Archive for May, 2011

Translation and Censorship in 19th Century Europe

Censorship… It is possible to see this kind of limitation in any field of media or publishing. For example in China and Iran, people do not have an access to some certain websites- at least in legal terms. In Turkey, they want to do the same kind of thing, too. When it comes to publishing, they sometimes do not let some books be published or they recollect the books after publishing. Translation has gone through the same difficulties. While in some countries, people are free to read any book, in some others people do not have this freedom. Think about the WWII. Hitler in Germany, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy… In the first half of the 19th century, translation came to an halt. Fortunately, we went over these days. However, there are still some points to bring up. I want to recommend this book: “The Power of Pen: Translation and Censorship in 19th Century Europe” . Here you can find a short review by E Mena, from the literary translators blog:


“New book:  The Power of the Pen: Translation & Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, edited by Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer and Michaela Wolf. (Vienna: LIT Verlag, 2010)

LIT Verlag (Vienna) is pleased to announce the publication of The Power of the Pen: Translation & Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, edited by Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer and Michaela Wolf. This is the fourth volume in the series ‘Translating across Cultures and Societies’.

The nineteenth century has been very neglected in studies of translation censorship to date. This volume addresses this gap in research, showing how discourse was filtered by official and unofficial censorship mechanisms against a background of massive political and technological change. The volume brings together eleven essays on censorship of literature, philosophy and the press in Austro-Hungary, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, Russia and Spain.

Contributers include Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer, Michaela Wolf, Norbert Bachleitner, Michaela Wolf, Ibon Uribarri, Elisabeth Gibbels, Rita Bueno Maia, María Eugenia Perojo Arronte, Brian James Baer, Benoit Léger, and Outi Paloposki.

For more information, please contact Luc van Doorslaer at”


For the original article, click here.


Google eBooks Get Search, Translation and Definitions

We always say that human translation cannot be replaced by machine translation. It is inevitable that in a couple of decades, the translation job will be reduced to ‘translation editors’ especially for certain language pairs. However, translators will always be there for important texts and cultural nuances. No one is opposed to machine translation because it facilitates our lives to a certain extent, it enables us to understand the gist of some texts the language of which is not familiar to us. In this article I will introduce an innovation of Google Translate. This progres makes me excited because it will provide a non-stop reading. With the new technology, we will not have to look up the dictionary and we will not be distracted while reading e-books. Here how it works:

“Pick up a book like James Joyce’s Ulysses and you’ll likely want a library at your side to help define, translate and help give the context needed to understand the plethora of heady content inside. Before the days of the Internet, reading some of the more scholarly literary texts involved just that – having a dictionary or other reference materials on hand.

Now, Google has brought these things together by adding search, translation and word definitions directly to its Google eBooks offering.

“When bookworms stumble across a word we don’t know, we face the classic dilemma of whether to put the book down to look up the word or forge ahead in ignorance to avoid interrupting the reading experience,” writes Google engineer Derek Lei on the company’s blog. “Well, fret no more, readers, because today you can select words in Google eBooks and look up their definitions, translate them or search for them elsewhere in the book from within the Google eBooks Web Reader–without losing your page or even looking away.”

Google does this, of course, using its in-house tools, such as Google Dictionary, Google Translate and its flagship Google Search technology. Readers can also search for the word or phrase not only in the text, but in Google and Wikipedia. When looking for a word definition, readers are presented not only with a basic definition, but the ability to hear the word pronunciation.”

For the original article, click here.

Adobe FrameMaker for Translators

My professor in the university always says: “I am used to translate in an old way. I do not like using computers, writing is easier than typing.” It sounds weird because I, myself, cannot imagine translating without a computer. While using computers is harder for old generations, not using computers is hard for us. However, we are also kind of getting “old generation”. Technology is moving so fast that there are a lot of softwares and programmes which make our life easier. Adobe FrameMaker is one of them. While translating different kinds of text, this programme helps you to design your page. I have seen this article in one of the translation blogs and I have found it quite interesting. Let’s see if you will like it or not!

In the translation and localization industry, it is very common to work on projects for the translation of manuals, catalogs, brochures and other technical documents. These different types of documents can be presented in different design formats, including FrameMaker, InDesign,PageMaker, Illustrator, QuarkXpress, MS Publisher, among others. These programs usually are processors for document production and handling of large structured files. At first glance, the translation of these books can be a bit complicated, but with the right tools the equation can change to your favor.

One of these programs is, as mentioned above, Adobe FrameMaker. The structure of these files is quite complex. Generally, these documents will be used for all kinds of content: images, texts of these images, index markers, headers and footers, titles, subtitles, etc. These are all aspects to consider because, of course, when it comes to translating these manuals, you must translate everything, respecting all these structures. One of the options for translating FrameMaker manuals is using the Trados tool, TagEditor.

