Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

To Specialize or Not to Specialize?

Hello everyone!

To specialize or not to specialize? That is the question!

Seriously, I think that is the question that we more often ask ourselves as translators. I’ve heard from both sides: you should specialize because that will help you to narrow down your niche. You shouldn’t specialize because a translator can translate anything from any field.

Does it happen to you that when you are filling out information for an online profile or for applying to a project with a new client, you are always asked to include your specializations? It happens to me all the time!

Usually, I write down as specializations the types of translations I get to work on more often: legal, medical, business, and technical, which by the way, are the top 5 specializations among translators. But I don’t translate just for those fields. I also translate for the IT and gaming ones, I subtitle, I do MTPE, etc.

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So, does it really help to be specialized or not? It definitely can help to narrow down your niche and find clients more easily. Also, if you only translate in certain fields of specialization, you’ll become an expert on them; which will also help you get more clients in those fields.

But does that mean that should only accept projects that meet your specializations? Good question, right? It really depends on you. If you’d like to venture into unknown waters, then, by all means, work on projects that don’t fit your specializations. But if you feel more comfortable translating only within your specializations, it is ok too.

I think specializations are more the fields in which you have more experience because most of the projects you work on fall into those categories. Here in Guatemala, you can’t specialize in something as a translator. You graduate as a Legal Sworn Translator, so “legal” is your first specialization. The rest, you learn by experience. Probably, this is different in other countries, where the career of translation has more options.

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I mentioned my “specializations” but honestly, I translate almost anything that comes my way and I feel confident I can do it. If it is a document that is too technical or requires a highly specialized vocabulary, I definitely pass. Accepting different projects is what landed me a Content Editor job, when I didn’t even know I could be one. I was trained, and that training taught me so many things… it would have been a great loss to let it pass because it didn’t fall under what I thought my specializations were.

Anyway, when it comes to specializations, it is up to you. There are numerous ways to study a specialization through webinars, online courses, and others. Do what makes you feel more comfortable as a translator. Do what makes you happy!

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Translators’ Associations

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about translators’ associations. Is it a good idea to join them? If so, which ones should we join? Let’s explore this topic further.

Joining a professional association is always beneficial for a translator. Most associations are already well-known. Membership makes a translator’s profile more attractive to recruiters and clients. It is important to continue to expand your knowledge and training throughout your career.

Many associations offer training courses at a reduced rate or even free of charge for their members.

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You can belong to several associations at the same time, for example, a national association and a regional association within the same country, or according to specific fields such as legal or audiovisual.

Now, what are the advantages of belonging to an association? There can be many, like more renown, which can lead to landing more clients. Also, you can advertise on your website and social/professional profiles that you belong to a certain association.

Of course, more clients is always a good thing. But what kind of clients do you want? If you want to gain more local clients, definitely you should join a national or regional association. But if you prefer international clients, you should consider joining an international association, like the ATA from the US.

It isn’t easy to join an international or foreign association. Most likely, you will have to prove that you already are a part of your local association, and you might have to take a test to get certified since your local certification is most likely not valid outside of your country.

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So, to join or not to join? It really depends on what you want. If you want to belong to an association where you can meet and share experiences with colleagues, get learning tools for free, and get extra recognition for your knowledge and experience; you should definitely join one.

But if you are looking for foreign clients because local clients are not what you expected, then belonging to a local association might not be a good idea. You should look into international associations and see if you can find a better fit there.

So, do you belong to a translators’ association or not? If so, to which one or ones? I’d love to read more about it in the comments.

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Machine Translation

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about Machine Translation. This can be a controversial topic for translators and I hadn’t addressed it so far.

But before talking about what it means for translators, we should talk about what exactly is Machine Translation.

Machine Translation or MT has made appearances in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) world with apps like Google Translate. In a larger format, the MT industry is more complex. It involves translating text and content from one native language to another.

It is a sub-category of computational linguistics that borrow from computer science, AI, information theory, and statistics. In the past few decades, there has been incredible progress in MT quality, and its evolution has created a huge industry.

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While MT alone is not perfect, the use of human translators along with machine learning has many practical applications. Today, the MT market is thriving with the combination of human and machines translations, offering faster service and lower costs.

