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Act global and think local: how not to get lost in translation

English Polish translator Posted on Tue, November 25, 2014 21:58:24

So what do companies need to do? Here are some top tips:


English is the world’s lingua franca, so having an English version of your website is a no-brainer and many are doing this pretty well. However, if your target audience is Chinese, then by the same token, you need a Chinese version of your website. You don’t have to translate the entire site, but start with your most popular pages and check the results. You can then determine if it makes sense to translate the entire website.


Make sure all versions of your website are perfectly aligned to reflect your brand. It should be done by a professional translation partner. You should take the same care in creating your website in additional languages as you do in creating your English content.


So you’ve published the perfect translation, but you still aren’t seeing additional customers. You need to treat your translated site exactly the same as you would treat the flagship website, and this means international SEO optimization.


English keywords may vary from country to country. For example in Spanish, depending on the country, “scooter” can be translated into escúter, motoneta, or motocicleta, but the term most often searched for is vespa. You need to ensure your key words are not simply translated, but that in-country research is conducted to find the most suitable term.


Mobile-optimized websites and other apps should be a key part of your strategy, not only in English but all your languages. Translating your app or mobile site can be done very quickly and economically, since there is very little content to translate.


Know which platforms your customers are actively using. Don’t just assume you need to be on Facebook and Twitter in every country. They are both banned in China, but Kaixin is very popular there.

Best Practices for Communicating Through Polish Interpreter

Polish English interpreter Posted on Fri, January 25, 2013 23:06:28

Trained health care interpreters can reduce liability,
help ensure appropriate utilization, and increase client adherence and
satisfaction with services. Trained interpreters help to assure effective
communication between the client and provider, support effective use of time
during the clinical encounter, and improve outcomes.

Working Effectively Through Polish English Interpreter

Introduce yourself to the interpreter. Determine
the interpreter’s level of English proficiency and professional training and
request that the interpreter interpret everything into the first person (to
avoid “he said, she said”). For a detailed script intended for use when working
with a remote interpreter via phone or video,

During the medical interview, speak
directly to the patient, not to the interpreter.

Speak more slowly rather than more loudly.

Speak at an even pace in relatively short
segments. Pause so the interpreter can interpret.

Give the interpreter time to restructure
information in his/her mind and present it in a culturally and linguistically
appropriate manner. Speaking English does not mean thinking in English.

Assume, and insist, that everything you
say, everything the patient says, and everything that family members say is

Do not hold the interpreter responsible for what
the patient says or doesn’t say. The interpreter is the medium, not the
source, of the message. If you feel that you are not getting the type of
response you were expecting, restate the question or consult with the
interpreter to better understand if there is a cultural barrier that is
interfering with communication.

Be aware that many concepts you express
have no linguistic or conceptual equivalent in other languages. The interpreter
may have to paint word pictures of many terms you use. This may take longer
than your original speech.

Avoid: Highly idiomatic speech, complicated
sentence structure, sentence fragments, changing your idea in the middle of a
sentence, and asking multiple questions at one time.

Encourage the interpreter to ask questions
and to alert you about potential cultural misunderstandings that may come up.
Respect an interpreter’s judgment that a particular question is culturally
inappropriate and either rephrase the question or ask the interpreter’s help in
eliciting the information in a more appropriate way.

Avoid patronizing or infantilizing the patient. A
lack of English language skills is not a reflection of low cognitive function
or a lack of education. Your patient may be a college professor or a medical
doctor in her own country just as easily as she may be a farm worker.

Acknowledge the interpreter as a professional in
communication. Respect his or her role.

Be patient. Providing care across a
language barrier takes time. However, the time spent up front will be paid back
by good rapport and clear communication that will avoid wasted time and
dangerous misunderstandings.

Allow time for a pre-session with the
interpreter. When working with a professional face-to-face interpreter to
facilitate communication with a limited English proficient (LEP) refugee, a
pre-session can be helpful to both the healthcare provider and the interpreter.

Interpreter Pre-Session

The pre-session is an opportunity to be clear about the
nature of the upcoming encounter and any particular concerns that the provider
would like to address regarding the patient’s condition. This provides the
interpreter with the information necessary to make any adjustments in his/her
interpreting. For example, you may discuss whether or not the interpreting will
be done in consecutive or simultaneous mode, whether there will be highly
technical language that will be used, whether subsequent adjustments in
register will need to be made, and whether or not the content of the session is
going to be highly emotional or intense. It is also an opportunity to raise any
cultural concerns that may be pertinent to the patient’s presenting problem.

