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Translate in the Catskills June 30, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.
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Translate in the Catskills: August 21-22/23, 2009

Join us at the Sugar Maples campus of the Catskill Mountain Foundation for a two-day seminar exclusively for translators interested in polishing their target language writing skills.

Why should you attend? Because better writing skills are essential to (re)positioning yourself at the top end of the market, building a clientele of quality-oriented customers and leaving the churn-it-out bulk market behind. Because premium clients — the ones who value your expert insights, make you part of the team and pay top rates — require outstanding writing skills. It’s as simple as that. But let’s not forget improved job satisfaction. After all, the writing side of translation is part of what made you choose this profession in the first place, right?

This intensive, advanced level workshop will be based primarily on examples from French>English and English>French translation, but the focus is on writing. Translators of other languages are very welcome.

Full information (program, speakers, etc.) is available on our website at www.translateinthecatskills.wordpress.com.

Sincerely, Chris Durban, coordinator
Member ATA, SFT / Fellow ITI


Support a fellow linguist by signing a letter of support June 29, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.

Did you know that the military is still discharging soldiers who are gay and want to serve their country? One of these soldiers is California’s Lt. Dan Choi — an Iraq War veteran and Arabic linguist. Lt. Choi is fighting the discharge and fighting the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and he needs your help as soon as possible. Lt. Choi goes on trial on Tuesday. I just signed a letter of support via the Courage Campaign for Lt. Choi, which he will bring with him to his trial. With just a few hours left before Lt. Choi’s trial, more than 90,000 people have also signed on to the letter. It’s important that Lt. Choi walks into the courtroom holding as many signatures of support as possible for his fight to continue serving his country, no matter who he loves. Will you join me in signing and urge your friends to do the same before Tuesday’s trial? Thanks!

Addendum to Trados just keeps drivin’ ’em away June 29, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools.

I ran into Dr. Sue Ellen Wright Saturday night at the Judy Collins concert. We spoke briefly about the new version of Trados. For those of you who do not know her, she is a professor at Kent State University (teaching MultiTerm and other translation courses at the graduate level) as well as one of the top terminologists in the world. Her fields of interest are terminology studies (theory and applications), translation studies, terminology interchange formats, data categories for terminology management, teaching methodologies for localization environments, terminology and computer applications for translators, localization, localization project management, and training terminology and localization trainers. She is also

  • Chair of the Terminology Committee of the American Translators Association
  • Chair of the USA Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of ISO TC 37, Terminology (principles and coordination)
  • Convener of TC 37/Sub-Committee 3/WG 1, responsible for preparing ISO FDIS 12620: Terminology—Computer Applications—Data
  • Vice-Chair of TC 37/SC 3, Computer-assisted Terminology
  • Convener of TC 37/Sub-Committee 3/WG 3, which is responsible for preparing ISO FDIS 12200: Terminology—Computer Applications—Machine-Readable Terminology Interchange Format (MARTIF), Part 1: Negotiated Interchange
  • A member of ASTM F15.48, which is responsible for Translation Quality Management

In other words, she really knows her stuff. She has offered consulting services and feedback on MultiTerm to Trados for years. Her comment on the new version was that it was “extremely buggy,” and it took her several days to figure out how to use it. If it took her several days to figure it out, how can we mere mortals be expected to know how to use it? Software should be intuitive and build on existing versions. That isn’t the case here.

NYT: Translators Scoff at LinkedIn’s Offer of $0 an Hour June 29, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in LinkedIn, Random musings.
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It’s always a  mystery to me how newspapers find the news they report on. It appears our little controversy with LinkedIn has been picked up by the New York Times. I think it is a fairly good article that covers our side rather well. Nico Posner declined to be interviewed, but the author cites Chris Irwin, Matthew Bennett, and Natalya Kelly. I was especially pleased to see the final quotes from Ms. Kelly. I was pleased to see she realizes why we were so upset, and her quotes summed up the situation quite nicely.

Trados just keeps drivin’ ’em away June 26, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tech tips, Tools.

Trados used to be the 800-pound gorilla in the translation industry. They did a good job, and their customers were loyal. Due to a series of missteps and bad judgment I have a feeling that won’t be the case for much longer.

The original title of this post was going to be “Trados Studio 2009, you can kiss my…” but I didn’t want to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities. SDL Trados released Studio 2009 a little while ago, and it was a mess. Let me just tell you – there were and are a lot of angry translators out there. Sure, translators enjoy complaining about Trados (always have, always will), but this time it’s different.

The first inkling many of us blog readers had that there was trouble ahead was Translation Tribulations’ post SDL Trados Studio 2009 BOHICA. Now the product is out, and he is uncannily correct in his prediction – BOHICA! Many of the translators who bought the product are regretting their decision and want to switch back to their old version – but then you are out the money. It really isn’t worth trying to contact Trados Support since they are unresponsive – probably because they have been deluged by complaints.

