The Norwegians are Doing My Head In

Tags

, ,

Map of the number of Norwegian people in the w...

Map of the number of Norwegian people in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh lordy, its day five of editing the Norwegians’ book chapters and it’s doing my head in. At first I thought they were really, really clever and I couldn’t understand their work because it was so complex and difficult. Now I realise it’s just immensely confused writing. It makes me think that this is the case for much of science, and a lot of the reason why many people avoid it. They think it’s difficult to understand and they’re not clever enough to grasp it. But in fact, the problem lies in the fact that it’s really really hard to write in a way that explains ideas fluently and clearly.

It’s exhausting work. I can only do a maximum of two hours stints. After that my head is so fried I have to go and lie down for a while. In fact, I’ve started displacement activities. I keep finding reasons to go to the shops or read something else, just to avoid working on the Norwegian stuff. I can’t even say it’s nearly done. I’m five chapters into a twelve chapter book and I’ve heard there is worse to come 😦

In other news, yesterday someone asked me to quote on their article about dog-walking… I’m keen to do it. They’re not Norwegian 🙂

Advertisements

April Showers

Tags

, ,

Garden with some tulips and narcissusI learnt a new French word the other day – la giboulé. Or, more specifically, les giboulées, which means showers. April showers in particular. I can’t remember the last time I saw a more typical April. This month weather has ranged from surprisingly warm and sunny to surprisingly cold and rainy and it’s been unusually windy. The plants have loved it. The warmth gave them an initial boost, the wind has blown the dust away and the rain has kept them well watered. Everything is blindingly green, yellow, pink, red, white or blue with orange spots and bursting with life. It’s beautiful to see.

I wish I was in synch with the plants rather than the weather. I’m ready for a bit more stability. It seems to have been a month of ups and downs, rain and sunshine. Each time I think I’m set for a long spell of dry, calm weather, it turns cold and starts raining again. I guess I should take a leaf from the plants’ book (gerrit!) and find a way to enjoy the constant changes.

Random Ramblings

Tags

, ,

Example of screenplay formatting. Writing is o...I’ve been thinking over the weekend that I should do more of my own writing. Last year I kept my blog going for the full year. Before that I wrote a couple of film scripts. I’m missing it and I lie awake at night composing blog posts or a script for the next blockbuster.

But it’s hard to be motivated when nobody cares except me. I wonder if the literary giants (past or present) ever threw down their pen saying, “well, if nobody’s going to read it, then I’m just not going to write ANYTHING any more”. Or if they were so driven that they went ahead and did it anyway, whether anyone was going to read it or not. On the other hand, there’s also a lingering fear that if I say what I really want to say then people won’t like it – and by extension – me. Ho hum.

What is is about Norwegian?

Tags

, , ,

‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Norges riksvåpen ‪Norsk (n...The texts I’m working on at the moment were written by native Norwegian speakers. They’re very different to the ones written by native French speakers that I usually work on. The French ones always end up significantly shorter and I often have to turn their sentences around. With the Norwegians, I’m finding I’m adding words and, while the word order isn’t particularly odd, the verb tenses are.

I’m wondering if there’s something fundamentally different in the structure of Norwegian that creates these interesting particularities when it’s turned into English. Further investigations needed!

Same Old Same Old

Tags

, , , ,

Horoscope, AstrologyI have a secret vice. I love to read my horoscope. More than one, usually. If one doesn’t tell me what I want to hear, I just read a different one. At the moment, they’re all saying the same thing. Mars (plus a whole lot of other planets) are ending their retrograde phases, and things will start to move forward rapidly.

In a week that’s been lot of the same old same old, I’m not really seeing it. You don’t think they could be wrong, do you?

Editing vs. Translation

Tags

, , ,

GOS sowI’ve mentioned before that I much prefer translating to editing. Not only is the money better, it’s much easier. I’ve got a week of editing ahead of me, and the more it goes on the more I think that editing just doesn’t pay.

I charge 3 cents a word for editing and 13 cents a word for translating. Therefore, translation should take about four times longer than editing. Or, more importantly, editing should take a quarter of the time that translating takes. Not only does it not, it’s miles away from being the case. In fact, editing often takes more time than translating. I’m working my way through a series of book chapters written by Scandinavians. The first one was as it’s supposed to be, only minor edits needed and it was done in a day. But I’ve been working on the two that followed forever and when I’m done, they’ll still not be great.

There is  a lot of satisfaction in making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But it really doesn’t pay.

