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When a translation has no mistakes, but is still poor

This video by the Spanish Ministry of Affairs is an example of a translation that has no mistakes per se, but is still not a good translation.

In the following table, the first column lists some of the expressions that don’t sound natural in English; the second column shows some proposed solutions.

Unnatural phrases used in the videoAlternatives that sound more natural
"more than four and a half million foreigners habitually reside in Spain""more than four and a half million foreign nationals have made Spain their home"
"75 million inbound tourists will visit our country""75 million tourists will visit our country"
"1 in every 10 inhabitants of Spain is a foreigner""Foreign nationals make up 10% of the population"
"from all five continents""from across the world" (English speakers don't use the five-continents model!)
"Did you know that there are more than 100,000 different surnames from all imaginable origins in Spain""More than 100,000 different surnames reflect the diverse backgrounds of the people living in Spain" ("origins in Spain" in the published translation is misleading)
"this melting pot not only derives from people from other countries, but also from different regions of Spain""This melting pot is a result of migration from abroad, but also migration among the different regions of Spain"
"No xenophobic political party has ever held a parliamentary representation""No xenophobic political party has ever won a parliamentary seat" or "has ever been represented in parliament"
"Spain is a multilingual, non-denominational and open state""Spain is a secular country with a multilingual, tolerant society"
"We actively foster the integration of different peoples""We help people from a range of different countries and cultures to integrate in Spanish society"
"Our diversity is a source of social and cultural wealth, as well as an important economic asset""Spain's social and cultural diversity is a major* economic asset"

*I believe the word “important” is a translation error here, though some colleagues may disagree. The Spanish word importante often means big/large/major, rather than important. I believe that is the author’s intended meaning here.

As mentioned above, the expressions in the left-hand column are not wrong. It’s just that the turns of phrase are not commonly used in English, whereas the original version in Spanish used common, everyday phrases. The result is a text that sounds strange to an English speaker’s ear and doesn’t achieve the same result as the Spanish text.

Make sure you use a good translator if you want a text that sounds natural in the target language!

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Dialogue boxes slow to open in Word

A problem I’ve been experiencing for quite a while on my computer is that dialogue boxes have been very slow to open in MS Word and Excel. I assumed it was a result of the UBitMenu, a handy add-on that restores the old-style drop-down menus we used to use before Microsoft introduced the awful ribbon. I accepted it as a trade-off, since the delays were more than offset by the time I gained by finding option quicker thanks the drop-down menus (and being able to open up the drop-down menus thanks to a script I wrote).

But then things started getting really slow, and I’d also experienced some sluggishness in my browser. I trawled through the forums and found many people with the same problem, but nobody was proposing a solution that worked.

Then I read a post by someone who hypothesised that it was down to hard drives that were dying. The writer of the post (which I can no longer find) had the issue on two computers, both of which then experienced hard-drive failure. He then started working on a laptop that was more than 10 years-old, and therefore should have been much slower, and found that he no longer experienced the problem.

The hard drive that came with my computer has been playing up recently, with one of the partitions not working very well. Fortunately, I only use it as a backup drive, as I migrated my operating system and documents to a solid state drive several years ago (I recommend all my colleagues do the same, as will make your system much quicker), but it seems that even having the hard drive connected was slowing down my system, especially (for some reason) when opening and closing dialogue boxes in Word and Excel.

If you are experiencing the same issues, try disconnecting any old drives that no longer perform properly. Of course, if it’s the drive that your operating system is running on, then you can’t just disconnect it, but it’s a good excuse to buy a solid state drive, which will definitely speed up your system, even if it doesn’t fix this particular problem.

If, like in my case, the hard drive playing up is one that you can safely disconnect, but it is an internal drive, you don’t need to get out the screwdrivers. You can simply go to the device manager, select “Disk drives”, then right-click on the device that’s playing up and select “Disable device” (whatever you do, don’t do this on the device that runs your operating system!). After restarting your computer, check whether the problem has gone away.

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La facturation en monnaie étrangère : un formulaire pour convertir les prix en euros selon la loi française

La loi française permet la facturation en monnaie étrangère, et le portail de l’Économie, des Finances, de l’Action et des Comptes publics explique comment le faire.

