What Does Christmas Mean To Translators?

As from early December every year, there seems to be something unique in the air as we slowly – but steadily – get closer and closer to Christmas Day. Sure, it is a magical season, full of excitement and stories about Santa Claus, elves, carols, etc.

But translators are said to be from a different planet. At times, all of this Xmas buzz is part of some faraway, external universe we seem to be disconnected from (unless you have kids to entertain).

Some of us keep themselves busy ahead of the D-Day (or X day), with eyes glued on computer screens until January 3. Neighbours singing carols and fireworks bursting outside can’t disturb them. They consider Christmas a dream period. Not because of the enchantment, but just as it brings in a flow of high-paying, urgent or turned down projects. They make big money and like it. Sorry, Father Christmas, we’re grownups here.

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Another group consider the year-end period as time for anything but work. It’s holiday, after all, and checking emails is a crime. They set up autoresponder, fly away to some white-sand beach and enjoy life like crazy. They are often referred to by colleagues as the “lucky ones”, who can “afford to go on holiday”. Maybe because they don’t know what feast and famine means. Or maybe they cherish work/life balance and care enough to live a healthy life.

Other linguists feel so lonely they seek company at all costs. Any gathering is just perfect: bars, churches, concert halls, malls, stadiums, etc. They usually realise they have been locked down all year long and think this is an opportunity to meet people – but not for (business) networking purposes. They just want to relax. To feel the “real” world.

A fourth group is a blend of previous categories. If there is work to do, they do it. If there isn’t, they enjoy some good time with friends and family members.

I’m curious to know about you. Before you set your new year’s goals, tell me how you celebrate end-of-year periods. Whom do you celebrate with? At home or abroad? In your home-based office?

I’m interested and am sure other linguists will also be glad to learn from your experience.

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Search It, Find It Book Trailer

This is a short post aimed at keeping you updated about the release of my book trailer. This showcases the main features of my latest book Search It, Find It: The Translator’s Minimalist Guide to Online Search, available on Amazon.

Below is a quick summary about the book:

  • Author: Carlos Djomo (that’s me!)
  • Foreword: Catherine Christaki
  • Edition: First
  • Format(s): Kindle and Print (.epub available soon)
  • Publication Date: 21 December 2016 (ebook) and 29 December 2016 (Print)
  • Price: $14.99 (Print +Kindle offered) or $2.99 (Kindle Only)
  • ASIN: B01MXIPB8G
  • ISBN: 978-1520210469

book-trailer_search-it-find-it-by-Carlos-Djomo

If you have any observations or words of encouragement, kindly shoot me an email at info@cdlancer.com or comment below.

Google Is Your Best Translator Tool (Here’s Why)

There are so many translator tools available in today’s digital era.

While some may consider it contradictory to list Google as part of such tools, it is surely because of bad experiences they must have had with Google’s automatic translation service. However, for the purpose of this article, I’ll be dealing with Google Search, because it is an essential component of our core processes as translators – i.e. searching for reliable information and finding it in less time.

Google Search is the number 1 search engine. We use it almost instinctively when searching for anything online. And it is no coincidence it is said to perform 2.3 million searches per second, that is about 100 billion searches per month and 2 trillion searches processed yearly.

These figures illustrate how Google Search has become part of our daily routine, either as mere Internet users or as professional translators/interpreters (advanced Internet users). Moreover, with the advent of the mobile revolution, searching for information has become even easier. Even on the move, we can still perform quick searches on our mobile devices.

Targeted Search Results

Have you ever noticed Google Search’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature? It redirects you to a page considered the most relevant for your search query term(s). This option is available either from Google Search’s home page or within the predictive input text that appears when you type a portion of your search term(s).

For instance, consider this illustration:

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Instead of hitting the Enter/Go button, you can click this to access a page which is trusted by Google for listing interpreting jobs.

As far as country-specific domains are concerned, they vary depending on where you live. Usually, Google services automatically detect your location via your IP address and redirect you to a “localised version” with supposedly more pertinent content. But, if you are not satisfied with the results obtained, you may broaden the scope by using the Google.com option.

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The All in One Solution?

Among other things, you can use Google Search to check the weather in your location, get a live preview of currency exchange rates, define a word, convert several units (temperatures, lengths, volumes, etc.).

Let us try by ourselves and see if this really works.

In the Google search box, type weather in your city (e.g. weather in paris as illustrated below) and hit enter. You will have a live update of the weather in the desired location, plus a one-week forecast.

weather-paris_cdlancer

 

If you are a US citizen moving to Europe, you might need to know the right volume of fuel your car will be consuming. It may be frustrating to realize people rather measure such volumes in liters. Don’t panic, just input number liters in gallons (e.g. 145 liters in gallons) and voilà!

