How can UK Businesses Localise for the Asian Market

How can UK Businesses Localise for the Asian Market?

The Asia Pacific region alone is home to more than half of the world’s population. If there was just one statistic to tempt you into branching out into this huge market, that would probably be it. But, with 49 separate countries each with their own language, culture and economy, every market in Asia is at least as unique as those here in Europe. There’s certainly no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach you can use to take Asia by storm. In fact, the Profit or lose executive, recently launched by Ernst & Young, advises companies entering the Asian market to employ greater local autonomy, granularity, focus and agility than ever before.

However, expansion into new markets is often the next natural stop for successful UK businesses and, given the increase in tourism, the widespread use of technology and successful mobile innovations, Asian countries now feature at the top of many ‘expansion wish-lists’.
So, if you’re going to localise your business for the Asian market, here’s what you need to consider…

1. A big opportunity, an even greater challenge

Entering into developing economies might seem like an opportunity that’s impossible to miss, but selling in countries that are undergoing massive change is too big a challenge for most small businesses. Instead, smaller online companies are more likely to see a return on their investment by targeting developed parts of Asia. That includes countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. China is last on that list because, although the market is huge, the competition is intense and there is stiff regulation in place, particularly when it comes to imports.

2. A by-word for quality

British products and services are increasingly popular in Asian markets and are often, rightly or wrongly, perceived to be of a higher quality than much of what is available domestically. For that reason, you should display the ‘Made in Britain’ slogan prominently and with pride. You should also forget about competing on price with suppliers in the region. Not only do they have a giant pool of cheap labour to tap into but they also don’t have to worry about shipping costs. Asian consumers will generally be willing to pay more for British brands as long as you position them correctly.

3. Get your online presence up to scratch

It’s no generalisation to say that young Asians in developed countries are highly adept at researching and buying products online. For that reason, it’s essential you take the time to localise your website and online content to make it available in the language spoken by your target market. You should also make sure your website is responsive – is able to adapt to the screen it is being viewed on, regardless of what device it is – as a greater proportion of internet traffic in these regions comes from smartphones than laptops and PCs.

4. Nuance is everything

Localising your website and other online assets means a lot more than simply translating the text. Forgetting to account for the cultural context in the visual design of your assets is a big mistake. The focus needs to be on the digital experience of the user. Nuance is everything, so make sure you plan a full-scale sensitivity review at every stage of the design process. Even certain colours, the navigational structure and imagery can turn buyers off.

5. Market across the most popular channels

Once you’ve launched the new version of your website your work has only just begun. You’ll now need to adapt your British marketing strategies to target the local market. What works in the UK may not work overseas. Your first job is to determine who the audience is, what methods of distribution are most likely to reach them and how they can be leveraged to get the message across.

If you hope to expand into Asia, above all, you need to do everything you can to learn about and cater to your new customers. The companies that succeed are those that do more than just replicate their strategies in the domestic market.

To learn more about how we can help tailor your offering for the Asian market, please call our localisation and transcreation team on 02393 987 765 or email today.

Gender in Language

The Curious Case of Gender in Language

As a team of professional translators that spend our lives immersed in languages, all too often we simply accept the rules of the languages we use without taking the time to question why. On a recent trip to Bordeaux – yes, it was wonderful, thank you – I was reminded of a question that often plagues early language learners, but is simply accepted later on…

Why, oh why would you complicate a language by giving every noun a gender?

For an English speaker, grammatical gender is one of the most bamboozling aspects of learning a new language, partly because it is often done in such arbitrary ways. For example, why in French is a window (une fenêtre) female, while a reading book (un livre) is male? And why would anyone introduce an added difficulty into a language that for all intents and purposes, doesn’t need to be there?

In this instalment of the Linguistica International blog, we’re going to see if we can unravel a few of the mysteries surrounding gender in language.

Grammatical gender for the categorisation of nouns

Every language assigns gender for animals, people or characters, but there are also many languages that use gender as a way of categorising nouns. This gender does not necessarily have to match up with the natural gender of the person or object being described.

