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:
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.
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:
Following on from our previous post, Hashtags for Translators Part I, which dealt with the different hashtags commonly used by translation professionals, we’ll now delve deeper into the world of hashtags by mentioning a few of their specific uses. What can you do with hashtags? Why are they useful? How do people make use of them? Let’s take a look at a few specific examples…
Twitter is a now a worldwide phenomenon, with people tweeting about everything from breaking news to what they just ate. Put simply: Twitter is a platform from which to share short snippets of information (limited to 140 characters) about whatever takes your fancy. And with so much information flooding into Twitter every second of every day it’s not difficult to see how vast this pool of information is… so how do people sort through all these snippets of information? Well, partly by using hashtags: strings of information (often words) used to group tweets together into categories – thereby facilitating searches and enabling users to filter tweets into topics that they have a specific interest in: such as translation. So which hashtags do translators tend to use?
Typos, or lack of them, can mean the difference between a happy client and an angry client. They are, quite simply, your worst enemy. Spotting mistakes in someone else’s work is relatively easy, but spotting them in your own work can often prove quite the opposite. It makes sense then to have someone else proofread your work. However, with deadlines forever looming, employing the services of a proofreader just isn’t always practical. So what’s the best way to proofread your own work? Well, different people prefer different techniques: here’s a few favorites:
Mountain Lion actually seems a bit scant on new language-related functionality. Sure, it’s got plenty of exciting new features, like PowerNap, Messages and Airplay Mirroring, but hardly any of them seem particularly relevant to translating. No doubt translators who own more than one Apple product will be pleased with Mountain Lion’s tight integration with iCloud, and translators who like to spend a lot of their time on Twitter and Facebook* etc will surely appreciate Built-in Sharing, but what of new features that might be of specific interest to translators in general? Here’s five:
There’s no denying it, translators tend to spend more time on the web than most, and depending on how you work, your choice of browser can sometimes make doing things on the web (like mining information) altogether more efficient, which translates to less frustration and more time to do other things: like tweeting or walking the dog. So what then, makes one browser more efficient or ‘better’ than another?
If you’re able to make a living as a translator then you’ve obviously already reached a relatively high level of source-language proficiency – a level of proficiency that no doubt gives you the means to impress even native speakers without breaking that much of a sweat: provided, that is, that you stay within your source-language comfort zone; for you know in your heart-of-hearts that acting outside of said comfort zone would be about as frightening as suddenly finding yourself in the same room as Dracula.
As we all know, translators all too often remain in the shadows. For example, although a huge number of people will have delighted in English translations of works by the famous Japanese author Natsume Soseki, very few of those people will be able to recall the name/s of the translator/s who actually wrote the words on the pages they read. The same is, of course, true of books that have been translated into any language: from any language. It’s also true of course that translators who translate novels generally get their name printed somewhere in the book (all be it usually in relatively small print), however, we think that’s just not enough: we think that every truly outstanding translator deserves his or her own Wikipedia page! You may think that your favourite translators already have their own Wikipedia pages but, in many cases, you’d be wrong. Furthermore, as translators ourselves, we think that translators are perfectly positioned to plug this gap in Wikipedia’s knowledge. After all, if WE don’t have the passion, the knowledge and the interest to fill this hole in the world’s knowledge then who does?!