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Translation

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2020 has thrown us quite a few curveballs already, forcing us to be more flexible than we perhaps ever thought possible.Not having any or less work or not being able to work is one of them. Working as a self-employed translator and interpreter means that the regular, government-based support (at least in Germany) in case of unforeseen events is not available. So you have to prepare for yourself. Besides …

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Have you ever wished there was a way to avoid sending inquiries to translators and interpreters who for whatever reason are not available when you need them? Wouldn’t it be nice to see in a simple overview the dates someone is not available to interpret or out of the office (and thus unable to work on translations)? Well, guess what? On my website, there is such an overview. Yes, …

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Before there were languages in my life, there was music – which in itself is a language as well, as I’m well aware. So I guess taking the step from a universal language to specific ones was not such a big one after all. But I never forgot my first language, in fact, I never left it; I merely shifted priorities around regarding what is part of my professional …

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I had written about post-editing a few weeks ago, ending with the promise to update when something new has happened. Well, it has, although not quite as might have been expected. Not I received a post-editing job, but rather my students. From me. In order to make things a little more interesting in my translation class and to introduce them to this undeniably existing and hard-to-avoid area of language services, …

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I have been writing and talking about MT for a while now, and of course the discussions go on – as does the development of MT. As I’ve said before, opinions vary greatly, but regardless of everything that is (potentially or factually) bad about it, there are just as many positive points to be made. And since it won’t go away… well, you know MY opinion. 🙂 Mats Dannewitz Linder …

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I have recently posted about the rosy future for translators, despite the recent rise of no-longer-quite-as-terrible-gibberish-producing machine translation, and at the SDL Roadshow I attended this week in Munich, the statistics also confirmed that translation (and related fields) is a strongly growing industry and there will be plenty of work to go around in the future. I am by far not the only one writing and thinking about this topic, …

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I have mentioned MT (machine translation) a few times on this blog (e.g. here and here) already, and it will most likely continue to be a topic now and again, seeing as it is not going to disappear. Personally, I am not entirely sure whether it is a positive or a negative development, but regardless, sticking my head in the sand and trying to ignore it won’t help. MT has …

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who receives e-mail applications from other translators offering their services in hopes of work. I’m always amazed that they seem to think I am an agency, when clearly I am not – all they would have to do is take a look at my website to see that there is only me. But that’s a rant for another day… Today, I would …

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When I tell people that I am a freelance translator and interpreter, the reactions I get tell me that most of them have no idea what this profession entails – or that it even is an actual profession, for which you ideally have gone through some kind of schooling?! The folks at eazylang wrote a nice little post about the five most common misconceptions about translation, which I’d like to …

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Came across this in one of the mailing lists for translators and interpreters… Enjoy! Oh, btw: only one more week of school… 😉

 

… have their price. I know, there are not a few colleagues who have tooted in this horn many times before, yet it cannot be stressed often enough: Good translations are not cheap. And if they are cheap, you should seriously question whether they truly are good. And that’s not even factoring in the turnaround time factor.  (I’d like to point out, that “cheap” here does not mean “for peanuts”!) …

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I had mentioned a few weeks ago that there would be some changes a-coming. Well, one has already come, albeit a somewhat temporary one – this is only an interim solution, as I am still not entirely sure about the final solution, but I needed something quick, so here it is: Click here… and here… and here… to see some new things! Did you see it? On the first page? …

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This week, I came across a post over on the blog of TM-Town about what a customer should ask himself or herself before hiring a professional translator. Just four simple questions: #1 What type of content do you want to translate? #2 Where is the audience of your content located? #3 What is the subject matter of your translation? #4 How do you intend to use the translation?   I …

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I just talked about term extraction in my terminology class, and during preparation,  I was also thinking about alignment. After all, if you have multilingual reference material, for example in order to prepare for an interpretation assignment, what do you do? Right, you place them next to each other and look for vocabulary etc., in effect aligning the corresponding documents (whether on paper or on screen is a matter of …

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Warning: The following is a rant and may provoke… I just received an inquiry with the following parameters: Volume: 6000 Words Rate: 0.05 USD per word Deadline: Monday, 28.11.2016, 02.00 PM CET The topic would be right down my alley, but that would be about the only positive thing about this. Were I to accept, I would have to work this weekend AND for a rate that would bring …

