Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Glossary (Port <-> Eng): Family Terms

This glossary is provided to you by the SPTIA (Syndicate of Professional Translators and Interpreters of Australia) as a courtesy. Please give back to this institution: You may, for instance, attend one of their courses (https://www.udemy.com/ethical-codes-for-translators-and-interpreters/ seems to be an excellent choice - Please try www.udemy.com and then ethical in the search box if this address does not work).

Australia Brazil
Stepfather Padrasto
Stepmother Madrasta
Stepson Enteado
Mother-in-law                              Sogra
Father-in-law Sogro
Godmother Madrinha
Godfather Padrinho
Grandson Neto
Grandchildren Netos
Kids/Children Crianças/Filhos
Siblings Irmãos
Partner Parceiro(a)
Spouse Esposo(a)
Husband Marido
Wife Esposa
Separated Separado(a)/os/as
Divorced Divorciado(a)/os/as
Parents Pais
Grandparents Avós

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Ethics in Practice. Media: Case Study no. 6

Today we read, with a bit of distress, the article 9 Little Mistakes In Translation, by Dr. Arika Okrent (Arika PhD), who presents herself as a linguist (Arika Okrent).

According to the lexicon, a linguist is

: a person who speaks several languages
: a person who studies linguistics

(Merriam-Webster, linguist)

We, translators and interpreters, can call ourselves linguists then.

If we present ourselves as translators, then there is a bit of a breach of ethics in writing and publishing this article, as we know, for we must try, and try hard, to keep elegance and never depreciate our own profession.

On the other hand, it is also not OK not to refer to sources and extracts when criticizing the work of others: That is seen as irresponsible and disrespectful.

That is breaching ethics in Science.

If she were presenting herself as a journalist, things could be a bit different (we know nothing about ethics in Journalism).

Notice that if she had referred to the work of fellows in translation without having another fellow, from translation, to support what she is saying, what would be equivalent to advertising herself as an expert in translation in all those languages, she would be speaking as if she were a scientist or at least a person with capability to translate perfectly well those bits and pieces, and a person who has more capability than whoever she is criticizing, and those might be professional translators or not.

She does mention however that all that she is telling us came from a book, which has been written by professional translators (Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche). 

We also find the book quite easily when following her link (Found inTranslation). 

That a sort of excuses her, but not entirely, is it not?

It is very common that people invite common people, say friends or celebrities, to translate the words of others, and even to interpret, in real time, those words.

In case those they all criticize are not professional translators or interpreters, or in case she does not advertise herself as a professional interpreter or translator, she is not breaching ethics. 

Is that easy to accept?

Nobody says that ethics is a simple topic: We must police ourselves all the time.

It would probably be better, from an ethical point of view, that Arika had passed the marketing of this book to someone else, like to someone who is not a professional translator or interpreter, in case she has acted in such a capacity or advertises herself as such.

Notice that there is also a possible debate topic here: What is being a professional of translation or interpreting?

Some could not respect those who have come to Australia, for instance, and did not sit for an exam with NAATI because they did not have one for their language when they came. They could think that those are not professional translators. 

In this case, they could be thinking that they are defending their class by exposing the consequences of not hiring a professional translator or interpreter, what then could not be seen as breach of ethics.


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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Ethics in Practice. Disloyalty: Case Study no. 5

The English language is extremely rich, since it is an expression of the thought of human beings, which obviously varies from completely irrational (mentals, retards, and etc.) to almost absolutely ordered and clear (scientists, some award-winning writers, and etc.).

It is, with no doubts, one of the most objective languages on earth, if not the most objective: An American creates a service center where they wash cars and he calls that a carwash.

We know, the same would rarely happen in last world countries: One of the things that seems to guarantee the inferiority of certain peoples and places is obviously the absence of objectivity in their communicational processes.

There is a joke that goes around in Brazil about the Portuguese: They say that a building is called edifício in Portugal because they started building the first one, and then started putting house over house and, when they thought it was not possible to add one more house, they said oh, it is difficult, isn't it? in Portuguese (ô, é difícil, hein?).

Truth however is far from that: Edifício is a word that relates to nothing known in Portuguese.

You go to the English language, however, and things make sense again (more sense!): We build it, therefore it is a building.

Of course one could say that we also build houses and yet we call them houses, not buildings.

As we said, it is about having more sense, not being absolutely logical.

Anyway, the point we wanted to get to is that words are tokens of discourse and the communicability factor that we give them is directly proportional to the number of words that accompany the token and to the correlation range we reach with those.

