Archive for the ‘interpretation’ Category

Tips for Fast Note-Taking, Part#2 Symbols

3 days ago, I published the first part of note taking tips. Now, I am publishing the second part (the last part). Some symbols, especially math symbols, help you save time. Here is a little list of symbols:

–>  Leads to, causes, makes…

<–  comes from, result of…

↑ increase, go up, rise

↓decrease, lower, go down

& and

@ at

/ per

P page

Pp pages

? question

+ plus, in addition, also

–          minus

= equal, is, as a result, hence

≠ not equal

≈ about, approximately

X times

> greater than

< less than

$ money

% percent

# number

ht height

wt weight

2 to, too, two

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Tips for Fast Note-Taking, Part#1 Initials&Abbreviations


Note-taking should be considered as a talent or as a product of a hard work. Taking notes is easy; however, the point is ‘can you recall them later?’. If you study/studied interpreting a little bit, you know what I mean. Especially in consecutive interpreting, you take notes but when you go to top to interpret your notes, you just have no idea about what is written there. There may be some symbols, some abbreviations… If you want use different symbols for different words, stick to them; do not change them for every interpreting. For example, if you use “X” for negative words like cancel, don’t, isn’t, disapprove, disagree etc., do not use it for something else like “5times=5X”.

Fast note taking helps you not only for interpreting but also for conferences and lectures that you attend.

In this part of my article, I will write some basic initials and abbreviations. I hope they help.

w/                          with

w/o                        without

w/i                         within

i.e.                         that is

e.g.                        for example

etc.                        so forth

b/c                         because

b/4                        before

re:                          regarding, about

esp.                       especially

min.                      minimum

max.                     maximum

gov’t                      government

asap                      as soon as possible

wrt                         write

rt                            right

yr, yrs                   year, years

c.                            circa, from the year

vs                           versus

ch                           chapter

q&a                        question and answer

ex                           example

wd                         word

ref                          reference

diff                         difference


In the next post, I will go over some basic symbols for note taking. Follow us on Facebook!

I want to thank my Consecutive Interpreting lecturer for this information.

Now, We Have a Long List of Movies

4 days ago, I posted an article on the movies about translation and interpreting. On Linkedin and Facebook, I got many responses and now, we have a long list of movies and full of new thoughts! Everybody is agree on our experiences can make a good movie 🙂 Even a friend said, my experiences are way too much for a movie… There should definetely more movies about translation but I do not know how the scenarists will hear us. Here is the new list, including the one I mentioned. Some may not be directly related to translation but the communication is largely carried out with the help of a ‘mediator’ (which happens to be translators or interpreters in many cases):


1. Lost in Translation: This is the best known movie in this area.

2. The Interpreter: It highlights the dangerous part of interpreting.

3. The Translator: One of the friends said this but I could not find a decent information about it.

4. Plus One: A Russian friend said it is Russian movie about translation.

5. The Woman with the 5 Elephants

6. Inkheart

7. Spanglish

8. The Translator

9. Fresh Suicide

10. Tradurre

11. Je l’aimais

12. El Pasado

13. Short the Translator

14. Chinglish

15. “Although the movies are not exactly about translation, translators/decoders play an important role in many movies. I can think, for instance, AVP, where a specialist was needed to read the signs left by an ancient culture. Indiana Jones also has some interesting sign/language reading, and Da Vinci Code. There are more, of course, but those came to mind. ”

16. And a funny Youtube video:


I hope we will see more movies about translation in near future. Thanks for your comments and contributions!

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Movies about Translation & Interpreting


I do not understand why there are few movies about translation and interpreting. Indeed, every translation is a kind of new adventure for the translator. You are always alone with your text. There are only dictionaries, language forums and the e-mail addresses of a couple of friends. Once you open your text, you enter in a completely (almost completely let’s say) new world. Especially if you are a freelance translator, the text may be about anything. When you finish translating, you learn many things about that subject. Sometimes, only one unknown word may teach you a whole concept. You have to search many wikipedia-wise websites to learn about the concept so as to translate the word. Even this process of searching can make a movie 🙂 On our Facebook page, we started a discussion on the movies  about translation. We got results but they are really few:

