Prague summer vistas and idioma

Jul 30, 2015

This July was a real Sahara in Prague. To relieve the working tension and to make a little team photoshoot, the (almost) entire Prague production center of idioma took a little walk to a nearby park called Sacre Coeur.

With everyone wearing their Christmas present from idioma — a branded t-shirt with custom letters on the back — we enjoyed a little fun playing a large-scale human multilingual Scrabble :)

...just a "random" chat :)

JO... (= yeah)

JSME IDIOMA! (= We are idioma!)

idioma and Prague landmarks, including the National theatre, Old Town hall with the famous astronomical clock called "Orloj" as well as Zizkov tower.

Summer greetings from idioma Prague!

Language facts: Russian

Jul 23, 2015

Russian is the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native language in Europe. It belongs to the family of Indo-European languages. Russian is the native language of around 165 million people and second language of an additional 110 million people. Startling fact: Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Nowadays, Russian is spoken primarily in Russia and Belarus, partly Ukraine and is also one of six official languages of the United Nations as well as official EU language.

To foreigner's ears, most of other Slavic languages sound similar to Russian, although the languages are far from being interchangeable (in fact it is even less mutually similar than Romance languages are).

Language of the red Empire

Due to the status of the former Soviet Union as a superpower, Russian had great political importance in the 20th century and was in fact forced as a second language to all countries under Soviet influence, including central European countries and East Germany. Russian was a mandatory subject in school, even a mandatory part of school leaving exams. After the Soviet union collapsed, public attitude towards Russian language in satellite countries went to the opposite extreme, neglecting and suppressing the language out of general education while swiftly replacing it with English due to new political trends. Until today, a lot of 50+ people in post-communist countries still read the Cyrillic script (Azbuka) and have a general understanding and basic knowledge of Russian.


Russian uses the Cyrillic script, which is originally derived from the Greek script, but adjusted and supplemented by some letters from so called Glagolitic alphabet, developed by the brothers Cyril and Methodius, in order to comply with Old Church Slavonic sounds. Old Church Slavonic was, at that time, considered 4th liturgical language for a brief period beside Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Although a dead speech now, its still being used in the Orthodox church.

а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я

idioma ranked in Asia TOP 30 by CSA Research!

Jul 16, 2015

Growing while helping others to expand on new markets with our translation and localization services. Our simple philosophy, 35 years of experience, high quality standards as well as internal research and development that ensured the most innovative and efficient processes move us and our clients forward.

Satisfied clientele is the highest form of credit to us, but being recognized by independent world-renowned research company feels, well, rather nice as well :)

Today we feel just that way, as idioma (with headquarters in Tokyo) scored #18 in rankings of the biggest language service providers in Asia (and #4 in Japan) in terms of revenue, issued by renowned Common Sense Advisory(CSA research).

"This is indeed an honor, but behind this recognition there is also a lot of hard work. We have our clients to thank of course, but a lot of credit should go to the people who have helped us reach this far; this is of course our staff, all our translators and other suppliers, and not the least our programmers. We are currently working on new solutions and additional services, so I am confident that we'll stay in this race and hopefully achieve an even higher ranking in coming years," says managing director of idioma's Prague production and R&D center, Steen Carlsson.

With our new internal benchmark, we already work hard on going up the ladder in 2016!

Translation tips: Dashes and hyphens

Jul 9, 2015

As translation professionals, we take many things for granted when we write and translate. While many of our clients have developed different writing rules for different languages in so called style guides*, which we respect and actively use, some things are pretty obvious to anyone though. Even children learning how to write learn from the start that sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Bigger children learn later on that where there must be a pause in a speech, a dash should be used. And here not even adults are always sure, or even aware of the problem: what kind of dash to use?

Do you know your dash?

In fact, there are three types of dashes:

1) The em dash—used for parenthetical thought—is as wide as a capital M and is used mostly in US English. If you are really picky, the em dash should be surrounded by half or quarter spaces, but many ignore this.

2) The en dash – which is as wide as an N – is often used to pause in a sentence and create emphasis. It is also used in ranges, e.g. “pages 8–10” or “ages 2–5”. Some people also use them to indicate negative numbers, like –15°C.

