Translation news (from Proz.com)
Tuesday 29 July 2014
Tuesday 29 July 2014
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Sunday, 29 June 2014
Recently I came across a reference to a book on editing that caught my attention, partly because I hadn't encountered many comprehensive guides on editing at that point and partly because this one was specifically aimed at translators. It turned out that the work had been around since 2001 and was now in its third edition (issued by Routledge in early 2014), so it was obviously popular and had been updated, too).
image: my own screen shot of the title page taken on Routledge's website
Friday, 23 May 2014
Kilgray, the maker of memoQ, my main CAT tool, is going to be holding a series of virtual events that might interest you on Wednesday 28 May (just five days from now). In fact, this is their third "Virtual Conference" on Proz.com, and like past events, it's free for anyone to attend. All you have to do is register for it beforehand; you don't need to be a paying member of Proz.com to do so.
The programme of events includes various presentations (live and on-demand webinars), discussion panels and live chats with staff at Kilgray in which you can ask questions of your own about memoQ and the firm's other products for translators. The on-demand presentations are likely to be particularly interesting for intermediate and advanced users of memoQ:
The highlight at this conference, however, is definitely going to be the preview you can get of memoQ 2014, a revamped release which includes a number of new features and productivity enhancements. These include:
The Virtual Day is due to take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. GMT (12 noon to 7 p.m. CEST), but may run a bit longer because of the live chats. Those participants who attend it will be able to watch the recorded webinars again afterwards for a certain period of time.
images: courtesy of Proz.com and Kilgray; sources of information: Kilgray's recent announcement and pre-launch briefing
Friday, 2 May 2014
Despite us being well into the computer era, dictionaries are still an essential language resource for any translator. The dictionary-making industry has had to move with the times, which has rocked the boat quite a bit at established publishers such as Langenscheidt, but even so, it has managed to come up with electronic alternatives to paper dictionaries – and equally importantly, various ways of paying for them. Electronic dictionaries are now available as apps for mobile phones and portable e-readers like the Kindle, as PC software and as Web-based applications, for example. This post is about the latter, which are offered as paid services to which users subscribe (software as a service, or "SaaS").
One of the online dictionary services I use is MOT dictionaries and is run by a Finnish company called Kielikone. This firm provides various linguistic services via the Web that cater to people with an interest in translation and proof-reading, including Web-based dictionaries (e.g. via MOT mobile), machine translation (MOT translation) and online proof-reading (MOT proofing):
In addition to these three groups, Kielikone also offers its customers a small number of language guides, e.g. on English and Swedish grammar and on writing and spelling Finnish correctly, which caters to needs in their local market in Scandinavia.
If you set the system to search all of your dictionaries at once (by picking "Multiple dictionary selection" and clicking on the round plus symbol and selecting the works to be used), then when you enter a search term on the right, the results of your search will be displayed in a vertical list of all the dictionary entries that were found. The hits actually look much like those in a paper dictionary, with the entry being on the left and translations of it on the right together with sample sentences showing how the words are used (i.e. with contextual information):
Different kinds of searches are possible, depending on which option you select:
Like CD-ROM dictionaries, searches for terms can be done very quickly online, but I'd say the real advantage of subscribing to a number of MOT dictionaries is that you can see which dictionaries come up with hits instantaneously and the hits all appear on your monitor at once; there's no need to make individual searches in each dictionary as a universal search is done. So a system of this kind can save you time. Plus the fact that no maintenance is needed at the user's end, no system updates are called for and there's no need for any troubleshooting if anything goes wrong – this is all taken care of by the company providing the dictionaries over the Net.
If you'd like to try out the MOT dictionaries, get in touch with the Sales team at Kielikone and ask for a free trial.
images: screen shots from Kielikone's website; logo and other website images by courtesy of Kielikone Oy
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
The other day I happened to stumble across a job advert by SDL plc, a well-known producer of software tools for translators, one of which I reviewed here briefly last autumn. The position was being advertised via monster.de, the big job portal on the internet, and looked as though it was in nearby Munich, which was why it initially caught my attention. It turned out it was actually an internship as an English to German translator. On closer reading, I found that the post was over in Sheffield (in the UK) and that SDL expects the person who is fortunate enough to get the job to work for what I would call peanuts – the National Minimum Wage in Britain, a stunning £6.50 an hour (7.85 euros at today's exchange rate).