Pour le calcul du montant en euros de vos factures, j’ai créé un formulaire Excel. Il suffit d’introduire la date de facture, le montant et la devise pour que le formulaire vous calcule le montant en euros selon les deux méthodes permis par la loi française. Les taux de changes utilisés pour les conversions sont les taux officiaux de la Banque centrale européenne, qui publie les taux de référence utilisés par les autorités françaises.

ConversionFacturesDevises par anglopremier.com.

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Preventing Windows updates from using up your bandwidth

Is your Internet connection running mysteriously slow? Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s only slow when one computer is connected to the network?

That’s what happened to me today. While testing my wireless router in different parts of the building to see if the signal improved, I eventually realised that the connection was only slow when the router was connected to my desktop computer. Because the desktop computer is connected to the router using an Ethernet cable, it wasn’t connected while I was moving the wireless router around the building, which is when the speed improved.

As soon as I reconnected my desktop computer, I noticed that the speed went down again.

I then investigated what was using up all the bandwidth on that computer, concerned that I had some malware running in the background.

To do this, you can press ctrl+alt+del and open the Task Manager, select the Performance tab, then click on “Open Resource Monitor” at the bottom of the window.

Open resource monitor

Once in the resource monitor, open the “Network” tab, and you’ll see a list of the processes that are sending and receiving data. If the bandwidth is being consumed by Windows Updates downloads, you’ll notice that the amount of data being downloaded by “svchost.exe” is far higher than what other processes are downloading, as in the screenshot below.

ResourceMonitor

You can double-check whether Windows is doing updates by opening up the start menu and typing “Update”, then clicking on “Windows Update Settings”, which will open up the window shown below. This will also show you how much of the update has been downloaded. If you’ve already downloaded 98%, you might just want to let it finish, as the procedure described below will mean that you have to restart the download when you want to download the update.

WindowsUpdates

If you’re connected to your router wirelessly, then you could tell windows that your connection is metered. However, this may affect the behaviour of other software and prevent you from getting important software updates (which are generally much smaller, so they won’t take up bandwidth for hours on end). Also, Windows says that it delivers certain essential updates even on a metered connection, much to the chagrin (as evidenced by comments on numerous forums) of many users of metered connections, especially in developing countries where Internet usage per megabyte can be very expensive.

If you’re connected using an Ethernet cable, you can’t mark the connection as metered.

Many websites will tell you commands to stop the update service. The problem, though, is that since the “Anniversary” update of Windows 10, the service restarts itself, so we need to use an additional command to stop the service from automatically restarting.

First, open a command prompt as Administrator. To do this, open the start menu, type “cmd”, then press shift+ctrl+enter.

Once command prompt opens, type the following command to prevent the update service from restarting automatically once we stop it: sc configwuauserv start=disabled

Next, type in the following command to stop the Update service: net stop wuauserv

Finally, type in the following command to stop the Delivery Optimisation Service: net stop dosvc

Your command prompt should now look like the following screenshot.

StopWindowsUpdates

You can now close the window if you wish.

In the resource monitor, you should now begin to see the network activity of “svchost.exe” decrease. The number does not disappear immediately, as Windows calculates the download rate over the past minute, but wait 60 seconds and you should see the amount of data being downloaded by svchost.exe fall to less than 100B/sec.

When you do want to do the download (such as overnight), use the following commands to restart the services:

  • sc config wuauserv start=auto
  • net start wuauserv
  • net start dosvc
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Una mala traducción comprensible, pero rectificable

El New York Times publicó, hace 4 días, un editorial en el cual instó el gobierno español a buscar una solución política a su conflicto con el gobierno catalán. El último párrafo dice en inglés:

“The best outcome for Spain would be to permit the referendum, and for Catalan voters to reject independence — as voters in Quebec and Scotland have done. Otherwise, Madrid’s intransigence will only inflame Catalan frustrations.”

La primera frase se tradujo o se interpretó erróneamente en varios medios de comunicación (El Periódico, Antena 3, El Confidencial, La Vanguardia, El Economista, ABC), que aseguraron, correctamente, que el editorial instaba al gobierno español a convocar un referéndum, pero que también aseguraron, incorrectamente, que decía que rechazar la independencia sería el mejor resultado para los votantes catalanes.

