Open road interview series: Eszter Lelik. Interpreter, translator, winner of a new car 2

Eszter Lelik

Eszter Lelik is the subject of this latest installment in the Open road interview series. Eszter is an English to Hungarian interpreter and translator from Hungary, and was also the grand prize winner of a new Nissan Juke. Her win was announced on 10 January, 2017 in a live broadcast from ProZ.com headquarters in Syracuse. Congratulations, Eszter! On to the interview:


Q. First, the most important question: Where’s the first place you will go in your new car?

Well, I wish I could go on a longer trip with the new car but this is a very busy season for me as interpreter and translator so I can think in terms of a short ride only. So I decided to go to Lake Balaton and visit some friends there.

Q. Now, from your website I see that you have over twenty years of experience as a translator and interpreter. What kind of changes have you noticed in your work and in the industry during the course of your career?

In the course of the past 23 years as it is quite understandable many things have changed. When I started my career, a few years after the political transition here in Hungary, very few people could speak and did speak foreign languages. There was a high demand for interpreters and also for translators in my case, as I worked at that time at one of the Big 6 companies mainly due to the privatization processes where all the documents had to be translated into English. Now, more than 20 years later a new generation grew up, these young people, or rather their parents, realized the importance of foreign language skills so the majority of them speak English, but quite often a second foreign language as well. The multinational companies use English as their corporate language (even if it is e.g., a German company), thus the need for translation has greatly decreased. Nevertheless, considering my specific areas of expertise and the fact that I am doing mainly simultaneous interpreting, plus working not only in English but also in German, I am optimistic about my personal perspectives.

Q. You’ve interpreted for some impressive brands and organizations. What do you find most rewarding about your work as an interpreter?

To become an interpreter has always been my dream. Now, more than two decades after the start of my career I am still certain that I have the best job in the world, at least the right one for me. I like independence, intellectual activity, constant learning, and travelling, always meeting new and interesting people. I have worked for/with famous politicians, celebrities, artists and I sometimes I am amused by realizing that most of them have already disappeared from the public life, from the stage, and I am still here.

Q. Are you optimistic about the future of the language industry?

In my previous answer I have mentioned already what I think of my own future, the future of my career. To be quite honest I am not optimistic at all concerning the future of the language industry in general. With all the translation memories, interpreting gadgets and the obsession with saving money on everything to the detriment of the quality, I think in about 10 years’ time lots of translators and interpreters will be left without any assignment, or paid much less than today.

Q. The theme of this campaign was ‘The Open Road’. What is next for you in your career?

Open Road for me means new challenges, opportunities and many new things to explore.  I think in our profession constant learning has to be the first priority. Thus, for me, deepening my knowledge in some specific areas, like medical and legal areas, is very important. Learning the use of CAT tools would be also necessary and also modernizing  my website is there on my agenda.

Eszter Lelik 2

 

Thanks Eszter for your time, and congratulations once again.

All interviews in the Open road series can be seen at http://www.proz.com/open-road.

This September, all roads lead to Curitiba! Reply

Today’s guest post author is Sheila Gomes – a freelance translator with over 20 years of experience who currently specializes in software localization and video games. Sheila is the manager of Multitude – an online information portal for translators and interpreters, and is one of the founding members and organizers of  TICWB – a networking group for local industry professionals.

Along with fellow freelance language professional and industry contributor Isabel Vidigal, Sheila is the co-organizer of this year’s ProZ.com regional conference in Brazil, which will take place this September from the 23rd to the 25th in the city of Curitiba. She shares her post today in Portuguese.


