More useful links to other people’s admirable work!

1. Isa Bogdan describes why, for literary translators in Germany, a standard page (Normseite) does not mean 1800 keystrokes. It goes back to typewriter days and includes short lines. This is known to many translators, but not to all clients. The kind of translations I do are not charged by the page, and even when I worked for publishers I worked by the line, but it’s worth knowing this. I know the EU has pages too, but they are different.

Die Normseite stammt noch aus der Schreibmaschinenzeit. Damals ging es darum, über einen bestimmten Rahmen nicht hinauszuschreiben. Übersetzer bekamen teilweise sogar vom Verlag Papier geschickt, auf dem dieser Rahmen aufgedruckt war. Hinein passten genau dreißig Zeilen mit jeweils höchstens sechzig Anschlägen. Schreibmaschinenschriften waren ja nicht proportional, sodass immer gleichviele Buchstaben in eine Zeile passten.

2. Timothy Cooper, a senior terminologist at the EU, gave a talk in London recently on IATE, the EU terminology database that many translators consult online. In his blog A Pragmatic Eye, Charlie Bavington gives a full account of this talk. This contains useful information such as not to select a domain when searching, as there are too many domains and terms may not be filed under the logical domain. Nor should you even search for a specific pair of languages.

Summary search tips:
– Don’t use plurals
– Ignore domains
– Search on all languages, not a pair
– The “reliability” star rating is not to be relied upon.

This looks like useful advice, and I may give IATE another chance. I remember hearing at a talk years ago that a lot of the earliest IATE material was made available free online because the quality checking system was not reliable. Mind you, my own terminology database is a mess, and they do say many cooks spoil the broth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.