Patagonian Penguins

It's time for another real-life business case. This story comes from our own business, so we have changed all identifying details to protect the parties. Some details we have had to distort completely -- we don't want anyone being identified by our story, which has an important point, we promise. Read on.

A colleague from a faraway country recently referred some business to us (our colleague consented to this blog post), and we started communicating with the very nice direct client. We quoted on a mid-sized project and waited for confirmation. A few days after that, we received an e-mail from an organization that is closely associated with our client. For simplicity's sake, let's call our client Green Juice and the other organization we'll call the Association for the Protection of Patagonian Penguins (APPP)*. In a very nice e-mail message, APPP told us that Green Juice strongly prefers to work with vendors who support conservation efforts and who are members of APPP. We had to think about this for a minute. Was Green Juice, via APPP, telling us that we had to make a donation to APPP to land this translation project? It certainly appeared that's what was going on.

After some deliberation, we responded with a brief, friendly e-mail. We thanked APPP for protecting Patagonian penguins and mentioned that we support several animal rescue organizations in both the U.S. and Europe, and that we are also the very proud parents of a cat (Junia) and a dog (Luna), who were both adopted from shelters. Finally, we said that while we are happy to donate to worthwhile charitable organizations around the globe, we were simply not able to join new organizations to obtain specific, one-time business. Finally, we stated that we completely understood if Green Juice preferred to work with another qualified linguist who was a member of APPP. We left it at that and tried not to sound defensive (we think we succeeded).

Dear readers: What would you have done? We'd love to hear what you think. Perhaps we could have factored the cost of APPP membership into our price quote? It just didn't seem right, and sometimes you just have to decline politely and move on. Project update: Not surprisingly, we did not get this project.  For the record: We are all about saving Patagonian penguins.

*APPP is a completely fictitious organization, as is Green Juice.

Screenshots Made Easy

We've tried several different ways to take easy and quick screenshots, mainly to incorporate them into PowerPoint presentations. We tend to spend quite a bit of time messing around with the screenshots, and hadn't really find a simple way to do them. Our talented techie just told us about Thumbalizr. It's in beta, and it's free. You don't have to sign up (unless you want to; it's free and gives you some extra features) and there's nothing to download. Simply go to the site, enter the URL you want to capture, choose between taking a regular screenshot or the entire page, and click on "thumb it." We tested this with a few websites, and the conversion wasn't super-fast -- well, it only took around 30 seconds. You then get the choice to download the screenshot in a variety of sizes as a PNG file (registering gets you more formats, including JPG). Save that to your computer. If you want to edit it further, you can use your favorite photo editing software. Here's the link again.

We did sign up for the free membership and came up with the JPG of our website. We are not crazy about the grey margins around the screenshot, but we easily cropped those out with a photo editing software. You can see the edited screenshot on the right.

What do you think? Do you like it? We think it's good, but could be a bit faster and we could do without the grey areas. Can you recommend any other ways of taking quick and easy screenshots? We'd love to hear from you.

Top 100 Language Blogs

Vote the Top 100 Language Professionals Blogs 2011

Another year, another nomination: we are incredibly flattered and honored that our blog has been nominated as one of the Top 100 Language Blogs. We've been lucky enough to have been nominated a few years in a row, but we have yet to make it to this prestigious list of 100 - and we would truly love it! There's no prize to be won -- just bragging rights.

If you like our blog, we would really appreciate your vote. Voting starts today and runs until May 29. To vote for our blog, or one of the fantastic blogs written by our colleagues, click on the button above or click here. It only takes a minute to vote and you don't have to sign up for anything.

Job Opportunity in Illinois (English->German In-House)

Our colleagues at CHICATA, the Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters Association, just sent us this job opportunity for English->German linguists looking for that rare in-house position. It's at Lions Club International. It looks like candidates must apply for this job through CareerBuilder. Lions Club is trying to fill this position by the end of May. Here are some details:

Translator/Interpreter – German

This position is responsible for the translation for our global membership. This includes translation of publications and daily correspondence, from English to German and German to English with speed and accuracy.

Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
  • Provide translation of correspondence including emails, letters, and all Lions publications.
  • Provide customer service to our German-speaking Lion members in Germany and Austria.
  • Handle administrative duties such as answering telephones, emails, record keeping, and processing of reports.
  • Provide simultaneous and or consecutive interpretation at board meetings, international convention, seminars and other meetings.
  • Assist other department with their German translation needs.
  • Occasionally, do voice-overs in German for the association’s video tapes
  • Conduct tours of International Headquarters for German speaking visitors

  • Minimum of 2 year’s professional experience as German Translator/Interpreter
  • Bachelor’s Degree (Preferably from a German institution)
  • Excellent command of both English and German (Written & Verbal)
  • Proficient skills using MS Office 2007 (Word, Excel)
  • Strong customer service skills
  • Familiarity with TRADOS preferred
  • Familiarity in history, culture and traditions from Germany
  • International and domestic travel is required for this position (approximately 5%)

For more than 90 years, Lions all over the world have been giving back to their communities. We at the International Headquarters of Lions Clubs International help support more than 1.35 million members in 206 countries. We are looking for people who will have a passion to support our members in their efforts of improving the lives of those who live in their own communities and in communities across the globe that are in need of assistance.

The Lions conduct vision and health screenings, build parks, support eye hospitals, award scholarships, assist youth, and provide help in time of disaster and much more. 
To apply for this position, click here. Good luck!

On the Road: Part One

We are back in our respective countries after an exciting five weeks traveling and working on our business in South America. We spent one week in Argentina (Buenos Aires and surrounding areas), took a daytrip to gorgeous Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, and spent a month in the very modern capital of Chile, Santiago. This is our first post in this series, where we'll focus on all the wonderful things of this trip. More to come on the challenges of working from abroad in another post.
The best dinner in Argentina.

As always, it's the people who make every trip special. Judy's hubby, Keith, spent two weeks traveling with us, and we all had the chance to meet some wonderful fellow translators. Here are the highlights:

Dinner at our wonderful colleague Dolores Rojo Guiñazú's house outside of Buenos Aires

Visiting Dolores' adorable family.
We still cannot even begin to believe her level of hospitality; and here we thought that we went out of our way for friends and colleagues! Dolores' husband, Sergio, drove four hours round-trip to pick us up from our cute bed and breakfast and to drop us off afterward. They treated us to an amazing homemade Argentine BBQ (asado) which was just to-die-for. Sergio was a true master of the BBQ, and Keith was very impressed. (We might become vegetarians some other time.) We spent the evening at their gorgeous house with their four adorable children. Of course, we came bearing gifts, but Dolores had actually had bought gorgeous gifts for us, too. We couldn't believe their level of generosity and hospitality. Needless to say, the dinner was outstanding, and the company was simply wonderful. During dinner, we talked about the translation business in Argentina, the role of professional associations, and our travel plans. We are truly lucky to have colleagues like Dolores Rojo Guiñazú. Thank you!

Meeting our graphic designer, Sandra Busta
Judy, Peter, Dagy, Sandra at dinner.
Readers of this blog might remember Sandra Busta, whose services we have recommended to colleagues who need a logo or other corporate imagery services. She's Chilean-American, and she and her super-nice American husband, Peter, had already offered to help us find an apartment in Santiago (that didn't go so well, more on that in the future post). As soon as we'd landed in Santiago, we made arrangements to meet for a great dinner in the Las Condes neighborhood.  Sandra and Peter insisted on treating us -- thank you! 

Spending time with colleagues and friends at COTICH
Fun dinner with the COTICH folks.
Before heading to South America, Dagy had made contact with the local Chilean translators and interpreters association, COTICH. The outgoing president, Claudia Iglesias, played a key role in making our stay as wonderful as it was. FIrst off, she suggested that we spend a month at her house -- how kind is that? Looking back, we should have probably done that, but made the poor decision to rent an apartment on our own. In addition, Claudia volunteered to lend us an old cell phone, for which we bought pre-paid minutes. It was wonderful to have a local cell phone and saved us from spending way too much on international roaming. Claudia also organized a get-together with fellow COTICH board members and other translators, which we enjoyed at a restaurant in trendy Patio Bellavista in Santiago. We raffled off a copy of our book (we love raffles!), and had great conversations about the state of the translation industry in Chile. 

Travel advice from Judy's friend and colleague, Silvina Jover-Cirillo
An Argentine who grew up in Uruguay and former resident of Vegas, Silvina Jover-Cirillo spent a significant amount of time patiently answering many questions about her two countries. She volunteered to help us with all kinds of things, even volunteering the services of family members. Thanks so much for all your help, Silvina!

All in all: it was a fantastic trip, and we are glad we reached out to fellow translators before we headed to the southern hemisphere. We knew we had wonderful colleagues, but we had no idea just how wonderful. More reports to come; stay tuned!

Dear readers: have you met up with fellow translators and interpreters while on the road? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.
Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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