something that occurred to me last week. Surely some of you will groan
and say: "Really? That's how long it took for him to realize that?" In
my defense, at a proud two meters in height I've often claimed to be
the tallest, but "fastest" was never part of my repertoire.
a year ago, terminologist Barbara Inge Karsch and I published a discussion we'd
had about terminology and some of the gaps that exist between
terminologists and translators. I was particularly pleased with the
article because it reflected a true discussion between Barbara and me,
one in which I learned a great deal. One point we explored was how
terminologists carry out a deep-level QA of the internal integrity of
the product they are controlling and forming the terminology for.
Non-bridgeable gaps in the terminology point to inherent flaws in the
product's design. This is no news for a well-trained terminologist, but
it was to me. And only later did I realize that translation does very
much the same. Here's how I attempted to articulate this recently in
Translation of a product is like a puzzle. If
there are puzzle pieces missing or you have to force pieces together,
the product is faulty.
believe this to be absolutely true -- just as true for us translators
as for terminologists, and maybe even more so because it happens at a
more granular level. Admittedly, it's harder (though not impossible)
for the individual translator to see the pieces fall together when you
work on very large projects with many other contributors. This
perspective might be reserved for the project manager who has the
required high-level overview to see whether the puzzle pieces fit or
not. But for smaller projects, the individual translator is the one who
sees the inherent quality of the product he's translating, and his
perspective is rivalled by none.
been translating a good number of smartphone apps recently, and these
tend to be much more compact, often with the "help" as part of the user
interface. As such, part of my delivery has been a quality report of
sorts -- not of the translation (which I trusted to be good) but of the
original app. Why do I say all this? I've been talking about the need
for us as individual translators and larger translation organizations to tell stories about what
we do and how we distinguish ourselves from each other, and I believe
that this is one such example among many, many possibilities. Telling
stories teaches something to the listener, but a good story also
teaches the storyteller. Let's find creative ways of telling the world
what we do and learn more about ourselves in the process.
I'm not sure that the following qualifies as a story but it should
cheer us all up (I'm not sure of its origin, but I stole it
from a tweet by @transGalator):
1. So wie Sovee?
far as I know, the story of Sovee is unique in the translation world.
At its core it's a Christian organization that is particularly
interested in Bible translation in languages for which there are no
translated Bibles. At the same time it's also an organization that
sells access to its translation technology to commercial partners --
and then donates the proceeds to charity through its Covenant Values
Foundation. It has pledged to donate a billion dollars in its lifetime.
recently worked on an article about the history of translation
technology in the US for an encyclopedia, and that work
has been really eye-opening to me. Unlike in Europe, translation
technology developments in the US in the 20th century (and
to some degree in the 21st century) have relied greatly on
two different groups: the military and religious groups.
two religious groups that had a particular influence on translation
technology here in the US are Wycliffe Bible Translators/SIL, mostly in
the area of font development, and the Mormon Church, which has been
responsible for many initiatives in machine translation as well as
a company like Sovee is unique as far as I can see.
. . . you
can find the rest of this really important article (if I may say so
myself...) in the premium edition. If you'd like to read more, an
annual subscription to the premium edition costs just $25 at www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit. Or you can purchase the new edition of the Translator's Tool Box ebook and receive an annual subscription for free.
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2. Show Me What
the deal: If any of you already knows all of the following
little tips on how to improve work within your browsers, Windows,
and MS Word, and you didn't learn it from one of my recent
tweets, make a persuasive case and I'll send you a signed copy of Found in Translation.
versions of MS Word (up to 2003) had a DOS/WordPerfect
emulation mode that allowed you to change the screen to blue and the
font to white (under Tools> Options> General> Blue
background, white text). Many used this for proofreading purposes
because it offered a new perspective on the text and seemed to
illuminate typos. For some reasons it was dropped from Word 2007
on, but in the current Word 2013/365 something similar was
silently re-introduced. All you need to do is select View> Read
Mode, within the Read mode select View> Page
Color> Inverse, and there you are. And now you can put an end to
all those craizy typos!
(In OpenOffice and LibreOffice you can find it under Tool>
- In Windows's
file management application Windows Explorer (from Windows
Vista on), it is possible to invoke an extended right-click or
context menu if you press the Shift
key while right-clicking on an item. Of course, the number of added
items depends on what you click on (thus "context" menu), but some of
the more helpful commands include Open Command Window Here,
which opens the Command Prompt window set to the folder you
right-clicked on, or Copy as Path, which copies the path of the
file or folder to the clipboard.
