Archives de l’auteur : Laurent Laget


Plural of colors in French

11 mai 2012 2 commentaires

As the title more than suggests, this post is about… the plural of colors in French, which is one of many tricky rules of this language. And also about the sad story of a mispelled brand new football/soccer jersey.

So let me be honest: I don’t really see the point of translating it into English.

Think of me as a lazy blogger (which I am), but if you don’t speak French, you probably won’t be interested by this article. And if you do, then you can just go through the article in French. I tried to make it as clear as possible, even for non-French readers!



Is Drive a Dropbox-killer?

25 avril 2012 1 commentaire

I wrote about it almost a year ago here (Dropbox & Google?) and here (Dropbox & Gdocs: conclusion): why, oh why Google don’t launch a service « à la Dropbox » to sync files and edit them online?

Well it seems Mountain View heard me (because we all know they thoroughly read my blog).

Let’s come to the facts: this week, Google Drive went public. This service replaces Docs and works pretty much like Dropbox, synchronizing one folder between all your devices (smartphone, tablets, etc.) and with Drive homepage. But it offers the possibility to edit and create new documents directly online, which can be quite useful when you don’t have access to your computer.

Also, both services allow for only one folder to be synchronized. Don’t worry, if you’re a classifying crank and you don’t want to mess up your folders, here’s a solution: symbolic links.

But I’ll stick to what I’ve said: Google own file format (gsheet, gdoc) is not 100% compatible with MS Office. This means if you want to modify a Word document on Drive, you’ll first have to convert it, which can cause loss of format and maybe data (imagine converting a pretranslated doc with Crados…). For this reason, I cannot recommend Drive for a professional use. The risk of modifying my clients’ source documents is just too great at the moment. And contrary to Dropbox, you can’t retrieve older versions of your files.

And there’s the issue of available storage space. Drive offers 5 Gb; Dropbox only 2, but you can extend it to 18 Gb with referrals and various promotional offers. You can also buy space, and in this case Drive is much more attractive (even if prices skyrocketed with Drive: from 5$ per year, the 20-ish Gb cost now 2,50 $ per month).

So: Drive or Dropbox? Personally, I’ll use both: Dropbox for my professional files, as I am assured they won’t be deteriorated, and Drive for all other file types, such as drafts for my blog, letters, images, eBooks…

Anyway, be aware that Dropbox recently improved its referral system and offers now 500 Mb for each referral (vs. 250 Mb before). So if you don’t have a Dropbox account yet and want some extra storage space, click on this link.

Code of ethics

16 mars 2012 0 commentaire

12. The Translator abstains from causing harm to the profession, in particular by accepting working conditions incompatible with this code of ethics.

Translators’ Code of Ethics, ATLF, 1988


A much needed call to order when you stumble, in a Book Fair in 2012, upon editors who are not ashamed of offering €3 for 2000 characters (for « typing compensation »).


Belle Lurette

14 mars 2012 3 commentaires

French is a fascinating language. And Antidote is a fantastic tool to discover new stuff.

For example, I just learned the origin of the phrase « il y a belle lurette » (it was ages ago). I use Antidote (Ma Voisine Millionnaire presents the software here, in French) for its powerful spellcheck, but also for its various guides and dictionaries, such as the synonyms dictionary that saved many a translation. I was looking for a colourful synonym of « longtemps » and found « il y a belle lurette ». As I was looking for something specific, donkey-related (don’t ask why), I decided to find more about this strange word, « lurette », as I never saw it alone, out of this phrase.

Well, Antidote taught me that it is simply a derivation of « il y a belle heurette » (« heurette » standing for « petite heure »), which sounds quite nice by the way.

Now I’m tempted to tackle some French question now and then, or share basic but tricky rules (such as the plural with non-integer numbers, inversion subject/verb, etc.). Would it sound good to you?

And don’t forget : the 2nd Translation Forum opens tomorrow at the French Book Fair in Paris. Will I meet you there?


