Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Flying versus Eurostar

I just got back from a nice long weekend in Paris. It was lovely to see the market on the Champs-Élysées. While I was there I took the chance to get myself a nice new coat in the Lafayette store. Enjoyed good food and good drink while I was there.

I went with my girlfriend by Eurostar and I was thinking about which I prefer, flying or trains.

The obvious benefit of trains is that it goes right from the middle of London to the middle of Paris, and it's quite pleasant journey, with relatively little hassle boarding. Heathrow is quite convenient for me, but it's still a bit of a pain to get to the airport, and boarding the plane is a hassle.

The disadvantage of the train I suppose is the timing, but honestly, the door to door journey wasn't much long than for a flight. Perhaps further than France would be more expensive. However, for Paris or Brussels, give me the Eurostar anyday.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Galaxy S3 phone problems

Myself and a friend both purchased Galaxy S3's about the time they were released in the UK. So now they are around 2 years old.

Over the past 3-4 months, I've noticed my phone has been getting much slower. The most annoying thing is that when a call comes in, I would swipe the "answer" button, but it would freeze and I would end up missing the call.

My friend also described having the exact same problem. My girlfriend starting reporting that my calls were very "fuzzy", and she couldn't hear me clearly. I also noticed on a couple of calls, that the caller was struggling to understand what I was saying.

I did a factory reset and honestly, I don't see much of an improvement. It's quite annoying as 2 years isn't really a very long time. I know people upgrade their phones regularly, but I think they should last at least 5 years or more.

Anyway, I'm thinking of upgrading to an HTC One which I've seen has good reviews.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Following on Twitter

Recently, I've been playing around a lot with my @ConstructiveTra account on Twitter.

There's an  awful lot to do with the program, but one of the first things I decided to do was follow a bunch of people who I want to read regularly. Then I started following potential clients and writing content they might be interested in. Some of the clients have followed me back, and I guess that could be the beginning of a good relationship.

After a while people started following me, and I decided I would follow anyone back who followed me, as long as they weren't publishing anything offensive, or totally irrelevant.

After some time I noticed that the number of my followers was falling. Looking into it, I realized that many of the people who followed me did so just to get me to follow them back, now they have stopped following me. Personally I think that tactic really sucks.

There are a few different software solutions, and now I'm very strict about clearing out by non-followers on a regular basis, unless of course, they are regularly producing content I'm interested in.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

I deleted all the comments

After a bit of a break in this blog, I did some analytics and much to my surprise I found we were ranking highest for Fake LV Handbags. That was a bit of a shock as we talk about technical translation, so I did some research and realized that a lot of spammers include some kind of link in otherwise ordinary looking comments on my posts.

So I went through and found that virtually all the "great post!" type comments were actually just spammy link building. I deleted all comments and I've set the system to let me review them regularly. If comments look suspicious in future I'll just block them.

It's probably something a lot of people who run smaller blogs need to look out for. Not the worlds hardest lesson, but still something to learn from.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sitting on a ball

Hi all,

I've been exploring a lot of the various issues about working from home. One thing I kept reading and feeling was that my back was getting tired from sitting in my chair all day.

The first thing I tried was to just sit up straight, but that's easier said than done. For one thing, the armrests on my chair are slightly too low for me when I sit completely upright.

After doing some reading I purchased a Swiss ball to try. The ball was inflatable and I now use it as a seat for about an hour a day. The main benefit with it is that you really have to sit straight, it won't let you slouch. That means it's much more tiring than a regular chair and I've found that about an hour a day is enough. Maybe over time as my back gets stronger, I'll try to increase the time I spend sat on the ball.

One of the downsides is that the ball is pretty big (I got a 65 cm ball) and when I'm not using it there's nowhere to keep it in my little flat. So it usually sits on the bed (as shown below) while I'm working.

Overall I'd say it was a good idea. I've certainly felt a bit of an improvement in my posture and it helps break up the day when the job I'm doing is boring.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Interview with Wordbee a CAT Developer

Today's blogpost will be an interview with Anita, Marketing and Sales Manager for Wordbee, a company based in Luxembourg who are developing translation tools. I asked some questions I thought my readers would find interesting.

DAVID: Why create a new translation system? 

ANITA: We are going to celebrate our fifth anniversary in March, and we’ve already had success on the market, but we are still new to many people! We created Wordbee because of the potential that the cloud has to help people collaborate and share resources. Really, we’re a cloud translation solution.
When everyone is working on their own desktop tool, you have to be at your computer to work. Our vision is to provide great cloud-based tools at a good price. You can work anywhere, and your translation work is always accessible, private and safe in the cloud.

