, give the Enigma Translation team a call on +44 (0) 1604 750799 or get in touch via email or Facebook.

Court interpreters in the spotlight

There has been growing press coverage concerning the declining standards of interpretation in the UK court system recently.  This follows the implementation of a new system which sees Applied Language Solutions providing translation and interpreting services to agencies across the criminal justice system.  The Ministry of Justice agreed the 5 year contract with ALS back in August 2011 and it began in February this year.  It’s hoped the new central service will save £18m a year of the current £60m interpreting budget.

As with any new system there seem to be a few teething problems, which the ALS is trying to iron out.

Bad press
The Law Society Gazette reports it has received numerous allegations from solicitors about problems with the system and that some interpreters provided by ALS have not been sufficiently competent.

Interpreting servicesOne report told of how a clerk at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court resorted to using Google Translate when a Lithuanian language interpreter couldn’t be sourced by the service.  Other reports of the ALS not being able to provide interpreters have also been received by Mike Jones, Chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association.  He told the Gazette that incidents in Sevenoaks, Colchester, Leeds, London, Kent, Lincolnshire and Sheffield had been reported to him.

According to an online survey by CrimeLine (an education and training provider) completed by 80 lawyers and judges, 56% of cases had a no-show from interpreters between 12-16th March.  However, there has been a slight improvement since with only 4 in 10 cases affected by a no-show from an interpreter between 16-20th April.

The Gazette also reports the collapse of a four-day burglary trial at a London Crown Court was due to a mistake made by a Romanian language interpreter.  The interpreter incorrectly translated that the defendant had allegedly been ‘bitten’ instead of ‘beaten’.

Some good news
During this period of transition courts have been told they can temporarily book short-notice interpreters using the previous system.  However, this is probably of little consolation to the people who have already been affected by the system’s failing.

Here to help
At Enigma Translation we provide professional interpreters for individuals as well as businesses and can help with communication in legal situations.  This could be at a court hearing, a tribunal, a solicitors meeting or when dealing with the police.

We can also ensure that our professional interpreters will observe your need for confidentiality and remain impartial, whatever the situation.

Of course it’s not just legal scenarios we can help you with, in fact any scenario where there is a language barrier and interpretation is required our interpreters can assist you.  We offer consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation and whispered interpretation.

Don’t rely on computer software or gimmicky websites to decipher languages in crucial situations, choose the personal touch of a professional interpreter.  Give the Enigma Translation office a call on +44 (0) 1604 750799 or get in touch via email or Facebook.

Are the British too polite for their own good?

The British are often criticised and ridiculed for their politeness by other nations.  Our turn of phrase is praised by some and deemed quaint, but others find it unnecessary, confusing and often interpret our indirectness as deceitful and insincere.

Translation servicesNative speakers of the English language are programmed from birth to insert ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse me’ before they interrupt somebody to ask a question.  And laughably when we request something we have to prefix it with a question such as ‘would you mind passing the salt?’  Our inability to say exactly what we mean for fear of being impolite often leaves other cultures baffled and reading something quite different into our requests and responses.

It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it
For instance, it’s acceptable for us to say ‘we must do lunch’ as a polite way of saying ‘it’s been great to bump into you, but we both know that neither of us has any intention of getting together in the foreseeable future – have a nice life’.  To our foreign counterparts we are effectively agreeing to meet again over lunch and it’s confusing when the invitation never materialises.

Another example is our standard response of ‘very interesting’ to something that we don’t agree with, want to commit to or give an opinion on.  It’s generally understood – possibly by the tone – by the other party that it’s been deemed anything but ‘very interesting’ and probably dismissed.  But to our foreign counterparts we are saying we’re impressed and it’s open for consideration.

Say what you mean and mean what you say
Yes the British are very good at giving what sounds like a positive response all in the name of politeness, when they are actually giving a negative response…no wonder we are considered deceitful and insincere by others.  But our intentions are honourable, really, because it’s a given in our culture that we all know ‘the code’.

