New classes

On September 4 we start a Spanish writing training for fluent speakers of Spanish. ($530 to $675, see details at course link)

In January, we start the 2019 Spanish translation course.  ($720 to $900, see details at course link)

I send applicants a short evaluation before I accept them for the translation course. Many who take this course pass the ATA certification exam.

Both courses will have a capacity of 20 students this year since Daniela Guanipa will be co-teaching with me.

Why are we teaching Spanish writing this year?

  1. I have met many bilingual professionals who have not had the opportunity to perfect their Spanish writing skills so they are at the same level as their oral skills. This training should help bridge that gap.
  2. I spend quite a bit of time correcting Spanish writing issues for some of my translation students. That may keep them from focusing on translation issues to some degree. I expect that those who take advantage of this opportunity will be able to focus more on their translation skills.

Why does Spanish writing matter?

When we write on Facebook, Twitter, make a sign, or send an email to a client, we are showing who we are. Our professional image is on display. By the same token, any mistakes we make are likely to be reposted and retweeted as jokes! Just today one of my clients checked in with me about a sign they got a tweet about. We will fix the sign. It was translated by a bilingual employee who is a native speaker. They had done the best they could to get it right, but it didn’t quite work.

Clear writing matters. Though we might not think our readers notice, a well-written paragraph is much easier to understand. People with a higher level of literacy can pinpoint the mistakes in poor writing, while people with a lower level of literacy will stumble over the meaning. Both are negative outcomes. I have seen signs posted with two errors per line. This needs to change.

Because Spanish writing matters, several of us have been working for a couple of years to set the foundation for the Spanish Editors Association. We are live and will be accepting members soon. This association is intended to help editors of Spanish text for the United States work together as professionals to learn, promote the profession, and grow as professionals.

To recap:

Spanish writing: Tuesday evenings, starting on September 4, 2018

Translation: Thursday evenings, starting on January 10, 2019

Some recent stories from my work:

For example, a client sent me some text in English to translate into Spanish. I wasn’t really able to translate it because I didn’t understand parts of it. So I got on the phone, talked about the parts I didn’t understand, edited the English as we discussed it, and then translated.

Then she took my translation to a pilot test group of community members. They made some suggestions, and we made final decisions together.

A client recently sent me some text in Spanish, and asked if I could check it and fix it. There was no English source. After verifying that the text was consistent with the rest of the client’s website, I submitted a back translation to English of sections I had questions about, so the client could give me direction, and we made final decisions. I was also able to explain the reason for the changes I made, so the client could understand a bit more about how Spanish works.

Before we do this, however, we have to know how to do a straight translation. That is why I am passionate about helping colleagues get certified as translators. This year several of my students achieved that milestone. They worked very hard to get there, and it always makes my day to get that call: Helen, I got certified! It is one of the nicest things I can hear.