Friday, March 15, 2013

Hey, what's going on?

Meals become street art in Paris.
Whether I'm home in Philadelphia or on vacation around the country or overseas, I'm always looking for new things to do or see.

Concerts. Exhibits. Restaurants. Festivals. Trails. Parks.

There are, of course, a gazillion places on the Internet to find this information.

There are also a few gems.

In Philadelphia, I often turn to Uwishunu, a blog that touts what's happening in the city. It also features a video series of 101 Philadelphians sharing what they wish you knew about Philly. Its Twitter account, @uwishunu, billed as "Philly from the inside out," is equally worthwhile.

An old favorite on my travels has always been Where magazine, left in hotel rooms and tourist bureaus. I would quickly scan upcoming events, note restaurant suggestions, and tear out maps to stuff into my pockets. The online version offers "Local guides. Worldwide." -- with a newsletter, travel blog, and stories that feature wherever it is you want to go.

You can also subscribe to weekly Where email to get "insider knowledge on what to do in your favorite cities."

Me? I usually resist subscribing to email lists, but I had to try two from Where: for my favorite city, Philadelphia; and for my other favorite city, Paris, which I'll be visiting soon.

It doesn't even matter if I don't get to any of the things listed. At least I'll know what's going on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Job security for translation professionals

"We posted a story that I picked up"

That's the name of the website?

"Living with human"

That's a subhead on the website? Well, what does the body copy say?

"In my parents have a dog. Golden Retriever dog breed is. Born in the house of his relatives seven years ago, I came to my home...The name of the dog in my house is such a ram. Seems to have dated a girl like that come out in comic guys because my father sold. But what my father would have been wondering. Lamb is a male. Family life and lamb we began all told.

Ok. The punchline here is computer translation, as if you hadn't already guessed.

This all started when I typed in an old URL for my running club. Instead of using the .com suffix, I used the original .org. It seems that in the last few years, the abandoned URL was bought by a Japanese firm in order to publish nonsensical stories.At least that's my take from the translated copy.

I used Google Translate to make some sense of the Japanese characters. I got similar results from Bing Translator. I'm sure other online tools would have been the same.

And so this experience has taught me two things:
  1. There's no substitute for a professional human translator.
  2. There's value in keeping old domain names, because you never know who will snatch them up...or why.