En realidad, la frase dice que el rechazo de la independencia por parte de los votantes catalanes sería el mejor resultado para el gobierno español; no dice cual sería el mejor resultado para los catalanes.

La mala interpretación de la frase es comprensible. Un lector que no es de habla inglesa fácilmente podría entender que dice “The best outcome…for Catalan voters [would be] to reject independence”, así que no creo que sea una manipulación. Pero pregunta a cualquier persona de lengua materna inglesa – sea a favor o en contra de la independencia de Cataluña – y te explicará que lo que realmente dice el editorial es: “The best outcome for Spain would be…for Catalan voters to reject independence”, es decir “El mejor resultado para España sería…que los votantes catalanes rechazaran la independencia”.

La razón por la cual esta última interpretación es la correcta, y por la cual hay que convertir “for + infinitivo” en “que + subjuntivo” lo explica muy bien Albert Pla en este artículo en Catalán en el diario Ara (ya sé que es un diario catalanista, pero si no te lo crees, puedes preguntar a cualquier persona de lengua materna inglesa).

Y si hubiera alguna duda (que no la hay, pero si la hubiera), esta interpretación la confirma la última frase: “Otherwise, Madrid’s intransigence will only inflame Catalan frustrations”. Aquí, la palabra “otherwise” significa “Si el gobierno no permite un referéndum” no “Si los catalanes no rechazan la independencia”. Si no fuera así, la última parte de la frase – “Madrid’s intransigence will only inflame Catalan frustrations” – no tendría sentido.

Como ya dije, la mala interpretación es comprensible. En cambio, lo que es inadmisible es que los diarios no rectifiquen.

Si yo descubriera que una traducción mía contenía un error grave como este, contactaría a mi cliente de seguida para pedir la rectificación. Los diarios tienen que hacer lo mismo: rectificar las traducciones o interpretaciones erróneas del editorial que todavía tienen publicadas en sus páginas web.

Y para evitar que eso vuelva a pasar en el futuro, podrán consultar a un traductor profesional en caso de duda sobre el sentido de un texto en una lengua extranjera. ¡Estamos a su disposición!

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Olympic vocabulary in English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese

Anglo Premier specialises in sports translations. More information at www.anglopremier.com/sport.

There are some excellent online resources for vocabulary related to the Olympic Games in English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.

For French and English, the France’s National Institute for Sport, Expertise and Performance produced an excellent glossary for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The Fundación del Español Urgente has produced an excellent guide for journalists, the main focus being to avoid the unnecessary use of English terms.

Termcat produced a large glossary when Barcelona hosted the 1992 Games, and has continued to develop the glossary ever since. Its Diccionari de l’Esport includes terminology in English, French, Spanish and Catalan for all the Olympic disciplines, as well as for many non-Olympic sports.

Finally, for those who work with Portuguese, the Grupo de Pesquisa em Estudos Olímpicos has produced an English-Portuguese glossary for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, available here.

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Reaching new, expanding markets through translation

Oshikango and El Pertús

Oshikango is a town on the opposite side of the country to my home in Oranjemund. When I first visited Oshikango, situated on the border with Angola, I couldn’t help but be reminded of El Pertús, a small town straddling the French-Spanish border in Catalonia. There are many parallels between the two.

As you approach El Pertús, you see a notable increase in the use of French, rather than Catalan or Spanish, on the signs of local businesses, the economy by the border being very much geared towards those living in France who venture south in search of cheaper goods. In bygone years there would have been no change in language as you headed into the old county of Rosselló, but centuries of language assimilation policies in France have depleted the use of the Catalan language north of the border, where it now has only a small presence, mainly in rural areas and among Perpignan’s gypsy community. The most obvious sign of the region’s Catalan roots is found on the letterboxes of houses, where you’re more likely to see names like Pujol and Ferrer than Dupont, albeit sometimes in a Gallicized form (e.g. Poujol).

The situation is very similar on the Namibian-Angolan border. To the south, the people speak the autochthonous Ovambo language, known as Oshiwambo by the locals, using the Oshikwanyama dialect; like in Catalonia, to the north of the border live a people with the same surnames, separated from their families by an aleatory line drawn on a map by a distant government, who, for the most part, have now abandoned their mother tongue and replaced it with a major international language, in their case Portuguese.

