Lured by offers of free software, translators may make decisions they later regret. BY HANY FARAG

Early in the week I received an invitation from XXX, a company that produces dictionary software, to join an outreach program for translators. This program offered to grant me a free license to their software if I placed the company’s logo on my website. I flagged it for later review and took a look again on Friday–a relaxed workday which I reserve for small jobs, casual business and which I typically conclude with some pleasant event.
On that Friday, my work load was light. The day would be made special by observing the ritual of Happy Hour. I checked potential spots and my evaluation ended with two top choices. The first was Elephant Bar & Grill, a great local place with a fabulous view of the Bay. With a stool in the right spot, I view the planes descending to San Francisco airport while also watching the TV sports channel. The second was BJ Brewery—dim lighting but it dedicates one big screen in the afternoon to European soccer.
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Latest East Bay lunch social at Cha Am, a Thai restaurant.

Latest East Bay lunch social at Cha Am, a Thai restaurant.

The NCTA East Bay lunch social is a nice event because it breaks up the work week. On October 7, we met at Cha Am, a Thai restaurant. Every lunch is an exchange of experiences. I’m always pleasantly surprised at who I meet, whether it’s new members, potential members, or long-term members. We share our perspectives of current day-to-day life and work, and exchange information about everything from client relations to vacation ideas. → continue reading


As it reaches a milestone in its history, the ATA returns to its birthplace, NYC, with a stronger commitment than ever to promote our profession. BY NINA BOGDAN & KAREN TKACZYK

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

The opening session of the 50th Annual ATA Conference

Pavel Palazhchenko, Mikhail Gorbachev’s interpreter for many years, spoke to standing room only crowds at the ATA conference, and as I soaked in his words, admiring both his insightful perspective about the world of interpreting and translation as well as his wonderfully elegant English, I reflected also on the importance of this event. At the closing session of the conference, ATA President Nicholas Hartmann announced that ATA membership, as of now, numbers more than 11,000. In an interview that same day with Fox Business News, past president Jiri Stejskal stated that the profession of translator is just that—a profession (meaning, not a hobby or something one can take up after taking a Berlitz course) and that a proficient translator may well earn in the six figures. → continue reading


Frank self-assessment of both linguistic and business skills are necessary in order to be successful as a freelance translator. BY ADA LUZ RESTREPO

Do you find yourself translating documents at work because your co-workers know you speak Mandarin? Or find yourself serving as “interpreter” between your Mexican family and American husband who doesn’t speak Spanish? People admire your abilities to speak two languages and help others who are still living in a monolingual world; but have you asked yourself if you are truly bilingual and truly bicultural?
These were some of the topics covered during the “Getting Started in Translation and Interpretation,” workshop organized by the NCTA, which took place on Saturday, September 19, at the San Francisco State University downtown campus. → continue reading


In the streets of Bengalore.San Francisco’s resident Trados guru concludes his teaching and eating trip to India. BY TUOMAS KOSTIAINEN

The good start I had with the first workshop led to another pleasant surprise: a full Indian lunch buffet! Incredible. We have nice refreshments at NCTA workshops thanks to our Events Director, but this was something else, and we had it at every workshop, showcasing the local cuisine from the milder Delhi affair to certainly much spicier Southern Indian dishes in Bangalore. And although the local power strips and extension cords didn’t completely fulfill my standards for safe electronics, these buffets more than fulfilled my requirements for a lunch. And of course, we had plenty of chai breaks in between. → continue reading


A Bay Area Trados guru travels to the Indian subcontinent to spread the word, sample local cuisine, and experience a fascinating culture. BY TUOMAS KOSTIAINEN

Cover of the May 2009 issue.It was too cool to pass up – you can’t be a real “Trados guru” unless you go to India to teach Trados, and if that wasn’t enough there was always a chance you might meet some of those beautiful Bollywood dancers. Or at least there would be plenty of good Indian food every day. So considering all of this, I said “yes” and agreed to teach three two-day Trados workshops in India last September. That was before I realized that it takes about 24 hours to fly there from San Francisco and I would need to subject myself to substantial needle poking by the Kaiser travel health nurse. Oh, well. There was also the less selfish point of view, and that was to spread the “happy Trados message” around the world… → continue reading