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Bloggers to watch in 2011 January 6, 2011

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

Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in, but the December 21st post on the GTS Blog about the T&I bloggers to watch irritated me to no end. The list of bloggers only included one person (Jost) whom I consider to be a freelancer and he doesn’t have a blog per se – he writes an e-mail newsletter (albeit a very good one) and runs translatorstraining.com. Everyone else was an agency owner, represented a company that I feel does not have freelancers’ best interests at heart (yeah, Common Sense Advisory, I’m looking at you…), or represented the MT industry, ProZ.com or Google Translate. Seriously?!?!

So here are the translation industry bloggers who *I* feel are worth following if you are a freelance translator (in alphabetical order since they are all equally good):

1. Alex Eames – Alex Eames is the founder of translatortips.com (which I have long considered to be an invaluable resource), the author of How to Earn $80,000+ per year as a Freelance Translator, and the editor of tranfree. Since he is one of the best translation self-marketers out there, his blog posts are well worth reading.

2. Céline Graciet of Naked Translations – Céline is a freelance English to French translator who blogs in both languages (quite the feat considering I often don’t have time to blog in ONE language). Some of her most recent posts address marketing, the importance of maintaining your language skills with a concrete example from her life, and fax to e-mail systems. She doesn’t post often, but when she does it is always interesting. She is also an interesting and personable person to follow on Twitter.

3. Corinne McKay of Thoughts on Translation – Corinne always has something interesting and insightful to say about the translation industry and her tips are invaluable to translators who are new to the field and old hats alike. She is a freelance French to English translator specializing in legal and international development.

4. Judy and Dagmar Jenner of Twin Translations (Translation Times) – If you want to be successful as a translator you must think like a businessperson. Judy and Dagmar offer some invaluable tips on being an entrepreneur. Judy and Dagy translate English<->Spanish, English<->German, German<->Spanish, and French into German, English, and Spanish.

5. Kevin Lossner of Translation Tribulations – Kevin is a freelance German to English translator and a MemoQ guru. His blog features MemoQ tricks and tips, translation technology as well as insight into marketing, workflow optimization, etc. His rants on ProZ.com censorship are worth their weight in gold and are always a fun read.

6. Michael Wahlster of Translate This! – A freelance English to German translator, Michael always has a very interesting take on technology and the translation industry. He is also one of the early adapters of technology and I always value his insights.

7. Mox’s Blog – Alejandro Moreno-Ramos is a freelance English & French to (European) Spanish translator. His cartoons depicting the life of a freelance translator are inspired by real-life examples and are a huge hit among translators.

8. No Peanuts for Translators! – No Peanuts!’ About page describes it best when they say, “No Peanuts! provides support and resources to professional translators and interpreters in demanding and receiving a living wage for their work.” No Peanuts! compiles articles from freelance translators and interpreters on low wages, low-paying jobs, and miscellaneous financial-related rants, because we all know only monkeys work for peanuts.

9. Patenttranslator aka Steve Vitek – The blog’s subheading is “Diary of a Mad Patent Translator.” I haven’t figured out the point of the embedded videos (they are songs he is listening to when he is writing the post perhaps?), but his posts are interesting even though I do not translate patents. For example, his most recent post was using Google to find a sentence that you wrote on your blog or website to see who has copied and pasted it and passed it off as their own words. He is “a freelance technical translator who specializes mostly in patents and articles from technical and medical journals…, mostly from Japanese and German, but also from French, Russian, Czech and Slovak, and a few from Polish to English.”

10. Sarah Dillon of There’s Something About Translation – Sarah is a freelance French, Spanish and German to English translator. Her blog has offered insight on what should be on a business card, refining translation skills, etc. In other words, tips on actually being a translator.

It’s too bad Chris Durban doesn’t write a blog, but we’ll just have to settle to read her Fire Ant & Worker Bee column in the Accurapid Journal and buy The Prosperous Translator, which is a compilations of the best FA&WB columns spanning the last 10 years.

There are several more bloggers who I regularly follow, like Margaret Marks of Transblawg or Abigail Dahlberg of The Greener Word, but they are very specialized to my language pair and interests.