ATLF’s Blog

11 mars 2012 0 commentaire

A quick post to introduce you the ATLF’s blog (Association des traducteurs littéraires de France, in French only).

This site aims to be a collaborative space and to give voice to translators, usually silent et transparent. You will find quotes, informations about translation and the associations, as well as various posts about the art of translation. It’s a very pleasant reading and regularly updated.

To contribute, you have to be an ATLF member. After the launch period, you will be able to send your articles to the editorial board. In the meantime, you can already get familiar with the blog’s netiquette and FAQs.



Adios Facebook

8 mars 2012 0 commentaire

As the title and the picture may reveal, I have decided to refocus this blog and close (Not Just) Another Translator Facebook page.

I have never found the time to manage it as I would have liked. And I’d rather close it than let my reader (and myself) think they will have more content more often. So unless you really ask for its return, the page will be permanently removed in 14 days.

The Twitter account, not much more active, is still in probation.


2nd French Translation Forum

6 mars 2012 0 commentaire

For once, let’s talk about literary translation. For all of us, technical translators, literary translation is kind of exciting, irresistible, impossible. It’s the ultimate challenge, the adventure that will bring you glory (and not much else, given the pay).

You’ll be glad to know that for the second year in a row, the Salon du Livre, the French annual Book Fair, organizes a Translation Forum (programme here, in French). During a full day (March 15th), four round tables will try to shed light on translation in the digital era, the Japanese literature or retranslation.

Other events on translation will follow during the Fair (Saturday 16 and Sunday 18). You may see me between the stands, desperately looking for the few books I worked on!

Convert files to PDF

7 février 2012 6 commentaires

And we’re back to useful tools! In the full version of this article, you will learn how to convert a document into PDF, which allows you to protect your files such as invoices and quotes. It’s quite simple actually: you just have to « save as » and choose the right filetype with the latest versions of MS Office.

If you don’t have Office 2010 (or use an older version), you may want to install a virtual printer such as Cute PDF Writer, which allows you to save any type of document – from your Word and Excel docs to webpages or emails – in just a few clicks.

And if you’re as tech-savvy as I am and use a tablet, you can try Office Converter for Android and iOS. It’s free and fully working.

Finally, if you still don’t have an online back-up solution such as Dropbox (I wrote about it here), I’ll be happy to send you an invitation, and we’ll both get a little more storage space. Just send an email:

Translation Hexalogue

3 décembre 2011 2 commentaires

As I just joined the ATLF (after the AAE-ESIT, SFT, Sofia, Scam, briefly the CIoL and NETA and before joining the ATAA someday), let me relay the message from an other acronym organization, which is also making a great deal in advocating literary translators in Europe : the European Council of Literary Translators’ Associations (CEATL). The Council indeed published an « Hexalogue », a code a good practice in six points for all literary translation actors (authors, translators, publishers, etc.). It is reproduced below, and you can also download it on their website. Oh and by the way, don’t forget the Youth Book Fair this week-end in Paris.


The Six Commandments of ‘fair-play’ in literary translation, adopted by CEATL’s General Assembly on 14 May, 2011.

1. Licensing of rights
The licensing of rights for the use of the translation shall be limited in time to a maximum of five years. It shall be subject to the restrictions and duration of the licensed rights of the original work. Each licensed right shall be mentioned in the contract.

2. Fees
The fee for the commissioned work shall be equitable, enabling the translator to make a decent living and to produce a translation of good literary quality.

3. Payment terms
On signature of the contract, the translator shall receive an advance payment of at least one third of the fee. The remainder shall be paid on delivery of the translation at the latest.

4. Obligation to publish
The publisher shall publish the translation within the period stipulated in the contract, and no later than two years after the delivery of the manuscript.

5. Share in profit
The translator shall receive a fair share of the profits from the exploitation of his/her work, in whatsoever form it may take, starting from the first copy.

