Funny mistranslations in hotels

Reblogged from the Translation and l10n for dummies blog with permission from the author (incl. the image)

Funny mistranslations in hotelsEvery translator, linguist, language lover and grammar nazi has been there. Wherever we travel, our eyes are checking everything around us for grammar and translation mistakes. The following mistranslations are some of the most ‘famous’ ones, they can be found in many webpages online. I won’t talk about the importance of professional translation services to avoid such (sometimes grave) mistakes, I’ll just let you enjoy the hilarious translation blunders.

Japan

  • Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
  • Please to bathe inside the tub.
  • You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
  • Information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.
  • Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disgusting behaviors in bed.
  • Depositing the room key into another person is prohibited.

Germany

  • Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.
  • Berlin cloakroom: Please hang yourself here.
  • It is our intention to pleasure you every day.

Greece

  • Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
  • In order to prevent shoes from mislaying, please don’t corridor them. The management cannot be held.

Austria
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

France

  • Please leave your values at the front desk.
  • Name of a hotel in Lectoure: Hotel de Bastard.
  • Wondering what to wear? A sports jacket may be worn to dinner, but no trousers.

Romania
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

Serbia

  • To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
  • The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

Russia

  • Across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursdays.
  • If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

Poland
On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.

Switzerland

  • Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
  • Special today – no ice cream.
  • We have nice bath and are very good in bed.

Mexico
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

Thailand
Please do not bring solicitors into your room.

China

  • Included with the package of complimentary wares in a Chinese hotel was a pair of workout shorts marked: Uncomplimentary pants.
  • Good apperance please no watermelon please.

South Korea

  • Choose twin bed or marriage size; we regret no King Kong size.
  • Measles not included in room charge.

Italy

  • This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.
  • Please dial 7 to retrieve your auto from the garbage.
  • Suggestive views from every window.
  • If service is required, give two strokes to the maid and three to the waiter. It is kindly requested from our guests that they avoid dirting and doing rumours in the rooms. Hot and cold water running up and down the stairs.

Finland
Instructions in case of fire: If you are unable to leave your room, expose yourself in the window.

Ethiopia
To call room service, please open door and call Room Service. Please call quiet, people may sleep.

Morocco
A strong trunk is at your disposal on the reception of the hotel.

Spain

  • We highly recommend the hotel tart.
  • Take Discotheque with or without date, in summer plus open air bonging bar
  • (Canary Islands) If you telephone for room service you will get the answer you deserve.

Qatar
Please do not use the lift when it is not working.

Kyrgyzstan
No entries in upper clothes

Turkey
Flying water in all rooms. You may bask in sun on patio

Denmark
Take care of burglars

India
No spiting on the walls

Sources:
http://langs.eserver.org/mistranslations.txt
http://www.alphadictionary.com/fun/mistranslation.html
http://www.languageswork.org.uk/learner_zone/take_a_break/mis-translations.aspx
Book: Lost in Translation: Misadventures in English Abroad

Multilingual profiles on LinkedIn

By Catherine Christaki (@LinguaGreca)

Multilingual profiles on LinkedInLinkedIn was launched in 2003 and is currently the third most popular social network in terms of unique monthly visitors, right behind Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories. More than half of all B2B companies are finding customers through LinkedIn.

A large part of LinkedIn members (67% as of April 2014) are located outside of the US and some of them, including linguists and their (potential or existing) clients, are multilingual. LinkedIn allows users to set up additional LinkedIn profiles in other languages.

I think it’s a good idea for translators and interpreters to have profiles in two (or more) languages. A multilingual profile can highlight your linguistic skills and your command over different languages. Plus, it’s great for SEO. The keywords in both your original and your translated profile will boost your online presence and your ranking in searches (on LinkedIn and search engines).

How to set up your profile in a second language

You can’t change the language of your primary profile once you’ve set it up, so you need to create a profile in a secondary language through your existing profile. It’s better to avoid creating a whole new profile (with a different email address) because that will mean you having two or more separate profiles on LinkedIn, which might confuse people looking for you.

