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How NOT to publicize your translation software March 31, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Translation.
1 comment so far

Robin Bonthrone shared this on the ATA’s German Language Division listserv this morning, and it is just priceless. This translation software promises “perfect translations.” The press release is obviously translated using their software. Not the best advertisement for their product…

Here is just a little foretaste of the text:

About Translation Software:
Always it is a fact that professionals doesn’t get to the right way to approach to solve problem rather they always try to get the work done through simplest way. But they do not realize the fact that things can be done in a simple way by opting the right approach through the correct technology

Yeah, I’m not all that worried about machine translation at the moment…


Are you a self-injuring translator? March 29, 2010

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

One of my colleagues posted this to one of my listservs, and I thought it was well-worth sharing with the rest of you. The post is entitled “Toxic Translation: A Twelve-Step Program for Self-Injuring Translators.” We need to keep reminding ourselves that the only behavior we can truly change is our own. My favorite quote from the post is “Translation rates are dropping because translators accept low rates. If you want rates to stop descending, you must take your finger off the elevator button.” If you are unhappy with the way an agency is treating you, you need to stand up for yourself and ask for what you want. And if the agency isn’t able or willing to give you what you want, you need to have the courage to walk away – and most importantly let them know why! If more of us walk away we will be in a better position in the long run. There are good and bad agencies out there. Let’s encourage the good ones and run from the bad ones. We need to stick together. United we stand, divided we fall!

Would you pay to work for a translation agency? March 25, 2010

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

There is a very interesting discussion going on at ProZ.com at the moment about Lionbridge’s new plan to have its translators pay a subscription in order to use its tool, Logoport. In other words, translators will now have to pay Lionbridge a subscription in order to be able to work with a system that “has no visible benefits for translators and all the benefits for Lionbridge!”

They are known to be one of LSPs on the lower end of the pay spectrum, so I highly doubt they will be willing to allow their translators to adjust their word rates to factor in the cost of the subscription fee. I can’t imagine this going over very well with its translators, and will not be surprised if it backfires on them. As one translator stated in the discussion, “Working for a low rate, being forced to use their proprietary tool, and being forced to be a customer to their CAT tool business as part of the deal is not quite my idea of an interesting customer…” My issue is that no client should be allowed to force its freelancers to use a tool in order to work with it. If they do, that makes us quasi employees.

Logoport is apparently a “one-way, Internet-based” system. My big question with this Internet-based systems is how can the client maintain quality? For example, I use Trados. When I translate, I translate a rough draft first and then go back, edit it (sometimes several times) and clean it up into the TM. I then edit it one more time to make sure the text flows and sounds like a native English text. I frequently find typos or duplicate words that I missed the first or second time around. A one-way, Internet-based system does not allow that freedom and control that I need to deliver a quality translation.

No thanks, Lionbridge!

Interesting reads for today March 22, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings, Translation.
1 comment so far

Fabio, a German-Portuguese translator based in Bonn, Germany (well, Rheinbach), published a great little review of MemoQ with screenshots on his blog this morning. If you are curious about MemoQ you might want to check it out.

I was aghast to read that students in the Manalapan-Englishtown, New Jersey elementary schools will learn Spanish from a computer next year instead of being instructed by a foreign language professional to save money. This is not a good trend at all. I can’t imagine school administrators trying to outsource teaching mathematics from a computer or videotape. Why do they think this will be a good idea? Teachers are there to answer questions and make sure students are pronouncing things properly. No computer will be able to do that!

And finally, Price for Profit and Sanity is a good article about the “good, fast cheap – pick two” mantra. As the author explains, small business owners should quote services using ‘good, fast or cheap’ matrix. In our case, every customer wants a “high quality” translation “to be completed in a very short time (because they failed to plan ahead) for very little money (because they failed to establish adequate budgets).” In reality we can only reasonably offer two out three. It is a very interesting article.

Übersetz das doch mal kurz March 12, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Fun stuff, German culture, Translation.
1 comment so far

The German radio channel WDR3 featured a commentary yesterday about the work of translators that you German-speaking readers might enjoy hearing (warning: it’s in German). The title is Übersetz das doch mal kurz (Can you translate this quickly for me?). The speaker talks about how people expect translators to work quickly and compares translation and dental work, which I think is a good comparison. After all, no one expects a dentist to quickly fill a cavity at a low rate – and people expect dentists to know what they are doing because they have had the training. Enjoy!

And, thanks to Roland Grefer, here is a link to the MP3 in case you want to save it.

The squeaky wheel DOES get greased… March 10, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA.

I am proud to announce that I just got an e-mail from ATA President-Elect Dorothee Racette in which she informs me that ATA has negotiated no charge for Internet access for those staying at the conference hotel at this year’s ATA conference. WOOOHOOO!!! She told me “Thanks for your effort and advocacy on this matter. This is fresh off the press and it’s OK to spread the word.” This is the best news EVER!

How do you handle illness? March 9, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

The Freelance Folder published a very timely blog post yesterday called How to Tell When It’s Time to Take a Break. I just got back from a week in Florida. What was originally intended to be an active vacation turned out to be a working vacation. I went to the Keys with my mother, who has been suffering from a health issue. That combined with the fact that the weather was abnormally cold meant I agreed to take on translation work while down there. However, the abnormally cold temperatures made me sick… and have forced me to take the last two days off. I have spent the last two days sleeping and avoiding the computer. I have a couple translations to work on, so I will most likely be back at the computer tomorrow. I was curious how most of you handle illness. The Freelance Folder contends you do everyone a favor when you take time off when you are sick because the quality of your work suffers. I was talking to a friend who is also a freelancer (albeit a lawyer with her own practice), and she was telling me I am too hard on myself and that I needed to tell my clients I was sick and get an extension. I am rarely sick, so it is quite a strange concept for me. I would love to hear what you all have to say on the subject. Do you tough it out or do you listen to your body and take time off?