My Neighbor Next Door is from...Finland

A new blog monthly articles series from AAA Translation’s Susanne Evens, My Neighbor Next Door is from… aims to expand multi-cultural knowledge and break down divides by letting readers get to know immigrants from various countries…one neighbor, friend and/or business colleague at a time.

This month’s featured country is Finland. Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe, bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east. Estonia lies to the south across the Gulf of Finland. From the late 12th century until 1809, Finland was part Sweden. It was then incorporated into the Russia Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, until the Russian Revolution of 1917 prompted the Finnish Declaration of Independence.

We recently interviewed Mia Eriksson, who was born and raised in Finland and has been a full-time neuroscience student at Texas Christian University (TCU) since 2012. She also works as a teaching assistant in a chemistry laboratory at TCU.

Q. What are the cultural differences you notice between Finland and the USA?
Everything is different. Here, people always smile, which can be exhausting. In Finland, people don’t smile as much. It’s not to be mean or rude. When someone in Finland smiles, you know it is genuine. Also, Finland is much more socialistic. Education all the way through university is free, and healthcare is free. Here, you have to pay a lot for that. Another difference: in Finland people stay to themselves more than here; we value privacy.

Q. What brought you to the U.S.?
I came to the US on a student visa in 2012 to start my studies at Texas Christian University.

Q. What is something most people don't know about Finland?
Finland is actually incredibly beautiful. We have cold winters with snow, but, in fact, it is not like that year-round. We have warm summers, and it is one of the most natural and greenest countries in the world.

Q. What do you miss the most about Finland?
I miss the privacy. I miss being able to just relax and be in my own little bubble, without having to worry about people thinking that I’m being rude or that something is wrong.

Q. What is the biggest misconception you encounter when people learn where you are originally from?
We do not have polar bears!

Q. Any other comments to add?
Don’t feel weird about asking somebody about their home country. I’ve heard the standard questions a million and one times so I have answers ready to go. I’d rather people ask than make assumptions.

Tips to Increase Your Odds of a Successful and Cost-Effective Translation Project

As a business owner, department head or project leader, you want your HR documents, marketing collateral or other translated materials to be accurate and timely.

Because translations done WELL are paramount to your global success, we have several tips to help you directly influence the outcome, speed and cost-effectiveness of any translation project:

1)    Start with a well-written, simple piece. If the original marketing collateral or internal communications document is wordy, ambiguous or poorly written to begin with, the translated document will follow. Translators cannot rewrite. Their job is to accurately translate. To increase your success in the original language – and in the translated one(s) – make sure the piece is written really well.

2)    Be careful who translates for you. Someone may be bilingual, but that doesn’t mean they are an experienced translator, understand your industry or are up-to-date on the latest, localized language nuances in the market you’re trying to reach. It’s best to work with professionals who have teams of in-country, experienced translators.

3)    If you have preferred company lingo or branding guidelines, provide that to your translation company BEFORE the project begins.

4)    Be careful who proofreads your documents. You may have someone on your team who speaks Spanish, for example, but the nuances of Spanish in Mexico differ greatly from Spanish in Colombia. And even if someone is from the area, if they no longer live there, they are not as knowledgeable as an in-country translator and proofreader. AAA Translation’s founder and CEO Susanne Evens, for example, no longer translates German, despite growing up there. “I still speak German often and visit Germany, but I have lived in the U.S. too long to provide the kind of accuracy that I expect and get from someone who still lives there.”

Want to get more tips or learn how you can work with AAA Translation for your next translation, interpretation or global consulting project? Contact us at 636.530.1010 or visit to learn more.