Feb, 26

Aptrad’s 1st International Conference

Conference for freelance translators and interpreters 18-19 June, 2016 – Porto, Portugal

It’s comming… 

“A conference is a coming together of like-minded professional individuals to discuss industry news, developments and progress. Conferences represent an excellent opportunity to hear some of the leading people in our field and to learn from them and push our own work to higher standards.”

Such a great panel! Check out the speakers and program on


Aptrad is holding its 1st International Conference on 18 and 19 June 2016 in Porto, Portugal.

The theme of the conference will be “Stages in the career of a freelancer” and will tackle the different phases in the career of a professional translator and/or interpreter and what each of those phases requires. All stages of a freelance career as a language practitioner will be considered.

The conference will cover a range of topics focusing on the initial phase of a freelance career, including aspects of Aptrad’s mentoring programmes in which groups of experienced professionals have given advice and support to those just beginning their careers, and will also cover topics of interest to established professionals who are perhaps at a crossroads and rethinking their strategy going forward.

There are enormous challenges at each stage in the life of a translation or interpreting professional. Challenges faced are different at each step of the way. It is these necessary rites of passage and how to confront these demanding challenges that this conference will seek to address and explore.

Two days, and a programme of presentations and workshops with three different sessions happening at any one time. Two days, three simultaneous sessions, and two languages – Portuguese and English! Plenty to learn, plenty to talk about and, of course, plenty to share!

For more information click on




Feb, 18

Playing with the words..



Jan, 29

How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Profile: A Comprehensive Guide [Infographic]


Your LinkedIn profile is a place for you to build your professional brand, showcase your achievements and skills, share content with other professionals, and connect with colleagues, business partners, and even potential employers.

And people will come across it in a variety of ways — whether they’re searching for employees at your company or in your industry, or they met you in person and want to remind themselves what you do or learn more about your accomplishments. No matter how or why they stumble on your profile, it better be darn impressive.

What makes a LinkedIn profile stand out? How do you get more recommendations? What hidden features can help you enhance your profile? (Keeping hidden relationship notes is my personal favorite.) And finally, what does an optimized LinkedIn profile actually look like?

To help you achieve LinkedIn profile perfection, the folks at LeisureJobs created the infographic below. It’s a fully comprehensive, visual guide covering everything from the dos and don’ts of a LinkedIn profile to SEO tips to help your profile show up in search results.

Download the full guide here to learn how to use LinkedIn for professional networking, business, and marketing.


By Lindsay Kolowich




Jan, 28

Column: Translators are a valuable asset and should be protected

In the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks in France, conversations are taking place all over the U.S. about who exactly we should be allowing into our country. There is one group in particular that so far has been ignored — in fact, they’ve been ignored for years.

When the U.S. and its European allies invaded the Middle East, it relied heavily on local translators. The Iraqi Refugee Assistance project estimates that around 50,000 Iraqi and Afghan nationals have served as translators over the past decade.

In exchange, the U.S. established the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program designed to expedite the visa process for those translators who risked their lives to help our troops. This program was set to expire in 2014, but was granted a two-year extension by Congress, in part because so many translators have yet to receive visas.

Therein lies the largest problem: this program isn’t working. While approximately 14,000 visas have been provided to Afghani and Iraqi workers since 2007, there are more than 13,000 in line, with no end in sight.

The process to obtaining one of these visas is long and arduous. It requires submitting extensive supporting documentation to the Department of Homeland Security before the visa application can even begin. Following that, the candidate must interview with the U.S. Embassy and receive a health evaluation. The process is even more extensive if a translator wishes to bring his or her family with them.

In 2011, only three visas were issued to Afghani translators. That number has since increased following a review of the process by John Kerry, yet thousands are still trapped in their home country. One translator who spoke with NPR has been waiting more than four years for his visa, despite a “glowing” letter of recommendation from the Commander of all U.S. Special Operations in Afghanistan.

For these ex-translators to remain in their home countries awaiting visas is more than a matter of inconvenience — It’s a matter of life and death. Many of them have already been killed or forced to flee from the Taliban and other extremist groups, who are swearing revenge.

Sadly, it seems that part of the reluctance to grant visas to these translators stems from a mentality that they could somehow present a security threat. However, these translators have already expressed a willingness to literally risk their lives for other Americans.

