Thanks to Twitter, I came across a ProZ.com member’s blog and a very interesting blog post. Check out Esther van der Wal‘s blog, IdentiTales, and her recent post, “My Two Cents: How Volunteering Changes Your Perspective of Business”. In it, Esther comments on her experience with a Translators Without Borders project and reflects on the roles of translation business owner and volunteer. Thanks Esther! Looking forward to future posts.
Good Friday, everyone! The April ProZ.com newsletter is on its way to your inbox, and I hope you find it interesting and informative.
I’d like to take this opportunity to announce a new feature at ProZ.com, the ProZ.com podcast. These podcasts are designed to provide an opportunity to hear the week’s news, highlights of site features, interviews with translators and others in the industry, and to have some fun. They are narrated by site staff member Romina. Have a listen to this first podcast and see what you think. If you have suggestions for items or sections you would like to hear in upcoming podcasts, feel free to post them here, or contact Romina directly at the email address romina at proz.com. Enjoy!
You can listen to the podcast above in your browser by clicking on the link. To download the podcast, right click on the link and choose the option to “Save link as”.
Language professionals take breaks too (or, at least, they should!). This week the site opened an area called the Translator playground, for translators to have fun, to network, to learn, and to hone their translation or linguistic skills. The area consists of a collection of games, memes, quizzes, trivia, anecdotes, discussions, and other items of interest and, principally, fun!
The area is just getting started, but already some interesting and fun interactions are taking place. For example, this discussion on translating a comic.
When you take a break today, stop by the Translator playground and check it out. Everyone is welcome to participate and to add what they find fun and of interest.
Here’s some suggested take five music for your break, unless Jazz isn’t your thing:
A new and improved platform has been made available by ProZ.com for jobs posted by Translators Without Borders, an independent, non-profit association that since 1993 has been providing free, professional translations to humanitarian NGOs, enabling them to spend the saved funds in their field operations.
This new platform displays Translators Without Borders’ look and feel and has several new features such as the possibility of uploading supporting material files when creating a new work order. These files are optionally provided to support the work; they do not need to be delivered or translated. Examples include glossaries, translation memories, dictionaries, templates, etc.
When a project is posted, this platform identifies the pool of translators who are enabled for the assignment, rank them in accordance with a predefined criterion and notify them in batches separated by fixed delays. Default values are batches of 5 translators separated by 15-minute delays, but both parameters are configurable.
These notifications include a link to a page dedicated to the job, with optional descriptions of the client, the project and the job, plus the file to be translated and any special instructions provided when posting the job. The translator can review the offered file and all the information and decide to accept it or not.
When one of the notified translators accepts the job, it immediately becomes unavailable to all other translators and no further notifications are sent out.
This interface includes a communications feature for the exchange of messages (with notifications) between the translator and the job poster, and also a feature to deliver the translated file once the job is completed.
New features will be added soon. They will for instance enable NGOs the direct posting of their projects in the platform and support the roles of project manager and editor.
In the near future this platform will be made available to translation outsourcers to offer a low-overhear workflow tool to process their translation jobs. If you outsource translation work and are interested in having access to this tool please contact ProZ.com staff by submitting a support request.
GoodPlanet’s webpage localized into 20 languages by Translators Without Borders volunteers!
As reported on March 28 the NGO GoodPlanet asked Translators Without Borders for help to localize their new website into as many languages as possible beyond English, French and Spanish (which were already available).
In that post it was reported the localization of that page into 13 languages: Italian, Slovak, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian, Turkish, Persian, Greek, Russian, German, Swedish, Arabic and Simplified Chinese.
Now 7 more languages have been delivered, taking the total to 20 languages and oven 180K translated words. These new languages and the corresponding credits are:
GoodPlanet has granted permission to all of the translators who participated in this project to use a part of the translations they performed as sample translations in their portfolios.
In addition, translators who participate in any project handled by Translators Without Borders are kindly invited to enter the relevant projects in the project history section of their ProZ.com profiles and these projects will be validated by Translators Without Borders (send request to http://www.proz.com/profile/1352791 ).
There is still room for translation into additional languages, and some additional volunteers would be more than welcome in several of the pairs where localization is still in progress. Source language is English or French.
Any members of the Certified PRO Network who are willing to collaborate with Translations Without Borders in general, and with GoodPlanet in particular, are welcome to contact Translators Without Borders via their ProZ.com profile at http://www.proz.com/profile/1352791
For those interested in forming part of the Certified PRO Network, please visit http://www.proz.com/cpn
A variety of well-known figures have weighed in on the art of translation. Borges said, “El original no es fiel a la traducción” (“The original is unfaithful to the translation”). “Translation is the art of failure,” according to Umberto Eco. Ursula K. Le Guin has said, “Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat … where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.”