It’s the same with any culture; you’ve just got to know ‘the code’.  In many other languages, German, Russian and Italian for instance, requests are generally more direct i.e. ‘pass the salt’ and are not interpreted as rude.  There’s no pussy-footing around the issue for 10 minutes like us Brits and little room for misinterpretation.  Of course to us this can seem abrupt, brusque and even discourteous when delivered in English.

The cultural influence
Therefore it’s important with translation to take into account culture as well as words when translating to and from languages.  A document translated word by word from another language into English would stand out like a sore thumb and probably appear amateurish without the polite nuances we are accustomed too.  Reading it would induce a face similar to the response of fingernails being dragged down a blackboard.

Equally so, a document translated word for word from English into another language would eventually end up half the size once the waffle and politeness has been extracted.  It would also get to the point sooner.

That’s why at Enigma Translation we use translators who are fluent speakers of the source language and native speakers of the target language and take into account both cultures.  This ensures that the translation is true to both languages and is acceptable and familiar to the target audience.

To find out more about our services, get in touch on +44 (01604) 750 799, email us or visit our website or Facebook page.

Poor translations are no laughing matter…

…well except when they are really funny.  No seriously, we know that a poor translation is no laughing matter especially as it can damage your brand, business and reputation.  But, the following are just too funny not to share with you and are great examples of the wrong word at the wrong time and a confused grammatical order.  Enjoy.

Translation servicesAn Athens’ hotel efficiently informs guests: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.  Please form an orderly queue.

A sign in a lift in a Paris hotel asks guests to: Please leave your values at the front desk.  Obviously you’d check out toute suite.

A Bucharest hotel is perhaps too honest with its signage: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.  The translation may be poor but the information is undoubtedly correct.

Both a Yugoslavian and Japanese hotel go above and beyond with hospitality according to their signage.  In Yugoslavia: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.  And in Japan: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.  We’re not sure if this is ‘all inclusive’ though…

Whereas in one particular hotel in Zurich guests are asked to keep it clean in the bedrooms: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.  But it would seem it’s okay to get amorous at reception.

However, pregnant ladies should be aware that Norway has a strict policy when it comes to childbirth, but luckily this is signed in a Norwegian cocktail lounge for those who are unfamiliar with it: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

Hotel and restaurant menus can be tricky to navigate in a foreign country if there is no translation available, but fortunately a hotel in Acapulco goes that extra mile: The manager has personally passed all the water served here.  Stick to the beer.

And a Swiss restaurant is more than happy to give a truthful review on their wine menu: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.  Head to a nearby bar instead.

After that downer guests will need to head out to enjoy the local attractions…how about this recommendation from a hotel in Moscow about a nearby Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursdays.  We dread to think what happens on Thursdays.

When it comes to medical translations, we can certainly guarantee not to offend half of the world’s population unlike this claim in a doctor’s office in Rome: Specialist in women and other diseases.  Or send a confusing message about dental care like this dentist in Hong Kong: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.  Good to know.

You’ll be relieved to know that Enigma Translation can provide you with accurate translations in over 114 languages.  Give us a call on +44 (01604) 750 799 or contact us via email or Facebook.

Your company profile in over 114 languages

Whether you are a long established company or a new company just starting out you’ll have a company profile, right?  Of course you do.

Translation servicesThe importance of having a company profile
A company profile is a well written and concise document outlining your company’s mission and includes information on your achievements, performance, services and products.  It enhances your credibility and authenticity and provides an insight to your business for customers or clients.

 

Effectively it tells them everything they want to know about your company before engaging in a business relationship with you.

Don’t forget to utilise it
It’s a little ‘refresher’ to leave with customers or clients after a meeting ensuring your vital information is easily to hand, long after you have left the building.  It could also be a ‘foot in the door’ when pitching for new business…

Digitally speaking
In keeping with the 21st century you will naturally have a website promoting your company, services and products.  Obviously you will have a page dedicated to your company profile too…

In email communication with new clients you should ideally be able to send just the first paragraph of your company profile instead of the entire document.  This of course depends on how well written it is and if it conveys enough of your company’s information.  If not, consider re-writing or prepare an edited concise version of your existing profile for this purpose.

