Archive for May, 2006

Taking! It! Personally!

May 26, 2006

Disclaimer: This may or may not actually happened. Most likely it didn’t. In fact, pretend it didn’t.

In my freelance work, the project manager will send me a proofread version of my translation and will ask me to review any changes and accept or reject them, as appropriate. I can look at the indications of my mistakes without viewing them as a personal insult or an affront to my abilities as a translator. If the proofreader points out that I put a comma where, according to Spanish grammar rules, it doesn’t go, I might cringe in embarrassment but that’s it. I move on.

How come I can’t do that at the day job?

Over there, my reactions are not always graceful. Need me to fix a typo or misspelling? No problem; I will do so with a minimum of fuss. Extensive edits? Grudgingly done. Changes so massive in scope that hours have to be spent working on the CAT software? Ooooh…

No innocent bystanders get hurt; they just get bored to tears as I ramble on about how nobody respects the fine art of translation and nobody respects art, period, and that’s why van Gogh cut off his ear and… hey, where are you all going, I AM TALKING HERE! Ingrates! Malagradecidos todos!

EPILOGUE: After typing out all that, Jo-Hanna re-read it to correct typos. She realized she acted like a fool. She was much humbled and pledged to change. And then she had some chocolate and felt better.

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My translations for CFWW

May 24, 2006

Today I received notice that Cystic Fibrosis Worldwide has published translated versions of some of its newsletter articles.

Both my translated pieces, Mensaje de la Editora (From the Editor’s Desk) and Mensaje del Presidente (From the President’s Desk) are up.

I can’t exactly claim I did it for purely altruistic reasons. But I am glad I did it. I often translated newsletter articles for my current employer, but the subject matter is limited to our particular industry. This pro bono assignment showed me that it is OK to step out of my little translation box and gave me a confidence boost.

Hopefully, they’ll contact me again when they need translations for edition 8.

Reading the fine print

May 20, 2006

Some words of advice for aspiring translators:

Read the fine print
In my most recent post, I mentioned that I finally ordered the DPHD. Even though it was no longer as cheap as I originally thought. I also ordered a book completely unrelated to translation.

So today, I check the confirmation e-mail, and I find out that the latter will arrive within 5 to 12 business days, but the DPHD will arrive by late June or early July. Bleah.

Mind you, this is quite as serious as say, signing a contract and not noticing that it requires you to give away your firstborne. But still.

Read the fine print. Read the fine print. Read the fine print…

DPHD, you will be mine

May 19, 2006

At my day job, I am working on a lengthy translation project. I am using this as an opportunity to make some necessary corrections to the TM.

In other news, since Monday, we have had to reset our passwords for the e-mail accounts TWICE. We suspect the presence of a Trojan virus. Darn.

However, not everything is bleak. I finally broke down and ordered the DHPD. Mind you, the RAE has an online version (see my collection of links). But I still prefer having a hard copy. I can be rather tough on my reference works, though. The dictionary I use at work is bruised and battered and held together with Scotch tape.

Confidential to a hacker

May 15, 2006

Dear hacker:

Yes, I am talking to you. The one who hacked into my e-mail account and sent 42 messages to 800 people, forcing my ISP to block both my e-mail accounts (personal and business) AND my husband’s. I realize that I will never know your identity. I doubt you targeted me personally. To you I was just another randomly generated e-mail address. You probably don’t think you are evil. I also know that compared to victims of identity theft, I got off easy.

None of this changes the fact that you are a solemne desgraciado, malnacido, bueno para nada and a sinvergüenza. May you live in interesting times.

(Note to my non-Spanish-speaking readers: you do not need to know the language to know what the gist of my words.)

Deja Vu (X) all over again

May 13, 2006

A series of documents I translated four months ago has been revised, so their corresponding translations must be updated. This is at the office, where I use DVX.

This is the kind of assignment that makes purchasing a CAT tool a worthwhile investment. The documents have plenty of technical language, lots of repetitions, and lots of complex tables.

One of the advantages of on-site translation? Every so often, somebody will bring goodies such as donuts. At least at the office I am capable of restraint and will only eat one. I cannot say that when I work from home.

Güeras have more fun. So do catires

May 11, 2006

My ATA Chronicle arrived this weekend, along with my copy of Entertainment Weekly.

Instead of a cover featuring a larger-than-life Tom Cruise and his inescapable smile, the Chronicle had a cover I can’t remember. Probably something pretty and tasteful.

But the appeal of the Chronicle is not the cover, but rather, the contents. There was a dictionary review by a Puerto Rican translator. How often does anybody discuss the slang terms for “blond” such as catire and güero? And more importantly, proper usage.

The author mentions how the former is unknown in Puerto Rico. I concur; when I was living there, I never heard that term. The first time, I was in El Salvador and a colleague commented how catire my daughter is. I stood there with a blank face until my colleague kindly explained she was talking about my daughter’s blond hair.

Translating songs and the National Anthem.

May 8, 2006

When my brother JC was in his teens, he started a band with some classmates. It evolved from a “hey, let’s gather in Camacho’s (there was another kid with his same name in his class, so he went by our surname around his friends) house to bang on drums!” to a Christian music ministry. At one point, he asked me for some help in translating a song.

What exactly were my qualifications at the time? Back then, it would never have occurred to me that I would become a translator. I cannot play any instruments. I have no sense of rhythm and can’t even play the palitos or shake maracas in tune for a parranda. And while I have performed in school and church choir, I am not likely to record a solo album. Trust me: you do not want to hear me sing.

Apparently, however, I was good in English, and that was sufficient.

There has been a lot of controversy lately about the Spanish translation of “The Star-Spangled Banner”: how it is not really a translation, but a rewriting. Let’s set aside the politics (and my own personal opinions) for one minute. As hard as it is to translate poetry, translating songs is no picnic. I suspect it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to write a translation that:

  • did not reflect the particular translator’s biases and opinions;
  • still managed to work with the meter of the national anthem;
  • accomplished both objectives above and came across, not as a translation, but as rendition of patriotic sentiments.

I wish I had the answer.

When clients don’t pay…

May 4, 2006

If the check I write to pay off my credit card bill/cell phone bill is even just one day late, they tack on all sorts of penalties.I don’t have a policy regarding penalties for clients who think it is cool to be late.

Maybe I should create one and stamp the following text, in boldface, in all my invoices: You must pay this bill when due. If you foresee your check being late, please contact me. Failure to do so will result in a 10% penalty.

Certainly it is more professional than the alternative: Pay me, you vile fiend!