Post in italiano, Tools of the Trade, Translation & Interpreting

Le app che mi hanno cambiato la vita

workstation
La mia postazione di lavoro. Anche il doppio monitor è qualcosa che mi ha cambiato la vita, visto che lo schermo del portatile mi stanca parecchio la vista.

Oggi parlerò di alcuni software che hanno cambiato in meglio la mia vita per quanto riguarda la produttività.


Focus 10

 

focus10

Questo programma permette di impostare dei timer per le sessioni di lavoro e le pause: funziona con la cosiddetta tecnica del pomodoro, ma si possono impostare anche dei tempi diversi. Io, personalmente, mi trovo molto bene con la tecnica del pomodoro: ogni 25 minuti di lavoro, ce ne sono 5 di pausa e, ogni 4 sessioni da 25 minuti, c’è una pausa più lunga da 15. Al termine di ciascuna sessione, che sia di lavoro o di pausa, appare una notifica e, contemporaneamente, suona una sveglia.

Per me, è meglio dividere la giornata lavorativa/di studio in varie sessioni piuttosto che fare tutta una tirata: rischio di stancarmi e/o distrarmi più facilmente. Una caratteristica che mi piace di Focus 10 è la funzione “Stats”, che permette di vedere quanti minuti o quante sessioni sono stati dedicati al lavoro in una settimana. Ho provato diverse app simili, ma questa la reputo una delle migliori. Ho scaricato gratuitamente Focus 10 dallo Store di Windows (è disponibile per Windows 10).


ClearFocus

 

clearfocus

 

Se non si possiede un computer con Windows 10, ma uno smartphone con il sistema operativo Android (di recente, però, hanno creato anche una versione per iOs), un’ottima alternativa a Focus 10 è ClearFocus. Il funzionamento è molto simile a quello di Focus 10 (ha le statistiche e permette di personalizzare i tempi delle sessioni). Uso ClearFocus quando non ho il PC con me. Installando anche ClearLock, si possono bloccare app potenziali fonti di distrazione (a questo scopo, sul PC uso anche l’estensione Strict Workflow per Chrome).


Lexibar

 

lexibar

 

Esistono varie versioni di questo tool che reputo ormai indispensabile. Lexibar permette di utilizzare caratteri speciali di una determinata lingua in modo immediato, senza ricorrere a ostiche combinazioni di tasti o allo strumento “Inserisci carattere” dei programmi di videoscrittura. Utilizzo la versione per la lingua francese di Lexibar da anni: è comodissima!


Quali sono le app che hanno migliorato la vostra produttività?

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My Translations, My Writings, Post in italiano, Posts in English, traduzione, translation, Translation & Interpreting, Translations

Tradurre è un’arte / Translation Is an Art

painting-911804_640

Tratto dalle conclusioni della mia tesi di Laurea triennale:

Tradurre è un’arte. Ogni testo tradotto è un disegno su tela, e sta al traduttore decidere quali colori utilizzare per trasmettere il senso del testo originale al suo pubblico. Le traduzioni effettuate sono da ritenersi una delle possibili interpretazioni dei testi. Un altro traduttore potrebbe renderli in modo diverso […] Comunque, il risultato finale è sempre la trasmissione, nella lingua e nella cultura di arrivo, di un testo legato a una cultura e a una lingua di partenza.

From the Conclusions part of my Bachelor’s Degree thesis:

Translation is an art. Each translated text is a drawing on a canvas, and it’s up to the translator to choose which colours to use in order to convey the meaning of the source text to its public. The translations I did should be considered one possible interpretation of the original texts. Another translator might translate them differently […] By the way, the final result is always the transmission, in the target language and culture, of a text which is tied to a source language and culture.

languages, Translation & Interpreting

When Translators (and Language Students) Meet the Rest of the World

  • MYTH: Translation/language students and translators/interpreters are living dictionaries.
  • REALITY: Yes, we speak more than one language. No, we don’t know all the words in a given language. It’s impossible to know EVERY. SINGLE. WORD, even in your mother tongue. Vocabulary is important, but we are no living dictionaries and us humans can’t know everything.

I find situations like these annoying:

PERSON I’M TALKING TO: “How do you say *insert word here* in *insert language here*?”

I usually ask them to tell me the context (and think “Ah, if only they realized that a word has different meanings in different contexts…”), a sentence in which they would use that word. Staying on topic, here’s a joke:

  • How many translators does it take to change a light bulb?
  • It depends on the context.

