Learning Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – Futuro semplice part 2

Dear readers and followers,

We are back after the party for the first anniversary of Knotty Translations This week, more about the simple future and some exceptions. I am publishing the video this week and a written post on culture and the language of tea next week because I wanted that to be the Christmas post. Therefore, next week the day will be Thursday to respect the tradition of a post on Christmas Eve. For this week, some exceptions on the conjugation of verbs in the future tense.

We will see the case of avere, but more verbs that follow that rule are: Cadere (to fall,) potere (to can,) dovere (to must, to have to,) vedere (to see.)

One exception is the verb Vivere (to live) in which the stress does not fall on the desinence but it still works in the same way: Vivere -> io vivrò.

Special cases are those in which the r doubles:

Volere (to want) -> io volrò -> io vorrò

Tenere (to keep) -> io tenrò -> io terrò

Bere (to drink) -> io berrò.

For this week it is all, keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

Learning Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – Futuro semplice part 1

Dear readers and followers,

We are back with our videos after a while. As announced, the videos will be published every fortnight, but last time there has been an exception, with a written post on vocabulary. You can find it here.

This week we start introducing the simple future tense and we need to remember to always write the stress on the Italian words that end in a stressed vowel (parole tronche) to avoid funny things such as the one that I tweeted some days ago and that you can find here.

Enjoy and share the video and do not forget to leave your suggestions and feedback!

Also, keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

 

Black Friday, Green Monday, and the rest of the rainbow of shopping madness

Dear readers and followers,

December has just started, Christmas is still quite far away, but we have already had our dose of mad shopping and there is plenty more to come, and they have names that make you lose your wish to enter a shop ever again. Do you know when the special days dedicated to offers and shopping are and what they are called. Would you like to know so you can avoid them because people shopping seriously annoy you? Welcome to my world, let us see them briefly. If you are about my age, you will remember when the sales were price reductions starting the day after the Epiphany, that is 7 January, and lasting until the end of February to start again in July for other two months. It does not work like that anymore, the beginning of the new millennium brought constant sales with special days in which the products are incredibly cheap.

The most known may be Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. In the States (but now also in Europe, where it does not make any sense because we do not celebrate Thanksgiving,) the fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving; the day after marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping and, despite the fact that is not an official holiday, it is a day off work for several working categories in some states, which makes it possible to have a long weekend of shopping right before December starts. The name Black Friday seems to mean that the shop would finally start making profit and their accounts would switch from red to black. We are recently expanding the event to the whole weekend and more.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after the Black Friday weekend and is dedicated to online shopping since ten years. It was created by Shop.org, while eBay created Green Monday, usually the second Monday of December but, in general, at least ten days before Christmas.

Free Shipping Day is the third Monday of December and was created some years after the previous ones with the objective of expanding the online shopping season. It is also typically American because it is based on free shipping in continental US, but it is now expanding very fast.

Super Saturday, also called Panic Saturday, is the last Saturday before Christmas and has, once again, been created to push Christmas sales when time is almost over. Another horrible day is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas in which people queue outside the shopping centres starting in the first hours of the morning, that is when is still night, just to have some discounts. To avoid that sad situation, now the sales last the whole week, not only on 26, but the nonsensical queues don’t seem to have changed much. The name of Boxing day comes from the boxes that the workers would receive from their employers the day after Christmas.

Do you think you have heard everything? Well, there is also Singles’ Day. Created in 1993, the 11 November to be precise, is also called Bachelors’ Day and started in China, not in the US, for once, to celebrate the pride of young Chinese people to be single. The date was chosen because 11/11 reminds of individuals standing alone; in fact, the Chinese name translates as “bare sticks holiday.” Started as a festival, this day is now a huge day of online shopping so, maybe, this young people may be proud, but they do not struck me as happy in being single!

Do you think all hope is lost in our consumeristic society? I would say yes, but we still pretend we care and in 2012 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation created Giving Tuesday as a response to consumerism. In this day, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, money is raised to help selected charities. It seems just another empty day to show the world that we care as if donations and charitable work could be worth more if done in that special day despite the rest of the year wasting and spending, instead of doing a simple, silent good action whenever we feel like, but then, this is just me being cynic, you know me. Moralism is not the point of this post, the aim is to clarify all the names that we hear out there and push us to buy, or they try at least. I hope you have a clearer idea now.

