Specialization: Why and how

This post is aimed at people considering whether to specialize in one or more fields of translation. I think that it's good to specialize. It allows you to earn more money, and do better-quality translations. If you specialize, though, I would recommend choosing a field you're actually interested in. There's a lot of money in […]

Splitting queries into search terms with Python

I'm currently writing a site to host the archives for the Honyaku mailing list. I needed to split a search query into individual terms, so for example the query "懸念 risk" would retrieve all posts with the words "懸念" and "risk", not necessarily in that sequence or order. I also wanted to support quoted strings, […]

Python introspection with the inspect module

Here are some fun and potentially useful tricks you can do using the inspect module. Get a list of currently imported modules: import inspect myglobals = dict() myglobals.update(globals()) modules = [value            for key, value in myglobals.items()            if inspect.ismodule(value)] Get a list of classes in a […]

Advice for aspiring J-E translators

I recently got an email from a woman doing postgraduate studies at a Japanese university. She was seeking advice about getting started as a translator after graduating next year. Some of the advice I gave her will be useful to other aspiring translators, especially those living in Japan, so I've excerpted and edited them here. […]

The benefits of unit testing

Unit testing is all the rage now. It seems like you can't read about programming these days without seeing it at least mentioned. But what's so great about unit testing, anyway? When I first started using unit testing extensively, I programmed mostly in C++ and Visual Basic, using Visual Studio and the VB6/Office VBA development […]

Nitpicking in translation reviews

A little while back, I posted my volunteer translation for a translation workshop. The idea was to get translations of a passage of text from several translators, then review them in a workshop format. I got some valuable feedback from the workshop, and that made me happy, because clueful feedback is hard to come by […]

Clumsy regex syntax in Python is a feature

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now they have two problems. –Jamie Zawinski A common complaint about Python is that its regular-expression syntax is clumsy compared to some other languages. But actually, library support rather than core-language support is a feature, not a bug: it keeps the […]

English translation of 眼鏡越しの空(ドリカム)

眼鏡越しの空 (The sky seen through glasses) is one of my favorite Dreams Come True songs. The song itself is very pretty, and the lyrics are nicely done. The song is about a shy girl — probably in junior high or so — who has a crush on a sporty, popular (but still smart) girl. It's […]

To specialize or not to specialize

There's a kind of ongoing debate among translators about whether you must or even should specialize in a particular field. I think that everyone agrees that in some cases — like medical or legal translation — specializing is necessary. The question is whether it's always necessary, and if so, how often? Probably the biggest argument […]

My solution to the localization horror story

The localization horror story in this CPAN article about the Locale::Maketext module tells of the combinatory explosion of translation "rules" required when localizing text with variables (placements) into multiple languages. Since I translate (and localize) Japanese to English, this is a problem that really strikes home with me. Here's a simple example of this problem […]