  • To create your new profile, log in and then click here.
  • Choose your language from the dropdown list. LinkedIn.com shows content and provides customer service in the following languages: English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, and Turkish. Other languages are being considered for the future (Greek is not high on the priority list when I last checked in 2014 during a LinkedIn presentation at Localization World in Dublin). You can see the languages supported for LinkedIn mobile applications here.
  • Localize your first and last names, if needed, and then translate your professional headline (having in mind the usual tips: take advantage of the space and don’t just say “Greek translator”, try to include a benefit your clients get from working with you).
  • Edit your new profile. Translate or write in the secondary language the following in this order of priority: Summary, job titles and descriptions in the Experience section, Advice for Contacting. Then, go through the rest of the sections and localize as necessary. Whatever else you translate in your secondary profile is a bonus, but the three sections I highlighted are important because they are the most visible parts of your profile, the ones that potential clients check and use to decide if you might be a good fit for their translation/interpreting project.

How a LinkedIn multilingual profile works

Visitors will see your profile in the language that matches the one they’re using the site in. For example, if someone is using the LinkedIn French interface and you’ve created a French profile, then they will see your French profile by default. If they’re using the site in a language that you haven’t created a secondary profile for, they’ll see your profile in the language of your primary profile.

All of your language profiles are indexed in search engines and have their own URL, i.e. if your primary profile is linkedin.com/in/yourname, then the French profile would be linkedin.com/in/yourname/fr. When a LinkedIn user has a multilingual profile, there’s a button on the top right side of their profile, View this profile in another language, and when you click on it, a dropdown menu appears with the available languages.

Is it worth the trouble?

I think it depends on your clients’ location and language. I’m an English to Greek translator and almost all of my clients speak English. Even the ones based in Greece have English profiles. So, I decided that for now an English-only profile works fine for me. If your clients speak your source language instead of your native, a LinkedIn profile in that language would greatly increase the chances of them finding you on LinkedIn and online.

If you have a LinkedIn profile in more than one language, please share your experience in the Comments below. Was it easy to set up and localize? Has it received many views and has it led to translation or interpreting work?

Header image credit: Pixabay
Header image edited with Canva

Book Review: Diversification in the Language Industry

By Catherine Christaki

Book Review: Diversification in the Language IndustryFrom time to time, in the translation industry (I’m guessing in many other industries as well), there are trending topics and buzzwords that become hot topics for a period of time. A few years ago, the buzzword that all linguists were talking about was diversification: what it is, do we need it, who it’s suitable for, and ways to do it. Nicole Y. Adams offered some structure and food for thought for those discussions with her book Diversification in the Language Industry (published in 2013, 350 pages).

The book is a collection of essays and interviews from seasoned language professionals offering their views on and experiences with diversifying their services. (Disclaimer: The author of this post wrote the Blogging and social networking article in the book.)

About Diversification
In Chapter 1, Nicole talks about a survey she conducted in July 2013 among 250 freelance translators regarding the services they offer and their views on diversification. She lists the following as the most common arguments that translators cite against diversification (more food for thought):

Diversification is only for bad translators. I’m successful and make a lot of money from translation alone, so I don’t need to diversify.
I’m not an outgoing person; I’m not comfortable selling or putting myself out there.
I have no time to diversify because I don’t want my core activity (translation) to suffer.
I trained to be a translator; why would I want to do anything else?
I’d rather improve my existing translation business and become a better translator.

Nicole includes an article by Anne-Marie Colliander Lind about three major trends in the language industry: volume increase (more content produced = more to translate), technology as a productivity enhancer, and disintermediation (less middlemen between the end client and the translator). She also offers the following recommendations for translators who want to diversify:

  • Add a new language pair.
  • Add another domain of specialization.
  • Become an expert in the fields you translate in.
  • Embrace technology. Learn how to use the available tools.
  • Collaborate; build a network of translating colleagues. They are not your competitors; they are potential co-workers.

