Freitag, 6. Dezember 2019

Oh, what to do first?

That is probably the most pertinent question after the absolutely awesome BDÜ Conference 2019 in Bonn two weeks ago. The fact that I'm only now getting around to write about it shows you already how (positively) overwhelming that weekend was. I jokingly said to friends and colleagues that I needed about a month of vacation to digest and implement even half of the information I got, but really that was no joke.
Unfortunately, I don't have that time right now, as my regular life has kept moving along at the by now unfortunately familiar, somewhat crazy pace of the last months. True, christmas vacation is coming, but it still seems like a far way off...

But back to the conference. This was my third one organized by the BDÜ, and although the other two were good in their own right, this one was by far the best. I took copious notes like never before (digitally, via pictures and with good old-fashioned pen and paper) trying to get the most of all the sessions and workshops I had chosen (and boy was that choice a hard one to make!) and still somehow found time to meet up with old friends and new colleagues.

There were so many great speakers and topics, I really feel myself hard-pressed to pick out the best ones. There was just so much good, interesting, thought-provoking information, I really don't know where to start. I have quite a few things on my to do list, some of them to look into, some to implement, so I might have to actually take my laptop on vacation with me... Not what I usually do, but then again, that would probably be really more fun than work.

Two highlights I want to mention, though, because it is highly unlikely that I will get another opportunity any time soon to do this:
I jumped in at short notice as room coordinator for one session with three parts, meaning I got to introduce the speakers, make sure they didn't run over their assigned time slots and field the questions. The part that made it so special? My room was the plenary hall, i.e. the chamber where the Bundestag used to meet and which has been kept as is, so you really feel like you're attending a parliamentary session. So standing at the front, facing all those seats with the Federal Eagle at my back, was really quite an experience.
The other highlight was my part on the interpreters' team for said plenary hall, and I got to interpret the award ceremony of the Hieronymus and Dr.-Stanisalw-Gierlicki Awards on Saturday evening together with a colleague. I was so excited to get to sit in the booth where countless interpreters used to work for the Bundestag. The view really was something else, and the feeling, indescribable.

So, yeah, I'm still not sure what to do first and when to do it, but the information overload is starting to sort itself into managable pieces which I will tackle one at a time. The first task is already done now - writing a blog post! ;-)




Donnerstag, 28. November 2019

Thanksgiving

In Deutschland ist dieser Feiertag ja gar keiner - wir feiern Erntedank an einem Sonntag, und er gehört ins Kirchenjahr.
Aber nachdem ich so lange in den USA gelebt habe, denke ich doch jedes Jahr daran und erinnere mich gerne an die vielen November-Donnerstage, an denen ich mit lieben Menschen um einen reich gedeckten Tisch saß (bei dem mein deutscher Beitrag in Form von Blaukraut nicht fehlen durfte!).

Deswegen schicke ich heute ein ganz herzliches "Happy Thanksgiving" über den großen Teich!

Wer übrigens mehr über diesen Feiertag wissen möchte, findet hier bei Urlaubsguru viele hilfreiche und interessante Informationen.

(c) Dana Gallagher - Country Living

Mittwoch, 20. November 2019

BDÜ Conference 2019

It's almost time...

From Friday until Sunday, this year's BDÜ Conference "Translating and Interpreting 4.0 - New Ways in the Digital Age" is happening in Bonn at the World Conference Center, the former Provisional Parliament House of the Federal Republic of Germany and seat of the German Bundestag and Bundesrat from 1949 until 1999. 

I have never been there, so I'm excited about that aspect alone, not to speak of the many different presentations, panel discussions, short seminars and poster-sessions that all promise to be very interesting.

Every available slot of my schedule is filled up, plus I get to interpret at the Award Ceremony on Saturday evening, where the annual Hieronymus-Preis  and the new Dr.-Stanisław-Gierlicki-Ehrenamtspreis for volunteer work, both of the BDÜ, will be presented.

And of course, I'm also hoping to meet lots of familiar and new faces! You can also find me at the BDÜ booth on Saturday morning from 11:30am to noon.

So here's to a great conference! Hoping to see some of you there!



Donnerstag, 14. November 2019

Zitat der Woche

Die deutsche Sprache sollte sanft und ehrfurchtsvoll zu den toten Sprachen abgelegt werden, denn nur die Toten haben genügend Zeit, um sie zu lernen.
 Mark Twain

... dem stimmen bestimmt nicht nur meine Schüler hin und wieder von ganzem Herzen zu. ;-)

Sonntag, 10. November 2019

Glossaries

Last week I wrote about the importance of style guides. With the recent influx of interpreting jobs, another indispensable tool that came to my mind are glossaries.

Without them, I don't think it would be possible to work effectively as a translator but even more so as an interpreter. If all I had were dictionaries and term bases or glossaries of other people, I might be able to get by translating, where I have more time to research words, phrases and contexts, but that is definitely not my idea of perfect working conditions. But interpreting? Hardly.

While preparing for the very different interpreting assignments these last few weeks, I updated two glossaries and created one completely new one. And it was an absolute lifesaver that I did, too!

