Language Services Specialists

Education Services in French and German

Blog Archive

August 2015

5 top tips for making kids’ holidays abroad a cultural experience

It’s very easy when heading abroad in the summer holidays to mostly stay in a culturally and linguistically British environment. If you really want your kids to get the most out of their holiday abroad and truly experience another country and culture, here are some top tips to help you:Fotolia_44706853_Subscription_Monthly_M


The best thing you can do to encourage your child to explore another language is to be a role model for them. Spanish a bit rusty? Not spoken French in years? Download an app or buy a phrase book and have a go. If the kids see you trying to speak another language, they will want to have a go too.


Even the fussiest of eaters can be encouraged to try new foods on holiday, with the new surroundings shaking them out of their usual routine. What about a new flavour of ice cream? Or a local bread or cake? Remember they don’t have to have it all – they can stick with an old favourite and try some of Mum or Dad’s.


Young children are very good at communicating with limited words (after all, they’ve been doing it for most of their lives!). Make the most of this by encouraging your kids to play with children of other nationalities or enrol them in kids activity clubs where they can make new friends. They will almost certainly pick up a few words along the way.

The beach

Try looking at the world around you with your child and comparing it to what it’s like at home. What colour is the sea? How warm is it? Is the beach sandy or rocky? Are there any plants or animals you recognise? Are they the same as or different to at home? Taking along a plant or wildlife guidebook can really arouse their interest.

The people

Look around and listen carefully. Can you hear different languages being spoken? Does your child know what they are? Do people dress differently here? Why? What are they wearing? How do they look? How do they say ‘hello’? Get your child to compare what they see to what they know about their home country.

Travel is an enriching experience for children and an opportunity for them to find out more about the world. Why not share your experiences with us and tell us what cultural fun you had on your family holiday?


September 2014

Which language should my child learn?

One acadebookwormmic year has finished, and everyone is busy enjoying their summer holidays. The next academic year is just around the corner, and will bring new beginnings for students everywhere. Amongst the most exciting of these, will be those starting a new school and with it, new subjects. Young people have an enormous capacity for language learning, but which language should you choose? And what is the best method for them to learn? Read on to find out more.

Younger children have an enormous enthusiasm and willingness to learn that can be capitalised on in early language teaching. Not only are they excellent mimics, their playful nature means that they will try out different sounds, resulting in better accent and pronunciation. Learning a second language helps them to understand the world around them by opening up different cultures and providing real life interaction with children in different countries.

Most parents in the UK choose French as the second language for their child, with Spanish following and German often third. This is reflected in the languages offered at secondary level. However, learning a language is a lifelong project, and parents should consider the long term benefits a second or third language may bring. In business German and Chinese are very popular, however in our relations with other countries Russian and Arabic are of great importance. Think about the use that your child might have for their languages in the future.

When it comes to how to learn a foreign language, one thing is clear: children must be exposed to the language as much as possible and as often as possible, and definitely more than once a week. An early start is of great benefit too, but studies show that older children can ‘catch up’ with their language learning. The best option is for children to grow up speaking two languages at home. Where this is not possible, language clubs, private lessons and school classes are great, and should be supported by frequent visits abroad. Children are more likely to learn if their parents show an enthusiasm for the language.

Here are some golden rules for successful language learning:

  • Start as young as you can

  • Choose a language that will be beneficial to your child now and in the future.

  • Do it as often as possible – at least twice a week!

  • Visit the country where they speak that language and do it often.

  • Share your child’s enthusiasm for language learning or consider learning with them

Most importantly of all, make sure you and your child enjoy learning a foreign language – that way they will want to do it for years to come.



Five German and French words you don’t know you know  

German and French words are used in English all the time, and you probably don’t even realise you’re doing it. This is simply because England interacts with its neighbours both historically and culturally. Here is a list of our favourite English words that are actually borrowed from French or German.questionmark

To abseil – In English this means climbing down a sheer face attached to a rope. It comes from a German phrase ‘sich abseilen’ which literally means ‘to rope yourself down’.

 Kitsch – A cheap, sentimental or gaudy item, usually in popular culture, it has the same meaning in both English and German

Wanderlust – Meaning the desire to travel, this German word has certainly travelled to England!

Premier – As in the football term ‘Premier League’ is from the French word ‘premier’ meaning first.

Boutique – Originally a French word for a shop selling items made by the owner, this is now used in English to mean a designer clothes store or trendy, upmarket hotel.

