At Sandberg, we’re best known for our Nordic language solutions, so you might be forgiven for thinking that all our in-house linguists specialise in Nordic languages in one way or another. However, there’s a whole other side to Sandberg: a team of English linguists known as the ‘FIGS’ who translate and handle projects from French, Italian, German and Spanish into English (see what we did there?).

Headed up by Account Linguist Team Leader Tom McNeillie, our FIGS team is now nine members strong, with two dedicated full-time translators as well as seven Account Linguists able to translate projects themselves and manage larger projects in conjunction with our trusted pool of freelancers.

But what does a typical day in the life of the FIGS team look like and what sort of work are we especially passionate about? With it being UN English Language Day today (23 April), it felt like the perfect opportunity to get talking to my fellow FIGS…

1. French and German financial translation

One of the team’s key areas of expertise is in the financial domain. We receive texts such as key investor information documents (KIIDs), annual reports, commercial register extracts and prospectuses on a daily basis from a number of well-known French and German financial institutions. Thanks to years of experience and carefully managed translation memories, as linguists we are able to work through these efficiently and deliver highly consistent output that adheres to the terminological specifications of each client.

Translating these kinds of projects is a little like working on a puzzle – you have to piece together previous content and combine it with new information, keeping as close to previous examples as you can. The texts follow such strict conventions and formats that they also allow our linguists to gain a specialisation and an understanding of complex financial terms.

As Account Linguist Tom Beer puts it, “The translation work we carry out is varied, but I do particularly enjoy applying my financial knowledge to fund reports and also learning how current affairs have impacted the markets.”

Our English translation services

We offer translation services into English from French, Italian, German and Spanish (FIGS), as well as the Nordic languages.

2. Clinical trial and medical translation

Another area where the team really excels is medical translation – specifically the detail-oriented world of clinical trials. This includes correspondence between medical professionals and ethics committees, requiring strict adherence to pre-existing study titles, guidance documents and official translations for the names of healthcare bodies. It can also bring up a whole host of medical terminology, meaning that our linguists are constantly kept on their toes.

But it’s a challenge that they really love. English Translator Rebecca particularly enjoys these projects: “Medical texts are one of the more complex and technical domains we work on, however, the key to cracking medical is terminology: our specialist terminologists constantly work to ensure our term base is comprehensive and reflects current standards. I love a challenge and the fact that I am constantly learning on the job.”

3. Adaptation from US to UK English

English adaptation is undoubtedly an expanding stream of work for Sandberg. This typically involves us reviewing US English marketing material and software strings for Silicon Valley tech companies and localising it so that a UK audience feels that it was written specifically for them. It can be more work than it sounds – it’s not simply a case of changing a few Zs to Ss. The two locales have different punctuation and grammar rules, and there are many cultural references that need changing – think school systems, food, even office vocabulary.

One of the great things about these projects is the unusual and exciting content that sometimes crops up. Junior Account Linguist Mary-Anna enjoys working on something different: “It’s fun to get involved in something creative! It’s a nice break from the heavier work when you get to adapt a quiz or a game.”

So the next time you see your workplace collaboration platform suggesting a “takeaway pizza” social, consider there is probably a linguist somewhere who has adapted it from “taco takeout” and given considerable thought to the best solution.

4. Project management

As an Account Linguist team, we have the flexibility to work on those small urgent jobs that need assigning quickly to in-house linguists who can react straight away, while also getting stuck into larger, more complex jobs that require careful planning and scheduling with hand-picked, well-trusted freelancers.

For example, every spring we get the chance to manage the translation and revision of large French annual reports called universal registration documents for some major industry names. These require us to book out linguists in advance and can have many stages running simultaneously, i.e. one chapter might be in the quality control step while another is being translated. And it’s our job to communicate all of the client’s feedback to our linguists, making sure everyone is on the same page.

Quite a few members of our team expressed a real love for this side of their work and the buzz that they get out of a project coming together. “Working directly with the client and building a rapport with them allows you to take real ownership over that work and the final product, so you can take real pride in the outcomes and delivered material,” says Senior Account Linguist Ryan.

5. Hopes to expand into different areas in the future

With all of this work going on, our team still have many more skills to bring to the table and areas they would like to develop. One of these is Spanish, a language which three members of our team speak and for which we are building up terminology resources to support.

Spanish to English is Junior Account Linguist Eloise’s favourite language combination: “I love the way the language flows and would enjoy working on more creative jobs in Spanish so that I can use a wider range of vocabulary.” Similarly, some members of our team have a real flair for marketing texts and would like to expand on the skills acquired from the press releases and brochures we already work on.

6. Teamwork

And finally, supporting each other as a team is vital to our work. When asked what aspect of the job they liked best, everyone mentioned how much they value the other members in the team and the flexibility we get from working with others who can react to anything at any time. Over time we have grown and learnt each other’s strengths, meaning we can work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Teamwork really is the bedrock of what we do!

For a brief summary of the information in this post, why not download our PDF on our FIGS Account Linguist team?

English adaptation, English language, French language, German language