Sep 21, 2023

Grog and grub with me mateys in Cascais

I got my personal introduction to NFTs last night over pizza in Portugal. WTF? I'm still not sure what to do with this thing I minted, nor even how to download it (if this is possible), but it was a fun bit of madness in the second (or maybe third, I'll know better when the hangover clears) of these gatherings I've attended.

They say you should keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Well, from one perspective that makes LocLunch the perfect social opportunity for our strange times in the language service professions. I had excellent chats with someone well placed in a company that is too often the epitome of Evil Trashlation... and her Russian friend, of course. And Brazilians galore, oh my, those awful people who come to Portugal to steal all the good Catholic men and women from their sanctioned wedlocks and -chains. And I saw that the tradition of German intrigue in Portugal is alive and well maintained by the organizer of last night's event, the energetic entrepreneur Jan Hinrichs, who recently moved his family and headquarters from Madrid (where the Spanish government has lost its business plot) to this, Nossa Senhora's sacred country. Who further undermined our moral defenses with the suggestion that we all get some ice cream nearby before dispersing to our scattered night shelters.

I am thoroughly compromised by those two scoops of mango and third scoop of maracuja. And by the kindness of the Russian fellow who saved me from a dodgy midnight train connection and got me home safely to Benfica.

And though the table was well occupied by those who make their own rules and view the conventional trashlation sector "wisdom" with a jaundiced eye, they followed the the LocLunch Basic Rules very well. This is a social thing, not a fucking sales event. Damn. I had my elevator speech all prepared....

Where'er ye may dwell, whate'ever seas ye may sail, matey, whene'er in port or Porto, join the motley crew of LocLunch for some fine grog and grub with all cutlasses sleeping peacefuçlly in thar scabbards.


Sep 19, 2023

Flirting with a Fiverr & more

If you always want to get paid...

Payment practices are a perpetual pain in Trashlation World. What professional translator or interpreter has not, at some point, faced difficulty getting paid for work delivered. Or in my case, consultant, independent solution developer and instructor, since I retired from translation three months ago and no longer accept such tasks in the increasingly thankless environment where they are requested.

Net never has become the modus operandi of too many wankers in the NMT-AI-MOUSE Fanboy and -gurl Klub, and when B of A, Barclays, Santander of some other clan of thieves fails to provide the desired credit for the Incredible Journey to Ruin, there will always be those AI Artists Formerly Known as Trashlators who understand that in matter of money, all that really matters is mindset.

Fuck you. Pay me. Well, imagine getting paid! Isn't that exciting? Fuck you. Pay me. I'm more excited by the structure of your fucking kneecaps and how fragile it is... SET YOUR MIND TO PAY ME.

But wait, Paulie, there may be a better way!

A perpetually solvent friend who owns a couple of German service companies once shared his secret: when in doubt, demand payment in advance. When there is no doubt, demand double. But what if the prospect just walks away? Offer them a peck on the check and hold the door for them in gratitude for the grief they are about to save you.

Times are hard. But payment practices are, alas, too often limp. Like a little mushroom past its sell-by date and full of mold and other things best not named.

I'm personally fortunate not to deal with many deadbeats; avoiding business with Italian and American companies certainly helps. Well, I have a soft spot for the Portuguese, but let's not go there.

I have another problem. I had administrative work even more than I hate not getting paid, and since I acquired a retired surgeon as a billing assistant and, at about the same time, took on a new role as a trainer for incoherent billing software like SAGE, not getting paid has been a source of surprising pleasure. But our five dogs still demand food, and if it does come in bags and come on time, well... there is that extra weight I'm carrying, the Portuguese pit bull is fond of reminding me.

And I am sure that many clients and friends and friends with the misfortune to be clients keep a special dartboard with my face on it for those times I get around to writing the bill after a year of so.

Fuck you. Pay me. Well fuck you. Write the fucking bill. Yeah, right, you tell me again how all that works here in Portugal where the tax laws are so screwy that almost none of the invoicing tools typically used by translators, companies involved with language services (regardless of whether they actually provide any) in other countries are compliant with Portuguese tax law, so I often feel myself well and truly fucked.

Enter the performance platforms such as Fiverr, which I am beginning to consider for certain recurring requests where I have asked Dios for a better intake process in which people tell me exactly what they need, provide the means of doing that, including the money to pay for the electricity to drive the tools I use to reach their goal and, well, just let me get on with it and make something nice and bless them for a change.

I started toying with platformed pre-payment about four years ago, when I started using Teachable as a way to demonstrate to memoQ and others how professional tools instruction could be improved and content could be shaped in more useful ways. I may not have been successful in convincing others to Do the Right Thing, but now that I have more time on my hands and have resigned myself to take a shot at that myself and maybe actually charge for all that knowledge that so many people mint money with, I am really, really glad that the Portuguese tax mysteries are handled in a way that does not involve me at all and is completely correct. No more constant special requests for special invoices for special people in special countries and special claims on my non-existent admin time.

So, that's the news, I guess. Next time you need a training video, a dash of regex for your project soup, a magical mysterious import filter for Formats Unknown or the like, there's a process. And it's not "fuck you". That's between consenting buyers and the platforms from which they draw their services....