Polish English interpreter – job description

Polish English interpreter Posted on Tue, October 09, 2012 04:23:39

Interpreters convert spoken or sign language statements from one language to another. Interpreting involves listening to, understanding and memorising content in the original ‘source’ language, then reproducing statements, questions and speeches in a different ‘target’ language. This is often done in only one direction, normally into the interpreter’s native language, but may be on a two-way basis.

Interpreters facilitate effective communication between clients in the following settings:

large conferences and formal meetings;
business functions such as smaller meetings, exhibitions and product launches;
criminal justice proceedings, known as public service interpreting or PSI, including police and probation service interviews, court hearings, solicitor interviews, arbitration hearings and immigration tribunals;
community-based events and assignments within the education, health and social services sectors.
Typical work activities
Interpreting can be carried out in various ways:

in person, whether in the same room or from a nearby conference booth;
by telephone, when the interpreter is in a different location from the speakers;
via video conferencing and internet-based technologies.
There are several types of interpreting.

Simultaneous interpretation (SI): working in a team at a conference or large meeting, the interpreter sits in a soundproof booth (there are separate booths for each conference language) and immediately converts what is being said, so listeners hear the interpretation through an earpiece while the speaker is still speaking. A variation of this is whispering, or chuchotage, where the interpreter sits near one person or a small group and whispers the translation as the speaker carries on. Sign language interpreting is also usually simultaneous.
Consecutive interpretation (CI): more common in smaller meetings and discussions, the speaker will pause after each sentence or point and wait while the interpreter translates what is being said into the appropriate language.
Liaison interpretation, also known as ad hoc and relay: this is a type of two-way interpreting, where the interpreter translates every few sentences while the speaker pauses. This is common in telephone interpreting as well as in legal and health situations. The interpreter supports people who are not fluent in the language being used to ensure their understanding.
Sign language interpretation: interpreters convert spoken statements into sign language and vice versa. Interpreting from one sign language to another is a new area.
The following work activities are likely in any interpreting setting:

assimilating speakers’ words quickly, including jargon and acronyms;
analysing sentences expressed in one language and explaining them using another language;
building up specialist vocabulary banks;
writing notes to aid memory;
using microphones and headsets;
preparing paperwork – considering agendas before meetings, or lectures/speeches when received in advance;
using the internet to conduct research;
organising workload and liaising with internal departments, agencies and/or employers;
working to a professional code of ethics covering confidentiality and impartiality.

Need a Polish Translation? Follow These Tips

English Polish translator Posted on Fri, October 05, 2012 21:26:12

The Polish language is an interesting one. It belongs to the Slavonic group of languages that are spoken around Eastern Europe, so it shares traits with Russian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, and Slovak. However, Polish is spoken all over the world — thanks to all of the Poles who fled their home country back in the days of World War II and never went back.
As a result, if you do business in any corner of the globe, you’ll likely need a Polish translation at some point.
So, what do you need to know if you’re hiring a Polish translation pro?
1. Trust is crucial
Poles believe in establishing relationships with people before they hop into business with them. So, you won’t just be able to do one English to Polish translation and call it a day. Instead, you’ll likely have to send several translated documents before you can convince people to sign on the dotted line.
2. Do your homework
Typically, Poles don’t make decisions based on emotion or pure opinion. Instead, they tend to make decisions based on solid facts. As a result, you’ll have to make sure that your documents are chock full of facts and figures. Otherwise, your entire Polish translation could be a waste of time!
3. Some of the words may look similar to English
But don’t get too comfortable! Some words in your Polish translation may look familiar, but they have a completely different meaning. A good example would be ‘angina’ which retains medical connotation in Polish but means ‘tonsillitis’ – quite a different ailment!
4. It’s formal
You’ve probably heard about several languages that are more formal than English (like Japanese and Hungarian). While in English, especially in marketing and advertising texts, we tend to address our customers directly, the Poles prefer an indirect and formal approach. A good translator will be able to avoid this particular pitfall but if you’re preparing your documents just for the Polish market, it is a good idea to keep it mind
These dialects aren’t completely different. For example, someone who uses one of them will still understand the gist of documents that are written in another Hungarian dialect. However, if you want your Hungarian translation to make the very best impression, you’ll have to make sure that your documents end up in the appropriate dialect for the people who are going to be reading them.
5. The grammar is complex
In English, the sentence structure never changes. No matter what, each sentence is laid out in a Subject-Verb-Object pattern.
That’s why a good English to Hungarian translation should always include a clear ending — like “sincerely”, “thank you for your time”, “I wish you a good day”, etc. If it doesn’t, you may wind up inadvertently offending the recipient!
However, in Polish, the sentence structure is flexible. Polish nouns have different forms for expressing grammatical case, related to the function of the noun in a sentence. And this happens not only to the common nouns, but also to proper names. So don’t be alarmed if you see your name slightly changed in the Polish translation – you’ve just been ‘Polished’!
Polish, unlike English, uses genders. It is a good idea to make a clarification when needed to avoid confusion and possible embarrassment (e.g. a simple sentence like ‘J. Smith went to the shop’ will be translated differently, depending on whether J. Smith is a man or a woman).
6. Polish uses more words
Polish is a ‘wordy’ language and very often a concept that can be expressed in English in just two words may result in a ten word explanation in Polish. This can be especially true in certain types of texts and the resulting translation may be longer than original by as much as 30%. Something to remember if the text is supposed to fit predetermined layout.
Contact our corporate translation company for certified Polish into English and for English into Polish document translation or to hire a professional Polish interpreter for your deposition or medical appointment.

