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Please don’t send scammers info from this site March 20, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Some of my most popular blog posts are the ones in which I warn readers about some of the more notorious scams going on in the industry. Months later the comments keep coming when someone googles the name or contact info and find my post. Someone posted a comment today in one of those posts saying they sent some of the comments to the scammer to let them know they have been exposed. I try very hard to stick to factual information in my posts, but that doesn’t mean an unscrupulous person won’t come after me once they find out their info has been posted. I also have absolutely no control over what my readers post in the comments because I choose not to edit comments. So please do not share any information on this site with third parties. I really don’t want to be sued. Thanks.

English pet peeve: taut vs. taught February 11, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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I’ve been encountering this misuse a lot lately, and it never fails to make me cringe.

Students are taught, ropes are pulled taut.

According to Merriam-Webster:

taut (adjective)

1 a: having no give or slack : tightly drawn <a taut rope>, b : high-strung, tense <taut nerves>

2 a: kept in proper order or condition <a taut ship>, b: (1): not loose or flabby <taut muscles> (2): marked by economy of structure and detail <a taut story>

The origin of taut is the Middle English word tought, perhaps from tought, toughth fierce, tough, alteration of tough tough

But it seems most American native speakers seem to think the word to use in connection with muscles or someone’s face post-cosmetic surgery (which is what set me off this time) is taught. No!!! I’ve seen it in comments on blogs (not here thank goodness) and fan fiction. So just to let all you non-native speakers know… the correct word is taut. Taught is a verb that means impart skills or knowledge to or accustom gradually to some action or attitude. A verb – not an adjective!

Thanks for letting me rant.

SDL QuickStart fail December 18, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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I woke up this morning to find I had been added to a group called SDL QuickStart “[a]s a valued new user of SDL Trados Studio 2011.” It is a new online community. Super uncool, SDL! First of all, I don’t use my work e-mail for listservs like this. I have a dedicated listserv. I use an out of office notification for my work e-mail. Members of a listserv like this (685 according to SDL) don’t need to get an out of office message from me every time someone writes the list when I am on vacation. A dedicated e-mail address for groups avoids this problem. Secondly, I would like to make the decision whether or not to join the group – not be automatically added. I received seven e-mails before changing my e-mail notifications to none. SDL, you have a good product, but you can’t just add people to online listservs all willy nilly. You didn’t give me a choice. A better solution would have been to send out one e-mail inviting me to join the group. Huge fail, SDL.

ATA conference round-up November 2, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Random musings.
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It’s been a wild few days. I stayed an extra two days in San Diego and am so lucky I did, because I missed the massive storm that was Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t think I would be able to leave on Tuesday, but luckily my flights weren’t canceled. I can’t say the same for colleagues from New York and New Jersey, who found themselves stuck in San Diego and had to find alternative housing. I know several French translators bunked with Marianne Reiner. That must have been a fun time – a grown-up sleepover, if you will. It’s a good thing most translators have stayed in youth hostels at some point in our past, because sleeping on the floor isn’t that much of a hardship.

Yes, Sandy even had implications all the way up in Ohio. Some of my friends near Lake Erie just had their power restored last night, and we lost two trees on the street. Phone service was spotty to non-existent in my home, so I have a feeling one of my local cell phone towers was damaged in the storm. The result is that it has taken me longer than usual to dig myself out of my suitcase and catch up with post-conference To Do items (this post being one of them).

I will post about the sessions I attended in subsequent posts. I just wanted to note that – unlike in years past – this year I came home with only eight business cards. One of them is an agency owner in Brussels whose company has a lot of German to English medical work. I met her at the Medical Division reception. I will be following up with a personal e-mail today and attach my resume. It’s the quality, not the quantity.