6. Translator’s name
As author of the translation, the translator shall be named wherever the original author is named.

Minor changes on NJATB

2 décembre 2011 0 commentaire

Just a quick note to introduce a few minor changes on NJATB:

  • The most significant one is maybe the language bar, moved from the right column to the top menu (I wanted to do it for a long time, but it required some CSS programming tricks),
  • Still in the right menu: I replaced the « Latest Posts » widget with a « Par-ci, par-là » widget with a random selection of posts (but I still haven’t found a way to change the title…). Also, the « Categories » widget is now a dropdown menu,
  • I changed the text on the main page (About me) so that it’s lighter and clearer,
  • I also updated other pages (Portfolio, Links) to reflect the development of my activity.

I hope you like these minor evolutions. As always, have your say in the comment box below. (And tomorrow, a special post on the Translation’s Hexalogue !)

Translating early morning

28 novembre 2011 3 commentaires

The traditional « Matinale de la SFT » took place last saturday. This monthly breakfast gathers a bunch of translators over a coffee and a particular question. This month, it was all about audiovisual translation.

Animated by Isabelle Audinot and Sylvestre Meininger, vice-president of the ATAA (Audiovisual Translators and Adapters Association), we learned about the differences between subtitling, dubbing and voice-over, for TV or movies, as well as the « reality of a sector in crisis« . So if you were thinking about translating movies, please read carefully their website (and blog).

As we were told, this is a hard-stricken sector in France: « it’s like translators are chosen by the publishers« , « rates dropped by 60% in 15 years« , « only 20 translators make their living from movie translation » and « workforce increases by 10% each year ».

Nevertheless, I have to say I’d be pretty proud if I heard George Clooney saying the words I wrote!


Meet SOFIA, my new BFF

1 novembre 2011 1 commentaire

Do you translate books? Do you also stroll in the Feng Shui or Youth departments of the local library just to feel that near-guilty satisfaction to see your name written in a public place? Well, you will be pleased to know that you are not alone and that it may also bring in some money!

Let me introduce you my dear friend Sofia. Here’s what you can on its website:

SOFIA (Societé Française des Intérêts des Authors de l’écrit) is the French society tasked with defending the interests of authors of the written word; it is a non-profit-making company for the collection and distribution of rights, administered equally by authors and publishers and exclusively concerned with the field of books.
As the only society approved by the Minister for Culture for the management of PLR arising from loans in libraries, SOFIA collects and distributes the remuneration arising from these PLR. It is also primarily responsible for the collection and distribution of that portion relating to books arising from remuneration in respect of private digital reproduction.

So what is this lending right?

Law n°2003-517 dated 18 June 2003 relating to remuneration in respect of lending from public libraries and enhanced social protection for authors, introduced an official licence for PLR payments and set up a mandatory system for collective management.[…] This law authorises the lending of books from libraries, with authors and publishers in return benefiting from a fair remuneration funded by a government contribution fixed by decree and by a levy of 6% of the pre-tax retail price of books sold to a lending library, this sum to be paid by the book seller.(Source)

Note that it also works with books translated for foreign French-speaking editors as well as for English books.

Fellow Translators, you now know what you have to do to receive money in your mailbox without even moving: Join Sofia! It will cost you once and for all €38 for your society share (or you can wait that it is deduced from your first payment).


Sports Journalism, without any qualms?

6 octobre 2011 1 commentaire

Who said sports and intellect weren’t good bedfellows?

I often translate sports related texts, I am thus quite interested by the lexical fields used by sports journalists, such as the war references for games that are supposedly peaceful – or even pacifist (« At the end of a fierce struggle, X defeated its arch enemy Y, who finally surrendered« ).

Last summer, in the newspaper L’Équipe, the linguist Claude Hagège was briefly interviewed. From « no trouble » to « Du côté de chez Swann, » from culture to ignorance, he analyzes good and bad habits of sports journalists and how they copy one another without any qualms.

Claude Hagège also says he’s delighted to see the newspaper using the past simple tense: he should maybe avoid visiting the website, since we always use the imperfect tense in French… Anyway, here’s the full article.

