Change brings opportunity

There has been yet more moving and shaking at First Edition over the summer. We were very sorry to say goodbye to Annabel who has moved on to a new career in Marketing Services. Annabel has been with First Edition since 2008, working as a Project Co-ordinator in the Editorial Department and as Office Manager since April 2010. She has been involved in some of our most exciting long-term projects and has certainly left some big shoes to fill!

But we are sure our newest recruit, Karima Sbitri, will indeed fill those big shoes. After studying Arabic and Politics as an undergraduate at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), Karima went on to complete a Masters in Theory and Practice of Translation. She has worked as an in-house translator for the leading international Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat for five years; translating opinion editorials, news items and features into English on a daily basis. In her free time Karima enjoys travelling and reading, particularly translated literature, and is about to embark on a creative writing course.

We also waved farewell to a long-standing friend of First Edition, our accountant Karin Tucker. Karin joined FE as General Manager in 2000, taking a step back from commercial operations in 2006 to handle the company accounts. She has now retired and is enjoying spending more time with husband Nigel, riding horses, practicing her flamenco and sharpening up her Spanish.

Hong Bian has taken over the accounting role and will be working mainly at FE but also helping out one day per week at our sister company, Primavera. Hong arrived in the UK from mainland China at the end of 1997. She moved to Cambridge, became a mother of two and a fully qualified member of the AAT. After 10 years working for the University of Cambridge and being Chairperson of the voluntary group ‘Chinese Families Together’, Hong has welcomed a new challenge and is delighted to join the team at FE.


Tandem case study


Tandem Verlag GmbH is one of Germany’s leading publishing houses and distributors of print and electronic media products. First Edition has been working with Tandem and their imprinth.f.ullmann for over ten years and one of our recurring projects with them has been the translation and updating of a number of editions for the very popular Culinaria series.

These beautifully photographed books feature the foods and regional specialities of a variety of countries, including China, France, Russia and Germany, and represent not just the classic recipes of the country but also the cultural background to allow the reader to take a culinary voyage of discovery. Our work on this series of books includes translation from German to English, editing, typesetting and proofreading, and supply of print-ready files. After being involved in the complete production of the English version of Culinaria Germany, the content of this book has now been thoroughly updated and presented in a completely new layout and is due to be published later this year.

We use a team of highly professional and experienced translators, editors and typesetters to maintain consistency in style as well as accuracy of language. And, because we always use native speakers to translate, we are also able to ensure cultural appropriateness.

“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with First Edition for many years. It is reassuring to know that we can trust them with the entire project and get professional, timely and cost-effective results which are both linguistically and culturally accurate.” Isabel Weiler, h.f.ullmann

Visit their website at

or contact them at


Changes at First Edition

The blog is back!

Recent changes to the staffing here at First Edition have meant that the blog has been sadly neglected. However, we are looking forward to a new format and renewed energy so keep a look out for the  improved version coming soon!


A lot has happened in the world since our last post. Close to home, the building next door to us is still being built, with all the wonderful noises that come with it (though one of the builders does have a lovely singing voice). It looks like we may’ve had summer… And the Guided Bus opens in August! (or so they tell us).

So what has been happening in the First Edition world? Our Commercial Project Co-ordinator, Erika, went on maternity leave in March and has now safely delivered daughter number two. Many congratulations to  Erika and her family. But as one leaves, another returns and we are happy to welcome Daniela back from her maternity leave in the role of Business Development Manager.

We are also pleased to have a new member of staff on board – Anikó Peto – who has joined our Commercial Department as Project Co-ordinator. Anikó graduated as a Philologist in English Studies in Hungary and is now completing her MA in Applied Linguistics at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. With Hungarian as her mother tongue, she also speaks English and German.


Machine Translation

Do you know how machine translation works?

In our ever shrinking world, the demand for translation services is growing all the time, particularly for businesses keen to take advantage of the global market place. It is inevitable, then, that quick and efficient, not to mention cheap, methods are being sought. But do they work?

In some cases, yes. If you want a single word or common phrase, or to get the gist of meaning, Google Translate (other programmes are available…) can provide a quick solution. But it is important to know how such programmes work. When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in documents that have already been translated by human translators. It then makes an “intelligent guess” as to what an appropriate translation should be. This process is called “statistical machine translation”.

