Burnout, midlife crisis: Does civilisation make us unhappy?

Our civilisation has reached a point where it makes just as many people ill mentally as it makes well physically. However, being aware of that is already part of the solution. Let’s see how we can escape from the trap of a burnout or midlife crisis!

My grandparents’ generation had a strange affection for gardening. An activity they didn’t need to do anymore, yet they did it. I often wonder whether they were already fighting this modern epidemic by wielding a hoe to relieve stress. Because, as far as I can recall, sources of stress were emerging everywhere, but especially in ever-more-demanding jobs. As early as the 1970s, it was declared that civilisation diseases actually exist, and they mostly take a toll on people’s mental health. As a young adult, I took it for granted that life was like that, and there was no way to escape it.

Who isn’t tired, after all, or fed up with their life as it is now? If you are around 40-50, you may find both things hit you all at once. Now I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be prepared if that’s the case. So I did a little research on the red flags for mental health.

It turns out burnout is somewhat easier to identify, since in 2019 WHO officially announced it was an “occupational phenomenon” caused by chronic workplace stress and manifesting itself as exhaustion, cynicism about the job, and decreasing performance as a result.

The midlife crisis, a condition we have known about since the 1960s, unfortunately doesn’t have such clearly defined diagnostic criteria. There is a running joke about grey-haired men chasing young girls around in a red Porsche, but the reality is more complicated. Some people completely close up in denial. Others try to face their strange new thoughts only to find doubt, insecurity, apathy, and a confusing picture of the future.

Yet in order to begin to heal, we do have to face those thoughts — and not look for a magic pill to make it all go away. Any long-term solution will involve the trinity of self-care: admit your problem, ask for help, and stick to your healing plan. Such a strategy, usually consisting of prioritising your best interests, and also saying no more often, getting some exercise, and being more mindful, can also be used as prevention. Besides general advice, both conditions have their specific healing tools. For burnout, it can be that extra rest so you have a clear mind to make the right decisions for your mental health. For navigating a midlife crisis, it can be a change of perspective and setting new personal and professional goals.

We can’t turn the clock back, but we can be aware of these mental traps, dig deeper, and find new perspectives. We can be the crisis managers of our own lives and repair the damage civilisation causes – at least the damage we are aware of so far.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

TV: see no evil?

There are so many ways we can talk about TV. Lately, I have found myself between two extremes: those who see the small screen as being evil and ditch it for good and those who are glued to it as if it’s going out of style.

I belong to neither of these groups, but to those who cut the cable long ago and plugged into streaming services, YouTube, or watch TV-shows online, on demand. To me, this means regaining control over my content consumption (but still with fair share of annoying advertising). But I admit that the risks and consequences of excessive use are still there. Together with the decreasing ability to enjoy other forms of entertainment and focus on one thing at a time.

These are some of the arguments of the radicals who have quit watching screens altogether. And are making a trend of it, supported by studies associating excessive television viewing with a lower IQ and adverse health effects. But I think they are going too far in making a Zero TV home a synonym for higher intelligence and good parenting.

For sure, gone are the days of limited air times leaving space for other activities, and families and friends bonding over TV is a rare commodity indeed. Today’s TV, as I hear and sometimes see at other people’s homes, is a medium full of mindless realities, self-made celebrities, and adverts for medicines.

That’s not exactly progressive and it certainly doesn’t resonate with highly educated, urban societies, where people are more interested in the latest yoga trends, healthy eating, travel, and intellectual self-development. Oh, and binge-watching series, of course, strictly on demand.

Even from this perspective, there are still good things about TV. Channels like Arte, which I mostly watch online, also broadcast excellent documentaries to homes with a cable connection. It helps those with a TV learn about the world as it is today: a diverse place and becoming even more so.

Every day people like me go to live in another country and try to learn about that specific part of the world where they have just arrived. I remember being thankful for television as an easily accessible device that delivers not only the local language but also a general impression of a culture I didn’t grow up in.

And as a special treat: hyperlocal channels, where I could soon recognize familiar places of the city and get useful information on local businesses and events. A genuinely welcoming feeling! What’s more, TV helps fight loneliness and provides some triggers for laughter – a vital element in preserving our mental health. So see no evil in TV but handle it with the same consciousness you apply when planning your meals for the week or your exercise programme. It is a device to keep all lines of communication open. Note to self: an argument to consider when next moving house or decorating the living room.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

Three things that help Eurideas win a client

What makes a successful translation agency? We all have our own answers to this question: a list of skills, abilities, principles and other factors. Do these ingredients change from time to time? Most certainly. Let’s see what three skills helped Eurideas Language Experts win a major client in 2019.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an international independent standards organization, contacted us with a request to help in translating their GRI Standards, that represent global best practice for reporting publicly on a range of economic, environmental and social impacts, into Italian. Having considerable experience in the field of economics, environment and social affairs, we were happy to participate in the project.

