January 23, 2016

Translator or Copyeditor? An Experience

Posted in Editing, Translation at 7:43 am by fernandonapoles

Durero_HieronymusI think that posting about this kind of situations is a good experience to share with those younger colleagues who have recently started working on this profession. Because some prospective clients still do not have a clear understanding of the real value of a translation. Or maybe they do.
Last week, I answered a phone call from one of those possible clients. He asked if I could copyedit a text he had translated himself. Naturally, I refused in a most friendly way, just as other translators had done before, as he himself told me.
I have never known about this person’s qualifications to translate, but I guess they must be scarce when he thought it necessary to ask a professional translator to check his style. It is not clear to me either why he did not call a professional to translate his text in the first place.
However, what I do know is why translators refuse this kind of jobs. It is a question of both professional trade and price. Firstly, it has to do with our trade. If someone thinks he or she can translate, that is just fine. Deep down in their minds they guess they do not need a translator. What they think they really need is a copyeditor. Secondly, it has to do with prices. If someone translates his or her own text to save paying a higher price for a translation—and pay instead a much lower price to copyedit a text he or she is not sure of and turn it into a well done job—, translators know this and will not accept to depreciate their work.

[Image: Albert Durer: Der heilige Hieronymus im Gahäus / Saint Jerome (patron saint of translators and interpreters) in His Study, 1514, engraving.]

December 26, 2015

2015’s Translating and Editing Subjects

Posted in Editing, Translation at 9:30 am by fernandonapoles

Giovanni_Bellini_St_JeromeIn 2015’s last post, I’m evaluating this year’s work. Just as I expected, subject diversification, more than specialization, is still the best formula to continue overcoming the economic crisis.
I’m including a list (in alphabetical order) of the subjects we have translated or edited this year: advice for amateur photographers, advice for travelers, botany and gardening, children’s literature, cooking and nutrition, cosmetics, essay, fitness, lecturing, management, novel, nursing, publishers’ catalogues, school dictionary, self-help, travel guide, and walks.

Happy holidays!

[1] Cf. “2014’s Translating and Editing Subjects,” December 27 2014.

[Image: Giovanni Bellini: St. Jerome (patron saint of translators and interpreters) Reading in the Countryside, 1505, oil on canvas.]

November 28, 2015

Hikes, Paths, Strolls, Trails, and Walks

Posted in Tourism, Translation at 10:31 am by fernandonapoles

1001 caminatas_espGrijalbo, a Penguin Random House label in Spain, has just published the Spanish version of 1001 Walks You Must Take before You Die.
Once again, I have worked on a collaborative translation for this label. On this occasion, it was pages 214–265, 484–533 and 738–839 of the English version, originally edited by Barry Stone. It is an illustrated book about “country hikes, heritage trails, coastal strolls, mountain paths, [and] city walks”.
My previous collaborative translations for this label have included: Robert Dimery (ed.) 1001 Songs You Must Hear before You Die; Michael Bright (ed.): 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See before You Die; Julia Eccleshare (ed.) 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read before You Grow Up; Julian Patrick (ed.): 501 Great Writers; and Stephen Farthing (ed.): 501 Great Artists. [1]

[1] Cf. “A Guide of Great Artists,” September 18 2010; “A Guide of Great Writers,” September 25 2010; “Great Songs,” October 9 2010; “Cuban Natural Wonders,” December 4 2010; “A Guide of Books for Children,” December 11 2010.

[Image: Barry Stone (ed.): 1001 caminatas que hay que descubrir antes de morir, Grijalbo, 2015.]

October 10, 2015

Bad Praxis, Bad Client (2)

Posted in Editing, Translation at 10:04 am by fernandonapoles

In my previous post, I made a comment about a freelance editorial professional and her difficult relationship with a client, whose pay was low, did not pay on time, sent her poor-quality texts, and gave her little time to do her work. [1] A few days ago, I heard she had refused a new text because he still had two unpaid invoices. His reaction was to feel, at least, offended.
I will take advantage of the outcome of this case to say that she is not “losing” a client. He is the real loser. He has lost the opportunity to continue counting with the collaboration of a professional with a solid academic background and a very long experience in her activity, accompanied by a high level of quality in her work and a constant punctuality.
There is something wrong in a publishing business that does not take proper care of its relationship with its most competent professionals. I think that the idea that there is always someone unemployed and ready to accept working under any conditions, is taking precedence in these bad practices and deprives some businesses of the final quality their products need.

[1] Cf. “Bad Praxis, Bad Client,” September 12 2015.

September 12, 2015

Bad Praxis, Bad Client

Posted in Editing, Translation at 11:31 am by fernandonapoles

bosse's shopRecently, a new client called a colleague who provides editorial services. The results of this relationship have been the following: the pay is low, they do not pay on time (they must be reminded that they have not made their payments), their texts are poor (full of mistakes and errors), and they allow her little time to do her work. It seems a good example of the kind of client one has to get rid of.
On October 2011, I posted in this blog what I think is a good client and a conclusion. To me:
“Good clients:

  • Accept and pay fair tariffs.
  • Pay on time.
  • Provide good-quality texts.
  • Ask reasonable deadlines.
  • Tell exactly what they want, because they know what they want.
  • Are always available for consultation.
  • Respect their translators and value their services.
  • Establish respectful, honest and transparent relations.
  • Give their translators credit for their work and respect their copyright.
  • Establish long-term relations.

If you find clients that are not like this, you better stay away from them.” [1]
Four years later, I mention this subject again because it is still valid that bad practices are the facial composite of bad clients.