Don’t forget: Keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

Learning Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – Nomi non numerabili

Dear readers and followers,

Here you have a new video of the series. Today we talk about uncountable nouns in Italian. As announced on the video, there will be a change in the schedule now that we have a less pressing list of subjects to describe: The videos will be published every fortnight. Please keep sharing and commenting, and enjoy this lessons!

Freelancing and the problem of charging the right fees

Dear readers and followers,

For a while I thought I was not going to write about this subject because it has been tackled so many times from every point of view and in countless websites. Why then I am doing it now? Because I had the most unreal conversation with a colleague and that simply made me mad. Without really quoting everything he said, I will try and give a sense of his ideas.

In his own words, he doesn’t master his first working language and would like to be as fluent in it as I am in English. Apart from the fact that my level of English is nothing extraordinary, as I explained to him, after graduating I was still struggling with it, and I reached this level by living in English speaking countries during several years and through several life events that forced me to improve a language for which I had a hearty and complete refusal. For all these reasons, he could not weigh his situation according to mine, because the two had nothing in common. That said, he admitted that he didn’t feel comfortable enough with his knowledge and that he knew that “they always say that we should not accept lower fees, but sometimes one can’t refuse or someone else will take the job.” One of the reasons he used to justify his charging a low fee was that, not being sure of his level of the foreign language, he could not always charge the regular fee.

There are many do’s and dont’s  when we talk about fees, and some are not as strict and compulsory as we often say, but the famous “Don’t lower your fees” should be the rule we live by. Charging less because we are not confident of our level of language and of the quality of our job is wrong from several points of view. Forgetting for a moment the aspect of setting the right fee, we need to remember that, if we cannot deliver a product that respects the quality standards, we should not accept the job in the first place; would you like your engineer to say to you: “I am not sure your house will be safe if I draw the project, therefore I will charge you less?” No, we expect our house to stand and last, and we hire a professional exactly for that reason. The mastering of languages is not a plus, it is our working tool; if the tool is not sharp enough, we simply are not ready, and that language cannot be one of our working languages, there is not changing that!

Enough recriminating now, let’s talk about fees more in details; that doesn’t mean that I am going to list mine here, although they are not a secret. Far from being set rules, what I will give here are some tips on how to set your fees. First of all, they are not your brand, you don’t have to choose them and stick to them forever, they are sort of a guideline for you, but then each customer is different and, without going nuts, we can adapt. Your minimum fee is the minimum you accept to charge but it is always within the umbrella of what is acceptable. It is usually not less than two pence lower than your regular fee (talking about translations charged per source word;) in my case, due to my working languages and the type of translations I do, there is no variation according to languages, but you may want to take that into account when setting your fees, because there is quite a huge difference depending on the family of languages of the source and the target. Extra charges and discounts are subjects that may be controversial: We usually all agree on the fact that we need to charge extra for urgency (20-30% seems a reasonable increase,) but we often say that there are several ways of offering a discount without actually reducing the price, as in adding additional services. Of course, that depends on the documents and it is not always possible, therefore I think we may be more flexible on this point, always respecting the market and the standards.

When setting fees, we should not forget that they correspond to time and knowledge: Time that we spend to actually produce the final result, and that we cannot spend in any other way; time that we invested in our studies to be able to perform up to standards; time that we constantly invest in research and CPD. These last two are directly translated into knowledge that goes into the final result of each translation job. Interpreting is the same, although the travel and dietary expenses need to be counted if they are not separately covered by the client. Of course, to all that we need to add all the business-related expenses that are not so immediately obvious but that cannot be overlooked (devices and subscriptions, dictionaries and software, insurances, dry cleaning, etc.)

One thing that is important to remember is that we are a very nice sector in which to work, therefore no one should doubt about asking some colleagues about their fees, that is the probably the best way to learn and to be sure that the charge is fair. Also, to have an idea and maybe present our colleague with an idea to discuss, you may want to have a look at some pages that can be visited online.

