Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Imagine you have just been given a quite interesting project with a quite high volume of words. You have a look at the text and it seems that it won’t be too difficult, so you decide to accept it. As soon as the assignment is confirmed, you start working on it. When you have been translating for a while, you start seeing strange things in the source text, which, at some places, they are close to incomprehensible. What can you do?:
1. Report to the agency/client that the original text needs to be proofread.
It will probably not convince them, but, at least you cover your own back: if the source text is not good enough, it is likely that our translations would be good either (even though it could happen, of course). If the source is a translation from another language and the client has not even bothered to pay for a proofreader to double check the translation, there is not much we can do; just let the client know that the text is not of the expected quality and that we would probably have issues translating. Thus, if anything has been mistranslated or the translation is not close enough to the original text, at least we have warned the client. If we are working with a direct client and the text is the original text they have created, this warning can make them to ask someone within the company with some good writing skills to read through the text and correct whatever needed: this would improve the overall quality of the product (well, it’s just like a proper quality assurance).
2. Ask, ask, ask.
If you don’t ask, you may not know. Therefore, whenever there is something you cannot understand from a text, either because you don’t know the culture or slang, or because whoever wrote the text invented some terms to try and sound cool, or because the source text we have is a translation from another text and is has not been proofread, the best thing to do is ask the client. Many games developers are used to the “queries” document with questions from the localisers.
However, it is also important to know how to ask those questions. Developers are always in a rush. Always. It is not the localisers’ fault that something is it not clear enough or that it is impossible to translate without losing the play on words, therefore, it is better to make it as easy as possible for the developer (or whoever receiving those queries) to understand our questions. If we do a simple question of “What is this?”, we risk being misunderstood or the client might not understand what is really what we need, and they might answer something else. For example: many times I have found a menu option to translate and I didn’t know exactly what that was for. I therefore asked the client “What is this for?” and they answer with a simply “This is a menu option”... Ah, well, I already knew that, than you... *whatever* Whenever this happened, I had to ask again (most of the times, luckily, it was a question that all localisers had, and so it needed to be answered). Of course, we might give them several possibilities of what we think it is, and they can ask with just a “Yes” or “No” (then you think it’s better to get up and start banging your head against the wall). However, living several options would be better and clearer for the client to understand our query than simply let them guess what the problem is.
3. Ask the text in the original language from which our source text was translated
Let’s say that the original text was written, for example, in French, and the Developer or agency had translated first into English to then send this English text to the localisers so that they could translate it into their native languages. If the source text we are given is not good and we have issues translating it, it would be better to make sure that we are doing it well by having the original text as reference. Ok, we may not know French (as it is my case), but the proximity between the French and the Spanish, or Italian, or Portuguese may help us to guess what the text is saying. Even things like differentiate between a verb in infinitive (insérez) from one in imperative (insérez) or a imperative (inséré) [Thanks to Irene Marinas for her correction!]. Once I localise a game about “Healthy life”, and in one of the sections, the basic groups of food were explained. One of them were the carbohydrates, which could be acquired (so the English said) from “bread, noodles and rice”. At first I found it strange that they were talking only about noodles, but I thought that, maybe, at some point in the game, the player is told to eat only this type of pasta (for some strange reason). But I continued translating and this noodles, rice and bread appeared many other times as the carbs suppliers and a base of any meal. Then, "Eureka!”, I understood why. The videogame was originally written in German (in fact, the game had already been released in
4. Ask, if it’s possible, the details of the proofreader or the localisers of the other languages
We have all got stuck with a translation, not because we are not good enough, but more because we see things from just one point of view. We say in Spanish “cuatro ojos ven mejor que dos” (Four eyes see better than two). Similarly, two minds work better than just one. With one of the clients I work with, we use an online tool to translate that allows us to see other localisers’ translations (and, of course, they can also see mine). However, thanks to this visibility, if we have a doubt, we can see what the other localisers had thought. A really good example is the English term «game». In French, Italian and Spanish it can be translated in two different ways: jeu/gioco/juego o partie/partita/partida, so all three languages should use the same term (in each language, of course), which is pretty useful if you aren’t sure. I know it’s not easy that an agency will supply you with the translations in other languages, but they might do it at then end, when they have all the texts compiled, or if they aren’t in a rush. Otherwise, you can always ask straight away if they can tell you how the other translators localised a specific term or sentences (I have also done this, and they have always helped me).
It is also useful to have the contact of the person in charge of the proofreading, not only to discuss and agree with the translation of some terms, but also to ask any doubt of the original. Maybe they have done a similar translation/proofreading before or they have more experience in the subject of the translation or game. Of course, the contact may be the other way round too: they can also ask if they don’t know why we have use a specific translation, or even they can send us the text proofread when it’s finished, so that we can learn from our mistakes.
