Why translate?

bullet One powerful reason is that of respect for your audience. Translating the message is an indication that you care enough about the recipient's situation to make the extra effort.
bullet Competition: When making a choice between different products and services, the quality of the user documentation and help is a very powerful factor. If your product or service comes with documentation in a foreign language only, its market penetration and potential will suffer dramatically.
bullet Quality: Documentation and help in the user's own language will make it simpler to use the product or service correctly. This will reduce the incidence of errors and problems, and provide you with happier customers.

Criteria for translation quality

Linguistic understanding
In this area, the target language and the source language are of similar importance. A popular misconception is that translation should always and only be into the translator's own mother tongue. In actual practice, the source text can be sufficiently rich in nuance and complexity that it takes a translator with a full understanding of the source language to convey the same meaning in an acquired language. Observing the way some writers mangle their own language, this mother tongue business is certainly no criterion on its own. Nevertheless, it is generally beneficial if either the source or target language is also the mother tongue of the translator.

Professional or vocational understanding

There is no denying the fact that no translator can make a decent job of translating a technical text concerning a field of which one lacks even the most basic understanding, regardless of linguistic skills. If your text discusses terms, expressions and procedures that will only make sense to a true professional in the field in question, you need a bi-lingual, true professional to perform the translation. Medicine, surgical procedures, nuclear science, the graphical arts, EC directives, US corporate legalese and bad commercial copy are examples of fields we endeavour to avoid.

Generally, your average translator has a healthy respect for the author of the original script. When translating technical texts, however, the translator often needs to be something other than average. Examples in the text may need to be replaced with examples that make sense to the intended audience. Sizes and measurements in square meters may need conversion to square feet or hectares as appropriate. There is nearly always an element of localisation (see separate item) in any translation. Bottom line - the text should simply appear reasonable and understandable to the reader. If it does not, you pay nothing.


A note on Norway's two flavours of Norwegian

We use the Norwegian Bokmaal exclusively. In our very personal opinion, Norway is cursed with two languages that few foreigners can tell apart. The so-called New Norwegian (Nynorsk) is a constructed language, spoken by very few, but still in widespread official use. We are looking forward to the day when using New Norwegian terms becomes valid and accepted for speakers and writers of Bokmaal, and vice versa, for a fuller, richer and unified Norwegian language. The Nynorsk of today is simply bureaucratic nonsense; a sacred cow of limited usefulness and vast expense.

CAT - Computer Assisted Translation

wordfastSome of it works, some doesn't. Machine translation is largely useless, and produces results ranging from hilarious to just sad. Some promise is shown by Translation Memory software, where Trados is a major player (though hardly better than the astonishing Wordfast - which is also freeware). We will use translation memories if you insist. If you do, this means you are an agency who wishes to re-use my translations over and over, without paying after the first time. And that's okay too. Translation memories have their definite uses, such as a revision of a user manual where much of the text is carried forward with few or no changes.

tradosBecause quality invariably suffers, we will not use translation memory software unless there's a very compelling reason. Such software complicates matters, slows up the work, perpetuates errors, and stupidly assumes that a sentence in the source can always be matched up with a sentence in the target text.


Due to the procedure that often applies to translation work, the term 'References' warrants a few words of explanation. Our assignments typically come from an international translation agency. This agency may have received its assignment from an agency in the originating country, which may again have got the assignment from the documentation department of the manufacturer. On completion of the assignment, the manufacturer can ship his product with Norwegian owner's literature to its Norwegian distributor - who can be a subsidiary, or an independent business. From this chain of players, the only one who knows us from Adam as the performing translator is the Norwegian translation agency. Accordingly, neither Siemens AG in Munich, nor Siemens in Oslo, nor your local retail outlet for that matter, will be able to confirm that we are responsible for the Norwegian language BIOS on the latest issue of the Fujitsu-Siemens portable PC range.

The references below are therefore agencies, products and manufacturers provided as samples of actual work we have done. Note that clicking on the hyperlinked names below will propel you to a different web site where no verification of the validity of the reference can be expected. If you need specifics on exactly what has been done in which context, feel free to email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Nokia Mobile Phones; Toshiba portable PC's, Fujitsu-Siemens mobile PC's, Nilfisk professional cleaning equipment, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Ford Ka, Ford Puma, Ford Mondeo, Thorsman Industrial Poles, 3M projector panels, Epson Stylus Colour printers, Hewlett-Packard office printers and supplies, Xerox printers and printer supplies....

Manufacturers and service providers

3M Norge A/S, Snow Software AS, Ford Motor Norge AS, Siemens (Nixdorf), Ericsson, Fidelio Nordic AS, Militærteknikk, Nokia Telecommunications, VISA International, Nordea .....

Translation and localisation agencies
Rubric Limited, Wordbank Ltd, Freedman International plc, Internationell Teknisk Dokumentation, IDIOMA, Crestec, Logos, ComText AS, Sahlin Information AB,,, Sandberg Translation Partners, TheBigWord, ....