Working on Sunday

Tags

, ,

Horse riding on Broad Sands A couple of riders...I finished off a piece of work early last week. At least I thought I had. Later on in the week the author got in touch to say he wouldn’t be able to read it before the end of the week, and would I be around on Saturday morning if he needed me? Of course, I said yes. Saturday morning is no trouble at all. The morning came and went and no word. By the time I went out around 4pm there was still nothing.

On Sunday morning I checked my mail, and lo’ and behold there was a message from him that had arrived around 9pm on Saturday night. As it wasn’t going to take very long, I grudgingly replied. Not because I didn’t have the time, but because I object to it being taken for granted that because I said I’d work on Saturday morning I was asked to work on Sunday morning. Mid-afternoon there was a follow-up to ask if I’d finished working on the translation? What? It turned I’d overlooked the attachment to the morning mail.

To cut the story short, I did the work but pointed out to the author that it wasn’t very healthy for either of us to be working on Sunday. And, in fact, if it hadn’t been raining he wouldn’t have had a response at all. I would have been half-way up a mountain somewhere, admiring the view.

It’s another little lesson learned. Next time I tell someone I’ll be available to work on Saturday morning, I must finish the sentence with something like, ‘but I’ll be away horse-back riding for the rest of the weekend’.

Monday Morning

Tags

, , ,

The following is the author's description of t...

One thing I love about my work is that Monday mornings are rarely stressful. I can still remember a time, not that long ago, when Sunday nights were spent drinking myself to sleep only to wake up on Monday morning with a deep dread of what the week ahead might hold. There were often tears before breakfast. That doesn’t happen any more. I usually deliver work on Friday, and not many people rolling into work on Monday have getting in touch with the translator as their first priority. In fact, I can often plan to do something nice on Monday morning – like today where I headed off to the shops for some retail therapy. I didn’t buy anything, but it was still a great treat to be out and about while the rest of the world headed back to their desks and an email backlog.

Translator’s Tools

Tags

, , , ,

Invoice

Well, although I’ve neglected the blog, there’s been a few developments over the past few days.

The brochure

First, the brochure is approaching its final form. It’s taken forever. Totally my fault. I’ve dragged my heels at every step of the way. But it’s starting to look not good, but great! We might be done by the end of next week.

Wordfast anywhere

Second, I’ve had another go at translation tools, in particular Wordfast Anywhere.  After a fair amount of palaver I managed to sign up for the (paid, I’m not sure they mention this beforehand) Google Translate service which can be integrated into WA (and MemoQ methinks).  After more experimentation, I’m still baffled by how people find this useful unless they spend their lives translating lists of car parts. First, you can only really see a sentence at a time, but I usually translate a sentence in the context of its paragraph. Second, how do you deal with footnotes? Third, how does it handle tables? To be fair, the document I was working with didn’t have any, so I didn’t get to test it. But above and beyond all this, it seems to be impossible to re-order either sentences, or (don’t tell anyone I suggested this) whole paragraphs. I’ll keep picking it up from time to time. Maybe eventually it will grow on me, but for now, my plain old word processor still meets all my needs.

InstaInvoice

And last but not least, yesterday was spent working on what looks like it’s going to turn out to be a Really Useful Tool. Like most freelancers (I suppose), I keep track of work in a spreadsheet. I also prepare estimates and invoices. As time has gone on, I’ve realised that maintaining this info and preparing estimates and invoices takes up a disproportionate amount of time, and  involves a lot of copying and pasting from estimate to spreadsheet to invoice and back again. So, I’ve started work on a tool that will enable me to record all the necessary info once, in the spreadsheet, and automatically, at the click of a button generate either an estimate or an invoice. Perfectly formatted, with all the necessary information. How good is that! Work is progressing nicely, and when it’s finished I think I’ll call it InstaInvoice. Coming to a website near you soon 🙂

Not in the Groove

Tags

, , ,

Easter Bunny: Terminator

Easter Bunny: Terminator (Photo credit: faithmouse)

Tuesday, did a full day’s work finishing off the current translation and have ended the day in quite a strop, for reasons unknown. Probably because I’m tired. Poor sleep is a real killer of productivity. Yesterday turned into a more traditional Bank Holiday than I expected. We spent the whole day in hospital after Chewy chopped the end off his thumb.

Anyway, enough moaning. What I wanted to do is give fellow translator Corinne McKay‘s blog a plug. I generally find something useful and interesting in her posts. Last Friday was no exception. Through her I’ve discovered The Freelancery blog which is great. I’ve started working my way through all of Walt’s posts – I’ve only ever done that once before with a blog. Plus, I’m happy to see that I’m following a well-beaten path in the area of rates and ignorant customers!

Onwards and upwards.