Languages have many different ways of assigning gender. Some will be based on the physical characteristics of an object, while others are assigned according to cultural or even mythological views. Some languages base a noun’s gender on the ending of a word, as is the case in Spanish – but the real question, which actually proves very difficult to answer, is why?

Why assign a gender?

Grammatical gender is part of a broader phenomenon of noun classes which exist in many of the world’s languages. In fact, as an interesting aside, even the English language used to classify its nouns by gender, although English speakers stopped this practice during the Middle English period.

Noun classes have the role of dividing nouns into groups which often have different rules that apply to related pronouns, verbs, adjectives and even prepositions. In some languages, nouns are split between animate and inanimate objects, while others classify their nouns by size. Now that actually sounds like it makes pretty good sense, but to plunge you back into confusion, some classes of nouns can also be completely arbitrary, with nothing to connect them at all.

So why do arbitrary noun classes exist?

The answer is that even the very best linguistic brains don’t actually know. A lot of these noun class and gender classifications date back to a time before historical records began. As time has gone by, languages have changed, split off into multiple languages and evolved. So, what probably at one time began as a motivated distinction, for example, splitting nouns into animate and inanimate objects, went through changes that completely removed the original purpose of the distinction.

The result is lots of complicated vocabulary which is absolutely no benefit to those learning to speak and write the language!

Want to know more?

Then get in touch with the Linguistica International team. We will happily regale you with more linguistic tales while discussing your latest translation, transcreation or copywriting project.

Every 14 Days we Lose a Language

Every 14 Days we Lose a Language – These are the Most Endangered

We’re a linguistically eclectic bunch here in the UK, with 17 native languages and more than 300 different languages spoken by people from all over the world. However, the sad fact is that every 14 days, another language falls silent forever.

Such is the pace of the linguistic cull that experts warn 50-90 percent of all the world’s languages could disappear by the next century. Many of these will be languages spoken in the developing world, but there are also some critically endangered languages across Europe and in the UK.

So, before we lose them forever, let’s celebrate some of the critically endangered languages that could be lost in the coming years. And, what better place to start than here in the UK…

1. Cornish

Cornish is not just the English language spoken with a thick accent while wearing a flat cap. Cornish is a Celtic language that had 39,000 speakers back in the 13th century. Since then, Cornish has gone through some tough times and was actually declared extinct in the 19th century. Thakfully, the language is now officially back from the dead after scholars began a successful effort to revive it. In 2010, UNESCO reclassified the language from ‘extinct’ to ‘critically endangered’. There are now some 3,500 Cornish speakers and it is even taught in some schools.

It doesn’t get much more Cornish than this…

 2. Manx

Languages don’t come much more critically endangered than Manx. Manx, the Celtic language of the Isle of Man, currently has only around 100 speakers, and although the last native Manx speaker died in 1974, an impassioned revival effort has helped to keep it alive. That didn’t stop UNESCO declaring it ‘extinct’ in 2009, only to amend their classification to ‘critically endangered’ more recently, but it is still teetering on the brink.

 3. Cappadocian Greek

The language of Cappadocian Greek is a Greek-Turkish hybrid that evolved in the time of the Byzantine Empire. Like the rest of the Byzantine Empire, the people of Cappadocia spoke Medieval Greek. However, in 1071, a lost battle meant the area around Cappadocia was taken over by Turkish speakers. Cappadocia was subsequently separated from the rest of the Greek-speaking world, and their language became heavily influenced by the influx of Turks.

Scholars thought the language had died out in the 1960s, but researchers from Ghent University recently found a small pocket of some 2,800 still speaking Cappadocian Greek.

Here’s a little history lesson…

4. Wymysorys

Wymysorys is a little-known Germanic language remarkably only spoken in the small town of Wilamowice, in Poland. The town was founded by settlers from Flanders, Friesland, Holland and Scotland in the 1300s. The Wymysorys language evolved and continued to be spoken by the descendants of the original settlers. After WWII, communist authorities tried to wipe out the Germanic language, which is partly why there are estimated to be just 70-100 native speakers today.

