Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

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.

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.

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!

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.)

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.

"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?”

Life in progress

March 29, 2006

I had an epiphany yesterday. Translation is my passion and what I want to do. The events that made me realize that are best kept to myself.

In the’s forum, somebody asked about the reactions from others when they find out you are a translator. Pretty much, I get one of three reactions:

  • *blank look*
  • “Really? That’s… nice.”
  • A conversation that confirms that most people don’t know the difference between translation and interpreting.

Among those projects that are vaguely related to translation, I have created yet another Spanish-language blog. It’s called Proyecto Crochet and it is about my crocheting hobby. Its purpose is mainly to showcase my creations (can you call them yours when you merely followed the instructions in a pattern?), but I made it in Spanish to encourage myself to write in Spanish about a subject I am passionate about. As it turns out, I was surprised (not to mention horrified) to learn how limited my crocheting-related vocabulary is. I didn’t know that you don’t call the skeins bolas, you call them ovillos.

Snow Day 2.0

March 21, 2006

Yesterday was the beginning of spring. It was also one of the snowiest days ever. Public schools had to close. My present employer had to close. It continues until today, when even my daughter’s daycare center closed for the day. Oddly enough, my dentist’s office evidently managed to open, because they called me to remind me of my appointment.

And yet, somehow, thanks to the wonder of remote connections, I managed to translate some e-mail messages for colleagues. I also checked the‘s job board but came up empty-handed.