Minha primeira conferência de tradutores e intérpretes foi no Rio de Janeiro, em novembro de 2011: a III Conferência Brasileira de Tradutores do ProZ.com. Como foi a edição com o maior número de participantes até então, imagine o assombro da pessoa perdida entre mais de 300 colegas, com dezenas de apresentações e outras atividades para participar. Acabou virando a primeira de uma série: o bichinho dos eventos T&I tinha me mordido e hoje vou a todos que posso. Até chegar ao ponto de organizar em conjunto com a Isabel Vidigal o nosso evento do ProZ.com. A Isabel é veterana de eventos, já organizou inclusive a primeira Conferência do ProZ.com no Brasil, junto com a Rosana Malerba, em agosto de 2009. E agora o evento vem pra Curitiba, num dos poucos casos de saída do eixo Rio-São Paulo. Nesta minha cidade do coração, que acabou virando um polo de referência para tradutores e intérpretes por causa do trabalho ativo que temos aqui com iniciantes e veteranos, em vários projetos e ações. Estamos ansiosos e com vários planos para receber os colegas!

Assim como é para muita gente, o ProZ.com foi meu primeiro passo para conseguir clientes internacionais e fez uma grande diferença na minha carreira. Claro, é um grande recurso, mas funciona de verdade quando fazemos nossa parte, depois de estarmos preparados, de ter pesquisado o mercado e aprimorado as qualificações profissionais. O próprio site oferece uma série de ferramentas para isso, e tentei aproveitá-lo o máximo possível para aprender e também contribuir. Assim também é com a VI Conferência Brasileira do ProZ.com, que estamos organizando aqui em Curitiba entre os dias 23 e 25 de setembro: tentamos devolver um pouco do que conseguimos por meio do portal e oferecer outras oportunidades de fazer networking, receber treinamento, estabelecer discussões e momentos de socialização, para tradutores e intérpretes, iniciantes ou veteranos, e outros interessados na área.

Creio que uma das ações mais eficazes para mudar o mercado é dar acesso a iniciativas educacionais aos profissionais em formação e outras pessoas interessadas em ingressar nessa nossa área tão rica, mas também ainda pouco conhecida do grande público. É por isso que o desenvolvimento profissional inspira o tema do evento, “Boas práticas e caminhos”. Além de palestras e mesas-redondas, o evento oferecerá atendimento especializado individual ou em pares, na forma de miniconsultorias, para profissionais já atuantes e estudantes que buscam informações para se profissionalizar. E como a descontração é importante para estimular a integração dos pares, além do próprio evento, teremos encontros informais e passeios culturais.

Aliás, Curitiba é ideal para encontros assim, especialmente para tradutores e intérpretes, pois o que mais temos por aqui é: café! Espaços simpáticos, pitorescos, convidativos a cada esquina, dos maiores e festivos aos menores e aconchegantes, não faltam lugares para todos os tipos de grupos ou apenas para um bom papo entre duas ou três pessoas. E para quem vem, mas já sabe que pode ter que trabalhar também, praticamente todos os espaços oferecem wifi, além de alguns outros espaços de acesso gratuito como a biblioteca pública (a uma quadra do local do evento) ou algumas praças. Isso sem contar restaurantes, bares, espaços culturais e outros eventos para conhecer e investir no networking até fora do evento.

É por essas e muitas outras que esperamos você aqui: em setembro, todos os caminhos levam a Curitiba!


Meet Sheila and all of the excellent speakers who will be present at this conference – like keynote speakers Marta Stelmaszak and Paula Ribeiro – by registering today on the main event page: http://www.proz.com/conference/686

Registration fees can now be paid in the local currency! The early bird price has been extended so those who are interested in paying in reais at this discounted price may do so. Don’t delay! Prices increase in just a few short days, on July 23rd. More information about paying locally can be found on the event page under the “Opção de pagamento em reais” heading.  

Want to learn more about what to expect at this conference? Program highlights are featured in this short video:

Advocating for translators and interpreters worldwide: An interview with Maya Hess of Red T Reply

“The world cannot function without translators and interpreters.” This is the opening statement of a petition created in part by Red T, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that lobbies on behalf of translators and interpreters working in conflict zones. The objective of this initiative is to draw attention to the plight of linguists who work in high-risk settings, and to urge the United Nations to take measures to ensure that these individuals receive a certain degree of protection in their duties.

