Archives for localisation

Happy Baba Marta Day – Have you got your red & white wool ready?

MartenitsasI love March. There is something about it that makes it one of the most positive months of the year for me. It marks the end of winter and beginning of spring and fills me with fresh enthusiasm about that lies ahead. (And as you’ve probably already heard – we have got an amazing year to look forward to!)

On a more personal level, it is also a time when I reconnect with my Bulgarian roots, and any expat will tell you just how much this means when you live abroad.

Every first of March in Bulgaria we celebrate Baba Marta Day. This is a centuries-old pagan tradition celebrating the coming of spring when people give each other a martenitsa to wish each other good health and prosperity for the year ahead. Martenitsas are made of white and red wool and are either in the form of a wrist band, or a little decoration to be attached to the clothes, traditionally in the form a boy and girl called Pizho and Penda. Martenitsas are to be worn until you see a stork – they spend the winter months in Africa and return to their nests in Bulgaria in March. The martenitsa is then taken off and attached to a blossoming tree. Yes, it gives the local councils a job clearing up afterwards, but for the joy it brings people – I’d say it’s money well spent!

Baba Marta Tree

At Cintra we want to share the joy of March with you too, so we’ve decided to offer you a 20% discount on translation projects with Central and Eastern European languages in March. Just contact our Translations Department and quote BABAMARTA16 to claim your discount. We will also send you a martenitsa with your completed translation!





I’m Svetlana, Translation Manager at Cintra Translation and a native Bulgarian living here in Cambridge.

Keen on linguistics for as long as I can remember myself (I used to steal my sister’s French textbook when I was little and tried to ‘read’ it); interested in psychology; love a good story (book, film or play), Indie rock, a good meal and a glass of red wine.


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Expert translation supports company expansion

How do clients use our translation services in the real world? 


Meet Alistair Hollington, Managing Director of Lazarus Training. This Essex-based company has a core team of 24 trainers whose focus is providing practical, hands-on safety and first aid training. In line with his background as an Army medic, Alistair’s company specialises in extreme training – offering courses to close protection details – that’s bodyguards to you and me – as well as care providers; trauma and hostile environment training alongside paediatric first aid.

Clients include small and medium businesses and large corporates, as well as what Alistair refers to simply as law enforcement agencies. (“Can’t say anything else about them,” he hints.) Lazarus Training are well known in media circles too. On-screen credits include work as consultants to the BBC’s hit programmes Top Gear (pictured below) and Trust Me, I’m a Doctor. 


Over the last 18 months Alistair has extended the company’s client-base overseas, running bespoke courses in very different environments, from the Czech Republic to Lebanon by way of Sudan. We support that growth, providing translations into French, German, Czech, Arabic and Farsi.

We support Lazarus Training’s international expansion with expert translations of key training materials.



I’m Anthony Gray, Cintra Translations’ Business Development Manager.

I asked Alistair why he approached us in the first place:


Alistair: I wanted a safety net. We’re a young company and expanded abroad because a UK client asked us to train their teams in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. As we work in English, they asked us for a crib sheet of key terms they could translate and hand out to their staff as part of the training. Unfortunately, our client used random staff members to translate, and they were translating the words literally. That really wasn’t going well for us in training sessions. When I realised our image was suffering and that we needed a safety net, I looked for help from a professional translation agency.

Language stops being an issue and Lazarus can be more effective at what we do. 

Lazarus Training course picture

Anthony: How much of a difference has involving professional translators made?

Alistair: In the first few interactions we had with Cintra, you gave me confidence. And as soon as you supplied us with that first spreadsheet with all the proper terms translated, we could see that in every case the new wording was working.

We’re experts at what we do, but we don’t speak multiple languages, so we train in English. We do understand that can be an issue. For example, when we’re working with factory hands in the Czech Republic, we’re aware of the sort of reaction we’d get if we walked onto a shop floor in Essex and started giving the workers emergency resuscitation instructions in Czech!

We do have a local English-speaker working with us, but communicating can still be a challenge. The materials Cintra provide take the edge off it. The language stops being an issue and we can be more effective at what we’re doing. My client’s happier, basically.

Anthony: How do your trainers use the material we translate for you?

Alistair: Trainees get a crib sheet. And we include the English terms and their local translations in our PowerPoint presentations. (We do most of our work in the field, but there’s always a bit of classroom learning!)

Cintra also give us help with pronunciation, and that’s helping the Lazarus team learn some useful words and important medical terms in the local languages. Everyone at Lazarus has a background in the emergency services or the armed forces, so we all understand how important it is to communicate clearly in crisis situations – even when we’re just simulating emergencies.


Anthony: What are your plans for the future?

Alistair: We’re running courses in Beirut in Lebanon early in 2016, and then I’m off to Sudan. As far as the business goes, I aim to keep my clients happy and sign them up for more!

LAZARUS training logoFind out more about Lazarus Training at




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Localising Election 2015 messages

union jack umbrella London in the rainSpeculation about the role of the Scottish National Party after Election Day on 7 May has got me thinking about how a higher profile for Scottish MPs at Westminster might just benefit the translation and interpreting sector. For a start, we might find some new untranslatables making an appearance:Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Dreich is the Scots shorthand for dark and dreary days of bleak, cold and depressing rain. That should work well for English and Welsh voters too! Smirring is an altogether gentler rain although responsible for some real bad hair days. Most women could make good use of a (printable) word to describe that fine, drizzling wet you can’t quite see, that comes with a powerful frizz action.

When you give something a shuggle you shake it about, or loosen it up a bit. Perhaps a new, post-election coinage might encapsulate politicians shuggling along together in coalition?

For all those voters who keep changing their minds, there’s swithering, which is almost onomatopoeic. And lastly, there’s my particular favourite: wabbit, a unique mix of tired and exhausted, defined by a Glaswegian friend as feeling ironed to the bed sheets. A fair few politicians might find that a useful term come May 8.

So, I’m looking forward to an injection of vividly descriptive new words for our translators to get their heads round. Can we also anticipate a run on our localisation services? After all, whatever the precise outcome of the election, it’s a fair bet that many of the new MPs, regardless of party, will have a worldview and familiar cultural references very different from the current Westminster bubble.

As someone who pays close attention to just how connected politicians are to the electorate, I can’t help wondering where the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon gets her messages? In Scotland, when people talk of getting the messages, they’re not talking focus groups and hard-working families. No, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Fort William, getting the messages means you’re just popping off to Tesco or the Co-op, not taking in the kind of electioneering designed to persuade us that our politicians really do know the price of a pint of milk!

This carefully localised message was crafted for a British audience by me, Tess Wright, Cintra Translation’s CEO. Our translators and interpreters are experts in localising your marketing materials wherever in the world you do business.

Photo Credit: Thank you to pjohnkeane via Compfight cc

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