5. Ask a native
If you have tried the “queries” option and the client is a bit slow in replying, or the agency don’t want to give you the contact of the proofreader (or there is no proofreader at all), you can always try to ask a native for some help. Don’t abuse this tip, though, or they might get tired of you asking. ;) My partner is English speaker and every time I have a doubt with an English text, especially if I think that the term or sentence might be slang or a expression that can’t be translated literally. Most of the times, he solves my doubts. Others, not even him understands the meaning (poor thing, it’s not his fault), but he definitely helps me to understand the text from the point of view of a native, and not from the translator’s one. And I think this is very important when translating: we have to understand the source culture, not just the text itself.
I am sure you use some of those tips (or all of them), and I bet I have forgotten many others. However, I think with these five you have high chances to get it right. Anyone else has a tip they would like to share? We will be delighted to read them.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I look back, year 2004, when I (Oh, my!), arrived from my heavenly island to this city of London, a cold evening of autumn (I was wearing summer clothes), with nothing else but a suitcase and my duvet (just in case) hanging from my hands and plenty of hope (oh, yeah!), and I think: if I had discovered Twitter and I had internet connection at home back then, where would I be now? Well, probably exactly where I am, but with more years down the blog archive and with all of you (I hope).
Even though I have only written 14 posts, including this one (I blame the lack of time), I really hope I will (over)exceed that number throughout the year. However, as this blog wouldn’t be the same without you, (yes, it’s true it Works a bit as a therapy), I wanted to let you know that you can suggest subjects you would like me to talk about, anything you would like to know about games localization, any story about how the tester’s life is or, simply, any hints or help about this industry, you know where to find my e-mail address or where is the comments box.
Thank you very much for your time and happy birthday to you too!
Monday, October 24, 2011
These are the official rules of the award:
1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post. (Done)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.
Seven things you might not know about me:
1) I was born in Mallorca (
2) I love cooking, especially for others.
3) I have always been very close to music. I had piano lessons for 8 years and I sang in a choir for about 12 years. I would have loved to be a famous singer, but I don’t have an amazing voice… Yes, really! I just educated it, and so I can tune, but I am nothing like Aretha Franklin (I wish!).
4) When I was little, I wanted to be a concert pianist, then a painter, then a vet, then a paediatrician, then a singer and an actress (well, this is something I always wanted to be, and I still want!), then an archaeologist, then a journalist, then a teacher, then… I suppose I have always been interested in so many things that I wasn’t able to take a decision…
5) I love photography. In fact, right now, if I wasn’t translator, I would love to be a photographer. To me, it’s a way to capture beauty, to express how I see the world and to share with everybody else a part of me that it is hidden down in me. If you want to see what I can do, I have a photos portfolio too.
6) I love animals and I do loads of recycling. Throughout my life, have had turtles (4), birds (2), a duck (1), hamsters (I have lost count, as my female had several times babies) and cats (just picked them up from the streets). But I have never had a dog (so now you know what to buy me for my birthday J).
7) For many years I had penpal friends. I used to write letters with kids from various parts in the world, including a Japanese girl (Megumi Yamada) and a Cuban girl. I still keep the letters of most of those letters. Ah, and one of those penpal’s friend is now a fan of this blog (¡hola, Natalia!)
My 15 favourite and recently discovered translation blogs (whose owners I award now with the "Versatile Blogger Award"):
- “In other words” (In English. The blogger who gave me this award, whose blog I discovered not long ago. Very interesting blog to read)
- “GLOC” (In English. A great blog about games localisation, with great tips not only for us, localisers, but also for games developers to have into account when creating games)
- “Mox’s Blog” (In English. Humour about translators, the translation industry, rates… everything is in there!)
- “Naked Translations” (In English and French. In it you will find all sorts of posts about language, English, French, translation, tips for students…)
- “Media Loc’s Translation and games Localization blog” (In English. Posts about videogames localization).
- “The Liaison Interpreter” (In English. A blog about interpreting from the point of view of a non-Japanese living in
- “Tradúceme despacio que tengo prisa” (In Spanish. Apart from being a close friend, her blogger is a great proofreader. She posts about everything translators need to know to make their lives easy, as well as important tips about proofreading).
- “El Carpintero Traductor” (In Spanish. A great blog from a Literary translator and lecturer at Instambul’s University)
- “La prueba de lo ajeno” (In Spanish. A young Blogger and a famous Microblog site translator with so much knowledge in her mind, we all wish we could think like her).
- “Perdido en San Borondón” (In Spanish. A newby with great writing skills who will probably “steal” my clients very soon. Beware!)