Greetings from San Diego! October 22, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything substantial, but my life has been one disaster after another for the past few months. I was lucky I cancelled my trip to the BDÜ conference in Germany in September, because I had an emergency appendectomy right around the time I would have been flying out. I would have had to cancel my trip, my co-presenters would have had to scramble to find someone to fill in for me, and I would have been out the money for a plane ticket and hotel. While I was at home recovering from surgery (I stopped taking the pain pills after two days) my dog started limping badly, so once I was allowed to drive again I took her to the vet for x-rays. She needed hip surgery on both hips, so she went under the knife herself two days later. They operated on her right hip, which was hurting her the most, and will be operating on her left hip in 8 weeks. She is hopping around on 3 legs right now, but it’s been 12 days and she only has one pain pill left. She’s starting running around and playing a bit. She’s doing great now and is in good hands with my parents while I’m gone. Then if that wasn’t enough, I ran out to the pet store last Wednesday because I was out of cat food –  and some kid ran into the back of my car going 40 mph as I was stopped with my blinker on to turn into the alley to get to my street. There were no skid marks, and my car was pushed probably 10-15 feet. It was a nineteen year old who had just been cited for speeding and failure to yield three days before by the same police officer who was first on the scene of my crash. The bumper crumpled into the trunk and the radiator exploded, with steam coming out of the hood. My car is a total loss. I am really looking forward to a few days of rest & relaxation here in San Diego. I will be car sitting for a friend who can’t drive due to a broken left hip and broken right ankle when I return, so that takes some of the pressure off me to get a new car. But at this point the only luck I’ve been having is bad luck. I’m looking forward to the conference to renew me and give me some energy and new clients.

RIP Michael Henry Heim October 3, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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The translation industry lost another great recently. Michael Henry Heim was a well regarded scholar of Slavic languages at UCLA known for his translations of works by Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Thomas Mann and Anton Chekhov. He was 69 and died of cancer on September 29th. Fluent in six languages (Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian and Serbian/Croatian) and possessing a reading knowledge of six more, Heim had taught at UCLA since 1972 and served as chairman of the Slavic languages department from 1999 to 2003. Among his best-known translations are Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” from the Czech original, Grass’ “My Century” and “Peeling the Onion” from German, a 2004 translation of Mann’s “Death in Venice” from German and a 1975 collection of Chekhov’s letters from Russian. I’ve been meaning to read “Peeling the Onion.” This might just be the prompting I need.

A lot of my friends and colleagues are posting their memories of him on the various listservs. I can’t say I’ve ever met him, but I’ve certainly heard of him. One of my colleagues posted this quote on one of the lsitservs. Andrei Codrescu, NPR Commentator and author of So Recently Rent a World: Selected Poems, 1968-2012/* wrote a really nice tribute for him:

I look at my bookshelves and I see Checkov, Kundera, Hrabal, Axyonov, Capek, Esterhazy, Brecht, Ugresic, all of them profound markers and cornerstones of my education, thinking, life, and work, and I feel an awesome gratitude to Michael Henry Heim for bringing them to me. The light that surrounds these books and the power that emanates from them is Michael’s work. Beyond my bookshelves, it is impossible to imagine intelligent American life from the 20^th century’s spectacular end until now without his translations. Michael Henry Heim brought us worlds that are now a permanent, natural feature of how we conceive our creative, philosophical, and ethical landscape. There are other great translators, but Michael is a brilliant star among the best of the best. I personally feel that his marvelous American English made my own work feel at home in America. He “naturalized” me in a way that the official ceremony never could. He’s taken a great many readers, students, and statesmen,
not just writers, along on voyages of discovery that he made both less alien and necessary without compromising their “otherness.” His body of work has the integrity of any great humanist’s endeavour — it has a permanent living presence, a lasting authority.”

Most of my (and probably your) work will never be immortalized (except maybe this blog), so what a nice tribute to the man. He will live on in his works. RIP, Michael Henry Heim.

RIP Miguel Llorens September 28, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Kevin Lossner just reported that Miguel Llorens died two weeks ago. I am completely shattered. I loved his rapier wit, which is summed up perfectly in the last thing he ever wrote on his blog (in a comment):

Yes, I suppose I am a conservative when it comes to the translation business if innovation implies doing really shitty work.

His response to Lionbridge Vice President Didier Helin, which was posted on the No Peanuts website, had me almost falling out of my chair. He was just brilliant.

Rest in peace, Miguel. I for one will dearly miss your blog posts and the gift you had in cutting through the bullshit of the MT industry. His Financial Translation Blog will live on until the domain expires and is worth reading. I for one would be more than willing to pay for the next year if any of his family members sees this post. His brilliance needs to live on even after his passing.

You will be missed.

Who is Peter Less? September 20, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Photo from the AIIC website

Just in case some of you aren’t familiar with his story I thought I’d share it.

