Written by Jennifer Lee
Dating back to Ancient Mesopotamia when medical, mathematical, and chemical knowledge was inscribed on clay tablets in varying languages, translation has always aided the progression of medicine. Inherited knowledge from ancient civilisations contributed to Hippocrates’ Corpus Hippocraticum in 5th century BCE, which was one of many Ancient Greek works translated into Arabic in 9th century Baghdad, Anglo-Saxon in 10th century England, Latin in the 11th century, Castilian in the 13th century, and so on. Each further translation of medical theory has allowed scholars around the world to connect and contribute more to medicine throughout the course of history.
Medical translation, it’s fairly safe to say, is a specialism of its own, and not one that any translator can simply take on. While medical translation does share some features in common with other types of translation, such as the need to adapt cultural differences and the methods of translation, the translator’s priorities are slightly different when it comes to medical writing.
Background Knowledge is Vital
Although many fields of translation also require a thorough background knowledge of the subject, there are few disciplines where it is as vital as medical translation.
Comprehension is an important part of the translation process and medical texts tend to involve less focus on aspects such as rhythm and cultural references.
The medical translator’s priority is to adequately handle “factual complexity and accuracy”, to quote Maria González Davies and Vincent Montalt. Accuracy and validity of information could not be more vital when the health of patients may be at stake. And because accuracy is so important, this means that it’s essential that the translator have significant expertise in the subject at hand.
“If [you] don’t understand the source text, [you] can’t translate it. ” ~ Maria González Davies and Vincent Montalt
While it’s fairly obvious to say, it’s still important to remember that if you cannot understand a source text, you cannot translate it.
One of the basic tasks of a translator is to understand, so that they can enable their readers to do the same. If a translator fails to understand the source text, then it is likely to be misinterpreted or not understood at all by the reader.
Medical professionals should not have to work harder to understand a medical text because a translator has failed to properly communicate the source meaning.
Considering Target Audience
As is also the case with other areas of translation, communicative purpose is a very important aspect of medical translation that must be taken into account.
If the target audience are patients, then the writing of the medical text will be vastly different than if they were healthcare professionals. If the text is for experts of a given field in medicine, then the writing will be significantly less explicatory than it would be for medical students. How familiar the target audience is with specialised terminology and concepts is an important consideration to take into account when translating medical texts.
Which country the audience is from is also an important thing to take into account as many medical terms are spelled differently in different countries, the most obvious example being the difference between UK English and US English. Localisation of the text can sometimes be necessary to ensure that the writing conforms with the typical practice in that country. Some examples of medical terminology that differs in the UK vs the US are:
At AccuEast, we implement particularly rigid Quality Assurance procedures in our medical translation projects, with suitably qualified translators and proof-readers, as well as specialist medical informants. For more information on our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Dawn McIntyre
Targeting a Chinese audience for your business brand through social media is not always that straight forward, particularly if you’re used to using western marketing tools. You need to know which style of language to use and how to attract the audience, using specific channels like WeChat, Weibo, Little Red Book, Bilibili and Douyin, to name just a few. Investing your money into the right marketing strategy is key to business growth and success.
Chinese marketing agencies and common issues
Some of the common pitfalls of engaging with Chinese agencies (or using a UK agency who outsource to China), is that although they know the social media channels to use, your brand and product may end up looking like every other brand style! They may just upload some images and Chinese content, but in the same style as thousands of other UK companies churning out material for China’s social media platforms. If you have read our other blog posts, you’ll know that colour, style and dialect are vital.
It’s clear to see that UK brands are spending their money to reach target audiences in China, but unfortunately it can be difficult for them to really know how their advertisements come across. While checking the numbers of likes, follows, shares, etc. is important, this line of monitoring cannot be the only thing that your marketing plan relies on.
As a translation company specialising in Chinese, AccuEast have worked with various UK in-house marketing teams to help them be more specific, brand savvy, and filter out weaker content that blends in with the crowd. Our staff know both young and older target audiences and see the same problems occurring time after time. Agencies push out generic brand material targeting a two-dimensional idea of a Chinese consumer – all “China-red” with no nuance or consideration to what Chinese viewers want to engage with.
Ensure that your agency is delivering 100% originality, and freshness to your brand. Don’t blend in!