- “PlayOver” (In Spanish. A blog about videogames)
- “Aventuras de una traductora-intérprete en Madrid” (In Spanish. I love reading this blog as it is a way to know how the interpreter’s life is without the need of getting out of my flat).
- “The booth inhabitant” (In Spanish. Great blog from a Conference Interpreting MA student in
- “Johanna Angulo” (In Spanish. A Chilean blogger posting about localisation, translation and loads of great tips for translators)
- “Ara Va de Jocs” (In Catalan. A great blog about games, with good reviews of all games)
Now it’s your turn to pass on the goodies!
Note: There are loads of other blogs that I would have liked to include in here, but I wanted to mention blogs written in both English and Spanish (and that one in Catalan), and also focus a bit on blogs related to this one (so games localisation), and so I had to leave out loads of other great blogs that I follow, so feel free to go through my blogroll and check the rest of them.
Monday, July 11, 2011
A week after the big audiovisual translation event, I have managed to find a a few minutes to explain you how the experience was. As many of you may know, I presented a paper about videogames localisation and quality assurance (a new version, slightly different from the one I did last December in December, which I started to explain to you about a few months back), therefore, the whole event was even more special for me.
The adventure started on Tuesday the 28th. In the morning there were some workshops on offer for some people. For others, like me, the whole thing started in the evening, as the Spanish Embassy had invited some of the lecturers and collaborators to the embassy. I went there with Jennifer Vela, who I as looping forward to meet again. After Jorge Díaz-Cintas, Fréderic Chaume and the Spanish Ambassador in
Afterwards, we headed to the Imperial College London, where some drinks and munchies were waiting for us: our first networking and socialisation night at Media4All. Jennifer and I spent just a few hours there (including the hour that took us to ay goodbye ^_^) were very interesting. I met some interesting people, got some contacts and enjoyed to see so many people as crazy as me about translation and quality. I also met another teacher from my uni, Eva Espasa, with whom I hope I can collaborate very soon in something (stay tuned: second part coming soon).
The following day, on Wednesday, we started at 9 am and Julia Buckingham opened the conference and introduced a Round Table about Taking Stock in Audiovisual Translation. It was interesting to see how pretty was everything from the point of view of the big multinational company, which infuriated many of the audiovisual freelance translators present. And that was just the beginning… I couldn’t wait to see how everything would end.
After this round table, it was time for a break, tea/coffee and biscuits included. After the break it was the time to go separate ways and choose different rooms, as the parallel presentations were about to start: a total of 5 different rooms offering different presentations simultaneously. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Too many interesting subjects! However, as human clonation hasn’t been invented (yet), nor is teleporting, we had to choose which presentations to go to. As it was the beginning and I had been checking for a few hours, I knew exactly where I was going to go: Audiodescription. Jennifer Vela was presenting a paper and Pilar Orero was the chair, so I couldn’t miss it!
However, it was time of the “anecdote of the day”, and probably, the anecdote of the whole conference. Half-way through the first paper, the FIRE alarm was activated and we had to evacuate the building. We were told that, somewhere in the building, they were recording the last movie of Batman (no, I didn’t see Christian Bale, even though I was looking for him), so we just blamed the recording team for that. I am sure they made something explode and they forgot to warn the security team.
About half an hour later, we were allowed to go back in and we restarted the presentations. Jennifer’s presentation was very interesting, as she compared Audiodescription in different European countries and the USA, as well as the differences in the legal aspect, which proved to be tricky, as nowadays, researches have to pay constant attention to, as rules and regulations keep changing and the information that is true right now, might be obsolete just a few weeks later. Two attendees confirmed her that new laws about Audiodescription and accessibility had been created in some countries. Great news for the accessibility world, aren’t they?
Lunch time arrived, and we went to the food hall to grab some nibbles. It became a bit stressful as it seems the catering service didn’t realise that we were so many hungry people, waiting to be fed. Waiters and waitresses could barely leave the kitchen and the food on their trays was already finished. I had to wait for a long while to be able to grab my first bowl of food. I went to the kitchen Entrance (yes, like a hyena waiting for the lion family to fill their bellies J), where I found Pablo, and asked him to help me get something toe at, as my breakfast and the few biscuits I had during the tea break had been digested a long time ago. My surprise was meeting there a follower of this blog, David (how exciting! A fan!), who also helped me to get another bowl of food. Isn’t that cute?
Lunch time ended and the next presentations session started. This time it was the turn of characters translatability in movies and the effect of those characters in the audiences. Three very interesting papers. On one hand, we were given (loads of) data about audiences in cinema festivals in
Another tea/coffee break and the last session of the day started. Now my heart was divided, as I was interested in the papers being presented in two of the rooms, and so I tried to go first to one of them and, then, to the other one.
