Sweden Sans

Sweden Sans, National Font for a Modern Country

Sweden Sans

Sweden Sans Typeface

Sweden Sans Becomes First National Font Ever

Swedish designers were given the task of creating a national font and they called it Sweden Sans.

A design agency in Stockholm was commissioned to create a typeface to be used by the Swedish government and corporations. Taking national identity to the next level.

Sweden Sans and Lagom

The designers were handed a brief to come up with a new font that would replace the various ones used on the sites of government ministries, agencies and corporations. The idea is to integrate the nation’s public information into one visual brand identity. The font had to be “fresh and dynamic”, representing Sweden to the world.

For one designer, “it was a big responsibility to be representing our country, but we were really proud to be asked,” said Stefan Hattenbach from the Söderhavet design agency in Stockholm. “Aesthetics are very important in Sweden and we have a long tradition of great architecture, furniture and design — so this was the natural next step.”

Joined with him was head of design at Söderhavet, Jesper Robinell; “we started to think about how it would work with different typefaces, then started mood boards with different fonts and pictures – especially of old Swedish signs we’d seen from the 1940s and 50s.” The pair started looking at the Swedish national flag, that yellow Scandinavian cross against a bright blue background (used since the 1600s). Combining their sketches with modern electro music, to disco and even Bob Marley.

After about six months of designing, they had drafted a modern, geometric font based on the normal sans-serif but with a few stylish tweaks to it.

“We have an expression in Swedish, lagom,” states Robinell, “which means ‘not too much and not too little,’ something in the middle that means you’re content. We Swedes are happy with that. And lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans.”

“We have an expression in Swedish, lagom […] which means ‘not too much and not too little,’ something in the middle that means you’re content. We Swedes are happy with that. And lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans.”

The Q

Both pointing out that they’re really pleased with the look of the letter Q, in particular. “It has a tail,” they mention.

“It’s all about Scandinavian minimalism. If they notice the typeface too much, it hasn’t worked.” The agency has also received other design briefs from other countries looking for something similar, but they didn’t go into detail: “We can’t name names,” Hattenbach states, “as the projects are still in their first phases, but we’re currently ‘in discussions’ to do much more nation branding in future.”

We love the new Sweden Sans font and the idea behind it. What are your thoughts on it, and a nation having a brand identity?

The STAR Team

Source: The Guardian

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015

Seachtain na Gaeilge 2015, Ireland’s Cultural Festival

This year’s Seachtain na Gaeilge, also known as SnaG (Irish Language Week), runs from the 1st to the 17th of March.

SnaG is one of the biggest festivals of our national language and culture in Ireland. It runs up to Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March, and is celebrated in many other countries.

What’s on?

As of the 1st of March:

  • Irish week at Blackrock Castle Observatory
  • Irish films at the IFI, Temple Bar, Dublin city
  • Placename exhibition, Gorey, Wexford
  • Irish Alphabet, botanical art exhibition, Bunclody, Wexford
  • Storytelling with Seó Ó Maolalaí, Halla Contae Fhine Gall

For a full list of the many events taking place around the country, visit the official SnaG website.

About the Festival

Anyone can take part in the hundred of events organised around the country. If you’re enthusiastic about the Irish language and eager to increase your knowledge of it, then find out what events are planned in your local area. Since local authorities and volunteers run many events, there’s sure to be one in your vicinity.

No matter what grade of Irish speaker you are: fluent, learner or a novice, there are numerous entertaining and fun events to suit all ages and walks of life.

Croí na teanga — it’s you!

You can get involved with voluntary and community groups, local authorities, schools, libraries, and music, sports, arts and culture organisations; help organise events for SnaG in your area.

Why is SnaG running for two weeks?

Seachtain na Gaeilge was established in 1902 and is an annual festival in celebration of the Irish language and culture. It’s a widely recognised brand name and understood across Ireland. Its festivals have grown from strength-to-strength in recent years, thus the festival’s duration has grown from a week to up to two weeks. Since Seachtain na Gaeilge is the original brand name, it had been decided that it felt right to keep it!

Are you interested in the Irish language or Irish culture? Leave us a comment in Irish to test your skills.

Graham,
The STAR Team

For your Valentine: An Italian Love Song

Ti Amo, Italian love song

Ti Amo!

Sing-Along: Italian Love Song

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, we’ve become very sentimental at STAR Translation today.

One of our Project Managers wanted to share a verse from a favourite Italian love song of hers to spread the message of love to all of you out there.

Give it a go; try to read the Italian…

Original, Italian Version

Io ti cercherò negli occhi delle donne
che nel mondo incontrero’
e dentro quegli sguardi mi ricordero’ di noi…
chissa’ se si chiamava amore…

English Translation

“I will look for you in all the women’s eyes
that I’ll meet in the world, and in their eyes I will remember us
Who knows if we could call that love.”