This process is, unsurprisingly, prone to error and there is no shortage of examples of often hilarious mistranslations – just put a foreign language news story into a machine translation and see what comes out. If using a machine translation, it is important to get it edited by a human but, if you need your translation to be accurate and appropriate in tone as well as meaning, there is no substitute for a human, native speaker.

Case Study – Shark AG

One of our most valued and regular clients is the energy-drink manufacturer Shark AG, part of the Osotspa Group. Osotspa has been the pioneer and leading energy drink manufacturer and marketer in Thailand since 1966; a world leader in specialty drinks that refresh the mind and the body. In 1970 their most popular product and key brand M-150 was launched and is now the number one selling energy drink, selling over 1 billion units worldwide across more than 30 countries in Asia, South East Asia, Indochina, USA, Europe, Russia, and South America.

SHARK Energy Drink is also part of the proud Osotspa heritage. SHARK is a quality, life style focused Energy Drink, well known as both a popular standalone product and as a well-established mixer, demonstrated by their ever-growing cocktail range. SHARK is manufactured in Thailand and Europe, and distributed in over 60 countries.

This is where we come in! First Edition translates and back translates (to check for accuracy) the labels used for the products within the markets of Shark AG. Wherever possible, we use the same translators for consistency in the original translations, with different translators being used for the back-translations to ensure accuracy.

First Edition Translations have been working with Shark AG since 2004 and enjoy a great relationship with them, always ensuring we offer the best service and value. To take a look at the range of products they offer, visit their website at

“We have used First Edition for a number of years now, and have built up a strong and trusting relationship with them. They offer us a fast and efficient resource to translate and back-translate our various product labels, enabling us to meet the demands of the various markets across the world.”
Justin Sadaghiani, Shark AG UK


Why use an agency?

Why use a professional translation agency?

With all the electronic, virtual and independent translators on the market, you have all the languages of the world at your finger tips. So why bother with an agency? Using a well-established, reliable and professional agency will save you time, stress and, in the long run, can even save you money as well.

First Edition Translations is a well-established Cambridge-based company offering comprehensive and professional translation and interpreting services to industry and commerce, in the UK and internationally.

We adhere to a strict code of conduct by working with qualified and highly specialised translators who only translate into their mother tongue and who are selected for a project according to their experience and interests. So you can be reassured that the right translator will work on your project and there will be none of the potentially embarrassing and expensive mistakes that an electronic translation may create.

We also have a strong team of project managers who are qualified linguists and monitor the progress of assignments at all stages, taking the hassle and stress away from you. We recognise that communication is a necessary tool in the global market and confidentiality is assured as a matter of course.

So, why not use a professional translation agency?

Click here to read a case study of one of our most valued customers.



Our Editorial department are regularly involved with the translation of beautiful books, but one of the highlights this year was the translation of a website for the Monet exhibition currently showing at Galeries Nationales, Paris. We translated the site from the original French into English and it is one of the most visually stunning projects we have ever worked on.

Taking you on an interactive journey through Claude Monet’s art, the website is innovative, fascinating and spectacular. The exhibition has also been a tremendous success, so much so that it will remain open around the clock in its final four days. Well worth a visit if you do happen to find yourself in Paris, it is being held at the Galeries Nationales, Grand Palais until 24 January 2011.

But if a trip to Paris isn’t on the agenda, be sure to take an online wander –

You can also buy and download the catalogue, the English version of which is distributed by Harry N. Abrams


Football or Soccer?

Metres, meters or feet? 14 February or February 14?

One of our more unusual editorial projects this year has been the Americanization of the Guinness World Records 2011 edition. Not our usual type of translation project but just as important when publishing across the pond.

The GWR book is written every year in UK English so when it comes to Americanization, thousands of records needed to be checked with the editors looking closely at dates, measurements, alternative spellings and, of course, making sure all references to ‘football’ are changed to ‘soccer’! Even the punctuation can vary; Americans, for example, prefer —dashes— to (brackets).

An eye for detail and a good knowledge of both versions of the language were needed for this project and, here at the office, we enjoyed checking out some of the more unusual records, just for fun!

Guinness World Records has a 55-year history and is now a global phenomenon. Step inside at