In another article, Anne Diamantidis explains her position that diversification isn’t necessary, i.e. not all translators should or need to do it. She writes “If a translator feels they do not earn enough, they could consider increasing their rates and/or diversifying their existing offering, before immediately taking on a second job or writing books. Diversifying in our industry does not automatically mean having a parallel career or a new business branch. It can be as simple as adding a ‘plus’ to your offer.” And (I really enjoyed this comment and I completely agree): “…diversifying too much…can seriously damage your credibility: if you do too much and are too loud, people may think you clearly have too much time on your hands and that therefore you’re probably a terrible translator because your clients don’t give you any jobs.”

Types of Diversification
The book also offers definitions and explanations of four different types of diversification that have been identified in the language industry.

1. Linguistic diversification: Expanding your portfolio around your core service of translation
Chapter 3 starts with an article and an interview on one form of linguistic diversification: machine translation (which is interesting information if you, like me, have never worked on such projects). One author, Jeana M. Clark, believes that “Diversification at the expense of integrity or translation quality is not the kind of diversification we want to pursue.” Then, there are articles and interviews on voice-over, subtitling, transcription, terminology (including a list of available training options), transcreation, copywriting, cross-cultural consulting, linguistic validation (including a list of the typical steps involved in the validation process), online language teaching, and interpreting. This is a really great collection of articles if you want to learn more about a specific industry and maybe start offering those services.

2. Extra-linguistic diversification: Developing new business strategies or areas of entrepreneurship
Chapter 4 includes articles and interviews about extra-linguistic diversification, which includes services such as project management, blogging, social media, and online marketing. In one article, author Valerij Tomarenko writes about diversification through specialization, and in another, Inge Boonen talks about diversifying your client base.

3. Passive and external diversification: Specialized services beyond translation that freelance translators can offer to translation agencies and fellow translators
Chapters 5 and 6 are all about passive and external diversification (writing books and offering training services). Passive income can come from books, e-books or blogs, offering seminars/workshops and online training courses to fellow translation professionals, public speaking at conferences, consulting, website design, multilingual desktop publishing (DTP) and optical character recognition (OCR), and teaching. The book also includes an article on continuing professional development (CPD).

Author Meg Dziatkiewicz suggests the following ways a translator can diversify their services towards passive and external diversification:

  • Career coaching – Be a mentor, advisor and planner.
  • Marketing – Teach people how to market themselves and what tools to use.
  • IT – There are plenty of CAT tools that could be improved and applications, dictionaries, online databases and directories to be programmed.
  • Teaching – Give courses, workshops and seminars on every aspect of a translator’s life, based on your experience.
  • Art/design – Offer web design, promo materials, business cards, banners, posters.
  • Copywriting

4. Distinctive diversification: Creating a unique niche in the language industry with one-of-a-kind product or service
Chapter 7 is about distinctive diversification and includes articles and interviews on Mox’s blog and cartoons by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, the money transferring service Translator Pay by Paul Sulzberger, the non-profit Translators without Borders by Lori Thicke, and branding services by Valeria Aliperta.

Summary
For me, the best feature of Diversification in the Language Industry is that you can you read it all at once as a book on diversification but you can also choose specific articles and chapters if you want to learn more about a specific field and/or skill set. The personal tone of most of the articles and interviews, including a brief background on the author, gives you great insight on how these authors started out and the different paths they followed in their successful careers.

The food for thought this book gave to translators and interpreters–and all those discussions I mentioned at the beginning of this post–have led to many language professionals authoring books and offering training courses and webinars, as well as copywriting and consulting services.

What about you? Have you read Nicole’s book? Did it inspire you to diversify and offer additional services apart from translation and interpreting?