Do any of these quotes represent what translation is to you? Do you have a favorite quote on translation that better sums up the profession?
There is a ProZ.com Wiki article which is a collection of memorable quotes on or related to translation. Check it out here. Add to it if you can.
If you could sum up the art of translation, or the life of a translator, what original quote would you like to leave behind? Be creative!
I dismissed the whole Twitter thing at the outset. I had been through MySpace, and was already getting tired in Facebook of reading about what everyone had eaten, or was going to eat, for dinner. So when people started talking about Twitter, and tweets, whatever those were, my first reaction was, “Another social network for people to spam each other with information I don’t need? No thanks.”
Then I remember hearing about Twitter in the ProZ.com forums, and people were talking about being able to add a Twitter feed to your ProZ.com profile. One of the most vocal in favor was member Erik Hansson, who has been an excellent example of the use of Twitter by an industry professional. Professional translators were using Twitter? What were they using it for? I decided to go ahead and create an account and poke around and see what was going on.
At first, on a general look around, I saw a lot of the same stuff you will see on any other social network. Ugh, I thought. Let’s see what translators are doing.
This is where it got interesting. I saw people in the translation industry using it (as they use other social networks!) to network, share information, stay informed, promote themselves and others. Work was even getting passed and done through it.
I had felt obligated to add friends and people I knew to my group of friends in Facebook, but I decided to use Twitter in a different way. I would only “follow” those whose tweets I found informative or useful. And I would try, at least try, to only tweet information which I also found informative or useful.
The tweets I follow are now just as useful, if not sometimes more useful, than many news services or my Google Reader when it comes to hearing about some of the latest in translation, or issues facing translators and how they are dealing with them. And there’s an advantage to this format: the character limit means that I get short, concise snippets from different people, and I decide whether to follow the link to the full story or investigate further. A time-saver. People at industry events tweet throughout those events, so that even if I am not there, I get a taste of what is going on, what is being discussed, what is striking a chord with attendees (and the fun they’re having that I’m missing out on!). In a collaborative effort, everyone contributes what they have, what they know, what they have read or seen, to the mix. By selecting with care those you follow, you create a powerful way of staying informed and in communication with colleagues, with a minimum of time invested. By sharing with care what you find useful and informative with others in the industry or by passing the word on by “re-tweeting”, you are helping do the same for others.
I’d like to mention here a few Twitter users who I have found particularly informative. This is by no means an exhaustive list:
and @ProZcom of course!
Check them out, and if you have not already, try forming a list of people you follow which you find useful and productive. Then try your hand at returning the favor to those who might follow you.
I’m focusing here on the informative-collaborative aspect of using Twitter, and the benefits I have found. I’m sure there are pros (pro translators and pro tweeters) who can expand more on other beneficial aspects for their businesses of using this medium.
I saw a blog post by Catherine Translates last week which was basically a short list of articles on things to keep in mind while preparing your website. The articles are useful, check them out.
One of the articles in particular, on writing a good About me/About us page, caught my eye, and got me thinking about an area of the ProZ.com profile which can represent a sort of “white bull” for the translator establishing or maintaining an online presence, the “About me” section. Most other fields in your profile are “easier” to fill out, since you know which services you provide, the languages you work in, the projects you’ve completed, etc. But what should go in the “About me” section? Here are some points to keep in mind when crafting or updating yours:
- Approach your “About me” and your profile in general as if you were a potential client looking for a professional in the languages and field(s) you work in.
- Try not to copy and paste your CV into the “About me” section. Your profile has an area where you can upload CVs in various languages and formats, and a potential client who wants to see your CV will look there (you can also see how many times each CV has been opened). Rather, select some choice information that highlights your area(s) of specialization, qualifications, services– things that make you stand out as a professional. What makes you different from others in your field? Why should a client choose you for a project over your colleagues and competitors? Use your “About me” to make sure these things jump out at the visitor to your profile.
- Avoid using phrases such as “never missed a deadline” or “professional and reliable”– serious clients take this as a given when contacting serious translators.
- Keep the format of your “About me” simple but attractive. If you don’t know a little html, there’s a tutorial in the interface to edit your “About me”, and plenty of other guides online. Avoid overusing different fonts, font sizes, and colors, since this can make your presentation harder on the eyes.
- Spend some time crafting your “About me”. It is part of your online business card, and a thoughtful and useful presentation is easy to detect. So are haphazard ones.
* ProZ.com currently ranks among the top 3,400 websites worldwide, according to Alexa. This means that pages on the site, profiles included, have a visibility on the web that is difficult to achieve with an individual website. Member profiles receive this exposure and resulting client traffic at a rate that is far greater than that of non-members. Compare this exposure to the cost of setting up and hosting an individual translator website, and factor in that web hosting is free for members, along with a range of other benefits (risk management, access to clients and job flow, networking, etc.).