Volunteering at Surfers Against Sewage

At AJT we love the sea. That’s why this week we took some time out from translation to support a local environmental charity that’s close to our heart: Surfers Against Sewage. As the name suggests, SAS is all about protecting UK waves, beaches and oceans from sewage and other sources of pollution.

So we headed over to their beautiful offices in St. Agnes, right by the cliff tops, overlooking the ocean, to stuff envelopes with the brand new SAS newsletter and other little goodies. The four hours flew by and we got to chat to some very lovely ladies who dedicate their precious spare time to support this important cause – hats off! Highlight: One of the volunteers stuffed the envelope for THE Sir Paul McCartney – so star struck :)!



app localisation, app localization

App localisation: Tips to take your app abroad

Translating your app makes good business sense. Why? Because a multilingual app reaches a larger amount of users which results in higher revenue potential. Localisation – making your app available in more than one language – should be a major consideration when you start developing your app – even before you write the first line of code.

We’ve translated web and mobile apps for anything from checking into places to tracking your run, from reading ebooks to simply chatting with friends and family. Here are our hottest tips on how to get your app localisation strategy right from the start.

User interface with an international face

One of the most common issues in translating English apps into French and German is word-length. On average, a German translation is 25-30% longer than the English original. To avoid size issues when you localise your app the Microsoft Developer Network suggests “sizing the user interface to accommodate the largest localised version of the content”. This means you would set up your user interface for the “longest language” that you will translate into. For a more detailed look at UIs check out our blog App translation: Designing user interfaces that are fit for localisation.

Code structure that can cope with multiple languages

There are many things that are beautifully simple about the English language – a lack of gendered nouns being one of them. “The” translates into three different articles in German: “der” (male), “die” (female) and “das” (neutral). When it comes to translating app strings that contain variables (placeholders) for dynamic content, a translation can be very tricky. ‘The selected {X}’ could be translated into “Die ausgewählte {X}”, “Das ausgewählte {X}” or “Der ausgewählte {X}” – depending on what the placeholder {X} stands for.

It doesn’t get easier when phrases or entire sentences are separated across several strings – for example ‘2 months ago’. Often the time reference (in this case ‘2 months’) sits within a separate string. In German, the word order is the other way around, so you would say “vor 2 Monaten” (ago 2 months). To find out how you can get around these and other code structure problems read our blog Succesful app translation: it all starts with great code.

Choose the right technology

Localising your app should be a straightforward process:

  1. Preparing your code for translation
  2. Translate
  3. Quality assurance testing
  4. Multilingual app goes live

Using a translation technology that’s been developed with app localisation in mind will significantly reduce your time to market, shorten your release cycles for new updates and save translation cost over time. At AJT we work with Smartling, a translation management platform geared towards app translations. Smartling allows you to upload your source files and download the translated files with one click. You can also add contextual information for translators: Instructions on where in the app a given string will appear, character length restrictions and in-app screenshots. This eliminates the need for lengthy QA cycles and you start building a translation memory, which means you never have to pay twice for translating the same sentence. And adding new languages is easy – some Smartling customers translate into more than 15 languages at a time!

Check out Smartling’s resources on localising and internationalising your app here.

App translation and beyond

Aside from the app translation you will likely have other translation needs, for example translating your app store descriptions, website, EULA and privacy policy, FAQ, social media, customer service emails etc. Put together a list of all the resources you need to accompany your freshly translated app. This way you can budget accordingly, bearing in mind that app localisation is not a one-off project but a continuous effort, as is the marketing that goes with it.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you successfully translate your app, please get in touch.

Boost your career with Translation Studies

Interested in translation studies? An overview for aspiring translators

Are you a language lover looking to break into the translation industry and wondering whether you need a degree under your belt? Not sure which subject will give you the right skill set for your career? As a current student of translation studies at Heidelberg University in Germany I have gained some first-hand experience of this relatively new field of study. Do you want to secure a smooth start into professional translation with a translation degree? I’ve gathered some facts that should help you decide:

1. Where?

Germany is known to be a little more traditional when it comes to academia so translation studies is still in its early stages. However, in light of the increasing demand for language services in a globalising world, universities are starting to adapt and besides my own home turf in Heidelberg, universities in Saarbrücken, Leipzig, Hildesheim near Hanover and Germersheim near Karlsruhe offer BA and MA courses in “Translation Science”, “International Communication and Translation” or “Translatology”. German is the main working language for all degrees, so your German would need to be at native or near native level to study translation in Germany. If you’re not German, but your German skills are excellent, you may want to consider this option – education in Germany is FREE!

In the UK, translation studies are usually offered as a one-year Masters course to top up a language-related BA degree. The options are vast and you will find courses such as “Translation Theory and Practice”, “Translating and Interpreting” or simply “Translation Studies” at most major UK universities from London to Leeds and Exeter to Edinburgh.

But where you study will ultimately depend on what exactly you want to study.

2. What?

Specialising within your chosen field is usually helpful when forging your future career. This also applies to translation and both Germany and the UK offer a variety of options to specialise. Does your mind want to be fed with creative and cultural content or are you the next Mark Zuckerberg on the translation landscape?

At Heidelberg we translate anything from Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to the website of Panama’s Marriott Hotel and instructions for the latest Bosch vacuum cleaner. Most universities will allow you to choose a complimentary subject based on your interests, such as law, medicine or business. This means you may study a foreign legal system or the human skeleton in your chosen foreign language. If you’re interested in working in the media, have a look at the “Media Text and Media Translation” degree in Hildesheim. Saarbrücken University combines Comparative Literature with a translation qualification and in Heidelberg you can dive into the tech world of “Translation for Information Technology” – and gain useful engineering skills at the same time!

While Germany offers more BA options for the study of translation, the UK is the master of Masters. There are a million and one ways to specialise in your chosen translation field, whether you would like to become a conference interpreter, an audiovisual translator or a transcreator (creative translator, similar to a copywriter). For the latter check out Warwick University which offers a reputable program. The University of Leeds has a well-known Centre for Translation Studies and offers a wider variety of specialisation options.

So many options, but is it even worth my while?

3. Is it worthwhile?

In a word: YES.

I think translation studies is a varied field with plenty of opportunities to develop your interests and find your own special niche. In contrast to a linguistic or literary degree, translation is a more practical course. The advantage: You’ll learn about translation tools and technology such as Trados, memoQ and Across, which might give you a head start into the industry. But the most important skill you need to be a translator is a feeling for language. So if you love languages and want to spend your time at university completely encompassed in beautiful text – go for a language or literature degree and take language classes or study a semester abroad. You can always get practical experience during a work placement which might be more relevant than anything you can learn at uni anyway. And if you have a knack for science or technology and still like to learn languages and write – even better! A multilingual engineer with writing skills will most certainly find a job in technical translation.

4. Still undecided?

Check out our post Inspiring Young Language Talent which includes a presentation with an overview of education and careers in linguistics and translation.


About the author: Teresa Günter is a 23-year-old student of translation sciences in English and French at the University of Heidelberg. She loves nature and culture, humorous people, English accents and good chocolate. Languages are her passion so she would like to work as a translator in the future.