Expanding your business globally
So the company profile is ready and available in both digital and printed format for those new business opportunities, but what about international business opportunities?

Well having your company profile available in several different languages is going to open the door to more business around the world.  Potential new customers or clients will be able to fully understand what your business is all about thus instilling trust in the services or products you provide.  Importantly they are more likely to make the next all important move.

We have the skills to assist you
Enigma Translation’s team of over 2,000 professional translators can translate your company profile into whichever language or languages you need to open those doors.  We cover over 114 languages, so all you have to do is select the most relevant and we’ll ensure an accurate translation of your company’s merits.

But why stop there…
…when you could also engage our website translation service and make your website available in several languages and reach a broader audience?  And how about your marketing materials and campaigns?  Our marketing translation service can translate these too.

We don’t hang around
That’s right we offer a same day translation service or completion within 24 hours – just let us know what suits you and we’ll provide a fast turnaround.

We’re at the end of the telephone on +44 (01604) 750 799 to discuss your requirements or email us if you prefer.  Of course you can also visit our website for details and see what we’re up to on Facebook.

Business etiquette across the globe

Securing new business can be tricky even on home turf, so imagine the added difficulties of embarking on a new business relationship with a foreign counterpart.  The old adage goes that ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’ and that carries even more weight when we’re talking cross-culturally.

Cultural know how
It not only makes good business sense to research your counterpart’s business but also their culture and the expected business etiquette too.  Familiarise yourself with the appropriate business greeting and a few words of the language.  Also consider how your business approach could be interpreted and make adjustments where necessary to make sure you get off on the right foot.

Translation servicesWhen in Rome…
For instance a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact is deemed a sign of trustworthiness by Russian business associates.  And the Japanese will be impressed if you master a bow on greeting, although they will accept a nod of the head or handshake from a foreign counterpart.

A good understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable will ensure longevity of your business relationship.

Engaging the services of a translator and interpreter
Unless you are fluent in the language of your new business associate it is a good idea to get both a professional translator and interpreter on board to help with written and spoken communication. 

At Enigma Translation we pair you with a translator who is qualified in the source language and a native speaker of the target language.  And importantly they will also have expertise in the area that you require translation support as well as cultural and business understanding.

Our team of translators are 2,000 strong across the globe and cover over 114 languages.  They are fully qualified professionals with at least five year’s experience and only translate into their native mother tongue.  They are available when you need them, often at short notice, which is why we can offer a same day service or completion within 24 hours.

Enigma Translation interpreters can support you in telephone communication and meetings ensuring that everyone involved is ‘on the same page’ thus aiding smooth business running.  They are also invaluable for corporate events and networking events.

And finally…
As the exchanging of business cards is still commonplace in the world of business, it’s a good idea and nice touch to have your details translated into the relevant language or languages of your new business associates on the reverse of your card.  And yes we can help with that too.

If you would like to benefit from the help of our translators or interpreters, just give us a call at the office on +44 (0) 1604 750799, on our mobile on +44 07930326698 or send us an email to: enquiries@enigmatranslation.co.uk.  You can also use our free instant quote facility on our website and contact us through our Facebook page.

15 interesting facts about Enigma Translation and languages that you might not know…

