FAQ

Do you also provide illustrations, graphical or website design?

Personally not. But I can warmly recommend some colleagues for that kind of work. For instance, regarding  production of professional brochures for your next exhibition. Or for smart and beautiful web design with WordPress.

Do you work with a translation memory / CAT tool?

I work with the translation memory OmegaT. Here is an overview of all the file formats it supports. OmegaT is compatible with various operating systems among which, quote: “Windows (all versions from 98 on and higher), Macintosh OS X and Linux.”

OmegaT also appears to be compatible with translation memory programs like TRADOS, under certain conditions. Once again, quote: “There is an international standard for translation memories: TMX or Translation Memory eXchange. This standard is widely accepted and supported by nearly all current CAT (computer-aided translation) programs…certain other CAT programs (such as TRADOS) can export their TMX files in various versions. OmegaT supports all current TMX versions but is likely to deliver best results in terms of compatibility where that TMX version is 1.4b.”

OmegaT furthermore has an excellent documentation. For anyone interested in the current development of translation memory and CAT tools: Have a look at their site, it is definitely worth the time!

That having written, I am also familiar with the web based TM applications Transifex and WordFast (Anywhere edition) 3.7.4.

Are you a sworn translator or interpreter?

No.

SEO writing, search engine optimisation: What is your state of knowledge?

Short answer: In constant development!
Search engine optimisation is continuously evolving, with high speed. Therefore the best thing to do for staying informed is testing, new testing and lots of reading, listening to others – and testing again. That’s what I am doing. Not too long ago, for instance, I would have sworn that one should focus on placing smart meta tags on a site. Until my recent self-training revealed: Forget about them, other factors have taken over. One of my favourite web information sources, Copyblogger, has a wealth of valuable and most pragmatic insights. So does Yoast whose team also developed a popular WordPress plugin for seo optimisation. Learning seo while writing texts – a fine method which I use often as well. Bless their time and awesome work. More readers to them.

Then of course, SEO optimisation is just one part of the big traffic & conversion story. Another vital one is social media optimisation, an entirely different approach. It can be handled as fine complementary move, for instance via a real smart WordPress plugin should your site happen to run with WordPress. Have a look at the Social Media Optimisation plugin provided by Surnia Ulula, for example.

I remain committed to stay informed well.

Could we get a sample translation?

Certainly. I can provide a sample text translation, 400 words maximum for free,  any source text of your choice.

References?

References are collected here, displayed per specialist field. Contact details are available on request.

Difference between editing, copy editing and proofreading?

Glad that you ask! The terms copy editing, editing and proofreading (also called proofing) are among those most widely misused and frequently misunderstood in the world of language service providers. So I’d like to give a brief explanation of what exactly these terms mean to my current understanding:

Proofreading or proofing
This would include proofing for spelling mistakes, typos, punctuation and capitalization errors as well as strangely looking grammar. It is intended to be the final touch of a document which already has been (copy) edited.


Editing

This would include checks regarding the overall text flow and structure, choice of terms, phrasing and ease of understanding. Examples: Are allusions, metaphors or dictums used in the text commonly used ones? Or appear they a (completely new) creation of the author? Are the phrases too long, does the author make excessive use of parenthesis or exclamation marks? Also, checks for redundancies or inconsistencies will be done.


Copy editing

This would include both aforesaid proofreading (at the end, as final action) plus special editing regarding the writing style: Is it appropriate for the intended readers /audience? And is it consistent with other known publications from the same source? Such as company names, address details or text sequences for special notifications (e.g. to press, staff, clients, the general public)?


Substantial editing
or re-writing of a text is done where normal editing or copy editing of a text are not sufficient and would take up more time than “simply” re-writing the entire text.

Big thanks to Amanda Foley whose great article inspired me to include my definitions here.

Do you give discounts for fuzzy matches and repetitions?

