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The Translation Landscape in Northern Europe: NTIF 2016 Malmö

It was 07:00 am on a cold autumn morning in Malaga. The plane to Copenhagen was heating the engines for taking off and I, the representative of Jensen Localization, was on board that plane.

After 3.5 hours of bumpy flying with plenty of turbulence, I reached Kastrup airport. My next objective was to get to the train station to reach Malmö, a small Swedish city right next to the mighty Baltic Sea opposite Copenhagen.

Tickets in the train station were only sold in machines; it was a premonition of what was lying ahead in this trip, the replacement of humans with machines. Science Fiction? A sad reality? Continue reading to find out what happens.

Two big guys asked all passengers for our IDs before entering the train platforms. The train arrived on time, and it speeded up while crossing the Øresund Bridge, an amazing piece of engineering. Once in Sweden, there was a border control. What for? I still do not know; we spent 25 minutes waiting for some controllers that never showed up.

Øresund Bridge,

Øresund Bridge, Øresund. Source: Wikipedia.

Before NTIF 2016

At Malmö central station the Sun was shining and however cold, I had some time to discover a bit the old town of this northern Venice.

Suellsbron bridge

Suellsbron Bridge

Christmas decorations in Malmö old town

Christmas decorations in Malmö old town

sculpture in Malmö

Optimistorkestern, the optimistic orchestra. It was erected in 1985 to celebrate the opening of the first pedestrian shopping street in Malmö.

That same night, I attended the NTIF 2016 welcome dinner, where I had the pleasure to meet very nice people from Sweden, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, and many other countries. We had a glass of champagne and some nice finger food while chatting. There were too many names to mention as there were more than 150 attendees, so it would be difficult to be fair to everyone.

Nicolás and Anne-Marie

With Anne-Marie Colliander Lind, one of the NTIF organizers.

After some tourism and socialising, it is time to start working

On the first day, the 24th November, there was a tight agenda that took us from all current issues and advances in the localization industry to periods of networking, eating, drinking coffee, and visiting booths.

The conferences made me think more about fuzzy matches. In the future, would it be possible to have standard rules for metrics? Would it be possible to use them globally? I believe that there is a real need for everyone in this business to make these metrics as consistent as possible, as we are currently forced to use the ones established by the big guys in this industry under their own rules.

What most of us already knew, or had a feeling about, was that online translation services might be the next step of evolution in our business. However, will they replace human project management? This is the reason why and Matecat instant quote appeared on the market. Will they be successful? Time and customers will decide their fate.

And the day went by. The feared Machine Translation monster is growing, but we should not be afraid of losing our position in the translation process; all rule-based systems and the ones requiring coding will have to be reviewed by an IT specialist that would need to work closely with linguistic reviewers for the best results. The guys at Prompsit (the creators of Apertium, a free open-source machine translation platform) made some remarks about how dependent some organizations in Nordic countries were on these tools and highlighted the concern of Nordic institutions on the impact on Nordic students, who use them to cheat on their homework.

Cultural issues and the job of translators finally recognised

Around midday, I attended a very particular speech, which was not directly tackling translation issues, but culture issues. How do Nordic people look to outsiders? Michael Booth described each Nordic tribe from the perspective of a British man that married a Danish woman and moved to Denmark for love. Scandinavia may seem like the new utopia for many people around the globe, but it also has its downsides. Do you want to know what the similarities between Danish and Norwegian languages are? Have a look at this article on our blog.

typical Dane

A typical Dane, according to Michael Booth.

Because energy moves the planet and our fast developing society, we are happy to see initiatives like the one at one of Europe’s leading energy companies: DONG (for Danish Oil and Natural Gas). With around 6,500 employees, they are planning to increase the visibility of translators in corporate and government organizations. If you are a translator, it is time to say: Finally! Or Hurray!

Florian Faes from Slator updated us on the latest news on the translation industry: the rise of MT, the battle for TransPerfect, Lionbridge reorganization, and how SDL went back to the roots. He also talked about Who Went Where, as the localization industry is one with the highest employees mobility. I am well aware of it! Northern winds brought me back to the warm South, although houses are warmer in northern European countries, you know.

