Category Archives: interpreting

Last updated by at .

A day to honour translators and interpreters all over the world

Today, 30 September, is an important day for translators and interpreters all over the world. Today, we celebrate International Translation Day.

Why on 30 September? Because it is the feast of St. Jerome, the first translator of the Bible. If you want to learn more curious facts about the translation history, click on this video.

Both professions have a common goal: enable communication.

There are lots of different situations where the task of translators and interpreters has been crucial to save lives, to decide if a person is guilty or not, and even to avoid business blunders. You can find a few on the book Found in Translation, which we talked about long ago in this blog.

We have asked our staff to let us know some words they like, either in their mother tongue or in any foreign language they speak, and we are surprised by all the different words they came up with.

Some are a reflection of their character and the things they like most. For example, Isabel, one of our PMs in Spain, chose the English term wanderlust and the French one dépaysée, two feelings shared among many travellers who, like her, love to feel out of this world when they are in a place completely new to them.


Wanderlust, a word many travellers share.

Our CEO, Brian Jensen, is a very practical person, and he always tries to follow this approach: KISS (Keep IT Short and Simple). Maybe this is why he chose two words: sinasaappelsap, a Dutch term for orange juice (is there anything simpler than an orange juice?) and hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliafobi, a Danish Word meaning phobia to long words.

orange juice in Dutch

Sinaasappelsap, Dutch term for orange juice. Sometimes, simple things are best.

If you follow our Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus profiles, you will see more words chosen by our staff in so many different languages like Finnish, Papiamento or Zuid-Afrikaans.

Just before we finish, we want to talk about the Spanish Word “chícharo”, selected by our project manager in Spain Susana Villodres.

Chícharo is a word used in some regions in Spain and Latin America, and it is another word for guisante (pea in English). The story behind this name is kind of interesting.

Chícharo comes from Latin term cicer – ciceris, meaning chickpea. Romans used this name because chickpeas are rounded and have a small protuberance. As the Roman politician and philosopher Cicero had a bump on the tip of his nose, people started to call chickpeas cicer.

When Romans conquered Spain, the meaning of the word evolved to chícharo due to the Mozarabic dialect, but it lost the sense of chickpea and preserved the meaning of pea.


Chícharo, another term for pea in Spanish.

We hope you enjoyed this curiosity about etymology. We want to wish translators and interpreters all over the world a Happy International Translation Day and want to thank them for their hard work to enable communication between people and cultures.

Missed the good clients because of language?

You just arrived from your idyllic holidays. You enjoyed great weather, fantastic food and visited interesting cultural spots.

However, there is a bitter taste in what seemed to be a perfect holiday. You had serious trouble finding out what the chef’s speciality was, how to find the best beach in town, and not to mention how hard it was to make you understood in the bank when you wanted to see why your credit card was not allowing you to withdraw cash. As in the film, you were just Lost in Translation.

Hello in different languages

Globalization has also democratised communication issues. In all countries, and in all businesses, not only in the tourism industry, there is an increasing need for enabling communication between people from different countries. Although tools such as Google Translate can be helpful as an emergency tool used for general purposes, it is definitely not an option for those who want to get and retain good clients.

We know that quite well at Jensen Localization. Despite the crisis scenario still predominant in Europe, we have experienced an increase in the demand of translations from many different industries, not only the tourist or the localization industries, which are some of our main fields of work. We have also received new requests from energy companies and from companies in the Real Estate business, mainly in Spain, as there are many foreign companies investing in this industry or just people that want to buy a second residence in Spain, especially in the Costa del Sol and other coastal zones.

If you are a global company, your clients may have trouble to know what you can do for them if the information is not provided in their language.

Translation and interpreting services are one of the most powerful marketing tools for a global company. When you provide your clients with the information they need in their language, they will have a faster access to your products and services, there will be less complaints due to missing or wrong information and it will be easier for them to refer your company to their family and friends. Interpreters are cultural mediators, they do not only help you to know what you need to say, but also how you need to act in front of the person you are talking to. Many negotiations have not been successful due to communication issues.

Therefore, next time you think about how you are approaching your clients in foreign countries, remember how you felt on your last holidays. If you want to make sure they know what you can do for them, contact us.


Found in Translation: The Book

Found in TranslationOn April 23, many countries celebrated International Book Day. Having a branch in Spain, it is a day we like to celebrate at Jensen Localization, since it is the day Spanish book lovers celebrate the death of their most famous writer, Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.

In our social networks we recommended a book to you related to the translation and interpreting industry, Found in Translation, by Natally Kelly and Jost Zetzsche.

As language and translation freaks, it is a book we of course like and we feel identified with some of the stories it features. But what we like most is that it explains with real and close examples how translation and interpreting are part of our routines and make our lives easier, like technology.

There are many surprising stories in this book. Probably, and due to the fact that in our company we deal with translation and not with interpreting, those that astonished us most were the ones related to interpreting. Examples like the interpreter of the Nuremberg trials, and the own example of Nataly working as a telephone interpreter in emergency calls show us how important it is for interpreters to keep calm at all times and not let emotions interfere in the job. These are just two of the many examples why not using professional interpreters and instead relaying these tasks in friends and relatives who have not enough experience can make you lose a trial or even miss an important business opportunity, as our colleague Eva Mª Díaz Puche explained us in the article Languages in Internationalization – Part 2. Using interpreting services for business meetings.