Like in El Pertús, the signs erected by businesses in Oshikango are in what is now the predominant language spoken north of the border, i.e. Portuguese, rather than in English and Ovambo, because so many people cross over from the north to buy cheaper goods.

Border checks

Of course, there are also some striking differences between El Pertús and Oshikango. First, the border in El Pertús is much more porous. The shops and restaurants, though situated in Spain, lie north of the checkpoint, which since the Schengen agreement is rarely manned anyway. The actual border runs along the kerbside of the main road through most of the town centre, which means that although the main road is entirely in France, the pavement and the shops and restaurants on the east side of the road are in Spain.

Namibians and Angolans can cross each other’s borders without obtaining a visa (neither my British nor my Irish passport allows me to enter Angola without a visa), but they must still pass through a border checkpoint and fill in lengthy forms. Once you’ve cleared the checkpoint, as you drive across the border you might notice a car driving straight towards you. That’s because as you drive on the left, approaching traffic from Angola will be driving on the right! You must pick the right moment to switch to the other side. A far cry from the motorway border overlooking El Pertús, where traffic crosses from one country to another while driving at 120 km/h.

Another major difference is the type of people crossing. In El Pertús, you’ll find families and pensioners popping over for a paella, or perhaps a working-class man coming down from Perpignan for cheaper cigarettes and beer. In Oshikango, you’re more likely to find people running small businesses coming over to buy stock from the wholesalers that abound in the Namibian town. Many come by bicycle, and it’s quite amazing just how much weight they can stack on their pushbikes. I use the word “pushbike”, rather than “bicycle”, to describe the return trip because they are pushbikes in the literal sense: the Angolans carry so much stuff that they must push the bikes back over the border with their hands.

Good translations for a new market

Like in Spanish Catalonia, Namibian businesses have tapped into the market created by those who venture across the border from the north. As mentioned earlier, monolingual Portuguese signs abound in Oshikango. But head further south into larger towns like Ondangwa and Oshakati, and the Portuguese language is still omnipresent, albeit often appearing alongside English or Ovambo. Even 800 km away in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, there are still many signs in Portuguese. Unlike in Oshikango, however, the Angolans who travel to other parts of Namibia are not small business owners stocking up on cheap goods, but wealthier Angolans travelling for business, leisure, shopping, education or medical treatment.

Namibians are aware of the Angolans’ purchasing power, which is why so many businesses translate their content into Portuguese. And unlike in Catalonia, where poor French and English translations abound, Namibian businesses seem to be producing very good Portuguese translations.

Olá Namibia

One noteworthy example of good translation practice is Olá Namibia. Produced by Sandgrouse Publications, this free annual booklet is funded by advertisements placed by Namibian businesses, mainly Windhoek-based. Almost all the adverts are only in Portuguese. The magazine publishers organize the Portuguese translations, sending the English texts supplied by the advertisers to qualified translators in Portugal.

The companies advertising in the booklet have clearly spent a lot of money on graphic design. It would have been a real shame had they compromised on the quality of the translated text, as so many companies in Europe do. If graphic designers produce poor-quality images for adverts, it adversely affects the image that the company seeks to portray.

The exact same thing happens with the text. Advertisers can spend large sums of money on producing good-quality texts, but those efforts are wasted if those texts are poorly translated.

Sandgrouse Publications can be very proud of the excellent quality translations they provide for their clients, who are thus able to portray a professional image to the wealthy, demanding customers who come from Angola. Other publications and advertisers would do well to follow their example.

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Route du Rhum réussie pour Anglo Premier et Spindrift racing

Anglo Premier Translations collabore avec Spindrift racing depuis le mois de juin 2014. Le plus gros défi a eu lieu au mois de septembre. Ou plutôt “les” défis. Car si traverser l’Atlantique en solitaire dans un maxi-trimaran est un challenge de premier ordre, il l’est aussi être disponible 24 heures par jour pendant une semaine pour traduire toutes les dernières informations du français à l’anglais.