So, for translation/interpreting professionals and students, context is extremely important. We can’t read your mind, and guessing possible meanings might lead to making mistakes.

Next conversation:

  • PERSON I’M TALKING TO: “Wow, you study languages! How many do you speak?”
  • ME: “Four: Italian, English, French and some German.”
  • PERSON I’M TALKING TO: “You know only those?” or “Why don’t/didn’t you study Arabic/Chinese/etc?”

You usually study two to three languages at university. It takes a lot of time to learn a language well, let alone two or three. In my opinion, it’s better to know two or three languages at an advanced level than five or six at an elementary level. In this case, quality matters more than quantity but, if you manage to speak five to six languages at an advanced level… well, congratulations! 🙂 I chose to study English and French because I like(d) them and I’ve studied them since I started middle school. I can speak them fluently and I’m looking forward to improving more and more. I chose English in particular because it is “my passion, my obsession, my life” (as I wrote on some social networking site). Why should I study languages I’m not interested in learning? It also takes many years and stays abroad to learn languages like Arabic and Chinese well.

If you’re on Twitter, maybe in the last few days you read some tweets on “Tips to date a translator” (or an interpreter). I had tons of fun reading them, and I couldn’t have enough of them, haha. Two words: compulsive reading. You can find all the tweets here.

My favourite ones:

  • Do not take us too literally and always be faithful. @judittur
  • And for God’s sake, spell check your written correspondence. Nothing turns translators off more. @jackiedeal
  • Suggesting Google Translate will replace human translators will lead to you making love *without* human translators. @miguelllorens
  • Resign yourself to this: The woman loudly criticizing the subtitles in the midst of an action movie is your girlfriend. @miguelllorens
  • Don’t brag about your knowledge of a foreign language UNLESS you are really fluent! @avinc1
  • Distract the waiter while your translator friend takes photos of the ill translated menu. @petra_s_ger 
  • We love puns. We LOVE them. If you play on words smartly, you’ll get 100 extra points. 😉 @toolupwithwords
  • Don’t be surprised if you buy them chocolates and the 1st thing they do is read the ingredients in all the languages! @Silvia_MediaLoc 
  • Be ready to put up with pointless arguments about grammar and etymology when fellow translators are around. @carlosckw
  • If you ask the translation of a word and she doesn’t know it don’t reply “what kind of translator r u?@Laura_Solana
  • Pour son anniversaire, un bon dictionnaire fera toujours l’affaire. @juliettelemerle

Some blog posts on the same topic:

Translation & Interpreting

The Way I Translate

I’ve just finished translating part of a text I’m going to deliver in the next few days (the deadline is on the 10th), and I was reflecting on how I usually translate a written text. I go through these steps:

  1. Read the whole text before translating it  (I had to translate 34 pages once, I tried to translate the text paragraph by paragraph not knowing what came next, but it didn’t work for me);
  2. Translate a sentence (I use monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, a collocations dictionary and other online translation resources);
  3. Read the source language sentence to make sure that I translated everything;
  4. Read the target language sentence to make sure that I translated it correctly and used natural Italian (unless it’s for a university assignment, I only translate into my mother tongue);
  5. Translate the rest of the text in the same way;
  6. Proofread the target language text, preferably on a printed version of it.

What about you? Do you use a different method?

Translation & Interpreting

Communication as Translation

This post is about what I learnt in class today.

Each communication act can be considered a translation. Not necessarily should communication acts be between two languages or cultures, you can even “translate” a thought into spoken words, a gesture into an explanation of its meaning and a book into a film, to make some examples.

In the video above there are some examples of translation, even in the broader meaning of the word:

  • Italian gestures are translated using an explanation of their meaning;
  • there’s an oral description, made by one of the travelers, of what a vigile does, and the other one is surprised to hear that in Italy a traffic warden carries a pistol. At the end of the video, there’s the typically Italian applause adressed to the pilot after a plane lands;
  • the captain translates his announcement into English by talking with a very strong Italian pronunciation and, when he doesn’t know how to translate something, he uses onomatopoeia.
  • there’s also the use of subtitles, i.e. a translation from oral verbal language into written one.
Translation & Interpreting

Consecutive Interpreting Techniques Fascinate Me

Yes, you read right.

