Word Usage Quiz for Writers #2

It’s baaaaack… Following up on my first quiz on commonly confused words, here is a second set of ten word-pair errors I see during proofreading. As always, the theory is that even if you already know the difference between the words in each pair, practice making deliberate choices may help prevent mistakes in the future.

New for this quiz: by reader request, you can now see the link to more information when you answer correctly too, instead of only seeing it if you answer incorrectly.

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

 

Note: If you’re concerned that I’ll be able to see your answers, don’t be! I turned off that functionality. The only way your score will be published is if you choose to click one of the share buttons next to your score, and even then the info will not be stored on this site.

If you have any trouble with the quiz functionality, let me know!

Word Usage Quiz for Writers

It’s easy to read advice about commonly confused words, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get them right later. Yesterday I started wondering whether seeing the two next to each other and making an active, deliberate choice between them would help people store the information where it can be easily reached the next time the choice needs to be made.

So… I taught myself how to make quizzes embedded in my blog. Here, have a quiz!

 

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

 

Note: If you’re concerned that I’ll be able to see your answers, don’t be! I turned off that functionality. The only way your score will be published is if you choose to click one of the share buttons next to your score, and even then the info will not be stored on this site.

I’m planning to do a series of these with different word pairs, so if you have any trouble with the quiz functionality, let me know!

Demon Parades and Career Beginnings

© Yoshihiro Togashi 1990-1994 "Yu Yu Hakusho" / comics originally serialized in the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP published by Shueisha Inc. TV animation series "Yu Yu Hakusho" is produced by © Pierrot/Shueisha.

The contemporary: Kurama, the fox spirit from Yu Yu Hakusho. (see alt text for copyright)

New Year's Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji by Hiroshige

The old: New Year’s Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji by Hiroshige

Though I didn’t manage to post about it before due to computer issues, I had two public speaking opportunities in January that were pretty fun.

First, I gave a workshop at Texas A&M University’s Stark Galleries. They’re hosting an ukiyo-e exhibit called “The Floating World” through next month, so part of their family-friendly event series is currently focused on Japanese arts and culture. The museum was kind enough to invite me down to TAMU to give a presentation on yokai–the legendary ghosts and goblins of Japan which played a big part in ukiyo-e traditions and still play a role in Japanese pop culture. (And, of course, to talk a little about anime.)

It’s a fun topic that I really like, though I worried about how it was going to go over–turns out it’s challenging to plan a family-friendly workshop about ghost stories when many of them are rated-R-worthy! Cue anxiety over how I could make it interesting enough for all ages at the same time.

But attendance was great: we had a full room, with an age distribution from about 10 to 75. We talked about how to survive an encounter with a kappa, how fox spirits possess humans, and who might show up in the deadly processional called the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. The audience didn’t visibly react much during the lecture, which worried me, but it turns out they were just being quiet and polite. There were lots of thoughtful questions afterward, with people wanting to talk one-on-one and saying they really enjoyed learning about all the ghouls. Win!

640px-Hyakki_Yako_1

Hyakki Yako (The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons), artist unknown

The other January “speaking engagement” was an informal video-chat interview with legal and academic translator Carolyn Yohn about how I got into my field. It went up on her blog this month (here’s the link) as her first video interview. Definitely not her first interview, though: Carolyn has an ongoing series of interviews on her blog with translators of all different fields about how they chose their specialties. Be sure to check it out!

I already knew that I far prefer delivering video/audio interviews to written ones, because written ones take more time as I get obsessive about getting just the right phrasing for everything. But I did learn something new doing this one through Google Hangout: good lighting for a girl in glasses is hard! Toward the end there are some truly epic shadows on my face. Next time, I’ll definitely ask the professionals for advice before I try to do my own lighting. ^_~ Lucky me that I work in an office with lighting professionals.

Talking to others about culture and translation inevitably means learning something new yourself, even after many years in the field. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on camera. Carolyn’s interview on camera was great for me: I may have a new fear of facial shadows, but I also met new people on Twitter who watched it and commented, and now I get to read cool new things they post.

The most fun thing, though, was probably finding this Night Parade a la Pokémon.

A night parade with a Pokémon spin.

A night parade with a Pokémon spin, by Pixiv artist “nojo.” (Artist page http://www.pixiv.com/users/548497 – some images contain adult content or are NSFW.)

Happy International Translation Day, or I <3 St. Jerome

Happy International Translation Day!

St. Jerome at the VaticanToday is the feast of St. Jerome, patron saint of translators, and therefore the day we celebrate International Translation Day. When I visited Florence and Rome last year, the wonderful historian Ada Palmer struck up a game of “Spot the Saint” at each museum we went to and each important monument we passed (which in those two cities is approximately every 50 feet). I wasn’t the best at the game, but I could always spot St. Jerome a mile away, because he’s the best one. (By which I mean the one I like best–he has a dashing red coat and a sweeping hat, and listening to his story as told by Ada, I felt like he and I really “got” each other.) You can see I snapped a photo of him here hanging out at the Vatican, in a painting by Pier Francesco Mola…

I think it’s great for each profession to have a day of recognition for their service, and what better day than that of a man forever associated with words, AND in my mind a fond memory of gorgeous Italian art?

So here’s to all my translator colleagues, and the ways in which we build bridges between cultures and people. And to everyone else, give a smile today for your favorite translator. We help the world share books, films, inventions, medicines, and diplomatic talks. We keep the wheels of justice turning. We save lives, or just help you have fun.

I celebrated today by attending a few webinars, doing outreach, finalizing plans to share a hotel room at this year’s American Translators Association conference, and finishing up a giant project… which actually isn’t quite finished yet, so that’s all for now!