The sigmatoid disloyalty acquires at least two possible meanings in our writings in (Case Study no. 4): one that is attached to the usual context, like someone backstabbed us, and another that is attached to competition.

We may be disloyal with a friend because we did not defend them blindly, for instance, in a court.

Suppose we knew they had killed someone.

They asked us to say we believed they were innocent.

We stick to morality and we say they were guilty instead, this at the court.

We have then been disloyal with our friend (perhaps a friend from many years).

We have however been loyal in the competition for life with the deceased, for instance.

We have also been loyal to the declared values of our society (if we live in democracy, those are the declared values of the vast majority).

If Mary ever denounced Arthur to the ethical organs, Mary would be displaying loyalty to the professional category she belongs to, Interpreters, and to the ethical organ. She would also be defending her rights and acting in coherence with her (survival) needs.

Notwithstanding, she would be displaying disloyalty to Arthur in terms of friendship or fellowship.

If we want to have an actual professional class, we obviously would have to denounce. Only clean classes can be really strong, since lies fall to land quite easily.

On the other hand, Mary would be inside of a situation of dilemma if she were, for instance, a personal friend of Arthur.

She could also think that it is not a beautiful thing to do taking the job from someone else or making that person be badly regarded, what then represents disloyalty with her own moral paradigms.

All in all, loyalty is not an absolute thing: Like almost everything in human kind, if not everything, has to do with context, with situations. 


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Ethics in Practice: Case Study no. 4 (intimacy with clients)

Mary was working for company X, which belonged to the government of the Country Y. So was Arthur (the names are not the actual names, but the events are actual).

They were both doing telephone interpreting.

The system was organized in such a way that the calls would be distributed by means of a computer.

Mary frequently had the secondary client (that who is not paying for the service) trying to converse with her about her personal life.

Questions of the type where are you from? or how long have you been doing this for? or where do you live here? would come to her ears all the time.

Mary believed a lot in ethical codes and protecting herself, so that she would not disclose much and would try to talk about something else whenever this sort of conversation was started by the client.

She then started being told that Arthur was much better than her because Arthur conversed with them (the secondary client) and they actually knew all about Arthur: where he lived, where he was from, his surname, and all else.

She also started getting fewer and fewer calls.

Some clients started asking for her when the operators answered and she got told by the operators, who also tried to converse with her, just like the secondary clients, that they could not do that, as if she had asked them to do it.

Mary had never done any of that, for she was really ethical  and never pushed any client to request her services or anything.

It was then that she learned that they actually  asked for Arthur, since he was personal friends with most of them to the point of visiting their houses (told by the secondary clients spontaneously, without her ever asking), and the operators never complained with him because the operators also preferred him, since he conversed with them about nonprofessional matters.

Mary did stop giving her name as a consequence of the operators telling her that the secondary clients could not ask for her, so that she would tell them that she was just interpreter.

As for the computer system, the operators would, for instance, pretend to have called her and let the phone ring only once, when they could then skip and go to the next interpreter in the cue. 


Professionalism obviously has to do with distance, so that intimacy, and that would obviously include home visits to clients that are being served by telephone, is not really allowed if we consider the Australian ethical code (item 4 of the Australian code, IMPARTIALITY).

AUSIT justifies the requirement by saying that one needs objectivity, therefore professional detachment, at all times.

If we consider the Brazilian ethical code, Arthur's actions are also not OK because he is breaching the third article of the second chapter (disloyalty in competition).

He could also be breaching the fourth article of the third chapter, which is about serving the employer with loyalty.

Arthur could also be told to be breaching or to be imposing a high risk to the company in terms of breaching the American ethical code because of its first item (impartiality).

Mary is in trouble because she obviously needs the money and, in being a professional and ethical person, she is losing badly for her competition.

She could obviously denounce Arthur to the ethical organs or to her boss in this situation.

Denouncing however could also be seen as disloyalty, since she could, for instance, simply do the same, if nothing else.

It is obviously a situation of the type dilemma.

It is not true that all professionals are equal in the same sense that it is not true that all humans are equal: Differences do exist, and they are abundant.

Some people may actually be after a service of the type Suicide Line, for instance, and call the interpreters instead.

That has to be true.

The reasons for a person not to know the language of the place where they live are at least debatable.

Where do we draw the line in such a situation?

We feel that a lot of things need to be revised and changed in human kind, including ethical codes and the way we see them, as we keep on saying in our courses.

The profession of interpreter is unique in all that it involves, and cannot ever be treated as if it were the same as the profession of translator.

