Friday, December 22, 2017

We wish you a successful new year!

Our production center runs no matter what. 
If you fight with end-of-the-year deadlines, our language factory is open for you even between the Christmas and New Year's festivities.
We will help you with last minute changes to your multilingual 2018 catalog or website and of course also with any express translation need.
Are you an LSP with a need to cover more volume or delicate language combinations? We can provide full LSP Back-office services for you.
Just go to our e-shop that runs 24/7.

日本のお客様へ(2017年度 年末年始の営業のご案内

イディオマ株式会社 東京事務所

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thank you for meeting idioma @ 27th JTF Translation Festival in Tokyo




We would like to thank everyone for visiting our booth at the JTF Translation Festival 2017 in Tokyo on November 29.
idioma introduced its core ISO:17100, ISO:9001 and ISO:18587 certified translation
services. We enjoyed meeting you and were happy to greet visitors, both new and old, some of whom we haven’t seen in a while.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at if you have questions or would like further information.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

idioma sponsoring Translators without borders in 2018

Tokyo/Prague, (November 7, 2017) – idioma, an international translation services provider based in Tokyo since 1980, is pleased to announce that it has once again pledged its support to help humanitarian translations reach more people around the world by becoming a bronze sponsor of Translators without Borders.

Translators without Borders (TWB) strives to provide people access to vital, often life-saving, information in their own language by connecting non-profit organizations with a community of professional translators, building local language translation capacity, and raising awareness of language barriers. The organization has responded to urgent crises by using its Words of Relief model, working with partners, to provide vital information in the appropriate languages to those affected by the European refugee crisis, the Ebola crisis and the Nepal earthquake. 

Commenting on idioma’s decision to become a sponsor, Steen Carlsson, the managing director of idioma’s Production center, said:
“Having worked with languages all my life, in my job and privately, I know what the difference of even the most rudimentary translation can mean to a person unable to communicate. When those you communicate with do not understand what you say, or what you need, or why you behave the way you do, there is only despair. Translators without Borders is a concept we are happy to support and it is my sincere hope more people in need will benefit from their help.”

idioma is proud to be supporting Translators without Borders in this work.

More about Translators without Borders

Translators without Borders envisions a world where knowledge knows no language barriers. The US-based non-profit provides people access to vital knowledge in their language by partnering with humanitarian organizations. Originally founded in 1993 in France as Traducteurs sans Frontières (now its sister organization), Translators without Borders translates more than five million words per year. In 2012, the organization established a Healthcare Translator Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information and to volunteer or donate, please visit the TWB website or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Newsletter 2018


・言語のいろは セルビア語

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

idioma @ 27th JTF Translation Festival in Tokyo






会期:2017年11月29日(水) 9:00~17:30
会場:アルカディア市ヶ谷 3階 富士の間.

idioma @ 27th JTF Translation Festival in Tokyo

On November 29, 2017 idioma will exhibit at the JTF Translation Festival held at Arcadia Ichigaya in Tokyo. The JTF Translation Festival is Japan’s largest annual exhibition for translators and LSPs.

idioma plans to introduce its core ISO:17100, ISO:9001 and ISO:18587 certified translation servicesAdmission to the corporate exhibition space is free and registration is not necessary. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions please email us at

Exhibition details:
Date: November 29 (Wed), 2017 9:00~17:30
Venue: Arcadia Ichigaya, Tokyo
Our booth: “Fuji” Hall 3F

Friday, September 29, 2017

Languages of Spain's separatist regions: Basque and Catalan

Over the course of history, languages and their evolution have proven to be an accelerator of brawls between nations, as language happens to be the one common denominator for different groups inhabiting the same area that we actually call a nation. Language is an identification mark of affiliation and there are still languages in Europe that bear the nation-building agenda, even in 2017. Examples of such languages are those of Basque and Catalan, the Spain's rebellious regions. 

Basque language

Basque is a language spoken by people in a geographic area in northeastern Spain stretching into parts of southwestern France. Over the past centuries, this region has contracted. Recently, as a result of the Basque nationalistic movement, the language has made a slight comeback. Basque is, in fact, a rather interesting language, as it is an isolated language and is not even remotely similar to any known existing language in the world. Presumably, Basque happens to be one of the few pre-Indo-European languages, the only one remaining in use in Western Europe. 

Basque lands
Several dialects of Basque exist, however, the main dialect is Euskara Batua, a standard introduced in the 1960s that is generally taught in Basque schools. Basque is spoken by a little less than one million people. The language has co-official status in the Basque regions  of Spain, but has no official status in the French regions. 
During the era of Francoist Spain, the language was reluctantly tolerated in the Basque regions that supported the uprising of Franco, yet frowned-upon in those regions where the uprising gained little support.

