Montag, 30. August 2010

European English

This is not new, but still good:

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as 'Euro-English'.

In the first year, 's' will replace the soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of 'k'. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replaced with 'f'. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as
replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' with 'v'.
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou' and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.


Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

Donnerstag, 26. August 2010

Face-to-face oder: Zu Besuch in Zürich

Ich habe ja ein paar wirklich tolle Kunden, und mit die besten sind ein junges Team aus Zürich, das nun schon seit 5 Jahren als "Supertext" die Welt der Sprache jeden Tag ein bisschen besser macht.
Nachdem wir nun schon fast 2 Jahre per Telefon, Skype und E-Mail miteinander kommuniziert haben, wollte ich die Gelegenheit nicht ungenutzt lassen, sie auch mal zu besuchen, als ich letztes Wochenende in Zürich war. Und wie die Supertextler nun einmal sind, haben sie mich (und meinen Mann, der mit von der Partie war) gleich zum Mittagessen eingeladen - Vielen Dank nochmal dafür, es war super-lecker!!
Es war wirklich schön, sich mal von Angesicht zu Angesicht zu sehen und ein bisschen persönlicher kenne zu lernen. In der heutigen Zeit der Globalisierung und virtuellen Beziehungen aller Arten ist das ja schon fast eine Seltenheit geworden, und das ist eigentlich keine gute Entwicklung, denn es geht nichts über den persönlichen Kontakt, sei es privat oder geschäftlich.
Ich zumindest habe jetzt eine noch bessere Vorstellung davon, wie es bei Supertext so zugeht, wie die Leute dort sind (nämlich super-nett), und ich fühle mich nicht wie nur ein weiteres Rädchen im Getriebe der anonymen Übersetzungsmaschine, sondern wie ein gleichwertiger Kollege - auf Augenhöhe, sozusagen, auch wenn das in diesem Fall nicht so ganz hinhaut... :)

Bei den großen Supertextlern in Zürich

Dienstag, 24. August 2010

What really motivates us

This is really interesting - and true!


RSA Animate-Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us from The RSA on Vimeo.


Of course, I'm not saying we all need to start working for free (gotta make a living, too, you know), but there are professional-type things I do for fun, for free, for other people, for example: I am the co-leader of the local chapter of my professional association, the BDÜ, organizing and holding workshops, meetings and other events; I translate the sponsor-child correspondence for Plan International; I make music at my church on Sundays; etc.
What do you do? What (else) could you do?

Freitag, 20. August 2010

Die Sache mit der Übersetzungstechnik

Ein sehr lesenswerter Post im Übersetzerlogbuch zur maschinellen Übersetzung und dem Einsatz von CAT-Tools.

Mittwoch, 18. August 2010

Zitat des Tages - Quote of the day

Worry is wasting today's time to clutter up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles.

Montag, 16. August 2010

The Alphabet and Simplified Spelling

Mark Twain's remarks about the irregularities and irrationality of spelling in the English language. 

