Globalization Blowback in the Translation Industry?

Patenttranslator's Blog

“Globalization”, “Globalizierung”, “globalizace”, “mondalization” – I hear or read this word in various languages whenever I watch news or read a newspaper online.

Globalization has had a major impact on our world: it made some people much richer, mostly those who were already very rich, and some people poorer, mostly those who were not very rich to begin with. I am told that it also lifted some people out of grinding poverty, mostly people in what is still called the third world. I have no way to verify the statement in the previous sentence, but it probably is true to some extent.

Globalization not only made billionaires out of people who only had a few hundred million before it started reshaping the world in the mid 1990s. This after Bill Clinton, who felt our pain so convincingly in 1992, signed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) a few years later.

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Are they trying to fool the interpreters and translators?

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

We have been under constant and merciless attacks from the big multinational language “industry” corporations for several years. These uninvited guests at the professional language services table have stubbornly fought to take away the market from the professionals who should service the clients through systematically minimizing the role of the interpreter and translator, and dehumanizing the profession by launching a campaign to convince the weak and uninformed that what we do is an “industry”, not a profession.

In the past we have discussed the oddity of having pharmaceutical companies in the same professional associations with the physicians, and we have talked of the way attorneys defend their craft so it continues to be known as the legal profession, not the legal “industry”. Sadly, as you know, there are individual interpreters, translators, and even professional associations in our field that have decided to tear down that barrier…

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Too Many Tools Spoil the Translation

Patenttranslator's Blog

I made an interesting discovery recently when I was translating a fairly long Japanese utility model into English. Usually, when I am translating the text of Japanese patent applications, I automatically download a version of the machine translation of the Japanese text either from the Japan Patent Office, or from the European Patent Office website to use as an expanded dictionary, although with many caveats, of course. Machine translations into many languages, including into English, are available for all relatively recent Japanese patent applications going back more than 20 years. But they are not available for older patents and utility models, which belong to a lower category, inventively speaking.

Even in a case like that, I can simply convert a PDF file to MS Word and create machine translation manually, for example with GoogleTranslate or with Microsoft Translator. If there are just a few very slight imperfections in the printed…

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Outsourcing Is an Ugly, Dirty Word

Patenttranslator's Blog

At least as far as some translators are concerned, it’s definitely an ugly word.

They say it with the same kind of disdain that most right-wing ideologues in the United States reserve for words like “entitlement” (Social Security is an “entitlement”), or “socialized medicine” (also an “entitlement, and also considered to be a really bad thing in this country, so horrific that it must be resisted at all cost).

Without Social Security, many if not most old people would not be able to afford even cat food. But it is an “entitlement”, so it’s a bad thing anyway, old people be damned. Privatized corporate medicine does not work and is about 50 times more expensive than socialized medicine, which for the most part works much better. But because it is “an entitlement”, it’s better when people suffer needlessly and die prematurely as long as they don’t have to deal with…

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Are we protecting our profession? Part 2.

And here is Part 2 of “Are we protecting our profession? Part 2.” Enjoy!

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

On the first part of this entry we discussed the role that professional associations should play on the face of antitrust legislation and its adverse effect on our profession.  Today we will explore another crucial aspect of the profession that has been under siege for several years; and if some external forces have their way, it could set the profession back to the Stone Age.  I am referring to the very popular tendency to minimize the importance of interpreter and translator professional licenses, certifications or patents and the acceptance, and in some cases even blessing, of lesser quality paraprofessionals as the preferred providers of services by many government entities and multinational interpreting and translation corporations who make the decision to hire these individuals, who are unfit to practice the profession, based to the extremely low fee that they command.

It took interpreters and translators many decades of constant…

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Are we protecting our profession? Part 1.

The Professional Interpreter

Dear Colleagues:

Every now and then something happens in our profession that makes me wonder if we are truly doing what is best for all of us: individually and collectively as interpreters and translators.  In fact, this happened recently when I learned, like many of you, that the American Translators Association had revisited the antitrust legislation issue and had reviewed its policy.  As expected, ATA followed its traditional pattern of protecting the “interests” of the association over the interests of its individual members or the profession, and adopted a policy that clearly observes antitrust legislation as is, without questioning it.   It is not clear to me how the association arrived to this resolution to endorse everything the government wants, and is included in the legislation and case law, without first seeking a legal opinion from attorneys who disagree with the current antitrust laws or their interpretation by the government.  As…

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Greatest Women in Translation: Deanna Hammond

I was deeply moved by this tribute, even though I never had the good fortune to meet her personally. R.I.P.

Carol's Adventures in Translation

Welcome back to our wonderful and inspiring Greatest Women in Translation series!

Our last interviewee, Muriel Vasconcellos, decided to write a tribute to her role model, Deanna Hammond, whose life was cut short by pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.

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Deanna Lindberg Hammond (1942-1997)

My nomination for this month’s Greatest Woman in Translation is a colleague who unfortunately is no longer with us. More than anyone I ever worked with, Deanna Hammond deserves to be recognized for the breadth of her contributions to the profession. She enriched the field and set an example in many different roles: not only as the head of an important translation service and a hands-on practitioner of the craft, but also as a leader of the translation community in the United States, an author, and a teacher. Her life was cut short by pancreatic cancer at the age of 55.

Best known for her…

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