Interview with Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary

Interview with Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary

We don’t think anyone really needs an introduction to Iain Lindsay, the UK’s Ambassador to Hungary. Thanks largely to his social media endeavours he is extremely well known in the country. We can find him on the street wearing his kilt to present memories of Hungarian-Scottish relationships, but also see him reciting Hungarian poems on YouTube.

A multilingual ambassador, we asked him about his personal background with languages, and delved into the complex, serious, and unknown world of diplomatic translation and interpreting.

Iain, how many languages do you speak, and what was your first encounter with a foreign language?

I’ve learnt four languages: French, Japanese, Romanian and Hungarian. I can still get by in the first three, but I find that I am very much a ‘one foreign language in the brain at any time’ linguist.  Two of my most embarrassing moments while learning Hungarian at the University of Debrecen were when I tried to hold conversations in Japanese and Romanian. I learnt French from an early age, probably 6 or 7 years old.

We need to ask you as a Scot, do you speak Gaelic?

No, I’m afraid to say that I don’t, although I have tried learning. I have a few Gaelic textbooks at home. It’s a lovely language and I am glad that there has been something of a Gaelic revival in recent years.

We understand learning foreign languages is compulsory for UK diplomatic staff. If it wasn’t would you still learn, and why? Which language would you most like to speak?

Learning languages is not compulsory as such, but it would be unusual to find a British diplomat who has not had to learn a foreign language. For jobs overseas in non-English speaking countries we decide whether the diplomat needs to speak the local language to do their job, so-called ‘speaker’ positions. If they do, then to what level? B1, C1, C2?

For example, among the several British diplomats at the British Embassy in Budapest only I and my deputy need Hungarian (to C1 level) for our jobs. So both of us have had intensive full-time pre-arrival Hungarian training, in my case 7 months, in my deputy’s case a year (the length of time it takes a full-time learner to get to C1 Hungarian).

However, we offer optional language training to all diplomats (and their spouses/partners) being posted overseas into ‘non-speaker’ jobs, which provides a basic level of language training intended to help with day to day living. The number of hours allocated will depend on the degree of difficulty of the language, but will range between 110 and 250 hours.  So we really take language training seriously.

If I didn’t have to learn languages I would still do so as it not only enables better communication but opens up a whole world of insights into another country, its history, its culture and its people.  The next language I would like to learn is Italian, but my greatest regret is that I did not learn Arabic when I was Ambassador in Bahrain, because it was not necessary for my job given that 95% of Bahrainis speak English and, as some of my friends pointed out, the Bahraini Royal family and government ministers speak better English than me!

How much do you use your languages in your working life?

Not as much as you might think.  In the Embassy I speak English and just occasional social Hungarian. External meetings are usually in English with some social Hungarian at the start and finish. When I give a speech some it will be in Hungarian, depending upon the event and the audience. Interviews are usually in English, with a few Hungarian sentences thrown in, although I have given some recent interviews in just Hungarian, like with Nők Lapja and RTL Klub for example. Social media interviews are usually in Hungarian, and I write bilingual Instagram stories.

For which occasions do you take an interpreter, and when do you manage alone?

Only very occasionally for meetings given that they are usually in English! All the TV stations will provide an interpreter, although I have promised ATV that I will give an interview once just in Hungarian.

Have you ever noticed your interpreter making a mistake and subtly corrected it?

No!  I have been very fortunate with my interpreters, most of whom I now know well.

What value does good quality translation and interpreting provide for you as Ambassador, and within the Embassy as a whole?

It’s essential! Without it I would be lost! All my Hungarian staff are bilingual so they provide me with excellent English language briefing for meetings and events. The only time they do produce work for me in Hungarian is writing speeches, parts of speeches or simple speaking notes. So it’s not really translation work as such, although some of the material they work with, e.g. lines to take from London, they will have translated into Hungarian.

Are you good at accents?

Yes, also I’m a reasonably good mimic, which I think helps. But it has taken me a long time to develop a Hungarian accent, and I’m still not there. By comparison, I think I picked up Japanese and Romanian accents reasonably quickly.

If you had to retire to a non-English-speaking country, which one would you choose and why?

I really, really like Hungary….but my wife and I have often talked about living in Italy. We love the place, the ambience and the people.  And the food and wine aren’t bad either!

*Iain Lindsay joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1980 and has spent much of his career in Asia Pacific, serving in Tokyo (twice), Hong Kong and Canberra. He was Deputy Head of Mission and Political Counsellor in Bucharest from 2003-2007, working on Romania’s accession to NATO and the EU. Prior to that he served as a foreign policy adviser to the Romanian Foreign Minister. He was Deputy Head of Mission and Director, Trade and Investment at the British Consulate General in Hong Kong from 2007-2011. The Queen awarded him an OBE in 2002.