1. Lost in Translation: This is the best known movie in this area.

2. The Interpreter: It highlights the dangerous part of interpreting.

3. The Translator: One of the friends said this but I could not find a decent information about it.

4. Plus One: A Russian friend said it is Russian movie about translation.

If you know more, you can let us know 🙂

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Interpreting Classes

It is my 3rd year in the university (+prep class and erasmus year: it makes 5 🙂 ). This year, we started taking interpreting classes, which is a very new thing to us. With every class, I am getting further away from interpreting. There is a huge stress on your shoulders during the interpreting practices in the class. You definetely lose some part of the next sentence while translating the previous sentence. I think it is totally different from translation. Compared to interpreting, translation is almost stress-free because you generally have enough time to think. Besides, you can always consult to a dictionary. I have found an interesting article showing how painful the interpreting process is. The article also talks about the interpreters. Here is the introduction part of it. You can read the rest of the article by clicking the link at the bottom:

“Have you ever sat down in an interpreter’s booth, put on the headphones and tried to interpret the incoming speech? I did when I was a young and rather naive student who thought that being bilingual meant one could interpret simultaneously. No sooner had I started that problems arrived. As I was outputting the first sentence, the second one was already coming in but I hadn’t paid enough attention to it. I remembered its beginning but not its ending. Very quickly I fell behind and I just couldn’t say anything more after a few minutes!

Many years later I still remember the scene vividly and because of it, but also because of my own research on the perception and production of speech, I have the utmost respect for interpreters and the training they have to go through to do their job well.

Interpreters come in various types (community, conference, sign language) and interpreting itself is diverse in that it can be consecutive or simultaneous. I will take two extreme cases of interpreting that differ on many aspects including age: bilingual children who act as interpreters and adult simultaneous interpreters (…) Read more

See different types of interpreting.

Differences between translation and interpreting.


Van earthquake and community interpreting.

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Do You Want to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills?

Three years ago, I took my first Public Speaking class. We were supposed to make many presentations which last at least 10 minutes. It was like a nightmare! Talking – nonstop – prosessionally and in another language! One of our presentations was about the famous speeches. Everybody chosed a famous and an important speech in history. I chose a speech of John F. Kennedy about space research. I listened more than 20 times before attempting to memorize. I uploaded it to my mp3 player. The aim was not just memorizing all the text but giving the speech with the same emotion and intonation. You should know where to breathe, where to higher your voice, where to look in the eye of the audience. Here is a very good training programme. One of my classmates discovered this programme and he suggested it right away. If you want to improve public speaking skills, give it a try! Here is some introductory information from the website:

Unleash the Power of Your Speaking Voice with Voicing It!

The ONLY Complete Video Training for the Speaking Voice Which Will Improve Your Life…
Both Professionally and Personally

redbullet Imagine being able to command the attention of a group just by the
sound of your voice

redbullet Imagine being heard the 1st time you say it

redbullet Imagine speaking in ‘living color’

redbullet Imagine standing at the lectern and having total control over your nervousness

redbullet Imagine speaking more distinctly

Whether in conversation, in the sales presentation, on the podium, or over the phone, people are discovering their ‘real’ voice with Voicing It!. Consisting of 5 one-hour sessions, Voicing It! is an intensive voice improvement training program on video. The two DVDs plus 150-page manual cover the patented and proven techniques of the entire Voice Dynamic Approach which I have been teaching for more than 25 years. Whether you are looking to eliminate vocal abuse or nasality, breathlessness or a childlike tone, Voicing It! will show you how to find your ‘real’ voice, increase your volume without shouting and speak with color and emotion.

You will learn how to control your nervousness at the lectern, in the boardroom or in the sales conference; and, as an added bonus, Session 5 also covers those characteristics that make for dynamic public speaking.

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The Opportunities of Localization


It is a well known fact that translators earn very little considering the amount of the work they do. In my countyr, and I am sure in many countries, translation is considered something very easy and anyone who “knows” two languages can do it. I remember having decided to study Translation. My grandma asked me that “Is this a decent job? Are you sure?”. Yes, I still am sure; however, I am also aware that one should add something on translation. Localization is a huge plus if you are a translator. With the developments in technology, internet and web, knowing how to localize websites or products is a must for international companies. Here is an article, published in Columbia Daily Tribune. It talks about translation, localization and interpreting and their importance for many companies:


“Dale Eggett, who will finish a master’s degree in less than three weeks, will go to work the week after, having had no problem landing a job.

