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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.


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.


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.


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

How to remove an initial cap from glossary entries

Many online glossaries start every term with a capital letter, such as in this example:

  • Comptes d’accumulation
  • Accumulation accounts

Since these terms would only be capped at the start of a sentence, translators ought to import them without the initial caps.

Use the following formula in Excel to remove leading caps. The formula below assumes the first term is in cell E1, but to change it to wherever your first term is, then paste it down all the rows containing terms.


Please note that if you don’t use Excel in English, you will need to translate the formula words. Also, if you have your system set to use decimal commas, replace the commas in the formula with semi-colons.

The reason the formula is so long is because it initially checks to see whether the second character is capped. If the second character is also capped, it assumes the term is an acronym, and therefore does not change the first character to lower case.


VAT in cross-border transactions

One query that new VAT-registered translators in the EU often have when issuing an invoice to another EU country is what to put on the invoice to indicate that the VAT is due in the country of supply (i.e. the client’s country). In some countries, it used to be necessary to refer to a law, but more recently, under an EU directive, it is sufficient to add the words “reverse charge”, or the equivalent phrase in another EU language.

Since it is important to inform the client that the reverse-charge mechanism applies, I recommend including the equivalent label in the client’s language. The following list shows the official label in all the official languages of the EU.

    Bulgarian: Oõратно начисдявае
    Catalan: Inversió del subjecte passiu
    Croatian: Prijenos porezne obveze
    Czech: daň odvede zákazník
    Danish: Omvendt betalingsspligt
    Dutch: BTW verlegd
    English: Reverse charge
    Estonian: Pöödmakssustamine
    Finnish: Käännetty verovelvollisuus
    French: Autoliquidation
    German: Steuerschuldnerschaft des Leistungsempfängers
    Greek: αντιστροφής επιβάρυνση
    Hungarian: Forditott adózás
    Irish: aistriú táille
    Italian: Inversione contabile
    Latvian: nodokļa apgrieztā maksāšana
    Lithuanian: atvirkštinis apmokestinimas
    Maltese: Inverżjoni tal-ħlas
    Polish: ogne odwrotne obciążenie
    Portuguese: Autoliquidação
    Romanian: taxare inversă
    Slovakian: prenesenie daňovej povinnosti
    Slovenian: obrnjena davčna obveznost
    Spanish: Inversión del sujeto pasivo
    Swedish: Omvänd betalningsskyldighet

Getting paid in foreign currencies, part 2: Borderless accounts from TransferWise

Transferwise is now offering the option to create a borderless account. This allows you to have bank accounts in euros, pounds and US dollars, as shown in the infographic below (click to zoom in). More currencies are likely to be added in due course.

TransferWise borderless accounts
Infographic provided by iCompareFX.com

In a sense, this is similar to what you can already do with many more currencies with CurrencyFair (see my previous post), which already lets you store money in different currencies. The difference, though, is that you actually receive your own, personal bank account number in your clients’ countries, so unlike with CurrencyFair, you won’t have to worry about your client entering the correct reference number.

At the time of writing, the new borderless account is available to anyone living in the European Economic Area, except those living in Cyprus (i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). It is also available to residents of Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Switzerland, India, the Philippines, the British Virgin Islands, and some, but not all, states of the United States of America.

Since this is an actual bank account with a bank account number, as I understand it you can even use your account to make payments. Imagine you live in the UK, but you have a client in France, and you attend an annual conference in Germany. In the past, you’d get charged for converting your euros to pounds, and then charged again for converting them back to euros. Now, you can just keep your money in your borderless account in euros and pay the fee for your conference in Germany in euros. Of course, if you do need to move the money to the UK, you can still do an exchange on TransferWise for a much smaller fee than you’d pay with a bank.

Reports suggests that TransferWise will also introduce a payment card in the near future, making it even easier to spend the money you earn in foreign currencies.

To sign up for TransferWise, please use this link, which will give you a free transfer for up to £500 or equivalent, and will earn my £50 for every three sign-ups.

More info on borderless accounts is available here, but please use my referral link if you decide to sign up!


Translator productivity – video 3: Verbatim Google searches

Google used to allow the plus symbol to be used for verbatim searches, forcing Google to search for exactly what we type in, rather than trying to guess what we might mean. When Google introduced Google+, they removed this usage of the plus sign, and informed users that they should use quotation marks instead. Only problem is, as shown in the video, this new method is not reliable.

In the video, I demonstrate how using the plus symbol and the quotation marks don’t work, and show you how to make sure you perform a verbatim search.

Link mentioned in the video for performing verbatim searches: Translator productivity – video 2: https://www.google.com/webhp?tbs=li:1

File to add Google verbatim searches to Intelliwebsearch: IWS Google verbatim.


Translator productivity – video 2: Problems with Microsoft Word comments

This video explains how to deal with two problems translators and editors encounter when working with comments in the latest versions of Microsoft Word. It explains how to prevent comments from running off the side of the screen, and how to print without markup by default.

The macro referred to in the video is as follows.

