Where’s my parade?

September 30, 2010

And in other news, according to the Newsbriefs sent to me by ATA, today, September 30, is International Translation Day.

Well, color me uninformed, because I did not know about it. Now there are only 2 hrs left into my special day.

You know how I celebrated? I just spent an unhealthy amount of time converting hard copies of invoices into PDF documents. Some people get parades, some people get mentions in the paper, I get work.

If your celebration was more entertaining that mine, share in the comments.

No Major Group Project

May 28, 2010

Hello again!

What exactly kept me from posting since February?

Jo-Hanna shows off her cast

OK, so this was not the only thing, but it is the only one that spawned off a nice picture. I broke my arm on March 22, needing a week in a splint,  4 weeks in a cast, and a few weeks of 2 sessions of physical therapy per weeks. As of my last appointment, my fracture has healed nicely, even though certain motions still hurt.

I went back to my day job and tried to do my job to the best of my ability. My office attire that first week got me compliments. This was rather surprising because I could barely dress myself. Anything involving buttons was a no-no. I ended up wearing skirts and dresses.

Of course, the best of my ability wasn’t much that first week back. In normal circumstances, I can type about 60ish words per minute without looking at the keyboard. How well do you think I did? It took me about two weeks to be able to use my left hand while typing, and I had to use Sticky Keys, a feature in Windows that keeps the Shift key down so capital letters can be typed.  Other tasks that gave me trouble: sorting files, taking notes while somebody spoke to me on the phone.

During the splint week, while I was waiting for the swelling to go down, I was approached about another version of the Major Group Project, which inspired several entries last year. Unfortunately, I knew I could not do the work at the speed required, so I had to decline that rather interesting (and lucrative!)  assignment.  I was able to take an interpreting assignment and was relieved about being able to do my job AND dressing myself in the lucky Pantsuit of Justice.

An now I am off the disabled list.  And I am ready for whatever comes. Bring it on, world!

But no more broken bones, mmmkay?

So here’s the camera…

February 18, 2010

A few months ago (and posts ago), I promised to myself I would acquire a webcam for the purposes of remote interpreting. Here’s a list of a few things I learned:

  • It is probably best that I don’t focus too much on how I look on camera. I spent too much time obsessing about a zit or two (or seven) and trying to find a “good” side.
  • I am going to have to get good with this thing before I actually rely on it for actual interpreting.
  • The packaging for the camera? Huge. The actual camera, now affixed to my monitor? Tiny. It fits in the palm of my hand.

Videos soon to follow.

On the other side

November 30, 2009

Through my work at the SGN agency, I have had an unique opportunity. Instead of providing interpreting services, I have participated in exchanges where an outside interpreter has been hired to ensure impartiality.

I never realized how difficult (yet necessary!) it is to remember to speak slowly and articulately, while also making sure to avoid grouping several sentences together.

I have learned am trying to learn to minimize my natural tendency to be verbose, as well as to avoid using jargon just so others can admire my knowledge. It is not a competition.

It is a rare opportunity to watch a colleague at work, and I am going to make sure I learn as much as I can from it.

Open letter to the Universe…

October 10, 2009

Dear Universe:

Thank you for sending so much work my way a few months ago. Thank you also for the quiet time to get caught up in the business of daily life.

If you feel like throwing work in my direction again, it would be welcome. Nothing too fancy, but not too disgusting. I am not desperate yet.

Sincerely, Jo-Hanna

The parents are gone! (sniff!)

August 22, 2009

My parents’ visit came to an end too soon.

And I don’t say this just because on more than one occasion they picked up the tab for dinner or because my mother scrubbed out my refrigerator (Yes, I know I mentioned this before. Sue me). I miss their presence. Their witty conversation. The fact that they love me and encourage me to pursue my new career goal. s remain as usual.

Since my last posting, I had one interpreting gig, which went OK. I can’t remember if I wore the Pantsuit of Justice or if I managed to assemble some other Outfit of Justice that was more appropriate for the weather.