Check with your agency to understand which regions your content is targeting, as Chinese is spoken in many different countries and regions and the dialect is different for everyone! For instance, Simplified Mandarin is used in Mainland China, as well as Singapore and Malaysia. This is a modern form of Chinese characters which uses fewer strokes to make the characters simpler to read and write. Traditional characters, however, are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao and are written using the original script. There’s also Cantonese which is spoken in Hong Kong, Macao and parts of Southern Mainland China.
It’s important to know the geographic area of your target audience in order to use appropriate dialects. It’s vital to ensure your agency is using correct language and producing interesting content and images to make your brand stand out.
For more help and advice for translation and social media support, contact us on email@example.com
Written by Dawn McIntyre
Whether you are a small, medium or a global company, your brand is one of the key important factors to your success. Investing in your brand and its future is everything, so it is crucial that you protect your organisation’s identity and reputation no matter what! With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the risks involved with translating content the wrong way and how this can create a major issue for your brand.
Use of Machine Translation Tools
It’s easy to consider taking a short cut by translating your company’s content using machine translation tools such as Google Translate (which is one of the most popular choices). However, anyone in the business of professional translation will cringe at the thought of using this option.
Machine translation tools such as Google Translate can be so harmful to your brand without you even realising it, and there are some real horror stories where internal resources have used these tools and created unthinkable brand damage. But why risk such damage to your business? While it cuts corners and costs, it also generates a huge potential risk.
Why is this machine translation tool risky? In order to explain, allow us to give you the bigger picture of the service which machine translation does not deliver.
It’s important to understand that machine translation tools are AI neural machines that use statistical models to create translations. What this means is that the machine predicts the likelihood of a sequence of words using statistics. While this is very successful in comparison to previous models of machine translation, it isn’t perfect. Sometimes the software will create errors of omission and leave sections of text untranslated, or it may make terminological mistakes.
Would your internal resources know if it was incorrect, and would they have the ability to make necessary changes regarding terminology, localisation, and consistency? Unless they’re fluent in both the target language and English, chances are they probably wouldn’t notice the mistakes.
This can lead to documents and information being mistranslated in a way that’s confusing to the readers. Even worse, sometimes the results can be insulting or disrespectful!
Professional Translation Tool Options
The safest and best way to translating your organisation’s content or marketing material is to use a company who has experience with software such as SDL Trados or MemoQ. This option will allow you to have more reassurance and less risk for your brand.
AccuEast also have strict processes in place which are equally important to the content translation. You can never underestimate the importance of quality checks, proof-reading, and active localisation.
At AccuEast, professional audit checks are undertaken, freelance linguists are experienced and knowledgeable, content quality is inspected, and standard industry software is used, such as SDL Trados and MemoQ. Features of this kind of software are terminology machine translation and localisation. MemoQ is designed for freelance translators to reuse previous translations of terms stored in a memory bank, which saves time and cuts the cost to the customer! This software helps to improve the quality of the translation, checks for consistency, and ensures the use of the correct terminology is in place. These tools can also be used by the proof reader.
To protect your brand and reputation, when translating your content and marketing material, be sure not to use common machine translation tools. Nurture your business and brand and reach out to a professional company to protect you every step of the way. It costs nothing to get a quote and can massively save you money in the long run by showing a positive brand image to the international market.
Written by Dawn McIntyre
People may often be mistaken in thinking that utilising marketing channels in China is the same as doing so in the UK, with your standard Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Tapping into this vast, but challenging market is an indispensable advantage for companies seeking international business but does require an experienced hand. This article will talk about what you can expect, and a great way of reducing cost without having to speak Mandarin.
Point 1. Set up your Chinese social media channel(s). WeChat is the most popular platform in China, and we’ve found that it tends to perform better than other platforms such as Weibo. However, this may differ depending on your product, service or company. Start with WeChat and once you are gaining followers and promoting regularly on this channel, you can look at expanding to other platforms.
Point 2. Make sure to do your research when deciding on images and layouts. Colour and style are almost as important as the content! Checking with someone who has expert knowledge in this area can help you make sure that you’re getting the most out of the time and money you put into your presentation. Colour associations and aesthetic preference of Chinese consumers are not the same as those of UK consumers.
Point 3. Formulate your marketing strategy with help of someone who knows the market, platforms, and language. Brand image is very important in China and if represented poorly, it can have a lasting effect on your company’s reputation. In order to protect your brand from risk and damage, it’s important to seek expert advice in this area.
Point 4. Get your channel set up correctly from the start and save on time and cost by offering a work placement to a Chinese student experienced in social media content marketing. Not only are you providing students with valuable opportunities, but you also benefit from someone who knows Chinese culture and how to market to Chinese nationals.
