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:

Guest post: Teaching translation project management 2

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Nancy’s e-book won this year’s award for best translation-related book.

As promised, I’m happy to present the first installment of our guest blog post series featuring recipients of this year’s ProZ.com community choice awards. First up is Nancy Matis, who won the award for best translation-related book for her e-book entitled How to manage your Translation Projects. The print version, available in French, can be purchased here.

Nancy has been involved in the translation industry for about 20 years, working as a translator, reviser, technical specialist, project manager and teacher, among other roles. She currently manages her own translation company based in Belgium and teaches translation project management at four universities. She has conducted seminars at numerous universities on this subject across Europe, and has also been involved in designing and evaluating training materials for future translators and project managers.

In this guest post, Nancy discusses some techniques she uses in teaching translation project management to her students, and explains why this is a useful skill for project managers and translators alike.


TPM_checklistTeaching Translation Project Management (TPM) is really thrilling. One of the aspects I most enjoy is that the majority of my students are highly interested in this topic. The challenge lies in the breadth of the subject and the wide variety of translation requests it encompasses. Every project is different, every company (whether an end client or a translation agency) has its own management methods, and every project participant has their own concerns depending on the role they play.

The way I approach TPM with MA students is to describe the theoretical life cycle of a translation project, and in-between, to add as many counter examples as I can. The goal is not to teach them just one way of managing their projects, but to open their minds to this vast area while pushing them to know how to adapt to any situation, as project managers or translators, and as employees or freelancers.

TPM is not only useful for future project managers. All participants in a translation project have to manage their own tasks. That’s why it’s essential to include concepts that apply to all of them and to target explanations at specific job profiles.

For instance, the subject that students find the most appealing in the main is pricing. I usually start by showing them several examples of price grids and explaining that, as project managers working in translation agencies, they will probably have to refer to grids to prepare new quotations. This gives me an opportunity to illustrate any rate variations based on source and target languages as well as the project domain (legal, medical, economics, etc.), style (technical, marketing, etc.) and category (documentation, software, multimedia, etc.), and the tasks involved (not only translation and revision, but also desktop publishing, illustration mock-up, testing, etc.) according to their level of
complexity. From there, we explore how translation companies establish their rates and how these future professionals can define their own and present them in a customised price grid. We talk about prices based on estimated costs and briefly introduce the notion of gross margin. Afterwards, we check in detail how to set up rates based on expected productivity. At this stage, we discuss profitability, which gives us the chance to think about what is and is not acceptable. Depending on how much time I have with the class, we can then go as far as drawing up tables with multiple productivity metrics, several expected hourly (or daily) fees and the resulting word rates. We can do this for translation alone, deciding whether to integrate the use of CAT tools (or even machine translation) or not, or we can include other linguistic steps in the calculation, such as revision and LQA (linguistic quality assurance). Sometimes, we repeat the process for some technical tasks, for example DTP (desktop publishing), focusing on rates for units such as pages and illustrations. We can also end the topic by discussing when we should apply extra charges and increase unit rates, or even debating whether the price reductions some clients require are legitimate.

The goals of this approach are multiple:

  • Make the students understand how rates are set up in translation companies.
  • Prepare them to fix rates as freelancers (even when subcontracting to others).
  • Enable them to decide if they can accept the rates imposed by some clients or translation agencies.

During the course, I teach most of the other TPM topics (project analysis, quotation, scheduling, launching, monitoring, closing, etc.) in the same way, i.e. from various perspectives to ensure I cover as many roles in as many project types as possible. I don’t generally limit myself to successful cases since, whenever possible, I share my experience of some project failures too so we can analyse how these situations could have been avoided. This helps students become aware of the importance of risk management. Examining a range of cases is certainly the most enriching side of teaching project management. As I work in parallel on new projects in my other day job, I can constantly update the examples and exercises I give my students. That’s why the Translation Project Management programme is constantly evolving.


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Nancy Matis, author of this guest post

Thanks for sharing this post with us, Nancy!

For those interested in learning more about this topic, be sure to check out Nancy’s website, which is dedicated to the subject of translation project management, at: http://www.translation-project-management.com/

The How to manage your Translation Projects e-book is also available for purchase in the ProZ.com books section: http://www.proz.com/books/91/How-to-manage-your-translation-projects

Stay tuned for upcoming guest blog posts featuring winners of the 2015 ProZ.com community choice awards. Feedback on this blog post and suggestions for future posts can be made below or tweeted to @ProZcom

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 »

How to succeed in the industry: An interview with Marta Stelmaszak 3

Marta_StelmaszakAn immensely successful trainer in the area of professional development, Marta Stelmaszak‘s advice is sought by language professionals throughout the globe who are searching for ways to expand and improve their businesses. Marta utilizes her vast knowledge of marketing and entrepreneurship – as well as linguistics and translation – to offer freelance translators a unique perspective on how to succeed in the industry.

For the second year in a row, Marta has taken home more ProZ.com Community Choice Awards than any other recipient. This year alone she received five awards in the fields of best blog, website, trainer, conference speaker, and mentor. Her “Business School for Translators” professional development course also received the Community Choice Award in the category of best translation-related training course.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Marta about her success as a trainer, the impact of social media on her own business, some marketing techniques that she employs as a language professional, and the future of the industry.


MK: First of all, congratulations on recently winning six ProZ.com Community Choice Awards! One of the awards that you received this year as well as in 2013 is in the category of “Best Trainer.” Why do you think people are drawn to the advice you provide? How is your message different from that of other industry professionals?

MS: Thank you so much! It’s a great honour to have been entrusted with so many votes. I must admit that I never expected to win as many as six awards. The “best trainer” category award means a lot to me because it’s a great piece of feedback on the work I’ve been doing together with eCPD Webinars for almost two years now.