Pari réussi pour les deux! Car si Spindrift racing a fait une magnifique course, en terminant 2ème sur la Route du Rhum, Anglo Premier Translations, lui aussi, a été à la hauteur, avec la réactivité qui est nécessaire dans cette époque où tout le monde veut avoir un accès instantané aux dernières informations dans sa propre langue.

Pendant plus d’une semaine, Anglo Premier Translations a traduit toutes les informations – reportages et vidéos – publiées sur le site web de Spindrift racing. Au total, plus de 11.000 mots traduits dans des très courts délais au long des 8 jours de course.

Le bilan a été très positif. Virginie Bouchet, responsable de communication et presse de Spindrift racing, a tenu à remercier Timothy Barton, d’Anglo Premier Translations :

« Un grand merci pour votre travail, votre flexibilité et votre réactivité, qualités indispensables pour travailler dans le milieu de la voile, où l’on dépend que de la météo. Ça a été un super travail d’équipe et chaque individualité a contribué à cette réussite générale. Nous avons eu beaucoup de retombées médias et une belle exposition générale. »

Nous attendons avec hâte la prochaine course de Spindrift racing pour pouvoir répéter ce partenariat.

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Services de traduction en Suisse

Anglo Premier Translations propose des devis et accepte des paiements en francs suisses pour que les clients en Suisse puissent bénéficier de tout son savoir-faire et de tout son professionnalisme.

Vous êtes dans la région de Genève ou de Lausanne et vous avez besoin de services de traduction? Je serai dans la région du 5 au 12 décembre pour présenter mes services à plusieurs entreprises et organisations. Si vous voulez aussi vous rencontrer avec moi pour que nous puissions analyser comment vous pouvez bénéficier de nos services de traduction, merci de nous contacter.

Je serai présent, notamment, à l’International Sports Convention (ISC) le 10 décembre, au Great British Breakfast avec Nick Varley organisé par la British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce le 11 décembre, et au Midi de la Chambre de la Chambre de commerce, d’industrie et des services de Genève le 11 décembre, mais je peux aussi prendre rendez-vous avez vous à tout autre moment.

Pour plus d’informations, merci de nous contacter.

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2014: a busy year

The blog has been quiet for a while; the last post was six months ago. It’s been a busy year so far for Anglo Premier Translations.

In January I translated (Spanish>English) an OECD report on e-learning and higher education in Latin America. The report looked in particular at how distance learning has evolved thanks to new technologies and how this is enabling the provision of higher education to isolated, rural parts of Latin America.

In February and March I was part of the translation and editing team for the OECD’s African Economic Outlook for the sixth consecutive year. For the 2014 edition, entitled Measuring the pulse of Africa, I translated the country reports for Comoros, Cameroon, Burundi and Algeria and proofread the translations done by other team members of the reports for Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Togo, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea.

April was a somewhat quieter month, during which I was able to take a much-needed break, but I also began working with a new client, McCann Erickson, translating commercial material.

In May and June I began working with another University of Barcelona author. The professor is coordinating a book comparing the EU concept of services of general economic interest (SGEIs) and domestic legislation on public services in France, Spain and Italy. I translated chapters from French and Spanish to English and edited chapters translated from Italian to English.

At the end of May I had the pleasure of attending the International Conference on Economic, Business, Finance and Institutional Translation, held at the University of Alicante. The conference was of particular interest to me because I regularly provide economic translations to the OECD.

Also in June, I reached an agreement with the French sailing team SAS Spindrift to translate articles (French>English) related to their upcoming attempt at breaking the world record for the North Atlantic Crossing. My collaboration will involve being on stand-by 24 hours a day during the record attempt, as news items may come in at any time.

Finally, in July, after completing a test, I was accepted as a provider of translation services for the Inter-American Investment Corporation, and have already had the pleasure of working on two very interesting projects. I look forward to continuing our business relationship.

Anglo Premier Translations will continue operating throughout August, when I expect to receive academic papers from university lecturers taking advantage of the end of their semester to finish off articles. And in September and October I will be providing translation and revision services (Spanish>English) for Latin American Economic Outlook for the third consecutive year. Finally, in November I will attend the Mediterranean Editors and Translators conference for the eighth consecutive year.

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