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

Areas of Basque and Catalan speakers in Spain

Catalan language

Catalan is a Romance language with somewhere between 9 and 10 million speakers, but not necessarily native. It is the official language of Andorra and enjoys co-official status in a few Spanish communities, mainly on Spain's east coast, among others in Valencia, where it is called Valencian, or in the Balearic Islands. Similar to Spanish, Catalan also originates from Vulgar Latin. It reached its golden era in medieval times, particularly the Low Middle Ages, when it spread through the Mediterranean. It was used as an official language even in Sicily (until the 15th century) and Sardinia (until the 17th century), while the city of Alghero in Sardinia still tends to use Catalan until the present day. 

The decline of Catalan, that in fact still continues, can be traced back to a specific historical event, the union of Castille and Aragon crowns in 1479, which caused an increasing influence of Spanish in the region. Yet another blow came in 1659, when the northern parts of the Catalonia region was ceded to France. Not only did the language come under the influence of French, it was even drastically prohibited from public use, with efforts to revive Catalan literature coming no sooner than in the half of 19th century. 
The language was banned in use yet again during the Francoist era and has been recognized as an official language only after Spain's transition to democracy. 

Barcelona, Catalan, Spain

Nowadays, there are efforts to revive the language, among others by the French General Council of Pyrénées-Orientales (who introduced Catalan as one of the official languages of the department), to further promote it in public life and education. This seems to be necessary, as statistical research showed a quite dramatic decline of the population in the Catalan region that self-identifies primarily with Catalan (from 44.3% in 2003 to only 36.4% in 2013), which is believed to be caused by immigration, mainly from Arabic-speaking countries. A share of Catalonia's annual budget is poured into promoting the use of Catalan and integration of newcomers. Another issue is that the Catalan-speakers are actually becoming extinct and outside Catalonia itself the language is being replaced by the stronger national languages such as Spanish, French and Italian. 

Catalan uses the Latin alphabet and uses acute accents (é, í, ó, ú) as well as grave accents (à, è, ò).

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

ISO 18587: What it means for translation providers

Quality is one of the most crucial factors within the translation industry. Responsible providers not only know that high translation quality is an ongoing sales pitch, but that the perception of quality throughout the entire industry is important for all players involved. 
The evolution of machine translation (MT) is a game-changer in how the industry itself (and subsequently the public) considers the quality of translation services, and what is a translation service as such in the wake of machines assisting with translation.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) together with translation industry professionals have addressed the development by issuing two translation-related international standards, namely:
So, what is new with ISO 18587 and what should translation providers and clients alike pay attention to?

ISO 18578:2017 - Post-editing of machine translation output.

Translators and reviewers become post-editors

The norm deals chiefly with the term "post-editing" and focuses on "post-editors" instead of translators. In a strict sense, whenever input text passes through an initial CAT tool check or any computer-assisted pre-translation analysis or content processing, it becomes machine output.

Defining full post-editing vs. light post-editing

Moreover, the ISO 18587 standard distinguishes between “full post-editing” as a product comparable to a product of human translation in the final result, and “light post-editing” that provides results of "merely comprehensible text without any attempt to be similar to human translation" (as defined in Annex B of the norm). Obviously, in terms of the current perception of "quality" within today's translation industry, only full post-editing meets the quality standards as it delivers a professionally impeccable result. 
However, as long as “the final text is not intended for publication”, the norm clearly states what requirements need to be met to establish light-post editing that could, in fact, be turned into a service. It's up to discussion whether this approach of post-editing output quality will be feasible in the near future.

Post-editors need the same qualifications as translators

In ISO 18578, post-editors are considered translation professionals in the exact same sense as in ISO 17100, therefore an LSP needs to provide evidence that its post-editors either:
  • obtained a linguistic degree that has required significant translation training from a recognized organization, or
  • hold a degree from a field other than translation, while the subject can prove two years of professional experience in translation or post-editing, or
  • can prove an experience of 5 years of full-time translation or post-editing

Training of post-editors for machine output required

As translators transform into post-editors in this type of service, and because machines are heavily involved in the translation process, editing of MT output requires special knowledge of CAT tools and an understanding of how translation and terminology management systems interact with MT and MT systems. Post-editors need to be thoroughly trained to use the post-editing tools, recognize common MT errors, assess whether it makes sense to even edit the MT output in terms of effort and time spent and to become familiar with the difference between the full and light post-editing processes and the eventual outcome.