With English being a global language, we are sure to adopt words from lots of different languages and cultures. English has already borrowed a vast variety of words – which are your favourites?


August 2013

Clive James – Just another translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy?

In a recent interview on Radio 4’s Front Row, Clive James himself admitted that “There are about a thousand translations of Dante, there are a lot of them, verse and prose…” That’s hardly surprising when you consider that Dante’s The Divine Comedy was written in Italy in the 1300s and has continued to fascinate scholars for centuries. So why bother with one more translation of a classic and much translated work?Dante

Translation of a text like this is more than just taking a work written in medieval Italian and re-writing it in modern English. The text itself is layered with meaning, nuances and word play, on a par with those of Shakespeare, and the translator must choose how to show these off to best advantage. Therefore each translation of the work is in itself a new interpretation, sometimes differing from and sometimes agreeing with existing translations.

Dante’s original is written in verse, so any translator’s first choice is between prose or verse. Both will bring advantages and disadvantages. Verse may feel more true to the original, but its restrictions in terms or rhythm and rhyme, can make conveying meaning tricky. On the other hand, whilst prose allows a full rendition of the meaning of the text, it loses the flow of language that would give sense to the words in the original.

olddictionaryClive James has made a unique choice, by integrating material from the foot notes of the original into the text of the translation to help improve the readers’ understanding. In the interview he justifies himself, saying ‘I think Dante would have done it’. Whether this statement is flippant, or earnest, or perhaps a mixture of both, it demonstrates the confidence translators need when making decisions that will ultimately affect the outcome of their work.

All of this is just a long winded way of saying that reading a translation is to read somebody else’s understanding and interpretation of what is written. The only way to really understand something for yourself is to read it in the original. With this in mind, perhaps Clive James’ time would have been better spent writing ‘Teach yourself medieval Italian’. After all, you can choose from ‘thousands’ of other translations if you want to read it from someone else’s point of view.


All you need is love?

Should you care whether your translator loves their work? This is the question we will be looking at in this week’s blog. Here at LSS, we would argue that loving your work and being passionate about it makes all the difference, especially to translators.


Translators often work on their own for long periods on difficult texts, whilst requiring an absolute knowledge of the details of grammar and spelling of theheart languages they work in. If your translator loves working with words and languages, then this is a part of the job they will really enjoy. As a result, you will receive an outstanding translation.


Great translation is about making a text mean the same thing in two or more languages. Sometimes this will mean tweaking the translated version so that it is more than just a literal translation. A translator who is passionate about their work will understand this and have the skills that provide that extra quality.


The customer wants their translation on time and to budget. Translators who love what they do have only one downside: they are perfectionists. With experience a translator will balance their need to produce the perfect translation with the need to deliver on time and to budget. Their passion ensures a high quality piece of work is delivered on time, every time.

How a translator feels about their work makes a huge difference to how they perform. It’s important to get a good feel for the translation company you’re using. Do you see hearts or pound signs rolling in their eyes? This should give you an idea about the kind of service you can expect.

June 2013

British Business & Global Markets

“Everyone speaks English, right?” is what I often hear from potential clients when they consider expanding abroad. Although English is the language of business, it will put you at an advantage to be able to speak your customers’ language.

Building relationships

In business meetings, most people will speak business English. However, once the meeting is over, they will speak their own language. Business relationships are often built up through informal networking, in bars, on the golf course or through casual conversation over a meal. Language skills will help you to quickly build strong, lasting business relationships.

treeCompeting locally

Speaking your customers’ language simplifies the buying process. Naturally it is much easier for customers to communicate in their own language, and therefore they are more likely to buy from you if you speak it. Also, if they have any queries, they know that these will be easy to raise, and they will understand your response. This can make a huge difference when breaking into a new market.

Making a good impression

Making your business look good means that customers are more likely to buy from you. If you speak their language, you can be sure that they understand you, your brand and your business, and that you’re making an impression for all the right reasons.

Smoothing out the details

When a business relationship is running well, companies can get by with basic language skills and free online translation. However, when things go wrong, or simply get more complex, it will benefit your business enormously if you understand the details. Documents can be translated into your language, or an interpretor can sit with you in a face to face meeting and explain exactly what is being said.

At LSS we specialise in commercial translation, interpreting and tuition. Language is a powerful tool for selling your business and we can help you to ensure that you’re using it in the best way possible. We can also work with you to improve your own language skills, giving you and your business a real boost. Contact us for more information.

