Friday 27 February 2015

What is the difference between translation and interpreting?

If you are new to the translation industry, you might wonder what differentiates these two closely related disciplines. While both services involve transferring meaning or content from one language to another, there are a number of significant differences.

Translators write and interpreters talk

The term “translation” refers to the process of translating written words or text from one language into another, while “interpreting” means translating orally the words of a person speaking a different language.

Time dimension

Interpreters and translators do not have the same amount of time to carry out these processes. Interpreting occurs in real-time (simultaneous) or almost real-time (consecutive), generally in person but sometimes on the phone or through a video conference. Interpreters need to be quick and extremely reactive. Depending on the type of interpreting used, and the pace at which the speaker speaks, interpreters have very little time to transpose oral content into another language. On the other hand, because translators deal with written content, it takes place after a document is created. Translators do have time to read and evaluate the content that they will translate, as many times as is necessary. They can use different resources if they wish, such as glossaries, dictionaries, reference material etc., or even ask the client to clarify any queries they might have. Finally they take the time to proofread their own work once they have completed their translation.

Language direction

Most translators only work in one “direction” (for example, from English into Russian or from Russian into English). The reason behind this is that translators are able to produce a better quality translation and a faster turnaround time when they work into his/her native language rather than into a language that they have acquired later in life. For translation projects, we refer to the source (from) and target (into) languages. Therefore when a client requires a document to be translated from language A into language B, and then a response document translated the other way round, ApLingo will work with two different translators; one whose mother tongue is language A and another one whose native language is language B. The key skills of a translator are to understand the source language and to use their knowledge of the target country’s culture and linguistic norms to create accurate and effective end documents.

Most interpreters work in both “directions”. They are highly-qualified people, who must be fluent enough in at least two languages to be able to translate orally in both directions, straight away, without any reference material.  

Interpreting and translation are two different professions that require different skills and different training. Therefore, professionals usually practice either as a translator or as an interpreter but rarely both. They share the same passion, however, for languages and for meaningful transferring of information which would otherwise remain inaccessible to some people.

We hope that this article has been helpful but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send an email. We would be happy to hear from you on 0800 389 6571 or by email (

Monday 8 December 2014

Do you need a certified, notarised or legalised translation? We can help you!

“Can you provide official translations?” This is one of the questions we are asked on a daily basis. Not only private clients, but also notaries, solicitors and other businesses people often require translations which can be used for official or legal purposes. Because we can offer different services, we thought it would be useful to summarise briefly the main types of official or legal translations you might need.

Determine which service is right for you

Our translations can be certified, notarised or legalised to suit your exact requirements. These services are available for all major world languages, as well as many rare languages.

You should always check with the relevant authorities which type of legalisation is required for your translated documents prior to proceeding with the work. The level of legalisation can vary depending on the nature of the document and the purpose for which it is being translated and legalised.

If the details contained in your documentation are sensitive or personal, you can be assured that all documents received are treated with strict confidentiality.

Certified translations

This is the simplest form of certification, usually required for use by non-governmental institutions such as universities, insurance companies or employers.

We will stamp your translated documents with our company stamp attesting to the fact that the translation has been carried out by a qualified translator and that we believe it to be a ‘true and accurate’ piece of work. 

Notarised translation

Translations of commercial or personal documents can be notarised. This is a more formal type of certification for translations, often required by formal governmental and legal organisations.

A representative from ApLingo will attend the office of a Notary Public and swear under oath and in writing that the translation is true and accurate. The Notary Public will then sign and stamp the translation to confirm its authenticity.

Legalised translation

Some translations of UK documents require legalisation by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This is a greater level of certification, required when translations are to be used abroad (e.g. overseas marriage certificates, adoption, visas or job applications).

Again, the authenticity of the translation is confirmed by a Notary Public. It is then sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where a final document called the Apostille is signed, attesting that the Notary Public had the authority to sign the notarisation. This final document proves that all the legal steps have been completed and that the document is authentic.

We hope that you will find short this guide helpful but if you have any queries, we will be more than happy to assist you. The applicable fees depend on the level of certification required and the size and number of the documents. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 6571 or by email ( for a no-obligation quote.