DAVID: Can you identify any problems with existing CAT which you could solve?
ANITA: We have solved a number of problems already. One problem was that two people could not access the same document, at the same time. With Wordbee, two or more people can jump in and collaborate in our browser-based CAT Tool. This creates a use for our commenting/notifications tool.
We also try to make ourselves compatible with other tools. You can export translations and/or memories to other tools, and you can also work on files from other tools, for example TTX.
Otherwise, it’s about the linguistic technologies and ease of use, and we get high marks in both.

DAVID: How do you intend to fit in the market with the existing CAT products?
ANITA: At the level of the LSP or Agency, we already fit in. Also at the enterprise level. At the level of translator and small LSP, we recently launched a new package called Freelance Entrepreneur. Our basic Freelancer package includes our CAT tool, translation memory, invoicing, scheduling, integrated terminology database, and lots of other things, but it’s not free. It’s very good, but not free. Our Freelance Entrepreneur package gives freelancers the basic package, plus project management and the ability to create teams, helping them win a place as a niche LSP when they get a chance. We are hoping that freelancers will find value in that kind of solution.

DAVID: What kind of CAT tools are generally used in Luxembourg?
ANITA: In Luxembourg, there is a need for our technology, so we do have some important contracts here with the government. That being said, our customers come from all over the world! As far as translators go, it looks a lot like the rest of the world, just smaller!

DAVID: What are your plans for the future?
ANITA: As far as developments go, there is currently commenting in the CAT tool, so you can comment on a segment, and you can have team members notified of your comment. Which works. But we would like to expand that functionality to make it even easier to communicate when you are translating on a team.

DAVID: Can you talk about your software briefly?
ANITA: Sure. It runs in your browser, and as a freelancer you can manage your invoices, prices/fuzzy matches, word counts, and finally make the translations. The CAT tool includes integrated Google Translate, Reverso, and Bing dictionaries, as well as the IATE terminology database of official EU translations. You can comment on segments to come back to them, or for other team members, and you can preview the documents or even websites when you translate. Version history is easily available, hot-keys, advanced settings… you name it. Last, it does all document formats, and is compatible with other tools. You can upload/download memories and/or translations. You can even download a translation, make it in Word, and upload it back into the CAT tool.

DAVID: What do you expect to see generally in the CAT industry in the near-future?
ANITA: Cloud. More cloud. It’s just so much better to share a space and to share resources than to have everything separate.

DAVID: What is the impact of non-European languages such as Chinese on CAT?
ANITA: We actually won a nice contract with Nikon Precision Inc. last year, and they chose us because we handled Japanese characters and character sets without any problems, and because we have complete project management, but our Asian language work was a real investment for us. I think that the Asian market is something like 12% of the total market right now, but it will likely continue to grow, so we want to make sure that our system is seemlessly working with Asian character sets.
We are planning to have a Japanese interface for our entire system at some point in the near future.

DAVID: Where can we find out more about you?
ANITA: We’re on the web at http:www.wordbee.com, and you can also find us on Facebook or Twitter! We’re at quite a few conferences as well, so come see us!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Translating Medical Terminology

I just wanted to mention a new reference book I purchased the other day which I've found really helpful. It's called "Understanding Medical Terms", written by "Ralph Rickards" (link here) to buy on Google (I don't get any referral fee). There are actually quite a few similar books, but this has been my favorite since buying it, and in just a few hours I've seemingly doubled my ability to read medical terms. I use it to check all kinds of things.

It's actually a very short book, running to only 106 pages, with sparse and large text. It gives basic rules for constructing medical terms and is bound to be helpful for translators. Here's an example, "pluer-, cost" are given to mean "relating to the ribs", so we can now guess what "intercostal muscles" are. Each chapter gives a few common roots for Greek and Latin terms like "The Body", "The respiratory System", "Cells" and so on. Each chapter gives about 20 roots which you can then combine to make thousands of different words. "Otorhinolaryngology" for example is just "Oto" - ear, "rhino" nose, "laryn" throat", "ology" -study - Ear, nose and throat! Just learning a few terms like that suddenly seems to unlock a lot of medical terms. Definitely worth getting if you ever come across medical terminology in your work or life.

It struck me when I was reading it, how much easier it is to read medical reports in Chinese. In Chinese the word for intercostal as an adjective is just 肋骨间 (ribs-space), meaning "between the ribs" which is actually the same thing the word means in English except we use costal instead of rib. Would it hurt for medicine to do a round of simplification and replace some of the old roots with the modern word. I know "Interribal" sounds a bit funny at first, but we could soon get used to it.