Point 5. Make sure you’re learning wisely and delve into Chinese social media with the help of an experienced company. Check and double-check the translation, and always protect your brand.
AccuEast has produced social media articles for UK business and higher education institutions seeking to access the Chinese market. We work in partnership with Chinese universities who have gifted young students that speak excellent English and currently run and manage their university’s social media channels. All translations are checked by our team at AccuEast.
The student placement program is set for around 6 weeks, allowing UK business to access expert informants on Chinese marketing and allowing the students to gain experience for their CV.
If you would like to know more about our short term, online student placements, please enquire on our website: https://accueast.com/en/contact-us/
By Jennifer Lee
It’s a cold night, but there’s light all around you, shining through the red and gold rice paper of hanging lanterns, and casting a soft, warm glow on the evening. As you bite into hot, soft tangyuan, its warmth heats you up inside, and the delicate sesame flavour dances lightly across your taste buds.
Such is the setting on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month every year all across China, as hundreds of millions of people gather together to celebrate Shanyuan Jie, otherwise known as the Chinese Lantern Festival. This celebration marks the end of the Spring Festival and often involves elaborate lantern displays, some of which measure over 20 metres high, depicting animals, dragons, palaces, trees, and more. These are often arranged together to illustrate famous scenes from historical or mythological stories.
There are several beliefs about the origins of the Lantern Festival, but given that it dates back over 2,000 years, making it one of China’s oldest celebrations, no-one really knows for sure. Some believe it to originate from Buddhism, and others believe it to originate from Taoism.
One legend linked to the festival’s origin speaks of a beautiful crane that flew down to earth from heaven but was hunted and killed by some villagers. The legend goes that this angered the Jade Emperor of heaven because he favoured the crane, so he planned a storm of fire to destroy the village on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. However, the Jade Emperor’s daughter warned the villagers, and they came up with the idea to hang red lanterns around their houses, build bonfires in the streets, and set off firecrackers, so that the village would appear as though it were already on fire. On the fifteenth day, the troops sent down from heaven saw that the village was already set ablaze and returned to tell the Jade Emperor. The village was saved and from that day on, the people celebrated the anniversary by carrying lanterns on the streets and setting off fireworks.
Some activities often enjoyed during this festival include:
For photos of these traditional Lantern Festival celebrations, take a little look at the image gallery below. Yuánxiāojié kuàilè! Happy Lantern Festival!
For more content on Chinese culture, please visit our social media pages. To enquire about our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Jennifer Lee
The word “untranslatable” is a little bit of a misnomer here, because technically nothing is ever untranslatable. Meaning can always be conveyed, albeit sometimes less accurately. By “untranslatable words” what we actually mean here are words with no direct translation, no single equivalent. There are many ways translators can deal with these “untranslatable words” depending on the type of text they’re translating. You can leave the word untranslated to emphasise the foreign culture of the source text, you can use explicitation to clarify the meaning of the word, or you can describe the meaning without using the word. All of these translation techniques work perfectly well in the right situation, but no matter how you solve the problem, as the translator you will always be aware of the gap in understanding between the target culture and the source culture. You could see this as sad, that your target audience may never fully understand the culture behind these words, but we prefer to focus on the idea that the language you speak affects the way that you see and interact with the world around you, and the more language you learn, the more you can broaden that experience.
The following is a list of ‘untranslatable’ words to help you broaden your experience:
[Italian verb] Commuovere – to induce emotional participation in a story, to arouse feelings of pity, pain or passionate connection, to be moved in a heartwarming way
[Dutch adjective] Gezellig – having a positive, warm atmosphere, can be used to describe a room, person or social gathering, connotes time spent with loved ones, togetherness
[Greek adjective] Meraki – pouring yourself wholeheartedly into something, such as cooking, and doing so with soul, creativity, and love.
[Welsh noun] Hiraeth – a homesickness for somewhere you cannot return to, nostalgia and grief for the lost places of your past, or places that never were, particularly in the context of longing for old Wales and Welsh culture/language.
[Japanese noun] Komorebi – the scattered light and shadows that appear when sunlight filters through the trees.
[English noun] Serendipity – an unplanned fortunate discovery – originates from Horace Walpole referencing the Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip (old name for Sri Lanka), who were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of”.
[Chinese adjective] 香 (Xiāng) – could be translated as “fragrant”, but when referring to food, this term alludes to the rich, strong aroma that opens up your appetite.
