Spanish Translation  //  Traductor inglÚs-espa˝ol  //  Traduction franšais-espagnol

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03/29/06

The proof of the pudding...

A professional translator's bare essentials include translating into your native language, being a proficient writer in your native language, having experience and training in translation, mastering the source language and culture, and being specialized in your subject area.

However, it is not always easy to determine if a translator has all the necessary skills to do a quality job just by looking at the translator's profile, resume or CV. In the past I have collaborated with translators with impressive profiles, but their performance didn't always match professional standards.

One such translator, with more than 10 years of translation experience and having even published an English-Spanish dictionary of technical terminology in his specialization, had a hard time translating correctly the word "set" and a few other basics. And even if he generally wrote in Spanish adequately, very often he would completely miss the point of what the English text was saying. I had to completely rework his translation, instead of editing common human errors and reasonably improving accuracy and language correction, which should be all there is left to do when working with a good translator. Obviously, I never collaborated again with this person.

So you never really know how well your translator is going to perform until you put him to work. He can have translation experience, a master's degree in translation, work experience in your field or who knows what else, but the profile alone does not get the job done.

Here at JB Spanish Translations we hand-pick our collaborators and we retain only the very best. All translations are proofread for accuracy and linguistic correctness and are delivered as a full-fledged, ready to publish product. We have done the tough work for you, so you will not have to go through the trial and error scheme, which can be painstaking and potentially risky for your interests.

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03/25/06

Permalink 10:04:46 pm, Categories: For translation buyers, Machine translation, 294 words  

Translate, anyone?

Ray T. Clifford, Director of Brigham Young University Center for Language Studies recently made this brilliant statement: "While the naive public often assumes that anyone who speaks two languages is qualified to be a translator, that assumption is no more valid than the conclusion that everyone with a brain is qualified to do brain surgery." (Source: Deseret News).

The underlying principle of this statement is of course not new for a professional translator, but recently I was able to have it strongly proven to me once more. A prospective client wanted me to proofread a newsletter which had been translated into Spanish by a bilingual employee of his company's. Before stating any rate for this, I asked to see the translation first.

The "translation" was of course the quintessence of awfulness. So much so that I wonder if the employee had realized his lack of qualifications for this assignment and simply turned to an online translator, thinking that it would do a better job than he would. Everything was there: Incomprehensible and badly written sentences, untranslated words (for no good reason), non-existent grammar, and so on. The only correct thing was, there were no misspellings, which makes me think it was indeed an automatic translation. So much for entrusting one of your employees with your translations!

This material could by no means be leveraged for correction into an adequate Spanish text. In these cases I do not have any choice but turning down the assignment as a proofreading job, but offering the client the option of translating directly from the English text, discarding the existing "translation". Which shouldn't necessarily equal a waste of time and resources if at least it helps realize that translation should always be performed by a qualified and professional translator...

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03/21/06

Permalink 04:49:56 pm, Categories: For professional translators, 458 words  

Why every translator should have a website

Translation work takes place for the most part through and thanks to the Internet and electronic mail. Documents and files to be translated travel by this medium to reach translation vendors, and the final translated products come back to the translation buyers by the same means. Chances are you will never see face to face the person you are working with. And in this virtual translation environment, you become a much more real entity as soon as you publish your professional website showcasing your translation services. Instead of being xyz@hotmail.com (just how professional does this sound?), you become www.xyz.com and info@xyz.com. Of course, this entails an investment of time, effort and money, but it also opens many windows of opportunity, probably many more than you can even imagine.