Of course, MT has many flaws and remains inferior to human translators. Gender bias, distorted and mistranslated words and phrases, and bizarre word phrasing, are among some of the biggest flaws.

But perhaps the worst flaw is a machine’s inability to process human thoughts and emotions. Using translators as post-editors rectifies this as they can find errors that the machine missed.

Have you ever post-edited a machine-translated document? You definitely see these flaws right away. With just one word or very short phrases, it might be okay, but with longer sentences and paragraphs, you can see right away that they don’t make sense.

Of course, the problem is that MT translates literally. A machine cannot notice the context of the original document. It will translate word per word, but without sense. Here is where human translators come in. They post-edit the translation of the MT to correct all the errors.

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I’ve done a few Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) projects. It is interesting to correct the errors made by the machine. This also means that the rates for MTPE are lower than for translating since the translation is already done and all you need to do is review the document and make any necessary corrections. Almost like a proofreading project.

But I know that many translators reject these kinds of projects because they don’t support MT. I understand that but MT is not going anywhere, on the contrary, it is growing and getting more sophisticated.

I don’t think machines will ever take over human translators. No matter how sophisticated they get to be, they will never have thoughts, understatement, feelings like humans do.

Where do you stand? Do you take on MTPE projects or do you reject them, and why? Let me know in the comments, I’d really like to know 🙂

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Don’t forget to thank the women in your life for their support!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

Women’s History Month 2022

Hello everyone!

Happy Women’s History Month! March is such an important month for women around the world, and on the 8th we celebrated our International Day!

Of course, I think women should be celebrated all the time, not just one month or one day a year. So, today I want to talk about what makes women warriors, and how being freelance translators and interpreters make us even stronger.

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I believe that the translation field is one of the few industries where women are the majority. Although this has changed through the years, with more men becoming translators and interpreters, women still represent an important figure.

And, as far as I have been able to experience, we are very supportive of each other. I know that competition will always exist among us, but as professionals, we also have the opportunity to learn so much from each other.

I’ve had the opportunity of learning so much from so many different women in my life, who have shaped who I am today. I should start with my mom. She’s the bravest and most amazing woman I know, I am always in awe of her.

I also had great mentors growing up. A TOEFL teacher changed my future when she asked me if I wanted to study translation after presenting my TOEFL exam. I didn’t even know the career existed! If it hadn’t been for her, I would not have found my passion.

So many teachers and translators who helped me along the way, you are all the best and you’ve made me not only a better translator but also a better person.

The colleagues from whom I learn every day something new. Who always support me and with whom I collaborate in such a great way. Thank you for your patience and your kindness.

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Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Don’t forget to thank the women in your life for their support!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Content Localizer, Social Media, Translation

PC vs. MAC

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk more in-depth about PC vs. MAC for translators.

If you follow me on social media, you know that this year I decided to switch from PC to MAC, after years of only using PC.

I decided it was time to upgrade my working tool, and that I needed something that came with a big screen that can be split into two and more, that was faster than anything I ever had, and that could support all or most of the apps, websites, etc., that I use for work, especially my CAT Tool.

My iMac comes with a 24″ screen, which can perfectly be divided into two. I can see things I was never able to see on my laptop without having to move around on the page! It also has the M1 chip, which is the first generation of chips manufactured by Apple. They are no longer using Intel chips.

But I think the best way to figure out which device is better for you, is to take a look at the pros and cons of each one:

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PCs

Pros:

  1. Easy to set up from your Windows account.
  2. Compatible with pretty much all software and applications in the market.
  3. If you have other Windows and Android devices and products, they will all work better together (same ecosystem.)
  4. Cost: this is probably the biggest advantage of PCs. They are definitely more affordable than MACs.
  5. They are more easily upgraded ad have more options for different components.
  6. Offer more connection ports and types of ports.
  7. They have better backwards compatibility, that is, you can run older versions of software or operating systems on new hardware.

