Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Three technical manuals for translators

Three books I highly recommend to translators interested in improving their technical skills:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Linguee now available for iPad and iPhone

The well-known online bilingual dictionary Linguee has launched a completely new free dictionary app for the iPhone and iPad. With this new app, there are more words and phrases available than ever before, also offline. A further highlight is the modern user interface, which sets Linguee apart from previous dictionary apps. Linguee is fully integrated with iOS 9: you can also look up translations in other apps. Further information about this new concept can be found in the attached press release. 

You can download and try out the new app here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Translation 101: Starting Out As A Translator

The number of handbooks aimed at beginning or more seasoned translators is growing. A recent addition is Translation 101: Starting Out as a Translator, by Petro Dudi.

I haven't had the time to read the whole book yet, but it should prove useful, especially to beginning translators.

If you are interested in the eBook alone, probably the cheapest price is through Amazon (or another webstore, like Lulu) - but if you want an unlocked version of the book, in three different formats (pdf, eBook and Mobi), and three additional spreadsheet tools, then go through the author's own website.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Unhelpful help

I've often criticized SDL for writing very opaque documentation, and I have occasionally said Kilgray's help files are more useful.

That is not always true:

Unhelpful help screenshot

Either Kilgray is saying that to create your first memoQ project you have to enter some text in the help system, or they forgot to write that text themselves.

The most likely explanation is that this is an obsolete section title that should not have been included in the help system, of course - it does not appear in the online help. It does look funny, though, and could stump a beginning translator.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

More about translation at the Hugo Awards

In addition to the Hugo for the best novel, a translated work also won the award for the best novelette: “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, by Dutch author Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt (Lightspeed, 04-2014).

And since neither of the other two fiction awards had a winner this year, that means translations won in all the fiction categories in which an award was given. Congratulations to the authors, and to their translators!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

For the first time ever, a translated novel wins the Hugo Award

"The Three Body Problem" has won the 2015 Hugo Award for best novel.

This is the first time that the prize has been given to a translated work. Congratulations to Cixin Liu, the novel's author, and to Ken Liu, its translator. Congratulations also to the publisher, for doing the right thing and prominently displaying the translator's name alongside the author's, on the cover of the book:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quick Tip - IFTTT

Quick tip: a simple way to simplify many repetitive tasks is to use IFTTT (if this then that)... e.g. to speed up creating quick blog posts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Quick Tips - Personal translation manual

Use a program like Info Select, One Note, Cinta Notes, Evernote or similar to create your own personal translation manual: a document (or collection of documents) where you keep all permanent notes and instructions - such as instructions on how to invoice a certain customer, customer’s preferences as regards formatting, etc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

At least one translator in Italy is happy with her job

We translators are often a grumpy lot, ready to complain about many things.

It's refreshing to see someone who admits that "Working as a translator in Italy is the best job I’ve ever had"

(from the Irish times).

Monday, July 06, 2015

How to Improve Your Command of Source and Target Languages

I always suggest to my translation students to work on improving their command of both source and target languages. One effective way of accomplishing this is to enlarge our vocabulary - with a focus on the words we encounter in our translation projects.
  1. Every time you translate something, take careful note of all the words that you are uncertain about of that leave you with some doubt: the words you are not sure what they mean, and those you know what they mean - but you don't know how to say the same in your target language.
  2. Use a dictionary to learn about each of these words: both a good monolingual dictionary of your source language and a bilingual dictionary of your source and target languages. Even better: use several source and bilingual dictionaries, both paper and online.
  3. Read in full the dictionary entries for each word - not only the subhead closer to the meaning suggested by your context, but all the rest of the entry, including different meanings and meanings marked as obsolete.
  4. If your monolingual dictionary gives a meaning that is not covered in your bilingual dictionary, start to research how that specific word and meaning could be translated. Take notes of the example sentences given in the dictionary, and think how you could translate them.
  5. Don't limit yourself at searching in dictionaries: consult also encyclopedias and other reference works.
  6. See how these words are used in context in a variety of situations. Online tools like Google Advanced Search and Google Book Search can be very helpful to see how the words you are studying are used in the real world, both in books and in web pages and documents.
  7. Be thorough, and keep careful notes. Remember that your notes can be the starting points for further research.
  8. Think about the words you are studying: what they mean in your source language and what their translation mean in your target language. How the meanings differ between the two languages (for example, a word in your source language may share a core meaning with a word in your target language, but other meanings that each word may have in one or the other language may differ), and how register, connotation and usage differ between the two languages.
Keep on doing this, as much and as thoroughly as you can, and you'll see that your command not only of your source language, but also of your native language, will steadily improve.