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One of the subjects I teach is sight translation. During their last year, translation students have two hours of this per week, one for each direction (German – English and English – German), mainly because it is also part of the oral exam, where they have to sight translate one general and one business text in both directions (which one goes in which direction is a surprise – ha!). But …

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Taking up last week’s post (in German) about making translators more visible and an interesting comment by Valerij Tomarenko, I decided to post the interview by Catherine Jan with Chris Durban she did in 2011 – and which is still applicable today! She makes some really good points, which made me rethink my opinion on signing even something as mundane as an operating manual. One of my favorites: “There’s no …

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An uproar went through the translating community last week, through all forums and mailing lists: if you haven’t heard, then either count yourself lucky, because you’re not affected, or get scrambling to see if perhaps maybe you are, after all. I got lucky, but I know of several colleagues here in Germany who weren’t! What’s the story? Slator, a new translation industry newspaper, has it covered: Scam and Talk About …

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Last week, I came across this very interesting essay in the Wall Street Journal about the future of translation and interpretation – via machines?! Anyone who knows anything about proper language use, knows how flawed machine translation a la Google or Bing is. Yes, it works (most of the time) to get the basic message across, but that’s about it. Being able to carry on a meaningful conversation using these …

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It’s been going through the translation world like the fires in the US – the news about Transperfect. The way they treat their providers aside, it seems things are not as perfect as they seemed… Once more, I am glad that I have never (and will never) work for them!

 

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I also teach interpreting, at-sight-translation and CAT-tools at the (still) new Fachakademie für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen in Weiden. This year, the first class has its final examinations to become “staatlich geprüfter Übersetzer (und Dolmetscher)” and things have been a bit hectic because it is new territory for all the teachers, as well. Today we received the schedule for …

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Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture. Anthony Burgess

 

As I am taking a few days off everything, my year-end thoughts will have to wait until next week. But I don’t want to leave you hanging without anything these last few days of 2014, so since I love to read and I love to translate, here’s a list of fifty books in translation from fifty presses: And Other Stories: Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones, trans. Clarissa Botsford Antilever Press: …

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I came across this funny (and true!) comic revealing how translators really think and didn’t want to keep it from you: Source: http://www.tina-and-mouse.com/2014/07/we-nuance-tm-53_21.html You can find more of these great comic strips over at Tina and Mouse.

 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard of transcreation before, but don’t really know what it means exactly, especially compared – or opposed – to translation. Here’s an interesting post I found over at Trusted Translations about the topic that hopefully will shed some light on the two similar but different concepts. I personally think transcreation is a more extreme form of localization, but others may beg to differ. …

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Just in case you haven’t seen this or heard about this yet:  There is a new style out there for translators, and you can have it, too! Just go to the campaign page and order yours, it’s not too late, yet!

 

I came across this little film here by smartling. Not what I expected, but good nevertheless. Enjoy!

 

I came across an excellent article on prices and costs over at Ferris Translations this week, and I wanted to share it with you: Dumping costs? What?!? Posted on February 10, 2014 by Michael Ferris Within the language industry, like any industry, there are also translators and language service providers that offer dumping prices. What are dumping prices? These are prices that are considered “unfair” to the competition because …

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As my workload has still not lightened very much yet, here’s an article by the fabulous Nataly Kelly published last summer by The Huffington Post.   The world of translation can be a confusing place, especially if you’re the one doing the buying on behalf of your company. Many purchasers of translation services feel like you might when you take your car to the mechanic. How do you really …

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I have written a few times about pricing and discounts lately, and how the tendency is to go down with prices especially when times are tough, even if only temporarily. Now this article by Paul Sulzberger published on The translation business has been making the rounds in the translator community, proposing a completely different approach to falling prices – namely to raise them?! It is kind of long, but …

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Als freiberuflicher Übersetzer passiert es einem immer wieder: die Anfrage nach einer kostenlosen Übersetzung. Wie man am besten darauf reagiert? Hier ist eine tolle und wirklich hilfreiche Graphik: Sollte ich kostenlos arbeiten? As a freelance translator it happens again and again: the request for a free translation. How to best react to it? Here’s a really helpful chart: Should I work for free?

