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!

 

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Free…lancing

Hola, fellow adventurers and friends! I hope, life is treating you well.

In a recent conversation with a friend and fellow freelancer, we agreed that freelancing has been the right approach for both of us. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, right? Neither one of us could imagine working 9-5, reporting to a boss, being told what to do, etc.

We enjoy not knowing in advance, what each work day may (or may not) bring. We like (or can deal with) irregular schedules. We don’t mind tight deadlines (well…) and thrive on the surprise factor of last-minute trips for conference interpretation assignments (Can you be in … tomorrow?). We’ve learned to juggle and arrange our personal and professional lives to accommodate ups and downs, stress and financial instability in exchange for adventure, independence and freedom.

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I think, Joel Klettke said it nicely:

“Don’t freelance to make a living – freelance to make a life…”

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Sufficiency… energy… and the WES oracle…

Hola, friends, fellow adventurers and colleagues,

As you may have noticed, my most recent travels have been occurring on another plane altogether.  No less adventurous, mind you… 😉

This quote by Lynne Twist is informing my approach to work and play right now:

“Sufficiency:….When you let you of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands.” (Lynne Twist)

Hmmmm… Works on a few levels, I think: with money and material possessions, of course. With relationships, too, though. In my last blog I mentioned my WES sisters, remember? And, no… contrary to what my sword-fighting friend has suggested, we are not a band (at least not yet). We are a small group of entrepreneurs (from up and coming to the well-established and in between) who meet once a month to share and support each other in a constructive and positive forum (and I don’t just mean the restaurant). The host & organizer (rotating) presents something like an idea or approach that works, each member shares some of their goals and challenges, and the WES oracle (coined by secret service writer sister, meaning the members of WES) makes suggestions and gives advice.

Here we are, using what we have to come together (while letting go of what we don’t really need, like competition, envy, insecurity, etc.). Each month I walk away with something I receive from the WES oracle: rekindled energy and enthusiam, new ideas and perspective and a sense that helping each other creates more positive for everyone. Thank you to my ich bin ein berliner and healer WES sister and friend and my very funky boston designer friend for the idea.

Signing off for today

Your Traveling Translator

2012 and the Hegelian dialectic

Hi friends, colleagues, fellow adventurers,

Happy new year to everyone! Here we are, it’s January 2012 and … we are still here. Just had to point out the obvious, after all the doomsday scenarious I heard last year (Mayan calendar, etc.) Probably just marked the end of one and beginning of another phase, but more thoughts on that later.

First I’d like to look back a bit to where I left off the last time. I had a longer interpreting assignment in the fall and not a minute to blog at all! Interpreting around the clock, including early mornings and evening functions as well. Exhausting as it was, I had a grate- ful group of delegates and a wonderful trip. The work was exciting and interesting for the most part (which I can’t say about every assignment, let me tell you 🙂

I took these photos with my cell phone, but you still get the idea. This is early morning in Ottawa, with the parliament buildings on the left, taking on my morning walk around the hotel. Nice to have some calm and quiet before interpreting all day.

And this is early morning  in Quebec City; again just around the corner from where I stayed.

Getting back to what I was saying earlier about looking backwards and forward this time of year – while being in the present – brings me to the Hegelian dialectic (by German philosopher Hegel). Apparently, Hegel used a certain formula (dialectic) in his writings. His usual terms for it were: Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis or also Abstract-Negative-Concrete (see Wikipedia).  “In the Logic, for instance, Hegel describes a dialectic of existence: first, existence must be posited as pure Being (Sein); but pure Being, upon examination, is found to be indistinguishable from Nothing (Nichts). When it is realized that what is coming into being is, at the same time, also returning to nothing (in life, for example, one’s living is also a dying), both Being and Nothing are united as Becoming.” (Wikipedia)

Granted, a little lofty so early in the year, but then again, why not start out lofty and see where life will take me this year? I also like this idea of Being and Nothing “synthesized” into “Becoming” – may be a good focus for this year.

On that note… signing off for today,

Your Traveling Translator