When we were approaching the end of the day, all of us held our hands together and sang Kum ba yah (not really, but it would have been nice) during the presentation about networking tactics by John Di Rico. He made us understand that united we prevail and that business cards should be exchanged with both hands in Japan. Remember this on your next business trip!

After a one-hour break, the time for the real deal arrived: the Dining and Dancing event sponsored by Moravia & Ciklopea, which was indeed a total success. I was surprised by the charisma of Moravia and Ciklopea representatives and amazed by the dancing skills of the participants; that would make any Latino dancer jealous! I suspect that not only Cecilia and Anne-Marie may have some Latin roots.

NTIF dinner

NTIF dinner with Swedish delicacies

NTIF dinner

Time to dance with some Swedish music!

Sales and marketing strategies for translation companies

The last day of the NTIF, 25th November, focused on conferences about emerging business opportunities and again the dichotomy between Machine and Men in translation. The needs to cope with new challenges in the industry: transparency, costs reduction, data control, and a sustainable business model. Very nice on paper, but difficult to achieve in reality.

In the morning, another beneficial and challenging factor that was discussed was the media growth of Facebook and Netflix and their constant struggle to increase video production, as well as subtitling, dubbing/voice over and graphic localization. Adding to this growing cake is the lack of banking rewards for big money savers that is pushing them to invest in growing industries, the translation industry being one of them.

Midday conferences focused on mergers and acquisitions, buy and to be bought. They brought to our awareness that company owners do not live forever, even if they want to, and that sooner or later a merging will even shock or benefit any LSP.

The last two conferences that I was able to attend were about the enormous impact of social media and browsing on our lives, and the importance of creating proper content to reach our target audience. Both of them made a convergence that the old sales method is in decay and that feelings, emotions, connection with your audience, quality and added value are key points in reaching your objectives.

It was a pity, but I could not stay until the very end of the event because I had a plane to catch in Copenhagen to be back in Spain. Luckily, I was able to follow the final part of the event via the Nordic Translation Industry Forum Facebook page.

We, at Jensen Localization, would like to suggest that the 2017 NTIF should be hosted in Fuengirola. Do you know why? Because it is one of the Andalusian cities most populated by Nordic people (according to the 2014 statistics, there were registered 4,500 Finnish, 1,750 Swedish, 1,200 Danish and 800 Norwegians). It is warm, beautiful, with a balanced combination of beach and mountains, you will feel at home!

If you were in the NTIF and I did not have the pleasure of meeting you or dancing with you, please feel free to write me or contact Jensen Localization for any question you may have or just to say hello and keep in touch.

Thank you, Cecilia Enbäck, Anne-Marie Colliander Lind and all NTIF participants for such a memorable event that already has a place in the translation landscape.

Web-based Casual Games: Easy to Play, Difficult to Translate

Creating new web-based casual games requires new ideas. New ideas need new markets to grow. And to reach new markets and succeed, we need motivation and localization.

Fred Di Giacomo and Otavio Cohen had more than enough motivation to succeed. These two brave entrepreneurs and their fantastic team created a very original game for the Brazilian science magazine Super Interessante (In English: Very Interesting) called Science Kombat.

The game illustrates the constant fight between religion and science in search of higher knowledge. It combines famous scientists in a Street Fighter/Mortal Combat fighting mode, plus one final boss that relates to the “metaphorical fight” in between Science and Religion.

The main idea of this game is that each character (a world-known scientist) has a special power, related to the scientific discovery this character has made in his/her real life. For example, Isaac Newton has special powers related to optics and gravity.

The final bosses of the game represent the deities of some of the major religions in the world.

Fans of classic games will like the design of this game, as it pays tribute to old arcade games.