In fact, some of the biggest proponents of a more expedited visa process are soldiers who have served abroad and seen firsthand exactly how much of a “security risk” — or lack thereof — that these translators really pose.

Veterans Day was nearly a month ago. Thousands of Americans rushed to join the social media bandwagon and declare their adamant support of our troops. What they didn’t seem to realize is that some of our troops’ most key supporters are literally fleeing for their lives.

The terrorist attacks in France were horrifying, but we shouldn’t allow them to dictate how we react to innocents citizens who clearly do not pose any threat. We need to expedite the visa process before more lives are lost.

By Maddie Pickens | Published 12/08/15





Jan, 27


Why translation conferences are essential for freelance translators pic_27-1-16_03-30-21

Translation conferences are an essential tool for freelance translators, for a number of reasons. That’s why we’ve put together a great resource on the Tomedes site: the Tomedes Conference Page.

This handy page allows you to have a look at the various upcoming translation conferences around the world and find out more about the ones that you would like to attend. Here are a few important reasons why you should do so.


In any area of business, it is important to keep up to date with the latest trends and development in your sector. For freelance translators, translation conferences can be a great way to do this.


Translation conferences are also great for opening up new avenues of income. Network with fellow delegates and seek out those who could be useful contacts in terms of adding to your client base and/or boosting your income. Take the time as well to speak to the conference’s organisers and speakers, if you can. These will be some of the most influential and well connected people at the conference, so a conversation with them could certainly pay dividends!


There are times when freelancing can feel like a lonely career choice. Use translation conferences to fight the isolation by catching up with fellow translators, meeting new acquaintances and enjoying a day or two of the company of those working in your sector.


Translation conferences can be a great way to prompt you to refresh your skills. Inspiring speakers who flag up future trends in the industry can be just the boost that delegates need to make sure that they hone their skills to be in line with future needs.


When did you last attend a translation conference? What was the most useful part of the event and why? Let us know in the comments.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes.





Jan, 22


man-791049_1920 (1)_20-1-16_06-45-09

When it comes to freelance working, time is money. The more you can maximise the efficient use of your time, the more you can get done, and the more you can get done, the more you can bill your clients.

So where to do social media sites fit in when it comes to modern day freelancing – are they an essential marketing tool that freelancers should be without or are they simply the ultimate distraction?


For those who are savvy about their web presence, there’s certainly an argument for using social media as a marketing tool. Freelancers with thousands of Twitter followers clearly have an easy way to reach out to potential new customers who are already engaged with them to some extent. Likewise, those with an interesting and popular Facebook page for their freelancing business may find it much easier to reach out and engage with new contacts.


Of course, social media is also great fun. You may open Facebook for business purposes, but it’s very easy to find yourself still there a while later, looking at your friend’s latest holiday snaps, or a trending Buzzfeed article, or a video of a cat doing something cute/hilarious/irritating (depending on your view of cats in general).

If this sounds familiar then don’t worry – it’s not just you. The Facebook time drain is so common that there are even tools online to calculate just how much time you’ve wasted on Facebook in the decade since its launch.


The answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Social media certainly can be a useful marketing tool. It’s a way to connect with new clients, to showcase your expertise and to re-engage with former clients who’ve gone quiet. However, it’s also an easy way to lose minutes, or sometimes even hours, of your working day.

Our advice? Approach social media with caution and make sure you’re using it to your advantage. If you find yourself staring at a video of a skateboarding kitten during business hours, then chances are you’re not using your working time as efficiently as you could be!



What is your approach to social media during the working day? Does it help or hinder your working life? Share your thoughts via the comments.

By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes





Jan, 19


Who are the best clients and where can you find them pic_16-12-15_07-51-17

Clients vary hugely and finding ‘good’ clients can make a massive difference to your working life. But what makes a good client and where are they hiding?


The best clients have a number of features in common. Firstly, they are clear in their instructions and fair in their expectations. They respect translation as a profession and appreciate the service that you provide, understanding that it is a skilled role that takes time to do well.

Great clients are also highly responsive. If you have a query, they respond almost immediately, enabling you to carry on working without having to wait hours – or even days – for a response.

And of course the best clients pay well. They pay decent rates and they pay on time, without you having to spend weeks chasing up their latest bill.


It can be tricky to find the best clients, but once you are on the trail it is possible to add more and more of them to your client base and gradually pare away those who are less good.

Start by always being ultra professional yourself. Show your clients that you care about each and every job they give you and that your skills are well worth the money they are paying you. The better you behave, the more your clients will be encouraged to behave well.