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The same is true for other unit conversion, including distance (mile-to-kilometer conversion).

[bctt tweet=”#Google: An all-in-1 solution for online search, unit conversion, calculations and more.” username=”cdlancer”]

From the previous search, you can change units to be converted. Just click the “volume” dropdown list to see other units available (see picture below).

google-units_cdlancer

 

Go on now, and try it for yourself. Have fun converting among units and see how easy it is.

Google Search Operators

Search operators are special ways of inputting search terms so as to return targeted results. These are similar to filters you can set to tell Google Search the type of results you need.

Here are some of the most popular search operators, with corresponding examples.

Search Operator Description Example
* Placeholder for any unknown, missing or wildcat terms as * as
Excludes a site or a category from your search results jaguar -car

joint -site:wikipedia.org

.. Defines a range to search within. May also be used to indicate the upper/lower threshold of a range Cars $1000..$2000

Laptops ..€1000

“” Return results from pages with the exact search word/phrase appearing in the same order “content marketing tactics”
 
site: Return results from a specific website or domain tech specs site:apple.com
related: Find websites similar to the one specified in the search query related:lefigaro.fr
OR Find sites containing one of the search terms entered. Note that OR is written in caps. cars OR motorbikes
AND Find sites containing both search terms entered. Note that AND is written in caps. cables AND instructions
info: Provides information about a given website, including the cached version, related sites and backlinks. info:bbc.co.uk
cache: Access a cached version of a website (i.e. how it looked like the last time Google crawled it). This operator is helpful to access a site that is unavailable for maintenance purpose. cache:yoursite.com
define: Provides a definition of the search term. define:o-ring
filetype: Return results containing only the specified file format. filetype:pdf free course
allintitle: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their page titles. allintitle: resources for translators
allintext: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their body copy. allintext:advanced marketing tips

Besides, keep in mind the following:

  • When typing your search query terms, capitalization doesn’t matter (i.e. New York MLS and new York mls will return the same results).
  • Target specific key terms for better search results (search for used car parts instead of typing old components from cars with 2 or more owners).
  • Consider the Voice search option, especially when using a mobile device (you may need to fine tune your device’s voice recognition settings).
  • For exact results, place your search terms in quotation marks (“”).
  • Review your results in terms of numbers (how popular are search terms as formulated by you?) and authority of sources (how relevant are websites containing results? Are they primary sources?).
  • Define the search category in advance and go to specific sections (Books, Images, News, etc.) of Google Search for better results.
  • Have fun performing your searches. If not satisfied, try again until you find what you need/expect.

All in all, it should be noted that you are ultimately responsible for the quality and suitability of results you choose.

Basically, search engines return indexed pages that supposedly match search query terms you enter. But always cross-check results from two or more authoritative sources to ensure a minimum of suitability to your purposes.

Over to You Now

There must be other tricks that you use to make Google search one of your best translation tools. I am eager to discover them. Feel free to share in the comments.

how to search onlineThis article is a premium extract from my book, Search It, Find It: The Translator’s Minimalist Guide to Online Search. To buy a copy from Amazon, click here.

9 Warning Signs That You Should Quit Translating

Translation is a multi-billion industry which provides jobs to millions of qualified professionals and empowers millions of companies (from startups to Fortune 500) and brands through bilingual and/or multilingual communications. Translation offers several career choices, including freelance – i.e. work-from-home – as well as in-house positions (usually referred to as 9-to-5 jobs). If you are a translator or often work as such, chances are that you’ve experienced the versatility and dealt with the complexities of that profession. If you have ever thought about quitting translation, review these warning signs to make sure you decide wisely.

You consider translation as a hobby

Some people regard translation as a hobby or second-choice, extra source of income. This, certainly justifies why they claim to be translator because they understand a few words in another language and can struggle to form one or two correct sentences. They rely on dictionaries, provide word-for-word rendering and mostly opt for “translation software” like Power Translator or free, online services such as Google Translate. If you recognized yourself in this description, please, do yourself a favor and quit translating now!

You are not passionate about translation

I blame you if you never realized that translation is first and foremost about passion. Sure, you need to pay bills, but above all, you must be passionate to be part of a “bigger” thing. Have you ever thought about how the technical manuals you translate help millions of end users operate their devices? Can you feel consumers’ satisfaction whenever they glance at your (translated) copy on a huge billboard and keep loyal to a given brand? What about books, articles, website copy that you translate to help people and nations meet and cross language borders? If all of this means nothing to you, please quit translating!

You don’t get in the business mood

Passion is what fuels your translation business. Did I just say “business”? Yes. Translation is a business and you are a business person. As a translator/small business owner, you must get into the “business mood” or you won’t survive. So, you ought to search for clients, suggest language solutions to their problems, negotiate rates, charge for services provided, market your expertise, get posted on industry news, attend events, plan for office supplies, get software equipment, buy CAT tools and try them, translate, edit, proofread, keep your family happy. And there are much more to do. If this is too much for you, fine. You know where the exit is.