Thursday 12 June 2014

“Juntos num só ritmo” – “All in one rhythm” for the World Cup

Since the World Cup has been dominating the headlines for the past few weeks, we thought it would be interesting to find out the origin of this global tradition and a bit more about Brazil and its language(s).

The World Cup

The World Cup is organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which was founded in Paris in 1904 and is nowadays based in Zurich.

The first World Cup was held in and won by Uruguay in 1930. In all, only 7 countries have triumphed in the 19 World Cups that have been played to date: Brazil has won 5 times, Italy 4 and Germany (as West Germany) 3 times. Uruguay and Argentina have each won twice and England, France and Spain once each.

The World Cup takes place every 4 years. From humble beginnings in 1930 when only 13 countries took part in the tournament, it has grown into one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The FIFA World Cup 2014 will take place from 12th June to 13th July, and a total of 64 matches are to be played in 12 cities across Brazil.

Facts and figures about Brazil

Brazil has approximately 198 million inhabitants, making it the 5th most populated country in the world.

With a surface area of more than 8.5 million km², Brazil is also the 5th largest country on the planet after Russia, China, Canada and the United States.

It is divided into 5 regions which are themselves divided into 26 states plus the Federal District that houses Brazilian capital Brasília.

Nearly a quarter of the world's coffee comes from Brazil. Likewise, Brazil is one of the biggest producers of sugar cane, cocoa, corn and oranges.

It is the largest lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country in the world, as well as being the only one in the Americas. Although Portuguese is the official language, some Brazilians speak other languages (roughly 210 in total). There are approximately 180 indigenous languages and some from more recent European and Asian immigrants. About 0.02% of the total population (less than 40,000 people) actually speak indigenous languages. It is estimated that 37,000 speak Korean, 50,000 Italian, 380,000 Japanese, and 1,500,000 German.

Football is the most popular sport in Brazil and it has a significant effect on its culture. The Guardian features an interesting photo report entitled “Brazil 2014: What the World Cup means to us”. Click here for the article. It highlights the Brazilians’ perception of football and gives an insight into the Brazilian way of life. We also recommend the interview of Michael Reid by The Economist entitled “Brazil: Past, present and future”.

The Brazilian national football team is the only team that has succeeded in qualifying for every World Cup competition ever held. Only 31 days before we find out who will be the winner of the 2014 World Cup!

In the meantime, if you need translation or interpreting services from or into Portuguese (European or Brazilian), do not hesitate to email us at We would love to hear from you. Enjoy the World Cup!

Thursday 1 May 2014

The International Worker’s Day

The first of May is the International Worker’s Day, also called Labour Day or May Day in numerous countries. It’s a traditional spring holiday in much of Europe and many countries of the world.

The first of May has been traditionally used to fight for and defend worker’s right. Demonstrations and marches are a Labour Day tradition.

This tradition is believed to have originated from the US general strike in favour of the eight-hour working day, which started on 1st May 1886 in Chicago and which ended violently with the Haymarket Affair on 4th May.

In France, in 1889, an organisation of socialist and labour parties from different countries called the Second International gathered in Paris for their first congress. They decided to organise an international demonstration on 1st May 1890 to demand an eight-hour working day and to honour the people who died in the Chicago protests. Following the success of the event, May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the organisation’s second congress in 1891.

Again, in France, people give each other a small Lily of the Valley bouquet on the first of May. This tradition was initiated by King Charles IX of France on 1st May 1561. On that date he received a sprig of Lily of the Valley which was said to bring luck. He then decided to give some each year to the ladies of his court. At the beginning of the 20th Century, this tradition merged with May Day.

I hope there will still be some Lily of the Valley left to pick when I go back to France tomorrow! Not sure though, as it flowered earlier than usual this year and it was already out a couple of weeks ago.

Our offices will be closed on bank holiday Monday (5th May) but we will be back at work on Tuesday to assist with your translation projects.

Happy Worker’s Day!

