Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Happy Holidays?

Trying to post regularly and failing, I will keep posting at random like this quote, from the mouth of one of my fave charas, in a ficlet:
“See,” Tony said, “here’s the thing. New Year’s… it’s just a day. Calendars are random human bullshit that don’t have anything to do with the actual passage of time. Time’s not a series of little circles, over and over again, it’s one big piece, stretching out to infinity in either direction, and we’re just tiny, tiny little blips. Hardly significant at all.”
“If you want to change your life,” Tony said. “You don’t need to wait until New Year’s to do it. Just… decide you want to improve and get to work on it. You don’t have to wait. Seize the day, and all that.”

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Some tips

From tumbl:
Tips For Writing Prompts: #1
  • Write / type your prompt. (The sentence, paragraph, or word.)
  • Create an outline of what you want to happen in the story.
  • Focus on the genre. What kind of story is it? How can you bring forth the overall feeling of the story.
  • Listening to a song that relates to the genre of the story could help.
  • If the story relates to you think about what happened to you, how you felt, and how it affected you.
  • Don’t feel pressured into making your story a specific length. Unless there’s an instructed prompt limit, feel free to make it as long as you’d like. Just make sure you get your point across.
  • Always triple check your writing for grammar, spelling, and any errors in general.
  • Always accept constructive criticism.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Reality bit

Just a little quote from Rejection Is Hard To Take, that made so much sense!

Tony rewrites reality's rules all the time, who better to keep the Reality Stone?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

FUCK YOU (sorry not sorry)

Obvious choice, why didn't I before?

Fuck You - Lily Allen

[Verse 1]
Look inside, look inside your tiny mind
Then look a bit harder
Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired
Of all the hatred you harbour
So you say it's not okay to be gay
Well, I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

[Verse 2]
Do you get, do you get a little kick
Out of being small minded?
You want to be like your father
It's approval you're after
Well, that's not how you find it
Do you, do you really enjoy
Living a life that's so hateful?
Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control a bit
And it's really distasteful

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you

[Verse 3]
You say you think we need to go to war
Well, you're already in one
Cause it's people like you that need to get slew
No one wants your opinion

Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you...

From Genius.com

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Because Disney is classic, and whoever says it's only for kids lies.

Strong - Sonna Rele

In a perfect storybook the world is brave and good
A hero takes your hand, a sweet love will follow
But life's a different game, the sorrow and the pain
Only you can change your world tomorrow

Let your smile light up the sky
Keep your spirit soaring high

Trust in your heart and your soul shines forever and ever
Hold fast to kindness, your light shines forever and ever
I believe in you and in me
We are strong

When once upon a time in stories and in rhyme
A moment you can shine and wear your own crown
Be the one that rescues you
Through the clouds you'll see the blue

Trust in your heart and your soul shines forever and ever
Hold fast to kindness, your light shines forever and ever
I believe in you and in me
We are strong

A bird all alone on the wind can still be strong and sing

Trust in your heart and your soul shines forever and ever
Hold fast to kindness, your light shines forever and ever
I believe in you and in me
We are strong

Again, shamesly taken from AZLyrics.com

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Just some romance

Well, what the tin says, just some places where I can download/check some romantic novels. Mostly in Spanish. Prolly to be added to later.

El Desván de Morrigan - almost a year without posts, but all links seem to be up
FreeLibros - Tu Biblioteca Virtual - tag Johanna-Lindsey
El rincón de la novela romántica - tags Jo-Beverley and Johanna-Lindsay - not downloads, but reviews and bibliographies (ordered in series!)
Descarga Novelas Romanticas - and here a long list of Johanna Lindsay novels

ebookmundo - Miles de ebooks gratis en formato epub,pdf.mobi y fb2 para descargar
Descargar libros electrónicos gratis - Libros electrónicos de Ficción Contemporánea gratis

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Language Learning

After vowing that at some point I'll speak more languages I decided to study pashto (long list of odd coincidences account for the choice), and then realized that before that I should really become proficient in the languages I've already started to study, namely French and Japanese - mainly because it also implies learning a new alphabet. So, in the meantime, I'm shelving this links as well as a couple of Android apps that might work.

¡Aprenda las palabras más importantes en pastún! at 17 Minute Languages, where you obviously can pay for more extensive courses, and there are a lot of other languages.
Aprender Pashtu at ilanguages, very basic too but with some grammar.

Language Exchange Community MyLanguageExchange.com: penpals, chats, voice chats, word games, etc.; plenty of language pairs to choose from - I'm thinking on signing up if only to practise English.

App/site combos I intend to check:
Anki (shared decks and AnkiWeb sync too)

Also, trying to re-acquaint myself with Japanese kana, these sites:
Aprende el silabario Hiragana! at Alfabetos.net, where you can choose the lg, and there are several sources for each one (including Japanese)
JGram: The Japanese Grammar Database - an interactive community; learn by communicating, sharing knowledge, and talking between Japanese and non-native speakers

Monday, 3 April 2017


Not the first and not the last BON JOVI gem I'll add. Also, I'll tighten up the format soon.

Have A Nice Day - Bon Jovi

Why, you wanna tell me how to live my life?
Who, are you to tell me if it's black or white?
Mama, can you hear me? Try to understand.
Is innocence the difference between a boy and a man?
My daddy lived the lie, that's just the price that he paid
Sacrificed his life, just slavin' away.

Ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain't gonna do what I don't want to,
I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day

Take a look around you; nothing's what it seems
We're living in the broken home of hopes and dreams,
Let me be the first to shake a helping hand.
Anybody brave enough to take a stand,
I've knocked on every door, on every dead end street,
Looking for forgiveness,
what's left to believe?

Ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain't gonna do what I don't want to,
I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.

[Guitar Solo]

Ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain't gonna do what I don't want to,
I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day.