ADDRESS AT THE DINNER GIVEN TO MR. CARNEGIE AT THE DEDICATION OF THE NEW YORK ENGINEERS' CLUB, DECEMBER 9, 1907

Mr. Clemens was introduced by the president of the club, who, quoting from the Mark Twain autobiography, recalled the day when the distinguished writer came to New York with $3 in small change in his pockets and a $10 bill sewed in his clothes.
It seems to me that I was around here in the neighborhood of the Public Library about fifty or sixty years ago. I don't deny the circumstance, although I don't see how you got it out of my autobiography, which was not to be printed until I am dead, unless I'm dead now. I had that $3 in change, and I remember well the $10 which was sewed in my coat. I have prospered since. Now I have plenty of money and a disposition to squander it, but I can't. One of those trust companies is taking care of it.
Now, as this is probably the last time that I shall be out after nightfall this winter, I must say that I have come here with a mission, and I would make my errand of value.
Many compliments have been paid to Mr. Carnegie to-night.  I was expecting them.  They are very gratifying to me.
I have been a guest of honor myself, and I know what Mr. Carnegie is experiencing now. It is embarrassing to get compliments and compliments and only compliments, particularly when he knows as well as the rest of us that on the other side of him there are all sorts of things worthy of our condemnation.
Just look at Mr. Carnegie's face.  It is fairly scintillating with fictitious innocence. You would think, looking at him, that he had never committed a crime in his life. But no--look at his pestiferious simplified spelling. You can't any of you imagine what a crime that has
been.  Torquemada was nothing to Mr. Carnegie. That old fellow shed some blood in the Inquisition, but Mr. Carnegie has brought destruction to the entire race.  I know he didn't mean it to be a crime, but it was, just the same. He's got us all so we can't spell anything.
The trouble with him is that he attacked orthography at the wrong end. He meant well, but he, attacked the symptoms and not the cause of the disease.  He ought to have gone to work on the alphabet.  There's not a vowel in it with a definite value, and not a consonant that you can hitch anything to.  Look at the "h's" distributed all around.  There's"gherkin."  What are you going to do with the "h" in that?  What the devil's the use of "h" in gherkin, I'd like to know.  It's one thing I admire the English for: they just don't mind anything about them at all.
But look at the "pneumatics" and the "pneumonias" and the rest of them. A real reform would settle them once and for all, and wind up by giving us an alphabet that we wouldn't have to spell with at all, instead of this present silly alphabet, which I fancy was invented by a drunken thief.  Why, there isn't a man who doesn't have to throw out about fifteen hundred words a day when he writes his letters because he can't spell them!  It's like trying to do a St. Vitus's dance with wooden legs.
Now I'll bet there isn't a man here who can spell "pterodactyl," not even the prisoner at the bar.  I'd like to hear him try once--but not in public, for it's too near Sunday, when all extravagant histrionic entertainments are barred.  I'd like to hear him try in private, and when he got through trying to spell "pterodactyl" you wouldn't know whether it was a fish or a beast or a bird, and whether it flew on its legs or walked with its wings.  The hances are that he would give it tusks and make it lay eggs.
Let's get Mr. Carnegie to reform the alphabet, and we'll pray for him --if he'll take the risk.  If we had adequate, competent vowels, with a system of accents, giving to each vowel its own soul and value, so every shade of that vowel would be shown in its accent, there is not a word in any tongue that we could not spell accurately.  That would be competent, adequate, simplified spelling, in contrast to the clipping, the hair punching, the carbuncles, and the cancers which go by the name of simplified spelling.  If I ask you what b-o-w spells you can't tell me unless you know which b-o-w I mean, and it is the same with r-o-w, b-o-r-e, and the whole family of words which were born out of lawful
wedlock and don't know their own origin.
Now, if we had an alphabet that was adequate and competent, instead of inadequate and incompetent, things would be different.  Spelling reform has only made it bald-headed and unsightly.  There is the whole tribe of them, "row" and "read" and "lead"--a whole family who don't know who they are.  I ask you to pronounce s-o-w, and you ask me what kind of a one.
If we had a sane, determinate alphabet, instead of a hospital of comminuted eunuchs, you would know whether one referred to the act of a man casting the seed over the ploughed land or whether one wished to recall the lady hog and the future ham.
It's a rotten alphabet. I appoint Mr. Carnegie to get after it, and leave simplified spelling alone.
Simplified spelling brought about sun-spots, the San Francisco earthquake, and the recent business depression, which we would never have had if spelling had been left all alone.
Now, I hope I have soothed Mr. Carnegie and made him more comfortable than he would have been had he received only compliment after compliment, and I wish to say to him that simplified spelling is all right, but, like chastity, you can carry it too far.

(Source: http://www.languagerealm.com/english/simplifiedspelling.php)

Dienstag, 10. August 2010

Horst, der Bäcker

Ein weiterer, wunderbarer Beitrag zum Thema, der sich durchaus auch auf das Übersetzen übertragen lässt, zu finden hier.

Montag, 9. August 2010

Honorable mention

Yeah - I made it into a blog post by two wonderful colleagues! (In case you don't know, I ride motorcycles.)
Slowly but surely, I am becoming known... ;)

Donnerstag, 5. August 2010

Dienstag, 3. August 2010

Invoicing, discounts etc. for certified translations

Dear fellow sworn translators and interpreters.
Most of you have probably been in this situation before: a customer, a private person, wants to get married to someone from another country, so they need a ton of documents translated and certified for the civil registry. If one of the two has been married before, add to the usual birth certificate, visas or what have you the divorce decree, which can be pretty lengthy. Since the documents are supposed to look like the originals as much as possible, there is usually also a fair amount of formatting involved, which should be invoiced, too. All this together can add up pretty quickly to a fairly large sum, to which is then also added sales tax, and the customer is often surprised, to say the least.
If you, like I am, are also a sworn interpreter, you know you'll most likely also be the one interpreting at the registration for marriage and at the wedding.
So here is my dilemma: I know what my work is worth and I am not going to sell myself cheap (no peanuts for me, thank you)! However, I still feel terrible having to invoice large amounts, especially when I know that the customer is not on the wealthy side and already has a lot of expenses as is. I know, too, that this is not my problem and that the customer should just have to bite the bullet, if he/she really wants to get married (kind of like a last check to see if it is all worth it?), and pay for the service(s) rendered. But I still feel bad about it, although I know I am not overcharging or taking advantage of the customer.
So here are my questions to you: 
Do you give discounts if you are also asked to interpret? If so, how much?
Do you give discounts for xyz? I'd like to know for what and how much.
How do you deal with this bad feeling, even though you know what you charge is a fair price?
Looking forward to your comments!