The Le Lapin Troubaudour’s menu

One of the main draws of the restaurant Le Lapin Troubadour in Montmartre, Paris, is the fact that the menu is changed frequently. Some dishes, it appears, are never featured twice, although chef Gilbert Dreaudu promises one day the recipes will appear in a marvelous book collection. However, one dish is a permanent offer in the inventive menu, the Dos de Chanceloux. The Chanceloux (Caphresia islandensis)(Dengrurfiskur) is a fish that only lives around Iceland these days, once quite prevalent in the Scandinavian coast. The legend is that the old Vikings thought the golden skinned fish was holy so they would not eat it. They were missing something else! A kind of cod, the fish has a consistency of Chilean seabass with a slightly sweet taste. The way Le Lapin Troubadour prepares it is nicely sauteed with Dutch butter (fresh butter comes from the Netherlands daily), a sublime sauce that includes thyme, ginger and a few other secret recipes used by Dreaudu. It is served with browned Belgian potatoes with onion shavings and Austrian asparagus. It is a delicious dish, and it is very difficult to find this fish, which apparently is on the verge of extinction.

Another curiosity is that owner René Canot loves ducks, and keeps a few as pets, so the restaurant has never offered ducks or geese on the menu, or foie gras in any shape or form. The cassoulet, when offered, is done with confit de poulet (chicken).

The desserts and wine list are equally impressive, the last put together by François Duchaine, an award winning sommellier.

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Certified Translation of Texting for Legal cases

 

Technology also has an obvious effect in legal circles.

One notes, in old contracts, references made to the exclusive allowable communications between parties. Older contracts provide for letters, telex and telegrams. Of course, nowadays barely anybody uses telegrams and the telex is also a thing of the past. In the eighties, telecopiers (also referred as fax machines) made their ways into contracts, and email is now a rule.

In certain countries laws are not updated, and codes are literally interpreted, believe it or not, Courts refuse to accept as evidence communications provided in newer technologies.

Such is not the case of the USA, where communications in most formats are allowed as evidence in Court cases.

We note, right now, increasing use of texting threads, or even facebook and other types of chatting (whatsapp, for instance), as evidence in litigations of all types. Of course, such communications in different languages must be translated, and that is where we come in. (http://www.legaltranslationsystems.com)

Translating these types of communication has its challenges, though. For instance, there is excessive use of abbreviations in such communications, many of which are obscure. People also make up abbreviations which are not common place.

Additionally, emoticons are often used in such communications, which can lead to different interpretations of the text.

A further problem is the careless attitude exercise by people when texting or chatting. Sentences are often poorly constructed, often leading to ambiguous interpretation of the text. Normally, very few people do review texting or chatting before sending it, adding to further confusion.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE OF ANY KIND.

Should you hire a translator that has a gmail email address? Do you really know who your translators are?

If you are a translator, or work for a translation company, you are quite aware that the industry is under heavy attack from scammers worldwide. Advance payment scams have been around for some time now, and quite a few unprepared folks have fallen for it.

There is another scam that is going around now, which project managers should be aware of.

First a note on emails. You can tell were a message originated for almost every email provider in the world, including free email services, such as yahoo.  If you are using Windows Mail, for instance, simply go to Properties, Details tab, and this will give you the routing of the message. Unless the message has been sent by a hacker or spammer, you can tell from the IP address where it came from. There are many internet sites that provide reliable free IP locator services.

However, gmail does not tell the IP address of origin of the message. In fact, it always points out to google’s California servers.

This would not be so serious, except that scammers are using that feature of gmail to send impressive translator resumes to translation companies, that can fool even the most seasoned translation industry pro.

I decided to do a test, for I receive at least 10 of such resumes daily, and the results were astounding.

I sent work to three translators who alleged to be German, living in Germany. There were no problems with deadlines, however, what follows should be cause of concern for translation managers.

The quality of the translations was subpar. I had to edit them, and there are indications that in fact, the “translators” used google translator do to the work.  The terminology was flawed and inconsistent, improper for U.S. use, and even the numbers of Court cases were incorrect. If I did not know German (and obviously English) to correct the documents (which incidentally, I knew what they said before hand) I would be in trouble.