On the same subject, during my stay in Barcelona I found an interesting little book from Néstor Alonso Hernández: « El Lenguaje de las crónicas deportivas » (ed. Cátedra), which analyzes the grammar, the syntax and the vocabulary of sports chronicles

PS: Sorry for the silence, I have been very busy and still am. In the next posts, I will try to write about the Glagolitic alphabet I saw in Croatia, as well as two purely froggy subjects about freelance working. Please be patient.

Dropbox & GDocs: conclusions

3 juillet 2011 4 commentaires

Last week, I was delighted to discover that there are – finally – tools allowing to sync between Dropbox and Google Documents.

Unfortunately, I was quickly disappointed as I lost the layout for ALL my documents…  To this day, there are quite a few apps for this. Here’s a quick review of the one I tested:

  • Syncdocs: It was probably the most promising. Actually it works, even a little too well, since it downloads everything and anything. Even DP cache, as well as hidden and deleted files, which takes storage space unecessarily. I haven’t found a satisfactory way to fix it yet. Right now, I just syncing one way (DP to GG). Not ideal, but it may get better.
  • Cloud HQ: also promising, it offers an « integration » between DP, GG and other services. The idea is nice: it creates a new Dropbox section in Google Docs left column. You can also access your files from Cloud HQ website, but it’s not very convenient. The worst is that all my Office 2010/Open Office files were renamed into « docx.doc » or « odt.doc », and were downloaded twice on my computer, taking a lot of storage space. And it’s bound to become paying service at the end of the beta test. Deactivated and deleted.
  • Syncplicity: I haven’t tested it, because of it’s 2 Gb limit for free version and it’s rather expensive price (15 $/mo). It does not to have any mac client, and seems to be more like a substitute for Dropbox.
  • Google Cloud Connect: it installs a new toolbar in Office documents and syncs it when you work on it. It doesn’t allow you to watch a particular folder, so this is not what I am looking for.
  • Jookuu (Windows only): this standalone program manages one or more Dropbox, Google and accounts. I don’t like the idea of having a full software to manage my files and I’d rather have a Dropbox-like system working in background. Still testing it.
  • Other services exist: insynch (beta sur invitation), SugarSync (payant), Cloud Hero (payant), Cloudseed (en suspens).

So as you can see, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (high five, Bono). I am impatiently waiting for Dropbox to implement its own solution, which seems to be on its way (vote if you have an account!). Or that Google finally creates a Picasa-like syncing system…


Dropbox & GoogleDocs?

1 juillet 2011 0 commentaire

They (almost) dit it !

Dropbox is great. I wrote about it right here. Google Docs is also nice : online collaboration is easier than ever and you can directly edit documents, which is useful when you are working from a smartphone or a tablet (such as this one, which will soon be in my hands).

The trouble is that Dropbox won’t allow you to open or edit documents without downloading them, and if you need more storage space, you’ll have to spend at least 10 $ per month (or 100 per year) for 50 Gb. On Google’s side of the fence, there is no way to sync your local files with GDocs (forget about Google Cloud Connect, really not user-friendly). But on the other hand, storage space is really cheap: only six dollars (w/ tax) for 20 Gb. And if you really want to spend a Franklin, you’ll have nothing less than… 400 Gb!


(Click to zoom)

Anyway, you saw me coming: for some time now I have been looking for a system to sync Dropbox and Google, and I finally found it: let me introduce you SyncDocs.

It works exactly like Dropbox, and if you set the same folder for both services, you will have two backups for your files. Plus, SyncDocs is free and does not require you to create an account. However, there seem to be some bugs converting files from Microsoft Office to Google, but it is still in beta version. You also have to have two services running in background on Windows, but I guess it is not that bad, while waiting for an official Google Sync!

Happy now?

Update: Not that happy. After a few days of test, there are still many things to improve. First, Google Docs conversion is pretty approximative, to say the least. Second, when you set the same folder for both Dropbox and Syncdocs, DP’s cache is downloaded to your computer and to GGdocs (a solution here). Third, all my files are also downloaded twice to the root of my sync folder. The trick, not really convenient, would be to  select all files under the Home page in Google and choose Actions>Not show in home. Not fully working for me.

