JSA Launches Translator Registration Scheme

Earlier this year, the Japanese Standards Association — the custodian of the Japanese Industrial Standards or JIS — caused something of a stir in the translation community when it announced the launch of a new translator registration scheme in connection with ISO 17100 ... [read more]

The world’s quirkiest phrases — Japanese contributions?

To commemorate the International Translation Day, the BBC posted this amusing article on their website: Eight of the world’s quirkiest phrases. Sadly there's no Japanese phrase in this collection, and here are my offerings to the compendium.

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

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.

My article in the ITI Bulletin

The March/April issue of the ITI Bulletin carries an article I've written about the project to publish a Japanese version of "Translaton: Getting It Right — A guide to buying Translation". The booklet is available from the ITI website in a variety of languages.

J-Net Bulletin is 25 years old!

The Spring 2013 issue of the J-Net Bulletin is out — and this issue celebrates 25 years of the publication, which began as typewritten copies titled the Japanese Network Bulletin in 1988, when the Network had only five members. These days the J-Net Bulletin boasts a circulation of over 160, delivered electronically as a PDF full of colour photos. The latest issue of the J-Net Bulletin contains an article looking back on the early days of the Network and its Bulletin. Translation can be a solitary occupation, with much stumbling around in the dark with nobody to guide you through, especially if you (like me) "fell into" the job rather than set out to make a career as a translator. J-Net provided a supportive environment that gave me a chance to meet, discuss (online and in the flesh) with and learn from fellow translators for the first time in my working life.

Book review: The Prosperous Translator

The Prosperous Translator by Chris Durban

Chris Durban, a veteran French-to-English translator specialising in finance and capital markets,  doesn't do things by halves, and that applies to her other face as the educator of the translation industry. I first came across her name through her hugely popular column in the ITI Bulletin titled The Onionskin. You find collections of translation bloopers are everywhere on the internet and the printed media — just the sort of light entertainment you need as you get back to work on a rainy Monday morning — but The Onionskin was something else. Chris would contact the company that's just made a laughing stock of themselves and find out how that happened. Who ordered the translation and who provided it? What was the reason for choosing that particular source? How come nobody involved in the process noticed how bad the translation was until it was too late?  And most importantly, how can a disaster like this be prevented from happening again? The Onionskin was all about educating the client, the buyer of translations, and the end product was "Translation: Getting It Right — A guide to buying translation", a small booklet  packed with all the information you need before hiring a translation provider. Over 100,000 copies (now available in nine languages including Japanese) have been distributed in the decade since its first appearance. But while educating our clients, Chris has also been busy educating us translators, the supply end of the supply-and-demand relationship in the translation industry. Chris, with co-author Eugene Seidel, has been answering readers' questions under the aliases Fire Ant & Worker Bee in the Translation Journal since 1998, and 12 years' worth of these pearls of wisdom are now available as a printed book, The Prosperous Translator. The book retains the original question-and-answer format of the column, which may be a little frustrating if you are looking for a step-by-step guide on how to become and make a living as a translator. Be patient and read on — and you are rewarded with a good read. Questions and answers are organised into sections that take you through the stages of a career in translation, right from "how do I become a translator?" through "how do I become a specialist professional?" to "how do I work with others as the head of the local translators' association?" Askers include students, fledglings, in-house translators, seasoned freelancers, translation agencies and even translation buyers, a mix that makes for a diversity of angles from which the same question is looked at: how to succeed as a translator. All the questions are answered in the inimitable FA&WB style — direct, no-nonsense and very funny. Some of the questions may be over a decade old, but the key message of the book is still relavant — perhaps even more so in the time when everyone is feeling the global recession biting — that a high-pay, quality-driven market segment does exist; you just need to work strategically in order to crack it. I found this book very useful, both in showing me a new way of looking at the translation world, and in giving me a wealth of practical tips.