Translation Journal

A new edition of Gabe Bokor’s online translation journal, Translation Journal, is online.

Among other things, in ‘Translation Taken Seriously’, Danilo Nogueira reports on a financial translation seminar organized by four clients (international financial institutions of IFIs) to help their translators. The remarks on CAT software are heartening:

bq. I do not know about your clients, but most of mine can be divided into two categories: a diminishing one that confuses CAT and MT and an increasing one that says: “Buy Trados, or else.”

bq. It was very refreshing to learn that IFIs belong to neither of the above groups. They know MT is one thing and has its uses, and that CAT is another thing and there is more than one CAT program worthy of consideration. It was great to learn that we should expect segmented files in the future and will be free to deal with them as we think best, provided the results achieved are acceptable to the IFI that requested the job.

I also looked at Fire Ant and Worker Bee’s agony aunt column. I always thought the readers’ letters were invented, but I have it on the highest authority that they’re genuine, strangely enough. The first letter, from ‘Litter Bug’, addressed a situation I know well, and I suspect the answer was from Fire Ant.

bq. I am a freelance translator with an office in my home and a reasonably successful business serving clients in the UK and the Netherlands. The other day I was caught off guard when a client phoned me out of the blue and insisted on dropping in to review a text in person (he happened to be in the neighbourhood, and the text was urgent).

bq. It was a chastening experience—not for the text itself and our discussion, which went very well, but because my office is a shambles, with papers papers papers and files files files as far as the eye can see. I will spare you the details, but from the look on this man’s face as he crossed the threshold, I don’t think my frantic hoovering accomplished much.

Suggested solutions include intercepting the client at the door and directing him or her to a café, tricks with lighting and plants, quickly piling stuff into removal boxes and claiming moving is going on, or putting crime scene tape around a pile of stuff and claiming it results from a burglary and may not be touched.

I was confronted with this situation a week or two ago when two young American soldiers turned up needing a sworn translation. I thought they’d all left, but even the law office still exists, with my address of ten years ago. It took them two hours to find me. Standing at the counter in my office, one of them reached into a container full of writing instruments but failed to get a functioning pen. Not surprising, since three-quarters of them are no use and the only thing I frequently use from there is a small screwdriver.

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