  1. Translation servicesEnigma Translation was founded in 2004 by Graham Bowles who is passionate about creating easy access to the translation of business services with his team providing a fast, easy and professional service to businesses around the world
  2. Graham believes “The world of language translation can be a mystery to many people and barriers are built up, hence the name Enigma – meaning a puzzling thing or person. With Enigma Translation, it is not a barrier, it`s a gateway!”
  3. Enigma Translation offer a vital service in the world of translation as approximately 75% of the world’s population don’t speak a word of English
  4. Our professional translators can assist you with the world’s most widely spoken languages by number of native speakers and as a second language (according to figures from UNESCO – The United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (source: bbc.co.uk), which are Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindu, Arabic, Bengali, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, German and French
  5. Of the oldest languages known, we can help you with Basque which is spoken in the Basque Country in Spain located on the French-Spanish border in the western Pyrenees and with the modern version of Hebrew predominantly spoken in Israel
  6. Enigma Translation assist businesses such as Barclaycard International, The Carphone Warehouse and Alstrom Power as well as individuals with their translation needs
  7. Our worldwide network of over 2,000 translators can translate over 114 languages
  8. We are fluent in all the Slavic languages including Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Croatian and Slovenian
  9. Our full time translators can usually complete around 2500 words each day and our full time proof readers can usually complete around 1000 words per hour
  10. Enigma Translation’s professional interpreters are available at short notice to support you with language interpretation from consecutive interpretation and simultaneous interpretation to whispered interpretation
  11. Most of the world’s languages are spoken in Asia and Africa which is why we provide translation assistance with many of the languages used in these continents
  12. Enigma Translation provide a fast turnaround offering a same day service or translation completion within 24 hours
  13. Dutch is said to be the easiest language for native English speakers to pick up, while research shows that for those native English speakers who already know another language, the five most difficult languages to get your head around are Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean (source: bbc.co.uk), luckily Enigma Translation can accurately translate all of these languages for you
  14. You can find us and ‘like us’ on Facebook
  15. You can contact us by telephone on +44 (01604) 750 799, by email or via our website for all your translation and interpreting needs

Japanese translation

Japanese is one of the many great languages we translate at Enigma Translation.  We use translators who speak Japanese as their native tongue ensuring your translation from Japanese to English or English to Japanese is accurate and won’t get you into hot water.

According to Wikipedia there are over 130 million Japanese speakers across the globe, with the majority predominantly in Japan but also in Japanese immigrant communities too.  These communities can be found in Brazil, USA, Hawaii, Peru, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the Philippines.

Translation servicesMind your Japanese language manners
Despite the many dialects spoken in Japan the Japanese language in general reflects the overall politeness of the Japanese race and culture, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.  The language has many honorifics which are parts of speech that show respect in social and official situations and take into account social standing, age, rank and hierarchy.

Honorifics in the Japanese language
Honorifics are generically referred to as ‘keigo’ in the Japanese language which translates as respectful language.  There are three main categories which are ‘sonkeigo’ also translating as respectful language, ‘kenjōgo’ translating as humble language and ‘teineigo’ translating as polite language.

The polite language teineigo is generally taught to non-native learners of Japanese and is also used widely by television presenters.  The respectful language sonkeigo is used to communicate with those in positions of power including a customer or superior at work and also shows the professionalism of the speaker.  The humble language kenjōgo can be used in business as it tends to imply that one’s actions are taking place in order to assist the other person.

Japanese business etiquette
Honorifics are an extremely important part of the Japanese language which is why a good understanding of them and how they shape the language is crucial.  This is why we use translators who are fluent in Japanese at Enigma Translation.  We know that showing disrespect is not good in any language, but in Japanese it could be a deal-breaker.

Did you know the traditional form of greeting in Japan is the bow?  The depth of your bow indicates the amount of respect you are showing, so the deeper the better.  However, the Japanese are aware that foreigners are not accustomed to this tradition and will except a bow of the head or a handshake.

Interpreters
If you find yourself in a face to face scenario with your Japanese business associates, why not book one of our interpreters to help you out?  And for all your Japanese translating needs our full time experienced translators are on hand to assist you.  All you need to do is get in touch and we’ll remove the language barrier for you.

Call us on +44 (01604) 750 799 or contact us via email, our website or on Facebook, whether it’s for business or pleasure.

Polish translation

The Polish language belongs to the West Slavic languages and is the second most widely spoken Slavic language after Russian.  According to Wikipedia, 97% of Poland’s citizens declare Polish as their mother tongue.

Translation servicesThe most common dialects spoken are Greater Polish in the west, Lesser Polish in the south and southeast, Masovian in central and eastern parts and Silesian in the southwest.

Polish is also commonly spoken in Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine as well as by Polish emigrants and their descendants across the globe.


In Europe

It is also spoken in Hungary, Belgium, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France, the Faroe Islands, Russia, Serbia, Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Andorra, Germany, Latvia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Finland, Ireland.

