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Some Useful Polish

Here’s some useful Polish language words and phrases. I hope you are planning a visit to Poland and get to use them soon.

English on the left, Polish on the right.

Polish Phrases

Yes = Tak

No = Nie

Thank you = Dziękuję

Thank you very much = Serdecznie dziękuję

You’re welcome = Nie ma za co

Please = Proszę

Excuse me = Przepraszam

Hello = Dzień dobry Read more


The Origins and Importance of the Spanish Language

The Spanish language or Castilian, as native speakers sometimes refer to it, has become one of the most popular languages used in the world today. Its history is vast and it has spread and developed steadily throughout the centuries.

The name Castilian originates from the Castile region in the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain where Latin mixed with indigenous dialects was spoken after the decline of the Roman Empire. As the kingdom of Castile spread, so did the so-called Vulgar Latin commonly spoken in this region. With the conquest of the southern regions, this northern dialect, by then known as Castilian, spread south, replacing other provincial dialects.

As Castilian became more widespread it adopted vocabulary from Moorish Arabic and was influenced by medieval Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) and Mozarabes (the Romance speech of Christians living in Moorish territory). Sadly, these languages died out in the late 16th century as Spanish took over the peninsula. Read more

Dogs need sweets too

Halloween from Around the World

We all know Halloween as an unnerving holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st with the traditional activities of trick-or-treating, bonfires, pumpkin carving and costume parties, but little do we know how it is celebrated around the world? Halloween boasts its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, by which Scottish and Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America, initiating the involvement of other western countries.

English-speaking Canadian areas and the USA are the stereotypical places where Halloween is emphasised and celebrated the most in the world. It was not until the 19th century at which the event became a holiday. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America was recorded by a 1911 newspaper when children were reported as being rewarded for their rhymes and songs with nuts and sweets as a result of visiting local shops and neighbours. Commercialisation of Halloween did not start in America until the 20th Century but it is now the second most popular holiday, after Christmas – can you believe it? Read more

Richard Brooks at memoQfest

Upcoming Talks from Richard Brooks

I’m giving a number of presentations/talks over the next few months. I will be touching on various topics relating to my professional interests within the localization industry and outside of it.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, so here are some of the key points from each. I do hope to see you and look forward to discussing the finer points.

The Business Side

I’m at the TTT Conference in Bled, Slovenia on the 23rd/24th October. I’m off at 9am on the 24th.

I’ll be looking at the wonderful world of localization and giving my perspective of it from the business side. I’ll be showing some tools and methodologies that I use to help me to build a sustainable competitive advantage and create demonstrable value to our client’s operations. From this perspective both LSP owners and translators will be able to gain an insight into what we do in ‘management’ and hopefully allow them to increase the value of their services.

I’ll cover some basic business principles in marketing, finance, leadership and hopefully show you how to keep your sanity.

The Business Side at the TTT Conference

I’m Also looking forward to seeing the beautiful city of Bled, its been on the list for a long time.

Agile Project Management

Building on the popular GALA webinar on the same topic I’ll be presenting at the tcworld conference 2014. It’s on the 11th, 12th and 13th of November at the International Congress Center (ICS) Messe Stuttgart.

Agile breaks a big project down into a series of small development tasks (called ‘sprints’). Teams then work on these sprints. They deliver tangible results and feedback to the rest of the team. Its innovative by nature and all areas of the project have a ‘seat at the table’ at all the main stages of the process, it should be particularly interesting to localization/translation companies.

how teams perform over time

We use it to great success here for software and retail localization projects. I have a great case study about a popular retail client in the UK where we managed to scale up quickly and translate their entire food product catalogue (thousands of own brand products), including artwork and legal review.

My own personal take is that project directors have forgotten about the essence of Agile Project Management and its fast paced throughput is often blamed for burning out good project managers. I address this by taking it back to the original manifesto and apply the same philosophy to the project as was intended when the movement started. This puts people ahead of process and puts a much larger emphasis on good leadership and emotional intelligence.

Britain Means Business

On the 19th and 20th of November at the ExCeL London we’ll be exhibiting the company to around 3,000 entrepreneurs looking to expand their business aboard. As part of this I’ll be talking about how to take your business overseas and what a decent translation company can do to help you along the journey. It’s being launched in partnership with the Digital Marketing Show and we’re hoping for a busy time.

Britain means business because

For part of the event’s marketing the organisers interviewed me. They asked who my favourite British entrepreuer is, I said Richard Branson. Why? because he builds space rockets.

The T10+ Show

It’s a large event (25,000) and celebrates some of the best British businesses around today. It really is an honour to talk at this event. We’ll be part of the T10+ exhibition, that’s for businesses with revenues of over £10M. Our stand is W204 (opposite the global business event).

I’ll be talking at this event as well. It’ll be on the topic of international growth and understanding your (new) international consumers. A professional translation service has some way to go to help to remove the language barriers but that’s not all, the people you choose to partner with must understand the demographics and forces acting on new businesses in the new regions.

Next Year

I’ll have a few in the calendar for next year as well… more details will follow nearer the time. I do hope we get to have a talk/beer/coffee.

Take care.


A Latin Translation Error, Carved in Stone 

The public library in Moorestown, New Jersey has an admirable motto: “We confirm all things twice.” After the unveiling of their new building this week, the staff there is probably wishing they’d lived up to those words.