Update 2 : I’m starting to have a headach with all of this. I think I will drop the idea for the moment. I’m just going to test Cloud HQ for a few days, I will follow-up on this. If you are interested, you can also try Syncplicity, but it is limited to 2 Gb for the free version.

How to: Make a Translation Invoice

13 juin 2011 11 commentaires

To take a good start this week, as promised, here is the new episode of my useful tools for translators. After the whys and hows of a translation quote, here’s everything you want to know about invoices. If the why is pretty clear, the how is more mysterious.

Don’t forget that everything here relates to the French market only.

The Chamber of commerce from Lyon offers a very helpful and extensive document on invoices, which are defined as an accounting document established by the commercial society stating the terms of sale and purchase of products, wares, goods or services ».

The list of mandatory indications is pretty long, so I will let you check the said document.

There is something I care about: the payment period. According to the French law (August 4th, 2008), the payment period is limited to 45 days end of month or 60 days from the issue date. But you may reduce this period in your terms of service, to 30 days for example.

Short note on terminology: the phrase « 30 days end of month » means that you count 30 days and then jump to the end of the month (i.e.:  for a bill dated on June 10th, add 30 days (July 10th) and jump to the end of the month: the bill is to paid by July 31st at the latest). The expression « 60 days from the issue date » means simply 60 calendar days: a bill issued on June 10th is to be paid on August 10th.

For my part, I added on my bill that late payments were subject to a 15% penalty. The law cited above indicates that « the minimum rate for late payment penalties will be of 3 times the legal interest rate ».

The “autoentrepreneurs”, which are not subject to VAT, have two other compulsory indications:

– Next to the total amount payable: VAT not applicable, Art.293-B (French general tax code)

– Next to your SIRET number and APE code: Exempted from registration according to Article L123-1-1 of French trade code or according to Section V, Article 10, law n°96-603, 5 July 1996 related to trade and craft development

And since I’m a oh-so-sweet Care Bear, here is a template invoice that you can adapt and use at your convenience. FYI, I use an Excel spreadsheet to avoid bothering with calculations, but it works just as well with Word. And by the way: save your invoices in PDF format before sending, it will avoid potential trouble.

Example of Invoice



8 juin 2011 4 commentaires

I was reviewing my site stats recently, and I noticed that some posts had been unfairly overlooked by the birds of passage. So I thought that this was a chance to promote three old posts which deserve, I think, a quick (re-)read. And as promised, you’ll know everything about invoices next Monday. By the way, those posts are French only.

-Cogito ergo(nomi) sum - published in September 2009 – because my back hurts. And because this article, from the ESIT Alumni journal, explains the best working posture.

-Transfèrement - published in April 2009 – because with « l’affaire DSK », we are probably going to hear about that.

-Objets traduisant non identifiés - published in May 2009 – because it’s fun.


How to: Make a Quote for a Translation

6 juin 2011 6 commentaires

I would like to come back to the origins, to the initial goal of NJATB: giving advice and useful information about translation. So today, I will tell you how to make a good quote. And tomorrow, we’ll talk about invoices.

But first of all, let me say that what I’ll write here applies only to the French market. There may be some significant differences between countries, whether it is Canada, Belgium or English-speaking countries. Don’t forget to adapt the estimate to the law of the country you are working in.

So what the use of a quote? Better safe than sorry: the worst that could happen is that an unscrupulous client denies having ordered a translation you already sent back. And if you don’t have a quote, a commissioning letter or any written proof, you won’t have anything concrete to prove his bad faith.

Anything written down will do the job, such as an e-mail where a client asks you to translate said text, but a proper purchase order (sent by your client) or a quote (that you establish) is generally better. And it only costs a few minutes…

In France, there are a few mandatory indications to have on a quote: name and address of the translator and client, reception date and deadline, document title, quote acceptance period, rate per word or page, total price, payment terms… and the famous mention “Bon pour accord” from the client.