Looking at the job description, it sounds like an interesting position for a qualified translator. You would be working with a variety of CAT tools (obviously, since that's what SDL produces) and doing translating and editing work that can be demanding (post-editing machine-translated texts). You'd also have a degree of responsibility because you'd be checking software to find any mistakes or problems with it, testing websites (presumably how well they work) and doing terminological work, which means building up and possibly verifying and editing terms in a terminology database, no doubt for other members of staff (= translators) to use.
What do you think about this advertisement? My first reaction was one of disbelief; I asked myself why anyone with suitable qualifications should want to undertake work like this for a pittance? After all, it's a full-time position, even if it's only for six months (apparently with no option of being taken on properly afterwards).
Friday, 28 March 2014
Seit dem 27. März läuft ein neuer Film über den Einsatz der Bundeswehr in Afghanistan in den deutschen Kinos. Besonders interessant für uns Übersetzer und Dolmetscher ist, dass er die Beziehung eines deutschen Soldaten zu seinem afghanischen Dolmetscher in den Mittelpunkt stellt.
Jesper versucht mit Tariks Hilfe, das Vertrauen der Dorfgemeinschaft und der verbündeten afghanischen Milizen zu gewinnen – doch die Unterschiede zwischen den beiden Welten sind groß.
Er steht immer wieder im Konflikt zwischen seinem Gewissen und den Befehlen seiner Vorgesetzten. Als Tarik, der von den Taliban bedroht wird, weil er für die Deutschen arbeitet, seine Schwester in Sicherheit bringen will, geraten die Dinge außer Kontrolle."
Die Regisseurin Feo Aladag realisierte den Film an Originalschauplätzen in Afghanistan.
Der Film ist von aktuellem Interesse, da die deutschen Schutztruppen dieses Jahr – nach mehr als 10 Jahren vor Ort – aus Afghanistan abziehen. Sie hinterlassen ein unbefriedetes Land und zahllose lokale Mitarbeiter, die von den Taliban als Kollaborateure der Besatzungsmächte gesehen werden. Auch lokale Dolmetscher, die für die Bundeswehr gearbeitet haben, stehen jetzt in Gefahr. Manche von ihnen versuchen mit Mühe, nach Deutschland zu kommen, um wieder ein sicheres Leben führen zu können.
Weitere Infos dazu gibt es vielerorts im Internet, u.a. auf der Website der tagesschau und bei arte. Auch Übersetzer- und Dolmetscherverbände wie der BDÜ haben dazu Stellung genommen und gefordert, Dolmetscher aus Afghanistan aus dringenden humanitären Gründen aufzunehmen.
Der Film ist bestimmt sehr sehenswert. Einen Trailer finden Sie hier.
Bilder: © Wolfgang Ennenbach / Majestic Filmverleih. Textabschnitte: Pressemappe von Majestic Filmverleih.
Friday, 28 February 2014
Proz, the international translators' portal, is going to run a series of free webinars for registered users in March.
According to the programme of events now available here, the sessions will mainly be covering computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools:
In addition, you will also be able to learn more about utilities like WordFinder, a web-based dictionary suite, and Translation Office 3000, a package for managing your translation and proof-reading assignments, your customers and your accounting. Several of these programs are now available in brand new versions with fresh interfaces.
There are also going to be two sessions on getting in touch with potential customers via Proz's own web platform. At the time of writing this post, places were still available for the session on 20 March.
To participate in any of these events, all you have to do is register to attend them. If you aren't a registered user yet, sign up for free or take out a paid subscription, depending on what features you would like to use.
Proz.com regularly stages training events for translators and interpreters, not just giving them an opportunity to learn about the latest software tools, but also to improve their knowledge of subject areas they work with such as legal contracts, interpreting in court or for the police, medical translation, tourism and travel, software localisation and audio subtitling, to mention just a few examples.
Some of the events are recorded and can be viewed any time, albeit at a small cost. These are known as "on-demand courses".
The training Proz offers isn't just in English, but that does seem to be the main lingua franca used. Sometimes presentations are held in other languages; some of the events in March are going to take place in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Russian or Chinese, for instance.
Quality-wise, the free webinars and "virtual conferences" I have attended so far have generally been reasonable to good. Not brilliant, but generally interesting. Some were a bit too commercial for my taste, but still, you learn to pick out the cherries after a while...