Two of the translators returned messages using a common “Name”, although when the resumes came, they used their own names. When asked, they claimed to be a “team”. However, I found out that the silly sounding name they used in the reply actually was the name of a translation “company” in India.

The plot thickens.

When paypal payment was submitted to the first German translator  – one of the members of the “team”, paypal revealed the name of the account holder, which turned out to be an Arab name, not at all connected to the German names provided by the “team” translators.  In an internet search of that email, I found out that the gentleman in fact lives in Palestine. When asked about this, no further emails were sent by the “translator”.

By the way, believe it or not, paypal also does not identify where the person you are sending money to is based. Shame on them, they should, since they claim to be so security conscious and anti-scam.

The scammers are not very bright, too. The invoice sent by one of them, with a Berlin, Germany address, had Berlin misspelled as Berline, and the name of the country appeared as “German”, instead of Germany. Adding insult to injury, the invoice provides a telephone number…in China!

This smorgasbord of international intrigue continued with the translator who actually provided the best, yet far from perfect, rendering. In this case,  the translator initially provided a very impressive resume. However, once I got the translation back I found that the author of the translation that was returned was actually another “translator”. (It is always a good idea to check who is the author of a document in Word, it can also tell a lot about the origin of the document). It turns out this “author” has a proz profile, which says she is a German living in Morocco!!! Wait, there is more intrigue coming.   This author’s resume is exactly the same as the “translator” who alleged to have prepared my document on the first place. There are, of course, a few options. This is a real person who is using pseudonyms to get work all over the place, these two translators are also a “team” (highly unlikely), or this is all a scam, and the translators are not even German, perhaps of a different sex, and all they do is google it. Not surprisingly, this translator has not responded to an email asking for explanations…

There are some common threads to all these scammers. First, the resume email always comes through gmail, preventing you from identifying the origin of the email. It might say it came from hotmail, or yahoo on the heading but if you go to properties then you find out it was actually sent through gmail. Some resumes are sent in word, others are sent by pdf. If it is in word, you can tell who the author is. Also check Properties, Content. You will be surprised how many of these have words in Arabic, Hindi or Chinese, although the translator claims to be an European based in Europe, or a South American and there is no plausible reason for that text being there.

Another common feature is the lack of address and phone number in almost all of these resumes. However, some of them not only have address and phone number, but also a photograph of the “translator”! One translator with a very impressive resume went to the extent of claiming to be an ATA certified translator, when she is not. I checked.

The bottom line is this. In this day and age in which a person can have a New York phone number and live in Laos, where translators’ cafes and whatnot provide a platform for people claiming to be translators to offer cheap services, and where the mechanisms for receiving or paying for services do not identify the origin, all care must be taken.

Internet kills the paper star

The Buggles’ 80’s anthem had somewhat of a prophetic overtone. MTV had just been created, and this video was in fact the first shown on the channel. It was not meant to be. For a while, it seemed as though music video would in fact usurp radio’s place in the world, but eventually MTV became a “lifestyle” channel, and the novelty of video had worn off. Radio might not be what it used to be, however it is still up and about, influencing both the nation’s thinking as well as musical taste.

It is with some sadness that I picked up the last Newsweek in print edition. So they say.

I know I am as much a part of the problem as the solution. I was an avid Newsweek reader while in college and years after, but somewhere along the ride, got tired of the magazine, eventually subscribing to US News and World Report. This, like AMC in Detroit, was the first current U.S. news magazine to die, and I was orphaned. By the time I took another look at Newsweek,  it was no longer much of a news magazine. I really didn’t know what the magazine had become.

Funny that news magazines are still very healthy and relevant in other parts of the world. In Brazil, Veja continues to have a prominent position in shaping the political process, and the same holds for France’s Figaro and the UK’s The Economist. The latter is my favorite news magazine of the age.

I was never much of a Time person. I read it sporadically, but something in the magazine put me off.

