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Today marks a significant milestone for Bluebird Translations, nestled in the heart of the Jordaan district in Amsterdam. It is with immense joy and gratitude that we celebrate the achievement of 500 Google reviews, all contributing to our immaculate 5.0 rating. To add a sweet touch to our celebration, in conjunction with juka design, and with a little help from AI wizardry, we designed this “Creamy Oreo” cake, which was masterfully baked by Amsterdam Cupcake Company.

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Bluebird and beyond

We consider this accomplishment to be not only a testament to the quality of our translation services and the satisfaction of our clients but also a reflection of the collaborative spirit that thrives in our shared office space and within the network of other local translators. This milestone is a collective achievement, reflecting the dedication and expertise of not only our team but also the translators we collaborate with. Together, we’ve built a community that fosters collaboration, continuous improvement, and a shared commitment to delivering exceptional translation services.

500 & 5.0: two fives of our dreams

In the dynamic world of Google reviews, our journey to 500 was marked by a thrilling dance with the highest scores, but not always exactly 5.0. As we edged closer to this milestone, we embraced the challenge, vowing to celebrate if we could reclaim the perfect 5.0 rating. It became a shared mission, and we have emerged victorious!

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Two weeks ago, we discovered that one of our translations made for Horizon, the European Commission's magazine on research projects funded by the EU, was published in Diario EL PAÍS (the leading Spanish-language newspaper in the world), and became one of the most read articles!


This is our translation:






José Carlos holds ISO 17100:2015 qualified status meaning that the qualification and experience requirements of ISO 17100:2015 are being met.

What is ISO 17100:2015?

It is the internationally recognized standard for translation services providing requirements for the core processes, resources, and other aspects necessary for the delivery of a quality translation service that meets applicable specifications.

It takes into consideration project management processes and workflows, translation and revision process, client-TSP communication, handling of materials, competence and qualifications of professionals involved and Continuing Professional Development.

TSPs and agencies certified under this standard have been externally assessed by a registered body and are subject to regular audits.

The status of "Certified" is not generally used for individual translators, as they usually prove their compliance through the status of "Qualified".


Benefits of holding ISO 17100:2015 qualified status according to Bluebird Translations and the ITI:

  • Proof that the translator works to a recognized standard and is committed to maintaining those industry standards
  • No need to spend time checking qualifications and CPD records of translators to ensure they meet the standard (easy participation in tenders applied by LSPs)
  • Greater confidence for prospective clients
  • Evidence that the translator is professional and forward-thinking

Profile of an ISO 17100:2015 qualified translator:

  • Translation competence: translating texts in accordance with the client-TSP agreement.
  • Linguistic and textual competence both in the source and target languages: understanding the source, fluency in the target language, and general or specialized knowledge of text-type conventions.
  • Competence in research, information acquisition, and processing: acquisition of additional knowledge necessary to understand the text and experience in the use of research tools and information sources.
  • Cultural competence: making use of information on the behavioral standards, up-to-date terminology, value systems, etc. characterizing both source and target cultures.
  • Technical competence: the knowledge, abilities, and skills required to perform the technical tasks in the translation process by employing technical resources.
  • Domain competence: understanding content produced in the source language and reproducing it in the target language using appropriate style and terminology.
  • Sound translation process in place, characterized by: terminological consistency, semantic accuracy, appropriate grammar, spelling and punctuation, lexical cohesion, compliance with style guides, consideration of the target audience and purpose, etc.


Greater confidence for prospective clients

Given the current state of things, Bluebird is currently and until further notice quarantined and working from home, not only to protect ourselves but also to protect people at risk. Following the government’s advice, we’ve been working from home ever since the first confirmed cases in the Netherlands were reported.

Remote work is in Bluebird’s DNA, it’s a core value of our business (that’s why we chose the name of a migrant bird as our company name, because it really resonated with us, as we love spending periods of time in Spain, our homeland, as long as we adhere to just one golden rule: making sure there is always one bluebird working from the office in Amsterdam) and now, more than ever, we are seeing how our digital corporate culture has become crucial for tackling an uncertain future.

This, which has been our way to do things since Bluebird started, is the present and will probably be the future for other “more traditional” companies, which due to this situation have had no other choice but to reinvent themselves and find a way for their employees to work remotely without this affecting they way they conduct their day-to-day activities. Our two pieces of advice for (translation) teams that suddenly find themselves obliged to work remotely are these two programs: Slack (an instant messaging platform with different channels to bring order to team communication) and Trello (a visual board that helps you to organize translation projects). We will explain how we use them in our day-to-day in a future dedicated blog entry.

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The potential impact that this crisis will have on the translation industry is still unknown, but rest assured that we continue to work just as hard as always and are making the most of our quarantine, as now we have plenty of time to pursue further training in our fields of specialization thanks to the online resources available. We have already enrolled in a couple of online courses, such as this interesting management practicum on Trados Studio, and we’re also planning to expand our knowledge on medical translation, which seems a good option for post-corona times.

