Say What?


on audiovisual and literary translation, subtitling, and the French & American film industries

Five Minutes with Three LSPs

Another highlight from the 53rd annual ATA Conference was my conversations with several LSPs on the state of translation, business-wise and in its evolution technologically.  Christine Muller and Kevin Hudson, from LanguageWorks; Marina Mintz from Paragon Language Services; and Virginia Anderson of Oregon Translation (not included here alas due to technical problems) spoke to me separately on their companies, how they think the business of translation is evolving, and what impact social media is having on translation professionally.

Virginia made an excellent point on something that’s familiar to anyone involved in the translation industry.  Contradictory forces pushing for “more and faster” versus “better with care” don’t always fall into simplistic paradigms, but are rather motivated by the business necessity driving the work.  Something that everyone–peer translators, LSPs, and clients–would wisely keep top of mind in the midst of their next translation project.

Filed under: divers, French translation, translation, , , , , , , , ,

The Impossibility of Translation

The strangest thing about translation is how out of nowhere it can illuminate.  Nicholas Froeliger‘s talk at last week’s ATA‘s 53rd annual conference packed exactly that kind of intellectual firepower.

A dialectic jutuxposing the logical tools privy to translators with their ever-expanding cyberscape, his session if nothing else scored an ironic coup arguing “for” the primacy of the human “analog” over anything digital at a conference dominated not only by incessant hawking of any and all avatar translation methods and means, but also by a categorical privledging of the virtual over the real in networking, hiring and socializing.  (Lest anyone think I’ve gone all Luddite, hey, I’m blogging about it.)

In the tradition of great French thinkers, his thesis made easy fodder of the professional shotgun marriage the majority of us either endure or risk persishing into obscurity.   But sans rancor, he wittily made his argument, recasting translators (in my mind anyway) as silent masters collaboratively dueling with their avatars.

Filed under: divers, French translation, , , , , , ,

Personal Sidebar: “Plan B”

I caught this film on Netflix recently–the only consistently supportive place for GLBT entertainment content–and it makes some very intriguing choices about essentially two men who are in various stages of “questioning,” i.e. whether they’re attracted to men or not.

The film could have gone in many directions.  And while I enjoyed the one it ultimately took, the potential other routes were so interesting that it stayed with me.  Although the director stuffed in a lot of unnecessary and pointless interludes that negatively evoke Pasolini or Antonioni, it’s worth checking out.  Would that it and similar films could break free of the download ghetto, and find larger audiences.

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The Olympics in Translation

The Oscars of infotainment are upon us, and it’s striking how already translation and interpretation are needed – and that’s just from the other side of the pond to this one!

While I’m sure language there is the last thing on anyone’s mind, seamless communication is the backbone of any international event.  Lucky for the UK they have government sponsored language skill and learning entities that will ensure the games and how they are remembered will be clear to all globally–whatever their language.

Filed under: divers, translation, , ,

Quality Pulp Fiction

Since late May, this white hot thriller–set entirely in the US though written in French–has dominated the top of Amazon France‘s e-book best sellers list.  Its author is a top flight French filmmaker, packing solid stateside credentials.  Hopefully American readers will soon enough enjoy what all the fuss is about.

Filed under: divers, French film industry, French translation, ,

‘The Artist’ and Hollywood: What’s It All About, Uggie?

Before the internet, tweeting, and instant messaging, Oscar season sometimes lasted till . . . April!  By way of explaining my consideration of The Artist‘s sweep at last February’s awards.

Consistent with previous observations, this only confirms Hollywood’s coming out à la française not merely as an international marketplace, but more critically a berth for foreign product.  As heinous and Darwinistic Thomas Friedman’s thesis is, the world relentlessly continues to flatten as if in some Ayn Rand/L. Ron Hubbard nightmare scenario.

But instead of the nostalgic look back as most observers have framed it, I think Academy members and perhaps Hollywood generally is in the midst of a ‘media-forward’ conversion.  With the internet tolling the end of so very much–scheduled television, celluloid prints, the preciousness of audiovisual production itself–all at once, no wonder in waving an utterly unsentimental goodbye to a kind of Hollywood that’s increasingly hard to justify, it would seem as if the industry is not only recognizing the rest of the world in ways it rarely has before, but embracing it.

Filed under: audiovisual translation, French film industry, French translation, US film industry, , , , ,

Dear Blog, Remember Me?

Down my own rabbit hole of activity, professional and personal for the past month plus, my blog kept unsuccessfully beckoning me.  By sheer force of will (and desire to be professionally visible), I have returned (but I’m still pretty busy).  The subject of this post (originally saved with a cursory title of “blogging”) was to have been how self-indulgent and promotional blogging seems.

Not long after taking office, the President weighed in, citing the importance of a free (as in democratic) and vibrant media/fourth estate that practices journalism professionally, and not amateurly or promotionally.

So in the spirit of leaf-turning (it is spring after all), here are three blogs that, if I read any with any regularity, I would likely desire–and not feel obliged–to consult:

  • Kevin Sessums is an accomplished journalist (and, surprise! seems to have abandonned his blog like some beautiful empty wildflower lot).  He regales Facebook readers with riveting stories spun from obituaries and other banal daily factoids.  Feh on the blogosphere (sort of)!
  • Michael Pershes works in the fashion industry, and really takes advantage of the web’s visual dynamic with curated and original content spun from his work, imagination and life.
  • Natty Soltesz, (now) a Lambda Literary Award nominee, writes primarily erotic but also extremely witty and insightful fiction.

Filed under: divers, , , , , , , , , ,

And the César goes to –

While one of the more unpredictable award competitions in years unfolds here, the Césars will occur in parallel, making me wonder if the symetric calendar (César reveals himself two days before Oscar) could portend anything on the latter, ahem?

What looks like a fictionally framed look at French child protective services garnered thirteen nods, followed by a political drama concerning a government official with 11, and finally that black & white silent film with a dog at ten (same number of nominations as Intouchables).

Taking a page from Jean Dujardin at the SAG awards last night, bonne chance et à bientôt à tous et toutes!

Filed under: divers, French film industry, US film industry, , , , , , ,

Looking ahead . . .

It’s (still) that time of year again, as evidenced  by my gym, where throngs who’d just as well do just about anything else are . . . at the gym, because . . . of their New Year’s Resolutions!

Carrying forward last year’s:

  • Investing myself in my TM tools:  2011 was my best year thus far in my translation business.  I would like to have taken more time this past fall to revisit numerous financial projects translated earlier last year, and hope to do so through the remainder of the winter as annual report season starts.
  • Revisiting my business plan:  I reached out in a new way to potential ideal clients, and while business was strong, I’m still eager to find a greater direct to indirect ratio this coming year.
  • Working to become a “CT” (certified translator):  Of everything, this is the one that has been on hold, and I hope to move more aggressively into this in the coming months.
  • Revising and updating my website:  Of all last year’s goals, I’m proud to say I made the greatest headway here, but am not quite finished yet.  Stay tuned for a formal reintro of my site.

Wishing all of my followers, readers, clients, and anyone simply looking for a solid translation out of or into French from English, a splendid 2012!

Filed under: French translation,

On the Horizon . . .

It’s rare to hear about a French film that’s both socially conscious and wildly successful, but Intouchables is just that.  It’s scheduled to be released stateside early this coming year, and will be interesting to see how this racially-based comedy fares here.

Filed under: French film industry, US film industry,