[tweetshare tweet=”Translation is a business and every translator is a business owner. #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

You never meet set deadlines

Deadlines are capital. This sounds like a Gospel truth within the translation world. I don’t know about other trades, but when you consistently miss set deadlines, there must be something wrong with you. It is true that unforeseen circumstances exist, but a professional translator is trained to mitigate them. Your background and field experience must have taught you how to take precautionary measures to deal with possible obstacles. Keeping in touch with your Project manager is a way to discuss possible deadline extensions based on justifiable reasons. Setting priorities and implementing time management strategies are other ways to ensure you deliver on time.

You always complain about stress

Stress is part of our trade, buddy. Nothing else to add. Either you deal with stress or you stop calling yourself a translator. As simple as that.

[tweetshare tweet=”Either you deal with stress or you stop calling yourself a translator! #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

You don’t care about confidentiality

Are you sharing the same computer with your old friends who read your mails and documents? Do you discuss the details of your translation projects in bars or during after-work parties? Do you boast about the manuals you just translated for company X, or brand Y’s new brochure? Do you remember you signed NDAs? Have you even read them? Translation may not be your best fit. This is just my humble opinion. After suffering two judicial cases and severe fines, you may not say I didn’t tell you. Reconsider your relationship with confidentiality or quit translating!

[tweetshare tweet=”A translator who doesn’t care about confidentiality should quit translating. #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

Technology is your worst enemy

When St Jerome translated the Holy Bible, there was no Internet at the time. There is no point in working nowadays as back then. Things have evolved and we should adapt. Better still, as translators, we ought to leverage the power of technology to work smarter and faster. If you think CAT tools are what entertain felines, or believe Twitter is the name of an endangered species, you might not be fit for the translation world. Do yourself a favour.

You always say “No”

No matter the project scope, domain(s) to tackle or timeframe, whatever opportunity coming your way is rejected. You always say “No” to stressful situations related to translation project management, you don’t like complicated texts, you hate learning new software or dislike working under pressure. In such a context, I just wonder “Why on earth did you become a translator?” It may not be late to consider a career in football (soccer) or mechanics.

[tweetshare tweet=”You hate #technology and dislike working under pressure. Are you really a translator? #xl8″ username=”cdlancer”]

You always say “Yes”

You are always prompt to accept any jobs, in any language combination. After all, you are a translator, aren’t you? Wrong. Professional translators work into their native language only and decline offers involving domains they might not have a good command of. Plus, nothing forces you accept rubbish services like #PEMT (Post-editing machine translation) or to translate 100 words buried in 25 thousand non-paid repetitions.

I may have forgotten some warning signs. Depending on your experience and that of other colleagues, you can have additional stories to tell. Feel free to share in the comments.

A translator’s “Blogophobia” Dealt With

 

It is an open secret that blogging is a trending activity nowadays. But, believe it or not, there are some people out there who are still afraid of taking the leap into blogging and all sorts of reasons are used to justify their choice: I am really busy; I don’t know what to blog about; how can I make people read (and enjoy) my posts on a regular basis; how to be inspired so as to keep my blog up and running; and so on. I myself have gone through this and if you are reading me right now, it means I’ve somehow overcome my “blogophobia”.

Translation, writing and blogging
Being a professional translator, I must say I earn a living by rewriting English content in French. From another perspective, I am always writing and, basically, I meet the requirements to be blogging (writing for a blog). Besides, I wrote a guest post about handling issues relating to the translation of PDF documents and another post on translator’s visibility. I am grateful to both blog authors (Olga Arakelyan and Catherine Christaki) for accepting my guest posts. I have been passionately reading their articles, as well as those from many other leading authors in the translation blogosphere. I felt so honored when the second guest post won the 2015 Proz Community Choice Awards (#ProzCCA) for Best translation-related article. This motivated me into letting the inner blogger shine.

Just another blog?
All blogs are not created the same, although many specialize in the same industry and target the same kind of readers. Most of the time, the reader wonders “Is this just another blog?” The direct answer is No! Each blogger has their stories to tell, with special emphasis, a particular style and approach that make them unique.

[bctt tweet=”All blogs aren’t created equal, each blogger is unique. #blogging”]

In this quest for uniqueness, I will focus on a visual approach to all stories published here. Remember the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand word”? Well, I’ll be dealing this way. More pictures, few texts, as inspired by Mox blog and Zen pencils. So get ready to start a new adventure in the wonderful worlds of translators as entrepreneurial linguists, freelancers, and related writing professions. Feel free to suggest topics, blog posts, ideas, pictures, so we can make it together.