Archive for the ‘For fun’ Category

Stealing A Good Story

January 6, 2008

I can’t help pass on the story I found from, here.

The title of this blogger’s post is: Who writes articles for $1. And why?

Don’t think that the topic is irrelevant to us, just substitute ‘translates’ for ‘writes’.

Anyway, the supporting anecdote is taken from a book by marketing expert Harry Beckwith.

It runs like this:

‘To hammer the point home, Beckwith adds a story about a carpenter. In this tale, a man who has a squeaky floorboard calls in a carpenter, who quickly finds the problem and fixes it with three precise blows of his hammer.

The carpenter pulled out an invoice slip, on which he wrote the total of $45. Above that line were two line items:
Hammering, $2
Knowing where to hammer, $43.’

See the link? Enjoy!


Machine Translation Will Never Get Better…

December 21, 2007

… than that.

But this one’s cool!

As found on StumbleUpon.

Thanks to this excellent post.

FreeRice (one more)

December 11, 2007

In view of the fact that some readers of this blog are using it, and returning to it, to reach the FreeRice donation website, I feel I owe you an update on the current totals.

So it’s like this: Total All Dates now stands at 7,536,669,470 grains of rice donated since October.

Lots of other sites are also offering a link to FreeRice. We mustn’t forget that the underlying idea is to donate to the starving.

FreeRice have found a way to make it a win-win situation. They have also found a brilliant way to demonstrate the power of viral marketing.

PowerPoints and Speakers

December 4, 2007

I found this video some time ago. It does have some connection with a meeting I have this week, where I know that PowerPoints are going to be used extensively. It’s Doug Zongker’s famous “Chicken chicken chicken”, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science humor session, on February 16, 2007. I am probably the last to comment on it, by the way. The script of this gem is here.

Why do I find this video so funny? It wasn’t designed for us interpreters, but to enlighten speakers on the use, misuse and abuse of ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations. Microsoft’s claim is that 30 million presentations are generated each day worldwide and the video focuses on the very essence of PowerPoints, their visual dimension. If they look good, they must be good, whatever the content.

May I chip in here? In all honesty, I must say that the invention of PowerPoints has made my work a little easier; when they are used properly, not too crowded, well designed, they show the structure of a presentation and supply the visual props that we were sorely missing before. For one thing, it is easier to follow a presentation when the speaker skips one, two or five slides, than it was before, when they were asked to skip some pages of a paper. Quite often we didn’t even have a printed copy of that paper!

There are other videos on the same topic on the web, but this one can be understood by everyone, whatever their language, because the content is there only to support an idea.


Wink Wink: A Translator’s Dog can Translate

November 20, 2007

Some time this year, a client asked me to proofcheck an article on dogs that she was going to publish. She is a researcher and her subject has a world of potential serious applications for humans, so she cannot be discounted as one of those pet owners who believe that their Archibald or Dusty is the most intelligent dog on earth.

As we were discussing her article, I felt emboldened to ask: ‘Why in your opinion does my dog yap and whine in front of the bath tub (when she hates baths) in order to bring to my attention the fact that her water bowl in the kitchen is empty?’ We ended up agreeing on one explanation built on scientific observation: When you talk a lot to your dog, your dog talks to you. Right.

Now, why is it that when my cat is begging to be allowed into the house, or is meewing because it’s mealtime, my dog comes to me and makes all sorts of noises to attract my attention and when I finally take notice, guides me to where the cat is?

I don’t have the answer and I’ll have to ask my client next time. However, I can suggest one probably silly explanation. Maybe a translator’s dog can translate. My dog hears that the cat is asking for something. I don’t respond, because I am lost in a translation. So she (being the smartest dog on earth) thinks: ‘I’d better translate that for her.’ So she comes and barks at me.

Now I just hope that I won’t start barking at my clients.

First Identified Cat-Dog Interpreter

First Identified Cat-Dog Interpreter.