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Sure! I speak fluent German. If anything, I have a tendency to speak a bit too fast! We can discuss all the details in German or English, as you prefer. German-language reference materials are fine with me – I translate from German, after all. I use the Sie form on my German website, but you can use du with me.

No, I don’t. I have sometimes helped German-native clients with short phrases here or there, but you really need a German native speaker professional for that.

However, I can recommend Stefan Helwig for similar services to mine, but in German. He’s specialised in marketing and IT, just like me. Stefan’s highly professional, reliable, and an all-round nice guy to work with. I recommend him regularly, including to my own regular clients. Incidentally, we’re both members of the German Informatics Society.

Yes. Please tell me a bit more about your company, what it is you need done, and any particular requests – either by telephone or in an email. Then I can send you an appropriate selection of past projects via email.

My portfolio is continually updated with new examples of my copywriting, adaptation, and translation work, just as soon as I get permission from my clients. At the same time, not everything can be casually shared everywhere. This especially applies to exclusive publications designed for a carefully selected B2C or B2B audience. Confidientiality always comes first.

My fees are calculated differently depending on the task. I usually use project fees for translation and adaptation work; in these cases, the fee is agreed at the start of the project.

For copywriting, editing, proofreading, and more complex adaptation work I charge an hourly fee in the three-figure range. I provide a quote with an estimate of the number of hours I expect the project to take. Should the project look like it might take longer, I inform the client immediately so we can modify our strategy accordingly. It’s also possible to agree an upper limit in advance. I prefer to estimate slightly on the high side, so we can avoid any nasty surprises.

Due to the pandemic and having had long covid myself until April 2021, I’m afraid I currently can’t offer to work in-house, even on a temporary basis.

On a temporary basis, yes. Please refer to the How I work section, and the question: I need some temporary support at our company premises. Is that possible?. 

However, as a freelancer with many regular clients, working in house on a longer-term basis wouldn’t be possible.  An in-house position just isn’t something I’m interested in at this stage in my career. However, you might still want to send me an email or give me call: I might be able to support you on a freelance basis. Or perhaps I can recommend someone in my network who’d be interested.

Possibly! It’d be best if you sent me an email describing what you need. I’ll get back as soon as possible with some recommendations.

That’s a great question to ask – you’re really appealing to my perfectionistic side! Here are a few free tips.

For one thing, please feel free to approach me personally for some advice. I have a large network and may already know the right person or people for your project. If that’s the case, I’ll forward their details to you. I don’t charge or otherwise gain anything from that, other than the satisfaction of having put you in touch with a good translator or two.

If you require translation into many languages or there’s a higher level of specialisation involved, it may be harder for me to recommend someone I know personally in every case. In my experience, the following general rules apply:

  • You get what you pay for. But prices still vary a lot depending on language combination and specialisation.
  • Good translators are rare, and hard to find …
  • … And you’re much less likely to find them working for translation agencies. I explicitly do not work with translation agencies, and with good reason. The vast majority of translation agencies simply outsource to translators they don’t really know. The vast majority translation agencies compete largely on price. They usually don’t have any in-house resources to properly assess the quality of the translations they buy in, and such efforts are few and far between. That means price inevitably plays a big role in the way they select their translators and reviewers. The majority of my customers have worked with translation agencies in the past, to no avail. That’s why they’re now working with me.
  • … And you won’t necessarily find them in professional associations. Membership of a professional association obviously looks impressive and will attract customers. But the membership itself isn’t a guarantee that someone will deliver good work. There are unfortunately bad and unprofessional translators even in the best professional associations.
  • Lots of experience and qualifications don’t guarantee great quality. Even state- and court-certified translators can disappoint, especially where marketing texts are concerned. What really matters is how skilled the translator is in translating texts like yours.
  • True specialisation is crucial. Good translators are always working on maintaining and updating their knowledge. They also know their limits. Specialised translators will also know to turn down certain jobs and recommend more suitable colleagues.
  • Native speakers are preferred. This is especially important in the case of marketing texts.
  • Professional revision by a similarly qualified translator is a must. Good translators don’t translate alone. They’re well connected and quality-focused. They recognise the importance of collaboration and know that almost every text can benefit from a second pair of expert eyes. They might even find the odd mistake – even the best translators are only human.

If I’m unable to recommend a translator for a particular project, language combination or specialisation, I usually refer people to freelancers who are members of professional associations. In Germany, the biggest and most well-established association is the BDÜ. You can search the BDÜ database (in English) here.

Please note that here, too, a good review is a must and you should specifically request this service. Unfortunately, many translators compete on price and external revision obviously adds to the cost. Some believe that customers like you would be unable or unwilling to invest a little more for substantially better quality.

And to finish, two more relatively simple but important rules:

  • Don’t use Google Translate or DeepL!
  • And don’t do it yourself!*

* Unless you happen to be an extraordinarily gifted translator in your own right, or really have no budget for a professional translation that meets the standards outlined above. In that case, doing it yourself is usually a better option than hiring a cheap agency or translator. You’re better off saving your money in that case.

