Specialised networking for translators: a real gold mine

Yesterday’s Open Day at Atlas Translations was a real success I think. Why? Because of all the quality people who came along and made it, in my opinion, the most buzzing and interesting Open Day to date.

Meet the Atlas Cutie!  (c) www.atlas-translations.co.uk

Meet the Atlas Cutie!
(c) http://www.atlas-translations.co.uk

An Open Day kindly organised by a translation agency is a wonderful networking opportunity. Obviously, for me, it was excellent because I gave a talk on CAT tools and I got to share my passion for my job with a whole room full of people.

But I also learnt a lot from the other speakers, I learnt more about the needs of fellow translators, and I was able to answer many of the questions people ask themselves about CAT tools.

And there’s more.

I got a real sense of community from that event. I got some fantastic tips from fellow translators and interpreters in the room, and the day proved, if need be, that meeting together like is a unique opportunity to get help on some business points. Many of us work in isolation. An Open Day gets us the chance to get together, share the good and the bad, connect on Skype or Twitter and help each other. We are not competitors, we are fellows of the same profession.

Through mutual questions and answers, and the interaction of the participants, you can learn a LOT from an Open Day. Here are some practical examples of questions raised:

How do you process an “image PDF”?
What’s your favourite OCR software?
Can you dictate into Trados? (By the way, yes, you can!!)
What’s a good marketing strategy for translators?
Is it better to work as sole trader or a limited company?
What is a solopreneur?
What’s better, Trados, or memoQ?
What is the meaning of a fuzzy match?
Why is there a difference in price in a “Trados grid”?
What are your IP rights on translation memories?

And so on, and so forth. And guess what. I’ll address each of these questions and many more in my next blog entries. Now if you have questions too, contact me, contact Atlas, or leave a comment on this blog or on the Atlas blog! And why not keep an eye open for the next translation agency open day or event in your area? Happy networking!

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Project delivered. Celebration dance?

So you have this really big project, and finally, it’s done, sealed, delivered! Yesssss!

Do you celebrate? Do you have a celebration dance? No? Why?!

Have a hat!

Have a hat!

I have one!! Courtesy of Jamiroquai… (This links to a fabulous BBC live performance, by the way).

And thanks to all those words translated over the years, I have a big kitchen: wonderful dance floor!!

Who said translation was boring? ;o)

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Translators: are we hostages or can we work the market?

Today I picked up this thought-provoking tweet by Isabelle Brucher (@isabrucher): Translators are not translators any more, they are hostages to some maffia industry trying to abuse their freelance status.

In 1990 (has it been that long?!) Daniel Gouadec published his visionary book entitled “La traduction, le traducteur et l’entreprise” (AFNOR, Paris 1990, collection AFNOR GESTION, 181 pages) and you can actually download the book from this link now.

In chapter 13, Daniel Gouadec predicted that the translation market would probably split in two. On the one hand, big buck market. On the other, crumb market. He was basically saying that the market would be dominated by big, multinational players, and the small players would get the crumbs.

He was right of course, and that split in the market caused it to become a buyer’s market. When you are freelance, you don’t really get to choose how much you sell. Competition is fierce, and valued-based pricing is very tough to implement.

Let’s face it. As freelance players or solopreneurs, we get the crumbs. But if we have a niche, we can make a really good living.

Specialise in fish?!

Specialise in fish?!

If you’re starting up in this industry, think of your niche, specialise early on, and only take work that you are really really good at. Why? Because what you do really well, you do it fast, you do it better, and it gives you repeat business, which is great!

This is not an ideal market, but we can make it work for ourselves.

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Reputation and machine translation

Part 2 – This one is for translators.

Recently, I was given a big job to revise. Technical, right up my alley, it should have taken about a day and a half to proofread and perhaps revise a little. The translator had been previously assessed, the report was good, all looked promising.

Using machine translation? Keep your eyes open. Both of them!

Using machine translation? Keep your eyes open. Both of them!

It took three people and over a week to revise the document, and most of it had to be rewritten. To be honest with you, I lost sleep over it because I did not want to let my client down, but my other projects were seriously suffering. I was not a happy bunny.

What went wrong? The translator was dishonest and used machine translation. I cannot tell which plug-in he used, but a fellow reviser helped me out and confirmed what I thought. That was machine translation gone wrong.

The problem is, the project was server-based. Which means that I could actually see the name of the translator segment after segment! That person is now on my blacker than black list!

If you’re going to use machine translation with your CAT tool, be a clever cat! Don’t cut corners, double-check, triple-check, do a super job. Don’t risk losing your reputation.

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Machine translation… Care for your reputation?

Part 1 – This one is for all of you, non-translators, potential buyers of translation services

So, you’ve got this marketing or technical material, say in English, and you can’t wait to have it translated into some foreign language. Here comes Temptation. A machine translation tool. Google Translate, for example.

Be a smart cat! Hire a real translator...

Be a smart cat! Hire a real translator…

Google Translate can be great for a quick fix, for example, when you receive an e-mail from abroad, late on a Friday night, and you need to get the gist of it immediately.

But using it to translate your marketing material or sections of your website can be very risky. I call that the Google Giggle risk!

Recently, I was asked to “clean up” a machine translation of an anti-tampering solution for vehicle tracking devices. Lost in translation, “tampering” had become “molesting”. See what I mean?

At e-translation services ltd, we care about your reputation. If you look good, your company will grow, and you will want to work with us again, because we translate your vision to the world accurately.

e-translation services ltd

Your own private translation network

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How do you say LOL in French? And in Hebrew?

Look cool with your French friends! They make you laugh? You’re mdr! That’s ‘mort de rire’ if you’re a man, ‘morte de rire’ if you’re a woman. You basically die of laughter, which is not a bad way to go methinks!

Timmy was ROFL

Timmy was ROFL

And how about your mates over in Israel? !ההה

I find the Chinese LOL particularly beautiful: 哈哈哈

But my favourite one is the one from Latin America: jajaja!! Love it!

Who said languages are boring? Click here to know more!

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Trados or not Trados?

So you’re setting up your translation business, and you have heard all about them fine CAT tools. But which one to choose?

Timmy was quite anxious about getting the right CAT tool...

Timmy was quite anxious about getting the right tool…

I don’t know all the computer-aided translation tools out there, I don’t even know how many there are in total. I do know one thing: I want to keep my clients happy! So whatever they need, I’ll get it. Within reason.

The first CAT tool I bought, over 15 years ago, was one of the first versions of Trados. It appeared to be one of the most widely available, and I got an ‘early bird’ offer on it, so it was pleasantly affordable.

15 years down the line, most of my clients still use Trados. Some use the old version, 2007, some use the new Studio 2014 version. I’m happy to oblige and I jump from one to the other without any problem. But…

Two or three years ago, one of my favourite clients invested in memoQ. And that’s become my favourite translation tool ever. The interface is clean and simple. Adding files, analyzing files, pre-translating, reviewing, it does everything you need instinctively. In my opinion, it’s THE perfect CAT tool for professional translators. When I’m not forced to use Trados, I use memoQ.

If you’re serious about your translation business, you need a CAT tool. However, you can try the on line versions or you can work on a free license for a while before you make a decision. Some great translation agencies let you use their license for free. They pay for the license, and you get a temporary license for the project you do for them. It enables you to try the product in real conditions for free.

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact me!

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