Archive for January, 2006

False Friends

January 31, 2006

A List of False Friends (a.k.a. false cognates) in Spanish. Alphabetized for your convenience.

Translating the company newsletter

January 30, 2006

Today I was assigned to translate some articles from the company newsletter. A little over 4000 words. I expect to finish it tomorrow.

The company newsletter presents its own unique challenges. There is very little repeated text, so my translation memory is not particularly useful. My glossary does come in handy, though.

One thing that I do appreciate about this assignment is that I get to learn and add new terms for my glossary. Like CAP. As in:

  • Common Agricultural Policy = Política Agrícola Común.
  • Identity preserved = Identidad Preservada.


January 29, 2006

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Jo-Hanna worked on an article…

January 29, 2006

Last week, I spent some time working on an article related to translation. Yesterday, I finished writing it up, revised it, and submitted it. Today, I am checking potential responses and stressing about it. When I thought up the ideas for the article, I took it for granted that it was going to get published. After all, writing is easy, right?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Unlike my posts, my article had to have a point. I had to make sure I listed my references, because I had no intention of being accused of plagiarism. Will the editor think it was written by a twelve-year-old?

I face rejection more often than I would like to admit. I know better than to take it personally. That doesn’t stop me, though.

Translators and Volunteering

January 28, 2006

I have registered as a translator for Kidlink. I strongly recommend aspiring translators volunteer their services to charitable organizations. Not only do you get experience and samples for your translation portfolio, but you also get to make a contribution to the community.

A few guidelines for volunteering your services as a translator or interpreter:

  1. After you are done, submit an invoice for your services, along with a big note reading something like “SERVICES PROVIDED PRO BONO AS CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION. NO MONEY EXCHANGED FOR THIS SERVICE”. It sounds really cold and calculating, but come tax time, it comes in handy. And just because you are providing your services for free, it does not mean they do not have a value.
  2. As eager as you may be for the experience, choose the recipients of your services carefully. Make sure it is a cause you can feel good about supporting. For example, some time ago, I contemplated volunteering my services to an environmental organization. However, after visiting their website, it became clear that it had a political stand I did not feel comfortable supporting.

Is it bananas? Or plantains?

January 27, 2006

WARNING: I’ll try to keep the contents of this post somewhat relevant to the main goals of my blog (translation, generally). If I fail miserably, I apologize.

Today, I went with a couple of co-wokers to La Mexicana, a local Mexican grocery store/restaurant. Co-worker #1 was hunting for ingredients to make mole, Co-worker #2 is a cooking expert, and I was tagging along. I ended up going home with a package of mole (wish me luck!), a single green plantain (suitable for plaintain fritters, also known as tostones), a can of pigeon peas and a jar of sofrito (to make arroz con gandules).

One of the better methods of learning a language is to immerse yourself in the culture. Spending time abroad (a significant amount of time interacting with the locals) is one of the better ways. However, if this is not practical due to money and/or time constraints, there are other ways. Perhaps visiting an ethnic store or two. Grocery stores really offer you some very interesting glimpses into a culture that you cannot get from a book.


  • The contents of the magazine stand. Spanish-language tabloids appear obsessed with true crime (“She poisoned her children and then killed herself!“) and not so much with celebrities.
  • So many parts of a cow are considered good eatin’. Tongue, anyone?
  • Plátano stands for two completely different types of produce in, say, Puerto Rico (plantains) and Mexico (bananas). Keep this in mind if you are localizing a cookbook.
  • Passion fruit juice is appreciated enough to be produced and sold; just look for the words parcha if in a Puerto Rican place or maracuyá if in a Mexican one.

Sometimes I am not so busy

January 26, 2006

Today at the day job, there was little need for my translation skills. This is par for the course. Sometimes, I translate all day long, and sometimes I go days without translating anything more complicated than an e-mail. I prefer the former. Hours can fly by when I am translating.

Spanish language has its own page

January 25, 2006

Visit La Página del Idioma Español for the word of the day, fora, a link to a dictionary from the Real Academia Española, a conjugating tool and more.

In addition to everything I just mentioned, this site featured an article on the training of translators and interpreters in the United States. Of particular interest was how the translators’ program at the University of Nebraska in Kearney is featured in this article.

This article makes me feel glad I had the opportunity to spend the first twenty-something years of my life in Puerto Rico, a Spanish-speaking country, while at the same time, get plenty of exposure to American culture and the English language through books, school, television, etc. For this dual-language experience I am very grateful.

Bite your Tongue!

January 24, 2006

The Centro Virtual Cervantes (Cervantes Virtual Center) has a section in its website called Morderse la Lengua (literally, “bite your tongue”), a humorous look at the crimes perpetrated against the Spanish language. Check it out for a good chuckle, but hopefully, you will not find yourself as an example.

Interested in interpreting for the court?

January 22, 2006

I finished my homework from the previous post. Yay!

Every so often, I think about making my skills more marketable in my town, and I consider becoming an interpreter. If you want more information on the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination, check out their Examinee Handbook.