But rather than letting you in the blur, you can download below a template for a translation quote in French. Of course, you will have to adapt it to your needs, by adding, for example, your terms of service (or the one from the SFT) as well as the terms you negotiated with your client.

Example of Quote

Remember that you can also ask for a deposit, as it is often done by various professionals, especially for bigger jobs.

Next episode: invoicing!

Of Blogs and Men

3 juin 2011 2 commentaires

So the Top 100 Language Lovers results are in, and as you may have noticed, NJATB isn’t one of them. I have to say that the new formula, with only 25 happy few in each category, makes it pretty hard to get in. As a result, there is not a single French blog about translation in this top. That’s too bad. And what will raise hackles is the presence of ProZ in nothing less than two categories… So much for language lovers.

Anyway, this « Top » allowed me to discover a website, Le Mot Juste en Anglais, who went 9th in last year’s competition (and wasn’t nominated this year). This blog, created by Jonathan Goldberg, a South-African retired lawyer and now translator-interpreter, helped by Laura Vallet, a French student, reaches out to « French speakers with a passion for English ». English words, expressions and facts are dissected and analyzed with a number of images and videos. But Le Mot Juste is also a collaboration with some translators-bloggers such as Riccardo Schiaffino (About Translation), Anne Gilmé (Upside Down), René Meertens (author of the useful guide de traduction anglais-français) and myself! This collaboration, which will allow us to exchange our views about linguistic issues, is only beginning but is bound to be exciting!

Also, some kind of surprise is currently cooking with Mox. More to come soon. I have also learned that NJATB feed had been integrated to La Rassegna del Traduttore, an Italian website that gather feeds from translation and languages website. I hope this is good news.

Besides, between two books about astrology and the calculation – oh so exciting – or your ascendant, I was thinking of refreshing NJATB by finding a new name. And rather than impose my choice, I will give in to the temptation of the collaborative-2.0-high-tech-buzz-new-gen-globalnetworking Web. You may thus leave your propositions in the comments, and I will submit them to a vote when I get enough ideas. Here are a few criteria:

  • The name of the site must be easy to remember and to pronounce (more than the current one)
  • It must be easily exported/translated
  • It may be in French or in English (also Latin or Greek, if you’re in a mood to play)
  • It must be related to translation or languages
  • It must not be taken by another website
  • Better if it’s fun!

Ready? Go!

20/20 in fingers

25 mai 2011 5 commentaires

The human being needs to compare to its peers, to classify and categorize. He needs hierarchy to fight anarchy and be reassured. Human societies force us to constantly show our mettle.

Throughout life, we are watched by others. It begins in the womb, just to be sure that you look like something human. Then when you’re born, your parents count your twenty fingers. At school, teachers want you to have 10/10 in math (don’t worry if you have a little less, it’s not as important as fingers). And then in high school, college, exams, etc… And it’s not over yet.

Translation is no different. Our work is scanned and criticism is fierce when quality standards are not met. Praise, even deserved, are much less spontaneous.

Some outsourcers can go really far and treat their colleagues as students, not equals. Think about those translation agencies school-like evaluation systems, by awarding marks to translators for each project. The final mark is an average based on criteria such as the use of appropriate terminology, compliance with instructions, layout, etc. Others are less objective, such as a turn of phrase. If the mark is good, don’t expect a word. But beware if you supposedly failed!

Anyway, I really don’t think it’s the best way to tell who’s good enough and who’s not.

I’ve been confronted to more or less justified remarks several times during my (still short) career. If I generally accept them well enough (as a way to improve), the last time, it hurt more than it should have. I can see several reasons:

  • On the principle: it’s never nice to hear that your work isn’t entirely satisfying, and the nature rather exceptional makes it even more significant.
  • On the form: an single line email sent by a manager, like some heavies coming out of nowhere to pack your stuff in a cardboard box and showing you the way out. Attached to this email was a document compiling tactless and hurting comments about my work, probably written by the mischievous spirit of a reviewer who got out on the wrong side of the bed.
  • Also, the stark lack of right to reply. Here, the translator is not involved in the review process, as it may be the case in some other agencies or international organizations. It is therefore impossible to justify your choices and defend your work. The all-powerful agency does not tolerate dissent.

