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International Translation Day 2018: A More Resilient Translator

Here is my unprecedented, unforgettable experience in my translation career.

Starting our collaboration in 2013, this Singapore-based affiliated agency and I successfully completed some translation projects in different fields. The rates were good and payments were always timely made.

In February 2018, a PM in the US head office contacted me for a distinctive translation project, which I accepted without hesitation and completed by the deadline. I sent my two invoices as requested in April 2018, due in 45 days, with which amount I can invest in 10 g, 25 g, and 50 g of gold bars.

Months went by. Inquiring, sometimes impatient and raging, emails on the demand for my payment were very rarely, unsatisfactorily answered. My trust in the agency was abused. My heart sank, guessing there must be something wrong with the agency.

Yesterday, I received a shocking reply from the agency’s staff after months of silence. She no longer works for the agency because it will be closing its doors at the end of this year. Freelancers are asked to be patient about any outstanding invoices as the agency’s cash flow has gotten very small. Its business obviously plunges to the ocean floor. A thing many companies fear. A situation many freelancers do not even want to imagine, let alone experience.

Using the service of a debt collector once came across my mind. But now, on hearing such information, all I can do is despairingly cling onto the agency’s promise to pay my long overdue invoices only God knows when. I silently pray for the best solution that may divinely come.

In our career, we should definitely celebrate the rainbows, but must anticipate and be prepared for the dark clouds too. And that makes us a more resilient translator.

This is my story. What’s yours?

Advantages of HPI Certified Translators

The increasing demand for governmental as well as commercial needs sparks the requirements for translations into different languages with impeccable results. With the correspondingly increasing supply of translators primarily in the working languages of English and Indonesian, those translators must distinguish themselves to stand out among the crowd.

One of the intelligent ways of making such distinction is by managing to become a certified translator of, particularly in Indonesia, general and legal areas. A National Certification Test (abbreviated to TSN in Indonesian) is organized annually to eventually certify translators passing the test. The general guideline for the user/industry-oriented test is available at

What are the advantages of being certified translators? Here are some of them (taken from

Certified translators may gain peer recognition and they are deemed to be capable of independently practising their profession because in the test, they show their ability to translate according to the translation’s functional goal as provided in the translation brief. That is to say, clients will be facilitated to find professional translators with a high level of translation competence.

Another significant advantage is the clients’ full confidence of knowing that their business interests are properly taken care of without compromising the translation quality in any way.

When clients wish to not only have a gist of a document, Google Translate may not properly function to meet such need. In that light, certified translators come in and play their professional role in a higher level of sophistication.

Next: The Special Case in Indonesia: Sworn Translators and HPI Certified Legal Translators

Knowledge Shared is Knowledge Multiplied

Out of a sincere intention to share what I know, learn, and experience, I am determined to organize casual, but definitely useful, sessions for my fellow translators and interpreters, both experienced and novice.

Since November 2016, I have been independently organizing 6 sharing sessions with different topics. I list them below in their English titles.

19 & 27 November 2016: Professional Translators: First Steps and Tips to Survive & Thrive

27 Nov 2016

21 January 2017: Learning CAT Tools

21 Jan 2017(2)

13 May 2017: Sharing Experience and Tips in Interpreting

13 May 2017(2)

5 August 2017: Legal Translation: Tips & Tricks

5 Aug 2017

30 September 2017: Learning Subtitling (and Celebrating the International Translation Day)

30 Sep 2017

I will always try my best to continuously organize these events with the same original intention and in the spirit of sharing, being useful to fellow translators/interpreters, and contributing to the development of their professional career and the translation/interpreting industry in Indonesia, no matter how minor or insignificant they may be in the eyes of others.

Nurturing My Other Potentials: Interpreter, Note-taker, Rapporteur

When we plan to spread our wings and expand our services, the road is never that easy. Bumpy, winding, long. That’s when unconditional surrender to the Supreme Being overtakes. God will make a way, when there seems to be no way.

