Established 1998

New translator training dates added for SDL Trados Studio 2015

Posted on August 18th, 2015 by Alexika

Alexika is an Approved Training Centre for translation CAT tool (management tool) SDL Trados Studio, and a full range of courses for translators and translation project managers has been published for Autumn 2015. Please find the list here.

SDL Trados Studio 2015 is the culmination of 30 years of experience in translation technology.  Studio 2015 delivers new features to help you translate faster, a customisable translation environment and new ways to help you improve translation quality.


SDL_badge_TradosStudio2015_certified_training_approved training center



Why must a translator work only into their mother tongue?

Posted on June 17th, 2015 by Alexika

This has been one of our golden rules since we started providing translations in 1998 – all of our translators work into their mother tongue. So if a translator’s mother tongue is English, they translate from another language into English – never the other way around.

First of all, what does ‘mother tongue’ mean? Can we define it? We can agree with this attempt, adapted from Wikipedia:

“A mother tongue is the language that someone acquires from being born in a particular country and being raised to speak the language of that country during the critical period of their development.”

Perhaps more scientifically, an article by Joseph Lee entitled “The Native Speaker: An Achievable Model?” published by the Asian EFL Journalstates that there are six general principles that relate to the definition of “native speaker”.  We prefer to condense these into the 5 points below, all of which must apply:

  1. The individual acquired the language in early childhood
  2. The individual has intuitive knowledge of the language
  3. The individual is able to produce fluent, spontaneous discourse
  4. The individual identifies with or is identified by a language community
  5. The individual has a native dialect or accent (including formal dialects such as ‘Hochdeutsch’)


So why do we insist that all of our translators work into their mother tongue? Because only a native speaker can deeply, thoroughly and completely understand the nuance and complexity of a language. It is a non-negotiable golden rule for us that translators work only into their mother tongue.

A couple of thoughts to add on the subject:

- Just occasionally we hear of linguists with more than one mother tongue – someone who grew up across two countries, or in a bilingual country – with parents speaking different languages for example. But even in this unusual situation, however good a person’s language skills, there tends to be a bias towards one language. This is the dominant language into which a translator will work.

- We accept that some people have quite outstanding languages skills across different languages and we know some quite exceptional and brilliant linguists. They may feel that they can translate into more than one language, but there will still be a point in a long specialised complex piece of work where deep ‘mother tongue’ knowledge of the target language is needed. So our golden rule applies at all times to avoid this situation ever arising.

If you would like to discuss the issue of mother tongue translators further – or indeed challenge our view! – do please contact us.



Tips and Tricks for Having Your Website Translated

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by Alexika

The reason that most businesses translate their website is to increase international sales. As people are up to 4 times more likely to make a purchase in their native language, that makes perfect sense. A translated site can increase conversion rates of existing overseas traffic as well as generate new leads and clients. In this article, we discuss what issues to bear in mind when looking to have your web site translated.

Important things to consider are:

Which Languages to Translate Your Website Into?

Website Translations
Obviously this decision must be market led for your specific product or service and which markets you can service –maybe you are already receiving some enquiries from Germany and want to provide a better service to clients there and attract new ones.

In addition though, you might consider economic data such as how much business is done in which languages of the world – see for example the data on our website showing that, after English, the most important languages for global business are Japanese, followed by German, followed by Spanish then Chinese.

If this is the first venture into translating a website, does it make sense to only translate a cut-down version initially? Is a micro-site sufficient to test the waters? Or does your brand identity dictate that the full original site should be translated?

Language is a Key Part of Your Brand

This principle applies to everything written that is customer facing, whether a website, brochure or Email communication – the language used is a key element in protecting the credibility of your brand. Confidence in the brand can be created or lost by the first few words.  So certain ‘golden rules’ must be observed:

  • Translations must be performed by a professional qualified native-speaker linguist.
  • The translator must have sufficient knowledge of the terminology used in your industry.
  • Current technology should be employed sensibly to aid consistency of terminology and control costs of updates.
  • It is always advisable to have your site proof-read by a native speak before publication.