First off, I’m highly specialised in marketing and IT. I only accept jobs I’m 100% sure I can do well. I read lots of industry journals and books in German and English – all about economics, IT, architecture, design, marketing, and whatever else I’m currently interested in or working on. This ensures I’m always at the top of my game, aware of the latest goings on, and familiar with key terminology.

I regularly attend talks, conferences, seminars, and other events on relevant subjects, e.g. writing, copywriting, and translation. I also take training in my specialist areas, e.g. IT, UX, high-end marketing, and luxury real estate. All that ongoing professional development means I’m regularly out and about in Berlin, but also around Germany and abroad, especially the UK and London in particular.

This leads me to my next point: language and culture. In contrast to many English native-speakers in Germany, I’m well familiar with the problem of Germglish. Also known as Denglish, I’m talking about that particular kind of language attrition (loss of your native tongue) found here. That’s why I spend a minimum of six weeks every year in my country of birth (except when there’s a pandemic raging). On these trips, I chat and network with fellow professionals, use, and hear my language spoken at a high level. My standard of English is my greatest asset. Without it, I’d not be able to command the rates I do. Like all valuable assets, it needs to be kept in good shape.

Aside from the above, I also work with a highly qualified reviewer on every project (and she’s also not the cheapest). She’s a fellow British translator and is based in New Zealand. She understands German exceptionally well, and her English writing and editing skills are top notch. Her overnight support is especially valuable on urgent projects. Collaboration is a vital component in any translation workflow, because a second expert will always have something valuable to add.

Client style guides are always carefully observed, and where these do not exist, I can work with clients to create them. As a geek, I’m also very familiar with translation tools (please note: this is not machine translation!). Style guides and translation tools help me to ensure all technical and company-specific terms are used consistently.

Where the text will ultimately be used on a website or in a PDF for publication, I always include a check of the final proof in my quote.

Do you already have your texts available in Word format? That would be ideal for my reviewer and me. With smaller websites, it usually doesn’t make sense to install tools to extract the text from the database. In these cases, just copying and pasting is fastest. With bigger projects, it makes more sense to have a chat to work out the most efficient solution.

WordPress, however, is a special case: If you’re using the WPML plugin, or are willing to install it (it’s pretty useful), then you can use it to automatically extract the texts to be translated in XLIFF format. I can then import these into my translation tool (please note: this is not machine translation!). I can use these to quickly provide a quote. Once approved, I can easily translate the texts in my tool and then produce files that you can easily import into your website via WPML. Some plugin texts may need to be translated manually, but I’ve not personally encountered this problem.

Due to the pandemic and having had long covid myself until April 2021, I’m afraid I currently can’t offer to work in-house, even on a temporary basis.

Generally speaking, yes, it is. Depending on my current schedule, I’ll be happy to offer my services as an English-native copywriter and translator on shorter projects. This is usually possible right here in Berlin or even internationally.

Just like an interpreting job, the client is expected to cover hotel, travel, and any admission costs. The travel time is billed at half my hourly rate.

My day rate is in the low four-figures.

Probably! Please send me what you already have via email (rose@englishroseberlin.de) and give me a call (office: +49 30 4849 5857; mobile: +49 176 5677 0240). Get to it!

That’s a good question.

In short, I don’t like the way most translation agencies work.

Many translation agencies outsource work to translators they don’t know and haven’t even tested. Despite this, clients are almost always led to believe the work is done by good and specialised translators. Agencies rarely care how experienced or specialised the translators they hire are – as long as they’re cheap and available immediately. Jobs are also often split between translators, so the work can be delivered faster, which causes problems in the consistency of terminology and style. You may also find your work isn’t always translated by the same person.

It’s an open secret in the profession that agencies will send the first one or two jobs to a more competent translator, who will probably have higher rates. Later jobs, however, are sent to other translators, who presumably charge less. I’d know – I’ve fallen into that trap a few times back when I used to work for agencies. I would always be sent the first projects for a new client – essentially paid test translations – which are used to win a new client. But then I wouldn’t get the later jobs for the same client, or only be sent the work after someone else messed up and the client complained. That happened very blatantly on multiple occasions, and that was then the final straw – I’d had enough of translation agencies.

The other issue is that translation agencies rarely offer the opportunity to ask the client questions or propose alternative suggestions, or share their ideas on how the content might be improved. But this close collaboration is exactly what my clients love about working with me. Done right, translation is creative work. This necessitates a certain degree of communication between the customer and the person who translates your texts into English. Ultimately, it’s in the client’s interest to help the translator produce the best work possible. Agencies get in the way of that.