ProZ.com is one of the main online translating communities and offers a huge list that can be browsed according to our combinations. Those prices seem fair enough, while some conversation threads are just questionable and you do not want to end up being confused and discouraged by them. Here is their search engine for fees:

http://search.proz.com/employers/rates

The Society of Authors also offers some guidelines that are similar to the rest, and it includes some useful links as well. Here is their page:

http://www.societyofauthors.org/rates-and-guidelines

I found this article quite interesting to read the other day. It is not about translation, but some aspects are shared by all freelancers, and I believe this article gives an idea of how we should be flexible but also how about how the process of setting our fees can be a journey of self-discovery and a way to reach awareness when we enter the market. Have a look:

https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/2015/10/26/calculating-rates-hourly-vs-project-based/

Also, always keep in mind that you have webinars and talks to which you can attend and that may enlighten you on this aspect. I have recently attended to some presentations about this subject, and they are always good to have new hints. Talking about online training, the ITI’s Starting Up as a Freelance Translator course immediately comes to mind because I found out yesterday that a very good colleague has just joined the team of trainers. Not only he is a great professional, but the ITI one of the main professional associations for translators and interpreters and therefore a guarantee of quality. You can browse the SUFT here:

http://www.iti.org.uk/professional-development-events/iti-online-courses/176-suft/577-setting-up-as-a-freelance-translator

I have talked here as if this idea were only a problem for young translators and interpreters that are just starting, but of course there may be several reason that push us to have to set our fees. An experienced translator may have worked in-house for a long time and can after decide to start freelancing instead, although I believe he would know how to set fees without struggling in the process, and he would know enough colleagues to be able to have some advice from them. Sometimes, the freelance may need to move and completely change the market in which he works; in this case, one would usually keep the old clients, but there is always the chance of expanding the portfolio, and it would not make any sense to keep the same rate in the UK, for example, and in Peru, because the market is completely different. This, of course, takes us to another aspect that we haven’t considered but that is important: Our fees have to be adapted to the market, which doesn’t mean that they have to be lowered, but that what is acceptable vary according to the economy of the countries, and our prices need to take that into account.

There is so much to tell about this subject, but at least this introduction wanted to give some hints on how to move in the market. The most important thing to remember, though, is that lowering your fees damages yourself, your colleagues, and the whole market. If you accept underpaid jobs, you are disrespecting yourself and your time, but also all the other translators who fought to build a name and a portfolio of clients and have a respectable situation. It doesn’t matter the reason, you should never downgrade yourself and us so much as to charge unacceptable fees.

Keep being naughty, Knotty surely will, but not on the invoices!!!

Learning Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – plural of nouns part 2

Dear readers and followers,

After the break to give space to the Language Show Live and the interview by One Sec, our lessons are back. We are still talking about some special cases regarding the plural of nouns, have a look at the video.

 

One Sec interviews Knotty Translations, part 2

Dear readers and followers,

Here for you the link to the second part of my chat with OneSec Translations. You will discover more about my private self and you will find out about my passions. Click on the picture to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with Chiara and yours truly.

OneSec

Keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

One Sec interviews Knotty Translations, part 1

Dear readers and followers,

If you want to know more about Knotty, have a look at the coffee break chat with the lovely One Sec. Click on the picture for the link to the first half, while the second one will be published on Thursday:

OneSec

Keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

Language Show Live 2015

Open

Dear readers and followers,

It is Sunday night already, and the Language Show Live has just closed its doors, but the worst thing is that my beloved MPR went back to Bristol. In order to keep the mood high and not think too much of that, let‘s try and take stock of this edition, which actually corresponds to a milestone in my personal and professional life.

As some of you may know, this event has a deep personal significance for me; for those who don’t, I will say that five years ago, when I first moved to the UK, I actually changed my original plan of coming in November in order to attend to the Language Show. Since then, I only missed one edition, the one in 2012. This years has been my fifth show, but I can easily say that there has not been an edition similar to the other. As a matter of fact, also my approach to the show and my expectancies from it have been totally different from one year to the other.

For those who don’t know about the Language Show, it is one of the main language events in London and also in Europe. Hosted in Olympia since some years now, it has two main components: The exhibitors and the learning section. In my opinion, the exhibitors’ part is extensively focused on language learning and teaching, while the classes and the seminars are evenly shared between the different activities related to languages, including many interesting events dedicated to translation and interpreting.

This year I have had the chance to attend to the whole show and to make the most of the seminars. If you have been following our tweets on #LSLive, you know what I am talking about, but if you haven’t, here is a little sum up of the tweets, a summary that is not a best of and could not be so, because the information was so much and of such a good quality that it would be almost impossible to rank it that way.

Tweets from Language Show Live 2015

I want to take the chance to also thank the speakers for very useful presentations, but also to applaud the audience for three days of interaction that made each talk even more productive. It was  great catching up with friends and meeting new colleagues, save the date for next year:

Fine

Also, don’t forget to keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

Learning Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – Plurale part 1

Dear readers and followers, a short post on how to form some plural nouns in Italian. Enjoy and share it!!!