Checklists are still useful

We live in the era of technology, and it certainly helps us do our job more efficiently. But sometimes, simple things are the best tools, and this is why we want to talk to you about checklists. Yes, that list of items you proudly tick off to reaffirm that you have done all that you intended to do.

After editing a text, and before publishing it, it is useful to go through a checklist containing the following items. As you will note, some are specific for translated texts, but others are useful for monolingual content creation too:

Spell check

Sounds basic, but you cannot imagine how many texts we get to translate that contain spelling errors. Sometimes, a spelling error can change a word completely, and this will change the meaning of the sentence. Do not run the spellchecker automatically and pay attention to every term that is corrected, as sometimes wrong corrections may be inserted.

Bullet lists

They help to make a text more readable, but they have their own punctuation and style rules. Make sure to follow them, and if you are not sure about the rules, just take a simple one: whatever you do, do the same in all items of the bulleted list.

Queries and answers

Communication is the key to success. You may have asked questions to your client or to other departments; make sure you have implemented the replies accordingly before publishing the text.


Although in software like Word, headers and footers are created automatically when you add the first one, check them as well, as you may want to change them once the text is finished. In the case of translation, this is usually where the language code appears, so make sure you apply the correct language code.


As spelling mistakes, punctuation errors can change the meaning of a sentence, so make sure you place commas and other punctuation marks correctly.

Multiple spaces

It may seem a freak requirement, but a text full of double, triple or even longer spaces just looks bad, see below.

This is an example of how too   many white spaces   make the text look   awkward.   If you want to   avoid   it,       make sure you     turn hidden   text   on and     check the   white   spaces     between       words.

Text processors will add spaces if you choose a full justification of the text, but you have to differentiate between those automatically generated spaces and those inserted by you. How can you check that? For example, in Word, activate the hidden text (¶) and you will see a dot between each word. If you see more than one, you should remove them so that you only have one space between each word. Word will then justify the text so that it looks good.


We have already talked about translating numbers. Both for monolingual and multilingual texts, check any part of the text containing numbers, such as dates, hours, temperatures, etc. Localize them if needed and make sure (particularly for dates and hours) that you always use the same formatting.


Check that they appear where they should, and if they include text, make sure the text fits properly in the graphic. This is very important for localized graphics, as the text length may vary according to the language.

We hope this article helps you to understand the importance of checklists as a tool to improve the quality of your documents. Do you have any more items in your checklist that are worth commenting? Share them with us!

The Expedia Localization Vendor Summit in London

Expedia offices, LondonFor more than two years now, Jensen Localization has been working with Expedia as their provider of Dutch translations.

Although we maintain daily communication with our clients, there are times where a more relaxed atmosphere allows you to go beyond the client-vendor relationship and transform it into a partnership, where you really feel you are part of a team that is working together towards a common goal.

And this is what we have experienced at the Expedia Localization Vendor Summit that we attended from 6th to 8th October 2015. Our PM at Jensen in charge of this account, Isabel Guijarro, and our Language Lead, Jenny Bos-Klok, attended this summit in London, where not only they could meet the people at Expedia with whom they work more often, but also the vendors working on other languages for this company.

Jensen Localization at Expedia offices in LondonThese types of summits help you to understand how each department involved in the localization process works, and how our work fits in each of the stages of the process. During three days of meetings, they had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the different departments and brands Expedia needs localization for, such as Venere or

Working with a big client such as Expedia does not mean that you just sit in a conference room and listen to a long list of requirements. This can easily be done by email. Expedia is a human-value company, where we can express our opinion about those things that would help us to improve our job and processes. Our colleagues took this opportunity to ask specific questions about reference materials, handoffs and tools for both translation and QA before final delivery.

Expedia Localization Partner SummitTechnology does help a lot, and we need it to work more efficiently and meet our demanding client requirements. But in the end, business is done between people, and when you are part of a multilingual and multicultural team of vendors, it really helps to have a face to face meeting from time to time to learn more about each other and empathise with them. Next time we are asked to do something we do not see the point in doing, we are sure we will find an explanation to it :-).

We want to thank Tommaso Rossi and Andrea Velasco from the Vendor Management Team at Expedia for their help since the beginning of our relationship with Expedia and for inviting us to this event, which really exceeded our expectations. We look forward to more years of successful partnership.

(Pictures courtesy of Expedia, Inc)


Choosing the right translators for your project

Legal, medical, marketing, IT, patents, videogames, cooking, literature, nursery, financial… the variety of texts we can translate is what make our job so interesting. And also so challenging, as usually a translator cannot translate all types of text.

This is why translation agencies have procedures in place to choose the right translators in their team for any specicific project ensuring that the translator is qualified for that specific subject.

In this article we would like to share with you some details about our translator selection process, so that you get assured that your project will be in good hands. If you are a translator and would like to work with us, this will also help you to see if you meet our requirements.

When we receive a translator’s résumé, we check mainly four things:

  • Translation training. We work with people who has a degree in translation or who has received sufficient translation training, as translation implies a series of skills that the mere fact of speaking a foreign language does not provide you with. We also have subject-matter experts, who may not have any linguistic training, but they are used for consulting and verification tasks.
  • Translation tools. We think that translation tools are essential for working in our industry, especially for technical translation and software localization. There are many tools available in the market, and we understand that a freelance translator cannot make such a big investment, but mostly we can provide them with licenses to be used on certain projects. When we can see in our records that they are already familiar with several translation tools, we know that it will be easy for them to learn to use new tools.
  • Language combinations. We get applications from many different language combinations, and all of them are stored for future use. However, we give priority to those language combinations that are more in demand by our clients.
  • Specialty fields. As above mentioned, translators get specialized in certain fields; they build their own reference material and get training on these fields, so we only give them jobs that are related to their expertise. This does not mean that they will never have a chance to do something different; they can of course apply to do other types of texts, so that they can gain experience. When this happens, the job will be reviewed and edited by experienced translators in that field. We understand that in many cases you cannot disclose information about your clients, neither can we. This is why it is not so important for us to know your client, but we do need to know what type of translation you have done, i.e., no need to say that you worked translating user manuals for Samsung products, you can just say that you translated user manuals for consumer electronics products.