Once you have one great client, be sure to keep them happy in order that they remain a client for the long-term. You can also use this client as a means for accessing other, like-minded ones. Offer the client a referral bonus if he or she refers an acquaintance to you. If the client is friends or colleagues with like-minded individuals then you may find that a steady stream of best clients has suddenly been tapped in to.

For freelance translators who use online job portals, you can also use the feedback function to track down which clients will be best to work with. Check out what other freelancers have said about working for each client and then seek to engage those who are the most highly rated.


How have your picked up your best clients? Do you have any tips to help others do the same? Let us know via the comments.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Jan, 14


How to increase your client base without doing any marketing pic_16-12-15_07-54-02

Many people will tell you that if you want more clients, you need to go out and sell your services through marketing activities. However, while it is true that marketing can increase your client base, it is not the only way of doing so. Here we look at three ways you can get more clients without doing any marketing at all.


Befriending fellow translators can be a great way to increase your client base. Every translator has times when they have too much work on, so why not be there in the background ready to help out your fellow freelancers in those situations? You could also cover for them when they take leave or if they are poorly.

Make the arrangement reciprocal and you might even find your own holidays are easier to take without having to do quite as much juggling of urgent client work.


The internet is packed full of resources that can enable you to pick up clients without doing any marketing. Job sites like UpWork list translation jobs daily. Once you have set up a profile and established your expertise, you can sit back and wait for the clients to come to you – or you can scroll the job boards and apply for the work that takes your fancy.


Twitter isn’t just for catching up on the latest gossip from your favourite celebrities. Use the right hashtags and a whole new avenue of #translationjobs will suddenly open up to you. Make sure you are the first person to respond to a request for assistance with translation and you could quickly and easily pick up new clients to add to your existing client base.


Do you always use marketing to pick up new clients? If not, what are your tips for increasing your client base without doing any marketing? Share your thoughts via the comments.

By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes




Jan, 13


Are languages becoming less important to young people pic_30-12-15_02-48-36

It is fairly well established that machine translation is not yet good enough to replace professional translators. However, could it be that computerized translation is causing young people to believe that language learning is less important than it used to be?


If we take a look at the UK, it certainly seems that languages are becoming less important to young people. According to the Joint Council for Qualification, post-16 year old learning of modern foreign languages has been falling for several years. At the same time, the number of students being accepted onto language degrees has dropped to the lowest level in 10 years.


It seems strange that in a world which is being made smaller by technology, students are choosing to avoid one of the most important tools for connecting with those from overseas – language. However, the situation may well be due to the use of English as a global lingua franca – the more the rest of the world is able to communicate in English, the less important it can seem to young people in England to learn to speak in other languages.


While youngsters in England may be turning away from language learning, paradoxically for pupils overseas, learning English, Spanish or Chinese is becoming ever more important. With such a large proportion of the world speaking one of these three languages, their relevance to those from countries with different first languages is growing, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected.

It seems then, when viewed from a global perspective, that languages are not becoming less important to young people, it’s just that the pattern of learning need is changing, so while some countries are experiencing a decline in language learning amongst their youth, others are balancing this out with an increase.


Should language learning be compulsory for young people? If so, which languages should they be made to learn? Share your thoughts in the comments.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes





Jan, 11


5 ways to increase your translation speed pic_16-12-15_08-04-23

Benjamin Franklin is credited with first coining the phrase ‘time is money.’ It has since been used in a range of contexts around the world and it certainly applies in the translation industry.

The amount that you can earn as a professional translator directly correlates to how much money you are able to earn. Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to increase your translation speed without compromising on quality. Here we list our favourite 5 to get you started.


One of the quickest ways to improve your translation speed is to learn to type faster. This will benefit every single job that you undertake. If you don’t yet know how to touch-type, now is the time to learn. There are some great programmes available online to assist you, which make learning to touch-type an enjoyable experience. Before you know it you will be typing at lightning speed without needing to so much as glance at the keyboard!


For many translators, having a quiet, peaceful environment in which to work, with minimal interruptions, will have a noticeable impact on their translation speed. Others find that music in the background helps them to work faster. Whatever your preference, ensure that your office is designed in such a way as to maximise your productivity levels.


Give yourself an incentive to boost your speed. From a chocolate at the end of each hour to a glass of wine at the end of the day, find a treat that will motivate you to work harder and faster. Vary your treats to keep up your enthusiasm.


