Archive for June, 2006

Research purposes only!

June 30, 2006

I have posted already about the reactions I get when I tell people I am a translator. Some context may help.

The circles where I usually find myself chatting with others about my occupation (relatives, my daughter’s school and daycare, places where I run errands) are all located in or near the area where I live: Nebraska, USA. These circles typically consist of people who speak English as their native language.

I will be traveling out of town next month so I can visit my relatives. They live in Puerto Rico, so opportunities to visit are few and far between. So I am curious about the response I will get when I am in my Spanish-speaking homeland and the inevitable question comes up: “What do you do for a living?”

Other unavoidable questions:

  • “Why are you a translator? Did you study for that in college?”
  • “When was the last time you ate codfish fritters/empanadillas de chapín/asopao/mofongo?”
  • “Why doesn’t your daughter speak Spanish?”
  • “You are planning on wearing that? IN PUBLIC?!” (Sí, mami)

DPHD, I am waiting.

June 30, 2006

I ordered the DPHD a month ago from a certain online retailer. It still has not arrived.

It is entirely possible that I am attributing this particular dictionary more power than it promises. It is not like it will energize my career, or land me more clients, or even clean up my desk.

It’s only a reference guide.


Speak s-l-o-w

June 24, 2006

Every day (except last week) I get a silly coffee drink at a nearby coffeehouse/performance space/insert your own use. This place has recently employed a lovely young woman who, it turns out, was raised in a major city in Latin America by her missionary parents. She speaks Spanish.

Whenever she sees me, we make small talk. In Spanish. Our different accents(her delicate, melodic one; my machine-gun delivery) sometimes represent a challenge. I must fine tune my ear and make sure to articulate clearly and slow down.

I wonder how I will sound next month, when I go back home to Puerto Rico and I get to speak in Spanish every single second.

Multi-lingual websites

June 19, 2006

Check Céline’s post in Naked Translations about multi-lingual websites.

Are you easily offended?

June 13, 2006

There are many requirements for being a translator, beyond knowing two or more languages: attention to detail, easy access to coffee, reference tools, knowledge of special vocabulary, etc.

And apparently, according to a job posted recently at, you need to not be easily offended. The gig asked for a translator to work with the website for an escort service. The description clarified that the site wasn’t “hardcore”. What a relief.

Unfortunately, it appears I am easily offended, so I am not a suitable candidate for translating this website or similar sites. I am mature enough to translate, say, clinical material about human sexuality. It is entirely possible I could translate, say, Cosmopolitan‘s tips to please your man in bed without blushing or giggling like a twelve-year-old. Anything more explicit than that, forget it. I would have to wash, no, boil my hands afterwards.

Summer resolutions and’s rates calculator

June 8, 2006

Forget exercising, dieting, eating 5 or 7 vegetables a day.

My resolution for this summer? Pursue translating opportunities more aggresively. I have gotten a little lazy about the whole “marketing myself” aspect of translation.

In other news, has a new rates calculator. You plug in your desired gross income, anticipated expenses, how many hours you want to work, and other bits of info.

I tried it out, and I found out that my rates should be higher. Now the question is: IF I set my rates to ones that allowed for a living wage, could I actually make a living wage?

As usual, good questions never have a good answer.

Odd combinations

June 1, 2006

In another collision with my interest in crocheting: the following was found on the label of Red Heart Tiki Yarn:

Combine with other yarns! Cosechadora con otros hilos!

The section in italics was the Spanish translation for the English phrase. EXCEPT… if you translate it back to English:

Harvester with other yarns!