Monday, June 29, 2009

The importance of knowing measurement units

When I teach translation, I tell my students that they should learn well at least the most common measurement units.

Case in point from a translation I'm doing at the moment.

The source text already provides conversions, but at least in one instance they are wrong:

"...leaving about 1-2 inches (51-103 mm) of wire..."

If it is 1 to 2 inches, then the measurement in millimeters should be 25 to 51 mm: 51 to 103 mm is 2 to 4 inches.

I pointed out this conflict to my customer, who opted for "...2-4 inches (51-103 mm)..."

I believe all technical translators (especially those who edit other translators' work) should be able to spot such inconsistencies at a glance.

Pointing out such insidious errors is usually appreciated by customers, and tells them you are paying attention to what you are doing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cheap pun shows real ignorance

Today the New York Times has a short article about the recent LinkedIn translation controversy ("Translators Wanted at LinkedIn. The Pay? $0 an Hour").

The text of the article, however, shows either the love for a cheap pun at the cost of accuracy, or that the author, Andrew Adam Newman, is unclear about the difference between translators and interpreters:

"But LinkedIn insists that the interpreters are, well, misinterpreting."

Back from long absence

Sorry for the long absence: It's been a hectic period. A long on-site QA project (in Palo Alto); developing, teaching and grading the last few classes of the localization course at Denver University's University College, and, above all, the last-minute work for the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market.

The Summer Art Market went well, considering the economic downturn: I sold several pieces, met other artists and old friends, and felt re energized and encouraged to devote more time to painting.

I also have plans for more writing: at least a few long articles, both for About Translation and possibly for some print media.

Speaking of which: the next ATA Chronicle contains a piece chosen from this blog (Translation tests v. translation samples).