The reasons for the freelance backlash are two-fold: functionality (or lack thereof) and licenses. Studio 2009 has placed more importance on project management than on translation – which is the reason Trados was developed in the first place. Your lone wolf translator does not need project management functions. Susanne III pointed out that as a beta tester she informed SDL Trados several times that this new version was developed without considering the needs of the freelance translator who would actually be using the product. For example, apparently Studio 2009 doesn’t allow uncleaned files.

The main reason for the ATA’s German Language Division list boycott discussion was the realization that SDL Trados appeared to have gotten too big for its britches and was no longer going to allow freelancers to use the product on more than one computer with the simple freelance version – and forcing them to sign a letter confirming they will not be getting a second license in the future. I for one work on my home computer, but use a laptop when I’m traveling or out of the office. This one-license policy would not allow me to install Trados on my laptop. And heaven forbid you should buy a new computer and want to install your existing Trados license on your new computer. Nope, sorry, you’re out of luck without signing your life away. The only other alternative is to buy a multi-license version, which is something like €435 ($600). I don’t know about you, but $600 a year (if the license is only good for a year) is a lot of money for most freelance translators.

Installing the new product can apparently be a total nightmare due to licensing questions. There are reports that it has taken some colleagues three to four days to get their systems back in working order (nevermind the lost wages). One very well-respected colleague on TW_Users reported he was giving up trying to install the product “[a]fter hours reading information, returning licenses, installing, uninstalling and reinstalling software, rebooting, swearing in several languages, I give up. Honestly, there is a limit to everything—including my recklessness—and all I achieved is to have my old Trados back working—for a limited time, now, of course.” He published an article on his adventures in this month’s Accurapid Journal.

According to the SDL Trados website, “When upgrading to SDL Trados Studio 2009, you will need to de-activate your previous software license. Also note that SDL Trados 2007 Suite is included as part of SDL Trados Studio 2009. It will be fully functional until 30/06/2010. It is possible to install both products in parallel. If you would like to retain your previous license, you could consider purchasing a full new license.” Imagine that – spend lots of money on a piece of software that is only good for one year, because newer products now come with expiration dates. No thanks. SDL Trados soon changed their tune and allowed two licenses to work at the same time to quell the uprising.

Paul Filkin, Client Services Director at SDL Trados, wrote to the TW_Users group and tried to explain the theory behind SDL Trados’ decision:

On the “now” old SDL Trados 2007 Suite and earlier you purchase a single activation.  In case you had problems, such as Hurricane Isobel, or someone stole your laptop when you nipped into MacDonalds [sic], or you simply forgot to return it before you rebuilt your machine, we actually allowed for two additional activations before your activation was prevented.  The reason we put a limit on this is obvious because we have to be able to prevent misuse of the activation utility which some less honest people would take advantage of.

It is often the case that some users seem to rebuild their machines more than others, and sometimes forget to return their license everytime they do it.  This is quite easy, I have done it myself.  But we still have to draw the line somewhere.  When this happens you are asked to jump through a few hoops to verify your entitlement to our satisfaction and I think this is perfectly acceptable.

On the new SDL Trados Studio 2009 software we have taken a different approach.  You can now purchase additional activation codes for the Freelance software for a small amount so that you can legally run the different versions on your laptop and your desktop at the same time and have them both activated at all times.

This will not prevent the McDonalds scenario from being a problem, and you will still have to jump through a few hoops if you lose the ability to return your license and need Support to reactivate it for you.  But it will give you the ability to have more flexibility in how  you work.

Again, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many companies that assume from the get-go that their loyal customers are constantly trying to pull one over on them. OK, maybe Microsoft, but there are indeed a lot of pirated copies of their software floating around. I don’t know a single translator working with a pirated copy of a TEnT (translation environment tool).

Now one of the GLD members, who has had a service contract with them for many years now, reports that upgrading to Studio 2009 is a prerequisite for having a support contract anymore. They will not be offering any support – not even paid support – if you aren’t willing to upgrade to Studio 2009.

It has become apparent to most translators that Trados is no longer interested in the lowly freelance translator. They want to sell their product to agencies. But the best product in the world won’t be any use to agencies if their freelancers are still working with the old versions or have switched to another TEnT altogether.

Hey, Trados, you might want to send your employees to a class on how to provide good customer service. Instead of always blaming the customer (who, incidentally, is paying your salary by buying your product) why don’t you try to find a solution that satisfies everyone. If Trados had just decided “”Please note that this new version of Trados can run side-by-side with previous versions of Trados.” I don’t think there would have been this much uproar.

