Have you heard about Interlingua – The language you already understand?

I was reading one of my favorite language journals from Sweden, called “SprĂ„ktidningen” when I discovered an ad for Interlingua, a language you already understand. Here is an excerpt from Interlingua:

Interlingua non es un lingua artificial, sed un registration del vocabulario de origine latin que es commun a italiano, espaniol, portugese, francese, anglese, germano e russo. Comprensibile a 600 milliones sin studio – con su grammatica minimalisate facile pro totos.

Did you understand it? I did! It is fascinating how much our languages are based on Latin after all, and that we by using the Latin roots can form a language that many of us, from different languages, cultures and countries can understand. If Interlingua would become more common we translators just might lose our jobs. 😉

More information can be found at www.interlingua.com. Enjoy!

Translating for the State Language Department

If you are an American Citizen and you are interested in translating for the US Department of State, you can apply as a freelance translator for the State Language Department. Applications are reviewed according to the language needs of the Department of State. If your application is approved you will have the opportunity to go take their language test. I did this last week, partly because I was interested in working for them, and partly because I, as a grader for the ATA English into Swedish certification, was interested in experiencing their testing. For more information on working as a freelance translator for the State Language Department you can go to http://languageservices.state.gov and click on Employment Opportunities.


Proofreading tips to increase translation quality

ï»żI am preparing a webinar for Thursday about Quality Assurance for translators and came across this article with great proofreading tips for translators by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini from 2009, called “Twelve Ways to Enhance Translation Quality“. Here is a summarized version of the most important steps:

1. —Avoid rework by trying to do things right the first time. Try to translate each phrase as if the translation were to be published on real time.
2. —Keep a list of dangerous words: Words that you often mistype, but the spellchecker cannot catch, for example principle and principal, where and were.
—3. Run the spell and grammar checker.
4. —Learn study and comply with target-language typography and punctuation rules. A common mistake among new translators is to keep for example the number formatting of the source language.
5. —Never use the “Replace all” command – can lead to “strange” mistyping and words.
6. —Proofread by comparing with the source, but also by just reading the target text to check that it “flows”.
7. —Check headers, footer, graphs and text boxes.
I am sure that most of you already use these steps, but it never hurts to repeat them, and do a refresher in proofreading. Do you have any other proofreading tips that you like?


Great books for translation and localization professionals

Fall is here (at least where I live in Park City, UT, USA) and it is nice to curl up in front of a fire with a nice book. If you want to further your knowledge about translation and localization, and develop your business, then I can recommend the following books. If you click on the links you will get more information.

Books about translation:

How to succeed as a Freelance Translator, by Corinne McKay

The Entrepreneurial Linguist – The Business School Approach to Freelance Translation, by Judy and Dagmar Jenner

The Translator’s Handbook, by Morry Sofer

How to Earn $80,000+ per Year as a Freelance Translator, by Alex Eames

The Insider Guide to The Strategic Marketing of Translation Services, by A.M. Sall

The Prosperous Translator: Advice from Fire Ant & Worker Bee, by Chris Durban

 Books about localization:

A Practical Guide to Localization, by Bert Esselink

Enabling Globalization: A Guide to Using Localization to Penetrate International Markets, by Nabil Freij and Molly Froats (Kindle book)

Localization: A Global Manifesto, by Colin Hines

Books with great business advice for freelancers:

The Wealthy Freelancer, by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed, by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan

The Go-Giver – A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea – by Bob Burg and John David Mann

I am sure there are others that I have missed and I look forward to getting more book tips from you. Happy reading!

How do you keep up your native language when living abroad?

For a freelance translator living outside the country where they speak my native language, it is imperative that I work hard on keeping up my native language skills. I have several Swedish friends who are not doing that and they start sounding very “Swenglish” after a while, not to mention the writing. How do you keep up your language when living abroad? Here are some ways I do this:

1. Speak my language at home and with Swedish friends every day.
2. Read Swedish books. We have even started a Swedish book club where we read and discuss Swedish books, written by Swedish or Nordic authors.
3. Read Swedish newspapers and industry journals online every day or at least several times a week.
4. Listen to Swedish radio while working. 😉
5. I am not much of a TV watcher, but I am grateful to be able to watch some Swedish TV-programs online every now and then.
5. Last, but not least. Travel back to Sweden as often as possible. I try to go once a year and stay for a month. Unfortunately Sweden is quite far away from Utah, US and the trip is expensive. It is also very important to me to bring my children when I go so they can keep up their second native language.

One thing that will really help is my husbands sabbatical year in two years. He is a professor at the university and will get a sabbatical year every 7 years. Then we will go to Sweden and live there for a year and a half. I am so looking forward to this, but my children not so much. Perhaps because they will be 14 and 12 then and it is a sensitive time in their life. But I know that in retrospect it will all be good for all of us.

Do you think this is working? I do. However, just to make sure, I also have a native Swedish proofreader living in Sweden that I work with. Are there any freelance translators out there reading this that are not living in their native country? How do you keep up your language skills?

Becoming a translator – by accident, meant to be, or strategic decision

Lately, I have been thinking about how I became a translator, and I was wondering if there are many that are in my situation. How did you become a translator? Was it by accident, was it just meant to be or did you make a conscious decision to become a translator?

I am born and raised in a bilingual country, Finland, and speaking the minority language, Swedish there. My education and upbringing was all in Swedish and I knew more about the Swedish culture, than I did the Finnish. Strange? Early on I loved reading and writing and soon developed a keen interest in languages and different cultures. Apart from my mother tongue, I studied English, Finnish, German, French and Italian in school. Did I ever think of becoming a translator? No! It never crossed my mind. I ventured on with studies in International Marketing, hoping I could make use of my language skills and love for different cultures through that.

After my university studies I lived in both France and Belgium and settled in Sweden. I met Kevin, who is now my husband, during my studies. He is an American and received a great job opportunity in Utah, USA, and that is how I ended up here. When I arrived, I was pregnant with my second child, used to one year of maternity leave, great daycare and a very family friendly company, working as a product marketing manager. Coming here was quite a culture shock and I decided to stay home with my two small children.

After a while I started looking into possibilities of working from home and tried all sorts of multilevel marketing opportunities with no real success. One of my friends suggested that I should be a translator. One day I was playing around on the Internet and found some translator networks online. I studied them, did some research online, and decided to sign up. It wasn’t long until I received my first job and after that I have never looked back.

I have now worked as a freelance translator for 7 years, educated myself on the way, and now have a successful freelance translation company. I learn something everyday and love what I do. I also love learning and would become certified and educated if there would be opportunities for English-Swedish translation education and certification in the US. At least I am working on starting English-Swedish certification through the American Translators Association.

But I am wondering about others. Many other translators that I know are highly educated, and come from successful careers in medicine, law etc. How did they decide to become a translator? Was it by chance, like me? There are educational programs in translation. Therefore, there must be many people that early on have made a conscious decision to study translation and become a translator. Whichever way you get there is a good way. Don’t you just love what you do? Please share!