Archive: Mar 2016

  1. Saving Spanish in Miami

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    The Atlantic

    Saving Spanish in Miami
    Fifty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Cubans immigrated to the southern tip of Florida. Now, the city has to teach a new generation how to thrive in a bilingual economy.

    MIAMI—Spanish is an integral part of daily life here. In downtown restaurants, men in suits order cafecitos and huevos in Spanish before heading into their Brickell Avenue jobs. At night young professionals sipping on craft cocktails at outdoor Wynwood bars banter in their parents’ native tongue. Even disc jockeys on Top 40 radio stations speak in a way that’s distinctly Miamian, effortlessly cutting in and out of English, Spanish, and local slang before playing the latest hit.

    Over the last 60 years, Miami has been the gateway to America for Hispanic immigrants. And ever since waves of Cuban exiles came to South Florida in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, the city’s economy and culture has been intertwined with Spanish. The local economy grew around immigrants who spoke Spanish (sometimes only Spanish), which in turn brought increased business opportunities, media operations, and tourism exchanges with Latin American countries.
    As a result, Spanish speakers did well and built wealth, a fact that differentiates Miami from many other major cities, where Spanish is more commonly spoken by low-income residents. Here, Spanish is used across the socioeconomic spectrum. In Hialeah, a community just northwest of Miami with a median household income of $30,000, over 90 percent of residents speak Spanish, according to Census figures. In Key Biscayne, a wealthy enclave just south of Miami Beach that has a median household income of $121,000, around 70 percent of residents also speak Spanish.

    Miami is a bilingual city with an economy that is dependent on both languages, says Phillip Carter, a professor of linguistics at Florida International University. But things are changing. While Spanish may have been spoken in homes growing up, recent research has shown younger generations of Miami Hispanics are less inclined to speak Spanish as they grow older and are far less likely to be able to read it.

    “It’s important to have a workforce that can accommodate and work with the Spanish-speaking community.”
    Like many young Cuban Americans, Paul Hernandez learned Spanish as a child from his grandparents, who couldn’t speak English. “I learned out of necessity,” he says. If the 28-year-old Hialeah city councilman one day does have children, he says he would teach them Spanish and would continue speaking the language on a daily basis. But he thinks he’s in the minority among Cuban Americans his age. “It’s not a matter of necessity for them,” he says. “It’s dying out. My generation speaks a very broken Spanish. It’s not proper at all. It’s very common to misuse words. And the generation that came after us speaks Spanish even less.” He says there is “absolutely” a decline in Spanish literacy in Miami.

    This decline in biliteracy may lead to an employment gap in the coming decades, says Susan Martin, the elementary lead teacher at Coral Way Bilingual K-8 Center, a dual-language school in Miami. “Everywhere you go in Miami, you’re confronted with someone who will speak to you in Spanish,” says Martin. “Even in business, any office or bank you go, you will find someone who speaks Spanish and you may need to communicate with that person in Spanish. It’s important to have a workforce that can accommodate and work with the Spanish-speaking community.”
    So, to say nothing of the value of preserving a vibrant and historic culture, it is in most Miamians’ economic interest to secure a bilingual future. The best way to do that is to focus on dual-language programs throughout the public school system, says Carter. In those programs, students learn in both Spanish and English. Miami-Dade County already has a strong foundation of such programs.

    In 1963, shortly after Cuban exiles started arriving, Miami-Dade County Public Schools launched the first bilingual school in the United States at Coral Way Elementary School, which serves students in an area that extends from Little Havana to Brickell Avenue. In the decades since its launch, Coral Way, which now instructs 1,500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade in both English and Spanish, has become a national model for dual-language education. This isn’t a private school. When I visit her classroom, Maida Yanes asks her third-grade class in Spanish if anyone wants to recite a poem about Frida Kahlo. The entire class raises its hand in unbridled excitement. She picks one student, Nadia. Though her parents do not speak Spanish, she glides through the poem like a native speaker. On the wall, along with quotes and posters in Spanish, hangs a picture of Cuban national hero José Martí, who was the subject of several stories the class read last month. Today, the students are reading a Cuban folktale about a woman looking for a suitor. As they answer questions about what they’re reading on handouts, students whisper to each other in Spanish asking for help.
    The Spanish-language curriculum is almost identical to the English one, in which students learn about grammar, literature, and writing in both languages. In the mornings, Yanes teaches language arts, math, and social studies in Spanish. Later in the day, another teacher instructs students in language arts, social studies, and science in English. “When you want a child to learn two languages at home, you want one parent to speak in English and the other parent to speak in Spanish so the child has a good distinction,” says Mayte Dovale, Coral Way’s principal. “We do the same thing here with teachers so they are departmentalizing throughout the entire school beginning in kindergarten.”
    When the students get to the sixth grade, they learn language arts, science, and social studies in English and language, literature, humanities, and math in Spanish. By the time students are in eighth grade, they’re ready to take the Advanced Placement Spanish exam, which almost everyone passes, says Dovale. Even though 85 percent of the students who attend Coral Way are Hispanic, it doesn’t guarantee they would have achieved this level of Spanish comprehension at home, says Martin. “We do see that some of those families do not have the foundation in writing,” she says, “or in the proper, formal way of speaking that you would need for a work situation.”

