Happy Interpreter

@happyinterpreter Нравится 1

Random thoughts on interpreting, translation, language, and happiness. Any comments, questions, suggestions? Feel free to contact me: @kusznir
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Украина, Английский

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Happy Interpreter 24 Sep, 15:47
Interpreting Workshop

Dear subscribers! I know I could inform you earlier, and still: it looks like I'm doing a simultaneous interpreting workshop today, at 7 pm, in America House, Kyiv.
It's a big too late to register, but if you really-really want to take part, I believe there's always some room for one more person to squeeze in. What's also important, the workshop is free.

Interestingly, this is what they write in the announcement:
"You’ll be introduced to the equipment with the help of the professional translator, who will cover most of the content, methodology, share her own experience and tips as well as pitfalls"

Which brings us back to our discussion of the feminine side that every interpreter must have :)

P. S. Interestingly, today Artemy Lebedev Studio has published another funny pic I've provided, this time a Bulgarian one. And again, it is published with the same inscription: "Прислала Happy Interpreter". Oh my...
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Happy Interpreter 19 Aug, 14:17
​​[Meat] Mincer

Ok, bagels seem to win — at least for a while, at least here :)

Some subscribers messaged me with other ways to say the same thing, e.g. "to put bread on the table," and I totally agree. Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, a good interpreter usually has numerous ways to translate a sentence, and makes such choices almost instinctively, sometimes with subtle gravitation towards certain options for personal reasons.

Now, let's consider an entirely different situation, when certain words and meanings are substituted consciously and on purpose. This is best exemplified by religious environments.

The followers of the Hare Krishna movement, for instance, do not eat meat for religious reasons, to the extent of being uncomfortable with the word "meat" itself, especially when pronounced in the temple kitchen. So, what do they do when they have to use a [meat] mincer, which is "мясорубка" in Russian, and which doesn't make much sense without the "meat" part? Well, they've invented their own word!

To understand the Russian Hare Krishna word for a mincer, you'll need to know one more word from their daily life: "Hari bol," or simply "haribol." Technically, it means "sing the Name of the Lord Hari;" in practice, it can mean anything, from "I'm so excited!" to "hey dude, what the fork are you doing there?!" 

Unsurprisingly, their word for a [meat] mincer is... haribolka.

If you think religion is the only field for such linguistic sorcery, that's far from the case. Marketing, propaganda, social justice warfare are just some of the many fields in which similar tricks are commonplace.

A careful client will provide you with a glossary of their preferred terminology. A careless client will just expect you to "become one of them" and guess everything on your own.
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Happy Interpreter 2 Aug, 15:11
​​Bring Home the... Bagels?

A week ago, at the UTICamp-2019 my colleague and I interpreted for quite an unusual round table (which, as the participants noted, wasn't really round and didn't feature any table at all): founders of major translation agencies and language service providers openly shared the stories of the humble beginnings of their companies.

In particular, one of them mentioned (in Russian) that he had to do a certain office job in his younger years — without much passion, mainly out of duty, as a breadmaker of his family.

...but I had to bring home the bacon, — said my colleague in the booth, a wonderful interpreter from Lviv.

I quickly realized 2 things:

1️⃣ I surely understood that expression; most probably I had heard or read it before.
2️⃣ If it were my turn to interpret, I'd most surely phrase it in some other way.

That's the unconscious influence of being a mostly-vegetarian for almost 15 years )))

Interestingly, I'm not the only one who cringes at "bringing home the bacon," or, say, "more than one way to skin a cat." Last year, PETA suggested an entire list of more animal-friendly alternatives for well-known English phrases. While in some cases they promoted already existing althernatives (e.g. "to spill the beans" for revealing a secret), more often then not they tried to coin new alternatives based on word similarities (e.g. "to feed a fed horse"), and were widely criticized for that by the internet community at large. For instance, check out the diatribe by this guy and try to count how many animal idoms he managed to squeeze together!

Still, "bringing home the bagels" sounds kind of cute, doesn't it? :)

Which option do you prefer? If the Jewish bakery gets more votes, I'll tell you one more funny case of vegetarian word use.
🥓 Bacon 9
🥨 Bagels 49
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Happy Interpreter 31 Jul, 11:27
​​Dog Days of Summer

Yesterday, I was quite lucky: I only had some remote interpreting to do, so I didn't have to rush anywhere through the melting-hot day. It was so hot and stuffy, that I spontaneously recalled some hot-day vocab. Here it is:

Balmy = weather that is so pleasant that it is positively therapeutic. If you go to Machu Picchu to celebrate the New Year, you're hoping for some balmy weather.

