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!

 

New year … new laptop …

Hi everyone, colleagues, adventurers and friends,

I hope you’ve all had a good start to the new year. Mine was a bit of a mixed bag — nothing major, mind you, but for one thing my trusty laptop suddenly expired. Grrr…. do I have a backup laptop/ PCImage?! No way! I like to live on the edge, remember?

Well, to be honest, the loud humming sound (approaching airplane ?) probably was somewhat of a warning sign — which I repeatedly ignored. I later learned that the fan was clogged and overheating and that it should have been cleaned. Apparently there are these special air blowers/ vaccuums for just such a thing….

Here is my question, though: Who came up with the brilliant idea to place the fan on the bottom instead of the back/ side in the first place? And why are these things only built to last 3-4 years? (Because we would rather spend our money on new technology than fun trips around the world?)

Fortunately, the data could be rescued and transferred! Major sigh of relief! The computer guy who helped do that shared his favourite three tips about laptop computers with me: backup, backup, backup… ha, ha!

So I decided to buy a used business model laptop with a new hybrid hard drive instead of a new model. A bit risky, I know, but I figured since these things have such a short lifespan, no point in spending too much in the hopes of getting quality. I also chose to go for a “business model” instead of the “personal” model, whatever that means.

It does seem a lot sturdier (and not as “fancy”) and actually has the fan located at the back of the unit. Let’s see, how it holds up. I’ll keep you posted.

Safe travels and happy translating!

Your Traveling Translator