Jump to content
đź’¬ Smartcat Community


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

102 Excellent


About Peter

  • Rank
  1. Like many others, I got into translation by accident. Don't get me wrong! I have always loved English; but I wasn't brought up in a bilingual environment and didn't even achieve any real fluency in a second language until after graduating university and moving to Argentina. While there, as many foreigners do, I worked as an English teacher to pay the bills. In 2012, one of my students told me that his wife had a tourism company and she needed some website content localized into English. I was dating my ex, who happened to be studying translation at the time, so naturally I recommended her for the job. Due to how busy she was with classes, the nature of the content, the fact she was a native Spanish speaker, her inexperience, etc. she struggled with the translation. My student asked if I would be able to try since I'm a native English speaker. I warned him that I had no translation experience, but that I would be more than happy to give it a shot. I remember taking my time and constantly debating with myself about how best to convey each and every detail in English (this is still one of my favorite feelings). I'm sure my translation was far from perfect, but they were both thrilled with the end result... and I had loved every minute of the work. Since then, I haven't looked back and have even added another language pair (PT-EN).
  2. Wow... @yujie. It's fascinating to hear about some of those technical challenges that come up in English to Chinese translation. I have to admit that I hadn't really thought about it before, but there must be several such situations which come up regularly. It must be pretty frustrating at times, but like you said, sometimes you just have no other choice but to accept some reader inconvenience. I agree 100% . In my experience, as long as you have this solid communication, almost any issue can be resolved. And yeah, you're right about Vova's responsiveness bordering on the unbelievable.
  3. Very interesting, @Vova. This actually touches on a subtle yet worrying gut feeling I have about the trend in English in favour of this kind of bureaucratese You need only Google "We specialize in the production/delivery/distribution/implementation/etc + about us" in order to see how widespread this kind of usage is. I understand this isn't exactly something new. Many companies (and individuals) have been jumping at the chance to use this kind of verbose, self-aggrandising language for decades. But the trend I'm talking about isn't in how it's used, rather in how it's seen by readers in English. It's my impression that this kind of bureaucratese was originally viewed by the wider public as a warning sign and something to be suspicious of; perhaps an attempt to con individuals into buying a company's products/believing a politician's pitch/etc. It seems like this usage then transitioned into a phase where it began to be treated with apathy, or at best, ambivalence for many years. It was no longer necessarily associated with a dishonest company/individual, just an annoying communication style that was so prevalent, especially in the corporate world. The general approach here was to take it all with a grain of salt. But it seems to me that, through sheer volume, the once-despised bureaucratese is now almost seen as some kind of indicator of quality and trust. The frightening implication is that if a company/individual is brazen enough to use simple, clear and direct language then they must somehow be reckless cowboys, unconcerned with developing a carefully cultivated public image which appeals to as many people as possible. Perhaps individuals have come around to empathising with certain business practices as a result of increased time spent cultivating our own public images and personal brands online, i.e. social media - something which many increasingly treat like running a business. Indeed, many individuals' social profiles and content are legitimate businesses in their own right. Anyway, I could definitely be wrong about this trend (I certainly hope so). Like I said, it's just a gut feeling I have about how bureaucratese is being seen in English. By now you can probably tell my personal view about it. But as translators, since we need to ensure our work satisfies the client and sends the appropriate message to the wider public, I also find this particular example quite a challenge in this day and age.
  4. That reminds me. When I lived in Buenos Aires, I used to work for a company doing closed captioning for about 1.5 years. While there, I used a voice-to-text recognition software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I can't remember which version of the software it was, but it was pretty good (at least when using it in English - but others in the office also used it in Portuguese and Spanish so I'm sure the quality held up). I was terrible at using it to begin with, but then I started to train for closed-captioning of live, emergency broadcasts so I had no choice but to get the hang of it. I learned that the trick is to literally imagine talking like a robot (presumably on drugs, given how quickly you need to speak). I didn't fill out the questionnaire since most of the other questions never really applied to me/I can't remember/I'm too out of touch , but this was a lovely little reminder of my closed caption era In any case, do try out the Dragon software if you get a chance. And thanks for the nostalgia trip @Otávio Banffy
  5. Some tips to get more out of your Wave

    Great job, Paz! Thanks for posting this, and keep up the good work!
  6. Connotations for "spade"?

    And such a shame too, because the phrase itself - and its origins - is a beautiful one in English. It extols the virtues of clear, direct, and concise communication, leaving no room for ambiguity. The use of a spade is the perfect metaphor since it is the single best example in English of an object, which we either mistakenly call a shovel, or vice versa, most of us never really knowing the exact difference between the two or their specific uses. Regrettably, in this particular case, however, the pen once again proves to be mightier than the sword. And when wielded by ignorant racists, a lot of damage can be done.
  7. Connotations for "spade"?