[Yiddish noun] Trepverter – a witty comeback that you think of only when it is to late to use. Literally “staircase words”
[Japanese noun] Boketto – gazing vacantly into the distance without really thinking about anything specific
[Farsi noun] Tiám – the twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone
[Nguni Bantu noun] Ubuntu – an important South African philosophy with many different interpretations, essentially meaning “I am, because you are”, a person is a person through other people, community is what gives us our humanity, we belong to each other
[Inuit noun] Iktsuarpok – the act of repeatedly going outside to keep checking if someone is coming.
[Japanese noun] Tsundoku – leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.
[German noun] Warmduscher – refers to someone who would only ever take a warm shower (not hot or cold, but just warm) – implying they are someone who plays it safe, is a bit of a wimp or is unwilling to step outside their comfort zone
[Korean noun] 눈치 (Nunchi) – literally “eye-measure”, the subtle art and ability to listen and gauge another person’s mood, can be described in Western culture as a form of emotional intelligence.
[Brazillian Portuguese noun] Cafuné – the act of tenderly running your fingers through the hair of someone you love
[French adjective] Feuille-morte – having the colour of a faded, dying leaf, yellowish brown
These ‘untranslatable’ words can be quite beautiful as they often refer to shared human experiences, and describe moments of living that we all know intimately, once more bringing into question whether these words are really untranslatable after all…
Written by Jennifer Lee
Explore the World is a new blog series here at AccuEast, where we take you to different parts of the world to discuss regional languages, language extinction, regional culture, and linguistic history.
Let’s make our way down to central China now, through the regions of Henan and Hubei and south into Hunan.
The three primary regions making up Central China are Henan, Hubei, and Hunan.
Let’s start in Henan. This region whose name means “south of the river” is also often referred to as “Zhongyuan” meaning “central plain” or “midlands”.
During the Xia dynasty (the first known Chinese dynasty, est. 2070- 1600 BC), Henan’s present-day city Luoyang and its surrounding areas were considered to be the “centre of the world” politically, economically, and culturally – as this was where the political seat of the Xia dynasty was located.
Thus, Henan is one of the birthplaces of Chinese civilization, with over 3200 years of recorded history. It left behind many heritage sites, such as the ruins of “Yin” city, the Shang dynasty’s capital, and the Shaolin Temple (birthplace of Chan Buddhism). In fact, four of the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China are found in Henan province.
Henan is also the birthplace of Tai Chi (Tàijíquán), 3 schools of which (Chen, Yang and Wu) were first practiced in the Chen Village.
The primary language spoken in Henan is Mandarin. However, there are also a number of Jin speakers in the Northwest of Henan.
Moving further south, you may know of the Hubei province by its capital city, Wuhan, which is the most populous city in Central China and has over 11 million residents. Much like Henan, Hubei also primarily speaks Mandarin, although in the Southeast (where it borders the Jiangxi region) you can also find speakers of Gan, a language originating in the Jiangxi province, but more on that next time.
Xiang Chinese, also known as Hunanese, is the primary language spoken in the province of Hunan and has roughly 38 million speakers. The language has been heavily influenced by Mandarin, which is spoken in some of its northern and western regions, and also by Gan, which is attributed to the large migration from Jiangxi to Hunan during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644).
Xiang-speaking Hunanese people have played an important role in modern Chinese history. They massively contributed to major revolutionary movements such as:
The founding father of the PRC, Chairman Mao, was actually a Xiang speaker himself, as was famous military leader of the late Qing Dynasty, General Tso.
Thank you for joining us on our journey through Central China! Join us next time as we continue South…
Article written by Dawn McIntyre
The world of translating documents can be challenging, especially when working with subject matters such as finance, legal and life science. It is essential when choosing your preferred language translation service provider, that you fully understand their project management experience.
AccuEast have a trusted and reliable process in place when it comes to translation and project management. Here we provide some information to help you understand the process a little more!
What does TEP mean?
Translation work is completed by a native speaker of the target language. The linguist must have a minimum of 2 years’ professional translation experience, to include subject matter and specific knowledge (including cultural experience).
Editing is completed by an experienced, native speaker who usually has more experience than the linguist who translated the work. They must have subject matter experience and review the translation work thoroughly.
Proofreading is where the final checks are completed i.e. formatting, reviewing against the customer’s requirements. This is completed by the in-house project manager to ensure accuracy and quality prior to returning the translated document.