If after checking all this, we want to have this translator in our team, our Vendor Manager will send the translator one or more test translations (the translator can choose to apply for more than one field), and if the results are positive, the Vendor Manager will take the further steps to include this translator in our team.

From that moment on, the translator may start getting projects from us, if the availability, rates and specialty match our requirements for any specific project.

Having said this, we take the opportunity to let you know our latest needs. We are in need of medical translators for the English-Norwegian and English-Swedish language pairs, and Swedish-English translators, mostly for technical fields.

Would you like to join the Jensen Localization team? Contact us!

Do we actually know what a literal translation is?

We decided to write a post about literal translation because we have noticed that many people are confused about it.

We often say that translators are language creators working with meaning, not with words, that sometimes clients expect you to deliver something that is completely different from the source language. I am afraid that, although this sometimes happens, it does so much more often in the translation of poems and other literature works, than in technical translation or localization.

Literal translation may sometimes be used in legal contexts, where the client wants to know, word by word, what the text is saying.

But there are literal translations that are indeed wrong.

When a literal translation is not valid is when you translate word by word and do not take into account context, culture or other references. For example:

It’s raining cats and dogs.

This is a widely known English expression whose origin is still unknown, and which means that it is raining very heavily.

Translating it into Spanish as Está lloviendo perros y gatos would be a literal translation that is wrong, as it is a word by word translation that makes no sense in the target language, and there is actually an expression in this language that has the same meaning, Está lloviendo a cántaros (cántaro means jug, hence the metaphor, since a jug can contain a big quantity of water.)

However, if you have a text like:

“We use the latest technology to provide the best service to our clients.”, you may translate it in several ways, but it will always make you think of the source text:

Usamos la última tecnología para ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Usamos la tecnología más avanzada para ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Gracias al uso de la tecnología de última generación, podemos ofrecer el mejor servicio a nuestros clientes.

Are these translations wrong? Of course not, but there are sentences whose structure, context and meaning are the same in both languages.

guidebooks-1425706-1920x1440We like creativity, but there are times when the text does not allow for much creativity, and that does not mean that it is a literal translation, or that it is wrong. Besides, getting too far from the source may lead to a wrong translation, so be careful with creativity.

We hope this helps you to better understand what literal translations are and when you can put a claim to your translator provider because you are not happy with the translation.

Remember that at Jensen Localization we can help you reviewing translations done by other translators, do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

5 tips to ensure the success of machine translation

Machine Translation has been in place for more than 50 years now. As any other technology, it has evolved and it is now being widely used in many different scenarios.

However, machine translation is not just entering the text in an online service like Google, clicking a button and waiting for the translation to come up. That is just the primitive, raw translation. Machine translation can be more useful and efficient (and much more correct) if some basic requirements are met, both before and after translation.

Translate neutral texts

Texts with lots of cultural references are difficult to translate for humans. Imagine how it is for a machine that does not have context to take into account! Therefore, machine translation will work better with texts that do not make any reference to culture, traditions, religion, politics, TV or plays on words. For us, it works better with technical texts.

The more specific, the better

Although you may get some decent results with general MT systems, like Google Translate, which mix translations from all types of domains (legal, medical, food, tourism, IT…), MT will work best if you work with a system that has been made with texts belonging to the same topic (domain). This way, the terminology used will be that of the topic.

Number of existing translations for that domain

Although some rules are applied to MT systems, data is still the most important source of content. The more already translated texts for that topic, the better results you will get. Very often, 100% human translations are used for the engine to be created, in order to populate it with enough quality content that will help the system to do the translations automatically.


Machine Translation will not work if you do not fix the errors. Otherwise, you will not be able to retrain the system and improve the quality of the translation. Depending on your needs, you can make a bigger or a smaller effort on improving those translations, but you need to do a minimum so that MT fits its purpose, which is delivering better and better translations in less time.

Preparing the source text

As said before, the MT system lacks most of the context you have as a translator, and it will translate what it sees. Therefore, if there is a wrong word, it will translate it and it will not make any sense in the translation. Actually, this would be the same in the source language, but a human eye will easily notice the error and infer what the correct word is. Having said this, do always run the spell checker, regardless of whether you are using machine translation or not.

The same happens with punctuation. A comma in a wrong place can change the meaning of a sentence, and therefore, the translation will also be different.

Use short sentences. And here is why we think that MT works better with technical texts than with marketing texts. Long sentences full of subordinated clauses may be difficult for the MT system to translate.

Keep your terminology consistent. Again, something that you will find more often on technical texts. If you change the terminology continually, the system will not know which term should be used on each instance, and you will have to do more post-editing work to fix those errors.

At Jensen Localization we have MT systems in place that can be tailored to your needs. If you take all these tips into account when ordering your MT project, it will be easier and faster to build an MT system for you, so that you can start managing your translations more efficiently.

You can also contact us to let us know about your translation needs.