    Of course, that should have been 20th Century* in my above post.
  8. Connotations for "spade"?

    As for why, I believe that has more to do with association of somebody's skin color to the playing card suit of spades more so than the actual gardening tool. Historically, a common racial slur was to refer to somebody as being "as black/blacker than the Ace of spades". This is obviously far from the whole story, but goes some way to demonstrating a little bit how the word came to be used as a slur against African Americans in 21st Century spoken and written English.
  9. Connotations for "spade"?

    Hi @Aleksandra, The phrase itself certainly has no racist origin or anything like that. But the term 'spade' as an insult, specifically to African Americans in the US, has come about only in the past 100 years or so. Not exactly a hugely common insult. I'm not American but I wouldn't be surprised if most non-US, native English speakers haven't even heard about that as an insult. Maybe within the US it is more understood (i.e. taboo) in certain regions than in others but this is just speculation I can't confirm. This link (http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/09/19/224183763/is-it-racist-to-call-a-spade-a-spade) gives a pretty interesting summary of the phrase itself, later dealing with the word becoming used as a racial slur. There are many who advocate for the phrase itself to be retired from modern speech altogether (because of the racist connotation), and I'm sure the opposite point of view could just as strongly be argued for (incl. that both the origin of phrase itself, as well as the general context of "telling sth like it is", have nothing to do with race). Sorry to be so inconclusive about whether it should be used or not.
  10. Great advice, Julia! The plan is simply a general outline more geared towards how to go about getting those dream jobs/clients (nothing that's worth it is ever easy!). And sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised. I actually got a project once after coming across a website with a less than satisfactory translation of their content, getting in touch via the first email address I saw on their site, and saying "Hey, you need me to translate your website!" It's definitely more effective to have a natural online and physical presence (networking, like you said, is key) which draws clients and projects to you, but sometimes a good old fashioned sledgehammer approach can actually work. Admittedly, I tailor these kind of approaches carefully, including plenty of positive feedback, but identifying the potential for their material (website, etc.) to have an even bigger and better impact (with my help of course). Maybe more like a sledgehammer, but with the hand in a velvet glove. As for making a practical living, you're right. Agencies are simply a great resource which can offer both volume/regularity of work and decent pay if you're lucky enough to find the right ones. The ones I've worked with so far have all been pretty disappointing. However, I think success here is about casting as wide a net as possible, then thinning the herd to the best few agencies which work best for you. Looking back, I tended to turn to agencies for work when I was at my most desperate, hence it's no surprise I ended up with not such great experiences.
  11. Thanks again, Julia. Sounds like you're on the right track. Especially great advice about reaching out to the local translation community. Like you said, not so much as a way to get more jobs or anything, but just getting some great perspectives on a lot of different specialisations/aspects of the translation industry, which would otherwise take months or even years to get. That kind of knowledge is invaluable for those of us like me who are about to, but haven't as yet, really proactively committed to the plunge down the specialisation route. Like I said, I haven't yet properly committed to/organized myself for the specialisation route just yet (it is the plan though) so I doubt I can give you much advice. I am lucky in the sense that I have one very stable client who I can rely on for frequent work, which I supplement with other projects coming from the freelancing sites I use (I just finished my first paid project for a client who found me on SmartCAT by the way - early days but really loving the platform so far). I am very grateful for the position I'm in, but I do worry that the relative comfort is making me a little lazy, where I could be taking more active steps to improve my situation. Hence, for now, my own self-promotion for now is limited to my online profiles on the various sites I use (SmartCAT, linkedin, proz, freelancer, etc.). My future plan of attack to begin specialisation/self-promotion would be something along the lines of: Seek out qualifications/professional memberships (general to start with, progressively more specialised) Create a website or some kind of online 'home' which you can call your own Reach out to the translation community in your area (like you have done) Reach out in a similar way online (this SmartCAT forum is great for exactly that, by the way) Volunteer to give a presentation to translation students at a local university and/or other translators at a gathering in your area (not in an arrogant, over-the-top way, just as another way of sharing your experiences, the pitfalls we've all fallen for, other things you wish somebody had told you, encouragement, Q&A, etc.) I think it's important to identify a targeted group of "dream" clients (closing your eyes and imagining yourself working on your dream project/specialisation, as ridiculous as it may sound, could help), then reach out to them directly, trying to be as clear as possible about a) what you can do for them, and b) why they need you. (I'm not naive, I fully expect this step would require continued reaching out, plus a lot of trial and error over the course of several months, if not years, before approaching anything close to a successful formula). Sorry about the length of the post, I may have got carried away, lol. In hindsight, I would add that having your dream clients from #6 in mind right from the beginning is probably an effective way of tailoring all of these steps towards working with that kind of client profile in the future.
  12. Thanks for the detailed report, Julia. Before anything else, congratulations on passing the exam! The requirements do seem intense (that IS the point, after all), so it's a big achievement. I, too, came across and have been considering the ATA certification (as well as some of the other pro certifications available). My general thinking is that any certification/membership/test which has the potential to help you a) improve your professional standing; b) sharpen your technical skills; and c) make you more self-critical, humble and perhaps even more driven to maintain/constantly improve upon a certain standard; can only be a good investment of time/money. I'd be interested to know if you've now thought about a specific, or even general, game plan for how to get the most out of your ATA qualification (getting the word out, self-promotion, targeting specific clients, etc.)? In any case, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. And congratulations again on the achievement!
  13. Hey Otávio! Just saw your post from a few weeks ago about proofreading your English documents. I tried to PM you but it said you cannot receive messages. Anyway, I'm sorry for being late to reply. You've probably already had it looked at, just wanted to offer anyway since it never hurts to have 2nd and 3rd opinions. I don't yet have any material for you to take a look at to help me with clients here in Brazil (I'm too unorganised still), but I'd just be happy to help out anyway. Let me know, dude. Cheers!