Cons:

  1. The software updates! They take forever and you can’t really avoid them!
  2. PCs are more vulnerable to viruses, so you definitely need to invest in a good antivirus program.
  3. Windows as a program, hasn’t had any major upgrades or changes in the latest years. Maybe that will change with Windows 11, but don’t expect too many nice surprises.
  4. They usually work with Intel or other chips, they don’t manufacture their own.
  5. Customer service tends to be bad because there are so many manufacturers out there, it gets difficult to get them to actually pay attention to your needs.
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MACs

Pros:

  1. If you already have other iOS devices, it will be very easy to set up and use.
  2. You can migrate easily from Windows to iOS.
  3. If you have other iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) they will all work better together (same ecosystem.)
  4. You can use OneDrive to work on MSOffice documents across devices, whether they are iOS or Windows.
  5. They are associated with high-powered graphic design.
  6. Because there are fewer Apple products compared to PCs, there are fewer viruses creasted for iOS.
  7. Apple tightly controls the software on its devices, there is much less bloatware installed on new systems.
  8. Apple’s customer service is well known for being better, and they do a great job of backing up their products.
  9. MACs tend to have new innovations incorporated into their design that make them faster than PCs (like the new M1 chip.)
  10. Their software updates are a walk in the park compared to Windows! And you can choose if you want to update manually or automatically, giving you full control.

Cons:

  1. Cost: this is probably the biggest disadvantage for MACs. But they are worth your money.
  2. Many programs are not compatible with MAC, including: AutoHotkey and SDL Trados Studio. For AutoHotkey there are some free options that give the same results. Trados… well it is incredible to think that in this time and age they still don’t have an iOS version.
  3. Less connection ports, and now they have fully moved on to USB-C, and most devices are not compatible. Of course, you can buy and adaptor plug.
  4. If they re upgradeable, you can only upgrade the memory and the storage drive.
  5. You’ll probably need to invest on a new one sooner than with a PC.

The PC vs. MAC debate will continue as long as they are the two major choices for hardware and operating systems. Each system does some things better; it’s really a matter of what features are important to you and what you’re going to use the computer for. Whatever you choose, enjoy it!

Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

How to Reinvent Ourselves

Hello everyone! Happy New Year!!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like every time a new year begins it gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. We can leave the past behind and move forward.

So, as freelance translators, how can we reinvent ourselves every year? It isn’t easy but there are a few things we can do to feel like we clicked the “refresh” button.

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Change or improve our working space

This can refer to changing how things are displayed on our desk to actually changing our desk! We need to feel comfortable in our working space if we want to be more productive.

One of my plans for this year is to change my working space. Always at my house, but in a different room with more natural light. It does mean that I have to invest a lot in it because the room needs many improvements before being able to move there.

Get a computer that meets your workflow demands

The computer is a translator’s best friend! That is why investing in a computer that’s faster, easier to set up and use, will translate (yes!) into a faster work pace.

Nowadays it isn’t just about a computer. Do we want a desktop or a laptop? Or both? Do we want a PC or a Mac? Or something completely different? We definitely need to research each option and choose the one or the ones that are the best fit for us.

I have a confession to make… After years of using a PC, I finally changed to Mac! Don’t get me wrong, I used PCs all my life, but lately, I noticed they last less and less, and the Windows updates! They are such a pain! I am excited about my new Mac adventure, and I am keeping my PC as a backup for when the power goes out or any other mishap.

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Get ergonomic accessories

From your chair to your mouse, to your wrist rest… Getting accessories to help our back, wrists, hands, etc., to rest and be well-positioned will keep those terrible back pains, eye fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome at bay!

Update your personal brand

This can be as easy as changing your profile picture, trying a new grid layout on Instagram, changing your “Link in bio” or “Start Page.” It also involves changing your marketing strategy. How often should you post to social media? How often should you write a blog post?

Don’t forget to update your CV and your email signature as well!

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Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/

Have you planned to make any changes to reinvent yourself both personally and professionally this year? I’d love to read your comments!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Brand Ambassador, Content Editor, Social Media, Translation

“False Friends” Words

Hello everyone!

Recently, I gathered with some great colleagues for a Zoom “coffee”, and the topic was the infamous “false friends” words in Spanish and English.