Translation and typesetting works were scheduled to take 7 months. The translatable volume amounted to 151,000 words and close to 600 pages had to be typeset. The documents were to be sent in three separate batches: a glossary first, then universal standards, followed by topic-specific standards. After a thorough preparation period, our team comprising one dedicated project manager and several translators, proofreaders, technical experts, quality assurance specialists and typesetters started work.


Our flexibility in terms of time and capacity was decisive for our success. Planning is key to complex projects. However, in this case, there were so many variables, from the availability of client reviewers to content created along the way, that timelines and work processes had to be rescheduled again and again. Reviewers of the client needed more time than anyone had anticipated to come to an agreement about the proper translation of certain terms, which meant that our linguists had to update the Italian text several times. To ensure seamless operation on the client’s side, we were as flexible as possible with turnaround times, and made partial deliveries.


We know the language industry inside out. (Most of) Our clients don’t. It is our job to recommend solutions and come up with ideas they would not think of. Highlighting the importance of a translated glossary, suggesting a file format different from MS Word, or offering the possibility of typesetting together with the translation – they all were appreciated by GRI.

Since consistency was a matter of priority, valuable questions, queries and comments coming from our linguists also contributed to a high-quality translation.

Solid technical background

At Eurideas we have all the software and expertise at hand to complete projects efficiently and cost-effectively, while minimizing the risk of errors.

For the GRI project members of the team worked online with a computer-assisted translation software, ensuring faster project preparation and allowing everyone to work in parallel and transparently.

Today even small-scale translation projects are inconceivable without cutting edge technology. The latest information technology environment, qualified technical specialists and automated work processes are an integral part of every translation project, and these are just as decisive for the ultimate success of a project as are the translators.

Since the delivery of the last part of the complete Italian translation package (available here online), we have received new assignments from GRI. This is what Eurideas measures success in: returning clients.

Written by Anita Salát, Communication and Business Development Manager at Eurideas Language Experts

Get a first-hand experience on how our language services can contribute to your success! Get in touch with us for a quote if you need translation or any relevant services.

To stay updated with our latest SPECIAL OFFERS and to receive our regular newsletter, please subscribe here.

New Year’s resolution: staying healthy the digital way

Nowadays, when we fall sick, we are not just patients anymore. Our journey through the healthcare system has been transformed into a customer experience. The digital transformation of the healthcare industry promises us longer lives of better quality. Let’s see exactly how we can turn feeling ill to feeling well, the digital way.

Prevention prevails

The most significant advancement of digitized healthcare is the shift to a focus on prevention instead of treatment. Digital technology empowers us, the patients, to take matters into our own hands. So that’s what we do, don’t we? We keep a plethora of apps on our phones for staying healthy as long as possible. There are apps to track our sleeping patterns, the nutritional values of foods, our heart rate, our gut health. We are proud of our scores in our favourite sport and can always rely on an app for motivation to move.

We also feel good because we are saving precious resources for the healthcare system. If apps motivate us to drink enough water, remind us to take vitamins, teach us to brush our teeth better, a lot of problems will never arise. That means more doctor and nurse time for those who really need it.

A faster way to diagnosis

But one day, the unimaginable happens. Despite all our efforts, we get sick or hurt or simply feel uncomfortable in our bodies. Thank goodness, Dr. Google is always there to help. After all, who wants to spend endless hours in waiting rooms? Even though we might be a little worried or even scared sometimes. But that’s when technology comes to the rescue: we can book an online consultation with a real live doctor! And it often turns out that we came to the wrong conclusion, not a professional diagnosis. Now we can have all kinds of remote tests done: blood, hair composition, DNA. Our doctor can provide us with a proper digital interpretation of those results. Or rerun the tests: growing computing power now makes bioinformatics, computational genomics, digital imaging possible and helps us get a diagnosis sooner. Digital analytics also suggest which treatment would be the most beneficial.

Digital treatment

In no time, we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Our busy doctors and nurses can now go and treat other patients while we set out on our journey of healing or simply improving our quality of life. In fact, digital healthcare saves the most resources in the treatment of chronic conditions. By replacing appointments and regular check-ups at surgeries and clinics, asthma, diabetes, or cardiac arrhythmia symptoms and medications can be treated remotely with the help of hardware and software. We can also save trips to the pharmacy: prescriptions are already being handled by several online pharmacies that ship the drugs to our doorsteps. Doctors now simply have the task of regularly checking the data provided by digital tools and only meet us in person when something out of the ordinary happens. That way they can put the pieces of the puzzle together better than when they see us only once every three months. And if we were still to find ourselves in an emergency and have to be taken to the hospital, at least we’ll be surrounded by numerous screens soothing us with their calming blue lights.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

Learn more about our expertise in the fields of life sciences, medicine and health, and read a case study about our cooperation with a health company.