1. Terena Bell - January 6, 2011

Go, Jill! People need to realize that industry leaders come from all sides of the industry, and that includes freelancers. Thanks for thinking of this and for sharing.

2. Corinne McKay - January 6, 2011

Thanks Jill! I agree with you that GTS’ list applies to people in a certain segment of the market which is not the segment that most freelancers are in. I think that the people on the GTS list are smart and business-savvy but I think that there would be a different list of bloggers (like yours!!) for freelancers who work with high-end agencies and direct clients.

3. David Grunwald - January 6, 2011

Jill, many thanks for your comment on my blog and for this well-written blog post. Dave Grunwald

4. patenttranslator - January 6, 2011

Hi Jill!

Thank you very much for listing my blog.

The point of the music videos is mainly to create a library of music that I and the readers of my blog can listen to when they read it. This will hopefully enhance the therapeutic value of the ramblings on my blog. I hope you like most of songs.

Just one correction: you misspelled Celine’s name, the accent should be on the first “e”.

Happy New Year 2011!

Jill (@bonnjill) - January 6, 2011

Aw, man… thanks for catching that, Steve! I’ve fixed it.

5. Michael - January 6, 2011

Jill, thanks for your comments on my blog – and for this list. For me, many of the posts of my fellow freelancers are invaluable.

6. Nic at Crosslingo - January 6, 2011

Hi Jill, great list! I already follow most of those but it’s always nice to find new ones. Thanks

7. Chris Durban - January 6, 2011

Thanks for your kind words on the book, Jill. I’ve now read your comments on David’s blog (and David’s blog, too) and… agree entirely. With your conclusions, that is. Hey, this may give me the kick in the seat of the pants I need to respond to a very interesting (and utterly blinkered) linkedin discussion launched by the extraordinarily prolific but this time missed-the-point Kirti Vashee. Man, I have *got* to get my web presence into gear! Posts like yours remind me of this, so — thanks again!
Chris (blog virgin)

8. Judy Jenner - January 6, 2011

Thanks for including us, Jill! Of course, your blog is one of our favorites, too. Agree with your assessment of bloggers listed on the GTS blog. We really don’t read any of those blogs, because, as you say, they are corporate and are of little relevance to freelancers.And Jost’s newsletter very certainly isn’t a blog; but it’s fabulous.

9. Kevin Lossner - January 6, 2011

Hey, Jill, thanks for the good word. The link to my blog is incorrect BTW. I haven’t been commenting on PrAdZ much lately, as I simply find it pointless to do much with a platform that has been suffocated by the well-known problems there.
I love the music on Steve’s blog. At first it confused me, because I thought there must be some connection to the topic of the day (there isn’t as far as I can tell), but eventually I just gave up trying to figure it out and just enjoyed listening while I read. His eclectic good taste exposes me to great material that I might not otherwise have found. The rants are pretty much bullseyes too. I think he was the guy who likened the MT BS to the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, and I think that might be one of the best explanations of that mass hysteria so far.

Jill (@bonnjill) - January 6, 2011

Thanks for catching that, Kevin. It was missing the “http://”. It’s been fixed…

10. Zachary Overline - January 6, 2011

I’d like to second your inclusion of Sarah Dillon’s blog. She’s a great writer, insightful translator, and a damn friendly person to speak with.

Have you considered adding Simon Ager’s blog at Omniglot.com (http://www.omniglot.com/blog/)? It’s not strictly about translation, per se, but language learning and appreciation, etc. He’s a fun person to follow.

Thanks for the list here, Jill.

11. MM - January 7, 2011

A nice summary, Jill. I too follow Omniglot, but that doesn’t really belong here.
I might add Fabio Said at fidusinterpres.com – admittedly he translates from German into Brazilian Portuguese, but he does have some English posts.

12. Kirti Vashee - January 7, 2011


Thank you for this list. As somebody who comes from the technology angle I really value authentic voices that represent the translators perspective, even strident ones, as this keeps us all honest and on target. While I would have chosen a several from this list if pressed to respond to a question like: What are the best translator blogs?, I feel that your approval is much more credible and reliable.

