Archive for July, 2006

Actually achieved in PR

July 28, 2006

Hello! I am back from my week in PR. Out of all my noble goals, only one was achieved: reading El Nuevo Día. Between my grandmother’s illness and eventual passing away, and my mother informing me that the only decent bookstore in Arecibo closed, no stocking up on reference books was possible. I also tried learning to knit, but I only managed to turn yarn into a jumbled mess of Spaghetti-Os.

However, I actually accomplished a few things:

  • At one point, AMG (my kid) spilled a bottle of hair gel on my little sister’s bedroom floor. I went to pick her up and slipped on a puddle, while holding the kid. Fortunately, the kid was not hurt. I did end up needed to get stitches on my elbow. The tale of “Jo-Hanna visits an ER in Puerto Rico the same night Miss PR wins the Miss Universe Pageant” could have provided unique insights as to the cultural attitudes toward illness. Had I not been so busy pressing a napkin to my already bandaged elbow, I might have taken notes.
  • I did read Rosario Ferré’s Vuelo del Cisne, as well as the English version of Eccentric Neighborhoods.
  • I ate three mofongos. Not in one sitting, although it could have been done.

From PR: They are so last month!

July 22, 2006

“They are so last month!”

The following words were said by my little sister (age 10).

Some context:

  • These words were uttered in English. She and I were chatting in the car… in Spanish.
  • The topic? Why Barbie dolls are not as cool as Bratz dolls.


I am now going to read El Nuevo Día.

How to Succeed As A Freelance Translator (book review)

July 17, 2006

How do you succeed as a freelance provider of translation services? I am still figuring that out. Hint: It’s not like show business. You can’t do it without really trying.

Corinne McKay’s book How to Succeed As A Freelance Translator shed some much needed light on that subject. McKay ( is an ATA-certified translator (French to English) who specializes in marketing, legal, and financial translations. In her book, she details the process of making the transition from her high school teaching job to a successful career as a freelance translator.

In addition to discussing marketing, accounting, and correspondence, this book also addresses issues faced by working parents, such as the importance of reliable childcare and the flexibility offered.

I would recommend it to those new to the translation industry and to those who have been at it for a while but still appreciate learning more. Such as yours truly.

My next gig (marginally related to translation)

July 17, 2006

Tomorrow I will be going on a trip, where I will be working as an escort interpreter for my most demanding customer: my daughter.

AMG (not her real name) is autistic. She speaks no Spanish. Her English skills are limited. She can ask for juice, cereal, cookies, peanut butter, and other things. She can say mommy and daddy and identify assorted body parts. She can giggle, howl in indignation, shed tears of frustration… all in a five-minute span. She has trouble sustaining eye-contact and flaps her wrists when excited. She will give you hugs and kisses. While she does not speak much, she still communicates. It is my job as her mother to explain her language to the outside world.

She is not paying me though. I guess you can’t quite write up an invoice for “all the love in the world”.

Accessing the Future

July 13, 2006

I just signed up for “Accessing the Future: Technology in Language Access Education & Services”, a 3-day conference sponsored by NATI. I plan to attend workshops on consecutive interpretation and interpreter certification exams.

Last year’s conference at Omaha was a very valuable experience. I got to meet other translators (most of them in the English-Spanish language pair) from Nebraska, chat about our experiences, pass out my business card. It is not often that I get to demonstrate what I learned at last year’s workshop on sight translation, but I have no regrets about attending.

The DPHD saga continues

July 12, 2006

All through this week, my mind has been occupied with my upcoming trip. What to pack, what to wear and how to pack it. You name it.

And to top it off, I recently got a notice from the online retailer in regards to my Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas. Or to be exact, why I am not getting it yet.

I need to know. Is there some sort of dictionary crisis that somehow manages to escape unnoticed by the press, ATA, etc? Do I need to buy one in the black market? Is there even a black market for this? What is going on?

Things to do in Puerto Rico

July 6, 2006

Your average tourism guide can point out great things to do in Puerto Rico. Beaches, nightspots, cuisine, shopping… you name it. However, I suspect that at most, I might go to the beach a couple of times and perhaps eat some mofongo.

While my trip is not exactly a working vacation, I would like for it to be somewhat productive. Below is a list of things I would like to accomplish while over there:

  1. Pay attention to the way people speak, and in particular, the jargon. Consider preparing a glossary to post at (And hopefully, avoid losing my notes along the way).
  2. Read El Nuevo Día every day. Not just the comics, but the real news.
  3. Learn to knit.
  4. Bond with family members, particularly the nieces I haven’t met yet and my younger sister.
  5. Assist with household chores.
  6. Eat sensibly (OK, not realistic).
  7. Discuss my freelance work with anybody who asks, and a few who don’t.
  8. Visit a bookstore and find something to supplement my reference library.

Things to do…

July 5, 2006

Todayat, the survey asked whether translators checked with their clients after delivering their work to see if the latter were satisfied.

That does sound like a good idea.