And in other news…it has been suggested that I acquire a webcam in order to do remote interpreting. I am going to look into that.

My parents are here!

July 22, 2009

After much threatening to do so… my parents have finally come here for a visit.

Oh, the conversations! I should take notes for future “Conversations” posts. While my father is now retired, he remains brilliant, witty, and organized. As fas as my mother… I’ll announce it for my whole readership to know: the woman scrubbed out my refrigerator. And this was only one of the tasks she has undertaken.

Seriously. The woman came to my apartment with rubber gloves and scrubbing sponges in her purse. She asked me where my apron was. I stared at her blankly, because in my eight years in that apartment, there has been no apron in my apartment. If I was a better person, I would have said, “Mom, please, you are on vacation!” In fact, I think I said it. But the woman was adamant.

“There. Don’t you feel better with a clean fridge?”
“MAMI! Ok, I do.”

Availability of bilingual information on autism

June 17, 2009

For Latino parents, raising autistic child has complex barriers

As a both Puerto Rican and the mother of an autistic child, I could relate. At least both my husband and I do not have to cope with a language barrier when looking up information, speaking to my daughter’s teachers and doctors, or signing her up for services. The article linked above describes the struggle of a Puerto Rican family residing in the US in finding services for their daughter, who is autistic.

Some of the comments, of course, made my blood boil.  One stated that the mother, who according to the article, doesn’t speak English, was just creating obstacles for her daughter. However, the father saw fit to respond Note: spelling and grammar are true to the original:

This article was directed mostly to people whom are at the  begining stages of finding there child has the condition. Latino parents just recently immagrating to the USA and have  children with autism should make it a priority to learn the English but inthe mean time there children should’nt have to go on with out help. We have our share of hard time much like any other families with autistic children. As a latino I and know how hard it could be at the begining I hope we can help latino families with there obsticles. This is why i agree to do this interview.

I couldn’t have put it more eloquently myself.

Insomnia is my new best friend

May 7, 2009

My Mami sent me a card for Mother’s Day (I mailed out hers today).  She included a clipping from El Nuevo Día about Luis Rivera Colón, a young student/autism activist who has been admitted to the University of Puerto Rico’s graduate studies program on translation. I would include a link to it, but their website requires you to log in. If you don’t mind logging in and are able to read Spanish, just do a search.

In other news, I have spent the last few days going to bed late, waking up at 4:00 a.m., forcing myself to stay in bed until 5:00, and trying to find something to do until I absolutely must start getting ready for bed. Yesterday, I did the dishes; today, I proofed documents that needed it. 5:00 a.m. is the magic hour. Maybe tomorrow I’ll split atoms.

What I learned at the MICATA conference…

April 4, 2009

I have been asked to provide the insights gained from the MICATA conference I attended two weeks ago. I am sure you expect something more coherent than “It was AWESOME!” Please keep in mind that I am working from memory and not a program.

I attended a conference on CAT software, which didn’t teach me much I didn’t already know, and another where I picked up some tips on TRADOS. Despite a few years using that sucker, there was one function I was completely unaware existed. I’ll spare myself some embarrassment and refrain from disclosing.

There were other sessions that were quite interesting, such as working with agencies and issues in medical/legal interpreting. After the lunch (quite good, actually, despite the presence of decaf coffee), I attended a session on technology. I was tempted to call it “All the Gadgets that Would Make Your Interpreting Career More Profitable (If You Could Afford Them!)” Apparently, in addition to the basic computer and cell phone, you need a GPS device. And your cell phone should be a SmartPhone. While the lecturer enumerated the advantage of a SmartPhone (you could, for instance, take a picture of a text, e-mail it to yourself, and start working right then and there!), electronic dictionaries, I could not help but think about two things:

  • My cell phone at the time didn’t even work all that well. I had functioned for months without the camera function, but the display had gone blank.  It has been upgraded by now, thanks for asking.
  • If I had been a little smarter, I would have brought that piece of primitive technology known as a legal pad so I could take notes.