Sub LegacyPrint()
' LegacyPrint Macro

'This section prints without comments
'Add apostrophes to the start of the lines below if you prefer to print with comments when they are visible.
With ActiveDocument
.ShowRevisions = False
.ShowRevisions = True
End With
'End of section

'This section allows you to print using the legacy print window without removing the comments
'Remove the apostrophes on each line below and add them above if you prefer to print with comments
'With ActiveWindow
'.DisplayHorizontalScrollBar = True
'.DisplayVerticalScrollBar = True
'End With
'End of section

End Sub

Please leave a comment to say whether you managed to get this to work, as it helps me know whether my posts are user-friendly.


Give your clients a local number

In Southern Africa, it is common to hear and read the expression “Local is lekker” in advertisements encouraging people to buy local food. The word “lekker”, borrowed from Afrikaans, is used to say that something is good.

For purchasers of business services, local is very definitely lekker. People prefer to buy their services from someone who is local.

All freelance translators know that the world is their oyster, that they can work for clients anywhere in the world. That’s the theory, anyhow. In practice, however, most translators I’ve spoken to seem to get most of their business from local clients.

There are many reasons for this. Obviously one major factor is that you meet more people in the place where you live, and word of mouth spreads more among the people who know you. However, I noticed that although nearly all my clients were based in Catalonia, not all of them were acquired through word of mouth. Many of my Catalan clients had found my website. So why was I not getting many clients from, say, France through my website?

Foreign phone numbers

I concluded that it was because people in Catalonia could immediately see that I was local, probably due to a combination of having my website in Catalan and having a Barcelona phone number. I already had a French website, but could I get more French clients by obtaining a French phone number?

Foreign SIM cards

I began acquiring phone numbers for various key markets in an attempt to expand my client base. For countries I visited regularly, I picked up SIM cards with good pay-as-you-go (PAYG) rates and as flexible conditions as possible in terms of keeping the SIM card active. In addition to my main smartphone, which is dual SIM, I have a cheap quad-SIM phone (not a smartphone) that sits next to my desk for my other foreign SIM cards. Unfortunately the quad SIM card is no longer sold, but you come always put extra SIM cards in an old dumb phone that is no longer used.

Here are the phone companies I recommend for a few markets (please leave a comment if you can recommend a better service for any of the countries or a service in another country):

  • UK: TalkMobile‘s PAYG phones remain active for 180 days since the last chargeable call, SMS or data usage. Data rates when in the UK are reasonable.
  • Spain: I have a Simyo card that I pay for by direct debit. The card remains active for 10 months since the last outgoing call, SMS, data usage or top-up. You need an address to have a new card delivered to. The card plus delivery costs €7. For data, it is best to activate one of their packages when travelling to Spain. Simyo also has a good roaming package that you can use if visiting an EU country for which you don’t have a local SIM card. If you sign up with SIMYO, when registering, please enter my phone number as the person who invited you, and both you and I will receive €5 credit.
  • France: In France, all SIM cards require payment of a minimum monthly fee to keep them active. However, the minimum fee charged by Réglo Mobile (run by the supermarket E. Leclerc) is just €1.50. This means I must pay at least €1.50 a month even if I don’t use the SIM card at all, so I use this SIM card if I ever have to make a call while in a country where I don’t have a local SIM card, such as when I was recently in India, since anything I spend that is less than €1.50 is already paid for. If visiting France, I take out one of their data packages.
  • Switzerland: Like in France, the best option in Switzerland is also run by a supermarket: Aldi. You can pick up a card from one of their supermarkets. Cards remain active for one year since the last incoming or outgoing call (top-ups, SMS and data don’t keep the card active). Unfortunately the minimum top-up is 30 Swiss francs. When visiting Switzerland, it is best to buy a package for data.

Virtual numbers

It is not always easy or desirable to pick up a SIM card for all our target markets. For instance, I wanted a Quebec phone number, but wasn’t travelling there any time soon. That’s where virtual numbers come in. Ever wondered how companies such as airlines have local phone numbers in so many countries? It’s not because they have a call centre in every country, but because your local call gets forwarded to another country.

The best virtual number service I’ve found is FlyNumber, which provides numbers for almost 60 countries, in some cases allowing you to choose a number in a specific city or region. The call forwarding service costs $2.95 per number per month. You must also pay a small charge per minute for each incoming call. Thanks to the powerful PBX panel you can configure call forwarding to your phone and add pre-recorded messages if you are unable to take a call, with voicemail forwarded to your e-mail address. You can change the forwarding for all your virtual numbers in just a few seconds, so if, for instance, I’m going to be attending a conference in Switzerland, I’ll change my call forwarding to my Swiss mobile number. Similarly, when I was on holiday in India, as soon as I’d bought a local SIM card I changed the call forwarding to my Indian number.

Of course, eventually the client will find out where you are based, probably when they receive your invoice, if not before. But once you’ve reassured them that you can provide just as good a service as a local translator, and that payment will be just as easy, it won’t matter.

