Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Requiescat in pace: Peter Newmark passed away on July 12

I met Peter Newmark when I attended a translation seminar at the Polytechnic of Central London in 1990. Newmark was an excellent teacher: always interesting, able to intersperse talk of practical and theoretical aspects of translation with anecdotes of his experiences as translator and interpreter while serving with the British army in Italy during WWII.

Although that seminar was all too brief, I learned much from Peter Newmark – and meeting him also led to his books: unlike most books in translation studies, which easily become too technical and theoretical, Peter Newmark's books are of real use for the practicing translator (I’m especially fond of his two collections of “Paragraphs on Translation”, and of course the name of this blog is a direct homage to Newmark's “About Translation”).

Antony Pym wrote an obituary on the European Society for Translation Studies’ site; Margaret Rogers wrote a longer personal note, published on the Notes on Translation Studies blog.

Monday, July 18, 2011

To the translators who send us their résumés

Dear translators,

I realize that, especially for beginners, finding new customers is difficult. So I am all in favor of your efforts to market your services by sending out your résumé.

However, I sometimes have the strange feeling that many of you don’t really send out résumés and applications to acquire new customers, but rather to collect rejections and silence – so as to be able to truthfully complain on ProZ and similar sites that you have sent out hundreds of résumés without any success.

If this is the real reason many of you send out your résumés, it would explain many otherwise puzzling facts:

  • messages full of spelling horrors and other mistakes
  • messages with attached a résumé in a file… but with no text at all in the body of the message
  • messages sent without any indication of your language pair or specialization
  • résumés that either hide, or sometimes actually don’t include, your language pair

All of that is either a sign of real ineptitude on your part, or a well-planned effort ideally designed not to acquire any new customer.

My suggestion: if you do want to find new customers, carefully review and edit your résumé (or rewrite it from scratch), and pay particular attention to write a cover message that is short, clear and to the point – with the aim of inducing the recipient to open your résumé and be dazzled by your expertise.

And, please, do your homework: address your message to a real person: “Dear Sir or Madam” message are directly filtered to my junk mail folder.

Best wishes of a more successful job search,


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Don’t search from the wrong side: a reminder for SDL 2009 users

A frequent complaint against SDL Trados Studio 2009 is that sometimes the program doesn’t find matches the user is sure are in memory.

The problem is real and we have seen it, but I believe that sometimes what the user is complaining about is a mismatch between Studio 2009 and Trados 2007.

In Trados 2007 it was possible to search a concordance only on the source text. This was a severe drawback (no target concordance), but it was simple to use: highlight some text, click on the concordance button (or hit F3), and you got your results.

In Studio 2009, on the other hand, you can find concordances not only on the source, but also on the target. This is great, but it also means that depending on where you highlight text, you may not get the results that you expect.

For example, if you copy your source text to target (to overwrite it – a frequent technique when translating marked-up text). You have on the right of the editor’s pane (the target part), text that is still in your source language. You highlight a few words, because you are sure you had encountered them earlier, and want to see your previous translation. You click F3 to invoke the concordance search…


…and don’t get any match. Yet you are sure you have that string in memory. What happened?

What happened is that if you selected the text in the target part of the screen, and then called the concordance search, you were searching for a concordance on the translated text – but since the text you selected is not translated yet, the concordance doesn’t return any result.

If you selected the same words on the left (the source part of the screen), then launched the concordance search, you would get the result you expected:


So, even though it is true that Studio 2009 sometimes does not return matches you do have in memory, the program is not always to blame – just remember to launch your concordance searches from the appropriate side of the screen.

Update – Solutions for different concordance searches

Thanks to SDL’s Paul Filkin – here is how to handle the different concordance searches in Studio 2009:

    • F3 will take the source when you are in source, and target when you are in target
    • Ctrl+F3 will always search the source no matter where you take the text from.
    • Ctrl+Shift+F3 will always search the target no matter where you take the text from.

…and (again according to Paul), you can even customize these shortcuts, to better suit your needs.

I like having a tool with a rich set of options – even if that sometimes means a steeper learning curve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Volunteer translators wanted for Le mot just en anglais blog

Some time ago Jonathan Goldberg of Le mot just en anglais, asked me to post here an announcement that he was looking for a collaborator for his excellent bilingual blog.

That announcement resulted in three very helpful collaborators for Jonathan’s blog, but he still needs help with his blog:

I still desperately need translators - native French speakers who will be prepared to translate from English short articles in fields that are close to their hearts and at a regularity of their own choosing. In all such cases, the translators will be be credited and a link will be provided to their own blogs.

So he asked me to post the following announcement, in French and in English, to help him find collaborators:

Blog de qualité et très actif (Le mot juste en anglais), fruit d'un effort collaboratif de linguistes en herbe dans différents pays, cherche un/une Francophone (français langue maternelle), de préférence traducteur/traductrice de profession, pour traduire depuis l'anglais au moins un article par semaine (échantillon disponible sur simple demande). (travaille bénévole)

Very active, quality blog (Le mot just en anglais), a collaborative effort of language lovers in different countries, needs the assistance of a native French speaker, preferably a professional translator, to translate at least one article a week. (Sample article available on request.) (voluntary work) Credit will be given to the translator at the end of each article, as well as a link to the translator's website or blog, if such exists. 

If you are interested, please write to le.mot.juste.en.anglais@gmail.com with a short biography, city of residence and telephone number.