What use is it, you say, to have a website when I know for sure that it will be the zillionth website listed on Google when searching for “translation services”? While this will probably be the case, there are still so many ways to take advantage of your online presence. Include its address (URL) in your e-mail signature and all your contacts will take notice of it. You never know when an acquaintance might need you for translation services, and if you are remarkable and available online you can be sure that these people will count on you. But this is also true for translation colleagues. During a significant period of time in my career as a professional translator, every once in a while I would refer some of my prospective clients to translator colleagues of mine. Maybe because I was too busy to take more work on, or because the subject did not match my technical expertise. Guess what? I would refer these potential clients only to translator colleagues who happened to have a professional website. No matter how good a translator I believed so and so to be, I preferred to send these people to a good translator who also ran a professional website. This way, the prospective clients had something else than my recommendation to judge the translator: in a very direct way, they were able to see what it was that this translator offered, how he offered it and the qualifications he had to guarantee a positive outcome for their translation. Something that a free e-mail address would have a hard time providing, unless the client would contact the translator and ask. But in most cases, people do not contact a prospective contractor unless they have a good reason to trust him. Your professional website will do exactly this: give reasons to any possible translation buyer who should enter your website to contact you and inquire about your translation services!

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03/15/06

Permalink 10:33:46 am, Categories: About JB Translations, For professional translators, 534 words  

An interview

So I was recently interviewed by an American senior high student for a school project dealing on the translator's profession. This is how it went:

1. How many years in school did you study in order to become a translator/ interpreter?
I got a BA in Translation and Interpretation that took me 4 years to complete. But of course, this alone doesn't make you a full-fledged translator. You must learn and train yourself continuously.

2. Do you prefer document translation or verbal interpretation more?
I prefer document translation, I don't do interpretation at all. The demands of interpretation don't match my skills in any way, while written translation matches them perfectly!

3. Would you suggest working freelance over within a company? Why?
A combination of both is usually a good choice. Starting within a company right after finishing your studies (through a period of work experience + regular employment resulting from it, for example) is a good way to get to know the translation industry and all its secrets. When you are confident and experienced, then you can establish yourself as a freelance translator. You are your own boss, you establish your own schedule, and if you have the right attitude you can end up earning more than you would translating in house.

4. On average, how long does it take you to translate a document of around 500 words?
It depends on a lot of things. If I know the subject by heart and it's common language, it can be 30 minutes. But if the subject is highly technical and I'm just starting with it, it can be 2 hours! So a rough average would be 1 hour-1 hour and a half.

5. Is there a high enough demand in the translation market for a Spanish>English translator, or do you suggest studying a different language for translation?
I think that the demand for Spanish>English translations is high enough. I wouldn't necessarily recommend a different language, but rather an additional language. French or German are common ones with a high demand, or you can take a more rare one which will make you more interesting for translation companies (such as Swedish, Russian, Greek, Arabic, or even more rare ones...) One or two common languages + a rare one seems to be a winning language combination. But of course, in order to learn those languages you need to devote efforts and time in the countries where those languages are spoken. In any case, if you are really good you can do well with just Spanish into English, but it is always a good idea not to have all your eggs in one basket.

6. Do you find it easier to translate from or into your native language? Which do you prefer?
It's easier and preferable to translate into your native language. I don't translate into English personally. Translation is an extremely demanding task and excellence is hard to attain. If you are most competent writing in a particular language, that is the one you should translate into. There are some people that are truly bilingual (who master two languages just as well), but this is somewhat rare. I am not one of those cases, so I only translate into Spanish and I do not regret it.

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03/14/06

Permalink 05:10:09 pm, Categories: About JB Translations, 192 words  

Into Spanish Translation: The Translation Blog

It is common knowledge that nothing is created out of nothing. In this case, this new weblog's raw materials must have been somewhere at the back of my mind and they're just waiting for me to release them! So there you go, my blog on Spanish translation.

What's this blog going to be?:

A place to discuss the Spanish translation industry from the point of view of a freelance translator in constant contact with the end clients (a rare combination since most commonly there's a translation agency in between.)

A place to provide insight aimed at translation buyers, especially Spanish translation buyers: The global Hispanic market, the needs and demands of translation, the current status of the translation industry and whatnot.

A place to discuss JB Spanish Translations, my professional Spanish translation service, and everything around it.

A place to provide tips for prospective, beginning and even established translators.

A place to discuss news and current issues about Spanish, about translation, about translators, about language, and anything else that I would consider significant and relevant.

A place to discharge any daily frustrations from a martyr, flagellated translator.

And probably a lot more!

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