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Comment traduire de la littérature?

Comment traduire de la littérature? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Comment traduire de la littérature ? Comment interpréter l’injonction de fidélité au texte d’origine que tout traducteur doit respecter ?
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
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UN Careers - jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.)

UN Careers -  jobs in this network (Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.) | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

Vacancies in this network: Translators, Revisers, Editors, etc.

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Research center honors late translator|People|

Research center honors late translator|People| | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

Zhou Mingwei (second from right), head of China International Publishing Group, announces the establishment of a research center in honor of Sidney Shapiro at the Ocean University of China during a meeting on Dec 23. Dong Fang / For China Daily

A research center to commemorate Sidney Shapiro, a famed writer and translator who came to China from the United States during the 1940s, was recently established at China International Publishing Group, (CIPG).

Establishment of the center was announced during a seminar held by CIPG in observance of Shapiro's 99th birthday. Shapiro died at his home in Beijing on October 18, 2014.

Shapiro was born in 1915 in the United States. He came to China in 1947, and lived the rest of his life here. During his years in China, Shapiro did a tremendous amount of literature translation and translated more than 20 Chinese books. Some of the most famous works include the Water Margin, Snow Track in the Winter Forest and Rhymes of Li Youcai. In 1963, he showed his willingness to become a Chinese national and the request was granted by Zhou Enlai, China's then prime minister.

More than 15 guests from CIPG, the Translators Association of China, as well as China Pictorial attended the seminar. Shapiro was also a member of China's Political Consultative Conference. In Dec 2010, Shapiro received the award of Translation and Culture Lifetime Achievement Award.

"We have long been working hard to build a model criteria for translation between Chinese and English, and the whole life's work of Shapiro has set an excellent model for this criteria," said Zhou Mingwei, head of the CIPG. "Shapiro always said that Western people have many misunderstandings about China. They see very little about China, bear quite a lot of misconceptions, and are easily misguided," Zhou recalled.

"He insisted in reading and writing to the last days of his life," said Wang Shuya of China Pictorial, who worked with Shapiro in the final years of his life. "He even had eye surgery at the age of 96 because he did not want to stop reading."

Ren Dongsheng, deputy dean of college of foreign language at Ocean University of China, said he first came across Shapiro's work in the year 2000, when he was browsing a bookstore for old books. He found the English version of Snow Track in the Winter Forest, which Shapiro translated from Chinese to English.

"His marvelous understanding about the context of the novel really amazed me," he said. "It is hard for me to imagine an American to have such a detailed and vivid understanding about the story that happened during the late 1940s in a village in north east China."

The Sidney Shapiro Research Center has set up its sub office at the foreign language college of Ocean University of China.

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Lesson 61: How to protect your translator CV from scammers? | Business School for Translators

Lesson 61: How to protect your translator CV from scammers? | Business School for Translators | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Lesson 61: How to protect your translator CV from scammers?
Posted by Marta Stelmaszak Aug 27, 2013 in Getting started, Lessons, Over 2 years in business, Up to 2 years in business, Useful tools, Useful tools, Useful tools

In the past few months we’ve been witnessing an increasing activity of translator CV scammers and thieves. As a part of this scam, scammers may pretend they have a project for you or would like to include you in their database, while in fact they’re harvesting your CV, replacing your email address (and sometimes your name and surname) and impersonating you, stealing your potential clients. This is a fact and it’s been described in detail by Joao Roque Dias, who’s currently maintaining a list of scammers.

The scope of this problem is indeed huge and impersonation can be extremely dangerous and damaging to your reputation, not to mention lost clients. You know that I’m dedicated to improving CVs and making them work for freelancers, so I decided to look at the ways of protecting our CVs from translation scams.

I’ve carried out a lot of research, both in our industry and elsewhere, resulting in compiling a list of preventive measures you may want to introduce. However, let’s start by looking at three broad CV threats first.

Identity theft
Despite many warnings from a variety of sources, people are still amazingly careless about their details shared online. Almost every day I receive a translator’s CV with a date of birth, place of birth, full address, etc. It is extremely dangerous to reveal such personal details to strangers, not to even mention including them in a document available online. Providing as few as three pieces of personal details, you’re running a risk of ending up with unwanted credit cards, loans or cleared bank accounts. Just don’t do that. More info in this article and this presentation.

Agency unethical use
Some time in 2012 we were alerted to a potential unethical behaviour presented by agencies participating in tenders. Allegedly, some agencies were harvesting CVs to win a tender but then they would outsource the projects to cheaper (and potentially providing lower quality) translators whose CVs were never included in the tender documentation. I believe I might have been affected by this behaviour in the past. In order to avoid it now, I simply work only with selected agencies whom I trust (and vice versa) and I refuse to participate in bulk tenders offered by complete strangers.

CV theft and impersonation
However, the most burning problem now is caused by CV thieves and scammers who impersonate genuine professional translators and steal their work, very often damaging their reputation. I must admit, I’ve been careless about this issue in the past, but now I’m much more aware and alert. Below, I’m presenting a number of measures you can introduce to protect your work and reputation.

How to protect your translator CV?
1. Research the sender
When you receive an email with a potential project or an offer of collaboration, even basic research can help you establish if it’s a genuine opportunity. Start with verifying the website, then ask your colleagues or professional circles if anybody has worked with them before. Try looking them up on all translation forums and boards. Call them, or add them on Skype. Joao Roque Dias recommends looking up the sender’s IP and running a geographical search just to be sure this person is a genuine representative of an agency. If something’s just not right, don’t send your CV.

2. Use common sense
If an offer looks suspicious, it’s better to be careful than fall for a scam. Unprofessional offers, free email accounts, too few details in a signature, too high rate or poor English (or the other language) should raise an alarm. If you’re not sure if this is a genuine offer, you can always exchange a few emails with questions before supplying the sender with your CV.

3. Keep records
Set up a simple spread sheet where you can keep records of who you’re sending your CV to, when and with which result. By doing that, you’ll not only have a better control over who has received a copy of your CV, but you’ll also be better at following up.

4. Encourage clients to contact you on skype with a webcam
As recommended by Joao Roque Dias and others, you should encourage your prospective clients to confirm each other’s identify on Skype via video chat. To do that, you should place an up-to date photo on your CV.

5. Remove personal details
As I mentioned before, don’t add your date of birth, place of birth, full address, or marital status. This is way too dangerous.

6. Include information specific to you
To protect your CV from being used by others (changing your name and surname in the headline), include bits of information specific to you that can easily be verified online, for example awards or published translations.

7. Add links to external URLs
To fight CV theft where your name and surname is replaced, include links to external URLs directly pointing to you, for example your website, published translations, articles or online mentions.

8. Time and name stamp your CV
Adding a line saying: „© Marta Stelmaszak. Sent to Sample Agency, London, 01/04/2013. Void after 01/06/2013. Not for further distribution or reproduction without consent.” (as suggested here).

9. Add a watermark
As suggested by Rose Newell and in a few other sources, you may want to add a watermark to your document, for example containing your logo. More info from Microsoft here.

10. Include an email statement
It is advisable to include a short statement along the lines of „Only the following email addresses are genuine and authorised: and I will never contact you from any other email address. If you receive an email from another address, please do contact me as it may constitute a potential scam.” You may want to add this line to your website, or as an annotation on your CV.

11. Save your CV using your name and surname
As simple as that, don’t save and send your CV as „resume” but add your name and surname to the file.

12. In Word, add your name and surname in the author box
When working on your CV, check the Properties of your document and make sure that your name and surname are added in the author box (more info).

13. Save your CV as PDF
It is now possible to convert documents into PDFs in MS Office with just a few clicks and we should be doing that with our CVs. This is the most basic form of protection. If you’ve added your name and surname in Word, the same properties will be carried over to the PDF. (more info)

14. Save your CV as a non-editable PDF
If you’re using Adobe Acrobat Pro (and if you’re not using it yet, you may want to consider investing in it), you can save your CV as a non-editable PDF and change the security settings, restricting editing and printing of your document.

15. Password-protect your CV saved in PDF
It is not a bullet-proof method, but password-protecting your CV saved in the PDF format can increase your security. You can distribute the password only to vetted recipients, for example genuine enquirers, separately from your CV. You can do that in MS Word, no need to buy Adobe Acrobat Pro.

16. Remove your CV from online platforms
Don’t make your CV easily available through online platforms or on your website (I’ve been guilty of the latter until recently). It’s better to upload another document inviting clients to contact you, or even a bold statement explaining you’ve removed your CV for security reasons.

17. Use brochures or leaflets online
Instead of a full CV, you can always prepare a short brochure or a leaflet and upload it instead. They will be more secure, and can even help your marketing!

18. Set viewing only but no download
You can ask your programmer to change settings on your website allowing visitors to view content, but prohibiting them from copying or downloading it.

19. If your website is WordPress-based, use protected download
WordPress users can use password-protected download of their CVs. Here’s a video explaining how it works and how to set it up.

20. Make clients aware
Raising awareness of the issue among our clients can help our efforts. If our clients know about this issue, they will be more careful and alert themselves. You may want to blog about the issue, or just add a short statement explaining the problem on your website.

How do you protect your CVs? Add comments below!
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Skype presenta un traductor universal | El Arsenal / Diario Digital

Skype presenta un traductor universal  | El Arsenal / Diario Digital | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
26 dic.- Skype lanzó un nuevo servicio que podría sin duda cambiar la forma en la que nos comunicamos con otras personas, sin importar el idioma que hablen. Gracias al nuevo traductor universal, Microsoft hace realidad una de las herramientas de la ciencia ficción más esperadas.