    If they choose, students can move on to a bilingual high-school education, either through local college-preparatory or international-baccalaureate schools, which not only earns them a high-school diploma but also a diploma from the Spanish government. This is the first step for students who want to participate in the bilingual job market.

    Miami-Dade County Public Schools have begun moving toward more Spanish literacy education, though the district has been criticized for not doing enough. Last year, the district proposed a $4 million curriculum overhaul, boosting its extended foreign-language program to 146 schools—where students can learn subjects in both Spanish and English every day—and offering more opportunities for teachers to boost their training in bilingual teaching. FIU has also begun offering a graduate certificate in bilingual education to address this Spanish-language shortage among teachers in Miami-Dade County.

    The economy in Miami evolved naturally to thrive with a bilingual population. But to sustain that, interventions are required. If Spanish-language education isn’t harnessed at the local level, says Carter, the linguist at FIU, then it puts Miami’s place as a bilingual economic hub at risk. “It’s just presumed that the high rates of bilingualism will continue into the future,” he says. “Bilingualism in Miami is not inevitable.”

    This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by grants from Emerson Collective and Ford Foundation.

  2. 5 Tips on How to Deal with Freelancer’s LonelinessSecrets to eliminate solitude from your life

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    FEBRUARY 7, 2016

    5 Tips on How to Deal with Freelancer’s LonelinessSecrets to eliminate solitude from your life

    Greater than 4 minutes, my friend!

    Being a freelance translator, or being a freelancer in any field for that matter, is a lonely business. I don’t need to tell you that. At times, it may hit you hard that you work at home, in front of your laptop, in the confines of your study room, bedroom or living room. If you live alone like me and are -devoid of a significant other, then it may get even worse and you find yourself listening to music or keeping the TV on while working just so that you have some sort of ambient noise other than the clicking sound of your keyboard or the echoing thoughts in your head. If all these describe you, then I might have a few solutions for you.

    This post will not make you a better translator, get you more clients, or give you tips as to how to market your translation business. Instead, I will share with you the secrets of dealing with the loneliness that comes with working from home. For most of your friends, the idea of working in your pyjamas is amazing. You don’t have to be that 9-to-5 slave in a narrow cubicle. However, people may be blinded by the so-called advantages of what we do, there is the solitude we have to deal with. Here are a few tips as to how you overcome being stuck at home with work.

    1.Pub-lancing, or café-lancing:

    Assuming you have a laptop or an ultrabook that is portable enough to let you work without having to stay at home, I say, use that feature. Be portable yourself. One thing I find helpful is being amongst other people, be it people you know or complete strangers. Social isolation will do nothing but make you feel lonelier. An article published by Times on 26 March 2013 sums up the danger of being stuck at home. “The research, which was led by Andrew Steptoe, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, followed 6,500 British people over 52 from 2004 until 2012. The most socially isolated in this group were 26% more likely to die during the study period than those with the most active social lives…” You may not be over 52, but still. For instance, I work in pubs, not behind the bar but on one of the tables, sipping my coffee or beer and utilising their free Wi-Fi. In a sense, I am a publancer. Recently, I set up a Facebook group called Pub-lancing Translators to see how many is out there that like their beer and work at the same time. I am sure I am not the only one that does this. Enjoying your chai latte while dealing with that dreadful text in a lovely café would work too. So, get your cue from scientists and get out!

    2. Language or CPD courses:

    Flower arrangement courses or cooking classes even! I think you may have a couple of hours a week to spare for such courses. They are pretty good at expanding your knowledge on certain subjects. Not only that, they provide you with the possibility to expand your social circle as well. Making friends through attending an evening class is another way to feel less lonely. Some of those people you met might make great companions and even teach you a thing or two about life. You never know. If you have just started taking, say, language courses as your chosen CPD activity, you can add another working language to your CV and earn more two years from now. Yet another advantage.