In this interview I had the opportunity to speak with Maya Hess, CEO and founder of Red T, about the goal of this petition, the organization behind this project, the risks associated with working as a linguist in conflict zones, and what can be done to help lobby on behalf of translators and interpreters worldwide.


MK: First of all, congratulations on this initiative. The petition has reached almost 35,000 supporters. Can you tell me about Red T, the organization behind this project?

MH: Thank you for your kind words and the opportunity to introduce Red T to your platform.

The goal of the petition is to urge the UN to protect translators and interpreters worldwide

Red T is a nonprofit organization advocating for translators and interpreters (T/Is) in high-risk settings, whether these are conflict zones, sites of political unrest, detention camps, prisons housing violent extremists, or even terrorism trials. Having worked in the terrorism arena for many years, I experienced firsthand how vulnerable T/Is can be and founded Red T to draw the attention of the public, governments, and other bodies to the often terrible fate they suffer. Ultimately, Red T’s vision is a world in which members of our profession can work free from fear of persecution, prosecution, imprisonment, abduction, torture, and assassination. To achieve this, we engage in various activities championing policies that support and safeguard linguists. In our latest project, the petition you referred to, we are seeking protected-person status for T/Is in conflict situations. Together with the five major international language associations – the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), the International Federation of Translators (FIT), the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), Critical Link International (CLI), and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) – we are calling on the United Nations to issue a resolution along the lines of those adopted for journalists. As it stands now, T/Is are not specifically protected as a professional category, and obtaining such a resolution would constitute an important first step in remedying this omission.

MK: What can language professionals who are interested in supporting Red T do? How can they get involved?

MH: Right now, we are looking to gather at least 100,000 signatures for the petition. To reach that goal, we hope your readers will sign (either by going to red-t.org or https://www.change.org/p/urge-the-un-to-protect-translators-and-interpreters-worldwide) and disseminate it to everyone they know via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. To get the UN to listen, we need critical mass. Also, by circling the world with this petition we can raise awareness about what T/Is do and how important our work is. As we say in its introduction, “The world cannot function without translators and interpreters.”

Another way to support Red T is by donating, which can mean making a contribution or volunteering your time. For instance, we have a great demand for writers to do research and draft copy and would be grateful for any assistance in that regard. We are also looking for translators for the Conflict Zone Field Guide for Civilian T/Is, which we issued jointly with AIIC and FIT. It still has to be translated into a number of languages, so if you are able to help, please email us at contact@red-t.org.

MK: Has Red T encountered resistance in certain sectors while seeking to protect linguists at risk?

MH: It depends. Some of our projects have been embraced: For example, our coalition’s UN Resolution proposal has been taken up by Baroness Jean Coussins in the British Parliament’s House of Lords and has received the support of H.E. Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, who committed to promoting it before the UN Security Council once it is scheduled for debate. Additionally, the Conflict Zone Field Guide has been used as a reference in the British Ministry of Defence’s publication “Linguistic Support to Operations” and in a Danish think-tank’s policy recommendations to the Danish government. Other efforts, such as our Open Letters, in which we urge governments across the world to do the right thing vis-à-vis T/Is, are not always that welcome. We imagine that’s because it is uncomfortable to be reminded of a moral imperative.

Overall, though, once people learn about the current state of affairs for T/Is in conflict situations, the most common reaction we encounter is shock at how unprotected linguists are in this day and age.

MK: What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into this line of work?

Red T’s mission is to protect linguists who work in high-risk settings

MH: I would encourage T/Is who are planning to work in high-risk settings to professionalize as much as possible. As is common in these settings, the individuals drawn upon to serve as linguists have little or no translation/interpreting experience. So, it is very important that they learn the basic skills of the profession and familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities. The latter is critical, since employers frequently ask for help with tasks that go beyond the job description and T/Is need to know they can decline any request that makes them uncomfortable. In fact, clearly defined expectations on both sides go a long way, and consulting our Conflict Zone Field Guide (http://red-t.org/guidelines.html) – a primer that lays out best practices, standards, and ethics for T/Is and their employers – is a good starting point. Overall, we believe that adhering to the parameters of the profession serves a protective function, and the more professionalized a T/I is, the safer he or she will be.

