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Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate writer, dies aged 87

By: RominaZ

Colombian author became standard-bearer for Latin American letters after success of One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, who unleashed the worldwide boom in Spanish literature with his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died at the age of 87. He had been admitted tohospital in Mexico City on 3 April with pneumonia.

Matching commercial success with critical acclaim, García Márquez became a standard-bearer for Latin American letters, establishing a route for negotiations between guerillas and the Colombian government, building a friendship with Fidel Castro, and maintaining a feud with fellow literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa that lasted more than 30 years.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said via Twitter: “A thousand years of solitude and sadness at the death of the greatest Colombian of all time. More.

See: The Guardian

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150 free e-books for translators and interpreters

Source: TermCoord
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Living in the Digital Age means there is no excuse for not staying updated professionally during Easter holidays. The blog Infotra of The Falculty of Translation and Documentation at the University of Salamanca, one of the oldest universities in the Western world, features a collection of 150 e-book resources for translators and interpreters on everything from multilingual business practises in the EU to false friends in Spanish-English.

Of course there is also our own EP TermCoord page with a large selection of e-books divided into four categories: Terminology, Translation, Linguistics and Glossaries.

The best thing is it’s all free to access, so what are you waiting for: Grab your iPad, download the free pdf’s, find a nice sunny spot in the park – and there you go: lots of free training, fresh air and perhaps a little Easter tan at the same time!

See: TermCoord

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Sinographic memory in Vietnamese writing

Source: Language Log
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Jason Cox sent in the following photograph of the cover of a Vietnamese religious text and asked what was going on with the “characters” along the left and right sides.

This immediately reminded me of Square Word Calligraphy (writing English words in the shape of a square, like Chinese characters), originally created by Xu Bing in 1994, a new version of which was developed by David B. Kelley in 2012.

Before tackling the “characters” in vertical columns on the left and right, let’s see what sort of text this is.

At the top it reads: “Cao Dai Great Way” (Cao Dai is the popular, monotheistic religion in the Mekong delta). The large red letters in the middle say “True Teachings of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana)”. For more on the Cao Dai, see Millenarianism and Peasant Politics in Vietnam (1983) by Hue Tam Tai. More.

See: Language Log

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The poetry of the trading floor, going beyond bears and bulls

Source: The New York Times
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

LONDON — Finance is such a picturesque business, but nobody seems to notice.

Once upon a time, for instance, all that you needed to start a bank was a bench. You put your bench up in a square in medieval Italy and sat down behind it to do business. The Italian for bench is banca, and hence our modern word bank.

Sometimes, of course, bankers would run out of money, and when they did — in an age before the invention of TARP, bailouts and Ben Bernanke — their bench would be ceremonially smashed in front of them. It was then a “broken bench” or “banca rotta” or “bankrupt.” Though trading terminals may be sturdy things, this is the sort of personalized and decisive action that I’m sure we all hope to see from Janet Yellen and her ax.

Money is filled with these strange images, if we only look for them.

My point here is the eternal poetic inventiveness of the financial mind. Popular opinion has it that bankers think of nothing but profit. But their brains are fixated on poetic invention. Money seems to be a side issue. And if modern poets had half the linguistic inventiveness of the modern banker, they would sell more books. More.

See: The New York Times

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Translation management developer XTRF scores first round of funding

Source: Common Sense Advisory
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Last week, we spoke with Andrzej Nedoma, CEO of XTRF, a provider of translation project and process management software based in Poland. Nedoma told us that XTRF signed a “cooperation agreement” with Experior, a venture capital (VC) firm that will provide around US$2 million for product and company development. According to its co-founder Marzena Bielecka, Experior’s principals have long worked in investment banking and private equity. The firm invests in early-stage companies in Poland. We asked our usual questions about:

  • The investment? Experior is XTRF’s first external capital source. Until now, the company has bootstrapped its growth from product sales after being spun off in 2005 from LidoLang Technical Translations, a language service provider (LSP). Two million dollars is a welcome investment in a region where the cost of development is lower than in the U.S. or Western Europe.
  • Financial performance? As with most privately-held companies, Nedoma wouldn’t reveal current, past, or projected revenue. However, he did say that XTRF has grown 100% annually for the last few years. The company sells mostly to LSPs and corporate translation departments in Europe, but has also sold solutions in another very competitive market, the United States. Nedoma is confident that his strategy and the investment will allow the company to continue its current growth rate.
  • Control? Experior gets a minority stake in the company but XTRF management shareholders keep full control of the company and by far the majority of shares. While there will be no change in the company’s executive management, Experior will take a seat on XTRF’s advisory board. Nedoma expects to benefit from the venture fund’s financial and operational experience, thus pointing to a close advisory relationship. More.

