Translation Cartoons: Funny and Relevant

For those of you who haven't seen Alejandro Moreno-Ramos' hilarious translator-specific cartoons, featuring Mox and his cute turtle Mina, please see below for his interpretation of how capitalism works. We are both big fans of his work, so Alejandro, please keep up the excellent work!Be sure to visit Alejandro's blog to read more adventures. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words -- we are tempted to use these cartoons as gentle client education materials (with Alejandro's permission, of course).

Free Screencasting Software: Ideal for Twitter

Our IT guardian angel, Tom Gruber, just told us about this nifty tool. We haven't used it yet, but it seems fantastic for creating short, high-qualtity screencasts. It's highly useful for Twitter -- you can create your own screencasts and share them with your followers. It's a web-based recorder, so you don't have to download anything. The tool is called Screenr and here's what it can do:

Screenr, is probably the best web-based screencasting application for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. With Screenr, you can create HD-quality screencasts of up to 5 minutes in length using any web browser that has the Java plug-in installed. The published screencast is available as a Flash video and as a Quicktime (MP4) movie.

There is, of course, a downside: everything you record with Screenr becomes available in public by default and there’s no option to create private or password-protected screencast videos.

We'll try it and report back on whether it makes us feel like movie directors...

Free (Limited) Stuff from Microsoft

Computer giant Microsoft isn't exactly known for giving away free software, but for those of you who don't have an Office package and prefer to work with Open Office (free, open-source software, which we also use), here's your chance to use the new Office 2010 for free until October of next year. The software is still in beta testing, but it includes the updated version of all the classic favorites: Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. Of course, once you are done with the free version, you will probably be so used to it that you want to buy it, which is certainly what Microsoft wants you to do. In the meantime, free stuff is good for small businesses! Download Office 2010 here.

Literary Translation Workshop in Banff, Canada

We recently came across this literary translation workshop in gorgeous Banff, Canada, which might be of great interest for our colleagues who work in the Holy Grail of translation: fiction and poetry. Click here for application details. The deadline to apply is February 19, 2010. The workshop will be held from June 6 through June 27. The cost is fairly high at $2853.90.Here is some information from the Banff International Literary Translation Center (BILTC) website:

Inspired by the network of international literary translation centres in Europe, the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) is the first of its kind in North America. The primary focus of the residency program is to afford literary translators a period of uninterrupted work on a current project, within an international community of translators. Translators may request a joint residency (of up to one week) with a writer, allowing the translator to consult and deepen his or her knowledge of the writer’s intentions and the context of the work being translated.

The program is open both to literary translators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States translating from any language, and international translators working on literature from the Americas (both the North and South American continents). Since the inaugural program in 2003, the Centre has hosted translators from 26 countries translating work involving 36 languages. Writers from Canada, the United States, and Mexico (among others) have been invited to spend a week in residence to consult with their translators from abroad.

Translation in the News

We woke up to some excellent news. Our friend and colleague, fellow blogger Corinne McKay, who pens the excellent Thoughts on Translation, posted a link about another dear colleague, Abigail Dahlberg, who was profiled on the first page of the Los Angeles Times! We are so proud of her, and we've always thought that her specialization, which is German to English waste management, was incredibly interesting and relevant. We missed Abigail at this year's ATA conference, but clearly, she was well remembered by all; which resulted in this article.

Who knew -- translators on the front page of the Los Angeles Times? It's fantastic news for our profession. Congratulations to Abigail, to the LA Times for a well-researched article, and thanks to Corinne for letting us know about the article (even though Judy lives on the West Coast, she's a NYT girl). Read the article here.

ATA's 50th Annual Conference: Looking Back

Just like every year, Judy headed to the very exciting American Translators Association conference at the end of October. This year marked the organization's 50th anniversary, so the conference was held where it all started: New York City. Dagmar wasn't able to attend as she recently represented the Austrian Interpreters' and Translators' Association (UNIVERSITAS), in her function as interm Secretary General, at the German BDÜ conference in Berlin. Hence, Judy was, unfortunately, twin-less, but still managed to have a good time. Here's her review in quick bullet points for easy reading.
  • Overall, it was fantastic: more than 150 sessions and more than 2,000 colleagues. I had the opportunity to spend quality time with friends and make new ones. It's great to put the name with the face, especially folks you see a lot on Listservs. My own presentation, the "Entrepreneurial Linguist" was held on Saturday and was standing-room only. I am delighted to report that I've gotten a lot of positive feedback.
  • My favorite sessions included the free pre-conference seminar held my a past ATA president titled "Jurassic Parliament". I went in my function as vice president of NITA, and was accompanied by our president. We learned how to run meetings more effectively using toy dinosaurs. It was wildly entertaining (T-Rex! Flying dinosaurs!) and educational. I also really enjoyed Xosé Castro's presentation "Domesticación de Word," which focused on a myriad of excellent tips and tricks in Word. He was the invited speaker of the Spanish Language Division. In addition, Franz Pöchhaker, a professor at the University of Vienna, gave a fantastic presentation on "Interpreting the Inauguration," which focused on president Obama's eloquent speech and on how to interpret it into German. Last but not least, my friends Corinne McKay, Eve Bodeux and Michael Wahlster gave a fabulous, succinct, and easy-to-understand presentation on Social Media and Web 2.0.
  • In terms of networking, I really enjoyed the speed networking event. I'd done one before during a different event, and this year was the ATA's first attempt to do this. While a few kinks need to be worked out, it was fantastic -- I had the chance to meet dozens of linguists from other language combinations I wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to meet. In addition, the German Language Division's dinner at Lorelei restaurant was also a lot of fun. The room was a bit crowded, making it challenging to walk around, but it was all very well organized. The German food was great, too!
All in all, just like every year, I am delighted that I attended the conference. While it is a major expense, it is worth every penny, and the ATA certainly tries its very best to keep the costs down. While the conference hotel, the Marriott Marquis on Times Square, had a fantastic location, the layout of the conference was a bit challenging (three floors), and the lack of wifi in the rooms was a bit of a disappointment. I've returned from the conference thoroughly energized and inspired.I am already looking forward to Denver in 2010! Mark your calendars now and score a cheap flight.

Marketing Idea of the Week

After Judy's Entrepreneurial Linguist presentation at the ATA's Annual Conference in NYC last week, she was approached by two very entrepreneurial linguists: Dutch<->English financial translators Annie Tadema and Astrid van der Weert, who run their team business out of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

They gave Judy their very creative customer gift -- a USB stick embedded in a traditional Dutch wooden shoe, which is beautifully decorated and looks gorgeous (almost too pretty to use). It's one of those rare gifts that is both aesthetically pleasing and useful and that one doesn't already have a million of (think pens, keychains, notepad, etc.). We both think this is extremely clever and might mention it during an upcoming Entrepreneurial Linguist presentation. In the meantime, thanks to Astrid and Annie for sharing their great present and for giving us one. We wonder what the cost of one of these is? We'd guess at least $10 (we'd love to hear from Annie and Astrid about this), so one would be best served to only give these out to favorite customers (and a few select colleagues). See the picture of the shoe/USB stick catching some sun (80 degrees!) at the Vegas pool on November 1.

ATA Conference: Entrepreneurial Linguist Slides

A full recap of the outstanding 50th Annual American Translators Conference in New York City this past week is coming up shortly. In the meantime, we wanted to give attendees from Judy's Entrepreneurial Linguist session the link to where they can find the slides. Simply click here, where you will be able to download the PDF slides via Slideshare. You will also be able to watch the very funny video about pricing. Thanks for coming!
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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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