I Want It All, I Want It Now!

Real-Time Translations

Have you ever received a translation request on Friday evening due on Monday 9 a.m., or on Christmas Eve for Boxing day? If you are a translator, your answer is probably a big yes.

Why are translations increasingly urgent? This is especially true for my specialisation – economics and finance – but also in other industries, legal, technical, marketing, etc., from what I read in the forums and translators’ groups.


Although I strongly believe that MT, “Gurgle” translate and PEMT are not a threat to professional specialised translators, machine translation and other automation systems have increased the perception that translation is real time, that you can translate a sentence into another language in a blink.

Even our relatives, friends and families have no idea of what we do as translators. We know foreign languages, all the languages of the world, and all the words in any language of the world…“How do you say pomegranate in German?” Personally, I have no idea, I have to look it up in the dictionary!

I have been an English>Italian financial translator for 23 years now, and financial translations have always been urgent, it is their intrinsic nature since financial markets evolve very rapidly. However, new translation needs emerged with social media, blogs, Facebook corporate pages and websites, as well as new regulations and reporting requirements. More than a need, it is often the perception of a need. You must publish your product, your news, your article before competitors, in real time and in many different languages. That is also the case for EU documents, just to make an example. Continua la lettura di I Want It All, I Want It Now!

Financial Glossaries and Resources – Part II


In the first post of the series Financial Glossaries and Resources, I collected glossaries and resources in English. In this second post, I would like to share resources in other languages (Italian, German, French, Spanish), as well as multilingual glossaries and advanced search tips.

This is books scramble. Many books on white background.

Continua la lettura di Financial Glossaries and Resources – Part II

You Can’t Make an Omelette Without Breaking Eggs

I really like that restaurant round the corner. They are always friendly, even if I arrive late. Once, my soup was tasteless. I complained with the waiter. He was sorry and promised to report immediately to the chef to find what went wrong, and brought me a free dessert. If he had acted defensively, probably I would not have come back. On the contrary, I will give them a second chance. If the waiter knows his job, next time he will recommend me the day’s specials.

frittataHave you ever received a complaint from a client who was not happy with your translation?

If you are a freelancer, you probably had to deal with somebody criticising what you have done. In Italy, we say that “only those who do not work, do not get it wrong”.

However, is the client always right? Continua la lettura di You Can’t Make an Omelette Without Breaking Eggs

Financial Glossaries and Resources – Part I

I am starting a series of posts on financial glossaries and resources dedicated to  translators and all those who need to understand financial concepts and terminology, or to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the business world.

20151001_112438_HDR~2In the first post of the series, I collected useful links in English only.

In the following posts, I will add resources  in other languages and multilingual. Continua la lettura di Financial Glossaries and Resources – Part I

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Who is my Ideal Client?



When I am on vacation, I like to travel. I do not like to stand still in one place for long. Ok, sometimes it is nice and cosy to lie in the sun, walk along the beach, or eat an ice cream, though this is not my ideal vacation. On those rare occasions in my life when I have plenty of idle time, I cannot do without thinking about where I stand now in my profession, what I would like to do next, which situations I do not like, and what I want to change in my working life.

These days I was thinking about problem clients and asked myself: who is my ideal client, the client I want to work with?

My ideal client replies to messages and sends useful information. I perfectly understand that I am the problem-solver for my clients. They do not want to solve problems themselves; otherwise, they would have not called a translator to find translation solutions. However, great results arise from cooperation. If I do not understand the source text I am translating or have doubts on the best way to translate an investment fund factsheet for a retail or institutional investor, I expect my ideal client replies to my questions. Because it is in the interest of both to do a great translation job (and sell that investment fund).

My ideal client says thank you. When a plumber fixes my tap, I thank him. When I buy a coffee machine at the store, I thank the clerk giving advice on what is the best coffee machine for me. When somebody opens the door for me, I say thank you. You help me, I thank you. You send me work, I thank you. You work for me, I thank you. It is a sign of appreciation and mutual respect. Continua la lettura di The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Who is my Ideal Client?

A New Haircut (by a Professional) is like a Breath of Fresh Air!

I have plenty of time before my flight at the airport in Amsterdam. Plenty of time to reflect about my experience as speaker at the Rotterdam Proz.com Translators’ Conference.

