Meet the speaker: Dominique Defert, right out of the underground bunker Reply

Dominique Defert -a literary translator with twenty-five years of experience, translator of best-seller authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown, screenwriter, film director, Calibre Prize winner, you name it!

Dominique was one of the translators who was selected to spend nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel for simultaneous release in different languages (learn more »). He will be presenting on the topic of “Inferno: Translating in the Bunker” at the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy, on June 28-29.

The interview

How did you get started in translation?

I came to translation through writing. I was a writer of science fiction short stories. One of my short stories had been published by Denoël in the “Présence du futur” collection.

Gérard Klein, a well-known French science fiction writer I greatly admired, read my stories. At that time he was the literary editor for the “Ailleurs et Demain” collection at Robert Laffont. He offered me to translate for this renowned collection.

The first translation he entrusted to me with was a new edition of Pavane by Keith Roberts, an English science fiction author. Pavane had been my favorite book during adolescence and I had been searching in vain for a copy for a long time. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect gift. I was twenty-five years old and that’s how it all began.

What was the most important obstacle for you to overcome in building your career as a language professional?

Ironically, the greatest challenge early in my career was to detach myself from the author’s words to find the real meaning within the text. Prioritizing fidelity and accepting that the only fidelity that really mattered was to be as close as possible to the author’s intentions: that was the most significant challenge. Together with the need to always love one’s translation. To claim each word, each sentence.

What is the greatest issue facing translators working in France or with the French language?

In France, literary translators are the authors of their translations. This means that they are “writers” of their texts. The editor wants to read a novel in French, not a translation.

I see three basic principles, three simple, obvious and sometimes strangely neglected cardinal rules:

1. Understanding. Understand the text: meaning, context, situation of the character. Know what you are telling.
2. Writing. Write in French. Erase English. Completely. Phrases, syntax, rhythm. Everything must disappear!
3. Giving. Give the gift of wonder. Give something special to read. Write literature. This is what I call the quest for Intrigue, Surprise and Enchantment.

What is your prediction for the future of human translation?

I must admit that I don’t really understand the debate on the future of human translation (related to literature, of course).

A translator tells a story. Actually, he re-tells the story. He tells the story as he has experienced it. And this is the story he’ll write. In literature you must be biased, subjective, radical and monomaniac: this is the way to tell a story.

Choosing a word represents one’s vision of the world. Machine translation software can give the general gist but it will never give the text a soul. Especially since machines will never be human, and vice versa.

As one of the translators who spent nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel, Inferno*, you will be presenting in the upcoming ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, sharing your experience with attendees. What can they expect to learn or know from your presentation?

Work in the bunker compressed the average everyday working conditions a translator experiences. Drastic conditions, intense work and lack of comfort simply highlighted the issues all translators face. When you are a professional translator, when translation is your only source of income and when you translate every day -as I do- there is one precious magic concept which must never be lost along the way: ENJOYMENT.

Enjoyment for the body, enjoyment for the soul.

As for the body, when I was in the bunker, I resorted to certain tips and tricks.

For my soul, this meant finding enjoyment in writing and in telling a story. So I strove to love what I was writing, despite the stress, the looming deadline and the terrible hours. My simple threefold mantra “Intrigue, Surprise, Enchantment” guided me during this adventure.

The importance of really enjoying the translation process is what I would like to illustrate during my presentation.

ProZ.com international conference in Pisa, Italy

Join Dominique and other language professionals on June 28-29 in Pisa, Italy, for the ProZ.com 2014 international conference.

Visit event page »            View event program »            View related social events »

 

See “Translator, kindly step into my dungeon, I have a project for you…” T.O. blog post (May 9, 2013) »

Thanks Daniela Zambrini, ProZ.com 2014 international conference organizer, for the translation of Dominique Defert’s interview answers from French into English!

 

ProZ.com 2014 regional event in Porto, Portugal: tools and strategies Reply

After the great success of the ProZ.com 2013 international conference in Porto, Portugal, ProZ.com and event organizers Paula Ribeiro and Maria Pereira are organizing a regional event again in the city of Porto for language professionals with years of experience as well as for those who are just starting out in the translation business.