Request a translation quote here. We will be glad to assist.

7 movies to watch if you are into translation

Translation and interpretation are not exactly the most action-packed professions but it does not mean that someone who practices these professions or the activity itself is never represented on the silver screen. In this blog entry we will take a look at the most famous examples where translation and/or interpretation is an essential element of the plot.

One of the earliest film representations of interpretation on screen is Charade (1963), where Audrey Hepburn plays a simultaneous interpreter who gets caught up in a murder mystery. The movie is a fun amalgam of a thriller and a screwball comedy, and while interpretation is not a vital element of the movie, in one scene we can see Hepburn’s Reggie working in an interpreter booth – then leaving in a hurry in the middle of a conference!

Stumbling on a conspiracy might be a surprising twist or perhaps the worst nightmare for an interpreter working for an international organisation. That is exactly what happens to Silvia Broom, played by Nicole Kidman in The Interpreter (2005). In this high-tension political thriller Silvia overhears the discussion of a plot to assassinate the leader of an African country and consequently has to run for her life. The movie is not only interesting because it was the first movie filmed inside the UN headquarters in New York, but also because it touches upon the ethical and moral issues an interpreter can face.

Translation activities often entail cultural mediation as well, and movies often highlight this aspect. One of the most famous examples for this trope is Lost in Translation, a bittersweet romantic comedy starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson. The film’s key theme is isolation, which is explored from several aspects, from the culture shock of Japan to the characters’ inability to engage with their lives. In addition, when Bill Murray’s Bob, an aging actor, is on the set to film an advertisement, the Japanese director delivers lengthy but enthusiastic directions in Japanese, but the interpreter only translates the absolutely minimum of information (“Look into the camera!”), because she fears she might offend the actor. The scene, while funny because of its awkwardness, further underlines the overall message of the film.

Spanglish (2004) also deals with intercultural relationships. In this movie, John (Adam Sandler) and Deborah (Téa Leoni) hire the poor Mexican Flor (Paz Vega) as the family’s housekeeper. Since Flor doesn’t speak English, her child Cristina facilitates communication between her and the family.

It is not surprising that sci-fi and fantasy movies also incorporate interpretation and translation as an important element in the plot. In The Mummy (1999), Evelyn Carnahan – played by Rachel Weisz – is an Egyptologist whose ability to understand the ancient Egyptian language both causes and resolves the calamities in the plot. Arrival (2016) is another important movie in this regard. In this film, when aliens visit the Earth a linguist (Amy Adams) is assigned to decipher their language. The movie showcases translation’s linguistic and diplomatic function and importance, while still managing to be an interesting and even fascinating motion picture.

Last but not least, a recent Hungarian film is the latest contribute to this theme. Barnabás Tóth’s short film, Susotázs (2018) chooses two interpreters as protagonists – though the footage actually shows simultaneous interpretation and not chuchotage – both trying to outdo each other in paying compliments to the woman listening to their interpretation. While their practice goes against all the written and unwritten rules of interpretation, the peculiarity of the situation and the twist at the end is a heart-warming experience.

Written by Zsolt Beke

Inclusive workplaces: Everybody is welcome!

In the fight against discrimination, companies are increasingly taking measures to create accepting cultures and foster diversity. It turns out that what is good for the human soul is good for the business, too.

Money and location have traditionally been the top reasons for people to change jobs. However, company culture has recently emerged as an umbrella term for all the other factors they consider or realize they should have considered when signing a new work contract.

As a part of that company culture, recent years have seen a rise in the awareness of being inclusive. When the working community values individual and group diversity and acts accordingly, it fulfils the criteria of an inclusive workplace. Sharing information equally, presenting equal opportunities and assigning similar responsibilities to everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or disability, are the most prominent examples.

But why is it important?

For an employee, the number one reason is human nature. They are predominantly hired for their professional capabilities, yet every employee has both the need to be accepted as a human being and to feel they belong in their (working) community. In practice, this includes being invited to lunch or birthday parties, having support during family emergencies, or merely experiencing no hidden rules of behaviour.

For a company, the inclusive nature of the workplace is a case for increased engagement and productivity. If workers feel accepted, they will be engaged in the company goals and want to give back. An engaged employee is also a productive employee: one survey finds businesses that care about engagement are 17% more productive than the others. Research from Deloitte states that inclusive workplaces are “twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. Not to mention employee turnover.”