But there are funny stories too, like interpreters that help multilingual (and multicultural) couples and errors in the release of a product in a foreign market. Or do you think that Ikea was the first one to have sexy product names?

We are not going to spoil the fun for you of finding more examples of how our job is part of your life. Found in Translation pays tribute to the job of translators and interpreters in many different fields: literature, health care, law, natural disasters, software localization, advertising, and also in the way they can benefit from technology, with the more and more famous machine translation services. We think this is a book that will make each and every translator and interpreter proud of having chosen this profession, even if it is not always as appreciated as it should be.

We definitely recommend you, dear reader, to read this book. If you are part of this industry, like us, you will be able to identify with many of the stories gathered by Nataly and Jost. If you have nothing to do with our industry, you will now learn why we love it so much.

From this blog we would like to thank Natally Kelly and Jost Zetzsche for their hard work compiling all these stories, talking to colleagues all over the world. If you would like to learn more about this book, just visit their website,

And just to finish with, a question for the authors. Can we expect a second part of this book? We would love to!

Languages in Internationalization – Part 2. Using interpreting services for business meetings

Our second interview in this series of articles about the importance of languages in the internationalization of a company is with Eva Mª Díaz Puche, CEO of Málaga International Idiomas. As many of you know, this is our partner company providing language training and interpreting services. This time we wanted to learn more about the role of interpreters in the internationalization of a company.

Eva, how long have you been providing interpreting services?

I have been in this business for 10 years, but as I had to stop my activity for some years due to maternity, it could be said that I have been actively providing interpreting services for 6 years now.

What are the clients requiring interpreting services?

When I talk about interpreting, many people think about conference interpreting, but many companies also do need interpreting services outside the congress and conference industry. I have many different clients, both in the public and the private sectors. Congress centers, companies dealing with clients in foreign countries, hospitals, companies making small conferences, lawyers, etc. For congress centers most of the time they require simultaneous interpreting in the booth provided at conference rooms, while private companies use to need bilateral or consecutive interpreting.

What are the main working languages at Málaga International Idiomas?

We work mainly with European languages, Chinese and Arabic. In simultaneous interpreting we work mainly with English, French, German and sometimes Arabic. Last year we also did consecutive interpreting in Portuguese, and we are receiving many requests for Russian and Chinese for both consecutive and bilateral interpreting.

What are the main considerations when clients ask for interpreting services?

They are mainly concerned about the rates and the type of interpreting technique. They do not know if prices are per hour or per working day, they do not understand why sometimes two interpreters are needed and sometimes they are even confused about when they have to use translation or interpreting.

How should an interpreter do his/her job?

For conference interpreting, a booth needs to be provided with a headset to be able to listen to the speaker while talking (interpreting) to the others. It is important that the interpreter can see the speaker from the booth, as body language can also affect the meaning of words and, of course, if there is something that prevents the speaker from giving the speech (for example, a microphone not working properly), the interpreter needs to be able to see it so that he or she can inform the audience.

It is also important to mention that for long conferences (more than 1.5 h) a minimum of two interpreters is needed, so that they can work in turns.

Whenever possible, simultaneous interpreters should be provided with a copy of the speech or at least some notes about what the speaker will talk about, as well as any presentations that may be played during the conference. This will help the interpreter to prepare the terminology for the job.

For consecutive or bilateral interpreting, interpreters will take notes if pauses between each speaker allow for it.

What are the consequences of not using a professional interpreter?

As in the case of translation, very often people rely this type of tasks to friends or relatives who have a close relationship with the client’s business which easily could affect the interpretation according to their personal knowledge which could interfere in decisions. This can easily lead to bad or even incorrect conclusions and we have even seen in the news how people are being taken to prison because of interpreting errors.

In the Health Care industry, interpreting errors can lead to fatal consequences, so it is even more important to count with professional interpreters.

Professional interpreters are people who have the training and skills that allow them to transmit the message without missing information. Their impartial view of the situation enables them to have the cold blood needed to avoid personal interests interfere in the negotiation.

Both in private meetings as in conference interpreting, using a non-professional interpreter can affect your brand image. Your audience or counterpart will perceive that you are not giving the meeting or the conference enough importance as you are using amateurs to save money, or it may make you look as a weak company that lacks resources to conduct a successful meeting. If your company cannot spend money on an interpreter, how can you expect to open a branch in a new country, hire staff and manufacture your products there?

A company makes a big investment in technology and supplies to manufacture its products. It should also invest in the people who will enable them to make business with a foreign country, and interpreters are part of this team, together with translators, marketing and sales staff, to name a few. I always recommend people who are new to interpreting to read the guide called Interpreting: Getting it Right, published by the American Translators Association.

Thank you Eva for showing us how important interpreters are for companies!

Eva Flyer MIIdiomas

Related articles

Languages in Internationalization – Part 1. The internationalization of a company

Influencing Translation and Interpreting Professionals

For all translators, interpreters, project managers and people interested in the translation industry, read the article called 10 Must-Follow Translation and Interpreting Professionals on the Education section of our newspaper Language and Technology News Daily, to learn about people who are influential in our industry. Happy reading! 

Note: if you click on the link to our daily newspaper, you will only see the news that have been compiled on that day. To access the previous editions go to the Archives option in the newspaper, that you will find next to the date. Alternatively, you can look for the title of the article in Google or other search engine.