Lost in Translation

As a global community, translation plays a big role in ensuring that countries unite, communicate and trade with one another, but what happens when things get lost in translation.

Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. Translation is a special skill that professionals work hard to develop.

It is often thought that translation is easy. People often think that it’s just a matter of replacing each source word with the corresponding translated word. Unfortunately, translation is much more complicated than that.

Language is complex; there can be multiple ways of saying the same thing in another language, not to mention things like syntax, grammar, colloquialisms, making the potential for mistakes, huge.

This blog post takes a look at some of the biggest and sometimes funniest translation fails.

  1. Coca-Cola – In China Coca-Cola was translated as “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax” depending on the dialect. They eventually found the right Chinese characters that are phonetically close to the brand – “ko-kou-ko-le” – which means ‘happiness in the mouth’.
  2. Parker Pen – In Mexico they translated their slogan: “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” To “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. The company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass.
  3. Pepsi – The Pepsi slogan, “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated in Taiwanese became, “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”. Which was not only something of bad horror movies but an insult.
  4. Kentucky Fried Chicken – In China, the KFC slogan “finger-lickin’ good” became “eat your fingers off”. Something that is considered uncivilised and rude in Chinese culture.
  5. American Airlines – When AA went to advertise their new leather seats they used the slogan, “Fly in Leather”, which they translated in Spanish for the market in Mexico as, “Fly naked”
  6. Schweppes – In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated into “Schweppes Toilet Water”.

Top Tips:

Companies should avoid literal translation as it can cause a whole host of confusion, not to mention a PR disaster.

  1. Don’t rely on a free online translation service for your business translation. While these tools can be useful to help you translate incoming data, they should never be used for outgoing data.
  2. Find a translator who is not only fluent in the foreign language, but someone who is a native speaker of that language to translate your marketing materials. A native speaker is less likely to make mistakes, which could impact your businesses reputation.
  3. Find a translator who is an expert in the foreign country’s culture and customs as well as language. They will avoid an offensive or inappropriate message. A phrase that is common and well known in your native language may be completely meaningless in a foreign language, or worse, it may have a negative connotation.
  4. Never assume that you can use the same translation for different countries, even if they speak the same language.

To find out more about our Translation Services email us: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk


What is Medical Transcription?

You may think that all transcription is the same, you would be wrong; there are many different types of transcription which all require different skills.

So here is a detailed description of what medical transcription is all about.

When medical professionals examine patients they often dictate important information about the meeting including; patient history, tests, physical examination and diagnoses.  They use medical terminology and can often speak so quickly. This dictation is then usually included in a medical report about the patient.

Doctors do not dictate as if they are a business manager who is dictating a letter to his secretary, they often talk very quickly, use medical terminology and slang, which they expect the medical transcriptionist to know the spelling and what they mean by their shorthand language.

As you can imagine the Doctors are likely to be surrounded by other medical professionals and could be having conversations whilst they are dictating, so the transcriptionist needs to be able to decipher what should be included in the report and what should be omitted.  We use judgment in deciding what to include and what not to include.

What skills do you need to be a Medical Transcriptionist?

It is often mistaken that as a medical transcriptionist you will need to have rapid typing skills, while keep a consistent speed is important, the most important factor in medical transcription is that you have good medical knowledge good judgement and logic, as I explained previously all aspects of the medical professionals conversation is recorded, including chatter about things completely unrelated to the patient.

What qualifications do you need to be a Medical Transcriptionist?

All Medical Transcriptionists and Medical Secretaries are required to undertake a City and Guild Level 3 AMSPAR Certificate in Medical Audio Transcription. This course is available at the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMA).

Here at Fingertips Typing Services we have a team of highly skilled Medical Transcriptionists, if you would like more information on this service please email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk


Translation Services: Human vs Software

Computers and technology have been designed to help us speed up tasks and processes, save us time and make our lives easier. But there are significant differences between what computers/ technology can do in comparison to humans.

When looking for translation services you will see many translation software adverts all highlighting that they can translate many words quickly, can make grammatical changes as the basic rules of translation and grammar are embedded in its programming. You might think good, problem solved, it’s easy to install and cheaper than paying a human to do it, however, translation software lacks one key ingredient to making it the next best thing. It cannot express the meaning of a sentence, because machines can’t understand context, they run on a strict set of defined rules.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of software translation vs human.