 

After my confession a few weeks ago – and receiving some quite encouraging responses from you, thanks again so much! –, I have received one larger and a few small jobs, but still nothing steady, the way it used to be before “the slump”.  I also had the opportunity to speak with one of my agency clients about the slow start of my business year. It was quite enlightening …

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I debated with myself whether to write this post or not. To ‘fess up or not to ‘fess up… Is it professional or not to talk about this? Will this hurt the way (potential) clients see me? Might it maybe even help? And finally: Don’t most freelancers have these times at some point in their careers? In the end I decided to do it: I confess. I confess that …

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Ich weiß ja nicht, wie es den Kolleginnen und Kollegen geht, aber mir passiert es immer wieder: Man unterhält sich mit jemandem, das Gespräch kommt auf den Beruf, und eine der Fragen, die so gut wie immer  gepaart mit erstaunt hochgezogenen Augenbrauen kommt, lautet: “Wieso brauchst du denn Wörterbücher? Du bist doch Übersetzerin/Dolmetscherin.” Ja, bin ich, aber das ist nicht gleich bedeutend mit einem Dasein als wandelndes Wörterbuch (und …

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Mein erster und immer noch einer meiner liebsten Kunden ist eine Agentur aus Zürich. Und auch andere Schweizer möchten hin und wieder etwas von mir übersetzt haben. Kein Problem, schließlich sprechen die ja auch Deutsch, oder?  Tun sie, aber eben ihre eigene Variante. Nein, ich meine nicht das Schwyzerdütsch, das im Deutsch-sprachigen Teil unseres Nachbarlandes gesprochen wird, sondern das “Hochdeutsch” genannte Deutsch, das dort geschrieben wird. Denn sehr zum …

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Agencies – for many translators and interpreters, it almost seems to be a dirty word, probably because of the bad experiences they had with them. I know there are many different types of agencies out there, and so far I’ve had the great fortune to work with mostly those that are worth the name, not what I call “re-bagers” (“Umtüter” in German), meaning someone who simply passes a job …

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Seen here I know, I’m not the first one to write about this, but in my opinion we cannot stress it enough, especially to customers!  And hopefully, this will also help you sort the good from the bad, meaning: help you find the customers worth keeping, because they understand how quality, deadlines and price interact, and that good quality has its price and takes time. Have any of you …

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The great BDÜ video comparing the translations of a real flesh-and-blood translator with the results by Google Translate I wrote about here is now also available in English:

 

Reading Nataly Kelly’s article “The Words We Use to Describe Ourselves” published in the October issue of the ATA Chronicle, I came across the neologism “interpretator“, a hybrid of the words translator and interpreter. I think it should become the new word for those of us who both translate and interpret.  I do, so from now on I will refer to myself as interpretator… Who’s with me? 😉 …

 

Here’s a good write-up on a situation most of us are familiar with, also called The Favor!  You’re sitting at home (or at work) slaving over a translation when out of the blue you receive a call/email/text message* (delete where appropriate) from a colleague/friend/acquaintance* (delete where appropriate) who you have not heard from for quite some time. The message usually begins in similar fashion regardless of whether it is …

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Since I am completely swamped with work, I thought I’d share Per N. Dohler’s very interesting translator profile from the Translation Journal (Volume 7, No. 1, January 2003). Have fun reading! How Not to Become a Translator by Per N. Dohler   hen Gabe asked me to “be” the Translator Profile for this issue of his wonderful Translation Journal, I felt opportunity knocking. A typical freelance translator, spending most …

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Wie gut ist Google Translate wirklich? Vor Kurzem hat der BDÜ es einmal ausprobiert: Ein “echter” Übersetzer aus Fleisch und Blut im Vergleich mit der v.a. unter Laien so hoch gelobten maschinellen Übersetzung. Das Ergebnis? Sehen Sie selbst…

 

How to write a blog post about a conference? That’s the question I’m asking myself right now. Not an easy task, methinks, since although short, it was packed: Two and a half days filled with interesting lectures, lively panel discussions and instructive workshops, with meeting colleagues and friends, some again, others for the first time (yes, that would be you, my dear Twitteros), with drinking coffee and water (and …