I started with audiodescription in museums, which was pretty interesting. They explained that in
And the «Vino de honor» (Honour wine) time arrived. I decided to go for juice, as I had some work to do at home, but it seems wine honoured many of the guests. ;) After the wine and networking time, we went to look for a place to have some dinner. The idea was to go to have a pizza, but we couldn’t fidn the place and ended up having English pub dinner. And, as it happens in all English pubs at 11 pm are last orders, so we had to leave. My presentation was the day after, so I decided that my party time was over for the night and went home.
To be continued…
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Quality Assurance, Localisation and Experience: The Perfect Combination for the Best Localisation (Part II)
e) Specific requirements for a market or culture
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
On my last post, I explained that I had been nominated for “The Best 100 Language Lovers”. To be more precise, I had been nominated to the 100 language tweeterers (@Currixan) and also, the Facebook profile of this blog, Localización y testeo con Curri, had also been nominated for the 100 Language Facebook Fan Pages. The results we published some time ago (sorry, I haven’t had much time to prepare this post to announce it), and all I can say is that it has been quite good for me, having into account that both my Facebook page was created only around 6 months ago, and my Twitter profile had been around for less than a year.
And so, the rankings are as follows:
Twitter: @Currixan was 16 out of 100 → You can see the Top-25 here. If you have a Twitter profile, have a look at their profiles and follow the guys and girls on the list (well, apart from me, of course ^_^), as some of them offer really good info. Before the contest, I was already following a few of them, such as Pablo, Catherine or Silvina), and there are others, who I have started following after the contest, and they have tweeted very interesting news about languages and translations.
Facebook Page (Localización y testeo con Curri): I was 16 out of 100 → No, it is not a mistake. Maybe 16 should be my new lucky number, but yes, I was, again, 16th. The top-25 Facebook fan pages can be seen here. It’s worth having a look, as many other known translators and followers of this blog also had good results, such as Ismael, Pablo or Leticia.
It is also worth having a look to the other two categories:
Professional blogs, where you can find people like Clara, with her blog «Bootheando», Pablo («Algo más que traducir»), Judy and Dagmar, with her excellent bilingual blog «Translation Times», the well-known José Yuste Frías, or Corinne McKay’s blog called «Thoughts on Translation».
Language learning blogs, where «Fluent in 3 months» won the prize to the best language learning blog thanks to the good tips suggested. In this category, there are blogs with tips to learn many different languages, so have a look at the list.
And last, but not least: from the contestants in all categories (i.e., 400 in total), they did a list of the 100 language lovers, where my Twitter was ranked 44th, which I think it’s a pretty good ranking.
All this, thanks to you, and you, and you, because you have encouraged me to write. And you also have voted for me. Thank you very, very much.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Best Language Lovers 2011 contest, organised by LexioPhiles and bab.la, has started.
A few weeks ago, I learnt that someone had nominated my Facebook page about this blog for the Favourite Language Facebook Page 2011 category. Yesterday, seeing that I was amongst the 100 best pages, I decided to announce it to everybody. My amaze increased when someone told me that, besides, my Twitter account was ALSO nominated for the Favourite Language Twitterer 2011 category. You can’t even imagine how happy I am, so I would like toyou’re you that, if you think that my page or my Twitter account (or both) deserve to win (I used both to publish news, articles, blog entries, etc. about language, videogames, localisation, etc.), please, vote for me. J
It’s as easy as:
1. Go to the page with the nominations:
- Favourite Language Twitterer: http://www.lexiophiles.com/language-lovers-toplist/time-to-vote-for-your-favorite-language-twitterer-2011
- Favourite Language Facebook Page: http://www.lexiophiles.com/language-lovers-toplist/time-to-vote-for-your-favorite-language-facebook-page-2011
2. Find within the list the Facebook page: «Localización y testeo con Curri» or the Twitter account: @Currichan (Curri Barceló).
3. Scroll down and click on «Vote».
What you get in exchange?
Make me very, very happy, and encouraging me to continue writing, publishing news, speaking about languages, videogames, etc.
Of course, if you think there is another Facebook page or Twitter account deserveing more your vote, I don’t mind if you vote for them. There are many good pages and Twitter profiles, which also deserve the prize.
I also suggest you to visit the other two categories:
- Language Professional Blog: http://www.lexiophiles.com/language-lovers-toplist/time-to-vote-for-your-favorite-language-professional-blog-2011
May the best win!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Quality Assurance, Localisation and Experience: The Perfect Combination for the Best Localisation (Part I)