A pesar de que se trata de una versión preliminar, el Skype Translator, es capaz de interpretar las palabras de dos personas en una conversación y traducirlas de forma simultánea.

La traducción escrita también aparece en una zona de subtítulos.

La función nos permite comunicarnos con personas de todo el mundo sin necesidad de conocer su idioma.

Por el momento, esta herramienta de Skype funciona con dos únicos idiomas, el español y el inglés en audio y texto, pero con más de 40 idiomas en mensajería instantánea, para aquellos que ya utilizan Windows 8.1 en sus computadoras.

Según Microsoft, el Skype Translator utiliza tecnología capaz de aprender. Es decir, que entre más se utilice, sus traducciones se vuelven más exactas. La compañía aseguró que el objetivo final es el de lograr traducir simultáneamente tantos idiomas como sea posible. 
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Alta lectura con acento francés

Alta lectura con acento francés | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Los críticos de novela extranjera han elegido por vez primera en El Cultural las cinco mejores del año, con resultados sorprendentes: tres de los seleccionados escriben en francés y sólo aparece un norteamericano, a pesar de El jilguero, de Donna Tart, uno de los fenómenos del año.

EL CULTURAL | 26/12/2014 |  Edición impresa
1. Niveles de vida

Julian Barnes
Traducción de Jaime Zulaika. Anagrama. 145 pp, 14'90 e., Ebook: 11'39 e.

“Juntas dos cosas que no se habían juntado antes. Y el mundo cambia”. O unes a dos personas, “y a veces funciona, y el mundo cambia”. Y lo peor: a veces, si una de ellas muere, “lo que desaparece es mayor que la suma de lo que había”. Estructurado en tres partes, narra en la primera los esfuerzos de los pioneros del vuelo en globo; en la segunda, la historia de amor de uno de esos aventureros con Sarah Bernhardt, para terminar con “la pérdida en profundidad”. Porque Niveles de vida, escrito tras la muerte de la esposa del novelista inglés, es algo más que una crónica del duelo, es un libro fascinante de insólita profundidad. Una “obra maestra” de la que Darío Villanueva destacó “la hondura del sentimiento, y de la reflexión sobre él”, que “hacen de esta narración un texto trascendente”.

2. La fiesta de la insignificancia

Milan Kundera
Traducción beatriz de Moura Tusquets. 144 páginas, 14'90 euros

Tras 14 años de silencio no exento de polémicas, Milan Kundera (Brno, 1929) demuestra en La fiesta de la insignificancia que no ha perdido un ápice de talento. Su novela, una reflexión sobre el totalitarismo, es, en palabras de Rafael Narbona, “una magnífica comedia que nos deslumbra con su exaltación de la vida y su ironía sobre las diferentes facetas del ser humano”.

3. La hierba de las noches

Patrick Modiano
Traducción de Mª Teresa Gallego Urrutia. Anagrama. 168 pp., 14'90 e.

Galardonado con el último premio Nobel, Patrick Modiano (Boulogne-Billancourt, 1945) siempre ofrece una novela compleja, una historia que corta la realidad con una perspectiva nueva, escrita con talento verbal. Ambientada en el París de los 60, en La hierba de las noches “sus personajes son seres de ficción diseñados con la verdad de lo real”, según Gullón.

4. Nos vemos allá arriba

Pierre Lemaitre
Traducción de José Antonio Soriano. Salamandra. 448 pp., 20 e.

En el año en que se recordó el inicio de la Guerra del 14 Pierre Lemaitre (París, 1951) conquistó el Goncourt y deslumbró a Europa con esta novela sobre la humillación, el miedo y el desamparo de los combatientes. Como resaltó Narbona, un relato excepcional con “una trama meticulosamente urdida y personajes rebosantes de humanidad”.

5. Todo lo que hay

James Salter
Traducción de Eduardo Jordá. Salamandra. 384 pp., 20 e.

Uno de los grandes narradores norteamericanos, James Salter (Nueva York, 1925), vuelve a la novela 35 años después con el relato sobre la vida de un hombre desde finales de la II Guerra Mundial a nuestros días, en los que es un editor de éxito. Y lo hace dejando constancia “indeleble de lo trivial y lo portentoso con el mismo afecto voraz”, en una “hazaña suprema”.
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LOCAL - Prominent scholar dismayed by Erdoğan’s 'Turkish not suitable for philosophy' claim

LOCAL - Prominent scholar dismayed by Erdoğan’s 'Turkish not suitable for philosophy' claim | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
We do philosophy in Turkish, we even have publications, but it is obvious that he does not know this, renowned philosophy Professor Ionna Kuçuradi said responding to President Erdoğan
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Sony's 'Interview' draws U.S. moviegoers who trumpet free speech

Sony's 'Interview' draws U.S. moviegoers who trumpet free speech | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Interview, the Sony Pictures film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opened in more than 300 movie theaters across the United States
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The Apple Watch, history and creativity | Thought Leader

The Apple Watch, history and creativity | Thought Leader | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
The Apple Watch, history and creativity
It’s a very good thing that TIME magazine’s tech writer, Lev Grossman, is an intelligent guy, even when he teams up with others, such as Matt Vella, in the writing of an article called “Wearing the Internet”, on Apple’s newly introduced Apple Watch (TIME, September 22 2014, pp. 28-33).

Anyone less intelligent is likely merely to trumpet all the novel features of the Apple Watch, as well as the ways in which it surpasses all its competitors, launched before Apple finally unveiled its own “perfection” of what others had tried, and failed, to do. But unlike Grossman, most others are also likely to fail in exploring the downside of wearing technology that “gives you control and takes it away at the same time” (p. 32).

Grossman and Vella have an interesting take on Apple’s modus operandi – strictly speaking, it does not invent things from scratch, they point out; it practices a “grislier trade: resurrection” (p. 30), by effectively seeking out failed inventions, and refashioning them after all the reasons for their failure have been carefully identified. Apple is known for redesigning the device in question so thoroughly, and with such sensory seductiveness, that demand is created with its appearance. The Apple Watch is no exception, but according to Grossman and Vella it goes further – it is “moving a boundary”.

What interests me in this piece are two things – the writers’ claim, above, as well as their previously mentioned insight into the double-sidedness of smart technology generally, and this one in particular. Their reason for claiming such originality for the Apple Watch is its likelihood in succeeding where other companies have failed, namely to make smart technology just that much more intimate in relation to our bodies. To be persuaded that one can, and should, “wear” smart technology is for them something really new, which amounts to “strap[ping] a computer to your arm” (p. 30). And their take on Apple’s shot at this is that, this time, it will convince consumers to do so.

When glancing at the features of this elegantly designed smartwatch, their conviction is easy to understand. The Apple Watch – they stress that it is without the “i” – it is not obtrusive or heavy, it boasts an impressive array of features and functionalities (including “phone” calls, e-mailing, texting, sending drawings and even your own heartbeat, pay accounts where responsive technology is installed, monitor your fitness and a host of other things), and supports tens of apps, although this largely depends on an iPhone link. The sum of all this amounts to what for many people (the tech junkies among us) would be great, and for some, rather off-putting and intrusive: being constantly connected, never being offline.

This is why these writers believe that the Apple Watch is so special: it allows for every way of connecting to the internet and to monitor all your bodily functions, all the time. But one of their sentences sounds alarm bells (p. 30): “…it is technology attempting to colonise our bodies”. After elaborating on everything the watch can do for its wearer, Grossman and Vella become more reflective (pp. 32-33):

“The reality of living with an iPhone, or any smart, connected mobile device, is that it makes reality feel just that little bit less real … The paradox of a wearable device like the Apple Watch is that it both gives you control and takes it away at the same time. Consider the watch’s fitness applications: your body is constantly throwing off data, and now the watch gathers them up and stores and returns them to you in a form you can use. This gives you control over your body that you never had before … But wearables also ask you to give up control. Once your device starts telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat and how far you should run, it’s getting in between you and your body and mediating that relationship. Wearables will make your physical self visible to the virtual world in the form of information, an indelible digital body print, and that information is going to behave the way any other information behaves these days. It will be copied and circulated. It will go places you don’t expect. People will use that information to track you and market to you…The more of our behaviour that ends up online, the more the Internet affects that behaviour, and wearables will reach deep into our lives. That’s tremendously empowering, but it also makes us vulnerable to the rampant comparison and gamification that infect any aspect of our lives that becomes public … Lives lived in public become performances, and even posthumans need to get offstage once in a while.”

All of this needs to be put in perspective, especially given these writers’ claims regarding the “historical” significance of the Apple Watch – they see its “intimacy” as paving the way for the next logical step, namely the “iMplant”, or moving technology into our bodies. Perhaps this does represent an historically novel development, although I would argue that the idea of a cyborg has been around for a while, from Donna Haraway to the Terminator movies. And once the idea is there, taking the actual technological steps is just a matter of time. So what does creating something truly novel really mean?

In Negations (p. 171), in response to a question on politics, history and becoming, Gilles Deleuze remarks that: “Becoming isn’t part of history; history amounts only [to] the set of preconditions, however recent, that one leaves behind in order to “become,” that is, to create something new. This is precisely what Nietzsche calls the ‘Untimely’.”

What Deleuze has in mind here is the difference between a series of historical conditions that are all of a piece, being connected in the way that every successive stitch in the process of knitting a scarf is connected to the preceding ones, on the one hand, and something radically new that enters the historical process – something so novel that, had it been a stitch introduced into the knitting process, it would require all the preceding ones to be reconfigured for the scarf to have pragmatic integrity.

