Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Thousands of translation glossaries

Inbox Translation, a UK translation company, has published on its website a categorized list of several thousand translation glossaries.

You can check them at 3000+.Translation Glossaries.

(Hat tip: Multilingual News)

Tina and Mouse

I’m probably very late to the party, and you may already know it, but…

…if you are looking for a freelance translation-themed cartoon, especially now that Mox’s Blog is quiescent, check out Tina and Mouse, a (minimalist) comic on translation: many freelancers will see themselves reflected in it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Studio 2014 SP2: one step forward and one backward

SDL has just released Studio 2014 SP2. This upgrade no longer relies on Java, and should therefore fix all Java-related issues that have plagued the use of MultiTerm in Studio. So, thank you to SDL for finally fixing the Java problem.
If you read through the release notes of SP2, however, in addition to various improvements, there is also a major new issue:
11. Improved word count and search logic for words containing apostrophes and dashes
Studio 2014 SP2 uses an improved algorithm for processing words that contain dashes (-) or apostrophes (‘). This improvement translates into:
Lower word count. Studio no longer treats apostrophes and dashes as word separators, but as punctuation marks that link words together. This means that Studio counts elements like “it’s” or “splash-proof” as one single word.
I can see why certain translation agencies would consider this as an “improved” algorithm, and welcome such a misfeature (just another way to pay those pesky translators less). But why should translators consider this as an improvement?
I’ve run a test on a short MS Word file I created from a Wikipedia article (I have it available, if anybody wants to repeat my test):
The results are as follows:
  • Baseline: manual word count: 195 words
  • Trados 2007: 198 words (+1.5%)
  • Studio 2011: 195 words (=)
  • Studio 2014 SP1: 193 words (-1.0%)
  • memoQ 2014: 190 words. (-2.6%)
  • MS Word 2010: 190 words (-2.6%)
  • Studio 2014 SP2: 188 words (-3.6%)
As you can see, a translator who used to be paid based on a Trados 2007 word count would concede to the translation agency a 5.1% discount just by using 2014 SP2 instead.

What seems to be happening with words that may be counted differently

A subset of the file I used for the word count includes the following:
mid-16th century
The others who were left in the keep—men, women and children—were killed.
According to my manual word count these are 21 words (I count two words each for “it’s”, “mid-16th”, “Prince-electors”, and of course I count as separate words “keep”, “men”, “children”, and “were”.)
According to MS Word, these are 18 words: it counts as single words “it’s” and the two hyphenated terms “mid-16th” and “Prince-electors”; however, it correctly counts as separate words “keep” and “men”, “children” and “were”.
According to Studio 2014 SP2, however, these are 16 words: Studio 2014 SP2 is not only counting as single words “It’s”, and the two hyphenated terms, but it also counts as single words those that are separated by an m-dash.
So either SDL’s programmers don’t know the difference between an hyphen and a dash and how they are used, or the way they have implemented the change contains a bug. The former option is suggested by SDL's own release notes, which do say
Studio 2014 SP2 uses an improved algorithm for processing words that contain dashes (-) [...] This means that Studio counts [...] “splash-proof” as a single word.
“Splash-proof”, of course, does not contain a dash: it contains an hyphen, and the distinction is important, especially when not knowing the difference between a dash and an hyphen results in a lowered word count.


According to SDL's release notes, dashes should actually be counted correctly:
Dashes that do not follow the new logic:
  • Figure dash (‒) 
  • En dash (–) 
  • Em dash (—) 
  • Horizontal bar (―) 
  • Small Em dash (﹘)
However, my test confirms that this is not the case: try copying "The others who were left in the keep—men, women and children—were killed" into a word file, and run an analysis in Studio 2014 SP2: you'll see that the two dashes are counted as hyphens, and that the word count for the sentence (which contains 14 words), indicates 12 words.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Some additional answers about Xbench

At the ATA Conference in Chicago I gave a presentation on how to use Xbench for terminology management and translation QA (you can see and download the presentation from the Xbench tab in this blog).