Since each interpreter has his/her own note-taking style (it can differ in structure, the way words are written/abbreviated, the symbols used or even in the language in which notes are written), I like reading examples of consecutive interpreting notes. Every time I read an interpreter’s notes, I always think nostalgically of interpreting classes I attended during my undergraduate course. While attending my first consecutive interpreting class I might have thought: ‘How will I manage to write all those things while still listening to the speech?’ I remember I had difficulty in splitting my attention between listening and taking notes at first, but I guess everybody went through that stage. You know, interpreters are made, not born. By trial and error, I eventually realized that (worrying about) writing EVERY. SINGLE. THING. was counter-productive, and that it was important to find a balance between listening and taking notes. It’s better to focus on the speech and write only the most important details, the essential ones. My note-taking style improved over time, but I think it’s still improvable. As a saying I particularly like says, practice makes perfect.

I started reading books and online interpreting resources to improve my note-taking, and I always try to use this technique when taking notes because it works for me. Experimenting with different methods while “in training” is okay, but you eventually have to choose one that works for you (it’s the same for symbols and abbreviations). Writing notes horizontally isn’t for me because it takes me a longer time to read them and I would be tempted to write a lot more than I should, which is not good, because I would get distracted. As far as the language used is concerned, I try to stick to the source language but, if I already think of a translation or words/abbreviations of the target language (I even use English words and abbreviations a lot, even when the target language isn’t English), I immediately write it down.

Translation & Interpreting

Happy International Translation Day!

First of all, I’m wishing all translators, interpreters and students specializing in Translation and/or Interpreting a happy International Translation Day, which is celebrated every year on September 30th on the feast of St. Jerome, the Patron Saint of Translators.

According to Wikipedia,

The celebrations have been promoted by FIT (the International Federation of Translators) ever since it was set up in 1953. In 1991 FIT launched the idea of an officially recognised International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community in an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries (not necessarily only in Christian ones). This is an opportunity to display pride in a profession that is becoming increasingly essential in the era of progressing globalisation.

According to the International Translators Association,

[…] the challenge of International Translation Day remains the same: to raise awareness of the translation profession.

For those who didn’t know, St. Jerome is the Patron Saint of archeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, schoolchildren, students and translators. You can read about his life and works on this Wikipedia article. Two years ago, Jill Sommers posted a very detailed post about him, which was also about the way he worked as a translator (he revised and translated parts of the Bible into Latin, and awarded sainthood thanks to the services he rendered to the Church). Quoting  the article posted on the TIHOF’s website:

Jerome’s humility regarding his own work set a good example for translators who followed him. He freely admitted ignorance, even embarrassment, when warranted, and revisited some of his translations, making corrections and additions. On the other hand, he also pointed out that a translation’s accuracy depended greatly on the reliability of the source text: copyists often inadvertently introduced errors, which would be compounded and passed down through the centuries.

The International Translation Day has a different theme every year. This year’s theme is Translation Quality for a Variety of Voices.

Many translation-related events are organized on this day. For example, ProZ.com’s Translation3 virtual conference, starting at 10 am GMT, which runs for 12 hours and you can attend for free. Always speaking of ProZ.com, some members even organize pow-wows.

Translation & Interpreting

La traduzione è una cosa seria

Se s’intende raggiungere un vasto pubblico, un testo di qualsiasi tipo (es. letterario, tecnico-scientifico, ipertesto, ecc…) deve essere tradotto nel modo più accurato possibile, in modo da conservare lo scopo che intendeva raggiungere nella versione in lingua originale. Il traduttore deve anche conoscere molto bene la lingua d’arrivo e saper renderne i registri, le parole e le espressioni legate alla cultura della LA e le frasi idiomatiche, ecco perché è necessario contattare un traduttore madrelingua o con un’ottima conoscenza e padronanza della lingua d’arrivo. Un altro elemento fondamentale da tener presente è il contesto in cui il testo si pone, e i traduttori automatici come Babelfish e Google Translator non lo deducono, traducendo in modo letterale (per non parlare dei termini tecnici, che potrebbero non conoscere): perciò, è meglio lasciar perdere il “fai da te” e contattare un traduttore professionista. Non lasciatevi illudere dalle pubblicità che decantano le potenzialità di certi programmi di traduzione automatica; anche se rispetto al passato ci sono stati miglioramenti, il risultato non sarà mai una traduzione degna di quel nome, nessun traduttore automatico potrà sostituirsi ai traduttori umani.

