In June of this year, I will travel to Germany for three weeks to recharge my language batteries. I have been doing this once a year for a long time and sometimes even had the opportunity to visit twice in one year. During the first five months of 2018, work has been divided evenly between entertainment and non-entertainment – localizing TV shows and localizing software, websites, and sales videos.
Unfortunately, it has transpired that I will not be able to attend this year’s ATA conference in New Orleans. It is disappointing, but next year’s conference will be in Palm Springs, driving distance for me, and I am determined not to miss it.
► The localization of feature films and TV shows is still going ahead at full speed. Streaming services are doing very well, and the number of international subscribers is growing. I am also happy to see that it is not a mere one-way street anymore. Shows produced in other countries and other languages are being offered to viewers here in the U.S. Foreign-language shows are subtitled in English, and Netflix reports a growing domestic viewership for such shows. I am still working long hours mainly on quality control of German dubbing scripts and subtitles.
► It is almost time for the annual ATA Conference (November 2 to 5, 2016), which will take place in San Francisco this time. It will be the third conference for me in that city. I am particularly happy that I have recovered sufficiently to attend. Two months ago, I was not sure it would happen. If you are at the San Francisco conference, call or text me and we can get together. If not, please remember that I may respond more slowly to your e-mail during those days.
► The past months have been very busy, mainly with quality control of German dubbing scripts and subtitles for television. I have always been frustrated by the artificial barriers designed to keep content inside a specific country or region. When our daughter was little, we bought English-language VHS cassettes of Disney movies in Australia. They could not be played in the country we lived in, Japan. We had to get a multi-system VHS player and TV set that could switch between NTSC and PAL. Today, a German viewer may be able to watch an American TV show dubbed in German, but not always in the original English. The reason is regional licensing, an extension of the NTSC/PAL barrier, that slices the world into even smaller pieces. I’m therefore taking special pride in working on original Netflix content. Finally, the viewer can watch shows dubbed in German, in the original English with or without subtitles, as well as in a number of other language versions.
► Getting ready for the ATA Conference in Miami (November 4 to 8, 2015). I will not be presenting this year but I’m looking forward to the many interesting sessions and to reconnecting with colleagues.
Normally, I would have looked forward to the warm weather as well, had not Los Angeles been going through weeks of very unseasonable heat. So Miami will be more of the same – just with higher humidity. Please remember that I may respond more slowly to your e-mail messages during the conference.
► After 13 months, I finished my in-house contract and I am back to working in my own office. I am not commuting on a regular basis anymore, but I have to say that the switch to an all-electric vehicle earlier in the year had improved the commuting experience tremendously. I was contracted to carry out software localization work, and I was part of a team with members on the East coast and in Europe. I learned a lot about computer-aided design in aerospace and automotive industries, and I found out about what can and cannot be done when the language volume for one locale goes into the millions of words. Now that I am back, I am dealing with smaller projects again and in September, I’m planning to travel to Germany for the regular recharging of my language batteries. If you want to get in touch with me for your translation projects: my contact information has not changed.
► My presentation at the ATA Annual Conference in Chicago (November 4 to 8, 2014) has come an gone. Despite careful preparation, I ran out of time. There were a number of very good questions from the floor, and answering them there and then seemed the right thing to do. I was surprised by the size of the audience. After all, I was presenting on a Saturday afternoon, and the day had more than its fair share of interesting sessions. Thank you to all who attended. I am still working on my localization contract (see news if May 2014), and I will let everyone know when this changes. Thank you for hanging in there.
► My presentation proposal for the ATA Annual Conference in Chicago (November 4 to 8, 2014) has been accepted. On the conference Saturday, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, I will be talking about “Shielding Your Data from Prying Eyes: Five Quick and Easy Steps for Translators.” I thought that this would be particular apropos after the 2013 revelations of widespread spying on anything that moved. It turns out that with the sudden shuttering of one of the open-source encryption icons, TrueCrypt, the game has changed again. Looking forward to seeing you on the afternoon of November 8.
► Major events in the first quarter of 2014 have impacted my availability. I have started working on a long-term localization contract that requires my presence in the client’s office. You should still contact me if you have an English-to-German project. It may be possible to make room for your request. However, I cannot work on rush jobs or large projects until I have finished my contract. I apologize if this causes any inconvenience.
► We are quickly coming to the end of 2013. I would like to thank all my clients and colleagues for their support and business throughout the year. Have a safe holiday season and a successful Year of the Horse 2014.After a year full of traveling, I am looking forward to some quiet time at home at the end of December.
Enjoy the holidays.
► I had to change the hosting provider for this website. The previous provider was unable (or unwilling) to take the necessary precautions to keep my small slice of server space malware-free. With the change of hosting arrangements, I also decided to finally move to a more expressive domain. For some years now, I have been owning the domain English2German.LA, which seemed like the perfect description of my work and work place. As of this move, my website is now hosted under English2German.LA. The previous domain, gw-language.com, is still functioning and is still my e-mail domain. I have been using it since the 90s, and it will be around for a while.
► At the beginning of August, I returned from Germany. This year, I spent more time there than the usual week in late winter and/or late fall. As a native speaker of German living in the United States, I owe it to my clients to keep my language batteries charged. Often I hear comments about the need to stay up-to-date with the numerous changes in language, especially when living outside your native country. However, I find that enduring changes are slow. True, there are all sort of fads. Listening to young people or reading their Facebook posts frequently gives me the impression that the language has changed completely. But, over time, I find that only a fraction of those new language elements persist, and it takes quite a while for them to trickle down to acceptable written German, if they ever actually do. For me, the value of regular visits to my native country lies in an increased sensitivity to the differences between English and German – in structure and logic, and in conceptual approaches.