By Lorenzo Jovanotti, Io ti cercherò

Listen out for the lyrics (above) in Jovanotti’s song:

Do you have a favourite love song, poem or quote you’d like to share with us? Post it in the comments below. We’d love to hear it.

The STAR Team

Say I love you in different languages, Valentine’s Day

I love you in different languages, Valentine's Day

Say I love you in different languages this Valentine’s Day

I Love Yous, Valentine’s Day History

Observed on the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day is a day for all the lovers in the world to express their love for one another by offering flowers, sending greetings cards and exchanging gifts and confectionery.

This most intimate day of the year goes back to the High Middle Ages (often in reference to romantic love) when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Courtly love was a medieval Europe conception of love based on chivalry and nobility. Then, in the 18th century, it slowly evolved into the Valentine’s we know today.

In the early 19th century, handwritten letters were given to admired ones. Not only adults but children once received Valentine’s symbols, typically heart-shaped keys, to unlock the giver’s heart.

Freebies

This year’s Valentine’s Day will be no exception. What will you do to mark the occasion with your loved ones?

Download our poster on how to say I love you in five romantic languages.

And learn how to pronounce them in many other languages for your Valentine.

Graham,
The STAR Team

Chinese New Year: Year of the Sheep

Chinese New Year, Year of the Sheep / Goat

Chinese New Year: Year of the Goat

Year of the Sheep or Goat

Preparations are taking place across Dublin and around the world for the Chinese New Year, which will kick off on the 19th of February. It’s one of the longest festival in the Chinese calendar running through to the 24th of February. Celebrations begin on Chinese New Year’s eve and last through to the end of the month in the Chinese calendar.

Sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, a centuries old tradition that played a significant role in Chinese myths and legends. The holiday is ingrained in its people’s customs and is one of the most important festivals with annual celebrations taking place in chinatowns are the world.

This year marks the year of the sheep, or goat to some.

The Goat is the eighth sign of a twelve-year cycle of animals (mnemonics for the calendar system)  in the Chinese zodiac, which in turn is related to the Chinese calendar and other festival celebrations. But not only that; those born in the year of the goat are said to resemble the traits of the animal, or any other animal as part of the Chinese zodiac.

Years Of The Goat / Sheep | Chinese Calendar

Start Date End Date Heavenly Branch
13th February 1907 1st February 1908 Fire Goat
1st February 1931 5th February 1932 Earth Goat
17th February 1919 19th February 1392 Metal Goat
5th February 1943 24th January 1944 Water Goat
24th January 1955 11th February 1956 Wood Goat
9th February 1967 22th January 1968 Fire Goat
28th January 1979 15th February 1980 Earth Goat
15th February 1991 3rd February 1992 Metal Goat
1st February 2003 21th February 2004 Water Goat
19th February 2015 7th February 2016 Wood Goat
6th February 2027 25th January 2028 Fire Goat
24th January 2039 11th Feb 2040 Earth Goat
11th February 2051 31 January 2052 Metal Goat

What’s your animal in the Chinese zodiac? And do you refer to it as the year of the sheep or the year of the goat? Let us know in the comments below.

Download our Chinese New Year poster / infographic: Year of the Sheep / Goat.

Graham,
The STAR Team

How Nintendo’s Mario Became Wario

How Mario became Wario by Nintendo

Wario by Nintendo ©2007

Mario became Wario, how a little translation changed a game character

Game players around the world love Mario and his antagonist, Wario. Although Wario isn’t a bad guy; he’s just a baddish, tougher version of Mario!

How did Nintendo come up with the name Wario?

Actually there are a couple of interesting facts around this.

The first and simplest explanation, of course, is that they wanted Mario’s competitor to be the exact opposite to him: a “bad” Mario.  This is why the characters look alike. In coming up with the name, they considered using a similar name to Mario. How could you make the name Mario sound bad?

Second explanation: in Japanese (Mario was invented in Japan), the phrase “warui” (悪い) means “bad”. Simply changing M to W gives you “Wario”, which sounds similar to warui. A little translation and a play-on-words gives you a new name.

Thus, Bad Mario, or Wario, was born.

The STAR Team

Trivia: Wario first appeared in the 1992 title Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for the Game Boy.

Google: Augmented Reality, Real-Time Translation

Machine Translation

New tech in machine translation, Real-Time Translation

Real-Time Translation Tool from Google

In January, Google released new features to its translate app.

Available on both iOS and Android platforms, the app can make on-the-spot translations using its Word Lens tool and text translations by inputting words or sentences manually. But this year, the app was updated with voice translation functions in 36 languages. Users can tap the mic button in the app and begin talking. It recognises multiple users and the language being spoken. Once the languages have been recognised, the app is ready is translate without the need to tap the mic button again. Impressive!