Let’s review some details that may be useful when translating a manual FrameMaker with TagEditor:

First, for the translation of these books is important to use Translation Memories (TMs). Generally, customers who provide manuals for other products with very similar text, or it can send updates of the same product, which means that at this point it is necessary to use memories that allow us to incorporate the full approved text.
To convert a FrameMaker file into editable text (ie in. TagEditor bilingual .ttx), you must follow these steps:
1) Convert the .fm FrameMaker variant to .mif. To do this, simply open the file and save it as .mif using the “Save as”;
2) Use the Trados tool S-Tagger for FrameMaker. Select the Convert MIF. There, you should select all the converted MIF files and then convert these files into Trados TTX, which are to be used for translation. It should be noted at this point that a folder should be created where these files are kept.
3) Once the bilingual files are edited and translated, proceed with the reverse to convert all these files back into MIF files. This procedure is carried out with the option Convert STF. These MIF files are the files, once they are saved again as .fm, that will form the translated version of the manual in FrameMaker.

Ancilliary translation files are also necessary. These files are created by default and, generally, are the files containing all the repeated text of the manuals: footers, headers, subheaders, etc. These files are translated again into the main .fms when they are converted to .mif.

For the original article, click here.

All Hail the Nobel Translator!

“What is your favorite author?” This is one of the most popular questions which we hear many times. As a Turkish person, if I answer this question like “R. J. J. Tolkien” than I am wrong. Unless we read the original versions of the books of Tolkien, we should know that there is someone between Tolkien and Turkish audience: the translator. Almost everybody ignores this fact; however, translator is the one who rewrites the original texts, filters it and renders it to the target culture. Don’t go further and just compare two different translations of any book, you will see how the interpretation changes from translator to translator. Peter Stothard highlights this subject in his article titled “All Hail the Nobel Translator!” He uses the some parts from the Times Literary Supplement: 

A novelist is not famous today unless internationally famous, not recognized unless recognized everywhere. According to the novelist Tim Parks, writing in the TLS this week, “even the recognition extended to him in his home country is significantly increased if he is recognized abroad. The smaller the country he lives in, the less important his language on the international scene, the more this is the case. So if for the moment the phenomenon is only vaguely felt in Anglophile cultures, it is a formidable reality in countries like Holland or Italy. The inevitable result is that many writers, consciously or otherwise, have begun to think of their audience as international rather than national.”

One might have thought that this trend would raise the often down-trodden status of translators. But Parks argues the opposite is the case. “If a writer is to be projected on to the world stage, his work must be translated into a number of languages. If a certain amount of promotional hype is to be generated around a book, then the publisher will make sure that these translations are commissioned and completed in a number of territories more or less simultaneously and prior to the publication of the book in its country of origin. In this way, the novel can be launched worldwide, something that increases its profile in each separate territory. Translation thus becomes an all-important part of the initial promotion of a novel, which may well find fewer readers in its original language than in its many translations. Yet translators are becoming less rather than more visible. Few readers will be aware who translates their favorite foreign novelist, even though that person will have a huge influence on the tone and feel of every page.”

The problem for translators, as Parks argues, is that readers want a direct connection with those elevated to global status. “In an instant, as when a pope canonizes someone, the chosen writer’s status is transformed and his work transfigured from contemporary to classic. This is done with exactly the same logic, the same authority, as when the Vatican decides who is to be among the elect in heaven: that is to say, with no logic or authority at all. Yet we hunger for such transformations because it is through the attention given to them that literary ambitions of the most extravagant kind are legitimized.”

But “the thought that a work of literature has been mediated by a translator, that it is not the real thing, undermines the notion of the supreme achievement of this Nobel individual, and above all, the idea that the writer and his writing are the same throughout the globe. Readers, wherever they are from, want to feel that they are in direct, unmediated contact with greatness. They are not eager to hear about translators. The writer wants to believe his genius is arriving, pristine, unmediated, to his readers all over the world. So the prize is important, while the translator must disappear.”

Here is ten translated novels you should know.

For the original article, click here.

Translators Without Borders

I think that translators are oen of the most important parties of the communication chain. We are responsible for sustaining the healthy communication especially when there is a disaster or when people really need us but they somehow can’t afford the service. Here is a very good organization, just watch the video. We can be part of this chain, can’t we?

Translation Project Management

We continue to introduce useful softwares for translators. Last week, we published an article about AnyCount which is a very popular word count software. Translation agencies or freelance translators who have many customers and projects find it hard to manage them all. Luckily we do not have to do it all manually. There are a lot of good softwares which manage your customers and projects, organize your workflow and make it easy to share data and files. We have picked a software for you: Projetex. You can find some general points from their website:

1) Reliable database platform and ability to provide concurrent access

Projetex is built using reliable Firebird server engine, with ability for multiple employees to access and work with database from a number of workstations via LAN or Internet. Such architecture provides ultimate data security and integrity, and allows you to implement customizable access rights to different areas of database for different users.

2) Automatic file management

All project, expert and client-related files are stored in automatically organized and labeled set of folders, created with a single click. Projetex 8 uses own file sharing and synchronization system, which does not require configuring of any additional folder sharing settings on your server PC. Projetex 8 has two sets of files: on local machines and on a server computer and you can easily share all your files between project managers and translators. All corporate workflow documents are saved using fully customizable .rtf templates for future reference. No information can be misplaced or lost in Projetex.