What if job candidates could know about the level of inclusivity in a workplace before they walk in on their first day? Well, they actually can. Now, with the availability of employer-rating sites such as Glassdoor, they can check reviews by former or current employees. They can also find out whether a company has made any top lists for inclusivity. It is also increasingly common to ask related questions at an interview.

The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion study of Glassdoor, however, found that half of the employees in the US, UK, France, and Germany think there’s still not enough inclusion in their workplaces. So here is your to-do list as an employer:

  • Train your leaders. Make them aware of everyday biases and give them the tools to overcome them.
  • Give equal access to resources. Whether it is about preparing for a meeting or applying for training or advancement, make sure everybody has the same amount of information and equal chances to succeed.
  • Promote diversity of thought. Create opportunities for everyone’s voice to be heard and value diverse opinions. Ensure that the workplace is a safe place to express concerns and set a good example.
  • Celebrate the differences. Find out which unique qualities and personalities contribute to a healthy working environment and give them credit for it.

By consistently applying the above guidelines, you will find that your company is becoming a pleasant place to work for everyone. It will create a sense of belonging and a reason for workers to go the extra mile for your business.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

Is the future of work remote?

I started as a journalist where flexibility was a given. With the aid of technology, work was only starting to become more flexible and (at least partly) remote work just about made sense. If you think about it, press conferences rarely happen in the editorial offices. On the other hand, deadlines ensured I had to burn the midnight oil at home at one point or the other.

So I can only embrace the fact that technology made it possible for other professions to break free from their offices, too. This movement dates back to the 1980s and IBM allowing their employees to work from home.

The internet then accelerated the trend so much that, according to a Swiss study from 2018, 70% of full-time employees globally worked remotely at least on one day of the week. So what can we expect in the long term? Is the future of work remote?

Of course, its supporters answer with a resounding yes. Owl Labs’ 2019 report that surveyed 1,200 US employees concluded that remote work makes people happier and more loyal to their employer, to the extent that these people are willing to work more hours, as a way of thanking their employer for a better work-life balance, less stress, and no commuting times.

Companies that support such a set-up also enjoy benefits: they see an increase in employee productivity as well as a decrease in overhead costs: as much as $10,000 per employee a year in terms of real estate costs. Furthermore, less stress and more commitment mean fewer sick days and lower recruiting costs for the employer.

But not everyone supports this remote working trend to the same extent. IBM was again the first to make headlines two years ago by calling tens of thousands of employees back to the office. Others, like Bank of America or Yahoo, have quickly followed suit. Their most important argument? Facilitating collaboration and innovation, the success factors of our current times. Less cited, but identifying performance with time spent in the office (see incompetent management) still remains a benchmark for some employers.

I also have my share of personal experience that echoes those concerns. I have seen people being confused or lost working from home or showing weaker work ethics. I have seen bosses who are essentially control freaks. These groups are bound to fail in remote working environments. So who’s guaranteed to succeed?

Successful remote workers share traits such as self-discipline, self-motivation, advanced (digital) communication skills, general tech-savviness, and the mental strength to cope with loneliness. They fit best in companies with a culture of inclusion and transparent policies of equal treatment. In workplaces where communication channels favour neither in-house nor remote employees. Where individual responsibility for your work is just as important a requirement as being a good team player.

After all, despite the occasional hiccoughs, remote working is here to stay, and it is still not too late for it to find its place in your workflows.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

We love a good challenge: how to deal with exotic languages

Every project manager – no matter what field they work in – has had at least one memorable project. You know that Project, with a capital P, which seems challenging and exciting at first, then drives you crazy while you are in the midst of it but makes you incredibly proud when you finally complete it. The one that teaches you a lot, helps you develop new skills and eventually turns into a success story you will be happy to remember.

Perfect Babel

According to ethnologue.com, 7,111 languages are spoken today. And while just 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population, if you work in the translation industry, you can easily juggle documents created in as many as 50 languages. Which means there are still over 7000 languages you rarely meet, and regardless of your extensive experience with languages, some of them are totally unknown to you.

The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), an initiative that facilitates cooperation between migration authorities, approached us with a request: they had prepared information material for migrants who cannot or no longer wish to remain in Europe, to help their return and reintegration in their home countries, and these country leaflets needed to be translated into the local languages. Human rights is one of our specialities and a matter very close to our hearts so it was obvious that we wanted this job. The opportunity to work with ‘exotic’ languages was an added bonus!

The more the merrier

The home countries for migrant people included India, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with several more African and Asian countries. We expected some rare target languages; however, to identify the full list of languages required in these countries was a challenge itself, not to mention recruiting qualified and experienced translators. The complete list included Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Gujarati, Hindi, Armenian, Kurdish, Nepali, Punjabi (Shahmukhi), Punjabi (Gurmukhi), Pashto, Sinhala, Tamil, Urdu, Kashmiri, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Pothwari, Saraiki.

