Category Archives: languages

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Emigration Expo 2017, Houten, the Netherlands.

Emigration is a word from Latin, related to movement. We have been migrating since the beginning of human race time. Our species is supposed to originate from Africa and have from there emigrated to all over the world. It is one of our pre-set human skills.

This movement of people can be seen as beneficial or prejudicial by contemporary governments. The truth is that this is something that is difficult to control, even though it could appear that governments from all over the world are increasingly trying to control this migration influx as much as possible in order to let into their countries only the most suitable candidates to become productive citizens.

To mention an historical example related to migration control attempts, in 1912 the immigrant’s hotel was inaugurated in the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It could lodge up to 3,000 new arrivals, who received free board, job training and help finding employment. From those times and earlier there were attempts to provide the necessaries for people willing or forced to emigrate.

Former Immigrants Hotel in the port of Buenos Aires, Argentina, currently immigration museum. Wikipedia.

The Emigration Fair known as “EmigratieBeurs” in Dutch, is a yearly event that this year reached its 21st birthday. The interesting thing about this detail is that in several countries like Argentina 21 is the required age for a citizen to be able to travel or emigrate abroad without the supervision or legal consent of their parents.

Banner from the Emigration Expo 2017, Houten, the Netherlands.

This year the Emigration Fair displays several different regions, businesses and organizations from around the globe looking for skilled workers and investors. Some of the regions represented at this expo were countries like Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Panama, the Dutch Caribbean, etc.

Flags at the Expo entrance representing some of the participating countries.

The most popular type of workers they were searching for were the ones related to health services. However, in some regions, they were having a long list of wanted professionals.

In this emigration process there are several steps to name some of them:

  • Getting your visa ready.
  • Finding a new home.
  • New school for children.
  • Finding a satisfactory job.
  • Relocating your belongings and pet.
  • Translation of documentation.

To make things happen several companies need to collaborate:

  • Real states
  • Transport agencies
  • Tax advising companies
  • Regional governments
  • Schools
  • Language learning institutes
  • Translation agencies

Jensen Localization took part in this event because we believe that we are all part of a network that works together to convey the necessary information to every person willing to relocate. The information should be in their language to facilitate their assimilation into a new society. We have the knowledge to translate documentation, websites, marketing campaigns, adapt language courses to specific speakers, and much more. Contact us if you want to know how we can help you.


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.

Automotive Translations – Latin American Spanish equals LAS?

The problem of finding the perfect Latin American Spanish variant is not easy to solve. We may write an entire encyclopedia about the different uses of automotive vocabulary in each Latin American country.

The wide range of linguistic flavors in Latin American Spanish may be a difficult thing for a linguist who is trying to translate literature or materials meant for specific region. In Business and IT engineering the situation may be a little bit different, in this case it is recommended to introduce a more neutral, so-called “international” style to keep the costs as low as possible.

The problem is that each Latin American country is a potential market, where users would like to see their daily vocabulary present in books and manuals. They want those publications to keep a local style and reflect their own cultural values which are also related to the way these communities use the language, in this case their Latin American Spanish variant. In the past, not a very long time ago, most localization work for Latin America was mainly based in Mexico.

Translation of bus in Latin America

Lexical variations of the translation of the word “bus” in Latin America

If for example we are talking about a car manufacturing company that usually has its subsidiaries present in different Latin American countries, it would be a good idea to develop for each of these countries different glossaries that would focus on the specific terminology used by mechanics, technicians and drivers. Then, this valuable information can be organized and grouped using Translation Memories. In this way, the production of documentation would be friendlier to the user and many of the users would be able to understand their car manuals or instructions without the need for a dictionary, because the terms used are common and easily understood in their region.

In order to solve this issue it would be recommendable for the automotive industry to target a specific audience and create specific material for each Latin American country. Another optionthat we do not recommend for automotive would be to create a general glossary usually called Spanish LAS to englobe the most common terminology.

At Jensen Localization we take into account these things very seriously, and we will always let you know which translation you should use for each Spanish variety, and we will provide you with the right translator to obtain the best results and the tools to store these results. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.