Blistering = extremely hot; hot enough to form blisters.

Dog days [of summer] = the hottest, most uncomfortable sultry summer days in the Northern Hemisphere. The name hails from a certain astrological period, which the ancient Greeks and Romans connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. To memorize the phrase better, please see the illustration in the end.

Muggy = a combination of humidity and heat that makes you sweaty and uncomfortable and long for air-conditioning.

To scorch = to burn something fiercely, to the point where its surface — your face, prairie grass, a steak on the grill — chars or otherwise changes color.

Stifling = something that makes you feel suffocated, either physically or psychologically. E.g. the weather characterized by oppresive heat and humidity.

Sweltering = uncomfortably hot and damp. On a sweltering day, the intense heat sends everyone to the pool or beach for some relief. You might even find yourself spontaneously singing, "Всі кияни йдуть на Гідропарк," or recalling some heat-related vocab.

P. S. The day before yesterday, I actually had to go to work. Thanks to that, I've made this iconic photo of a dog carelessly chilling in a puddle in one of Kyiv's major squares. Awesome, isn't it?
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Happy Interpreter 30 Jul, 20:48
The Most Important of Arts

Last spring, I described my old radio-based routine that I maintained for some time in 2003. This wasn’t the only routine I had; 5 years later I developed a different one, which helped me come in a close second in the All-Ukrainian English Olympiad. While the routine itself will be described a bit later, today I’d like to concentrate on just one aspect: movies.

In April 2008, prior to the Olympiad, I watched one movie in English every day.

Now, in my everyday life, I seldom watch movies (unless I interpret for a film festival, which is even more seldom). Bad news: this means, I cannot advise you much if you ask me which movie to watch. And now the good news: other people can!

If you can read Ukrainian, here’s a channel with decent movies: Стоп!Знято

It works like this: they publish brief descriptions of movies accompanied with links to websites where you can watch them online free of charge, in high quality, in all kinds of languages – including the original, of course. With subtitles, if you need those. Incredibly convenient. Maybe I should bring back my movie routine for some time?
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Happy Interpreter 26 Jul, 15:03
​​MMM: Meaning Makes Money 

Many speakers of the PechaKucha at UTIC-2019 noted that social media blogging can take quite a lot of time. What's more, in most cases it doesn't bring many new clients (at least, in the short run). Why bother then?

There's at least one solid reason: explaining stuff to others enables deeper understanding and internalization. Really; this is why I used to teach languages!

Here is a secret for you: success in the profession comes not from finding yet another client. Success comes from working long enough reasonably well – and then, in some miraculous way, work starts looking for you.

Without telling others about interpreting/translation, some colleagues "lose the spark". Instead, they start housing doubts and insecurity. Before long, they may start believing that:

🔹 interpreting/translation is dull and uninspiring
🔹 they are not making any important decisions
🔹 they are not earning good money
🔹 and other ideas, dubious to say the least

As a result, such a person may quit. And while I'm genuinely happy for those who find something better in life, in many cases people settle for something that's in fact much less profitable/exciting/fulfilling.

From Emotional Equasions, an awesome book by Chip Conley, we learn the following simple math:

Despair = Suffering – Meaning

Indeed, in interpreting/translation, just like in any other business, you are likely to meet people trying to mistreat you, deceive you, harass or abuse you. You'll see equipment breaking, trains getting late, and traffic jams all around. But when you discover some meaning to what you are doing, a reasonable amount of "suffering" is sort of ok – it even makes life more interesting. Indeed, finding some sense can make even very unfortunate circumstances bearable – Victor Frankl, the famous concentration camp survivor, is a case in point here (check out his short book, Man's Search for Meaning).

Now, there are many ways to discover (or create) meaning. Simple journaling/freewriting is not bad; but posting your text for external audience is like freewriting on steroids 😉

Brief takeaway: whatever you do in life, ask yourself, what's the meaning and purpose behind that, what's your motivation – and then try to explain your reasons to others. And it's highly advisable for those "others" to be not [only] your current and potential clients.
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Happy Interpreter 20 Jul, 13:57
Ignite Talks

Last week, when getting ready for PechaKucha at UTICamp-2019, several interpreters and translators — me included — were asking one and the same question: how can one possibly fit anything meaningful into 6 minutes and 40 seconds?!