Globally
Further afield it is spoken in Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, Israel, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Peru and the United Arab Emirates.

In the United States there are more than 11 million Polish Americans with the biggest concentrations of population in New York, Illinois and New Jersey.  However the majority are not fluent in the Polish language even though it is often spoken at home.

In Canada, Toronto sees the highest concentration of Polish Canadians with 91,810 out of 242,885 speakers across Canada according to the 2006 census.

The Polish language
The Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet with several additional letters.  Interestingly the letters q, v and x do not exist in the Polish alphabet and when encountered in foreign words known as loanwords, they are often replaced with kw, w and ks.  For instance quartz becomes ‘kwarc’, veranda becomes ‘weranda’ and extra becomes ‘ekstra’.

Cultural and geographical influences
Languages subtly change over the centuries due to cultural and geographical influences and borrow words from other languages which are adapted into the original language.  The Polish language is no exception and began its borrowing from Latin in the 9th century before progressing to Czech, German, Italian, Hungarian, French and Turkish throughout the following centuries.

For instance the Italian loanword pomodoro which translates as tomato in English, was adapted to ‘pomidor’ after Polish Queen Bona Sforza introduced Italian cuisine to Poland.  Turkish words from the 17th century which are still current today, include ‘jar’ translating as deep valley, ‘filizanka’ translating as cup and ‘arbuz’ translating as water melon.

Progression
The Polish language will continue to adapt along with all other languages and so will Enigma Translation.  We have professional translators who can translate from Polish to English and English to Polish with accuracy in many specialised areas and with expert knowledge.

Barclaycard International and Alstom Power are just two companies that confidently call on us for their Polish translation needs.  If you think you could benefit from our language expertise, why not get in touch on +44 (01604) 750 799, contact us via email, our website or on Facebook.

Welsh translation

The 21st century has seen the spoken Welsh language rise in popularity from its position as a minority language in the 20th century.  According to the Welsh Language Board in 2004, 611,000 people in Wales speak Welsh. 

Probably less well known is the fact that there are also 25,000 Welsh speakers in Chubut Province in the south of Argentina.  This is due to Welsh settlers who arrived by ship – the Mimosa – back in 1885 and started a new life in the Chubut Valley.

Translation servicesRoyal Approval
There has been a concerted effort over the years to officially reinstate the Welsh language.  In 2010 the Welsh Assembly approved measures to develop the language within Wales, finally resulting in it becoming officially recognised as a language after Royal Approval in February 2011.

The digital coming of age for the Welsh language
The use of the Welsh language on the Internet continues to grow as do digital facilities supporting the language.  Microsoft offers a Welsh version of their operating systems including Windows 7, Vista and XP along with their Office software.

If you would like to have a Welsh language version of your existing website, Enigma Translation can provide Website Translation for you.  We can also help with Marketing Translation to ensure your Welsh target audience is aware of your Internet presence.  You’ll be in good company as even Facebook and Wikipedia have Welsh language versions of their sites.

Mobile technology
Did you know that the Welsh Language Board introduced a free software pack to enable the use of SMS predictive text in Welsh for mobile phones back in 2006?  And in 2009 the Board got together with Samsung and Orange to provide the first mobile phone with an interface and T9 dictionary in the Welsh language.

Perhaps you are developing mobile technology or an app for smart phones and iPhones and would like to expand into the Welsh language market.  Again we can translate from any language into Welsh and you’ll be up there with the rest of the forward-thinkers.

Professional translators
Our team of full time translators have a minimum of 5 years experience and can help with all of your translations needs to and from Welsh.  And it doesn’t just have to be with your website, our services extend to Financial Translation, Technical Translation, Legal Translation, Medical Translation and a whole host of other specialised subjects too.

We say it like it is
For face-to-face meetings and networking opportunities, our team of interpreters can provide language support so that you’re in on the conversation and not left out in the cold.

We help businesses and individuals on a daily basis so if you’d like to be part of the Welsh language trend, call the Enigma Translation office on +44 (0) 1604 750799 or on our mobile +44 07930326698.  If the written word is more your thing, contact us via email or Facebook.