Without efficient project management, the coordination of over 40 linguists would have ended in chaos. Thanks to our rigorous translator selection process and in-house quality assurance procedures, quality was not an issue. Local partners of the client were also involved in checking and approving translations, which in some cases led to additional work since the English source text had to be completely rephrased.

Translation is not enough

The client was glad to have one contact person for all the 21 languages but was even more pleased to learn that we could handle the typesetting for the leaflets too! From left to right, from right to left, Arabic script, Cyrillic script, Latin script – the layouts were as diverse as possible. Numerous correction runs were needed but this thorough approach proved effective, because even though English was a common language, misunderstandings did happen. Time zones and cultural differences made work slow, but we all knew that this was something you couldn’t rush. The patience showed by the client was an important asset throughout the entire project.

What may seem like “only a translation” to an outsider is actually a very complex job of efficient project management: drawing up time schedules, sending status updates, planning capacity, re-scheduling tasks, making sure everything is under control – whatever language is involved.

Written by Anita Salát, Communication Manager at Eurideas Language Experts

Get a first-hand experience on how our language services can contribute to your success! Get in touch with us for a quote if you need translation or any relevant services.

To stay updated with our latest SPECIAL OFFERS and to receive our regular newsletter, please subscribe here.

Eco-friendly transportation: what are the options?

Greta Thunberg has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-carbon emissions boat to arrive at the UN climate summit in New York in order to direct attention to the atmospheric carbon pollution of planes. But what options do we have if we want to choose an eco-friendly form of transport in our daily life?

Generally speaking, public transport is the most efficient and greenest way of transport, as it can carry a large number of people with no significant time loss compared to cars – in some cases it can be even faster due to dedicated lanes and right-of-way tracks. Rail transport, including trains, trams and light rail/metros, is the winner in this category, as it is extremely energy-efficient and has a large capacity, but it requires a proper infrastructure. Buses have a slightly higher level of emissions of greenhouse gases but they are cheap, and require little modification to existing infrastructure (e.g. creation of bus lanes in the city centre) while providing the benefit of carrying a large number of travellers. A well-established public transport system can provide a real and most definitely a greener alternative for cars. Planes are more fuel intensive but their large capacity somewhat balances out this factor, and, while for large distances it is the most time-efficient mode of transportation, there are initiatives to choose buses or trains instead of planes for travel within the borders of a country or for short distance journeys.

While public transport is a great way to get around whether you are a tourist or on business, it is limited by its infrastructure (or the lack thereof), its timetable, or its capacity problems. Thus, there are times when we have to choose a mode of transport that gives us more freedom to move around.

Of course, one of the most immediate modes of transportation is walking – it has practically no environmental impact, it’s free of any infrastructural requirements, and it’s a healthy option. However, it’s a relatively slow form of transport and is mostly applicable for short distances. Bikes are as good for you as walking, with a bit more physical effort. And although it can cover longer distances, it’s not exactly the method one would choose to go to a meeting. Surprisingly, motorbikes can still be considered as an eco-friendly transport option, even though these can be dangerous in heavy traffic. Cars are considered to be the worst offender in this regard; carpooling and carsharing can mitigate their negative effects. There are several apps and initiatives that help people travelling in the same direction to share their cars and carpooling is seen by more and more companies as an efficient alternative for the transport of their employees, providing subsidies and other benefits in exchange.

There is a new trend on the rise: electric scooters provide a quick and fast option for short distance transport. However, there are some uncertainties around these. Their use is not properly regulated, in many places it is undecided about whether they can be used on pavements or only on the road/in bike lanes; and their proper placement is yet to be resolved – now people simply leave them when they get off them, which is not an appealing sight in the cityscape. There are some further environmental issues, for example with the recycling of their batteries or the fact that the scooters left on the streets are collected by cars.

Either way, transport affects the environment, and we cannot always use the most environmentally friendly option. But – as with other forms of environmental protection – being conscious and aware of the problems and trying our best to eliminate or overcome them is a huge step forward, while new technologies and infrastructural developments can also help our collective efforts to save our planet, while not giving up on effective transportation.

Written by Zsolt Beke

Interpretation in politics

In our present era of globalism, politics has also become a multifaceted domain that tries to overcome the language and political barriers between countries (e.g. the United Nations or the European Union) while, at the same time, it is constantly hindered by this. Therefore, language mediation is an intricate and delicate issue that covers many forms of communication, from private meetings to international conferences.

While political translation can also pose some challenges, it is interpretation where these abovementioned features are more immediate – mostly because, as the interpreter does not have the necessary timeframe to consider the cultural and contextual differences, the mediation has to happen promptly. As a consequence, an interpreter who wishes to work in the field of politics has to have many skills.

