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I’m honored… July 31, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in German culture, Random musings, Translation Sites.
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About Translation reported that my humble blog has been named one of the “Top 100 Language Blogs” by LexioPhiles. Considering the fact that I’ve only been doing this since May 30th, I’m frankly floored and honored to be included among such blogs as yndigo (34), About Translation (42), Translation Blog (52), Blogging Translator (53), and Thoughts On Translation (100). I came in at number 69, which makes me chuckle since I was born in the Summer of ’69. I enjoy reading these blogs very much and have discovered a couple new ones on the list to follow as well.

One of my latest finds (which isn’t on the list) is Nothing for Ungood, which Margaret Marks’ Transblawg (which should have also been considered – I’ve been reading Transblawg for years now) talked about yesterday. I wasted a good half hour of my day yesterday reading Nothing for Ungood’s hilarious insights on Germany and the German culture.

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Getting excited for the ATA Conference in Orlando July 31, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Marketing ideas, Random musings, Translation Sites.
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I received the preliminary program for the ATA conference in the mail today and immediately went online and registered. I have attended the conference every year since I moved back to the U.S. in 2001, but I frankly wasn’t too excited about the conference this year and had considered not attending. However, as one of the members of the GLD conference planning committee, I got excited to attend Thea Dohler’s presentations on time management (to be presented in German). Then, to top it all off, the conference organizers asked Corinne McKay and me to present our preconference seminar on “How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator” again. Plus, Jost Zetzsche’s presentation “Translation Technology’s Ring of Power: One Tool to Rule Them All…and in the Darkness Bind Them” attracts me from the name alone! Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend Corinne’s presentation “Blogging: How and Why,” because I’ll be presenting the Orientation for First-Time Conference Attendees. I had planned on enjoying a lot of downtime during the conference, but a glance at the program tells me I will indeed be attending a session during almost every time slot. I am most excited about the Independent Contractor sessions this year. There are some fabulous sessions and speakers on the schedule like Jonathan Hine, Chris Durban and Ted Wozniak. I’m also really intrigued by Orestes Martinez’s Social Networking: How to Practice One of the Most Effective Marketing Tools Today. Guess I’ll have to plan on staying an extra day to enjoy Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.

Dear Project Manager, July 31, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings, Translation Sites.
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Your e-mail this morning irritated me on several levels. I took the easy way out and simply told you I couldn’t accept the job and named two reasons (one being that I am busy with work from your German office, which is true). Here are the other reasons…

First of all, you attached a 4 MB file for a job that only contained about 500 words and should “only take 1 hour to review.” Secondly, you sent the e-mail to three separate e-mail addresses, two of which were incorrect and haven’t been used in several years (one for at least seven years now). I received two of the three e-mails – and had to download and manually delete both 4 MB attachments. And lastly (but I’m sure you personally were not aware of it), your agency has not yet paid my last two invoices, despite numerous e-mail reminders on my end and lame apologies on your end for the one that is now 30 days overdue (although I did mention this reason in my response as well). I hope you are able to find someone to accept your job. You certainly can’t count me anymore.

Cuil apparently no threat to Google July 29, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools.
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Well, the initial verdicts are in and they are tepid at best. As Time Magazine reports in Why Cuil is No Threat to Google, “the new site poses little immediate threat to industry leader Google, or even its nearest competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft, in either relevance or breadth of results it delivers.” Interest in the new search engine crashed the server on Monday, but “even when it was working, the results were fair, at best.” Hopefully Cuil will survive because I really like the idea of a search engine not storing data on its users and the queries they make, but they will definitely have to do a better job at providing relevant search results. I use Google because it delivers accurate search results and saves me a lot of time. It looks like I will be continuing to do so.

Announcing a new search engine: Cuil July 28, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools.
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There’s a new search engine that is about to give Google a run for its money. Cuil (pronounced “Cool”), which was developed by husband-and-wife team Tom Costello and Anna Patterson, a search-engine researcher from Stanford University and a former Google employee, aims to rank the relevance of search results by content analysis rather than by popularity. Google, on the other hand, treats Web links as popular votes in weighing Web page relevance for a given query.

The founders of Cuil boast that it indexes 120 billion Web pages, “three times more than any other search engine.” Google, in response, announced on Monday that it now indexes 1 trillion URLs, though not all of them lead to unique Web pages. Says Patterson, “Our team approaches search differently. By leveraging our expertise in search architecture and relevance methods, we’ve built a more efficient yet richer search engine from the ground up. The Internet has grown and we think it’s time search did, too.”

Most importantly, Cuil promises privacy. “There’s a separation between search and surveillance. Whereas Google records information about its users and their searches to improve the user experience and to deliver more relevant search results and ads, Cuil remembers nothing.”

It still has a few bugs to iron out, but I’m confident they will be able to do so soon. Now we just have to see if it can go up against the 800,000 lb. gorilla and survive. I know I for one plan on giving it a try tomorrow. ..