I believe that the presentation was well received, and that most people found the program very useful, but I was stumped by a few questions. I've now inquired with the Xbench developers at ApSIC, and they have provided the missing information:

Q. Is Xbench compatible with languages that use non-Roman alphabets (e.g., languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet)?
A. Yes, Xbench 3.0 uses Unicode, and is therefore compatible with other alphabets.

Q. Is Xbench compatible with double-byte languages?
A. Xbench's compatibility with double-byte languages is quite good (Japan is ApSIC's largest customer base after Spain, and Korea is quite big as well, China is the country with most active users and downloads), but there are some caveats. Xbench does not have heuristics in place to identify words within a DBCS strings, so some features that rely on whole words identification do not work well (for example if Chinese is the source language in a key terms check).

Q. Is Xbench compatible with bi-directional languages?
A. With Xbench 3.0 build 1266 (the current build as of now), compatibility is still poor, but ApSIC is actively working to improve bi-directional compatibility.

Q. What are the size limits for files loaded in Xbench?
A. For the 32-bit version, there is a limit of 2GB per file (and a maximum for all files loaded of 2 or 4 GB). For the 64-bit version the limit is the available memory and available swap disk. ApSIC recommends installing the 64-bit version if you have a 64-bit Windows. The 64-bit version used to have a limitation of 2GB per file (however, with an unlimited number of files), but now that limitation has been lifted, and files in excess of 2GB should work.

Please note that all these answers refer to version 3.0 of Xbench (the commercial version of the program).

Monday, August 18, 2014

An interview on the CTA website

Marion Rhodes, CTA Social Media Coordinator, interviewed me for the Colorado Translators Association website... and now the interview has been published:
Imagine translating without the help of the Internet – or the computer for that matter. The tools that have become indispensable to today’s translators haven’t been around all that long. Today, we talk to a translator who has witnessed the changes in our industry over the past three decades: Riccardo Schiaffino, an ATA-certified English into Italian technical translator and president of Aliquantum, Inc., in Denver.
 You can read the interview by following this link.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Useful infographic: SEO for an international website

Smoke & Croak, a multilingual digital marketing agency, have just released an interactive infographic with a step-by-step guide to SEO for websites targeted at an international audience.

Each step includes links to resources and guides about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), from SEO basics for beginners and to elements which are more specific to international SEO.

While the infographic is not exclusively aimed at translators, it could be useful for translators looking to improve their visibility on search engines in different countries.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Xbench world cup promotion

I’ve just heard that ApSIC has a very interesting promotion for Xbench: until the kick off of the quarterfinals, you can get the chance of winning an eight-year subscription to Xbench for the price of a single year:
The World Cup games have shown to be a lot more equal than anticipated. Most games have required extra time and tiny details (and often a ton of luck) have decided who passes to next round.
But if you already saw clearly who is going to win, here is a great deal for you: Buy one subscription year, make your guess of the World Cup winner, and if you are right, you get eight subscription years instead of one.
This deal is valid for both new customers and also existing customers who wish to renew their subscription ahead of time to benefit from this deal.
To place your order, simply go to
After your order is processed, you will receive an email to ask you for your World Cup winner.
And hurry up, this promotion ends on Friday July 4, at 6pm CET, with the France-Germany kick-off!

Xbench is a great tool even without any promotion – and with this you could get a great deal on its price.
Personally, I think they could have made things even more interesting by taking into account realistic odds of winning.
For example, they could have said that if you choose Brazil to win, you get three years free when you pay for one (provided Brazil wins), but that if you choose instead Costa Rica (and it wins the World Cup, against all odds), you would get Xbench free forever after you pay for one year… Since I’m not in charge of the promotion, however, it’s eight year no matter which team you prefer (so long as that team wins the World Cup).
To help you select your team for the competition, this is the first of the two goals Uruguay scored to beat Brazil in the 1950 decisive match.

So, remember: even the overwhelming favorite is not always the winner.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Discounts on memoQ and on déjàvu

Kilgray's is currently offering memoQ at a 40% discount; the offer is available until June 2, 2014 (or until there are still licenses offered at that price - only 4 remain as of this post).