Sep 17, 2023

Say something, I'm using memoQ!

It's a reasonable approximation of reality to say that no good deed goes unpunished, and that can certainly be said for the team of software artists formerly known as Kilgray. The groundlings have little idea of how very concerned the machine is to deliver the right god in communion for our times. No sausage from the golden Trados calf, no. no. The right Phrase is everything, and to delve the source of Memory for this revelation is Our Life's Work.

The ways of the Great CAT who art in Hungary are a mystery, and those lacking Faith are taken aback at a lack of transparency. But I, faithful in my productivity pilgrimage, brought my offering to the High Priest in the temple. 

It was the Time of Offerings, of intelligence sacrificed to artificialities, offerings burnt before an MT God. Ours is a Merciful One, and yea though I walk slowly, very slowly through the Valley of Technical Debt I fear no loss of data, for I am not a user of Trados nor of Wordfast. In Orange Ecstasy I linger, savoring the gentle crush of bugs between my gnashing teeth.

Initiated in the Mysteries I am, the Nine to One of the mighty dollars, flowing like a river of corporate honey or puddling as piss in a petty pool on the commons. 

But our Holy Ground needs a good charge of urea to grow the next best thing, so pay all ye faithful for your SMA renewal before the end of September, when there shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth as the price of memoQ and its servicre and maintenance contract increase by a modest 20% for the nifty Translator Pro version.

And fear not, for I am with you. My rod and staff are needed in the garden to prop up an apple tree, but I can offer this at least: if you blow the deadline and have to pay an extra €20 or so for the SMA renewal this year after October 1st, evidence of that in the form of a purchase invoice or somesuch which reaches me by the end of 2023 on the hidden paths of e-mail or social media will receive as a blessing a discount "coupon" worth twice and half again that for a stay at the memoQuickies Resource Camp until March 2024.

Or if the high priest ever gets back to me as he said he would, maybe there will be an alternative route. You are all nonetheless blessed that you have in your professional hands a tool, which for all its shortcomings, beats the competition to death if you know how to unlock its power (which few really do).

All the myriad GUILTY

If I were really the sort who needed someone to blame for life's tribulations, I would blame Max, though it took me forty-two years to realize that. It was that tempting little seminar he offered on Stuttgarter Schwäbisch in autumn of 1981 that drew me into the dark world of espionage and deceit and episodic madness. But really?

Perhaps I should blame my father instead for his love of books, which he so cruelly imposed on me. How dare he! A book was a sacred object, not to be defaced, and never to be stepped on. How traumatic it was then to see fellow students marking up their textbooks at university, with highlighters, pencils, four-color pens or, o horror, dog-earing the pages instead of using proper bookmarks. But as university does tend to have a corrupting influence on one's character, I was seduced by the perceived utility of the practice, and years later when I learned the term marginalia and found that it was a thing with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and other literary heroes of mine, well....

In Xanadu did Kevin Scott
A stinging margin note decree....

Damn old Sam. I blame him too. The derelict toxicodependente, bumming books and free room and board off his too-tolerant friends. Not as bad as that bloody Arab who fancied himself a Frenchie and swiped his host's suits. Oh no, I'm better than that, surely....

Oh, blame there is for all, in full measure, my friends. Form a queue, please, and wait patiently for your personal portion.

What have we here? Faith, here's an English teacher come hither, for stealing out of a French hose: come in, Janssen; here you may roast your goose.

And you, Somtow, what have you to say? Quam tauri merda.

Round about that cauldron go, in the guilty parties throw....

But as the light fades from my dying professional eyes I see at last that I bear all the guilt in mine own Temple of Sin. For I have seen darkly, but face to face now with the social engineering Instagurus of Translation I know and confess: it is my bad mindset. And my failure to practice yoga. Mea maxima culpa.

Sep 16, 2023

The memoQ Regex Assistant Revisited at 15:00 CET on 21 September 2023!


Eleven months ago I was supposed to talk about terminology in a three-hour evening class taught by one of my friends at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, but I was so excited about the progress of the quality team I was training at one of my agency clients in Portugal that I twisted what was expected to be my usual straightforward 90 minute lecture on term base best practices in memoQ into an unusual take on the role regular expressions might play in terminology management.

That was a weird one, for sure, but the potential I saw was very real. I was defining "terminology" in rather broad terms to include not only more efficient term base management based on problem patterns but also translation memory clean-up, better filtering and find/replace operations in the working grid and QA.

"What the heck has all that got to do with scary ol' REGEX?" you're probably thinking.

Well, all this was triggered by memoQ's recent release of the One Ring Thing we've been needing to unify our memoQ management processes for the routine use of regex by The Rest of Us. The Regex Assistant. The Nazgul of Trados World are surely jealous.

That quality team I was training, my friends at Linguaemundi. is headed by Inês Lucas, about whom I had heard many good things for years from her enthusiastic professors at university but whom I hadn't actually met until she was hired by the agency a few years ago. At the recent memoQ Fest in Budapest, she explained how changing the approach to regex mastery from the struggles of syntax to organizing and applying packaged solutions in well-engineered processes significantly upgraded their work capacities and reduced stress levels. When you cut the nerdy crap and focus on understanding what solutions are called for particular tasks, everything gets much easier.