When The world keeps trying, to drag me down,
I gotta raise my hands, I'm gonna stand my ground.
Well I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day
Have A Nice Day

Shamesly taken from AZLyrics.com

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Apps tips from experts III, for productivity's sake

Last but not least, for productivity's sake:

RescueTime – An add-on to Google Chrome that measures your time spent on different activities and programs. It produces daily, weekly and monthly reports and I use it to see where my time goes, what activities are unproductive and time-sucks and how much I work.
Rescue Time – This is free but there is a paid version. I use it to time my hours at my PC. But it does more than log time at the PC. It breaks down your work patterns into productive time, very productive time, or distracting time You can control which website or applications are productive/distracting. For example, although I might go onto Facebook during the working day, it is usually for work purposes, so I count it as productive. You can see how long you were using MemoQ, for example, or how long on Skype. You can also categorise your applications into types, such as communication and scheduling, business, writing (i.e. translating).
I haven’t been using it long but it is already producing some insightful reports.
You can set goals, such as achieving 85% productive time, not working more than 2 hours at weekends, and others
– RescueTime tracks the time you spend online, offline and away from your computer. It’s helped me to boost efficiency and streamline processes, and I don’t know what I’d do without it! It saves me time and headaches by working automatically and holds me accountable by showing exactly what I’ve spent my time on (whether that’s work or Beyoncé videos). The best bit is the ‘productivity pulse’, which shows how productive you’ve been that day. The paid option also allows you to block distracting websites, set up goals and alerts, and even compare your annual productivity levels.
– RescueTime Lite: Free, Time management software
If you want to keep track of your productive/distractive time online, this is your tool. You get reports that show which applications/websites you have spent your time on, how much time you have spent in different (editable) categories, how productive you have been, and whether you have achieved your goals.
– RescueTime helps me track how much time I spend on what on the computer. At www.rescuetime.com, you can categorize the programs/apps and websites you use from very productive to very distracting and once a week, you get a report on how much of your computer time was productive. Quite an eye-opener! You can also set goals and you are cheered accordingly if you reach them. The regular reminder motivates me to keep on the right track.
Focus@Will – If you’re easily distracted by noise around you, this app is for you! Focus@Will is like a Pandora for productivity, featuring scientifically optimized music to help you concentrate and increase your focus. You simply select your channel, from classical piano to ambient cafe noises, choose the intensity level, and tune into your work. An optional timer reminds you to take breaks every now and then to give your brain a rest. I listen to the Focus@Will app with noise-cancelling headphones on my iPhone whenever I translate to tune out barking dogs, ringing phones and other distractions.
– Focus@Will is a paid music streaming service that lets you listen to music scientifically proven to increase your focus. I don’t know about the science behind it, but I do know that it has kept me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed during long proofreading sessions and tricky translation passages. This might be just the tool to bebop you out of that afternoon slump.
Workrave – Workrave is a free tool to help you remember to take breaks. I love my job and I love running my own business, which sometimes means I get sucked in and forget it’s time for a break, a glass of water and a bite to eat. Workrave reminds me to take regular breaks and even takes me through exercises to keep my body in tip-top shape. It makes the day whizz by and I’m a fresher, happier translator as a result!
Simple Pomodoro (Firefox or Chrome) – This app helps me divide my working hours into 25 minute chunks (when I have to focus on the task, and I’m not allowed to check social media, eat, take calls etc.), interspersed with 5 minute breaks. It works both ways: with tasks I’m keen on, it reminds me to take regular breaks; with tasks that I’m not so very fond of (administrative work etc.), it’s easier to focus when I know I can have a break every 25 minutes.
7 Minutes Full Work Out – The title gives out what it does, I guess – interval training for seven minutes. I can use it at home – no equipment needed. It’s excellent for days when I don’t get to move around much. I use it mostly in the morning, first thing before (or right after) coffee.
Fitbit App – As translators, we can sometimes end up sitting at our desks for hours on end. I use the fitbit app as a reminder to keep moving and get some exercise! I’m much more productive if I look after my health and fitness, so I always aim for a good balance between work and play.
Focus Keeper – This is a small app for iOS based on the concept of Pomodoro technique. I find that concentrating on translation for shorter periods of time followed by a break helps me translate 20-30% more words per hour. Taking regular breaks from sitting at my desk is also good for my health.
TomatoTimer – A useful productivity tool where simplicity is the key. I find that thinking in 25-minute segments (with the promise of a short procrasti-break at the end) helps me to keep going when faced with a daunting task. It also helps me to move more when I’m working from home: at the end of the 25 minutes I get out of my chair and stretch my legs.
Moosti – Moosti is a simple Pomodoro timer app. It’s on my favourite list because of its additional features. You can mark the time period you wish to work for, and set your short break and long break times. You can also use it on your mobile phone so you will still receive the notification when you get up and move around during your break. This app is perfect if you tend to peg away for hours until your eyes become blurry!
Strict Workflow – This is a ‘Pomodoro’ extension (for Chrome, but similar tools are available for other browsers) that blocks a list of sites for a set period before giving you a break – perfect for those of us who are easily distracted by social media and news sites!
– I use this Chrome extension to manage the time I spend surfing the Internet. As you know, sometimes you waste time checking your pages or commenting on fb, twitter and so on. This tool helps you to block certain websites for a set time and be able not to be distracted from them.
Productivity Planner – This tool mixes the Pomodoro technique with a daily/weekly planning focusing on the most important tasks. As I love getting things done, accomplishing goals or dreams and celebrate my wins, this is a tool that is now fully part of my day and I miss it when it is not around! I use the paper version, but the developers are planning to create an app, too.
SelfControl – This little helper is my last resort when I just can’t stop procrastinating. It shuts down all the websites that you put on a blacklist (like Facebook, Twitter or other dangerous time sinks) for a pre-defined amount of time, e. g. for one hour. After you hit start, you cannot circumvent the restrictions in any way, not even by quitting the app. Because sometimes someone needs to be strict with us when we just can’t.
Noisli – Noisli is a simple little website that lets you choose a background noise (nature sounds, train rattle, café atmosphere, etc.) to boost your productivity. Studies have shown that you are more productive with a soft constant background noise than in absolute silence. It works miracles for me! Bonus: Sometimes I get to choose a noise that fits my current translation. For example, while I worked on a book on the Top 50 dive sites in the world, I listened to the sound of sea waves in the background. Method Translating!

