Not quite…

This one is for all my (conference) interpretation colleagues out there.

We interpreters (translators who deliver spoken translations either simultaneously using interpretation equipment or consecutively, i.e. after the speaker has spoken) know, why ‘computer translation’ of speech doesn’t work properly and why.

Take a look at this video next time you need to remind someone why it pays to hire a professional interpreter.

The tech folks at an American news station tested a translation device with earbuds to be used instead of an interpreter a few days ago and this is what happened:

Trilingual chat with pixel buds goes awry

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Denglish

My colleagues and I often talk about the fact that speaking English has almost come to be expected from many European non-native speakers, especially from the Dutch and the Germans. Not sure why, though, since we don’t expect North Americans to speak fluent German, Dutch or Spanish. As a matter of fact, we don’t even count on every Canadian to speak French fluently, although French is one of two official languages in Canada (the other being English).

Coupled with the mistaken assumption that being (almost) fluent in two (or more) languages also means that you can translate (written) or interpret (spoken) from one language to the other, we regularly stumble across more or less awkward mistranslations.

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On the occasion of International Translation Day I just have to state the obvious: These minor and major errors could be avoided by hiring a qualified and experienced translator or (conference) interpreter. Professional language service providers are members of provincial/ state and/or national professional bodies. Each professional association has an online directory to easily find someone by language combination. In North America they usually have a designation like “Certified Translator” or “Certified Conference Interpreter.” They can help you communicate more effectively in the foreign language, because they “know their stuff.”

So to all my qualified colleagues out there: Happy translating and/or interpreting!

May all your clients value what you do!

 

Berlin… wall-less

What a difference a few decades make… The last time I was in Berlin, was before reunification. Back then it was unimaginable that the Wall would ever crumble, let alone disappear.

Now, at Potsdamer Platz marveling at the incredible architectural marriage of old and new, my friends (aka Berlin insiders) and I discover Panorama Café. The “fastest elevator in Europe” whisks you up, up, up to enjoy amazing views over today’s Berlin.

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Up here, you can also touch a small piece of the wall on display, and see photos of numerous ingenious contraptions used to escape oppressive East Berlin. This make-shift zip-line really caught my eye.

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Standing here, I remember walking along the wall in West Berlin and crossing a check-point into what was an oppressively dark East Berlin back then, only illuminated by the kindness and hospitality of the people living there.

 

Kindness and hospitality have endured, as evidenced by my friends.

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Roller Coaster

At Santa Monica Pier …

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The roller-coaster is my life; life is a fast, dizzying game; life is a parachute jump; it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again; it’s mountaineering; it’s wanting to get to the very top of yourself and feeling angry and dissatisfied when you don’t manage it.
Paulo Coelho