The best sites are professionally translated with language that is sensitive and appropriate to the readership, and it is possible to switch seamlessly between languages anywhere on the site. We are for example particularly proud of our work on top Spanish property site and the world’s fastest plastic and metal part prototyping service

The Process – Easiest and Most Cost Efficient Method

Translating a web site can be done in different ways. The 3 most commonly used fall into the following categories:

  • Work with a content management system (CMS.) Does your system provide language support? Part of the arrangement with your language service provider can be that they ensure that translations are inserted correctly into the CMS.
  • Work with a proxy translation tool. This can be the perfect solution for a larger and complex translated site that is a reflection of (having the same content as) the source language site. By working with a technology that automates many of the typical steps involved in web globalisation projects, you can minimise or completely eliminate the time that your developers and engineers must spend on website localisation work. At Alexika, we work with the market-leading tool which can be used in conjunction with our professional translation service.
  • A simple method for translating a static site or a few pages  is to send Html or Word content to your translation provider, and paste the resultant translation into your new pages. Why overcomplicate if only a few pages are required? At Alexika, we use the latest version of the world-leading translation environment tool SDL Trados Studio so that formatting is retained for example when translating html or xml files.



Your Website Has Been Translated, An Enquiry Comes In – What Next?

Part of your planning when having a website translated must be about what happens next. So your French translated we site has generated an enquiry! How do you handle it? Options include:

- conducting a language audit of your staff. Is anyone capable of holding a professional conversation in the language? Do you need to recruit for language skills or work with a language service provider?

- If you do not have spoken language skills immediately available, could you encourage most of the responses to the written through your web site, maybe through the use of forms? Options then include having a set of template responses professionally translated. You can then respond professionally in writing to a specific enquiry or order.

Having your site translated can feel like a big step, but it is one instant way to increase the size of your market. Good luck! If you’re interested in hearing more about how you can increase your presence in overseas markets, do please contact us for an informal chat.


Alexika Director’s charity cycle ride from Yorkshire to Paris

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by Alexika

Alexika Managing Director Mark Robinson will be cycling from Leeds to Paris in May 2015 – it will be 630 km with an average of 126 km per day. Training is well underway – it is quite painful but a huge amount of fun. He is trying to not think too hard about the first day, with approx. 140km and 3000 metres of climbing..leaving Yorkshire on a bike does involve riding over hills at some point! At least there be will some respite on day 4 with lunch on a ferry…

The ride is part of an initiative by local business  business group ‘The Yorkshire Mafia‘ – if anyone wants to join the ride, more details can found on the web site of the organisers Ride25 here.

Mark is riding in support of the Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund, a charity selected for family reasons. He is paying all travel expenses himself, so all sponsorship money goes to the charity. To find our more and sponsor Mark, please click here.



New Study Shows How Vital Languages are for SMEs to Export

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by Alexika

Alexika’s Mark Robinson, as council member of the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) attended the launch of an important study at the Houses of Parliament last week.


Mark in London’s Parliament Square for the launch of the new study.

The new study by Professor James Foreman-Peck of Cardiff Business School and Dr Peng Zhou launched  in partnership with the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), shows in stark detail the impact of in-house language capabilities on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that export.

The report ‘Firm-level evidence for the language investment effect on SME exporters’ shows that SMEs utilising language assets and skills achieved far higher export to turnover ratios than others. These assets and skills included hiring staff with specific language expertise for export needs, employing native language speakers and training  staff in languages.

Roy Allkin, Chaiman of the ATC, said:

“The government has repeatedly emphasised that expanding the country’s exports is a key strand of its broader strategy to rebalance the economy. Despite this, the UK has long struggled to improve its trade deficit.”

“An earlier report by Professor Foreman-Peck clearly shows that poor language skills is costing UK plc £48bn a year in lost exports. British businesses must take notice of this latest report, which emphasises that one of the secrets of export success is to have a language strategy in place to effectively communicate with target markets.”

As well as showing an increase in export to turnover ratio, the findings highlight that companies with in-house language capabilities are much more likely to appreciate the benefits of engaging external professional language services when exporting. Rather than one form of language provision replacing the other, SMEs with in-house language capabilities tend to adopt a twin-track approach to support their global business activities.

Professor Foreman-Peck, who is Professor of Economics at Cardiff University, says:

“The results from this study point to the significance of languages for the bottom line of exporting small and medium size enterprises. While there are many factors that can influence export performance, the research was able to isolate many of the factors and give an accurate picture of the impact of language skills on SMEs when selling abroad.”

“Having a strong language strategy by no means guarantees success, but it does increase the likelihood of it quite significantly.”


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