Project management is really crucial within the language translation industry as it steers the end result for returning the work on time, ensuring accuracy and quality control. Making sure to ask questions regarding the project management process is a valuable key to identifying if your project is going to get the right care and attention it deserves.
If you have a translation project in the pipeline and would like to speak to us or receive a free, no obligation quote, please contact us email@example.com or visit our website www.accueast.com
Written by Jennifer Lee
Explore the World is a new blog series we’re doing here at AccuEast, where we take you to different parts of the world to discuss regional languages, language extinction, regional culture, and linguistic history.
Let’s continue our journey through Inner Mongolia, and down to China’s Northern regions of Hebei, Shānxī and Shǎnxī.
Inner Mongolia is one of the largest regions of China, spanning from the East of the country across to the West, and making up roughly 12% of China’s total land area. Back during the Mongol Empire (famously founded by Genghis Khan) and the Yuan Dynasty (founded by his grandson Kublai Khan), this region would have been considered part of Mongolia. However, when the Manchus founded the later Qing Dynasty (which you may remember from our journey through North-eastern China), they were able to invade the regions of what they referred to as “Outer Mongolia” and “Inner Mongolia”. Given its closer proximity, they were able to influence Inner Mongolia much more heavily than Outer Mongolia, using diplomatic tactics such as encouraging inter-marriages (and less diplomatic tactics such as threats and torture) to bring the Inner region of Mongolia firmly under their control using language and culture. Thus, when Outer Mongolia was liberated (with the help of Russian government) in 1911 and made independent after WW2, Inner Mongolia was retained within China’s borders.
Alongside Mandarin, Mongolian is the official language of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Most of the region’s population (~80%) is Han Chinese, which is the largest ethnic group both in China and the world. However, 17% of Inner Mongolia’s population is made up of Mongols, and the region actually has a larger Mongol population than Mongolia does, numbering around 4 million. This is because during the Northern Yuan Dynasty, when Mongol ruler Esen captured the Ming Dynasty emperor, there was a large influx of Mongols from Outer Mongolia to Inner Mongolia, leading it to become the cultural and political centre of the Mongols at that time.
A subgroup of this Mongol population is the Buryat people, who number roughly 500,000. Buryat is also a variety of Mongolic languages spoken by this ethnic group and also by the Bargas. The Buryats are one of the two largest indigenous groups of Siberia, and yet in 2010, UNESCO classed the Buryat language as ‘severely endangered’.
The majority of Buryat speakers (265,000) live in Russia and along the norther border of Mongolia, however as the northernmost part of Inner Mongolia borders Russia as well, you can still find roughly 65,000 Buryat speakers living within the People’s Republic as well. You can also find a small number of Daur, Manchu and Oroqen people in this region as well, ethnic groups which you may remember from our journey through North-eastern China.
Jin (or Jinyu meaning “Jin language” in Mandarin) is a language spoken by roughly 63 million people in China. There has been much debate about whether or not it can be grouped within Mandarin as it is very closely related. There are 8 subgroups within the Jin language, some of which closely mirror Mandarin and some which have preserved archaic features of the Jin language, such as the glottal stop. In the image gallery below, you can see a map showing which regions these subgroups are spoken in. Jinyu is not only spoken in parts of Inner Mongolia, but also in regions such as Henan, Shānxī, Hebei and Shǎnxī.
Article written by Dawn McIntyre
If your business needs a translation service then it is important that you fully understand the key elements for success. Choosing the right service for your document, website or other product needs careful consideration. Here we set out some quick tips for you to consider when choosing your language service provider!
This is the number one important aspect (along with translator experience, specialism) which you will need to consider. Fluency is not just being able to speak the language, it means understanding other aspects such as grammar, tenses and local dialect.
As a professional language translation service provider, AccuEast’s advice is to ask if the translation is from a fluent language speaker or machine translation. The best translation you can receive is from a native speaker who can provide knowledge about colloquial terms which will not be included in machine translation or the dictionary.
Life experience is also about culture, habitat, tone and phrasing. AccuEast only use native-speaking translators.
Linking with life experience, specialisms connects the quality and accuracy for the translation. This relates to a specific topic, sector or knowledge where the translator has life experience. Always ask the translator’s specialisms to ensure you are pairing up the right translator for the work in hand. This can be life science, travel, technology or finance and legal.
Selecting the wrong translator for your project will be a big mistake!
There are other key qualities to consider and we are happy to talk further to you for any advice needed.
If you have a project you would like help with for language translation services, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach out to us today to discuss your needs and request a free, no obligation quotation.