Say What?


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

Looking back . . .

Exactly a year later (mostly), my ongoing business resolutions are still works in progress.  But hey, so aren’t we all.

As carried forward from last year:

  • Investing myself in my TM tools:  2012 was a descent year for my translation business, but a major step forward came with my beginning to harvest terminology from past bumper crop years, regarding ranslation projects in my specializations (financial, legal and audiovisual).
  • Revisiting my business plan:  I peeked at it last year, and found little to adjust, but best of all I was able to attend the ATA in San Diego.
  • Working to become a “CT” (certified translator):  Progress firmly, in that I took a practice test with . . . unflattering results.  But knowing the hurdle is kept high on this, I feel encouraged to persist.
  • Revising and updating my website:  More progress here from last, and I hope to move ahead with an reintro soon.

Wishing all of my followers, readers, clients, and anyone simply looking for a solid translation out of or into French from English, a joyous 2013!

Filed under: divers, French translation, translation, ,

The Trouble with “Globish”

Perhaps because I’m a) a French translator, b) getting older, and/or c) ever less culturally pliable, non-native English speakers professing linguistic skill or expertise they don’t have neutralize my patience like no one else.  Anyone who’s spent any time on a customer service line lately will understand perfectly.

Accordingly, my curiosity was piqued by an article in the current ATA Chronicle by Jeana Clark and Esma A. Gregor on “Globish,” or “Global English.”  Most Chronicle articles seesaw/skew between the academic and the technical, and while their logic only jumps one shark (whose household familarity with Globish?), the authors have made a thorough presentation of something native speakers often experience as a linguistic APM.

Unfortunately, being messengers (like me) in the endless skirmish that is language, Clark and Gregor pussy foot around taking stakes for either “side” linguistically.   For instance , is this the death knell for the English we know and (love? hate? despise? tolerate? endlessly mangle?)  (Happily I’m not the first person to rhyme Globish with rubbish.)  Is it a linguistic mutation more zombie than real?

Professionally, when clients and editors alike resort to it through ignorance or inexperience, I find Euro English the most exasperating manifestation.  At the end of the day (the business one, anyway), this all reminds me (and hopefully my clients!) that it’s essential to pay a professional when an amateur only creates more confusion.

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

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, , , , , , ,

Mid-stream glance back at my resolutions

At this point in the year, most people can’t remember their New Year’s resolutions, much less have any foresight about upcoming ones.  That said, here is my review, measuring where I stand and how far yet I have to go:

I will revisit my business plan and examine how I’m targeting my ideal clients and niche market.  I have made the most progress here, discovering that my ideal client isn’t who I thought they were.

I’d like to really invest myself into my TM tools (Trados and Wordfast), and organize the vocabularies I’ve developed through my output.  I’ve had a very productive summer, and now that I have some downtime, will commit to making inroads here before September.

I’m going to work on becoming a “CT” (ATA-certified professional translator) in my language pair.   I will take a practice test I’ve purchased before the end of this month.

I’m revising my website, and would like to blog more this year, especially about what I love about my current and planned language pairs.  My website revision is almost complete, and I will be promoting it this fall.  Blogging still feels like I chore that I never fully “own”, i.e. trying to be “personal” as I discuss my business.  This reminds me though about the last point, which I do look forward to blogging about soon.

Maybe the ridiculously insatiability of crowd-sourced media and platforms, as bashfully “a-promotional” as a Versailles courtier, can be useful in simple, human terms after all:  accountability and goals.

Filed under: divers, translation, , , ,

Computers 2, Translators 1

In the ongoing debate within the translator community about our place in the world and co-existing with technologies that might or might not supplant us, the ATA recently cited the human/virtual contestant Jeopardy! match as “testimony” to our professional relevance.  Frankly, I think they and we translators can do much better.

Watson might or might not be a watershed in artificial intelligence (AI), depending on several different sources.  What is certain if not inevitable is change–and AI represents that.  Translators, like all living organisms, and their businesses, can and must adapt, perhaps morphing into experts with even greater and more abundant specializations.  Which computers, taking on more automated and tedious tasks, would allow us to do, and frankly be something we might be a bit more grateful for.