It may seem an obvious point, but many translators are unable to focus due to incoming emails, or social media channels that are open on their computer. Close your email and your social media pages and don’t open them until you’ve completed a full hour’s translation. You may be surprised to see how much faster you can work with fewer distractions!


Consider using speech recognition software to see if you can boost your translation speed. Such software has come a long way in recent years and could provide you with a quick and easy way to increase your speed.


What have you found to be the most effective means of increasing your translation speed? Were you able to boost your income as a result? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes




Jan, 8


How to become a successful professional translator pic_30-12-15_06-22-21

In translation, as in any other career, there are those who undertake the work because it is their calling – they simply can’t imagine doing anything else. There are also those who approach translation purely due to the potential financial benefits or the flexible working hours in the case of freelancers.

So, is there a traditional career path that can be followed in order to achieve success as a professional translator? The quick answer is ‘yes,’ but that’s far from the only way to get into the business and to ensure you succeed.


The traditional route into translation is much like that into any other field – work hard at school on your chosen subject (in this case, languages), gain a higher education qualification (many universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in translating and interpreting) and then head out into the world of work. Apply for jobs at translation companies and agencies and then perform over and above average in order to advance your career.


There is also a range of other certifications that you can apply for in order to maximise the chances of success in your professional translation career. Numerous bodies offer certification for those who have developed the skills needed for medical or legal translation, for example. Adding these to your resume will help you to stand out from the crowd and showcase your expertise.


In addition to gaining certifications as you progress your career, you will need to embrace lifelong learning in order to achieve true success. Languages are not static and you will need to keep up to date with new words and any official changes. Portuguese, for example, has seen a number of orthographical changes over the years. The most recent was implemented in 2009, when diphthongs were changed, the umlaut was eliminated, silent letters were eradicated and the rules around capitalization and the use of hyphens were changed.

Embracing the opportunity to learn, practising your skills whenever possible and ensuring that you are as qualified and certified as you can be will all stand you in good stead when it comes to becoming a successful professional translator.


How did you come to be a professional translator? What career path did you follow to achieve success in the translation industry? Let us know via the comments section.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Jan, 6



The languages of the future pic_30-12-15_06-26-01 (1)

The five most widely spoken languages in the world are currently Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic, based on first-language speaker numbers. But what about the languages of the future? What should our children be learning in school if they are to understand the world and be understood themselves in the future?


The answer is simple – the five most spoken languages by 2050, according to the engco model of language forecasting, will be… exactly the same as they are now! So Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic will remain top of the agenda so far as global language learning is concerned.


There are various reasons behind the ongoing dominance of these top five languages. A vast domestic population naturally helps, but ancient trade and exploration routes, political dealings, modern commerce and the internet have all played their role in cementing the position of Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic as the most important languages on the planet for those looking to be a part of the modern international community.


According to PWC, the size of the world economy will nearly triple by 2050, with China and India taking the positions of the world’s largest and second largest economies and the US falling back into third place. Mexico is also tipped to shoot up the rankings, from its current 11th place to sixth place in 2050. The first Arabic-speaking country in the 2050 ranking is Saudi Arabia, in 12th place (it currently sits in 14th position).

Other languages will rise and fall over the coming years. Many southern Europeans are currently learning German, with a view to taking advantage of that country’s strong economy to boost their employment prospects. But so far as the front-runners are concerned, it is Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi and Arabic that our children need to learn as their priorities, if they are to participate in the world at a truly international level in the future.


Are you surprised to learn that the languages of the future will still be those that are most widely spoken today? Are there any other languages that you would have expected to dominate by 2050? Share your thoughts via the comments.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes





Jan, 4



Which skills do you need to be a professional translator pic_30-12-15_06-29-34







Professional translation has a distinctive skillset. Obviously an aptitude for languages is a prerequisite, but there are a number of other skills that will determine how well suited you might be for a successful career as a professional translator. Here we explore some of the key skills required.



It’s not enough to love languages – you also need to have a flair for them. To succeed as a professional translator you need to have excellent grammar, be proficient at spelling and have a feel for the way that different languages flow. These are all skills that can be learned, but certain people undoubtedly find them easier than others and it is those individuals who seem to be naturally geared towards careers in translation.