Here are pictures of some of the highlighted events where I served as a note-taker and rapporteur.

XXIV International Committee for Money and Banking Museums (ICOMON) Conference, 4-5 September 2017, Museum Bank Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia


The 2nd Indonesia Human Capital Summit (IHCS), 10 November 2017, Ritz Carlton Pacific Place, Jakarta, Indonesia

Seasoned Translators: What They Should Consistently Do

There is always the first time for everything. It’s true in translation too.

When I first entered this translation industry on a freelance basis, I have this fear of failing to succeed, let alone survive. However, gaining information and knowledge from reliable sources and acquiring thorough, more than adequate understanding of translation business intricacies have greatly helped me survive and thrive in this growing business.

With the unstoppable incoming wave of novice translators, more seasoned translators must creatively and professionally find ways to stay in high demand and at a high or, at least, standard tariff while consistently maintaining high quality.

Novice translators increasingly tend to bid and accept low tariff in order to get their first jobs. This might be acceptable in their first few years of working as freelance translators. However, they must not be carried away too long with the consistently low tariff throughout their career. Once they reach a more steady level, they should also increase their tariff to a more decent one. Low tariff almost all the time relates to low quality.

It is indeed true that there is always an editor as part of quality control process. Nevertheless, a novice translator must not blindly rely on their editor and submit poor quality translation. Agencies must not practice similar reliance. In any circumstances, any translators must submit their high quality translations: no grammatical mistakes, no spelling errors, no referential errors, and no major errors.

Yes, translators are indeed humans who are prone to make mistakes. Hence, second and third eyes, the so-called editors or proofreaders or reviewers, are no doubt needed to ensure faultless translations. An editor must avoid making preferential edits. Instead, when the translation is close to flawless, they should make encouraging comments. A widespread opinion among editors is they fear of being falsely assumed not to work when they do not make any revisions to a translation. Instead, editors must bear in mind that when they do make some edits to such flawlessness, the edits must aim to increase the translation’s readability, rather than trying hard to make up nonexistent mistakes.

With the correct, shared understanding of the flow of translation work and the functions of each role, either as a translator, editor, or agency, translation industry will gain an increasing reputation in the eyes of other industries and may eventually take the same position as other more established industries. When translation business actors respect each other, we are paving the way to a more established, reputable translation business.

Prepositional Adverbs in Legal Texts

A prepositional adverb may be easily interpreted as “there” or “here” + one or more prepositions.

Some people call it pronominal adverb: a type of adverb occurring in a number of Germanic languages, formed in replacement of a preposition and a pronoun by turning the latter into a locative adverb and the former into a prepositional adverb and joining them in reverse order. (Wiktionary)

Some people also call it a compound preposition. However it is called, it adds many extra words making writings exaggeratedly formal. In this article, I specifically use the term prepositional adverb.

If you encounter legal translations with many prepositional adverbs or if you are somehow required to use them, first of all you need to read through and understand the correct definitions of prepositions.

Prepositions are used to express the relationship of a noun or pronoun (or another grammatical element functioning as a noun) to the rest of the sentence (The Free Dictionary). They indicate place, time, direction, etc. They are not that easy to use, and you just have to learn them by heart.

The language of contracts uses many prepositional adverbs, such as hereof, hereunder, therein, thereinabove, etc. Giving a legal smell, most of “here-” and “there-“ words are considered archaic today and mainly found in legal contracts and other formal styles although some others are very common.

The word “here” refers to the document you currently have in hand. To understand the meaning of “here-” words, just reverse the order of “here” and the preposition, and replace “here” with “this [document]”.


1. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties hereto have caused this Agreement to be executed in two copies, each of which has equal legal force and is to be retained by each party.

Meaning: IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties to this Agreement have caused this Agreement to be executed in two copies, each of which has equal legal force and is to be retained by each party.