    3. Networking events with colleagues:

    I am not going to argue the plus side of attending conferences or seminars for translators. If you are wise enough to keep your antennae on to learn more from other experienced freelancers in our business, you already know by now how important it is to share a few days with other ‘like-minded’ translators in a city you haven’t been before. Professionally, such events are amazing. However, they do something else that is good for you: that is, pushing you to communicate with others. Some of those people you exchanged business cards with may become a friend in the future. You will want to meet them for non-business purposes after that seminar. Social gatherings with colleagues are great at shaking off that solitude. That has been the case for me. Depending on your budget and availability of your calendar, book your next trip to that international conference. You’ll love every minute of it.

    4. Hosting a party at home:

    No, you don’t need a party planner or posh wine and cheese, or to cook 5 course meals for a pax of 14. How about organising a film & pizza night? If you have social skills enough to provide you with non-freelancing friends, and you like their company, all you have to do is pick up the phone and invite your friends or family over. Order your favourite Italian and voila. You are in the company of other human beings. A few glasses of port might be a nice addition as well.


    5. Pets:

    I am a member of quite a few translators’ groups on Facebook. The amount of photos of translators’ CAT tools (pun oh-so-intended!) I have seen so far should tell you something about us. A cat, or a dog, or even a pet turtle gives you the responsibility to take care of something other than yourself and that text before your eyes that needs translating. They are great in giving you back the love you give them and make you giggle as you watch them trying to catch their own tail! I had budgerigars for a while that watched me work on my shoulders and chirping into my ears. I am still toying with the idea of getting a couple. Adopt a furry friend. They are fun to be with.

    Human beings are inherently social. Don’t be stuck at home but push yourself to interact with others. I was going to include dating in the list if you are single or sharing a nice evening out with your significant other, or even a gym membership but they are a given already for most people. I am interested in knowing how you deal with loneliness. Please share your recipe in comments.

    Deniz Aker

    @LinguALaTurca, English-Turkish Medical Translator, publancer, cake lover, word fetishist.

  3. The Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts

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    Freelance translator and copywriter; English into Dutch

    19 March, 2014

    The Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts

    The Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts


    What’s This?

    We all know the Periodic Table of Elements. That table we learned about in secondary school: an overview of gases, metals and other stuff – as far as I remember. I am not a beta so all I know is that it exists.
    As a freelance translator I do not have to know that table although I think it’s good to know about it. To do my job properly I need to know what CAT tools are, what I am talking about in terms of subjects and terminology and how I can work efficient and profitable. That’s where Trados comes in.
    Although I own over 7 free and paid CAT tools, I use Trados most. In my humble opinion it is not the smartest CAT tools in terms of algorithm and logic but it is fast and very popular and demanded by many translation agencies over the world. Trados Studio 2014, for which I bought an upgrade including AutoSuggest Creator, is much better than Trados Studio 2011 which I used for some years. I will write about it later. Let’s speak about Trados shortcuts now.

    Trados Shortcuts

    To improve your workflow and speed up your translation process, Trados Studio has many build-in shortcuts. Many of them are well-known, like ‘Ctrl+A’ to select all and ‘Ctrl+B’ to make selected text bold. Of course, every translator knows that ‘Ctrl+Enter’ will confirm the translation after which you will go to the next untranslated segment.
    The less obvious Trados shortcuts are those shortcuts that are dedicated to the translation workflow, like ‘Ctrl+Alt+S’ to merge segments and ‘F3’ for concordance search.
    Trados selves comes with an overview of Trados shortcuts but that’s monotonous and black and white.
    To make it a bit more fun I developed the Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts: it’s first and foremost fun but after that it can prove useful as well. And thanks to the colorfulness you will always have a nice, scientific looking, attracting wallpaper! *Sales mode off*
    All shortcuts are organized according their function. So, you don’t have to look at all those 118 shortcuts to find the one you’re looking for.
    You can view a preview here.

    Download the Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts

    So time to download the Periodic Table of Trados Shortcuts.
    You can download it as a JPG file or PDF file (or both). Downloading is free, like spreading.
    Copyrights are for me, of course..
    Please download it below and feel free to share any comments, like enthusiasm, hints and your favorite Trados shortcuts below.