    1. Otávio Banffy

      Otávio Banffy

      Good thing I have status updates enabled, in this case, right? I've private messaged you, let's try finding out why you couldn't message me and then we can discuss everything else. Thanks for reaching out! :D

    2. Vova


      For some reason, the Moderators group had a PM quota (while the Members one didn’t, lol). Now it’s fixed so you can chat as much as you want :D 

    3. Peter


      Thanks Vova. Good to know it wasn't me making some rookie mistake - I usually assume this by default ;) 

  14. Wow. I'm speechless, Vova. And so sorry to hear about the numbers. Especially to you, of course, who's put a huge amount of work into turning your idea into a reality, and even fine tuning that idea to make the process as convenient and beneficial as possible for EVERY one of us. The positive I can see though is that there does seem to already be at least a significant number of people who 1) appreciate the hard work put in to begin something like this; 2) believe in the potential future benefit enough to WANT to help out; 3) recognize that collaboration and being willing to dedicate some time and effort for the sake of this project is the only way to make it worthwhile. Also, good to read Kathryn's response. First, I think it's true for most people who took the task seriously that the four reviews would have taken longer than the translation itself. That's not exactly a shock and I think most of us probably expected that even before we started our own translations. But it would be good to hear if others thought this was also an issue. I have to disagree with the whole "significantly more than a test translation"/too much work argument though. First, given that a full week was given to complete each phase, even with full time work last week, I (and I suspect most others) was able to find the time for the reviews. Secondly, the requirements for translators' participation were clearly stated right at the beginning, so shortly after signing up would have been the appropriate time to voice that particular concern and subsequently decide whether or not it was worth your time to go through with it. You definitely have a point about ProZ being able to offer you a more tangible benefit, with more clarity regarding the benefits, etc. However, as you said in your answer, ProZ, like SmartCat, is a community, relying on the collaboration and participation of the community to offer those benefits. The fact that it's a long-established community offers more safety, but I bet that during its infancy, ProZ also relied on its community members offering to perform "significantly more than test translations" in order to make it as successful as it is today. The fact that SmartCAT is in its infancy now probably means it's more likely that your desire to import your own TMs and glossaries, plus adding other CAT features, etc. can actually be incorporated into the platform in the future. In addition to whatever clearly stated obligations there are for translators, SmartCAT is probably going to require a leap of faith on our part. Undoubtedly, for fully established, seasoned translators such as Kathryn, there won't be as much willingness, necessity or reason to make that leap of faith, but it would be of huge value to the group as a whole if they do. And inferring from your answer that you did indeed complete your translation AND reviews, then that's already a show of commitment and something of a leap of faith as far as I'm concerned, for which I'm grateful.
  15. Hey Vova! That's cool. I guess Australia isn't exactly the most multilingual of countries, but I'm sure it won't be long before other Aussies join the forum, if there aren't already. About the book, a Venezuelan philatelist had written a book about a particular series of Venezuelan stamps that he was passionate about. Not exactly the stuff that New York Times Best Seller Lists are made of, but it was a real labour of love type project for the author, and we were both really happy with the translation. Here's the link if you're interested.