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!!!


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:


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:


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:


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:


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!!!

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.


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:


Keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!

Language Show Live 2015


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:


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

International Translation Day 2015


Dear readers and followers,

Today is Saint Jerome, the patron saint of translators, and that is why every year International Translation Day is celebrated on this date. Born in Dalmatia, this Catholic priest is recognised as a saint and a Doctor of the Church. He knew Greek and a little Hebrew, but he moved to Jerusalem to complete his commentary of the Bible.

Why is he the patron saint of translators?

He started working on a translation of the Bible from the Septuagint (the Greek translations), as was always done until then; unsatisfied with that version, that included mistranslated and heretical elements, he started his own translation directly from Hebrew. This new translation is widely known as the Vulgata.

If you are interested in more data on Saint Jerome, Wikipedia is always there for us, and there you can find several wonderful paintings of the saint. Happy International Translation Day to us!

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

IAPTI in Bordeaux: Been there, done all that!

Dear readers and followers,

Knotty is back from holidays and has not abandoned you! As you surely know, because Twitter has been overloaded with it, IAPTI’s international conference was celebrated in Bordeaux two weeks ago, and we have been there, and so have many of you. For those who were not there, and could manage escaping our constant tweets from the talks and pictures of the food, here is a short sum up of what has happened and what caught our attention.

Even if it was my first time at IAPTI, it has been a chance to meet old and new friends and to catch up with them, but also to make new connections. Apart from that, the talks have been very interesting and have given us some new ideas to organise ourselves and make the most of our time and our resources. Many talks were very useful, and it would feel incomplete to quote some rather than others. We have talked about branding and promoting our company and our services, about how to maximise our results and reducing our use of resources, how to set our fees and not to surrender to the request of the market for low fees and excessive work, what new technologies can do for us, what new apps and devices can make our work easier and give us choices, etc.

I could write pages and pages about any of the talks I attended to, or I could simply say that if you did not attend you missed a chance, but I prefer to make something more eye‑catching and entertaining by adding here some of the tweets from those days, so you can catch up with them without having to scroll down dozens of profiles again. At the end, you will also have some shots from the event to feel a little jealous. All that together, I hope, will make you reconsider the fact that you should apply for IAPTI’s membership if you have not done that yet and will give you a little desire of joining us next time!



IAPTI’s official video

My slideshow of random pictures with friends but also from the meals and the talks

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

Learn Italian vocabulary with Knotty Translations – Word #15 is Questo

Sixteenth installment of my YouTube course to learn Italian vocabulary! Enjoy it and share it!!!

MacroLenguando, que también es gerundio

Compañeros lenguantes y lectores de este blog:

Me tomé unos días antes de publicar esta entrada, pero no han sido para descansar. Hace ya más de una semana desde que empezó el Foro Internacional del Español en el IFEMA, ya ahí ha estado Knotty. Lo que os voy a contar, más que un análisis de las actividades, va a ser un relato personal de mi estancia y una manera para agradecerles a los amigos y a los organizadores todo lo que han hecho.

En realidad, para mí el evento era Macrolenguando más que el FIE en general. Ha sido algo diferente de los otros encuentros lenguantes, tanto por los la actividades organizadas como por el sitio elegido y la duración; los dos días que suele durar Lenguando han sido cuatro esta vez, con talleres y charlas, pero también con actividades más atípicas.

Por razones de viaje y trabajo, no pude asistir a los talleres del jueves, el primer día, pero he oído opiniones maravillosas sobre el de Fernando Navarro, al que quisiera haber asistido si hubiera tenido tiempo. Para uan descripción más específica, aquí le pido oficialmente a mi amiga Mercedes, de MPR Medical Translator, que escriba su propio artículo si quiere, porque sería interesante.

El viernes fue desde luego un día mucho más lleno de actividades para mí, empezando por el taller de interpretación telefónica de Gabriel Cabrera a las 10 de la mañana. Poco hay que contar sobre Gabriel y su manera divertida de presentarse, pero para mí era la primera vez que asistía a uno de sus talleres y tengo que admitir que no solo merecía la pena, sino que también el tiempo voló y ni nos dimos cuenta de haber estado ahí durante cuatro horas. La parte más interesante en mi opinión fue el hecho de poder ver la manera en la que trabaja él y lo que les requiere a sus intérpretes; yo he sido incluída también en el listado de intérpretes de una agencia que se dedica a este tipo de servicios, pero aún no he tenido la ocasión de trabajar con ellos, y este taller ha sido una manera para comparar estilos y requerimientos. Tanto a nivel técnico como de protocolo, el estilo es muy diferente, y considero muy positivo el hecho de haber podido comparar ambos y aprender también las diferentes maneras de enfrentarse a la tarea y al cliente entre España y otros países. Para concluír, la fase práctica en la que improvisamos unas interpretaciones entre los asistentes ha sido una buena ocasión para ponernos a prueba, siempre pasándolo bien.

Casi sin tener el tiempo de respirar, nos fuimos a la charla de mi querida Valeria Aliperta y su Freelance Box on tour. Echamos de menos a Marta, pero la tarde fue muy interesante de todas formas. Unos consejos eran nuevos, y unos más bien la repetición de las clases del January Business Camp de Marta misma, pero fue útil refrescar las nociones al mismo tiempo que añadíamos algunas nuevas y sacábamos unas ideas nuevas para promocionarnos de manera más efectiva y para tener claros y perseguir nuestros objetivos profesionales. La charla se alargó casi una hora más de lo previsto pero, una vez más, no nos dimos cuenta del tiempo.

El sábado fue un día particular. Sentí mucho que nos alargáramos en el viaje y no nos diera tiempo llegar a IFEMA para el taller de monólogos, pero sí llegamos para el desfile de cerebros que transformó la Pasarela Cibeles en Pasarela Cervantes. Entre una broma y una prueba, nos preparamos para desfilar y presentarnos como profesionales de la lengua. Entre bloques, las intervenciones de Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega y Francisco de Quevedo fueron defendiendo las letras y la lengua castellana. La tarde prosiguió con la entrevista a Mario Vargas Llosa y la presentación de los monólogos que ganaron el taller, momentos que, así como la pasarela, pueden ser vistos en YouTube. La entrevista fue una charla amistosa que dio mucho que pensar sobre el papel de los medios de comunicación y de las nuevas tecnologías tanto en la información como en la defensa de la lengua española.

Después de un día tan largo, estuvo el evento con el nombre mejor de todos: Lenguante hasta que el cuerpo aguante, lo que significa pasar unas hora en buena compañía en la sede de coLenguando, que es incluso más bonita que lo que se imaginaba desde las fotos. Señores, una vez más os habéis superado en organizar un evento genial, y siempre es un placer coincidir con vosotros. Tengo celos de todos los que irán a Valenguando, pero lo seguiré en el Twitter. Mientras tanto, aquí van los enlaces de la pasarela (servidora en el minuto 49:30):

de la entrevista a Vargas Llosa:

y de los monólogos:

Para acabar, este es mi vídeo personal de una estancia maravillosa, gracias a todos por haberme hecho pasar unos días tan bonitos y, si no queréis vuestras fotos por ahí, solo tenéis que decirmelo y se arregla:

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