The occurrence of something historically “untimely” is creative in a comparable sense: it leaves one no other option than to (re-)think of everything that came before it in a hitherto unimagined, untried way. The American revolution – which preceded the French Revolution in the late 18th century and later earned the new American nation an acknowledgement, by the French, in the shape of the key to the infamous prison, the Bastille, as a gift – may be seen as such an “untimely” event that created something so new that politics could from then on not be thought in the same manner as before.

The Apple Smartphone, while being announced as a kind of watershed event in the development of smart technologies, is not new in this sense. But the thought of “thinking machines” that emanated from British scientist Alan Turing, who is credited with being the “intellectual father” of the computer, is (see Isaacson, W., TIME, December 1-8, 2014, p. 56). It brought something new into history, and in the process reconfigured it. The information technology race has been, and still is, the working out of the consequences and implications of Turing’s inventive thinking – his creative moment of “becoming”.

How many people can “become”, in the Deleuzian sense of living creatively? Using the latest smartwatch, smartphone or tablet by activating all or most of its features is not synonymous with becoming in this sense – it is simply using the functions of what other people (first Turing, and then all those who have followed him) have created, in the process probably confirming your own increasing dependence on it. Paradoxically, therefore, one has to conclude that whatever is truly creative in history, is not itself historical, because it transcends all given historical conditions.
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L'application de la semaine: Word Lens, traduction augmentée | Stéphanie Morin | Trucs & conseils

L'application de la semaine: Word Lens, traduction augmentée | Stéphanie Morin | Trucs & conseils | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Un menu en cyrillique à déchiffrer à Moscou? Un panneau de signalisation abscons à Lisbonne? Grâce à la réalité augmentée, l'application Word Lens permet de traduire sur-le-champ panneaux, menus et autres affichages dans sept langues différentes: français, anglais, allemand, portugais, espagnol, italien et russe.

Il suffit de pointer l'appareil mobile (téléphone ou tablette) en direction des mots à décrypter pour voir apparaître sur l'écran, dans son contexte original - et sans besoin d'un quelconque réseau internet -, la traduction. Un dictionnaire est aussi intégré pour entrer manuellement les mots à traduire.


À sa sortie, à la fin de 2010, l'application a provoqué un véritable engouement. Google a d'ailleurs acheté Quest Visual en 2014 pour ajouter l'application à son service de traduction et à ses lunettes Google Glass. Le hic: les traductions ne sont toujours offertes qu'en anglais (sauf pour les textes en anglais, traduits en français). Surtout, on aimerait voir d'autres langues s'ajouter, en particulier celles dont la graphie s'éloigne de l'alphabet romain: l'arabe, le grec, le japonais, le chinois...

L'outil ne serait pas parfait (il ne l'est déjà pas - les traductions sont souvent imprécises -, mais il peut rendre de bons services à l'étranger), mais son utilité s'en trouverait grandement augmentée. À savoir: présentement (et impossible de savoir jusqu'à quand), les différents dictionnaires sont gratuits.

Éditeur: Quest Visual

Prix: gratuit

Langues: offert en sept langues, dont l'anglais et le français.

Taille: 43,3 Mo (iPhone)

Plateforme: Apple et Android
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Ventures Africa | First a Reader, Then a Leader

Ventures Africa | First a Reader, Then a Leader | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” – Haruki Murakami


VENTURES AFRICA – “Each employee is required to read one recommended book per year.” Here is what Chinese business tycoon Wang Jianlin, who leads the Dalian Wanda Group, asks his entire staff to do (The ‘Read One Book Per Year’ requirement is part of the company’s official mission statement).

At Ventures Africa, one of the things we really got to understand throughout 2014 is that fresh ideas, actionable insights, and imaginative solutions to a range of pressing challenges face current and future leaders of Africa.

From Ventures Africa, we would like to leave you with some of the most inspirational books that business leaders from around the world have managed to read and recommend for your intellectual stimulation.

For this publication, I like to start out with a book that has really inspired my mind around creativity and innovation development, especially for emerging markets like Africa.

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin. The book deals with integrative thinking that is much needed by professionals, future leaders and current leaders of today. It’s a new dimension that intrigued me when the CEO of LEGO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp introduced the book as one of his reads in 2014.



Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace,

Catmull, co-founder and President of Pixar Animation Studios, one of the world’s most admired creative businesses, shares insights and profitable techniques for harnessing talent, using teams and structuring organizations to produce unique and original creative work.

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

Earlier this year I wrote an article that spoke to the content of this book indirectly. Remember don’t ask your kids what they learnt at school for the day. Instead ask them if they asked a good question. Most people believe great leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and activists are distinguished by their ability to give compelling answers. This assumption is shattered, proving that asking the right question make the real difference.

The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

With an Ivy League degree and a coveted consulting job at Bain, and a gaping hole where passion ought to fit in, Adam Braun’s knew something was amiss. With age (24) and $25, he started Fast-forward five years, and Pencils of Promise, since then building more than 200 schools worldwide.

Business Adventures by John Brooks. “Warren Buffett recommended this book to me back in 1991, and it’s still the best business book I’ve ever read. Even though Brooks wrote more than four decades ago, he offers sharp insights into timeless fundamentals of business, like the challenge of building a large organization, hiring people with the right skills, and listening to customers’ feedback.”

Stress Test by Timothy F. Geithner. (Another that I have read) The central irony of Stress Test is that a guy who was accused of being a lousy communicator as U.S. Treasury Secretary has penned a great book that details the juxtapose between business lie and family in some parts.

The Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

In this multi-layered and wide-ranging meditation, the writer takes on the increasingly over-simplified notion of failure as a central driver of creative work. “The gift of failure is a riddle,’ concludes the art critic and curator, even suggesting in passing another term, ‘blankness,’ to emphasize the necessary dynamic, of those who persevere, of wiping clean provided by experience and then looking to what’s next.”

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

A must read for anyone considering managing themselves, not time, in different way. The book holds a set of instrumental keys to solving one of the great puzzles of life: how can we do less but accomplish more?

The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Simply because I have a personal interest in lots of Chess and military strategy, this is a brilliant read for anyone moving in the strategic direction. Written more than two thousand years ago in China, it’s a cunning depiction of military strategies and operations of brilliantly executed manoeuvres in Asian warfare.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

It’s on everyone’s lips – Climate Change. It is a big problem. Humans are exerting massive amounts of pavement, displacing species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, removing ancient tribes from the only form of living they know – without learning the intricacies of human and nature – not to mention the remedies that exist and used by these tribes…..a fascinating read.


Books to read in 2015

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

By Laszlo Bock

“Heads of human resources typically aren’t known outside the companies where they work. Enter Laszlo Bock, The head of Google’s “People Operations,” Bock runs a department that’s been described as “more like a rigorous science lab than the pesky hall monitor most of us picture when we think of H.R.” The book clinically depicts what Bock learnt managing H.R. at one of the most generous — and also most data-driven — creative and innovative centres in the world.

A Curious Mind, By Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

By Brian Grazer, the producer behind “Apollo 13,” “Arrested Development” and “A Beautiful Mind,” scheduled weekly “curiosity conversations” with outstanding achievers he doesn’t know: scientists, spies, CEOs and anyone else who sparks his interest and is willing to spend a few hours with him. Certainly for the inquisitive mind.

Their Own Sweet Time: How Successful Women Build Lives That Work , by Laura Vanderkam

How does she do it – at all? This book endeavours to answer that perpetual question, examining how highly paid professional women manage themselves hours Laura Vanderkam explores the “time-logs” from 1001 days by these women unpacking the vault of time management by successful women.

Resilience by Zolli and Healy

Recommend for anyone interested in Social Innovation dealing with the implications of system failure that remain inevitable.

Keeping up with the Quants, by Davenport and Kim

A definite read for the CIO and CTO. A firm grasp to data mining and quantitative analyses for non-mathematicians.

We do hope that 2015 will usher in a new reader and so, a new leader!

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Our View: ‘Culture’ needs ‘clash’ to be word of year

Our View: ‘Culture’ needs ‘clash’ to be word of year | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
While not new to 2014, the frequency, intensity and violence associated with these culture clashes, especially at the domestic level, are indeed new — at least to many among younger generations.

(Photo: AP)
‘Culture’ selected based on number of look-ups this year compared with 2013
World, national and local events involving ‘culture’ rooted in clashes
cul·ture noun: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.

: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.

: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business).


Merriam-Webster’s recent choice of “culture” as its Word of the Year certainly seems appropriate given the challenges facing not just Central Minnesota, but all of America as 2014 ends and a new year begins.

Merriam-Webster cited “culture” after analyzing the top look-ups in its online dictionary and focusing on the words that showed the greatest increases in searches this year as compared with last year. The results, based on about 100 million look-ups a month, “shed light on topics and ideas that sparked the nation’s interest in 2014.”

The public relations folks at Merriam-Webster added: “In years past, look-ups for the word culture spiked in the fall, as students encountered the word in titles and descriptions of courses and books, but this year look-ups have moved from seasonal to persistent, as culture has become a term frequently used in discussions of social phenomena.”

Realistically, they should replace “phenomena” with “clash.”

Think about “culture” when it comes to polarizing events this year such as Michael Brown and Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and — tragically this past weekend — New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn, New York.

Think about “culture” when it comes to North Korea, Russia, the Ukraine and the Islamic State.