Filed under: divers, translation, , , ,

Going forward

Resolutions burn off like snow under the summer sun, though the new year inspires inventories of all kinds, not the least of which are tax-related.  Last year, especially this past quarter, was disappointing for my business.  This prompted consideration of what translation means to me, and I then queried my fellow bloggers, getting some terrific responses.  As follows is a summary of what I learned, and what I’d like to do with it in the coming year.

A propserous and abundant translator life is possible through networking, promotion, and pluck. I will revisit my business plan and examine how I’m targeting my ideal clients and niche market. Ultimately, making one’s livelihood as a translator is about balancing productivity and one’s life. I’d like to really invest myself into my TM tools (Trados and Wordfast), and organize the vocabularies I’ve developed through my output. Translation is both a profession and a trade, but it’s really what one makes of it. I’m going to work on becoming a “CT” (ATA-certified professional translator) in my language pair. Good promotion and quality are virtues, but while the former can slacken the latter can only be augmented and supplant the other with a solid reputation. I’m revising my website, and would like to blog more this year, especially about what I love about my current and planned language pairs.

Special thanks to Corinne McKay, Jill Sommer, Eve Bodeux and Judy Jenner for their responses!.  Here are the questions below which I posed:

– is translation strictly a dual-income profession (where the other partner/husband/wife has a more stable, lucrative job)?
– is it a vocation or a profession, eg a trade or specialized job?
– is it purely about how you “sell” yourself (vs. what you can actually offer)?
– would everyone be better served if translation generally were more automated, eg MT in some combo with human editing/revision?

Filed under: translation, ,

As the ball falls: the ATA Conference in Times Square

OK, OK, so this all happened two months ago, but certainly we would have liked and appreciated a contemplative look back from the swank perspective of the Marriott Marquis tonight.  Like many sectors in the global economy during the past year, the translation industry has grown and contracted in all directions during 2009.  I was able to take in just one day of the wonderful ATA Conference in October, and was very happy to speak with a few fellow translation bloggers about their insights on the past year and what could lie ahead.

Judy Jenner is one of the”It” women of the translation blogoshere.  With her sister Dagmar, she not only runs a cross continental business covering a handful of languages, but blogs, and solo frequently contributes to the ATA Chronicle (and I believe will have a regular column in it shortly).  Her business acumen about translators seizing their both vision and control of their financial destinies is spot on.

Corinne McKay and Eve Bodeux are two other “It” women in our field, generously sharing their extensive knowledge and experience through a series of podcasts they jointly host, along with their separate blogs.  Both have also done professional service, in particular Corinne through the book she’s published on getting started in the translation business.  I’ve whittled down our quick meets to about a New York minute for each.  Happy New Year to all, and to all an awesome year ahead (we hope) in translation!

Filed under: translation, , , , , , ,

Dear World, remember me?

What loads of work will do for one translator!  Julie Powell-like (boo-hoo), I wonder is anyone reading this anyway, but have missed plugging into the blogosphere (so I guess that means I like it).

In the midst of my brisk autumn, I happened to catch sight of this dissertation that somehow made its way on to the ATA‘s monthly news roundup.  I can barely make heads or tails of it, but it’s pretty interesting (from a purely academic POV, and even then Swedish language skills would probably help) to see how small words and phrases generally end up in the trash, even as multi-lingual viewers get tripped up from not actually seeing what they hear, but no one else notices.

Otherwise, on the subject of rabbit holes, recently making my way out of mine, I “discovered” The Da Vinci Code (the film, not the phenom), and was pleasantly shocked to see a bilingual Hollywood film?  Incroyable, but true!  Looking to see Angels and Demons soon enough to see how much if at all la bella lingua turns up in that.  Meanwhile, dear readers, stay tuned for a posting-packed end of year, as I try to fold in at least a month’s worth into ten days.

Filed under: audiovisual translation, subtitling, translation, Uncategorized, , , ,

The future of employment as we know it?

Fishing around for a different perspective (eg, en français) on the Linkedin crowdsourcing controversy (the ATA’s response to which I whole-heartedly agree with), I found . . . this.  According to Le Monde, it was done in Australia, but sure looks like Central Park to me (I guess that’s the idea).

Filed under: divers, , , ,