What about localization? In order to succeed in other countries, these games have to pass some interesting translation and localization challenges:

  • Localization of character/heroes names

For example, the name “Charles Darwin”, in Brazilian Portuguese may remain as “Charles Darwin” as in English, but in some languages, it will require adapting. For example, in Latvian, it becomes “Čarlzas Robertas Darvinas”.

  • Localization of achievements and discoveries

They may translate differently in each country. For example, Natural Selection can be translated into Spanish as “Selección natural” while in German this can sometimes be reduced to “Selektion”.

  • UI (User Interface) issues

This is a common localization problem not only in web-based games but also in other web-based programs. UI behaviour can truncate and overlap translations, generating comprehension problems and cosmetic issues that affect end user usability.

These are just a few of the issues you may encounter. So this is why game developers should take localization into account from the planning phase, to avoid delays in the release of the source and target versions of the game. Counting on a reliable localization partner is, therefore, essential.

In the games industry, adapting names, discoveries and historical events is critical to capture the attention of the users and to keep them playing until reaching the Game Over screen. At Jensen Localization, we are very aware of this, and we know how to get the proper translation for each language variety.

Also, our skilled translators and dedicated project managers will help developers prevent localization issues. This teamwork between developers and localizers can help entrepreneurs to promote new ideas, as the more they learn about the specifics of each language and culture, the more additional features or special releases of a game for a particular market they can create. If budget allows for it, of course.

We have the knowledge and the tools to localize such games and to help their creators reach global success. Are you curious to know more? Do you like innovation? Contact us today!

If you would like to play it for free, visit Super Interessante.

Medical devices and localization: a strategic tandem

In our fast growing and developing world, illnesses associated with the aging global population and sedentary living style (Alzheimer, cancer, epilepsy, physiological disorders, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac and respiratory diseases in between many others) will increase the need for the development and production for more and more medical devices.

Population 65+ by region

Population aging trends for the next years. Source:

The advance of technical knowledge on medicine and the use of devices and med gadgets to support it, increases the need for localization of marketing websites, user manuals and general information to be able to reach all patients and doctors all over the world.

With the global over-65 population expected to rise up to 1 billion by 2020, a significant growth in revenues can be expected on devices used in the treatment of age-related illnesses. However, these revenues will not be reachable without the proper localization for each market.

Octobot, a soft robot for minimally invasive surgery

Octobot, the world’s first completely soft robot that may one day be used for minimally invasive surgery.

We have the knowledge and experience that you are looking for to expand the market for your products.

At Jensen Localization we have expertise in the localization of the following medical devices: radiofrequency (RF) generator, molecular diagnostic systems, pacing leads, portable scanners, cardio blade clamps, surgical ablation probes, software for devices, camera accessories for endoscopes and ultrasound systems to name a few.

Ultrasound scanner for smartphone

Ultrasound scanner for smartphones

In addition to our experience in Management of this type of projects we have a remarkable pool of experienced translators for all languages, we can also create professional glossaries and style guides to keep consistency between all documents related to the same product.

Surgical device to treat Atrial Fibrillation

Surgical device to treat Atrial Fibrillation

We have the infrastructure and the knowledge to take any medical device to the right market with the proper translation and localization.

At Jensen Localization we are professionals with more than 16  years of experience. Do not hesitate and contact us for further information.

Translation and Business between Danish and Spanish companies

The Costa del Sol is an appealing place for Scandinavian people and businesses, as we already explained in our article Translation and Business Opportunities between Norway and Spain.

Today we are exploring the synergies between Denmark and Spain, and in more detail, the Malaga region, as it is where our Spanish branch is located.

We recently attended a meeting with the Danish ambassador of Spain and Andorra, John Nielsen, held at the Malaga Chamber of Commerce. Mr Nielsen explained about the close and long business relationships between Denmark and Spain.

Spanish flagAs you can imagine, Madrid and Barcelona are the most popular cities with Danish companies, as these are the places where they have traditionally opened their businesses. However, there is an increasing interest in the Costa del Sol. As a matter of fact, the Malaga region is the place, after Sweden, with more Danish residents, accounting for several thousands. Taking into account that Denmark is a small country with around 5.7M inhabitants (less than Andalusia), this is a very interesting data.