Think about “culture” when it comes to federal lawmakers we elected. In 2014, leaders of the U.S. House announced plans to sue the president over the Affordable Care Act, which, by the way, passed four years ago. Meanwhile, the president used executive orders, most recently to accomplish major policy changes involving immigration.

And think “culture” when it comes to St. Cloud and two local places of worship for Muslims. Combined, they suffered at least a half-dozen incidents of vandalism in the past six weeks.

At their core, those “phenomena” made and retained headlines in 2014 because cultures clashed — and continue to do so.

While that’s not something new to 2014, the frequency, intensity and violence associated with these culture clashes, especially at the domestic level, are indeed new — at least to many among younger generations.

Here’s hoping 2015 will be a tie between “acceptance” and “compromise.”
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Changing Faces: McHenry County schools adapt to English-language learners

Changing Faces: McHenry County schools adapt to English-language learners | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Demographic shifts over the last 14 years provide clues to what McHenry County is going to look like in the future. We should expect to be older and more diverse. How well are we situated for the gradually changing population?

Related Links
Changing Faces: McHenry County schools adapt to English-language learners
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Changing Faces: As McHenry County population ages, housing for seniors needed
Changing Faces: Demand, accuracy drive interpreters' work at hospitals
Changing Faces: McHenry County social service agencies need bilingual staff
Changing Faces: McHenry County becoming more diverse, older
This is the fourth part in our five-part Changing Faces series looking at U.S. Census and other data and an examination of how the housing industry, social services, education and local government is adjusting to changing demographics.

JOHNSBURG – Carmen Terselic jumped from her chair and mimed heading out the door.

She was trying to trigger the word "went" for third-grader Charlyn Rodriguez, one of the few vocabulary words that the girl stumbled over during the review that started her break-out session with Terselic.

Terselic started at Johnsburg District 12 in July as its first full-time, in-house English Language Learner teacher, a position created to address the growing number of students in its program.

The program only had two students, both Spanish speakers, in its ELL program during the 2011-12 school year, the last time the district submitted its number to the state.

This year, the district has 30 students, 21 of them Spanish speakers, Terselic said.

She's responsible for all but one of them, splitting her time among the district's three elementary schools and one junior high. The special education department at Johnsburg High School provides services to the one ELL student there.

Johnsburg isn't the only school district to see changes though Johnsburg's jump could have been artificially marked, Assistant Director of Student Services Fran Milewski said. The survey sent out to parents asking what language was spoken at home — the survey that triggers testing to determine whether placement in an ELL program is appropriate — wasn't very clear.

The number of students with limited English has grown nearly across the board; only three school districts that serve parts of McHenry County saw their populations as percent of total enrollment drop in the last decade.

In Harvard District 50, the number of students with limited English proficiency climbed to 26.9 percent from 14.6 percent as its white population fell to 36.9 percent of students from 54.1 percent, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

'Bilingual, bi-literate and bi-cultural'

Dual-language programs were developed as a way to meet the needs of these students, said Gregorio Arellano, the Harvard district's bilingual and dual-language coordinator. But the side benefit is that English-language students also can take advantage of the enrichment program.
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Google Traduction : un 'easter egg' pour Noël

Google Traduction : un 'easter egg' pour Noël | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Google adore planquer des « easter eggs » dans ses produits histoire de surprendre les internautes. Il vient précisément de remettre le couvert avec son service de traduction, et donc avec le bien nommé Google Traduction. Et devinez quoi ? Cette fois, c’est le vieux barbu aux bottes rouges qui est à l’honneur.

Qui ça ? Le Père Noël, bien sûr et il s’agit finalement d’un choix très judicieux puisque ce dernier est très à la mode en ce moment. Enfin, il l’a surtout été hier et avant-hier. Là, en l’occurrence, son e-réputation devrait fondre comme la neige en plein soleil.

Oh le joli Père Noël.

Quoi qu’il en soit, si vous avez envie d’amuser la galerie et de passer pour un héros – ou une héroïne – auprès de vos enfants, eh bien ce n’est pas très compliqué.

Un raccourci direct vers le Santa Tracker
Pour commencer, vous allez vous rendre sur le service en cliquant sur ce lien : Une fois que vous serez là bas, vous devrez choisir la langue anglaise comme langue source ou sélectionner l’option « détecter la langue ». Si tout est bon, alors il ne vous restera plus qu’à taper l’expression « Happy holidays » dans le champ de gauche. Là, normalement, un Père Noël stylisé devrait apparaître un peu plus bas sur la page.

Si vous cliquez dessus, alors vous serez dirigés vers le fameux Santa Tracker évoqué dans cet article. Fantastique, non ? Certes, et ça marche aussi avec l’expression « Santa Claus » si vous voulez tout savoir, et rien ne vous empêche de tester d’autres combinaisons aussi fun.

Ah et sinon, je profite de cet article pour vous souhaiter… un joyeux Noël avec un peu de retard. D’habitude, je m’arrange pour programmer un article et j’avais prévu de le faire le 24 décembre, mais j’ai du faire face à quelques contretemps.
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Jesus Was Born In A House, Not A Stable, Says Scholar Challenging Traditional Nativity Story

Jesus Was Born In A House, Not A Stable, Says Scholar Challenging Traditional Nativity Story | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
We all know the story of the birth of Jesus, who was born under the roughest conditions, alone in a stable because “there was no room at the inn,” the Bible Gospels say. But do they really? According to one British religious scholar, not only is the story false — but the Bible itself never says that it’s true.

The whole story of Jesus being born “away in a manger” — that is, in a stable on a bed of hay surrounded by animals — is based on a bad translation of the Greek Biblical text, which itself could have been translated from Aramaic, a language that would have been spoken by Jesus, assuming that he did indeed exist, another point some scholars dispute.

While Reverend Ian Paul, a theology professor at the University of Nottingham, does not dispute the very existence of Jesus, he called into question this week the accuracy of the birth story of Jesus, as it has been handed down for centuries.

“I am sorry to spoil your preparations for Christmas before the Christmas lights have even gone up,” Paul wrote in a December 22 blog post. “But Jesus wasn’t born in a stable, and, curiously, the New Testament hardly even hints that this might have been the case.”

So why does nearly everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, believe that the story in the Bible specifies Jesus’ birth as taking place in a stable? Paul say the misunderstanding comes down to three factors.

“I would track the source to three things,” he said. “Issues of grammar and meaning; ignorance of first-century Palestinian culture; and traditional elaboration.”

To sum up Paul’s argument as simply as possible, the whole problem comes down to the poor translation of one Greek word, “kataluma.”

The word has been traditionally translated in English versions of the Gospels — specifically The Gospel of Luke, in which the supposed “manger” story appears — to mean “inn.”

But that’s not really what it means, Paul says. In fact, the word means “the private ‘upper’ room” in a family home — which is how it used in The Gospel of Mark, describing the room where Jesus and his disciples ate their Last Supper.

Paul also notes that in The Gospel of Luke, the writer later refers to an “inn,” but uses an entirely different Greek word: pandocheion.

What Luke actually says, according to Paul, is that the parents of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, stopped at the home of family relatives, as would be the custom, on their journey to Jerusalem for a census.

But the guest rooms of the house were already full, so the couple stayed instead in the main family room — which would also be customary. No family in the ancient Israel of that era would force relatives to sleep in a stable with farm animals, Paul says.

“It would be unthinkable that Joseph, returning to his place of ancestral origins, would not have been received by family members, even if they were not close relatives,” Paul wrote.

The result, according to Paul, is that Jesus was not born in a stable, but in the main family room of a relative’s home, with family and friends looking on.
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Translation Rates: Let’s Do the Actual Math!

Translation Rates: Let’s Do the Actual Math! | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
My previous 3-post miniseries on rates and the Matrix (here, here, and here) had an amazing response from readers, especially from the awesome and supportive members of IAPTI and No Peanuts who helped the series go viral. So this post begins with a big-fat THANK YOU to my wonderful community of colleagues and friends that are committed to promoting ethical practices and fair rates.

In that series, I tried to show that translation really doesn’t have to be cheap and to support that notion with actual numbers proving that if you’re running a one-person show or small business and you’re working for very little money, you’re simply in the wrong market segment. Fortunately, shifting segments is easier than most people think and in response to the many e-mails and messages received, here’s the “how” and the math.

1. Market Research: There’s a lot of information available about rates online. Use the power of the internet.

2. Experimentation: I was able to steadily increase my rates on a per-project basis after Law School by way of better marketing and lots of experimentation. The experiment consisted of three parallel strategies. First, charging every new client higher than the last. Second, adjusting my price per inflation (this is important because I live in an emerging economy with elevated inflation rates). Third, as new clients willing to pay my new rates came in, I would drop older clients who were not willing to pay higher rates. This last part allowed me to transition from one market segment to another without starving in the process of finding specialty or “premium market” clients. In addition, better marketing means more end clients (aka, “direct clients”), which also translates into higher fees per project. But that’s a different story.

3. Math: True, lawyers are not great at math. In fact, many of us joke that if we had math skills, we’d have gone to accounting school instead. Be that as it may, figuring out the price you should be charging if you are working on a per-word basis is not that hard:


A = your expenses (i.e. how much you spend per month on an average month)

B = how many words you translate on an average day

C = how many days per month you are willing to work


D = A ÷ C = how much you need to make per day to cover monthly expenses


D ÷ B = how much you need to charge per word to reach that goal

Voilà! You have found your start-out rate. Try it out on your next new client and start increasing steadily from there. If you’re going to try this strategy, then you might want to keep three things in mind:

1. If nobody’s trying to get you to lower or negotiate your rates, then you’re charging too low.

2. At some point you will hit a ceiling beyond which nobody is willing to pay. Your goal is to find the most efficient number closest to that ceiling.

