Wednesday, December 3, 2014


The purpose of this site is to create a forum where all participants in the translation industry can come together and discuss a wide range of topics, all in the interest of improving the industry as a whole. Translators, project managers, translation buyers (end users) are all welcome to participate.   

Valuable tips for creating English documents that may also be translated:

Avoid crowded text! Some languages expand when translated from English (e.g., Spanish expands by 30%). So, to avoid a Text Tsunami in the foreign language, consider the space that is available from the start.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe not a thousand words, but pictures may help to lessen the text required.

Avoid culture-specific clich├ęs (e.g., most other countries do not understand NFL references).

Make sure the English will make sense when translated.  If something just doesn't translate well, an experienced agency will inform the client in order to make the translation just as effective as the English.

Using skilled, professional translators is a smart, cost effective method to improve your company’s image!

Do you lose your copyright when your work is translated?


You've written what is sure to be a hit song according to your record company, but the producers want to test it out in a foreign market first - your producers hired a translator. Will your subtle lyrics and your copyright get lost in translation?

Do you lose your copyright when your work is translated?

Unfortunately, that's just what happened to Brazilian bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, according to his family's lawsuit against Universal Studios Inc. and Universal Music Publishing Group. Jobim's widow and children claim the rights to his songs were wrongly assigned to Norman Gimbel, the man who translated them from Portuguese into English.
The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges breach of contract and non-payment of royalties, stating "In a remarkable display of hubris and overreaching, the defendants purported to assign a worldwide copyright interest and administration rights in the English-language lyric versions of a number of Jobim's compositions to the party that authored those lyrics as a work-for-hire."

Read entire Article at Legalzoom):

Language bias issues are rising at work

Rise in multilingual employees increases 'English-only' discrimination issues nationwide in the workplace

By Erich Schwartzel / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ed Zalewski was working as a compliance expert at the J.J. Keller and Associates safety and compliance firm in Neenah, Wis., when he started noticing more clients calling with questions about a topic often lost in translation in the past several years.
Can employers screen job candidates based on their ability to speak English?
Are workers allowed to speak a different language with one another during lunch breaks?
If that foreign language makes colleagues uncomfortable, does that constitute harassment?
Mr. Zalewski's observations in Wisconsin mirrored trends seen across the country, as demographics shift and employers grapple with legal questions that come with hiring workers speaking many different languages.
At the center of the legal issue is the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an agency charged with addressing company policies concerning discrimination based on national origin.

Read more:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Love Lucy - Interpreting Lesson

One of my favorite video clips. In this clip, Ricky, the officers and a 'fellow' interpret for Lucy. They actually do a very good job!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Translation 101: The Basics

To start, I thought I would answer some basic questions for those who may be new to the translation world:

Q. How do you figure out the cost of a translation?

A. The unofficial standard is to bill translations based on the word count of the source document. For example, an English document with 1,000 words, at .20 per word, would cost $200.00 to have translated into Dutch.

“Back in the day” before most source documents were readily available in electronic format, the target word count was used to calculate the cost. So, customers were given a quote based on the estimated word count of the source document, plus any expansion that might occur depending on the language combination, multiplied by the per-word rate. (This practice is still used for documents that are in a format that prevents a reliable source word count such as low quality faxes or pdfs, pdfs of non-standard alphabets, etc.)

Personally I was never happy with using the target word count because, from a business planning standpoint, it was too vague. It’s like taking your car to the garage and having them do the work based on a “rough” estimate and having it come in $500.00 more than expected. If possible, it is always better to agree on a firm price upfront based on a reliable word count.