Repetitions and 100% matches: Yes.  30% of the word price.
Fuzzy matches, 0 – 99%: No discount. Here is why:

Translation memories (aka TM) are great useful tools, especially with technical translations. Reason why I use them in my work, too. Yet there is a misunderstanding about what a TM actually is able to do and what not. And most discussions about “why should I pay a translator when the TM does nearly all the work” – are based on that false assumption.

What a TM does:
It supports the building up and maintenance of a consistent terminology.
It also helps to speed up the translation of some text components by suggesting, content-wise, previous segments which by its calculations appear partially similar to fully congruent with another text component.

What a TM does not:
By suggesting or filling in similar text segments recognised from a previous segment, a TM does not auto-translate for the translator. Not even when signalling a so called “100% match”. This is why  very often it costs translators just as much – or even more – time to work on a given text segment than it would take to simply re-translate it from scratch.

Reasons:

A translation memory is a machine performing approximate calculations, based on a certain algorithm. Which also happens to change with every TM system, by the way. See here for more details, or here. The TM therewith offers an educated guess based on statistics, not more not less. Its capacity is limited by being a machine trying to understand complex human language.

Apart from wildly different calculating algorithms, when calculating the match % of a given text segment, no reliable statement is made about the level of congruence regarding context, grammar, gender, time, to name just a few.

In a bit more detail:

The context in which the new text segment is used
German is, morphologically speaking, an especially rich language. Many German terms, for instance, have 10+ meanings depending on the field where they are used. 2 cases in point:

close
completion
conclusion
deal
termination
acquisition
bargain
certificate (edu.)
closure
closure of account
degree (edu.)
ending
financial statements
finish
end piece
(tech.)

month-end

= Der Abschluss

determination
assignment – attribution
identification
appointment
appropriateness
ascertainment
assignation
designation
destination
disposition
instruction
stipulation
fixing (a price or appointment)
purpose
provision [insur.][pol.][law]

= Die Bestimmung


or, illustrated a bit differently

(sth. = something; in German: etw. = etwas):

to cover sth.
etw. bedecken
etw. decken [insur.]
etw. zudecken
etw. abdecken also [tech.] [finan.] [insur.]
etw. umfassen
etw. behandeln
etw. erfassen
etw. umkleiden
etw. vertuschen
etw. absichern

 

which might appear like this in a text:  with two possible, correct translations being:
In case of an emergency,
you would have to cover everything.  
Im einem Notfall müssten Sie alles zudecken.
(e.g. physically cover objects or an area with a protection)
Im einem Notfall müssten Sie alles abdecken.
(e.g. as insurance or other contractual partner,
assume full liability for / cover all the costs caused by an emergency)

You do want to pick the right one here. Keyword: Jackpot from hell. 😉
And yes in German both zudecken and abdecken at their turn have different meanings still.

Also, the overall grammatical correctness or potentially changed time, gender, punctuation all are details impacting the meaning of a phrase:

 

The worker has an idea to discuss.Die Arbeiterin (or: Der Arbeiter) hat eine Idee, die er besprechen will.
The worker has an idea she refuses to discuss. Die Arbeiterin hat eine Idee, die sie sich weigert zu besprechen.


Conclusion:
The translator still has to accurately check the respective text component. Which takes time and work. And with many fuzzy match cases, it is simply not less work than just translating the entire component from scratch.

That having said, there is an obvious saving where true 100% matches and repetitions (= recurrent identical text components within the same new text) appear. These are very likely to cost less time compared to the fuzzy matches. Still, they do need revision. And this is where you will save time and where I will give you the above named discount, be that via the word price, by working less hours or as detraction from a final fixed price we agreed in advance for a given project.

Luckily, more and more clients understand the above. And they have become aware that one of the major sales arguments used by TM vendors “Your translators won’t hardly have to work any more, the TM fills it all in, you can save loads of costs!” – merits a closer look at who exactly saves what, where, when, how – and with what potential side-effects.

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