The advantages of machine translation:

  • Price – Many translation tools are available free of charge such as; Google Translate and Skype Translator
  • Fast – Get your translation as quickly as you can type (or copy and paste) your document into a translation tool. It can take minutes rather than hours or days.
  •  Multiple Languages – You can translate to more than one language using one tool

 The disadvantages of machine translation:

  • Quality and Accuracy – Generally the level of accuracy of these online tools is very low and often inconsistent across different languages. There is also no quality control process, so unless you have a reader of that language you won’t know if there are any mistakes until you publish the document
  • Context – As I have said previously translation software cannot translate context
  • It can be dangerous – There are just some things that you would not want to be translated by software without being checked by a human. For example: Translating instructions for medical equipment and aviation manuals would require 100% accuracy as mistakes could cost lives!

The advantages of human translation

  • Context – Humans can interpret context, humour, and irony, capturing the same meaning, rather than simply translating words
  • Quality Control – Human translators will review their work, proof-read for accuracy and if you use a professional translation service there is likely to be a quality control process in place
  • Understanding – Humans can understand the idiosyncratic differences between languages, the use of puns and slang, whereas machines cannot
  • Alternative Language – Sometimes the literal translation isn’t possible, a machine would not be able to find a suitable alternative

The disadvantages of human translation

  • Cost – Unlike the free software there is a cost associated with translating documents.
  • Slow – The turnaround time for translation is longer, but this is because there are often quality control processes in place

Of course, there is always a time and a place for both human translation and translation software for example:

When to use software translation:

  • Bulk translate large documents ready for a human translator to improve upon
  • You are translating for internal use and 100% accuracy is not required

When to use human translation:

  • When accuracy is important
  • If your document is to be read by a consumer audience
  • When you have a duty of care to your reader e.g. medical manuals
  • When translating marketing material and context is important

 How to choose between human translation and software translation?

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Do you care about how my content reads, does it flow well, did you want to use humour or do you want to get the basics of the documents content across as quickly as possible ?
  2. Are you precious about accuracy or can you live with a few errors?
  3. Does this translated content reflect my company’s brand or messaging?

 We hope that this article gives you some something to consider when it comes to translation services and software.

 For more information about the Translation services offered by Fingertips Typing Services click here

The Top Three Ways to Use Transcription in your Business

Many businesses are adopting transcription to streamline administrative tasks, freeing up valuable time to focus on business goals and projects.

Here are our top three ways transcription can be beneficial and save time and money:

  1. Record ideas and project goals – All successful projects start with a great idea, and a set of tasks that need to be completed. With the help of transcription you can record the ideas, discussions and tasks highlighted without the need for someone to write or minute the meeting. It also ensures that nothing is missed, which inevitably happens when jotting it down in a note pad.
  2. Record meetings and interviews – These are an essential part of business life, but anyone who has taken minutes a meeting will know that it is a tedious task. By recording the meetings or interviews you will ensure that everything is captured and that what was discussed flows naturally. It also ensures that all participants in the meeting are focused solely on what is being discussed rather than worrying about taking notes, making them more productive.
  3. Capture your events and conferences – Networking events and conferences play an important part in business growth. These types of events allow you and your customers (exiting and prospect) to get to know each other better. But what about those customers that were unable to make it, or were not invited, because you didn’t know they existed? If you record and then transcribe the content of your event into text and publish it online, they you are likely to engage with a wider audience and open your business to even more opportunities.

Fingertips typing offers an audio transcription service, for more information on our services and how we can help free up your businesses time and make it more productive then contact us: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Author: Cerri Killworth, Fingertips Typing Services

Top 5 Tips on Content Writing

I wanted to share with you some of my tips and secrets to writing good high quality content, it is not an art, it is a skill that you need to master and work through daily.

I am lucky as it is my day job to write interesting and compelling articles, but if you are new to blogging, content or article writing it can be a little daunting as to where to start.  It is important to remember that writing quality content takes dedicated effort.

Here are my top five tips to being successful:

  1. Research – Always be on the hunt for ideas and information, as ideas pop into your head write them down or save an audio file of your thoughts so that when you get back to your desk to get writing you can clearly remember what you were thinking of at the time. Choose your research source carefully, when looking for referencing material and accurate information. THINK: Is your source reputable, a respected resource will give your article more weight than several unknown resources.
  1. Use your voice – Don’t try to be someone else, let your personality shine through, after all you are unique, creating your own style of writing will ensure that your work stands out from the crowd.
  1. Organise Your Information – Create an outline of how you want the article and the information you are trying to get across flows, so that it is easy to read and understand. Planning your content and what you are trying to achieve is extremely important, what is your reason for creating the content, if you can’t think of a good reason then park it and come back to it later.
  1. Think of a quality title – Your title is just, if not more important than the content of your article or blog, as it is the first thing your readers will see. If you cannot connect with them straight away, then you content will remain unread.

