For days now Sarah and Ana have been disappearing rather suspiciously, whispering together in dark corners, and hurriedly concealing scraps of paper from view when one approaches their desks. Slowly though some of the details of their top secret plan for the Christmas party are coming to light. We have been put into teams to locate the venue, the coordinates of which will be revealed at 18:00. We know that that we will be celebrating inside and that food and drink will be supplied, but where and how we will be celebrating remain a mystery. The question on everyone’s mind is: what shoes do I wear?
16. December 2010
Winter hit Hamburg with a bang this week, with lots of snow and perceived air temperatures of -15 °C (5 °F). Let’s just hope that it won’t get as bad as it was last winter, when you could have practically ice skated to work every single morning.
Apposite to the current season and weather, the tolingo headquarters are looking Christmassy. Not everyone here approves of festive decorations though (we do have a couple of “grinches” in the office). But pretty much everyone is warming up to one very popular German Christmas tradition: Glühwein (mulled wine).
Conveniently found at any of the local Christmas markets here in Hamburg-Altona, it certainly is one of the best ways to get through the cold season. Just try it out if you haven’t yet.
02. December 2010
The first snowflakes are beginning to fall and the streets are warmed with the glow of Christmas markets and the tempting fragrance of mulled wine. As the festive season creeps up on us I am starting to feel a touch of Dépaysement. I am nostalgic for the hyggelig childhood pleasure of snuggling around the fire, telling Jayus and the excited and frequent Iktsuarpok to see if Santa is on his way.
At tolingo we’re proud to say that we can translate anything…well almost. Here’s a clue for those of you who don’t speak fluent French, Danish, Indonesian and Inuit:
24. November 2010
After almost two years of daily communication via Skype, email and telephone, we were delighted to finally meet our translator colleagues Anke, Jutta and Valerie face to face. The three talented linguists from Germany, the UK and Belgium were invited to have breakfast with the tolingo team on Sunday morning after winning our International Translation Day photo raffle. A fun time was had by all, and Franz was able to collect some valuable (and uncensored) first-hand feedback from the real users of our translation software.
A nattering and munching balancing act
Have your ears grown back yet Franz?
15. November 2010
OK, so we weren’t exactly stars of the show, but those of you with a keen eye watching Markus Lanz yesterday evening on ZDF, may well have caught a glimpse of the tolingo team in the background. From the shadows of our office we eagerly watched the demonstration of explosive substances and a trained rescue dog digging out a rather cold-looking man from the snow. Unfortunately our attempts to take some paparazzi style shots of Mr Lanz from our phones weren’t particularly successful, but here are some links to the video clips:
14. January 2010
Fully rested, rosy-cheeked and admittedly carrying a few extra pounds from the festive season, the tolingo team were fighting fit for the first week back at the office. Once the initial excitement had died down, we headed back to our desks to begin the first working day of 2010. And number one on my TTD list: write the first of what is to be a brand new blog series. Juicy gossip, insider tips and the ponderings of the tolingo bunch will be brought to you right here, and who knows what exciting news 2010 may bring…
From all of us, I wish you health and prosperity for the coming year!
05. January 2010
Scarlett Johansson – Lost in Translation by parn
There are plenty of language and translation tools on the Web. Most of these tools are not perfect. It means you can’t rely on them to translate correctly. You can use them to translate well enough to get understood though. Translations made with these tools are in a way “quick and dirty”. So you still need a professional translator in order to get a high quality translation. Nonetheless even professional translators use such tools just like they use dictionaries.
This list of 30 language and translation tools aims to help both the quick and dirty standard Web users as well as simplify the work of professional translators. Some tools are well known but others are not yet that widely used.
Translation is not only about translating text or words.
Often we encounter metrics and varying numbers we need to localize as well to make a message clear. We need to use different currencies for instance. So this list also includes various tools that convert measurement values.
Simple translation tools allow you to copy and paste your text or let you translate your website. The results are often awful for native speakers but in most cases you can grasp the meaning of a text when using them. In cases where quick and dirty is enough you’ll use these tools. When publishing a text on your website, especially for a business website ask a translator to do the work.