MK: You talked in the past about the need for a paradigm shift in how translators and interpreters are perceived. Could you elaborate?

MH: In high-risk settings, especially conflict zones and terrorism-related contexts, T/Is are too often and too quickly perceived as traitors. The results of this perception, or what I call the translator-traitor mentality, are catastrophic and include criminalization of our profession under the cover of due process, wrongful incarcerations, rashes of kidnappings, incidents of unspeakable torture, and brutal murders, not seldom in the form of beheadings. In other words, T/Is may get persecuted for simply doing their job. This must stop. And that is why we need a paradigm shift to change the way we are perceived and treated. I hope your readers will join me in bringing this about by signing and circulating our petition. Together we can make this happen!


About Maya

Maya Hess is the CEO and founder of Red T

Maya Hess is the founder and CEO of Red T, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that advocates worldwide on behalf of translators and interpreters in conflict zones and other high-risk settings. As a forensic linguist, Maya provided language support and expert witness services in many high-profile terrorism trials, among them those related to the simultaneous US embassy attacks in East Africa, the World Trade Center bombing, and the New York City landmarks conspiracy. She holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, a Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as an M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York.

You can find Red T on the web at red-t.org, and on Twitter @TheRedT

Guest podcast: Sharing the small world of interpreting through podcasts Reply

LangFM won this year's best interpreting-related podcast.

Alexander’s LangFM series won this year’s best interpreting-related podcast.

In keeping with our guest blog series from winners of this year’s ProZ.com community choice awards, it’s only fitting that we feature the recipient for best interpreting-related podcast with, well, a podcast. Alexander Drechsel, whose LangFM series won the award in this category, is a professional conference interpreter working for a large European institution. He regularly blogs about language, interpreting and technology, particularly Apple and Android tablets.

In this guest post, Alexander discusses the increasing popularity of podcasts among language professionals, and offers a few worthwhile podcast listening suggestions of his own.

Click on the play button below to to give this guest podcast a listen:

Direct link to podcast: https://blogproz.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/proz-podcast-1.mp3


alexander_drechselI hope you enjoyed this post, and many thanks to Alexander for sharing it with us!

Be sure to check out the LangFM podcast series to hear more from Alexander as he talks to fellow interpreters about their careers in languages, as well as their passions beyond the confines of the booth. You can also find Alexander on Twitter as @adrechsel, his personal account, and as @tabterp, where he shares all things related to using tablets for interpreting.

This is the third post in a series featuring recipients of this year’s ProZ.com community choice awards. See the previous posts in this series here:

Guest post: How to practice interpreting? Stop interpreting 4

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Andrew won the community choice award for best interpreting-related book.

Experienced interpreters and students alike may be able to learn some valuable tips in today’s guest post from ProZ.com community choice award winner Andrew Gillies. Andrew is a freelance conference interpreter and trainer working from French, German and Polish into English at the European Parliament, the European Patent Office, the European Space Agency, the European Commission, and for private clients. He has been training interpreters since 1999 in universities throughout Europe: at the University of Łódź, WLS Warsaw, UJ Cracow, UAM Poznan, FHK Cologne, ISIT Paris and EMCI Lisbon, and for the European Parliament in Brussels. He also trains interpreter trainers for AIIC.

Andrew has published a number of books and articles on conference interpreter training, the most notable of which being Conference Interpreting: A Student’s Practice Book, which won this year’s community choice award for best interpreting-related book. In this post, Andrew shares some interesting strategies for practicing interpreting by not interpreting.