In this promotion you can buy a memoQ translator pro license for 372 EUR or 462 USD instead of 620 EUR or 770 USD.

If you buy a memoQ license now, the price includes a full year of upgrades and support, a ten-lesson online course, and also a free copy of Kevin Lossner's e-book "memoQ in Quick Steps: Configuration".

If you are interested in Déjàvu X3, instead, you still have two days to take advantage of a 20% discount (if you do, you need to enter the code CREATIVITY. Click here for a link to the Atril web store.

NOTE: From time to time I post these links to software or discounts that may be of interest to other translators. When I do that, it's on my own initiative: I'm not surreptitiously selling ads on this site.

Xbench plug-in for SDL Trados Studio 2014

After a successful beta test, ApSIC announced today the official release of the ApSIC Xbench Plugin for SDL Trados Studio 2014.

This plugin integrates the two programs, and allows translators to: 
  •  QA Studio projects with Xbench just with one click from the Studio ribbon.
  •  Instantly edit any issues found by Xbench right in Studio, with all Studio project settings in place.

It also makes it even easier the use of Xbench's powerful search to look into the translation memories (and other resources) you have loaded in your project.  A very useful feature, considering the deficiencies of SDL's own concordance search.

The plugin for Studio is a free add-on and requires ApSIC Xbench 3.0 build 1186 or later and SDL Trados Studio 2014 SP1 or later.

You can watch a 5-minute video featuring this cool integration at

To download the latest buids of ApSIC Xbench 3.0 and the plugin, visit

Remember: the plug-in is only available for Xbench 3.0 - another excellent reason for upgrading to the new version of the program.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Will SDL ever learn the difference between letters and words?

I have been using translation memory tools for about twenty years now. More and more, I’ve come to the conclusion that their most useful feature is not the ability to offer fuzzy and perfect matches (useful as they may be), but rather the concordance search, which can suggest previous translations from segments that are not similar enough to the one you are working on to qualify for a fuzzy match.

And this is why I get so annoyed with SDL: they think that if the memory does not contain the word you are looking for, it is useful to show you words that sort of look like it.

This is not useful: if I don’t have a word in my memory, I want the concordance search to clearly show that. I don’t want it to show me words that, since they contain most of the letters in the word I’m looking for, are considered by the algorithms used by SDL to be similar enough.

Not only this is not useful: it is positively annoying and harmful: if the program does not show any concordance, I just go on with my translation. If it shows a bogus concordance, I waste some precious time before I realize that the help I’ve been offered by the program is crap.

Case in point: I’m translating some marketing copy about watches, and wanted to check in my memory how I had translated previously the adjective “striking”. Turns out I had not translated that word before, but instead of indicating that no match had been found, Studio offered as suggestions “ticking” and “training” (with “ticking” considered as a 79% match for “stricking” and “training as a 75% match).

A memo to whomever designed the concordance matching algorithms used by Studio: if two words are not the same, they are not a match for each other: not a 79% match, nor a 75% match. Don’t waste our time with bogus matches that are no help at all.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Déjàxu X3: 20% discount until May 30

If you are planning to buy déjavu X3 (or upgrade to this new version), Atril is offering a 20% discount until May 30.

To take advantage of the discount, used code CREATIVITY in Atril's web store.

I have good memories about the early versions of déjavu, and of the outstanding service Emilio Benito provided: I was one of the very first users (I think that the serial number on my diskette was as 27), but I haven't used the program in over twenty years now.

Still, it's good that SDL and Kilgray still have competition.

Update: Role of Translation in Nation Building now available also as an eBook

Role of Translation in Nation Building (see my previous post about this book), a book edited by Ravi Kumar, the President of the Indian Translators Association, is  now also available in eBook format.

If you are interested, you can use this link to go to the Hind Center web page. There you can purchase the book or find more information about it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

About Translation nominated for Language Lovers 2014 Contest

Once again, the language portal and the Lexiophiles language blog have chosen various blogs, facebook pages and twitter accounts as candidates for the "Top 100 Language Lovers 2014" list.