Word Lens

Word Lens tool from Google

Word Lens tool from Google

The Word Lens tool in the Google Translate app allowed user to take a photo of a piece of text, a road sign etc. and translate it accordingly. Now, all the user has to do it point the phone’s camera towards the object and see the translated text overlaid on their screen. This is referred to as augmented reality and Google acquired the technology in May last year when they bought the California-based tech firm, “Quest Visual“.

Prior to the augmented reality tech, the app required a data connection to fulfill a request to translate. But now, that’s not an issue. Word Lens can also translate from English to and from German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

Closer to the Future

These futuristic features take us closer to turning our phones into something like the universal translators out of a Star Trek movie. Closer to a new age where language is no longer a social barrier for communicating new ideas, and to one another.

Often the hardest part of travelling is navigating the local language“, states Google Translate’s product lead Barak Turovsky. “Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways…

Are you using it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The STAR Team

Hidden Meanings in STAR Logo

Hidden Meanings in STAR Logo

Hidden Meanings in the STAR Logo

Discover Hidden Meanings in STAR

There is always more to a company logo than meets the eye.

Recently, we had a great time looking at the hidden messages in the logos of many of the world’s most popular brands.

What about the STAR Translation logo?

Designed over 30 years ago, it has a number of hidden meanings that still hold relevance today.

The STAR Logo represents three very different elements of our company.

  • The STAR name
  • The Delta symbol (or triangle) that we see for the ‘A’
  • The horizontal lines in the delta symbol
  1. The STAR name
  2. The name STAR signifies a shining light and leadership which most people see
  3. The letters S, T, A, R actually come from the services the company provides
    • “S” is for Software: We develop and sell translation technology
    • “T” is for Translation: We provide translation services
    • “A” is for Artwork: We provide technical drawings and artwork
    • “R” is for Recording: We provide audio translation and recording services

The name also has a second hidden meaning. STAR founded its headquarters in the Swiss town of STein Am Rhein. So 2 hidden messages in our name.

  1. The Delta symbol that we see for the ‘A’
    • The great delta symbol is the 4th letter of the Greek alphabet. In mathematical terms, it signifies variation between two variables. In translation terms, it represents the difference between two sentences. At the heart of STAR Transit, our editing system, a translator works and thus, must know the differences between sentences to accurately review the context they are translating
  2. The horizontal lines in the Delta symbol
    • These lines represent the many lines or sentences in a translation project. Combined with the delta principle, we see the entire translation in context. Every sentence or line must be viewed with the sentences around it to achieve this. For example, if I was talking about vessels, would this be vases, boats or test tubes? You would only know if you read the entire paragraph to be able to understand the context
    • Interestingly look at the width of the lines in the triangle. At the top, the first line is the smallest. You have 1 line and a small piece of information. The second line is wider as now with 2 lines you have more information. As you read a document and you read more lines your understanding improves as you read more in context. It is just like a triangle, the more lines you can see in translation the wider and better your understanding is. The better your understanding, the better the translation
  3. This is the delta principle

The STAR Team

How Big is a Global Company?

How big is a global company?

How big is a big company?

Global Companies

There are many interesting facts we come across in our business dealings with global companies.

An interesting question is what exactly does it mean to be a global company? STAR Translation has 44 offices on 5 continents and employs some 900 people. Are we a big company?

For fun, we had a look at one of the largest brands in the world, that is, “McDonald’s”. McDonald’s has an astonishing 36,302 stores in 119 countries. That’s truly global! In fact, it’s hard to find a country without one: McDonald’s-less nations!

The company employs some 1,924,035 people. Imagine trying to manage that! Taking into consideration that each country has its own laws, cultures etc. It’s certainly amazing how they keep their brand consistent throughout the world. If you go to a McDonald’s in France, the experience is virtually the same as a McDonald’s branch in the USA. Their management systems are commendable — they serve some 60 million customers every day.

Aside from McDonald’s, who else has the largest number of employees in the world?

According to Wikipedia, the largest employer in the world is the US Department of Defence, or “defense”, as an American would spell it, with approximately 3.2 million members of staff. If we just look at commercial companies however, Walmart wins hands down with 2.2 million employees. It’s interesting that Walmart is similar in size to the US Army.

And outside the US, the two largest employers in the UK are Tesco (597,784) and the private security company, G4S with 620,000.

How does your business stack up?

Some interesting facts:

  • Fun McDonald’s facts
  • McDonald’s sells more than 75 hamburgers every second
  • If you’re a production manager consider this: “Americans alone consume one billion pounds of beef at McDonald’s in a year — five and a half million head of cattle.”

The STAR Team

Source: Business Insider

Countries Languages Quiz 2015

Countries and Languages Quiz

Countries and Languages Quiz, name the countries

Name the four countries whose flags are represented above.

Try the Countries and Languages Quiz

We want to know how much you know about languages and the countries that speak said languages. Above there are four countries. Can you name them and their respective languages?

Comment to answer…

The STAR Team