In this short post I’d like to show why interpreting is not necessarily the best way to improve your interpreting and suggest a few ways of practising that are not interpreting.

andrew_gilliesIt’s natural enough to think that best way to improve your interpreting is to interpret. Student interpreters might think so for a number of reasons – 1) they’ve done very little of it so far; 2) they’re told repeatedly how important experience is in interpreting; 3) they want to interpret as much as possible because they like doing it. Professionals on the other hand may think that all the interpreting they are doing in the course of a working week is enough to bring continued improvement of itself.

However, interpreting is not the ONLY way to improve your interpreting. And indeed, when practise means only interpreting it’s not even the best way to improve any more.

“How expert one becomes at a skill has more to do with how one practices than with merely performing a skill a large number of times. An expert breaks down the skills that are required to be expert and focuses on improving those skill chunks during practice or day-to-day activities, often paired with immediate coaching feedback.” This quote is Wikipedia’s description of the work of psychologist K. Anders Ericsson – a pioneer in the field of deliberate practice. Ericsson is not specifically talking about interpreting, of course, but it still applies, based as it is on some sound empirical evidence.

So what does that mean? Well let’s take an everyday analogy: my Great-Uncle drove a car every day for 60 years – so he had plenty of experience – but he was a bad driver and never got any better at it because 1) he wasn’t trying to get better; 2) he didn’t practice the things he did less well, like changing gear, in isolation and 3) he certainly didn’t ask for any feedback on how he was driving! (He did give a lot of ‘feedback’ to other drivers, but that’s another story!)

So can interpreting be broken down into sub-skills and how can we address them individually? Well this is only a short post, so let’s stick to consecutive interpreting.

Daniel Gile identifies the following sub-skills for consecutive in his book Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training: Listening, Analysing, Memorising, Taking notes, Coordinating between sub-skills in a first phase and then in a second phase, Speaking, Reading notes, Recalling information, Monitoring your production.

Any of these skills can be practised in isolation, without actually interpreting. You just need to find the right exercise. And the practice will impact positively on your future performance of the whole interpreting skill.

Let’s take ‘analysis’. Speeches are not uninterrupted streams of consciousness (despite what we sometimes might think!) The speaker will have created a speech with distinct sections separated by topic, chronology, line of argument etc. Identifying those sections is a useful part of the analysis sub-skill in consecutive (and also simultaneous). And it’s a skill that can be practised without interpreting. For example by only listening to a speech and indicating when you think the speaker has moved on to a different part of the speech. The classic exercise is to count the sections on your fingers¹, but you could equally note down one word per section². You can also work from the transcript of a speech³. (First ask someone to remove all the paragraph breaks from the transcript so the speech is just a block of text. Then read the speech and hit ‘return’ wherever you think it moves on to a new section). And for each of these exercises compare your version with a colleague or a teacher. After all, if you can’t identify these sections when only listening, or when reading a text, how will you recognize and communicate them when interpreting?

Another related exercise⁴ practises your understanding of how the parts of a speech fit together. Get a colleague to print out a short speech, or part of a speech (5-10 paragraphs). Ask the colleague to cut up the speech – so you have one paragraph on each piece of paper – and shuffle the bits of paper. Now your job is to read the different parts of the speech and put them back in the right order. You will notice – because the exercise forces you to notice – that certain elements of language and information exclude or impose a certain order of the sections. You will start recognize how a speaker signals a new section, or how two sections relate to one another, or how speeches self-reference. That in turn become very useful to you when you are interpreting and better understanding these things yourself will help you communicate them better to your listeners.

conference_interpretingProfessionals may feel that basic exercises like these are too simple for them. But it’s worth trying them out to check that is the case. If it is, then instead of isolating a sub-skill entirely they can focus on a sub-skill while interpreting⁵. For example, by setting a goal as a complement to the interpreting task. Something like, ‘today while interpreting I’m going to focus on clearly separating the sections of the speech for my listeners’. Then record and listen to yourself to see if you managed to do that. Focusing on a sub-skill in this way is also more effective than simply interpreting without any specific goal.