The designs for the building included a Latin translation of the library’s motto, carved into two stone medallions on the building. Unfortunately, the translation was  hopelessly wrong, and nobody bothered to confirm it even once.  The error wasn’t uncovered until after the building was complete and the motto was quite literally carved in stone.  In the words of the great philosopher Homer J. Simpson: “D’oh!”

The translation used on the library walls was “‘nos secundus coniecto omnia,” which Google translates as “We second-guess all” and anyone who actually speaks Latin knows is just a jumbled mess.

The building’s designers can’t even blame technology for the error; head architect Rick Ragan admitted in the Daily Mail that the botched translation “was attempted by a staff member who looked through a Latin dictionary.”

Ragan continued:

“We’ve looked at the definition of the words. It says that the verb says, ‘think, include, conclude, judge and confirm. But Google’s version, and I’m old enough to admit that I’ve never translated anything on Google or conjugated (anything). Their version is that ‘We all second-guess.”

The Daily Mail also has an excellent breakdown of all the things wrong with the translation:

“While ‘nos’ can mean ‘we’, it is in fact unnecessary because verbs in Latin contain who is doing them in the way the word ends. Coniecto – the verb in the sentence – in fact means ‘I conclude’ or ‘I guess’. The ‘we’ form would be ‘coniectamus’. Likewise, ‘secundus’ is an adjective meaning ‘second’, but even in conjunction with a verb meaning guess, does not mean ‘second-guess’. The correct way to render ‘we confirm all things twice’ would be ‘bis verificamus omnia‘.”

Ragan’s firm will now be paying for stonecutter to fix the medallions, as well as to correct some missing Roman numerals on other parts of the facade. A quick phone call to the nearest Latin professor would have saved them quite a bit of trouble and embarrassment.

If you’re thinking of translating any of your business communications by “looking through a dictionary,” stop. Do not pass go.  Do not collect $100. Call us and get your message properly translated!

A Manga Translation Battle 

Are you a manga aficionado? Are you fluent in Japanese? Put your Japanese translation skills to the test in a contest from the Digital Comics Association!

The 3rd annual Manga Translation Battle is going on right now. In this contest, amateur manga fans and professional Japanese translators alike will compete to see who can produce the best English translations of selected Japanese manga comics.

It’s free to enter- all you have to do is choose one of four manga to translate, read it, and then translate the required pages. The entry deadline is November 7th, 2014. Entries will be judged by a panel of professional translators and manga experts. Once finalists have been selected, readers will have a chance to vote for their favorite translations, as well.

One grand prize winner will win a trip to Japan, along with a job offer to finish translating the manga they chose for competition. First prize winners get job offers, too, but no trip to Japan. Runners up get tablet computers.

Keep in mind, translating creative work like manga is often much harder than it looks.  In addition to translating the meaning, you have to be able to capture the mood, tone and voice of the piece in another language. Think you’ve got what it takes? Entry forms and rules are available here.

Last year’s grand prize winner was Sarah Kim Perry, an American living in Japan. She told Otaku Mode that winning the contest “completely changed” her life:

“I was given the chance to translate all three volumes of the work I translated for the contest, and, of course, made my debut as a manga translator. But I was also invited to work for Tokyo Otaku Mode, which managed the event, and have been working there since this summer.”

Will you try your hand at translating manga?

Swanbourne 2014

Taking on the Swanbourne Endeavour

All cash goes to Translators Without Borders

On Sunday 19th October 2014 “The K Team” are suffering the Swanbourne Endeavour to help raise funds for TRANSLATORS WITHOUT BORDERS.

A brave (and some might say crazy) team from K International are taking part in the 2014 Swanbourne Endeavour – a gruelling 10 km cross-country endurance challenge where we will find ourselves wading through streams, climbing over haystacks, jumping through fire, crawling under barbed wire….and best of all, getting caked in lots of mud!

But it’s not just for fun, we are raising money for Translators without Borders. They are a fantastic non-profit organisation who give important aid groups the platform to connect directly with professional translators, breaking down the barriers of language and building up the transfer of crucial information. In crisis-situations language barriers can cost lives, aid groups face a mission-critical challenge in disseminating knowledge in the language of those who desperately need it.

Help us reach our muddy goal by sponsoring our intrepid team of nutters. As Translators without Borders are based in the USA, we are using Razoo to collect donations in US dollars.  Click the big razoo button and pledge cash in aid of a great cause >>>

Online fundraising for The K Team take on the Swanbourne Endeavour

Here’s an example of Translators Without Borders latest work, a poster about Ebola in Swahili. This work saves lifes.

Translated Ebola Poster



Here are some pictures of our previous endeavours. It’s a great event.

The result from Swanbourne last year

Half of last year’s team just after the event.

in the mud

Paul on the last mile

one mile to go Paul is still strong


Rich in the first pond

party on

come on… let’s do this


helping each other out

cold water

this water was freezing

clean the gopro

cleaning the gopro half way round

Translation at the Pharmacy Show

Come and see us at the Pharmacy Show

We are attending the 2014 Pharmacy Show at the NEC in Birmingham on the 5th and 6th of October, that’s this weekend. We’ll be able to show you the benefits of providing your pharmaceutical content in different languages and how it helps you to reach a much wider audience of potential customers.

For more information, access to our pharmaceutical translation brochure and where to find our stand, just click here:

Visitors to our stand can also register their details with our team to receive 10% off their first translation order.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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