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.
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.
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.”
Mark in London’s Parliament Square for the launch of the new study.
We have some wonderful translators – and it is lovely to hear their thoughts on life as a linguist. In the second of the series, we are delighted to feature German to English translator Jacqui Birnie, whom we have known and worked with for many years. Jacqui is a highly experienced technical translator and, very importantly, is also real pleasure to work with. Please see below Jacqui’s answers to our questions, giving an insight into the broad range of professional skills that professional translators draw on:
What attracted you to working with languages?
At the age of 11, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I blithely said “a linguist”. I didn’t know how prophetic that would turn out to be, given that I’m not sure I even knew what it meant back then.
I studied French and German at university and spent a year working in Hamburg in the translation department of a large oil company. That was my introduction to technical translation and I knew immediately that it was what I really wanted to make my career in.
What are your favourite subject areas and how did you become interested in them?
I’m into anything technical – commonly referred to as “geeky”, in a nice way I hope. I think my interest started in childhood when I had a great collection of Dinky cars and played a lot with Lego. I’ve always been fascinated by how things work and understanding the technology behind them. Even the apparently simple things are not so simple when you start taking them apart. In another life I think I would have been an engineer.
What do you enjoy most about being a translator?
The variety. I’m constantly learning something new, often at the leading edge of technology. That’s pretty exciting and it’s also really satisfying to read about something in the press and think “I translated a patent about that!” At the same time, being a translator enables me to use my language skills creatively. I’d like to think I help to make technology more accessible.
Where in the world would you love to travel to?
I’ve travelled a bit and liked it. I don’t have a specific place I’d dearly love to visit. I’ll just see what opportunities present themselves and take it from there.
We’ve all seen amusing mistranslations. What’s the most memorable one you’ve seen?
I can never remember them even though they make me laugh at the time. I do remember causing great hilarity among friends during my year abroad in Germany when I indignantly said that British butcher’s shops no longer had “Segelspäne” (sail dust) rather than “Sägespäne” (sawdust) on the floor. And I knew there was something musical about daffodils (Osterglocken = Easter bells) when I said, “Guck’ mal die Ostertrompeten an!” (Easter trumpets). Of course, you live and learn… The old adage “Deutsche Sprache – schwere Sprache” often proves true for beginners!
Thank you very much indeed to Jacqui for her thoughtful replies – and we love the Easter trumpets! Jacqui is pictured below.
Alexika will again have a stand at the Yorkshire Business Market, this year held on Monday 27th April. We’ll be there to talk about language, translating web sites, translating documents…..and there may again be a prize champagne draw…..we may again have home-made cakes from around Europe. It was quite a day last year and we’re sure it will be again!
We’d like to say a huge thank you again to the organisers and to all those who visited our stand last year to make the day so pleasant.
The Yorkshire Business Market has been a runaway success since 2010 and is held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. The range of businesses is stunning and we’ll be again looking forward to learning about some we’ve never heard of before!
We’re excited again in Yorkshire! After the runaway success of the Tour de France Grand Départ coming to Yorkshire – and passing our Yorkshire office door twice!! – we are delighted to say that a new professional cycle race, the Tour de Yorkshire, will again be passing right past the office on Sunday May 3rd 2015. How lucky are we!
The Tour de France was overwhelming. Thousands of people lined the street past the office and everyone and everything received a loud and rousing cheer – including the smiling French Gendarmes and British police who entered fully into the spirit. The Tour de Yorkshire is a legacy event and the 3 days of top professional cycling really will show off some stunning countryside and iconic historic sites. The route is excellent for spectators and cyclists alike. Views such as these from the Yorkshire Post around York Minster will be seen again. If you are not able to visit in person, do remember to enjoy some lovely views on television from May 1st to 3rd.
Last year we invited clients and suppliers to enjoy some local fayre at the office – only to be forced to cancel when it became clear just how many thousands of people would be in the area and roadblocks made travel too difficult for those not staying on one of the many camp sites. This year we’ll be more careful and make a decision near the time.
A huge thank you to Gary Verity and Welcome to Yorkshire for putting our county on the world cycling map. We are enjoying the ride!
P.S. On a relating cycling theme, our Managing Director Mark Robinson is cycling from Leeds to Paris in May in support of the Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund. To support Mark, please see our previous Blog post.
Our Yorkshire office dressed for the Tour de France – complete with bright yellow door..