May 2013

Cultural Differences and Business Documents

businessmailMost people are aware that there are cultural differences in the lives of people speaking different languages and living in different countries. However, few of us have stopped to think that these differences are apparent in business documentation as well. When you hire a professional translation company like LSS, you tap into their knowledge and experience of those differences, and of how to communicate them in another language. Here’s what to watch out for in business documentation:

Degree of formality

The level of formality appropriate to a document varies from country to country, and sometimes even from company to company. A good translation service will understand how to adapt the tone and style of the language used as necessary.

Numbers and symbols

The conventions around symbols and numbers used, particularly in accounting, vary enormously. They are usually country specific, and governed by a set of local rules. If your document contains this kind of information, you will need to ensure that your translation company specialises in financial and accounting translation, to avoid errors.numbersandglasses

Formulaic beginnings and endings

When writing a letter in English, you will probably be familiar with the opening greeting ‘Dear Sir’. This is just one example of a formulaic language construct, many others exist for use in a whole range of written documents. Good translation will allow these to be expressed using phrases with a similar, if not identical, meaning.

Commercial, legal & accounting terms

Commercial, legal and accounting terms, to name but a few, can rarely be translated directly. A translation company will provide a glossary explaining the actual meaning of any industry and country specific terms, alongside a useful and appropriate translation of the term itself.

When you engage a professional translation service, you are getting more than just the words written down in another language. You benefit from their understanding and experience of the cultural context in which the document will be read. To make sure you really get the best translation possible, always look for a translation service with expertise in the subject matter of your translation.

Why Google translate just won’t do…

Here at LSS we like to get out and about and talk to our clients and potential clients. One question that is often raised, is why a business would use a translation service when they could just use Google Translate instead. This blog explains why our clients choose a translation service over free online translation.

Comprehension & Precisiondictionary

It is really important to consider why you are having a text translated. If all you need is to roughly understand its meaning, then it is entirely possible that Google Translate will help you to do that. However, if your text contains complex commercial, industry specific or financial vocabulary, then it is unlikely that a free online translation service will help you to accurately understand its meaning. Using a translation service ensures that you understand exactly what is written in the document, down to the last detail.


A free online translation tool may at first seem to give you an instant answer, but ploughing through pages of badly written text takes time. Equally, the potential confusion caused by poorly translated documents can lead to days or even weeks of delay whilst communication difficulties are worked through. A professional translation service will save you both time and effort.

 Making the right impression

If the document you are having translated is intended for use by clients, suppliers or business partners, then it should of course be of a very high standard, allowing your business to make a great impression. Using a free online translation service will lead to errors that may result in miscommunication or misunderstanding, whereas a professional translation service will ensure that you get your message across in just the way you want.

Google Translate and other online translation tools are there to provide you with a rough indication of what your document might contain. However, in order to understand it in detail, communicate accurately and efficiently and make sure you say exactly what you mean, a professional translation service is essential.

April 2013

How to choose a translation Service

With internet search engines at your finger tips, finding a translation service is easier than ever before, but how do you know which one is right for you? Read on to discover some things to consider before you decide.


Know what you want

Write a list of criteria (something like a project brief) that includes the following:

  • Content: What is the subject matter of your text?
  • Languages: Which languages is it to be translated from and into?
  • Time: When is the deadline?
  • Styles and formats: Who will read the translated version and what format (e.g. .doc, .pdf etc.) do they need it in?

Look for a service that matches your criteria

A good match between your criteria and the translation service you select will ensure you receive the best quality translation possible. Ensure that your chosen service specialises in the subject matter of your translation as well as the languages you require. That way, your text will be translated by someone who truly understands it.

oldwordsCheck for quality

Before you engage with a particular translation service, do some background checks. A personal recommendation from someone you know is best, however this may not always be possible. Alternatively, you could ask for samples of work and references.

How much should it cost?

The cost of your translation will depend on the quality of the translated text, how quickly you need it and how complex the original is. Outstanding translation requires editing and formatting after the translation process. Check that any bids at the bottom of the spectrum include these, as without them translation errors are much more likely.

Your chosen translation service will produce a high-quality written translation of your document, edited and formatted to an outstanding level. The service should not only understand the languages you require, but also your business. Here at LSS, we specialise in high-quality commercial and financial translation. Contact us to find out more.


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