There’s no denying that translation is a detailed task. It requires the ability to focus and excellent attention to detail. If your friends describe you as picky or pernickety, you may well have a flair for translation!

Translators need to not just recall perfectly the languages that they translate, but also to maintain continuity throughout the document that they are working on, even if that work is spread across several weeks. This isn’t something that everyone can do.


There are some additional skills that freelancers need if they are to succeed as translators, over an above those of office-based works. The ability to motivate yourself is essential, as freelancers don’t have anyone else there to make sure they get the work done accurately and on time.

Freelancers also need to be able to manage their time carefully, as the faster they can translate, the more they can earn.

An affinity for marketing or sales is also helpful for freelance translator, as it will help them to market their services and build up their client base.


Which other skills do you consider to be essential for translators? Which aptitude has most enabled you to excel? Let us know via the comments.

By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes




Dec, 28



Choosing between two clients pic_16-12-15_07-59-06 (1)

In an ideal world, one freelance translation job would pop up just as the previous one was about to finish. Of course in the real world that’s rarely the case. What’s more likely is that a quiet period spent scrabbling around for work will be followed by one which sees two or more clients suddenly needing you to undertake urgent translation work for them, all at the same time.


As a freelancer you are responsible for your own income and the more you work, the more you can earn. However, you need to achieve a work/life balance that suits your lifestyle. Saying yes to every job that comes along can lead to incredibly long working days. If that suits you then great, but if not, you need to learn to say no. But how do you choose which client to say no to?


Consider the work that both clients are asking you to undertake and how long each translation will take you. Look at the value of each job and work out which one you can commit to based on the time you have available and how much you are in need of the income.


However, before you decline a translation job based on the short-term considerations, be sure to look at the bigger picture as well. If one of the jobs you have to choose between is from a long-term client, it might be better to keep that client happy in order to guarantee future income from them. Alternatively, a new client might be a refreshing source of new income – and even be happy to pay a higher rate than you charge your existing clients.

Weighing all of this up will help you to understand which of the jobs you ought to choose – and your gut instinct should confirm your decision.


What is your process for choosing between two clients? Is it something you have to do very often? Let us know by leaving a comment.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Dec, 14



As the digital age continues to connect the global community, companies of all sizes are finding it easier than ever to expand their borders and do business internationally.

“With the most significant population growth and increases in purchasing power occurring in parts of the world where English is either not spoken or is not the preferred language, companies are increasingly doing business in regions outside of their home market,” said Judd Marcello, vice president of marketing at Smartling, a translation management system.

But bringing your business into a foreign market isn’t as simple as opening up a store there or advertising that you ship your products overseas. If you really want to develop a strong presence outside your home country, you have to make sure you are, quite literally, speaking your audience’s language.

“Companies must be able to communicate with customers in their native language, not the default language of the company,” Marcello said. “The results of a 2014 Common Sense Advisory Group survey make it clear — 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if the information is presented in their own language.”

“Marketers want their campaigns to evoke emotion,” added Caitlin Nicholson, business development specialist at LinguaLinx, a translation and global marketing service provider. “This is achieved through an understanding of the different types of consumers, their habits and their culture, [and] language is tied very closely to culture and identity.”

With the right strategies, the right messages and the right technology, you can make the translation process faster and easier while saving money and getting ahead of your competition, Marcello said. Here are a few key do’s and don’ts U.S. brands should follow when they’re translating or adapting their marketing materials for global audiences.



Even if you or some of your employee are fluent in the languages you want to translate materials into, this is a task that’s best left to the professionals.

“Don’t simply rely on bilingual employees for translation of your foreign language marketing materials,” Nicholson said. “They may have good knowledge of the target language, but not the skill set of a professional linguist. In addition, they may not have a marketing background or familiarity with translating marketing materials and corporate communications.”

Whether it’s a freelancer or a full-scale translation service, the person or firm you hire should have a great reputation. Nicholson advised using in-country native speakers, if possible. They not only have knowledge of the language, but also live within your target market, so they’ll know about cultural sensitivities, current events and other nuances that will make translations relevant and engaging, she said.

Marcello noted that the provider you choose should be based on a number of factors, including  how specialized your content is, how many languages you need to translate your content into, and the overall scope of your translation project.

“If your project is limited, such as translating content for just one market, a freelance translator may be your best bet,” he said.


Word-for-word translations don’t always resonate the right way, so transcreation —translation plus creation — may be necessary so your materials don’t lose their impact.

