I am going to MICATA…

March 13, 2009

Recently, I have had to deal with YET another occasion where I was all ready to wear the Pantsuit of Justice, even had a little ledger with a pad to take notes on and everything. And the gig, for reasons completely unrelated to me, gets canceled. So I was a bit cranky about that.

And then my partner in the Ongoing Major Group Project invites me to join her for the annual Symposium of the Mid-America Chapter of the American Translators Association (MICATA).


So many preparations. I need to finish folding laundry, start packing, leave instructions for the husband…

Like I said to my partner, I am excited and nauseous at the same time.


Hibernation is over

February 8, 2009

I haven’t done much translation work in the past month. The Pantsuit of Justice (c)  ALMOST made its appearance when I was offered an assignment that I was able to accept.  Unfortunately, a few days before it was to take place, it got canceled. I was also approached by a potential client, but so far, as of this date, nothing has materialized.

During this hiatus, I have taken the time to focus on some of my interests that are not related to translation (hint: Ravelry). I have also realized that apparently, perfectly sane people above the age of 21 are on Facebook. My dad! My brother! Former high school classmates! That kid who lived next door! I am sure it could be used for translation-related networking there, but I am not there yet.

However, my sabbatical is about to come to an end. I am currently working on a couple of projects. While it took me a while to get started, it feels like I never stopped.

My dad sends me a news clipping

January 4, 2009

The other day, I got a letter from my dad, featuring two newspaper clippings from the December 24, 2008 issue of El Nuevo Día (for the unfamiliar, a Puerto Rican newspaper). One featured an autistic teenager who had learned how to make jewelry from an artisan. As my daughter is autistic, he figured (correctly) that this would be of interest to me. The other one featured the following headline:

Ayuda francesa a defensa de Brasil (French aid to Brazil’s defense)

And of course, I was left to wonder as to why my dad felt the need to send me this particular news item. Until I flipped it over, and read the following headline:

Tribunales de EE.UU. necesitan más intérpretes (US tribunals need more interpreters).

The original article, a very good translation of the original article written by Jean Ortiz, not only features one of my fellow certified interpreters (I sent her a copy)  but it outlines a rather important point: how, in a place like my home state of Nebraska, which used to have a rather homogeneous population until recently, there is a growing need for interpreters.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide a link to the Spanish-language article from El Nuevo Día (their archive requires a subscription), but I can provide a link to the one that appeared in the Lincoln Journal-Star.

My rules for a good translation blog

December 27, 2008

This was going to be a post about a certain translation blog I stumbled upon. So that I would have something worthwhile to say (seriously, what kind of post would it be if all it said was “Cool!” ? Even worse, spelled “Kewl!” and/or with a few extra exclamation points?),  I tried doing an Internet search on this blog.  It turned out to be from a translation company. Not an individual freelancer, mind you. A full-fledged company.

And in retrospect, the blog didn’t meet two of my no-so-strict standards.

  1. Post every once in a while: I can’t criticize anybody for not posting everyday – I don’t. If I did, my own posts would go something like this:January 2: I am a translator with a day job. Those two keep me busy. On occasion, I do housework and motherly/wifely things.

    January 3: The same thing as January 2.

    January 4
    : Pretty much the same as January 3.

    If I manage to put in a couple of posts per month, I think I am doing well. But seriously, more than two months between posting? It’s an afterthought blog. Not worth my time.

  2. Be interesting to at least somebody. Interesting is a very subjective term. Are you all that interested in the posts tagged “Conversations” that I write? Perhaps not. They are written to represent a slice of my life as a translator, as in, what happens when I encounter other people who are not translators. Then again, they might give you a little chuckle and make you nod your head and say, “Been there!” Likewise, I don’t necessarily find the blogs about SDL TRADOS tips to be all that fascinating, but you know what? Somebody is going nuts trying to make their expensive software work and will be delighted.

That’s pretty much all I ask of a blog. Put some thought into it, and be of interest to somebody.

You probably knew this, right?

December 7, 2008

My workload at the SGN agency has increased geometrically. By the time I get home, all I want to do is collapse in my bed. When I come home, the only thought in my mind is “eatsleepeatsleepeatsleepzzzzzzzzzz”.