  4. The Superior Social Skills of Bilinguals

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    CreditGérard DuBois

    BEING bilingual has some obvious advantages. Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences. But in recent years, psychology researchers have demonstratedsome less obvious advantages of bilingualism, too. For instance, bilingual children may enjoy certain cognitive benefits, such as improved executive function — which is critical for problem solving and other mentally demanding activities.

    Now, two new studies demonstrate that multilingual exposure improves not only children’s cognitive skills but also their social abilities.

    One study from my developmental psychology lab — conducted in collaboration with the psychologists Boaz Keysar, Zoe Liberman and Samantha Fan at the University of Chicago, and published last year in the journal Psychological Science — shows that multilingual children can be better at communication than monolingual children.

    We took a group of children in the United States, ages 4 to 6, from different linguistic backgrounds, and presented them with a situation in which they had to consider someone else’s perspective to understand her meaning. For example, an adult said to the child: “Ooh, a small car! Can you move the small car for me?” Children could see three cars — small, medium and large — but were in position to observe that the adult could not see the smallest car. Since the adult could see only the medium and large cars, when she said “small” car, she must be referring to the child’s “medium.”

    We found that bilingual children were better than monolingual children at this task. If you think about it, this makes intuitive sense. Interpreting someone’s utterance often requires attending not just to its content, but also to the surrounding context. What does a speaker know or not know? What did she intend to convey? Children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: They have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken.

    Interestingly, we also found that children who were effectively monolingual yet regularly exposed to another language — for example, those who had grandparents who spoke another language — were just as talented as the bilingual children at this task. It seems that being raised in an environment in which multiple languages are spoken, rather than being bilingual per se, is the driving factor.

    You might wonder whether our findings could be explained as just another instance of the greater cognitive skills that bilingual children have been observed to have. We wondered that, too. So we gave all the children a standard cognitive test of executive function. We found that bilingual children performed better than monolingual children, but that the kids who were effectively monolingual yet regularly exposed to another language did not. These “exposure” children performed like monolinguals on the cognitive task, but like bilinguals on the communication task. Something other than cognitive skills — something more “social” — must explain their facility in adopting another’s perspective.

    In a follow-up study, forthcoming in the journal Developmental Science, my colleagues and I examined the effects of multilingual exposure on even younger children: 14- to 16-month-old babies, who are hardly speaking at all. In this study, led by Zoe Liberman and in collaboration with Professor Keysar and the psychologist Amanda Woodward, babies were shown two versions of the same object, such as a banana, one of which was visible to both the infant and an adult, the other visible to the baby yet hidden from the adult’s view. When the adult asked the baby for “the banana,” the baby might hand her either object — both were bananas, after all — yet if the baby understood the social context, he would reach more often for the banana that the adult could see.

    We found that babies in monolingual environments reached equally often for the two bananas. Babies in multilingual environments, including those who were exposed to a second language only minimally, already understood the importance of adopting another’s perspective for communication: They reached more often for the banana that the adult could see.

    Multilingual exposure, it seems, facilitates the basic skills of interpersonal understanding. Of course, becoming fully bilingual or multilingual is not always easy or possible for everyone. But the social advantage we have identified appears to emerge from merely being raised in an environment in which multiple languages are experienced, not from being bilingual per se. This is potentially good news for parents who are not bilingual themselves, yet who want their children to enjoy some of the benefits of multilingualism.

  5. Managing the Ups and Downs of Freelancing

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    Managing the Ups and Downs of Freelancing

    By Jamie Hartz; reblogged from DVTA (Delaware Valley Translators Association) blog with permission from the author

    Managing the Ups and Downs of FreelancingThe choice to be a freelancer comes with a lot of fluctuation—there are slow times and busy times, and there are stressful projects and easier projects. The ups and downs that come with freelancing are aplenty—we often deal with loneliness, the stress of making all our own decisions, the struggles of having a home office (with the distractions of children, neighbors, pets, and housework)—and yet the majority of freelance translators and interpreters report that they are very satisfied with their work. How is that possible, you ask? It’s possible because we learn to manage the ups and downs.

    The “ups” of freelancing tend to be easy to manage. We prioritize and make lists (dozens of lists, all over the house and home office!). We learn not to overbook ourselves, taking each project as it comes and planning our time effectively. We learn to leverage work we’ve done in the past, using old glossaries and TMs from previous projects. The “downs” are trickier, but managing the slow or discouraging times as a freelancer is the key to making your career sustainable and rewarding. Below are six tips I’d like to offer on managing the ups and downs of freelancing; take it from someone who’s riding the ups and downs at this very moment!

