Bite-sized Tips No. 26: Common Mistakes Part 3 – Numbers (1)

Common Mistakes in Papers for Publication Part 3 – Numbers (1)

I spend a lot of my work time improving academic texts. This can involve revising the translations that authors have produced of their own work or editing their non-native efforts at writing directly into English. Unfortunately, the results are never error-free and, as I mostly revise and edit articles and papers written by Spanish speakers, I repeatedly come across the same mistakes.

In the first instalment of this series within a series, I highlighted ten of these common mistakes including the use of etc. and et al.

In the second, I focused on whether to use data is or data are, some punctuation problems and issues with capitalisation.

Continue reading

Purchase Orders Revisited

Way back in 2015, I asked my blog readers whether the purchase order I’d produced was merely a pipe dream or a document I could actually use with my clients. The general consensus was that my overly long PO would prove daunting for direct clients and unnecessary for agencies. After tweaking it a bit based on the many suggestions I received, I instead came up with a purchase order checklist. The idea was to fill it in ourselves using the information we gleaned in negotiations with clients and for it to be a handy reminder of what questions we should be asking.

Continue reading

The Group Translation Chats Story

Once upon a time, there was a lonely translator in a pretty nondescript room in a rather untidy house. She was sitting down to work rather than walking on her treadmill in front of her stand-up desk as the repetitive movement had given her painful plantar fasciitis.

Besides that problem, she was trying extremely hard not to turn green with envy when reading the feeds of her colleagues during her social-media breaks. Because they all seemed to be jetting off to conferences, workshops and other get-togethers and generally enjoying themselves. Life isn’t always a barrel of laughs when the unthinkable happens, you become a carer and are stuck at home. So she hit upon the plan of asking her fellow translators whether anyone fancied a chat.

Continue reading

Major ‘Useful Links & Resources for Translators & Interpreters’ Update – April 2020

Now that I’m in lockdown due to the coronavirus and waiting for my next job to come in, I’ve had some time to make some long-planned major improvements to the Useful Links & Resources for Translators & Interpreters page. As a result, this page has now been divided into five separate sections with their own categories. These five sections are:

Section 1: General dictionaries and glossaries

Section 2: Subject-specific dictionaries and glossaries

Section 3: Writing-related resources

Section 4: Translation-related tools and links

Section 5: Other links of interest

It’s the last section that has changed the most with the addition of more categories and resources. The list starts off with the new Codes & Shortcuts category with links that I use a lot when I can’t remember how to type some characters.

Continue reading

Initial Results of the Translation Qualifications Survey (Part 1)

Back in February last year, I asked you all to answer some questions about translation qualifications in a survey. I kept extending the deadline because I was hoping for more responses. And then when I should have being doing a write-up of the results, Brexit and the UK general election, family issues and the ever-present threat of the climate emergency filled my head and my spare time leaving me with no energy or enthusiasm for the blog.

Now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, my work has all but come to a halt so at least I can finally get around to thanking everyone who took part in the survey and giving you the results.

As there were only 59 respondents and I imagine this post might make some colleagues want to give their views, I have reopened the survey and will continue accepting responses until the end of July 2020.

Continue reading

5 Tips for Working from Home

In this guest post, Desiree Villena, a writer with Reedsy, gives people that are suddenly finding themselves working from home because of the coronavirus a few tips on how to manage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into life’s well-oiled mechanisms in many different ways, and your work is probably one of them. Working from home before the spring of 2020 was often associated with freelancers who enjoyed hopping around the world, or relatively young startup companies. Now, it’s an inescapable reality for many businesses worldwide.

As a result, many people are having to adapt to this new worklife. Working from home can be such a disruption to your usual routine that you may be unsure if it can really be effective. Even those who have worked remotely for a while can still struggle to organize their days well! So how can you stay focused and productive in an environment that reminds you of entertainment and relaxation?

Luckily, there are plenty of tricks to help with this. Here are just five essential things you must know to set yourself up at your own home.

Continue reading

MA in Translation at the University of Surrey – One of the longest-running courses worldwide

It’s not really like me at all. I’m generally a doer, rather than a talker. But when I graduated with my French Studies BA in July 2007, I applied to do a comparative literature masters at UCL the following year and then, when that came around, I deferred another year, then eventually pulled out completely. Then I signed up for the DipTrans preparation course at Westminster, went to a couple of classes, got scared out of my wits at how inexperienced I was, and gave up. Then I just talked about my longing to do a translation MA for years. The problem was, it was never “the right time”.

There never is a “right time” to do an MA in translation

Only, it never is the right time, is it? With that in mind, a decade after graduating, my family encouraged me to just get on with it. I was always happy enough in my previous career, and progressing well, but it was never ‘it’, and it certainly wasn’t a job that would travel well. My husband and I had been talking about relocating for a long time, but, to do that, I would need to retrain for something more flexible.

That’s how I found myself this time last year, at the age of 32, arriving at the University of Surrey for Welcome Week, surrounded by 18-year-olds and being asked, more than once, where certain rooms were – they thought I was one of the tutors.