See: Common Sense Advisory

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Gatsby in Translationland, Part II: between words and films

Source: Asymptote
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Asymptote Blog is celebrating The Great Gatsby’s 89th anniversary with two essays dedicated to Gatsby, translated: What does a seminal work of 20th-century Americana look like outside the tight nexus of American lit? This essay, second in a two-part series, takes a look at four very different Gatsbys, in translation and onscreen. Read Part I here.

“Alcoholism, insomnia, anxiety, depression”: this is the diagnosis that appears in the medical record of Nick Carraway, protagonist of Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film “The Great Gatsby.” Luhrmann’s is the fourth filmicGatsby, published on April 10, 1925, and one of the first works tackling the mythic American Dream.

In Poland, The Great Gatsby didn’t appear until 1962 in Ariadna Demkowska’s translation; another translation, by Jędrzej Polak, was issued only once, in 1994. In 2013, i.e. over half a century after its Polish premiere, Fitzgerald’s novel came out in Jacek Dehnel’s new translation. I will focus on two film adaptations and two Polish translations: the 1974 film directed by Jack Clayton and the 2013 Baz Luhrmann version; and translations by Ariadna Demkowska and Jacek Dehnel. More.

See: Asymptote

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The Antarctic tour guide: my career in languages

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Multilinguist Nikki Rickett leads groups around Antarctica, a job she wouldn’t be able to do without her background in languages

I was lucky at school – I had fantastic French and German teachers. Mrs Barnes, Mrs Ralton and Miss Myers were incredibly dedicated: I broke my femur just before my A levels and they came round to my house to make sure I was up to date with all my revision. They also made learning alanguage fun in the classroom. That’s so important, because if the teacher isn’t encouraging, you can be sitting there terrified. What I learned from them was you just have to be willing to speak and never be afraid to make mistakes.

When it became obvious from my grades that I should apply to university, somebody told me: “Do the degree you love”. Originally I was intending to do French and German but I enjoyed history and wanted to incorporate that as well so I chose European Studies and German at Keele university. Knowing a country’s history tells you an awful lot about the language and the culture of the languages you’re learning. More.

See: The Guardian

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How to attract more visitors to your website in 3 steps

Source: Translator Thoughts
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

So you have a nice website up and running for you translation agency, or perhaps for your own freelance work, but what now? How to attract more visitors to your website so that you can work your magic and turn them into clients?

SEO should be a key part of your plan. SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is how you tweak your site so that Google ranks it higher in people’s search results.

For translators it is important for two reasons: first, you need to know how to translate a website in a SEO-friendly way for your clients,as we discussed in a previous article. Secondly, you need to learn how to leverage it for yourself, in order to get more visitors and, hopefully, convert them into clients.

If you still don’t have a website because you think “I am only a freelancer and I don’t need a website, I just need a CV” you are missing out a lot of opportunities. You send CVs if you are applying for jobs, but if you are a freelancer you actually are a business owner. Ok, your business is made of yourself only, but it is still a business. So start promoting your business, and leverage the internet for this. Furthermore, if you don’t have a website you’re leaving the opportunities to people who promote themselves online. Start creating your website with this step-by-step free guide, then come back here and keep reading. More.

See: Translator Thoughts

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Why do you need a website in more than one language

Source: Beyond the Words
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Did you know that 70% of Internet users prefer to browse the web in their native language? And the vast majority of online searches is conducted in languages other than English?

Are you still convinced that using only one language on your website is the way to go?

Well, let’s break down the benefits of a multilingual website:

1. You’ll gain trust and loyalty of your customers

In many cultures Internet users tend to be cautious when it comes to buying products and services online, especially if no information is available in their native language. Once they have an access to a local version of the website, their uncertainty decreases and your company is more likely to attract new customers. Plus, a website in multiple languages proves that the company cares about the needs of its potential customers, which builds loyalty and trust. More.

See: Beyond the Words

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The Smartling Context Capture Extension for Chrome

Source: Smartling
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

We all know the importance of context in ensuring that you have a quality translation. This is why the Smartling Translation Management System enables context for a variety of projects – files, docs, websites.

For websites, in some cases it’s difficult to capture dynamic content — a modal dialog, a hover menu, or text loaded by ajax — because it isn’t visible in the initial load of the page. The Smartling Context Capture Extension solves this problem by allowing you to take a HTML snapshot of any state of a web page.

Translators will see these snapshots and better understand how their translations fit linguistically and visually into the context of the page. Because Smartling captures HTML, not just a screenshot, the translation text can be inserted into the markup to test its fit.

The extension is a free plugin that you can install via the Chrome Store here. More.

See: Smartling

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Translators’ pay: how much are you worth?