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I read this article about natural translators and musicians a while ago, and it got me thinking. Being a musician myself and having started my musical education at the tender age of three, I wonder if my musical talent has anything to do with my linguistic ability – or if it maybe even helped it emerge. To be sure, I’ve met plenty of musicians, including professional ones, who have …

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Although I had been thinking about it off and on for quite a while now, I only recently decided to go ahead and purchase me  – a Dragon. One reason why  it took me so long (I first heard about him at the BDÜ Conference in Berlin 2009) was that I thought I had to purchase a license for every language I work with, i.e. one for German, one …

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Since I’m on a mini-vacation again this week, here’s an excerpt from an excellent post from the myGengo blog on how to judge the quality of a translation: Before submitting Prior to submitting your text to be translated, make sure you give the translator proper context. In addition to giving a brief summary detailing what the intentions for the translation are, also be sure to guide the translator on …

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Eine Kollegin verwies neulich auf diesen Rundfunkbeitrag des WDR, der wirklich absolut hörenswert ist: Sie übersetzte Asterix und Obelix. Gudrun Penndorf erzählt rund 23 Minuten unter Anderem darüber wie sie überhaupt dazu kam, die ersten 29 Bände des gallischen Unbeugsamen zu übersetzen und welche Tücken in der Comic-Übersetzung an sich stecken. Ganz nebenbei bekommt man dann auch noch einen Eindruck davon, wie das früher so ging – ohne Handy, …

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I received a large envelope in the mail today. I get them about every six to eight weeks. Inside are between ten and twelve letters which I am asked to translate. Sometimes from German into Spanish, sometimes from Spanish into German. I have two weeks to complete the translations, which I then send off in another large envelope enclosed in the original package for this purpose. If I don’t …

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Last Saturday, the Nuremberg regional group of my professional association, of which I am the co-leader, organized a presentation of various CAT tools (Computer-Assisted or Computer-Aided Translation tools) in order to make the decision of which tool to choose easier. The Bavarian division of the association has a notebook with by now nine different tools for just this purpose, and my colleague Manfred Altmann, who is also the technology …

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This is the summary of an excellent article by English to Swedish translator Tess Whitty she had written on the key advantages professional translators offer their clients. Tess is a member of the Swedish Association for Professional Translators and the American Translators Association, where she serves on the committee in charge of setting up the ATA certification program for English into Swedish translators. She also has a well-respected blog …

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We finally got around to cleaning out the attic two weeks ago, and besides sorting through and throwing out a lot of stuff – or giving it to a charity -, I came across some cool, fascinating, funny, interesting and strange things.  One very interesting thing I found in a wooden trunk full of old books and LP records. I have no idea how it ended up in there, …

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(originally published by yndigo) I happened upon a New York Times blog post listing the 100 things restaurant staffers should never do — part one and two — and thought the idea good enough to steal (somehow, “no stealing” wasn’t high on our list). Despite the title, many of the don’ts apply more to agencies and their staff. Some to individual translators. And some to any service related job. …

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Should you hire a freelance translator or a translation agency? by José Henrique Lamensdorf Assuming you are not in the translation business, just need such services, either as an individual or for your organization, here are some candid tips to help you in avoiding unpleasant outcomes. Of course they are not rules that apply always, nor they cover all possibilities. Common sense is advised to prevail, always! You probably don’t …

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An excellent post on “No Peanuts” concerning the job ad of an Italian publisher for a translator.

 

Is the document finalized?  Will there be any future edits? Making changes to the original language after translation has begun is likely to incur additional fees, even for small changes.  If you’re having the text laid out in a formatted document, you’re likely to incur additional charges for re-formatting the document as well.  Sending a translation before it’s been edited won’t save you much time, and it will definitely …

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I have been swamped with work these last weeks, so my apologies for the long-ish silence… But as recompense, I offer you a link to a great website full of very helpful information (The Editorium) and a taste of one very useful one, namely  instructions for Advanced Find and Replace for Microsoft Word. This document contains a host of tips and tricks that turn the Search and Replace function in …

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