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Articles for Translators and Translation Companies
Translators Around the World






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Have Language, Will Travel
when Gabe approached me with the idea of writing about my experience in the profession, I thought, `what is there to write?` I`ve spent most of my adult life in remote places and have never achieved many of the standard milestones of success. As I actually tried to make a timeline, however, I realized my life has been extremely varied and I have been extremely fortunate…
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Translation Can Be Fun
I have adapted the title for this article from one of my favorite children’s books, Grammar Can Be Fun, by Munro Leaf, who is most famous as the author of Ferdinand the Bull. He also wrote similar helpful books for children on subjects like health, safety, and manners, but unlike grammar, I found little fun in those subjects. I have come to realize that my attitude throughout my whole life has just been to have fun and not work…
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Planning and Passion
Juan Carlos, my uncle and a very successful accountant, once told my children to make sure they pursued a career they were passionate about. He has seen people pursue accounting because of the money and they are never successful. You don't excel in anything unless you are passionate about it
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The Joy of Translating
I got interested in languages when I was young. I grew up in California and, though it had ceased to be part of Mexico well before then, there are still reminders of its Mexican and Spanish heritage and plenty of Spanish-speaking people. My mother comes from northern Vermont, not far from the border with French-speaking Quebec. My grandmother’s undergraduate major was French and she kept her college textbooks at her house
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One Translator's Journey
It may not be the most auspicious way to start a translation career, but mine began with two serious misconceptions: I thought I was going to make a living as a literary translator. And I believed that interpreting was a glamorous job
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Another Accidental Translator
I grew up on a dry farm during the Depression, drought, and grasshopper plagues, all of which helped convince me that I was not going to be a farmer. But after some pre-school home learning (my mother had been a school teacher), a year in a one-room country school, then through the remaining grades in a small town school, with mostly very good teachers, I graduated from high school in 1946. Having become fascinated by chemistry, I entered a nearby small college as a chemistry major, and started taking chemistry courses
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Chance Favors the Prepared Mind
Like many firsts, my first translation was unplanned. In the spring of 1969 I had just dropped out of high school to enter the University of California at San Diego as a biology major. Starting in the third quarter of the school year, no beginning classes in the science sequences were available, so I took electives. One of those classes was an introduction to German literature. This class was taught by Reinhard Lettau, a colorful professor, political activist, and member of Gruppe 47, a group of German writers that included Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass
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A Professional (and Geographic) Journey
My early start towards my current life as a translator was not very promising. During my first year in secondary school in my hometown of Konstanz, Germany, on beautiful Lake Constance and in close proximity to Switzerland and Austria, it was clear that I didn't exactly get a jump start at French, which was my first foreign language. At first I was actually looking forward to learning a "real" foreign language in addition to Swiss German
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The translator as an entrepreneur: an Indian perspective
This paper deals with Translators as entrepreneurs who are slowly getting aware of their profession and have begun coming to a common platform to share knowledge, experience and resources – a most desired step necessary for the better future of the profession. Further, this paper will propose “networking” as a possible solution to entrepreneurs who can economize their process and speed up their growth by using available resources and infrastructure without having to invest huge
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Success through Lifetime Learning
I felt really honored to be asked by Gabe to write my profile for this issue, and since he asked, here is my story. How did I get myself in this profession? Mostly by fate, but I blame my mom. At home we spoke German; I learned Spanish when I went to school. I was sent to a British grade school in Buenos Aires. After that, I was forced to keep studying English during my high school years
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Bringing the Best Western Classical Literature to Turkish Masses
On October 29, 1923, the day Turkey became a secular state, a revolutionary law aimed at unification, standardization, and secularization of the educational institutions (Tevhid-i Tedrisat kanunu) was passed effectively closing all the religious schools and attaching all educational institutions to the Ministry of National Education. Several other reforms in education followed with speed and enthusiasm…
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Uniquely Typical or Typically Unique?