3. The European market and the American market handle different “premium” rates. I recently tried to charge a premium European rate to a US client and failed miserably. However, the experiment helped me find a premium standard for US clients that’s proven very effective as a base rate from which to push up.

I hope this post is helpful and look forward to hearing other ideas, formulas and recommendations from readers!
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A 30 second guide to translating your tweets for global marketers

A 30 second guide to translating your tweets for global marketers | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Social media is undoubtedly the most significant evolutionary step in human communication since the advent of mobile phones. No serious business can afford to pass up on the opportunity to talk to its audiences on social media, whether on a local, national or a global scale.

Twitter has emerged as arguably the most important and efficient way for getting your message out there, as well as for sharing in contemporary buzz and ensuring your brand is engaged with the zeitgeist.

Twitter's reach is by no means limited to English-speaking nations. It extends well beyond the United States, UK and Australia to immense markets such as India and Brazil.

As a result, the world's consumers increasingly expect social media such as Twitter to be their one-stop shop for search and engagement. And that's why your marketing implementation agency must focus on adapting tweets to make them effective at a local level.

Cultural savvy is essential here — in-market linguists can advise whether a particular tweet will be relevant to the target country, not just in content but in tone. Will your tweets encourage responses and re-tweets? Is there a risk of inadvertently overstepping cultural boundaries or taboos?

How can tweets best be transcreated to bolster your brand? Any implementation agency worth its salt will know the answers to these questions — and tweet accordingly.
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Chinese gov't is defining the terms, in the dictionary|Culture|News|

Chinese gov't is defining the terms, in the dictionary|Culture|News| | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Li Weihong, left, China's vice minister for Education attends the unveiling ceremony of "Project to Share Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture" at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Dec. 24. (Photo/Xinhua)

China defined and translated key concepts in its traditional philosophy and culture, such as widely-known "yin and yang," to avoid misconception.

The definitions and translations of first 81 terms that express Chinese mentality and values were published in Beijing on Wednesday, with more to follow.

The defining work is part of the "Project to Share Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture" which is headed by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with other government departments.

The 81 terms include basic concepts that constitute the essence of what is considered the best of traditional Chinese culture, such as Dao, Ren, Yi.

The three phonetically translated terms generally mean righteousness, love for others and proper standard for people's actions. Their detailed extended meanings and applications, rendered in both Chinese and English, are included in the definition.

"Yin and Yang" were defined as two basic contrary forces or qualities that coexist, with a further explanation that "the active, hot, upward, outward, bright, forward and strong are yang, while the opposite is yin."

The ministry said in a statement that the lack of unified and coherent interpretations of these concepts has led to misconception and difficulties for foreigners to understand Chinese culture.

According to the MOE, the project will be published, made into an online database, and turned into video and audio products. A website will be launched early next year, where readers can browse the terms in simplified and traditional Chinese, as well as in English.
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Who is the richest man in the world?

Who is the richest man in the world? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Yahoo Finance is answering the Internet’s most-asked finance questions of 2014, according to Yahoo Search. The seventh most-searched question was, “Who is the richest man in the world?”

View photo
James Stewart stars as George Bailey, center, in Frank Capra's classic It's A Wonderful Life. (AP Photo)
Considering we’re writing this during the holidays and are obviously lovers of film, we’re going to go with George Bailey, of Bedford Falls. OK, we’re sort of kidding. But there’s a problem calculating “richest.” What exactly are you judging buy? Spiritual wealth? Power? If we’re talking about power – Vladimir Putin is probably the richest man in the world. He controls Russia’s army, a vast supply of natural resources and has almost single handedly rattled the economy of Europe.
If you want to talk straight up assets, though, which is what most of you probably do, you're really talking about three people. Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates – who is currently at the top of the list, along with the “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffett who runs Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B), and Mexican telecom giant Carlos Slim.

[Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]
Who's on top can change by the year or even the day depending on how their holdings are doing and how the list is calculated. (The way charitable giving is tallied can cause big variants in these types of lists.) But essentially, you can bet that the richest man in the world by assets at any given time is one of these three. Plus, when you're talking about net worth's topping $60 billion, which is where these guys are all hanging out, really, what's a rotating couple of billion mean?

So we’re sticking with our original answer of George Bailey.

More of your top finance questions answered:
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2014's high-voltage words

2014's high-voltage words | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

In his day, writers could revel in their power to shape the world with well chosen words.

These days, there's nothing like a fast-food commercial and the Internet to give words some voltage.

The French phrase "je ne sais quoi" rose to No. 6 in Merriam-Webster's 2014 list of top words after being featured in a Sonic Drive-in commercial.

Jenna said what? Indeed. Those chicken wings probably didn't give the guy that certain air of savoir faire, but the commercial got a lot of people to learn a little French. That's more than some high-school French teachers can say.

The expression that means "a pleasant quality that is hard to describe," according to M-W, which says the literal translation is "I know not what."

Neither do I.

Since the ad came out, je ne sais quoi has been among the top words looked up each day on That made the phrase a contender for 2014 word of the year.

The winner? Culture.

Don't get too excited opera fans. This isn't about high-tone pursuits. It's not about what happens in Petri dishes, either. Nor is it about the shared social customs anthropologists love to study.

This is about our continued fascination with sorting ourselves into sub-groups.

Or as M-W puts it: "The term . . . allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue or group. . . . Culture can be either very broad (as in 'celebrity culture' or 'winning culture') or very specific (as in 'test-prep culture' or 'marching band culture')."

Test-prep culture?

I belong to the drinks-coffee-black culture. That's what I was doing when I got an e-mail in which "tea party" groups railed about a "culture of bias" against conservatives.

This is something liberals might dismiss as typical of the right's culture of whining.

Health-food advocates will decry the insidious influence of the fast-food culture on our language, while taking care not to offend the Francophile culture -- formerly known simply as Francophiles.

M-W's top words list is based on increases in lookups in 2014 and sudden spikes of interest that may have been driven by events (or commercial messages).

In the No. 2 spot was nostalgia, a word describing a sentiment that often motivates me to pick up my red, dog-eared Random House dictionary instead of Googling.

When she was in elementary school, I used to tell my now-grown daughter that the dictionary should be her best friend. Now it's the lightning bug to those lightning fast online searches.

The other words on the M-W top ten list are insidious, legacy, feminism, innovation, surreptitious, autonomy and morbidity.

Ask your New Year's Eve guests to use those in a single sentence.

There's no room for nostalgia in the Oxford Dictionaries lineup of notable words. Their word of the year is vape – as in what e-cigarette users do. According to their website, the editors select a word they feel reflects "the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year."

Last year it was selfie.

Their shortlist this year included things too modern to be found on the pages of my old best friend – let alone in Mark Twain's pen.

A budtender is the person who serves customers in a cannabis dispensary. Slacktivism is a noun referring to things one does on-line in support of a political or social cause that require little time or commitment.

Part of the slacker culture, no doubt.
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Farina discusses dual langauge push

Farina discusses dual langauge push | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Surrounded by community and ethnic news outlets, city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced plans to open 40 dual language programs across the city next fall.

Fariña drew on her upbringing to provide the backdrop for the initiative during a local media roundtable held at Tweed Courthouse last week. She described watching her father relish a monthly copy of Spain’s “La Republica” and praised ethnic outlets for filling a communication gap, while also saying immigrants should not over-prioritize American culture and English in an increasingly multilingual age.

“We will be opening 40 new dual language schools in September, as my firm commitment to understanding that people who speak two languages are at a distinct advantage,” Fariña said. “Too many immigrants come to his country thinking that they have to become American right away.. You can be American and part whatever else. You bring your culture with you.”

Fariña said principals interested in a dual language programs, where native English speakers and those accustomed to a second language learn one another’s tongues while enrolled in the same classes, will soon visit successful sites. She said dual language programs required a sizable number of pupils who speak the non-English language to function. Off the top of her head, Fariña said there may be demand for Japanese and Russian programs.

“We’ve actually expanded this program to middle school, and we want to actually experiment with high school,” she said. “The difficulty here, honestly, is going to be certified teachers… We’re actually meeting with consulates from other countries… and the union has agreed to help us figure out how to certify teachers who come from other countries if we do not have enough resources within our own city.”

Between questions about Ebola-related bullying of West African students and pre-K outreach efforts to Chinese families, Fariña stressed it was not easy to predict community needs, particularly enrollment needs.

She pushed back against parents’ complaints about overcrowding, saying she believed strained classrooms were clustered in Queens and a few parts of Brooklyn. In such areas, she said multiple families appeared to be boarding in single-family homes and consequently not showing up on the Census.

“We have made a commitment, the mayor has made a commitment, that every child who comes to our doors gets accepted,” Fariña said. “So the unaccompanied minors, we welcome them. We have no idea how many numbers we’re going to find.”

Fariña also fought the notion that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature united pre-kindergarten initiative was pitting those calling for free early education against communities’ clamoring for additional classroom seats to accommodate students currently learning in trailers. The city has allocated funding to remove trailers.

But, the chancellor said in many schools, a superintendent may be able to help principals adjust their budgets to ease crowding.

“I, as a principal, always had a few extra kids in every class, with the permission of my teachers and [school leadership team] because I always wanted to have extra arts teachers,” she said, noting that this allowed her to consolidate classes, hire fewer general education teachers and instead employ more arts staff. “There really are only one or two parts of the city that are genuinely overcrowded.”

