Author Archives: William Lise

Social Media: Making Honesty Seem so 1980

If you spend the amount of time required to create a Facebook persona that securely posits you as the best thing in your field since sliced bread, it’s unlikely that you will have the time to actually live that persona by walking that walk. I sometimes wonder whether people who post over 50 times each day (sometimes at great length) ever step back for a moment and think about whether people will believe that they are actually walking that walk. Some of these personas are at best harmless fantasies, but some could also indicate a serious addiction to social media and an obsessive need to be liked and looked up … Continue reading

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My Personalized Plan to Distance Myself from Social Media

In my program at least to distance myself from social media (and trash my Facebook account on October 1), I have identified a number of things I should do. These are not necessarily presented here in the sequence in which they are going to be executed, particularly because some are predicated on others happening first. Some of these are currently underway or have already been achieved. Because I have set the date for trashing my Facebook account as October 1, this original list has become extremely short. Never post anything to my Facebook timeline except links to blog articles until October 1. Start selecting websites of creditable news outlets to … Continue reading

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Jaron Lanier’s Reasons for Our Leaving Social Media

I have just finished reading Jaron Lanier’s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now” and find that Lanier’s revelations about what social media platforms are doing pretty much match my apprehensions about social media. In fact, in some areas, particularly regarding the automatic fine tuning of and learning by algorithms, Lanier reveals ways that opaque social media algorithms operate that I had not imagined. Lanier refers to what social media platforms do as BUMMER (Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into an Empire for Rent), although he appropriately replaces modified with manipulated where appropriate, and it is clear that the term manipulation is often appropriate. He lists the … Continue reading

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Tendaikai Members Performing at a Nearby Shinto Shrine

The other day we visited a local shrine (Himonya Hachimangu) to see the Tendaikai people perform. The group is headed by Fukui Tendai, who is the teacher of the wakaokami at Oiwake in Asakusa, a place I have been visiting for decades. 先日、近くの碑文谷八幡宮の演芸会開演直前の福居典大先生。小生の行き付けの店、浅草追分の若女将(Akiyo Hattori)の師匠です。

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The Ugly Underbelly of the Translation Industry and the Value of ISO Certification

Ok, it starts again from these Chinese cretins. This sleazy Chinese translation broker, CCJK, must actually be operated by people who have escaped from a home for the terminally stupid. And they claim to have ISO 9001 certification. That very statement is powerful, since, taken together with the laughable content of this email, it demonstrates the meaningless of the ISO certification. I get about one of these ridiculous offers of translation service from CCJK per week. They arrive from people using various names and are almost all (including this one) sent from a gmail address. The last four times they vomited this shit at me they received a newly created generic … Continue reading

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Futility

Effective immediately, I will no longer suggest to Japanese-to-English translators who have posed questions on various fora that they ask the author. The reason is simple: almost no translators have access to the author, either directly or via an agent/broker. Suggestions to contact the author not only are not useful but also annoy translators by reminding them of their position on the food chain. It is clear that the desirable situation is one in which, faced with a problem in understanding what the author meant, the translator can ask the author. Almost no translators are in that situation, hence this decision to stop the annoying comments.

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Harsh Realities for Beginning Translators

I have on numerous occasions had that warm feeling of being thanked by new translators for advice I purported to give. But it is always accompanied by the stark reality, mostly unspoken by me, that the person who is thanking me is very unlikely to be able take away anything from my advice beyond the extreme difficulty of succeeding in a translation market in which there is nowhere to go but down for most translators. Today, however, I will speak of that reality. Unless you: are highly skilled in a number of areas (including, but certainly not limited to, source-language comprehension, target-language writing, and subject-specific expertise) and are willing to … Continue reading

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Supply-side Tiers: A Different Way of Looking at the Translation Business

Translators often classify clients as agency clients and direct clients. Regarding the supply side of the translation business, Neil Langdon Inglis many years ago posited that there was a de facto caste system among translators. Another approach is to discuss the translation supply side in terms of tiers, employing terminology that is commonly used in fields such as the auto industry, which might be useful in looking at the differences between translation and other businesses. Tier One.  In the translation supply chain, tier one (T1) is populated by translation providers (including agencies and some individuals) selling translations to translation consumers (as opposed to other translation sellers). Tier Two.  Translation providers that sell … Continue reading

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Taking More Money for Your Translations

(Adopted with minor changes from comments I made in a panel discussion at the IJET-9 Conference, held in Yokohama way back in 1998. Nothing much has changed to invalidate these comments.) I would like to present a few ideas on how you can take more money for your translation, focusing on the act of taking. My comments are basically directed at non-Japanese translators trying to make more money translating in Japan, but they should have value to translators in other situations as well. The suggestions given below for making more money include some generalities. Naturally, there are exceptions that can be pointed out. Remember, however, that what we call wisdom … Continue reading

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Some Thoughts on Japanese Reading and Comprehension

Just how well do you need to read Japanese to be a JA-to-EN translator? I have heard this question from beginners, and thought I would make a few comments, which could perhaps be of some interest even to experienced translators. Naturally, I am directing my comments to NES (native English speaker) translators, the group that has the highest potential of achieving professional-level translation ability in JA-to-EN translation. Starting Out Many translators, and particularly the vast majority of translators working in the bulk market, are fortunate in that most translation situations allow them to hide from their clients, translating in the seclusion of their workplace, without the danger of being discovered scampering through … Continue reading

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