Thursday, November 3, 2011

Neologisms: Friends or Foes?


Adorkable: 2. Both dorky and adorable. A higher state of being all dorks strive towards.[1]

I like this newly created term for a few reasons – firstly, because it’s quirky. Secondly, because it puts a positive spin on smart people who may not have been star quarterbacks or head cheerleaders in high school (says the former captain of the marching band and President of the French Club). Nerd smile Thirdly, it’s a perfect example of language adapting to cultural change.

Adorkable Graph 9-28-11

A few months ago, I read an article from BBC news regarding the various Americanisms popping up and how much British people hate them. The original article was so popular among our friends across the pond that the BBC actually posted a follow-up article with reader comments and additional examples of what they consider infuriating new words and/or phrases. As a professional translator, and someone who spent many hours in college learning about language evolution, I found this article very interesting and thought-provoking. Why get so worked up about neologisms when language has always been (and will always be) ever-changing?

Most of us (especially anglophones) probably learned about the various stages of the English language:

English Timeline

The evolution of the French language happened in much the same way (as I’m sure is the case for many other languages):

French timeline

As the world changes, language has no choice but to follow. How else would we tweet about the latest version of the iphone, how much we hate the newest changes to facebook (although I actually like them), or the hottest eco-friendly innovations hitting the market?

As translators and/or interpreters, it is just as important to stay abreast of new words and expressions as it is new translation technologies, because if we don’t know a new word or phrase, how can we translate it?

Therefore, this is what I have to say to the BBC and their Americanism-hating readership:

Let me give you a heads up[2], guys[1] – I’m sorry you’ve got issues[2] with our hike[1] in neologisms that you feel are coming out of left field[1], and the way we pronounce the letter zee[2], but you can’t let it faze[1] you. You’re talented[1] people, so if you want, cut your losses, tap into the now, step up to the plate[1], turn it around, and buck the trend by contributing more of your own neologisms going forward[2], because like it or not, it is what it is[2]. Language evolves whether you’re doing the evolving or not. Period[2].



[1] Urban Dictionary Online, s.v. “Adorkable,” accessed September 25, 2011,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Translator Beware!

Unfortunately, translators are targets for scammers. I don’t know exactly why that is, but I suspect that one reason may be that it’s easier to target us because we advertise our services in so many public directories (we have to get ourselves out there somehow)!
Sadly, translators are had by these tricksters all the time and they end up working for free, or worse. Since no one likes to work for free, and none of us want to end up bamboozled in any way, I have created some simple and adorkable math equations to help you determine if you’re probably being scammed:
Scammers image 1
Scammers image 2
Scammers image 3
Scammers image 4
Scammers image 5
Scammers image 6
Basically, it is important to use both common sense and your gut instinct when working with potential new clients. Does the situation just not add up right? Do you not feel comfortable with the potential new client? If either is the case, don’t take the job. It’s very difficult to resist the urge to take ANY job that comes your way, especially if you’re a new freelancer or if you’re experiencing a dry spell in your business, but you don’t want to take a project to your detriment.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wishing all of my colleagues a very happy International Translation Day!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Adorkable Translator’s Manifesto

Luna Lovegood

adorkable: 1. Simply adorable, but in the utmost dorky way.[1]

I am a translator and I am a nerd. Yeah, you heard me right. You didn’t think those two nouns could be used in conjunction with one another? Think again. I am NOT math, science, or technology-averse. I do NOT run screaming from my taxes (even if it makes me queasy to calculate them). I’m not the most socially adept person, but I force myself to be. I love Douglas Adams, Harry Potter, absurdist literature, beat literature (and almost any other book I can get my hands on). I play the flute. One of my favorite movies of all-time is Big Trouble in Little China. I believe that Amélie Poulain and I are kindred spirits. An unhealthy amount of my friends attend Dragon*Con every year.

Despite all of the abovementioned nerdy activities, I am a linguist, a facilitator of globalization, and a hell of a business woman. I am a very strong supporter of the movement to professionalize the translation and interpretation industry. My hope is that I can help further this cause by sharing business tips, linguistic musings and a little bit of humor to other freelancers who are passionate about translating and proving to the world that translators and interpreters are just as professional as lawyers, engineers, executives, etc…

I encourage you all to let out your adorkable selves! Please share your thoughts and ideas so that we can all grow together and improve our industry!

[1] Urban Dictionary Online, s.v. “Adorkable,” accessed September 25, 2011,