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle by e-mail at stran‌gle@c‌ngloc‌ or by phone at (718) 260–4546.
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On Writing: When typewriters roamed the Earth

On Jan. 2, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum will open its Ordinary Things/ Extraordinary Tales” exhibit, and one of the ordinary things on display will be a pre-WW2 Smith and Corona Company typewriter used by artist and librarian Dale DeArmond when she worked at the Juneau Memorial Library from 1954 to 1979.

It’s a beautiful machine, and although much older than the manual typewriter I learned to type on, it’s the same species. And I remember teaching myself to write on just such a machine, struggling to imitate some of the giants of English prose, like Samuel Johnson and Norman Mailer, and some of the masters of journalism too, like Jimmy Breslin and that mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet, Clark Kent.

(Hey, he was Superman; he must have had an incredible prose style.)

I remember learning to write to the typewriter’s rhythms — the sounds of fingers striking the keys, metal typebars whacking the paper, the ring of the margin bell, the slam of the carriage return. I became a better typist so my fingers could keep up with my thoughts. But fingers can move only so fast, and in the end the machine won. It slowed me down, made my thoughts creep along with my fingers.

And strangely enough, the machine made me a better writer. I was so afraid of having to type a page all over again that I spent more time with each sentence and became more deliberate in its construction.

And the writing itself fell into the rhythm of the clacking of the keys. The typewriter to be displayed at the City Museum is called the “Silent” model. Silent? What good would that be? The clacking had become a part of the process. It was the sound of writing.

When electric typewriters came around, they messed with that sound, that rhythm — touchier keys, less lag, maddening electric hum — but there was still that old familiar clacking of metal on paper.

But then, of course, came the computers. At first I wondered if I would be able to compose at all on the thing. No lag, no clack, just fingers gently clicking on the pastoral keyboard. It threw my writing completely out of whack. The whole thing seemed a distraction so alien to the process that I went back to composing with pen and paper.

Eventually I adjusted and capitulated to the new machine. Word-processing made it so much easier to revise. No more attacking the typed pages of a draft with scissors and Scotch tape; no more piles of crumpled pages overflowing the waste basket beside the desk; no more flourishing the White-Out brush like a veritable Michelangelo.

But by making it easier to revise, the computer had the ironic effect of making us worse writers. Instead of anguishing over each sentence before typing it out, we now type a sentence out any old way just to get it down. And then the next sentence, and then the next, always telling ourselves that we’ll go back and revise when we finish the whole thing. And then suddenly the deadline is upon us, so we run a spell-check and call it done.

And as Robert Frost says, way leads on to way, and we never get back to that road not taken — or to that sentence not revised.

But revise we must. Writing on the computer has led to the emergence of new rhythms, new ways of working, new attitudes toward writing that we are just now beginning to fully apprehend. Not all of those attitudes help us write better. Just as spell-check is no substitute for proof-reading, word-processing is no substitute for processing the words in our own heads and revising, revising, revising. There’s no substitute for thinking when we’re writing.

A few years back, in a moment of acute nostalgia, I bought an old IBM Selectric typewriter from my friend Dave Funaro, but there was no going back. The Computer Age had taken me. But still, I love these old typewriters and the memories they awake. They remind me of a rhythm we have lost.


• Jim Hale can be contacted through his website at
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10 words and terms we discovered in 2014 | Toronto Star

10 words and terms we discovered in 2014 | Toronto Star | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Prominent words and terms from 2014 including vaping, rape culture, Mare Nostrum, conscious uncoupling, ice-bucket challenge, bitcoin, normcore.
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The practice of vaping or puffing on an e-cigarette, has become highly contentious, with proponents saying it's a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes and opponents arguing it will draw in generations of new addicts.

Published on Fri Dec 26 2014
1. Vape:
The word aptly describes the results — a fleeting puff of near odourless mist, with maybe a hint of cherry.
Vape is the term electronic cigarette users have adopted for their flavourful nicotine habit, and it appears to have staying power: in November, “vape” was declared the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year.
And the mist of vaping has proven anything but vaporous as a social and legal issue.
No, 2014 saw two sides clearly massing on the vaping front, with the first shots in the confrontation being fired.
On the one side, proponents of so called e-cigarettes point to their myriad advantages over tobacco counterparts.
They say the devices, which use small heating elements to vaporize nicotine-laden propylene glycol liquids, can deliver a cigarette’s addictive kick with few, if any, of its toxic health effects.

Though it’s the addictive component of cigarettes, nicotine is no more dangerous than caffeine on its own. It’s the carcinogenic and heart-destroying products created in the combustion of tobacco that pose true health risks.
Thus, proponents say, there are also no second-hand-smoke issues with e-cigarettes — the devices produce nothing more harmful than the same, foggy mists that waft out from rock concert stages.
And this e-cigarette-as-health-alternative argument has gained some notable support.
Dr. Peter Selby, head of addictions at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, has come out as a strong proponent.
“If this is part of a bigger plan to figure out a way to get rid of combustible cigarettes and ban them, then it’s a fantastic opportunity,” Selby told the Star this year.
“It will be revolutionary, similar to when we decided to get rid of leaded gasoline.”
But far from safe tobacco alternatives, opponents say, e-cigarettes are simply a new gateway to nicotine addiction, especially among young people.
Detractors say the devices, which can vaporize nicotine-bearing liquids in hundreds of appealing flavours — can hold candy-like attraction for youth and could draw in generations of new addicts.
This belief was given ample credence this month with the release of a U.S. survey showing e-cigarette use has now surpassed smoking among teenagers in that country.
The survey, conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, canvassed more than 40,000 students. It found that 17 per cent of Grade 12 pupils said they’d used an e-cigarette in the prior month. Just 13.6 per cent said they’d smoked a cigarette, the New York Times reported.
And the e-cigarettes’ cause has not been helped by Big Tobacco’s new interest. Major cigarette manufacturers, broadly assigned social pariah status, have embraced their fledgling rival with gusto and are poised to dominate an industry now valued in the billions of dollars.
Vaping’s opponents appear to be gaining the upper hand in many jurisdictions across the continent, most of which now have few if any regulations governing e-cigarettes’ sale or use.
Many local, state and provincial governments are now debating or enacting laws placing age and location restrictions on e-cigarette usage.
In November, Ontario proposed sweeping new rules for the products. These would place essentially the same restrictions on electronic cigarettes that currently govern the tobacco variety in the province.
— Joseph Hall
2. Rape culture:

Allegations and charges against former CBC Q host Jian Ghomeshi, along with other cases involving accusations of sexual abuse or harassment, made "rape culture" a prominent term in the 2014 lexicon.

It isn’t a new term. But 2014 was the year when the general public seemed to grasp its meaning and its scope: that violence against women so rarely manifests itself as the stranger-in-the-night attacks of TV crime dramas. It’s more like a thick, silencing fog that envelops all women — yes, all of them — under the cover of which intimate-partner rapists, workplace harassers and everyday misogynists operate with impunity. It feels wrong to say there was an “upside” to the crimes (actual and alleged) of Elliot Rodger, Ray Rice, Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby and innumerable campus rapists. But this year, popular thinking about sexual violence seemed to move from the realm of magical thinking into the cold, clear light of day.
— Kate Allen
3. Mare Nostrum:

More than 400 Syrian refugees aboard a fishing vessel are rescued by the Italian navy in June as part of Italy's Mare Nostrum campaign, launched after two refugee-carrying boats sunk in 2013 and hundreds drowned.

The term entered the international lexicon in a big way in 2014. The Italian words mean “our sea” and refer to Italy’s search and rescue efforts to save the lives of migrants fleeing North Africa via the Mediterranean. The program was triggered following a horrific disaster near the small Italian island of Lampedusa. There, in October 2013, a smuggler’s boat jammed with women, men and children caught fire and capsized. Some 366 people died within sight of land. The tragedy prompted an effective but expensive humanitarian effort that rescued more than 150,000 people.
— Scott Simmie
4. Conscious uncoupling:

When actress Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin, lead singer of the band Coldplay, separated after 10 years of marriage, they announced it on Paltrow’s lifestyle website,, in a post entitled: “Conscious Uncoupling.”

A previous generation might have simply called this divorcing or splitting up. When actress Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin, lead singer of the band Coldplay, separated after 10 years of marriage, they announced it on Paltrow’s lifestyle website,, in a post entitled: “Conscious Uncoupling.” And apparently it’s not just a pretentious way of stating the obvious. It’s a real thing describing how partners in a failing relationship look inside themselves and each other and, without blame, try to find a deeper truths and understanding as to why they’ve come to detest each other. The upside is that when the couple works through their differences without creating more animosity, it makes a co-parenting situation easier post-split. At least until the lawyers get involved.
— Paul Hunter
5. Ice-bucket challenge:

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle is dumped with a Zamboni full of ice water as part of the ice-bucket challenge, which raised raised $16.2 million for ALS Canada.

It was cute, goofy fun — people getting buckets of ice water dumped on their heads in the name of charity — and it became hugely popular on social media, raising awareness and millions for the ALS Association. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neuromuscular illness without a cure. In the ice-bucket challenge, people poured an icy bath on themselves and then dared others to do the same. A recipient of the challenge had 24 hours to either undertake the big chill or make a donation. It became so popular during the summer that many did both. The fundraiser, contributed to by more than 260,000 Canadians, raised $16.2 million for ALS Canada, with $10 million going to research and $6 million to programs for those with ALS. Ottawa said it would match the research funds dollar for dollar.
— Paul Hunter
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67 Bizarre But Useful Words You Should Start Using Immediately

67 Bizarre But Useful Words You Should Start Using Immediately | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
In vocabulary, English is the richest modern language. It is constantly surprising even to those word gatherers among us who spend much time exploring dictionaries, especially the larger and older lexicons that harbor thousands of neglected words -- words that may be a bit dusty but are none the worse for disuse.

