Archive for the ‘Aside Note’ Category

Good Reading

January 10, 2012

Last time I travelled abroad by plane I bought a book in one of the airport bookstores. You know, one of those books you buy just to pass the time during the flight…

This time, I was in for a real surprise and therefore I will recommend you this little book for a change.

It is, of course, translation focused. It is also fun to read. Really. I kept giggling and chuckling all the time, sometimes almost to the point of cracking up. The fun part, of course, are the mistakes frequently made by native speakers of German when they use similar words in English that are, however, totally inappropriate in a given situation.

The book’s title is “False Friends in Business English”. It was ingeniously written by Stephanie Shellabear. The intended audience are business women and men in German speaking countries. Not only does Shellabear give wonderful real-life examples, she also emphasises pitfalls, describes common mistakes and shows how to avoid them. She has a clear, easy-to-read instructive style without ever lecturing the reader.

I particularly liked the classification of errors by cringe factor. A very good idea!

The book will be really helpful to those German speaking Austrian, German and Swiss business travellers, who want to avoid some of the embarrasing moments when the English speaking opposite is too polite to comment on yet another gross misnomer…

And for those with good knowledge of English (and native or very good knowledge of German) it is hilarious lecture*.

Good reading:False Friends in Business English, Stephanie ShellabearStephanie Shellabear,

False Friends in Business English,

ISBN 978-3-648-01113-3,

Really good reading.


*pardon the pun, couldn’t resist: that would be the German “Lektüre”, which, of course, should be translated as “to read” or “reading” in this place…;-)


Season’s Greetings

December 20, 2011

To all of you, a happy Holiday Season and my best wishes for the New Year
Happy Holidays

Website Study

September 12, 2011

Today, the company website is one of the most important means of communication for successful businesses. With the internet being accessible worldwide and many even small companies acting beyond the borders of their HQ country, an English version of the company website is a must.

Over the last 12 something months I have investigated the international English-language websites of 100 Austrian B2B companies.

For those who do not know: the official language in Austria is German. Therefore, most English website versions are translations.

The results are scary but no surprise:
For a non-German speaking visitor, more than half of the English websites are completely useless. Unless the visitor is already familiar with the company, it is hard to find information on the company, on the product and on how to get in touch.

Often, the translations are simply insufficient from a language point of view. The English version is unimaginative, of a low quality, and lacks the spirit of a message beneath. But the translators are not the only ones to blame, because there is a relation between the German source version and the English-language version.

The study covers 20 test criteria on 74 pages. It is available as PDF for a small compensation of EUR 75. Please note that the study is available in German only. Contact me at to order.


Welcome Back

January 19, 2011

Hello, a good start to the new year to you all and welcome back! Thanks for your continued interest.

The visits to this blog go up every day and some of you have contributed very interesting comments. Thank you for those!

My blog will continue also in 2011 with some ideas on the translation business. The first entry of this year will follow shortly…

Be back!

Season’s Greetings

December 20, 2010

Season's Greetings


August 18, 2010

I have been asked, by someone obviously inspired by this blog, whether my intention with this blog is to teach translation, ‘whether I wanted to instruct people here in how to translate properly’.

Actually, no.

I’m not the teaching type. I lack the typical teacher personality. Actually, I take a look from an outside perspective. I always try to see the bigger picture. Translation is a business. Translation is a need. A need of clients, who are willing to invest in good quality.

This is what I believe in and this is what I do. I am convinced that a client has a right to get the perfect translation.

Therefore, I talk about this topic until I drop. I truly can’t understand why so many translators dont’ live up to their clients’ expectations. I mean, they chose this profession and then they don’t keep their promises.

I always keep my promises. My clients receive the best translation for the purpose.

So, teaching no, improving yes.

Another question was ‘what would I do if the HALs were actually invented?’

Oh, I would be happy! I would start doing something else, instead. Or just enjoy my life, because when that happens, humanity will probably have solved all other issues as well, such as money, food for everyone, global peace, etc, if you catch my drift…;-)

‘Do these experiences with clients as I describe them really happen?’

Every one of them. Seriously. There is not one story invented, not one word untrue. I have really actually met people who believed that translation is just typing in another language, and people have really phoned me to ask for free test translations. Incredible, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t blame them. There are the wildest beliefs around in this world. People think the wildest things are true, some come from SF movies, others just pop up in their heads. That’s life. That’s how humans are built, and how their brains function.

But some realize that there are more important things that matter, such as quality, and beauty, and balance, as they converge in a well-written text. In any language, for that matter…

One more thing: Why write an email? Just comment directly in this blog. The comment form comes just right after every entry. Feel free to use it!


Season’s Greetings

December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

The Free Test Translation

October 1, 2009

This is a very frequent request by clients: “Please translate this text as a test for us to evaluate” or “Please analyze this translation whether it requires proofreading or revisions”.

A little rule of thumb:

A translator who agrees to do free work usually is not confident enough in his/her skills to insist on adequate payment for his/her services. So why would anyone trust such a translator to do a good job?

If you want to evaluate the quality of a translator’s work up front, ask for credentials with relevant samples. Most professional translators have a collection of client-authorized sample projects that they will be happy to provide on request.

Good service has its price. So, please don’t humiliate your translator by asking him/her to do unpaid work.


Translator or Interpreter – Who is Who?

September 17, 2009

Strangely enough, these two professions are often confused by people who are not in the language profession.

Actually, sometimes when I tell someone that I am a translator by training I get lifted eyebrows, a knowingly high-pitched voice and a surprised: “Oh, interesting! An interpreter! That always sounds so fascinating in these live-TV translations.”


Well, maybe also in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words:


Thanks for the Feedback

September 14, 2009

A friendly hello and thanks to all of you who gave me appreciating and helpful replies and comments regarding my blog by email or in person.

Nice of you to come by! 😉

By the way, you are always welcome to leave a comment online – in English or German, as you wish…