According to Copyblogger[1] 80% of people will read your headlines, but only 20% of those people will read the rest of your content!

Examples of titles that perform well:

  • Top Ten Lists
  • How To
  • Interviews
  • Secrets of
  1. Edit – You would never submit the first draft of a dissertation or coursework, so why would you do the same with an article or blog. Proof read and edit in several rounds of review to make sure your content is written well.

Final Thoughts

Writing interesting and persuasive content isn’t easy, but by following the steps above you will make your life easier.  It is important to remember that you can’t be everything to everyone, so make sure you know who you are and what you want to do.

Keep your message clear and concise so that it is easy for your readers to understand.

Good Luck!

Author: Cerri Killworth, Fingertips Typing Services

[1] Source: http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/

Make your New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, a bit of an institution. The beginning of every new year marks a fresh start, in both your personal and professional life. However, according to a study by the University of Bristol[1], 88% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail. S

So why is do we find it so hard to achieve our goals and stick to, making ourselves better people.

Put simply, we are often unrealistic with our goals, we make them too hard for us to achieve and therefore we give up.

We have put together a list on how to make your resolutions realistic and stick to them.

  1. Make a master plan – Instead of just selecting one or two resolutions make up a list of what you want to accomplish in 2017 and plan how you can achieve these. After all you wouldn’t start a business without a business plan and actions that you need to take along the way to get to your goal.
  2. Think, are the goals achievable? – There is no point writing down a goal if there is no feasible chance that you can achieve it. It is pointless and will make you disheartened. Start small and build up. Remember SMART Goals – (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results, Timely) I am sure that you use these types of goals in your work life, the same can be applied to your personal life as well, setting mini-goals along the way will break down your bigger ones making you feel less overwhelmed.
  3. Use Technology – Why not use an app to record and measure your goals, but remember to use them. If one of your goals is to lose weight and get fit, you may download an app to log your calories and activity, but that is just one part of it, you need to get up off the sofa and go for a run or that gym class, the app alone isn’t going to make you thin!
  4. The Power of the positive ‘NO’ – You do not always need to say yes to everything, one of the most common things people fear is saying no, but in order to be our most productive from time to time we must say no giving you time to focus on existing commitments. For example; outsource or delegate any work that prevents you from achieving your goals or distracts you from your core area of work.

If you follow these simple rules and ensure that your resolutions are SMART and not vague then you are less like to break them.

It is also important to remember not to over commit yourself so make sure that your resolutions and manageable and fit in with your lifestyle.

[1] Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_resolution


What to look out for in a Translation Service?

To get a professional translation service, you need to research with a certain amount of diligence. As with any service providers, there are good ones and bad ones. You want to make sure your documents are communicated clearly regardless of what language It is, the intended meaning and tone of your document needs to carry across.

A qualified and good translator will not only get the correct words down on the page, but also get across the tone and meaning of the document or written work. Language and communication are complex, and a certified translator should be able to convey your message easily.

Freelance Vs Translation Company

There are a couple of different options on who to hire when it comes to translation services including; a freelance translator or a professional translation company. There are benefits to each.

  •  Freelance Translators – Thanks to the internet these people can be based anywhere in the world. Pros: Freelance translation often provides the lowest cost option as you will only pay for your translation needs and will avoid extra costs. Cons: Freelance translators are likely to have several clients, so turnaround times for translation may be slower. They may not have quality control processes in place.
  • Professional Translation Company – These types of businesses can provide industry-specific translations and translation into multiple languages. They will be able to provide a high-quality translation and consistent turnaround times. Pros: They have established processes for translation and knows what works best as they are experts. Cons: Their services may be higher than that of a freelance contractor. However, this is often due to: quality control processes and management ensuring a high level of accuracy.

What qualities should you look for?

There are so many companies and freelance translators out there but what makes one translation company better than another?

