Creative translation meets content creation

Here at AJT we love words. Whilst languages are our tools, words are our raw materials. We chip, chop and slice translated text every day and carefully craft copy that gives the original text a fresh foreign face.

We specialise in translating marketing copy in German, French and English that sounds just as creative in the target language as in its original – often our work is closer to that of an editor or copywriter than to that of a traditional translator. Now we really want to hone the art of writing and take our language services to the next level: AJT is going back to school.

Falmouth’s creative writing community right on our doorstep

Starting next week, Jenny and Anja will be part of the vibrant and creative community of the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University. Being a Cornwall-based company, Falmouth’s writing short courses were a natural choice for us. Not only will we be studying at a renowned Arts university with excellent learning resources right on our doorstep, we are also lucky enough to be tutored by an expert in the field of technology writing: Professor Jason Whittaker is a former editor of the computer magazine PC Advisor and has published many articles and reviews in the realms of technology.

Translation and copywriting in German, French and English from a single source

We strongly believe that translation and copywriting go hand in hand and we would like to offer our clients a comprehensive package. Whether we’re translating, editing or writing: Our goal is to deliver great copy that engages the reader and helps our clients to reach new audiences abroad. Especially when it comes to creative marketing campaigns, the best results may be achieved with freshly pressed copy by native speakers who are experts in your target culture. Creative translation or content creation? Whether your company is taking a first glance across borders or is already established in foreign markets, we would love to talk to you about your localisation efforts.

Don’t let your marketing message get lost in (machine) translation

Have you ever wondered whether you could use machine translation to translate your website into other languages? After all, it would save you a lot of money and your website visitors would get ‘the general gist of your offering’. But is that enough to entice potential customer to buy from your website?

“Qualität kommt von Qual” – a popular German phrase for students of writing and journalism and one of those sentences that will never sound quite right in literal translation. Google Translator suggests: “Quality comes from torment”. The meaning is correct, but the word play is lost. This is a typical example of the limitations of machine translation.

Machine translation can be useful

That’s not to say that machine translation should be entirely disregarded. Statistical machine translators such as Google Translator work just like the search engine and source their translations from millions of documents on the web, albeit regardless of quality. It is a free and fast service, which will provide a general overview of your offerings in another language. The University of Bristol for example uses Google Translator to translate their website into various languages and gives a legitimate reason for their choice: “By having Google Translate on our website, we are signalling the fact that we want to reach out and communicate as widely as possible.”

When it comes to marketing copy, key messages could be lost

The real limitations of machines become obvious when it comes to the translation of marketing copy. Machine translators cannot usually translate phrases or metaphors, which are frequently used in creative copy, in a way that makes sense in the target language. They are not aware of the fine nuances of different languages and most importantly; they try to mimic, but do not really know any grammar. In its original language marketing copy is usually very carefully crafted to animate the reader and speak to its audience. This spark as well as the key messages could be entirely lost in machine translation. In some cases, a machine translation can even damage your brand. Imagine, for example, you’re the marketing manager of a dog-friendly hotel in the southwest of England and Google Translator turns your selling point into the German version of: “This hotel is a dog.” (Real-life example!!)

A high quality translation will present your company in the right light

To achieve the same high quality that your original copy has and really engage with a new audience and potential customers abroad, you will need a professional translation. A good translation will not only reflect well on your company’s image abroad. Customers will also be much more likely to understand, trust and buy your products or services. Professional translators ensure that your copy sounds just as creative and engaging in your target language and use their expertise of your target culture to bring your marketing messages across in the right tone of voice.

Quality doesn’t have to be “torment”, but it doesn’t come free either. Quality comes at a price and a high quality translation is as much a labour of love as your carefully crafted original copy. Professional translation is certainly an investment – but particularly for marketing copy, it also comes with a good ROI.

Keyboard shortcuts for German and French characters

Here is a small selection of useful keyboard shortcuts for characters that we commonly use in translating from English into French and German.

SymbolWindowsMac
Alt + 0132Alt + Shift + W
Alt + 0147Alt + [
Alt + 0130Use comma
Alt + 0145Alt + ]
«Alt + 0171Option + \
»Alt + 0187Option + Shift + \
Alt + 0139Alt + Shift + 3
Alt + 0155Alt + Shift + 4
Alt + 0133Alt + ;
Alt + 0150Shift + -
Alt + 0128Alt + 2
ÄAlt + 142Alt + U, followed by A
äAlt + 132Alt + U, followed by a
ÂAlt + 0194Alt + I, followed by A
âAlt + 131Alt + I, followed by a
ÀAlt + 0192Alt + `, followed by A
àAlt + 133Alt + `, followed by a
ÊAlt + 0202Alt + I, followed by E
êAlt + 136Alt + I, followed by e
ÈAlt + 0200Alt + `, followed by E
èAlt + 138Alt + `, followed by e
ÉAlt +0201Alt + E, followed by E
éAlt + 130Alt + E, followed by e
ËAlt + 0203Alt + U, followed by E
ëAlt + 137Alt + U, followed by e
ÎAlt + 0206Alt + I, followed by I
îAlt + 140Alt + I, followed by i
ÏAlt + 0207Alt + U, followed by I
ïAlt + 139Alt + U, followed by i
ŸAlt + 0159Alt + U, followed by Y
ÿAlt + 0255Alt + U, followed by y
ÖAlt + 153Alt + U, followed by O
öAlt + 148Alt + U, followed by o
ŒAlt + 0140Alt + Q
œAlt + 0156Alt + q
ÛAlt + 0219Alt + I, followed by U
ûAlt +0251Alt + I, followed by u
ÜAlt + 154Alt + U, followed by U
üAlt + 129Alt + U, followed by u
ÙAlt + 0217Alt + `, followed by U
ùAlt + 0249Alt + `, followed by u
ÇAlt + 0199Alt + C
çAlt + 0231Alt + c
ÑAlt + 165Alt + N, followed by n
ñAlt + 164Alt + N, followed by N

You can find more comprehensive lists on sites like Alt-Code and FS Symbols.

Is there a symbol missing that you would like to see on here? Contact us to let us know and we’ll add it for you 🙂

Ahoy! New team members on board

We are extremely pleased to welcome our brand new in-house project manager Jenny Cadd at our head office in Newquay. Jenny is a fellow German native speaker and graduate of Falmouth University where she studied English and Media Studies. She brings her experience in journalism, PR and corporate communication to the team. Jenny’s responsibilities will include translation quality management, talent recruitment and content creation.

Here at AJT we have experienced a steady rate of growth this year with a range of exciting new projects and customers. Besides our core team we have also expanded our pool of talented freelance translators in our core languages German, French and English. A big welcome to our latest recruits: Stefan, Jessy, Eva, Romain, Charlotte, Michel and Vincent.

These are exciting times at AJT and with our new recruits we are well equipped to meet the growing demand and provide excellent customer service to our clients from Cornwall, the UK and abroad.

Ahoy everyone – we can’t wait to share this journey of growth with you all!