Jorge Luis Borges, one of Argentina’s most celebrated writers, wrote not only in his native Spanish but in English as well. In collaboration with American translator Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Borges penned a number of short stories in English including “The Library of Babel” and “The Lottery in Babylon.” Unfortunately, after Borges’ death in 1986, the author’s widow revoked publishing rights on stories translated by or written together with di Giovanni, rendering many of these works inaccessible to the public.
Borges’ working relationship with di Giovanni expanded his influence within the English-speaking world and helped catapult Borges to fame as one of the best-known authors of the 20th century.
Until di Giovanni can reach some sort of settlement with Borges’ widow and/or the publisher, English-speaking readers will have to be content with translations by Andrew Hurley. Sadly, hidden away under lock and key, some of Borges’ original works in English are doomed to remain unread and unappreciated for the foreseeable future.
Read more about Borges’ collaboration with di Giovanni and the resulting works in English here at The Guardian website.
The life of a translator tends to be a rather sedentary one; many hours are spent hunched over the computer, pecking away at a keyboard. In addition, most freelancers generally work out of a home office, which may not be set up under ideal work conditions. While it may be tempting to dismiss recommendations regarding ergonomics and stretching as mumbo-jumbo, the truth is that they’re important considerations for the sake of your health.
RSI (repetitive strain injury) “is caused by repeated overuse and injury to the muscles of the hands, wrists, arms or shoulders. For example, constant movement of the fingers by a typist or musician causes stress on the tissues at a microscopic level.” The heavy typing and computer use associated with modern-day translation work places translators at risk for developing RSI.
Top Tips to Prevent RSI
»Stretch – Consider doing a warm up and cool down after a long session at the computer. Click here for a list of exercises to prevent RSI.
»Take breaks – Take regular breaks throughout the day, and practice relaxation techniques to release tension. When you’re “in the zone” or feeling pressured to finish a job, you may sit for hours at a time in front of the computer without taking even a five-minute break. A program called Workrave “alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.” 
»Consider ergonomics – Set up an appropriate work station no matter where you’re working, and use good posture and positioning while in front of the computer. It’s important to have a comfortable, well-lit place to work to maximize productivity and reduce the risk of RSI. Click here for a list of ergonomics guidelines.
»Try a speech to text program – Programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking are useful in battling the strain and fatigue associated with extended periods of typing. Speech recognition programs require patience and take time to train, but they are a viable option for those who need to set limits on the amount of typing they do.
»Investigate alternative keyboard and mouse options – Users can experiment with a trackball-style mouse or a stylus/graphic pad combination, which may provide relief for those experiencing early signs of RSI. Ergonomic keyboards are also available and reduce strain on hands and wrists.
The Ladino language permits you to travel (linguistically-speaking) through a time warp of sorts. If you ever wondered what Spanish sounded like in the 14th and 15th centuries, take a listen to Ladino, and you’ll be afforded a glimpse (or rather a sound byte) of the past. Also known as Judeo-Spanish, Ladino is currently spoken by approximately 150,000 people in Israel, the U.S., and pockets of Latin America.
In 1492, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain – Ferdinand and Isabella – issued the Alhambra Decree, giving Sephardic Jews the choice to convert to Catholicism or leave the country. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain, settling in locations as diverse as Turkey and Greece, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Though forced immigration meant leaving behind much of their lives in Spain, the Jews did hold onto the language of their former home – Castilian Spanish; however, isolated from a Spanish language that continued to grow and evolve, Ladino remained largely suspended in time with grammar, orthographic conventions and vocabulary that reflect those of medieval Spain. Although exposure to languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Greek and French in the immigrants’ new communities contributed significantly to the Judeo-Spanish lexicon, 60% of the language’s vocabulary can be traced to Castilian Spanish.
As previously mentioned, Ladino retains many features that were particular to Old Castilian: differentiation of the ‘b’ and ‘v’ sounds (as in English); lack of the pronouns usted and ustedes (their use in Spanish developed post-1492); and, the absence of ‘ñ’ and the inverted question mark. In addition, “the phonemes /š/ (English sh), /dğ/ (English g in George), and /ž/ (French j in journal) were retained in Judeo-Spanish (in Spanish they became /x/).” 
Prior to the 20th century, Ladino was written right to left using a version of the Hebrew alphabet known as Rashi script. Contemporary Judeo-Spanish utilizes the Latin alphabet, although texts for religious purposes are occasionally written using Hebrew letters.
Judeo-Spanish is considered an endangered language that faces the possibility of extinction within the next 30 years. Almost 90% of the Ladino-speaking population was wiped out during the Holocaust. The relatively few speakers that remain are primarily 50+ years of age, and most have neglected to pass down the language to the next generation.
Vida Larga para el Ladino – A short documentary of the Ladino Language
The rules for capitalization in English can be complicated. Use this list to help guide you when composing a text in English.
Capitalize the first word of a sentence.
Capitalize the first word of a direct quote.
Capitalize the first word of each line in a piece of poetry or verse.
Capitalize the pronoun “I” including its contractions (e.g. I’m, I’d).
Capitalize proper nouns (used to denote a specific person, place, organization, or thing).
Capitalize familial relationships when used as proper names (e.g. Uncle Bob).
Capitalize acronyms except for those that have become regular words, as in the case of “radar” and “scuba.”
Capitalize the names of countries, nationalities, and specific languages.
Capitalize a person’s title when it precedes the name; however, do not capitalize when the title serves as a description following the name.
Capitalize the titles of government officials when used before their names.
Capitalize the names of national, political, racial, social, civic, and athletic organizations.
Capitalize points of the compass (north, south, east, west) only when they refer to specific regions or sections of a country.
Capitalize the first and last words of titles of publications regardless of their parts of speech. Capitalize other words within titles with the exception of short prepositions or the articles “the,” “a,” or “an,” unless they appear as the first word of the title.
Capitalize the months of the year, the days of the week, periods and events (e.g. Great Depression), and holidays. Do not capitalize the names of seasons except in a title.
When writing a letter, capitalize the first word of the salutation and the first word of the closing.
Capitalize words and abbreviations derived from proper nouns (e.g. Daliesque).
Capitalize the names of trademarks.
After a phrase ending in a colon, do not capitalize the first word if it begins a list.
Capitalize the names of God, specific deities, religious and mythological figures, and holy works. Do not capitalize the word “god” when used in a non-specific manner.