Little did we know that PechaKucha is not the most laconic of popular formats: Ignite Talks give each speaker exactly 5 minutes for the same 20 slides :))

Interestingly, both formats were invented before 2010, when I even discovered TED!

When it comes to Ukraine, TEDx has quite a long history and broad geography here; PechaKucha has had as many as 27 editions in Kyiv. Meanwhile, Ignite still appears to be something foreign: the only evidence I could find of any Ignite Talks in Ukraine comes from a recent IT event.

BTW, a small hint if you are an interpreter getting ready for an IT event: watch their Ignite Talks — not that much for fun or inspiration, but rather to make sure you understand every word and the general train of thought. 5 minutes is a time limit too tight to go into unnecessary detail, but if some concept comes up even there, you need to have at least some general idea of what that is. Frankly, even as someone with an IT degree, I was taken by surprise a couple of times.
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Happy Interpreter 5 Jul, 19:14
Relentless Anxiety

YouTube videos on interpreting and translation in Ukrainian are rather scarce. If I find one, I can easily forgive some small drawbacks, e.g. imperfections in sound recording.

That's especially true for "Heпозбувна бентега", the legendary Arsenal discussion named after an iconic Ukrainian translation meme.

It's been there for over two years, but for some reason I only discovered it last week. The sound... will make you feel you are actually there :) 

Also, check out the other translation-related videos posted by Mystetskyi Arsenal on their channel.
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Happy Interpreter 1 Jul, 22:30
​​Week Commencing

Many years ago, while reading Though the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher, I learned how language – or, to be more precise, culture – can make some people develop certain “superpowers.” E.g. indigenous people of some-land-far-away could easily define compass directions, because their language pushed them to do so. Rather than going left or right (relative directions) they would go east or west (absolute directions). This didn't really work outside of their homeland (some quite small islands), and still, I was impressed.

Recently, I’ve discovered that people speaking corporate English can have a similar superpower. The thing is, in big international organizations and corporations they often measure – and allocate – their working time in weeks. Now comes the surprising part: the weeks are numbered, from 1 to 52. In business letters, instead of “the first week of July” one often writes week 27.

The superpower I’m speaking about is knowing exactly which days of which month(s) they mean even without looking at the calendar!

For speakers of British English, including those from the former British colonies, there’s a more “human” way to do the same: w/c. No, that’s not exactly water closet in this case. It’s week commencing. Thus, week 27 becomes w/c 1st July. 

If you ever need to convert a regular date into weeks or back, check out this simple website: www.whatweekisit.org
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Happy Interpreter 30 Jun, 20:00
Happy Birthday, Anna!

Sorry for the brief absence; these weeks have been quite busy and hectic, although not entirely devoid of some occasions to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. 

Even today, while a wonderful interpreter/translator Anna is having her birthday party, I'm "encaged" at home, finishing one of those fast and urgent translations for which "the deadline is yesterday".

Anna's channel, @word4power, is in Russian. Some reasons to subscribe:

🔹 Live reports from busy interpreter's life

🔸 Deep contemplations on language

🔹 Books to read, videos to watch, jokes to laugh at

🔸 Useful vocab

🔹 Awesome author! 😉
🎉 Happy BD, Anna! 35
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Happy Interpreter 15 Jun, 14:23
​​Serendipitous Patriotism

This is yet another self-denigrating story: I’m going to tell you of a very noticeable slip of the tongue that happened during my consecutive interpretation last week. Interestingly, it brought me a round of applause.

A bit of back story for those of you who don’t know me IRL: I’m a taciturn person of quite a Finnish temperament, and I look a bit Finnish, too. I visited Finland twice and felt at home. Though my knowledge of the language hardly went beyond the words sauna, linja-autoasema, and kiitos, I liked lots of their music – and the music of the language itself – so I kept listening to Finnish radio long after my Finnish voyages. To the best of my knowledge, I have no Finnish ancestors, but in some metaphorical, figurative sense it’s not too big of a stretch for me to imagine that I’m a Finn, or that my native country is Finland. And this is exactly what pulled a stunt on me a couple of days ago.