Yes, I know that some apps could go in more than one category, and that if I go read that article again I'll probably chose some more apps. It is what it is.

Apps tips from experts II, good for bussiness

Here, good for bussiness, or at least for the translator:

Google Keep – Tried every productivity colour-coded app in the world. Loved them all. For a day or two. But this one seems to have stuck. Great for all my notes.
– My favourite note-taking app is Google Keep. I can take and save notes, to-do lists, checklists, images and voice memos, and easily transfer them into Google Docs or share them with others. I can set a pop-up reminder in Keep and get notification in my browser or on my smartphone. Two amazing features: you can use Google Keep as a bookmarking tool and to transcribe text from images.
– I find this tool particularly useful for writing down ideas or for brainstorming while I’m out or to remind myself of a particular task. I can then add pictures, drawings, recordings. I can share it or invite somebody to collaborate. I can set a reminder or change the note colour. And then, once I’m back in front of the computer, every change or addition has been already stored and updated.
Trello & Asana – Task and project management. These SaaS are very helpful when it comes to organization and task distribution of projects!
Trello – Trello is the perfect tool for every to-do list fan! You create boards which are personal or shareable. On each board you create lists and add to-do items to each ones. You can define a deadline or a checklist for each item, and if the board is shared, you can also assign items to different users.
– A perfect tool for all organisational freaks (or just translators). Allows you to manage all translation projects and keep an eye on deadlines as well by using visual cards which you can easily drag and drop from one list on another (Kanban type) – I use three lists: “to-do”, “doing” and “done”. Basic version is free of charge.
– I use Trello to manage all the important information I need for my work as a translator, and also in other areas of my professional or personal life. I can create as many boards and tasks as I want, even if it is a “not so urgent” task. With the possibility to add a label, to have a due date or even adding another person to the task, I really love this tool and recommend it to everyone.
– Trello is a collaboration tool that helps me keep projects organized, so I know who is doing what and when. You can have a number of boards and organize the workflow in whatever way works best for your individual needs. So, for example, I have one board for my manager who handles all into-Spanish projects, and that’s organized by workflow, and I have another for my blog contributors that’s organized by person. Trello helps me keep everything in one place, as the members of a particular board comment on it, attach files, assign due dates and use checklists. It’s a simple yet very versatile tool.
– This is an amazing tool for collaboration. You can use it from a laptop or install the app on your smartphone. It allows you to see an overview of the whole project, you can add people to the project board and discuss your work with them. There’s a number of additional tools like labels, checklists or deadlines that make organizing work on a project easy.
– Trello helps me keep all aspects of a project organised and run efficient to-do lists. With Trello, I can keep track of all stages of a project at one place and make sure I don’t lose any important note or idea! For example, your ‘Projects’ board can have lists such as ‘To do’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’, each containing cards of projects at various stages. These cards can show deadlines, checklists, comments, labels and attachments.
– Trello is a great way of creating to-do lists. It allows you to set up different boards, set deadlines, colour-code different types of tasks and, if necessary, assign them to other people within a group. You can also sync it to your smarthphone. Moving a task from to-do to done when you’ve finished it is the best part. I have even been known to add small tasks I’ve already completed just so I can do this!
Asana – All your projects in one place! You can quickly view your tasks, to-do-lists, deadlines, calendar, project documents, etc. It’s a great tool for team work and helps to keep all project conversations and ideas in one place. For example, Asana is very handy, if you collaborate with reviewers or a small group of translators and want to communicate with them quickly and avoid the e-mail ping-pong.
Toggl – Toggl is a fantastic and completely free tool that helps you keep track of the hours you have worked on a particular project. I love it because I bill a lot of my translation clients by the hour and it’s very easy to use and well designed. You can create reports and use all this data for invoicing. I tried several time management tools, and this one is my favorite by far!
– Simple, but visually appealing productivity tracker which will provide you with transparent reports. I find it very helpful when working on projects such as proofreading or transcreation as it allows me to see how much time I spent on particular tasks and. If required, I can also share a report with my client. Basic version is free of charge.
– Toggl is a very useful time-tracking tool to help you find out how much you earn per hour for each job, regardless of how you charge for it (per word, fixed price, etc.). This way, you can easily see which jobs are the best paid ones. The free version offers plenty of options to create your own custom reports.
Flipboard – Flipboard is my “Personal Magazine”. It allows me to choose the type of news I want to hear about, in my case international news, business, biotechnology & science, art & design and books. Easy to use, varied sources, great layout!
Quahill Basic – Quahill Basic is a translation project management software that was specifically developed for freelance translators that allows me to keep track of all my projects, manage client data and invoicing procedures and still get lots of performance reports.
Insightly – Free CRM tool which I use to organise eCPD work, allocate tasks to myself and my assistant and keep track of emails (the important ones anyway), files, contacts and dates. There are limitations with the free version, but it’s enough for us for now.
CRM (customer relationship management)
Portable Kanban – Kanban is an excellent system for staying organized and on top of your projects. It can be used by teams but also by individuals. Dmitry Ivanov’s Portable Kanban is an excellent implementation of the Kanban system for Windows, very suitable for individual translators. This tool is freeware.
Pocket – Pocket allows you to save and tag online articles with one click, whether you are viewing them on a PC or on your smartphone. This tool comes in really handy for building a content archive for my social media marketing efforts. Whenever I come across an interesting article, I save it in Pocket and tag it in the place I plan to share it later, e.g. “Twitter,” “LinkedIn,” etc. Pocket integrates with many other apps such as Feedly, making it a one-stop shop. When I schedule my social media updates for the week, I just go to Pocket and pick from there.
Pocket and Flipboard – I use them alternatively for saving interesting links (and I use both in addition to Pinterest). They complement each other very well – Flipboard has a public side to it that might be useful for reaching out to colleagues etc., while Pocket makes it easier to save the same article under different tags.
