Searching for travel apps at the AMTA

The customs agent pauses with the passport stamp in his hand and asks what my business in Canada is. “I’m going to a conference, the AMTA, Association of Machine Translation in the Americas,” I say. “You’re late,” he tells me, snapping the stamp downwards. This is the first time any customs agent has even heardContinue reading “Searching for travel apps at the AMTA”

Localization, Thailand and the global market

Sometimes I stop and think for awhile about my job, and about the long chain of assumptions that lead out into its final goal, which nine times out of ten is that people will purchase (or remain loyal to) a product that did not originate in their own culture. Localization is primarily about making theContinue reading “Localization, Thailand and the global market”

An expat in any country

One reason I love other cultures is the possibility that they will be more familiar than the one I’m currently living in. I grew up in a microculture, one with its own way of dressing and thinking, its own news services, textbooks, cultural heroes, way of speaking English. Since the moment I set foot inContinue reading “An expat in any country”

Translators without Borders and changing the world

Sometimes I get really discouraged about all the stuff that’s wrong with the human race… the arguing, the senseless violence, the control-freak posturing and the corruption in every direction. Why don’t people see how stupid all of that is? Why don’t they listen more, put themselves in the shoes of their fellow human beings, tryContinue reading “Translators without Borders and changing the world”

A short history of our magazine and the economic downturn

The economic downturn has hurt many a publication, and ours was no exception. Our advertisers had to cut costs, and some cut us. Our boss laid out the situation for us, telling us that in order not to lose anyone, we could choose to lessen our individual hours. We were paid hourly, and we hadContinue reading “A short history of our magazine and the economic downturn”

Personality’s light touch

I’ve been on this personality kick, but something I haven’t really considered much is this: how do these different personality types fit into different cultures? Different microcultures? One person, for example, pointed out that although there are introverts and extroverts within his family, in the outside world, they would all be considered introverts. In aContinue reading “Personality’s light touch”

Affirmative responses: not always so clear cut

English, though not exactly on the same context level as Chinese, can still present problematic nuances to second-language learners, even advanced ones. Consider the following possible affirmative responses (said in a fairly neutral voice) to the rather nerve-wracking request “Would you like to go out with me on Friday? To see that show? I hearContinue reading “Affirmative responses: not always so clear cut”

The non-localizable language

Watching a documentary on the practice of rumspringa (“running around,” sometimes also referring to the whole period of adolescence), when 16-year-old Amish kids release themselves from their normal boundaries and go out into the world (or out into the back field) to taste and see if they want to live as others do, or elseContinue reading “The non-localizable language”