May 28 2014

Criminal Lawyers

Do you know any criminal, criminal lawyers?

No. The above isn’t a typo.

Something I love about the English language is how pronunciation can change the context and meaning of a sentence. Last night I was watching Breaking Bad on DVD and caught a great line from Jesse Pinkman, one the protagonists in the series. When discussing lawyers, he turns to Walter White and says, “if you need a criminal lawyer, you should hire a CRIMINAL Lawyer – to make sure you get off”. Smart sentence… difficult to translate into other languages and keep the same humour and meaning because of its context.

Context is so important in the English language and especially in translation. It’s one of the most difficult challenges for translators.

Have you ever come across any similar play on words?

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May 21 2014

And the nominees are…

Top Language Lovers 2014 competition

STAR Dublin has been recently nominated in two categories as part of the ‘Top 100 Language Lovers 2014′ competition. A competition hosted by the language portal and the Lexiophiles Language blog. We have been nominated for similar awards in the past. Nonetheless, we are thrilled to be nominated as always.

The first category is Language Professionals’ Blogs where we have been placed among thousands of participants. The second category in which we have also been nominated is Language Twitter account. This year’s [competition] is the seventh edition. The voting has already begun and you can cast your votes now.

We won’t get upset if you don’t vote for us! & Lexiophiles are looking for the best 100 language lovers; there are a total of five categories. They are:

  • Language learning blogs
  • Language professionals’ blogs
  • Language Twitter accounts
  • Language Facebook pages
  • Language YouTube channels

Out of these five social media categories, everybody can vote for their chosen “language lovers”. The voting phase starts from the 20th of May through the 9th of June 2014. Once all votes have been cast, the final tally consists of Lexiophiles’ ranking criteria (50%) and users’ votes (50%). The winners will be announced on the 12th of June 2014.

Voting is simple. Use the buttons below to direct you to the polls in either category.

Vote the Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014

Vote for us in the Language professionals’ blog category!

Vote the Top 100 Language Twitterer 2014

Vote for us in the Language Twitter account category!

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May 13 2014

Meet Us At Localization World Dublin 4-6 June 2014

STAR Welcomes LocalizationWorld To Dublin

Join STAR at Localization World Dublin to learn about the latest trends and technology in the translation and localization business.

The conference will be held at the Convention Centre Dublin in Spencer Dock.

The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) is Ireland’s newly opened world class purpose-built international conference and event venue. Completed in 2010, it is now recognized as one of the top four convention venues in the world. Its an amazing place to do business.

Localization World is the premier industry event for translation and localization professionals worldwide. The Dublin event is in STAR’s home town, less than 1 kilometer from our Dublin office.

STAR is one of the world leaders in Translation Services and Multilingual Information Technology.  We’re the developers of Transit NXT the translation memory system and translation supplier to many global brands.

Learn more about:

  • CLM – STAR Corporate Language Management Solutions
  • Website Translation
  • Translation Workflow
  • Cloud Translation
  • Transit NXT – Translation Memory
  • GRIPS – Multilingual Content Authoring and Information Management

If you’re coming to Dublin for the expo, drop in and say “Hello” to our team:
We’re on STAND 42.

Conference Contacts:

Damian Scattergood
Managing Director

STAR Dublin

Phone: +353 1 8365614

email: Damian.Scattergood (at)

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May 12 2014

STAR Translation Meets STAR Wars

Warwick Davis meeting fans - Nathan and Damian Scattergood.

Translation is a tough business but, it also has a softer side too.

Damian Scattergood, our managing director, has a keen interest in science fiction and conlangers. Conlangers are people who create languages. See, ‘What is a Conlanger?’

Last week Damian went to MCM Comic Con in the RDS Dublin to check out the latest in Sci-Fi and got to meet some of his heroes.

There where a number of writers and actors on hand meeting their fans and sharing stories… Ian McNeice of Doctor Who was there, alongside Lyndie Greenwood of Sleepy Hollow and Danny John Jules and Hattie Hayridge of Red Dwarf.

The biggest STAR was Warwick Davis, famous for his roles in STAR Wars, Willow, Harry Potter and many more well know films. We, along with Damian’s son Nathan, had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Warwick. Damian is a huge STAR WARS fan so, he was thrilled to meet one of his own childhood heroes.