– Whenever I come across an interesting article that I want to read later on, I add it to Pocket. Pocket automatically syncs content to my phone so I can view it any time, even without an internet connection. There are three things I like about Pocket: 1. It allows you to add custom tags to your articles. This makes it much easier to sort through and find articles. 2. Saving to Pocket removes the non-text elements of the page so you can read the articles without any distraction. 3. You can connect Pocket to Evernote!
If This Than That – If This Then That is an app that does exactly what the name implies. It allows you to connect your favorite apps such as Twitter, Pocket, Evernote, Facebook, Buffer and many more by creating “recipes” that determine task sequences. For example, I use this app to help expand my social media content archive: If I like, send or retweet anything on Twitter, that content is automatically saved to Pocket. It’s an effortless way to build up my library and a huge time saver when it comes to my content marketing strategy.
– This is an online tool (both for desktop and mobile) that allows you to automate tasks. You can create your own “recipes” or borrow others that have been created. Each “recipe” carries out an action whenever a certain trigger happens. For example, you can get a notification in your phone when you receive a high priority email, you can automatically save all attachments you receive by email in your Dropbox/Google Drive, or you could add a reminder on Google Calendar whenever you miss a call. The possibilities are endless and, if used well, you can save a lot of time by automating repetitive tasks.
Unroll.Me – I try to keep my inbox as clear as possible so that I don’t feel overwhelmed. Unroll.me (free tool) creates a list of all your subscription emails and you can instantly unsubscribe from any you don’t want to receive. It then combines your remaining subscriptions into a ‘Roll up’, which is sent out once a day. So all my translation e-group emails, blogs I’m following, industry newsletters, etc. are sent as one email and don’t clog up my inbox.
– I am one of those people who can’t help but read every email that drops into my inbox as soon as it arrives. Unroll.me bundles up all of the less important emails (newsletters, LinkedIn requests, blog notifications) and delivers them in one bundle every morning. This means I’m not distracted by a “ping” every 10 minutes, but also that I don’t have to unsubscribe from emails that might interest me.
– If you’re a compulsive newsletter subscriber like me but hate being disrupted with non-urgent emails when working, then unroll.me is for you. This handy tool creates a list of all your email subscriptions so you can unsubscribe form all unwanted emails in one go and combine non-urgent emails into one daily email.
Unroll.Me has increased my productivity a lot. I’m no longer distracted by non-urgent emails and I can now read all my newsletters at the same time and whenever it suits me.
Feedly – For me, Feedly is the best way to read blogs and share your favourite articles very easily on social media. It’s specially directed to those who are avid blog readers, and there are so many great translation blogs right now! It’s a great tool that I love to use on my smartphone. Give it a try!
Inoreader – Want to stay on top of industry news in your interest areas and working fields? Inoreader (inoreader.com) is your new best friend. Subscribe to RSS feeds, social channels (Twitter, Google+, Facebook), and more. Create active searches to track specific keywords and topics. Maximise for effectiveness with rules and filters. With a Pro plan, you can also search in all public articles. Great for keeping a close eye on interesting prospects too!
Google Contacts – I use it a lot for the translation school where I work now. It’s very convenient because it lets me create different groups of contacts (students of specific xl8 courses, teachers, tech support of the webinar platform and other services we are using etc.) and then email them by groups. It also makes it a lot easier looking for the contacts of a specific person if I have forgotten their email, but I remember which group he or she is in). I started using Google Contacts only after I started working with this translation school and I almost immediately wished I had started long before that because it makes communication so much easier!
Hootsuite – Since I started freelancing as a translator/interpreter Social Media has helped me connect with other translators and share views on interesting topics regarding our profession. This wouldn’t have been possible without Hootsuite.
The tool allows to schedule tweets/posts across different social media channels. I usually spend about 1 or 2 hours in the weekend scheduling my social media posts for the whole week.
The basic version allows you to synchronize up to three social media platforms.
FreeAgent – This website basically runs the bookkeeping and invoicing side of my business for me. I have an accountant too but being able to see an overview of my accounts, bank statements, taxes and clients at a click has transformed things.
– At a cost of only US$20.00 per month, I find the FreeAgent invoicing and accounting tool good value and very useful. I wish I had taken action earlier on this recommendation made by Marta Stelmaszak in 2014. Apart from all the usual features one would expect, and excellent online help and support, it has an in-built time-tracking tool which can be linked to the client invoicing function.  This is great for work paid by the hour, but is also an uncomplicated way to keep tabs on your productivity per job, and non-billable hours per client.  The overview and reporting functions are a source of endless fascination to me, and the pleasant user interface motivate me to get my administrative work done.
LSP Expert – This is a project management platform I’ve started using this month. It has specifically been designed for freelance translators (by a translator and a developer who come from… Belgium!), so it’s very convenient to organize your project, pricing and services per client, etc. This is a giant change from my previous management system which consisted of Excel spreadsheets (yes, not very intuitive as you can imagine). Now, I just need to type in all the project information and voila! LSP Expert allows me to issue invoices and to get an overview of my profits. It probably has more features that I haven’t explored yet, but for now, I must say I’m pretty satisfied with it and can’t imagine going back to my old system!
Translators who outsource might also be interested in having a look at Linguition, which is also a project management only much more complex!
Linguition | Manage your translation projects in just a few clicks: Linguition is an all-in-one user-friendly online translation project management solution that helps you manage your projects in just a few clicks.
Instapaper – I find this website extremely useful when it comes to saving useful online resources, translation-related blog posts and articles, translation agencies websites that I want to check out, and the like. It literally only takes one click to save any website so that I can go back to it later on whenever I have (or schedule) some time to peruse them in more detail.
Remember the Milk – Remember the Milk is a to do list tool which I use to plan my work. I often work on a lot of small jobs and RTM allows me to quickly see what I need to do this week and whether I can still fit in another job.
Hievage – It’s an invoice and billing software. It allows you to send an unlimited number of invoices and estimates, accept online payments, track your mileage and expenses, etc.
And yes, managing your finances in a way that works best for you, will make your life easier.
Podio – This flexible and easy to use workhorse is great for project management and collaboration. It helps you get more work done, is easily connected with other cloud based platforms and it allows customized forms.

