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Let’s translate the Energy Transition!

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Norbert Vasen's picture
CEO Birdseye Energy Consulting GmbH

I am on a quest to bring more Energy Managers into industry. Energy Efficiency is behind on Renewable Energy and that is because it is less exciting (is it?) and labour intensive (each situation...

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  • Mar 21, 2022
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Let’s translate the Energy Transition!

This week I present a different theme than the need for Energy Efficiency. Let’s talk about communication within this theme.

Governments and investors are spending today billions on Sustainable Energy, which stands for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. As this was first triggered by Climate Change, now also the Security of Supply (SOS!) is on stake. These spendings mean that many enterprises and other organisations will create not only technology and services but also the content to explain and sell them. This content is going to be translated into many languages. With my long experience as technical translator I note that translation agencies are not prepared for this opportunity. They give the content to general linguists and because the energy theme is not easy to understand and translate, I see many errors.

I see also a lack of interest from agencies to take the translation of the energy transition as a special mission. That is the reason that I write to all energy specialists to see if it can go another way. I would like to gather a group of energy specialists with linguistic qualities and interests, which would like to translate energy related content into their own language.

As a group we would be able to form a very specialistic translation service for all the organisations that need QUALITY and ENTHUSIASM while translating the Energy Transition! Technology providers (wind power, solar, batteries, software), investors and international organisations (European Commission, EPA, IEA, …) and NGOs will know that their content will be translated in a way to create impact with the readers. Other areas of sustainable development can follow. Let’s start with energy.

My language pairs are EN, DE, IT, RU -> NL. I would like to know how many energy specialists among you are interested, covering at least ten target languages. If we reach that, we’ll see further how to organise it.

I think that translation is a mission, as communication is. I tried with many translation agencies to get support, but they get all kinds of translations and don’t seem to be interested to take up this opportunity. So let’s put our shoulders under it, as we say in the Netherlands.

 

I am waiting for your reactions in the new LinkedIn Group “Let’s translate the Energy Transition!” @ https://www.linkedin.com/groups/9159937/.

Norbert Vasen's picture
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 21, 2022

Interesting idea-- have you run into tangible examples where a program or technology wasn't adopted in a new place because of the language barrier alone? 

Norbert Vasen's picture
Norbert Vasen on Mar 27, 2022

Hi Matt, that is a good question! I think that in Europe and many other areas the multitude of languages by just traveling just 100 miles is felt more than in an enormous area where you have to travel a lot to need to switch.

In Europe you have a market with many different languages. If I just consider an important translation client of mine (Porsche) I see how much effort they make to speak the language of the customer. With the new technologies (including AI), languages are not such a barrier but still much high level communication goes through professional translation and location services. They just expect a better user experience from this, and therefore better sales.

I am just wondering, how does it come that these translation services (I wrote over 200 of them) are not active to find more content providers in this area. Instead of waiting they could go out to these prospects and say: "Hi, we are prepared to give excellent translations in YOUR very area". Just waiting until translations are coming doesn't seem me a way to have success in this competitive environment.

 

Maggie Mowrer's picture
Maggie Mowrer on Mar 29, 2022

This definitely caught my eye! I currently work in energy efficiency, but translation was a strong academic interest of mine. I agree that needing people who are specialized in that field is vital for accurate and useful translations. We have a couple people on our team that work internationally and have been able to gain proficiency in those countries' languages, but none of them are translation specialists.

Not sure how to find people who would be good at translating AND know about energy issues, as translation is a very time-consuming activity and most people who have good working knowledge of energy issues are likely focusing on those issues solely.

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