When Gabe Bokor asked me to write a profile for the Translation Journal, I was, of course flattered and honored. At the same time, I felt pressured to do a good job—after all, I'd be writing for a community of language professionals. So the first thing I did was read a few of the profiles that had been written by colleagues before me. I was going to just read one or two to get an idea of what's expected, and then knock off a quick sketch of myself that would fit the bill. I also began jotting down ideas of what to say…
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Gerhard Preisser, Translator
Does anyone ever set out to be a professional translator? I doubt it. Does any promising linguist-to-be in her sophomore year seriously dream of one day spending hour after backbreaking hour in a small office, surrounded by expensive electronics, staring at an oversized monitor, digging deep to find some appreciation for the verbal finesse manifesting itself in the 116th claim of some patent? Not likely…
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José Martí, Translator
The main objective of this article is to explore Cuban nineteenth century patriot José Marti’s little known activity as a translator and, to a lesser extent, interpreter

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Translation Insights from the Inside
- Interview with Dr. Mark Ritter, Chief Editor, McElroy Translation

native of Minnesota, Mark Ritter discovered Austin in 1971, as many young people have, through attending the University of Texas (UT). He was a mathematics major at Cornell but studied German as an elective and eventually a second major. After his undergraduate degree, he earned a doctorate at UT, not in mathematics but in German…
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Translation Trivia Questions: Translation as an Agent of Social Change in the Past
What is the name of the Catholic saint whose feast day serves as International Translation Day? For what translation achievement is the saint in question #1 best known?…
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Medieval Arabic Translation: Rise and Decline
There is no denying the fact that knowledge is a collective pursuit to which all cultures, past and present, have contributed. A great deal of this knowledge is preserved and augmented through a highly creative and rigorous process known as translation. Medieval Arabic translators did really contribute to the development and preservation of human knowledge…
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Inttranet "Linguist of the Year" Award for 2006
The members of the Inttranet™, the global network of professional interpreters and translators, have nominated the 216 interpreters killed in Iraq as their "Linguists of the Year" for 2006. These honorary citations recognise the struggle – and sometimes the personal sacrifice…
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A Portrait of the Translator as a Political Activist
This paper attempts to portray the role of the translator as a political activist. It studies the character of the translator Mansur Abd As-Salam in Abd Ar-Rahman Munif's 1973 novel Al-Ashjaar wa Igtiyaal Marzouq (The Trees and the Assassination of Marzouq)…
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Interview with Gabe Bokor
VA: The ATA awarded you its highest honor, the Gode Medal in 2000, but I would say that your strongest credential as a translator is having been born Hungarian. Since you could only use that extremely difficult language to talk to other Hungarians, how many other languages did you learn as a child in order to communicate with the rest of world?
GB: You're right, Vero, although I cannot take credit for where I was born. Indeed, if you travel a couple of hundred miles in any direction from Budapest, you must speak another language…
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Translating for the German Genealogy Market
There is much to be said for making a living at what you enjoy. Isn't that why we're translators? But even so, the pressure and looming deadlines of sci-tech or commercial translation can be a burden at times. One way to lighten your load and still keep the paychecks coming is to develop a hobby into a translation specialty. With good business planning, it may even become your primary source of clients. At least that's how it turned out for me, when I decided to offer translation services to people who shared my interest in genealogy. The genealogy market now accounts for over half my business…
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Inttranews Special Report: Words Without Borders
In a world rife with ignorance and incomprehension of other cultures, literature in translation has an especially important role, hence the value of Words Without Borders. Its purpose is to promote international communication through translation of the world's best writing – selected and translated by a distinguished group of writers, translators, and publishing professionals – and publishing and promoting these works (or excerpts) on the Web. So how does WWB see the future of literary translation, faced with initiatives like Google Print, and growing illiteracy rates? Inttranews decided to find out more…
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The Hague Program and how it could affect the translating and interpreting profession
The European Council meeting of heads of state of 4-5 November 2004 endorsed the Hague Multiannual program, aimed at strengthening the freedom, security and justice across the EU over the period 2005-2009. The program is a step towards fulfilling the EU's goal, introduced with the treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, to create a European Area of Freedom, Justice and Security…
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Inttranet “Linguists of the Year” for 2005
The Inttranet (www.inttra.net), the global network of professional interpreters and translators, has nominated its "Linguists of the Year" for 2005.
These honorary citations recognise the struggle - and sometimes the personal sacrifice - of linguists both alive and dead who were the focus for media attention during the past year, and have increased public awareness of the importance of linguists and languages as a result…
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Q and A with Dmitri Popov
Dmitri Popov works as a technical translator from English and Danish to Russian, as well as a freelance contributor to major European and US computer magazines and websites. His articles cover open source software including desktop and web-based applications and tools. Recently, Dmitri released the book Hands on Open Source, which provides a practical introduction to the best open source applications…
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Translate.org.za: Passionate about open source, translation, and South Africa
Dwayne Bailey is a man of action; and the kind of person who calls other translators to action as well. If you've never heard of Bailey, you've got him to thank for the African language versions of OpenOffice.org (currently Zulu, Northern Sotho and Afrikaans, to Bailey's knowledge the first office software localized into African languages), the Afrikaans version of Firefox, and the South African language versions of Google…
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Translation and Censorship in European Environments
Studying translation in the shadow of censorship means investigating the manipulatory mechanisms used as an assault on original texts in order to alter their meaning and exclude the reader from the choices made in the Source Language. In strong nationalistic European environments, censorship in translation has been used as a powerful tool in order to help safeguard the nations' cultures from outside influences and promote the regimes' ideologies. The purpose of this essay is to examine the translation industry in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Franco's Spain, and provide short examples of manipulatory processes that translations have been subjected to, due to the imposition of strict censorship measures…
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Intellectual Property and Copyright: The case of translators
It is common knowledge that authors have the right to protect their work against other people using it and profiting from it. What is less known to the public in general is that translators hold the copyright to the work they produce. This means that if I translate a novel, for example, nobody can make any commercial use of the text without my permission, and if anyone has the opportunity of deriving any profit from this use, I have a right to a share in this profit, and this right is protected and guaranteed by law…
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On Censorship: A Conversation with Ilan Stavans
VA: What is censorship?
