Where I Am Heading and Why

A modern magnetic compass

If I were to write a career advice book, I’d call it Stretch Out in reference to what I believe is the third most important consideration for career decisions.

The first — and most obvious — piece of advice everybody gives is to follow your passion and do what you…

How Intentional Ambiguity Leads to Richer Interpretations

The last scene with the monolith in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ (Image copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The impenetrable black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey neatly encapsulates the qualities of the whole film. Its meaning is as opaque as its surface. The ambiguity of its function is the complete opposite of its clearly defined form.

Few directors had their works interpreted by critics and…

Thanks to Zipf’s law, it takes only a small number of chorded shortcuts to improve one half of all the typing we do.

The frequency of the top 100 most used words in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ demonstrating Zipf’s law in action. The most frequent word makes up 6% of all words in the text.

Trained stenographers type at over 200 words per minute. This is because stenotype machines use chords of simultaneous key presses to input whole words at a time. Unsurprisingly, it takes years to master this skill.

Because languages follow Zipf’s law — the second most frequent word appears half as often…

A Discussion and Interlinear Translation of the Essay’s Opening

1811 edition of Shōbōgenzō, written by Dōgen in 13th century. (Image source: terebess.hu)

Genjo Koan is a key writing in Zen Buddhism and Japanese literature in general. Ten years ago, I wrote an article on the challenges of translating this text to accurately convey its meaning to modern readers. Now, I come back to it to solve two mysteries that eluded me.


A Simple Symmetrical Notation System for the Hive Board Game

A consistent notation system plays a key role in the practice and study of board games. The direction-based notation for Hive was created to fulfill the following goals:

  1. Games that are mirrored, rotated or played with reversed colors all have identical notations.
  2. Pieces of the same kind do not need…


The idea of owning an original digital art can be both intriguing and confusing. How do the concepts of originality and ownership transfer from physical to digital art? And are some historical works of art digital in nature?

(Quantized Starry Night, source image from puzzlewarehouse.com, edited by Pavel Soukenik)

Crypto art has been making headlines over the past several months with…


The typewriter has been invented around the same time as the telephone but while phones have changed beyond all recognition, the keyboards of today look substantially the same as when they first made their entrance.

Image by Apple

Why do keyboards still look like those on old typewriters? Let’s review some of the…

The pyramids of Giza
(Photo by Osama Elsayed on Unsplash)

Fifteen Years of Collaboration in a Single Post

I am sharing this article as a reflection, a thank you, and maybe an inspiration after fifteen years of working together with my colleagues, partners, and clients on building solutions that break down language barriers and make amazing devices and services accessible to people around the world.

As I am…

Photo by Joel Swick on Unsplash

What Should We Ask of Translators

My entire career has been centered around languages, translations, and building bridges that allow people to communicate and collaborate with other people regardless of their native language, country of birth, or the color of their skin.

What should we expect of people whose vocation it is to take the words…

The Distinction That Separates the Big Five From FAANG+

The terms FANG and ‘Frightful Five’ are not new. The former still appears frequently today as FAANG+ in reference to hot tech companies and even though five years later the ‘Frightful 5’ label has all but vanished, the profound observation it offered endures.

This article briefly looks at…

Pavel Soukenik

I write about technology and personal development. I have a background in localization and build enterprise solutions at Translations.com. All opinions my own.

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