Further reading
Diversification in the Language Industry by Nicole Y. Adams – a review
Books on My Shelves – Diversification in the Language Industry

Working the Room tips by Chris Durban

By Catherine Christaki
Reblogged from Adventures in Technical Translation with permission from the author (incl. the image)

Working the Room tips by Chris DurbanDuring the ITI conference in Gatwick in May 2013, I had the privilege to attend Chris Durban’s Working the Room masterclass.

Chris always offers numerous great tips about generating leads and finding direct clients. She inspires her audience to be and look more professional and better marketers. Below you’ll find some of the pearls of wisdom she shared during the masterclass.

Required skills for translators

  • Writing skills. A specialization (or two). The ability to translate.
  • Marketing skills to be able to identify and approach good clients.
  • Invest in specialization and be/get passionate about your projects.
  • Don’t start looking for direct clients right out of college. Get some experience first, translating, revising, working with colleagues.
  • Speak your client’s languages fluently and write it well too (invoices, pitch etc.)
  • Read the business press and specialized magazines/journals, as well as your colleagues’ blogs

Before contacting potential clients

  • Make sure you are up-to-date about their industry; the terminology, the technology etc.
  • Research the company and identify key people using industry publications, their websites and social media
  • Read up on the person you’re planning to contact before meeting them.
  • Potential good clients are passionate about what they do.
  • SMEs are easier to approach than big companies.
  • Be prepared to invest time and budget, this is a long-term project.

Attending conferences/events

  • Training events are also marketing events. Pick your events carefully.
  • Find out which events your potential clients are attending.
  • Dress the part and carry professional business cards.
  • Prepare and rehearse your elevator speech.
  • They must think you are one of them.
  • Use the Q&A part in presentations. Identify yourself quickly and ask a pertinent question.
  • Attend at least a few events per year; practice makes perfect.
  • Find [target language nationals] in international client events, they’ll be more open to talk about translation issues.

How to approach clients in events

  • Listen carefully to what they’re saying.
  • Never start with “Hi, I’m a translator, do you need anything translated?”.
  • Be friendly and positive. Never be negative about our profession with clients and don’t complain about bottom-feeders, competitors and CAT tools. When they ask “Do you make a living being a translator?”, say “Absolutely and my clients/texts/projects are super important etc.”, nothing negative.
  • Start with a nice comment as the ice-breaker; thank the organizers for a fabulous day/event etc. when talking/asking a question.
  • Express genuine interest about the industry.
  • To start up a conversation ask: “What did you think of the speaker?”, “Which presentations did you like best?”.
  • After you get them talking about themselves, go into business mode: “Do you export to [X]?” “Do you have any documentation in [language Y]?”
  • Other examples to get them to talk about translation:
    • “I just started to specialize in your industry which I find fascinating. Can you recommend events I should attend in 2013?”
    • “I see your company specializes in [X]. Based on texts I’ve translated recently, some of my clients need those services; can I give them your name?”. Don’t mention your clients’ direct names; your work is confidential.

Few more tips

  • After meeting potential clients: Send email to people you met with terminology questions, things you were talking about.
  • When quoting prices: The right price is not when they agree immediately; they should wince first (otherwise your price is probably too low). If they tell you “That’s expensive”, reply “But it’s worth it” or don’t say anything.
  • Educate clients: Explain that language services are a long-term investment rather than a quick fix

Chris also talked about the rationale behind translators signing their work. Check out her interview in Catherine Jan’s blog: To sign or not to sign? Chris Durban strikes again.

You can also read the German translation of this post by Alain Rosenmund.

The Savvy Social Media User—Twitter Handle & Sharing Frequency

By Catherine Christaki and David Friedman

The Savvy Social Media UserHere at The Savvy Newcomer, we often get questions from our blog readers about social media and blogging. We would like to share some answers and advice concerning some of these questions below and also to encourage you to email us your questions anytime. Our topic of discussion today is social media, and more specifically Twitter.

