IJET-26 has sold out!

It's been six weeks since I wrote my last post, "I’ll be at IJET-26 – will you?" and, remarkably, IJET-26 has sold out already!

I’ll be at IJET-26 – will you?

If you are thinking about attending IJET-26 York, the early-bird discounts are still available — but only until Tuesday 31 March. The Zenyasai (pre-conference knees-up) tickets are selling out fast too...

WayToJapan is moving! / 一時休業のお知らせ

After four years in the Netherlands (and three years in Japan before that), I am moving back to the UK at the end of January. This means that WayToJapan Translations, a sole proprietorship registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, will cease to operate at the end of December. I will be back in business when I'm settled in my new home office in London [...]

Revising translations – your thoughts?

Some (many, actually) call it proofreading, others call it (cross-)checking or reviewing, and larger agencies these days seem to prefer to call it QA... yes, I'm talking about revising someone else's translation. Do you accept revision work? I'm asking this because I get asked by agencies to do this fairly regularly, and some of them even seem to send me only revision jobs even though I'm registered with them as a translator, not a QA specialist.

Yet another thought on translation rates

According to a news report earlier this week, workers in the UK are enjoying a real pay rise — pay rise above the annual inflation rate — for the first time for four years. I was quoting on a job that came in yesterday when it occurred to me that the "standard rate" I quote is the rate I set in 2001, when I became a qualified member of the ITI. Yes, I've so far resisted the constant pressure from large translation agencies to lower my rates and ignored advice from them that my rates are way above the going rate. But what does that really mean? According to the Office for National Statistics, the median full-time gross weekly earnings in the UK were

See you at IJET-25 Tokyo/英日・日英翻訳国際会議に行きます!

6月21〜22日に東京ビッグサイトで開催される第25回英日・日英翻訳国際会議「IJET-25」に行くことに決めました!来年のIJET-26は英国ヨークで開催することが決まっており、実行委員長なので下見・勉強と来年の宣伝も兼ねての参加になります。今回もできるだけたくさんの人と交流できればと思っていますのでよろしくお願いします。 I've registered to attend IJET-25, to be held on 21-22 June in Tokyo! The IJET is always a fantastic opportunity for networking and I'm looking forward to meeting and reconnecting with as many fellow translators as possible, but this time I'm also going as the chair of the organising committee of IJET-26 York, UK, reccying, shadowing the committee members and learning as well as promoting next year's sure-to-be amazing event! See you in Tokyo :-)

Machine translation: how not to do it

I was delving through the archives of a fellow translator's blog when I came across this piece of "Japanese translation": So what? You may ask. We all know the internet is littered with gibberish churned out by Google Translate and other free MT services of that ilk - hardly anything new to shout about, is it? Right. Except, this particular one comes from the website of a translation company.

Ten Common Myths About Translation Quality – by Nataly Kelly

Ten Common Myths About Translation Quality - by Nataly Kelly This is a blog post by Nataly Kelly, co-author of book "Found in Translation" and offers excellent pieces of advice to translation buyers. It's good to see an article like this on a popular website like The Huffington Post.

Workshop report: ITI Scottish Network Summer Workshop in Aberdeen, 15 June 2013

(Continued from workshop report 1) The second weekend of the double CPD trip took me to Aberdeen, in the Northeast of Scotland, for the summer workshop of the ITI Scottish Network (ScotNet), one of the regional groups of the Institute. I attended a number of events organised by ScotNet when I was a member, but that was a long time ago. So I wasn't sure what to expect when I turned up (late) at the pre-workshop dinner on Friday. I was certainly not expecting the huge group of people spread over three long tables that awaited. It seemed that ScotNet had grown considerably since I let my membership lapse, and the partners of workshop attending members further boosted the scale of the weekend's social programmes. The Saturday started with coffee and biscuits (which I certainly needed after the salsa night that went on till 2am, but this time thankfully just next door from the dinner venue and around the corner from the hotel). Then the day's proceedings commenced in a packed hotel meeting room. The topic of the workshop was "Translating Culture", and the day's programme was divided into two parts: a talk by Dr Jean-Pierre Mailhac on how to deal with cultural references, followed by practical activities. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="423"] Full house[/caption] Cultural references crop up all the time when translating text, and not just in obvious places like literary works (someone gave an example of a cultural reference being used in a scientific article). Dr Mailhac, an academic specialising in  theoretical linguistics as well as a practising translator, suggests a framework of clearly defined strategies, procedures and parameters for handling cultural references. Three strategy options, 14 procedures and 21 parameters to be precise. That's quite a lot to consider, but the talk, using many examples (mostly from "Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4" and its French translation) kept us engaged despite the not-so-ideal conditions of the overcrowded, airless room. After a lunch break (soup and sandwiches), the concluding part of the talk was followed by a couple of practical activities, where we looked at different texts (and a video), identified culture-specific elements in them and considered how they could be translated. Managing discussions in such a large group was not easy, and this part of the workshop — and also the Q&A session — felt rather slow and hard-going in the afternoon slump. Still, the workshop as a whole was useful in that it gave us a framework that could aid our decision-making when faced with the familiar problem of rendering cultural references for the consumption of readers who did not share the culture on which the original text was based. There was a couple of hours to spare after the workshop, so I went out for a stroll to make the most of the beautiful, warm day before going back to the hotel and the dinner and the ceilidh, held in the same room we spent the day. Ceilidh is a traditional Scottish dance party, with a live folk band providing the music as well as instructions for the dances, and it is a tradition of ScotNet to have a ceilidh at the annual summer workshop. The meeting room tables and chairs were out and large round dinner tables were in, with a portable dance floor at the end. The hotel served a good three-course meal, but I found it a bit difficult to mingle in the setup, and when the band started playing, we quickly found that the dance floor was far too small for such a large group.  I gave up after one dance (the obligatory Gay Gordons) and watched the seasoned dancers of ScotNet brave on... ScotNet organises regular professional development events. For information, go to http://itiscotland.org.uk/.