IS: To deliberately expurgate material for specific reasons. Ironically, the Oxford English Dictionary lists divergent definitions for the word "censor," one historical, the other consuetudinary: "the title of two magistrates in ancient Rome, who drew up the register or census of the citizens, etc., and had the supervision of public morals"; and "one who exercises official or officious supervision over morals and conduct"…
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Inttranews Special Report: Quality in translation
One of the latest sections to be added to Inttranews focuses on quality management and assurance in the translation industry, quality being the single most important factor for a successful career as a translator, whether freelance or as an employee. As part of our launch of the Inttranews Quality section, we have interviewed Juan José Arevalillo, current Chair for the Spanish Association of Translation Companies, and the head of the Spanish Committee working on the EN-15038 European Quality Standard for Translation Services…
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Translation and Interpretation Work for the LNG Tangguh Project in Papua, Indonesia
Translation and interpretation are communication skills that a person acquires through involvement in actual translation and interpretation work. One who knows two or more languages is not necessarily a good translator or interpreter, because not only linguistic issues, but other communicative and cultural aspects are also involved. Accordingly, a translator or interpreter always faces linguistic and non-linguistic challenges in performing a job if they come to it unprepared …
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"Fronting for Franco"
This is an article about my principal youthful sin, working as a radio announcer for Radio Nacional de España in Madrid way back in 1956. It was published forty years after the sin itself took place in the June 1996 issue of Apuntes, a small specialist newsletter for translators who work into and from Spanish …
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Inttranews Special Report: Babels
Like any global conference, the World Social Forum which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on January 26-31, could not have taken place without interpreters and translators – but in this case, all 550 of them were volunteers, organised by Babels (www.Babels.org). Inttranews decided to find out more about what the organisation does and why …
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The Translator's Practice:
An Interview With Brett Jocelyn Epstein

This month “The Practicing Writer” considers an aspect of the craft and business of writing that many of us don't necessarily think about every day: translation. What does a translator do? What are the ties between writing and translation? And where can we learn more? In an interview with Erika Dreifus, Brett Jocelyn Epstein shares insights on these essential elements of the translator's craft and business …
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Inttranews Special Report: Cihat Salman
Uniquely positioned between East and West, Turkey has always played a strategic role. Now that the EC has accepted to start negotiations for the country to join the European Union, the Turkish interpreting and translation market is of even greater interest. Inttranews set out to find out more, by interviewing Cihat Salman, Inttranet Regional Administrator for Turkey and Managing Director of Mirora Translations and Consultancy Ltd. in Istanbul …
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Inttranet: Linguists Of The Year 2004
These honorary citations recognise the struggle - and sometimes the personal sacrifice - of linguists both alive and dead who were the focus for media attention during the past year, and have increased public awareness of the importance of linguists and languages as a result …
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Inttranews Special Report: Fred Burks
In 1981, Fred Burks went to Indonesia as part of a VIA (Volunteers in Asia) student exchange plan, and spent four years learning Indonesian. After two years of living in the People's Republic of China, he became a contract interpreter first in Indonesian in 1986, then in Mandarin in 1988 …
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It's party time
People on the continent often have a tendency to view those of us living on the British Isles as a bit 'eccentric', or in any case possibly a bit 'different' to much of the rest of Europe. At least part of that lies in our traditional celebrations and festivities. Even though the Member States of the EU are becoming 'ever closer' some things are still done a bit differently in the UK to Belgium. I have described the main festivals below - handy for the purposes of recognition, or making sure you don't try to contact someone on a day off!
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Répondez s'il vous plaît
You never know when your company might want to hold an event to celebrate a particular achievement or anniversary. And an invitation can be just like a marketing text in making sure people will (want to) come! This means you have to get it just right.
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The Situation of Turkish Literature in the German Polysystem: A Descriptive Study
By presenting its own literary works to its people, each society aims at improving its literary culture. Society also attempts to satisfy the various needs and wants of its members by providing, according to certain criteria, a variety of literary works from different cultures and countries via translation. These criteria may or may not benefit the source culture. The main point is, in general, the enrichment of the target culture…
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