He was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary from 30 March 2016.

EDMF-Translation-Interpreting - GDPR

15% discount on privacy policies and other GDPR-related translations

The looming deadline for GDPR compliance, 25 May, has come and gone.

Judging by the flood of emails we have received in recent days and weeks it seems that everyone has been focusing on making sure they are as ready as they can be for the new European data protection law. We hope you made it through unscathed.

Does that signal the end of your preparations? Possibly. It really depends on your business. If you focus only on companies and clients in your own country then the likelihood is you can sit back and relax, you’re finished.

If, however, your clients, partners and employees come from different countries, the chances are you now need to get your privacy policy and many other GDPR-related documents translated. This will make sure that everyone understands exactly what data you use and for what purposes, regardless of where they are or what language they speak.

If we can help you with the languages you now need to complete your preparations, please send us a mail at

Refer to this short article and we’ll give you a 15% summer discount as well until the end of August.


Native-speaker translation for business success – think globally, act locally

“If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.”
Willy Brandt, former West-German Chancellor

Why is it worthwhile working with native translators who are well-versed in the customs and traditions of the given people? 

EDMF Fordítóiroda-Anyanyelvi fordításLet’s take a look at some sobering figures

A recent survey showed that the price of linguistic shortcomings, in the EU alone, was huge*:

  • 200 companies indicated that they had missed out on contracts because of language deficits,
  • the estimated aggregate value of the lost deals: 54 companies lost between 16.5 and 25.3 million euros, 37 companies lost between 8 and 13.5 million euros and 10 companies more than 1 million euros

One of the reasons for the business failures is the lack of cultural belonging or similarities.

Is it really worth missing out on so many millions of euros by not sacrificing a fraction of this on professional translation? Especially when your company is expanding abroad or you are planning to establish a fruitful business relationship in another culture?

The solution to these important issues is “glocalism”.

Consciously realising this and understanding its crucial importance lead to international success.

[sf_button colour=”orange” type=”standard” size=”large” link=”” target=”_self” icon=”” dropshadow=”no” extraclass=””]Are you expanding abroad or competing for international funding?
We will gladly reply to your questions on native-speaker translation HERE.[/sf_button]

Glocal is a new expression coined from the words “global” and “local”.

The objective of the “think globally, act locally” approach is for the globalised world to be a stable and integrated place, but at the same time protect the cultural heritage of local areas as well.

So what does glocal mean?

  1. Global events take on local significance by influencing the local economy, and local events also have a global impact.

This resembles the butterfly effect, where the wind created by a butterfly flapping its wings can cause hurricanes on the other side of the planet. Glocalism creates smaller events in the local economy which have an effect on the global economy. Parallel to this, every global event can potentially influence the local economy too. Everything is connected.

  1. Adapting your product or service in another culture.

This means that when you position your own products and brands on a target market, you need to take cultural relevance into account.

  1. Glocal helps products and services be global and local at the same time.

International organisations pursuing their business activities all across the world have to take cultural requirements into consideration much in the same way as the local grocer, who knows everything about his local customers. People are not interested in whether a given business can address the masses, what they want to know is whether the company can live up to local needs and demands.

  1. Glocal influences society

The renowned business strategist Dion Hinchcliffe said the following in an article (FORRÁS?): “Glocalism is an emerging trend that will be amplified by social media – and many companies won’t be prepared.”**

With the help of glocalism, local consumers, economies and cultures have much more power in the international economy. They now want products or services not just to be translated into their language, but that they “speak” to them properly.

  1. Glocal impacts on translation and localisation

Based on glocalism guidelines it will no longer be enough for companies just to translate their documents into the local language. Materials have to be culturally relevant at the target destination as well.

Alongside translation and localisation, organisations need to ensure that they not only address their target audience in the local language, but that they are also relevant to them in a cultural context as well. It is no longer enough just to ask a translation agency to translate product specifications into however many languages.

[sf_button colour=”orange” type=”standard” size=”large” link=”” target=”_self” icon=”” dropshadow=”no” extraclass=””]Find out more about business translation HERE[/sf_button]

*Source: 21 November 2011 Egy nyelvet beszélünk? Konferencia a nyelvoktatás és foglalkoztathatóság összefüggéseiről

Why our new website is the most exiting move for our company in 2017

Why our new website is the most exciting move for our company in 2017

Moving to a bigger office

EDMF is proud to announce the launch of our new website, which coincides with our move to bigger premises. Almost twice the size of our previous office, and with modernised equipment and infrastructure. We look forward to welcoming our partners and customers in our new central Buda location.