Although most of my clients are still in Catalonia, I have acquired several new clients in other countries since getting local phone numbers there. I can’t know for certain that the local phone numbers secured those clients, but I reckon they probably did.

If you decide to use any of these options, please leave a comment below, and please share it on social media!


Attending the right client events

A call out of the blue

Two and a half years ago I received a phone call out of the blue to discuss long-term collaboration translating material for Spindrift racing, a sailing team run by Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli. I’ve always been passionate about sport, so this was a dream offer for me.

Exciting projects awaited. A year earlier, the team had bought a record-breaking boat called Maxi Banque Populaire V, and would soon attempt to set a new transatlantic record on her, after rebaptising her Spindrift 2. A year later, having already won the famous Route du Rhum race from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe, they would embark on an even more exciting challenge: attempting to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest ever circumnavigation of the world.

Spindrift racing contacted me after finding my website while searching for a specialist sports translator. I was over the moon. It felt like all the hard work I’d put into rebranding myself and marketing myself as a sports specialist had finally paid off!

My contact asked me to do a 600-word test translation, which she happily reduced to around 300 words when I said that 600 was more than I was willing to do for free. I know some translators get very upset at requests for translation tests, but I’d have been mad to turn down a dream offer like this based on a request that would take me no more than two hours to fulfil, especially for a potential client interested more in my expertise than in my rates.

I sent off the test, and my client agreed to work with me at my proposed rates.

A steep learning-curve

The translations were quite tough going at first, and at times it felt like I was sailing into a headwind. In the past, I’ve managed to apply my knowledge of the sports that I follow to sports with which I’m not familiar. For instance, while covering the World Handball Championships many years ago, I would use many of the same turns of phrase that I might use if reporting on a football match. I basically just had to learn a few new terms, such as names of positions. Sailing, however, was a whole new kettle of fish, with a language all of its own.

I already knew that boats have a starboard and a port side, rather than left and right. I also knew that a boat is always a she, never an it, though it’s easy to forget this when you’re translating from French, since you’re so accustomed to translating the masculine pronoun il as it when referring to an inanimate object. (I can’t think of any other contexts where il would be translated as she!) Many other terms, however, were new to me, so the learning-curve was steep. I’ll discuss some of the specialist vocabulary in a future post.

Over time I became more familiar with sailing-specific vocabulary and expressions, whether referring to parts of the boat, types of sails, directions on the boat, or manoeuvres, and I no longer spent so long doing research while translating. I therefore decided to start marketing myself not only as a sports specialist, but specifically as a sailing specialist too.

In search of other clients

I also began to attend boat shows, looking for potential clients to whom I could sell my newly acquired expertise. The entry fees for boat shows are pretty cheap, and I could fly from Barcelona to the venues for less than €70 return. For the Geneva show, I flew to Switzerland in the morning and returned to Barcelona in the evening, all for around €50. The biggest investment was therefore the office hours lost.

Unfortunately my efforts did not bear tangible fruit, as I failed to secure any new clients in the sector. The main reason, I believe, was that I was not meeting the people who actually handle translations. Besides, the boat shows had a strong focus on the leisure side of yachting, rather than solely on yacht racing.

The Yacht Racing Forum

It would have been easy to give up at that point and not bother attending any other sailing events. But then I heard about the Yacht Racing Forum, held this year in Malta. Not the cheapest or easiest place to get to, especially from where I was now living, and the delegates’ fee was far more expensive than entry to a boat show. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to go to an event that would be attended by those involved in yacht racing, from boat owners and sailors to communications managers and magazine editors. More about the content of the Forum will follow in a future post.

My persistence paid off. I’ve not landed any new projects yet (it only ended a few days ago), but I’ve learnt an awful lot about sailing, how the industry works, and which people purchase translation services. I can now adopt a more targeted approach to pitching, and I’m expecting to receive a few phone calls or e-mails from people who asked me for my card as soon as I told them what I did. Delegates I spoke to were particularly impressed by the fact that I specialise in sailing, with one woman from a communications company lamenting some of the awful translations she has received from translators who know nothing about sailing.

Persevere, and target the right events

As mentioned above, I’ve attended many client events that have borne no fruit in terms of new clients. Perhaps the same is true for you. However, I’d encourage you to persevere, because the types of clients you find at such events often provide regular work at good rates, so when you eventually do acquire a new client, the investment will pay off.

I would, however, recommend trying to target the events you attend carefully. Try to see who will be attending, and aim to go to those where you’re likely to meet purchasers of translation services.

To give an example from my other specialist field, macroeconomics, two years ago I found out about the International Conference on Economic, Business, Financial and Institutional Translation. I wasn’t too keen on going, due to money I felt like I’d wasted on previous events. However, when I saw that people from the translation departments of international financial institutions (IFIs) would be there, I decided to attend. It was an excellent decision. I spoke to the head of an IFI translation department, told her about the extensive work I’d already done for the OECD, and as a result of that conversation I’ve earned a five-figure sum from that client!

So keep attending events, but target the ones where you’ll meet translation purchasers.


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.


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.