Why not take a look at the events lined up in March and see if there are any that interest you?
images: screen shots taken from Proz.com
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Déjà Vu is a versatile software suite for translators that has been on the market for twenty years now, ever since 1993. An established CAT tool produced by a European firm called Atril, it has a loyal following among its users thanks to its flexibility and robustness, not to mention the speedy and helpful technical support Atril provides.
A new version of the software called "X3" is going to be launched this year. Two free "sneak preview" webinars will be held on it in the second half of January to give translators an idea of what enhancements and innovations they can expect. These are going to be on 23 Jan (7-8 pm CEST) and on 28 Jan (4-5 pm CEST), the company's website says.
Version X3 comes with a number of enhancements and brand new features compared to its predecessor DVX2. These include:
If you would like to attend one of the webinars, all you need to do is sign up for it in advance on Atril's website at www.atril.com. You'll see the two links on the right of the page in the section called "Training", as the screen shot here shows.
This CAT tool is worth taking a look at despite the fact that the translation market appears to be dominated by various products made by SDL plc. In fact, if you looked behind the scenes at the software tools we translators use, you'd find that many of us are actually employing CAT tools that are not SDL's, but are compatible to them – and often more convenient to use (many of them are less expensive, too).
What matters at the end of the day is that customers get the translations they request in the file format they ask for and that using other tools to achieve these aims doesn't cause them any extra work. Déjà Vu is one of these compatible alternatives. It has some ingenious features that can help you translate texts faster and produce work of a more consistent nature. It is capable of tapping several external machine-translation engines and also works well in conjunction with speech-recognition software, which means you don't need to use the keyboard or mouse all the time. (With a bit of practice, you can even work at a higher speed.)
Hope you find the preview interesting.
images: courtesy of Atril
Friday, 3 January 2014
Although the word "resolution" sounds like a clear-cut decision to me, especially one made by a board of directors or a body like the United Nations, the resolutions we often make at New Year are less binding – at the end of the day, New Year's resolutions are really just expressions of well-meant intentions and are often abandoned quite quickly.
Even so, it can be a good idea for us translators to spend a little time reflecting on what last year was like and wondering how certain things might be improved. Since many of us work alone, either at home or in a small office elsewhere, it's up to us to "review" our own working (and private) lives and do some planning to achieve a few specific goals over the coming twelve months. We're our own boss, after all, so we're in the enviable position of being able to set our own goals if we want to, with no-one looking over our shoulder but our own friends and partners (occasionally). I see New Year's resolutions as part of this planning.
What kind of resolutions might come to mind for a translator, I wonder? Well, apart from resolving to "boost your income" a little more this year, you could try being more specific: boost your income by 5 or even 10% by (a) translating more material yourself or (b) taking on more work and sharing part of it with some reliable colleagues. You could also diversify your services a little – perhaps by offering a new one such as copy-editing or subtitling videos, for example. If you possess the right skills, that is (which you can also resolve to acquire this year, of course).
In connection with diversification, you might also decide to invest some time each month in acquiring new customers. Again, be as specific as you can here: set yourself a concrete goal like spending two hours a week or five or ten hours a month on internet research and contacting potential customers). This needs careful planning and, above all, patience. You could try it out for six months and see what the outcome is.
Another idea is to make sure you retain your current customers. This is easier than attempting to win new ones, but it still involves some effort. Like ensuring you have enough quality checks in place in your translation workflow and improving them if necessary, either by using better procedures or quality-assurance software, or by getting your translations read by a colleague before you send them off to customers.
Improving your skills in another language is another idea. Why not take part in a course in the morning or evening together with other learners? Or improve your knowledge of a particular subject area or a useful computer program over a number of months? That would also get you out of the office regularly, which would be a good way of combating the enforced isolation that's so typical of our particular line of work. Alternatively, you could start attending online lectures run by universities, some of which are now free (see Jayne Fox's interesting blog post on mass online courses, or "MOOCs").
An additional idea might be to go along to monthly get-togethers held by a translators' association in your area and get to know some more fellow translators personally. You might even consider playing a more active, voluntary role in the association's activities by helping to organise and/or advertise them.
There are lots of things we could do. Even reducing your workload is one if last year's was a bit too heavy. Think about your work/life balance. New Year's resolutions are an opportunity for us all to change things in our lives and achieve a little more satisfaction in them.
What objectives would you like to achieve this year as a translator? Have you thought about any yet?
Some reading to inspire you
image: © Bernd Kasper, pixelio.de
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