I was interpreting for a lady from Visit Finland. It went like this:

The speaker: [begins her presentation with a well-known fact about Finland]
Me, in Russian: As you may know, for the second year in a row, the happiest country in the world is UKRAINE…

Of course, I corrected myself immediately. But the audience liked my mistake more than the truth. I got a round of applause.

If you find this story entertaining, press the smile.
If you want another story of serendipitous patriotism – back from my university days – press the flag.
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Happy Interpreter 11 Jun, 09:18
Equanimity for Interpreters and Everyone Else

One of the things people keep asking me about is how to deal with anxiety while interpreting. While part of the answer is surely honing up one’s interpreting skill, another thing I find useful is mindfulness meditation.

I meditated almost daily since September 2015 till early 2018, and recently resumed the practice thanks to a subscriber of this channel. Unexpectedly, I quickly found the practice contributing to my interpreting career. Interestingly, my intuitive finding was later confirmed by the famous interpreter and educator Andrei Falaleyev. In his 6th textbook, Камея (2017) he included some meditation instructions accompanied with explanations why this thing might be worth your time and effort.

My story with mindfulness meditation started from the enthralling and compelling book 10% Happier by Dan Harris, a memoir-like narration of how a TV anchor and reporter started practicing. In late 2017, Dan came up with another book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (co-authored with Jeff Warren and Carlye Adler), by which he tackles some of the challenges and objections that unnecessarily preclude thousands of people from reaping the benefits of regular practice.

In short, if you can read Russian and would like to check out Falaleyev’s introduction and instructions, drop me a line, and I’ll copy that page for you. If you can’t read Russian, you probably have no idea who is Falaleyev anyway – but I can retell his argument here if you want :)

In any case, here’s Dan Harris sharing his story in Yale. Enjoy watching.
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Happy Interpreter 5 Jun, 13:50
Happy Birthday to... Me? 

I had my birthday yesterday. The best way to celebrate is, of course, to interpret till 9:30 pm, and that's exactly what I did. 

But intead of speaking of work, I'd rather describe an unusual birthday present I've got. A subscriber asked me whether I had a Patreon account; thanks to her, now I have one, and this channel already has the first patron. 

My account is of the simplest kind, with no "tiers," no bells and whistles. Those who want to support the channel, select an amount, and then it is recurrently charged from your account to Patreon, on a monthly basis. 

To get to know most of my audience, I had to pay for advertising at some point. It's a tricky thing: some of "subscribers" one gets in such a way are merely bots that unsubscribe soon after, but if for a hundred of bots I finally get to meet a real person like you -- I didn't mind the extra expenses. From now on, anyone can help me with those. 

The three best birthday presents I'd appreciate are the following:

1️⃣ Write to me if you haven't done sone so yet: @kusznir. Next month I'm going to do a presentation about this channel, and I'd like to include a slide on the diverse professions and occupations of my readers, as well as their geography of residence or work. So please, tell me where you are and what you do. Also, this a wonderful occasion to let me know what you'd like to read about!

2️⃣ If you like this channel, or any particular post -- please, share it with your friends, whether in real life or on social media. 

3️⃣ Again, only if you want to do so: support the channel with your $ on Patreon. This will help to partly cover my advertising expenses. For one-time donations, I also have a PayPal account, and if you are in Ukraine, there's always @PrivatBankBot for you. Again, my channel is very democratic; even without any donations, you are getting the same opportunities as big donors :) Cheers!
🎉 Happy BD! 45
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Happy Interpreter 4 Jun, 10:01
One More Reason to Deplore Brexit

Let's begin with a quote from John Oliver's show:

"Brexit — I believe, is short for 'brain exit,' the official word for when everything that makes sense goes out of the window and everyone is just stupid all the time."

While I do appreciate all the good things coming from the European Union, its language quite often seems to be a mixture of legalese and officialese. The Brits, the only EU nation for which the English language is truly native, often were the only beacons of style and taste in the dark sea of bureaucracy. This is especially true for their diplomats, lawyers, government officials, military officers, scientists, etc. — the educated folks, I mean. If Brexit entails the loss of this style, EU, I'm afraid, will be left devoid of the major part of its charm, its gravity and grace. I wonder why this huge peril is often overlooked or, at best, deemed an afterthought in discussions about Brexit.

To see the British magic in practice, let's take one example: a lawyer elaborating on some EU legislation changes. It's not a well-known speaker, not some popular video — the only reason I discovered it was getting ready for an event. But man, was it worth it!