Friday 18 April 2014

Another Eggs-cuse for Chocolate

Easter is the most important Christian celebration. It commemorates the last week of Jesus’s life and celebrates his resurrection on the third day after his crucifixion, as recounted in the Bible. It falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following 21st March (the March Equinox), between March 22nd and April 25th.

Easter Sunday is celebrated in all the countries where Christianity is a state religion, or where the country has large Christian population or tradition. As Easter is always on a Sunday, many countries also have Good Friday and/or Easter Monday as a bank holiday.

Easter celebrations have also been influenced many customs welcoming spring, dating from Antiquity. Eggs, rabbits and hares were symbols representing fertility.

Easter eggs

In the Christian faith eggs symbolize resurrection, new life and renewed faith. In the IV century, the Christian Church prohibited Christians from eating eggs during Lent, the forty-day period of fasting preceding Easter. Therefore as the eggs laid during Lent had not been eaten, they were decorated and given as a gift. Nowadays, fasting is not as strictly observed as before but the tradition of giving decorated and chocolate eggs persists. In Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and many other countries, people still decorate hard boiled eggs with paint and felt pens. They even use wax in some countries like Hungary, Romania or Slovakia.

In Alsace and in certain regions of Germany, people prepare a cake in a shape of a lamb called Osterlammele or Lamala. It used to be a good way to consume the stock of eggs accumulated before Easter.

According to the Guinness World Record website, “the tallest chocolate Easter egg measured 10.39 m (34 ft 1.05 in) and had a circumference of 19.6 m (64 ft 3.65 in) at its widest point and was made by Tosca (Italy). It was measured at Le Acciaierie Shopping Centre, in Cortenuova, Italy on 16 April 2011. The chocolate Easter egg weighed 7,200 kg (15,873 lbs 4.48 oz).”

Click here to check out the egg-cellent Easter achievements listed by the Guinness World Record website.

The Hare

In some countries, and especially Germanic countries, eggs are brought by the hare or Easter bunny, le “lapin de Pâques” in French, “Osterhase” in German.

The legend of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany. The story says that a poor woman, who was unable to offer sweets to her children, decorated eggs and hid them in the garden. The children glimpsed a rabbit in the garden and thought that it had laid the eggs. As a result, each year, for Easter, children make nests and leave them in the garden in hope that the Easter bunny will fill it with eggs overnight.

Another origin of the Easter bunny comes from Saxony, where people used to honour the goddess Ēostre or Ostara. The hare is the emblematic animal of the goddess and it remains associated with Easter. Similarly, in Celtic and Scandinavian traditions, the hare was the symbol of the mother goddess.

Flying bells and fish-shaped chocolates

In Belgium, France and in The Netherlands, Easter eggs are brought by Easter bells. In the past fewer people had watches and they knew the time thanks to the church bells. Yet the bells stop ringing on Good Friday, on the day Jesus was crucified, as a sign of mourning. They start to ring again on Sunday, on Jesus’s resurrection day. The popular tradition says that bells go to Rome (explaining their silence) and come back on Easter Sunday with Easter eggs.

During Easter, the French chocolate shops are usually filled with delicious and beautiful chocolates in the shape of eggs and bunnies. Alongside these, French people can also find chocolate bells, which directly correlate with the coming back from Rome at the end of Lent, as well as small fish-shaped chocolates called friture (whitebait) because of their shape. A fish was the symbol of the first Christians.

Traditions around the world

Beside chocolate, Americans eat marshmallow peeps (marshmallow candies shaped into bunnies, chicks and other animals) and jelly beans during Easter. The Easter egg roll on the White House lawn has been a tradition since 1878. The event offers a wide range of activities and of course involves rolling a coloured hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon, as well as many more entertainments such as music, an egg hunt, sports and crafts.

Easter is one of the most deep-rooted celebrations of Spain, backed by centuries of history and tradition. Easter week, “the Holy week” is celebrated in every city, town and village of Spain although each region of Spain has its own way of celebrating the event. For more information about the Easter week in Spain, click on Spain's official tourism portal link.