Workshop report: J-Net Summer Workshop in Nottingham, 8 June 2013

J-Net, the Japanese-language network of the ITI, holds two workshops each year, one in January and one in June, alternating between locations in the south and north of the UK, and the summer workshop this year took place in Nottingham in the Midlands. By coincidence it was to be held a week before the annual summer workshop of the ITI's Scottish Network, and I also discovered that a person with whom I needed to meet and discuss a project was going to be in London in between these two weekends, so I decided that two CPD events and a meeting would make a nice trip back to the UK. A few weeks before the trip, I learned that one of my favourite salsa parties in the UK was going to take place in Manchester on the Friday I arrive, and that one of my salsa friends living in Nottingham was going to the party (and was able to drive me back to Nottingham) — it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. So I landed at Birmingham in the afternoon, got the train to Nottingham  (two changes), checked into my hotel and got the train straight out to Manchester. I arrived at the venue around 11pm, danced the night away and got back to my hotel around 5am. I think I got about 2 ½ hours of sleep. On Saturday, the morning session started at 10am following a much needed (for me anyway) cup of coffee and a quick round of self-introductions. The session was about quality assurance, and  it consisted of three short presentations by J-Net members coming from different fields — one in-house QA checker and two freelance translators, one specialising in pharmaceutical translation, the other in legal — on their experience and thoughts on translation quality assurance, followed by a talk by Dr Joanna Drugan of the University of East Anglia, the author of  the book "Quality In Professional Translation: Assessment and Improvement". Jo's talk, based on her book, looked at how and why a gulf exists between academic research into translation quality and real-life practices of quality assurance in the translation industry. Academic theorists and industry practitioners look at the quality of a translation from very different  sets of needs and goals. In the world of practical translation, the key drivers are client satisfaction and the return on investment, which require different approaches to quality assurance from the sort of quality assessment theory models devised by academics.  This does not, says Jo, mean that the approach to quality in professional translation is (as the academic theorists believe) "atheoretical" or "impressionistic". Jo spent a great deal of time visiting a wide range of industry players in the course of her research and explains that, broadly speaking, approaches to quality can be split into "top-down" and "bottom-up", with various hybrids of the two in-between. We were then split into two groups and asked to look at two extreme examples of "top-down" and "bottom-up" quality assurance — "maximalist model" and "crowdsourced model" and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each model in terms of quality assurance. The maximalist model is where the aim is a total control of quality throughout the (mostly in-house) translation process with numerous checks along the way, whereas the crowdsourced model relies on the participating volunteers to control quality themselves in a continual and organic manner through peer discussions and user feedback. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] The oversized cheese and antipasti board[/caption] We were all ready for some refuelling after this exercise, so off we went,  shivering in the cold wind (the balmy summer day the weather forecasters promised us didn't materialise), to a nearby pub for lunch. The lunch consisted of a big cheese-and-antipasti board, which made an impressive sight as it entered the room. The afternoon session is always tricky with a dangerous combination of full stomachs and tired brains all around the room. What we needed was some practical group work to keep us awake and engaged, and that's exactly what we got. J-Net holds an annual translation competition, with a short text each for Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation. This year, we decided to use these texts for a practical translation session at the workshop, which I think was a great idea. We were split into groups of four, each with Japanese and English native speakers, and set to work on the two competition texts. The idea was for each group to take on a chunk from each text to translate, then put them together, polish up with input from all the groups and enter the finished results in the competition. I suppose this was not unlike the crowdsourced TQA model presented earlier in the morning session. We are now waiting for the results of the competition to be announced. Will the crowd beat individual entrants? We shall see... The last programme of the day was, of course, the post-workshop networking dinner. The venue was an atmospheric restaurant called Marrakesh (no prize for guessing the style of food offerred). We shared a huge "Marrakesh Mezze", which was delicious and a good value for money. We spent hours eating, drinking, catching up and swapping stories until it dawned on us that the restaurant had filled up and there were people waiting for tables to be vacated. There was an option of continuing the chat at a nearby pub, but I decided to go back to my hotel for the night as I was in serious need of sleep by then (so serious that I even decided to miss the local salsa party!). There was also a Sunday programme, a walk around the Newstead Abbey, which I was unfortunately unable to join as I had a train to catch. This year's summer workshop was a departure from the norm. Getting an external speaker, using the annual competition as part of the practical session and adding a Sunday social programme were all new ideas that came up at the AGM, and I think they all worked very well. The next workshop will be held in January 2014, and I'm looking forward to it already. (Continued to workshop report 2)