"Shaped like a stirrup" -- could there possibly be a word for that?

There is: stapediform. Or for having the sides reversed, as in a mirror image? (Haven't many of us wondered about this left-right reversal while applying makeup or shaving?) The answer is heterochiral. (Specular is the adjective for pertaining to a mirror or mirrors.) Then there are words for various shapes, like ovoid for egg-shaped, which is fairly common in usage. But what if the object is egg-shaped with the wider end up? Then it's obovoid. Similarly, obconic means conical with the pointed end down and pear-shaped upside down is obpyriform.

There is actually a word, griffinage, that is defined as the state of being a white person newly arrived in the Far East! (Griffonage -- one letter different in spelling -- means a scribble or illegible handwriting.) There's even a word, amphoric, meaning like the sound made when blowing across the lip of an empty bottle; and a term, spanipelagic, describing creatures dwelling in deep water but coming at times to the surface.

Other improbable but actual, dictionary-certified words worthy of mention are adoxography, good writing on a minor subject; bardocucullated, wearing a cowled cloak; perfuncturate, to do halfheartedly; scaff, to beg for food in a contemptible way; tacenda, matters or things that shouldn't be mentioned; ventifact, a stone rounded off by the wind; agathism, the belief that things tend to work out for the better; assentation, rote or insincere agreement; quomodocunquize, to make money in any conceivable way; naufrageous, in danger of shipwreck (naufragous is causing shipwreck); macarism or confelicity, joy or pleasure in another's happiness; borborygm, a growling in the stomach; laquearian, armed with a noose; filipendulous, hanging by a thread; eumoirous, lucky in being happily innocent and good; tarassis, male hysteria; and charientism, an insult that is artfully veiled.

In politics, couldn't we use the rarely heard or seen words empleomania, a craving for holding public office; and emptitious, corruptible or capable of being bought?

Do you ever feel a bit put off at attending an event or going to a museum where there is a "suggested contribution"? There is the term dation, which means giving that is not voluntary.

If you had to guess what lateritious, infuscate, and murrey mean, you'd probably be wrong. They're all particular colors: brick red, having a brownish tinge, and purplish black or mulberry, respectively.

Out for a hike in your local woods? What does one call the material on a forest floor? The simple, useful word for decaying leaves, twigs, and other organic matter underfoot is duff. Two terms that seem straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien (but are not) are krummholz and its synonym, elfinwood: an alpine forest having stunted trees.

We all know the word hill, but, more specifically, a narrow or oval hill is a drumlin; a small and rounded hill is a knoll, hillock, hummock, monticule, monticle, mound, or (British) barrow; a rounded solitary hill usually with steep sides is a knob; a hill with a broad top is a loma; and a hill steep on one side but with a gentle slope on the other is a cuesta. Who says a hill is just a hill?

A chasm formed by receding ice is a randkluft. An oddly shaped (by erosion) rock column is a hoodoo -- think Monument Valley -- and a single rock or boulder carried by a glacier to where it lies is an erratic.

English also has an abundance of synonyms, many not so familiar. (A relatively unknown synonym for the word synonym is poecilonym). To sunbathe, for example, is to apricate. A synonym for kissing is suaviation. We all know the word swastika. (The swastika was a positive symbol -- of good luck -- before the advent of Germany's infamous Third Reich.) But how many know it's also called a gammadion, fylfot, or crux gammata? Or that for the medical symbol called a caduceus (a winged staff with two entwined snakes) there is a far less known synonym -- kerykeion?

When it comes to beards and hair, a more obscure synonym for a Vandyke is pickdevant; and an old word for hairpiece is postiche.

But more obscure terms can be handy when one wants to be discreet (not to say deceptive or veiled) or somewhat droll in what one means.

Take the case of a guy on a dating website describing himself as being unconventionally handsome and stating that he is ventripotent, exophthalmic, and trochocephalic as well as opisthognathic. Don't be surprised when he turns out to be pot-bellied and bug-eyed with a huge round head and a projecting upper jaw.

David Grambs and Ellen S. Levine are co-authors of The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms & Literary Quotations (expanded second edition).
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Afghan Interpreter Finds Refuge at Marine's Home

Afghan Interpreter Finds Refuge at Marine's Home | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
Every morning, Dinar sits in a folding chair in a second floor bedroom of a house in this university town and Skypes with his family a world away.
This is likely as close as he will ever be to them again.
Dinar, a 30-year-old Afghan man, was an interpreter for the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and his service on behalf of the U.S. has cost him dearly.
He was targeted by death threats. He had to cut all visible ties to his family to protect them; for the same reason, he asked that his last name not be used here. And, in the end, he had to leave his country.
He is now starting over in an unfamiliar land. But he is not making the journey alone.
At his back -- and often downstairs at breakfast while Dinar is Skyping -- is Maj. Christopher Bourbeau, head of the Marine Corps subdivision of the Navy ROTC program at the University of Illinois.
In 2012-13, when Bourbeau was second in command of a Marine unit advising the Afghan national army, Dinar was one of his interpreters.
In gratitude for Dinar's decision to risk his life working with the Marines, Bourbeau has stepped forward to help him build a new one.
When Dinar got a special immigrant visa for Afghans and Iraqis whose service to the U.S. put them in danger in their homelands, Bourbeau volunteered to take him into his home and be his guide to America.
Working with Heartland Alliance, the Chicago resettlement agency that brought Dinar to the U.S., Bourbeau picked up Dinar at O'Hare International Airport on Sept. 17.
He drove Dinar to Champaign, where he and his wife, Katie, set up Dinar in a bedroom in their home in a quiet neighborhood.
Bourbeau helped Dinar through the paperwork of applying for a Social Security card and for temporary government assistance. He took him to the secretary of state's facility to start the process of getting a driver's license.

He bought Dinar $900 worth of clothes for job interviews -- a suit, shirts and a tie, socks and dress shoes. He is trying to help Dinar get a civil service job at the university, which would offer educational benefits that could lead to an American college degree.
Bourbeau sees his actions as paying back a debt.
"He's done more for this country than a lot of people that live in this country," he said. "He's as much a Marine as I am."
Dinar sees Bourbeau's help as a crucial introduction to a new life.
"To find a person that guides you in a country where you know nobody ... that was quite helpful," he said.
The Bourbeaus are teaching him how to live in America, he said.
"They help me out about culture and people and society," he said. "They're, right now, everyone to me."
It is not uncommon for U.S. military personnel to step forward to help their former interpreters in some way when they come to this country, said Darwensi Clark, associate director of refugee family services at Heartland Alliance. About 30 percent of holders of special immigrant visas move into the house or the community of someone they knew in the U.S. military, he said.
But most people aren't able to take refugees into their homes and commit the substantial amount of time involved in resettling them.
"I find it so admirable that Chris is able to make that sacrifice," Clark said. "Immediately when I called him, it was very clear that ... he was going to be responsible for anything that was necessary or anything that was asked of him. And that is very rare."
Indeed, Bourbeau's offer was unconditional.
"It's a completely open-ended invitation, without any stipulations whatever -- whatever it takes to help him to get on his feet," Bourbeau said. "I'm prepared that he could live with us for years."
Dinar spent five years with the Marines, working, eating and living with them in his role as interpreter with the U.S.-led coalition.
He believed in its mission, he said. His father, an engineer for a software company in Germany, was killed by the Taliban on one of his visits home, Dinar said. The family, including Dinar, fled to Pakistan.
When Dinar returned to Kabul 11 years later, he found it much improved by the coalition forces. "Females were going to school; people could live normally," he said. "So I wanted to be part of the changes."
Raised in a well-educated family -- his mother is a university professor -- Dinar spoke seven languages, had completed teachers training and a culture and linguistics program at the Pakistan American Cultural Center, and had taught English to Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
He became one of the Marines' top interpreters.
"His linguistic capabilities and 24/7 attitude proved to be one of the underlying factors leading to Afghan national security forces' development in Helmand province," wrote a commanding officer in 2010.
"Dinar was one of the best that I've seen," as well as one of the bravest, said Bourbeau, an attack-helicopter pilot who did five tours of duty in direct support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He routinely volunteered for dangerous missions "outside the wire," as going off base is called, Bourbeau said.
"A lot of (interpreters) didn't want to do it. They were afraid. They didn't want to get hurt or killed," he said. "Dinar was always willing to go."
Bourbeau and Dinar rode together in armored vehicles along roads studded with improvised explosive devices. Dinar was Bourbeau's interpreter in his conversations with Afghan commanders, when Bourbeau monitored Afghan army battle operations and when he sat on the ground in tribal villages drinking tea with elders.
He translated more than just the languages.
"He was responsible for reading the emotions and the situation of whoever we were meeting with," Bourbeau said. "We put a lot of trust in him."
The work put Dinar in grave danger.
The Taliban target interpreters working for the U.S., said Becca Heller, director of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, which resettles Afghan and Iraqi interpreters.
"We have numerous clients who have been shot, kidnapped and tortured," she wrote in an email. "A number of clients have had a parent or relative killed in retaliation for their work with the U.S. We have female clients who have been threatened with rape."
And Dinar was highly visible. He was often called upon to work for visiting dignitaries, including then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Photos and videos of him with Panetta and other American officials were widely disseminated in news media.
"I was exposed," he said.
He got death threats in letters tossed over the base fence overnight -- the much-feared "night letters" in which the Taliban mark someone they considered a traitor.
"At that point I decided there's no more future in Afghanistan. I must leave," he said.
A U.S. commander started a special immigrant visa application for Dinar as soon as he started working as an interpreter, but Dinar had not taken the prospect seriously. Now, however, he initiated another application, and pursued it with rigor.
Marine commanders gave their support. One wrote a letter describing how Dinar was in his vehicle when it was hit by a 200-pound IED and, despite sustaining some injuries, helped the Marines recover the vehicle and stayed to complete the dangerous mission.
Bourbeau added his voice:
"I have been witness to ongoing death threats directed at Dinar and his family," he wrote. "We as a nation and a U.S. Military owe a debt of gratitude to Dinar and must take responsibility for the current dire situation he now faces."
Five years after filing the first application, Dinar's visa was approved.
Meanwhile, Bourbeau began to consider doing more to help.
"I just felt like Dinar was very trustworthy. He was hardworking. His values are very similar to my values," he said in an interview at his home. "I wouldn't have any issue doing everything I could to help him out."
Bourbeau didn't make the decision lightly. He talked it over with Katie, a former Marine who now works as a project manager.
"I met Dinar on FaceTime," she said. "The next day Chris said, 'I'm thinking of asking him to live with us.'"
She agreed.
"How do you say no to giving someone a chance?" she said.
Dinar arrived at their home with a backpack, one bag -- and a new name
Because the way names are written on Afghan passports does not match U.S. consular guidelines, many visa holders find that their visas turn their first names into their last names and omit their real last names.
Dinar's first name, like that of a number of other interpreters, is, officially anyway, Fnu -- for First Name Unknown.
There have been other bumps in the road. On his first full day in America, Dinar boarded a bus ne
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Windows Phone : importante mise à jour pour Microsoft Translator - CNET France