Doesn’t matter. I have learned that I can’t wait to have a so-called proper mindset to do my freelance. Sometimes I just have to sit in front of my computer and go throught. If I am lucky, my brain will switch to that work mode that allows me to forget to eat, sleep, etc.


November 15, 2008

Today is about dealing.

Dealing with the fact that I have to balance my translation workload vs. the urgent need for clean laundry, dishes, dinner, etc.

Dealing with the fact that I have earned a reputation as a “speed demon” when it comes to my translations, and worrying about how to keep it without compromising on quality.

Dealing with the departure of a dear friend. Last week, my beloved cat Sugar passed away in her sleep.

Sugar (1996?-November 2008)

Sugar (1996?-November 2008)

Go in peace, puss. Sorry about all the times I projected my own insecurities and made remarks about your “childbearing hips”. Particularly insensitive, considering that little operation we made you have. You will be missed.


October 31, 2008

Today is Halloween. My daughter came home from daycare with a bagful of candy, none of which she cared to share with her mommy. 

As I constantly mention, I grew up in Puerto Rico, in a culture full on American influences. I vaguely remember going around the neighborhood with my siblings and other kids, to go tricotrí. Actually, it was several years before I figured out that tricotrí was derived from the phrase trick-or treat.

And of course, we would go out in the neighborhood, in our little costumes, chanting “¡Tricotrí, Jalogüín, dame chavos, no maní!” (Trick or treat, Halloween; give me money, not peanuts!).  This was followed by a similar rhyme: “¡Tricotrí, Jalogüín, no te escondas que ya te vi!” (Don’t you hide, ’cause I saw you!)

Why, you may wonder, am I sharing these mundane memories about my childhood? First of all, because it involves the interaction of two languages, both of which occupy equal portions of my brain. Second, because there is a tiny chance somebody at this very moment, encounters the word tricotrí and wonders what the heck it means and how to translate it.

This I can tell you. It involves Halloween in Puerto Rico (perhaps other places, but this is the only one I can talk about, and children, and costumes, and eating too much candy.

My mom wonders as to payment practices

October 10, 2008

The usual disclaimer applies to this conversation.

Scene: My usual weekly conversation with my beloved Mami, who calls me every week to check on things:

Mami: So, have they given you any trabajito [little job]?

Me: No, just the Major Group Project? But the people from this agency sent me a payment through PayPal.

Mami: What’s that?

Me: [at a complete loss as to how to explain the concept of Paypal] Uh, well, they send money electronically.

Mami: Why can’t they send a check?

Me: Um, most of my clients do, but other clients prefer to send payments electronically.

Mami: That is kind of weird. I love you!


Desperate times call for desperate measures

September 19, 2008

I have a tendency to misplace things.

So, far, this year, I have managed to misplace/permanently lose:

  • keys
  • cell phone
  • earrings
  • cash (OUCH)
  • my Preferred Customer card from a local coffeehouse
  • socks (mine, my daughter’s, my husband’s)
  • shoes
  • too many others

One of my most lamented losses includes my nift flash drive/pen. Somehow, I managed to make it to 35+ without owning one. However, during the most recent phase, I realized I needed to get one. At a nearby store, I purchased a combination pen/flash drive. I wasn’t impressed with the writing quality of the pen part, but it kept the data storage part safe. The drive allowed me to do quick exchanges of data with my partner during the most recent phase of the Ongoing Major Project.

Unfortunately, I managed to lose it.

Today, during my lunch hour, I stepped in to the store to pretend I could justify buying a leather clipboard. And it turns out that they were selling the pen/flash drive.


Of course I had to buy it. And this time, I will be rigging a device so it is not so easily lost.

Look what I found: Another translator’s blog

September 18, 2008

I was curious as to my blog’s visitors (both of you hold a warm place in my heart), and somehow landed on Jill Sommer’s blog, Musings from an Overworked Translator.

Why I recommend: it contains a good mix of practical and entertaining content. You can justify visits to this blog because you are bound to find something actually beneficial (such as her post on 10 top rules for working from home). And because it offers glimpses into her life outside of translation. Well-rounded individuals make for better translators, don’t you think?

Edited to reflect the actual title of the blog. Thanks, Jill.