Creating or updating a glossary really serves two purposes:
  1. I put together a list of terms and their translations in a certain context and/or for a certain situation. This means, when the time for interpreting comes, I have everything I need for that specific topic and event right at my fingertips and in one place, without having to search through numerous dictionaries, online sources etc.
  2. By collecting and researching these terms, I am already learning them and about the topic or topics that will or might come up during the assignment, meaning there should be no unexpected surprises (unless of course the client changes things, but that's a different story and thankfully doesn't happen all that often), which gives me peace of mind, resulting in an even better performance on my part.
This two-fold preparation proved invaluable particularly for that short-notice assignment two weeks ago, as one of the speakers had a 80-slide presentation that he rushed through within 90 minutes, speaking at not one mile but rather three miles a minute! Had I not carefully gone through his presentation and picked out the difficult and unfamiliar terms beforehand, I would have been completely lost and probably unable to follow him, much less interpret his lecture.

But glossaries are not only necessary tools for interpreters; translators also really need them. Ben Karl over at Ben Translates wrote a very good post about why you absolutely should have your own glossaries. Take a look and read it here.

So whether you're a translator or an interpreter (or both), glossaries should be part of your set of tools, and if you have not started yet - get with it! ;-)

Freitag, 1. November 2019

Styleguides sind unsere Freunde

Styleguides - manche lieben sie, manche hassen sie, und manche haben noch nie davon gehört, geschweige denn einen gesehen.

Als ich meinen ersten bekam, fand ich ihn anfangs eher lästig als hilfreich, aber im Laufe der Zeit (und der Aufträge) wurde mir der Mehrwert von Styleguides immer bewusster.

Inzwischen tauchen sie auch im Unterricht bei mir auf, je nach verfügbarer Zeit mit mehr oder weniger Detail.

Nun hat meine Kollegin Else Gellinek auf ihrem Blog bei sprachrausch.com einen wunderbaren Artikel zu genau diesem Thema geschrieben, genauer gesagt dazu, wie man einen Styleguide erstellt. Er steckt voller guter Ideen, die ich mit Sicherheit auch an meine Schüler weitergeben werde.

Für Übersetzer besonders wichtig sind m.E. die folgenden Punkte:
  1. Gewünschte Sprachvariante für die Übersetzung (z.B. US, UK, AU, internationales Englisch)
  2. Formate von Datum, Maßeinheiten, Uhrzeiten
  3. Schreibweise und Schriftbild von Firmenname(n), Produktname(n), Claims
  4. Festgelegte Schrifttypen und Unternehmensfarben
  5. Bestimmte Grammatikvorgaben (z.B. kontrahierte Verbformen ja oder nein, Oxford Comma, Gebrauch des Verbmodus Subjunctive, Einsatz bestimmter Stilrichtlinien [APA, Chicago Manual of Style, …], Großschreibung in Überschriften, Groß- und Kleinschreibung in bulletierten Listen)
  6. Terminologievorgaben, Termbanken, Glossare, Formatvorlagen
Diese Art Mini-Styleguide ließe sich zum Beispiel auch sehr gut für die eigenen wiederkehrenden Kunden, Projekte oder Themen erstellen - der Kunde muss nicht unbedingt etwas davon wissen. Auf jeden Fall wäre so ein Guide hilfreich (Zeitersparnis) und würde sich auch positiv auf das Endergebnis auswirken (Konsistenz).

Und wenn man Lust und Muse hat, könnte man darauf aufbauend dem Kunden dann auch vorschlagen, einen Styleguide für ihn zu erstellen, natürlich in Zusammenarbeit - und auf Rechnung! ;-)

Donnerstag, 24. Oktober 2019

Preparing for an interpretation assignment

I'm having to interpret at very short notice the next two days, so preparing properly is a bit of a challenge, seeing as I was called only yesterday to fill in for a colleague who has become ill.

Thankfully, the topic is not entirely unknown to me and the customer has sent plenty of material, an agenda and more helpful information, such as names of those who will be listening to us. Plus, my cabin partner has been working for this customer for a while, which gives me peace of mind - at least one of us is very well prepared.

The International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) has compiled a list of helpful materials a customer should provide interpreters with before the assignment:
  • The agenda may not seem like much but it’s chock-full of information. It shows how the meeting is organized – schedule, speeches/presentations, discussion and breakout sessions, etc. Add on speakers' résumés and the list a participants (individuals and organizations) and it’s even better.
  • Reports or talks from previous meetings are great. Sure, this year’s conference will be different, but we’re talking about background. Minutes, position papers, even general information about your organization will illustrate what you are all about. Your interpreters will gain insight into areas under discussion, pick up procedural information and learn how your cohort talks.
  • Any background material made available to participants, especially information on the purpose of the meeting, should be made available to your language people also. It will help them put things in context and construct mind maps that will inform their work.
  • Your website and those of any partner groups will be extremely useful – and perhaps should have been mentioned first. After all, the website might well be the place all the information mentioned above is available. Paperless is possible – and interpreters have long gone electronic.
  • Direct person-to-person contact is sometime forgotten in our high-tech world but shouldn’t be. Maximize communication by minimizing the distance between your organization and the interpreters. Having a single contact person on each side is advisable.
  • A pre-meeting briefing/Q&A session can be beneficial for both sides, especially if the topic is highly specialized.
  • And if speeches or power points do come in before (or even during) the meeting, by all means make them available. Your interpreters will be able to prepare them in context having studied everything you provided previously.
Unfortunately, not all customers do this, or even some of this, even when you (repeatedly) ask them for material, turning preparation into a sort of guessing game, but I'm really glad that I have been provided with all of the above for tomorrow and Saturday!

There are quite a few helpful websites on how to prepare for an assignment, both for customers and for interpreters:
  • http://interpreters.free.fr/preparation.htm
  • https://www.bilingual-ls.com/single-post/2017/05/26/10-Tips-Preparing-for-Conference-Interpreting-Services

Have fun browsing - and preparing, hopefully with more time!