- In MS Word
(and OpenOffice/LibreOffice), we've been able to select
several items (words, graphics, etc.) at once by holding the Ctrl key for quite a while.
Once you do that you can either apply the same kind of formatting to
all of the items, delete them all, copy them all, etc. You knew that
already. What you might not have known is that you can do the same in
the web browser Firefox (since version 3). In the browser this
is particularly helpful if you want to copy several items at once to
paste them into an email, a document, or somewhere else.
- And speaking
of web browsers: The super-helpful but very much underused shortcut
that works in all common browsers (Firefox, IE, Safari,
Chrome, and Opera) uses a simple Ctrl+Click to open a link in
a new tab (rather than replacing the web page you're currently viewing).
knew all those little tricks already? Send me an email to let me know,
swear by the life of your first-born child that you're telling the
truth, and I'll send you a signed copy of our book. And for the rest of
you: You're welcome for the helpful shortcuts.
Celebrating 30 Years of TRADOS
us in celebrating TRADOS' 30th anniversary and take a journey "back to
the future". To celebrate, we're offering a host of fun activities with
an online game, a photo competition and discounts on SDL
Trados Studio 2014.
its inception as a language service provider in 1984, TRADOS has grown
to become the most popular desktop computer assisted translation tool.
Join the celebrations »
3. MS Office Apps
SDL first started its OpenExchange app store, I really liked
the idea but was skeptical that it would find the traction that SDL had
hoped. I watched closely for the first few months and felt vindicated
-- most of the apps that appeared there were actually developed by SDL
itself. But then something slowly happened that I had not anticipated:
it actually took off. Today there are more than 100 apps available in
the app store -- many of which are free -- and they represent anything
from the features that are "missing" from Trados Studio (and
other SDL products) to very creative productivity enhancers to just
cute look+feel kinds of apps.
easy to belittle those numbers when you compare them to numbers in
places like the App Store or Google Play, but that's
clearly not a helpful comparison. How about comparing the number of
apps on SDL's OpenExchange to the number of apps in the Office
Store for MS Office 2013/365? Also not a fair
comparison? One would think so, but a closer look at Apps
for Office reveals a pitiful handful of apps: 36 for Outlook,
130 for Excel, and 156 for Word. Remember? This is the
big-time MS Office! And if that doesn't help to put SDL's
relatively large number of apps into perspective, I don't know what
was still interesting to look at the Office apps. As one would
expect there is a lot of useless stuff to be found, but I liked apps
like FontFinder, which
categorizes your fonts and allows you to create lists of favorites, or
the Wikipedia app that shows
Wikipedia results in a sidebar.
are also a number of language-specific apps. These include the Arabic Authoring Services to help with diacritics and other features in
Arabic, a Russian Grammar checker,
a Lingvo app for access to
Russian and Ukrainian dictionaries (from a variety of languages), the PROMT dictionaries (and
MT) for a number of languages, the English Consistency Checker, or
a number of language-specific thesauri.
really caught my attention, though, was an app called nativy translations,
named after the Austrian LSP with the same name. The app allows
translation clients to get three different bids for the translation of
an open document (any kind of Office format) from different
translators and editors who are identified by name and with whom the
client can directly communicate. I liked the approach of this app for
several reasons. It's not a "cheap" service (such as the one offered by
the competing app TextMaster), it's clever that you can select
a specific translator and communicate with him or her directly (the
service itself is still being sold through nativy translations, which
acts as an LSP, though), and it's creative -- which is exactly what we
need. You and I know that re-packaged web-based machine translation is
popping up everywhere (naturally a good number of the apps on the
Office app store are MT offerings), but this app stands out as a
professional, well-designed, and attractive offering.
had a chance to talk to Josef Brunner, the CEO of nativy translations,
about his app. While it has not been a huge economic success (due to
the low overall acceptance of the Office app program), it has
been helpful for them to highlight their services and their API, which
also plugs into a number of content management systems and -- later
this year -- into websites of translators if they so choose. More on
that when it's released, but in the meantime I like this example of a
translation provider who thought outside the box and was able to tell
"his own story" (see the introduction). That's what we all need to do
through the many voices and stories that we have.
4. What's your
(Enter your story here.)
Russia 2014 in Ekaterinburg
Forum Russia, Russia's top language industry conference with a focus on
practical issues of interpreting and translation, will be held for the
fifth time from September 26-28.
the first time there will be a GALA Localization Forum as part of the
The Last Word on
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