► Spring cleaning! During the course of the year, the hard drives and the desktop of my working computer tend to get more and more cluttered. There is nothing like a good clean-up to take care of files and folders that are no longer relevant. Having made sure that all data and all configuration info was backed up in two different places, I swapped my old hard drives for new ones, vacuumed the inside of the computer housing, made sure that all fans are still working, retied some of the cables, and tightened all screws. Then on to the re-installation of the operating system and applications. It is a tedious but very useful process, which results in a clean, uncluttered install of the OS and only of those applications needed at the moment. Everything works better and faster after such a cleaning, and, as added bonus, it takes care of any undetected malware as well. I can highly recommend it.
► This website was hacked in mid-January. Luckily, no content was changed, but the site appeared very differently for a couple of days. We consulted with our hosting provider and decided to add TLS security. “Transport Layer Security (TLS) and its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols that provide communication security over the Internet. TLS and SSL encrypt the segments of network connections at the Application Layer for the Transport Layer, using asymmetric cryptography for key exchange, symmetric encryption for confidentiality, and message authentication codes for message integrity.” [Source: Wikipedia]
The site should automatically take visitors to a secure TLS connection, as indicated by the https:⫽ in the address field of the browser.
► Entering the last month of 2012, I would like to thank all my clients and colleagues for their support and business throughout the year. Have a safe holiday season and a successful Year of the Snake 2013.
I will spend Christmas and New Year with family in Australia. If you need to get in touch with me, please call or e-mail me in the new year.
Enjoy the holidays.
► After several years at the easternmost edge of Los Angeles county, my office moved into the city of Los Angeles. Phone number and e-mail address will remain the same. If you need my new mailing address, please go to the Contact page.
I will be able to take advantage of my newly acquired proximity to LAX when I will fly to Berlin later this month to attend the conference of the German translator and interpreter association BdÜ, entitled Übersetzen in die Zukunft. I hope to see you there.
► At the end of February, I flew to San Francisco for a full-day workshop on memoQ, organized by the Northern California Translators Association (NCTA). Unfortunately, there is no ATA chapter or other translator organization in or around L.A. – a shame, since there are plenty of translators in the area. I am getting more and more productive with the memoQ tool, and the workshop helped me streamline my work flow. I am particularly indebted to the memoQ Yahoo Group, a great place to find solutions to any issued one may have with the software.
With all my enthusiasm about memoQ, the rule still holds that it is the nature of your project that will determine whether a TM tool is a sensible choice. Some material is well suited for TM tools, while other material may even suffer from the use of TM.
► As 2011 is coming to an end, I would like to thank all my clients and colleagues for their support and business throughout the year. Have a safe holiday season and a successful Year of the Dragon 2012.
I will close down from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day to fully concentrate on family life – I will not even check my e-mail! If you need to get in touch, I will be happy to talk to you in the new year.
Enjoy the holidays.
► I have two more trips, one to San Francisco and one to San Diego, before I will be on my way to Boston to attend the 52nd ATA conference. I have finished all conference preparations. A fresh batch of business cards will have visual elements from this website – look out for them.
For this year I’m expecting heavy Twitter coverage of the conference. The hashtag is #ATA52. A tweetup is scheduled for Saturday, October 29, at 7:30am (!). Place tba. (That’s going to be a tough one for us West coast residents.) What a difference to the 2008 conference in Orlando when talking about Twitter was still quite exotic.
► The conference hotel and the flights are booked for the 52nd Annual Conference of the American Translators Association (ATA) this Fall in Boston. My first ATA conference was the 1993 Philadelphia event. Since then, the conferences have been a great opportunity to learn and to meet colleagues and clients.
My proposal for a presentation was not accepted. While I was disappointed, this is also good news: I can dive into the conference without added pressure.
If you are planning to attend, please let me know so that we can meet. If not, I will be out of the office from October 25 to 30, 2011.
► I just spent a weekend in Washington, D.C., attending the mid-year conference of the Translation Company Division of ATA. It was a very worthwhile conference with two tracks, one for translation company people and one for freelance translators. I was happy to see the two groups being addressed in the same conference. We need to do much more to bridge the gap between translation companies and freelance translators. As Chris Durban said in her keynote: We are all language service providers.
One of the reasons I attended this conference on the other side of the continent was that I had been invited to present. My presentation, “10 Technology Tips You Can Start Using Today,” was well attended and I used Prezi, a non-linear presentation tool, for the first time in a public setting. Prezi turned out to be a great success. You can take a look at the resources for my presentation here on this website.
► I’ve just finished another round of German subtitling. One of the more interesting things I learned was that there are actually bilingual subtitles – in my case a combination of German and French. The top line of the subtitles is in German, the bottom line in French. In other words, the opportunity to get the dialog across is cut in half! First I thought that it would be distracting, but after a couple of minutes I didn’t even look at the French line anymore – except to confirm now and then that the translation was equivalent to the German subtitle.
I’m using WinCAPS Multimedia subtitling software. It’s a very versatile and incredibly useful tool with a shallow learning curve. Unfortunately, I have no installation on my work computer and can use it only in the client’s office. But then most of the video is restricted to the client’s in-house servers for security reasons anyway.