Can you read kanji?

Just a month after writing about how agencies should give translators direct access to their clients, an agency asked me to go with them to meet their client for a big new job. The back story The end client had been burned a couple of times by horrible translations. So they contracted with this new […]

The really hard part about translating

Non-translators often have wrong notions about what makes translation hard. They think the problem is in understanding all those funny squiggles, or if they're a bit more sophisticated, they think the hard part is knowing all those technical terms. They're wrong, of course. Firstly, you're not ready to start thinking about becoming a translator until […]

Japanese/Western mobile website aesthetics

About a year ago, I wrote about the differences in Website aesthetics between Japan and the West. I was recently translating the review of a redesigned mobile website, and found a similar aesthetic. The mobile site was for the Japanese subsidiary of a major European brand/fashion corporation. The company had changed the site from a […]

Great resource for translating software docs into English

Often when translating software documentation from Japanese to English, I'll have to find the exact corresponding English names for various OS and other software components. These are things that you can't just make up, because the user will be looking for that actual text on her computer. I recently discovered a site that makes this […]

Five practices of agencies that “get it”

Translation agencies tend to bear the brunt of translator complaints, but there are some great agencies out there that truly "get it." I want to list 5 things that agencies can do to win the loyalty and commitment of their translators. 1. Offer to raise rates without being asked Of course, everybody likes to make […]

Simulation of human brain getting closer…

The blog asks how long until we get artificial brains capable of replacing human translators, if ever: On the other hand, though, if the scientists ever crack this mystery wide open (perhaps by giving up on computers with nothing but 0s and 1s to deal with and creating new machines that function more like […]

Translation clients and the reverse auction

In an auction, buyers compete to offer the highest buying price; in a reverse auction, sellers compete to offer the lowest selling price. Reverse auctions are one of the ways that big corporations cut their expenses down to the bone. They know that everybody wants a "big" client, and they take advantage of this fact […]

A short story

I just put up a short story I wrote: Intellectual Property – A Short Story I didn't think that it fit the blog format very well, so I put it on its own page. The story is about an imagined near-future of accelerating technological progress, and what it might mean for translators and IP. Can […]

Japanese website

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to create a Japanese-language website. I waited until November, but I managed to get one up by year's end. Here it is: My goal for the site is to give pointers on technical-English writing to Japanese native speakers, while creating a presence that will help […]

Netbook for translators?

One problem with using netbooks for real work is the lack of screen real estate. Kohjinsha may have helped to solve this: it's demoing a new "dual-screen" netbook (hat tip: gizmodo). The new Kohjinsha netbook features two 10-inch screens, which can be pulled out side by side. This seems like a good solution for translators […]