The 501st Legion were also on duty for the entire day. This is an amazing group of people who attend events in full STAR WARS gear. They work with charities and commercial organisations making events really stand out for kids, both big and small! For more information on the legion and how to hire them, visit the 501st Legion.

It was a great day and one we’d recommend to anyone interested in Sci-Fi in the future. Comic Con.

The 501st legion have words with Damian

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May 06 2014

Killer landing pages by Google

Web designers and marketing gurus are always on the lookout for the next killer design for landing pages or web site home pages. Getting new customers to your site and then having them buy (or convert) [...] is a tough challenge.

Recently, Google held a presentation in the Foundry, part of Google’s EMEA HQ, to share their best practice advice for website design.

Damian Scattergood attended on behalf of STAR Translation. OK. So, over to Damian for the top tips he learnt from the day.

1. Landing Pages:
Interestingly the most important point about landing pages is that “Every page on your website is a landing page” In terms of SEO and the copy on your website, you should consider every page as a landing page. Often people should only consider a few pages as actual landing pages. The logic is that at some stage someone will land on any page of your website. So what will they do when they get there? Every page should be a landing page and have a call to action on it.

2. Keep it simple:
Google advised that all web pages should be simple and to the point. Don’t waffle on about how brilliant you are. Nobody really cares. They came to your page for a reason. If I want to buy a washing machine I need to know the price, credit terms and how to buy it. That’s it! I can always drill into other pages if I want the details. Don’t overcrowd your pages with text. They showed us an example of a dentist’s web site that talked about where they were located and how lovely their clinic was, however, it didn’t mention anything about teeth. This turns people off.

3. Use simple graphics.
When it comes to web design, keep the images strong but limited. On an obvious note, it takes ages to download lots of images which turn users off. Simple design giving a general idea means that it’s clear and easy for the client to know what you want them to do on a web page.

4. Call to Action (CTA).

Make sure all your pages have clear ‘call to actions’. Usually just one. Two at maximum. Make it easy for your customers to read your text and know what the next step is in your process. Do you want them to call , email or, send something to you?

5. Short Web pages.

In today’s busy world, people don’t have time to scroll down 2-3 pages to get to the information they need. It should always be visible. On mobile or smartphones this is even more important; keep your pages short and to the point.

6. Use bullet points.

Bullet lists are easy to read. If you have lots of information of features for your products then list them as 1, 2, 3 et cetera. It’s easy to read and to the point. Long descriptive passages aren’t read anymore.

We hope this helps you on the way to improving you landing pages and conversions.

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Apr 28 2014

STAR Translation attends Blanchardstown Jobs Fair

Following another successful year of growth STAR Translation in Dublin is continuing to hire new staff.

Keith McManus and Damian Scattergood recently attended the Blanchardstown Jobs Fair seeking to hire new telesales people for our Dublin team. We help companies in Ireland and the UK expand around the globe. We translate documents and websites and are interested in hiring salespeople to sell translation services. If you are interested in working for us, visit our latest sales role vacancies on our careers page:

It was an amazing day that saw thousands of visitors attend the event. The event was organised by Joan Burton, minister for the Department of Social Protection. The event was covered by RTE news and some of our eagle-eyed readers spotted Damian Scattergood, our managing director on the news that evening.

Keith discussing our sales roles in Dublin.

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Apr 24 2014

What is the difference between a picture and a photo?

To most people, the words photo and picture are interchangeable. But are they?

A photo or, a photograph can only be used when it has been produced by using a camera. It is a very restricted term, so you have to be careful when you want to use it.

The word ‘picture‘ has a less restricted use on it, which is in fact a very common term with multiple meanings. We can use this one for a lot of things like a drawing, a painting, a cinema film, a portrait or, a photograph too. If one refers to a photograph as a picture, the object itself is probably a combination of a photo with text or graphics rendered on it. ‘Picture’ can be employed in special cases like, ‘something produced in your mind’, ‘an impressionone has of somebody or something described to them’ or, ‘with your memory’.

Another related word is ‘image‘. This word is a more generalised one. An image can be a visible impression obtained by any device such as a computer, telescope, camera, video screen et cetera. It can also refer to a representation of an external form of a person or thing among other meanings.