3) Lastly we have hyphens, which are used to hyphenate long words at the end of a line. They can also be used to connect words, in English to make them easier to read as in “state-of-the-art”, and in e.g. Germanic languages to connect them with loan words or proper nouns (Ford-Partner in German, for example).

Other cool stuff that people in typography are familiar with are soft hyphens. These can be used to “softly” hyphenate words at the end of a line. Try typing a really long word that will not fit at the end of a line, then place a soft hyphen in the middle and see what happens – you can create one by pressing "Ctrl" and "-" at the same time.

Nice, huh? Relying on details like this may seem too extreme, but in terms of localization, this is what (among others) makes a difference in quality and know-how in translation.

...and do you know your quotes?

Not only dashes/hyphens, or styles of writing numbers – also quotes and their usage differ among languages. English uses sixers and niners, like “abc”, in France they use « abc », Germans and Czech write „abc“, while Danes write »abc« and Swedes like niners and niners, like ”abc”. There are numerous other types, and as a translator, it is important to know which one is correct.

For example, in Japan, the written language and customs are drastically different. Apart from being able to write from up to down with “line columns running right to left”, thousand separators do not exist. Instead people separate digit groups in units of ten thousand. They also do not have dots as full stops, but instead use small circles, and quotes become「abc」.

If there are client preferences, then these become exceptions and the translator must be alerted (which our translation platform iQube can do automatically).

Your Solution? Style guides

Writing rules for different languages are explained in great detail in style manuals, such as the Chicago Manual of Style. Such manuals are actually interesting reading with a surprising wealth of information. However, in the end, it is hard for an experienced translator to remember and keep with all the different rules that apply, and to this end we rely on condensed forms of the manuals, commonly referred to as Style Guides. They contain the basic rules on text presentation and are either prepared by individual clients, or, if they are lacking, we are happy to help create them based on general rules and local preferences. For more information, visit!

*These style guides can be loaded on our iQube translation platform. Each time a text segment is opened and an issue covered by the style is detected, this is pointed out to the translator and subsequently the reviewer.

Language facts: French

Jul 2, 2015

French is a Romance language spoken by 65 to 80 million people around the world as a native language, and by an additional 200 million or so people as a second or third language. Most native speakers of the language live in France, while most of the rest live in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Francophone Africa, Luxembourg and Monaco. French originates from the Latin language of the Roman Empire. Today, it is an official language in 29 countries, especially in many African countries, most of them former French or Belgian colonies. French is the official EU language, as well as one of the three working languages of the European Commission.

Language of artists, diplomats and chefs

Around 17th century, French became a widespread lingua franca (in fact replacingItalian that enjoyed such popularity during the Renaissance period), similar to today's status of English. It has been much used in science, diplomacy, even arts for several centuries – in fact, until World War II. (The first signs of French being pushed back by English emerged after World War I., e.g. when the Treaty of Versailles was written in both French and English, despite former diplomatic convention). The truth is that English has been widely influenced by French and many English words related to law, government, military, and, of course, cuisine and cooking, are derived from French vocabulary (lieutenant (same), attorney/atourné, treaty/traité, finance/finer, fee/fie, jail/jaiole, etc). In case of French cuisine-related words (picnic/piquenique, spice/espice, soup/soupe, sausage/saussiche, juice/jus, beef/boef, etc), some of them are used in English even with original French spelling (grape, menu, bacon, omelette and so forth).

French in translation

It is important to note that in translation, documents destined for France can usually be used as they are in Belgium, Switzerland, etc. There are no major differences. In Belgium, to give an example, they have their own word for ninety "nonante", but the French equivalent "quatre-vingt-dix" is generally understood. However when documents are intended for Canada, they should be translated into Canadian French since there are significant differences between standard French and Canadian French. Canada for example has taken in many loan words from its US neighbor, and the language at times tends to be more formal than European French. And when working with translation memories, it is important to separate the two by their correct languages codes. Use "fr-ca" for Canadian French.


French uses the standard English alphabet with added ligatures (œ and æ) and also frequent use of acute accent ( ´ ), grave accent ( ` ), circumflex ( ˆ ), diaeresis ( ¨ ), and the cedilla ( ¸ ). Diacritics have no impact on the primary alphabetical order.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z