Archive for April, 2006

Do they cover this at the ATA conference?

April 28, 2006

WARNING: This post may involve a little TMI (too much information). I apologize to sensitive readers.

Yesterday, I was working on a short-but-sweet assignment that wasn’t quite as simple as I thought. The terminology involved required some research.

To top it off, while doing the research and typing like a madwoman, I am also tending to my daughter. She is not fully potty-trained yet, which makes things very interesting. Say hello to the carpet cleaner! I am supposed to have her go to the potty every fifteen minutes and at least sit a bit. She is not always in the mood for that, and I don’t blame her. If I was in the middle of an activity I enjoy, I too would resent somebody just plucking me and making me sit in an uncomfortable seat.

I have yet to attend a single ATA conference. If I ever do, I would love to lead a discussion on how to balance childcare and work while neglecting neither. Let’s be honest: no client will be very sympathetic if I try to make excuses for glaring mistakes. “But you don’t understand! She had an accident in her pants!”

Madam Mayo has a blog!

April 25, 2006

In my March 10 post, I mentioned the work of writer/literary translator C.M. Mayo.

Somehow, she found my own blog. She sent me a nice note and has kept me updated about her work.

She now has her own blog: Madam Mayo. I recommend it to all of those both interested in literature and translation.

Una traduttrice

April 21, 2006

Thanks to one of a visitor who left a comment on my previous post, I found another translator blog.

Una traduttrice (A Translator) is an Italian-language blog.

Mind you, Italian is not one of the languages I speak. However, Italian and Spanish are similar enough that I could figure out the gist of Chiara’s posts. If you read Italian or don’t mind using one of those Web translators, check it out.

Be careful what you wish for

April 18, 2006

The other week, I was complaining of not having enough to do. Funny, every time I do that, the universe solves the problem for me.

I am in the midst of completing some rather interesting and challenging projects at my day job. A pro bono assignment has come my way. A paid assignment will come my way as well.

Main Week (let me explain)

April 15, 2006

As you may know, Easter (whether you observe it or not) is tomorrow. Yesterday was Good Friday.

Having lived in the United States for almost 12 years, I think I have finally adjusted to the way people observe this holiday (egg hunts, Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies), as opposed to the way it is observed in my homeland (government holiday on Good Friday a.k.a. Viernes Santo, processions of people reenacting the Passion, religious programs on TV, a beach trip for some).

I received an e-mail this week from somebody in Central America. The message ended with the sender’s good wishes for me “durante esta Semana Mayor” (emphasis and boldface mine). Semana Mayor literally stands for Main Week. It took me a while to figure out that he was referring to what I had always called the Holy Week.

Easter is coming! A holiday tale

April 11, 2006

Easter is coming.

I have to admit that now that I am no longer:

  • enrolled in parochial school, or;
  • a resident of Puerto Rico, which is mostly Catholic;

somehow, Lent and Easter seem to be under-emphasized. Heck, I never even heard of the tradition of Easter baskets until after my child was born.

Anyway, this upcoming Sunday, my mother-in-law and uncle-in-law will come to celebrate Easter. This year, it will be a low-key affair. We are just one step above ordering pizza and fighting over the toppings.

Last Thanksgiving, I also hosted the family dinner. And this time, the good china had to be washed and actual food had to be prepared. Even though the turkey and fixings were purchased and only needed reheating, still I had to rig a pizza pan on top of a rectangular pan because I lack a roasting pan. There was also the matter of my African peanut butter soup (check for the recipe). It is delicious, but requires peeling, chopping, blending and just because, the optional garnishing with peanuts and chopped cilantro.

You may ask, how exactly does this relate to translation? Right. I forgot to mention that I also had a translation assignment. The only way I could meet my deadline was to work while my guests were there. Fortunately, between the tryptophan from the turkey, and the typical television offerings, most of my relatives ended up dozing off. I fortified myself with coffee and kept working. I even managed to chat with my mother-in-law while working.

What are the odds that once again, I will be required to work while I am having guests?

"How was your day?" (includes alternate ending)

April 7, 2006

Every day, my husband (codename: Conan) picks me up after work. We chat. I ask about his day. His responses are brief. As a city employee, “Conan” deals with the public every day. Most members of the public act right, but every so often, there is somebody who fails to observe basic standards of behavior. His own method of coping with these unpleasant incidents is to summarize his workday as “Best forgotten” or “Ah, it’s over”. It seems to work for him.

In my particular day job, I sit behind a computer screen all day, with some interruptions to visit the vending machine. There is no interaction with the public and very little with other humans. I translate. I proofread. I read and answer e-mail. Rarely, I get a work-related phone call. The best days are those when I have an absorbing project to occupy my time.

“And how was your day?”, Conan asks me.

What I wanted to say:
“This project I had been working for two weeks? Remember, 51 pages? Well, I tried exporting it using my DVX program, but apparently, I placed the formatting codes wrong or something. ‘Cause it kept coming out at 3 pages! Can you believe that nonsense? I finally figured it out. I fixed the codes, and now we have a 52-page chart!”

What I ended up saying:

Two worlds collide

April 4, 2006

I love to translate. I also love to crochet. There has been a surprisingly large overlap in these two areas in my life ever since I started my Spanish-language crocheting blog.

All my blogs are a labor of love. With this blog, my main goals were to give my translation work a little exposure, and to talk about issues in the translation industry to an audience interested in reading about such issues (as opposed to alienating friends and family by droning about code placement in Déjá Vu X or babbling about translation memory maintenance). Similarly, I use my crocheting blog to display projects I am working on. Granted, there are no worries about breaching confidentiality agreements.

As much fun as the crocheting blog is, I do wonder why did I decide to make it a Spanish-language enterprise. True, Web resources in languages other than English are considerably fewer. And my blog is mostly photos and captions. But acquiring the Spanish terminology for crocheting has presented challenge. I learned to crochet from a book in English. All of my crocheting patterns are in English. All the crocheting/knitting sites I visit? English. Sites where I buy yarn and supplies? English.

I was reading the “Learn how to Crochet” instructions in Spanish at the Lion Brand page. It was a rather humbling experience. I know what a cadeneta (chain stitch) is, of course. Other basic stitches? Looking at the titles for the lessons, I had a little trouble figuring one which one was for a double stitch (vareta simple), a half double (media vareta doble), or a triple (vareta triple). It doesn’t help that these stitches appear under more than one name in English.

I am going to learn the terminology; it will help my blog and might also lead to jobs in this subject. One thing’s for sure; Lion Brand needs to proofread the Spanish knitting instructions. I mean, “Aprenda Tejer” (literally, “learn knit”)? Are you kidding me?

A call to Papi

April 1, 2006

While completing an assignment on work of a technical nature, I called my dad to consult him on a translation term. Let’s say it was widgets and the Spanish term, “widgetos”

My papi worked as an engineer for the past 40 years. He recently retired. He is fluent in both English and Spanish, an avid reader, has a “different” sense of humor, and is simply awesome and the most personable person in the world. However, based upon telephone conversations with him, I must say the phone simply does not do this man justice.

DISCLAIMER: Although the conversation reproduced below is based on reality, some dramatic license has been taken. Proceed with caution.

“Hey papi.”
“How’s retirement going.”
“It’s like your sister’s godfather says. People call me to do stuff, and I have to look at my schedule and figure whether to cancel my morning nap or my afternoon nap.”
“Papi, I am working on a document about (subject omitted). Have you ever heard of the term widgetos?”
“Yes, I have heard of it.”
“It doesn’t sound..weird?”
“A little. Try widgetidores.”
“You wanna talk to your mami?”