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Apr 08 2014

The Greatest Mistake In Translation

Caution: Bad Translation

Caution: Bad Translation

Everyone has read or heard a story about mistakes in translation, humorous mistranslations or badly translated documents. Although what is the greatest and probably most lethal mistake in translation?

Strangely enough, the answer is quite simple. My experience from working in the industry for over 30 years has shown that the single biggest mistake in translation is being careless with short translation. As it sounds, short translation is the translation of a few words or a single sentence. Small or short translation projects are the ones with the highest rate of errors!

The reason behind it is simple: laziness and the pressure to meet a deadline. You have to put the same amount of work, perhaps even more, into small projects than you do with bigger ones. To understand this you need to think about the types of errors that can happen.

The Author-Designer Mistake:
Most software developers, web designers and marketing managers are always under pressure to deliver on tight deadlines. It is fairly common that a last minute change to a document, file or brochure copy will mean a few words being added here and there — now you have a dilemma — you have to send this text to your professional translators. You might have to raise a purchase order or get approval to spend the extra money. You then have to get the text back from the translation agency, answer their questions and then put the text back in to your files. This process might take a day or so and it has to be shipped right away.

Sure isn’t that what Google Translate does? Why not type the short text into Google Translate, copy the translated text and insert it in the body itself? Surely translation isn’t that difficult? Big Mistake.

Google Translate and other machine translation tools are just “Gist Engines”. This means that they are good at giving you a general or equivocal translation rather a precise one; they are not accurate — far from it actually. Taking a translated word from a machine translation tool such as Google Translate is like picking a translated phrase in a language you don’t understand, applying it and hoping it is correct.

Language Errors:

Languages are all very different and so are their structures. A number of words in Spanish have male and female versions — so you should know which word you are copying.

If you are working with Chinese or Arabic, you should not cut and paste text on an English language machine as it will corrupt the text if you have the wrong language fonts / keyboard installed on your machine.

Polish and German have different hyphenation rules than English. You cannot move the next word to a new line if it does not fit. Some words / phrases have to stay together such as compound words.

The Context Mistake:

Finally, the big one is context errors. You cannot translate a single word unless you know the context of where and what the text is being used for. Especially what linguists refer to as homonyms.

Let’s look at the word ‘press’. What does it mean?

  • Press the button
  • Press — as in ‘a press beside your bed’
  • Press — as in a ‘printing press’
  • Press — as in the written press; newspapers, media et cetera

So, Google will never translate this word correctly unless it knows more information about the context. A professional translator will always ask the client what the text they are translating is for. There are lots of examples of this. Take the homonym ‘arm’ for instance:

  • Arm — a human arm
  • Arm — an ARM chip (Advanced RISC Machines)
  • Arm — as a verb; to arm something like an alarm
  • Arm — as a verb;  to give someone a weapon

Need I continue? It is very easy to take a machine translation of a single word and apply it no matter what.

Where can we find this?

We find that these misused words appear on website menus and widgets. Often the major work is done on the Website and then after review with the client there might be a few minor changes undertaken.

Most website menus are coded in what are called widgets. These widgets normally only have a few words in them. So it is easy for someone to do exactly what we have outlined above.

Some may think: ‘There are only a few words to translate’. Why spend weeks with translators over just a few menu descriptions? Instead of spending the last three days working on the menu or straplines for it, just use a machine translation or ask a friend [whom speaks that language natively] to do a quick and “dirty” translation of it.  At STAR, we will often check our clients’ websites a few weeks after we have translated them to make sure no extra strings where added after we completed the official translation: to ensure its quality.

Finally, the funny bit…

I’ll leave you with this one. Strangely enough comedians and writers use this problem to great effect in sketches. Miscommunication and out of context understanding are the key to many jokes.

Having returned from Newcastle a friend of mine was asked, ”Why did you fly to Newcastle?”* ”Because it was too far to walk”, he replied.

*For the record, there are multiple answers to the question depending on the context and connotation implied.

For more information on why short and cheap translation can be very expensive, see the following links.

This article was written by Damian Scattergood, Managing Director of STAR Translation. Damian has over 30 years experience in the translation and localization industry.