Before we move on to the questions, let’s start off with an outstanding definition of social media by Lisa Buyer (The Buyer Group):

Social media is today’s most transparent, engaging and interactive form of public relations. It combines the true grit of real time content with the beauty of authentic peer-to-peer communication.

Twitter is one of the most popular social networks among linguists. They use it for professional networking, sharing valuable resources and keeping up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the translation and interpreting industries. It enables them to more easily and instantaneously interact with other translators and interpreters and even keep track of interesting individuals, companies and trends in the areas and industries they specialize in.

How do I pick a good Twitter handle? Should it be associated with the name of my site, company or blog? What about my own name?

For branding consistency, your Twitter name should be associated one way or the other with your website or company name. The blog name (if you have one) isn’t as set in stone as your company name, it’s much easier to change. Let’s say you named your blog “Literary translation blog” a few years ago, but now you want to branch out to technical translation and you will probably blog more about that, so you rename your blog accordingly.

As a result, your company name or a keyword that tells people what you do/what you specialize in is a good choice. Your own name is ok too, but it might be lacking in the department of telling people what you do, and might not be available if you have a common name. You should avoid adding numbers to your name, as this will make it harder for others to remember and it doesn’t look good either. A few translators on Twitter have chosen handles that combine their names with the word “translates”. That’s one creative way to go about it. Don’t forget to keep your Twitter handle short and easy to remember.

How often should I share links to my website or blog on Twitter?

The most common answer to that question is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your tweets should be about useful content (i.e. links, resources, live tweets from a conference, etc.) and a maximum of 20% should be about you and your business. You shouldn’t be shy about sharing awards, interviews, and new content on your site, but avoid sales tweets, like “I translate legal texts from French into English, email me for a free quote”. Those tweets have no value to your followers and make you look spammy.

As for your blog posts, you should definitely send 1-2 tweets when you publish a new post (say once in the morning or when you publish it and one more time in the evening or the next day). For older posts, you can send a couple of tweets a week in the form of “From the blog archives: [name of post]” so that people who missed out on some of your outstanding older posts can simply follow the link and visit your blog.

As for the frequency of updates on social media, Buffer seems to have a good social media posting schedule in place (although it’s hard to find 14 different good tweets to send every day if you’re not a company with a team to manage your social media presence; we recommend staying under 10):

  • Twitter – 14 times per day, from midnight to 10:00 p.m. Central Time, never more than once per hour; seven times per day on weekends, from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., roughly every three hours
  • Facebook – 2 times per day, seven days a week, 10:08 a.m. and 3:04 p.m.
  • LinkedIn – 1 time per day, 8:14 a.m., no weekends
  • Google+ – 2 times per day, 9:03 a.m. and 7:04 p.m., no weekends

What about you, dear readers? How often do you share updates on social media and what is your favorite network? Tell us all about it in the Comments section below.

Header image credit: Unsplash
Header image edited with Canva

The Savvy Translation Blogger—Blogging Frequency, Blog Content, and Reblogs

By Catherine Christaki and David Friedman

The Savvy Translation BloggerHere at the Savvy Newcomer, we often get questions from our blog readers about social media and blogging. We would like to share some answers and advice concerning some of these questions below and would like to encourage you to feel free to email us your questions anytime. Our topic of discussion today is blogging frequency, blogging content, and reblogs for translation and interpreting blogs.

A blog can be the foundation of the marketing strategy for your business. It can showcase your work, highlight your expertise, and connect you to your clients, colleagues and other specific audiences. Although it takes time to create it and make it look nice and professional, and it is time-consuming to maintain, there are some clear benefits to starting a translation/interpreting blog.  You’ll need a blogging strategy (how often to publish articles, how many posts per week/month, which topics to focus on), and you’ll have come up with ideas to write about and update the blog regularly like you (should) do with your website. But it gives you a platform to position yourself as an expert in your field, boost your reputation and brand, share useful resources and meet brilliant people, so it’s definitely worth it!

Let’s move on to our reader questions.