Idioms and the benefits of professional translation services

English Polish translators Posted on Fri, October 05, 2012 20:23:36

The translation of idioms can be tricky.

Among the many Italian phrases that I heard for the first time during my year abroad in Bergamo, Italy, the one that has stuck with me is “In bocca al lupo”, literally meaning “into the mouth of the wolf”. It was exchanged by students before going into an exam to wish each other good luck. Far more exciting than breaking a leg! Idiomatic expressions like these are one of the many pitfalls for a translator. They add colour and depth to the language but they aren’t always easily understood, especially when translated literally. Native speakers grow up knowing these phrases but foreign speakers must learn them as another part of the language. They can often show links to the culture of the country and require certain cultural knowledge, which a native speaker already has, to be understood. Experienced translators come to know how to tackle these parts of language but often it is steeping this in mind, can anything really beat professional translation services?

Translators frequently come across idiomatic expressions in their work. They must recognise that a literal translation is not required and then the search begins! They need to find an adequate expression in the target language to put across the meaning intended by the author. Take the German expression “Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen”, translate it into English and you get the phrase “If you say A, you must also say B” but this has no real significance because it is not used in the English language and culture. An equivalent idiomatic expression in English might be “In for a penny, in for a pound” with the meaning that you should start what you finish, if you’ve bet a penny you might as well take the risk and bet a pound.

The problem is that idioms often contain words that have no connection to their original meaning when used in this particular phrase. The well known English expression “It’s raining cats and dogs” obviously does not mean that cats and dogs are literally falling from the sky but people do use this phrase to express that it is raining heavily. There are various suggestions as to where this expression originated, ranging from mythology to an 18th Century author. Whereas to someone learning English, this expression might seem very odd, many native speakers of English have grown up with this turn of phrase and understand its meaning. The same phrase exists in German, “Es regnet Katze und Hunde” so miscommunication is avoided. In Italian though the equivalent would be “piove a catinelle” “it’s raining as from basins” – not too distant from the English “It’s raining buckets”. Unfortunately, trying to find an equivalent in other languages by beginning with a literal translation when there is very little similarity between the sayings may only lead to further confusion; even more reason to leave it to the professional translation services!

In many ways translation is an art form and idiomatic expressions are one of many intricacies that make professional translation such an interesting job! Regardless of how effective machine translation seems at times, it cannot compare to professional translation services because it is unable to deal with these aspects of language. They are an essential part of language which cannot be translated using theoretical constructs and so need a professional to handle them with care!

For more information on the translation services we offer, please visit our Polish translation services page.

Why a Pole’s politeness can be lost in translation

English Polish translator Posted on Fri, October 05, 2012 16:39:34

If your Polish plumber curtly tells you to pass the spanner, don’t worry, he isn’t being rude.

And if the Polish assistant in the coffee shop seems unnecessarily brusque when she tells you where the milk is, she’s not trying to be offensive either.

In reality they are trying to be polite, but their intentions get lost in translation, according to a state-funded study.

Piping up: Has your Polish plumber been rude? Maybe his words were lost in translation, a study suggests

It found that Poles often assume when they speak to someone that the other person is willing to help them. Their direct manner of speech is meant to convey they idea that they share a positive relationship.

But English people usually expect to be asked nicely before they do something for someone else, and to have the chance to show they are prepared to co-operate, the study found.

Psychologist Dr Joerg Zinken spent two years examining the way Polish and English families, and some mixed families, speak to each other.

He found there is room for misunderstanding because a Polish speaker will demand abruptly ‘pass the milk’, while someone brought up to speak English is more likely to ask: ‘Can you pass the milk?’ Dr Zinken said: ‘Even if it is obvious that they will comply, by asking someone to do something rather than telling them, the English form gives the other person a choice.’