To conclude I’d like to make one more important point and again abuse the example of my (fictional) Great-Uncle to do so. As I said earlier, his driving didn’t improve because he wasn’t trying to improve it. Most student interpreters are trying to improve already, so part of the battle is won. My Great-Uncle though had another issue. He wasn’t trying to improve because he mistakenly thought he was doing it just-fine-thank-you-very-much. Interpreters can make the same mistake. Don’t be one of them! There’s always room for improvement, so keep practising, and thinking about how you practise, long after you graduate from interpreting school!

These exercises, and more, can be found in Andy Gillies’ book, Conference Interpreting – A Student’s Practice Book with the following references – 1 C31; 2 C103; 3 C39; 4 C40; 5 A5.


Many thanks to Andrew for sharing this post with us.

Interested in learning more tips on honing your interpreting skills? Be sure to check out Interpreter Training Resources, a website dedicated to this subject. Conference Interpreting: A Student’s Practice Book is also available for sale via Routledge and on Amazon.

This is the second post in a series featuring recipients of this year’s ProZ.com community choice awards. The first post in this series can be found here:

And the winners are… 1

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The results are in! In case you missed the buzz on social media, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the winners of the 2015 ProZ.com community choice awards here. This initiative is held by ProZ.com on an annual basis (2015 being the third year) in an effort to recognize and celebrate those language professionals who are active, outstanding, or otherwise influential in various media throughout the industry. Results are split into two categories: translation-related and interpreting-related. Nominations, voting, and winners are determined entirely by the ProZ.com community.

So who did the community choose as this year’s award recipients?

Translation-related winners:

A special congratulations to Marta Stelmaszak of WantWords who took home an incredible 7 awards this year, beating the record she set last year. Congrats, Marta!translation_tiles


Interpreting-related winners:

*Categories marked with an asterisk indicate tied results.

Aida González Del Álamo won the award for best interpreting-related blog for the third year in a row. Congratulations, Aida! I am also pleased to announce that 2015 marks the first year that sufficient votes were received to select winners in every interpreting-related category. interpreting_tiles


Congratulations again to all the winners, and a special thanks to everyone who nominated, voted, and spread the word to make the 2015 ProZ.com community choice awards the best year yet. Stay tuned for guest blog posts featuring some of this year’s winners…

I hope you enjoyed this post! Comments, feedback, and suggestions for future blog posts can be made in the comments section below or via Twitter @ProZcom. For more information about the ProZ.com community choice awards, see:

List of 2015 ProZ.com community choice awards winners »
Announcement of winners in the Translator Coop »
Past community choice awards winners »
ProZ.com community choice awards FAQ »

Podcast with Nataly Kelly on “Found in Translation” 2

Nataly Kelly is the VP of Market Development at Smartling, a former professional interpreter, and co-author of the book “Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World.” In this interview, I had the chance to speak with Nataly about some extraordinary language professionals, the future of the industry, and how translation impacts every aspect of our lives.

“Found in Translation,” written by both Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche, received the most votes in the “Best Translation Book” category of the 2013 ProZ.com community choice awards. You can see the full list of sub-categories and their winners here: http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards

“Language is everywhere and so, as a result, translation naturally follows. When you think about religion, sports, politics, entertainment, technology, literature, the arts – translation is found in pretty much every aspect of human life, and that’s kind of the point that we wanted to make throughout the book by including so many different scenarios and so many different areas of life, to show that translation really shapes the human experience.”

You can learn more about this book by visiting the website http://www.xl8book.com/, and more about Nataly via Twitter @natalykelly

Click here to listen:

or

Right click and “Save as” to download: ProZ.com podcast, 2014-2-10

I hope you enjoy this podcast. Feedback and suggestions are welcome, and can be posted here or via Twitter @ProZcom

Maria