To maintain a high regard for the players in the translation industry, and especially for the companies that rely on the use of translation memories and other translation resources and workflows including MT, we would highly recommend getting familiar with the ISO 18587 standard and also consider their third-party translation suppliers' quality approach in the context of post-editing MT output.

All translation services by idioma are performed in compliance with ISO 9001:2016 (, ISO 17100:2015 (, as well as ISO 18587:2017 ( RI004) standards.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Language facts: Azerbaijani

Azerbaijani, also known as Azeri (or Azeri Turkish), belongs to the Turkic language family and is spoken by some 25-35 million people. There are two variants of the language, North and South, and it is used by the Azerbaijani people in southwestern Asia (also referred to as Transcaucasia, or the South Caucasus region). 

Baku, the Capital of Azerbaijan
North Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan and is spoken mainly in Azerbaijan, southern Dagestan and along the Caspian coast. South Azerbaijani is spoken in East and West Azerbaijan and in parts of Iran and Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria and Asian Turkey. 
Azerbaijani is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai and Turkmen. There are various levels of mutual intelligibility between each of the named languages. Turkish and Azerbaijani speakers are actually able to communicate with each other quite easily, not only due to historical reasons, but also due to being exposed to each other's cultures via radio and television. 

Lingua franca of Transcaucasia

From about the 16th to 20th century, Azeri served as a lingua franca of the Transcaucasia region, which could also be a reason why it adopted so many loan words and expressions from the Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Russian languages. After the region was conquered by the Russian empire in the 19th century, there was a split in the development of the language, as the Azeri-speaking community was divided between two states (Russia – later the Soviet union, and Persia – now Iran). The Soviets, albeit promoting the language development, made two significant changes to the language by changing its script two times in a relatively short period of time, from the Persian script to the Latin script and later to the Cyrillic one. The Azerbaijani community in Iran kept using the Persian script. Azerbaijani did not become an official language until 1956. 


The country decided to abandon Azbuka and switch to the Latin Script after gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1990's. The language and its variants are practically still using 3 writing systems: Latin, Cyrillic, and Perso-Arabic. The North Azerbaijani use both Latin and Cyrillic scripts, while South Azerbaijani have adopted the Perso-Arabic writing system.
This is the Latin alphabet:

A Ə B C Ç D E F G Ğ H X I İ J K Q L M N O Ö P R S Ş T U Ü V Y Z a ə b c ç d e f g ğ ı i j k q l m n o ö p r s ş t u ü v y z

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Emoji translation: New field in the localization industry?

Recently, there was a news flash about a brand new job position in the world of translation: the emoji* translator. Yes, emoji has been de facto promoted to the status of a regular language, or at least a complex (and even independent) complementary language. It may sound a bit strange at first, mainly for older generations who either don't use emojis or are satisfied with the range of a happy and a sad smiley. However, Millennials and especially generation Z (post-millennials) have upgraded the use of emojis to a whole new level of communication style, and are sometimes even omitting regular words in information exchange to use just strings of emojis instead. As these generations gain more and more buying power, incorporation of emojis into business communication stops being a silly, childish quirk and instead becomes integral to a regular communication strategy. 

Emoji translator as a full-time profession.

What an emoji translator does for a living

Businesses who target younger consumers obviously tend to customize their content to the likes of their potential buyers. The increasing business usage of emojis is visible mainly on social media, delivered by administrators of an age similar to the targeted customers. Emojis are, after all, very simple and straightforward pictures used to express non-verbally in written communication, so what's there to translate, you ask? 

Can you read our emoji string? 3-level quality check, express delivery and human translators are also involved... :)

One level of the occupation is to actually transform regular human speech into attractive emoji strings. It's not always easy to express the original meaning correctly and mainly to invoke a certain type of "feeling" to the text. 

The other level is that not all the devices where the communication is viewed are the same. Different smart devices and different operating systems do not have a common protocol for how an emoji displays, which lays ground to a number of unforeseen faux pas when it comes to brand communication on social media. The job of an emoji translator is also to customize the content for the devices first, in order to convey the correct meaning and desired emotion to the reader. Emojis do not display the same way across different devices, and the developers tend to upgrade the looks and design of their emojis, sometimes to an extent that even changes the nuance and contextual meaning of the emoji (e.g. when Apple changed the regular gun emoji to one with a water pistol). 

Snippet from a comparison chart of different emojis from major U.S. and Japanese tel-com companies.