Be sure to always carry business cards with you July 28, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Marketing ideas.
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As freelancers, we never know where our next potential job is going to come from. You also never know who you will meet or where you are going to run into a potential client. Therefore it is really important to carry a few business cards with you at all times. I know this, and yet I unfortunately was reminded of this lesson the hard way. I recently ran out of business cards, but have been so busy with work that I hadn’t had time to order more. It had completely slipped my mind.

Last Friday I attended a Murder Mystery dinner in downtown Cleveland with my Meetup.com Dining Out group. The gentleman sitting next to me at dinner was a patent attorney who had lived in Germany for three years while serving in the Army. Needless to say, he sometimes needs a translator. Imagine my embarrassment of not having any business cards in my wallet to give to him. I had to write my name, phone number and e-mail address on a slip of paper. I of course got his business card and immediately followed up via e-mail, but I certainly did not make the best impression I could have.

Learn from my mistake and carry business cards with you at all times. Excuse me while I run out to Kinko’s to drop off the file for my business cards…

A worthwhile cause July 25, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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I just read about this homegrown charity on CNN.com, Pedals for Progress, and wanted to share it with all of you. I think I’ve found a charity I can finally get behind. Sure, I regularly donate to my usual charities, but this one just touched my heart for some reason. Pedals for Progress has collected and shipped more than 115,000 used bicycles to 32 developing countries worldwide, where they are sold at a low cost to local residents. Used bicycles offer access to jobs and health care that they might not be able to reach while walking. I have an unused bike languishing in my garage right now because I prefer the mountain bike that actually fits me and is therefore easier to ride. How about you?

TGIF: Catherine Tate’s 7 Language Interpreter July 24, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.
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I’ve been enjoying my time off and already have next week booked solid. How did that happen? Anyway, I wanted to take a few minutes to share this video with you all. I’m going to warn you that it is quite painful, yet hilarious to watch.

UK comedian Catherine Tate plays numerous characters in her variety show, The Catherine Tate Show , which debuted in February 2004. This particular clip aired on October 27, 2006. The try-hard wannabe “I can do that” character Helen Marsh didn’t really take off in the tennis and curling sketches, but was truly brilliant when she volunteered to act as an interpreter and reduced the languages of the world to a string of silly noises. Enjoy!

A Wicked Deception July 22, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, Translation Sites.
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One of my former students sent this to me today. I don’t know how I’d missed it until now.

This fine little film by Matt Sloan capitalizes on Babelfish for its dialog. It translates to and from English, French and German. It was filmed on location in Trouville, France. Enjoy!

I want to neglect the remainder of my life with you!

Just deserts July 21, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Translation Sites.
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Snopes.com has an interesting posting about the phrase “just deserts” (as in someone who gets what they deserve). I found it interesting enough to share with all of you – especially since I have used it incorrectly all these years. I would equate this as one step above “whetting your appetite,” which is a common English spelling error as well.

Claim: A person who gets what he deserves is said to have received his “just desserts.”

Status: False.

Origins: Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you use the language correctly, because people will think you’re wrong even when you’re not.

For example, when we established the “Crime and Punishment” section of this site, we created a category for tales about criminals whose punishments were meted out in unusual ways. Like so many others before us (particularly operators of bakeries and pastry shops), we played on the “desert”-“dessert” pun and called the section “Just Desserts”; before long we started receiving mail from readers chiding us for misspelling the phrase “just deserts.” Eventually we gave up, removed the punning references, and renamed the section “Just Deserts”; then we began to receive even more mail from readers informing us that we had misspelled the phrase “just desserts” and providing us with mnemonics to help us remember the difference between “desert” and “dessert”:

You spell “Dessert” wrong in this link.

I think your intention is to refer to metaphor using the term for after dinner snack. The way you spell it, “Desert” means a region that receives little rainfall.

A rule of thumb – Dessert has 2 S’s because more people would select to have dessert than spend time in a desert. It’s lame but it helps you remember.


Just wanted to point out that under your “Criminal” section, you spelled “Just Desserts” wrong. A desert is a barren expanse of land. Desserts are yummy. Just remember “strawberry shortcake” has two s’ and that’s how many s’ desserts has!

The confusion is understandable, because it involves a little-known word whose correct spelling and pronunciation runs counter to that of two similar and much more commonly used words.

The noun “desert” (accent on the first syllable) is generally used to refer to an arid, barren expanse of land; the noun “dessert” (accent on the second syllable) is a sweet course or dish usually served at the end of a meal. However, the word “desert” — when spelled like the former but pronounced like the latter — also refers to a deserved reward or punishment. Therefore, someone who does wrong and is punished in a suitable manner has received his “just deserts.”

Many people, unfamiliar with the “reward or punishment” meaning of the word “desert,” mistakenly assume that the phrase “just deserts” is properly spelled “just desserts” because of its pronunciation. (The usual reasoning is that a dessert is a type of reward one is given at the end of a meal, so someone who receives suitable rewards or punishments for his actions has gotten his “just desserts.”)

When one gets what one deserves, good or bad, one is getting one’s “just deserts,” accent on the second syllable but spelled like the arid, barren lands.