All posts by Ana Maria Zuniga

Editing Translated Books

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I just finished editing the second of two instructional text books. Over 200,000 words read, reread and read again, looking for the precise word, the concise term, and the clearest sentence structure to make the author’s point. Reading each one from front to back and back to front.

I know that the perfect translation does not exist, but these books certainly make me proud. I feel honoured to be working with EV, my friend and colleague, who is the best translator I know.

I only wish I can tell you the books’ names but due to confidentially reasons, we are not yet permitted to disclose either the client or the text books’ names; however, I can say that they are related to education and that many teachers will be able to improve themselves and their teaching abities because of the new techniques and methodologies shared in the text books.

I certainly learned from the techniques and only wished I knew them earlier.

Also, I want to thank each and every one of my teachers who helped me to be where I am today.

If you are looking to translate something and need some help, please contact us at or visit us at

Conflicts of Interest and Transperancy in the Translation Business.

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Every day, when our clients send us a project they place their trust in our linguistics abilities and that we will be Blind, Deaf and Mute.

AZ World has been witness to many things that have changed the future of people and companies. Some times, we feel on our shoulders the weight of all this secrets, but we are well aware that we must always adhere to our policies of confidentiality, transparency and use of privilege information.

As president of AZ World, I try to always go one step ahead and discuss with our clients if we believe that it might exist a conflict of interest in a project, or disclose if we think that somehow we are connected with any of the parties. It is my firm believe that some times the existence of a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict is as important as the conflict itself. After all, “Caesar’s wife has to be above suspicious”.

Interpretation, Viagra and the Mother-In-Law

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I would like to share with you the Friday´s funnies … somethings translators can laugh or cry about, or both laugh and cry about!

I invite clients and translators to share their funny translation and interpretation stories.  But please, protect the innocent … we are telling stories without pointing fingers.


If you wonder what the connection is between these three things, I will do my best to explain.

For 10 years, I did over-the-telephone interpretations for one of the largest and best companies in the United States.  I interpreted everything: court hearings, births, immigration raids, and 911 calls; if you can imagine a subject, I interpreted it!  But when I think about what was my funniest interpretation moment, it was by far the “Viagra” call.

I had been booked to interpret a medical intake questionnaire on a quiet Friday afternoon during the summer and I was in the middle of it when my parents-in-law unexpectedly showed up in my office. I politely asked them with my finger to my lips to be quiet and to sit down.  But my mother-in-law, a nurse, then in her mid-seventies, could not stop listening to the back and forth of the interpretation.  The patient, a male in his late 60’s, was explaining with the most embarrassing and graphic details you can imagine how the medicine he had been taking had improved his sexual performance even more than the famous blue pill had ever done and how happy he was making his wife at this stage of his life!  My mother-in-law started laughing and chuckling on hearing this, and was starting to make me laugh until I realized that my only escape was for me to run and hide in the bathroom.  Of course, she followed me until I closed the door in her face.  My duty was to keep my cool and be professional and, my mother-in-law’s duty, of course, was her “need” to hear the end of the story.  Finally, the call ended, and I was able to get out of the bathroom with my pride intact while my mother-in-law’s disappointment showed on her face for not having heard the end of the man´s story.

If you thought that was the end of the story, you are wrong!  What are the chances that my in-laws would once again show up unannounced a few months later when I was doing a follow-up call with the same patient, “Viagra man”.  Well, it happened, and thankfully this time, I was almost all finished with the call when they arrived.

One of the funny things here was that my in-laws can barely utter “hi” in Spanish but in case of “need” they found a way to understand!  As you know, when there is a will, there is a a way to understand; and in this case, it was the word “Viagra”.


Quickly Tell if You Have a Good Translation

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How do you know if you have a good translation in your hands?

Because the text you have is precise, concise and clear.

What does precise mean? It means that the chosen terminology is correct. In order to know what you chose is correct, you need both experience and good research skills.

What does concise mean? It means that since the right terminology was used, you do not need to explain the terms. This is a two for one savings.

What does clear mean? It means that you cannot determine that the document was a translation, it sounds and flows naturally in the target language.

No excuses – Sin excusas

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I was having a cup of tea with the mother of a seven year old when she said that her child’s teacher had mentioned that he should be a medical doctor because he was a sweet, smart and very interested in the well-being of others. I said that would be fantastic, to which the proud mother added:

“Good luck with that because Canadian universities prefer females and non-Caucasian kids or immigrants”.

I was shocked by that comment because:

  1. I felt that she was already making excuses by blaming the sex of her child and the immigrants in case 12 to 16 years into the future, her son in did not make it into medical school, or wherever career he chooses, instead of helping him to work harder to get there so he could succeed in a highly competitive world.
  2. I am an immigrant who created AZ World Translation from scratch and has volunteered since my arrival to Canada. I am proud to have received one of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards for 2015, and I think it totally not fair to say that immigrants are taking the place in Universities of Canadian born kids instead of saying that they were not accepted.

I want to share my experience with two immigrant families that have moved to my neighbourhood.

Three years ago, a Mexican family moved in next door with 3 young, smart girls. One girl not only received the Grade 12 Arts Award from her local high school, but she also received the Grade 12 English Award in only her second year of learning English.  After graduation, she was accepted into one of the top Art programmes in Canada.  Her two sisters are also both doing great at their schools too.

A year later, another family of immigrants moved into the neighbourhood two blocks away.  The oldest girl went into grade 11 where she achieved an average grade of 93% in her first year of high school in Canada. This year, in the first semester of grade 12, she obtained an average grade of 97%.  On top of that, she is attending the Culinary Art program at a local college every day after school, except one day a month.  Each Saturday and Sunday, she works unpaid in a local high-end restaurant as part of her course practicum.  If you thought that is enough, you are wrong; the one day a month she has free, she volunteers serving food in a soup kitchen on Vancouver’s East side.  She wants to be a medical doctor.

I recently read a report that there are 45 million people who either have filed applications or would like to immigrate to Canada; this means that the competition is only going to become even harder/more fierce at all levels.

If I have to choose who is going to be my doctor when I am sick, chances are that I will chose my neighbour because they or their parents were not making excuses for her to reach the top.

Who would you choose?