    • Use downtime to market yourself.

    A colleague recently reminded me that devoting 50% of your time to well-paying work and 50% to business development is better than devoting 99% to low-paying work and 1% to business development. If you have downtime you can devote to developing your client list and gaining better-paying clients, use it wisely! Create a marketing plan that will allow you to complete small, specific tasks related to marketing yourself on each day that you have downtime. Personally, I’ve found that downtime is the perfect opportunity to work on developing my website and adding in keywords that will help my site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

    • Keep good records and update them during slow times.

    Keeping good records is important for any business, but as a freelancer it’s absolutely vital. In order to leverage previous work and plan for the future, you need to have client lists, rate sheets, and project databases organized and ready to work for you. Take advantage of slow times to organize a spreadsheet or a computer folder that has been accumulating junk for a few months, or to set up a new invoicing system that will streamline your billing process.

    Keeping records will also help you to plan ahead. By looking back at your records kept from previous months or years, you may realize that a certain week is slow every year and you should plan a vacation for that time next year. During a recent slump in my work, I was encouraged to look at my records and find that I was still meeting my goals even though I had a few slow weeks towards the end of the year.

    • Develop new skills or hone old ones.

    Downtime can be a good opportunity to try new things. During slow times, consider volunteering your language skills for an organization in your area or a volunteer translator website. Volunteering can help you develop new skills; for example, if you are a translator, you may consider volunteering in a subject area you haven’t worked in before (with the understanding that a qualified professional should check your work). If you’re looking to begin offering a new service, such as transcription or interpreting, this can be a good time to hone those skills as well. I recently took a training course in interpreting but haven’t had much opportunity to practice it professionally, so one of the things I’d like to do in my downtime is volunteer as an interpreter for an immigrant and refugee center in York.

    • Build your network.

    Try building up your network during downtime, not only as a way to fill your time, but also as a way to get new work. Get to know other freelancers, whether in person in your local area or through social media. My experience has been that fellow freelancers are incredibly supportive and will be happy to give you tips to carry you through the rough times. Some of the people you meet may even become informal mentors or may refer work to you at times. Some ways to meet and connect with other professionals include chambers of commerce and meet-up groups. I personally plan on joining a Young Professionals Network here in Lancaster after the holidays to meet other like-minded people and expand my network.

    • Keep a list of things you want to do “someday”.

    When you have some downtime and have exhausted all of your professional efforts to market yourself, keep good records, develop new skills, and build your network, pull out this list. One of the perks of freelancing is that there’s no boss to tell you that you can’t go for a jog in the middle of the day or pull out that craft project you’ve been working on since 2002. I consider myself lucky to have had enough downtime in the last few weeks of the year to work on makingChristmas gifts from ideas I found on Pinterest; this is the first year I’ve actually had time to do that!

    • Hold a “Do It Day”.

    One final suggestion I have on managing downtime is to gather a few freelance colleagues and hold a “Do It Day” (shout-out to freelance translators Corinne McKay and Tess Whitty for this idea). This is a day that you dedicate exclusively to cracking down on that list of tasks you’ve been avoiding for too long. You and your colleagues (I would limit it to three or four) connect once each hour to tell each other what you did in the last hour and what you plan to do in the next hour. My group uses ooVoo, a free video chat software. I have found that this is a great way to take advantage of downtime in a fun way that will hold you accountable to cutting down on that ever-growing to-do list.

    Managing ups and downs isn’t easy, but if you leverage them to your advantage, your career will be far more rewarding and the busy times will return before you know it.

  6. NCSC Recruitment

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    The Language Access Services Section (LASS) of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is conducting recruitment efforts to identify new raters for the oral court interpreter examination in the following languages. There is an in-person rater training event to be held in Baltimore, Maryland in April of 2016:

    • Arabic Levantine
    • Haitian Creole
    • Polish
    • Portuguese

    The attached announcements describe the work, qualifications sought, and application process.

    **Please note: An expert who wants to become a certified court interpreter in one of these languages cannot do so after becoming a rater (except if a different exam becomes available with which the expert is not involved in developing). Arrangements may be made for any applicant interested in taking the certification exam in advance of the training. If interested, please indicate this in your cover letter or e-mail.


    Requests for further information may be directed to Kim Brooke at