“[Transcreation] takes translation to the next level where you adapt marketing content so that the words and the meaning carry the same weight in different cultures,” Nicholson said.

Marcello said that not all translation agencies and language service providers are adept at transcreation, so you may need to hire a specialist to handle this process.


Your brand’s English marketing materials likely have a distinct “voice,” so you’ll want to make sure your translated content has that same tone in any language. Marcello advised creating style and editorial guidelines for translators, marketers and content creators to follow in order to keep your branding consistent.

“In addition to setting the bar on content quality, developing guidelines will help your brand maintain a fluid and consistent tone, which is crucial to global marketing success,” he said. “Keywords related to your brand and any commonly used industry jargon, including acronyms and abbreviations, should be included to ensure accuracy and avoid mistakes.”

Nicholson agreed, and noted that you should provide reference materials like glossaries and previously translated content to help translators or content creators gauge the tone you’re looking for.

Once your materials are translated, send them through one more round of reviews to make sure everything is error-free, and that they meet your established guidelines, Marcello said.



It’s tempting to want to use free services like Google Translate for quick tasks or short pieces of content, but Nicholson and Marcello both agreed that a human translator should be used for every professional project, big or small.

“Machine translation tools … are often unnatural, inaccurate, error-prone, and lack needed context,” Marcello said. “More importantly, they will not enable companies to localize their marketing content to reflect cultural nuances, which is critical to ensuring native brand experiences.”

“If it is meant to be consumed by humans, then it should be translated by humans,” Nicholson added.


Translation doesn’t just encompass going from English to a foreign language. Because of the different regional dialects and colloquialisms, English-to-English materials sometimes need a bit of tweaking to make sense to a local audience.

“Many U.S. firms wisely target new markets still within the English language world as a first step to selling internationally, but this still requires research and localization of search terms and marketing assets,” said Richard Stevenson, head of communications for global e-commerce software provider “Consumers in countries such as Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and Australia expect to see and hear local market terms, and your products [must be] explored in the right context for them to confidently buy from you. For instance, if you sell umbrellas, both British and Australian shoppers would be attracted to the local term ‘brolly.'”

Stevenson added that dialects should be considered in non-English translations as well.

“In Spain, for example, there are four distinct dialects in use by region, and this could have an impact on your choice of campaign terms depending on your target audience, third-party resources, sources of your Web traffic, etc.,” he told Business News Daily. “You may need to modify language in line with regional sales patterns.”

By Nicole Fallon Taylor, Business News Daily Assistant Editor – See more at:



Dec, 12



Top 7 holiday reads for translators_9-12-15_12-33-14

With the holiday season upon us, many translation professionals, along with others around the world, will be jumping onto planes and trains in order to join family and friends in distant locations for festive celebrations.

Journeys aren’t always the most fun, so here we provide a round up of our top 7 holiday reads for translators, to make those miles pass even faster.



The classic holiday read for any translator, Lost in Translation tells the tale of an American woman living in China. She tries to lose her past by creating a new life there, working as a translator.



Another great holiday read, also entitled Lost in Translation, is Ella Frances Sanders beautifully illustrated compendium of 50 of the world’s most untranslatable words – absolutely fascinating to anyone with an interest in languages.



The bestselling Girl in Translation tells the tale of Kim and her mother, who move from Hong Kong to New York in search of a better life. But a lack of language skills creates a gulf between the small family and their new world. A wonderful tale of hardship and hope.



One of Italy’s most translated new authors, Elena Ferrante’s fourth Neopolitan novel follows the complicated lives of best friends Lila and Elena. As the women swing from drama to crisis and back, this heartfelt tale carries a fantastic sense of emotional urgency.



Struggling author Marcus Goldman seeks to clear his mentor’s name, after Harry Querbert is the only suspect in the murder of 15 year old Nola Kellergan, whose body is found in Querbert’s garden some 33 years after she disappears. Packed full of twists and turns, this is a real page-turner that will make any journey fly by.



Aomame finds herself in a parallel existence, while Tengo’s new work project engrosses him so fully that his normal life begins to slip from focus. This is a multi-faceted novel that ranges from mystery to fantasy to love story, with a dyslexic teenager, a religious cult, a private investigator and a wealthy dowager thrown in for good measure. Who could ask for more?