First of all, they have to be familiar with not just the subject matter of the event, but also its reception and appreciation in the political atmosphere of both the source and the target. They have to be aware of all the cultural issues that might surround the subject matter and the narrower and broader vocabulary that this entails. In addition, linguistic sensitivity is required. Figures of speech – like euphemisms, metaphors or intertextuality – are often used, and while one can prepare for such instances, e.g. if they receive the text of a speech or the outline of a presentation, comments and observations often arrive from out of the blue. Another situation to consider is the recognition of non-verbal codes where such simple gestures as nodding can have opposite meanings. The interpreter should also be knowledgeable about the diverse forms of interpretation (e.g. simultaneous, consecutive or chuchotage), as different settings and situations – maybe even at the same event – require different techniques. The final skill that is necessary – and I think it is among the most difficult aspects – is to interpret impartially. While of course, in theory, interpretation is perfectly devoid of personal matters, in a real situation it is quite a feat to continuously override one’s own bias and opinion.

A politician who speaks reliably and confidently in a given foreign language might deem their language knowledge solid enough to decide against using an interpreter. This might be a proper solution in events with an informal atmosphere or in smaller-scale discussions where the topic, the language used, and possibly the interlocutors, are familiar to the politician. However, in the case of larger conventions and symposia, an interpreter can support a politician in many ways. On the one hand to express him/herself without bearing the burden of the language barrier that is present even when someone is close to native level speaker; and, on the other hand, to understand the point of view of others without decoding the text by their own.

To sum up, interpretation in the political field is an area where the skilful nuances of the profession are amplified and emphasised, which requires endurance and a high level of cultural and linguistic sensitivity. On the other hand, a skilled interpreter can facilitate the exchange of ideas and can also overcome even the most demanding linguistic difficulties.

Written by Zsolt Beke

Get a first-hand experience on how our language services can contribute to your success! Get in touch with us for a quote if you need translation or any relevant services.

To stay updated with our latest SPECIAL OFFERS and to receive our regular newsletter, please subscribe here.

Chemical footprint: the next level in sustainability

Since 2012, when the concept of ecological footprints was born, we have been accustomed to hearing about our carbon emissions. However, the footprint family incorporates more than that, with the chemical footprint also being a part of it. What is that, and why should we care?

The chemical footprint is an indicator of how much “chemicals of high concern” (COHC) a company is using during production or is selling as a retailer. There are over 10,000 different chemicals used every day in the world, and by now, the connection between some of these and environmental or health damage is apparent.

So benchmarking and measurements, such as the Chemical Footprint Project, gives an overview of the efforts businesses make to commit to a more sustainable way of chemical use. The project evaluates companies in four areas: management strategy, chemical inventory, footprint measurement (as reduction goals), and public disclosure and verification.

Producers of chemicals are obvious targets for such expectations. On the other hand, businesses in different industries are also responsible for unwanted emissions. Manufacturers of clothing, including the likes of Adidas, C&A, Levi’s, or Puma, have already joined the voluntary initiative, the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, and committed to the zero discharge of dangerous substances. Production of building materials and furniture, cleaning supplies, medical devices, hardware, or toys are also called out. They should take part in monitoring their supply chains and help to minimise damage from chemicals — and do it all transparently.

Going downstream, non-industrial players such as smaller retailers and service providers can also put their two cents in. A hairdressing salon that sources products with only safe chemicals. A food delivery service that uses paper products instead of plastic. A school that cleans with green supplies. It is a new field to explore and being proactive in finding sustainable ways of doing business is crucial.

There are also measures you can take in your own household to reduce chemical damage. Using less of everything is the first step and one where a little goes a long way. From washing to cleaning and grooming, make educated choices about the products you use. There are guidelines to follow when reading product labels and looking for possibly harmful ingredients. You can also try and make products at home that contain only additives you trust. Cleaning promises especially good returns on your efforts if you make use of lemon, vinegar, and washing soda.

Individual efforts add up to a healthier environment, but country policies increasingly back this up. For example, chemical regulatory landscapes have been changing in national economies and even on a broader scale. In Europe, the emission of potentially hazardous chemicals amounts to 200 million tonnes a year with associated health damage, and 120 million tonnes that is possibly harming the environment. So, the EU is working on new measures to calculate the chemical footprint of products and businesses in its Member States. It uses data from REACH and EFSA, and communicates the findings to help consumers navigate the risks. Chemical management at all levels of the society is moving up the agenda and is triggering a set of measures that will, hopefully, make life healthier for generations to come.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

We are family ⁠— but are we business?

