February 23, 2018

What Year Are You Talking In?


Here’s a really fun research tool for you!

I stumbled across the Prochronisms blog last week and can’t wait to read through more of it when I have a minute. Ben Schmidt basically uses this nifty tool called the Ngram Viewer to catch anachronistic bloopers in TV shows and movies (like when a character in Downton Abbey asks “Are you okay?”).

I’ll be using the Ngram Viewer when I work on historical fiction. It’s also a neat, visual way to check if an expression is as common as you think it is.

How would you use a tool like this?

For Russian, there is the National Corpus. There is a bit of a learning curve with this tool, but it gives you similar insight into how language changes over time.
Photo by StevenW


Power Internet Searching webinar

Translators spend so much time searching for information online – it’s a vital skill and something we hopefully enjoy, right? I spent years beating my head on the wall and finally figured out some neat ideas for doing terminology research on the Internet. As a card-carrying technophobe, I promise you these ideas are fun and practical and involve absolutely NO Boolean operators. Check out my on-demand webinar to learn the mental habits and best practices for finding accurate, authoritative information online.

If you do download the webinar, please let me know what you think! So far the feedback has been heartening:

“This will make searching the web so much better and less frustrating. I highly recommend this webinar, wish I had known this stuff years ago.”

“…this one stood out as probably the best session I’ve done. We think of internet searching as so routine and simple, but I’m very glad I listened to Elizabeth Adams explain her experiences, approaches, and strategies for researching terms and subject matter.”

Search for Translators

Feel like you could be getting more from your internet searches? Spend an hour with me and I’ll share my best strategies for digging up what you need online. I like to focus on mental habits instead of technical stuff like boolean operators, although I do discuss a couple of technical tricks that are really useful for translators. We will spend most of our hour together looking at how to structure your inquiries and think like an online detective. I know what it feels like to hit the wall in an online search, and in my 15 years as a translator I’ve developed some helpful skills and attitudes for breaking through that wall. Searching can actually be the most fun part of your work day!

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