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Catherine Christaki - Lingua Greca Translations

Today we bring you an interview with Catherine Christaki, a full-time English-Greek translator since 2001 and co-owner of Toronto-based Lingua Greca Translations since 2012. We wanted to hear from Catherine on the economic climate in Greece (and globally) as it relates to language translation—and the implications for global businesses like yours.

Since the economic crisis began, have you noticed a change in the number of requests for language translation into Greek? If so, what do you think accounts for this change?

Greek translation work has been reduced significantly since the global crisis, and even more so when the Greek crisis hit. I remember, back in 2009, all of a sudden I started receiving fewer emails about new translation projects.

When I asked a few project managers about specific projects/end clients (international companies who needed translations of their product manuals, websites, contracts, etc.), they all said that the client reduced the number of languages from +20 to just under 10. Of course, Greek didn’t make the cut.

Do you think global businesses have pulled back from translating content for Greek audiences as a result of the economic climate?

It’s a struggle to convince international companies to include Greek in the languages they localize into. They see the low number of Greek native speakers (13 million worldwide) and, when they read the news about Greece’s financial troubles in newspapers worldwide almost every day, they think, “Why would a Greek user buy my high-tech/expensive product? . . . We don’t need Greek translations.”

Is there still enough of a market in Greece to justify global businesses investing in localization for Greece?

Definitely! Greek businesses need translation services now more than ever to help them grow their businesses and expand in new markets.

No matter how small or big a country is, globalization has made the case for localization stronger than ever. The statistics are just unbelievable.

A Gallup survey of language preferences among Internet users in 23 EU countries revealed the following:

  • Almost nine in 10 (88 percent) Internet users in the EU agreed that all websites produced in their country should be available in their country’s official languages. 96 percent (!!!) of interviewees in Greece thought that all websites produced in their country should also have versions available in other languages.
  • 44 percent of Internet users in the EU thought they missed interesting information because websites were not available in a language they understood. In Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain and Greece, a majority of respondents agreed with this statement (between 51 percent and 60 percent).

Another survey has revealed that:

  • 80 percent of international businesses suffer because of errors in document and Web translation.
  • Eight out of 10 international businesses lose revenue, delay product launches or pay fines for non-compliance because of translation errors.

Has there been a change over the past few years regarding the types of translation projects you’ve received (where the target language is Greek)?

Yes, we’ve noticed a big shift in that aspect. Customers are more knowledgeable now in choosing their materials to be translated considering the impact of the translations. So, we receive a lot more requests for website and app localization.

The manuals we receive are also different than the ones we used to translate six to eight years back. We have noticed a change in the technical writing style, i.e. less words, more concise content, easier for the users to understand.

How do you view your profession’s role in the global economy and, more specifically, in the Greek economy? Are translators a key part of bringing economic stability back?

I think translators play a key part in today’s globalized world community. We help companies and individuals break the language barriers, communicate in new languages and connect with their clients all over the world. There is no true globalization without linguists to help.

Greece needs to win back the trust of international buyers and investors. The best way for Greece to get out of the current dire financial situation is to invest in ways to re-establish the world’s confidence in Greek companies and consumers. Localization is one of the best cost-effective solutions to achieve that.

More about Catherine:

Catherine’s specializations include IT, medical and technical texts. In 2013, she translated the popular guide for translation buyers, Translation: Getting It Right, into Greek. She is active on social media, especially Twitter @LinguaGreca, which has been voted among the Top 25 Language Twitterers four years in a row (2011-2014). She writes the translation blog Adventures in Technical Translation and regularly talks about social media and blogging for translators in interviews and conferences.