Most people imagine that first you build your business in the local market, then take it national and finally global. However, the Translation Challenge’s first sponsor had a very different experience!
Jane Malyon launched the English Cream Tea Company and within an hour of putting the company Facebook Page up, she had enquiries from five countries. “I hadn’t imagined that an English Cream Tea would appeal to people in other countries, but I was obviously wrong about that,” she remembers.
Nelson Mandela said that afternoon tea was Britain’s greatest export and the company exports all around the world now. Jane says that every time people watch Downton Abbey the sales go up! It’s not just British expats, but people of every race crave the lifestyle that afternoon tea represents.
Getting involved with the Translation Challenge back in 2014 was an easy decision for Jane. “I’ve always been interested in children and students and have actively mentored students before so it was an easy decision to make,” she explains.
The Translation Challenge lived up to its name. The assignment was to translate part of the English Cream Tea Company’s website into various languages, which seemed pretty straightforward – but turned out not to be as easy as it appeared.
“I had forgotten that I’d included a ‘made-up’ term on one of the pages. As we were offering the private helicopter service at Stansted Airport a hamper with a delicious lunch or afternoon tea already on board for the client who was off to the races or any outdoor event, we invented ‘Helicopter Hampers’. This caused no end of trouble – as nobody knew what it was.”
The students tried everything to find out what this meant, online, calling on people in their home countries for help, but failed to find this term anywhere. Finally, they had to call Jane (late at night) for an explanation of the term.
“I really hadn’t thought about it, it was obvious to us and it never occurred to us that we had created a huge challenge for the poor students!”
The English Cream Tea Company learned that not everything is obvious to others. The students learned that some things need more than the text to explain the correct meaning of some words and that experienced translators don’t make assumptions, they always check any odd terms or unusual words.
It was a great challenge – and helped the English Cream Tea Company get to grips with the international marketplace.