  1. Certification – This will ensure the quality of your translation, so to get the best results I would recommend that you work with an ISO-certified translation company. The ISO is the International Standards Organisation, who specialise in developing quality standards for businesses. One of the services that the ISO certifies is translation.
  2. Language Experience – The best translators have fluency in both languages – the one you are translating from and the one you are translating to.
  3. Industry Expertise – Find a translator or translation company that is familiar with your industry. This will mean that they understand the technical terminology of your industry, so they will be able to convey your message and tone better. They will understand your audience and how to address them.
  4. Get References – Customer testimonials and case studies are great, see if some are available on their website. Are they from reputable individuals or companies? Ask for contact details of some of their customers so that you can talk to them about their experience.
  5. Time Scales – How quickly do you need your documents translated? What is your deadline.  If you want a quick turnaround it might be better to look for a professional translation agency as they often operate 24/7 and can process new requests at any time of the day or week.  Freelance translators may already have work on and are bound by their existing schedules, whereas with a translation company they are likely to be more flexible.
  6. Quality Control – Having a quality control process in place is important as it will ensure that not only your translation is correct but that the tone and way it is delivered to your audience is correct too. A good QC process includes multiple levels of editing and proofreading.
  7. Value for money – It may seem more expensive initially to go with a professional transcription company but cheap is not always a good thing as poor translation can have a detrimental effect on your business, damage your reputation and end up costing you more in the long term. High-quality translation is worth paying for as it can improve your business prospects.

If you are looking for Translation Services then speak to Fingertips Typing Services, we have some great professional translators working for us that have experience in many industries. We can turn any document into a professional one. Click here

All The Good Things – A positive round up of 2016

2017 is just around the corner and as businesses start to wind down ready for the festive celebrations, it is time to reflect on 2016.

2016 has been dubbed one of the worst years in history, but, it was not all bad, yes there have been a number of sad and unexpected things that have taken place, but I prefer not to dwell on the negative and instead look at the positives in everything.

So I have scoured the internet far and wide to put together a list of good things that have happened in 2016:

Here is my Top Ten List:

  1. Improvements in cancer treatment – Breakthroughs in Chemotherapy have increased the 5-year survival for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27%. [1]
  2. Climate change has slowed – According to a study published in Science, the ozone layer is repairing itself albeit slowly from the worlds efforts to reducing CFC’s in the atmosphere. The Ozone will be considered healed by 2060.[2]
  3. Wild tiger numbers have increased -According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tigers Forum, the number of tigers have increased. In 2010, it was estimated there were around 3,200 animals, but this has since gone up to at least 3,890.
  4. The Zika Virus was downgraded – The United Nations Health agency and the WHO declared that the Zika Virus no longer constitutes as an international emergency, The Virus which spread across 30 countries including many in: Latin American, the Caribbean has been linked to birth defects in children, with 2,100cases reported in Brazil alone.
  5. Andy Murray’s most successful year – 2016 has been the most successful year of Andy Murrays career to date winning a total of 9 titles including: Italian Open, Queens club, China Open, Vienna Open Shanghai Masters, Paris Masters, Wimbledon, ATP World Tour Finals and an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.[3]
  6. Breakthrough HIV Treatment – A cure for HIV is closer after a trial in British man showed no sign of the virus after initial treatment. The treatment combined antiretroviral drugs with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV and a vaccine that stimulates the immune system in an attempt to destroy the cells carrying the virus. This gives hope to the 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV.[4]
  7. Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter’s orbit – Nasa’s Juno space probe braved intense radiation and space debris on its 1.8-million-mile journey into orbit around Jupiter. It arrived at the planet in July after a five-year journey and for the next 20 months it will explore the origins of the largest planet in our solar system.
  8. Team GB Success at the 2016 Rio Olympics – Out of the 366 athletes that went to the Rio Olympics 130 of them returned with a medal. Making the Rio Olympics one of the most successful for the Great British team and a podium strike rate of 61%!.[5]
  9. The underdogs Leicester win the Premiership – In the football world 2016 was a bit like a fairy-tale for Leicester City fans, who were written off as relegation candidates at the start of the season and 5,000 to 1 to win the premiership. After an incredible journey and against all odds in May 2016 Leicester won the premiership and the nations bookmakers paid out a whopping £25 million pounds to those fans bold enough to make the bet, which is the biggest loss in British history on a single sporting market.
  10. France introduced a law preventing supermarkets from wasting food – France became the first country in the world to introduce a law forbidding supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Instead, any food left on the shelves will be donated to charities and food banks, providing millions of meals for people who struggle to afford nutritious food.

We would like to thank all our customers for their business in 2016 and wish everyone a successful and prosperous 2017.

Have a great festive break and see you all in the New Year feeling rejuvenated and determined to make 2017 the best year yet!