5. Gottscheerish

This critically endangered language was spoken by German-speaking settlers who migrated to what is now a part of Slovenia in the 1300s. Gottscheerish is closely related to a number of other Bavarian dialects but makes no sense to modern Germans. In an interesting quirk of fate, most of the remaining Gottscheerish speakers now live in the cultural melting pot that is Queens, New York, but their exact number is unknown.

We speak your language

If you want your website or technical documentation translated into Cappadocian Greek, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere. What we do offer is quality translation, transcreation and copywriting services in more than 200 languages from around the world. To discuss your project, please get in touch with our team.

The Numbers that Made our Translation Team Tick in 2016

The Numbers that Made our Translation Team Tick in 2016

2016 was one heck of a year. When you’re living in the moment it can be difficult to appreciate just how potentially far-reaching some of the events you’re watching unfold could be.

On the good news front we saw Tim Peake return to earth after a historic six-month stay on the International Space Station. Leicester City did the unthinkable and won the Premier League. And then there was Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go turned half of the UK into a zombie-like battalion of ‘catchers’ all desperately seeking their very own Bulbasaur (see above – bulb on back) in the local park or industrial estate. Even the Church tried to get in on the act with one Birmingham church proudly proclaiming: ‘Jesus Cares About Pokemon Gamers’.

2016 was also the year of Brexit and Trump, which may be brilliant or disastrous depending on your political bent, but we’re not going to get bogged down in all that – save to say it was a pretty eventful year.

But how did 2016 go down in the microcosm that is the Linguistica International HQ? These are the numbers that made our busy translation team tick this year…

  • 533 projects delivered before the deadline;
  • 141 newly qualified, tested and raring-to-go linguists added to our team;
  • 21 informative, fact-packed, and dare we say, hilarious translation blogs published;
  • 8,627 emails sent by the Linguistica team (that’s 23 a day including weekends and public holidays!);
  • Over 2 million words translated for our wonderful clients;
  • A 98 percent client retention rate;
  • One new sister company established – Linguistica Recruitment;
  • 3,285 cups of coffee consumed (approximately, we did a little maths);
  • 4,691 followers on Twitter;
  • 356 times we listened to Adele’s ‘Hello’ on the radio at our base in Southsea;
  • 10 percent – the incredible limited introductory discount we are offering all new customers on translation projects in January 2017.

And there you have it, the important and not so important numbers that made it a year to remember for the Linguistica translation team. Thankfully, we’ve finally said ‘goodbye’ to Adele and are now on the lookout for a new go-to tune for the year ahead.

So, any song tips just give us a yell. Otherwise, if you’d like to take advantage of our 10 percent discount for new customers, please give us a call on 02392 987 765 or email: right now.

New Year's traditions from around the world

New Year’s Traditions from around the World

First of all, we’d like to wish a Happy New Year to all of our lovely translation clients and those of you who simply drop by to read the Linguistica International blog. We had an incredible, if extremely busy 2016, and look forward to much of the same in the year ahead. In terms of resolutions this year, we’re not interested in all that nonsense. Instead, we’re going to take a look at how the New Year was celebrated around the world.

The not-all-that-surprising news is that New Year’s celebrations around the world are pretty universal in their reliance on fireworks and alcohol. So, if your memories of the evening itself are a little hazy, you can take some solace from the fact that you’re certainly not the only one. But amid the ubiquitous fireworks and booze, there are also some intriguing local traditions that help welcome in the New Year.

1. Scotland

The traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration is called the Hogmanay, an ancient festival originally brought to Scotland by the invading Vikings in the 8th and 9th centuries. Many of the customs that form part of this festival aim to bring luck for the coming year. In some regions, the first person to enter the house after the clock strikes midnight can bring good or bad luck for the year ahead depending on their physical characteristics.

Thie ‘first footing’, as it is known locally, is still common across Scotland. To ensure good luck for the house the first foot should be tall, dark and male, and should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, a black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark male bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your door step with a big axe meant trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year!