2. Each Party must comply with the provisions set forth hereinbelow.

Meaning: Each Party must comply with the provisions set forth below in this Agreement.

Note on hereafter and hereinafter:

Hereafter means henceforth, at some future time.


1. The regulation shall be effective hereafter.

Meaning: The regulation shall be effective after the day on which [this Law] takes effect.

Meanwhile, hereinafter means in a part of this document that follows.


1. The Parties have agreed that an exchange of letters hereinafter referred to constitutes the Agreement.

Meaning: The Parties have agreed that an exchange of letters referred to later [in this paragraph] constitutes the Agreement.

The same goes with “there”, which refers to something mentioned earlier. You must be extra careful when determining the noun referred to in each context.


1. Please read Article 5, including all of the paragraphs thereunder.

Meaning: Please read Article 5, including all of the paragraphs listed under Article 5.

2. The company and the employees thereof must not act in contravention of the laws and regulations on labor.

Meaning: The company and the employees of the company must not act in contravention of the laws and regulations on labor.

3. The payments and the interests thereon must be duly paid.

Meaning: The payments and the interests on the payments must be duly paid.

The more you are exposed to legal reads, you will find these prepositional adverbs more often. Here is the non-exhaustive list.

“Here-” Words “There-” Words
hereafter thereafter
hereagainst thereagainst
hereat thereat
hereby thereby
herefrom therefor (different from “therefore”; this means “for that”)
herein therefore (this means “because of that”)
hereinafter therefrom
hereinabove therein
hereinbefore (think of this as “herein and herebefore”) thereinafter (think of this as “therein and thereafter”)
hereinbelow (think of this as “herein and herebelow”) thereinbefore (think of this as “therein and therebefore”)
hereinto thereinto
hereof thereof
hereon thereon
hereover thereover
hereto thereto
heretofore (this “fore” means “before”, so “heretofore” is “before this”, “previously”) theretofore (this “fore” means “before”, so “theretofore” is “before that”, “until that time”)
hereunder thereunder
hereunto thereunto
herewith (this is “here with” as in “together with this”) therewith (this is “there with” as in “together with that”)
herewithin therewithin

You may also unexpectedly encounter “where-” words, such as whereby, wherefore, wherefrom, wherein, whereof, whereon, whereunder, whereupon, wherewith, wherewithin, etc.

However, it is particularly important to note that the current tendency is promoting plain English, in which the use of such prepositional adverbs in legal texts is decreasing.

Every time you meet any of the prepositional adverbs in your readings or translation works, don’t be panic. Just remember the pattern and way to figure out the meaning as briefly explained hereinabove. Happy translating! 🙂

Important Links:

Translation vs Localization

Why is our field creating a difference between translation and localization?

Isn’t translation the job of transferring source texts to culturally correct target texts for native speakers/readers?

There are different opinions on this issue.

Some say localization is part of translation. Translation means transfer of source texts to target texts, but localization goes beyond adjustment of source texts to cultural differences in corresponding target languages. Localization is not a fancy word, but a new “style” of translation. It is a coined philosophical terminology for translators. Something outside of the realm of translation. For that reason, there is no such thing as “localization vs translation”. Instead, localization is a specialized field of translation, primarily on software (desktop apps, mobile apps, websites, video games).

On the other hand, some argue that localization is not part of translation, but the inverse is true. To localize contents, you must step back from simple translation and start to use “the art of trans-creation”. Pure translation does not localize anything. Localization is not a matter of Cultural Pattern, but Public Relations, Marketing, and E-Commerce.

When a translator translates to another language, the translator works on intercultural field. And it is not localization.

Try a simple test: choose a product, go to Google, and search for the product. Try to do the same by using filters for a language and country.

Everyone knows that localization is the return of the beginning. English has been globalizing the world. Those who think that translation is the mother of localization forget studies on Metalanguage.

*summarized from a discussion with professional translators