If you want to find out about Easter traditions in many other countries, I recommend these two articles : Easter Traditions from Around the World and Easter Around The World.

The Aplingo team wishes you a Happy Easter!

Thursday 10 April 2014

Localized translations and language diversity

In our globalized world, many industries and businesses need to localize their products and services in order to reach more clients, new markets and to increase their revenue. Translation is one of the main tools to achieve that. However as some languages are spoken in different parts of the globe, a translation must also be localized.

To illustrate this, I have picked a few examples in Spanish, French and English that show how the same language can differ widely depending on the part of the world where it is spoken.

Here is a little anecdote I was recently told by a friend: during a student meeting at a Spanish University, a Latin American student introduced himself as “Memo”. The other students looked at each other, trying not to smile, and greeted the new student. While nobody would have reacted this way in Memo’s own country, the Spanish reaction was understandable. In European Spanish, memo means silly, stupid, daft whereas in Latin America it is a nickname for Guillermo (William in English). This reminded me of how different a language can be depending on the country of origin of the speaker.

Let’s have a look at a few Spanish examples. In colloquial European Spanish, pasta can mean money whereas in Latin America pasta means pasta and a colloquial way of saying money would be plata which means silver in Spain. In Latin America, you can eat papas, meaning potatoes whereas in Northern Spain you would certainly not eat your papa because over there it means your dad or the pope. There are many different ways to say jacket in Spanish, and depending on the different countries where it is spoken it could be chamarra, chaqueta, campera, cazadora ; T-shirt could be playera, remera, camiseta, franela and bus could be autobús, colectivo, liebre, camión, carrito, buseta, guagua, omnibus, colectivo, micro. Those are just a few examples for the Spanish language but the list is long!

Similarly, there are many notable differences between French as it is spoken in France or in Canada. A Canadian asking a French person “Où as-tu garé ton char?” would probably get a few raised eyebrows because in European French it literally means “Where have you parked your tank?”. Another funny example would be money or dough: if a Canadian says “La fin du mois va être difficile, je n’ai presque plus de bacon” a French person will understand “The end of the month is going to be tough, I don’t have any bacon left” whilst the Canadian actually means “The end of the month is going to be tough, I don’t have any money left”. French speakers will find numerous examples of the different words used in France and Canada in the Traduction du français au français website.

For surprising or funny examples of the difference between British English and American English as well as other cultural differences, I recommend this article by the Guardian and the amazing “English to English” cross-cultural project. And also have a look at this handy Anglo-EU-Translation-Guide.

I hope these few examples give you an idea of the importance of localization in translation. Whether you want to adapt your messages for the international market or to improve your company’s image abroad, we will source the translator best suited for your project. Aplingo provides localized translations thanks to a network of translators experts in their field and languages. Whether you need a document to be translated for the Spanish or Mexican market, French or Canadian, British or American, we would be happy to offer you a service tailored to your needs. We would love to hear from you by email at or by telephone on 0800 389 6571.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

The Feast of Saint Valentine

Many think that Valentine’s Day has only recently become part of our culture and that it is mainly commercial but February has been associated with love and fertility since Antiquity.

In Ancient Athens, the period between January 15th and February 15th was dedicated to the marriage of Zeus with Hera. The Ancient Roman festival of Lupercus, the god of fertility, used to be celebrated between February 13 and 15.

According to a popular legend Valentine was a bishop who served during the third century in Rome. At that time, the Emperor Claudius II believed that married men made poor soldiers and therefore he prohibited marriage for younger citizens. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to conduct marriages for young people in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, he was jailed and sentenced to death. According to the legend, he fell deeply in love with his jailer's daughter and, on the day of his execution, the bishop gave her a note which said "from your Valentine".

In the Middle Age, it was a common belief that birds began their mating season on February 14th.

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is celebrated all around the world and is considered in many countries as a day to celebrate love and friendship. According to Hallmark, Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year after Christmas.

Here is a useful link to whisper sweet nothings in different languages.

The Aplingo team wishes you a Happy Valentine’s day! We remain at your disposal if you need translation services in the language of love or any other language. Do not hesitate to email us at