2. Ecuador

We now head slightly further afield to Ecuador, where the locals celebrate the arrival of the New Year by burning effigies called ‘Los Años Viejos’ or ‘the old years’. These large scarecrow-like dolls represent the failures, regrets and anger of the outgoing year and usher in the hopes and resolutions of the new. A handwritten note is pinned to the effigy, which often takes the form of an irritating person or unpopular political figure, explaining why it must be burned and what changes and improvements are needed.

3. Mexico

Mexican families prepare for the New Year by making a list of all the bad things that happened to them during the past year. At midnight, their lists are thrown on a bonfire to signify the fresh start they will make. Mexicans also partake in a tradition brought over from Spain, in which 12 grapes are eaten as the clock strikes midnight and a wish is made with each of the grapes.

4. Japan

In Japan, Buddhist temples across the country ring their bells 108 times to cleanse the people of the 108 worldly desires described in Buddhism. These sins include stinginess, sarcasm and desire for fame. It is also customary to send postcards, called nengajō, to family and friends. This practice is believed to date back to the 8th century. Rather than delivering the nengajō early, post offices hold onto them so that they arrive on the first day of the year.

5. Denmark

Not to be outdone, the Danes have a couple of unique traditions of their own. As the midnight countdown is rung in on Copenhagen’s Rådhus (city hall), it is traditional for those celebrating indoors to scramble to the highest safe viewing point (normally a chair or a sofa) and jump into the New Year. This can mean some Danes start the year with a twisted ankle.

Come midnight, it is also a tradition to smash old plates and china against a friend’s front door. This, strangely, is a sign of affection. So, the bigger the pile of china outside your front door, the more loved you are. Just watch out for the windows or it’ll be your friendship that’s left in pieces!

Start the New Year with a Bang!

The transcreation and translation services here at Linguistica International will make sure your message is heard around the world in 2017. To join the likes of Santander, Orange and Manchester United, please get in touch with our team by calling 02392 987 765 or emailing: today.


Going Global: Top Tools for Identifying Expansion Opportunities

Foreign expansion is a serious undertaking. Running a UK business is tough enough, so it’s little wonder many business owners are hesitant to sell their products and services overseas. The cost, complexity and even a little fear can make businesses reluctant to take advantage of the opportunities that arise. You probably have very little weekend left as it is, so the thought of adding to your worries and your workload will not be the most appealing.

But the fact is, if you don’t expand into foreign markets, your competitors will. Do you want to sit back and watch the competition capitalise on an opportunity you identified? Probably not, right? In which case, it’s time to go global.

When building a case for expanding overseas, the most important thing is to make sure there’s a market for your products or services in the first place. The last thing you want is to pour you resources into a highly competitive market that could take years to crack, or a market with limited demand for the products you sell. So how do you assess the size of foreign markets before you take the plunge ?

These are just the tools for the job…

1. Google Global Market Finder

This is a really handy tool, and not only because it’s free. This AdWords extension helps you understand the performance of particular keywords around the world and gives you insight into the searchers’ intent. The tool itself is very simple. It translates your keywords into 56 languages and lets you see how many searches are made a month in each language along with the level of competition for each.

If you find that a certain keyword that generates a lot of searches in a particular country, but the competition for that keyword is actually very low, you might have struck gold.


2. Global Web Index

The Global Web Index combines the world’s largest digital consumer study with cutting-edge analytics to provide genuine insights that can improve your foreign expansion decisions. It offers a free 14-day trial so you can try before you buy, and you might find the trial provides all the insights you need.

Using this tool, you can identify your audience based on thousands of digital consumer data points, and use that information to get a better understanding of their online behaviour and lifestyle. That includes information such as their wealth profile, the devices they own and their media and social media habits. This allows you to not only identify a market in the first place, but also to segment your audience and allocate a marketing spend to reach and engage them based on their preferences and behaviour.