It's not just about the accent. Take a look at the little tidbits of language the lawyer inserts here and there throughout her presentation:

lo and behold
fair few of you
music to one's ears
to get out of jail free
to vary wildly
borne out in practice
[annexes] sitting there in the back
of a kind
earlier on
a little caveat

Also, the video contains a cute slip of the tongue. There are two expressions in English: "dry as dust" and "dull as ditchwater." At some point the speaker accidentally mixes the two together, and says "dry as ditchwater," — which is absolutely hilarious — yet quickly corrects herself.

And one more little gem. For years my friends and I admired the figurative word "пробуксовывать" in Falaleyev's translations from English into Russian. OK, but what's the beautiful word to translate this concept back into English? Now I know: slippage. Thank you, Claire Dwyer.
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Happy Interpreter 3 Jun, 11:42
Farewell to Olha Seniuk

Last weekend, Olha Seniuk, a legendary Ukrainian translator, bid adieu to this prosaic world, thus joining her husband, translator Yevhen Popovych, in eternity. Olha died on the day of her birthday – she just turned 90.

Olha worked with a whole bunch of Germanic languages: English, Danish, Islandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. Among other authors, she translated Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, and Tove Jansson.

If you've got a copy of any work of literature translated by Olha, leaf through its pages. Or better yet, find a translator who's still alive and hug them.

P. S. If you'd like to know more on Olha's story, check out this wonderful article by BBC Ukraine.
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Happy Interpreter 27 May, 12:16
5 Books from Bill Gates

While the attitudes to Microsoft and its operating systems can differ, one could surely benefit from its founder's acumen when it comes to selection of good books. 

Recently, Bill gates recommended 5 books to read this summer. You can either read about the books in his blog post, or watch an even shorter presentation in the end of this post.

I'm not the fastest reader in the world, and I also have to finish a translation of a brick-sized volume. Thus, for my own summer read list I've chosen just 2 books out of his 5:

🔹 Upheaval. Yet another wonderful book by the 80+ year old lifelong learner Jared Diamond, who authored Guns, Germs, and Steel (a Pulitzer prize winner), and many other profound books. In his most recent book, Jared shares how 7 different nations survived crises. Interestingly, he draws parallels from personal crisis therapy. Aslo, as an example of a personal crisis in his own life, Jared recalls the good old times when he wanted to become a simultaneous translator (sic!). But that's worth a separate post.

🔸 The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier, a much younger scholar who just turned 70. Well, this just sounds like something I'd read anyway — such literature often makes it to airport stores, and thus has a good chance of grabbing my attention. Also, some of the ideas in the book seem to have something in common with The Dismal Science by Stephen A. Marglin, a copy of which I've bought quite some time ago, but it's too relishable — one doesn't simply sit down and read it! 😄
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Happy Interpreter 25 May, 12:34

Here in the Slavic world, one may envy the English language for the lack of problems with feminitives. Indeed, in English most professions, occupations, and titles (and, for that matter, nearly all other common nouns) are gender neutral.

Moreover, wherever there were any traces of gender in the titles, the most feminist thing to do is to remove them.


Stewardess ➡️ Flight Attendant
Maid ➡️ Housekeeper

However, even in English it's not always that simple. Let's consider the person leading a board or a committee.

Traditionally, the title was — and often still is — "Chairman." In the past, most people in such positions actually were men. Fortunately, as the society moves forward, we gradually embrace leadership based on merits rather than on one's gender. So, how do we call a woman in this position?

The best solution, just like with flight attendands, is to use a gender-neutral title: chairperson or simply chair (the same is true for an ombudsperson). Interestingly, some people seem to perceive these terms as "not manly enough;" in India, for instance, a chairperson is usually a woman, while a man would still be a chairman.

You might think to yourself: yeah, India is just some backward, overly traditional country, but in forward-thinking western democracies they surely have this sorted out. Well, not really. Again, this is an official title enshrined in charters, statutes, ordinances, regulations, and laws; each organization abides by different ones, and they are very slow to change. As a result, if you go to the US Senate's website, you'll find both Chairs (heads of the political parties' conferences and committees) and Chairmen (heads of Standing Committees; Chairman/Chairwoman in the singular). 

