News from the world of translation and software localization

We are nuts about language and we don’t mind admitting it. The world of translation and software localization is truly exciting and fascinating. Even what goes on in the office makes for one or two headlines!  Read our blog to catch up on some interesting stuff for customers, friends and colleagues alike. Stay tuned!

To keep our blog up to date and to avoid any delays caused by translating it into other languages, our posts will appear in the two key languages of German and English only. You are welcome to subscribe to the blog entries using the RSS function. Keep in touch with @transcript!

26/01/2017 - 11:15

Websites, news portals, brochures and flyers can sometimes be written in quite complicated language. Too complicated, in fact, for people with learning difficulties to understand, as well as for all those who might only have a basic understanding of the relevant language.  This has led to the development of “Easy-to-read language”:  as part of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, this type of language should help people with reading difficulties play an active role in society and politics.

Whilst Easy-to-read language is not a protected term, there are international networks which define set rules for its use. In Germany, for example, the “Netzwerk Leichte Sprache” (“Easy Language Network”) establishes the following logical set of rules:

1. Only well-known words should be used.
2. Sentences should be kept short and simple.
3. Simple, clear photos and pictures support the contents of the text.
4. All text is tested – by people with learning difficulties.

To complicate matters a little, as well as “Easy-to-read language” there is also “Plain language” – and there are some significant differences between the two. Plain language is more complex than Easy-to-read language; its main aim is to formulate bureaucratic texts, such as those produced by administrative bodies or insurance companies, in a way that is easier to understand. Unlike Easy-to-read language, plain language is not accompanied by pictures, nor is it tested by people with learning difficulties.

Easy-to-read language first came about in the United States of America. The “People First” organization, which was established in 1975, was the first to come up with the “Easy-to-read” idea in 1996. In Germany, the “Verein Mensch” association, which was set up in 2001, published various material including two dictionaries in Easy-to-read language. This was followed by the establishment of the “Netzwerk Leichte Sprache” in 2006. European guidelines for producing easy-to-read information have also been established, resulting in a bulky set of rules published by the international organization “Inclusion Europe” in partnership with eight countries (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Portugal and Scotland).

In Europe, Sweden is one step ahead with the Easy-to-read concept: they have, for example, an eight-page weekly newspaper called “8 Sidor” for people with learning difficulties – and there is even a publishing house for publications in Easy-to-read language. German-speaking people with learning difficulties can visit the website Here they can find current world news on politics, the economy, sport and culture, all presented in easy-to-read language.  This is a great initiative that comes from Cologne (Cologne University in partnership with the Deutschlandfunk public radio station), the city where @transcript has its head office.



13/01/2017 - 11:13

Each New Year brings a wide variety of hopes and goals. And so it is with the year 2017, which has only just begun. The United Nations General Assembly, for example, has designated this year the “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development”.   This brings the United Nations together around a vision that “well-conceived and well-managed tourism can make a considerable contribution to sustainable development”. One reason behind the UN theme for the year is the importance of tourism when it comes to appreciating other cultures and therefore promoting international understanding. It is the UN’s view that sustainable tourism can contribute towards reducing poverty, protecting the environment, improving the quality of life of local people and boosting the economic situation, particularly of women and young people.
And so the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a special United Nations agency based in Madrid, has a considerable task ahead of it. The main responsibility of the UNWTO is to “promote and develop tourism as a driver for economic growth, international understanding, peace, prosperity and respect for the freedom and human rights of everyone, irrespective of race, gender, language and religion.” One of the main missions of the UNWTO is to support developing countries in particular.
Indeed these are noble goals, which in the face of environmental pollution, climate change, ill-conceived construction and intercultural prejudice almost seem like a wonderful fairy tale. The fact is, however, that many people are more aware when travelling.  This starts with destinations closer to home become increasingly popular – and many people are choosing authentic holidays over staying in big soulless hotels.
Realistically speaking, the approach to making tourism a driver for sustainability and intercultural understanding makes perfect sense. After all, we are talking about a huge market here: more than a billion people travel all over the world every year. The way in which they do so therefore has an enormous influence on the lives of people in the visited countries. Even if this potential edges just another millimeter in the right direction, there is a lot to be gained both economically and in terms of quality of life, especially in poor and    less economically developed countries. And, as always, we can all start by making a difference ourselves. The desire to make a contribution towards peace and international understanding as we travel brings with it the opportunity for interesting encounters and increased awareness of the natural world and our environment.


03/01/2017 - 10:49

Happy New Year – we hope it started out well for you! Our German readers probably put one of our own New Year’s traditions into practice – popping open the bubbly, pouring molten lead or setting off firecrackers. In other places around the world, people welcome in the New Year with some even stranger customs. Here in our special New Year blog article, we would like to introduce you to a few of them.

USA, Czech Republic & Italy: Since, with a bit of imagination, lentils look a bit like gold coins, many US and Czech citizens eat lentil soup on New Year’s Eve. Lentils are also served in Italy, although the Italians eat theirs with sausages.  The consumption of lentils is supposed to bring luck and prosperity for the year to come.

Italy & Mexico: In both of these countries, it’s all about “red” for the ladies – at least as far as what they wear underneath is concerned. Red underwear is supposed to bring fortune and success for the New Year. In Argentina, pink is the color of choice when it comes to New Year’s Eve underwear as it is supposedly attracts true love!

Spain: Most Spaniards start the New Year by eating grapes. With each strike of midnight at the Puerta del Sol clock tower in Madrid (broadcast all over the country on TV), it is traditional to eat one grape – in three second intervals. Make sure you don’t choke!

Denmark & Brazil: Here they bounce into the New Year. The Danes jump off a chair or table. The Brazilians head for the sea where they jump over seven small waves, making a wish for the New Year with each one.

Russia: The Russians literally “drink” their wishes with Champagne. In Russia, the tradition is to write down wishes for the New Year on a piece of paper, which is then burned and the ashes poured into the Champagne, before drinking it all down.  Cheers!

Austria: In Vienna in particular, when the clock strikes midnight, the question to ask is “May I have the next dance?” In the Austrian capital, as well as elsewhere in the country, the New Year’s waltz is much more important than drinking champagne or pouring molten lead.  Perhaps it’s because Austrians feel the need to move after eating another of their New Year’s traditions - pig’s head.

China: Chinese New Year is a science in its own right. This starts with the fact that it is held on a different date each year. In 2017, Chinese New Year falls on January 28, with a variety of traditions being celebrated over the course of 15 days. The celebrations end with a colorful Lantern Festival.

However it began, the @transcript team would like to wish you plenty of success and happiness for 2017!