Families are the smallest units in our societies, but, if they engage in business, these units provide stable economic power based on personal relations. Let’s see whether this is a recipe for success!

Families that made business history

When mum and dad decide to open a little corner shop or cousins embark on a startup adventure developing software in a garage, they share this journey with many ventures. Family businesses are the backbone of the global economy, with two-thirds generating around 70-90% of global GDP, according to 2017 data from the Family Firm Institute.

Some of the newcomers will also share the humble beginnings with many top global enterprises of today. US discount chain Walmart, a steady leader of all business lists, was founded by the Walton brothers in 1945 and now has a revenue of USD 514bn. Europe is not far behind with Germany’s Volkswagen, of the Porsche and Piech families, with a revenue of EUR 235bn. Other well-known brands like Novartis, Dell or Aldi, also trace their origins back to families like Sandoz, Dell and Albrecht.

Some essential advice

When it comes to founding a new business, doing so with family members seems like a safe bet to ensure a high level of trust and commitment and achieve a lower level of costs. Some are even fascinated by the idea that their family name might someday become famous and make history.

That hasn’t changed with the coming of the startup age. Meanwhile, a family venture has always come with its specific challenges. But how do you avoid the pitfalls and make the venture a success?

  • Business is business: Set clear limits about where family life ends and business begins. Determine roles, communication, and pay according to market standards and not personal feelings. The best thing is to put everything in writing. Seeking outside advice might help in more problematic cases.
  • Define your family values and stick to them: PwC’s Family Business Survey says that clear values are the best way to overcome today’s challenges of digital disruption. A commitment to your values helps to focus your activities, navigate complex decision-making situations and wins the trust of your customers.
  • Plan for succession: If you have a vision of growth, you must plan for the times when decisions will not be made by you and your first partner(s) alone. Very few family businesses make it through the third generation, and the main reason for that is poor planning, according to EY and University of St. Gallen’s Family Business Index. A governance framework established early is a tool to prevent the breakdown of relationships and secure a stable background for future generations.

If you and your family members have equal understanding of your goals and how you want to achieve them, starting a business with family can be a good idea and the beginning of a rewarding journey.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

Climate leave – bringing “eco” into the workplace

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It has a major impact on every aspect of our existence, and we are yet to learn to what extent it will transform our daily lives, not to mention the environment that surrounds us. There are many negative effects of climate change: extreme heat and serious natural disasters pose new challenges for companies and employees alike.

When the damage is done

One of the first companies to respond to this challenge is the US tech company Fog Creek (now known as Glitch), which, following the increasingly violent storms of the hurricane season, decided to provide five days of paid leave to their employees in case weather conditions or emergency measures (e.g. evacuation) make it difficult or impossible for them to work. They explained their decision by emphasising that the safety of their workforce is of primary concern and these few days – which can be extended in the case of a state emergency – can help staff to ensure their own and their families’ safety.

While climate leave is a desirable step in order to lessen the negative impact of climate change on workers, it is only a sensible decision if it is part of a “green” work package that also facilitates the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and environmentally friendly office: the option of climate leave can be supplemented by providing platforms for remote working, allowing colleagues to work flexitime or encouraging the use of public transport and/or carpooling among colleagues.

A problem shared

Nicolas Vallat from Denmark has a different concept of Climate Leave: he believes climate leave should work in the same way as parental leave. You take time off work to do something that benefits everyone.

Inspired by a young Swedish woman, Bodil Palmberg, who recently quit a successful job to dedicate herself as a volunteer to promote the sharing economy and a more collaborative lifestyle which involves community gardens, swapping and sharing, gift circles, upcycling and so on, Nicolas prepared a simple one-page Climate Leave Agreement for his own boss. He initially asked for a three-month unpaid leave of absence. Unpaid because Nicolas saw this as his way of showing his commitment to the project. “I knew exactly what I would spend my time on while on leave: taking part in projects to create a more environment-friendly, collaborative economy,” he said.

The future beckons for employers who support their staff by allowing them to take time off from work on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in order to participate in social and environmental projects at a whole new level. This is something that gives both employer and employee a sense of recognition and fulfilment. And the biggest winner of all is our planet.

How to take your part in reducing food waste

How did we get from the post-war scarce food resources to dumping one-third of the production a year? The first world is wasted right now but is there a chance to make it better? Can we keep living a good life and still not lose so much?

Trashcan overload

According to United Nations estimates, about 1.3 billion tons, one-third of the total produced globally ends up in the trash. Do you know what’s even more shocking? That I am (and you are, too) responsible for more than 100 kilograms of food waste a year, while third-world citizens only throw away 6-11 kg.