Your emoji use can show your background

Cultural differences and social development are also a huge factor here. Emojis of gestures common in the West, such as a thumb-up, might be considered offensive in the Middle East, while another common Western OK-hand gesture translates offensively in Latin America. Similarly, certain emojis have gained alternative meanings while being around online, which makes their business usage rather unfeasible (e.g. such as the emojis of an eggplant or a peach, which according to Emojipedia research conducted in December 2016 on a sample of over 570 tweets referred to the actual fruit only in 7% of cases).
Another research conducted by Swiftkey suggests really interesting cultural differences in the use of different types of emojis as well. For example, Arabic speakers tend to use much more heat and sun-related emojis than any other language. French overuse the heart emoji, using it four times more than any other speakers. In Australia, the usage of alcohol-related emojis is twice the average, while drug-related emojis rate 65% over the average. The most used emoji overall is, however, still a set of smiley faces (44.8 % of all usage).

With the revolution in communication around and behind us, it is really fascinating to watch seemingly unrelated factors to combine and create new job opportunities and trends, also in the translation industry. Looking to the future, let's hope people won't forget to use the actual written words.  :)

*Emojis are sets of different icons or images that display certain emotions, ideas, objects, etc. The first set of emojis was developed in 1999 in Japan and contained 176 icons. Nowadays there are over 2,000 available icons (taking skin color and gender variants into account).

Friday, July 14, 2017

Language facts: Flemish

Flemish, or Vlaams in Dutch, is the standard Dutch variant spoken in the Belgian region of Flanders by around 6.1 million speakers, sometimes also referred to as Southern DutchIt includes several dialects, all of which (depending on who you ask) are interrelated with the southwestern dialects of Dutch. 
Brussels, Belgium, where Flemish is also used

Differences between Flemish and Dutch

Flemish, or Vlaams, is actually highly similar to the Dutch language used in the Netherlands. The official language in Belgium's Flemish region is indeed Dutch, and along with German and French you then have the country's three official languages. In essence, the Dutch languages are the same, and the only main differences are in pronunciation and frequency of some words. Because certain expressions (around 3-4,000) are more frequent in Belgian Dutch, many people refer to the language as Flemish, however, the words are really part of standard Dutch. There are no spelling differences between Dutch in Belgium and Dutch in the Netherlands.

Dutch pride
However, in actual practice, many Dutch nationals often question Dutch text content when they find it 'suspicious' or slightly off. This is probably a natural reaction and similar to what Germans things of Austrian and Swiss German: it simply sounds wrong.

Loan words in Dutch
In case of loan words, interestingly, Flemish speakers tend to apply Dutch pronunciation, whereas speakers in Netherlands maintain the original foreign pronunciation. Compared to Dutch, Flemish has also adopted many more loan words from French. The main difference between the languages is exposed in informal usage though. The pronunciation, slang expressions, and also common phrases can be very different, so different that Dutch television programs are sometimes even subtitled in Belgium and vice versa.


The Flemish alphabet is identical to the Dutch alphabet. The most frequently used letter is "e". Also, notice the unique IJ character.

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 ij z

Friday, July 7, 2017

What was it like at DMS Tokyo 2017

Staff from the idioma Tokyo office attended the 28th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo at the Tokyo Big Sight venue as one of the exhibitors for 3 days from June 21 through June 23rd.
In the three days, the total number of visitors reached 88,000 where 2,454 exhibitors participated concurrently with other exhibitions such as the Japan Manufacturing World. 
The weather was wonderful for the three days and there was a very inspirational and productive atmosphere at the site.

A busy atmosphere at DMS 2017 Tokyo

Exhibitors from different fields conducted hands-on demonstrations of products, held live presentations on the spot, and the venue was packed with visitors from all over Japan.

In this midst of this manufacturer-oriented atmosphere, idioma was right there to offer high quality technical translation services and its 37 years of expertise on multilingual technical documentation. 

DMS 2017 Tokyo – Technical translation booth of idioma Co., Ltd.

Many interested visitors stopped by at the idioma booth with an interest in effective overseas development. Quite a few admitted they had experienced difficulties in translation and localization. idioma representatives were happy to help potential buyers with our tailor-made solutions. 

DMS 2017 Tokyo – Technical translation services by idioma Co., Ltd.

All in all, idioma’s presence at DMS Tokyo 2017 was a big success, which motivated us to participate again next year, hopefully with new services and technologies to come.

For anyone who is interested in the Japanese market and its need for multilingual documentation, do not hesitate to contact us at

DMS 2018 Tokyo – See you next year at idioma's booth

Monday, July 3, 2017

Translating Trump: Why is it so hard?

