Jan Bauer and The Salty River

Take an intrepid German illustrator, add water (but only as much as he can carry on a 450km walk through Australia’s arid centre), and what you get is a superb — beautiful, moving, funny and sad — graphic novel, Der Salzige Fluß, by Jan Bauer.

Take three intrepid Melbournians who found a publishing company called Twelve Panels Press and decide to publish Jan’s book in English, and you get a wonderful opportunity for a German-to-English translator to do something amazing.

Take an amazing amount of luck, and you get to be that translator.

The Salty River, by Jan Bauer, published by Twelve Panels Press and translated by me (Judith Pattinson) will be launched at Readings Bookshop in Carlton (Melbourne) on 27 August, 2015. Jan will also appear as a guest of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Here are links to the trailer and info about Jan and the book.






Taking time to align

So your client has sent you pages and pages of reference documents – source and target – and you need to make sure you’re taking them into account to the letter. Preferably without your deadline flying past with a whooshing sound, or your income dipping below the poverty line.

(So just keeping the reference documents open on your desktop and searching through them optimistically at regular intervals is probably not going to fit those criteria. I should know – I tried it …)

One way to approach this might be to index the reference docs, perhaps using your operating system’s search facility, perhaps using a program such as Copernic, or – much better because it’s beautifully tailored to translators – using Apsic XBench, a powerful concordance tool and more.

The obvious way, however, with ″twin″ documents is of course to align your pair of reference documents and create a TM from them.  For me this required considerable courage: I had to finally come to grips with Trados Studio 2011’s WinAlign function. (Once I had googled where it was hidden (an aha moment in itself) and then how to add files to it … ) A bit clunky, but it got the job done nicely in the end.

Creating my TM, and even doing an extra run-through in Studio with only that TM active, gave me confidence that I wasn’t going to create any inconsistency with the previous year’s version of the document provided by the client.

The only factor I hadn’t reckoned with in my relentless drive for quality assurance and efficiency was the poor quality of the reference documents I had so lovingly aligned.

Ah well, Win(Align) some, lose some!

Converting the T-rex of TBs?

IATE.tbx — The Battle Continues.

It’s big, it’s ferocious … well, okay, maybe not ferocious. But converting the astonishingly large IATE termbase of European Union terminology into a usable form on your PC is a bit like Fred Flintstone trying to take home his brontosaurusburger — it’s liable to capsize your vehicle.

In this case, my PC.

No, the PC didn’t fall over, but all the applications I’ve tried so far in order to access this vast body of European terminology have, some with an ugly “Exception of type “System.OutOfMemoryException was thrown” message, and others without even that.

And the termbase file is only a ‘measly’ 770,051 KB. Multiterm Convert, Excel 2010, glossary conversion tools, Apsic Xbench, even the straightforward (okay, desperate) approach with Notepad have all failed.

But it’s not over yet. Please stay posted!

Totally FIT!

Just back from FIT 2014 Berlin, and completely enthused. Around 1600 participants, and all of them interested in the subject of translation. More great lectures and workshops than you could poke a stick at, let alone attend, and all in the cool capital of my (other) favourite country, Germany. It would be easy to become addicted to conference adrenaline.

Fortunately, there’s another great conference coming up — our own AUSIT conference in Brisbane this November. Not to mention the fact that we (well, okay, the wonderful AUSIT office-bearers) have won the right to host the 2017 FIT conference, also to be held in Brisbane.

So there are only a few months to implement some of the many wonderful ideas brought home from FIT (such as blogging!) before it’s time to jet off again. It’s a prospect that should fuel the translation work nicely…

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