This regional event, scheduled for May 24th, 2014, will offer attendees an entire day of presentations, a pre-event powwow on Friday night and the possibility to learn, network and have fun with colleagues.

The program

The event program includes four sessions, two coffee breaks and one lunch. With the purpose of discussing and learning more about tools and strategies freelancers can use to cope with industry challenges, presentations will cover topics such as project management, personal branding and business issues. To see a full version of the event program, click here.

The speakers

This regional event will have the presence of five well-known speakers of the translation community:

125715_r52cf3322971eeRui Sousa

Holding a Degree in Translation Studies (English/French branch) at the Instituto Superior de Línguas e Administração (ISLA-Gaia), Rui Sousa collaborated with several Portuguese and international companies as an in-house and freelance translator. Between 2010 and 2012, he worked as a project manager at a translation agency in Porto, being directly involved in the agency’s day-to-day business. In October 2013, he created Mind Words® venture in partnership with her colleague Luísa Matos, offering services in translation, specialized training and linguistic consultancy. He is a certified trainer and a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL), reputed translators association based in London. In his free time, he loves travelling and hanging out with friends. He enjoys cinema, sushi and bossa nova.


23970_r511fdbdd6a8bcLuisa Matos

Luisa holds a Degree in Specialized Translation (English/German branch) at the Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração do Porto (ISCAP). She is a freelance translator and a certified trainer since 2001, and worked as a translation project manager for twelve years. In October 2013, she created Mind Words® venture in partnership with his colleague Rui Sousa. In her free time, she practices Tai Chi, Lu Jong and plays the violin. Also loves reading and music.


1302197_r5106369d6ee1aMarta Stelmaszak

Marta is a Polish-English translator and interpreter specializing in law, IT, marketing, and business. She is a member of the Management Committee of the Interpreting Division at the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a Co-head of the UK Chapter of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters. She is also an Associate of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, a qualified business mentor, a member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She is currently studying for master’s degree in Management, Information Systems and Innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Recently, she’s been awarded with the Higher Education Social Entrepreneurship Award. Marta runs the Business School for Translator, a blog for translators and interpreters with an entrepreneurial angle recently turned into an online course. Marta is active on Twitter and Facebook where she’s sharing information related to the business side of being a translator or interpreter.


783740_r478376bd9b1fbValeria Aliperta

Valeria, member of IAPTI and Head of External Relations, Associate of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, member of ASETRAD, is a conference interpreter and translator working from English, Spanish and French into her native Italian. Her fields of expertise are IT, fashion, design, marketing, legal and advertising. With a soft spot for blogging and social media (she organised the Tweet‐Up at the 2010 ITI Conference), she was listed as 15th Top Twitterer and 21st Top Facebook Page in the Language Lovers 2012 contest. She runs monthly gatherings of colleagues, the London TweetUps, in London. Along with talks and webinars, she writes articles and guest posts on branding / corporate identity and regularly contributes to the ITI Bulletin. In 2013 she has launched Rainy London Branding, an all‐new sister site to Rainy London Translations, entirely dedicated to branding and identity consultancy. Along with Marta Stelmaszak, she runs The Freelance Box, a series of hands‐on, no-nonsense, in‐person courses on the practical side of the freelance translation business.


12742_r4fb7bb01c2c39João Roque Dias

João is a mechanical engineer and technical translator. He discharged several duties in engineering, consulting and construction companies in Portugal, Israel, Denmark, United States, Bermuda and Mozambique. He is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International), an independent translator since 1989 and a corresponding member of the American Translators Association (ATA) since 1993, also certified by them in English-Portuguese. João was also an ATA Accreditation Exams Grader from 1994 until 2001 and Vice-chair of the Organizing Committee of contrapor2006 – 1st Portuguese Translation Conference. He also acted as a scientific advisor and speaker at the 2007, 2009 and 2010 TRADULÍNGUAS Translation Conferences (Lisbon, Portugal). A well-known speaker in translation related events around the world, João is also a trainer of mechanical engineering translation and professional development for translators, and author of several articles and glossaries related to technical translation and mechanical engineering. More about Joao can be found on his website or via Facebook.