Currencies and other metrics
People in the US measure in miles and pay in dollars so telling them how many euros something costs or how many kilometers they have to travel is not enough. You have to localize the numbers as well. There are lots of tools that allow that.
Time zones and Swatch Internet Time
Translation work often involves working with people around the world in different time zones. How do you make an appointment? How do you decide when to call somebody? Either you check the time zones or use Swatch Internet Time which is universally the same, there are no time zones.
Some languages make translation even more difficult due to their alphabets. The Cyrillic alphabet for instance uses the same letters as in English but for other sounds.
What language you should translate into? This might sound silly but imagine that you want to sell a regional product in India or even in Switzerland? Which language do people in that area actually speak? You have to find out using language maps.
For some translations you can’t use tools but paying for a professional translator would be too expensive: Here, translation communities can help.
There are many tools that will help you translate that can’t be categorized easily, nonetheless they are very useful.
These tools are just a few out of many more. No online dictionaries are included as there are enough out there to make a list of their own. These 30 language and translation tools make cross-cultural work substantially easier. Tell us in the comments which of these you already use and if there are any tools missing from the list.
This 30 language and translation tools list does not include standalone software either. All tools are Web tools available online in your browser. This would be another list as well.
17. September 2009
Not all cell phones are handy, image source
When visiting Germany or encountering Germans who speak English you have probably wondered why mobile phones used by Germans are always handy. If you have been courageous enough to live in Germany for a while you might have also wondered why you are required to pay tariffs for your “always handy” cell phone.
It’s true that Germans are weird sometimes, they don’t accept gifts, their chefs don’t cook in most cases and when they get angry they start swearing about the weather (Mist!).
Not all Germans are weird though! In fact it’s German marketers you have to blame. The same kind of marketers who made us surf the Web instead of browsing it made cell phones handy per definition in Germany, even the big clunky ones. Of course blaming marketers of the digital era is just half of the story. You can’t blame marketers for making Germans and UK citizens pay tariffs for their mobiles.
You know, Germans don’t have cell phone plans they have tariffs or “Tarife”. “Tarife” means both rates and charges. You don’t have to pay them at the border though like other tariffs. It’s history stupid! In the US people have hated tariffs ever since the Boston Tea Party so they have plans not tariffs.
So remember next time you end up in the mist a cell phone will come in handy. Ask your chef to give you a gift! Tell him that you prefer prepaid! This is finally a real friend of yours in German. Prepaid means the same as in English, both American as British.
Today’s topics on fun Monday were these German-English false friends:
||(cell phone) plans
14. September 2009
On 23 June 2009 the results of Business Idee 2009 were revealed and tolingo were delighted to achieve 3rd place!
Internet world business rewards online startups for their courage and determination in the risky and highly competitive online sector. This year 20 internet startups were nominated and Playnik, the winner, was awarded with a silver online star. Over 25,000 users voted online for their favourite candidate in this prestigious competition for new online business ventures, and tolingo were over the moon to among the top three.
Internet world business selects participants who have improved or changed the way that the internet is used and who have developed a promising business model. tolingo’s reinvention of the translation agency including instant translation quote and order online system, browser-based translation software and global translator network managed to persuade the judges of the high potential of our innovative business model.
We would like to congratulate all of the nominees and to thank those who voted for us, and everyone who has contributed to the success of our online translation agency.
24. June 2009
Our eagerly awaited parser technology is in full-swing and we are delighted with the results. tolingo customers now have the added benefit of receiving their finished translations as fully-formatted Word files.
What’s so special about that?…you may ask. Well, when you upload a Word file at tolingo our system recognises the layout, font, text size, bold and italics used in your text and this is incorporated into your translation. Your document is formatted automatically by our online system and never leaves our server. This means that your text is secure and your confidentiality is protected at every stage of the translation process. This is also an advantage for our translators who don’t need to devote any extra time to formatting documents. Fully formatted, completely secure, no extra costs!
Customer and translator satisfation are of top priority for us and we are constantly thinking up new ways to improve our service and to deliver you top quality translations, in the fastest time for the best price.
03. June 2009