[1]Source:  http://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/media/697010/pcuk-250-report.pdf

[2] Source: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6296/269

[3] Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Murray_career_statistics#Career_achievements

[4] Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-man-hiv-aids-medical-trial-breakthrough-cured-a7341801.html

[5] Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/37132833

How have secretarial services changed?

The growth in Information technology and modernisation of businesses has meant that secretarial roles have changed over the last few years.

In fact, secretaries and assistants are almost disappearing from corporate life, the drive to reduce headcount and streamline businesses removing ‘middle’ managers have caused this decline, when in fact many C level execs could really benefit from an assistant and increase their productivity.

The “secretary” 20 years ago, was responsible for keeping files organised, taking dictations, and conveying information from one individual to another with accuracy, not to mention tea making, dry cleaning pick up and travel planning. With the birth of the PC, quickly followed by the internet and email, much of the role of a secretary fell to the wayside.  However, the role of the secretary is by no means obsolete, they adapted and In fact they have even become technology experts in many offices.

They are the first stop in repairing broken equipment or solving software problems, their tasks have expanded to include internet research, mastering Microsoft Office and other programs, planning large company events, budgeting, customer service, designing collateral, and drafting – rather than note taking, dictation and filing.

Here are some ways that the role of a secretary has changed over the last 20 years

  • Supporting multiple managers – A 2011 survey conducted by the International Association of Administrative Professionals found that 52% of assistants said they supported three or more people,
  • Rise in Virtual Assistance – This role has been on the rise over the last few years and although elicits an image of a computer-generated AI, these virtual assistants are real people working for you but from their own office or home office.
  • Varied duties – One size no longer fits all, and a secretarial or assistant role is no longer a full-time one, many elements are now responsibilities of other members of the team.

What could be included in the future role of a secretary?

  • Blogging – Many top-level execs like to be seen to be posting thought leadership pieces, articles, and thoughts on topics to improve their online profile and ultimately gain more business. But this kind of activity takes time and skill. We might see these types of tasking being absorbed by assistants, PA’s and secretaries which would mean that these types of jobs will require the next generation of skill sets.
  • Social Media Management – Like thought leadership and blogging, keeping up with your online social presence is very important for top level execs. After all the virtual world of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is where a lot of business takes place. Although managing social media networks usually falls under the marketing teams remit, they simply do not have time to manage the social media accounts of the many execs. So, this role could now fall to secretaries and administrators.

I am sure that the business landscape will continue to change, companies are running smarter, leaner and sharing resources to maximise efficiency, paving way for new duties and job descriptions. It is just a case of wait and see.

Why you should transcribe You Tube Videos and Vlogs

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world — second only to Google, its parent company. 60 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube every minute[1] and with over a billion users[2], how do you get your video seen and heard by them when there is a sea of videos out there.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a massive part in your success in getting your video noticed, the basics of which are to use: keywords, title, description, and tags. However search engines can only crawl text, not images or audio, so as a vlogger or YouTuber you need to give your video text which involves having a full and accurate transcript.

By transcribing your YouTube videos you are likely to see your number of views increase.

Why you should transcribe your videos?

  • Aid People with Hearing Difficulties – There are 70 million deaf people worldwide, by transcribing your videos you will give people with hearing problems access to your videos. your videos. The laws also requires captioning videos in some context to help deaf people access the same content as everybody.  So it is better to transcribe your videos to be on the safe side
  • Better SEO and More Traffic to Your Website – As highlighted about by adding full transcription, keywords and tags you are allowing search engines to access the full content of your video, helping people find them quickly and easily
  • Improved Comprehension – Non native English speakers often find it easier to watch videos with transcription, making the content easier to understand and memorise
  • When you can’t access audio – If you are on public transport, a library or in the workplace there may be times when you do not have any headphones and therefore can’t listen  to the audio of a video. By transcribing your file you will still ensure that your audience can access it, wherever they are

How to transcribe your videos?

YouTube does have the facility to caption and transcribe your videos, however these tools are basic and although a good starting point, they still often produce errors which will mean that you need to manually clean up the errors which can be both time consuming and tedious.

You could use transcribing software or online resources such as:

  • SpeechPad
  • Fivver

You can use a professional transcription service like FingerTips Typing Services, which provides high quality services, with a quick turn around.  Contact us to see how we can help

[1] Source: Jeff Bullas.com http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/05/23/35-mind-numbing-youtube-facts-figures-and-statistics-infographic/

[2] Source: YouTube https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/en-GB/statistics.html