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Apr 01 2014

Bank Of Ireland: Payments to China Made Easy

China-Ireland-flags medley

Bank Of Ireland customers can now make payments to China in Chinese Yuan.

The Bank Of Ireland is driving the way forward for businesses in Ireland that wish to transact with the world’s second largest economy in its own currency — the Chinese Yuan. For decades, international investors and companies were unable to receive or make payments in the Chinese currency — this is no longer the case as the Yuan can now be booked as a Spot or Forward contract for all Bank Of Ireland customers.

The advantages for importers from China

For companies who import from China, they can now purchase goods in Yuan. Buying goods in the local currency may potentially reduce the cost of said goods, saving money and giving  greater price transparency throughout.

The advantages for exporters to China

For companies exporting to China, they can now invoice their goods and receive payments in Yuan. Selling goods in Yuan will support international growth and will give the ability to minimise Foreign Exchange related to any Yuan costs incurred in the sales process.

Case Study On Irish To Chinese Businesses

An Irish retailer in the garden furniture business imports from a number of Chinese based manufacturing suppliers. They previously paid all invoices to China in the international trade currency i.e.  US Dollars. This limited exposure by way of Forward contracts through Bank Of Ireland Global Markets.

During the said Irish retailer’s recent trip to meet suppliers, a Chinese company indicated that they had all their production and administrative costs carried out within China and as a result, it was simpler and safer for them to receive payments in their local currency. They enquired whether future invoices could be settled in Chinese Yuan, as a means of further business co-operation. This gave the Irish retailer an opportunity to negotiate on price, resulting in savings and in some cases, represented a significant discount from previous orders thereon.

The Irish retailer spoke candidly with Bank Of Ireland Global Markets on how they could benefit from this opportunity. Since nothing changes from the Irish retailer’s point of view, in relation to their Foreign Exchange exposure; they simply purchased Chinese Yuan instead of US Dollars, albeit, through the Bank Of Ireland Global Markets.

While the Chinese Authorities have certain restrictions around the trading of Yuan, the BOI experienced Treasury Specialists will guide its customers through each step of the process.

Making payments to China: if you wish to discuss this further, please contact your Bank Of Ireland Relationship Manager. Making payments or contact BOI Dealers on +353 (0)7662 44300

Visit: Bank Of Ireland

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Mar 24 2014

Who is the fastest speaker in the World?

Most people speak at a rate of 50-100 words per minute, that is around 1-2 words per second but there are 3 people in the World that are able to speak faster than everybody else. Fran Capo of the US, Seán Shannon of Canada & Steve Woodmore of the UK are the fastest speakers in the World. They continually compete against one another for the title of ‘Fastest Speaker in the World’ among frequent newcomers.

Fran Capo holds five World records. She appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest talking woman. Actually, Fran broke this record twice; Fran’s first time was on the Larry King Live! show in 1986 speaking 585 words per minute and the second time was at the Guinness Museum in Vegas, speaking 603 words in 54.2 seconds. That’s 11 words a second!

Steve Woodmore broke the previous records of the fastest speaker in 1990 on a British TV show called ‘Motor Mouth’. He recited a piece of the famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be”, from William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ in 56 seconds. That’s an average rate of 637 words per minute.

Steve Woodmore held this record for five years until Seán Shannon beat him with a rate of 655 words per minute in 1995 when he also recited Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be’ [260 words] in a time of 23.8 seconds in Edinburgh on 30th August 1995.

If you are a Mandarin speaker however, the fastest talker speaking Mandarin is Feng Qingping of China. Feng achieved this record when he recited the first three paragraphs of “Mulanci” in 20.5 seconds in Beijing in 2013.

So why is this important?

STAR provides voice overs, transcription and subtitling services. So knowing the average speed and number of words people speak is useful in estimating and quoting for translation projects. Lets say you have a TV interview with 2 people for 15 minutes. How many words would there be to translate? 15 minutes at an average of 150 words a minute means you’ll have approximately 2250 words of text to translate and subtitle.

Often with voice-overs you also need to consider the target language. German can be 20-30% longer than English – so subtitling in German can be tricky. You have more words to fit in to a fixed video slot. STAR’s audio and video teams can help you with advice on how best to put together your multilingual video projects.

For more visit:

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