Because Spanish and English share a lot of words with Latin roots, it’s easy to understand each language. But sometimes words with the same origin take a separate path in each language, or words with different origins resemble each other by coincidence. That can mean trouble!

So, here are some of the most common “false friends” and their meanings:

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ASISTIR (Spanish) – ASSIST (English):

Although they look quite similar, they don’t mean the same. “Asistir” in Spanish means to attend, to be present at (a place). “Assist” in English means to help.

CARPETA (Spanish) – CARPET (English):

Another similar one! “Carpeta” in Spanish means folder (and in some countries the word “fólder” is used instead). “Carpet” in English means carpet.

CASUALIDAD (Spanish) – CASUALTY (English):

This is one that I’ve found a few times. “Casualidad” in Spanish means coincidence; chance. “Casualty” in English means victim.

COLEGIO (Spanish) – COLLEGE (English):

Although both refer to places where people study, they don’t refer to the same place. “Colegio” in Spanish means school. “College” in English means university.

EMBARAZADA (Spanish) – EMBARRASSED (English):

This is a very common one! “Embarazada” in Spanish means pregnant. “Embarrassed” in English means ashamed.

ÉXITO (Spanish) – EXIT (English):

This one became very famous because of a very popular ad for an online English learning platform. “Éxito” in Spanish means success; hit. “Exit” in English means a way out (of somewhere).

INTRODUCIR (Spanish) – INTRODUCE (English):

This one really confuses people sometimes. “Introducir” in Spanish means to insert. “Introduce” in English means to present someone.

LARGO (Spanish) – LARGE (English):

One of the most common and difficult to make people understand the difference. “Largo” in Spanish means long. “Large” in English means big.

LIBRERÍA (Spanish) – LIBRARY (English):

This one is one of the most infamous ones! “Librería” in Spanish means bookstore. “Library” in English means a public book-lending place (“biblioteca” in Spanish).

PRETENDER (Spanish) – PRETEND (English):

They do look very similar! “Pretender” in Spanish means to attempt; to woo. “Pretend” in English means to fake; to act as if.

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There are many more “false friends”, but I decided to start with some of the most common ones, or at least the ones I’ve seen more often.

Can you think of any others? If so, make sure to share them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

I’d like to thank “Day Translations” for sponsoring this post. You can check out their website here: https://www.daytranslations.com/

This is my last blog post of the year! I wish you the most wonderful holidays and see you in 2022!

XX

Social Media, Translation

Qualities of a Good Translation

Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about what makes a good translation. Each translator has his or her own style, so you’ll never find two matching translations.

But are there any secrets to a good translation? Maybe not secrets but key elements that can help us make sure that we are creating a quality translation.

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The Translator

A huge part of making a good translation depends on the skills and the experience of the translator. So, what makes a good translator? The required skills can fall into two categories: translation and writing. A translator does more than just translate, they convey the source material in an understandable way into the target language.

Understanding the Audience

The translator needs to understand the audience and their needs. Translating a novel differs from translating a medical survey. The translator’s approach will be different for each case.

The Translation Must be As Good As the Source Document

A good translation reads as though it was originally written for the target audience. The fact that the source document was translated should not be visible.

The Human Touch

While CAT Tools have come a long way, the human touch is still essential when making translations shine. The translation tools can help us to translate faster and accurately, however, they can’t yet compete with the skill and nuance that human translators bring to the table.

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Here are some other tips:

  1. Read the text in its entirety, multiple times if necessary. Make sure you understand what the text conveys, what its core meaning is.
  2. Do some extra research. This never hurts! On the contrary, it can help you understand the document or the target audience better.
  3. Asses your first draft: does it stand alone? This is an important step, we have to make sure that the translation is understandable on its own, without the source document.
  4. Have someone review the finished product. This is a crucial step, someone else can catch mistakes you didn’t. And if you can’t find a colleague to review your document for you, I’d suggest reviewing it at least one day after you finished it, to let your brain rest and review it with fresh eyes.

Can you think of any other tips? Please share them in the comments.

I’d like to thank “Day Translations” for sponsoring this post. You can check out their website here: https://www.daytranslations.com/

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Content Editor, Content Localizer, Social Media, Translation

Content Editor

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about what it means to be a Content Editor for a language-learning platform.

Officially, as of September, I became the Spanish Content Editor for FluentU, a language-learning platform that has been in the business since around 2010. They started with Asian languages (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) and then moved to English, French, Spanish, Russian, German, Italian, and Portuguese.

The previous Editor left some months ago, so I was offered the position. It meant more work and responsibility, but also more money. I accepted the challenge! After a very arduous and long training period, I finally became their Spanish Content Editor or CE, as we call it internally.

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Being a Content Editor entails many tasks, mainly:

Searching for new videos on YouTube: FluentU works with YouTube videos, so I have to look for new videos to upload to their platform. The idea is that users can learn Spanish from everyday conversations and songs, trailers, and other formats.

Uploading new videos to their platform: Once I find videos that are not yet on their platform and that are helpful to learn Spanish (they have to be school-friendly because several teachers use the videos to teach their students), the Head of Content has to check them and give you their authorization.

Transcribe and translate the videos (captions): When the videos are already uploaded to the platform, you have to transcribe them (create the captions) and translate those captions into English. The right timing of each caption is very important.

Editing: This is the most important task for an Editor. Once the captions are ready, you need to check that all the words (annotations) are properly mapped. Mapped? Yes, FluentU’s captions are interactive, which means that each word of a caption (called an annotation) has a definition and two to three examples of how the word is used. And each word can have several annotations depending on the meaning or usage of the word for each specific caption. I know, it is tricky! Prepositions are the words with the most annotations!

Text to Sound (TTS): After all the editing is finished for a video, you need to convert the text of the captions into sound, for the sound feature of the platform.

Publish: Finally, you get to publish your video on the platform! This means that the video becomes available for all the users who are learning Spanish.

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Even though it takes a lot of work, it is very satisfying to be able to add new videos to the platform for the users to learn Spanish. Of course, I also deal with the users’ feedback which, most of the time, is very helpful!

So, this is, in a nutshell, what my Content Editor job entails. Have you ever worked as an editor, if so in which area or field? How was your experience? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments. And don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX

Content Editor, Content Localizer, Social Media, Translation

International Translation Day 2021

Hello everyone!

Tomorrow is the International Translation Day! So, today’s post is about what this past year has been for me as a freelance translator. I did the same last year, and you can check out that post here International Translation Day 2020

I am happy to tell you that my work with #FluentU continues, and now as a Content Editor of their Spanish service. After almost two years of working with them as their English to Spanish Content Localizer, they gave me the chance of becoming an Editor. I will write more about that in a future post.

Also, I am working with a new client, a translation agency that has a presence in the US and Spain. Currently, we are working on a medical forms project. Before that, I worked on a COVID-19 short project. They pay by the hour instead of by word, which I find very interesting. I recently wrote about that; you can read it here Rate Per Word

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I worked on an audio-recording project. It was for a client working on a similar AI service for smart devices, like Siri and Alexa. I had to record several sentences at different speeds while making sure that each recording was detected by their software, and it was clear. This was something different but quite fun to do!

As far as social media, last year around this same time I had 1,300+ followers on Instagram. A year later, I have a little over 2,200 followers… almost a thousand more followers in one year! I am so grateful to everyone who has decided to follow me and likes my posts, and my page in general. This goes beyond any expectations I had.

In this past year, I also had the opportunity to get in touch with a wonderful local group of translators and interpreters. They hold monthly Zoom meetings, and although I haven’t been able to attend all of them, the ones that I have attended were so amazing! It is great to be able to talk about different topics from our field. Great collaborations have resulted from this!

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I know this past year wasn’t easy, I feel that! Still, I am happy about my accomplishments so far. I love being a translator! And being able to do what I love as my job… that’s just the best feeling in the world! I am very lucky to be able to do this.

Happy International Translation Day!! I hope you get to celebrate it in the best way possible! And also, tomorrow is International Podcast Day! Congratulations to all those amazing translators and interpreters who have a podcast! If you’d like to know which are my favorite translation/language podcast, check it out here My Favorite Podcasts

Thanks for reading this post! Let me know in the comments what you think of it, and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

Until the next time, take care and stay safe!

XX