The Costa del Sol is also the favourite tourist destination for Danish people.

The potential of Malaga as a smart city is also interesting for many Danish companies, the ambassador explained at the event.

One of the most popular Danish brands in Malaga is BestSeller, the fashion group, operating in Torremolinos since 1997. Tiger, the Danish chain of stores, is successfully expanding in Malaga and neighbour cities.

But there are other smaller companies, owned by Danish residents that also contribute to the regions’ economy. And this is where many Spanish companies can play an important role.

Danish flagThese companies represent a wide range of industries: law firms, real estate companies, insurance brokers or dental clinics, to name a few. These companies are mainly targeted towards Danish residents, but they will need suppliers, and they will of course need more clients (companies always need more clients, don’t they?).

Not everybody is able to learn a new language well enough to make business. And communication is the key to success, no matter what your business is about. By providing these companies with the information they need about your products and services, they will feel much more comfortable making business with you.

At Jensen Localization we are experts in the Spanish, Dutch and Nordic languages. We can help you to bridge the gap between you and your potential Danish clients by translating your website and marketing collaterals, such as brochures or company presentations into Danish or any other language you may need.

For Danish residents, we can provide sworn translation services needed to open a business in Spain or having a permanent residence in this country. If you are a Danish company and would like to make business with Spanish clients and suppliers, do not hesitate to contact us for translation into Spanish.

Translation in the tourism industry. The British and German markets.

The tourism industry is one of the industries requiring massive translations. Businesses in this industry get customers from all over the world and it is essential for them to address their needs not only with high quality resorts but also with high quality service that will enable them to have a positive tourism experience.

As you know, our Spanish branch is located in a tourist area, the Costa del Sol, and there are often events and seminars addressed to tourism industry professionals, as sometimes being in a sunny area with nice beaches is not enough to get the best clients.

We attended two conferences about specific markets, United Kingdom and Germany.

Although they are the traditional markets coming to the Costa del Sol, their habits have changed, as society has changed.

All customers, not only British and German, are now much more informed, and want much more quality. Considering that the British tourist is just looking for sun and beach at low cost prices is becoming a topic that is less and less true. Their interests are as varied as their visitors:

  • Family holidays.
  • Nature and rural areas.
  • Learning Spanish.
  • And yes, the Sun and the beach too.

They are very used to social networks and, as there is a high community of residents living in the area the whole year, they get information easily.

They also book most of their holidays online, instead of going to traditional travel agencies.

As for the German tourists, they are, after the British, the second most important market visiting the Costa del Sol. Their interests are also varied:

  • Nature and rural areas.
  • Culture.
  • Golf.
  • Health.
  • Retirement. They come first as a tourist and then they buy a property and retire.

They are increasing their online habits, but still they rely much on traditional travel agencies.

How can translation help to get business from these markets?

Most of the bookings are done in their country of origin, so they should learn from you before coming to your destination. Build a nice and user-friendly website, adapt it to all formats (tablet, mobile, wearables, etc.), interact with them in social networks, establish strategic partnerships with in-country professionals and attend industry events. And when you do all this, take into account their language, their culture and their values. Maybe you think that the best you can offer is your swimming pool, when maybe they are more interested in your restaurant.

And what about when they are here? Make sure your staff can communicate with them, that they can be helpful if they have an issue with their passport, if they need medical assistance, etc. Providing a leaflet in their language with some tips about how to avoid being stolen or what to do in case of a medical emergency can be a good starting point to make customers feel you care for them. In appreciation, they will for sure talk about you with relatives and friends, both online and offline.

As mentioned in the conferences, the customer is not the purpose of the business strategy, but one more element of it. So, taking him into account from the very beginning will help you to meet his needs more easily and increase your sales.

At Jensen Localization we can help you to be known in the origin countries when British, German or any other nationality tourists are planning their holidays, and to bridge the language gap with them once they are in your establishment. Feel free to contact us for more information!