I was so amazed to see people who had struggled for years to learn regex well enough for simple tasks suddenly become solution powerhouses that I put together (rather spontaneously) a series of three online 90-minute workshops, which were repeated a month later. And new refinements to these methods come each time the ideas are presented.

The raw recordings of those six workshops are included in the current online course ("memoQuickies Resource Camp"), but one - the first of six - is publicly available on YouTube, where you can have a look.

However in the memoQuickies Resource Camp, a self-guided course that is serving as a platform for me to organize and distribute the best resources from my 14 years as a memoQ user, solution provider and trainer before I retire, I'll be taking another more streamlined pass at teaching some of the best possibilities for using memoQ Regex Assistant resource libraries. The webinars offered in most weeks of the course are simply an overview of the current topic emphasized in the course and also serve as a Q&A platform and a means of offering some different perspectives on information from the self-guided units. Recordings are always added to the course for later viewing.

This coming Thursday at 15:00 Central European Time, I'll give a brief overview of the Regex Assistant much like the public YouTube video does and answer any questions that attendees might have. Further information and an event notice can be found here on LinkedIn.

You can join the webinar with this link. The meeting ID is 878 3540 2561, and the passcode is 385434

Sep 12, 2023

Save the date: IAPTI2023, 11-12 November 2023 in Timișoara, Romania

After all the chaotic Covid-induced delays, it's finally happening this year from November 11th to 12th:

Registration is now open for #IAPTI2023 in Timisoara, Romania! Network with experienced #translators and #interpreters from around the world as they share their professional insights in this amazing city.

The International Association of Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI) promotes professional ethics and best practice on every continent and is noted for speaking out on "controversial" issues when human rights and the health and professional stability of individual language service providers are at stake. 

Since I became a member in 2014, I have always enjoyed the company of some of the finest colleagues in the translation and interpreting sectors and learned so many surprising and fascinating things about specialties I would otherwise never have known. IAPTI has very often been the first to support the development of professional organizations in developing countries and for disadvantaged populations. 

Join this year's gathering in one of Romania's most beautiful cities and get with the program....

All you need to know about this year's schedule, speakers and registration policies is here:

Sep 11, 2023

memoQ "Auto-translation Roundup": 14 September 2023 at 15:00 CET


This week's public lecture for the "memoQuickies Resource Camp" on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Central European Time (2:00 p.m. Lisbon time) will be a summary of currently available auto-translation rules on the course pages which are open to everyone (enrolled or not) and those restricted to registered participants. This is all about getting to work now with stuff that is ready to go, and how to adapt that stuff for clients with different requirements.

So if you want to get right  down to productive work using available memoQ auto-translation rulesets in translation, review and quality assurance without wasting time on learning bloody regex, this is for you.

A recording of the talk will be available to all registered course participants afterward.

Last week's lecture, "Auto-translation Rules for Everyone", is available here.

Oh, and next week at the same time we'll be talking about the memoQ Regex Assistant and all the cool libraries available for QA, filtering, find & replace and other tasks.....

Icons of the resources covered im the memoQuickies Resource Camp

Sep 4, 2023

New online course: "memoQuickies Resource Camp"

Summer is almost over, but technically, "camping season" will continue in memoQ World until November 30th. Or maybe January 31st, depending on how you count.

Today, a three-month journey of exploration begins, covering six important kinds of resources to make work with the memoQ translation desktop and server environments more pleasant and efficient... and profitable. This self-guided online course will give participants full access to my 14 years of cumulative experience as a memoQ user translating, managing projects and developing hundreds of solutions with this world-leading productivity tool.

Click here or on the icon bar above to have a look at the course description and to see (and maybe download) some of the publicly available information and resources for better work in many language pairs. 

The emphasis of teaching will shift to a new resource every two weeks (with auto-translation rules as the main topic for the first two weeks), but throughout the course, information will be added continuously to all topic sections as I trawl through, sort, upgrade and publish the best or most interesting stuff from my archives. And course participants have access to open virtual office hours each week on Thursdays and some other occasions, where any questions can be asked and special requests made.

A special enrollment discount of 40% is available for the first week (code: HALFOFFLAUNCH) until September 10th, but you can join at any time and work with any of the material posted, ask questions and receive feedback. Learning material and downloadable, ready-to-use and -adapt resources will continue to be added until the end of November, and the full course will remain online through January 2024. Enrollment fees and content are subject to change without notice.

Addendum 1: On Thursday afternoon, September 7th, 2023, a presentation was made to introduce the first course topic - "Auto-translation Rules for Everyone". The recording and slides can be found here.

Addendum 2: Payment options for groups and monthly budgets have been introduced now. These options enable teams, departments and organizations to obtain blocks of passes for their members to receive continuing professional education in translation workflow tools. The host site applies VAT and other taxes where relevant and generates appropriate invoices. All relevant information can be found at the bottom of the information and enrollment page.