Should the workload become lighter, we will have precious time at home to spend it with our loved ones, chat and talk to those far from us, to reconnect with friends, to tackle those items on our to-do lists that we never have time for and to explore new (at-home) hobbies. May all humanity become more united after all this crisis is over and more conscious about the reasons we might be here on earth. We have no doubts that better and sunnier days will come.

Stay healthy and stay home!


LinkedIn gave us a pleasant surprise a few days ago: I was suddenly getting personal messages and comments on our profile because LinkedIn had posted that it had been exactly 10 years since Bluebird was born. And it has indeed been 10 years since I first registered the business at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, after two years working as an in-house translator in the Netherlands.

Since then our team has grown along with our experience, and so has our portfolio. All this growth has also allowed us to fulfill our dream of sharing our beautiful office space in Amsterdam city center and transforming it into a hub for local translators working in various languages.

Thanks for all the anniversary wishes and for your trust in our daily work.

10 years

This is the Christmas card that we've sent this year to our clients, collaborators, family, and friends. The original design, based on our (UNESCO-protected) office building, was done in aquarelle by Rotterdam-based artist Marrit van Natten. You can check out her beautiful artwork at her website.


Our best and most sincere wishes from the heart of the Jordaan, Amsterdam, where Bluebird keeps growing along with the community of professional translators with whom we share our work space.


Actually, in 2017 we'll have to celebrate our 5th anniversary since Bluebird Translations moved to this office. Stay tuned to this blog for more info on the best summer BBQ in town :)






this coming 2017 

A few months back, I interviewed Josep Condal from ApSIC on the new commercial version of Xbench for the ITI Bulletin, As a follow-up to that, I recently had the opportunity to exchange some words with Michael Farrell, the translator behind IntelliWebSearch. We talked about the origins of his beloved tool and the innovative features of the new version 5.

PDF version




Asetrad (Spanish Association of Translators, Copy-editors, and Interpreters) has asked JC Gil to organize a webminar on Xbench that will be hold on the 3rd of December, Tuesday, at 18:00 (Amsterdam - Madrid time: UTC/GMT+1). The webminar will be delivered in Spanish and will last 90 minutes approx.

You can register here.

More info here.

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Introducción a Xbench

Sinopsis del webinario

En este webinario, los alumnos adquirirán conocimientos suficientes para implementar Xbench en sus procesos actuales de traducción/revisión mediante glosarios y demás referencias bilingües con los que ya cuente el traductor, o bien para poder seguir las instrucciones de un cliente que requiera el uso de Xbench en un proyecto. Se hará hincapié en sus cualidades como gestor multifuente de términos/segmentos y como herramienta personalizable de control de calidad para documentos traducidos. Todo ello se hará desde un enfoque eminentemente práctico en el que crearemos desde cero un proyecto Xbench al que se añadirán diferentes fuentes de referencia en el contexto de una traducción real que, a posteriori, será asimismo analizada con la función de QA. También comentaremos las diferencias entre la versión gratuita, que ha sido la única disponible hasta hace unos meses, y la nueva versión de pago.


José Carlos Gil es un traductor y asesor de recursos tecnológicos aplicados a la traducción afincado en Ámsterdam. Desde su oficina en el corazón del barrio del Jordaan, dirige Bluebird Translations, un equipo de traductores especializado en traducción jurídico-financiera, documentación técnica de electrónica de consumo y traducción creativa de marketing. Comparte su pasión por la traducción escribiendo artículos tecnológicos tanto en el blog de Bluebird Translations como en La Linterna del Traductor de Asetrad o el ITI Bulletin. Su pericia en Xbench le ha convertido en un consultor recomendado por ApSIC para implementar el programa de forma personalizada en flujos de trabajo ya existentes y para impartir cursos a traductores que quieran conocer lo mucho que esta herramienta les puede ayudar a mejorar la calidad de sus traducciones.

Combinación de idiomas; conocimientos previos

El webinario se impartirá en español y para los ejemplos se utilizará la combinación inglés-español. Está dirigido a traductores profesionales que no conozcan Xbench, por lo que no son necesarios conocimientos previos sobre la herramienta, aunque el webminario también será útil para aquellos que ya tengan ciertos conocimientos y quieran descubrir funciones más avanzadas. Asimismo, se incluirán en los materiales del curso los codiciados glosarios oficiales de Mac y Microsoft, y se explicará cómo cargarlos en un proyecto de Xbench.

Por cortesía de ApSIC, Asetrad realizará el sorteo de una licencia de pago entre todos los asistentes y, además, ofrecerá a los asistentes la posibilidad de adquirir dos años de licencia por el precio de uno.

 "We don't create words, we create worlds"

Brilliant quote by Jost Zetzsche that could perfectly sum up the positive and friendly vibe that we, ITI members, have experienced in London after three amazing days at this year's conference.


My conference kick-off couldn't have started better thanks to two interesting Master Classes on translation technologies. Even though I am a regular reader of Jost's articles, books, and newsletters, his master class and keynote speech were inspiring and already worth the trip to the UK. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to join him and Michael Farrell (IWS) in Friday evening for some beers and an enthusiastic brainstorming for a social project I would like to start up soon on pre-Hispanic languages in Mexico and danger of their extinction (more updates on this soon on this blog).