The last print edition seemed to be almost apologetic, attempting to explain that the magazine had a futuristic vision, and that eventually the competitors(?)( I reckon in the singular, Time) would follow suit. It seemed to focus on readership and relevance alone, and the fact that to remain strong and relevant, the magazine decided to go 100% digital.

As excuses go, this seems a poor one. Just peruse the advertisers on this last edition and you pinpoint where the problem is. This magazine had more attorney and physician advertisers than the magazine had in its entire first 75 years! Full page ads were few and far between, and quarter pages abounded. even a Christian college had an ad published, which included its radio station, something the secular media has shunned for many years, lest they be called religious, a four-letter word in this industry.

Yes, I suppose the problem is 100% economic! Sure, 1.5 million subscribers might bring some dough, however, it seems that although magazines such as People manage to convince advertisers they are a good destination for their dollars, Newsweek, like U.S. News, failed to do so.

The current editor tried to convince the world that the magazine in print could, nonetheless, continue on. that this was purely strategic. The merger with a news site called Daily Beast (which I had never heard of) could supposedly help sustain the brand into the digital age, but I am not that convinced.

Thus, Newsweek in print follows Twinkies, Suzuki cars, Pontiac, Mercury cars, as a victim of the tough economic age.

It seems that in the future, we better be accustomed to reading People in Doctor’s waiting rooms.

Goodbye, Newsweek. It is highly unlikely I will read your digital edition ever, so unless you recant on your decision, this might be goodbye forever.

Frustration and sex sells

I suppose for most the Internet can be a source for frustration, specially if you believe the success stories of viral youtube videos, e-retailers who built a business from scratch, overnight success bloggers and people who built fortunes on adsense.

I write on several different blogs, about a variety of things, in different languages. At best, my posts get a few hundred readings during a lifetime. I have a very old blog where some posts have been “read” a few times, but I don’t kid myself. Irrespective of what my stats say, I know that a lot of these visits are by robots, or even people who do not understand the language. My ideas and information are not really getting across to a large number of people, and I can tell that by how many web searches actually lead to my posts.

I do believe I have things to say, but obviously, no one is listening.

Then I did a test.

I created a post in a blog saying “Naked pictures of —-“. “—-” is a young Hollywood actress, who, I think, is not really prone to showing her pudenda about town. At least she seems that way, unlike Kate Winslet who, given any chance, will disrobe and show off. I do not frequent porno sites or celeb titillation sites, so I do not know for sure.

Needless to say, the post has no naked picture of anybody. It is a joke.

Yet, search engines direct thousands of hits to that post everyday. It is by far, the most successful post of my humble internet career. And it is a joke, some ill humored porno addicts might call it a distasteful lie. It is ranked number 1, and the post gets hits from all over the world, through different search strings.

Which leads me to think that, sadly, sex does sell without any investment.

Very annoyed with Timex

Timex was supposed to be a good company. Their watches and clocks were all over the place.

So, I did not hesitate when I bought a Timex alarm clock at Walgreens. One that changed colors and all.

The clock is still working, the colors still changing, but the alarm is gone a little over a year after I bought it

I know that companies manufacture things with the intent that you will keep it for a year or two, then it breaks, then you buy a new one.

This sucks, I actually liked the clock, but it is know quite useless.

So much for Chinese goods being top of the line these days.

Times sucks too.

How much should we trust software companies

Ok, I accept that we are in the technological age. Which supposedly makes all things easy. Software and computers order things in a more rational fashion. Does it?

I subscribe to a couple of Adobe online products. You know, Adobe is probably second only to Microsoft in the consumer software market.

Well, my credit card was expiring, so I get this email from Adobe, telling me to follow a link to update the card.

I thought this would be a two minute thing.

Guess what? The link led me to nowhere land, something that did not recognize me as a customer, whereas I visit the site everyday. Then, I peruse the entire site, to see if there were any links. Nope!

My last option was to chat with a representative. I spent about half an hour, chatting with a couple of folks in the Indian subcontinent, only to be told that I needed to call a toll-free phone number to provide a different card!

HOW LOW TECH IS THAT?

In other words, we are supposed to trust that the companies that operate that way will make software that will work 100 % properly.

I don’t think so, sorry.