Look up figs in a dictionary and it will describe a fruit or the tree that produces them. In translation and localisation the word has a quite different meaning. FIGS translation is simply an acronym describing French, Italian, German and Spanish translation.
This combination of languages opens any document or product up to a wide range of potential users. Turning to the strangely ever-useful CIA World Factbook, some plain economic facts bring this home all too clearly. Germany alone is the world’s 5th largest economy with an estimated 2008 GDP of US$ 2.8 trillion, more than a quarter greater than the UK’s equivalent output. France, Italy and Spain are 8th, 10th and 12th respectively on the same scale.
The numbers are even more staggering, with a combined GDP of about that of the United States, once you add in some of the other countries and regions where these are primary native languages – Austria, Mexico, Argentina, French-speaking Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec, Venezuela, the list goes on and on. There are also large numbers of people around the world who speak one of the FIGS languages as a foreign or second language.
As the FIGS languages use the Roman alphabet, they are relatively straightforward to use in a range of typefaces and on the web. This, combined with their large audience, makes these languages a popular choice especially when considering translation for a west European market. Many companies and organisations wanting to expand their reach are making use of FIGS translation and localisation services for their products, websites and documents.
After all, whether you are trying to win someone’s business or convince them of your point of view, there is no substitute for a stylish, well written translation in their native language. Everyone should give a fig about that!