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Among other highlights of the program, I found Andrew Leigh's "Being contract smart" really useful, and Isabel Hurtado de Mendoza's "The quest for the perfect translation workflow – a collaborative approach", as well as the tips to be taken into account when translating patents depending on the client, which were offered by Eline Van de Wiele.


For the off-ITI-Conf programme, the line dancing and that "Stand By Me" were a nice release. Also, as if my first day as a member of the Spanish network couldn't get any better, I won the draw for the sequel book of our acclaimed Mox.


Like last year, our blog is once again proud to present a guest post on the Mediterranean Editors and Translators Annual Meeting, which is actually a summary of the article published in the January-February issue of the ITI Bulletin by Laura Bennett (@culturetrans). She is a freelance translator based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, UK, that I was lucky enough to meet in Venice. She translates from Italian and French into English, specialising in Art History, Travel & Tourism and Food & Drink. You can also see my presentation at METM12 here.

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The Mediterranean Editors and Translators association is a forum for translators and editors who work mainly into or with English. With 190 members, it hosts a conference every year in a Mediterranean country with the aim of promoting opportunities for peer sharing of knowledge and expertise. The title of METM12 was Craft & Critical Vision: Diving Beneath the Surface of Discourse and it took place at the Don Orione Artigianelli Cultural Centre in Venice on 9 and 10 November, 2012.
The conference began for me on the Friday morning with a workshop entitled Translation Revision: how, why and how much. Led by Barcelona-based freelance translator Ailish Maher and in-house translator and editor Luci Vázquez, the workshop was fully-booked and included translators and editors with a range of languages, specialisations and experience. Ailish and Luci's intention was to provide a systematic overview of revision, including assessments to make and procedures to adopt when approaching a revision project in our working lives, rather than getting into the grammatical nitty-gritty of specific examples.

Stressing the importance of determining fitness for purpose of a text when revising, Luci began with the following quality scale: 0 - unacceptable, 1 - intelligible, 2 - accurate, 3 - well-written, 4 - very well-written, with only texts in the last two categories generally considered suitable for publication. With reference to Brian Mossop's Revising and Editing for Translators, we discussed the importance of revision elements falling into one of the four categories of Transfer, Language & Style, Presentation and Content. Ailish urged us to carry out a risk assessment when revising a text, in order to work out which of the four categories requires the greatest attention. Knowing when to exercise restraint was also stressed as being essential in a good reviser; over-revision being just as damaging to a text as under-revision.

Friday afternoon was destined for a distinctly literary flavour with a first session entitled Editing and Translating Literature for the Sea of Words International Short Story Contest. A group of Barcelona-based translators and editors discussed their involvement in MET’s project organised to provide publication-ready versions of four winning stories in this short story contest run by the Anna Lindh Foundation.

Next up was a ground-breaking MET event. Chaired by Sarah Griffin-Mason, the bulk of the presentation was given by Sarah Ardizzone via a live link with London. Introducing us to the Translation Nation project, Sarah gave an overview of the initiative's aim of engaging second language English- and native English-speaking primary school pupils in translation in a way that promotes literacy, confidence and understanding among children and benefits communities as a whole.
Saturday morning began with another round of panel discussions and presentations and for me these began with a session focusing on practical tips for translators. The panel's first speaker was freelance translator Timothy Barton. He amazed the audience with a number of automated hotkey processes set up to streamline his own invoicing processes, searches and file maintenance.

MET Treasurer Helen Casas spoke next and chose to recommend a number of smartphone apps, ones that sync with PCs and laptops in particular. An avid smartphone user myself, I found this particularly enlightening.
The final speaker of the session was Bluebird Translation’s José Carlos Gil who began his presentation by recommending two pieces of software: ApSic Xbench, an integrated QA reference tool, and the free LF Aligner for aligning previously translated or bilingual files, with which José Carlos reported great results. Co-working spaces, something I find a particularly interesting proposition for combating freelancer isolation, was the next topic before José Carlos finished with a discussion of Gmail Labs tools; the “undo send” feature for emails found a particularly appreciative audience. The session drew to a close with plenty of audience participation providing queries and positive feedback.
The next presentation was given by Ailish Maher and was entitled Quotations: lost in translation? Focusing on a topic that regularly comes up in my own work, Ailish was inspired to investigate this field on realising that there seems to be a lack of consensus among translators as to how best to tackle this issue.

METM12 concluded with a delicious closing dinner at a traditional restaurant near San Marco, giving us all a great opportunity to see the city one last time and to consolidate connections made earlier in the weekend. For me it had been an extremely positive event. One of the organisers made mention of a conscious effort to ensure that a variety of specialisations and interests had been catered for during this year’s event, and, as a non-medical or scientific translator, that was certainly my experience. I would encourage other arts translators to attend future events on that basis.

Laura's full report on METM12 has been published in the January/February 2013 issue of the ITI Bulletin. For more information about MET and METM13 please see


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