Indonesia’s rising star Eka Kurniawan presents the fascinating tale of two tormented families and Margio, the young man who conceals a supernatural white tiger within himself. Betrayal, mystery, violence and hugely emotional, this is a powerful and extraordinary novel that is perfect holiday reading material.



What are you planning to read this holiday season? Are you reading it in the original language or is a translation? Let us know via the comments.


By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Dec 4, 2015





Studying grammar books and having conversations with native speakers are classic ways to learn and practice any language. However, these are certainly not the only tools which you should have in your toolkit. Here we will look at some practical and easy exercises which you can follow to speed up your language learning process.



Invest in some post-its and start labeling everything in your house. For example, write the word ‘Refrigerator’ on a post-it and stick it onto your fridge door. Do the same for the stairs, the oven, the windows, until everything in your house has a post-it on it. Well, maybe not everything (you might not want to stick a post-it to your child, for instance), but most things. You may already know the words for these objects, but forgetting words is easier than you may realise and you will have a much better chance of retaining the words if you’re looking at them, or they’re looking at you, everyday.



Yes you’ve read that title correctly. They say that watching movies in your target language is a great way to learn and to practice, but is watching a movie just once really that beneficial? This approach is all about repetition.

What to do:

Choose a movie that’s in your target language.

Watch the movie with subtitles and then without.

Download the movie’s screenplay from on-line and print it off.

Read through the script, highlighting any words which you do not know, then learn them.

Watch the movie again, this time reading along to everything being said.

Break it down scene by scene and start learning off by heart from the script the dialogue of the film.

This one is a great way to get you speaking in your new language. The list above is just a suggestion as to how you can go about this method. The main aim is to learn the film off by heart, and to start speaking it out loud. Repetition is key here, so pick a movie you don’t mind watching 24,235 times.

A good place to find movies to do this with is on IMDB, which lets you search movies by language and genre!



Poetry is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated of all the arts. Once a much revered and romanticised profession, poets of late have struggled to remain relevant in an age where people simply don’t have the time to ponder the more abstract ways of looking at life. But that doesn’t mean that it can stop you from dabbling in verse. Writing poetry in your new language is a good way to start thinking about how a language can be used creatively, and how you as a speaker can put your own identity into the words which you choose. Another bonus is that thanks to a term called ‘Poetic Justice’, nobody can ever tell you that your poetry is grammatically incorrect.



Radio will never die. I’m sure of it. It has been around for God knows how long and has served humanity to no end. Now with the internet, it’s easy to stream radio stations from almost every country in the world for free. Another bonus is that radio presenters are required to speak clearly, after all they are professional speakers. If you’re idling around the house, driving in your car or going for a walk, try to always have some ‘talk radio’ or podcasts going into your ears. You may not pick up on everything being said but getting the brain used to hearing a language is very important. Also try falling asleep with the radio on, it might trick your brain into dreaming in your new language, which is a definite bonus!

Go to and search for radio stations by geographical location.



Talking to yourself is generally associated with going crazy. It’s not exactly ‘normal’ to have a full blown conversation with yourself in a public place. People will probably look at you a bit funny. But hey, people, who needs them? A great way to practice pronunciation and fluidity with your new language is to talk to yourself out loud. It may seem weird at first, but after a while you will get used to it. The benefits of this approach are that when you are talking to yourself you are more relaxed and less frightened about making mistakes. Also, as all languages are different, they require different movements of the mouth, and therefore different muscles to be used. These are muscles which we might not use in our native tongue, but that we need for our new one, so they need to be exercised.

If you’re learning a new language but constantly thinking in your old one, then you might find that you will have a hard time thinking of the words when a real life situation arises. A good way to combat this is to start thinking in the language which you are trying to learn. When you wake up in the morning start thinking about everything you have to do that day, and when you’re falling asleep at night think back on the day in your new language. You won’t have to worry about making mistakes in front of people, as it’s all in the privacy of your own mind.



Gamers have developed a somewhat questionable reputation as of late. Thanks to some over enthusiastic hobbyists and even professionals (yes, there are professional gamers!) who have taken their love of gaming to the extreme and caused a topic for debate in the media, gaming can be an altogether healthy and enjoyable pastime. MMO’s (or Massive Multi-player Online Games for you and I) are when you play the same game as a bunch of different people from all over the world, communicating to each other with headsets or by typing. This has proven to be a great way to practice and learn new language skills.