However, a Pole is more likely to respond well to what sounds to English ears like a direct command.

‘When a Polish person wants a family member to pass the milk, there is a presumption that the other person will be available at that moment and will help,’ Dr Zinken said.


Polish: Pass the milk.

English: Can you pass the milk?

Polish: The bin needs taking out.

English: Would you put the bin out please?

Polish: The bread must be cut.

English: Please can you cut the bread?

Polish: It is necessary for us to buy a new washing machine.

English: Do you think we can afford a new washing machine?

Polish: Pass the spanner.

English: Could you just throw me that spanner, love?

‘The fact that you can make this presumption is seen as a good thing, it says something positive about the relationship between the speaker and the other person.’

A Pole sitting around the family table will often respond to the command by giving a one-word reply meaning ‘I’ll do it in a second’, the report said.

Dr Zinken, who is based at Portsmouth University, carried out his research with the help of a £70,000 research grant from the Government’s Economic and Social Research Council.

It involved hours of recordings of the behaviour and conversation of Polish families in Lublin, which were compared with similar recordings of England and mixed English-Polish families in Portsmouth.

He found that the natural constructions of speech used by Poles do not work so well for those brought up speaking English.

Polish speech, he said, assumes that someone else will volunteer to do something. So a Pole might say ‘the bin needs taking out’, and someone else in the family will feel it is their job to do it. But in English the demand has a nagging quality it does not convey in Polish.

Dr Zinken said: ‘One of the reasons behind the difference in phrasing questions about chores in each language might be because there is a strong sense of communal responsibility and solidarity in Polish culture, whereas in English culture the maintenance of every individual’s privacy borders is important.

‘While in Polish the other person’s availability for a chore is assumed, in English families the other person’s availability always depends on their agreement.’

He added: ‘Every culture has its own rules and values, but we often don’t notice them because they are ingrained in the way we use language, not just in the words we use but in grammar and sentence structure.

‘If we understand these differences better, we can understand where other people are coming from, while also reflecting on what our own language says about us and how we relate to others.’

Translation services and recession

Polish-English translation Posted on Tue, August 21, 2012 12:51:56

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

“I’m looking into starting a translation business, but I
worry that with online translation services getting better, my company may one
day be obsolete. How well do I have to speak another language to do
translation, and is the industry considered recession-proof? —submitted online

If any industries can be considered recession-proof, the
field of interpreting and translation may be one, especially as business
transactions across borders increase. A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report projects 42 percent
growth in the industry from 2010 to 2020, outpacing average growth for other
occupations studied by the BLS. “Employment growth reflects an
increasingly diverse U.S. population, which is expected to require more
interpreters and translators,” the report states.

is one of the few industries that has seen minimal impact from the global
economic downturn,” says Nataly Kelly, chief research officer with Common
Sense Advisory, a Lowell, Mass., market research firm. Areport (PDF) Kelly
co-authored last month shows that the market for outsourced language services
is $33.5 billion in 2012 and has seen a compound annual growth rate of 12.17
percent. This is a fragmented market composed of more than 26,000
companies around the world, according to her report, which shows that only nine
had more than $100 million in 2011 revenue.

Web-based translation programs such as Google (GOOG)Translate, have not
dented the market for translation services. “Machine translation—especially the
free, online kind—serves as an awareness campaign, putting translation in front
of the average person,” says Susanne Evens, founder and chief executive
of AAA Translation in St. Louis. While automated translation
can quickly scan and summarize large bodies of text, reduce cost, and improve
consistency, humans will be needed to use it intelligently and proofread the
results, at least for the foreseeable future.

Interpreters and translators should embrace technology, says
Kelly: “Research shows that with online content exploding and the expansion
of globalization, the industry may actually face a shortage of qualified
human translators soon. Technology is part of the solution.” Technology-savvy
translation companies are growing at much faster rates than those companies
that are reluctant to embrace technology, her research shows.

Adopting technology won’t help much in the absence of
fluency and experience. Individuals must not only speak, think, and act in two
languages fluently to be translators and interpreters, they must also write so
as to “translate meaning from one language and culture to another without
inflicting harm in the process,” Evens says. She says successful translators
and interpreters are highly educated, with many holding advanced degrees and
training in linguistics, translation, or a specialty field they intend
to concentrate on in their work.

Duff, chief executive of HTT, a translation company in Rouen, France,
adds two additional requirements: Sufficient knowledge of the subject matter in
order to understand the source text and sufficient cultural experience to
convey the “niceties of language used.””

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