So what reaction should you adopt in this situation? There are several scenarios:

  1. Criticisms are justified. Don’t worry (easier said than done) and try to understand what happened. Maybe you were tired, overwhelmed or working on a text you didn’t like…. Take the comments into account, thank the proofreader and avoid making the same mistakes again. You may want to start a glossary for this client or hang on your wall the things you should remember for the next project. Also, take some time off; accidents happen, and a little rest can often fix things.
  2. Criticisms are not justified. You are sure your work is good and that the proofreader has some kind of a grudge against you? Pick up your phone (or go to the agency, if possible) for a real discussion. Be very tactful, or you might lose a source of income: try not to stubbornly reject everything, give concrete examples and use reliable resources. If this is impossible, perhaps it is time to find a more accommodating client. Whatever happens, never cry foul, it’s never a good thing.
  3. Some is justified and some isn’t. The solution is in both points above.

In any case, act like a professional. Try to get detailed comments, be objective, acknowledge your mistakes and fight for your choices. Feedback should help you move forward, not convince you that this job isn’t made for you.

If you have faced criticism too, please share your experience and reaction in the comments below.


(Thanks to Vanessa and Magali, who helped be with this post)

Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 (Vote!)

18 mai 2011 0 commentaire

Time to vote! The voting period is open until the 29th of May. Choose your favorite websites among the 4 categories : Language Learning Blogs, Language Facebook Pages, Language Twitterers and Language Professionals Blogs, where (Not Just) Another Translator is nominated (You can’t miss it, it’s the first of the list!)

Vote the Top 100 Language Professionals Blogs 2010

Whatever the final result will be, I am particularly flattered to be among such great blogs as la Marmitte, Naked Translation, About Translation or Mox, and I really encourage you to discover theses (and others) if you don’t know them yet.

Top 100 Language Lovers 2011

11 mai 2011 4 commentaires

Well Well Well, look who’s here! It’s the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011! For the second year in a row, (Not Just) Another Translator is nominated among the best language blogs in the « Language Professionals Blogs » category. Last year, NJATB make it to the 80th place. The voting period will begin on May 17th, so stay tuned and vote to help me keep this blog alive.

Trick or Mistreats?

14 avril 2011 4 commentaires

As some of you already know, I went through the Great European Adventure (just like Les Piles). I may write an extensive report someday (for the moment I’m just being very impatient for the results coming in June). Meanwhile, some colleagues convinced me to write this post.

I’m not sure I’m authorized to publish the Italian text used for the French translation test at EPSO, which I found on the web. I can at least tell you that it was originally published in R2 Diario supplement to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. On D-Day,  various candidates including me noticed a typo in the Italian source text. The second instance of a proper name had a letter changed. Or maybe was it La Repubblica’s Thomson and Thompson.

The thing is that this typo doesn’t exist in the original article.


So, honest mistake or intentional trick? I can’t imagine some European official retyping all the test texts just to have a standard layout when copy-paste is so easy. It is thus a typo added, intentionally or not, to the article. Would it be a new method to assess our concentration skills?

Just to be sure, I added a translator’s note at the end of my paper to point the typo.

So what do you think? Careless mistake or real trick?


Tools Galore

13 mars 2011 7 commentaires

While I’m frustratingly trying to enjoy the sun and nightlife study my Spanish in Barcelona between two projects (no one’s complaining here), I wanted to share a few more useful tools.

For the record, I already presented Xmarks (and Firefox Sync, which works with FF mobile on Android phones and tablets), Dropbox and iDispo (which doesn’t seem to passionate my readers), let me introduce you to some useful websites.