[1] Cf. “Translation Tips: Clients (2)”, October 15 2011.

[Image: Abraham Bosse. A Printer’s Shop, c. 1642, etching.]

July 18, 2015

2015: New Taxes (2)

Posted in Fiscal Topics at 7:44 am by fernandonapoles

Tax collectorLast January, I posted: “In the business of politics, common sense tells that, if you want to be elected, you should promise lower taxes. But, if you want to be reelected, you simply do it.” [1]
I think I was not wrong. July’s announcement of a new income tax reduction in Spain before this year’s general elections seems to confirm this idea.
The new income tax reduction from 19% to 15% for freelancers has now been added to the previous reduction from 21% to 19% approved in January 2015 before municipal elections.
Although this fiscal policy did not have the government’s expected electoral results in those elections, we will have to wait for the general elections results to see what happens.
Whatever the motives might be, tax reductions are always welcomed.

[1] Cf. “2015: New Taxes,” January 10 2015.

[Image: Paul Vos, The Tax Collector, 1543, oil on canvas.]

June 27, 2015

Barcelona: A New Illustrated Guide

Posted in Architecture, Tourism, Translation at 9:51 am by fernandonapoles

Barcelona_Sketches_2015Barcelona: Sketches to Remember, my translation into English of Gonzalo Rueda’s Barcelona: Esbozos para recordar is already in local bookstores. It is an original 62-page illustrated guide of some of the most significant places in this city, with short descriptive and historical texts. It includes more than twenty interesting locations, such as Roman and medieval sites, churches and palaces at the Gothic Quarter, the Cathedral, La Rambla, the Church of the Holy Family, Modernist buildings, Montjuïc, museums, venues of the 1992 Olympic Games, Camp Nou soccer stadium, etc.
his “Introduction”, the author explains that it is “intended to enjoy recalling a visit to this city [and that it is] also a gift or an invitation for those who have never been here.”

[Image: Gonzalo Rueda: Barcelona: Sketches to Remember (trans. Fernando E. Nápoles Tapia), Larousse Editorial, 2015.

June 20, 2015

The 2015 Madrid Book Fair

Posted in Book Fairs at 7:59 am by fernandonapoles

Feria Libro Madrid 2015.Like every year around this date, Madrid’s Book Fair opened May 29 until June 14. On this occasion, it had the bad omen of a 2.5% decrease in the number of books published in 2014. Sales in this sector have dropped 40.6% since 2008.
According to official figures, the 74th edition hosted 322 publishers, plus distributors, specialized and general booksellers, and official institutions.
Once more, translators were practically unnoticed. No matter how much I searched looking for translations and translators, I only found a few passing references.
On the contrary, there were a lot of press comments about the presence of politicians. “What visitors find mostly around these days on the Fair are politicians. The time when writers were the stars of this event are a long way off (…),” [1] wrote a journalist just a few days after the inauguration.
However, the Fair had a positive economic result with a 6.1% sales increase for a total of 7,904,000 euros. [2]

[1] M. J. Espinosa de los Monteros: “¿Caminar o pasear por la Feria del Libro?”, [Walking or Strolling at the Book Fair?] El País, June 6 2015.
[2] Cf. “Translating Backstage,” June 23 2012; “Madrid’s 2013 Book Fair,” June 29 2013; “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair,” May 31 2014; “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (2),” June 7 2014; “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (3),” June 14 2014; and “Madrid’s 2014 Book Fair (4),” June 21 2014.

[Image: Fernando Vicente’s poster for Madrid’s 74th Book Fair.]

May 9, 2015

Clear Assignments for Translators

Posted in Translation at 11:13 am by fernandonapoles

Brueghel_BabelSometimes, clients are in a hurry. And when this involves urgent translations, their rush is more reflected on the way they present their orders than on the deadlines they request.
Professional translators are capable to meet urgent deadlines. They are prepared to do so, even if this type of translation in not usual.
What actually complicates things is the ambiguity in requesting an urgent translation when there is hurry, since it is a frequent cause of confusion.
What do a translators need to carry out an urgent job? They need more than a deadline, of course. They need clear instructions of what the client actually wants.
Unclear assignments generate complications and delays. Clients who take time to phone or write an e-mail with precise information of what they need save time, and assure that their translations will be delivered rapidly and with no interruptions.
That is the first step—theirs—to achieve punctuality and quality.

[Image: Pieter Brueghel: The Tower of Babel, oil on a panel, 114 × 155 cm (1563).

May 2, 2015

Education and Experience

Posted in Translation at 10:15 am by fernandonapoles

Giovanni_Bellini_St_JeromeA couple of weeks ago, I lectured on “The Experiences of a Freelance Translator” for the students in the Master in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Translation at Pompeu Fabra University’s IDEC, in Barcelona. Two fundamental aspects in the training of translators of any specialty were brought together: education and experience.
More than 50 years ago, when I was taking my first steps in this profession, we did not have translation courses like today, and practical experience was basic when selecting one of these professionals.
This situation has changed. Students come to master and postgraduate courses more prepared than ever. Today’s education compensates the lack of experience in beginners, and provides labor markets with professionals that are fit to produce good translations since they start their careers.
Experience—only achieved with time—is beginning to occupy a second place during the evaluating process of translators, who are now better trained.
But there is a contradiction: while qualification goes up in Spain, salaries and tariffs go down.

[Image: Giovanni Bellini: St. Jerome (patron saint of translators and interpreters) Reading in the Countryside, 1505, oil on canvas.]

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