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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Among the more infuriating features of the iPhone is its blunt refusal to let you download the voice memos you've recorded.

It can be done. Forget iTunes, don't even think of using the Windows Start button, there is a simple way to do it:

1) Install Dropbox on your PC and iPhone (note that this might work with other cloud storages but this is what I use)

2) Tap the audio file on your iPhone to upload and select Dropbox

3) Select destination folder

4) Confirm

5) Wait

6) Done


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Posted by on in Uncategorized

b2ap3_thumbnail_scams.pngAmong the various spam I reap in my inbox every day is one variety that particularly annoys me: bloody translators.

Because they are not translators. What happens is this: they sign into legitimate translation sites, hunt out CVs which they then download. Using the translator’s name and CV as template, with an added combination of cooked-up details, they change the address and delete the telephone number, inject a specious email copying the essence of the translator’s name and send it off. Sometimes the switch is laughable, such as the one where the guy was unable to change his keyboard language and the Swedish address displayed in Arabic, for example:copy of fake Swedish address with Arabic numerals

It seems to work both ways: either “agencies” offering jobs then cheating on payment or, and this is what I see most, translators offering, for example, their aircraft-engineering skills in horse-breeding and “Voice-over talent with an educated trained alto voice” to my “esteemed company”…

Generally, the email is laughable. They understand the basics of deliverability (max 80 chars/line for text-only) but get everything else wrong. They promise perfect translations in utterly imperfect English and combinations that make the mind boggle: Swedish-Danish-Indonesian, or Finnish-Urdu-Japanese… They seem to be under the belief that including a Scandinavian language will automatically trigger a sense of trust, as may well it might. They often have more degrees than a thermometer – from harp-playing to nuclear physics – and specialize in everything from – this just in: “Technical, Law, Marketing, Engineering, Computer, Media, finance , cooking , Literature and Novels , legal, etc.” (notice the judicious use of spaces before the commas, both Law and legal, and the rest…) – which makes one wonder why they’re hawking their multiple skills instead of lecturing at Harvard.

Sometimes it can be quite sick, for example, the recent proposal by a Dutch translator called Anne Frank.

If ever the bait is taken, there are various tactics such as the overpayment scam or corporate impersonation if they’re “buying” or, if “selling”, they simply paste your job into Google Translate (which ain’t actually that bad, but still needs serious revising which they’d never do), then bill you and get paid before your relevant counterpart gets round to querying you about the meaningless drivel he’s been sent. For a fuller exposé from the viewpoint of actual translators who get cheated, read this article by Carola F. Berger writing for the American Translators Association, which you can find on a website that one time-courageous person has put up about them: www.translator-scammers.com.

As they say, it might cost a bit having it done by a professional, but not half as much as by an amateur, or worse…

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Dear Sir,

Thank you for your transcription. Regrettably, I cannot use it. It is, and I flatter you, gibberish.

• You do not capitalize correctly, your punctuation is staggering and your spelling atrocious. Were that the only issue…

• You did not seem to have referred to the vocabulary I provided: “methotrexate”, a common drug listed there, is not spelled “methrpoxil”, “metrppoxil”, “metroplexate” nor even “amotril”. Likewise, an “anti-TNF” is not “anti tss”, “ants eff”, “anti tns”, “ati tfff”, nor any of the other sultry variations thereof you managed to insert, hoping to conceal your ignorance beneath a tissue of sneezes.

• There is no such thing as “algegic”, “algggirc” or “anagegic”; the term you might have been seeking in your bewildered brain is “analgesic”.

• “Cytokines” are not spelled “sitochine”; “dMARDs are not “demods”; patients are neither “siro positive” nor “siro negative”; and even with the greatest of generosity, not even a Shakespearean chimpanzee would spell “opioid” as “oppooo”. Lastly, and I really must stop here, despite the known benefits of cod-liver oil, an ad hoc treatment is never given on a “haddock basis”.

Nevertheless, you have tried, and for that you deserve payment. Given the inevitable complications in advising me of your correct IBAN and BIC, please ask your keeper to send me your institution’s address and I will pop a peanut in the post.

Yours, etc., etc.

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One of the names that intrigued me in my early days in France was Castelnau-le-Lez. "Couldn't they decide?" I wondered. When I moved to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse and dutifully entered the correct address into my computer, I started receiving letters to Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuses. Nothing major in the grand scheme of things, this is how names and words change over time. Luckily, otherwise English would not exist.

But wrong. It is not Saint-Rémy-the-female-goatherds but Saint-Rémy-outside-Chevreuse, the latter being its neighboring town, once <i>château</i>. It comes from Latin latus, beside (in French au large de or près de and is spelled in as many ways as possible. The name with the most variants seems to be Auchy, all in the northern corner of France, with Auchy-lès-Hesdin, just 10 ENE of Hesdin (and 6 km south of Agincourt!) and Auchy-lez-Orchies, some 4 km WNW of Orchies (which has nothing to do with testicles as its name would seem to suggest, but comes from Flemish), both clearly reflecting their respective proximity. Further north there's Auchy-les-Mines, probably named after local mining industry like so many other municipalities in France (some 30-odd all told) and where the les could also just mean the, as it does in names like Aix-les-Bains, although this is obviously not the rule. Another "beside" name is Auchy-la-Montagne, which, at 177 m above sea level does not suggest craggy heights and may be associated with nearby (30 km) Montagne de Frémontiers, where the suffix -montiers often suggested a monastery, and the ascension from mont (hill, mountain) to montagne (real mountain) begins with but one small step. Auchy-au-Bois, or Auchy in the woods, just shows France's charming tendency towards the decorative. The le of Castelnau-le-Lez occurs in at least one hundred castle neighbors (Whatnot-le-Château/Châtel/Castel/Châtelet) and the only one missing, seems to have disappeared in the 16th C.

And some towns just leave you bemused: Choqueuse-les-Bénards – trouser shocker?...

Once again, France's famous credo, "Ce qui n'est pas clair n'est pas français" (if it ain’t clear, it ain’t French), comes a-tumbling down.

There is however a simple rule to make sure you get it right (if you can be bothered): look it up!

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Just spotted on the motorway (talk about captive clients...).
That’s right, €48.75 per kilo... And to give you an idea, the average volume of common European trucks is about 90 m³, which means that a full load of Pringles (pack height = 8.6 cm, width = 8 cm, plus about 10% for packing and palleting, or about 1650 packs / m³) is worth just under €300,000.
Expensive. Three times the price of steak, say a faux-filet @ €15.99 / kg (bought from the farmer at €3.80). But only one fifth of the price of Beluga caviar (or 1/200th if you buy essentially the same at Petrossian for €9800), although the comparison’s slightly unfair. What about smoked salmon? Yep, that’s right, Auchan on-line does it at €44.64! But since you’re not going to eat all that at one sitting, let’s get a couple of slices each (€6), throw in a lemon (€0.50), a steak or two (€10), some veg (€4), a decent bottle of wine (€12), a selection of cheese (€10), a box of After Eights (€3.5) and a couple of coffees (€0.60), and you’re done at €46.60.
Alternative: potato starch, grease, flatulence, halitosis, burping, skyrocketing cholesterol, enough salt to clear your path for an entire winter and the mother of all thirsts…
OK, you could also buy it in larger packs or even in bulk, but that’s not very refined, is it? :o)

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