3. SEM Rush

This tool can provide you with a comprehensive range of information to help you crack a new market online. You can compare domain names and estimate the difficulty you’ll have ranking for your keywords, and gain insights into paid search advertising and SEO in your industry. You can also scope out the competition, identify the keywords they are targeting and take a closer look at their activity in terms of paid search and digital advertising.

4. Santander’s Trade Hub

If you’re a Santander customer then you can access the Trade Hub for free. If you’re not, creating a free trial account will give you restricted access to the features on offer. This includes functionality to help you identify where to trade, who to trade with and how to establish yourself overseas. It will also identify the top markets for your products and services to help you understand where the demand is.

Need help with your foreign expansion plans?

Once you’ve decided to expand your business overseas, we can provide the essential assistance you need to put your best foot forward in foreign markets. For more information about our translation, transcreation and copywriting services, please email: or call: 02392 987 765 to speak to our team.

Multilingual customer service

Is Multilingual Customer Service Worth it? Here’s why we think it is

Taking over the world is a tricky business. You might think globalisation would mean you could get away with a one-language-fits-all approach to your marketing materials, website content and customer services, but the truth is that we all have a significant native language bias. Even our language spoken with a non-native accent, or written with spelling discrepancies i.e. American/British English, is often enough to prevent us parting with our cash.

So, when you’re trying to meet the unique needs of customers in foreign markets, is multilingual customer service really worth it? We think it absolutely is, and here’s why…

1. You can boost customer loyalty

It’s lovely to be looked after by a business. When you receive fast, honest and effective customer service, delivered with a smile, it’s such a rarity these days it’s something most customers will remember.

One of the biggest factors in the quality of the customer service you receive is the language it’s delivered in. A report from Common Sense Advisory found that 74 percent of customers would be more likely to buy from a company that offered after sales support in their native language.

A further report from the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) found that:

  • 72 percent of customers said support offered in their native language improved their level of satisfaction;
  • While 58.4 percent said it increased their loyalty to the brand.

And that what it’s all about. You treat your customer well and there’s a good chance they’ll be back for more.

2. It builds trust

You’re a good, honest business that sells products and services for a fair price, right? You want your customers to recognise you for what you are. Consumers prefer to hand over their hard earned cash to companies they trust, and they are more likely to trust companies that speak their own language.

Speaking the customers’ language makes it easier to build relationships and help them understand how you think. Customers also tend to believe the information they are receiving is more accurate if it’s delivered in their native tongue.

3. Native speakers understand what customers want

Customers from different cultures have very different expectations of the customer service they receive. Everyone wants their problems solved in one way or another, but some nationalities like to discuss their problems on the phone at length, while others prefer a live chat facility that takes as little time as possible. In some countries, up-selling is quite acceptable, while in others it is considered rude.

Having native speakers to deliver your customer service function ensures an intimate understanding of the target market. The result is support that meets the customers’ preferences and their particular needs.

4. Even bilingual customers prefer their native language

It is not uncommon for businesses to expand into countries where English is spoken as a second language to reduce the costs associated with translation and transcreation. However, just because your customers can speak English, it doesn’t mean they want to.

Most customers feel more confident checking the details of a product or service, or communicating their disappointment if their expectations are not met, in their native language. Removing the anxiety associated with speaking a second language can improve the customers’ experience.

How can we help?

At Linguistica International, we can help your customers get the support they need in a language they understand. Our translation and transcreation teams can create word perfect user guides, customer support pages and FAQs in your customers’ language. The result is happy customers, and a successful business.

For more information, please call 02392 987 765 or email:

American English vs. British English

American English vs. British English – The Major Differences

We’re not sure whether you’ve noticed, but there’s a pretty big election going on over there in the States this week. The Republican Donald Trump, a shy and retiring type, is going up against Democrat Hilary Clinton, who, if successful, will become the first female President of the United States.

The wall-to-wall media coverage has made us think just how different the US and the UK are. You can say what you like about our political system, and the perceived weakness of some of the parties at the moment, but at least we’re not likely to elect a crazed megalomaniac anytime soon, are we?