“I did have multiple, multiple job offers,” said Eggett, whose Spanish and computer skills put him in the forefront of a burgeoning field. The global marketplace for interpreting, translating and other language services was estimated at $26.3 billion in 2010 and is projected to reach $38.1 billion by 2013.

Most people are familiar with translators, who deal with the written word. Interpreters handle oral communication in government agencies, courtrooms, doctors’ offices and businesses.

But Eggett, 28, of California, who will graduate from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, will be paid $50,000 a year to work in a relatively new discipline: localization management, which provides one of the best chances for steady employment in language services.

Localization combines language expertise with computer savvy. “I’m kind of behind the scenes making the job easier for translators,” Eggett said. When a website needs to be translated, it’s Eggett’s job to strip out the coding and send the translator only what needs to be translated.

The work is painstaking. Imagine a complex website with multiple drop-down boxes, leading to more drop-down boxes. Each element on each box needs to be translated.

Like many other sectors, language services face unique challenges, said Jiri Stejskal, president of Cetra Language Solutions, an Elkins Park, Pa., company that supplies translators, interpreters and localization experts to a range of clients.

Stejskal is in a better position to know than most. He recently was president of the American Translators Association and is in line to become president of the International Federation of Translators in Basel, Switzerland.

One issue is machine translation. “It’s not quite there yet,” Stejskal said. He pulled out a screen grab of a Philadelphia government website that used the familiar journalism term “lead story” on its home page. Somehow in Spanish it morphed into a “story about metal,” featuring a photograph of former Philadelphia Mayor Juan F. Calle, or John Street.

But a more fundamental and ongoing struggle is to educate employers about the difference between being simply bilingual and truly qualified.

Top interpreters need to hear what is said and speak it in another language simultaneously. That’s the gold standard used at the United Nations and international conferences, and high proficiency can merit a six-figure income.

That level of ability isn’t the same as language skills gained by growing up in a bilingual household. “Knowing how to cook doesn’t make you a chef,” Stejskal said.”

For the rest of the article, click here.


Thank you  Columbia Daily Tribune and MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS.



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.

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?”

A comparative look at Machine Translation

Here is an interesting article by Jayaram Krishnaswamy who compares different machine translations of the same Japanese text. This article clearly highlights the importance of us as translators. You can see why we are still there for you!

“Machine translation has to go a longway before it can become an established way of doing translations. Recently while reading a news item in Japanese I tried out my own translation skills learnt a long time ago and tried to see how it compares with machine translation. Here are some results. Some did not recognize the language and Google recognised it as Chinese with all the Hiragana / Katakana characters left in place with only Chinese characters translated into English and to get an all English translation the language was set to Japanese.

Original News item March 21, 01:00 AM Japan Time


Bing Translator:

Members expressed the view that Kitazawa, Defense Minister at the Ministry of Defense briefing and Fukushima first nuclear power plant on the 19th followed, from surface temperature measurements taken, except on the containment of no.3 unit aircraft from No. 6 MK until none less than 100 degrees, expert analysis, storing spent fuel pool water contains valuable data to be unveiled.

Google Translation after indicating language as Japanese:

Sawa Kita Defense Minister, the Ministry of Defense press conference about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, followed by 19 days, the surface temperature was measured from the sky, except for the containment of Unit 3, Unit 1 6 Unit until, in less than 100 degrees both in expert analysis, it was shown clearly to the view that as valuable data confirms that the water has entered the pool to store spent fuel.

Yahoo- Babelfish:

Defensive Minister of State Kitazawa the reporter interviewed at the defensive ministry, following on the 19th concerning the Fukushima first nuclear power plant, 1 from the machine 6 to the machine, each of them made that the viewpoint that is shown under 100 degrees, with analysis of the specialist, it becomes the valuable data which supports the fact that the water has entered into the pool which keeps the spent fuel, clear the result of measuring surface temperature from the sky, 3 excluding on the Containment Vessel of the machine.

My Traslation ():
Japanese Defense Minister Kitazawa at the defense ministry’s briefing following the 19th unvieled the results of aerial surface temperature measurements on reactors 1 to 6  at the Fukushima Nuclear Power station. The results of surface measurements indicate that on reactors 1 to 6 were below 100 deg C except directly above the containment vessel of reactor 3. This result according to expert analysts is an important data indicating that water has entered the pool containing the spent fuel  rods.”

For the original article, click here.

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