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 […]

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 […]

Let’s drop the formalities

I believe that as a technical translator, my job isn't to be innovative with language. Rather, my goal is to fade into the wall, chameleon-like, and let the reader consume my document without necessarily even knowing that it's a translation. For this reason, I tend to err on the side of conservativeness when translating. For […]

The problem with “screening” translators

An acquaintance who owns a translation agency was complaining to me the other day about the pool of freelancers who send him applications. He claims that he wants top-quality translators, but so many mediocre ones apply that he can't sift through all the noise. He keeps creating stricter screening procedures in the hopes of filtering […]

“Translators shouldn’t earn more than $75,000/year”

One of the nice things about being a freelancer is that you can earn as much as you're worth, rather than what somebody thinks you ought to earn. Over on the Honyaku mailing list, however, "Captain Adam" doesn't think that translators should earn more than $75,000 per year: In my opinion, a good translator is […]

Translate in the field you enjoy

A lot of translators who are starting out, or who haven't yet achieved the level of income that they want, ask about what fields of translation have the highest demand. They choose a field of specialization based on potential income instead of interest. I don't agree with that approach. I prefer to translate in a […]

Do interpreters have better language skills than translators?

In a thread about the road to becoming a Japanese-English translator/interpreter on the Translators Cafe forums (hat tip: Japanese Me), the user Sarah L had this to say about a fellow MIIS student who didn't have the linguistic chops for simultaneous interpretation: I know you shouldn't compare people but here goes. I said in a […]

Quick tip to improve translation quality: increase zoom when proofing

A lot of people print out their translations to do the final proof. This isn't because they're throwbacks to the typewriter age; it's because the resolution of the printed page is still a lot better than even the best computer screen. And when it's easier to read the text, it's easier to spot errors. I […]

Point on the graph: direct-client rates for J2E translation

A job offer was recently posted to the Honyaku mailing list, looking for a translator for a book by a Japanese researcher into English. The offered rate was ¥7,600 per 200 English words. That works out to ¥38 per word, or according to the XE.com Universal Currency Converter, US $0.42/word at today's exchange rate (31 […]

Translator Flow

Flow is defined in Wikipedia as "… the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity." I knew about flow before I knew about the concept of flow. I […]