20150615_172808 #1 – It is not easy to talk to other expert professionals about an “unpleasant” topic such as proofreading and preferential changes. Anyone had at least one bad experience with proofreaders or complaints. The most difficult thing for a “situational introvert” like me was to speak in a foreign language because I cannot use humour and irony as I usually do. However, I am glad I fought against my fears. If other translators are ready to share their experience with me, why not sharing mine? Our profession should benefit from cooperation. Translators have probably less visibility and consideration than they deserve. I really liked Gary’s comparison for a rough translation: “Come on, you do not roughly cut your hair before going to a professional hairdresser to have it fixed! When you find the right hairdresser who can advise you to choose the right cut every time, you will not change!” Continua la lettura di A New Haircut (by a Professional) is like a Breath of Fresh Air!

Pocket Glossary of the Banking Union (in 4 languages)

The global financial crisis (GFC) in 2007/2008 started with the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007, turned into the Eurozone crisis in 2010 which showed the fragility of the banking system. The European Council decided to create a banking union to centralise supervision and resolution for banks in the euro area in order to avoid new crises in the euro zone and rebuild investor confidence in the banking sector. In general, the banking union should ensure stability and transparency of the financial system and support EU economy.

Euro_coins_and_banknotesIn this process, new terms and acronyms emerged that need translation.

The Banking Union is based on three pillars: the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) and Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS). Continua la lettura di Pocket Glossary of the Banking Union (in 4 languages)

Translations on the Fly


How long does it take to complete a (good) translation? 

I could translate 2,000 words in less than 30 minutes”, a potential client said to me, declining my offer to deliver the job within close of business on the same day. “Wow, how quick you can type!”, I thought*.

Translators may be superheroes with resources beyond imagination, though there are objective or reasonable limits to be considered. In general terms, a professional specialised translator can translate around 2,500-3,000 words per day, but there is a but.


How long does it take to complete a professional translation?

Variables are numerous. Delivery time varies with the language, length and difficulty of the text. Needless to say, specialisation and availability of the translator are also to be taken into account. Continua la lettura di Translations on the Fly

The Fair and Equitable Translation

Afequityter reading some fancy Italian translations of “equity” in financial documents,  I will give my contribution to what it seems a never-ending conundrum.

What is equity? Equity has several meanings in English. In general, it is simply fairness and the quality of being impartial or reasonable. “Justice and equity are fundamental in a civilized society, like adequate housing, sanitation, and an adequate supply of pure water”.  Probably only in those cases, the Italian equivalent is the straightforward equità.

In England and the U.S. – I am quoting my 2001 paper edition of Black’s Law Dictionary – equity is “the system of law or body of principles… superseding the common and statute law when the two conflict”. It applies the principles of natural justice to the settlement of disputes and remedies the limitations and inflexibility of common law. For example, “The parties waive all rights to seek any other remedies whether in law or in equity”.  There is no equivalent in the Italian system, we do not translate it and use the English term (Le parti rinunciano a qualsiasi altro provvedimento ordinario o di equity, or in regime di equity).

In finance, the term’s meaning depends very much on the context.

equity financeEquity may refer to a stock (azione in Italian), a security, representing ownership in a company (titolo di proprietà). It is the right to share in future profits or appreciation in the company’s value. Continua la lettura di The Fair and Equitable Translation

The Art and Science of Translating Financial News

Are you translating the interview of a fund manager or an investment company’s CEO to be published in an Italian newspaper? A blog post on Quantitative Easing? Maybe an article on the impact of the oil price drop on Russian economy?

Then, you must understand the basics of economics and finance. How does an investment fund work? What is the current performance of capital markets in peripheral Europe? What is the role of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank? Why does the oil price affect global recovery and inflation? To translate financial news, you must learn the basics of macro and microeconomics, GDP, inflation, unemployment, as well as supply and demand, commodities, pricing.

Moreover, you should stay up-to-date, read the news, know what is going on in the world, particularly in capital markets. Which companies are performing well? Is unemployment rate high, and why? Is Europe recovering? Are the United States out of the financial crisis? What is the reaction of central banks, and how can interest rate affect mortgages and credit?bulls and bears

Reading the news in your working languages as a translator, you become aware that the language of financial and economic news is a special language. It is not only informative, but also emotional. Recently, I read headlines such as “Greek Burial for German Austerity” or “Quantitative Easing? Give the people the money instead!”. Continua la lettura di The Art and Science of Translating Financial News