Thursday, 16 August 2018

Interpreting in Diplomatic Settings

A range of elements and factors are involved in diplomatic interpretation. Diplomatic settings include national institutions such as ministries, presidential offices, houses of parliament and international institutions like the UN and its agencies, the EU, WTO, NATO and so on. International and inter-regional military organizations also fall under its ambit.


An interpreter needs training in both liaison and conference interpretation to be able to work in diplomatic settings. He/she needs to have the knowledge and keep abreast of political, social and economic affairs around the world. Keeping oneself updated with international developments and being able to hold discussions about the issues in concern is important for a translator or interpreter working in any language mediation setting.

Good voice projection and modulation are keys skills in diplomatic interpretation as often microphones are not used. Also, whispered interpretation is a standard requirement.

The area of diplomatic interpretation/translation has its own set of rules and practices. The need for confidentiality prevents much to be known beforehand about projects. Diplomatic missions, embassies, and consulate do not often hire freelances, choosing instead the services of in-house staff interpreters. When freelancers are hired, they need to obtain prior clearance before they can get to work.

An interpreter is a critical link for communication in diplomatic settings, crossing cultural and language barriers.

How To Get Paid As A Translator

If you are a translator, you know how difficult it is to find clients. When it comes to getting paid for translation work, the most important battle is to find a client. It is even more crucial than the actual translation work. In the absence of clients, you won’t have material to translate.


Once, you find your client and have material ready for translation; the next challenge is getting paid. While the internet has made it easy to find clients across the world and reach out to people in need of your services, collecting payment for your work has become difficult. If you and your client are in separate countries, it becomes hard for you to confront your client in case of a payment dispute. You can blacklist the client, but it won't help you get paid. Here are some ways that will-

 Draw up a contract which you can use as proof later for your agreement. Also, it will spell out the expectations on both sides of the bargain.
 Ensure that payment is received before delivering the work
 Deal with trustworthy and reputable clients
 Beware of translation scams

Other ways of ensuring you get paid for your translation work is by using watermarks or password protection on your document, which you can then remove after you have received your payment.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Funny Mistranslations

Translation can seem to be easier than it actually is. Many people think it is simply the replacement of the source word with the corresponding translated word. Syntax, grammar, linguistic nuance and colloquialisms all play a part in translation and widen the potential for mistranslation. Mistranslations can often be hilarious and are a regular occurrence when translating from Mandarin to English. Let’s look at some of these inopportune mistranslations below –


The Dried Vegetables sign in a Chinese supermarket was mistakenly translated as “Fuck vegetables” in English.
A road sign that asks for caution was mistranslated in English to say “Beware of Safety”.
A bar menu listing Whiskey and Coke read “Whiskey and Cock” instead.
The sign above a fire extinguisher read “Hand Grenade” in English.
The sign displaying a dumpling was made to read “dumping”.
No discount was incorrectly translated to read “No discount”.
A construction in progress sign was translated to read “Execution in progress”.
A road sign that prohibits drunken driving was translated to read “Do Drunken Driving” instead.
A sign advertising Fresh Crab in a market read “Fresh Crap” instead
Mistranslations can occur in any language. Time and patience make for good translation and help avoid these mistakes.

Commonly Misused Words

It is a common temptation to use words that we are not always sure of. But this okay as our uncertainty makes us exercise caution while using them. It is the words we think we are sure of that cause trouble. Sometimes they may not mean what we are convinced they mean. Let’s look at some of these commonly confused words-


Accept/Except – One refers to the act of receiving something and the other signifies exclusion respectively. 
Affect/Effect - While affect stands for influencing, effect means to accomplish. The noun for effect signifies the result of something; the noun for affect is rarely used outside psychology.
Lie/Lay – Lie and lay both mean – to recline. The point of difference between the two is that you need an object to “lay” it. You can “lie” by yourself. To make it more confusing the past tense of “lie” is “lay”. The past tense for “lay”, however, is “laid”.
Farther/Further – Farther is a measure of physical distance; further, on the other hand, is a more vague measure of the extent or degree of something.

The English language is replete with words like these that can often confuse us in their usage. It helps to acquaint oneself with the meaning of each word to avoid misusing them.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

How Translation can Take you Places

You can travel the world as a translator. Translating is one of those jobs which aren’t location specific. In the wake of globalization, translators are in dire need in companies all around the world. Some of the documents they are required to work on are travel brochures, technical manuals, literature and articles. English might be the language that connects us all, but other languages like Spanish, German, Dutch, French and Mandarin are equally important for business relations and cultural studies. If you are fluent in at least two languages, a job as a freelance translator may be your calling. 





All you need to do is set up a personal website that will advertise the services you offer along with a few work samples. List your contact information, rates and references, if any and you're good to go. The website will double up as your portfolio. Freelance translators usually find work based on their portfolio and positive word of mouth. So make sure your work is consistent and high quality, this will help you grow your client base. You can start traveling as soon as you have a steady supply of work. As long as you have a cell phone and internet connectivity, you can work from whichever part of the world catches your fancy.

10 Words That Have no English Translation

The English language consists of close to a million words. Still, there remain many words from different languages that have no English counterpart to them. These words are most often than not closely entangled with the culture that it originates from. Let’s look at 10 such words that evade the English vocabulary –



1. Wabi-Sabi (Japanese)

Finding beauty in imperfections and accepting that everything in life is subject to change

2. Saudade (Portuguese)

The feeling of longing for an absent someone or something you love that might never return

3. Hiraeth (Welsh)

A longing for the homeland or the romanticized past

4. Toska (Russian)

Great spiritual anguish without any specific cause; a longing with nothing to long for

5. Komorebi (Japanese)

Sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees

6. Hygge (Danish)

Relaxing with loved ones, usually while enjoying food and drink

7. Litost (Czech)

A feeling that intermixes grief, sympathy, remorse and longing.

8. Mangata (Swedish)

The glimmering reflection that the moon creates on water

9. Tampo (Filipino)

Withdrawing affection from a person when one’s feeling hurt

10. Resfeber (Swedish)

The anxiety and anticipation that the beginning of a journey induces in a traveler.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Difference Between Consecutive Interpretation and Simultaneous Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation

In consecutive interpretation, the interpreter speaks after the speaker finishes a part of his or her speech. The interpreter listens carefully, takes a pause and then starts speaking. It works best when there are small groups of people.

One of the most common examples of consecutive interpretation is during business meetings when a foreign delegate has to speak.

It is the most useful form of interpretation during interactive sessions.


Simultaneous interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation is when the interpreter translates the speaker’s sentences as rapidly as possible. This is the most common type of interpretation and is used in large meetings and gathering. It is quick and is in real-time. There are no pauses in between. In addition, simultaneous interpretation requires at least two interpreters and they alternate every half an hour. This is because the level of concentration required in simultaneous interpretation is higher than that required for consecutive interpretation.

Simultaneous interpretation can be carried out only in an environment which is soundproof and isolated. There should be no unnecessary interruptions as it can interfere with the flow of the
speech. 

Simultaneous interpretations are the mode of interpretation during meetings in the United Nations general assembly.