Monday, November 16, 2009

How not to get a meaningful quote

On Saturday night I received the following message:
From: XXX
Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2009 8:35 PM
To: ProZ.com Member
Subject: eng to italian

i have around 7000 words for eng to italian please quote urgently

XXX@XXX.net
A broadcast request to all and sundry, with no salutation, and no indication of subject area, file format, deadline, or anything else. In short, the perfect way to ensure that reputable translators will not even bother answering the message.

A better way to get quotes from good translators would have been a message such as:
From: XXX
Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2009 8:35 PM
To: Riccardo Schiaffino
Subject: Eng to Italian translation (legal contract)

Dear Riccardo,

I found your profile on ProZ, and I think you would be a good fit for this project.

I have a legal contract of about 7000 words to be translated from English into Italian. The deadline is next Friday, by 11 AM (EST).

I would really appreciate it if you could send me a quote for this job. Let me know if you need to see the original document to draft your quote: I can send you a preliminary version of the document (the final copy will be ready on Monday), but first I would need you to sign a NDA, given the confidential nature of this document.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Jane Doe
JDoe@XXX.net
PM, XXX Translation Company
A little courtesy, and more information, undoubtedly yield better results.

Bluegrass museum looks for Chinese translators

I've no idea if there are many Chinese translators who are experts of bluegrass music. If there are, apparently, the Bluegrass Music Museum is looking for them: the museum has decided to translate its website into several languages, but, as yet, they have not found any Chinese translator.

(Source: WHNT News)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quick advice for translators' résumés: include your language pair(s)

Twice in the last two days we have received résumés without an indication of the language pair(s) in which the person in question works.

Sending out résumés uninvited has a low enough success rate already: don't stack the deck further against yourself!

The first thing visible on the résumé, on the same line and in the same (large) font as your name, should be your language pair (or pairs), and an indication of what you do.

Like this:
Mario Rossi, EN > ITA Translator

or like this:
Jane Doe, EN <> SP Court Interpreter

Beside that, localize your résumé, so that it conforms to the standards used in your target market or country.

You can find more information on what to do in your résumé in my artcile "How Not to Get Hired".

Monday, November 09, 2009

New build of ApSIC XBench available

ApSIC has just released a new build (#385) of XBench version 2.8. The new build fixes certain bugs (see the ApSIC blog for details).

Also newly available for dowlad from the ApSIC web site is a "Programmer's Reference for QA plug-ins", for those of us geeky enough to try our hands at (in ApSIC's words) "adding our own custom checks within the ApSIC Xbench QA workflow by programming a .dll file with a few pre-defined call-back functions".

See the ApSic blog for more details.

Windows 7 terminology now available from the Microsoft Language Portal

The Microsoft Language Portal now includes the Windows 7 terminology. The product field only indicates "Windows", but the terms now include those specific to the new OS.

The Windows 7 glossary is also available as a downloadable glossary to those who have an MSDN subscription.

(Hat tip to Licia Corbolante of Terminologia etc.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Misleading software descriptions: Site Translator

The ZDNet's overview of Site Translator, an automatic web localization tool, states
Site Translator uses automated machine translation technology [that] is capable of translating entire Web sites in a matter of minutes and you do not need to know the translated language. If you need to improve accuracy, Site Translator has a feature called translation memory, which helps you fine-tune exact language phrases [Italics mine].
For all I know, Site Translator might be a useful program, in the right hands. Used by someone who "[does] not need to know the translated language", and who might be mislead into thinking that translation memory, by itself, will somehow help him to "fine-tune exact language phrases", it is a sure recipe for localization disaster.

A kindly reminder to blog spammers and link beggars

Dear blog spammer:

I will promptly delete your self-promoting comments, so please, don't do it.

This, of course does not refer to all those who post legitimate comments - you are more than welcome to comment here, if you have something to say even tangentially related with a post of mine.

Also, to all those who offer to add a link to this blog on their web page or those who offer to write a poorly informed article in exchange for a link here to their mass-produced language-learning web sites: I realize you have been had by someone who sold you on this e-tupperware kind of marketing scam, but I have no interest in linking to sites that have nothing to do with translation, nor do I accept articles by people who clearly don't know anything about translation.

Any link I add here is because I find the linked site interesting or worthwhile. If you have a site that you think would really interest translators, write me, and if I find the site interesting, I might add a link.

It is very unlikely, however, that I'll add a link to a site that has as its sole purpose marketing a service or a product. If you write something interesting, I might link to it, if not, please don't bother.

Thank you.

KudoZ pearls

A suggested KudoZ translation for "chi ha qualche chilo in più": "those with a Reubenesque figure". I suppose that it refers to those who get overweight by eating too many Reuben sandwitches.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Yet another thing not to do in your résumé (i.e., How not to acquire customers)

Just received a résumé in which the sender had forgotten to indicate her name, address or any other contact information (yes, this information was in the e-mail; no, it is not just the same).

For more about what not to do with résumés, please see my article "How Not To Get Hired".

How to lose your customers

There are certainly more ways to lose a customer, but this article gives good explanations of five sure-fire ways to lose your customers. It is not aimed at translators, but I find it very applicable to our industry.
  1. Assume your customer's expectations aren’t the most important metric
  2. Assume your customer will tell you when something’s not right
  3. Assume your customer received the value you promised and delivered
  4. Assume you are not doing marketing when you are performing financial or delivery (or other) tasks
  5. Assume your customer will call you when they need something else

For the full article, click on the link above.