Peter Less was an interpreter at the Nuremberg trials after WWII. He fled Germany at the age of 17 in 1938 and moved to Switzerland, but his family refused to follow. They all perished in Auschwitz during the war – his mother, father, sister, and grandmother. Less was trained at the Geneva School of Conference Interpretation and was chosen as one of the 30-40 interpreters at the trials. He was one of the interpreters at the major war criminals’ trial, that of Hermann Goering, Rudolph Hess, Hans Frank, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and others. When asked in an interview by interpreter Tanya Gesse in 2005 how he could sit in the same room with the men responsible for death of his family, Less said, “It wasn’t easy. You were sitting in the same room with the people who probably killed your parents, but you could not let your feelings interfere with your job. You swore to interpret as faithfully as possible, to put the speaker’s idea into the listener’s head. So we did.” The embodiment of neutrality. I don’t know if I could maintain that level of neutrality. Less moved to Chicago in 1946, where he practiced family law for over 50 years.

His story as told to Tanya Gesse on the AICC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) website is a fascinating one. The article first appeared in the ATA Chronicle (American Translators Association), September 2004, Volume XXXIII Number 9. I highly recommend reading it.

As I said before, he is in hospice care, and an album is now being assembled for Peter to deliver to him—containing any letters, words of gratitude, and even a simple “thank you.” Learn how you can send him your message at the following link: http://www.natalykelly.com/#!peter/chzx

Time to honor one of our own September 19, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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This is an enormously important message to the translation and interpreting community from Nataly Kelly. Peter Less, whose entire family was murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz and who went on to interpret for the Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials back before interpreting had ever been done before on such a massive scale, is 91 and now at the end of his long and illustrious life. He truly was one of the forerunners of our industry. He was honored by the American Translators Association some years back and attended the conference the very next year on his own simply to present a session on his experiences. I had the honor of escorting him to one of the events he was attending, leading him on my arm and struggling not to start crying simply due to the overwhelming honor of being in his presence. His health has been in decline over the past few months, and he has now entered hospice care. Please send this extraordinary man a message of thanks, as per Nataly’s beautiful appeal at http://www.natalykelly.com/#!peter/chzx

May God be with you, Mr. Less.

Musings from a hospital bed September 15, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Well, not really. I was released yesterday afternoon. I had my appendix out on Thursday. I was in pain from 1 a.m. on Wednesday night, so I called my mother in the morning and she came over and took me to the emergency room at the hospital 0.2 miles from my house. No matter how old you are, when you get sick you still want your mommy there. I told the admitting clerk that I thought it was appendicitis, but the ER doctor thought it was kidney stones. He should know better than to second-guess a medical translator :-).

It was really cool hearing all the jargon I translate every day being used in real life and freaking out the staff by responding with professional jargon to their questions about pain. The surgical resident got a kick out of my responding “no pain on percussion” when he asked if I could feel pain while tapping on my back. The nurse blew several veins trying to draw my blood. I had central lines in both hands. I am sporting some nice hematomas. I got wheeled on a gurney for a CT, which (along with the blood tests showing elevated white count and no blood in my urine) revealed an enlarged and inflamed appendix.

I was wheeled into the operating room at 5 p.m. and – after being prepped for laparoscopic surgery – woke up in recovery at around 7:45 or so. I spent the night in the hospital (luckily in my own room so I was able to sleep more than I did the night before at home) and was released yesterday afternoon. It was my first overnight stay in a hospital, and it wasn’t that bad. I spent the night at my parents’ house last night and am happy to be home.

I was very, very grateful for my smartphone (even if did take a visit to the ER to figure out the outgoing server settings for my e-mail weren’t correct), because I was able to respond immediately to my clients’ e-mails. I was able to use the hospital guest WiFi the entire time. I turned down several job requests and notified one client that they should find someone else to translate the website I had accepted on Wednesday that is due next Tuesday. My clients deserve more attention to detail than I can give them right now. I will be recovering for the next few days, but have already stopped taking my prescribed pain meds because the pain is manageable.

But I am very glad I decided several months ago not to attend the BDÜ conference this year. I would have been flying to Germany right about now and would have lost lots of money on non-refundable pain tickets and hotel costs. I hope you all enjoy it without me. Wish I could be there instead of hobbling around my apartment.