3) Data import

Importing Client and Freelancer data is supported for accommodation of transferring information to Projetex from Microsoft Excel (.XLS), dBASE (.DBF), text files (.TXT), Comma Separated Values (.CSV) and Microsoft Access (.MDB) with the help of Projetex Import Utility. However big is your database — it can quickly and easily be transferred to Projetex with just a few clicks!

4) Advanced search and data filter options

Every page in Projetex is equipped with advanced search tools like Local Custom Filter and Global Date Filter. With the help of Local Custom Filter it is possible to search any information on current page using fully customizable search parameters, including data range («between») and logical characteristics («not null»). Global Date filter will filter out any information valid for certain time period on all the pages.

5) Optimized work with freelance experts

Using Projetex a user can create an extensive shared database of experts, easily customizable with custom fields were additional reference information can be stored. Single click search of freelancers by field of expertise, price, last project completed, and so on. It is possible to works with multiple currencies unique for every freelancer.

Download a free 30-day trial and give it a try!

For more information, click here.

Machine Translation to Simply Get the “gist” of a Document

There have been some misunderstandings about our attitude to machine translation. Everybody uses machine translation like Google Translate but we should know its capacity. We can not use it for important texts or for texts including culture-specific phrases. Other than these, we can use machine translation to simply get the “gist” of a document.  Adam Wooten who is the vice president of a well-known translation and localization company reflects our thoughts with his article:

When someone intentionally uses machine translation to simply get the “gist” of a document, and when the alternative to that low-quality translation is no translation at all, they are not nearly so disappointed by the results. When machine translation’s limitations are understood and anticipated, such automatic solutions can be successfully implemented to translate large knowledge bases of user-generated help documentation. Automatic translation can even help facilitate some casual, low-value conversations that would not usually justify an interpreter.

In other cases, legal, financial and political workers are able to comb through enormous volumes of machine translated files — translated behind firewalls using secure systems, not free online tools — to identify key words and select the most pertinent and critical documents, which are then forwarded for higher-quality human translation.

These principles are even understood by Google and other companies that build and market machine translation products. Yes, Google has built an impressive statistical machine translation system, but the search giant involves human professionals to translate higher-value content.

For the original article, click here.

Word Count Softwares Make Our Life Easier

Here is a very useful word count software for translators. These kind of softwares make our lives easier and quicker. We hope, you also find it useful during your translations. You should keep in mind that this is not an ad for a certain software, we just want to show how AIM works and what kind of softwares we use. Anyone can use them because they are pretty easy to use. I want to quote some points from the website of AnyCount:

AnyCount produces automatic word countscharacter countsline counts, and page counts for all common file formats.

It supports many text formats which enables us to save time. Otherwise, we would spend a lot of time converting the files into more common ones.

How to use?

-Add Multiple Files for Counting Quickly and Easily

-Define What Must and Must Not Be Counted

-Select Words, Characters or Custom Units as Count Units

-Obtain Precise and Comprehensive Results

You can download the 30-day trial of AnyCount by clicking here.

Machine Translation Challenges to the Interpreting Industry

Last month, we published a short video showing how machine translation can be scary. This time machine translation challenges to the interpreters, and to the translators of course. I will just quote what I said last month because I have still the same attitude towards machine translation:

“This application may seem scary at first sight; however, I don’t think that any machine translation can replace the human touch. I don’t think any machine can understand the cultural context of a text. This application may be useful to get an insight about a text but it can not be used as a professional translator. Do you also share my ideas?”

The Importance of Translation Company Choice

The third part of our new article series: Translation mistakes.

We continue with Adam Wooten who is vice president at a well-known translation and localization company. The translation mistakes are generally funny… With the developments in machine translation technology, more and more people resort to Google Translate (or to similar softwares) for everyday texts and phrases. However,  when the text has some nuances, machine translation “always” requires double-check. You should choose your translation company well if you do not want to be cheated by a simple machine translation. Adam Wooten says: ” When the text has important implications in law, finance or marketing, the results (of machine translation) can be terribly costly”.

“Potential customers reading marketing materials may get the gist of a translation, but successful marketing text usually needs to convey more than just a general idea. Wayne Bourland, a senior manager on Dell’s global localization team, noted, in a recent usability study conducted in Germany, Dell observed that… “buyers who needed to form an emotional connection as part of the purchasing process were both distracted and disappointed by translation errors.”

When a Moscow-based marketing firm asked my company to review some previously translated marketing Web pages, we had to tell the company it paid a lot of money for what was actually a very crude machine translation. If this marketing company and its clients had expected machine translation, the news would have been acceptable. Unfortunately, the firm and its customers were expecting high-quality translations that captured the nuances of the original marketing text. The need to pay for a complete retranslation by professional human translators was a bitter pill to swallow.”

For the original article, click here.

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