Our Favorite Translation Cartoon

We should probably wait until our book, the Entrepreneurial Linguist, is published, but we are so excited about this cartoon that we just had to share it. Our wonderful colleague, translator, and translator cartoonist extraordinaire, Alejandro Moreno-Ramos of Spain, draws some of the funniest cartoons we know. He has generously contributed a fantastic cartoon to our book, which will appear on the first few pages. We tried to pay for his work -- to no avail. Thanks so much, Alejandro. We like his work so much that we will also include several of his previously published cartoons in our book, probably one in each chapter. Check out Mox and Mina's adventures.

Live English->German TV Interpretation: Scary

Now that Judy has started her court interpreter certification and Dagmar is working on her advanced conference interpreting degree, we've been thinking a lot about interpretation. Specifically, about how much of a challenge it is, and about the different high-pressure environments that we would not want to work in. One of them is live television -- think Miss Universe, award ceremonies, press conferences, etc. These jobs are best reserved for highly experienced simultaneous interpreters with nerves of steel. We've been honing our interpretation skills with the help of web 2.0, have been interpreting a lot of YouTube videos and have watched hundreds of outstanding interpretations. Our hats are off to our colleagues who can remain cool as cucumbers in front of a live television audience.

However, a few days ago, our colleague Giuseppina Gatta sent us a video about an interpretation that, well, wasn't good. It is English->German and features LaToya Jackson accepting an award in Dresden, Germany, on behalf of her late brother Michael. Again, this is a very tough job, but it doesn't seem as if the translator's interpreting skills are quite up to par. See for yourselves...

Link: Basic SEO for Linguists

This month, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting's Bulletin published one of Judy's article, which addresses an issue dear to every website owner's heart: search engine optimization. Inspired by all the strategies and tips that Judy has learned from our IT guru, Tom Gruber, she put together an easy-to-read article with tips and tricks. The article contains no hard-to-understand jargon and is written from one linguist to another: not from one techie to another. Translation: it's written in plain English.

While Judy does hold the copyright for all her articles, we've also verified with the Bulletin's wonderful editor, Rachel Malcolm, that we have permission to use Judy's articles on our forums, including our upcoming book. Please consider joining the ITI in the UK, which is a fantastic organization for linguists. Their outstanding bimonthly printed newsletter is included with membership.

We hope you enjoy the "Basic SEO for Linguists" article. We'd be most interested in hearing additional strategies for SEO. There's always a lot to learn!

A New Field: Court Interpretation

This week, after much hesitation, Judy decided to take the first step towards becoming a certified court interpreter for Spanish in the state of Nevada. It's a difficult and long process with a 5% pass rate on the first try for those who take the written and oral exam in the same year. We have both always had a lot of respect for those interpreters who are able to work in high-pressure court environments with extremely high stakes. Judy wasn't sure if she had the necessary knowledge of the court system to start the process, and while she has found that she has a good foundation thanks to many years as a legal translator, there is a tremendous amount of things to learn. It's a humbling experience.

The court interpreter certification workshop was put on by the Supreme Court of Nevada, which does an excellent job at administering the program. Andrea Krlickova is very efficient at running this certification process (by herself for the entire state!) and has been delightful. The trainer was the well-known and respected Agustín de la Mora, one of the leading authorities on interpreter training. The two-day workshop was very informative and enlightening, and, as opposed to other states that face budget crises, we are glad to see that Nevada is still offering the certification and workshop.

On Judy's to-do list:
  • Get a tape recorder and record a simultaneous and/or consecutive interpretation every day. You only get better by doing this frequently.
  • Read the most important works on court interpretation, especially Holly Mikkelson's books.
  • Gain a solid understanding of Nevada court terminology, including responsibilities of each court.
  • Listen to YouTube videos and interpret them simultaneously.
  • Ask colleagues for honest feedback.
It's thrilling and challenging to expand our interpretation services and move beyond escort community, and health care interpretation. Judy took the written exam today, and in March she will know whether she will be able to take the difficult oral exam in September.

Our hats are off to all your court interpreters! If you have any suggestions for those starting out in this particular field, Judy would love to hear them.

Adobe Reader Warning

Our IT guru just alerted us to the following issue, which we would like to share with our readers. If you are like us, you probably use Adobe Reader quite frequently. Unfortunately, some critical vulnerabilities have just been identified. Here is more information:

Critical vulnerabilities have been identified in Adobe Reader and Acrobat that could allow an attacker who successfully exploits these vulnerabilities to take control of the affected system. All it takes is to open a PDF document or stumble across a page which embeds one. This issue only affects users on Windows PCs (lucky Mac users).

The solution is to disable JavaScript support in Adobe Reader and Acrobat. You can disable it via the Preferences menu (Edit -> Preferences -> JavaScript and un-check Enable Acrobat JavaScript).

Have You Updated Your Rates?

We have written about the need to adjust your rates on January 1 very frequently. So, have you done it? January 1 is the best day to do this, unless you spend the entire day at the gym working on your other New Year's resolutions. The reason you need to adjust your rates is simple: inflation. With your very small rate increase, you are simply ensuring that you have the same purchasing power this year as you had in the previous year. If you don't increase your rates, you are effectively giving yourself a pay decrease. That doesn't sound like a good way to start the year, does it? To read more about inflation, visit the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and learn about the Consumer Price Index. And be grateful you don't live in Zimbabwe, where inflation has been 79,600,000,000%.

And yes, we know, you will say: the girls at Translation Times should lead the way, yet they haven't adjusted their rates. And you are right, but we have a good reason. Our wonderful IT guru is in the middle of a rather complex server migration this week, and we don't want to add another element to it. Once the migration is complete, we will update our rates as well. We'll be precisely one week late.

How Much Would You Pay?

We hope all our colleagues around the world had a fantastic start into 2010. We took advantage of a few relatively quiet days to make major progress on our book. We are still on target for a spring publication of "The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation," which we are planning on self-publishing on Lulu. We are able to set our own price, and we are in the process of determining what the price should be. We'd like to make a modest profit off our work, but we also want the book to be accessible, price-wise, to everyone. As it stands at the moment, the book will be a nicely bound paperback of high quality with approximately 150 pages, illustrations, graphs, and a detailed glossary.

What do you, dear readers, think in terms of pricing? How much would you pay? We'd love to hear from you. Simply leave a comment. Thanks, in advance, for your input.

Link: Video From ATA Conference

While the ball was dropping last night in NYC, we received news from a fellow linguist, French->English audiovisual translator Alexander Totz, who tackled a time-consuming project: interviewing many translators and bloggers during the ATA conference in NYC at the end of October.

He's compiled a short video with brief interviews featuring Corinne McKay, Eve Bodeux, and one of us, Translation Times' Judy Jenner. These interviews were held at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, just like last night's NYE festivities (but it was infinitely less crowded during the conference).

Watch the video on Alexander's blog here. Enjoy and thanks to Alexander for all the hard work -- it's quite a challenge to make appointments with folks during the busy conference. We admire his perseverance and dedication to compiling a bit of oral history of our profession.
Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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