About Translation has been nominated in the "Language Professional Blog" Category.

About Translation was chosen among the top 100 language blogs in 2008 and 2011, and in 2011 among the top 25 language professionals blogs.

If you like this blog, and want to add your vote, you can do so, by clicking on the button below:

Vote the Top 100 Language Professional Blogs 2014 

If you prefer another language professional blog (there are many good ones from which to choose) you can go to the site, and vote for your favorite.

In addition to the Language Professional Blogs 2014, you'll also find voting buttons for the other categories:
  • Language Twitter Account 2014, 
  • Language Learning Blogs 2014,
  • Language Facebook Pages 2014, and
  • Language YouTube Channel 2014
The voting phase lasts from May 20nd to June 9th. During this period, everyone can vote for their favourite language lovers in the five social media categories. The final results will be based on Lexiophiles’ ranking criteria (50 %) and user votes (50 %). The winners will be announced on June 12th.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Need a dictionary for the next World Cup?

The next World Cup is rapidly approaching. If you need a soccer dictionary to help you translate from English into Portuguese, or from Portuguese into English, one has recently been compiled and published by Humberto Ramos and Rhonda Abigail Bennett Henry-Ramos.

From their presentation:

Our “Bilingual Dictionary of Football (Soccer) Terms in English/Portuguese and Portuguese/English” is available as an e-book on the international market. This publication can be purchased at major online retail stores, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and can be read on e-readers, computers and smartphones.

Our dictionary contains a vast array of football and football-related words and expressions in English, as well as Brazilian Portuguese. It also provides many pertinent explanations.

The terms present in this publication are used on a daily basis in the world of football (soccer), on and off the field. They are also utilized by the press in their commentaries and analyses of the game.

This bilingual dictionary is, therefore, an excellent tool for football managers, technical staff, football players, journalists, commentators, translators and interpreters, football aficionados, and all persons who will come to Brazil in June 2014 for the biggest world-footballing event.

The new dictionary is available as an e-book for $ 9.99 from Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A mouse pad for translators

While we were in England for the First Stridonium Conference, we took advantage of our trip to visit some really nice bookshops. In one of them we found a mouse pad (or mouse mat, if you prefer UK English) that is just perfect for translators:
Mouse pad for translators
While there are certainly other methods for inputting special characters (starting of course from using the correct keyboard for your target language), there are always occasions in which you have to type some accented character you don’t use often. To help you find the numeric code of a useful subset of such characters, this mouse pad is great, and certainly better than scotch-taping a list of codes to your monitor.

You can find the mouse pad online in the Linguascope website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The First Stridonium Conference - Cambridge, 2014

We were recently enticed to visit Cambridge, England, by the interesting program of the first Stridonium Conference.
King's College - Cambridge
Anyway, the conference was a good excuse for visiting a bit of England that we had never visited before: we were especially keen on seeing both Oxford and Cambridge.
The event was held at the Møller Centre of Churchill College: a particularly pleasant environment for such a cozy conference, that was intended as a meeting of both translators and people from the world of business and foreign affairs.
There weren't many participants at this first Stridonium conference, but the group, though small, was diverse. There were translators, teachers of translation from several different universities, a few students, some translation company representatives, and people from the world of foreign affairs and business.
The presentations were all of excellent quality:
  • Andrew Wood, a solicitor specialized in advising Dutch companies that want to do business in Britain, or British companies that want to operate in the Netherlands, gave a presentation about the importance of being aware of different communication styles when conducting negotiations, as well as various potential problems when translating from a common-law country (such as England) to a civil law one, such as the Netherlands.
  • Susannah Poulton, culture and language adviser for UK Trade and Investment, mentioned the difficulties of providing advice to small companies that want to do business abroad, but that don't understand the necessity of planning any translation and language work well in advance, and asked for advice about how to persuade such small businesses that translation, and especially well-planned translation, is very important for succeeding abroad.
  • Charles Grant, a foreign policy expert, talked about the real possibility (worst case scenario) that Britain might leave the EU after 2017, following a referendum, and how that might actually finally trigger the secession of Scotland from the UK (and subsequent application of Scotland for EU membership).
  • Sir Colin Budd, a retired diplomat and former UK ambassador to the Netherlands, explained why language is key to effective diplomacy, the importance of knowing language and cultural nuances for both diplomats and translators, and how for diplomats (and of course for the translators that help them communicate), knowing, for example, how to be consciously ambiguous is sometimes essential.
  • Jeff Heasman, an expert in international business communications, addressed the danger of "Chinese whispers", that is, the danger of unintended bad communication due to the difficulty of understanding overly verbose or complicated documents, advocating instead the use of plain English.
  • Christina Guy spoke briefly on the importance of "getting language right", that is, not fall into some of the blunders that amuse translators and cost business real money.
  • The conference ended with a four-person panel (consisting of Mr. Wood, Ms Poulton, Jeff Heasman and myself), which fielded questions from the attendees on various aspects of international translation.
    The panel: Schiaffino, Wood, Heasman, Poulton
All in all, a pleasant conference, well organized and interesting, well worth going.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I submitted my presentation proposal for ATA55