Surrey was an obvious choice for me for several reasons. The Guildford location suited me, but its primary appeal was that the Centre for Translation Studies was established back in 1982, and their MA course is one of the longest running in the world – which reassured me that they obviously know what they are doing!

Although I was a career changer, the choice to do the course was both a head and a heart decision, and I wanted the course to reflect this. Primarily, I needed the knowledge to set myself up as a professional translator upon completion, but I also wanted to just enjoy using my languages again after such a hiatus. The mandatory modules on the business aspects of the translation profession, on translation technologies (focusing on CAT tools), as well as specialised translation practice with an experienced translator certainly satisfied my first requirement, and optional modules on literary translation and on translation for advertising offered me the chance to be creative.

I was nervous about going “back to school” after working for a number of years, but the CTS tutors are so approachable and encouraging. They come from a variety of backgrounds, bringing much knowledge and experience. Although translation for the arts is something I was particularly drawn too, I understand that Surrey is actively pursuing research into the evolution of translation in the digital age – something that is relevant to all linguists. If this happens to be an area in which you are interested, it would be well worth looking into the research opportunities coming up at Surrey in the near future.

Like with so many things in life, the MA experience is what you make of it

Like with so many things in life, the MA experience is what you make of it. I had left my job to concentrate full-time on the course and wanted to take advantage of every possible opportunity. There are some great student discounts for workshops and courses out there – it’s great for networking, and never too early to get started on CPD! I went along to the ITI Conference for less than half the regular price, and, although it might feel daunting to newcomers, it was a great experience. Surrey also puts on a programme of extra-curricular seminars featuring industry leaders; we had the opportunity to hear the founder of Nimdzi Insights speak, as well as those working in food translation and children’s literature.

So, what are the downsides? A half downside for me was that I thought there would be more of a focus on practical translation; it’s only a half downside, because it transpired that I found the theory absolutely fascinating. It’s also important to say that your dissertation can be topic-based, so on translation theory, or it can be a translation plus a commentary, so you have the opportunity to spend three whole months sinking your teeth into something that really motivates you.

My word of caution is that some modules were withdrawn, but we weren’t notified until our induction day; although one of the modules I was keen to pursue was no longer running, it wasn’t make-or-break for me, but it was quite problematic for some. There’s no simple way around this, as universities can only run courses if it’s viable to do so, and I know that it happens at other institutions. But if you are changing your life to pursue a course, it’s a worthwhile consideration.

My MA ticked all my boxes and was the best year of my life

It may sound contrived but, all in all, my MA year at Surrey was the best year of my life. It ticked all my boxes, and so many more that I didn’t know I had. The course, and my tutors, inspired me so much and I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to retrain to do something I truly love.

This guest post was written by Hayley Smith. Hayley is a Student Member of the ITI and the CIOL, and has just completed her Translation MA at the University of Surrey.

A passionate Francophile, she one day hopes to enter the world of theatre translation but, for now, is specialising in the translation of medical and pharmaceutical texts.

You can find out more about Hayley and her services on her LinkedIn profile and her blog.

Lecture hall photo by Changbok Ko on Unsplash

This post is part of the MA review series on this blog. Lists of MAs in Translation and Interpreting are currently divided in EuropeanNon-European and Distance-learning Courses.

Please get in touch if you completed your MA recently and would like to take part in this series. You’ll find more information about writing for this blog here

Explore this blog by starting with the categories page

Translation Qualifications Survey

It’s survey time again on My Words for a Change. Back in 2015 I ran my first survey on adverts on translation blogs (TLDR: don’t have any adverts on your blogs!). The following year I ran one on revisions (thus combining two of my favourite subjects). I spared you all my intrusive questions in 2017 and last year I ran a survey on whether blogging is dead (TLDR: no, it isn’t yet, but it really depends on the blog).

This year I want to quizz you about qualifications. As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, lots of guest posters have written about their experiences of MAs and MScs in translation for this blog, and the vast majority of them have been positive. But taking out a year or two to study a degree at university, even if it’s a distance-learning course, isn’t an option for all of us.

Continue reading

‘Useful Links & Resources for Translators & Interpreters’ Page Update – February 2019

For readers that don’t know the Useful Links & Resources for Translators & Interpreters page, it basically consists of four main sections that are each divided into several subsections. These are packed with links to help you translate your texts, run your business and even enjoy your leisure time. This post gives you a quick overview of what’s new since the last update in October.

The first main section lists general dictionaries and glossaries. The new subsection here is General Into & Out of Spanish, which I’ve added to make it easier to find resources that are primarily for looking up how to translate words from and into Spanish. As I work from ES to EN, there’s a heavy bias towards this language pair in the first couple of sections. New here is: Diccionario español – mallorquín. The other resources were previous listed under General Multilingual.

Continue reading

The Open University’s Life-Changing Distance-Learning MA in Translation

After completing my BA degree in German & Spanish with the Open University, I had an idea that I wanted to be a translator but didn’t really know how to become one. I looked online and saw that anyone can call themselves a translator, so ideally a qualification would benefit me. I began hunting online at universities that offer MAs in Translation. Lo and behold, my old university was just about to start an MA in Translation and it would be their first intake of students.

Continue reading