How often should I write and publish posts on my blog?

It would be fantastic if you could update your blog with 1-2 posts per week. But the chances of busy translators finding the time to write two articles per week is very slim. So, we think 2-3 posts per month is both a great start and a solid foundation for later down the blogging road.

At the very least, try to limit the period between your posts to 30 days; 1 article per month is definitely feasible and based on our experience, it takes about 1-2 hours to write a good, well-researched post and prepare it for publication on your blogging platform (including finding a nice image, double-checking the links, etc.).

What is proper reposting etiquette for blogs?

Reblogging is when you publish content that was originally published in another medium, like a blog or magazine. Say you find an interesting article in a magazine or read an awesome post on a blog. The first thing we recommend you do is check online for that specific article. If it appears on more than 2-3 blogs/websites, it may not be a very good idea to reshare it on your blog, because most of your readers may have already read it. We recommend just sharing a link to the article on social media instead.

Example: A great article was published in the ATA Chronicle. Then, the ATA published it on their website (Featured Articles section). Then, the original author also published it on their blog.

If it hasn’t been recycled several times, then the next step is to contact the original author (and the blog author if it’s a different person, or the magazine editor) to ask for their permission to reblog their article (including the images, if any). If the article is already a reblog, you only need to ask the original author.

In your request email, don’t forget to introduce yourself, say what you liked about the article and why you want to republish it on your blog (e.g. my blog readers will find the tips useful), ask for the author’s short bio (if it’s not available in the same place where you read the original article) and mention that you will add a line in the reblog saying where the original article was first published.

If you want to republish posts you penned for other blogs on your own blog, you don’t need to ask anyone, but it’s good etiquette to wait for a few weeks (some magazines have specific guidelines about this, make sure to read the fine print) before you publish the article on your blog and also add a line (beginning or end of post) saying “This was originally published on…”.

Where would it be appropriate to include an introductory paragraph on a blog post I am reposting?

Whatever you want to add in a reblog in the form of comments, additions, image credits and so on, make sure it’s in Italics so the readers can tell the difference. If you want to add a paragraph with comments on a post you had written for another medium and now you want to republish it on your blog, we suggest you add that paragraph (in italics again) at the end of the post. If you put it at the beginning, it might take the focus off the post itself.

My blog will be read by both clients and colleagues. Who should I write for?

Most blogs by freelancer translators feature content that is mostly relevant to their colleagues. That content is interesting, full of tips and insights, without much advertising or selling. However, very few clients read those blogs (unless their job is within the translation or interpreting industry).

Most blogs by translation companies do the opposite. They blog about issues that might interest their clients (translation quality, how to find good translators, why they should use a specific translation tool) and use those posts to advertise their translation services (with a ton of calls-to-action at the end).

So, you can see why it’s hard to find a balance between these two different types of blogging. We recommend using different platforms for your content. For example, you can use your blog to write about the issues that interest you and your colleagues within the translation world and use other mediums to talk about your business and the benefits of your services. Your website is a good medium for that content, as well as press releases, articles in non-translation periodicals and blogs (guest posts), webinars, interviews and presentations at non-translation conferences. Another great platform to use for your articles that are geared mostly for translation buyers is the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.

However, if potential clients look you up on the Internet, it can do nothing but boost your reputation if they see that you are a leading influencer in the translation and interpreting industry with a consistent and respected presence and content. Conversely, If you come up with some good content targeting potential clients that is beneficial to the translation and interpreting industry as a whole or large sections of it, then your colleagues will surely appreciate this content as well and would probably be eager to help spread it for the mutual benefit of the industry. So don’t make the mistake of assuming that there is no value at all in sharing content geared toward clients with colleagues, or content geared toward colleagues with clients to a certain degree.

What about you, dear readers? Are you thinking of starting your own blog? If you already have one, what’s your blogging strategy? How often do you write, and who do you write for?

Header image credit: Stokpic
Header image edited with Canva