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The Relationship Between XML and DITA | One Hour Translation

If, like me, you’ve ever worked on a large and extensive documentation project for product manuals or other publications that required translation services into multiple languages, you know just how complex such projects can become. In fact, as one small cog in the machine, brought in to translate Spanish or German or some other language, translators like myself are usually very aware of just how small our contributions to the overall project really are – although, of course, crucial. ... Continue

Ways to Market Yourself as a Translator | One Hour Translation

It’s a cliché of sorts that translation professionals are the worst self-marketers in the world, but I’d say that not only is it true (in other words, not a cliché), it’s also true for almost all the professions that have a significant freelance presence. When you’re all alone, after all, it’s simply harder to decide that you’re worth marketing – the urge to be humble is almost suffocating, sometimes, as if you don’t wish to tempt fate or the universe by humble bragging about your success or your skills. Plus, lacking a team of folks to vet every idea makes you doubt every idea, as if you have no way of telling on your own whether an idea for promotion is good or not. ... Continue

The Challenge of Chinese | One Hour Translation

You don’t have to be an expert translation worker to know that Chinese is a very challenging and difficult language to learn, much less translate successfully. Chinese is probably one of the most intimidating languages for Westerners to learn, and who can blame us. It’s not just an unfamiliar sound, a language based on different rules than our own – it’s also written in a system that is completely alien to those of us used to the Latin alphabet. ... Continue

Speaking the Languages of Former Yugoslavia | One Hour Translation

As the ongoing events in Ukraine reveal, the repercussions of the fall of the USSR continue to be felt decades after the fact. This shouldn’t surprise any student of history: Any empire’s dissolution results in decades and sometimes centuries of chaos and dust-settling. Some might even argue that all of history is just the increasingly faint ripples of ancient empires collapsing under their own weight – but that’s a bit off-topic for a translation-oriented essay like this. What we’re looking at is the language confusion that an imperial collapse can cause. Case in point: The former Yugoslavia. ... Continue

Four Steps on the Road to Success  | One Hour Translation

It’s fun, sometimes, to discuss the business of translation services in high-altitude terms – in other words, vaguely, from a high vantage point. But, of course, all work gets done down in the trenches, so to speak, and involves a series of very practical events and actions. Sometimes it’s beneficial to examine the actual brass tacks of how a job gets done, so we can better see how it’s accomplished and consider how our own processes work to our advantage – or disadvantage. ... Continue

Collaborating with a Team  | One Hour Translation

If you’re a fan of reality TV shows where fashion designers compete, you know that the most-dreaded moment on these show is when the designers are forced to collaborate on teams to create designs and clothing. While some of the teams sail through and achieve greatness, there’s always one team where the players simply cannot get along or work effectively. ... Continue

The Trouble with Translating Metaphors  | One Hour Translation

Once more into the breach, I cry – and let’s tackle the metaphor, possibly the single most-dreaded part of speech in any translation professional’s experience. Metaphors are a phrase that connect a situation or person with another, unrelated situation or person – one of the most famous would be Shakespeare’s ‘All the world’s a stage’ line – the world is, of course, not a stage at all – but most people in the Western world easily take Shakespeare’s point, that we are all here only briefly, much like the characters in a play. ... Continue

Converting Clients in 30 Seconds  | One Hour Translation

The title is once again a bit of hyperbole for effect – we all know that converting prospects to clients is often a very lengthy dance. I’ve seen it take years – literally years – for a potential translation services client to go from our first meeting to finally hiring me. At the same time, I’ve noticed that the longer it takes to convince someone to hire you, the better and more loyal they tend to be once you’ve secured their custom.The title is once again a bit of hyperbole for effect – we all know that converting prospects to clients is often a very lengthy dance. I’ve seen it take years – literally years – for a potential translation services client to go from our first meeting to finally hiring me. At the same time, I’ve noticed that the longer it takes to convince someone to hire you, the better and more loyal they tend to be once you’ve secured their custom. ... Continue

Globalisation vs. Translation: Opposing Philosophies?  | One Hour Translation

Translation is a business and an industry, and those of us involved in it are here not because we’re hobbyists or enthusiasts (though we may be that as well) but because it’s how we make our living. As a result we spend a lot of time thinking about the issues facing our industry and discussing them. For years we talked about nothing but the technology that seemed to threaten our livelihood as otherwise intelligent clients seemed to think a piece of $50 software would soon be replacing us. ... Continue

Can You Simply Read a Translation? | One Hour Translation

When dealing with fiction translations, you enter into almost an entirely distinct discipline. Fiction is its own animal – or, better said from a translation point of view, each individual piece of fiction is its own animal. Every author applies their own experience and their own viewpoint and voice to their work. Often, they employ more than one voice, giving each character a specific point of view. As a language translation professional you have to approach every fiction translation project as a unique experience. You can’t know what to expect until you read the original, and then you are likely faced with a variety of problems. ... Continue

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