Since the boundaries-breaking presidential campaign in 2016, through the inauguration, up to the elephant-in-china-store-style international politics, President Trump has surely achieved one thing: the historically "unpresidented" media coverage of the U.S. commander-in-chief all over the globe. 
The reality show of Trump's presidency is a challenging experience for the entire planet, including translators, who struggle to translate Mr. Trump's rather originally structured language. It's a "thing" of such proportions that there are now about 570 thousand search results on "Translating Trump" on Google.

As each language has its specifics, translators from different cultures need to polish the president's message into many different shapes, not only to try to convey the content of the message but also to make it digestible to a local audience. Both of these tasks, however, sometimes prove close to impossible (especially for simultaneous interpreters). 

Why is Trump so hard to translate?

First of all, the president's language is incoherent even for English speakers. He uses a very limited elementary-level vocabulary full of synonyms to describe any sentiment (wonderful, beautiful, incredible / sad, bad, crooked, etc.) that makes the translation result fall flat. And it's no better when Trump chooses to enrich his vocabulary because he tends to fashion up new words, without apparent reason or meaning. Remember "covfefe"?

Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute (LTI) research that analysed Mr. Trump's campaign speeches concluded his lexical richness was at the 7th-grade level, being the lowest of all past U.S. presidents and rival candidates in the 2016 race. His grammatical level is a bit better – only the second worst after George W. Bush who hardly reached the 5th-grade level.

Translating Trump: Why is it so hard
Unless sticking to the scripts carefully prepared by others, Mr.Trump displays little attention to sentence structure or coherence, and he disregards grammar (or spelling for that matter). And when he slips off the script, he tends to use "street-origin" Americanism (nut job, showboat, tippy-top, etc.), which often are too culture-specific to be comprehensible without broader explanation, and/or are culturally incompatible due to its vulgar subtext. 

Trump cannot be translated literally in Japan

Speaking of cultural incompatibility, covering and translating Trump's speeches regarding firing the FBI director James Comey was a big test for Japanese translators. Being from a culture of extreme social politeness, where words are chosen carefully, Japanese translators simply couldn't cope with the president calling someone of such high standing as the former FBI director a "nut job" and broadcast the words in their original meaning. Instead of opting for the Japanese alternative for "stupid" (politely atama ga warui), the term eventually used was henjin – which describes someone odd or eccentric, so not really what the president said. An even harder cultural challenge was to translate the now-notorious Access Hollywood grabbing recordings into Japanese, as the very fact of having to translate such a phrase made the Japanese translators rather uncomfortable (although they eventually chose to go for a non-vulgar, safe description of the problematic term).

Japanese translators even joked that Trump is so overconfident and logically unconvincing that if he should be translated as he actually speaks, the translators would make themselves sound stupid. The Trumpian era actually brought an interesting dispute within Japanese translator circles as to whether it is proper to polish the president's language and neutralize it, or to translate it exactly as he expresses himself in English. 
The problem is that going with the latter produces results that hardly make any sense in translation.

Japanese language is generally very polite with few words that explicitly belittle the listener or others. Foul language is probably only found inside the Japanese mafia – the yakuza – while the very large majority of the Japanese population expect decent, respectful language in speech, writing and all other kinds of communication.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

idioma @ 28th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo



私どものブースでは、技術翻訳に関しての最新トレンドの紹介や、翻訳の国際規格DIN EN ISO 17100への規格遵守の取り組み、また独自クラウドを中心とした各種翻訳サービスを出展する予定です。




会期:2017621()623() 10:00~18:00(最終日のみ~17:00)
#東京ビッグサイト #展示会 #設計製造ソリューション展 #ものづくりワールド


idioma will exhibit at the 28th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo (DMS) in Tokyo from Wednesday June 21st to Friday June 23rd. 

DMS is Japan's largest exhibition gathering all kinds of IT solution providers and attracting professionals looking to buy IT solutions for their business. The number of exhibitors is expected to reach 2,400 in this year. 

As a hi-tech player, idioma plans to introduce the latest trends in top-quality technical translation (in accordance with the company's DIN EN ISO 17100 certification) and truly unique, in-house developed cloud services.

If you plan to visit this exciting event, please feel free to contact us in advance at to receive your entrance ticket.

Exhibition details

Held inside Manufacturing World Japan 2017
Our booth: E41-15
Dates: June 21st (Wed) – 23rd (Fri), 2017 10:00 - 18:00 (last day until 17:00)
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight

We are looking forward to seeing you!