I for one am sticking with my current version (Trados 2007 Freelance) for now, because it doesn’t have an expiration date and still works fine. I’ve been with Trados since Version 2.x and have taught other translators how to use Trados in seminars and in the translation grad courses at Kent State University over the years. I was definitely a loyal customer and even a fan. Not anymore. If the time comes that I need to upgrade to something else (because I have bought a new computer or something) I will be switching to a competitor. I hear Wordfast and MemoQ are good products…

If anyone else is considering switching to a new TEnT, you might want to check out Jost Zetzsche’s site, Translators Training. You can “access video-based tutorials for all the major translation technology and localization tools and much more for only Euro 34.99 a year.” That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than shelling out several hundred dollars for a tool that you decide you don’t like.

TGIF: Interjections June 26, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, TGIF.

This is the video that started me off on sharing Schoolhouse Rock videos with you. The ALTA blog had posted it, and that sparked a need in me to watch them all again. It’s been a great time, and I hope you all enjoyed it as well – especially those of you who didn’t grow up in the United States in the 1970s.

As the video clip explains, “Interjections show excitement, or emotion. They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong.” I hope you all have a great weekend.

How not to use a blog for self-promotion June 23, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

Wow, I had to share this little gem with you all. Someone on PT found the link on Craigs List for Berlin. For those who don’t read German, he says “I’m not much of a translator. My German isn’t that great, but we offer ‘tranlsations’ [sic] of documents, web sites and whatever else you want. We offer you over 150 languages, and our prices are great!  Contact us today your free offer [sic].” I don’t know about you, but I’m sold… so I click on his link and find one of the worst examples of a blog I’ve ever seen.

If your blog posts are primarily all about how wonderful you are and all the services you offer – and one blog post makes you scroll fifteen times to get to the end, chances are slim you will have anyone subscribing to your RSS Feed or taking you seriously. This isn’t a blog – this is a cheap, bottom of the barrel alternative to a pseudo-professional website.

I’m ashamed that this “translation company” is from my home state of Ohio. Oh, and if you are pushing your language skills and trying to convince clients to hire you, Jon, you really should use proper English like capitalizing “English” – and a list of every topic you have ever translated also isn’t all that impressive.

TGIF: The Tale of Mr. Morton June 19, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, TGIF.
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This is the Tale of Mr. Morton… featuring predicates. I bet only a few of you English native speakers can explain what a predicate is. I know I couldn’t until I looked it up. It’s been over twenty years since I truly studied the fine details of English grammar. The predicate is basically the rest of a sentence apart from the subject. As Wikipedia so succinctly explains, “a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies)… The predicate must contain a verb, and the verb requires, permits or precludes other sentence elements to complete the predicate. These elements are: objects (direct, indirect, prepositional), predicatives (aka predicate complements: subject complements and object complements) and adverbials (either obligatory or adjuncts).”

This Schoolhouse Rock clip first aired in December 1993 and features Jack Sheldon, who was a frequent contributor to Schoolhouse Rock. As I’ve said before, he sang most of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock clips, including Conjunction Junction and the wonderful I’m Just A Bill.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be offline, because I will be walking a total of 30 miles (17 on Saturday, 13 on Sunday) in preparation for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I am training to walk 60 miles in 3 days from July 31-August 2. We are just ending Week 7 in the training plan. I have raised $2780 so far. And if you want to donate to my walk I certainly won’t say no 🙂

Give it a couple shakes… June 18, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.

Maybe it’s because I’m not quite awake yet, having worked late last night to get a good chunk of my e-learning modules finished (only 2200 words to go, so I’ll be finished with it today – YAY!), but this morning’s Adam@Home made me chuckle enough to want to share it with you all. The backstory is that he and the kids are cleaning out the basement this summer. There have been lots of jokes about procrastination, etc. I think you’ll see why I thought this one was worth sharing. I think I have a typewriter in my basement too. I’ll be sure to give it a couple shakes…


Scam alert: Somya Translators June 16, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.

If you receive an e-mail with a signature for Ajoy Singh at Somya Translators (e-mail: somyatranslation@yahoo.com, phone: +91-11-22484180, cell : + 91-9990094796, fax : +91-11-22484180) with a job request, do not fall for it. It is apparently a scam. According to Tina Mittra, a project manager of Somya Translators Pvt. Ltd. in Delhi, India, the company has been receiving invoices and e-mail for work which the company had not assigned. Apparently someone is using the e-mail somyatranslation@yahoo.com and assigning work under Somya Translators’ name and company details. If you receive a job request from the yahoo.com account, do not accept it. As Tina states, “We only use our internal company accounts like sales@somyatrans.com etc. for all the business activities. We never use yahoo, gmail, rediff or any other public accounts for business activities. We welcome suggestions from all of you how we can catch this kind of people.”

Several people on the ProZ.com forums and some of the payment practices lists I subscribe to have been complaining about Somya Translators for a while now. This explains a lot. All we can do on our end is ignore the job request. Hopefully they are able to take legal action on their end.

For more information, please read the ProZ.com forum thread. This only underscores my insistence that no one ever do business with a yahoo.com account!