The event

The event will take place on May 24th at the HF Ipanema Porto Hotel from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM CET. To register for this event, visit the event page and click on “Sign up now”. To save your seat, just click on “Buy now to register” in the pricing box.

What tools do you use to cope with industry challenges? What strategies have you applied (or are you planning to apply) to improve the way you manage your translation business? Share below!

The unique experience of organizing a ProZ.com event 1

ProZ.com events are virtual or in-person gatherings that represent the most powerful concentration of the ProZ.com mission statement by providing opportunities for translators to network, learn, expand their businesses and have fun.

To date, there has been thousands of events, virtually and in different cities around the globe. These events include powwows, conferences, workshops, you name it!

But what makes ProZ.com events different is not just the many event options available, but the fact that they are are organized by and for language professionals. Plus, they are less formal and more intimate than events in other industries, and planned in such a way as to be affordable and easily accessible.

Why organize a ProZ.com event?

Most event organizers agree in that organizing a ProZ.com event is a truly unique and rewarding experience. For them, ProZ.com events represent a fantastic opportunity to be challenged to do something different, learn new skills, make contacts with companies, associations and other major players in the industry. Furthermore, event organizers may find that the exposure gained by organizing an event enhances their translation business and professional profile.

Porto_Group_photo

“Organizing the 2013 ProZ.com international conference made me develop skills I never knew I had in me, gave me the opportunity to know some great professionals from other companies and areas of interest and to make some new friends, apart from the fact that having mentioned this organization on my CV and profiles all over the net, has helped my clients realize that they can rely on me as far as organization and responsibility goes!”

Paula Ribeiro, organizer of the 2013 ProZ.com international conference in Porto, Portugal.

Whether it is a powwow, a conference, or a workshop, if there are language professionals living in close proximity who are interested in learning, networking, expanding their business and having fun, there is the opportunity for a ProZ.com event!

Can I propose a ProZ.com event?

Sure you can! If you would like to organize a gathering of professionals for 2014, just complete the event proposal form. ProZ.com staff will review your poposal and contact you to discuss different possibilities available.

Fore more information on ProZ.com events, click here.

Summary of the V Conferência Brasileira de Tradutores do ProZ.com in Recife 1

Almost one week after the V Conferência Brasileira de Tradutores do ProZ.com, phrases such “Disrupt yourself now!” and “Translators of the world, unite! We are stronger together.” seem to keep echoing in participants’ minds. Nineteen speakers, twenty different sessions, two powwows, Tweets, Facebook posts, feedback comments, pictures and videos made of this conference a great success, reminding translation professionals of the importance of constant networking and professional development.

What did this event offer to ProZ.com members?

  • Twenty sessions divided in two tracks.
  • Two powwows, one at Restaurante Parraxaxá, specialized in Northeastern plates, and a second one at Entre Amigos Praia, a restaurant with the prefect atmosphere to be with fiends!
  • Sightseeing around Recife, the Brazilian Venice.
  • The chance to meet fellow translators, promote themselves among peers and learn how to get the most out of the translation profession.

As a ProZ.com staff member, I enjoyed my visit to Recife and meeting some ProZ.com Brazilian members for the first time and seeing others again. It was a great experience! Thanks Ju Chaad and Nina Cavalcanti for working tirelessly over the past year to bring this great conference to life. Also, thanks speakers for sharing your time, energy and expertise. And, above all, thank you attendees for making this event possible!

What now?

Hope to see you all soon at the next ProZ.com event!

Lucía

The ProZ.com moderator class of 2013-2014 is up and running 2

The ProZ.com moderator class of 2013-2014 has stepped up and started activity this week.

Like referees in sports, ProZ.com moderators help to ensure fair play by enforcing a specific set of rules in a uniform manner.