I have just submitted my presentation proposal for the 55th ATA Conference. If the ATA accepts my proposal, I'll give an advanced-level presentation on Xbench for Translation Management and Translation QA.

...and since Corinne McKay had the idea for a badge, and French/Hungarian>English translator Carolyn Yohn created one and made it available, I'll also proudly display it

Friday, March 07, 2014

Mafalda, Libertad and translation

I've always liked Quino's Mafalda: I think it's much better than Peanuts. One of my favorite strips has always been this, about translators...

 (click on the strip to open a larger version in a new window) 

For those who don't know Spanish:
Mafalda: "What's your mom typing?"
Libertad: "Translations of books, because what my dad makes only pays for the rent. My mum knows French. The French write books in French, my mom copies them the way we speak, and with what that brings in she buys noodles and stuff like that. There's this guy... wait, what's his name? Yanpol... Yanpol Belmondo... no, Yanpol... Sastre, is it?"
Mafalda: "Ah! Sartre?"
Libertad: "That one! The last chicken we ate was written by him!"
(Translation adapted from the one posted in Bob's Comics Reviews)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

15 tips on how to increase your chances when contacting translation companies

Our tiny translation company does not advertise for translators, since we do most work internally or with the help of a small group of trusted colleagues. Yet, every day I receive on average a dozen messages from translators offering their services for various language combinations. Unfortunately, most of these messages are written in a way that ensures they end in the junk mail folder.
Here are some tips you might find useful to increase your chances of success:
  1. Research your prospects.
    Find out who they are and to whom your message should be addressed. If you are sending your message without specifying to whom it is addressed, your message will be treated as spam. If most of your prospects are translation companies, find out if they prefer new translators to contact them by email: many translation companies prefer candidates to fill a form on their website. If that is their preferred way to collect information from freelancers, usually contacting them by email instead is a waste of time.
  2. Find out what kind of translations they do.
    You need to know what specializations they need from their translators. This will help you craft a more targeted and more successful message: for a translation company it is much more interesting to receive a message that says “I’m an English into Italian translator with a degree in mechanical engineering and over ten years’ experience translating maintenance manuals for naval turbines” than a generic “I translate from English French, German and Portuguese into Italian”.
  3. Keep the Subject of your message brief and to the point.
    A good subject, for example, could be “English > Italian translator with 10 years of experience, specialized in mechanical engineering”. That is better than, for example “Spanish Freelance Translator/Proofreader” , and much better than “Searching better opportunity at your respective company” (an actual subject line from a misguided translator.)
  4. Write your message very carefully.
    If you are writing in a language that is not your native one, I recommend you have a native speaker edit it. Remember: the purpose of your message is to entice your prospect in opening your résumé.
  5. Don’t say that you translate from your native language into a foreign one.
    Doing so ensure you will be treated as an amateur. If you are one of those rare people who are native speakers of more than one language (true bilingual), do say so, but be prepared to say how exactly you came to be a true bilingual (“I traveled and studied in X country” won’t do, but “My mother is English, my father Italian, each only speaks to me in their native language, and, while living in Italy, I studied from first grade through high school in an international school where most classes were taught in English” might.)
  6. Write your name and language pair in the heading of your résumé.
    For example, “Mario Rossi, English into Italian translator”.
  7. Keep your résumé brief.
    No more than one page if you don’t have extensive experience, no more than two in all other instances.
  8. Don’t include your rates in your email message or in your résumé. Talking about rates comes later.
  9. Don't include your references.
    Providing them, if asked, comes later.
