A Letter from Maya Angelou, Translation Lit Prizes, and More

News, Reviews, and Interviews

Some controversy surrounded the publication announcement of Harper Lee’s new work, Go Set A Watchman, and some wondered if she was manipulated into signing a contract. The state of Alabama has found Lee mentally sound and Reuters reported that Lee has made it quite clear she wants the book to be published. [Read more...]

Language Interpreter Services Involve Much More Than Language

Proficiency in two languages is an essential skill for any language interpreter. That skill alone, however, is not always enough. Language interpreter services often entail special technical understanding and knowledge of the field in question – like legal or medical language, for instance. In addition to those sorts of essential secondary skills, language interpreters must often possess a knack for diplomacy and the rhetoric of foreign relations. [Read more...]

Language Translation Services and Japanese Law

Like virtually everywhere in the modern world, the law in Japan is now largely an online enterprise. At first glance, language translation services might seem unnecessary for firms working with Japanese clients because nearly the entire Japanese legal code is available online at the government’s Japanese Law Translation website. The site provides more-or-less acceptable English text describing the specific laws forming the body of a still evolving legal system. [Read more...]

Legal Interpreting and Translating Services: Two Very Different Things

Speaking is different than writing, listening is different than reading, and interpreting is different than translating. In common vernacular, we use the terms interchangeably. We ask our bilingual friends and colleagues to ‘translate’ for us, but what we usually want is for them to ‘interpret’ what a speaker is telling us. The spoken word is interpreted. The written word is translated. These are not the same or even very similar tasks. They require different skills, different processes, and different inclinations. [Read more...]

How to search a MultiTerm termbase within Trados Studio

Do you translate using Trados Studio? Do you know how to search a MultiTerm termbase within Studio? Read on to learn more.

I’m a huge fan of terminology databases and use them for all my translation projects. I find that a good termbase helps me to translate faster, because it enables me to insert terms into my translation very easily. As well as storing complex terms, I also add frequently used terms to my termbase, to make sure that I’m using them consistently throughout my translation. [Read more...]

Banff Calling

Every year I publish a note to remind translators everywhere to apply to go to Banff next summer. It’s gorgeous, and you can spend three weeks there working, hiking idyllically, working some more, and comparing notes with other translators. Open to all translators from the Americas and/or who are translating authors from the Americas. And it’s a pretty wonderful place. I’ve written about it before. The application deadline this year is Feb. 15, and you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about applying right here. [Read more...]

Memory and English to Chinese Translation

Working in Chinese and then learning how to translate Chinese to English (or vice versa) requires a good deal of memory power. The Chinese language can be quite complex in its written form. Even if you stick to simplified Chinese characters (jiantizi, 简体字), you’ll need to memorize upward of 4,000 “hanzi” (漢字) characters in order to boast of any real reading or written fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

Japanese and Koreans also use Chinese characters, although not to the extent Chinese do. Japanese and Korean rely heavily on phonetic alphabets, reducing their dependency on Chinese characters, especially in their modern usages. [Read more...]

Blogging a Translation Cover to Cover

Well, the season of enforced merriment has arrived once more, and even though the winter solstice has come and gone – meaning that the days will now be getting longer again – it’s still only the second-darkest day of the year, and so you’ve got plenty of cause to look for a few good distractions. Enter Daniel Hahn, translation stalwart. I’m calling him that because he’s the programme director of the British Centre for Literary Translation and former chair of the Translators Association as well as a highly respected translator from several romance languages, of books by authors like José Luís Peixoto, José Saramago, Philippe Claudel and Pélé. His translation of The Book of Chameleonsby José Eduardo Agualus won the 2007 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. But I’m calling him that especially because he is blogging in depth and detail about his current translation-in-progress: Carola Saavedra’s Flores Azuis (Blue Flowers). [Read more...]