Prolly shoulda broken this down a bit more, but there you have it.

Apps tips from experts I, strictly for translation

Ok, so I found all this tips and recommendations on software in this article, Learn from the Experts! 72 Professional Translators, 139 FREE* Tools to Help You Stay on Top of Your Game, and I chose this apps to check/consider/download/register/use/etc. So many apps, so difficult to organize (add-ons/standalone/site, free/paid, etc), so I only placed them in three groups: strictly for translation, good for bussiness and for productivity's sake. First chunk, strictly for translation:

Text to Speech – By far the best discovery in my 7 years as a translator. And absolutely free. It’s a feature in Microsoft Word which reads your text back to you and has made a huge difference to my final edit of any text. The ear hears what the eye does not see. Changed my life!
PerfectIt – I do a lot of editing and revising, including some quite lengthy reports. PerfectIt is a relatively cheap software which scours your document for the tiniest inconsistencies which are again unlikely to be caught by the naked eye. The one time you hyphenate no-one in a document full of no ones for example. Does a very thorough search and points up ever mistake…
– Even when we check our work carefully and read it through several times, some errors are still difficult to spot. PerfectIt is useful for ensuring consistency in a long translation. The tool will point out spelling, capitalisation and hyphenation inconsistencies, to name but a few, ensure all brackets and quotes are closed, check that abbreviations have definitions, etc.
You can even select a specific style from a dropdown menu or define your own. Trial it free of charge for 30 days.
– As many translation issues come from inconsistent or badly authored source texts, this MS Word plug-in enables an enhanced QA for English documents (think spell/style-checker on steroids). EU, UN and WHO styleguides already built in.
– Even when we check our work carefully and read it through several times, some errors are still difficult to spot. PerfectIt is useful for ensuring consistency in a long translation. The tool will point out spelling, capitalisation and hyphenation inconsistencies, to name but a few, ensure all brackets and quotes are closed, check that abbreviations have definitions, etc.
You can even select a specific style from a dropdown menu or define your own. Trial it free of charge for 30 days.
– As many translation issues come from inconsistent or badly authored source texts, this MS Word plug-in enables an enhanced QA for English documents (think spell/style-checker on steroids). EU, UN and WHO styleguides already built in.
ABBYY Finereader – Getting PDFs either electronically made or simply scanned happens all too often. ABBY Finereader converts it for me in usable Word (or even Excel) format, with the degree of formatting I have chosen myself. Has often proved to be a lifesaver. Not free but not overly expensive (~100 euro for a license).
– For sure one of the best tools to work with PDF, and probably the best if you’re a translator that work regularly with scanned files (dead PDFs). This tool is great to convert those files and use them in your CAT-Tool (after some manual improvements of course) or to estimate the word count and perform a quotation to the client with no effort. However, this is not free. But it’s great value for money! Give it a go!
LF Aligner – The only alignment tool I have ever come across in the past that was worth aligning with, was the old Trados 7 aligner. But that’s hard to come by as a stand-alone product. Behold then LF Aligner, which aligns a lot better, faster, easier than any of the current usually built-in alignment tools. And the tool is free too!
LF Aligner helps translators create translation memories from texts and their translations. It relies on Hunalign for automatic sentence pairing. Input: txt, doc, docx, rtf, pdf, html. Output: tab delimited txt, TMX and xls. With web features.
TextPad – Getting a usual text file or other type of file (software related usually or XML) that is hard to read with continuous lines where it’s difficult to retrieve anything? Open it in the free TextPad that will sort the layout so that you can easily see what’s in it and how the file is structured. Free!!
Microsoft Language Portal – Here you can find all official Microsoft terminology, style guides, UI translations in more than 50 languages. This is the go-to website when you’re localising Microsoft-related content.
OneNote – It allows me to note anything and everything in one place. I have divided it into easy sections (ideas, inspiring websites, CPD etc.) and I have it on my smartphone too, which means that I can add anything to it when I am on-the-go and it is synched to my PC. Very useful tool!
Dragon Naturally Speaking – While this isn’t free, at only £50 or so for the Home version this has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It leads to increased productivity (easily doubling your daily output – my record to date is 13,000 words dictated in a day – admittedly with a CAT tool as well!) AND helps prevent or alleviate RSI, which is why I bought it in the first place.
– My life saver when it comes to tight deadlines. It works best when you have it completely trained and the text is not too technical, in my case, it works perfectly when translating novels. It may not be very cheap, but it is worth it!
– OK, so this involves an upfront investment, but I got the DNS software + mic for £200 two years ago which works out at £8.30 per month so far. Dragon not only speeds up my translation rate (and I was a fast typist to begin with!), it gives me more time for proofreading and produces a more natural-sounding text. The other major reason I use it is the health benefit: less typing means a lower risk of developing RSI, plus it gives me the freedom to get out of my chair and dance around the room while I work.
– I’m sure you’ve heard of DNS and that you can save time, rest your fingers and possibly even earn more by dictating your translations. But did you know that DNS can dictate them back to you as well? Just place the cursor where you want the text-to-speech to start and say: Read document/paragraph/screen/etc.
The voice is a bit stilted and it can take some getting used to, but it certainly helps me focus on every single word I’ve written and stops me from delivering jobs with embarrassing mistakes (dairy/diary is a recent example).
Solid PDF to Word – This is the very inexpensive little brother to the main SOLID suite, but does a great job at converting even the most complex editable pdf files to perfectly formatted Word files. I have Abbyy Finereader too, which is invaluable for scanned pdfs, but the formatting can sometimes be a pain. I find it’s always worthwhile seeing if you can use Solid first, as it produces much better formatted results.
– Tool converting PDF files into MS Word files.
Very useful when you receive PDF files to translate, although not all kinds of PDF files can be easily converted.
I’ve used it for more than 10 years as it works well for most of the PDF files I receive.
Directory List & Print – This tool provides an editable text list of all filenames in any folder. Big translation projects often have multiple files and this app makes it easy to add a file list to a spreadsheet, email, Word doc, etc.