Windows Phone : importante mise à jour pour Microsoft Translator - CNET France | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
L’application Microsoft Translation pour Windows Phone peut désormais traduire jusqu’à 45 langues. L’outil peut même interpréter les inscriptions présentes sur une affiche ou une photo filmées avec l'appareil du smartphone.
Par L'agence EP
@zdnetfr vendredi 26 décembre 2014 à 09:29



Microsoft vient de mettre à jour en version 3.2 son application de traduction Microsoft Translator pour Windows Phone. Elle se concentre essentiellement sur l’ajout des variantes australienne, indienne et canadienne de la langue anglaise, ainsi que le français du Canada. Le japonais, le coréen, le portugais et le russe sont également pris en charge. En tout, 45 langues sont gérées par Microsoft Translator.

L’outil est même capable de traduire les inscriptions présentes sur une photo réalisée à partir du mobile. L’application ne se limite pas aux textes et peut aussi traduire ce qu’une personne dit. Elle peut aussi lire les textes avec un accent de natif.

Après avoir brisé la barrière de la langue dans Skype, Microsoft semble se concentrer très sérieusement sur ses outils de traduction. (EP)
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A marketing strategy for translators?

A marketing strategy for translators? | Metaglossia: The Translation World |
First there was the degree in languages, then translation, CAT tools courses, business notions and then marketing. Wait. Do we need a marketing strategy?

The mistake most translators do is to think marketing it is easy. They approach it very casually only to find out a marketing strategy requires data, ideas and research that if are not organised can lead to more thinking and stress.

A marketing strategy should make our life easier, not more complicated.

Another issue often regards this idea about marketing as an activity managed by in-house resources belonging to big companies. Yes marketing requires skills, time and money but with the variety of tools available to small businesses and freelancers the traditional gigantic strategy of The International Corporate Ltd is no more the only available option. Actually, there is no fixed rule, scope or strategy if not that one dictated by data and results. And math can be very subjective when it comes to setting personal goals.

So, yes we need a marketing strategy.

Do we need a marketing strategy?

When I started out I had a to-do list, a small amount of money and a goal.

My goal was to print out 50 business cards + 50 CVs, contact 50-80 clients between agencies and direct clients so to (a) cover the expenses of the cards + printing services and (b) make a small profit of XXX £ out of translations.

A small % of this profit would then have covered my next promotional tool, specifically a new business blog. Indeed, I was planning to buy a domain name and transfer the blog there – and of course I needed money. Despite being a very simple one, that was my initial marketing strategy. I wrote everything down in a paper to-do list and tracked progress with simple ticks. Not that fun, I know.

Anyway, it took me about 10 days to have and print the business cards + the CV (I asked a native English copywriter to edit it) and about a month to distribute them all. I didn’t have a specific target but I wanted to find clients so I tried to contact different people and organisations from friends to managers, professionals, etc.

The money I made out of that first attempt covered the cost of the printing services and left me with a small amount I could use to register a domain name, but could not cover my design ambitions to ask a professional to help me with the layout, so I had to do by myself and wait a bit more.

Of about 68 people I contacted (some received both card & CV), I worked with 5 (3 agencies and 2 direct clients) but I managed to establish a continuous collaboration only with one. Not that bad, but it could have been better. So what was the problem? I didn’t have a marketing strategy. I had an idea and a very nice smile but not a plan or a strategy, so elements like targeting, research, branding, marketing mix, follow up, customer service were all missing out and I actually didn’t make the most of the potential of my message.

It is a bit like buying a vintage car for its design and keep it in the garage because one does not know how to drive it and where to meet other people with the same passion. I drove it, but it could have been better. That was when I learned that I needed a marketing strategy.

We need a marketing strategy because it will help to set clear goals, avoid wasting money, spot limits and opportunities.

Think about that: targeted business cards or general business cards? Differentiate website and blog or not? Promote myself or wait a bit? Where are my clients? Is that specialisation worth? What is my real budget?

A marketing strategy put into a marketing plan should make our life easier, not be another piece of paper on the desk.

So how can we create a marketing strategy?

I am not a big planner, that’s for sure. I like to keep things simple and my idea of a marketing plan or strategy is quite minimal and focused.

On the plus, I am also quite convinced that too much planning will kill all the fun that there is in creative brainstorming and promotional ideas. However I did a lot of research, tried different plans and tips and then decided to create something that would work for me, a marketing strategy created for a freelance translator (if you want to know more about these articles and resources, read here and here).

Start with a question (…well, four!)

To keep it simple I usually start with 3-4 questions:

What do I do?

How does my market look like?

Where do I want to go?

How will I get there?

What do I do?

To create a marketing strategy you need to understand what makes you unique (these characteristics will be useful to create a personal brand as well as a unique professional profile), where are you in term of business development (are you an experienced or a young professional? How many clients do you have? Can you cover expenses? Is freelancing a part-time activity or a full-time job? What will you need to make it a full time activity in terms of money and number of clients?) and what is your specialisation (who are your clients?)?

 Describe your actual business size, number of clients, services offered, specialisation, target market.

The purpose of this initial analysis is to:

• learn how your business is organised and understand what are its limits and potentialities

• understand what are your clients’ needs in terms of what will work and will not work to catch their attention, but also to help you define how your services could help them

How does my market look like?

Translates as: what are my competitors doing to get to their clients? What are their weaknesses and strengths? What are my weaknesses and strength? What is that differentiate me from my competitors?

The purpose of this analysis is to:

• understand what are the differences between you and your competitors so to learn also how to differentiate yourself and create a promotional strategy that will work

 Where do I want to go?

This is the real core of your approach: understand who is the target of your next promotional move. A marketing strategy should take into account every detail about the target because you don’t want to waste money on activities that will not bring a profit (not all industries are worth trying and some clients are out of our reach because of their size, our experience or simply because it’s a very difficult niche).

So where do you want to go with your marketing plan? Do you want to target again an industry you already work with to find more clients or re-connect with old clients? Do you want to try and knock a new door? Maybe an emerging market?

First identify the target, then do a research to learn more about its structure, dynamics and its people. Evaluate your profitability potential: would translation services be beneficial for these people? Decide who to target within this segment because not all companies have the same role: getting a job from one-two influential clients will help you build a portfolio that is valuable enough to be considered buy other companies working in the same industry.

Depending on the target market, also working with emerging or small but innovative brands/companies/professionals might help you to give extra value to your profile and portfolio.

Much depends on your specialisation, target market and – as we were saying – where do you want to go?

How will I get there?

With the development of communications and tools for small business or freelancers, promotional activities have completely changed. So creating a balanced marketing mix including all possible useful channels and activities is key.

Don’t exclude social media without a research, don’t be scared to dare and go for a different approach.

I don’t think promotion per se is wrong at all. Marketing is a very fascinating field and when you run a small business every little detail become a potential promotional tool: your CV, your emails, your email signature, even your invoice!

What is wrong is the attitude. As I have said here, some people often take a marketing strategy as a mass destructions weapon aimed at shooting down other translators in the name of personal frustration or an imaginary competition.

Marketing is not something we should avoid, it’s about letting people know that you are a good translator, find new clients, establish a rapport with the client and create a win-win relation. Most of these people will recommend your services if they are happy about your translation services.

So there is nothing wrong in building a network of supportive clients you like to work with that are actually contributing to develop your professional reputation in a good way. Institutions and companies of all sizes and scopes know that getting out there is important as much as knowing that they are providing excellent services and products.

A marketing strategy is essential to help you get out there, make new connections and create winning teams.

As usual, thanks for liking and sharing!


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