Despite the very obvious differences between the two countries, one similarity must people cite is the language. There is an old saying that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language.” But while American and British English might sound the same, apart from the respective volume each is spoken, on paper it’s a whole different ball game.

So what are the major differences between these two variations on a common theme?

1. Spelling

One of the obvious differences most of us would immediately point to is spelling. Noah Webster, an American lexicographer who gave his name to the Webster Dictionary, now the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the one man you can thank for the discrepancies.

Having become infuriated with the many inconsistencies in the English language, Mr Webster set about reforming the American spelling in the late 1700s. Perhaps sensibly, he wanted words to be spelt the way they sounded. In many cases this involved dropping the U so the spelling matched the pronunciation. Colour became color; honour became honor; and labour became labor.

He also proposed the word ‘women’ should become ‘wimmen’, but that proved to be a step too far.

2. Vocabulary

The differences in American and British vocabulary are the source of plenty of derision between the two countries. Some of the most well-known variations include:

British English American English
Trousers Pants
Flat Apartment
Bonnet/Boot Hood/Trunk
Caravan Trailer
Crisps Potato chips
Drawing pin Thumbtack
Lift Elevator
Pavement Sidewalk
Pub Bar
Maths Math

We could go on, but I think we’ve made our point. While there are clear differences, most Americans and Brits can usually guess the meaning of a word through the context of the sentence. However, that doesn’t prevent the look of bewilderment you invariably receive when you invite an American to the pub.

3. Grammar

There’s no grammatical gulf in the American and British use of the English language, but there are some noteworthy quirks. For example, in respect to irregular past tense verbs (we’re going back to school now), in British English we have the choice of dreamed or dreamt, burned or burnt, leaned or lent, while in America they would always opt for the –ed ending.

There are also slight differences in our use of collective nouns, which are used to refer a group of individuals. In American English, collective nouns are singular, so they would say “the band is good”, or “the team is playing tonight”. In British English, collective nouns can be singular or plural, so you could say “the team are playing tonight”, or “the staff are happy with how it went.”

The final difference relates to auxiliary verbs, which add information to the main verb. In this case, Brits tend to use the word shall to express the future. For example, “I shall go home” or “shall we go?”. In America, the word shall is very formal and is rarely used in conversation. They would be more likely to say “I will go home now” or “Should we go?”

Far more similar than you might think

While you might think a linguistic chasm exists between American English and British English, there are actually many more similarities than differences. Our accents certainly exaggerate the few differences there are.

So, whatever happens on election day, we better get used to the fact that we’ll always have at least one thing in common with our American neighbours. And, if Mr Trump wins, at least we can enjoy his interesting take on the English language more often.

How can we help?

Whatever the native language of your business, we can help you speak word perfect English on either side of the Atlantic. We can also translate and localise your business assets into 200+ languages worldwide.

To discuss your project or for a translation quote, please call 02392 987 765 or email: today.

The importance of technical translations

Technical Translations: How to find the Perfect Translation Partner

The role technical translation has played in the success of global businesses should not be underestimated. The product or service itself will typically undergo very slight tweaks, or even no changes at all, as it is released in foreign markets. It is the translation of your brand message and identity, as well as the accompanying technical documents, which makes the product relevant to the new regions.

Whatever industry you work in, there will always be specialised language that details how particular products work, the service agreements that are in place, and safety and compliance information. For obvious reasons, these documents need to be produced in the native language and communicated as concisely as possible. While this technical information might not be the sexiest side of your business, it is vital to your operation.

What is technical translation?

Technical translation is a specialised form of translation involving documents typically produced by technical writers, such as owner’s manuals and user guides. The documents convey complex information and require a high level of subject knowledge and mastery of the relevant terminology to be translated correctly.

Why is technical translation important?

A high level of technical translation significantly reduces the likelihood of a misunderstanding and the subsequent risk involved. The accuracy of a translation is paramount to the health and safety of the reader, whether it’s a customer, a client or a member of your workforce. Online translation tools are not capable of producing the level of accuracy you need. Only human translators can convey such specialised information without the risk of an error or mistranslation.