There’s a free and a Pro version (€18) and once installed, the list option appears when you right click the folder in Windows Explorer.
Search and Replace for Windows – Search and replace utility allowing you to search for words within multiple directories full of different kinds of files.
Very useful to look for information, but also to change a translated term throughout a whole project, as a translator, reviser or project manager.
New version: Replace Studio Pro.
Repetition Detector – When translating books or texts which require even more creativity than usual, it is important not to repeat yourself (especially when repetition is not a characteristic of the text you have to work on). Repetition detector is perfect to avoid repetitions that can result in a poorly written text.
Reverso Context – You may know Linguee, which is OK for fields such as law and economy, but does not help much when it comes to literary translation.
Reverso Context is great because of its comprehensive database. It contains not only the official documents you would find in Linguee and similar tools, but also dialogues (books and subtitles) and multilingual websites, and it covers both formal and informal language!
Count Anything – Count Anything is a free tool that allows you to count the number of words and characters in a given source. It supports a very wide range of document types, but also URLs, making it very useful to give quick quotes for translating websites. I have tried other pay tools in the past, but this one does a pretty good job and it’s completely free!
– Count Anything is a free word count tool, particularly helpful because it is easy and quickly to use and quite accurate. It supports a large variety of file formats: Microsoft Office files, Open Office files, HTML and PHP files, text and PDF files (text only), XML files. It counts number of words, characters (with and without spaces), Asian and non-Asian words. It also counts words in text boxes, graphs and many other embedded objects.
Acronis True Image – Acronis True Image is powerful backup software that you can set and forget. When my computer crashed and burned recently, it only took me 10 minutes to set up my new system thanks to the daily system clone I had Acronis creating on an external hard drive! If you’re thinking about upgrading your drives or simply want to sleep easy at night, Acronis is a great choice!
Backblaze – When my laptop was stolen a few years ago and I lost 3 weeks’ worth of work I realised I needed to get an automatic back-up tool. Before that I just updated to an external hard drive every once in a while! I’ve used Backblaze (a cloud back-up tool) since that and would really recommend it. It works in the background and backs up everything for you on a daily basis. It costs $5/month which is well worth the peace of mind!
Pen and paper – This is back to basics really, but it truly is my favourite organising tool. Always accessible, infallible, needing no Wi-Fi and so so simple – we’ve learned to use it years ago!
With a pen and a piece of paper I am way more creative than in front of a screen, so I can draft a blog post in no time. Similarly, my to-do lists are always written in ink or pencil, rather than typed on a device.
It’s as easy as this: I owe my creativity and organisation to the simplest tool possible – pen and paper. It’s much underestimated but for a minimalist as myself – perfect.
– The low-tech tool I find indispensable is a week-to-view paper diary in combination with a handful of differently coloured pens, either for colour coding or to add to the vibrancy of the page.  The choice is yours! I can see at a glance what I have actually done, and whether I have free time to squeeze in that extra job, and I use it to review “what was good and what was not” at the end of each day and at the end of the week. Having my diary on paper frees up space on the two screens I habitually use for my work. I have tried all manner of calendar apps and programmes and find the traditional diary the most effective organisational tool for me.
Karen’s Replicator – Karen’s Replicator is a freeware that automatically backups files, directories, even entire drives. It copies selected files from one drive/folder to another. Source and Destination folders can reside anywhere on your network. What is more, files larger than 2 GB are supported. A must-have software for every translator who wants to backup his/her work easily without spending many hours to do so.
Grammarly extension for Chrome – As a non-native English speaker, I fear a typo is always around the corner, so having an extension that reminds me the correct spelling or the best way of wording something is really helpful. With this, I can make sure that every email or social media post is always spot on!
Evernote – Evernote is like my second brain. I use it to collect material when I do research for my blog posts, to track my marketing activities (there’s a great reminder feature that alerts you when it’s time to follow up with that dream client) and many other things. I also have a brain dump note, that I use to quickly write down things that come to mind while I’m translating so that I don’t forget about them and can go back to them when I finish the work.
– One tool I couldn’t live without is Evernote. Its Basic (FREE) features include the possibility to save articles and clippings from the web, share information with other users and synchronize across different devices.
Notes on a similar topic are grouped into notebooks.
For me this means being able to save results from web terminology research carried out for a translation or interpreting project, save them in one place and access them from everywhere.
WeTransfer – With the known limitations of all email providers, WeTransfer lets you send up to 2 GB files (free version) in a clean and easy way.
ProtonMail – Forbes even called it “the only email system NSA can’t access” and with good reason, too. Their servers are located in Switzerland, and the emails are encrypted end-to-end, which means it is impossible to intercept and decipher them. You may request an invite (free of charge). Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.
SugarSync – A great online syncing tool that automatically scans designated folders (i.e. My Documents) for new files, and securely copies them to your cloud storage. Great disaster protection, and lets you grab and edit your files from anywhere. You can also create public links to allow other people (i.e. clients in other time zones) to download specific files.
ApSIC Xbench – One tool I find excellent is ApSIC Xbench. Its many features include converting translation, memory and glossary files between various common formats, but the main thing I use it for is QA. I’ve exploited the checklist facility to set up hundreds of my own language checks (whether my pronoun antecedents are ambiguous, whether I’ve positioned the word “only” correctly in the sentence, etc.). It’s my own free quality assurance companion, customised just the way I like it.
Snipping tool – A desktop app on Windows, this handy little program lets you take a snapshot of part of your screen – perfect for sending confusing error messages to PMs or tech support.