And here is a real example from a meeting in Ukraine: two ladies, Hanna and Natalia, landed in the same panel discussion. Apparently, the organizers followed the logic of the US Senate, which makes one of the ladies a chairwoman, and the other a chairperson

P. S. One more important notice: whenever possible, please avoid using the second person (like the word "you" and the associated grammar) when addressing chairpersons. Learn more here.
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Happy Interpreter 20 May, 14:54
Interpreting and Technology

One of the most intriguing questions about simultaneous interpreting is whether we human interpreters are going to be replaced by machines anytime soon. While the short answer is "no," the landscape of interconnections between the world is a bit more complex than that.

To find out more, let's check out the eponymous publication compiled by Claudio Fantinuoli (December 2018).

In this post, let's just look through the terminology and briefly answer the question whether those technologies are already in use and whether they can have considerable impact on human interpreters.

Computer-Assisted Interpreting (CAI) -- tools aimed at improving the working experience of interpreters, both during preparation and during the very act of interpreting. Just like CAT tools, CAI tools would help with terminology, proper names, numbers, and other nitty-gritty details of subject matter.

A particular case of CAI is Computer-Assisted Interpreter Training (CAIT).

Is CAI there yet? Meh, not really.
Should interpreters be afraid of it? Nope.

Remote Interpreting (RI) -- technically, any setting different from the traditional one, in which all the interpreters, all the speakers and all the audience are located in one room.

In other words, if the conference is in the hall and the interpreter is seated in some dusty closet, or if at least one speaker is joining through a conference call, that's already RI. 

The most extereme case, though, is a situation when the interpreters are not present at the venue altogether -- they are somewhere in their home cities, whether in their home offices or some kind of interpreting hubs (you know, something like call centers).

Is RI there yet? To some extent, yes.
Should interpreters be afraid of it? Yes.

Machine Interpreting (MI), also known as automatic speech translation, automatic interpreting, or speech-to-speech translation, is the technology that aims at replacing human interpreters with software.

Is MI there yet? Meh, not really.

I'll quote the author: 

"The success of these systems has been quite modest so far, as they fail to achieve the goal of quality and usability even for the most basic real scenarios in which interpreting is needed." 

Should interpreters be afraid of it?
To some extent, yes.
This is the kind of technology that can cause some real pain in the back despite it doesn't really work yet.

OK, that's it for today; I hope we'll explore the topic further in the forthcoming posts.
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Happy Interpreter 18 May, 12:28
Neil Gaiman

A sweet video for laid-bak Saturday watching and/or listening:

Tim Ferris, the author of Tools of Titans, The 4-Hour Week (and, basically, 4-hour everything) interviews Neil Gaiman, the famous fiction writer whom I was honored to translate a couple of years ago.

Among other things, Neil will share his reasoning behind writing fiction with a fountain pen, why it's necessary to always carry spare batteries, and how they worked together with the late Sir Terry Pratchett. You'll learn about the exact size of the notebook he chose for Stardust, and what effect it was supposed to have on the style of the narration.

So make yourself a cup of luxury tea and enjoy this classy conversation. ☕
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Happy Interpreter 16 May, 14:13

On Facebook, I signed this photo with the following joke: "A new president, a new Bible." Well, actually, this edition of the Bible has nothing to do with current Ukrainian politics, and it is not that new. 

ZeBible is a Bible in French, with brief comments and other Bible study tools for teens (did they mean Generation Z?). It was first published in France (2011), and quickly made its way to Canada and other French-speaking countries.

In many languages, the Bible was one of the first books ever translated and/or printed. No wonder, it has been a popular language learning tool for centruries.

Nowadays, the world is more secular and the language learning material is way more diverse. Why bother with the Bible then? Well, having made its way into secular world, spiritual vocab has become a signature feature of educated speakers. If you want, I can make a separate post (or, better, a series of posts) with examples of originally religious words that acquired additional secular meanings.

The only difficulty here is that traditional versions of the Bible are usually written in the old language. Sure, those old versions can be quite beautiful; but imagine yourself a foreigner trying to learn Russian, grabbing the Russian Synodal Version (19th century) and finding all those "кольми паче" and "поелику же" :-) Of course, as a foreigner, you'd probably prefer a modern translation.

Same thing in France. One of the more traditional versions was authored by Louis Segond (again, 19th century; you can find it with later revisions). On the other hand, there are versions en français courant, and ZeBible is based on one of such attempts. Also, while working on the comments and Bible study tools, special effort was made to make the language simple and understandable to teens.
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