Source: Words to good effect
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

The Cabinet Office job satisfaction survey I mentioned in my last post ranks “Authors, writers and translators” at no. 42, with an average income of £26,207. The Adzuna  survey, lists average pay for translators as £39,900. That’s quite a gap, and there are plenty of variables that might explain it: in-house or self-employed status, level of experience and/or specialisation, for example. But I suspect the £26,207 figure is nearer the reality for most self-employed translators. If you think it’s way off the mark, let me know and we’ll run a poll.

Focusing just on the income side of the surveys, here’s an exercise to do.

Step 1 – consider translators’ career paths

Read this description of the translator’s career path, by Lanna Castellano (I first saw it in the 1992 edition of Mona Baker’s book “In Other Words”, published by Routledge):

“Our profession is based on knowledge and experience. It has the longest apprenticeship of any profession. Not until thirty do you start to be useful as a translator, not until fifty do you start to be in your prime. The first stage of the career pyramid – the apprenticeship stage – is the time we devote to investing in ourselves by acquiring knowledge and experience of life. Let me propose a life path: grandparents of different nationalities, a good school education in which you learn to read, write, spell, construe and love your own language. Then roam the world, make friends, see life. Go back to education, but to take a technical or commercial degree, not a language degree. Spend the rest of your twenties and your early thirties in the countries whose languages you speak, working in industry or commerce but not directly in languages. Never marry into your own nationality. Have your children. Then back to a postgraduate translation course. A staff job as a translator, and then go freelance. By which time you are forty and ready to begin”. More.

See: Words to good effect

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Found in translation … when misquoting someone is the best way to be fair and accurate

Source: The Guardian
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

If a non-English speaker feels like a ‘donkey out of water’, it’s right to change their words to help them get their point across clearly

“I want to take physical exercise with the guitar” – this phrase is what, my uncle informed me through much mirth, I was saying when I was fighting over said instrument (well, a toy version of it) with my cousin in India one childhood summer.

The confusion, and subsequent hilarity, was the result of my English-first speaking brain, translating the wordplay into a context that has no existence in Bengali. Play as in “I will play a game” (khelbo) simply cannot be used in the way we say “I will play the xylophone” (bajabo), and certainly not any others: “I will play a part” (hobo) in a, well, play (natok).

This has gone down in the annals of my family as one of many comical tales of my mangling of Bengali in my youth along with “wearing” insect repellent (in Bengali you “spread” it) and attempting to “comb” a cousin’s hair (comb is never a verb; literally translated, you “scratch” someone’s hair). But say it was the other way around – if Bengali was my first language, and I witnessed something and was interviewed by an English-language newspaper, saying “I was just scratching my hair when I saw the crash” – that would make me sound rather foolish, wouldn’t it? More.

See: The Guardian

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Wordfast Pro 3.4

Source: MultiLingual
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

Wordfast LLC, a provider of translation memory (TM) software, has released Wordfast Pro 3.4. New features added to TransCheck include remote glossary, character count and maximum length. The latest version also adds support for SRT files and a frequents populator.

See: MultiLingual

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‘Versatorium Playbook’ explores translation

Source: The Harvard Crimson
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

“Translation is a kind of poetic experimentation. There is nothing better than reading a poem through translation,” the American poet Charles Bernstein said April 9 in “The Versatorium Playbook,” a seminar exploring the challenges and rewards of poetic translation. Bernstein, a key figure in the American “language poetry” movement, was joined by the Austrian poet and novelist Peter Waterhouse, an experienced translator of German-language poetry. The duo shared their unique perspectives on translation, illustrating the positive impact translation can have on the art form of poetry, as well as on those who collaborate to translate together.

A professor at the University of Vienna, Waterhouse designed a poetry translation class that centered on students regularly cooperating to work on translating poetry. According to Waterhouse, his students would regularly devote between 30 to 40 hours a week to translating poetry in a group setting. Asked about what types of works the class translated, Waterhouse said, “We translated anything we could get hold of, everything which was around and on the book, not just the poetry—any kind of symbols and signs were also translated. We were interested in material that cannot be translated.” Sometimes, Waterhouse and his students were not allowed to translate certain American poems due to copyright laws. Instead of translating the words into German, they illustrated the meaning of the poem through icons and pictures. More.

See: The Harvard Crimson

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The 2014 Best Translated Book Award shortlist

Source: Typographical Era
Story flagged by: Maria Kopnitsky

And 25 becomes 10…here are your finalists for the 2014 Best Translated Book Award!