InterpretBank – Last but not least, a tool I would recommend is the terminology management software InterpretBank. It was developed to suit the needs of conference interpreters who want to keep all their conference related glossaries in one place and quickly look up terms in the booth.
While it offers a few awesome features for conference interpreters (memorize glossaries before a conference or look up and extract terms from reference materials, just to name a few), I use it for my translation related glossaries as well.
The one-time licence, which entitles you to all updates, costs 89 €. Before buying it you might want to check if your professional association has a an agreement with the software provider which entitles you to a discount.
Click.to – Click.to’s been around for years, and I’m always surprised more people don’t know it! Simply, it connects your clipboard to all your favourite research sites and more. A kind of alternative to Intelliwebsearch.
The Great Suspender – A Chrome add-in that automatically suspends tabs when they’re not being used, and then reactivates them when you click on them again. Prevents the nightmare of Chrome crashing midway through research with 20+ tabs open!
Automatic Speech Recognition – ASR is picking up in our community for productivity, quality, as well as ergonomics reasons. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate into English on Windows, and Apple iOS’ built-in Romanian and French ASR when I need to dictate into these languages. Google Voice is not bad at all, either! The ability to look away from the keyboard, rest my eyes, dictate in a natural style, and be more productive overall are key for me. Top tips: don’t dictate like a robot, watch out for ‘speakos’ in the various languages (homophones in English; non-standard, deprecated spellings in Romanian), and take self-revision very seriously!!!
Automatic Speech Synthesis (Text-to-Speech, TTS) – Hearing someone else read out your translation (or whatever you have written, for that matter) gets your senses involved more fully in the revision and review processes. I’m a big fan of asking Dragon Naturally Speaking to read out what I have just dictated in English so that I can check the style and intelligibility without straining my eyes.
Top tips: 1. start with the range of languages offered for free by your text editor and your operating system before buying a dedicated TTS tool; 2. don’t rely just on the spoken output for checking your deliverable: have another look at your text before sending it to the client.
CodeZapper – A plug-in which cleans tags from badly formated MS Word documents (especially an issue when working with converted PDF files) and makes their import into CAT tools friendlier.
SketchEngine – It is an online corpus analysis tool. You can use it to create adhoc corpora for translations using its web trawling feature to identify domain-specific terminology and syntactic structures, or create your own corpus through hand-picked documents. Through the subscription you also have access to the most important general language corpora for many languages, meaning you can make evidence-based decisions about correct word use or the true meaning of words in specific contexts when working on translations.
Mendeley – Mainly used as a tool for researchers, but this program is an absolute godsend when it comes to organising the papers you gather while doing research for translation projects. You can set it to follow specific folders on your computer. It then automatically loads all the pdfs in those folders into its system, so you never have to repeat searches you know you have done before but can’t find. It also allows you to annotate pdfs within the program for reference later.
AntConc – Another corpus tool! This is a free corpus tool and is most useful if you are going to create your own adhoc corpora from documents you have collected in your research. Laurence Anthony, the developer, also provides open source programs for converting these files to UTF8 text files the program can read, so for those who don’t want to pay for a subscription you can use this program for researching terminology and language use in domain-specific areas for specific translations with this nifty tool!
– I discovered this free tool while taking a MOOC on corpus linguistics by the Lancaster University and once I got the hang of it I got hooked. The developer, Laurence Anthony, offers a series of other free corpus tools and always replies directly to your questions by email. I have written about corpus analysis tools like this one in my blog on terminology and it goes hand-in-hand with Bootcat, to convert websites for analysis in AntConc. That’s 2-in-1!
IATE’s Chrome extension – I believe the extension could be useful for everybody, especially those who work often with terminology related to EU institutions. A user can search for terms without leaving the page they are currently viewing.
Everything Search Engine – I have to say I love, love this other free tool. No more looking for hours for that file that you misplaced! This tool allows you to quickly find files and folders in your computer. A godsend when you do a wrong move and get crazy trying to find your file.
Lupas Rename – When you have a hundred files and need to rename them, this is the (free) tool to use. Not only for your professional work, but also for your personal pictures from your last vacation!
Text Expander – I have been using a text expander for over a decade and I simply could not live without it. Save text snippets or entire templates (for e-mails, checklists, etc.) and have them expand when you type a few letters. It saved me hundreds of hours of typing over the years. Many options available, pick your favourite. At the moment, I use WordExpander (freeware).
EU Glossaries – A search engine created by TermCoord (using a WP macro filtering excel tables) that regroups 223 glossaries published by all EU Institutions. It is one of the most visited features provided by termcoord.eu.
TermCoord Search APP – This small, lightweight application will allow every Android user to consult more than 8 million terms in 24 official EU languages, searching in the EU terminology database IATE in a fast and user-friendly environment. Results come filtered by reliability and it is also possible to search in a specific subdomain. This project is designed not only for translators, but for journalists and students as well. Thanks to its ease of use, everybody will be able to prompt a search in just few seconds.
IntelliWebSearch – Yes, that’s right: I wrote IntelliWebSearch myself. But I originally wrote it *for* myself: I am a professional translator and transcreator, not a professional software developer.
The tool is designed to save time when checking terminology on the Internet. It doesn’t do anything you can’t do yourself: it just does it a damned sight quicker. If you run into a text where the right terminology is essential and you haven’t much time, it is absolutely indispensible.
NaturalReader – If you deal with marketing materials, such as leaflets, brochures, posters, flyers, advertisements, press releases, advertorials, websites and the like, your transcreation not only has to read well, it often has to sound good too. That’s where NaturalReader steps in: it reads what’s on your screen out loud. It’s also great for picking up on typos.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Oxford dixit