Throughout my course, the Business School for Translators, I aim to pass on the solid business knowledge I acquired during a number of business courses and a degree in management and then applied it to my own freelance business. Of course, I’m sharing my experience and how I found my clients, but the most important part of the course involves strategic thinking to develop a long-term plan. To do that, the experience of one person isn’t enough. The big strategies and tactics that I share with my students help us navigate through the freelancing landscape and build successful businesses.

Plus, the course has a wonderful community around it. We’re sharing, commenting and helping each other almost every day, and we often meet up at industry conferences. The Business School course led to the creation of a few collaboration projects, partnerships and service exchanges.

I also believe one of the things that makes my course so popular is the fact that I remained a freelance translator and interpreter and I don’t outsource work. This, perhaps, gives students the confidence that it’s possible to be successful and be a ‘true’ freelancer at the same time. It is and it feels great.

MK: How has social media effected your career? What social media platforms do you use professionally?

MS: Overall, social media had a positive effect on my business. LinkedIn was undoubtedly the most useful platform when comes to making contacts and reaching out to potential clients. This social network is a gold mine of information and market research. For Continuing Professional Development, equally important in my eyes, Twitter is my main platform. I think it’s a great way to stay abreast of all industry news and follow events which you cannot attend in person.

MK: Your blog offers practical tips and advice for language professionals at all stages of their careers. To what do you attribute the popularity of this resource?

MS: I’d like to believe that the main reason why my blog is read by colleagues is the fact that it’s based on solid business knowledge, research and careful application of the concepts I talk about to my own business.

As I studied business and management, I’m combining this field with languages. This is why I mainly specialise in translation and language consultancy aimed at small and medium enterprises growing their own activities in Poland or in the UK. But at the same time, I’m trying to bring this business knowledge to the world of translation and interpreting.

I took this approach even further and in late 2014 I published The Business Guide for Translators, the first book aimed at the translation and interpreting industry sharing essentials of business strategy and solid knowledge in economics.

MK: Your professional online presence is associated with the name “WantWords.” How important has branding been as part of your marketing strategy? Is it something you would recommend to everyone?

MS: In my opinion, branding is the way others perceive our brand, or if you like, our business. To have a brand doesn’t mean that you need a logo, a great website or give out gadgets. These elements can help you build the image you want to project but they’re not absolutely necessary. And sometimes the lack of them is precisely the essence of the brand.

My brand was built on careful research into my target market and was then executed following a branding strategy fitting into a wider marketing plan. The current image of WantWordsWantWords is what works best for my potential clients and for my business at the same time.

Anybody considering improving their branding or even re-branding should first think about the target market, i.e. the group of clients they’re trying to reach. Learning about potential clients will make the brand sharper and more effective. I’d also suggest preparing a good strategy of how the brand is going to benefit the business owner.

I would say that every translator and interpreter needs a brand, be it a strong association with quality, indication of a specific kind of work, or uncommon attitude towards work. The way this brand should be communicated is of course a whole other story.

MK: Could you define what it means to have a good online presence, and why is it important for freelance translators and interpreters?

MS: The way I see it, good online presence doesn’t mean being everywhere all the time. I believe that online presence is effective when it allows to reach the right customers, inspire their trust and reflect the business owner behind the online persona. In this sense, online presence is an extension of a business.

Freelance translators and interpreters who’re considering finding clients online should invest their time in energy into establishing the right online presence for themselves because it will definitely make their marketing efforts more effective.

MK: How do you envision the future of the language industry? Is there one piece of advice that you would give to your colleagues to help them stay relevant in this profession? 

MS: In my opinion, translation is becoming more and more integrated with the context in which it appears, and the future will accelerate this trend. My one piece of advice would be to see our work in the wider business context and react to changing business needs.


I hope you enjoyed this interview. To learn more about Marta Stelmaszak and her Business School for Translators, visit: http://wantwords.co.uk/school/

Feedback can be posted below or via Twitter @ProZcom

5 things you should know about the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards 1

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With the nomination phase of this year’s Community Choice Awards in full swing, let’s take a look at the who, what, when, where, and how of the competition. Here are the 5 things you need to know about the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards:

What are the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards?

They are a means through which members of the ProZ.com community are able to publicly recognize those language professionals who are active, influential, or otherwise extraordinary in various media throughout the industry.

There are two main award categories: translation-related and interpretation-related. Within these categories are various sub-categories such as best blog, best website, best trainer, and best conference speaker, to name a few.

The Community Choice Awards are hosted by ProZ.com on an annual basis, this year being the second one of its kind.

Who can participate?

Nominations, voting, and winners are determined entirely by the ProZ.com community. If you are a member of the site, you can participate in the Community Choice Awards.

Don’t have a profile with ProZ.com yet? You can register with the site for free here.

How can I nominate recipients for this award?

Simply visit http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards/nominations to get started in nominating this year’s award recipients, or to propose additional award categories (you will need to be logged-in to participate). Don’t wait, the nomination phase will be ending soon!

When will I find out who won?

Nominations may be submitted through August 14th. The voting phase will then commence on August 20th and last until September 22nd. The winners of this year’s Community Choice Awards will be announced on September 30th, just in time for International Translation Day.

Where can I go to see last year’s winners and learn more about this event?

You can see last year’s winners here: http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards/community-choice-awards/vote

You may also want to have a look at a past Translator T.O. post featuring the winners of the 2013 Community Choice Awards in the “Best blog” category: https://prozcomblog.com/2013/12/03/the-proz-com-community-choice-awards-translators-anonymous/

For more information on these awards, be sure to check out the FAQs: http://www.proz.com/faq/158083#158083

 

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