Still thinking unit conversions = a conversion chart + a calculator? Wolfram Alpha to the rescue!

So, you’re working along, deep in concentration, when up pops a value written with units that won’t be understood in the target language. What next? Do you:

a) Pull out an old battery-powered calculator and a printed conversion chart.
b) Use an online conversion chart and the infuriatingly crummy calculator built into Windows/OSX
c) Type your problem into Google and hope for the best…or Continue reading “Still thinking unit conversions = a conversion chart + a calculator? Wolfram Alpha to the rescue!”

The Chicago Manual of Style – 1st vs 16th Edition

Widely acknowledged as the go-to book on American-English style, The Chicago Manual of Style – now in its 16th edition – is an absolutely indispensable resource for translators; however, for some, the very idea of spending 65 dollars* on a book can result in sleepless nights and cold sweats, which is perhaps why the good folk at The Chicago Manual of Style Online make the entire 1st edition available for download absolutely free of charge. Yes, that’s right: free! Don’t believe us? – then click on ‘complete facsimile of the 1st edition‘ at the top of this page. However, before you get too excited, we’d better mention that the 1st edition is a bit dated… Continue reading “The Chicago Manual of Style – 1st vs 16th Edition”

There’s more to Wikimedia than Wikipedia…

Wikipedia is so helpful to translators that most of us would rather not admit quite how much we rely on it — partly because, as everyone knows, Wikipedia has a certain less-than-perfect reputation when it comes to accuracy. However, a surprisingly large number of translators don’t realize that the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization that actually operates Wikipedia) also runs a number of other collaborative wiki projects that can at tmes also be very enlightening. Projects such as Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity and Wikimedia Incubator might come in handy the next time you need a quick reference on somethng while translating. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading “There’s more to Wikimedia than Wikipedia…”

Commonly Spoken But Rarely Ever Written English Contractions

A friend of mine (whose first language isn’t English) recently asked me how to contract “they are”, to which I replied “they’re”. The same person then asked how to contract “there are”, to which I replied “there’re” (I was speaking not writing at the time). I was then asked by said person to show them how to write these contractions, to which I pointed out that we hardly ever use these in written English and, if you ever do, the majority of people will probably tell you they’re (sorry — I mean: “they are”) wrong. I then wondered how many other commonly-spoken-but-rarely-ever-written contractions there’re (sorry, ahem, “there are”) in this crazy language we call English…

Here’s a little (and by no-means complete) list: Continue reading “Commonly Spoken But Rarely Ever Written English Contractions”

Thirty five of the Very Best Quotes on Translation

The title says it all really: “Thirty Five of the Very Best Quotes on Translation” – we actually set out to put together a list of just fifteen, but there was just so many that seemed to either make us smile and/or capture the essence of what it all-so-often feels like to portray one language in another, we ended up with another twenty! Continue reading “Thirty five of the Very Best Quotes on Translation”

Fifteen [Hideous] Grammar Goofs That Make You Look [Very] Silly – Infographic

I sincerely doubt there’s a single professional translator out there who needs reminding of any of the following (unfortunately quite common) grammar mistakes – however, I’ll bet there’s also not a single professional translator out there who hasn’t, at some point in the past, made (or perhaps failed to pick up on) at least one or two of them… all be it probably when they’ve pushed themselves too hard and/or gone without a proper night’s sleep for too many days in a row… Continue reading “Fifteen [Hideous] Grammar Goofs That Make You Look [Very] Silly – Infographic”

A roundup of some of the best translation-related articles from 2013!

Twitter is an awesome means of not only drawing attention to your own online activities (and offline activities for that matter) but also to those of others, such as all the people involved in translation who continue to create great content – much of which we tweet about on a near daily basis @FfTranslators. Here’s some of the very best translation-related posts and articles we shared in 2013. Enjoy: Continue reading “A roundup of some of the best translation-related articles from 2013!”

What are the easiest/hardest languages to learn? – infographic

It’s no surprise that translators love languages, they/we usually prick our ears up upon merely hearing the word ‘language’ – be it on the news, the radio, a party* or wherever… but combine the word ‘language’ with another word we’re usually hyper-tuned into, like ‘fluent, ‘learn’ or, say, ‘hard’ (as in ‘difficult’) and we’re usually pretty much hooked! So here goes then, let’s ask a question that’s practically guaranteed to interest translation/language lovers: What are the hardest languages [for native English speakers] to learn? Continue reading “What are the easiest/hardest languages to learn? – infographic”

Our favorite tweets of the year (2012)

Throughout the year we tweet a lot of great content that translators will hopefully find useful and/or interesting. The best way to keep track of all this information is, of course, to follow us on Twitter; however, unless you’re glued to the screen 24-7 (we hope not), you’re bound to miss heaps – here’s a list of our favorites from 2012: Continue reading “Our favorite tweets of the year (2012)”

Best of Food for Translators (2012)

‘Best’ – now THAT’S a tricky word. The Oxford Dictionary of English gives the meaning of ‘best’ as ‘of the most excellent or desirable type or quality’ (was the author a Bill & Ted fan I wonder…), however, what makes something ‘better’ than something else depends on a whole bunch of usually unstated – and often changeable – criteria: the relative importance of which often depends on a number of other – sometimes subjective – factors. Take blog posts for example: which are the ‘best’, or ‘of the most excellent type or quality’, blog posts? The ones with the most page views? The ones with most comments? Maybe the ones with the most Tweets? Or perhaps it’s important to consider a number of such things? …for the sake of simplicity, let’s just brush the issue under the carpet and go with the number of Facebook ‘likes’: Continue reading “Best of Food for Translators (2012)”

Seven Last-Minute Christmas Gifts for Translators (2012)

It’s that time of year again – the time of year when overpaid translators take long vacations and underpaid translators receive a sudden influx of work. Yes, that’s right: it’s Christmas! The time for giving and receiving… but what? What’s that? You’re not sure what to buy your translator friend? …because you’ve heard translators are all a bit zanny and therefore buying them something they’d like can be a real challenge? Then fear not! You’ve come to the right place, because, regardless of whether or not anybody will actually read it (last year’s version seems to have slipped by largely unnoticed), we’ve put together another list of last-minute Christmas gifts for translators: Continue reading “Seven Last-Minute Christmas Gifts for Translators (2012)”

Five other useful things to do with Google Search

In light of the somewhat surprising popularity of our last post (Fifteen Helpful Google Search Operators), we figured we’d continue with the Google theme by revealing a few more not-so-secret Google-search-secrets. Read on to learn five (well, actually six – except the Kevin Bacon one can hardly be called ‘useful’…) other useful things you can do with/from Google Search – aside from searching for specific words of phrases on the World Wide Web. Continue reading “Five other useful things to do with Google Search”

Fifteen helpful google search operators

First came the World Wide Web, and then came the search engine (presumably to try and make the whole thing more accessible/manageable). And it wasn’t long (relatively speaking) before one particular search engine proved to be the one to watch (and use): Google. Google has inadvertently revolutionized the way we work – we use it to find definitions, names of proper nouns and check context, research companies, prospective clients and colleagues… the list goes on and one and on. So it makes sense to learn how to google* for things efficiently and effectively. On the simplest level, effective googling translates to knowing what to type into Google in order to find the most relevant information you’re looking for – something that can often be achieved much more easily by employing a few basic Google search operators, such as: Continue reading “Fifteen helpful google search operators”