Kiva for Christmas


Instead of sending colleagues and clients Christmas postcards and gifts, this year we have again chosen to change lives and to make a contribution through Kiva to someone in the world who knows how to appreciate the value of a loan.

Kiva is a non-profit organization “with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty”. It’s different from charity: it’s not a donation, it’s a loan through microfinancing system.

kiva christmas

This will be our 15th loan, we’re starting to get addicted to it! 🙂 It’s an amazing feeling to know we’re lending money to someone who will do their best to pay you back. That means their activity is launching, their quality of life is improving. With your money back, you can lend to someone else. Opt among Education, Food, Women, Green, Agriculture, Transportation, Conflict Zone, and so many other criteria. Choose among countries, sectors, activities, partners.

This time, we are keeping our fingers crossed for the success of Suzan, a 42-year old Lebanese baker! That’s a humble way we found to be part of a wider and global Merry Christmas – we hope you are sympathetic with the idea as well!

To all of you here, there and everywhere, indie.ana would also like to wish

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


Rage against the machine?


Some years ago a translation theory professor advised us against providing clients translations in a digital format. That same professor also laughed about the idea of exchanging points of view with the author of a work before or during the translation activity… because the author might not be among us anymore.

Well, I can tell you that I have been trusting my Bauchgefühl so I have always provided clients with digital files – and I am still around.

It is no secret that a tendency causes reaction when it first starts to show off. That’s simply what it takes to be new. And there will always be people for whom translation is a monologue before the Classics, and who try to bypass technologies.

On the opposite end of the rope there’s the market approach. In a self-motivated, pro-active way, industry interprets the market flows, and draws up strategies that promise to ease its pains. Along the way, it also creates needs for the crowds. Flesh and blood actors of the process are not globally taken into account, which obviously leaves a bad taste in their mouth. The ultimate bile is when market not only ignores them but tries to replace them.

Since the Industrial Revolution, History have taught us that machines and computers are fast learners. So fast that last week Steven Hawking warned that artificial intelligence could end mankind. In his sight, the ability of the software to learn and guess the words he absolutely needs to communicate is becoming spooky.

Yes, I know – literature has long offered us examples of how messers become the messies…

Specifically in the field of translation, this has developed into a never-ending subject matter; at a certain point there was the risk of machine translation. Patent Translator’s Blog recently defended that the activity of human translation, among others, will soon be extinct.

As part of a generation of professionals whose career launched with the advent of IT, it is hard for me to conceive my work with no input of artificial intelligence. We have learned how to make the best out of it, and we have grown our skills based on it.
I have tried not to develop any kind of prejudices against technologies, since that would only distract me from my focus. Instead, I have consciously kept posted, updated and upgraded along the way.

Yes, maybe I am an easy target for the industry. In this particular case, however, I am still not convinced that the solution is to swim against the tide.

Terms don’t come easy

Terminology is key for any translator. The quest for the right equivalent is a never-ending issue. In order to face the challenge, several obstacles pose before a translator though:

– Time is a luxury commodity, so it is never sufficient to allow deep digging in the subject.

– Clients in general have no clue of what’s behind words. The mainstream thought is that there is always a direct target word for a source word. You just have to look for it properly out there. Of course the widespread automated translation engines do not help us in our efforts to explain that translation involves a bit more than that.

– There is a myriad of good references online. The problem is that it is mixed up with a myriad of trash. It takes a clinical and critical eye. And know-how.

In more recent years, it seems clients finally started to understand the need to extract and systematize their own in-house terminology. Who among us does not welcome a pretty looking glossary along with the translation project?! Most of the times, however, we are lucky if we get a previous created TM, filled in with segments from previous translations. What in turn can be a long shot: the terms inside are mandatory, but may be absolutely objectionable, incompetent, irrelevant.

So if we give it some thought, what would be the optimal solution for terminology in translation? To extract the terms beforehand, and create a customized termbase we can use during the translation process? Awesome! But for that we need time, we need a consultant designated by the client, who gives us the concept and has the know-how, and probably a consultant in the target language, who helps us find the conceptual equivalent. Only then we should be able to see the right term.

There is quite a difference between this scenario and the real thing, I must say.

So that was one of the main reasons that took me to Barcelona last week, to attend the seventh EAFT Terminology Summit. I had the opportunity to meet some top names of the world of Terminology, such as Rute Costa, Rodolfo Maslias, Klaus-Dirk Schmitz, Barbara Inge Karsch, Maria Pia Montoro, Teresa Cabré, among many others.

EAFT with Rudolfo MasliasIcon Icon Icon © EAFT

By then I had already decided to attend the TERMNET International Terminology Summer School, which will be held in July in Cologne. This course can be seen as a preparation for the ECQA Terminology Manager certification exam, which I can optionally take next September.

Looking forward!

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