Why our new website is the most exiting move for our company in 2017 EDMF Translations' new office

Our new website provides a clear message: who we are, what we stand for, and the values we focus on when delivering and completing translation and interpreting projects. The website also boasts a clean design and an intuitive and consistent site-wide navigation system with improved menu functionality. Which directs you to the information most relevant to you.

It is also fully responsive with mobile devices, making it easy to navigate through on a wide range of web browsers and portable devices.

EDMF Translations - Why our new website is the most exiting move for our company in 2017

Blog that improves your business

You can sign up for our new blog right on the homepage, and access the articles that matter to you most by using the smart topic filters. Going forward, we will continue to communicate regularly through our blog and provide new articles and information.

The blog articles will help you understand the translation industry more clearly. And see how we can benefit your business in ways you might not have imagined. We’re really proud of the new website, and feel it will create the experience you’re looking for when you pay us a visit. Check our blog HERE.

Why our new website is the most exiting move for our company in 2017

Please leave us any feedback on our website. That may be helpful to us in making it as user-friendly and functional as it can be. Website feedback can be submitted to contact (at), through the live chat, or through our Contact Us page.

The power of social media

Follow us on social media too to find out about all of our company news first-hand, or to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you, let us know what you think!

5+1 tips on choosing a reliable translation agency in pharmaceutical fields

5+1 tips on choosing a reliable translation agency in pharmaceutical fields

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to claim that the translation of medical and pharmaceutical documents requires extreme precision, the utmost care and considerable professional experience. One mistranslation can have very serious consequences. But how can you make sure that no mistakes are made, what should you look out for when requesting the translation of pharmaceutical texts?

In order to choose a good language service provider it is best to take these five criteria into account, making sure you receive certified, quality and reliable services – simply a must in this field.

1.Expandable term base

Good translation agencies lay significant emphasis on developing term bases in close consultation with the client. This is not only useful because it helps to prevent potential mistakes in terminology, but also because it can reduce the cost of future translations. This means that recurring technical terms only have to be translated once.

2. Trained specialists

Professional translation agencies only work with qualified translators. Accordingly, professionals in healthcare and pharmaceutical fields who also have degrees in translation or interpreting are the resources of choice for such linguistic tasks.

3. Professional experience

In pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, which come with great responsibility, you can rightfully expect that your translator/interpreter should have considerable professional experience and up-to-date knowledge.

4. Professional technological background

Industry-specific texts such as discharge summaries and patent descriptions often have to be treated confidentially. You should make sure that your translation agency has a password-protected online interface so you can monitor your orders throughout the whole process.

5. Project management approach

Your translation agency should have a competent project manager, who supervises the entire process from choosing a competent translator, through quality assurance to ensuring appropriate antivirus protection of your documents, whilst also being available at any time in any other matter.

+ 1 tip: Top translation agencies have no hidden costs, and are happy to provide a short test translation.


Egy egyedülálló gasztronómiai könyv fordításának története

Do You Speak Hungarian Gastronomy?

How To Cook In Hungary – a unique book on Hungarian gastronomy, translating cuisine.

Translating books is especially dear to our hearts. Particularly if the job entails winemakers, celebrities, sports people, artists and chefs, all of whom share their favourite recipes and personal culinary stories with the reader.

The translation of a unique book on gastronomy

This job was a real treat for EDMF Translations, from all perspectives. For us, translating this exclusive culinary book was full of fun experiences, not only because of the rewarding topic, but also because of the specialist language of gastronomy.

3 styles, 3 languages of translation

In actual fact, the “book” comprises 3 books in one: the stories of famous personalities, recipes of their favourite dishes, and wine recommendations from renowned winemakers. The three different fields required that the translators master three distinct registers.  We translated the Hungarian recipes, the personal stories and the expert descriptions of the wine recommendations with the same precision, in order to faithfully reflect the singularity of the book’s English version too.

During the translation we learnt a lot of charming stories from the interviewees, for example that László Cseh, Olympic silver and bronze medallist, world and European champion, 100 times Hungarian champion swimmer, is a true steak fan. But in the book we can also read about traditional Hungarian dishes like tripe stew interpreted by artists including the world-renowned opera singers Andrea Rost and Erika Miklósa.

Gastronomy experiences of Olympic medallists and opera singers 

In How To Cook In Hungary, 30 famous winemakers and 30 celebrities, including 13 Olympic champions, reveal to us their gastronomic experiences. Translating the 60 interviews, the more than 80 recipes and the recommendations of beautiful Hungarian wines was a truly rewarding and fascinating task.

The book was launched at a ceremonial event in the venerable Gundel Restaurant on 22 November 2016. Almost all of the participating celebrities in the book were in attendance, while many ambassadors currently posted to Budapest also graced the event with their presence. We were particularly delighted that EDMF was granted a prominent position at the event as a fitting end to this worthy project.