Un testo mal tradotto (specialmente da traduttori automatici) può portare a conseguenze spiacevoli. Il male minore è l’ilarità che può suscitare nei parlanti madrelingua; inoltre, una traduzione inesatta o troppo letterale può essere un sinonimo di poca serietà, e una parola o un concetto mal tradotti possono causare persino un incidente diplomatico.

Ultimamente si sta parlando molto del sito che dovrebbe (sì, uso il condizionale) rappresentare l’Italia nel mondo e promuoverne il turismo, Italia.it. Tempo fa, un annuncio su uno dei principali siti di offerte di lavoro per traduttori, aveva causato l’indignazione di questi ultimi perché proponeva una tariffa inadeguata, poco professionale. Quest’annuncio riguardava proprio Italia.it. Alcuni traduttori hanno firmato una petizione, da cui è scaturita una lettera aperta al Ministro del Turismo Brambilla. Ora mi sorge un dubbio: vista la traduzione penosa del sito in diverse lingue, avranno trovato gente che avrà accettato la tariffa in questione, o si saranno affidati a un traduttore automatico per risparmiare? Ecco alcuni blog che parlano di come sono state rese alcune pagine:

Un’altra domanda che mi sorge spontanea è questa: quando arriverà il tempo in cui i traduttori professionisti smetteranno di essere sottovalutati? Se si fossero affidati a traduttori esperti, queste cose non sarebbero successe. Se dall’alto di un Ministero si considerano la traduzione e i traduttori in un certo modo, figuriamoci come vengono considerati da altri “non addetti ai lavori” posti a livelli più bassi della scala sociale! Cosa aspettano a regolamentare le professioni di traduttore e interprete come hanno fatto in alcuni Paesi? Perché non istituire un albo o una certificazione come per altre categorie di lavoratori? Persino i buttafuori hanno un albo professionale…

Personalmente, sarei d’accordo per quanto riguarda l’istituzione di un albo o di una certificazione, perché entrambi garantirebbero la qualità dei servizi offerti da traduttori, interpreti e mediatori linguistici.

Translation & Interpreting

You’re a translator/interpreter if…

You are an interpreter if…

a.. You can rise at 6:30 a.m. many days in a row.

b.. Your working wardrobe consists of suits, which you keep wrapped in plastic to avoid wrinkles and expedite packing.

c.. You are prone to sore throats and foot problems.

d.. You talk all day; in your leisure time, you frequently just want to be quiet.

e.. Your bathrobe has been to hotels all over the globe and in half the cities in the U.S.

f.. You are sick of hotel and restaurant meals and are dying for home-cooked food.

g.. You know many words in your second language that you have never seen written down.

h.. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know on interpreting assignments (or at ATA conferences.)

i.. You are always traveling and long to be at home more so you can spend quality time with your family.

j.. You struggle not to gain weight from constant exposure to banquet and catered meals and your work leaves you little time for exercise.

k.. You stay up half the night stewing about the way you interpreted a term.

l.. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from rough treatment by baggage handlers.

m.. It drives you nuts to have the work you do referred to as translation.

n.. You are chronically tired and short of money and you suspect that the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.

********************************************************************

You are a translator if…

a.. You are miserable unless you can get up 11 a.m. and go to bed at 3:00 a.m.

b.. Your working wardrobe consists of jeans (shorts) and sweatshirts (t-shirts), which you store conveniently on the floor of your closet.

c.. You are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome and backache

d.. You are alone with a computer all day; when you are with other people you tend to jabber.

e.. Your bathrobe is what you are apt to be wearing at 2 in the afternoon.

f.. You are sick of looking at four walls all day and are dying to go out to dinner.

g.. You know many words in your second language that you do not know how to pronounce.

h.. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know through e-mail or Internet chat rooms (or at ATA conferences.)

i.. At home you are always working or thinking about work, so the best way to spend quality time with your family is to travel together.

j.. You struggle not to gain weight from spending all day sitting on your duff and the constant availability of your refrigerator and your work leaves you little time for exercise.

k.. You stay up half the night stewing about how you’ll translate a term the next day.

l.. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from the rough treatment they get on your desk when you are in a “term search frenzy”

m.. It drives you nuts to be asked if you ever did “simultaneous translation” for a celebrity.

n.. You are chronically tired and short of money, and you suspect that the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.

(found this somewhere on the Internet some time ago)