Thursday, 27 December 2012

The year in summary

Season's greetings! :)

I'd like to share with you some of the things I've been busy with this year.

-I wrote an article in Spanish. Read it here :)

-I've been involved in a new project. Any support would be much appreciated!

-I've been teaching English but want to be more full-time as a translator.

-Continue to make connections with my wonderful translation colleagues.

-An observation: The more I learn the less I know.

So, do you have anything you would like to look back on or things to work towards as the new year approaches?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Latin American Spanish vs. Spain Spanish

After a break from blogging I'm back!

I recently wrote an article about learning Latin American Spanish vs. Spain Spanish which you can read here. It's in English and Spanish.

This article also got my thinking about this same issue for translators and as a related post to this article, I've written about a small bee in my bonnet which may be a little controversial. I look forward to your comments.

I receive a lot of English to Latin-American Spanish translation offers in my inbox from dubious, translation agencies with questionable professionalism. What does Latin-American Spanish mean in written translation? In educated language there is no difference. “Latin-American Spanish" is not a real product for professional translation. It’s enough to read any educated translation to verify that it’s almost impossible to distinguish the translator’s nationality.  You only have to read the Spanish of Ortega y Gasset or Borges to illustrate my point. 

What these contractors of translation services really want to say in saying “Latin-American Spanish” is: "I’m looking for cheaper Spanish translations”. If the criterion is quality, the Spanish is good wherever it comes from.

Read the related post here.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Book review: You are what you speak

I’ve just finished reading an interesting book You are what you speak by Robert Lane Greene and as the cover states it’s all about grammar grouches, language laws and the politics of identity. I would recommend it just for the first couple of chapters.

I thought I would share with you some of the things that stood out for me, using a few quotes from the book which made me think even more about the power of language.

Talking about the tower of Babel:

But the most interesting part of this story is what it shows about the power of language in the eyes of its authors. God worries that with one common language for human kind, “nothing will be restrained from them”. This, remember, is God: He can flood the world, rain frogs on the Egyptians, turn rivers to blood, and raise the dead. Communication through language must be mighty indeed to worry the Supreme Being into doing something about it. (2011:4)

The idea that “rules” were more important than history, elegance, or actual practice – a zombielike prescriptivism that mindlessly sought out so-called mistakes – held writers and speakers in terror of making them. (2011:34)

Let the meaning choose the word and not the other way around. (Orwell)

Have you read this book?

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I thought I would share with you some resources today.

Free Oxford bilingual dictionaries for Chinese/English, French/English, German/English, Italian/English, Russian/English and Spanish/English

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary free online

Electropedia (IEV Online) is a comprehensive online electrical and electronic terminology database
containing more than 20 000 terms and definitions in English and French, organised by subject area, with equivalent terms in various other languages (including Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish). It is managed by the International Electrotechnical Commission:

Multilingual apiculture dictionary (equivalent terms in English, Spanish, Italian, French and
Portuguese, although the site is in Spanish)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made several of its publications available in foreign languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Simplified Chinese)

The Swiss Institute of Comparative Law provides a multitude of links to legislation, case
law, official gazettes, institutions, etc. in more than 100 countries

Almost everything you ever wanted to know about translation is an e-book freely available at, written by Lola Bendana, director at Multi-Languages Corporation, and Alan Melby, professor of linguistics at Brigham Young University. The book focuses on the business side of translation and one of the contributors is Brian Mossop

The Routledge Translation Studies Portal features a growing range of resources that include video
interviews with leading scholars, sample chapters from important publications, workbooks, glossaries, links, etc.

Writers and Editors is a website dedicated to connecting writers and editors with each other, resources, markets and audiences.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A shocker of a typo

I've been doing some maintenance on the PC I use, running updates etc. I was uninstalling a program and thought you might like to see the typo that nearly caused my heart to stop for a second. I didn't know that Windows® 7 would ever have a typo but there's a first for everyone! ;)

Monday, 30 July 2012

Free university level courses

A couple of months ago I stumbled across this website offering free university level courses on almost any category. It’s a great website and if you have the time, you get to listen to lectures from world famous professors from Ivy League Universities.

Lately I’ve been expanding my horizons in the fields of finance and sociology. 

Most of the courses require no prerequisites however some of the computer courses need a background in programming or something similar.

You can learn more about them here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Has Skype been properly localised?

I use Skype a lot and I especially like to make use of the Hidden Skype Emoticons.

What I find curious though is that these hidden Skype emoticons haven’t been localised. I realise it’s close to impossible to do that but if you offer an application which has been localised, shouldn’t the emoticons be localised too?

Let me explain. If you want to use the normal Skype emoticons, all you do is click on the emoticon block in the typing window or type the symbols on your keyboard e.g. :). This is simple for everyone to do. However, when you want to use one of the hidden Skype emoticons, you have to type the English word in-between brackets e.g. (snooze) or (call) or (talk).

People who speak a language other than English will have a difficult time remembering the words for these emoticons. Even the acronym for the “working from home” emoticon (“wfh”) is difficult for a non-English speaker to remember. How could a non-English speaker make up a logical acronym to fit into their language?

Granted, few people know about these hidden Skype emoticons but maybe Skype should think about a way to localise these emoticons.

I do know that these hidden Skype emoticons aren’t from the official Skype website, however, if you want to type one of the standard emoticons in the standard Skype emoticon box without clicking on the image, you still have to know the English word in some cases e.g. (beer). (No, I’m not drinking on the job). Maybe this is good for language learning but who knows.

So what do you think?