News from the 2013 ProZ.com conference in Porto 2

This year’s ProZ.com International Conference is being held in the World Heritage city of Porto, Portugal, and I am having the pleasure of being one of the attendees, together with staff members Maria Kopnitsky and Jared Tabor, and more than 200 members! With 28 speakers and 30 sessions scheduled, this conference is one of the largest ProZ.com events organized in the last 5 years.

Attendees, as they arrived, getting ready for the opening session.

As the conference goes by, the organizers, Certified PRO Paula Ribeiro and members Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos, are working together with other language professionals to find the answer to a question that appears to be a major concern within the translation profession: “What are the new demands of the translation industry?” To address this concern, presentations on personal branding, SEO, the state of the industry and translation technology were offered earlier today. Sessions on meeting and keeping clients, CAT tools and ethical practices are reserved for tomorrow, Sunday 9th.

The social side of this event included so far: a photo tour, the visit to a cellar, a pre-conference powwow and the presence of Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, author of the MOX series, who was kind enough to take a couple of hours to autograph his books (thanks Alejandro!).

Alejandro autographing his books, “Mox” and “Mox II”.

Just a few hours ago, there was a gala dinner at Burmester Cellars, a cellar located in one of the most beautiful places of Vila Nova de Gaia. The food was great; the wine, exquisite; and the company, the best! Now getting ready for Sunday sessions and a post-conference powwow at Restaurante BibóPorto.

Click here to see what’s going on in this event in real time.

Congratulations organizers and attendees for this outstanding event!

Lucía

Some misconceptions about (freelance) translators and interpreters 19

Another video that has been around a while but that might be worth sharing (again). Some common misconceptions about translation and freelance translating, followed by a few clarifications:

Can you think of other common misconceptions about translation or what it means to be a translator?

Choosing the right client 35

In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.

More…

Should freelance translators or interpreters have their own websites? 6

In the past, the creation of a website to promote one’s freelance language services would have had to involve a team of professional web designers, developers and graphic artists. Nowadays, making a website to showcase your knowledge, skills and expertise as a translator or interpreter is as easy as ever, and possible to do without professional help.

In a poll featured on Nov 2, 2012, 35% of those who responded stated that they had their own professional website dedicated to promoting their translation or interpretation services. Another 27% said that they did not currently have a website, but that they would like one. Additionally, it was noted in the State of the industry: freelance translators in 2012 report that having a professional website was ranked as the third favorite channel for translator marketing, behind online platforms and emailing.

More…

On taking a professional translator / interpreter career a step further 2

Something that cannot be said about the translation or interpretation profession is that it is a static one. Translation and interpreting –and the way these two activities are performed– have evolved throughout the years and continue to evolve, allowing language professionals to seek new challenges, inviting them to review their career plans from time to time.

Even if most language professionals feel good about what they have achieved, they may also feel compelled now and then to take their careers a step further. However, this step further may not always be that clear, and there are several options available that go beyond translation and interpreting.

One option translators and interpreters have if they feel like taking their careers a step further is the expansion of the services they offer. Expanding the list of services you offer to clients may involve learning a new language, adding a new field of expertise and even learning additional techniques such as subtitling or desktop publishing (DTP). Of course, adding a new service, like investing in anything else, means devoting time –and usually money– to getting it ready.

More…

Risk management in translation: ProZ.com knowledge base for translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry 2

Every business type is exposed to risks influenced by numerous factors and the translation and interpretation business is no exception. Regardless of the type of activity involved, everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed so several types of risks that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.

With this in mind, ProZ.com has been creating content and developing new tools with the purpose of helping translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry to learn about the different risks involved in doing business online and how to prevent them.

One of these resources, and probably the most widely used by service providers when assessing risks, is the ProZ.com Blue Board. The Blue Board record is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for assessing the reliability of specific outsourcers before accepting a job offer from them. For outsourcers, being listed in the Blue Board record with a good number of positive entries from service providers represents a great marketing tool. Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board. More information about using the Blue Board record is available here.

Another great source of information in connection with business risks in translation is the ProZ.com Wiki. The ProZ.com translation industry wiki is an ever-evolving collection of articles about relevant, industry related topics, written and updated regularly by translators themselves. In this wiki, there are several articles on risk management, addressed both to language professionals and to outsourcers. Risk management-related wiki articles include the following:

For more information about the ProZ.com industry wiki, visit this page.

A recently released scam alert center is another potentially valuable resource for those seeking to manage risk when it comes to false job offers and other scams. The Translator scam alert center is an area used to provide organized, concise information regarding false job offers or requests and other scams which may be aimed at or are affecting language professionals and outsourcers. Information provided in the center is based in part on reports made by ProZ.com members through the online support system and in the ProZ.com Scams forum, and ProZ.com members have the option of subscribing to receive useful news and alerts of new scams as they are detected. The scam alert center is available here.

Finally, ProZ.com also offers its members a free webinar on “Risk management for translators and interpreters” on a monthly basis. This training session enumerates and explains risk management procedures that translators and interpreters should follow as part of their everyday professional activities. The schedule for these webinars is available here.

Regardless of the number of years a service provider or an outsourcer has been in the translation industry, risks are everywhere when doing business. However, the above-listed resources and tools have been made available by ProZ.com to promote not just professional practices, but also clear and concise information on the steps that should be taken to avoid risks when participating in the language industry. If you have any questions about these tools and resources, or if you need assistance with using them, contact site staff through the support center.

Guest blog post: What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer 1

I’m happy to announce a second guest blog post from Claudia Brauer, this time regarding Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).   You can see Claudia’s previous guest post here.
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What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer

CLAS is the acronym for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services. The term was originally born from the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the United States, CLAS Standards for healthcare fall within varying levels of stringency, including federal mandates, general guidelines, and recommendations in three frameworks: Culturally Competent Care, Language Access Services, and Organizational Supports for Cultural Competency.

Although initially CLAS referred to the healthcare industry in America, the concept has acquired a much wider application and has been adopted, adapted and localized by other countries and by many government agencies throughout the world. Additionally, similar standards have been adopted by others in the public and private sectors, including the legal environment, the educational establishment, financial services and the business world in general.

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, CLAS, encompasses a group of policies, behaviors and attitudes that allow professionals, companies, and government agencies to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. CLAS also refers to services that are respectful of the beliefs and practices of diverse populations and are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of those individuals, requiring workforce and providers to acquire or enhance their ability to understand and respond effectively to multicultural clients and patients.

One of the most interesting definitions of Culture and Competence states that: “Culture refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. Competence implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities.”*

(*)[The Office of Minority Health, U.S. DHHS, “What Is Cultural Competency”. Definition “based on Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis K., & Isaacs, M., (1989). Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care Volume I. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center” http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11.]

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In an association between ProZ.com and Claudia Brauer, starting August 16 a new Bundle of 5 sessions on CLAS concepts will be provided. These CLAS Online Workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

  • August 16: Cross-cultural communication
  • August 23: “CLAS” healthcare standards
  • August 30: “CLAS” – privacy and confidentiality
  • September 6: The Hispanic market
  • September 22: “The Tribal Mentality (in the Global Village of the 21st Century)

Interested individuals may register at: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting