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:
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 meanslong. “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.
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!
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.
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.
Here are some other tips:
Read the text in its entirety, multiple times if necessary. Make sure you understand what the text conveys, what its core meaning is.
Do some extra research. This never hurts! On the contrary, it can help you understand the document or the target audience better.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
Today I want to talk about how as translators we can actually do a lot more than just translate.
Let’s talk about different language-related areas for translators.
Transcription varies from translation in that it involves audio or video as the source instead of a document. You have to listen to the audio and transcribe it in a document along with the corresponding time codes.
Most of the times, the audio will be in your native language, but it can also be in your second one. And you might be asked to transcribe and translate an audio, which means that you have to transcribe the audio and then translate it. I work with English and Spanish (Spanish being my native language), so I could get an audio in Spanish to transcribe it, and then translate it into English. It could also be the other way around.
Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.
These materials can include written promotions that are published in print or online. They can also include materials that are spoken, such as scripts used for videos or commercials.
The text in these materials is known as “copy,” hence the name “copywriting.”
This is a sort of project that you will most likely work on in your native language.
Language localization is the process of adapting a product’s translation to a specific country or region. It is the second phase of a larger process of product translation and cultural adaptation to account for differences in distinct markets, a process known as internationalization and localization.
It doesn’t always have to be a product or a marketing campaign. You can also localize video games and language-learning websites like I do with FluentU. I localize their English videos into Spanish for Latin American learners of English.
Subtitling is the process of adding text to any audio-visual media to express the message that is being spoken. Essentially, subtitles are a written abridgment of the spoken audio. They allow people to read and understand what is being said, even if they don’t understand the language of the speakers. And without subtitles, it would not be possible to grasp the subtleties contained in verbal communications.
Subtitles can basically be added to anything that includes moving pictures, but are most commonly used on film and television, promotional and corporate videos, and increasingly becoming more popular on YouTube and internet videos.
Language consultancy consists of the analysis of a client’s language needs in order to develop solutions that optimize the translation process. This may include support in the drafting of documents or the analysis of document workflows or special projects. The workload for this type of service depends greatly on the complexity of each individual case.
Cultural consultancy is similar to language consultancy, but in this case, it is more about providing feedback about cultural aspects than language aspects. For instance, I did a cultural consultancy for a video game that took place in the former Maya and Inca empires, so they wanted someone from either culture to help them reassure that the cultural aspects presented in the video game were as close as possible to the original ones, to make it as credible as possible for the users.
Transcreation is the merger of two words: translation and creation. It’s an intricate form of translating that preserves the original intent, context, emotion, and tone. Originally conceived by marketing and advertising professionals, the goal of transcreation is to duplicate the message thoughtfully and seamlessly, without audiences realizing a translation ever occurred. The finished product should give the audience an identical emotional experience as the source message.
Have you worked in any of these areas before? If not, which ones interest you the most? I would love to read you in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe!
Today I want to talk about an interesting subject that I just heard about. Is the rate per word for translation and proofreading becoming extinct?
I recently listened to the latest episode from “Marketing Tips for Translators” by Tess Whitty (you can find it on all podcast platforms). She answered some questions from her listeners, including if getting paid per word is a tradition that is starting to disappear.
According to Tess, getting paid per translated or proofread word is not fair. We are not just delivering “words.” We are delivering a whole document in a different language in an understandable way. So, we are getting paid for our knowledge, our experience, our preparation, our talent; not just for “words.”
I have to say that I agree with Tess. As translators, we don’t just translate words. We make sure that those words become a whole that is understandable in our native language (or other). So why should we be paid just by the output of words?
Two alternative options are getting paid by the hour or by project.
Being paid by the hour is a good choice, but you definitely need to know how long it takes you to translate a certain number of words or pages in order to calculate your total rate and your delivery time.
Also, not many agencies accept to pay by the hour, except maybe for proofreading or audiovisual translations. And you would need to work with a timer app that you agree with the client so that you can log in there your activity and the client can verify how many hours you worked on the project.
As a localizer, I usually get paid by the hour. I rarely get paid by word. I can also get paid by project if it is a one-time kind of gig, but if it is a recurrent job, then companies prefer to pay by the hour.
But for translation, I have to say that I might prefer to get paid by project, especially for those that don’t have many words. By examining the source document, you can determine how much you would charge the client. It might take some negotiation, but in the end, you are going to get paid more than per word, and it just makes more sense.
Getting paid by project is getting paid by the whole package, not just by how many words you translate. Of course, it can have a downside. If you don’t calculate properly the amount to charge the client, you are still going to get underpaid. This is why it is very important to take your time to prepare a proper quotation, even if it takes a bit longer.
In the end, the important thing is to get paid fairly for the work we do and make sure both agencies and clients are clear about that. And although getting paid per word might be starting to disappear in some countries in Europe and the US, it is not widespread enough around the world.
So, which kind of payment do you prefer? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe.
Today, I want to talk about one of the most important parts of knowing how to network: collaborating with fellow translators.
Recently, I’ve been lucky to become part of a wonderful group of local (Guatemalan) translators and interpreters, who meet via Zoom once a month to discuss different topics about our industry.
And although I just started attending these wonderful meetings, the feeling of collaboration and thirst for learning from our colleagues is amazing!
I am also glad to be able to contribute a little with my experience. It is so nice when you hear that a colleague has gone through a similar situation as you, or that they just translated a type of document you’ve never translated.
Getting to know each one of them and their experiences as translators and interpreters has definitely enriched my life, both personally and professionally.
I am also very happy that I was able to collaborate with a colleague recently. I received information about a translation project that I knew I couldn’t take on, so I forwarded it to a colleague to see if she was interested and had time for it. She accepted!
This is a win-win situation. You don’t tell your client that you can’t take on a project, and you help a colleague. She did an amazing job with the project, plus she’s really professional.
I’ve always heard that translators are jealous of each other, and therefore, they don’t like to share information with their competition. This is not true, at least not in my experience. We should work together as a community to help all its members grow.
I like the word community, I definitely feel part of a wonderful community of translators who are generous with their knowledge and their advice. Only by working together in harmony, can we actually achieve great things in the industry.
Tell me about your experience. Do you belong to a similar community? I can’t wait to read you in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe!
Today I want to talk about “Website Translation”. Do you translate websites often? I have translated a few, and I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned so far about it.
E-commerce platforms, company websites, landing pages, apps, and other similar platforms have a common denominator – communication.
All these platforms are created to communicate a message to as many people as possible. In fact, the online environment can be the one-way ticket to success for any brand regardless of size and product or service. The trick is to know how to grab and retain people’s attention enough to make them want to know more.
For this, you must find creative ways to deliver attention-grabbing and concise content, in a format and shape that’s easily shared and understood.
However, the situation is more complex and nuanced than this. While it’s true that your audience is online, so is your competition, various sources of entertainment, news & media outlets, lots of education platforms, and social media. This means you have to fight hard for people’s attention, and the only way to do so is by creating relevant and engaging content.
The importance of translating your website:
The success of a global brand is defined by the way marketers understand how to approach the local culture and population. This is a process called localization and starts with the translation of the website into the local language.
Big and small e-commerce companies will have to consider translating products and services if they want to be successful. This is one of the reasons why Amazon has such great success overseas. They established several hubs in the most populated areas of the globe and the site is available in the most popular language of the area.
While it may be more difficult to follow in their footsteps in the current economic environment, it doesn’t mean you can’t use the power of language to grow your audience.
Culture and Language:
A successful website translation is not just about language; it’s also about integrating local culture and habits. Linguists call this localization.
Unlike regular translation, localization also addresses non-textual and cultural components to create an accurate depiction of a product or service for a specific group of people. It’s about adapting the message so locals can grasp all its nuances.
All successful global websites, apps, video games, or any other type of content is the result of both translation and localization.
Furthermore, localization is not just for foreign countries who speak a different language. A website with content in English will still have to use localization techniques in order to become appealing to audiences in Australia or the UK.
The best way to see how localization works is by taking a look at the case of sportive footwear. What Americans consider sneakers are called trainers in the UK and runners in Ireland. Now, all these words define one type of product, but if you try to sell sneakers in the UK, you won’t be successful because people don’t understand what you’re offering.
In summary, it’s not a case of culture vs. language but rather a case of using language and culture to promote your brand.
How to translate it?
The DIY Approach If you have the necessary knowledge to produce reliable and high-quality translations, then it is possible to do it yourself. However, it is not an approach we would recommend since it requires a great deal of knowledge from two opposing fields: language and web technology.
The DIY approach only works when you’re running a small website or creating stand-alone landing pages for a language you know very well. Otherwise, if the website is larger (like an e-commerce platform) you should hire a translator.
Professional Collaboration Approach You are willing to invest in a strong marketing department, right? You are also ready to send people and investigate the market you want to enter. So, it would be unwise to not consider a collaboration with an experienced translator and localizer!
It’s also important to keep in mind that you will need translations of the website content, products, marketing materials, and legal documents (for contracts, agreements, labor laws, and more). As such, you will need assistance from linguists with varied expertise.
Website Translation vs. Content Translation We’re currently living in a content economy. This means that brands must keep creating engaging content to grab people’s attention and lead them to their landing pages. Once there, viewers must be welcomed by a different type of content that will convince them to become customers.
As such, there is a clear distinction between website and content translation. If you only need to translate your website once, content is something that must be produced at a constant rate. Content must also be relevant and topical in order to stand out in the ocean of new content created every day.
Furthermore, different audiences require content in different formats. And, depending on the geographic location of your audience, you may have to use different channels. This implies knowing which social media platform works in a specific region, whether blogging is well-received or not, and more.
Lastly, successful brands will also keep track of content produced by their users such as reviews, comments, or blog articles. This type of content has a sense of urgency to it, as you can lose momentum if the reply comes too late. As a result, collaboration with a translator or a translation agency that can provide input in local culture and habits is more than necessary to keep track of various campaigns.
Let me know what you think about this subject in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe.
Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about Content Marketing for translators.
We think that Content Marketing is not important for translators but actually, it can make a big difference in your business.
Content marketing is one of the main tactics every brand and business uses, making it no exception to the translation industry.
Here are some important concepts in Content Marketing that I’ve learned in different webinars and I wanted to share with you.
Definition of Content Marketing
Content marketing consists of marketing actions that revolve around various types of content created in a timely and relevant manner that will get more leads, sales, and allow brands to reach their goals.
The types of content mentioned can be anything from blog articles and email marketing content to infographics, social media posts, or e-books.
Content marketing aims to get more traffic to a website, generate more leads, and allow marketers to distinguish between qualified and non-qualified leads. But that is not all, as great content helps brands to establish their brand name as authorities in their niche and build a community that will be engaged and interested from the beginning.
What do your customers like? Why do they need translation services? And most important, how do they search for those services?
If your prospects care about legal sworn translators, this would be where you need to focus. If they’re looking for “English to Spanish legal translators in Guatemala city”, this is the keyword you need to create content around.
Keywords will give you topics on your blog posts, while blog posts and your website will provide you with enough material to base your social media posts around.
Now let’s talk about the basics of how the translation industry needs content that search engines will love.
This is where SEO comes into play. Creating content that search engines will notice is the best way to get more people to your website. It’s also the most cost-efficient way, as it is free.
Use online tools to help you understand and optimize posts for the keywords your prospects use, as I mentioned before. The best keywords are the long-tail keywords – notice the “English to Spanish legal translators in Guatemala city” above? This is precisely the keyword that interests your prospective clients.
Use popular keywords with a high search volume but low competition for your posts to rank quickly. And don’t forget to use your main keyword everywhere!
Also, don’t forget to research keyword variants. Repeating just one keyword paves the way for a dull post that prospects won’t enjoy. Use your tools to find variations that prospects are searching for and include them in your posts.
If content marketing were only about posts, then it wouldn’t have worked, no matter how hard a marketer tried.
And there is no better way to know it’s working than seeing more leads coming into your translation business, getting to know your work, and interacting with you. But how is this going to happen?
You will need lead generation tools, such as landing pages, subscription forms, and lead magnets.
The lead magnet is something people will expect in exchange for their email addresses. It can be anything. From an e-book and a template to a free translation or a sample of your work.
Again, use SEO tools to find the right keywords and make sure that your prospects will bump into your landing page or your website and subscription form.
Now, let’s assume that you’ve created your content and have captured the email of as many leads as you would’ve liked. What could you do next?
Your efforts in making content such as blog posts, videos, posts on social media, even interactive elements like games will all be in vain if there is no channel where you can distribute them.
So, first of all, you need to create social media profiles that will resonate with your audience and will help you attract more people and then take all steps necessary.
Sharing your posts on your translation business’s Facebook and Instagram pages will be helpful as well. Ask your audience to share your post with their followers and ask for feedback or a general question that will warrant engagement.
The more the engagement, the better the algorithm reacts, and this goes for all social media platforms.
If one of your posts performs well, you can always repurpose it and have more content to distribute to your social media platforms.
Content marketing can help all industries, including the translation industry, provided you create useful and informative content.
Do you have any experience with content marketing? Let’s start a conversation in the comments!
March isn’t over yet, and that means that we are still celebrating Women’s History Month. On March 8, we celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day.
Today I wanted to share with you a bit about how Women’s History Month got started. Thanks to the Women’s History Organization for the information.
Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the US as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.
In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.
Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme. The theme for Women’s History Month in 2021 captures the spirit of these challenging times. Since many of the women’s suffrage centennial celebrations originally scheduled for 2020 were curtailed, the National Women’s History Alliance is extending the annual theme for 2021 to “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.
Of course, this celebration has transcended borders and it is no longer just celebrated in the US. Many countries around the world celebrate Women’s History Month in March, whether it is official or not.
But we shouldn’t celebrate women just one month of the year; women should always be celebrated. The mothers, the daughters, the sisters, the friends, the colleagues, the neighbors…all the women in our lives should be celebrated every single day.
During this celebration, we often talk about the women we admire. The woman I admire the most is my mom. She’s the strongest, most wonderful woman I know. She’s a great example and inspiration to follow not just for me, but also for my nieces.
Thank you to all the strong and amazing women reading this, and also to the incredible men who always support and stand by us!
I’d love to know how you are celebrating Women’s History Month! Make sure to leave me your comments about it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
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