As explained in a previous post, ProZ.com moderators are volunteer site members who monitor forum and KudoZ areas to extend and protect the pleasant, results-oriented atmosphere of the ProZ.com translation workplace by:

  • Greeting and guiding new participants, and helping them to properly use and benefit from what is available to them at ProZ.com.
  • Enforcing site rules in a consistent and structured manner to maintain a constructive environment.

Thank you members who have benefited from ProZ.com and have chosen to give something back by playing their part in a system put in place to ensure fair play. And welcome to this new mod class!

Since applications are still being reviewed. Members are welcome to read available information on the moderator program and, if interested in serving a term as a ProZ.com moderator, apply.

Meet ProZ.com moderators »

Announcing ProZ.com translation teams improvements Reply

Portrait of multi racial business people smiling together at officeProZ.com translation teams are cooperative groups of language professionals acting as a single entity, collaborating on projects, sharing resources, quoting on jobs, and more.

Today I’m glad to announce that, based on recent member activity and feedback, ProZ.com translation teams have been improved to help members to get the most out of teams in particular and of ProZ.com in general.

Click here to see a detailed list of improvements applied and leave your comments.

More information on ProZ.com translation teams is available here.

Thank you Magdalena Balibrea Vich for creating the “Tourism translators” team and Tourism translators team members for your feedback!

Check ProZ.com translation teams »

Are spelling mistakes that funny? 5

spel_it_rite2Of course sometimes it may be funny –and even rewarding– when someone else misspells a word and you find it. You spot the error, you open your mouth so as to express surprise, but laughter comes out instead, and a “must-tell-someone” eagerness arises. But have you ever thought that the unfortunate error may actually cost a fortune to someone? Or that a misspelled word may even destroy someone’s reputation? Or cost lives? It would not be that funny then if that happened to you, right?

Last year, the American politician Mitt Romney launched an iPhone application that gave users the chance to post pictures of themselves under different slogans, with one of those slogans featuring an incorrect spelling of the word America: “A Better Amercia.” Though this error may not have had a direct impact on Romney’s campaign, some may still be wondering what happened with that application developer and his/her job.

In late 1962, the United States made the first attempt to send a spacecraft to Venus. The spacecraft –known as Mariner 1– experienced some difficulties shortly after launch that made steering impossible and directed it toward a crash. According to the Post Flight Review Board, the omission of a hyphen in coded computer instructions in the data-editing program allowed transmission of incorrect guidance signals to the spacecraft, causing the computer to swing automatically into a series of unnecessary course corrections with erroneous steering commands which finally threw the spacecraft off course. Total research, development, launch, and support cost for the Mariner series of spacecraft (Mariners 1 through 10) was approximately $554 million.

While sometimes spelling mistakes may cause someone to lose their reputation or job, it may give others the chance to make money at the same time. In 1995, Argentina issued a series of one-peso coins with the word “PROVINCIAS” (‘Provinces’ in English) spelled wrongly: “PROVINGIAS”. Since then, people have been hoarding these coins in the hope their value rises, while some are already selling them online for over twelve pesos (way more than their actual value). A similar mistake was noticed in thousands of coins issues in Chile in 2008, where the country name was spelled as “Chiie”. Still, these mistakes resulted in a good number of people losing their jobs.

An analysis of website figures made in 2011 by Charles Duncombe, an on-line entrepreneur, shows a single spelling mistake can cut on-line sales in half. So no wonder why a spelling mistake may turn into a tragedy. Duncombe says that sales figures suggested that misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility and that –believe it or not– poor spelling is a serious problem for the on-line economy.

No one is perfect, and we all make mistakes – I know I do. However, proofreading should be a must for anyone publishing. In the end, there is always the possibility to spellcheck twice or three times, while businesses, reputations or lives may not get a second chance.

How about you? Do you spellcheck everything you publish (your social network content and comments, information you share in social and professional profiles, your e-mail messages?)

Do you know any other famous spelling mistake?