While playing these MMO’s, you will be constantly having to plan with and help other players while speaking in their language. It forces you into ‘real life’ situations where you must survive using language. Think about it, you’re a lot more likely to remember the expression ‘Watch out!’ when one of your teammates is being attacked by a seven foot alien than you are if they are walking into the path of a banana peel. Just remember to come back to reality every now and again.

Some popular MMO’s that I can suggest for you are World Of Warcraft, Second Life, and EverQuest.



This one doesn’t need much of an elaboration. Scrabble is a popular board game where players must use their ingenuity to make words out of random letters. It’s great practice for your vocabulary as it forces you to constantly try and find words which can be used, also learning new ones from your opponents. Plus, it’s fun!

Scrabble is available in 29 different languages including English, Arabic, French & Hungarian. Visit  the Scrabble website for more information on the languages which are available.


These are just some of the ways which you can practice your new language. Try them yourself and see if they work for you!

By Jimmy Monaghan


Dec 2, 2015


Typical deadends that translators face and how to get past them pic_2-12-15_08-55-50

The majority of the time, translating documents is an interesting and enjoyable career. However, there are times when translators run into dead-ends and can’t see any way forward with the document they are working on. Here we consider a few typical dead-ends that translators face and offer some solutions for getting past them.


In an ideal world, translators would be entirely fluent in both the source language and the target language, but this is not always the case. Usually, a minor lack of knowledge of the source language can be overcome with the help of a good dictionary. However, there are some moments when a translator is faced with a phrase or short sentence that simply does not make sense, even when the individual words have been looked up.

This can often be due to an idiom that the translator is not familiar with being used in the source language. Goggling the phrase can often break the deadlock and shed some light on what the meaning of the idiom is. Then all the translator needs to do is rephrase it suitably into the target language, to ensure that the meaning is carried across.


Occasionally a translator may come across a word that exists in the target language but that does not exist in the source language. Every language has words that cannot be translated easily and these can post serious problems for translators. The translator should bear in mind too that there may be typos in the source document – so you could be trying to find the meaning of a word that actually doesn’t exist!

In these instances, common sense is the only possible solution. You will need to translate the rest of that sentence, plus the one after and then infer form context what the mystery word should be. Translate a further couple of sentences and then check back again to make sure it makes complete sense.


It may be an unusual one to include in a round up of dead-ends faced by translators, but boredom can actually have a major impact. While translation can often be fulfilling, there are always those dull and repetitive documents that end up at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list due to their boring nature. It gets to late afternoon and the temptation can be all too great to move the boring document onto the next day’s work pile.

The solution? Tackle boring documents head on! Move them up to the front of the queue and get started on them first thing in the morning. Play music while you work to keep your spirits up and set reward targets for yourself after every hour you have spent translating to ensure your motivation doesn’t waver.


What dead-ends have you faced during your translation career? How did you overcome them?  Let us know via the comments.

By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Nov 26, 2015


What do big earners have in common pic_25-11-15_08-23-02

Translation can be a fulfilling and rewarding (emotionally and financially) freelance career. But what sets the big earners apart from the rest of the sector? What do they do differently and what do they have in common?


As is the case for many freelancers, knowing your worth in the translation industry is essential. Your skills and abilities are in demand, so be sure to price them appropriately. Benchmark your rates against those of your competitors and consider what added value services you can provide that go over than above those offered by the competition. Standing out in this way is something that can command higher rates.

Many of the big earners in the translation industry have a language pairing or specialist translation knowledge (such as legal translation) that is in demand. This means they can charge a premium for their services.


Many big earners also work at an extremely fast pace. However, speed is no good if it is at the expense of quality and what sets these translators apart is their ability to work fast and still maintain a high level of accuracy. It is this combination of skills that allows them to charge their clients more than other translators.

Don’t be afraid to rely on specialist software in order to increase your productivity. This doesn’t mean turning to machine translation, but consider using software that includes translation memory and terminology management in order to boost your daily output and thus your daily income.


It may sound strange, but being happy while you work will also help you to earn more, particularly as a freelancer. A study conducted under laboratory conditions by the University of Warwick in the UK in 2014 found that happiness increases productivity by 12%. In theory, that means that a happy freelancer can earn 12% more than one who is feeling neutral about their work.


What other things do you think the translation industry’s big earners have in common? What are your own tips for boosting your translation earnings? Share your thoughts via the comments.

By Ofer Tirosh, Tomedes



Leave a message

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s