What should you look for in a technical translator?

1. Industry experience

Given the importance of accuracy and a comprehensive understanding of the terminology, it probably goes without saying that you need a technical translator with industry experience. If the provider is an established translation agency with a few strong testimonials from companies in your industry, they should be a pretty good choice.

2. Accreditation

It’s a good idea to pay attention to any accreditations the translation team may have. ISO9001 is a standard that applies to all businesses and shows there are sufficient quality control mechanisms in place. You also look out for translation-specific quality standards such as EN15038 or ISO17100.

3. Affordability

Translation is one industry where you’d be wise to not necessarily go with the cheapest provider. Price and quality are closely linked, so you must always be mindful that a significantly lower price is likely to mean a lower quality service. Finding a translation agency that delivers quality work without breaking the bank might require a little research, but it will be time well spent.

4. A sample translation

The only way to really gauge the quality of a translation agency is to ask to see a sample of their work. An agency that has no problem delivering on the promises they make will be happy to provide a small sample for you to review. This also gives you the chance to see whether they have the necessary knowledge of your industry, products and practices.

So there you have it, four simple tips to help you find your perfect technical translation partner. The truth is that there’s no shortcut to finding a technical translator, but you will be rewarded for taking the time you need.

How can we help?

At Linguistica International, we are committed to delivering the highest standard of technical translations, as is evidenced by our ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. We are also fully compliant with the translation-specific EN15038.

To discuss your technical translation project, please call 02392 987 765 or email: today.

What is legal translation?

What is Legal Translation and How can you Find a Trusted Translator?

If we take a look at the definition of legal translation then you are likely to find something like this from our good friends over at Wikipedia:

“Legal translation is the translation of texts within the field of law. As law is a culture-dependent subject field, the work of legal translation and its products are not necessarily linguistically transparent.”

While we award full marks for effort, this definition does not necessarily capture the full scope of this field. Despite its name, legal translation does not only apply to the legal sector, but just about every business in operation today.

So, as well as the legal work you might expect, such as translating witness statements, legal rulings, filed patents, official reports and financial documents, there are also plenty of projects involving the translation of employee contracts and supplier agreements for firms that are branching out into new markets.

The importance of legal translations

There are very few fields of translation where the cost of making a mistake can be so high. In the case of a witness statement, a mistranslation could jeopardise the ruling of a court, while improperly translated patent or financial documents could have serious implications for the future of a commercial enterprise.

There’s one infamous legal mistranslation that illustrates this point perfectly…

In WWII, the United States issued the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded the surrender of Japan. In his statement responding to this declaration, the Japanese Prime Minister used the word ‘mokusatsu’, which translates into English as ‘ignore’. In Japanese culture its meaning is more nuanced, and more along then lines of letting a topic lie, or indifference.

However, in a press conference relating to the declaration, the word ‘mokusatsu’ was translated as ‘reject’. This apparent defiance subsequently played a part in America’s decision to order the atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan.

The problems associated with legal translations

When dealing with different cultures, it is often the case that there isn’t a single, definitive translation from one language to another. This is particularly the case with legal terms, where cultural and linguistic sensitivities need to play a part.

For this reason, moving from literal to legal translations requires an extremely high level of skill and experience, as well as an intricate understanding of the technical terms. Simply put, when there is no room for error, you need to work with a team you can trust. You cannot make do with ‘nearly-correct’ terms.

Finding a legal translator

It is essential legal translators have demonstrable legal and linguistic understanding of the languages used in both the source text (the original document) and the target language (the finished article). The legal sector itself, and the legal documents that are integrated into every industry, have a terminology or dictionary of words all of their own. Only a qualified legal translator with specific sector experience can ensure that no ambiguity, which could prove so costly, remains.

We understand that budgets are tight, but when you’re looking for a legal translator, you need to think seriously about the quality of their work. There is always a balance to strike between quality, time and cost, but at Linguistica International, we work hard to get this balance just right.

To discuss your project or for a legal translation quote, please call 02392 987 765 or email: today.