Our carelessness is a result of both producing and buying more than necessary, as we mostly eliminated non-intentional waste during harvest, processing, and distribution. It doesn’t help that agricultural producers and retailers know we don’t like “ugly” veggies and expired dairy. Summer makes food go bad sooner and safety hysteria even worse – some of us already wonder if is it necessary though?

Awakening of groceries

Luckily, many organizations have already taken action. All along the food value chain, there are relevant initiatives that aim to tackle the problem of food waste and offer solutions for it.

Volunteers revive the tradition of gleaning, so collect produce that’s left on the site after harvest. They also collaborate with food banks for distribution.

Grocery stores are motivated by expensive waste management to support unsparing shopping. Supermarket chains like Rewe in Germany or Walmart in the US have long been donating to food banks.

Many stores collaborate with food-saving startups such as Olio from England, Instock from the Netherlands, Wasteless from Israel or Karma from Sweden for redistributing or merely cooking the leftovers. Others, like Tesco in the UK, is removing ‘best before’ labels claiming it makes its clients throw away still edible food.

Apps to the rescue

Nevertheless, the key to reducing waste even more is to change our behaviour. Luckily, hundreds of smart apps are available to support us in this mission. Here’s what you can do to reduce food waste:

  • Plan your meals and go shopping with a list. Say no to bulk offers and aim lower with the quantities of fresh produce. Apps: AnyList, Out of Milk, Avocadolist
  • Don’t buy food by the looks. “Ugly” veggies and fruits taste just as good. Apps: Hungry Harvest, Imperfect Produce
  • When it comes to takeaway, see if there are discounted offers in your area. Many restaurants or bakeries offer their remaining stock for a lower price at the end of the day.   Apps: TooGoodToGo, FoodOverFlow
  • Share what you cook too much of – give for takeaway or host neighbourhood dinners. Apps: Shmeal, Chachi’s, EatWith
  • Share what you have in excess – when you realize your pantry is full of stuff you’ll never use. Apps: NoWaste, Olio

Deep in our hearts, many of us know it’s not right to abuse the privilege of always having food on the table. Now let’s go for zero-waste shopping and cooking a meal to be shared!

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

Pitfalls of survey translation and how to avoid them

June is Pride Month, and this year we happened to have the chance to work on an interesting and appropriate project: we translated a survey on transgender identity. Translation of a survey itself requires special care, technical skills and linguistic awareness, and this is especially so when dealing with such a sensitive topic. So what is so challenging about surveys and questionnaires?

Technical challenges

Usually an online survey is written in HTML, where placeholders and other non-translatable units abound, and the file is exported to an .xls format. The preparation of such files can be time-consuming and requires some knowledge of coding and HTML itself. With cutting-edge software technologies and an experienced team this is not a problem for us. As always, it is essential to ask the client for detailed instructions about non-translatable items (e.g. abbreviations, programme titles, organisation names), character limits and the context in which the survey will be published.

Linguistic challenges

Surveys and questionnaires have a relatively well-defined structure, and the linguistic differences are also more striking and immediate than in the case of a general text. Grammatical gender, for instance, especially in Romance languages, such as French or Spanish, can pose a dilemma for translators, as the gender of the noun actively affects other elements of a given noun phrase. This can result in unusual solutions – for example, in the case of shorter answers where the translation follows a linguistic structure different from English, and translators sometimes have no other option but to use four forms (sing. masc./sing. fem./plur. masc./plur. fem.) of a word or expression. When the target audience and the subject of the survey is the LGBTQ+ community – whose grammatical gender representation is part of an ongoing social debate – this requires greater care on the part of the entire translation team.

In surveys even repetitions do not work the same way. Responses in rating scales (e.g. Good/Fair/Poor) can be translated one way in one context and another way in another context, depending on the question.

Numbers replaced with placeholders can also pose added complications. In some languages, like Polish, the number itself can modify the gender and the number of the noun phrase which means, again, that several forms of the same noun have to be included.

At the same time, questions discussing present/previous experiences of the respondent often need to be completely rephrased when a grammatical tense simply does not exist in the target language.

In English, you is a general pronoun, but in many languages, there is an informal (tutoiement) and formal (vouvoiement) way of addressing others. Another problem to deal with. This is where background documents (screenshots or additional information) can help the translator, while taking the target audience into consideration, and communication with the client can also provide further reference points to ensure an accurate translation.

To sum up, survey translations provide a platform for us to show our technical and linguistic expertise and ability while requiring flexibility and creativity in translation. The management of such projects is time-consuming and complex: it needs an experienced and proactive team and continuous communication with the client. If your translator does not ask questions, it’s time to get suspicious!

Get a first-hand experience on how our language services can contribute to your success! Get in touch with us for a quote if you need translation or any relevant services.

To stay updated with our latest SPECIAL OFFERS and to receive our regular newsletter, please subscribe here.