Compounding the above issue, agencies rarely allow the translator and reviewer to discuss their choices. This is largely considered too slow and costly. It is almost always impossible for the translator(s), reviewer(s) and client(s) involved to discuss any questions that arise during the project. The only option is to send questions via an often overworked and underpaid project manager, who often doesn’t speak one or even either of the languages concerned and is not directly involved in the project. Most seem more bothered by questions as an unnecessary distraction, even viewing it as a hint of incompetence, ignoring that smart questions are often an opportunity to impress the client with an even better translation.

All in all, it’s about the way they work, dishonesty to their clients, and the rates they pay. But most of all, I need to be able to know I’m doing good work for my own peace of mind.

Initially, just like everyone else – it was a subject like any other. Then I went on to study German and politics at Leeds. I started translating before I’d even graduated. I first lived in Bonn for two years, then later a year and a half in Hamburg. My now-husband and I moved to Berlin back in 2013. We had considered moving to the UK at one point, but then Brexit happened. So for now, we’ve settled here and I’ve obtained German citizenship.

I was born in the city of Cambridge, of historic university fame. We moved when I was little, so I grew up in Stroud, a beautiful market town in Gloucestershire. That’s in the south west of England in the famous Cotswolds, not so far from the Welsh border. My parents later moved further south west to Cornwall, known from the books of Rosamunde Pilcher. If this name means nothing to you, you’re probably not German. I then did my Bachelor in Leeds and lived in Nottingham for two years. However, my whole family comes from St Albans, known for its beautiful abbey, just north of London. Despite my rural roots in the south west of England, I feel quite emotionally attached to London.

Phonetically, it’s /ˈnjuːəl/. Or a bit like an amalgamation of the words “new” and “jewel”.

I summed up my experiences in a blog article:

4 March 2019
Blog article on this website
Brexit between the lines: Copywriting, translating, and fighting Brexit from Berlin

If the image or blog post aren’t clear enough, then perhaps the links below will make it even clearer!

1 February 2020
Video interview with rbb24 (in German, sadly looks like it has been taken offline)
Brexit ist „done“: Zum Abschied die Europahymne (Brexit is done: Signing off with the European Anthem)

31 January 2020
Video interview with The Local
Watch: How do Brits in the EU feel about Brexit actually happening?

31 January 2020
Video interview with rbb24 (in German, sadly looks like it has been taken offline)
Der Countdown läuft, Brexit – Briten in Berlin (Countdown to Brexit – Brits in Berlin)

31 January 2020
Video with rbb Abendschau (in German, sadly looks like it has been taken offline)
Der Countdown läuft, Brexit – Briten in Berlin (Countdown to Brexit – Brits in Berlin)

31 January 2020
Radio interview with Deutschlandradio Kultur (in German)
Zweifel an Zeitplan für Handelsabkommen (Doubts surround the trade deal timetable)

31 January 2020
Interview with The Local Germany
‘I’m giving up my UK passport’: Brits in Germany share their heartbreak over Brexit day

13 December 2019
Interview with The Local Germany
‘Brexit is happening… I feel surprisingly calm’: Brits in Germany react to UK election result

1 December 2019
Contributed to: Tactical Voting Guide
Jon Worth’s 2019 UK General Election Tactical Voting Guide

26 November 2019
Plea from a Brit in the EU for Forward Democracy
Plea from a Brit in the EU

20 November 2019
Twitter video: “VOTE!”
Twitter: @RoseWroteThis

16 September 2019
Quoted: emigrate.co.uk
Spanish media poll reveals 75 per cent of Brit expats favour cancelling Brexit

14 September 2019
Quoted: The Olive Press
To leave or remain, British expats in Spain have their say on Brexit as B-Day looms

7 September 2019
Created: Press release and letter to the Ambassador
Stop the Coup Berlin: Press release (German)

7 September 2019
Created: Stop the Coup Berlin website
Stop the Coup Berlin

7 September 2019
Interview with The Local Germany
Anxious and enraged’: Brits in Germany speak out as Brexit chaos continues

20 March 2019
BBC News: Shortened version of the video interview with BBC Scotland: “The Nine”
Brexit: The choice facing British citizens living in Germany

20 March 2019 (uploaded 19 March 2019)
Interview with BBC Scotland: “The Nine”
Brits in Germany talk to BBC Scotland about the impact of Brexit on their lives

29 March 2017
The Herts Advertiser
St Albans Remainers join national Brexit protest march in London

1 July 2016
Interview with The Local Germany, quoted in The Independent
British expats marrying continental Europeans to remain EU citizens

1 July 2016
Interview with The Local Germany, quoted in a second article
Vice-Chancellor calls to offer young Brits dual citizenship

1 July 2016
Interview with The Local Germany
‘It won’t be romantic. But I need an EU passport’

8 July 2016
Interview with DPA, published on EBL News
Auf Wiedersehen, pet? Britons in Berlin mull a post-Brexit future

Rose Newell | English Copywriter and German Translator Berlin

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