Yet, all the three countries we have mentioned, and they are really important for us, professionals of Translation and Interpreting, have one ethical organ and one ethical code for both professions, that is, they do not make a distinction between being an interpreter and being a translator.


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Mixed Glossary (Portuguese <-> English)

This glossary is provided to you by the SPTIA (Syndicate of Professional Translators and Interpreters of Australia) as a courtesy. Please give back to this institution: You may, for instance, attend one of their courses (https://www.udemy.com/ethical-codes-for-translators-and-interpreters/ seems to be an excellent choice - Please try www.udemy.com and then ethical in the search box if this address does not work).

Australia Brazil
Affairs Negócios/Assuntos
Fasting Jejum
Tablet Pílula

Ordem Legal
Medical Records Registros médicos
Medical History Histórico médico
Bus link Conexão rodoviária
Translink Conexão de transporte público
Landlord Proprietário(a) (de imóvel/terras)
Real state agency Agência imobiliária
Real state agent Agente imobiliário
Bond Depósito de caução
Way less/more (informal) Muito menos/mais (not informal)
Application Requisição/requerimento
Application to the court Pedido de ação
Shelter Abrigo
Living arrangements Arranjo residencial/de moradia
Hearing Audiência
Defendant Acusado(a)

Saturday, 10 May 2014


We came across an interesting website, Certify x Notarize, recently.

We did get a couple of queries on the topic in the last twelve months regarding this.

As much as we have to agree that it does not sound right saying that a translator has certified their own work, we are used to see the term around to mean that the translator is asserting that they do believe that that is a faithful translation of the text they had access to.

It does look like the translator is giving more importance to what they are doing when they write those words. It is as if they are taking more responsibility for the results when they do this.

If we imagine a court situation here, then the judge could turn to them and say: You said that this was a faithful translation of the text you had access to and now... . 

It does sound as if they could not do that before those words were printed or something, as weird as it may seem.

One of the academic recommendations for translation work however is that the translator always have a second a hand with them, that is, that they always have a second translator to double check everything before they hand in the result of their work to the client.

A perfect translation company would then have two hands signing every document they create in another language.

The market prices in Australia do not allow translators to do that, and that is for sure.

This is also not a common practice, despite being part of the theory that we learn.

Notarizing a document that is a translated version of another document to prove that who signed it is the translator sounds a bit odd because, in principle, only the translator would have that particular stamp, for instance, if we think of Australia.

If the concern with the identity of the person who translates a document in Australia were this huge however, the translator could show the card provided by NAATI to the client, for instance, since that comes with a picture, and then their driver's license or something like that, so that it does not look like we would need a notary or a judge of peace to do that.

These are very interesting points however, these points made by Andrea Turnquist on the commercial website we here mention.

Translators are amongst the most serious classes of professionals on earth and work very hard.

We could say that most of them starve, given the prices charged and the conditions of work (they work as contractors most of the time).

We would think that the ethical organs would be eager to consider any complaint in what regards accuracy, and therefore the client who experiences problems would not find it hard to get justice.

They can also prosecute the translator in a court of law if the impact of their mistakes is unbearable.

It does look like things are usually against the translator, so that we should not need to oppress the class any further.

If we had a minimum price however, as we theoretically have in Brazil, for instance, and this minimum price were reasonable, say it considered the lowest salaries in Australia in terms of law (recent law), we perhaps could demand that they had a second hand with them at all times, but we should not do that otherwise.

We could also have translators offering their services for their usual price when they do the translation without a second hand and for a higher price when there is a second hand involved, so that this commercial company is actually inspiring us in those regards.

We could now start a parallel business of certifications and charge fees to basically endorse the work of others.

On the other hand, there might be a high risk involved in all this.

In principle, we all would have been accredited by NAATI in Australia, for instance.

NAATI should then control our qualifications and make sure that we are adequately prepared to handle the work in the area. They now have come up with the processes of revalidation, and they seem to be really strict.

It is a bit unethical then proposing that our fellows validate our performance in practice.

What we see here is a suggestion: That we have three people signing a translated version of any document that be considered official. 

Instead of having only the translator signing the final document, we would now have the translator, the peer, and the JP or the notary.

In Australia, we actually would have three people and at least one institution, NAATI, signing under this final document (their stamp).

It is not that this is not feasible and we have prejudice against visually polluted documents, but it is actually a bit unreasonable from every perspective that anyone validates the work of someone who is officially accredited by the government to do this sort of work.

We would expect that people complain if they find something that implies breach of ethics in the material they get and we do seem to have enough paths for complaints of this nature, even though we do not seem to have many paths for the professional to defend themselves.


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