  10. Make sure your résumé is written flawlessly.
    Again, if it is not in your native language, consider having it edited by a native speaker.
  11. Localize your résumé for your target market.
    For instance a résumé for a French prospect should include your photo, but a résumé for an American company should not.
  12. Make sure your résumé contains all the necessary information, but no irrelevant details. If you have minimal experience, it’s OK to include in your résumé information about other kind of work, but, as soon as you do gain some translation experience, remove the extraneous information.
  13. Make sure that all the information you provide in your message and in your résumé is verifiable.
  14. What you should include in your résumé: Your working language pairs, how best to contact you, your translation experience, other relevant work experience, education, expertise with specific software programs (for example, CAT tools or DTP programs: don’t include in the list of programs that you know how to use Word or Excel – it is assumed that everybody knows how to handle them), and platform (PC or Mac.)
  15. What you should not include in your résumé: personal information such as your age or marital status (normally: see above – if a résumé for your target market usually does include such information, use your best judgment about whether to include that information or not). Also not to be included: your hobbies and personal interests. An exception to this is if your hobbies contribute to your specialization. So “I am a passionate skier, and I have competed at international level. This experience has helped me when I translated technical manuals for Rossignol” is OK, while “I like reading and classical music” is not.
Finally, very important:
Remember: it’s you who decides what your rates are, not the translation companies. Conversely, translation companies are free to accept your rates, reject them, or try to get you to lower them.

P.S. to New commenting policy – Anonymous spammers

After publishing the new commenting policy a few days ago, the spammers have really stepped up their pointless efforts: About Translation is now receiving several dozen comments a day from “Anonymous”. All these comments go directly to spam (and deservedly so).

Unfortunately this means that when you leave a comment here, if you do it anonymously, it is most most unlikely that I’ll retrieve it from the spam folder and publish it.

If you have something interesting to say, please do so under your own name, or (if you really must), use some alias.

I’m sorry: I also preferred this blog when comments were published immediately. This is no longer possible, thanks to the stupidity and greed of these anonymous trolls.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

New commenting policy

It used to be that, in order to have a more immediate discussion, you could leave commenting open on a blog.

Then spam comments begun to appear. At first they were an infrequent, minor nuisance, and a bit of clean-up once in a while was enough for keeping a blog clean.

Spam comments grew in frequency, which lead many bloggers to impose stricter moderation policies.

In this blog I started by leaving all comments open, but after a few years I had to impose moderation on all comments older than a certain date. Still, I tried to keep open commenting for the most recent posts.

But spam comments now have grown to the point that even for the most recent posts it is necessary to moderate all comments. I’m sorry for this, but I now have to direct all comments through the moderation queue.

I’ll try to post all legitimate comments as soon as possible, but some will end up being delayed – especially if they are written when I’m not at the computer.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Stridonium: an internet community for professional translators

Guest post by Christina Guy

After my guest post of last week, Riccardo asked me to provide a brief description of Stridonium. I'm often asked about the name. It's called Stridonium after the birthplace of Jerome, the patron saint of translators.

Stridonium was set up five years ago with the help of colleagues who were interested in creating a private internet community for professional translators. As you can see from the site’s home page on the site, we aimed to create a place where seasoned professionals and dedicated newcomers could meet to exchange views, seek advice and ultimately to help further the interests of – and hopefully raise standards in – the translation industry.

