Thursday, May 07, 2015

Book Review-How to Manage Your Translation Projects

How to Manage Your Translation Projects
By Nancy Matis
After poring over this meticulous guide on how to manage translation projects, I came up with a succinct summary: Plan ahead and do the math. Of course, there is much, much more to that. In fact, you will learn about translation projects from A-to-Z. I will now talk about some highlights of this book, because there are so many nuggets of information, that it would take me pages and pages to tell you about it. What first struck me was the enormity of a project. There is so much involved in a translation project. I had no idea! The leader of a project is the PM or project manager who coordinates both the client and translators, editors and other professionals. The process starts with the job itself. It is analyzed and usually broken down into a total number of words. Then it must be decided how long the project will take to complete and how many translators, editors and other technical staff will be assigned. Then there is a question of money. How much is the agency going to earn? I concur with Ms. Matis when she says that when too many translators are assigned to a big project to speed things along, it can be a problem later when the various parts are pieced together and there are several stylistic and terminological inconsistencies.
Now let’s talk about doing the math: the author was thorough about providing Excel tables and step-by-step instructions on what to put in them and how to set them up in Excel. I personally find this task to be daunting because I’m better with words that I am with numbers. However, I found that this book made it easy for me to understand what to do because no steps were left out. Some of these tables include (there are many): how much you can make if you work a certain number of hours per week multiplied by a certain rate, a project schedule showing how many words need to be translated, edited, etc. during a certain time period, and pricing adjustments based on repetitions and fuzzy matches.
If you are a translator who only translates and are not in the outsourcing business, this book is probably not for you, although you might learn a few tricks for your one-man business. However, if you are considering getting into the translation agency business or are a project manager for an agency, this book could either make or break your career. I’m sure that many of us have “reinvented the wheel”, especially at the beginning of our careers. Nevertheless, this is probably not something you want to do on a larger scale. It could contribute toward being disorganized and failing to maximize profits and resources. I guarantee you that you will learn something, actually a lot, from this book and consequently, you will become much more successful.
Did I mention that this book is available in both French and English?
You can get it here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Infix PDF Editor

I want to talk to you about Iceni Infix PDF Editor. You are probably saying, "Yet another PDF Editor?" I know that there are many of them out there, but this one is special. I have been using it for years. It lets you do so many things. For all those nondisclosure documents you have to sign for agencies, you need not print it out, sign it and scan it and send it. You can eliminate the scanning phase by opening the document with Infix and entering the pertinent details and your signature if you have an image file taken from a scanned signature.

The other day I received some Visio files to edit. As I do not own Visio, I said to the client that I was not able to do the job. He said that I could edit the PDF files taken from Visio. And so I did with the help of Infix! Much better than buying Visio or dealing with its clumsy interface.

But I haven't told you about the cherry on top that Infix has created for translators. You see, you can export the PDF text to XML, translate it in your favorite CAT tool and import the translated text and only have to make minor adjustments. Forget other PDF editors, this is the one you should get!

Why not try a 30 day free trial of Infix. Follow this link to do so!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Translating with GT4T

I recently started using GT4T. Unlike some other MT programs I've tried, it has proven to be quite helpful. You can download a free trial version here:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Off Topic: Kiva

I wanted to share my experience with Kiva. It is a nonprofit organization that lends money to small businesspeople all over the world, especially in developing nations. The beauty of it is that these are loans, not handouts. You, as lenders, can lend as little as USD 25. After the loan has been repaid, you get your money back (without being paid any interest). You can choose to relend it, donate it or claim it. If you feel like participating, click here for a free USD 25 loan.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Two Yahoo! Groups Worth Joining

With so many avenues for searching and asking about terminology, it is important not to lose sight of a source that has been around since the early days: Yahoo! Groups. There are two such groups I belong two that I consult from time to time:

Legal Translators: Legal terminology in several languages including Spanish and English.

SpTranslators: A wealth of Spainish <> English terminology questions and answers with plenty of legal topics. Don't miss the late Bill Lokey's answers as they are superb!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In Addition to Dictionaries and Glossaries

There are two common fallacies for beginning translators and laypersons: One is that each source language term has an exact equivalent in the target language, it and the other is that bilingual dictionaries have the last word (No pun intended.) in translation. The harsh truth is that neither belief holds water in the day-to-day chore of legal translation.

Before leaving you with a link to an excellent article on researching legal documents, I will say this: Spanish and English, not to mention Latin American (or Spanish) legal systems and US (or British) legal systems, are two different entities with a life of their own.
Therefore, we cannot treat the process of translation as it we were putting together pieces of the same linguistic jigsaw puzzle. In fact, many times we are faced with devising an new text in the target language that reflects the original meaning. In order to do so, translator Madeline Newman Ríos stresses the need to research the original legal provisions mentioned in the source text. By understanding a particular article or provision, it is easier to understand the way a judge or other lawmaker worded a particular sentence as opposed to plugging in a definition from a bilingual dictionary without any context.

You can read the entire PDF document, Researching Legal Translations: The Whys and Hows here.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book Review: Fidus Interpres

Fidus Interpres

by Fabio Said

I just finished reading this monumental work on Fabio Said's life as a professional freelance translator and his view and description of the translation universe (industry does not fit the vast scope of this e-book). Even though it is written in Brazilian Portuguese, with the aid of a dictionary (WordReference), I was able to readily understand a fair amount of it. Therefore, if you love languages as much as I do, and you are willing to look up the occasional Portuguese word, you will have much to learn from this book, and you will enjoy the experience as well.

Said is a superb communicator, as he is able to get his ideas across in a way that makes me, the reader, believe that he is standing right in front of me. I envision him in a classroom setting; wearing a tie and engaging me in an informative and thought-inspiring lecture. From the outset, he makes it clear that being a translator is not something that anyone can do. He does point out that anyone can pay his or her dues at an online site such as ProZ, but that does not necessarily mean that he or she is fit for the job. He lets the reader know that besides the pitfalls in the act of translating itself, there are several obstacles that are on the road to success in the business world when dealing with translation agencies.

Here are some of the many topics covered in Fidus Interpres:

· Translation techniques
· Glossaries and terminology management
· How to use social media and translator sites
· How to collect from late payers
· How to set up your own website
· Marketing techniques
· Difference between translators and interpreters
· Different types of translators and specialization
· Organizing your work schedule including taking vacations

If you are starting out as a freelance translator, you will save yourself some headaches if you follow Said's advice. Although the business environment emphasizing this book focuses mainly on Brazil, if you live in another Latin American country or do business with Latin America, you will most likely recognize practices that are similar to your own. If you have been in the business for several years as I have, you will run across techniques and practices that you already have in place. Nevertheless, it is reassuring to know that another professional translator thinks it wise to do some of the same things that you yourself are doing, and serves as reinforcement. Even so, I gleaned more than a few new ideas from this book. I won't go into detail because I want you to read it yourself, but I will say that I was particularly intrigued by what Said had to say about direct marketing.

To sum up, there is something in this book for everyone. No one can read it from cover to cover and put it down without being influenced positively. Therefore, even if you come away with a handful of tips from this book, it will have been worth the purchase. I know I will be turning to it for years to come.

Click here to order Fidus Interpres either as an e-book or paperback.