I think that Dave’s original list tends to focus on technology and broad market commentators. I am quite sure he did not ignore freelancers on purpose, as it really takes a translator to understand what the best translator blogs are. (Right Dave?) Also I really do not trust the voting based rankings as I have seen the annoying canvassing that goes on around the rankings.

I have been following many of these already and it is great to have a few new ones.

I would also be really interested in Kevin Lossners top 10 as he (and Jost) write a lot about the technology and tools that are available and provide very valuable translator perspectives on the various tools.

The tools and the technology can only get better if there is an ongoing constructive dialogue between the technology developers and the translators who use them.

Your opinions on the translation technology are always appreciated and valued by some of us in the tech sector.


13. David Grunwald - January 8, 2011

Hi Kirti, you are correct. I do not follow blogs by translators that much simply because I am not a translator myself. I am more interested in the broad market commentators and of course the MT space as you are well aware. I also give more weight to people who I meet at industry conferences such as yourself, Renato, Don and Jost. I am glad that Jill is promoting her own blog and recommending other blogs as it gives us a chance to get new ideas and new information.

14. Kevin Lossner - January 9, 2011

Personally, I have some serious problems with a few item’s on Dave’s list, but some of them are rather difficult to express in specific terms, as they are based on rather visceral instincts. However, it was clear that his “information feed” is based on different criteria, and I neither object to that nor do I care to give him demerits for using the term “blogger” in a way that isn’t entirely accurate. Jost may not blog in the way some of us do, but his newsletter, guest articles and other publications are of such high value (to freelancers as well) that I applaud his inclusion on any list. Just substitute “information source” for “blogger” on Dave’s post and much of the “problem” goes away.

I don’t trust a lot of CSA information; much of what I have read over the years sets off major conflict of interest or hidden agenda alarms in my head, and private remarks regarding review policies from a source I trust deepened this sense of disquiet. Maybe I’m wrong. I believe the CSA is worth watching, but for other reasons.

A few of the others on the GTS list also do not, in my opinion, have the interests of translators in a good part of their minds, but I cannot say that they are not worth watching for that very reason. I have to think of my childhood in the San Gabriel mountains, where I learned early to take care and look into every crevice of the rocks I climbed, because there were a lot of rattlesnakes. I do, however, follow Kirti’s feed with great interest, and I consider it an honest source, even if a great difference in our application interests leads me to disagree with him often or at least weight certain matters differently.

As for my “top 10”, that’s a hard question, one I probably can’t answer or can’t answer consistently day-to-day when asked by different people. I like every source on Jill’s list and read them regularly, and all the suggestions for addenda were in my mind before I read them. I would say I like Wendell’s other stuff better – he’s a brilliant, funny writer. I’ve got a stable of favorites in German and one that breaks my heart because she got a day job and writes far too little of her beautiful, witty English now. Once in a while a few colleagues in countries to the east of my current home share their thoughts which are so interesting that I wish I could understand the rest of what they write in Polish and other languages.

I see myself in a complex business ecosystem in which I interact with language service businesses and professionals with many different backgrounds and interests. It’s important (or at least interesting) to understand the concerns and interests of all these people, even when (sometimes especially when) my own views and needs are different and perhaps strongly opposed. So even some of Dave’s choices which might not be on my list of favorites are important for me to follow.

15. céline - January 10, 2011

Thanks Jill, I’m delighted to be in such great company. And don’t worry about my accent, it loves travelling. See you on Twitter 🙂

16. Aurélie Duclos - January 10, 2011

Thanks for this list, they were already in my aggregator but it’s always nice to have a professional point of view on the contents. I’m fairly new to the translation business (a few months) but reading those blogs (as well as those on the list from GTS, I must say) has made me grasp many key ideas and get to know the industry. So thanks to all of those who share their ideas and get themselves exposed on the web, I’m writing in a blog myself (http://www.tradonline.fr:blog) and readers may not realise how much of yourself (time, experience, point of view, personal ideas) you put into it, so whether it’s from a freelancer or a company the effort should be valued 🙂

Thanks and a happy new year 2011 !


17. Alex Eames - January 13, 2011

Thanks for the mention Jill. 🙂

Great list.

Happy and prosperous 2011 to you and all who read your blog.


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