Language in Technology

Technology is a global industry. It is no longer reserved for the exclusive, wealthy elite but has now become available to most people regardless of social status. In countries with less tradition of foreign language learning, it is a must to offer them the technology in the user native language.

In this article we want to talk about how language services are part of the development of new technologies and devices.

Technology iconsWebsites are incorporating online assistants for obtaining information faster, such as how to find a specific section on the website, how to submit a support ticket, or how to get specific contact information. And perhaps you have even tried asking an offensive question to such an assistant, who, very politely, then will tell you that she cannot help you on that task.

The same principle is applied to Siri, whose funny answers are still famous after time, although Siri is continuously improving.

This technology is now applied to Smart TVs, that are also acting as assistants. Do you feel sad and lonely? You can ask your Smart TV to select for example a romantic film, among your list of selected channels.

How is it achieved?

We ignore the technical details, but we assume that in both cases it has something to do with keywords in a specific language. In the example above, probably the keywords sad and lonely are associated with romantic movies.

Has this been done through the use of translation? Probably not.

Feelings and perception are part of a person’s culture, as we have explained recently in our article Ethics in Translation. Therefore, this type of content is better done by writing in the target language than doing a translation, because what is offensive in one culture may not have the same negative effect in another.

Translators can also be considered native content writers, and their knowledge of a foreign language and culture enables them to understand how the device works in the native language and how to apply it in the localized version. This cannot be done with a translation tool, as the source will probably not match the target and entering it in a translation memory would not be of much use. The translator task, in this case, will be to enter such questions and answers directly in the target language so that the device is prepared for that type of ‘requests’.

This is the same approach followed on multilingual SEO, as explained in our article SEO and Website Localization. At Jensen Localization, and as evidenced by the requests from our clients, we think that language and technology will still have a close relationship for many years. Feel free to contact us to learn how we can help you with your linguistic needs, being them translation, localization or content creation.

Become a Translator and Have Fun!

The translation profession is usually related to two images of a translator:

  1. The bohemian literary translator who, like Voltaire or Shakespeare, needs a large dose of inspiration to write.
  2. The language nerd, working on his pyjamas, obsessed with the minimum details, and who can spend days discussing about if uppercase or lowercase should be used after a colon.

We respect both opinions, which are only part of what translation is. Translation is a mental activity that requires concentration, inspiration and large doses of coffee sometimes. And of course, paying attention to details is important in order to deliver a high quality job.

Color lettersBut translation can also be fun. Not all translation requests are contracts, food processing machines, ERP software or clinical trials. There are other translation requests that make our job exciting and that enable you to be more creative and to get out of the routine.

Of those funny jobs, the most popular ones are those related to sex and swearing.


As you may know, 50 Shades of Grey is not the first erotic novel to be translated. Lolita is an old example of an erotic novel that is popular in many languages. But with having fun with translation and sex (????) we mean translating sex toys. Yes, they also have instructions for use, safety instructions, warranty statements, recommendations… and they also have their translation challenges. For example, in one of our projects we had to translate a position that was to be done in the kitchen bar. Do kitchen always have a bar? It may be popular in the United States, but in Spain, a bar is not that common. Does this mean that if you do not have a bar you cannot use this toy in such a position? Of course not! Our translator decided to replace ‘kitchen bar’ with ‘kitchen worktop’ which is something more common in kitchens all over the world.


Our digital footprint cannot be deleted entirely. Our activity in the Internet is under constant vigilance and also is what we enter in blogs, forums or other places where you can express an opinion. In some of these sites, you have to follow some politeness rules and websites are crawled to look for such words. For some clients, we have had to translate long lists of swearwords so that they can identify them in the target language. Believe us, it is a creative and exhausting work! Some of our translators have even difficulty in doing these jobs because they do not know that many words. Probably they have not suffered a blackout when they were uploading files to a ftp server :).

These are just two examples of translation requests that are out of the ordinary. Although they are definitely funnier than translating a technical manual, they also have their challenges and they have to be taken as seriously as any other job.

What about you? Have you ever received similar requests? Let us know in the comments section!