Another interesting article in the Oxford Dictionaries Blog, Translatable vs untranslatable, and two brief quotes:
A lot of the coffee-break reads popping up on the internet don’t contain untranslatable words, but rather language lacking a word-for-word English equivalent. Is a translation only a translation if it is eloquent and succinct?
When moving from one language to another, what’s a translation and what’s a definition – and is there a difference? Brevity seems to matter: the longer the translation, the more likely it is to be considered a definition. Does this make it any less of a translation?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

On the English language

I've read this quote or its variations several times. It's been around. It still needs to be here:
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
According to Wikipedia, a guy named James Nicoll wrote it in 1990 in the Usenet group rec.arts.sf-lovers, and then went on to be quoted by linguists galore. And the Internet. And a variant:
English doesn't borrow from other languages.
English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and rummages through their pockets for loose grammar.
Is it too obsesive to keep tracking variations on the original? Here's one attributed to Terry Pratchett:
English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.
Also, the one that made think of looking this up:
Because English beats up other languages in dark alleys, then rifles through their pockets for loose grammar and spare vocabulary.

Friday, 3 March 2017

-Ize or -ise?

From the awesome Oxford Dictionaries Blog, taken as is, to have when asking myself this, again:

-Ize or -ise?

Many people visiting the World (non-US) version of our website ask us why we spell words such as realize, finalize, and organize with ‘-ize’ spellings, rather than ‘-ise’. There’s a widespread belief that these spellings belong only to American English, and that British English should use the ‘-ise’ forms instead, i.e. realise, finalise, and organise.
In fact, the ‘-ize’ forms have been in use in English spelling since the 15th century: they didn’t originate in American use, even though they are now standard in US English.  The first example for the verb organize in the Oxford English Dictionary is from around 1425, from an English translation of a treatise on surgery written by the French physician Guy de Chauliac:
The brayne after þe lengþ haþ 3 ventriclez, And euery uentricle haþ 3 parties & in euery partie is organized [L. organizatur] one vertue.
The OED’s earliest example for realize dates from 1611: it’s taken from a definition in A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, a bilingual dictionary written by Randle Cotgrave:
Realiser, to realize, to make of a reall condition, estate, or propertie; to make reall.
The first recorded use of the verb with an ‘-ise’ spelling  in the OED is not until 1755 – over a century later!
The use of ‘-ize’ spellings is part of the house style at Oxford University Press. It reflects the style adopted in the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (which was published in parts from 1884 to 1928) and in the first editions of Hart’s Rules (1904) and the Authors’ and Printers’ Dictionary (1905). These early works chose the ‘-ize’ spellings as their preferred forms for etymological  reasons: the -ize ending corresponds to the Greek verb endings -izo and –izein.
The situation is slightly complicated by the fact that certain verbs must always be spelled with ‘-ise’ at the end in British English, rather than ‘-ize’: this is generally because they have come into the English language in a different way. You can also check out a list of these verbs. The difficulty in remembering which words belong to this group is perhaps one of the reasons that –ise spellings were adopted more widely in British English.
The dictionary on the UK/World side of our website gives alternative ‘-ise’ spellings at the main entries for all ‘-ize’ words where it’s appropriate. In British English, it doesn’t matter which spelling convention is chosen: neither is right or wrong, and neither is ‘more right’ than the other. The important thing is that, whichever form you choose, you should use it consistently within a piece of writing.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sherlock Holmes' London

These I took from Sherlock Holmes, Victorian Gentleman, at Stanford's Discovering Sherlock Holmes site. Related to the previous post, but worth a post of their own.

The heart of London in Doyle's time

A Bird's-Eye View of the Thames

Sherlock Holmes

I can't believe that I haven't posted anything on BBC's Sherlock! I've been reading fanfiction, and I've downloaded tons of pics, of Martin Freeman specially but also of Benedict Cumberbatch, and still no post. I realized just now, when trying to check what I had already posted on the subject of Sherlock Holmes to avoid repetition. Well, another day. So, here are some interesting sites I've found while looking for the complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle (at least some of them, when I find whatever I last bookmarked I'll add more).

The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia: so very comprehensive! Life, works, interviews, adaptations, etc. I found it while looking for The Coming of the Fairies.
The Baker Street wiki: includes all versions of the story. 
Arthur Conan Doyle: the official site of his literary estate - news and few other things.
Sherlock Holmes Online: in Spanish, with links to download some works, podcasts, and news.
Read Sherlock!: compiles the Sherlock Holmes canon in an easy-to-read and printer-friendly format.
The complete Sherlock Holmes Canon: from these pages you can download all the original stories for free, in different formats.
Portal Sherlock Holmes - Wikipedia: as useful as the wiki.
Discovering Sherlock Holmes: a Community Reading Project From Stanford University.
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London: a literary and social Society for study of the life and work of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson; events, podcasts and bulletins.

Also, I loved the Downey movies, even if at first I despaired at the casting (only at first, I think).

And also, THE Holmes (Conan Doyle) quote:
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.