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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A comment on your comments

Some of you, and I won't name names, choose to leave meaningless comments with the explicit intention of adding a link to your websites. As comments are moderated on this site, I summarily delete any comments of this nature because they do not contribute in any way to this blog.

That isn't to say that I would not allow a commenter to add a link to his or her website, but the comment would have to be meaningful and perhaps useful to other readers. In fact, the best way to get exposure and attention is to offer to submit a guest post, and I will be happy to add a byline with a link to your blog or website.

As with many things in business, it's all about how you go about doing something.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old but not entirely archaic

It is interesting to note how many old Spanish words are used in everyday speech. In fact, in Chile, fierro is frequently used instead of hierro for iron, denantes means something like just a little while ago and I am always touched when I read (not hear for the most part) the possessive pronoun vuestro instead of su as it has a classy ring to it.

Legal Spanish is no stranger to old expressions that are not commonly used by most people. So pena de... to mean "Under penalty of...", foja instead of hoja to mean page and the construction -se after an imperative verb form as in notifíquese and hágase are a few you can expect. Not to mention, of course, the frequent usage of Latin terms, which deserves a separate post altogether.

The other day I was stumped by a Guatemalan term: Escribano de Cámara y de Gobierno. According to the Velázquez Spanish-English English-Spanish Dictionary, an Escribano de Cámara is "the clerk of a high court of justice who is also a notary". Incidentally, notaries are known as escribanos in Argentina as well.

In turn, an escribano is a scribe, and I wonder if notaries of yore in the Spanish colonies of the New World had other duties in addition to notarizing documents. Even today, a notary public is a well-respected and oft-consulted figure in the Chilean legal and business worlds. In my research of this term, I came across this page on Spanish colonial terms. I found it fascinating, even for the sake of browsing, and I hope it will be of use to you as well. These archaic terms serve as a reminder that we are part of a continuum in which we are speaking and writing words that will be archaic and perhaps someday even lost to future generations.