  1. The African Shore by Rodrigo Rey Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Jeffrey Gray
  2. A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, translated from the Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter
  3. My Struggle: Book Two / A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
  4. Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
  5. Blinding by Mircea Cărtărescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter
  6. Horses of God by Mahi Binebine, translated from the French by Lulu Norman
  7. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein
  8. The Forbidden Kingdom by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, translated from the Dutch by Paul Vincent
  9. Tirza by Arnon Grunberg, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
  10. Leg over Leg: Volume One by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies

See: Typographical Era

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Ross Ufberg and his authors

Source: Authors and Translators
Story flagged by: RominaZ

“I love the combination of almost mathematic precision and then the creativity that must follow. First you’ve got to make sure it all adds up, crudely speaking 1:1; then, you begin to take licenses, innovate, figure out ways to communicate what is missing from the rough draft, how to compensate for the different cultural backgrounds of the original intended reader, and the new intended reader. At least for me, it’s something like math + imagination =literary translation.”

Read the interview here.

See: Authors and Translators

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The challenge of translation in Africa

Source: How We Made It in Africa
Story flagged by: RominaZ

Did you know the translation industry is said to be worth something in the region of US$35bn per year? Language is big business. Within Africa, traditionally much of the work done within this field was in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic. However, things are changing. Indigenous languages are on the up and this is changing the dynamics of translation on the continent, above all, increasing demand for professional translations. (…)

There are many challenges to delivering professional translations into/from many of the continent’s languages. First-hand experience has taught those who understand the region that you can’t always approach translation in the same way you may in Europe, North America or Asia.

Here are some reasons why…

Previous low status of native languages

It is only recently that native languages seem to have been acknowledged as ‘worthy’. Previous compartmentalisation saw these mother tongues as for the village or recounting stories of old. Their place in the modern world was seen as minimal by those in power. This has had real knock-on consequences for language development.

Lack of representation for translators

Although the continent does have a few bodies that oversee the translation sector in their nations, this is certainly not the norm. The South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) and the Nigerian Institute of Translators and Interpreters (NITI) are examples of organisations developing skills and helping translators professionally. Excluding these, Africa only has eight other similar bodies – that’s a total of 10 from 55 nations.

Qualifications and training need improvement

Although the continent does have university courses specific to translation, overall it is still underdeveloped. These courses are primarily aimed at equipping students with translation knowledge surrounding the usual suspects of English, French and Portuguese. On top of this, the texts they tend to translate in their education do not reflect the reality of life as a translator. However, things are starting to change with the appearance of languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Turkish and Spanish in some places. The skills graduates acquire in courses leave much to be desired and need improvement. More.

See: How We Made It in Africa

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‘Over a lakh manuscripts need to be preserved’

Source: The Hindu
Story flagged by: RominaZ

This will benefit Indologists pursuing research on history and culture of local people, says expert.

Over one lakh rare manuscripts in different languages are lying with private libraries and individuals unprotected. They are needed to be preserved for posterity, says Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Institute (APOMLRI) Director Sripada Subramaniam.

The institute recognised as a Manuscripts Resource Centre by the National Mission for Manuscripts is currently on the process of doing a comprehensive survey of rare manuscripts in Telugu, Sanskrit, Urdu and Persian and Arabic and preserve them for the benefit of Indologists keen on pursuing research on the history and culture of people in these parts, revealed Dr. Subramaniam, Sanskrit professor from the Telugu University on deputation to the Institute. More.

See: The Hindu

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Top ten facts about dictionaries

Source: Express
Story flagged by: RominaZ
1. Johnson’s dictionary was not the first such work but was the first to try to include all English words with definitions and examples.
2. It was the leading dictionary until the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) appeared 173 years later.
3. Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall of 1604, which is often seen as the first English dictionary, had no words beginning with J, K, U, W, X or Y…
4. …but J and I were seen as the same letter at that time, as were U and V, so only K, W, X and Y words were really absent.
5. The OED includes definitions for about 600,000 words.
6. A major contributor of quotations to the OED was William Chester Minor, a former US Army surgeon who was held in
Broadmoor lunatic asylum after killing a man
7. “Lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge…” (Johnson’s Dictionary).
8. Until recently, the word with most definitions in the OED was ‘set’ but the current winner is ‘run’.
9. Johnson though his dictionary would take three years to complete. Actually it took nine.
10. The OED was estimated to take 10 years but it took 70.

See: Express

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Spanish interpreter faces legal actions after sending ambulance to wrong location

Source: Oregon Live
Story flagged by: RominaZ

A $3 million wrongful death lawsuit accuses a 9-1-1 Spanish-language interpreter of botching the translation of an address and sending an ambulance to the wrong location as a 25-year-old woman was gasping for air.

A total of 26 minutes ticked by as medics raced around searching for the woman in distress, received the correct address and arrived to find Elidiana Valdez-Lemus unconscious from cardiac arrest. She had not taken a breath in the previous 14 minutes, and doctors declared her brain dead.

Three days later, she died after her family made the decision to take her off of life support.

That’s all according to the suit, which was filed Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The attorney’s office for the City of Portland, which is listed as a defendant through its Bureau of Emergency Communications, declined to comment citing the pending litigation. More.

See: Oregon Live

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