Posted by: patenttranslator | December 4, 2012

Seven Things To Be Grateful For at the End of 2012 When You Are a Mad Patent Translator

1. The Earth was so far not hit by a giant asteroid, at least not one that would be big enough to destroy all life on Earth instantaneously. Global climate change will do that instead, but it will be a very slow, excruciatingly painful process, which will make our children’s life a living hell. Fortunately for me and most people reading this blog, we will be hopefully dead by the time things get really ugly.

Whew, that was a close one.

2. The man who put his dog on the roof of his car and drove with his dog on the roof to Canada lost election as I predicted back in February of 2012. The man who lied about everything when I voted for him last time in 2008 won the election because he did not seem to be quite as bad as the man who is mean even to his dog.

Hurray!!! Si se puede!!! (Translation: Yes, I can lie with impunity)!!!

3. Companies big and small keep filing new patents in various languages about mostly nonexistent new technology and fighting it out in patent court over the greatest, coolest, and totally awesome new technology since Mao came up during the Great Leap Forward with the idea that every family should have an iron smelting furnace in their backyard during the Cultural Revolution in China. Somebody will have to translate all this cutting-edge technology stuff again.

万歳!万歳!万歳!(Translation: Banzai! Banzai! Banzai)!

4. Hurricane Sandy hit East Coast pretty bad, but instead of making a landing in Florida or North Carolina (just a few miles south of where I live) as hurricanes have been doing for the last few decades, this time it pounded places further up north like New York and New Jersey. If we get lucky, the next big one will completely obliterate the Wall Street and we will be able to switch from casino economy back to normal economy again. There was a lot of noise on my local TV about another big one this year, but when I was walking my dog, my neighbor Mark said:”It ain’t coming here”.

Now I know who to trust when it comes to predicting the path of deadly hurricanes.

5. I saw a few fireflies, bees and bumblebees again in our backyard this year. I thought they were gone for good, along with illegal immigrants whose traffic across the border has been going mostly in the opposite direction this year compared to previous years. I also saw one turtle, squirrels, birds and lots of lazy jackrabbits this year who pointedly kept ignoring me and my dog. If animals start trusting their old habitats again, maybe there is still hope for us. However, the frogs who used to be so noisy for years every summer night while doing what frogs do best in the pond behind our house have been maintaining complete silence this summer.

Call me crazy, but I think that this is a very bad omen for survival of human species when not even frogs can have the usual fun on hot summer nights.

6. I lost two translation agency customers this year, basically the only two agencies that were still regularly sending me work, because they were trying to lower my rates. One of them was kind of important for my finances because the guy used to mail me the check within a few days. But his deadlines were insane, and I am too old for that kind of abuse. So this year has been much quieter for me so far, and I was even able to go on vacation to Europe again.

I made less money this year, which means that I will owe much less in taxes for this year. I am so lucky!

7. Best of all, since I started blogging in 2010, the number of the readers of my blog so far tripled every year. Now that I know which topics are sure to be hits with readers who are interested in arcane topics involving highly abstract translation concepts (topics like Translator’s Dementia, the distinction between Subprime Translators and Zombie Translators, and of course how much translators can make these days), I will do my utmost to triple the readership of my blog again next year.

If I can do that again next year and figure out how to make each reader pay me, say, 10 cents a year for the privilege of being able to read my highly informative and inspirational posts about esoteric topics having to do with translation (which would be about hundred times less than what New York Times is charging its “digital subscribers” as of this year, even though most of what New York Times dares to print these days are pretty boring, heavily self- and otherwise-censored articles), it would basically solve all of my money problems and I could finally retire.


  1. Thank you very much. You’re the Jim Carrey of translation blogging 😉 And that’s a compliment!


  2. Thank you so much.
    Any suggestion about what I said at the end of point 7?


  3. Well… You could implement Google AdSense. Though it may visually pollute your blog to some extent.


  4. Thanks, Marcello, good idea.

    I could advertise sale prices for Trados and customized machine translation packages on my website and blog.

    If you can’t beat them, join them!


  5. Point 7, why not?

    We were talking about establishing a “Club of Mutual Admirers” sometime ago. The members should pay virtually 5 bucks per click, i.e., registered in a counter/account and cleared by the end of the a year against one’s own clicks at blogs of others.

    You should not only advertise sale prices for CATs and MT packages, but also organize some group buys. You don’t need to join them, you take their money for the services of advertising, that’s all – fair enough, right? (And, no problem, keep on writing about Monsanto and the like.)

    Another way to make some extra money would be to publish regularily collections of your most poplular posts or what you wanted to write and dared not to publish with some appealing or appalling book titles (the latter ones for factually correct posts and the former for politically correct ones.).

    There can be some more good ideas from your other readers. Let’s wait a bit longer.


  6. “Another way to make some extra money would be to publish regularly collections of your most popular posts or what you wanted to write and dared not to publish…”

    You are reading my mind. I was at first going to put under No. 7 “I am grateful that the we did not start any war this year, although that may be mostly because US normally invades a foreign country in odd-numbered years (2001, 2003)”, but then changed it to something else because I figured that might be going a little bit too far, and also because of the implications for the next year.


  7. Hi Steve, have you heard of ( I don’t know how many of your readers use it, but I use it for a couple of the podcasts I listen to. Readers can donate minute amounts every time they read one of your always interesting, always irreverent posts.

    Second, I’m not sure how I feel about ads. However, you could think about corporate sponsors, which is a slightly different approach (“this blog is brought to you by…”)? Just don’t overdo it; only one or two.

    Finally, I agree with Werner on publishing maybe a best-of collection, maybe even once a year. You could self-publish; for example, using Or, even better, how about writing a book about your many experiences as a translator?


  8. Thanks for your suggestions.

    I like the idea of self-publishing of some of my posts, but could I really make money like this, unless I promise budding translators that my new book will give them THE KEY to their prosperous future?

    (Which would be a lie).

    I would probably end up spending money rather than making money on the project.

    (I wonder how well Alejandro’s book has been selling).


  9. I don’t think you’d be giving advise on how to be a prosperous translator–I would just see it as a hugely entertaining read 🙂


  10. Right, and who would pay for that when they read it for free on my stupid blog?


  11. Don’t worry, Steve. There must be some fans like me who will buy the publication of your yearly best-of collections, even if they could be read for free on your madly funny blog.

    No, you don’t have to give advice on how to. The intellectual entertainment suffices.

    I believe that most of your readers would like to know of is, as Babellon suggested: your various experiences as a translator over one quarter of a century. Writing a book about the phases you went through till you somehow reached the level of an established translator would probably be of great interests of your readers. I will definitely buy such a book.


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