The other day, my friend posted a photo of on Facebook of himself eating a pastry, with the text, «Me salió el niño en la rosca.» My mother saw the photo and asked me, «What’s that post about – the one with the child and the thread?» My mother can’t read Spanish, so she was seeing the machine translation, which reads, «He left the child in the thread.» What it really means is: «I got the baby in the ‘King’s bread’.» This refers to the little plastic baby Jesus that is hidden in the traditional pastry eaten on the feast of the Epiphany in Mexico and in some other countries. Lesson: don’t trust machine translation! They are unable to interpret (or even less, explain) context and often fail to convey the meaning of even simple sentences. If you need a real translation, ask a professional.
One of my regular clients for Spanish-English translations is the website Aleteia.org., which publishes Catholic news and spirituality articles. Many of the articles are the work of the site’s own team of authors and reporters (including one by me that started off as a simple translation of some words of Pope Francis); others are culled from other reliable Catholic web sources.
I’ve worked with them for over a year now and it’s always a pleasure to see something from Aleteia in my inbox – not just because it’s work (which is always a good thing), but because I enjoy the subject matter. I spent many years as a member of a Catholic religious community, working in and for the Church, and although my life and employment have changed, I still carry the Church in my blood. That makes translating Catholic news and spirituality often both enjoyable and enriching (and sometimes uncomfortable, in a good way – the message sometimes pushes me out of my comfort zone, as the Gospel should…). The most interesting of all nowadays is translating articles about Pope Francis, who never ceases both to challenge and surprise me.
If you’d like to read some interesting Catholic articles and get a taste of how I translate, here are some I find particularly interesting:
- A missionary nun’s insights into ISIS
- A priest saving children from human trafficking
- A difficult but formative experience in Pope Francis’ youth
- A candid interview with Pope Francis – a bit challenging to translate because of the informal and somewhat unstructured nature of a spontaneous conversation!
- 10 recommendations from St. Thomas Aquinas
- Testimony of someone who was conceived during rape and is grateful to her mother for not aborting her
If you need Spanish to English translations on any topic, contact me for a quote.
The diagrams and patterned paper for this cross are now available for purchase and download (for only $2.30) on the OrigamiUSA website. I call this one «Cross variation 2» because it’s the two of several crosses I designed using the same base. The file includes 5 pages of diagrams and one page with Gothic-inspired patterned paper you can print, trim to a square, and fold (as seen in the photo). It also includes two slightly different versions of this cross: one is slightly easier, but the other looks somewhat neater. (The one in the photo above is the neater but harder version.) Instructions are included in English and Spanish.
Now available for purchase and download (for $2) from the OrigamiUSA web store is a file with diagrams for one of three origami cross designs I taught at the OrigamiUSA convention in the summer of 2014. The file includes 6 pages of diagrams and one page with Gothic-style patterned paper you can print and cut out to fold this cross. Included in the diagrams are two main variations regarding the shape of the arms of the cross, and other suggestions for how to personalize the design with other alterations. The text instructions are provided in English and Spanish.
I hope to upload two more cross designs soon; this is the simplest of the three (hence the title, «variation 1»).
The two main activities that I offer through Servimatices International are translations and origami. At the end of June, I had the opportunity to do both at the same time!
Whenever I can, I participate in OrigamiUSA’s annual convention, which is held in Manhattan. The event – which this year had more than 650 active participants (not including adults who were accompanying children) – includes classes, competitions, an exhibit (of extraordinary quality), and many opportunities to spend time and share origami with origami folders from all over the world. The special guests this year were evidence of the internationality of the event. One was Isa Klein, a Brazilian origami artist known especially for her modular designs and for her instructional videos; the other was Nick Robinson, origami teacher and prolific author of origami books, from the United Kingdom.
Words are not strictly necessary in order to share origami; it’s a very visual and tactile art, and there is a more or less uniform international system of symbols used in written diagrams. However, verbal communication does help, especially in classes with more than two or three people where not everyone can see up close what the teacher is doing. So this year, I decided to respond to the official petition for volunteer translators to interpret classes by teachers who don’t speak English.
There were already two translators for Portuguese to English, so I didn’t have the pleasure of translating a class for Isa Klein, although I did get to have some nice conversations with her; as is usually the case, she is not only a talented origami artist, but also a very nice person. However, they needed someone to help with Spanish, so I ended up translating (technically, doing consecutive interpreting) for a class taught by Diego Becerra. Diego teaches origami at the University of St. Thomas in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Although he is mostly known for his (amazing) insect designs, the model he taught in the class I translated was a dragon. It was the first time in a few years that I have done real-time interpreting, but there weren’t any problems; on the contrary, it was great experience which I hope to repeat on other occasions! After all, I got to learn a new origami model and translate at the same time – what more could I ask for?
Here is a photo of the origami that Diego Becerra had in the exhibition, including several examples of the dragon that he taught in the class I translated:
I loved his idea of using Lego® to build bases for his models! The colors of the bases are the colors of the Colombian flag; don’t forget, this was during the World Cup…
Actualmente, Servimatices Internacional ofrece dos tipos de servicios:
Servimatices Internacional currently offers two kinds of services:
We just made a variety of changes and updates to this website, including more details about the translation and proofreading services that we offer. Also, the site is now totally bilingual, which required restructuring the menu. There is still more work to be done, especially aesthetically, but we’re making progress, and I will continue to improve the site!