1) Others already wrote about it (in French), and that’s why I hadn’t mentionned it yet, but Linguee has became an essential tool in my work, especially as I regularly work on EU and UN texts. I only regret the lack of Italian to French search, just like Word Reference (while there’s Portuguese).

2) I found this one on About Translation blog. I am sure you already googled some phrases to see which one was more frequently used (we all did)? Well, « there’s an app for that » now. It’s called; enter the two phrases you want to compare and you’ll immediately have the number of hits for each one. Easy, fast, efficient. Plus, it works in every language.

3) Another very simple website: Corrige-moi (spellcheck me)! The name says it all: this is an online spell checker (which is far from having the efficiency of a professional software such as Antidote for French). Just choose your language and paste your text in the box. The big pro is that you can choose 15 national languages, 3 regional (Afrikaans, Breton and Catalan) as well as Esperanto!

No More Twitter

6 mars 2011 13 commentaires

Or should I say: why I barely use it anymore. My followers will have noticed that I haven’t tweeted for a while now (7th of December, it seems). The reason is pretty simple: the information flow is too intense.

I think this is due to the passing nature of a tweet. It stays on screen for a couple of minutes before being replaced by a new one. Twitter’s homepage, where you can read messages from the members you’re following, shows tweets in real time. And even if I follow « only » some 150 accounts, I can not possibly manage to read everything each day.

So I think Twitter is a great place to speak, but not so much to listen.

I was saying I barely use it anymore. Well, the only reason I keep my account alive is my subscription to #xl8 hashtagged messages (have I lost anyone?). To be simple, I automatically receive messages related to translation into my RSS reader (Google Reader in my case). But I still barely manage to read the fifty-ish daily tweets.

I must admit if I only use Twitter to promote my blog without listening to what others have to say, then I don’t really see the point anymore.

iDispo: Organization 2.0

3 mars 2011 2 commentaires

After Dropbox and Xmarks, let’s continue with useful tools. The one I am going to talk about today is not ready yet, but it’s already full of promises. And it’s a French who created it, Ismaël Nzouetom. This potentially big gem is named iDispo. The principle is fairly basic, but its potential is almost infinite.

Here’s a screenshot of its homepage:

So this project is all about creating a « universal service to manage availabilities » (you can read a detailed article in French here).

In other words, this service allows you to book a restaurant, a doctor and why not a week of translation! It will help making appointment between business and consumers or business to business. You will be able to link other accounts like Facebook or Google, and every event in those calendars will be automatically added to iDispo. You will then be able to share your availabilities with your friends, for example. Service providers will also share their free time slots, and you’ll be able to book an appointment with just a click.

Let’s imagine: you doodle your colleagues for a meeting. Then, the assistant just has to set a new meeting in iDispo and it’s automatically shared will all collaborators’ calendars.

What about the translation industry? It’s still hard to imagine the full extent of its implication, but we can guess that project managers would have access to all translators’ calendars and will dispatch translations more easily and quickly.

iDispo should be officially presented in the next few weeks. IMHO, all the ingredients are here to make iDispo one of the biggest innovation since Google.


Working Vacations Return

3 février 2011 2 commentaires

You probably remember that I went on a working vacation last year, as suggested by Translating Berlin. So I went for more than two months in the USA and Canada to improve my English skills and culture, visit the region and keep on working with my regular clients. The recipe was so great that I decided to do it one more time. With a slight difference this year:

Destination: Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Two months
Accomodation: Sub-let room in a shared flat
Goal: Learn Spanish (and not Catalan)

To be completely honest, I am not a total beginner in Spanish. Not only my knowledge in French and Italian are helping, but I also took some Spanish lessons a while back, though I don’t have a working knowledge yet.

I will thus be staying in full immersion Catalano-Castilian through cursos de conversación at Don Quijote’s and linguistic and cultural exchange with indigenous. On the cultural side, my week-ends should take me to Montserrat Monastery, Girona and Tarragona, as well as a night at Camp Nou (purely professional, of course).

So stay tuned for more information!