Basically, we wanted to provide a venue for professional translators to interact in a collegial spirit of give and take, with no advertising and no attempts to sell products or services to members (and no moderators). The decision to make Stridonium a private forum was a conscious one, so that members’ posts lie beyond the reach of Google and other search engines (although because the private nature of the site forbids direct viewing by non-members, we did produce a presentation to give language professionals who are interested in joining Stridonium an insight into the community). It was also a conscious decision to apply relatively strict membership criteria.

Over time, the site has also become a platform for organising a limited number of specialist workshops and lectures and of course the "Business in Communication" conference in March this year. Also for this year, we have organised three lectures by Stuart Bugg (for lawyers, legal editors and specialist legal translators) and we're looking forward to lectures in the autumn given by Jeff Heasman and Mark Childress. We always apply to the ATA and the Dutch translators’ association NGTV for continuing professional development points.

And our latest project (still in its infancy) is to offer the services of our translators individually or in teams. More about that after the conference!

--- O ---

Chartered Linguist Christina Guy is a Dutch to English legal translator and interpreter based in The Netherlands. As a native of the UK with long experience in providing language services in the legal, commercial and diplomatic sectors, she is a passionate advocate of efficient quality. Several years ago, she and other committed language specialists established the translators' forum Stridonium .

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The unintended poetry of spam comments

Certain spam comments, though essentially meaningless, attain a certain poetic quality. See for example this comment to an earlier post of mine:

No matter:
If some one searches for his essential thing,
He wants that to be available in detail,
Thus that thing
Is maintained over here.

This has a certain haiku-like feeling, and even a tangential connection to the post it purports to comment (Simple regular expressions for SDL Trados Studio filters).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Stridonium 2014 Conference

Guest Post by Christina Guy

First of all, thanks to Riccardo for inviting me to write a guest post about the Stridonium conference in Cambridge this year.

For readers who aren’t familiar with Stridonium, it was set up in 2009 as a venue for professional language specialists. Originally a private site for professional exchange and support for translators, it is now exploring alternatives to further the interests and raise the standards of the translation sector.

Most of the Stridonium site is open to members only, but you can get more information by visiting our Home Page, or our Mission Statement.

The Stridonium 2014 Conference

Communicating in Business – Getting Language Right

Stridonium will host this conference on 24 March 2014 at the Møller Centre in Cambridge.

The aim of the Stridonium conference is to engage with businesses. It will emphasise to an audience of businessmen and language specialists the importance of getting language right and – maybe more importantly – point out the pitfalls of getting it wrong.

When corporations spend so much time, money and effort on texts in their own language, isn't it only logical that they be as meticulous about the quality of communication in other languages?

Unfortunately, as many of us know, that doesn't always follow. Translation in particular is too often an afterthought or an “add-on”, with everything from marketing texts to crucial legal documents being bundled off unceremoniously by a hapless secretary to the first translation agency she can find on Google.

So this conference will help businesses and at the same time raise the profile of quality services as a distinct segment within the language industry. It will emphasise the benefits of giving language higher priority, getting the right language specialists on board and making them a more integral part of the team and the process. With more and more companies trading across borders, this message has never been more important.
Stridonium's initiative has the support of some high-calibre speakers with backgrounds in politics, business and diplomacy, including:

All of our speakers will draw on their wide knowledge and a wealth of anecdotal experience to illustrate the importance of using the right words – and the consequences of using the wrong ones.

They will explain the benefits of:
  • setting company-wide language policy
  • effective legal and business communication
  • using the right language for effective advertising campaigns
  • avoiding cultural pitfalls
  • saving money by buying wisely
In the last afternoon session we will wrap up by offering businesses practical information on how to procure language services, what to look for and where to look.

To register for the conference, click here.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Xbench 3.0: 50% discount until January 10th

Currently Xbench 3.0 is offered at a 50% discount (until January 10th). You can order it from
This is an especially enticing offer for all users of SDL Studio 2014: Xbench is soon going to launch a Studio Add-in that permits, among other things, to launch a QA session of a Studio project from within Studio.
The Add-in also lets the users directly access the segments to correct (i.e., when selecting “Edit Source”, Xbench will open the translation in Studio and jump directly to the segment that needs editing).
The Add-in is currently available as a public beta from the download page of the Xbench website.